Last Friday the UK voted to exit the EU and it also saw the last day of my children being educated in the state secondary education system. I'm surprised with these two events colliding that the world has not spun off it's axis, but contrary to what doomsayers have predicted neither event has caused the end of the world, just a bit of volatility in the markets which seems to have stabilized.
I'm now a homeschooler, but I like to think I've always been a homeschooler. Learning starts for a child the first moment you look each other in the eye, but much as remainers in the EU referendum seem to have a preconceived idea of a leave voter, much can be said about the preconception of what a parent is that takes their child out of the state system of education. No, I have no religious convictions or nether am I a hippy.
This has not been done in a moment of fury. Two months ago I gave notice that when our oldest finished his GCSE's I would remove the other two from the school and our other child that had been enrolled with them in September without my knowledge until receiving a letter from the council, would not be attending the school. I had what I have found out is the customary letter from the school questioning your decision, whether I'm acting in the children's best interest and telling you that the children's needs they feel is best served in the state education system. For me enforcing the wearing of school blazers, when the old uniform was perfectly okay was the last straw of many straws before it. All secondary schools in my area are in Academies now and all enforce the wearing of blazers, so much for Academies giving more choice. I had to make choice, I'm not going to be forced to dress my children in something that I think has no proven bearing on the standard of education a child achieves.
I'm happy with the Junior school my children attend, so from now on our children will be in the state system until around 11 years old and then home for an education catered to discovering what makes them tick. I don't believe in teaching a child what to think, but how to think.
A little while ago I was lucky to be contacted by Beth, who's family has Albey from our last litter of pups. She has two lovely young adult children, who both have been home-schooled and meeting them really made me more sure in the decision I have made. On Monday (our sort of first day officially home schooling) Florrie had her first lesson, when for the first time ever emptying the ash tray from the fire. Coming in covered in a thin white dust, spluttering, she learnt that it is a good idea to check the way the wind is blowing before emptying the tray. A valuable lesson in life. There are a lot of things in life before doing, it pays to know which way the wind is blowing.
I'm going to finish on passages from a gem of a book I have just found and started reading 'The Shepherd's Life. A tale of the Lake District', by James Rebanks. It is from the start of the book and is James Rebanks reminiscing about being at school and not only for me does it demonstrate how our education has been and still is a one shoe fit all system, but also goes some way to explaining the condescending way we have seen a lot of remain voters in our recent EU referendum reacting to leave voters. I had a similar schooling to James Rebanks and I was bright, considered university material (when going to university was a big thing for someone from a state secondary modern school) and they could not for the life of them understand why I was not interested, as they called it, 'bettering myself'.
'On another occasion,I argued with dumbfounded headmaster that school was really a prison and 'an infringement of my human rights.' He looked at me strangely, and said, 'But what would you do at home?' As if it was an impossible question to answer. 'I'd work on the farm,' I answered, equally amazed that he couldn't see how simple this was. He shrugged his shoulders hopelessly, told me to stop being ridiculous and go away. When people got into serious trouble, he sent them home. So I thought about putting a brick through his window, but I didn't dare.
So in the assembly of 1987, I was daydreaming through the windows into the rain, wondering what the men on the farm were doing, and what I should have been doing, when I realized this assembly was about the Lake District, where my grandfather and father farmed. So I switched on. After a few minutes of listening, I realized this bloody teacher woman thought we were too stupid and unimaginative to 'do anything with our lives'. She was taunting us to rise above ourselves. We were too dumb too want to leave this area with its dirty dead-end jobs and its narrow-minded provincial ways. There was nothing here for us, we should open our eyes and see it. In her eyes, to want to leave school and go and work with sheep was to be more or less an idiot.
