Sunday, 2 December 2012

just a few of the things we've been up to :)

Rhea watching

young entrepreneur

a bit of paid gardening work


nice house

gotta climb

changing rooms

playing Skylanders

room done :)

Butterfly World!


observing leaf cutter ants on the move



Hissing Cockroaches

Sun Beetle


lots of legs

rope bridge

stick insect

pumpkin sculpure

Jamies Halloween picture

Invested at Beavers!!!

making shortbread


fun with porridge

craziness(Alex in the background)

the trio

mmmm...nice   :/

Alex's Cherry Bomb



dressing up for Nativity play

spinning Alex

in the woods

Saturday, 1 December 2012

I'm back, from out of space!!


I'm still alive and kicking, kicking quite well I might add!  I have been feeling pretty good, in fact, I haven't felt this good for a LONG time.

The reason I haven't blogged in a while is because I swapped the kids bedrooms over - Jamies and Alex's, which I knew was going to be a nighmare for Alex, everything that made him feel safe - ie his room - was gone and he was given a strange new room, his anxieties all came back, he was almost as bad as he was before I had to take him out of school, the evenings were a complete nightmare, he thought monsters were going to smash through his walls and get him, he kept dreaming about zombies and was fighting sleep every night, it'd be after midnight and he's still be throwing himself around everywhere getting crazier and crazier. We eventually succumbed to something I didn't really agree with - Melatonin. Alex was all for it, he obviously knew he needed to sleep but just couldn't stop being scared and that caused the hyperactivity. He actually asks to have it now!  And it has completely saved me and my partners sanity! because Aspergers causes a lot of anxiety, anxiety means that natural melatonin just doesn't happen, it's like sleeping when you know the enemy is near, it just doesn't happen! So the Melatonin really helps.

Alex is still not quite back to normal, but he's not mentioned monsters coming to get him in his new room for a few weeks, we did watch 'Brave' the other day and he got all scared about a bear coming to get him, but thankfully, that didn't last very long :) He's in between obsessions at the moment, which for an Aspie is quite a tricky time, he's not really got that regular thing that he needs to keep him feeling that everythings OK, but he's doing pretty well considering and it's opened him up to new things, it's like he's seeking the right kind of stimulus, I have no idea what it's going to be, he flits from one thing to the next so quickly I can't keep up with him! He's started playing chess on the laptop, at first he was just sticking his pieces all over the shop and hoping for the best. He didn't quite get it at first but his dad (thankfully one of us knows how to play it!) showed him some tips and explained how to win, and then I had to intervene because his dad was just telling him where to put the pieces. I explained that Alex will give up using his own brain if he's just told what to do, so more explanations were given to explain why what goes where, and then I managed to get his dad to just let him mess around and see what happens, because to me, and by watching the way Alex experiments with everything, that is how learning happens, by making mistakes and seeing what happens, seeing consequences and I've noticed with Alex that he'll do things all sorts of ways, he will not stick to the rules, he wont do what you're supposed to do, he'll spin it and throw it and make it go wrong, he has no fear of losing, and through that, he learns so much more.
So he's learning to play chess, which I'm quite chuffed about.

Jamie is STILL deschooling! well, she's probably nearly ready to start learning stuff again by the fact that she keeps being bored, although, she did admit to me that because it's her birthday in just over a week, and Christmas in 3 weeks or so, she's SOOOO excited, she's having a birthday party, we're hiring a little hall out which I've not done before but it'll only be a mess around party, but she's so excited about all these things that all these NORMAL days are so BORING and nothing exciting EVER HAPPENS, so mabye thats why....
But she has been deschooling. After she came out of school she was so enthusiastic about learning, she did quite a bit, work sheets and reading and writing, she didn't really give herself a break from 'school'. Then about a month ago, she decided that she wasn't going to do ANYTHING but watch tv and bum around. Considering the amount of pressure she was under at school to be smart and stay on top, I'm not surprised she wants to give the whole thing a massive break. So she's been watching Spongebob, and Adventure Time and films and she's been really enjoying it! She's really coming out of herself and being her usual wacky self in public now, which has been a bit strange, but I can see now that she's allowing herself to just let go, which is really amazing because thats when she'll find out more about who she is, she has no need to be the best, no need to push herself to do things she doesn't really care about, she can just do whatever she wants in her own time with no pressure.
Saying that, I'm giving her until the new year, using this time while she's deschooling to cram as much work on the house as I possibly can, I'm absolutely determined to get the things done that I want done by the new year, so that by January, We can focus on FUN. Fun for all of us. And I'm really looking forward to it.

