Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Ups and Downs

Urghh...what a day....it's been a bit of a hard slog today, not impressed with the dull, rainy day, and my partner keeps having to get home really late from work, and he's still been working all day at the weekends too, so we never see him :(

It took quite a while for us to get ready to go swimming this morning. I ran through the whole scenario a few times, making sure we had enough floats, towels, etc, I was feeling quite nervous, only because of how stressful it might be, but it just wasn't meant to be.
First of all after bundling everyone out carrying everything we got to the desk and their chip and pin machine was out of order, so we had go to all the way back to the car, drive to the supermarket, get some cash, come all the way back, get back in the queue, only to be told we can't go in because I can't have just one adult with 2 children under 8!!!!

So we were all very disappointed. We ended up going to Gambados which was really horribly busy and noisy, and expensive. But at least the children had about an hours worth of fun.....When we got home, Alex spent quite a lot of time in his room, I think after Gambados, he needed a bit of alone time.

Later on, we released our painted lady butterflys! Jamie and Alex both got to have one perch on their hand before flying off. They hang around in the garden for a bit before exploring further afield. What I thought was really cool, was the other day we saw a butterfly laying eggs on the underside of my cabbage I have growing at the top of our garden, and today when we went to have a look, we could see tiny green caterpillars on the leaves! So that was the complete cycle we witnessed :)

Alex found the pupa that didn't make it and he really wanted to cut it open to see what was inside, I wasn't too happy about this but I thought that if he wants to know, I should let him see. I ended up having to help him open it up(yuck) but there wasn't much to see inside, Alex seemed a bit sad, whether that was because he didn't want it to die, or because he didn't get to see much, I didn't have chance to ask him before he shot off on his next mission.

I got my guitar out today. I can't play it at all, but for some reason, after the 5 years I've had it, I decided to get it out and I'm determined to learn just one song on  it.  So I spent about an hour and a half trying to play 'Country road, take me home' I still sounded awful after that time! I learnt music on a piano, and a recorder, instruments where the scale goes up and down, the way it's supposed to! not zig-zagging, wrist snapping, finger breakingly! But I'm not going to give up, I've only got 4 chords to learn. Jamie loved the guitar, she helped me tune it by listening with me, and loved messing around with it and although she was holding it all wrong, she managed to make up a pretty good song with it, the song was all about how much she loves Amelia!  :) Alex had a quick go on it too, but Jamie couldn't stop interfering while he was trying to play! I do feel that Alex lives in Jamies shadow a bit, he'll get to have a go properly eventually.


 One of our butterfly's after it was released, it was quite satisfying seeing them
flying free :)


 

Monday, 30 July 2012

Giant Eyeballs and Thunderstorms

I have been feeling so lazy lately! I'm not sure if it's the change in diet - it's been almost a week now since being vegetarian....you know I don't like saying I'm a vegetarian, it's like I'm setting myself limitations, and I feel like I've put myself in a box. I've never liked being put in a box, when I was a teenager I never fitted into any category. I liked a bit of punk, a bit of hip hop, and a bit of this and that but I could never say that I was any type of person, I like to pinch a bit here and there, take the bits I like and leave the rest. Now that I've decided that I want to be vegetarian I feel like this massive pressure to NEVER EAT MEAT AGAIN!!! but I actually liked eating meat. I just don't want to eat it most of the time. I want to be mostly vegetarian, go for as long as happily possible without eating meat, and then maybe if I feel like it, have a bit then not eat any more for as long as possible again. I know loads of vegetarians are gonna be saying things like "well, you can't call yourself a vegetarian then!" I don't want to call myself a vegetarian! to call it what it really is, is a bit of a mouthful - "I'm on a plant-based diet with a bit of meat every now and then"..........it'd be good if there was a name for that! kind of like a chimpanzees diet! except they don't do any cooking....
So far, it's been ok without the meat, I'm not a big fan of Quorn though...I prefer proper veggie meals rather than ones pretending to be meat....

Anyway, enough about me........

Alex told me something today that was very strange and somewhat revealing......I just have to fill you in a bit first.....when Alex was about 2 we had quite a few tragedies regarding pets in a very short space of time, our old dog Lucy died(she was 17), our cat got run over, one of our rabbits got attacked by a neighbours dog...and Alex happened to see the remains of the poor rabbit :( and I'm pretty sure it caused a bit of post traumatic stress because he had quite a few problems after that, but only being 2, he couldn't talk about it. This afternoon, I was upstairs sorting clothes, he was downstairs, Jamie was at a friends house and Amelia was having her nap, he came up to me and said that he remembered when the rabbit died and we were burying it or something, we told him not to look(I think this was when I had to carry him past the dead rabbit), he said he looked and saw it's eyeball move and it really scared him! And immediately I remembered that he used to say that every night he dreamt of a giant eyeball that was trying to get him!! He's had that image in his head all this time and couldn't say anything, it must've been locked up there and only coming out in anxieties and for some reason, now he could tell me!  I wonder what caused him to remember? and I wonder if now he's said it, it will change anything? Anyway, I'm just glad that he was able to tell me, after all this time. I tried to reassure him that the rabbit was definitely dead, but I wasn't sure if that was helping, at that moment Amelia woke up and he went rushing to see her.

