Life and style

‘School is very oppressive’: why home-schooling is on the rise | Education

Every morning Ben Mumford starts his school day with maths. At the age of 10 he is already working at GCSE level, but he doesn’t always bother to get out of his pyjamas in time for the class. He reads more books than most of his friends, studies science on the beach, and recently built a go-kart in a technology lesson. Ben is happy and fulfilled. All, his mother Claire Mumford believes, thanks to home-schooling. “It’s not that I’m anti-establishment,”…

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Revise, reuse, recycle: how to be a sustainable student | Education

As university doors opened in September for a new year, an estimated 6 million people across the world took to the streets in a historic week of climate action. The power of this youth-led uprising reflected the urgency for action on the environment. So what now? For freshers starting a new chapter at university, deciding how to live your life is vital. Here are some ideas for how you can be sustainable as a student. Eating What you put on…

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Out of control: is too much work the real cause of burnout? | Life and style

Carolyn King reached a crossroads moment in her life, ironically, while negotiating a roundabout on the way to work. She hated her job, but had always been able to push through the Sunday night dread to turn up on time. Yet on this particular Monday morning, almost two years ago, King couldn’t exit the roundabout. “It was like I was possessed, my body was telling me not to go to work,” she says. “Instead, I turned around and drove to…

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Sir Lionel Cust and Elizabeth I’s kirtle | Brief letters | Education

You report that Eleri Lynn recently discovered that the Bacton altar cloth was once a piece of clothing of Elizabeth I (Fine fabric is lost piece of Elizabeth I’s dress, say experts, 28 September). However, in 1918 Sir Lionel Cust, a former director of the National Portrait Gallery, published an article on the altar cloth in the Burlington Magazine saying “it is quite reasonable to suggest that the embroidery given by Mistress Parry to Bacton Church is a piece of…

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Six ways to stay healthy when you’re stressed | Life and style

Human beings are not built to endure prolonged periods of stress. If you want to see an extreme example of what it can do to a person, observe prime ministers as they enter and exit Downing Street. Before, fresh-faced, they simper for the cameras. Afterwards, they are gaunt, grey and lined. It is like watching an accelerated version of ageing, and a reminder of how stress corrodes the human body. We live in stressful times, though. More people are scratching…

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Should pets ever be kept in classrooms? | Education

Watching duck eggs hatch in a classroom was a “wow” experience that brought the topic to life, says Sarah Holmes, teacher in Derby High School’s primary department. “It was a fantastic opportunity for the children to learn about the life cycle, see the ducklings grow and learn to swim. They also learned to take responsibility for looking after them.” Classrooms across the UK house a wide range of school pets: hamsters, fish, guinea pigs and even tortoises. But though they…

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I was fined for taking my child to Jamaica, but I’m one of the lucky ones | Kehinde Andrews | Opinion

When it came to power in 1997, Labour picked up and ran with the Tories’ individualistic reforms to the school system. Along with school choice, league tables and academies, in came parental responsibility for absences. So I was disappointed, but not surprised, to be given a fixed penalty notice of £60 per parent as a result of taking our six-year-old out of school for two weeks during term time to visit Jamaica. The fact that my son will have the…

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Danielle Steel is a prolific writer, but is that to be envied? | Oliver Burkeman | Money

The novelist Danielle Steel has written 179 books, releasing them at the rate of seven a year – and for all I know, she’ll have released a few more in the days between my writing this column and you reading it. But how? In an interview this month with Glamour magazine, Steel revealed the productivity trick that is central to her success: she works all the time. No, I mean, all the time: for at least 20 hours a day,…

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Let me into your home: artist Lauren McCarthy on becoming Alexa for a day | Art and design

In a gallery in downtown Manhattan, people are huddling around four laptops, taking turns to control the apartments of 14 complete strangers. They watch via live video feeds, and respond whenever the residents ask “Someone” to help them. They switch the lights on and off, boil the kettle, put some music on – whatever they can do to oblige. The project, called Someone, is the latest in a series exploring our ever more complicated relationship with technology. It’s by the…

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Michael Gove’s legacy and his No 10 destiny | Brief letters | Education

Last week we witnessed one of the saddest responses from a primary school child (aged seven) that we’ve ever heard. The class was involved in a philosophy for children session when they were asked: “What is a feeling?” A hand shot up and immediately came the answer: “It’s an abstract noun!” All around nodded in agreement. Gove’s legacy?David NattrassKings Meaburn, Cumbria • Visitors to Mulhouse (Letters, 27 May) should not miss the Musée du Papier Peint (Wallpaper History Museum) in…

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What’s it like to live with a chef? | Food

James Petrie and Úna Palliser James “Jocky” Petrie, group executive development chef for the Gordon Ramsay Group, lives with his wife, musician Úna Palliser, near St Albans. They have two daughters: one four-year-old and one a few months old. Petrie has appeared on MasterChef, Heston’s Fantastical Food and Hell’s Kitchen. Úna has worked with Shakira, the Killers, Moby and Gnarls Barkley. How did you meet?James: It was a classic blind date. Úna: You’d recently had your heart broken. I’d come…

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