Amelia is coming on in leaps and bounds, she can now say practically everything she wants to tell us, (she tells me about all these things that her scaring her, I'm not sure if she's extra sensitive than the others were, or she's just better at telling me....) I am worried about the habits she's picking from Alex, he's teaching her to be rude and fight, I'm not very happy about that, I'm having to make sure they don't spend too much time on their own together, as she's a very sensible little girl, she'll work it out as long as I'm there to show her that certain behaviours just aren't acceptable.
She is so funny, she has such a brilliant sense of humor, and she's as bright as a button (I might even say she's smarter than Jamie was at that age!) she just seems to 'get' things without me 'teaching' her. Like crossing the road, she just knows instinctively to look for cars, and not to go into the road unless I've told her it's safe to do so, I've not taught her that, she's just become aware of it. She loves to be involved  in all our activities like making biscuits and painting as she wants to do whatever everyone else is doing and she's so capable of so many things, I even trust her to pick out the eggs at the farm shop, much to the panic of the miserable woman who works there (it's completely put me off going there actually)
It's brilliant seeing her personality come out and see who she is and wondering how she's going to develop.

As for me, I started writing a 'mood' chart a few weeks ago, after I found out that I have PMDD. Finding out about that completely changed everything! PMDD is depression that goes along with PMT, which TOTALLY explained why I was so down and depressed for a couple of weeks, everything was terrible and hopeless, and then one morning i'd wake up and everything would be normal for a bit, I didn't understand it, I thought I was going mad, but now I understand, and I've sorted out a few things like taking the right contraceptive REGULARLY(which is quite hard when you've got adhd!) I've actually been feeling really good for a while now, and I've started excersising and doing LOADS more!
After changing Alex's and Jamies rooms around, (I did it in 5 days on my own!) I can do anything now! And I WILL get everything I want done by the new year. And it's brilliant because I've been promising my kids that I'll get it sorted....I'll get it sorted, but never actually getting it done, but now I am, I'm actually doing it!!

Theres SO much more I need to tell you but for now this will do. Whats brilliant about writing a blog is I concentrate on all the positives, I forget the late nights where Alex wouldn't settle, and the times where I was too tired to make the right decisions, but that doesn't matter so much now because looking at all the positives, we're actually doing OK.

I probably wont get to write another blog before new year, I just wanted to do this one to let you guys know that things are good and getting better all the time :)

Actually, I'll do another one tomorrow night because I've got a whole load of photos to show you!

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

thinking thinking thinking.....

I've not been blogging much because I've had SO much to think about these last few days, I've been learning A LOT about Radical Unschooling, realising that I'm really heading that way, and always have been, my children are teaching me that I need to do it this way, but I'm still getting my head around it!
For those interested to learn more, there's a brilliant website that I've been reading from a lot lately, called Joyfully Rejoicing. I'd read the bit about the learning side to it months ago, but now I get all of the other part of it, about bringing it into all aspects of life for my family. It just makes so much sense to me.

So while I think about it and gather my thought properly, I'll fill you in a little........we went to craft club today (briefly-we were late!) Jamie did another fossil plaster cast, Alex made another pop-cup and I made a cool plaster cast of Amelia's hand :) And then we went Bowling, we had a great time, Alex discovered arcade games and LOVES them!! He loved playing 'Super Bikes 2' where he had to sit on a motorbike and tilt it side to side to steer and did loads of crashes and stunts. he screamed pretty much the whole time! It was just his sort of thing!
I'll edit this blog post tomorrow, there's so much more I want to say, and more photos to stick on, but it's getting late again.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Swimming and Sore Losing

Blogging on a friday night.....I'll try and make this quick....

Still having a better time!

