Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Where is my life going in 2014?

I was one of the Transition Town Summer Competition winners back in September (read my entry here) and over the last few months what I wrote for that competition has got me thinking about what direction I am going in with my life.  I have found as my children have become older (as they seem to do scarily quickly) that my needs as their mother and home-education facilitator have changed dramatically.  I still drive them to home-ed gatherings, meetings and organise them seeing their friends and occasionally we even spend a day at home just the three of us, but they are very self-reliant and so I have more free time.

When the decision was taken by my husband and I to start the home-educating journey I was aware that as the primary carer (with my husband working full-time) I wanted to keep my brain active so that when the time came I could find some fulfilling activities to fill my time once my children didn't need me any more.  This started in the form of formal education via the Open University (OU) where I embarked on some Mathematics qualifications when my ds was 6 months.  Since then I have passed the following courses to work towards a Diploma in Higher Education getting a 1st class Certification in Mathematics along the way:

Course code and titleYearGrade
MT121 - Using Mathematics20021st
MS221 - Exploring Mathematics20021st
MT262 - Putting computer systems to work20031st
M225 - Object-oriented programming with Java20062.1
ME624 Teaching mathematical thinking at Key Stage 320092.1
DB123 You and your money: personal finance in context 2010Pass (ungraded)
U101 Design thinking: creativity for the 21st century2012Pass (ungraded)
T307 Innovation: Designing for a sustainable future20132.1
MT264 Designing applications with Visual Basic2014expected 1st

I thought doing this sort of qualification would be helpful and it has in some ways.  For example I passed a PTTLS course at my local college (York College) in 2012 so that I am now happy to market myself as a Maths Tutor as I have my Certificate in Maths as well as a teaching qualification.  However over time I have become increasingly annoyed and frustrated with the way that educational establishments and especially the OU treats its students.  I was aiming for a degree with the OU, however after some issues with discrepancies between the marks that you get for continual assessment versus the marks you get for examinable work, I am of the opinion that I would be better served finishing with a 1st class Diploma and continuing my education via the various free websites out there like:
Khan academy
Future Learn
EdX - (got this recommended by a friend who also says that Alison is not good at all!!)
Alison to name just a few.  Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are becoming more and more common as is hacking your own education.  Dale Stephens did a TED talk here about this very subject and obviously it is dear to my heart as a home-ed mother but also as a person who used to love academia and now is rather disillusioned with it.  I will be investigating this type of learning over the coming year and may do some posts about my findings.

So here I am at the start of 2014 having not really managed to get too much of what I set out to do at the beginning of the year (see here) but looking back at that blog post has made me realise that one of the resolutions I didn't really articulate but which I made to myself was that I would try and get more involved in my local community as part of my overall well-being.  I have managed to do that and I am now an active member of:
TIM in York - acknowledging the incredible things already done in York and making sure more incredible things are achieved - come and join in the community hub here if you want to know more.
York in Transition (YiT) - come and join us at the Sustainable York event at the Residents First weekend - read more here
York Environment Forum (YEF) where I do administration work for the group
York Timebank - where I help with admin with the database, website and communications
as well as regularly attending the Carr Connectors coffee morning at my local church which I am hoping to get more involved in with the children.

So you can see why some of my other NYRs went a bit awry although I reckon I did do over 10 crafty things although some of those were from scratch.  For example I made 5 pairs of gloves!!!  I also read over half the books I was supposed to but then got side-tracked by the course I was doing with the OU.

I am going to list the books I want to read this year and add a reminder to my phone every month to get my back on track with the list.  I am also going to do this with the craft activities too although this should be a lot easier as the house gets more zoned, de-cluttered and generally sorted (I am hoping to do a separate post on the zoning of the house as it is going really well).

I am still working towards a healthy BMI via martial arts classes with the family and regular Ceroc and climbing activities all three of which I really enjoy so attending doesn't even seem a chore.

Anyway basically my life is going well and I feel very positive about 2014 and looking back at the year I have achieved way more than I thought I was going to.  2014 looks set to be just as exciting!!!!

Happy New Year everyone


  1. So what books do you want to read this year? Perhaps we could add them to the Albion Avenue Book and Bottle Group list (or are they Maths books?)

    1. I have decided I quite like autobiographies having just finished Gordon Ramsay's Humble Pie and now starting on Russell Brand's My Booky Wook. The rest where factual and mostly about exercise although I supposed there is nothing that says you cannot do non-fiction for a book club!!! See - - for the list