Things have been better between Alex and Jamie. They made up an island that their toys could live on. They built a house out of boxes and books. Alex put on a show for me playing a Ukelele, We talked about gravity, and why people in Australia are upside-down but don't fall off the world!  We talked about inheritance tax, because my nan died the other day :( We watched some of the Olympics, Alex particularly loved the mens gymnastics(I knew he would!) and immediately started copying them - or at least tried to!

The island designed by both of them, drawn by Jamie

 

Our Butterfly's have emerged! And we missed them every time! I kept going over to check up on them, and then during a big thunderstorm they came out while we were looking in the sky for lightning. The rain came down so hard and Jamie stood outside through the whole thing, getting absolutely soaked through!
Jamie and Alex had to name the butterfly's now that they're butterfly's apparently they hadn't earnt a name when they were caterpillars! Sunshine, Lollipop, and Lizard. The first one to pupate, the one that fell on the floor, hasn't done anything, and the last caterpillar didn't make it, it never got bigger than about 1.5cm, the little guy just didn't grow :( But the other 3 are fine and ready to be released in a day or two.

lollipop..or Sunshine....or is it Lizard??

There were lots of other things too....I'll start jotting things down as they happen, that might help me to remember. Last week I had a complete break from everything and just let the kids do what they wanted more or less, but this week we're gonna start doing stuff again :)

Saturday, 28 July 2012

A Major Breakthrough......and homemade cookies!

I'm finally getting to the bottom of all thats wrong between Alex and Jamie.

It all came to a head(literally) this evening when Jamie got so angry with Alex that she threw a light saber at Alex, it hit him on the head and cut him, bleeding into his hair. I heard what what going on too, Alex had obviously said something horrible to her, I could hear her saying - not shouting - how much of a horrible little boy he was, how selfish he was, and I could hear Alex giggling away......and then she just threw it.

I got Jamie to go to her room, I was making pizzas at the time, it was getting late, I was angry with her and I just needed to be away from her so I could think it through. I made her eat her dinner in her room....I was still trying to think, but also it worked out really well because usually I confront her when she is still angry, and all I get out of her is some kind of Veruca Salt type person shouting back at me. This time, because I'd left it longer maybe, when she spoke to me, it was from her heart this time. It was all about how frustrated Alex makes her feel. Earlier or yesterday, she'd got so angry at Alex because twice he'd walked away from her while she was talking to him, she got so angry he'd hit him, then hit him on the neck with a stick!
During our conversation I realised it's because of the way Alex is, he IS very difficult to live with, he's only EVER interested in what he's interested in, and nothing else, I explained to Jamie that when he walked away while she was talking, Alex was probably a million miles away in his own head, and was so not interested in what Jamie was saying that he didn't even hear her, he does that to me all the time! except I've learnt to see the signs, I can tell when he's not interested and I don't bother continuing, but Jamie didn't understand this.
Also, Alex is never interested in how anybody else feels, he doesn't really realise that other people have their own thoughts sometimes, and it's really difficult to have a normal, two way conversation with him, unless you're talking about something that is of particular interest to him.
He also sounds rude quite often, but he doesn't mean to be. When Jamie plays with him, he usually gets over-excited and he takes it too far and that always causes a fight, this is why when I play chase, or tickle fights with him, I have to stop when I see him going over-the-edge, but Jamie doesn't know how to spot the signs.

All of the problems Jamie has with Alex, I've been through, and I've learned (and still learning) through research and talking to others who have been through it, to understand why he's the way he is, and I've learnt to accept him, or learned ways to deal with him, but Jamie is still at the beginning really.

So I explained as much as I could, and I offered some ideas on what to do when he makes her so mad that she just wants to lash out through frustration, and I've told her to take a deep breath and just try to observe Alex, to see if she has his attention, or if he's gone over-excited. It's been difficult for me to figure him out, it must be even harder for a seven year old girl!

All this week they've been playing, playing and more playing, with more and more arguments, which although has been quite stressful at times, I knew they needed to do it, and to just get on with it, and although I've been thinking that they've not done any structured learning, I think Jamie has learnt something even more important, and now we can start to make it better, with more understanding.

Back to the usual stuff, I gave them both the opportunity to watch the opening ceremony of the Olympic games, Alex wasn't in the slightest bit interested, Jamie watched about 15 minutes of it and could not stop moaning about it then went to bed! Nevermind.

Alex has been asking lots of questions about death again. How old are we when we are dead? where do we go when we die? are there any plants there? will we go back to our house when it was first built??? All very tricky to answer, all I could do was offer all the different theories out there along with my own. He also asked me "How does time move along?" I mean seriously, can you get a harder question?! I just had to say " I really don't know!" that's something he's learning too, that sometimes we just don't know the answers.

Hopefully-(if the video works), here is a little bit of spontaneous learning that happens all the time, I just happened to capture it on video the other day! (you have to listen quite closely to hear Alex)

video

There's been loads of stuff happening but as usual, I can never think of it when I'm doing the blog!! I do know that we made some really nice cookies today -

mmmm......

