A Levels…what we did, why, and how I feel about it now

25 Sep

My A levels

I don’t generally suffer from nightmares, but I have one recurring bad dream and it’s about my A Levels! The torment is around low grades, failure, and never being able to make anything of myself. In my half sleep I realise that something in the story is not quite right and I fight back: ‘But hang on…I went to University…I got a degree and have done okay…A Levels don’t matter anymore!’

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What we did, why, and how I feel about it now… Handwriting

21 Aug

Our home education was a complex mixture of freedom and structure. This is illustrated well by my approach to handwriting.

With some aspects of life, the best way to approach things (and the easiest in the long term) is to work hard to get them right from the start. So, with writing, I showed the children how to hold the pencil correctly and how to form their letters in the right way. I was keen that they should be able to print letters clearly and neatly. We used some excellent Oxford workbooks, which began with basic lines and patterns going from left to right, to practise staying on the lines, and progressed to forming all the letters of the alphabet. A lot of the early writing the children did was writing over my writing. This meant that they didn’t have to decide where to write on the page, or worry about the spelling, and it helped them to write neatly.

So, where was the ‘freedom’ in this? Well, we didn’t do a huge amount of writing! I think it’s unreasonable to Continue reading

What we did, why, and how I feel about it now: Record Keeping

2 Jun

People often ask what records should be kept of their home-educating journey. I thought it might be helpful to describe what we did.

Daily Record in an Exercise Book

I kept records of ‘what we did every day’ from when David was four and a half and would have begun reception year had he gone to school. The records developed as he grew and as Hannah and Jonathan’s were added. The main categories of ‘work’ changed, and the number of subjects increased. Although we learned in a Continue reading

A Time for Everything

19 Apr

A ‘time to tear down’. That’s what it felt like as I roughly cut the branches of the bush I’d been tending for years. When we moved here eighteen years ago, the 22’ x 9’ open-plan front garden, which separates the house from the road, was newly planted and beautiful.


Later, we added some conifers which had been grown in my parents’ nursery. I loved their year-round greenness and the structure they gave to the garden, but they were overgrown and blocked the view from our kitchen and living room and kept out the light. Continue reading

My Schools: Christ Church C of E Primary School

24 Feb

Christ Church Church of England Primary School
Perry Vale, Forest Hill, London SE23
September 1972 – July 1978

I have happy memories of my time at Christ Church C of E Primary School, many of which are vivid:

Class 1 – My first ‘paper cut’.  I couldn’t believe how much they hurt. I still can’t!

Class 3 – How was it that everyone else seemed to know the missing words in the worksheet on ‘Jack Sprat could eat no fat’ and I didn’t? Had I been away and missed something, or was I just ignorant? Continue reading

A Portrait in Time

16 Apr

I love to draw.

When I decide to draw something I concentrate intensely. Everything stops. Nothing else matters – just the object, and my representation of it.

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Marriage: the need for help

9 Apr

The question won’t go away.

It’s years later, and I still worry that there may have been people in the church who were struggling – men and women. No help was offered to them.    Continue reading

Easter Sunday Struggle

2 Apr

‘Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!’

Easter is my favourite Sunday.

But not this year.

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Lessons from Cycling

26 Mar

When I was fourteen and my brother, Gavin, was twelve, my parents bought us all bicycles. We went on several cycling holidays and also used our bikes to get to work and school. Until I was twenty-two my bicycle and I were almost inseparable.

I learnt a number of lessons from our cycling adventures. Here are some of them: Continue reading

Write Something!

19 Mar

I was struggling to decide what to write about this week. Hannah commented teasingly, ‘Oh, got writer’s block, have we?’ I denied it. Surely it can’t be writers block when the problem is that you have too many things you want to write about. But maybe I don’t understand the finer points of writer’s block!

‘Write about what you’re thinking about today’, she suggested, more helpfully.

So, here goes… Continue reading