Late last year, as part of reverting to a single wage, we decided to lay a treasured family member to rest: we cancelled our Foxtel subscription.

We’d become a TV family– come home, watch TV, eat dinner, watch TV, go to bed. Given that we live in a town that other people come to for their holidays, and we have two intelligent active kids who just cry out for constant action, slipping into that kind of a lifestyle was a crime we were committing against ourselves, and we made the decision to stop and change our lifestyle around.

Currently, due to a lack of reception and the cost of the necessary cables, we have no TV reception at all. No Biggest Survivor Loser Brother. No X-Singer Star Dance on Ice. No Mastercook a Garden Decorate Building.

Yeah. Not missing it much.

When news broke earlier this week that the skeleton discovered under a Leicester carpark was, as had been hoped, indeed that of Richard III, we broke out our copy of the Kings and Queens DVD and watched the Richard III episode with the kids, explaining where the information presented by Nigel Spivey was now obsolete, and generally using it to generate a discussion with them. Then we settled around the kitchen table, and drew a picture of what we’d learned, discovered, and been fascinated with from this rediscovered monarch’s story.

And this is what we drew:

Connor, 8: George, Duke of Clarence, was drowned in red wine by King Edward IV. The King is watching from his throne and he has lots of heads he wants to cut off so he can stay King.

Erin, 11: I chose Princes in the tower because I was quite horrified that their Uncle, King Richard III, would lock them in the tower of London and then when the time came (if he knew) didn’t reveal the secret to their disappearence! I mean, he was their UNCLE!! My picture shows the two Princes, right to the throne, locked away in the Tower of London with no doors or escapes, thorns growing over the Tower, the crown in the bushes when the King died, a cage over the windows and behind the curtains, what could have been the Princes’ death.

Lee: I seem to have come over all symbolic: Richard’s battered skull, the young Princes in its vacant eye sockets, wearing the crown while biting down on the red dragon of Henry Tudor, with the white Rose of York behind, framed by the stone wall of the white Tower. There’s such an interconnectedness in Richard’s story, such a crux of history being portrayed– if he had won at Bosworth, what would have happened to Britain? To its religions, its wars? 

Lyn: I’m a bit of a Plantagenet fan and have always been fascinated by the War of the Roses. The Princes in the Tower is such a sad mystery and I love reading or watching anything that extrapolates on what happened to them. These little boys were the innocent victims of a war not of their making.


  1. Kinda funny how living in such a nice city we can still get conned into a TV-watching and internet-clicking stupor (though on a 42 degree weekend one can see the attraction). We've been trying to get the kids into some structured reading and writing time – I like the drawing idea though, we'll have to explore it.


  2. Hi Ben,

    We've been wanting to get the kids into structured reading and writing time for a while, and putting a bullet into the Foxtel was the best thing we could have done. We're leaving subject matter fairly open, waiting for something to leap out of the news and excite us, but it's a great way to engage the kids in learning about the wider world: they've asked that we do it again, and I think once the kids ask to repeat something educational, half the battle is already won. Best of luck with your own explorations!


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