Alex experimented with freezing his changing colour hotwheels car - 
 
And Alex's swimfin came yesterday!



Alex was smiling until our dog Lulu came up to sniff the swimfin just as I took the picture
and Jamie just had to get the last laugh!
 
 
 
 

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Photos!!

Okie dokie, another quickie tonight, my partner needs the laptop(he got another customer tonight! eek!)

I'll fill you in on what happened today - not much - in tomorrows blog, but tonight I just wanted to stick in some photos,

this is whats happened to my grass because of extreme amounts of fun occuring with the paddling pool -



and look at the pool now!!-

 hmmm...nice........

This is Alex's finished painted owl he made at Beavers - 

how cute is that!

And here are some more happy faces Amelia draw on Alex's balloon :)



One last thing, we saw a hot air balloon going over past our house this evening and Amelia LOVED it! she loved it sooo much that she started crying loads when it went out of sight, so I found some clips on youtube of some taking off and flying around and she even learnt how to reply videos and she watched the same clip over and over saying 'ho ho ho' - her way of saying hot air balloon! I remembered once seeing them taking off at Fairlands in Stevenage once so I've emailed the company asking them for dates and times of when they do it, so we can come and watch.....hopefully they'll be nice and tell me, it would be brilliant to see it again :)

OK, thats it, byeee!



Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Hot Hot Hot!

OK, I'm starting to see the light again, now. Today I had Jamie pleading with me to help her because she was bored, she got bored of watching her programmes on the television (thankfully, they were really getting on my nerves), she finds it too hot outside now, can only go out for a bit before having to come back in. Alex also has been at a loss of what to do, I think the sudden heat has been a bit of a shock to us!
But I realised, as I told Jamie that I couldn't help her because I was doing some housework, that I should really stop doing the housework and do something with her - I'm going to try and have an ealier night tonight, so I can get up earlier, and hopefully get the most of the housework done before boredom sets in.
So I got out our Origami set,which we hadn't used yet and gave it a go. We made some pretty good paper butterfly's. While I was helping Alex with his (he was finding it difficult), Jamie had made 3 all by herself.
After we had 5 of them made, I turned them into a little mobile :)



There were lots of water playing again today, the grass around the paddling pool has turned into something you'd usually see at a British festival, but I suppose I can just put some grass seed down...

Amelia has been perfecting her smiley faces, she can draw the face, the eyes, even the middle of the eyes, but can't figure out the mouth yet so they all get another eye as a mouth! She had a shower with me this morning! Jamie and Alex hate showers so I was really surprised when Amelia asked to get in with me, she loved it!

Amelia has gone happy face crazy...
 
I realise that there's not been very much recognisable learning happening this week, but I'm trying not to let it bother me, it's hot, it's the first week of the summer holidays, and it's OK that they just relax and have fun :)

Jamie and Alex were devising a 'Healthy Manual'. They worked out an exercise routine, and healthy food to eat, and Jamie said they are only allowed one chocolate button a day! She wrote it all down.

I'm going to have to go swimming soon, all this splashing around I've seen has really got me wanting to go to the outdoor pool. I used to spend all summer at the outdoor pool when I was young, didn't get to go there alt all last year and I love swimming! I've ordered a Swimfin for Alex as he can't swim yet, and of course neither can Amelia, Jamie can so hopefully we'll be OK if we stick to the shallows! I've even arranged for me to have wednesday evenings as MY evenings, think I might just have to go swimming next wednesday!

More water now, I'm off to run Jamies bath in!







Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Wymondly Woods

I've just got back from a late evening walk through Wymondly Woods. We went there earlier and had a really lovely time, it was the 2nd time I've been there and it's my new favourite place. We saw lots of wildlife but we wanted to come back in the evening to see if we could see any birds. So we went out at a quarter to nine, there was Jamie in her pajamas and the both of them climbing up trees in the dark! we saw the sun setting over the fields and the moon rising. It was really nice. One day I want to walk there from my house, I want to explore the whole area.

 that's an awful photo of a Cinnabar caterpillar 
but my phone died before I could get a better pic :(

The paddling pool in the garden was put to good use this afternoon, the sun had been warming the water up all day and Alex put the slide in it so they had great fun making the biggest splashes possible.

I caught a real nice bit of spontaneous unschooling on video earlier, when I get the card reader through (where is it!!) I'll stick it on, in fact, I've got quite a lot of photos to stick on too!

 Everything is changing. My families life I mean. I'm having to really re-organise everything (not that I was ever organised but you know what I mean!) I thought I was Home schooling before, but I really wasn't and I didn't realise how much I wasn't because I was still tied to school. It's going to take a while for me to get my head around that, especially as it's the summer holidays.

There's the whole gardening business thingy going on, David is having to work ALL the time, he got 3 new customers this evening! I don't know what to do when he can't fit them in at the weekend, he says he will have to work in the evenings too!!

