Thoughts on Saturday - Katie Pybus, McCann and Shiner
Mum home schools her kids - by letting them play computer games 7 hours a day
Katie Pybus insists her three children.......who have never learnt the alphabet.....
Amongst all the doom and gloom of Trump and Brexit this was a headline on social media that caught my eye. Apparently a mother home schooled her children by letting them play video games all day. My first thought on looking at the picture underneath the headline was that they looked happy enough and secondly, I bet they can read.
I delved a little further.
Yes, she does allow them to play games for as long as they like with the only rule that they must turn everything off at 8pm. She also stated that they had taught themselves to read and do maths as they need these skills to play the games.
I discovered that she blogged daily about her family and has done for six years. Her blog had pictures of the children climbing, go karting, they went swimming and cooked. They met other children regularly and they went to the library. They played football too.
I wondered how they fit all that into a day with unlimited games. One gets up at 5am so they can play, another prefers to have a lie in and get up about 10am. They looked and sounded like a pretty normal family albeit honest about the hours that their children play computer games.
I remembered reading many years ago about 'free schools". Children were allowed to attend when they wanted and once there to do only what they wanted to do. There are a few of these schools left and one of the oldest is Summerhill. They are now called "democratic schools".
Democratic schools work on the basis that every child and adult has a vote and the only rules are those imposed by true democratic process. Before a rule is set they discuss the alternatives and vote. Each vote is worth the same, regardless of age. There are more children than adults so they have the final say. Each child has total freedom to decide what they want to learn and no-one challenges their choices. At Summerhill this includes access to computers.
The age groups are mixed and so the little ones learn from the older children. They learn to read and to perform complex actions and reasoning as they are involved in everything.
Unfortunately there hasn't been a lot of research into this method of teaching but it is recognised as a valid method by Ofsted.
I have no experience of home education, when my children were small it wasn't something I even knew was an option. In main stream schools children are tested constantly, SATs and PISA to name two, and the results are always worse than last year, last week, last time.
The effort that children make is devalued and the methods are criticised. Each year children receive their exam results and they are told that their exams are easier now than ever before.
No wonder parents are educating their children at home and maybe some methods are a little unorthodox, but like most things in life, it has been done before.
Some schools are making children stressed and unhappy. Jo from Ojo's World describes how the system has affected her children.
Katies home schooled children looked happy and contrary to the way the headlines suggested, they were not just plonked in front of a screen all day. Their mother spent time with them. She played the games, cooked with them, answered their questions, read to them and with them. I think her only mistake was to go on TV.
As my blogging friend Kelly wrote so well. If you can't say anything nice, then say nothing at all.
Hidden amongst the headlines was a report that Kate and Gerry McCann had lost their libel case in Portugal. They had appealed to the Portuguese Supreme Court against a previous decision, that a book written by a former detective, Gonzalo Amaral was not libellous.
The Supreme Court threw out the case. Gonzalo Amaral was one of the original detectives on the case when Madeleine McCann first disappeared. He is said to have written that the parents were responsible for Madeleines death and subsequent cover up of her body.
If the book isn't libellous then surely what is written must be true. The reports do not give enough information to make this assumption though as maybe it was thrown out on a technicality. Maybe the Supreme court never over rule these types of cases. I do not know but it has left me wondering.
When I heard that Madeleine was missing, nearly ten years ago, my first thought was what sort of parents leave their children alone in a strange place. I still can't understand why they didn't have a baby sitter or take the children with them. It seems strange to go on holiday then leave your most precious possessions alone.
We are lucky that in this country people are innocent until proven guilty. I hope that one day the truth comes out and that Madeleines abductor or murderer is found.
Then maybe her parents can grieve for their daughter.
Phil Shiner was a human rights lawyer. This week the BBC reported that he was struck off but not before he destroyed the lives of British soldiers who had fought in Iraq. He lied.
He said that British Troops were torturing Iraqi detainees. He said that civilian Iraqis were murdered when they actually died in an exchange of gun fire. He paid people to find witnesses to give evidence.
He is a disgrace to this country, he also put the safety of our troops and the country at risk.
I have no idea what his motivation was but I hope he spends a very long, unhappy time in prison.