Monday, 12 September 2011

Motherfunker's Guide to... Home Ed must-haves for under £10 - Part 1

You may or may not know this, but if you home educate your kiddlets in the uk, you have to foot the cost entirely out of your own pocket, as well as paying tax towards the school system - so you get to pay for  their education twice. And since in most home educating households there's generally only one parent bringing home the bacon, things can get a little tight.

So I thought I'd share some gems with you - really great resources for £10 and under, things so simple, timeless, and so fan-bloody-tastic, I want to do a little dance when I think of how good they are. Things that are homeschool gold.

To begin, I want to tell you about our family's love affair with Michael Morpugo's stories. We have owned a growing collection of his works that have been sitting on the boys' bookshelves over the years and since we have hundreds of books here in the Cleary household they kind of sat there amongst them waiting to be discovered. Mingled in with Dahl, Dick King-Smith, Terry Jones and all kinds of other bargain treasures. I'd pick up a carrier bag of fantastic children's novels for a £5 at a car boot, or in a library sale, and they must have seemed like good stories, waiting on a shelf for when the boys were old enough. Slowly our collection has grown, and we have now discovered the best Morpugo bargain of the century!

These audiobook collections are way underpriced in my opinion, given how bloody good they are. Who wouldn't want to hear Sir Ian McKellan reading you a thumping good story? Or Tim Piggot-Smith? Or Jenny Agutter? Or Morpugo himself? They read with such expression, intonation, and understanding that make the stories a real delight for my seriously dyslexic oldest boy Finn, who may have missed the full meaning if he phonetically struggled through them on his own. He (and all of us) listens to these tales enraptured, not wanting to miss a single sentence, right till the end of the discs. ( Some stories are over three discs so we have to quickly change disc to continue the story) There is an emotional and timeless quality to each story that makes you feel genuinely drawn in, and I have to say that Pete and I have gotten a little teary-eyed at the end of some stories.

This collection is only £8.32 on Amazon, and deservedly gets 5*'s

This is £8.58 on amazon - 5*'s as well

£8.51 on amazon.... 5*'s again!!!

Morpugo explains that stories can help children to understand historical events, saying 

"Sometimes what fiction can do, what stories can do, is that they can make you feel historical things, real things, much more than a plain history book can, because you get to know, and you get to love the characters at the centre of it and you care what happens to them in the circumstances in which they find themselves".

I couldn't agree more. I also think that if you like the storyteller, if you trust them somehow, this helps too. In these audiobooks, both the author, and the narrator make you feel so at ease, as if your good friend were telling it to you. And that's why this is magic.

If you are lucky enough to see his work at the theatre, you'll be spellbound for sure. We saw Private Peaceful and it was simple, harrowing, yet humanly and warmly told. I am dying to see War Horse, but this may have to wait till our purse can cope with the damage!!!

Check out Michael Morpugo's website, for all sorts of news and info about his work.

Well there you have it. Three great little multi-disk treasures. All for under a £10. 

Which Morpugo stories do you love? I'd love to hear your favourites.

Bye for now amigos!


  1. My youngest daughter is aHUGE fan of his books and since his article recently in the Guardian we have started a book list which contains a 100 books to read as a child. The intro of the list was written by him and it was lovely, I especially liked the part about how there were "no walls" in his house but books! I hope my children feel like that too. I will be looking at these on Amazon as all of my children love audio books, in particular my youngest. Looking forward to part 2! :-)

  2. Ooh hello there Mrs Barras! Glad to have a fellow Morpugo-mad friend. Will check out that Guardian list, sounds very interesting x