Sunday, September 21, 2008

Beginning week 3 - already!

Well today marks the beginning of week 3! She didn't complete everything on the lists last week which I think is a positive thing - although it stressed her until I said "forget it, it's not important" - and this week I am yet again reducing the number of things on the TO DO list.
This weeks list includes some of the unfinished things from last week because she feels a bit weird about not having done it and there being no pressure to get it done. She didn't want me to include them on this weeks list, she wanted to finish them off on last weeks list but I said they were going to move over to this week and she dealt with it.
  • A visit to the Jewish War Museum
  • watching plant growth and making a graph of it (the plant hasn't started growing yet)
  • learning about child labour
  • thinking of ways to reduce our household pollution
  • a crossword and find a word puzzle
  • sudoku (still popular)
  • writing a story
  • and a project about endangered animals (to be done over 2 weeks)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

no princesses here!

no princesses here!

This is a pic of her dressing up from a month or so ago. She has never, in her entire life, dressed up as a fairy or a princess. Witches, animals, puss in boots only recently (wish I had pics of that!) and just silly outfits that turn her into a character of some variety, like this one!
Thought I might post the burrito recipe that she used last week coz they were very yummy!
3 chook boobies
1 packet of wraps
sr cream
red onion
fresh coriander
It's pretty simple really. Cook boobies with salt and olive oil. Chop everything up and put it in bowls on the table. Place sauce on table (mashed avocado, salsa and sr cream). Heat wraps according to label. Slice chook. Put everything on the table so everyone can make their own burritos!
I have no idea how authentic that is .... infact I suspect it's very comfortable anglo food, but kids love it, and we did too! And it was an easy thing for her to cook on one of her very first attempts at cooking, and certainly her first ever menu planning!
This evening has been fairly relaxed, no dramas. Last night she announced that she wanted to go back to school so she didnt have to put up with me all day long so I was a bit concerned. But I think it's all just normal processing stuff now I've had some time to talk to other people and think about it myself. She is currently watching a show on TV about toilets in Japan - how NORMAL!
The last few days have been a bit shaky because she's starting to fret a little bit over not being at school. I suggested not doing anything, no list, no nothing she isn't keen on doing (except necessary things - I had to stress that!) but she really wants to keep going with the lists for the time being. This weeks list had things like running around the block and playing handball though, so I'm beginning to deschool her even though she doesn't know. I was on JL earlier and I asked other mothers what their experiences of taking kids out of school were like. One womyn said that her son had been the same but that after a term of no school she couldn't have DRAGGED him back there, so that's promising!

I found a homeschool group which looks like a good one and I'm hoping to take her there on Monday, but it depends on when she comes home from her fathers place because she's with him this week end. Stylish is very keen to go to the group and meet other homeschooled kids, and there are apparently other girls her age at this one so that's perfect.

Today we went to the park, and we went and had yummy rolls from the bakery I mentioned the other day, so that was a nice easy stress free day. Now Spikee and Stylish are playing nests in the hallway and I'm trying not to think about the clean bed linen that's being dragged about the house on the carpet we can't vacuum (our vacuum cleaner is pooped).

Monday, September 15, 2008

I rang the board of studies and they're gong to send me the rego forms. The guy I spoke to sounded friendly enough, it usually takes between 2 and 4 weeks to register according to him.
Meanwhile Stylish has continued faffing her way through various activities with enthusiasm. I thought the enthusiasm for it would be waning by now and the unlearning could begin but clearly it's going to take a bit longer. Well that's ok, I figure you can't rush these things if you want to succeed.
She's just gone to play footy at the park with her brother and step father. She's waearing BLACK LEGGINGS. I plan on banning the BLACK LEGGING next week and having happy pants week coz I'm sick of the black! She owns plenty of colourful pants and yet insists on wearing the black ones nearly every day!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Tonight Stylish cooked burritos for dinner. They were really yummy, and I think she was pleased with herself too. She came in about $2 over budget and was all worried about it so I told her that it was ok because next week she'd know a little bit more about what things cost and that will help her select her menu item more easily.
I've made up the list for next week. it includes a jigsaw of dinosaurs, a visit to the Jewish War museum, 2 work sheets (1 with maths, one with grammer) which she's currently enjoying, reading her new BUGS magazine cover to cover, writing a story, bloggng more, and lots of other stuff.
Will be following closely and reporting!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

chocolate and strawberry dessert made in w1 unlearning! (damn fine if I do say so myself!)