Yesterday was a pretty good day, I had a really good chat with Jamie about allsorts of things, starting off with her walking around with her eyes shut and wondering what it would be like to have never seen what anything looks like. So we talked about how blind people use their other senses to help them figure out the world around them. Jamie made the observation that if you felt an object with your hands that you already knew what it looked like you'd use your memory to see it in your head, but if you'd never seen it before, you'd have to guess. So we talked about how you could use your hearing to feel things around you from the echoes and how sounds feels, even if you just silently move your hand past an ear. Which got me talking about the Star-nosed Mole, with its little super sensitive 'fingers' on it's nose feeling all around it's environment,building an image in it's head of what things look like. We found some footage of a star-nosed mole and found out that it can actually hunt underwater and blows a bubble, then sucks it back in to smell for food! Jamie thought it was disgusting!
That somehow got Jamie talking about how insects and spiders can crawl up a wall, so we talked about how their feet have tiny little hooks that hook onto all the tiny little bumps on the wall, and I showed her some images of a gecko's feet under a microscope, how many TINY little hairs and hooks it has to hook onto TINY bumps and crevices on glass.

Then Jamie and Alex set up shop in the livingroom, they wanted REAL money for their things, Alex had completey over-priced his - £10 for a jigsaw!!! Even Jamies was too pricey for me, £1 for a Mr Men book!, I said I only had 50p to spend at each shop (yes I know, but I'm skint!) Alex decided to lower his prices(quite a lot) and I bought a toy Pterodactyl, but Jamie refused to lower her prices, until she saw that Alex was quite happy that he'd made some money, so she went upstairs and found something that she didn't mind selling for 50p - a My Little Pony......

Jamie also read some stories to Alex, which I thought was really sweet...

Jamie and I worked out a weekly plan of what she's like to do. She'd like to do a science experiment once a week, go on a nature hunt, she's like to choose a different book each week to talk about and do activities based on the book. I asked Alex what he'd like to do, he said swimming, and go to the park!

Alex was mostly playing Skylanders...........

Today, we went swimming with my mum!! Jamie very excited about it, but Alex who WAS really excited, for some reason decided that he wasn't going to go swimming, so I said he should take his swimming shorts anyway just incase he changed his mind. We got in the swimming pool paying school prices which was great! Alex, still didn't want to go swimming when everyone was getting changed, but I said to Alex that I couldn't leave him in the changing room, so he'd have to come with us, and he also agreed that if he had his shorts on, he could still go swimming if he changed his mind, and he actually did it, he had to get dressed in the toilets, but he did it! he kept his t-shirt on though. When we were at the poolside, he decided that he'd give it ago, he did kind of have fun, but would not put his head near the water, which is really strange as before he was mad splashing around everywhere, but, after being on that Dyspraxia course, I've learnt that his sensivities can go up and down and all over the place, so maybe he was feeling particulary sensitive to the water today. I'm so glad I went on that course, it really helps me to understand him.

Jamie and Amelia had a brilliant time, none of them had any armbands on or anything again, which was quite nerve wracking when Amelia got her confidence and started throwing herself around everywhere! Jamie spent most of her time with my mum, she was trying to teach Jamie how to swim, which is weird because I taught my mum to swim!

And this evening, after Alex had finally spent the last of his savings on Skylanders (Voodood and Flameslinger this time) he put the Wii on, it's been packed away for ages because we all thought it was broken, but it wasn't! so there was loads more excitement, Jamie went mad because Alex beat her on bowling, and Alex was finding the controls really difficult on all the other games, but he sees it as a challenge and told me that he loves the Wii. At least its a change from Skylanders!!!!

PHEW! that's it! I'm off!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Stuff thats happened...sorry, its too late to think of a decent title!

Do you know, one of the brilliant things about home education is the lovely people that I've met since choosing to take this path. I've been having a really rough time with Jamie lately and I've been able to talk to other home educator friends about it and they've been so supportive, it's really made a difference, they are some of the nicest people I've met and I'm glad I know them :) After a good couple of weeks of struggling with Jamie's angry outbursts and mood swings (on top of me already feeling low) - I'm not sure if it's hormones or what, maybe she's still deschooling and adjusting too?? -  yesterday we actually had a good day! There was no arguing or shouting at all. And today has been almost the same, there were two incidents, but I managed to remain calm, let her get on with it, then was there to give her a big hug and listen afterwards.
I've decided that it's time to swap the kids rooms around - at the moment, Jamie and Amelia are sharing a tiny and rubbish room, and Alex has the bigger room to himself - apart from it being a big job that I'd been putting off, I'm also worried that Alex is going to be really upset about changing rooms, he's always had that room, it's his safe place, I'm going to have to make his new room pretty special for him, so both rooms need re-decorating.