I have taken it upon myself to put my whole family on a vegetarian diet! I'd been thinking about it for ages, and SOOO many times Alex or Jamie would see animals that are going to be eaten (like if we're watching Countyfile or something) and they would complain saying that people shouldn't eat animals - whilst simultaneously eating beef curry or something- and I just decided that we are going to have to try it. I will leave eating meat for them to decide for themselves, rather than me just serving it up for them, and this way, by finding lots of tasty meat-free meals, they'll know that food is good without the meat, instead of it being the norm to have meat all the time.

The dynamics at home are changing, if left on their own, Alex and Jamie soon get into a huge fight,
I had a little talk with them both, explaining to Jamie about Alex getting upset when his routine is changed, and having her there has changed it, that may be why he's being...difficult...and it's going to take a while for things to settle down. I know it's very early days, the changes are effecting everyone, but I hope it doesn't take too long. Also I'm having a weird time too, after all the madness of Jamies last week ever at school, it's all over suddenly and I need to adjust as well.

I think this week, and maybe next week too should be a time of chilling out, letting it all subside, we're like newly bought tropical fish, waiting in our little bags in the new big tank....we need a while to acclimatise!

And I'm going to have to restore some order in this family, it's all over the place at the moment and it really does my head in. I know we're unschooling, but when things get crazy, someone needs to step in! I need a bit of routine and structure, not the education side to it, but the running of things, I need it to keep sane.

And I also need to get myself some me time. A lovely of friend of mine has pointed out to me that I don't actually get any time for myself, so I need to really sort that out.



OK, I'm off, I'll get half an hours chillout time before bed!






Monday, 23 July 2012

sun, water and over-excitement :/

I could not get my brain in gear today! I was supposed to get out the house the early to go and get a paddling pool, but felt so wishy-washy, we didn't leave the house until 11.30! But we did get one, and I didn't realise how BIG it was until I got it out, it's huge! I haven't got a foot pump so I had to do it all myself and I very nearly passed out, sitting out there in the hot mid-day sun, and every time I blew, it made this tooting noise which shook my brain, that along with the light-headed-ness, when I got up to pick Amelia off the trampoline, I felt very weird!

Anyway, Alex and Jamie, and even Amelia had lots of fun in the pool all day, Jamie particularly enjoyed making rainbows with the hosepipe.

I took this opportunity to actually have a break myself, and sat in the garden and read my book, which was the first time in months! I'm glad I actually remembered what was going on in it!

Alex has been going a bit crazy today, it's been a bit stressful. I can see why there are going to be problems in the coming weeks as the three of them try to get on with each other with a new routine. Alex keeps following Jamie around, doesn't understand that Jamie might actually want to play on her own sometimes. They both love Amelia so much that they keep wanting her to play with them as so end up arguing over her and making her cry....I'm sure they will sort it out eventually, it's just going to take a while for them to figure it out, in the meantime I'm having to watch almost everything they do to sort things out when they get out of hand.

Jamie did start doing her English assignment this afternoon, a horror story using 3 new adjectives, it's really good so far :) hope she finishes it.

urghhhh...all three of them are crying now so I guess i'll be off to try and sort everything out......

Sunday, 22 July 2012

summer holidays!

Well, things are already completely not how I expected it! There was me thinking we were going to have the summer holidays, do a bit of deschooling, relax for a bit......nope, Jamie wants to get on with the learning straight away. She made up her own worksheets last night, even did one for Alex to do! She left them in her old homework folder on the windowsill for her to do in the morning! I asked her if she wanted to just have summer holidays first but she said no!
This morning while I was having my cup of tea, Jamie went online and found herself some printable maths worksheets and asked me to print them off for her. So caught completely off guard, I spent the morning printing more stuff off and sorted out four English assignments for her, all in her folder if and when she chooses to do it.

We actually had a sunny, dry weekend for a change and the children have spent most of the time in the garden, but on Saturday, we went up into town for the 'Fun Day', I forgot my wallet but I had £5.50 in my pocket so Alex and Jamie had to really think about how they were going to spend it. Jamie had 3 goes on a bouncy slide, Alex bought 2 lucky dip presents, they both had a go at 'Hook a Duck', and they got to sit inside a big fire engine! I tried Amelia on a little merry-go-round thing, but she started crying before it started!



 At home, they found young sparrows from our resident family in the big bush right next to our house, made up new games to play on the trampoline involving having three footballs on there with them and trying to keep them from falling off as they bounced. They dug up their little potato plants they planted earlier in the year, got a few little new potatoes which we had in our dinner, and Alex did another painting. I set the beach tent up in the garden earlier and Alex wanted to camp out there tonight but Jamie didn't want to, so because Alex was too scared to sleep out there by himself, I set it up in his bedroom! I'll set up the proper tent soon and sleep out there with him maybe :/

For me, I've been trying to relax, I'm not sure how long Jamie is going to want to carry on doing work, but I'm just going to go with whatever she wants to do, it's only been 3 days! I'm really going to enjoy this summer, and this week is going to be hot!!!