unlearnt dessert!

the bugsperiment

bug experiment

silly smiling and our pet bugs! The two big ones are about 9months old, the little green one was hatched at home and is about 3 or 4 months old

bugs and silliness

eggs laid at home by the big spiny leaf insect

stick insect eggs /  5c

Friday, September 12, 2008

Noodles and Possums - all in a days unlearning!

Tonight we went into the city and had dinner at Chinatown, the went possum feeding in the park. We took Stylish's friend with us, and naturally Spikee. We went to chinatown and it was a fantactic atmosphere, I'm assuming it was a Spring welcoming sort of thing but there was nothing to explain it to me aside from the beautiful Springey weather. The streets were packed with food stalls and amazing smells, and musical performers, and street hawkers, but we fought our way through them all to the food court because the food is cheap and the variety is AMAZING! I ordered a blwo of fried vegetable noodles for the girls, it cost $5.50 and was MORE than enough to feed us all, I don't think I've ever seen so many noodles come to think of it! I also got some steamed dumplings, and some salt and chili squid. Spikee ploughed through some squid, which MORE than surprised me, given his usual food aversion antics! He couldn't get enough soy sauce, and I had to stop him from trying the chili because it was SUPER hot - and I like hot - but this was HOT HOT HOT. After that we went to the Emperor Puff shop, stood in the queue and bought 16 of them for $4. Incase you're wondering, an Emperor puff is a pasty filled with custard, and they make them while you watch - quite an extravaganza for us all!

So after that, we went to the park with some brown bananas and waited for the possums to start appearing. The girls ran about feeding them stingy bits of banana (and even trying to give them peel) while Spikee generously offloaded his on the happy wildlife. By the time he'd fed them his, they weren't hungry anymore so we had to go and find more for the girls to feed. It certainly made me smile.

Then we bussed it home!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

"unlearnt" diary of a witch

A Witches Week
On the first day of the week a witch must wake up very early. Because she must make horrible potions for all the little girls and boys in the world. She goes to a special library only for witches and their pets. At the library there are books that eat children and have horrible potions to turn children into little stink bugs and mice. All the witches plot evil plans and put all their thoughts into one big witches hat and jumble them together. Then they put their wands on the borrowing table so they can’t do a spell and pick what ghastly plot they’re given. They line up and each pluck out a plot and look for books about the plot. When they find some gruesome books about their scheme they hop on their broom sticks and all fly home.
One of the witches is Cabbagegoil the meanest witch of them all! The leader of the witches actually. She has a big cat who’s name is Spider because she can change into a big black hairy spider. Cabbagegoil had plucked out a plot saying “ Do LOTS of pranks on little kids in this area. She had found a old book with dust on it at the back of the library called “ 200 gruesome pranks to play on little puny kids of any age up to 10”.
What you are about to read is a true and horrible excerpt from Cabbagegoils’diary from the year 1972
Monday Morning :
In the morning I was woken up from my neighbours rooster so I got up and turned him into a mouse and her cat started chasing it. I chose three dastardly pranks from “ 200 gruesome pranks to play on little puny kids of any age up to 10”.

Itchy powder
2 llamas toenails,
300 powdered nits,
250 ground up fleas,
2ml of pure organic mosquito blood
And 3 emu feathers

Horrible taste paste
50 chili flakes
20 pepper corns
3ml fire belly toad saliva
2 sun dried tomatoes
1 teaspoon wasabi

Bear Bond Love Drink
3 pots raw honey
2 bag termite aroma
Tenderized salmon fillets
5 polar bear hairs
And half a turkey egg

