Having managed to not post anything here since Easter except rants about the local authority, I’ve finally found half an hour to breathe and to recap. All I need to do now is to remember what we’ve actually been doing…..
As ever, there has been lots and lots and lots and lots of Blue, Monday to Friday virtually without fail. For the last two weeks, he’s been in his “holiday field”, as the riding school is running scarily short of hay and has put as many horses as practical into grassy fields elsewhere as a temporary measure. Last week was torrentially wet, of course, but this week has been mostly dry and Blue is loving his break. We’ve been to see him lots, and Emily rode him from there yesterday, but mostly she hasn’t ridden, just fussed him. He has clean feathers for the first time in yonks now he’s out of the mud 🙂 Although they did both have great fun in the rain earlier in April, cantering through the mini lake that always appears in the manege during heavy rain. The pictures of him with Jon and me are in “paranormal alley”, which runs past his holiday field, and is so named because it’s a very, very spooky and isolated track which is usually empty of everyone else, and down which Emily and I have heard voices and whistles and seen figures :-//
Last week we went to Chatsworth for a fabulous day out. It was bucketing down with rain, which made the drive rather treacherous and the motorway terrifying, but we had such a great time when we got there. I’ve got photos of that to go in a separate post.
Emily’s been busy making detailed notes in each of her Harry Potter books; this time round, she’s fascinated by the actual writing, plot devices and the technicalities of it all – when she read them all the first time round, aged 7/8, she was obsessed with the story itself, but now she’s also reading various books analysing the themes and critiquing the literary techniques. She’s also been going through cupboards, attics and long forgotten storage corners, unearthing all the merchandise she had first time round. The book in the photo is actually an old vet school book; earlier this week she decided to cover it to make it look like the potions book in Half Blood Prince – excellent job she did of it too!
Easter was lovely, and now seems like half a lifetime away. We did our traditional Easter Egg hunt in the garden, and Emily found twelve tiny plastic eggs, each of which had inside a mini chocolate and a clue. The clues then led to twelve little gifts – nothing much, but including chocolate (of course), and several CDs she had been wanting. She also baked an Easter cake, of course, and we had a big family dinner.
With Gramps, Emily’s programming adventures continue. She now has a pretty good working knowledge of CSS, and they’ve moved on Java. This week’s “homework” is to create a jigsaw program. Way over my head, but they’re making tremendous progress!
Emily has studied a huge amount of law and politics in the last fortnight, sparked by my complaint to Lincs CC about their home ed policies. I have a sneaky suspicion that she now knows a great deal more about education law and administrative law than anyone in the bloody council does, not to mention having an instinctive understanding of the ethics of local politics. Or should that be: the lack of ethics in local politics?
Aside from law and politics, there’s been a fair bit of English, plenty of psychology and some early 20th century political history. Lots of science too, notably on radioactivity – something I completely failed to get to grips with in my oh, so wonderful school education; I’m very impressed with her grasp of half lives and isotopes and….things.
On a professional note, the final proofs for Moon Surfing have been approved by me, so now I’m just waiting for the publishers to finish the cover and set the publication date. I do have three or four other proposals to work on, but have been rather sidetracked this last fortnight with the council nonsense.
Jon’s discovering that the Little Britain “computer says no” sketch is firmly rooted in the reality of Ashby’s TSB bank – he has taken over as Treasurer for the church, but they are putting obstacle after obstacle in the way when he tries to sort out the change of signatories. The various forms and letters have this morning been sent back by the bank’s head office for the fourth time – every time, they find something new that should have been countersigned by the existing president, or some new letter which is required. That would be all very well if it weren’t for the fact that the current president/outgoing treasurer is in her 90s, very ill, very confused and has been in hospital for over a month. It’s shocking that Jon has to keep going back and hassling her to sign things that she doesn’t understand; the bank are showing no compassion or understanding of the circumstances whatsoever. Meanwhile, the church is now without insurance of any kind, as the insurance policies have lapsed and he cannot get at the bank accounts in order to pay, or to take the policies elsewhere. The insurance companies are also refusing to be human and will not allow a period of grace while he tries to sort out this mess. It’s infuriating, alarming and actually rather shocking.
In terms of the Lincs County Council complaint: I am still waiting for a response to my response, as it were, from Debbie Barnes, Director of Children’s Services. If she doesn’t get her act in order and reply by early next week, I’ll just go over her head and straight to the Chief Exec in any case. I have half a dozen freedom of information requests in, trying to get to the bottom of why the policy was changed and when; what safeguards are in place to guard against the very obvious conflict of interests in Mr Breckon being Asst Director of Children’s Services AND director of this useless, incompetent CfBT charity. Other FOI requests cover what exact training council staff have received on home education law, since the statutory government guidelines state that they should have received this training; and other things I now forget. I’m also still waiting for even an acknowledgment of my letter to Underwood-Frost, my county councillor. I’m shocked but not surprised that he can’t even bother to acknowledge it. I really didn’t expect any actual assistance or support, but the lack of courtesy bothers me.
As far as we’re concerned, the best thing that could happen is that, come Autumn, they issue a school attendance order for Emily. We will refuse to comply, which will get it sent to the magistrate’s court. At that point, we would also refuse to provide evidence to the magistrate’s court either, on the basis that the issue had been wrongly ordered [edit: should be the order wrongly issued….], and at that point we could apply for a judicial review – which, as I understand it, would be funded, since it would be a public interest case. It remains to be seen whether Lincs CC really are stupid enough to push it that far. One thing I do know for certain: it won’t be us who blinks first.