Friday, 20 July 2012

All done and dusted :)

OK a massively quick one tonight, we've had a brilliant evening, pizza, apple pie and the most delicious custard I've ever tasted, Jamie has learnt a new song on her Ocarina, New World by Dvorak, she learnt it from the book that came with her Ocarina, but I played her the proper version so she could hear how it sounded, she heard it once and then played along with it beautifully. Then she got really excited about being home schooled, and proceeded to tell me everything she learnt today whilst reading the non-fiction books at school, she learnt about Cleopatra, hammerhead sharks and stingrays. She told me she loves learning, she loves science, literacy, maths and music. And then she read aloud to me, the first chapter of her favorite book 'The Witches' by Roald Dhal'. She said she wants to start learning tomorrow morning!

Alex did some more paintings. He decided that today was 'Mothers Day' but only for me, and picked loads of flowers for me on the way home and then wrapped them up and had a little party for me! That was really sweet :)

So that's it. No more school!!!!!

And that's all I'm going to type tonight because now I'm going to have a couple of glasses of red wine and relax, especially now we've had some good news about David job and his gardening business, I think things are going to be OK :) 


Thursday, 19 July 2012

One More Day.....

Jamie has just one day left of school.....forever! if she wants it to be forever that it is. I was thinking how lucky she is to have this opportunity. I can't imagine how it feels to know, that at age 7, not having to go to school ever again, and it being perfectly fine! Already her life, and Alex's has taken a big detour, I can almost hear the cogs and wheels of fate changing and turning. I feel that there's a different future set out for them now, hopefully of one more fulfilling, and more fun too.

I've never been so keen to start the summer holidays. It's been completely manic the last few months, with having to drag Alex and Amelia to and from school everyday, being tied down by timetables, and the constant paranoia that I've forgotten to fill in, or hand in a form, or there's some activity in school I need to be a part of as well as juggling Alex and Amelia's needs as well, school uniforms, and packed lunches, and HEAD LICE!!

I still had a few little worries about Jamie leaving school. First one was I was worried that she would miss being part of a team, a unit, she'd miss out on working together with other children, problem solving and discussion. Also, I was worried that she wouldn't get the opportunity to have any real independence from me, because I'd be there most of the time.
But she wants to join Beavers, and they've said she can! So that sorts all of that out right away! They are always going for weekend trips away camping, and do lots of team building activities! And they are such a nice bunch of people, adults and children alike.

My other worry was that she might lose her friends, but I've been completely reassured on that one too. Her two best friends live really close by, they can meet up whenever they want to(within reason!), and if their friendship is important to eachother, then it will last, if not, then she'll make new friends, it happens all the time, even if they are at school together.

So it's the last day tomorrow. All thank you's and goodbyes done more or less. Then we can all breathe a huge sigh of relief, and start relaxing!



I bought Jamie an Ocarina as a little present and she's been practicing all afternoon, she reminds me of me when I was her age(except I had a piano). Jamie also said that she would like me to use her old homework folder to put her days worksheets in and leave it on the windowsil at night, so that when she comes down in the morning, she can just get her worksheets out and start doing them! I also helped her work out how to do a multiplication sum in a colomn for the first time becuase she was doing a Moshi monsters quiz, she picked it up straight away. I really look forward to doing maths with her :)

Alex has been really good again today, spent most of his time playing imaginative role play type games with  his toys up in his room. He made his own egg mayonaise sandwich too, and played with Amelia lots.

The caterpillars have pupated, all except one little caterpillar which I've forgot to mention until now, who's not growing very big, he's still in the cup,hopefully he'll get bigger. The pupa's do this horrible wriggly thing if they are disturbed, it's like a weird alien thing....I can really see why it keeps predators away!

 Caterpillars in their 'J' shape, ready to pupate.....

chrysalides nice and safe in their hatching habitat :)
 (even the one that fell on the floor)
 
 






Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Stressed!!

I finally get to sit down at half nine! I've had a really stressful day today :( I have got SOOO much to try to cram into 2 days. I can't handle having a stressful life. It all went really wrong this afternoon when Alex wanted to read me a book, again, I think he only wanted to do it so that he could get a sweet - I'm really regretting starting this now because he's turned it into one of his rituals, and if I try and change it, he gets upset. He started reading the book, I had 10 minutes until I had to leave to get Jamie from school, and he was struggling so much, finding it really hard to concentrate on each word, it's weird, he knows how to read, but it's like he can't stop looking at everything else on the page. It was taking ages, he finished reading it at ten to three, and then Amelia did a number 2!! So I went into mad-rush mode, tried to get Alex to help get things ready, like get his shoes on, shut the back door, but because I was stressed, Alex just shut down! so I was really late leaving the house, then on the way down the road he was lagging behind me, trying to get his jacket on back-to-front, but he couldn't zip it up, so he was asking me to stop and help him, but I was really trying to get to school - already 5 minutes late, and I kept asking him to put his jacket on the right way round, but he insisted it being on backwards!!! He just didn't understand that we needed to hurry up, he just didn't get it at all. Thinking back now if I hadn't been so stressed, I should've just zipped it up backwards for him :( stupid hindsight.....
After finally getting there, it started pouring down with rain, we were all getting soaked, and Alex insisted on stopping for all the snails and trying to balance them on a little skinny stick, which they kept falling off of so he had to walk really slowly, in the pouring rain!!


Anyway, it just carried on being stressful then, we managed to make some cupcakes to give to Jamies teachers and the lollipop lady.