Tuesday : So I must make a trip to Hairy Harry’s potion supplier today

Wednesday : The day for potions to Rise
Taken from “ 200 gruesome pranks to play on little puny kids of any age up to 10”.
The purpose of Itchy Powder is to make children unbearably itchy.
Add to cauldron : llama toenails, powdered nits, ground up fleas and heat over a new fire. Use scissors to cut up the emu feathers into chunks. Stir into mixture. Then after half an hour use a dropper to add the mosquito blood. WARNING : stand well back from cauldron, mosquito blood acts like acid in the potion! Boil until a skin forms on top, then freeze it. Use a mortar and pestle to smash it up into little bits, let it dry in the sun. Gather up the powder and store it in a jar with a thin cloth.
Open the window of the child and sprinkle it under the doona. After the child gets into bed it will take 10 minutes and 36 seconds to start itching.

Horrible Taste Paste :
The purpose of the Horrible Taste Paste is to make everything children eat taste revolting!
Add the chili flakes and peppercorns to a mortar and pestle and grind them up but not to finely. Slice the dried tomatoes into little segments and put them in the cauldron with 1 litre of boiling water and some oil. Wait til it’s sizzling then add wasabi and stir with a wooden spoon. Then add the ground up mixture of chili and peppercorns and very slowly add the toad saliva. The saliva will cause it to set and give it a taste like toothpaste.
Add the paste to tubes of children’s toothpaste.

Bear bond Love Drink :
The purpose of this drink is to make children smell delicious to bears.
Mix the polar bear hair and turkey egg together (including the shell). Cover the salmon with the honey and dice it up into tenths. Stir it all well in the cauldron for two hours, then add the termite aroma VERY FAST, stir again, then add 1 litre of water.
Pour 5mls into of the drink into children’s drink bottles.

Thursday : Woke up at 1am, grabbed Spider and the potions and set off to the village with the evil potions. First I went into the home of some very skinny sisters, two annoying brothers, and one tall boy with red hair, and replaced their toothpaste with Horrible Taste Paste.

Friday : Woke up at 2am and grabbed Spider and three bottles of Bear Bond Love Drink. Then headed off on my broomstick to the west part of the village where there is a big forest full of big grizzlies. There are 4 houses around the forest. I opened the window in the kitchens and poured 5mls of the drink into the children’s drink bottles.
For the rest of the day I made a potion to turn frogs into 2 pairs of binoculars for Spider and I to watch the kids get eaten by the bears when they went out to collect berries for dinner.

Friday evening :Just before the kids bed time I set off on my broomstick for the last time this week. I have the itchy powder under my hat. I stop right near a big tree in someone’s garden. Spider jumps onto the tree with the itchy powder in her hand, she climbs down the tree and on to the kids window seals. With my wand I open the windows so Spider can climb in. Spider jumps in each bed room lifts the blankets up and sprinkles itchy powder on all the kids beds. Then she jumps out of the last window and I hover down pick her up and go home.

Saturday: I go to the library with the big dusty book, put it on the borrowing table and sit at the enormous round table with the other witches and talk about what the week was like and how satisfying it was.
P.S. now you have read this story you will probably know why witches don’t have husbands!

1 week in!