Saturday we went to a dog show organised by a friend who resues animals in the UK and helps bring back dogs in trouble in Romania and helps to save them from the meat trade, all the money raised at the dog show went to get a dog some much needed surgery and bring her to England - here's the website, it's still being set up though - Hanovia Gold Animal Trust Although Jamie did moan about being bored at one point, we had a good time.

Can't really remember much of what happened on Monday, I know it was cleaning day so that's probably why, it was a bit boring.... Jamie did some more worksheets though. She learnt about comparative and superlative verbs and the use of descriptive verbs in a story and how they change the way the writer feels about something.

Yesterdays activities -

We went to craft club, Jamie and Alex painted their pottery pieces they made a few weeks ago that had been fired, the glaze needs to be fired now and then they can be taken home.
They also made some very cool 'fossils' made by making imprints in clay with various shells and toy insects and lizards then pouring in plaster of paris and waiting for them to set. I think they look very cool.
We went to a local nursery to buy some free range eggs. I've decided to get them from there from now on as I can see that the chickens are free to roam around. They've also got Rheas there, those eggs must be quite big! Amelia loved seeing the chickens and he and Jamie loved picking out some eggs to go in the boxes.
In the afternoon, Jamie played about with the left-over clay from the plaster casting we did at craft club, she loved the feel of it :)
Alex amazingly remembered that he had some money saved in his tractor that I'd saved for him about 4 years ago, and unsurprisingly wanted to buy some more Skylanders with it, it's his money, so I took him to buy Slam Bams 'Empire of Ice' adventure pack. He was VERY excited about it and played it as soon as we got home.
 cool plaster cast fossils :)

 Jamie playing with the leftover clay

 Alex and Amelia saying hello to the geese at the nursery

Jamie wishing she could reach the Rheas feathers that were on the otherside
of the fence

Todays activities -

Jamie made her first omelette, with the eggs that we bought from the nursery yesterday.
Jamie learnt about Islamic Halal meat, we were talking about how the animals are treated with more respect when they are killed than other animals - she still didn't agree with it though.
Jamie also made some flapjack, we learnt a new hand clapping game, and pretended we were nautical explorers discovering new creatures.
She saved an ant from certain death and nursed it back to health by giving it a soggy marshmallow to suck on.
She's played a bit of Skylanders, watched a bit of tv and is now in my bed watching Tremors 2.

Alex has......guess what? yep, played SKYLANDERS!!! he's also done a load of trampolining, played Matching pairs, Minefield, and some Purble Place on the laptop. he's played Disney top trumps with his toys (Slam Bam won -of course) he's been watching Alvin and the Chipmunks, Astro Boy and Tremors.

Amelia loves me reading to her now, her favorite stories are,' The Snail and the Whale', 'The Gruffalo', 'Rosie's Walk', 'Where the Wild Things Are', and a really horrible one called 'The Wolf and Seven Little Kids'! It's an old one, I think some of those old stories are really scary, and whats the fixation with the number 7 and cutting open a wolf to get somebody out alive??
Amelia also LOVES laying the 'Baby Jake' game on the Cbeebies website, it still amazes me that she's only just turned 2 and she can play an online game all by herself, I'll have to find some other games for her to play, I think she might get bored of Baby Jake's one soon!

 Just thought I'd put this one in, Amelia with her new Gruffalo hat :)

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Out and About

I have been trying to write a blog for a while now but have been finding it quite difficult what to say, my thoughts are very disjointed at the moment, feeling kind of blank, got so much going on all the time.
But seeing as this is a home education blog, I'll just stick to that - keep it simple!