Earlier, before it all went horribly wrong, some DVD's that I'd ordered for Alex had arrived, it was a 'Mister Maker' boxset, Alex watched a couple of episodes and painted a really cool picture of a palm tree in a sunset, but I still can't photos on here!!!

And Alex did the most amazing thing this morning....on the way back from grandads (I was going to cut his hedge but it was raining) we stopped off at Waitrose, and as soon as I'd put the shopping on the conveyor belt, Ales said that he really needed the toilet, he's never been in the toilets at waitrose, he's always been too scared, we were at the till that was right at the other end of the shop, the furthest away from the toilets. I said to Alex that he'd either have to hold it, or he can go by himself, and pointed to the toilets that were in the distance.....he thought about it for a few seconds, and then just went on his own!!! He just went to use a toilet that he's never used before, ALL BY HIMSELF!!!! He has NEVER done that before! Jamie wouldn't even had done it! I was absolutely amazed!!

But I'm so gutted that the rest of the day was so horrible.I think it was me, I'm just feeling quite overwhelmed with all of whats going on with Alex, all with whats going on with Jamie, and everything else that going on.

My partner is probably going to get the sack soon. His bosses are being so unreasonable, he works for a grounds maintenance company and it sounds like they are going under, they are expecting my partner to work nearly 2 hours extra, unpaid everyday, and if he doesn't, or if he can't finish his days rota (like if it's raining too much....) he's out,  But, He has starting his own gardening business, got a few customers already, but he's having to work 7 days a week. It's really stressful waiting to get the letter saying he's lost his job :(
So if anyone who knows me, needs a regular gardener, let me know! :)

OK, I have to go and try and get Alex to stop throwing his toys across his room now, it's 10pm!!

Hope tomorrow is a better day......



Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Beavers is a hit! (at the moment...)

I'm shattered again! I've just got back from taking Alex to Beavers, it was the last one for the summer and it was also the leaders last day, (she'd been doing it for 14 years), so we all had a party in the woods! There was everything that Alex loves, woods, balloons, bubbles, cake and bugs! It was really good fun, Alex even ran off and played with the others when I was chatting to one of the leaders! He spotted some orange and black stripey caterpillars munching on some ragwort, I explained to Alex all about ragwort, how poisonous it is, and how the caterpillars would be poisonous because they eat it, I found out when I got home that they are Cinnabar moth caterpillars. I'll show Alex tomorrow, he's in bed now.
I'm REALLY chuffed Alex is going to Beavers :) After they handed out the badges to the other children, he asked why he didn't get any, he was told he has got some but he needs to be sworn in, in september, so I asked if he wanted to go back in september and he said yes.

Talking of caterpillars, I'm slightly worried about one of our ones. It had got itself already to pupate, hanging from the top, but then it fell down! and just lied there in it's 'j' shape. we checked on it before we left to take Jamie to school, then when we came back it had shed it's skin and looked more like a chrysalis, I'd love to have seen that happen! But it's not supposed to be on the floor of the cup, lying on the food, but it'll have to stay there until the others have pupated before I can move it. I hope it'll be OK.

Earlier, we went to watch Jamie do her Ocarina assembly, it was the her last one! I do feel a bit sad, I wonder if there's any Home Education groups that do choirs and concerts and that sort of thing? if not, I could maybe organise one or something, if Jamie wanted to do it, she probably doesn't, it's probably just me thats going to miss it! anyway, just another thought, I'm still trying to gather equipment for a juggling group.......
After the assembly we went to craft club. They were painting canvasses with their name on today, it was great seeing all the different designs. Amelia even got to have her first ever go at painting! Heather, the brilliant lady who runs the club helped her do some hand prints too :)

Alex painting his canvass

Amelias first try at painting!



I can't actually put any photos up at the moment because Amelia was chewing on my card reader and now unsuprisingly, it doesn't work :( but when I get a new one - a few days time :( - I'll stick the photos on.

Anyway, I'm tired, again, and there's a four finger Kitkat calling my name.........

p.s. I have to quickly add that Alex's good behavior went out the window this morning, he absolutely refused to get dressed, he waited untill we were 10 minutes late, and actually going out the house to suddenly decide he was going to get dressed and come with us (I wouldn't really leave without him!) and then I couldn't find any of his shoes and he reused to put his wellies on....anyway, I'm pretty sure it's because he knew we were going to the assembly. He said he was nervous. I think school stresses him out so much, even when he's not actually going to school!  Only 3 more days!!!!!!!!!




Monday, 16 July 2012

It's Like Alex, But Not As We Know Him...

Alex has been amazing today! After dropping Jamie off at school (5 more days to go!!!) we had to go and get a few bits from the supermarket, and although Alex was throwing himself all over the place, he was helping get stuff of the shelves, he helped me get it onto the conveyor belt, pack it into bags, put the bags into the car, took the trolly back, and he even helped pack some shopping away. THEN, while I was making his lunch,  he tidied the table in the living room, swept the floor, and the stairs!!! this is all without me asking! He's been washing his hands without being asked, putting his hand over his mouth when he coughs, getting dressed without any trouble, he even had 2 baths in one day yesterday and didn't complain!! He's been totally different!