I sent the letter to the principle. Today she phoned me to ask me to attend a mediation with her and the teacher in question, I refused. The teacher tried to deny saying the things in the letter to my daughter .... then I said that they were said IN MY PRESENCE. So clearly if my daughter said that her teacher was saying unreasonable, cruel, damaging things it's up for debate, but since I was the witness it makes debating hard. What a bunch of nastiness!!!
She stated that she thought the bullying had been dealt with. I stated that I didn't feel the same way. She questioned my opinion of the punishment dealt to the girls when they left the school (they left the school one lunch time and went to one of their houses. The mother of the child whose house it was wat there! She gave them fried chicken from a well known multinational company, black fizzy poison, from another similr company, sent them to play in a neighbours back yard [through a hole in the fence of their flats] and then told them to go back to school. They were caught re-entering the school) and I stated that whilst schools feel they have no alternative but to punish, I don't feel that my child deserved punishment because it doesn't get to the rot of the problem and PREVENT further happenings, it merely shames them and humiliates them (they were sent to yr 3 classes for a day - they're in yr 5 - shame shame shame)
The principle claims that she intends to put me in to the Office of the Board Of Studies if I'm not registered for homeschooling shortly. But according to articles here .............
they OBoS is unable to persue it to her satisfaction. I have yet to make a decision about registering. I am leaning towards NON registration as I find their beurocratic shit over controlling and unneccessary. I am persuing a learning enabling lifestyle in our home, so what business is it of theirs????? My child is likely to learn more at home than most of the kids at the school, and that's based on ONE WEEKS WORTH OF HOMELEARNING!
She has soaked up so much about monkeys from a David Attenborough doco, tried an experiment with bugs in the garden, attempted and succeeded at Sudoku of varying levels, started a blog, learnt about South American life (from clothing and animals to food - which she has yet to cook), discussed the purpose of technology in our home, learnt new words AND WAS INTERESTED IN THEM, and the list goes ON AND ON AND ON, and she hasn't even finished the list!
I intend to include more of her interests and desires in the next weeks programme to incorporate more unlearning and schooling in the transition. But I also want to add a few things that might catch her interest unlke the school has managed to. History, art, and reading wise.
Anyways. On to lighter and more upbeat happenings! Stylish is doing well at home! She is following the list of ideas I made up for her to the letter, but she hasn't read the bit about choosing 3 out of 5 activities so she's trying to complete them all. I'm going to wait until the end of the week and then tell her about that because I think that reading instructions is a rather crucial life lesson!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

She arrived home and I showed her the list of activity suggestions I made. She INSTANTLY wanted to start!!! I was surprised by what she chose to start on because she has always been anti-sudoku, but she asnk her teeth into it and did 6 sudoku puzzles! They were 4 square, and 6 square, and she wants to try the 9 square ones too. She's feeling very chuffed with herself. It was lovely to sit with her and help her do them, we had fun. And at one point when I helped her with one box she leant over and gave me a kiss on the cheek, I don't remember the last time she did it out of the blue like that.

She says she likes homeschooling.

Here is a link to the puzzle page :

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The ideas I suggested at Joyous Learning (pls see link in sidebar) are simply IDEAS to make the transition from institutionalised learning, to Unlearning, easier (for me too!). I have volunteered to host a possum feeding, native animal talk in the city in Hyde Park. Participants would simply need to bring some fruit or bread along to interest the possums. Possums especially like peanut butter, but it isn't good for their teeth. However
they are EXTREMELY fond on bananas!


You need to choose 3 out of 5 ideas in each section and complete them before Sunday at 3pm. I will be here to help you with anything you feel is complicated! Do as much as you can each day to make sure it’s all done, OR work out how many activities you need to do each day to complete them all by Sunday.

I also want you to do some free time work on something new and interesting to you!


1. A sudoku puzzle with atleast 6 squares. Most sudoku puzzles have 9 squares. I’m happy to (and I enjoy) help you find one with 6 squares.
2. Some algebra or fractions sums - or a mix of both. I can help you with them! If you’d like a work sheet I can make one, or if you’d prefer to do the sums on a website I can help find one with you. You don’t need to do lots of sums, just enough to make you feel like you know how to do that type of sum.
3. Reading the bus or train timetable wherever we go. And phoning 131 500 prior to any journey we make, so you can ask them when our bus or train will leave and help plan a timetable for the journey.
4. Choose something yummy from a Super Food Ideas Magazine and make it for the family. Your budget is $15
5. Write a list of colours and make a graph counting the cars of that colour as they drive past. The best time to do this is at peak hour in the morning or in the evening. Tell us what you work out from your graph! (I’d be very interested to know!)


1. Go animal/insect/bird watching at the park. Describe the animals you discover, and make a graph to represent how many you find (I will help you) OR use google to find out what sort of animal/ insect/bird it is and some interesting facts about them.

2. Bug watching: You will need a jar and a funnel and a bright light. Place the funnel in the jar and direct a bright light on it. Place some leaf mulch in the funnel and leave it alone for an hour or more. What will you find in the jar? Why do you think you find that? What sort of bugs do you find?

