A Musical Heritage

The Cure, The Style Council, Billy Bragg, David Bowie, Caravan, Queen, Lou Reed, The Maytals, Paul Weller, The Specials, John Lennon, Mick Jagger, Iggy Pop, Miles Davis, Stevie Wonder…and so, so, so many more, are my current antidote to that shockingly painful gangnam (sp?) song that the Koreans fired over and that my binlids have been taken with.

Yes,  children, should have access to popular culture, but when it is that bad it sets you to thinking about a proper musical education. And so ours has begun in earnest.

And because the one extraordinarily positive thing this small grey island has going for it, is its sheer amount of incredible musicians, in Blighty our musical heritage is prodigious. I am extremely proud of that.


Being the youngest of four, I was spoilt in my melodic choice, my siblings introduced me to a wealth of musical genius and it’s foundation shaped my diverse joy¬†in music, I want to pass that on to my children.

This wealth can also educate us, as parents and keep us grounded, consider Bowie’s Kooks:

“…And if you ever have to go to school,
Remember how they messed up
this old fool.
Don’t pick fights with the bullies
or the cads
Cause I’m not much cop at punching other peoples dads.
And if the homework brings you down
Then we’ll throw it on the fire
And take the car downtown..”

All of this will provide them with a firm musical legacy, that they can bounce off.

My only problem is when to stop…

Home Ed Hell II

Since September home-education has been where I’m at. But honestly I have found it infuriating and hard-work.

Motivating my five-year old twins, Fealte & Rosebud, to sit down and listen to moi – resulted in a myriad of hours lost to sulking, shouting, storming off and stress!
When I first went along to my local Home-Ed group I was shocked by the amount of mothers who informed me, when I asked how they actually home-educated, that they really didn’t do that much.
With an air of foolish superiority, I thought them lazy, envisaging myself doing daily classes of English, maths, nature, foreign languages – maybe even a spot of science? Where my twins, enthralled by my knowledgeable voice and gentle nuturing teaching, would quickly understand and lap up letters, numbers, reading and the like.
Hmmmm, yet here I am several months later and I find myself doing less and less, as every forced lesson is fraught with anger and frustration on both sides. Uber-mum/teacher I am not, was I ever? I thought so for one brief donut moment. And yet now I understand why all those home-ed mums did so little, because it’s like banging your head against a brick wall and unless you are supremely patient it is a hard task to take on…
Pea.s, for all those uber-mums who are home-educating can I please recommend ABC Reading Eggs – bloody genius ozzies.

Home Ed Hell

Since returning from France our five year old twins have been waiting for the local council to find them a place at primary school.

So far, four weeks into the school year, they have as yet found nothing and I have been forced to home educate them. A position I am not relishing and find time-consuming and terrifying!
A trip to the local Home Ed group led us to a motley crew of yogurt weavers breast-feeding their toddlers. Chaos reigned during the ensuing three hours as children of all ages from babies to teenagers, and their mothers and fathers, raced around eating sandwiches, making lavender bags or plastic rockets, playing football, reading stories, gossiping and generally connecting with each other amidst the mayhem. I found myself graduating towards the obvious home ed virgins, who, like me, appeared bemused and bewildered.
After canvasing several mothers, the general consensus amongst the hard-core home educators revealed that most didn’t heap much importance on sitting down and trying to teach their offspring. A revelation that shocked me. They seemed to think their kids would learn through osmosis, and at the same time citing that many European schools don’t begin schooling until six or seven years old. Yet having recently returned from France, where the legal age for school education is six, I knew that despite the six-year-old start most every 2.5-3 year old child in the country went to Ecole Maternelle, similar to pre-school and aimed at teaching children children the basic structure of a school day, which included numbers, letters, cooking, reading and all the other myriad of classes a child must learn. I wondered is it the same in Sweden and Northern Europe?
At the end of the home ed meet-up I finally spoke to someone who did teach her kids and who introduced me to ABC Reading Eggs, an Australian company which has created an incredible online learning site which teaches children of all ages to read and recognise letters, words and phonics – it is undisputedly brilliant – and the twins adore it.
My mother-in-law has contacted our local MP in a bid to help us get the children into school – I shall keep you posted on the update.