Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Doesn't it make you wonder where your money goes

Last week I bought three new pairs of boots. They were all size 4, so didn't fit me. But they do fit our three flap-footing replicants, who stride down the street with great smiles springing on their faces; their feet no longer bound in bandages and the wet pavement not leaking up their legs.

I bounce those smiles right back. Even though they are replicants, my heart flips from seeing Shark, Squirrel and Tiger happy and well shod.

That pleasure was only compounded yesterday when we visited a local charity shop. Within a twinkling of an eye and £14 I had equipped each offspring with a beautiful autumn weatherproof coat; two pink and one blue.

Squirrel leapt on a candy pink and purple duffle style coat like it might run off if she didn't instantly pounce and glue it to her body. Tiger found a perfect pale pink coat which replaces one that the mother unit stupidly lost months ago, and for which I have yet to be forgiven. Shark chose a seablue coat. I'm not telling her that actually that is a ladies coat size 10 and Shark, it is wrapping round your tummy like a perfect cocoon. I said that the colour is fantastic, I would wear it myself if blue suited me, but on you it looks perfect. And then I rolled back the sleeves up her arms.

Boots and coats apart, I have yet some way to go in restocking the autumn wardrobe; not only are their enormously sprouting feet extending over all pavements, their legs are growing in all directions and their tummies are rounding, stocking up puppy fat for the body changes that are to come next.

But if only it were about growth and fashion. Do not replicants need to be kept warm and dry and protected against all the cruel winds and rains of winter? I thought that was so, and maybe some people call wrapping up these mini people just good parenting. Or maybe some folks will nod that's another sure sign of my mental illness.

Underneath all this shopshopshopping is the real hard fact that shoeing and clothing these growing human types costs money. And they wear their own choice of clothes everyday, due to mamma not having the steel plate fixed in my eye which would let me clamp them into uniform.

I take the cost of daily clothing on the chin. It's another small consequence of the conviction about home education: I guess it would be cheaper to invest in nine interchangeable, non-distinguishable, stain-proof, rust-proof, crease-free, fold-free, non-iron grey school skirts. Round here, that plastic uniform would be pennies by comparison to a daily choice of pink coats and purple dresses.

But if only home education stopped there! I won't stray into the costs of Amazon, craft materials, maths and science resources, lessons, annual passes, entry fees, train tickets, petrol. Believe me, there isn't much room left to buy those much needed boots for me.

Maybe the point of this roundabout post is that home education costs me in many small and big and ordinary ways, and not just in the cut to my salary.

And it's not going to get any easier. If, thanks to the Badman recommendations and new restrictions upon us all, then I would expect a lot more private companies, database service providers and publishers to leap in there. I'd expect those companies to offer inter-agency services; packages for local government; materials for home educators. I'd expect market growth for home software, educational products, study texts, monitoring solutions. Something for everyone.

Home education will then be a business opportunity, much in the same way that has happened from the national curriculum at school: how many publishing companies now produce thousands of Help your child at home with SATs books? How many do you own? Home education, if it were tied down, would be a wide open new market.

Will Nektus benefit from this? I don't know, and we're yet to find out.

But I'd better warn those companies who'll target me directly that with all their goods and services, they're competing for my limited purse. I reserve the right to ignore all of you. And I may choose to go out with Shark, Squirrel and Tiger, and buy new boots.


Gentoo said...

I can't even remember how I found your blog, but it is compelling reading.

I saw your comments about software for home educating and wondered if you were aware of the free as in "Free" and "FOC" software community projects that provide a rich source of learning material.

starting points include


then of course there's all the bog standard stuff such as

KOffice, Openoffice,

see also digiKam and amaroK

see more on


The only catch, though many would say that it is an advantage, is that you have to be prepared to use GNU/Linux, though that's FOC too and would successfully run on computers that are practically given away as they do not support the latest versions of for-money software.

Although there appear to be thousands of versions of GNU/Linux ("distros") www.distrowatch.com, once you've made a few user decisions, e.g., "KDE or Gnome?" they are essentially all the same to use, run the same software but are slightly different to administer.

I like the everything and the kitchen sink distro: openSUSE and use KDE www.kde.org. A well promoted version called Ubuntu only comes with Gnome but you can also get Kubuntu.

I could go on but probably have already

kellyi said...