3. Watch a nature documentary on TV. Write down 5 interesting things you learn about animals and make sure to include what country they are from. You can use Google to find that.

4. Discover why volcanoes erupt and explain. Find two interesting volcano eruptions that have happened in history (a REALLY easy thing to do!) and write down when they happened and in what country.

5. Find an experiment that you can do in a book or on the internet and write about it. What did you discover? What did you have to do for the experiment?

Reading and writing :

1. Write a creative writing piece on escaping from a volcano eruption, some pirates, or what a witch would do (in diary form) for one week.

2. Write 6 facts you found interesting in a factual book. Make sure to include where they happened and why you found them interesting (we can make a sheet on the computer to help with this task)

3. Follow your brother around and watch what he does. Write it down for 10 mins. Then read him some stories.

4. Find an interesting article in a newspaper and write 6 sentences about it. Also write why you find it interesting, and what you would do if you were the journalist to find out more about the subject. (I can help you with some ideas!)

5. Find 3 words in the dictionary (under different letters) that you have never heard. Write out their meaning. Think of a sentence that they might be used in OR a job where those words might be useful.

Technology :

1. List the technology in the house. What is the purpose of the technology (for eg. The TV is for entertainment) (there are no wrong or right answers, only ideas!)

2. What are 3 reasons people use computers for? Think about what people did without computers 100yrs ago, were they worse off or better off because they didn’t have computers? (there are no wrong or right answers, only ideas!)

3. Find 10 pieces of technology in the house that don’t use ANY electricity. Explain why not using or NOT using electricity is a good thing.

4. Explain what technology you use every day (any tool is technology, even a hair brush!) and whether you think it is a modern or ancient invention.

5. Think of an invention that you think would help you and your family. What materials would you use to make it? (eg, wood, metal, string, paper, glue, blue tack) Draw a picture of it and make sure to label it carefully!

People and places :
(you must do all of these - but they’re easy)

1. Select a country.

2. Print out a map of it.

3. What are some types of food eaten in this country? Find a recipe for one and lets cook it!!!

4. What do they wear?

5. Find two interesting things that have happened in this country?

(I’ll be as interested in this as you because I know very little about other countries!)

early homecoming lizard queen!

Stylish just phoned me from her dad's place. She's coming home earlier than I thought! It is snowing at her father's house and I suggested a longer stay to allow some natural learning in the snow, and some basic UNschooling in her father's presence. She just phoned me to say she would be home tomorrow (Sunday) instead of Tuesday. I'm excited about seeing her, but I hope she feels the same way. I suspect she is coming home early to fit in with younger her half-brother and step mothers convenience.
I have decided that what I want to do is make a list of 5 ideas and activities for each subject and let her choose 2 or 3 of them to complete before next Sunday. I'd best get onto the list now!
I am well aware that the object of unlearning is to follow natural interests and learn accordingly, but my daughter has been fighting her way through institutionalised boredom .... I mean learning, for nearly 6 years now, so that is a foreign concept to her. I could throw her in at the deep end of natural learning but that would make her feel that she wasn't learning anything (by virtue of the school system creating the "boredom as learning" strategy) .
I have also been so used to the "boredom as learning" strategy that it's a tough thing for me to UNlearn, and trusting the natural learning desires of my bigger baby to cayy her on through life is proving to be worrying in some ways - despite my trust in the process! - maybe it's just such a new concept I need to give it more time anmd become accustomed to it. Infact Idaresay that's exactly the problem.

Friday, September 5, 2008

day three unlearning

Today Stylish seemed a bit concerned that she isn't learning anything. I told her that next week we can do some maths, science, and reading and writing. Plus I intend to create a blog for her so she can document her projects - which I figure is technology and computers. OH, and people and places (or geography as we old schoolers call it) seems to interest her too, and I figure it's worth encouraging.

