5 Things I Miss About The UK

Our stay in St Kitts has been absolutely awesome…but there are still a few little things I’m looking forward to again.

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1. Yes! Food is at the top of my list. And fried chicken too. And chips. Ahhhhhhh #drool. But you know what. I really need to stop eating this kind of thing, so strictly for special occasions. Like first day back. And 2nd day back. That type of thing 😊

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2. I miss a Full English Breakfast. Premier Inn, watch out when the Mayers are back in town! Not only is it tasty, but with there being 9 of us the Kids Eat Free deal suits our pocket too.

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3. Did I mention the internet is slow here? And did I mention we’ve just been upgraded to 70mbps *yay*
Oh, I might as well throw in my mobile data package in this section too. The little tech things that I miss.

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4. A nice hot bath! Showers are awesome, but baths are awesomer! Some bubbles and light reading (note: using electronic devices in the bath is not recommended. I mean, who would do that anyway?)

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5. Driving! I actually haven’t driven at all for nearly 4 months. I miss it. The purr of the engine, the growl as you move through the gears, the wind on the open road, the speeding tickets. Wait a minute. I live in London. The A406. The M25. Maybe catching the rickety busses to Basseterre isn’t so bad after all!

Apologies for the blog delay, normal service resumes next week Monday (or Tuesday. I’ve been unwell plus the time zone thing keeps catching me out)

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Lions & Tigers & Bats!

I shared this with my Facebook friends recently…

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Have you ever been scared out of your wits but had to keep it together because you’re the strong one? That was me last night as a bat flew around my daughter’s room! Thankfully she was half asleep and thought it was a cockroach when she came to tell me, so that’s what I was armed for 😕. The way I backed out of the room like a stealth ninja when I saw it was a bat😲

Now, there’s prayer and there’s prayer!!! Does everyone find that SERIOUS prayers need a strong African or Caribbean accent? 😂😂😂
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But everything ended OK. No dads were harmed and the bat was escorted out of the room safely and quietly with no screaming from me😊

Note: I was too scared to take a picture in case the flash went and scared it again, so it’s just a bat off Google!

Wonky Veg


No, it’s not the name of an alternative pop group, or the result of a mishap with auto-correct, but the result of UK supermarket chain Asda changing the strict rules a bit to allow vegetables that usually go to landfill to end up on someone’s plate instead. And it got me thinking…

There’s a gospel artist who has been working with secular artists for many years, but a recent collaboration seems for many to be a step too far. Now when it comes to these things, we’re often encouraged to “look for the fruit”. But what happens when the fruit (or veg) doesn’t look like we expect?


A nightmare to peel, but perfectly edible.

It could be a bit bruised, damaged, or shaped strangely. Where I am in St Kitts, you get green bananas that are ripe! How many of us are bruised, damaged or shaped strangely?

So should we toss perfectly edible food away because it doesn’t quite fit the strict rules? In the same way, are we quick to write someone off because they don’t fit our own strict rules? Perhaps they’re a bit too short, or too tall? Maybe too fat, or too skinny, too dark, or not dark enough? The list goes on and on.

Thank God we haven’t ended up in a landfill somewhere! He sees us as something beautiful rather than something ugly. Something useful rather than useless. All across the globe He’s taking people as wonky veg and transforming them into brand new creations. God loves you!

2 Corinthians 5:17–Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

What Tech Am I Using?

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For this extended holiday I wanted to travel light and be disconnected yet have access to everything. Since I lost a lot of data on a faulty hard drive a few years ago, I’m now a huge fan of cloud storage. The last few months I’ve been shifting data from Dropbox…music to Google Music, photos to Google Photos, files to Google Drive (can you tell I’m a Google fan?)

I used to pay extra for the Premier Dropbox experience and still use it for its powerful folder sharing capabilities, but Google pretty much has everything covered.

Device wise I went for my personal power combo of the HTC One M9, Asus Zenwatch and Apple iPad. No laptop or desktop device apart from a really old laptop I managed to install Lubuntu on before it stopped working.

And I’ve been able to work, create, communicate and consume! Aside from a dodgy iPad screen which has now been replaced I’ve actually been able to do everything I need to.

Which gives me a bit of a dilemma when I get back to the UK. Which device to get next? The list is endless but I’m leaning towards an Apple device.

So over to my readers, what do you recommend?

5 Things We’d Change If We Started Homeschooling Again

[BONUS POST] While our journey of home educating our children has been a great experience, there are a few things we would change. Here are 5 of them.