This is how it is right now - Alex is STILL completely obsessed with Skylanders.
I've realised something though, having just checked my blogs, that it's been 17 weeks since he's had a meltdown! Which is pretty good going! :)

Jamie has decided that she absolutely HATES Alex (even though they play together a lot still) and it's making life quite difficult right now. I can't even trust them to be alone together, as they will get into a massive fight. I know Alex can be very frustrating because for one, he's a brother, but also Alex doesn't quite get certain things like reading body language, and he doesn't understand why Jamie would want to be alone, and he can be quite clumsy and rude sometimes and I think she's feeling a bit 'Alex'ed out'.

I took some advice from 'Siblings without Rivalry' and got her to tell me all the things that Alex does to annoy her, I listened without making judgement and resisting the urge to stick up for Alex (although, at the end, I couldn't help mentioning that if she doesn't like him calling her an 'idiot' then neither should she call him that) and then we went through each problem to see what we could do about it. I explained to Jamie what I have learned from the occupational therapist about why Alex does some of the things he does, and she started to understand that she couldn't do what she wanted to do to sort it out - which was to get inside his brain and make him stop - I explained that she can't change him, but some of the things, like speaking rudely, I will help out with, but his sensory seeking actions are just what he needs to do or can't help. But we did sort most of the problems out (at least I hope so) and we also found one of Alex's (many- not that Jamie hasn't got any but sometimes I feel I talk about Alex's difficulties too much!) lovely attributes, which is no matter how much they fight with each other, within 5 minutes, Alex doesn't hold a grudge and still wants to be Jamie's friend and play, and he really does love her.

Today, we had to drop the car off at the garage. I haven't had the car for over a week and it's been really annoying not knowing when I'm going to be able to get it back. The garage is really far away from our house, so we had to walk all the way back home, and although I was really worn out, we had a great time. We grabbed some lunch from sainsbury's that was nearby, and we had loads of fun trying on all the different Halloween masks there, some of which were really quite scary and frightened Amelia, hope she doesn't have nightmares!  Then we picked up our hamster ball from the post office depot (we were out yesterday when the postman tried to deliver it) and then went to a nearby park which had a metal half-pipe and we all had fun sliding around on it. Then we walked on and got to the aqua park and we stayed there for a while, Alex got soaked having a brilliant time playing in the fountain, Jamie was really chuffed that she could finally do the older childrens rope assault course, we had the whole place to ourselves (my favorite perk to home schooling!) then made our way back home.

Later on Jamie got in a weird mood and just starting irritating everyone on purpose, seeing this as a boredom thing, I suggested she do some of her work books, which she gladly took up, she completed 6 pages of English, for some reason she can't help get the fits of giggles when we're doing the work sheets, it's takes about 3 times longer but we have fun making up funny sentences.

Jamie did something really sweet and made herself and I a 'Feelings' book, where we can write down our feelings. I thought that was a really good idea.

Yesterday we went for a picnic at the common and Alex and Jamie explored the little stream.
In the evening Alex wanted to do some of his maths workbook, and he learnt how to do long addition, he didn't think he could do it at first, and was surprised when he found it quite easy. He also gets the giggles big time doing his work it me??? He had a lot of fun thats for sure :)

But apart from that we've just been really busy doing chores and shopping and other stuff like that, we missed craft club on tuesday because they just weren't in the mood for it, I was a bit gutted though, but if they don't feel like being social, I'm not going to force them, I hate it when I'm made to be social when I really don't don't want to. Jamies friend came over in the afternoon anyway, and we went to the park, it was really nice actually, they climbed up the trees on the edge of the fields and I stood and just listened to the autumn wind blowing the leaves and trees around, I love the Autumn.

Here are some photos of some of the stuff we've been up to, mostly outside stuff :) but none from today because the battery died on my phone :(

 Amelia's birthday cake!
 Inside a huge conifer tree

 exploring a stream

We also did Amelias birthday which went really well (she loved the cake!) and Alex has done two more sessions at Beavers, he got his first badge! and we went on a torchlit treasure hunt in some woods which he loved, but was quite disappointed that there wasn't any actual treasure, we had to find something beginning with every letter in the alphabet, which got quite hard and we did kind cheat a teeny little bit.....the van we saw wasn't exactly IN the woods....and I can't even remember what we got for the letter 'x'..........