Thursday, March 01, 2007

New Approach to Home Ed/Specsavers Rant!

Have decided to try an entirely new approach to our home ed, in conjunction with the notebooking I posted about earlier. More about that in a mo.

Emily's had a good week so far with lots of tap practice (exam looming again) and a hilarity filled Tuesday evening practising for the play they're doing at yoga. Today we went to the opticians at Asda where a lovely guy gave Emily probably the most thorough eye examination she's ever had and was generally excellent with her. She chose some new very glam purple frames, and has now come off six monthly recalls and only needs to go back once a year. And not one person asked her "shouldn't you be in school today?"

Emily did have an appointment at Specsavers for a little while ago, but I finally gave up in disgust with them, and we didn't keep the appointment. I'll be writing to them to complain about their behaviour re home ed. Every single time I've made an appointment with them over the years, they've insisted on trying to make it for "after school", despite having known all this time that Emily's home educated. This latest phone call absolutely infuriated me - the woman I spoke to treated me like some kind of ASBO holding parent because I'd dared to say I wanted a morning appointment and that school hours weren't relevant to us due to home ed. She repeatedly told me it was their policy to only see children after 4pm so as not to interfere with their education (rofl). I told her that it's in Emily's records that she doesn't attend school, and besides which every other appointment we've had has always been in the morning. She stuck to her guns. Eventually, she told me she'd have to ring me back after speaking to someone to see if I was allowed to bring Emily in the morning!!! "Allowed"??????? What the hell? So it's up to Specsavers to deem when I'm "allowed" to take my daughter to a medical appointment?? Even if she were in school, it's still none of their damn business if I had chosen to choose to take her during school hours. Sheesh.

Plus we've always met with hostility there whenever someone (and there was always one) asked her the shouldn't-you-be-in-school thing - I think I posted here once about how one woman there even told me she didn't think home education should be legal if the child was an only child.

Anyway, I digress with that little rant. Specsavers have had it. Asda's opticians were brilliant, I was very impressed. And when I phoned to make the appointment, the lady on the phone just asked me what sort of time I'd like to come, and didn't make any comment or quibble whatsoever at my request for a morning. There is hope.

Despite our obviously irresponsible parenting (rolls eyes) Emily's had a good week education-wise too. She's started a maths notebook with a times table square on the first page, all beautifully decorated and illustrated with crafty bits. The author of this book kindly sent me some complimentary copies, so we may have a go at that soon (although I'm starting to think that with times tables it'd be easier just to get Emily to look it up on her chart each time she needs it....I'm sure it will eventually sink in, as these things do seem to do given time).

Emily's also discovered a love of Microsoft Powerpoint this week and has spent hours making pretty slideshows about cats and werewolves (don't ask) complete with sounds, video and all sorts of special effects. We've also spent quite a lot of time studying citizenship, Harry Potter style :-)) This was prompted by my stumbling upon this rather nice set of citizenship lesson plans from CBBC Newsround, each based on a news story. Among them is one debating the pros and cons of the hype surrounding Harry Potter books and films, which was interesting, if a bit contrived.

From there, 'twas but a short leap of google search to find this fab (if you're Emily's Mum) Teaching Citizenship via Harry Potter site. Emily and I discussed racism in HP (pure bloods vs muggle borns, treatment of house elves and werewolves etc) and drew paralells with Nazism. Emiy also designed a very effective poster for a Werewolf Protection Society, complete with some attention grabbing points, a logo and a heartfelt plea for action :-) That was with ideas from the diversity section; we'll definitely come back and look at the other sections; that was a lot of fun.

Now then, this new approach to home ed. Have decided we're going to try and combine the notebooking thing, which is working well, with a classical home ed style, using Story of the World and History Odyssey among other things, along the Well Trained Mind style. This is completely new for us and may well not suit us, but at the moment it sounds as though it will, and I've always been wanting more structure than we have. I've also got a few new things for geography and science coming. Will sell off most of the stuff we currently have, I think. And we're going to stick to a one day a week per subject timetable, with half an hour each of maths and English each day, plus one of history, geography, science and art, plus the other day to cover a rotating selection of things like citizenship, RE and so on. This must be about the dozenth time I've posted about a new start/new style in the last two and a half years, but we're really excited about this one, so you never know, this could be The One that finally works for us. We shall see!

In more personal news, I won a new commission from a very glossy, upmarket magazine on Tuesday evening. It's a one off piece at the moment, but the editor seems to like me (ha - only 'cos he's never met me in real life) so it may well lead to more. Jon had his first go at platform mediumship at psychic circle on Monday and was apparently very impressive :-)) Oh, and joy of joys, our online banking screen today reports that they've bounced the VAT cheque. Despite it only being £37 over the overdraft limit, and despite there necessarily being a hell of a lot more than £37 due in within the next 24 hours and despite their absolutely, definitely, certainly *being fully aware* of that. Bas**rds. We await with interest what HM Customs and Excise are going to make of what they will now, presumably, count as a late payment. Sigh.

And this has been an awfully long post with no pictures to break it up a bit! *Must use camera more often.*


Elle at Ellesfuntimes said...

May be no photos, but some great links - thanks. Hope your new education system works well, sounds good to me. Elle

Deb said...

The optician we go to is a family-owned business, but were part of Specsavers for a while, and we never had any problems with getting appointments during "school hours" - and the optician has always been really positive about home-education. I wonder if your experience is due to the shop's own policy, or if it's a change nationally? Either way, it's very stupid of them to behave like that.

We deliberately book all our appointments - dental, etc - during school hours, and even avoid school holidays.