  
Your teacher knows everything, your teacher knows everything…

  1. De-schooling. When you’ve been involved in a cult for any length of time, you need de-programming so you can begin to make sense of things again. (Now whether you think the school system is a cult or not is up to you 😜). We didn’t really take any time out, other than the summer break to really do nothing, and have a good rest before figuring out how to move forward as parents, and what to do with the children. Our initial efforts were a bit too “school-like” for our family, but by God’s grace we have found a good balance now.
  2. Take more advantage of the flexibility. We have done things here and there but this extended 4 month holiday is a great example of things it’s almost impossible while your children are in school. We intend to do more!
  3. Spend more time grounding us all in the love of God. As we’ve matured as Christians, we’ve realised that behaviour based on rules and punishment can only go so far, where as a home based on the love of God, and love for one another brings a totally different dynamic. We now intentionally make a home a place of honesty and reconciliation, but it would’ve been awesome to have go this sooner.
  4. Spend more time working on character than academics. This flows out of point 3, but basically when you have a right heart towards schoolwork and know your parents’ hearts, things go much easier.
  5. Be a little bit more organised. We’re not too bad, but sometimes we don’t remember where we got some online material from if we’ve printed it out, or downloaded a pdf [content creators, please make it easy to go back and find your stuff!]. I’m the tech guy so I’ll figure this part out…which leads nicely to my next post about tech. This one is just the final final conclusion to the series you can find here: Part 1, Part 2Part 3 and Part 4

Until next time

Phil

Why Do We Homeschool? [Q&A Part 4]

So here we are at the end of this series on “Why Do We Homeschool?” and this one answers some of the BIG QUESTIONS as well as some that didn’t seem to fit elsewhere.

  

How much involvement do outside bodies (local council/government/etc) need to have? Do you have inspections or have to report to anyone?

In the UK, every borough has differing levels of involvement and attitudes towards homeschooling. It very much depends on which government is in power at the time and whether they are pro or anti home education. Outside bodies don’t NEED to have any involvement but there are often calls to change this as there have been some awful cases of neglect reported in recent years. They are the result of poor parenting rather than choice to home school and so we are still free to educate our children as we see fit without inspections or reports, at least for now. A majority of questions were surrounding this hot topic!

What if your kid wants to learn something that is outside your sphere of knowledge? How do you teach subjects that you don’t know/aren’t good at/never studied yourself? How does it work when they are older and when teaching gets more complex or challenging? How will you teach your teenagers their GCSE’s in all those subjects so that they can excel? In secondary school they have specialist teachers for each subject. How do you train yourself to be a specialist in each subject? At what point do you acknowledge your limitations (unless of course you are one of those people who are good at every subject) and get a personal tutor at home to teach them or at what point, if any, would you send them to secondary school? Do they still take exams or another form of assessment?

LM: Good questions! Every homeschool parent and child has to work these ones out. Of course we cannot provide a fully comprehensive all round scope of education by ourselves, so we’ve tentatively said, as long as employers can see that they can read and write, we’ll help them all to get maths and english GCSE, and maybe a science one as their core subjects.
It’s totally possible to teach GCSEs from home, particularly if you covered the subject as a child yourself. There is no shortage of material such as free resources, past papers, and study guides. It just takes some swotting up in a subject before you teach as a parent. Sometimes a few of us homeschoolers club together to give our children small group tuition. 

Where they’re interested in something out of your depth you pray for God to provide opportunities/experiences/tuition and normally He does. PM: Our job is to make sure our children are educated, not that we do 100% of the tuition ourselves. LM: When I panic and think #ohmygoshamifailingmychildren I remember that Jesus never took one GCSE but completely changed the world, He never did drama class or extra courses in psychology or political science but had to completely rely on His Father for what He needed. Will they still reach their full potential? I still believe so, just not taking the usual route and timescale you’d expect. PM: The typical route of GSCE, A-Levels,Degree = “High Paying Job For Life”is a myth. There are often other routes to achieve your end goals, so investigate them! Consider how much of your education you use on a day to day basis
LM: Also, taking less subjects means their time can be more tailored to what the children actually enjoy and have an inclination towards. At the moment mine are hard at work studying Snapchat, Instagram and ooVoo! Keeping in touch with their friends is all-important right now while we’re 3000 miles away.

For children/parents who feel they must finish school with 9-11 GCSE’s they can always be enrolled in Secondary school from around year 9-10. I think that’s the most common option. We’re hoping our eldest will go to the local college that now accepts 15 year olds to take a few important GCSEs. Also looking at apprenticeships and work experience this year as no-one is really sure what they want to excel in yet.

Sorry for the ramble, but I hope this makes some sense.

    
What happens when they get to Uni age? Or can you homeschool to degree level? What are the older kids thinking about university? What would they like to study?

LM: You can home educate to whatever level you like if you love your subject and can make the time. In the UK the legal obligation is from 5-16 so we have one more year to go with our oldest…just 6 more to go, by the grace of God!

PM: One would like to study painting and drawing and acting, one doesn’t know if they want to go to university, but might do an apprenticeship or something as they are aware that isn’t the only route to success, and one has no idea at all!

Thanks for waiting a bit longer for this weeks post. And thanks again for asking such great questions and reading until the end of the series. For easy access, here are the links for Part 1, Part 2Part 3 and the bonus blog, Part 5

The next few posts will probably be on the challenges of technology 😐.

As always please share and ask any more questions in the comments.

Until next week

Phil


If You’re Reading This, It Posted!

Now this is where I’m supposed to unveil the final installment of the “Why Do We Homeschool” series with a flourish of red cape like a Caribbean Matador [insert pic of matador here] Ole!!

Instead, if I’m lucky, you can have pic of a local goat.

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Because today, the Internet is being stubborn. Like a goat
🐐.

Hopefully it returns to running on  full steam tomorrow. As soon as it does, I’ll post the last bit.

In the meantime, why not follow me on Instagram, where there are no goat pictures!

See you soon
Phil