I don't like the idea of sitting down and giving her sums to do - although if that's what she wants I can do that. I thought I'd take this brief w/e (while she is at her father's house) to write up a few ideas for stuff to do next week so she feels like she's LEARNING. They are as follows :

Maths : (she's very worried about maths because she's never really enjoyed it or been very confident at it as a result). If she wants I can write her some sums, she seems to be interested in algebra, and fractions. I won't press thos issues, I will however offer her some cook books, and tell her that she needs to create dinner for the family using a certain budget of maybe $15 - $20. There are also some maths websites that have been recommended, and if she's interested I'll let her have a look at them. One of the things I was thinking she might like is sudoku, but we can't have too many activities as "must do's", I only want to have some ready so she can sink her teeth into them and feel like she's learning.

Science : she was interested in volcanoes last week, so maybe something volcano related. I must find some websites that have volcano information. I assume she will persue her usual frog, stick insect, and rabbit googling, and happily continue filling up the book she wanted for homeschooling. She is interested in growing some plants, so some seeds might be a useful thing to have on hand - we may already have some come to think of it!

Reading and writing : I think the writing element will be covered neatly (and she'll be happy with it) simply in her frog and rabbit research. But she wanted to do some creative writing aswell. I might ask her if she wants to write a story about escaping from a volcano erruption. Writing is one of her strongest subjects, she has an amazing vocabulary and seems able to soak it up easily, so for that reason I want to encourage it while she is still learning to unlearn.

People and places : She has expressed an interest in Thai food so I might encourage her to try cooking something from Thailand. I might ask her to write 5 interesting facts about Thailand in her book, and find it on a map, print it and glue in in her book. We could also go to a thai restaurant to have dinner one evening. I don't know much about this topic myself, so I might even accidentally leanr something on the way!

and last but not least the blog! Stay tuned for a link to it .......

I'd like to add that the book was her idea not mine. I think it's keeping her firmly grounded in "learning" as taught by institutions. I'm glad she has ideas about what direction she wants her unlearning to go, and using a book to work in is a happy medium I figure.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

a more indepth look at US!

As I type I am breastfeeding my small baby (he's 2 and 2 months) to sleep.
This year has been the year from HELL for us. We began the year with a wonderful camping trip with some dear friends, but 3 weeks after our return home, on January 28th, our son was stillborn. This was literally the day before she was meant to begin yr 5 at school. the school year did not get off to a god beginning.
To add to that my daughter was put in the class of her most hated teacher. I totally concur with her opinion having seen this womyn in action. She is rude, abrupt, and anything BUT what a teacher should be like. She has NO idea what constitutes supportive and nurturing behaviour( as stated in my letter to the principle). Stylish was always a happy child at school until this year, and sadly I have to place the blame squarely at the teacher's doorstep.
Then on the 26th of June, days after our daughter turned 10, we lost her Grandmother to cancer. Anthea (her Grandmother) was the mother of my ex boyfriend, and daughter's father. After separation 9 years ago we remained close friends, very close friends. In July 07 she was diagnosed with the most extensive case of cancer I have EVER heard of. Rather than cite the types of cancer, I will tell you that she had "whole body cancer". It couldn't have happened to a less deserving womyn - although my own mother could also be considered for the title, she died in 03.
her Grandma, in the hospice on Mothers day 08. A beautiful day was had by all! We took a picnic lunch and took her out into the garden to enjoy some sunshine and REAL food. The hospice was a good place interms of recognising the needs of the dying, and we were able to take animals and wild children in to see Anthea without any complications. She loved animals and grandchildren so much!
The reason we've chosen to unlearn is to promote healthy self esteem in our daughter, a sense of self that is able to critique the patriarchy we live in. A young womyn that is able to reject things that do not serve her, and things that seek to hurt her, because she is strong enough to recognise them when they confront her.
So far in her short life, she has rejected the basic social conditioning of dolls and pink SHIT (despite my uneducated beginnings as a parent - phew). she is totally uninterested in fashion and the nasty sexualised popculture we live and breathe. Her interests are in nature. She loves (and owns three) stick insects! We also have pet rabbits, and a cat. At her fathers house she has a dog and two bluetongue lizards. She seems to absorb knowledge about nature so easily that it is a shame we embraced the normalised institution of school for so long. I really hope there is no long term, undoable damage from her time in the institution.
Here are some photos of us unlearning before we planned to unlearn!


a hermit crab that was present on the shoreline near where we were camping over new year 07/08. It just fossicked about in the shallows and was easy to find every morning!