The idea that we, our fathers and mothers, might be proud, hard-working and intelligent people doing something worthwhile, or even admirable, seemed to be beyond her. For a woman who saw success as being demonstrated through education, ambition, adventure and conspicuous professional achievement, we must have seemed a poor example. I don't think anyone ever mentioned 'university' in this school; no one wanted to go anyway - people that went away ceased to belong; they changed and could never really come back, we knew that in our bones. Schooling was a 'way out', but we didn't want it, and we'd made out choice. Later I would understand that modern industrial communities are obsessed with the importance of 'going somewhere' and 'doing something'. The implication is an idea I have come to hate, that staying local and doing physical work dosesn't count for much.
I listened, getting more and more aggravated, as I realized that curiously she knew, and claimed to love, our land. But she talked about it, and thought of it, in terms that were completely alien to my family and me. She loved a 'wild' landscape, full of mountains, lakes, leisure and adventure, lightly peopled with folk I had never met. The Lake District in her monologue was the playground for an itinerant band of climbers, poets, walkers and daydreamers ... people whom, unlike our parents, or us, had 'really done something'. Occasionally she would utter a name in a reverential tone and look in vain for us to respond with interest. One of the names was 'Alfred Wainwright', another was 'Chris Bonington'; and she kept going on and on about someone called 'Wordsworth'.
I'd never heard of any of them. I don't think anyone in that hall, who wasn't a teacher had.' Taken from the book 'The Shepherd's Life. A tale of the Lake District', by James Rebanks.
Nearly forgot the buns
The three F's of Dairy farming, Feet, Fertility and Fucked up immune systems. Dairy cows in my time milking them for 29 years have over doubled in their production and this is even more amazing when you see that the average number of lactations per cow has reduced by around half in that time as well. So cows are producing over double the amount of milk on average in half the time and this has been achieved in a wink of an eye in evolutionary terms. This though has come at a very high cost to cows with many herds having lameness problems in over half their cows. Locomotion tests in Dairy herds are regularly recording over 70% of cows lame in herds. Lameness in the Dairy Industry is a welfare issue worldwide Association between milk yield and serial locomotion score
Fertility also has suffered in cows being the main reason for culling of dairy cattle. There are many studies on Dairy cattle fertility, but logically looking at the rise in production in cows in such a short time along with high levels of inbreeding, lameness is it a surprise most Dairy cows fertility is shot by their fourth lactation.
With all the inbreeding (genetic selection) to strive for higher yields Dairy cows suffer with more and more immunological disorders. The impact of genetic selection for increased milk yield
As you can imagine higher yields have also seen a drop in milk quality with around an average drop of 25% in butter fats and protein in milk. Many farmers have been convinced to survive by consecutive governments, Agricultural Ministers (That have never worked a day in their life on a farm) to become bigger and bigger, that is the answer and find themselves stuck on a treadmill like a bunch of old Red Queens. We see more and more 1000 plus cow herds kept indoors all year round being milked by teams of low paid workers to drive down costing per liter produced, a global spot price of around 11p a liter, with average production costing around 35p a liter in the UK and we are among one of the most efficient milk producing countries in the world, as consumers we must start asking more questions about our food production and is ever cheaper production of food worth the above. It's not like we are starving in the West. I'm sure many of us could pay more and just eat less.
A lovely update came in today for Barney who is Albey's litter sibling.
A couple days ago Heather sent me new of Ernest and Lily's litter sibling, Albey.
Thanks Heather. Glad to here that Albey's first walk went so well.
Just so you can see, I'm never alone when blogging.
Barney left us last weekend from Treacle's litter and a couple days ago Viv and Jan let me no that all was okay after their vet checked him over.
"The ruler depends on the state, and the state depends on its people. Oppressing the people to make them serve the ruler is like someone cutting off his own flesh to feed his stomach. The stomach is filled but the body is injured: the ruler is wealthy but the state is destroyed." - Emperor Taizong
Austerity is oppression. Stop cutting the flesh of the people.
I think I may of just reduced my client base by about 48.1% EU Referendum Results
“The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you,but he will make a fool of himself, too.”
― Samuel Butler
Me (Jane) with Bumble and Blottie, waiting patiently to be unleashed, November 2018
Hello, I am Jane!