This morning before we left to get the shopping, he managed to squeeze in a bit of crazy creativeness....

 He did these paintings by splodging a few different colours of paint on a plate, laying a piece of paper on top, then using that to print onto some paper.

Alex noticed that our caterpillars are starting to act differently, hanging around at the top of the cup more and spinning a web up there, apparently this means they're getting ready to turn into chrysalids! We talked about when they are inside the cocoon, although it looks very still, there's loads going on inside as the caterpillar changes shape, it's really amazing when you think about it, Alex said he didn't want them to change, and wanted to stop them, but I explained that you can't stop them growing and changing, just like I can't stop him from getting bigger. Then we tried to imagine how the caterpillar actually changes, Alex did a brilliant impression of a transforming caterpillar!
After lunch, he got a jigsaw puzzle down (interesting how they've been up in his room for months, but it was only when I'd put them all up on his shelves properly that he remembered about them! - was that a type of strewing?) and started doing it on living room floor. It was quite a big one (150 pieces) with a big shark on it, he did really well for a while, but then started finding a bit too hard, and needed some help, then even with some help, he started to lose interest in it, then he turned himself into a machine and packed it all away.

Later on, Jamie's friend Cleo was coming home with us, we stopped by at the park on the way home - Alex did another amazing thing, and this won't seem like a big deal to anyone, but he actually went for a wee in the bushes!! all this time, when he's needed to go when we've been out walking the dogs or whatever, he's ended up having accidents because he is too scared to go behind a bush or something, buy today, he did it!! I wonder if I'm the only mum who's proud that her son has wee'd behind a bush?

Cleo came back to ours and the three of them played really nicely. They were all singing the Moshi monsters songs over and over quite a few times! When Cleos aunt came to pick her up, Cleos cousin asked if Alex could come round next time, Alex said he would, so thats another play date for him :)

Before Alex could go to bed, he had to plant some seeds that he got out of his apple that he had for dessert, not sure if they're going to grow or not, and Alex also spotted that one of the caterpillars is hanging upside down from the top of the cup in a 'j' shape! This means that it's getting ready to  pupate! AND...Alex looked in the other jar that has the other little caterpillar in, and started shouting "My caterpillar has had a baby!!" We were quite confused for a bit there until we realised that it wasn't a baby, it had shed it's skin.....

I am SOOO proud of Alex right now, he is doing so well in his confidence, he's a changed boy.
I don't know what has really happened to change him, but something must be right :)


Sunday, 15 July 2012

more sorting and clearing..can't wait till it's all done!!

Ok, I'm going to try and be really quick here, I've had such a busy day again! I'm worn out and really wanted to watch a film tonight, I'm a bit gutted that I've spent the only sunny day for a while in a little north facing room, but I did get a well needed job done, hopefully they'll be some more sunny days before all the leaves fall off the trees....
This morning Jamie and Alex did some more painting, this time with the new gold and silver paint I bought the other day.

another fingerprint picture by Jamie

Jamie's butterfly

and another crazy one by Alex 
After this I decided that because David was working this morning and didn't get chance to take the dogs out, that the kids and I would take them for a walk round the block. It was only almost a complete nightmare, my two dogs are very energetic, David normally takes them out on his bike, with them running along side, so they were trying desperately to pull me along with the pushchair! I did think that I could get one of those buggy boards to stand on and get the dogs to pull me along, that would be so much fun! Obviously not with Amelia in the pushchair....
While we were having lunch I watched a programme that I've really got into for some reason - 'Secrets of our Streets', I just love seeing all the old film footage of everyday life back then and listening to the stories of the people who used to live there, and find it fascinating seeing how much it all changed. After that it was all just a crazy busy blurr, but this is what I can remember of Jamie and Alex's activities while I was clearing out Jamies room.
Lots of trampoline bouncing, some TV watching, Alex made a book - he copied a Gruffalo 'opposites' book after reading it to Amelia, Jamie went on the laptop again playing Moshi Monsters, Alex played more of his Kiddizone camara games, there was quite a bit of fooling around, more parties for someone, Alex got his skateboard out for the first time in ages and was going up and down in the livingroom, so I said I'd take him to the local skate park tomorrow with it (I'll have to find his knee/elbow pads!) if it's not raining that is - still haven't checked the weather. Alex had a bath, then had another one before bed.....he got so muddy running around the garden with no shoes on, and then after David had cut the grass he went green!! while I was nit-combing Jamies hair in the bath ( I just do it as a precaution these days - another thing I won't miss about school!) Jamie told me a story like she usually does. 
This time it was about a girl called Lillia, who was picked on at school, and was completely set up by a horrible girl called Emily, as a punishment she was given a billion pounds to go and buy eggs and things for a party that the horrible Emily and the teachers that punished her were having, but Lilia, decided to run away. She ran away for 5 years and finally her horrible parents tracked her down and chased her and chased her until some really nice people who had managed to record, with secret cameras, the event of when Lilia was set up.....and justice prevailed!
Oh and I had to sort out the worst baby pooing accident I have ever known.......I'd put Amelia to bed for her nap, I should've listened to her properly when she complained of something as I put her in her cot, but I thought she'd just got her foot caught in her dungarees, that are slightly too long for her........when she awoke 2 hours later, I could tell she'd done a number 2, so I took her downstairs, she walked around a bit and I could see her nappy falling out the bottom of her dungarees!....her nappy had fallen off (I use cloth nappies) probably before I'd put her in bed, and THEN she'd done a number 2.....it had completely missed the nappy and was all on the inside of her dungarees!!! I had to clean her up and then try and get the dungarees off her without getting it all over her again!! Aaahh...just thought I'd share that with you guys ;)

