Well okay then Today it works In which…

Well, okay then! Today it works! In which case, I may well go ahead and do what I said I would do right at the inception of this blog, which is to post small updates regularly. Microblogging, even! (Who needs Twitter?!)

My life is currently consisting of trying to keep up with housework (not my forte), and essentially procrastinating the rest of the time. If I can get myself together, I will do some NanoPrep next, before I have to go and pick up my kids from college.

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I said I wouldn’t be posting every day…

I said I wouldn’t be posting every day, but I did just want to try out this interface on the front page of the blog again to see if it works today. So, testing, testing 123!

Writing Again?

Hello, I just thought I would write a quick update to say that, since my circumstances have changed again for the better, I plan to restart blogging and writing generally. I am also planning to write for NaNoWriMo as well though, so don’t expect daily posts or anything!

As you can see, I have updated the theme to something streamlined, which I thought would tidy everything up (since I made the mistake of importing all my other blogs here, and then changed my mind because all the new pages messed it all up. I can fix it, but it would take a lot of work).

However, the super streamlined interface on this theme does not appear to be working. If anybody has knowledge of this, please let me know – is it something I’m doing wrong, or is the theme outdated?

So I’m currently using the original WP Admin interface, which I prefer, but I see that WordPress are advertising a new, new editor (is it a brand new one, or are they trying to push the new one they brought out a few years ago? I hate that one). If the new editor is good, please let me know! And let me know if I can try it and change my mind, since it appears that is my thing. Changing my mind.

Am I mad to have so many different blogs? Can I possibly maintain them? I don’t know.

Let me know if there are any topics you would like me to address.

LLAP – Kathryn x

Not Lazy, Crazy or Stupid

This is the first post I have managed to organise this year.

I have started 17 separate blogs and websites just on WordPress, and I haven’t posted on any of them for months. I thought amalgamating them all here would help but I think it might possibly have made it all worse.

It isn’t due to my life being horrendously empty and boring. It’s quite busy but in fact this is the problem – I have an irresistible impulse to create and start things, but I get overwhelmed really easily and end up doing nothing at all instead.

It’s the same reason why I buy and keep multiple diaries and planners but end up not writing anything in any of them. I can’t even promise I won’t buy any additional ones.

But after a lifetime of believing that I was just a little bit rubbish at everything, “lazy, crazy and stupid”, I finally got confirmation from two counselor/ therapists that in fact I have ADHD. My GP agreed, but she cannot make an official diagnosis.

Sadly, I was told by the same people that “there is no NHS pathway in Cornwall for adults with ADHD” (and the same would appear to be true for Asperger’s, since my eldest has been struggling for over a year now to get the official NHS rubber stamp on that diagnosis.)

What this means in practice is that we have no access to meds unless and until we are in a position financially to pursue a private diagnosis. Well I guess we will just have to start saving our pennies.

In the meantime, it’s a case of muddling along in the mess, physical, mental and emotional, repeating to myself daily, hourly, “I’m not lazy, crazy or stupid, I have ADHD.”

My Halloween Facebook “Coming out” as an ex-fundy, #exvangelical

I had not planned to “come out” like this but I think it is time.

I grew up in a very strict evangelical version of Christianity, and later I spent 15 years in a form of Messianic Judaism which was very much in the same vein.

In some ways fundamentalism is still my ‘comfort zone’, and I have certainly retained some aspects of those beliefs (hopefully the good parts) but I have been on a journey away from that type of thinking for many years.

I am no longer fundamentalist.

I am no longer evangelical.

I am not totally sure I am even still Christian.

I have moved from a 1 to between 3 and 6 in the Dawkins scale. I don’t usually mind or care what other people believe, providing they don’t push it on to others.

If you can be cool with my movement away from what you believe, then I’m happy to remain friends. But if you feel prompted to warn me that I’m going to hell or anything akin to that, let’s do ourselves a favour and part company.

PTSD

It’s a never ending nightmare
A long dark tunnel
A permanent panic attack
Pain in my chest
Never feeling safe
Down the rabbit hole
Into unreality
I’m reaching out
Trying to slow my fall
Wondering what is real
Hoping I will wake up
Holding in my rage
But discovering
I turned it in on myself

Responsible Homeschooling

I had an unsettling conversation this week with a young woman, a survivor of fundamentalist evangelical religion, who was homeschooled in the US, against her will, in such a way as to severely hamper her life chances due both to the paucity of the education, and the fact that – as anti-government fundamentalists – her parents had failed to obtain any documentation for her, including even birth certificate or social security number.

The discussion thread where this exchange took place was eventually shut down as it turned a little bit nasty, with all the homeschool parents defending their decision and defending homeschooling generally as superior to public (state) schooling, and all the damaged homeschool children shouting that the parents had no right to comment on the children’s stories.

I’ll admit that it did bring out the defensive in me. I remember, years ago, fighting battles to protect the rights of home educating parents in the UK against a government that was claiming it needed extra powers due to the risk of home education being used as a cover for abuse generally or child marriage specifically.

We won that last round of the battle, by showing that firstly the government and local authorities already have perfectly sufficient powers to act to protect children, and secondly that the allegation of home education being used to cover up child marriage was nonsense, since that particular abuse was being visited upon schooled children who were simply being taken abroad during the summer holidays.

Here is the thing though. I have no doubt that children are being abused under the cover of home education by religious fundamentalists in the UK even though the law is sufficient to prevent physical abuse, and here is why.

The kind of abuse that is most likely is neither viewed as abuse nor legally defined as abuse. The abuse is forcing children to be schooled in a way to which they do not consent.

Legally, children do not need to consent to education, either at home or at school. I’m sure that it’s clear that many if not most children who go to state school do not consent to it, and many would choose not to if they had a choice. But they do not have a choice.

School does not suit every child, and it is crucially important to have a legal alternative to school. Equally, home education does not suit every child and it is vitally important that parents do not force children to stay at home if they want to go to school.

I absolutely support responsible home education (although defining what constitutes ‘responsible’ warrants further discussion, as the option for unschooling or education which does not need to traditional qualifications needs to be taken into consideration), and I absolutely do not support any kind of home education which employs coercion or keeps children at home against their will.

It is important that we take these stories of homeschooled children seriously, and that we taken them on board when considering what kind, if any, regulation should be in place, whilst at the same time being aware that most parents protect the best interests of their children, and government regulation is often a very blunt instrument that can do more harm than good.

What is the best way to ensure children are safe? It is a continuing discussion. But I suspect that encouraging integration is helpful. One of the allegations made against us was that our children were “hidden”, but again we showed the claim to be false – we are out and about and in the world far more than schooled children.

One of the homeschooling mothers in the discussion mentioned that the state of Ohio has an open policy which enables homeschooled children to access all kinds of classes and resources through the schools. Sadly, the way things are set up in this country means that unless a child is registered at a school (and therefore under the school’s authority), we cannot access anything at all, despite the fact that we pay our taxes to fund schools in exactly the same way as other parents do.

Flexi-schooling is a rarely available compromise which requires the parents to register their children at school, but which allows them leave to attend part-time or intermittently. Sadly it is rare because it is not a right in law, but is up to the discretion of the head of the individual school. Some parents, additionally, are reluctant to register their children since it effectively means giving up authority.

Ultimately, it seems to me that the biggest problem lies in government viewing parents as the enemy (and obviously fundamentalist parents view the government as the enemy). It would be far more helpful if we were able to work together to make resources available for the benefit of all children – both those who thrive at school, and those who do not.