The beginnings of unlearning

Yesterday I finally pulled my daughter out of the school system. It was after much consideration, but little planning. She is set on learning the school way at this stage, and I'm happy to facilitate that while we ween her of the institutionalised mode that has been created over the last 6 years.
There are many things I have yet to reconcile. For example not sitting at a table for 6 hours and starting the day with torturous mathematics lessons seems radical to me, and it's the way most of us learn to think of education. So I have concerns about my daughters maths, and concerns about her willingness to continue to embrace the idea of non-schooling. But I am relatively confident that my concerns will iron themselves out as we ween ourselves from the system.
My baby has always been a really keen researcher. She spends hours on the internet googling stick insects and rabbits and frogs and all manner of things that I would never imagine to be interesting! She'll do just fine.
When I floated the idea of homeschooling to her she was dead set against it. But she has had a tough year this year, with the first bad - and mean STINKING - teacher we've encountered, combined with the worst year in her short life, and there were bound to be problems.
This is the letter I am sending the principle.......
Dear Principle,

Re : ***** ******

I am writing to you to inform you that ***** will no longer be attending PPS.

As you will be aware, she has been having some problems in her home life (the death of a baby brother, her grandmother, and problems with her father and his sporadic contact), and they are causing her to rebel at school.

I have not been happy with the handling of her rebellion. I do not believe that shaming and punishing children - children who are deeply troubled -creates a healthy atmosphere in which to learn.

I have also not been happy with the comments made by a teacher, only last week, that “***** can’t hide behind her problems forever”. I found that quite alarming coming from a teacher who has no doubt encountered many troubled children in their career. Firstly, it is a well known fact that children with troubled lives often act up, and secondly, ***** is not “hiding behind her problems”, she is trying her best to live through what has so far been the worst year of her short life.

I was also perturbed by this teachers remark that “gaols are full of people who give up because life’s too hard”. Discussing gaol with 10 year old children in that context is not only bizarre, but unhelpful, and potentially damaging. This remark was made within 2 months of the death of her baby brother, when her Grandmother had been admitted to a hospice, and her father had not been coming to see her. I do not believe that frightening distressed children is encouraging them to live up to their true potential. In fact I believe it is harming their psyche and damaging them, sometimes irreparably.

I realise that within a school there will always be some bullying, and that schools really do their best to protect children for the most part. However some of the bullying ***** has been subjected to (for example prank phone calls and rude letters with sexual content in our letter box) have caused her to feel quite upset. One of the main reasons for her withdrawal is to protect her from this. When boys all but get away with treating girls badly, and girls are told that “it’s because they like you” it merely serves to further the rampant misogyny in our society, and creates the firm foundations for domestic violence later in life.

On the whole I feel that ***** was doing the very best she could do. She has represented the school numerous times this year despite her personal problems, she has been enjoying the vast majority of work in class, and achieving good results - to my knowledge, according to her half yearly school report. I would like to thank PPS for the many happy memories she will retain from her nearly three years there.

We are in the process of registering ***** for home schooling and she has been attending a local home school group and embracing the natural learning process at home. I feel that much of her love of learning and enthusiasm for self driven discovery has come from her happy times in PPS. I thank PPS for the many skills they have enriched her with, these skills will enable her to happily succeed in a home school environment.

The reason we are withdrawing her is to encourage a healthier self esteem, and stronger sense of desire to succeed in life. We (her father, stepfather, extended family, and myself) firmly believe that without this drastic intervention we run the risk of encountering serious problems in her teenage years, and we are attempting to curb them before they can take hold.

I am including a cheque for $104 which I believe is the outstanding amount we owe - my apologies for our struggles in paying for school costs, I realise this is an inconvenience, and greatly appreciate your understanding of the matter.

I am also including a postage paid satchel so that *****'s belongings can be forwarded to us. I would personally retrieve them only we are going on holiday to rekindle our family relationship before we batten down and immerse ourselves in home learning.

Kindest regards,