Thursday, January 31, 2008

Father and son at school presentation

This is where we were this evening. Hugo needs to decide which subjects to do for GCSE (‘O’ levels to those older UK readers who don’t know what the new acronyms stand for). Robin was struggling to stay awake.

Having just been through the whole process of university application with Flo I now belatedly realise that not all GCSE and ‘A’ level subjects are considered to be equal in the eyes of certain universities, but there was precious little information about that, this evening. I think many parents would assume that law might be a useful subject if you wanted to study law at university, or that design technology might be a useful subject if you wanted to study architecture or that graphics might be of use for a graphic designer, but in all of these instances they’d be pretty much wrong*.

It seems to me that highly academic children in the state-school system don’t necessarily get the kind of useful advice that their private-school counterparts receive. But then the state schools have such a complicated job trying to provide a good education for children of wildly different levels of ability and from a huge variety of family backgrounds. So I really do feel for the teachers. It’s just I worry that very bright children with not so bright parents are not being served very well, and helps to explain the disproportionately high number of private school educated students at Oxbridge.

* Most top universities consider law ‘A’ level to be so unrelated to law at degree level that they would far rather a student did any other academic ‘A’ level. Cambridge University school of architecture advise against choosing a ‘design’
‘A’ level and would much rather a student did Fine Art. I have looked at the graphics technology syllabus and find it neither good life-time education about the basic principles of design, nor good training. It seems to simply be poor quality training – showing students how to use the wrong kind of software to produce unrealistic design projects.

Brushpen in small sketchbook

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Hugo watching Torchwood

Pen in sketchbook

Monday, January 28, 2008

Change of masthead

That autumn masthead was getting past its sell-by date so time for a new one.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Eating cheerios

Another bad week for illness. One after the other we went down with the winter vomiting virus.
Luckily the sky is blue – I’ve seen snowdrops and a few stray daffodils and so I’m going to look forward to having winter behind us and spring around the corner.

Pen in sketchbook

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Tom in shorts

Pen in sketchbook

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Hugo profile

Sepia pen in sketchbook

Cake decorating

My dear step mother-in-law, Tess, produced a range of wonderful birthday cakes for the three older children year on year when they were little. She has now retired from decorating cakes, so I was very grateful to find this website which enabled me to simply design a topping for Xavier’s birthday cake and to also design some cupcake toppings with Xavier in his Buzz Lightyear suit. They’re nothing like as wonderful as the three dimensional creations Tess made, but nonetheless I think a pretty good solution for someone who doesn’t even own a icing piping set.
Oh, and the boys in fezes? They were my wonderful party entertainers who are available for hire for children’s parties in the St Albans area.

Maths homework

I enjoy the days Flo has free periods at home. We both work at our desks and join each other for lunch. We’ve decided that these lunch-times are a good opportunity to cook together and for me to teach her simple, cheap recipes for university.
Pencil in sketchbook

Monday, January 07, 2008

Five years

Unbelievable to think that five years have gone by. I stayed up late last night to print and trim these party invitations. Xavier was thrilled to have such a personalised invitation and was very excited about taking them into school and giving them to all his classmates.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Xavier watching Scooby-Doo

It was good to do a bit of sketching after a too-long break. I am at last beginning to feel a bit more human and can just about manage a quick sketch. I’m so lucky to have such a wonderful family, but I’m looking forward to having a bit of time on my own when they all go back to school/work.
Pen in sketchbook

Sitting on piled up cushions

After piling up the cushions, Xavier asked me to draw him sitting on them. My little prince couldn’t feel any of his toys underneath the bottom cushion.
Pen in sketchbook