Well that only took forever to write...I'm off to watch Aliens :)


Saturday, 14 July 2012

Rainy Saturdays and Reflections

This morning started for me hearing Jamie ask if she could get the paints out and do some painting. I thought I'd put some trust in them and let them get on with it. Her and Alex set about painting some more abstract pictures. They do seem to just do crazy designs rather than paint any particular thing, I'm wondering in Jamies case if that's because she's not been able to be properly creative like that at school? But anyway, I love their abstract designs.

Jamies fingerprint painting (and two other little things)

Alex's sparkly fingerprint painting

After the painting they decided they were going to have a party for their favorite cuddly toys, this is quite a common thing they do, this time they were going to put on a show and got all the musical instruments they could find, and started making a very loud noise. After this, Jamie played Moshi Monsters on the laptop and did the new mission again. Jamie is also completely obsessed with the film 'Monsters vs Aliens', we've had it a while, but for some reason she's just started watching it, over and over, and she keeps quoting bits from it, and laughing insanely to herself.
After I had got Amelia changed and breakfasted, I made a start on sorting Alex's room out. I have no idea how he gets his room into such a state, it's like a giant has picked his room up, given it a good shake, then put it back down again. I even sorted all of his jigsaw puzzles out. Alex was really crazy about puzzles a while ago, so he built up a huge collection of them that were all over the place. I wonder if he'll ever use them again.
While I was tidying, Alex was getting more and more boisterous, hiding in his wardrobe, falling out of his wardrobe, kicking his clothes everywhere, then he started chucking his coat hangers everywhere, this is when I decided enough was enough and asked him to put the hangers back. He decided he would try to put them back by throwing them up, which of course didn't work too well and he was getting more and more crazy, but he somehow got it together enough to get most of the hangers back on the rail. Then he went downstairs where Jamie was playing. A massive fight broke out, Jamie came charging upstairs hurling abuse at Alex. Jamie was playing with a huge pile of dinosaurs, and Alex came down and wanted to join in, Jamie said "No" that made Alex angry so he stole most of the dinosaurs and locked himself in the bathroom. 
Alex thought the whole thing was hilarious. 
I actually handled it better than I normally do. I normally get annoyed, I would've told Alex to give them back and told him to leave Jamie alone, but I decided I'd show them what they should've done. I took Alex by the hand and brought him over to where Jamie was with the dinosaurs. I said that Alex should say " can I play too?" and Jamie would've said "No, I want to play on my own", and instead of getting annoyed, Alex should say " well can I have some of the dinosaurs to play with on my own?" and Jamie should say "OK then" and then Jamie tells Alex which ones she doesn't mind letting Alex play with. After I went through it with them, Alex took his dinosaurs and played in the bathroom with them. Problem solved. I know I should've been teaching them things like this before, but it just dawned on me after hearing about a technique they use for autistic children to practice certain situations, like role playing. 
Later Alex played the games on his Kiddizoom camara, he's not been very good at playing video games but he really persevered and got better and better, I heard him running up the stairs shouting " I got to level 4, I got to level 4 mummy!!", so I was quite pleased for him.
Jamie went on the laptop and looked for clips of 'monsters vs aliens' ?? seems a bit bizarre to me, but she managed to find out the group name and the song title of one of the songs on the film by googling certain words, and searching on youtube. I thought that was quite cool, good searching! It was Aqua - roses are red, it's really annoying and she played it over and over, and made all of us come and listen to it at least 3 times each.....

It feels really weird to be taking Jamie out of school. I know I've been home educating Alex since november last year, but I've not been doing it properly because Jamie's still been at school, I've still been connected to school.(Also, I spent the first 4/5 months learning everything I could possibly learn about Aspergers and dyspraxia and ADHD). And it's a weird feeling thinking that I'm finally cutting off from it all. I've suddenly realised theres a couple of mums that I've become friends with that I wont see anymore, I'll be giving them my number, but I probably wont be seeing them anymore, well I hope I do, but I know how life is. But on the otherside, I can REALLY start to properly get into home education now, and it's going to be brilliant, we'll be completely free to do what we want, and have lots of fun!
I was asked to fill out a questionaire for the school the other day, one of the questions was - did I think I was informed regulary enough about their progress, P and T meetings termly etc..? I put that I didn't, that I wasn't told enough of how she was doing. I was just dropping her off in the morning, picking her up, I didn't have a clue how she was doing, and finding out how she was doing at the end of term just wasn't good enough for me. I want to have a part in her education, I want to see how she progress's, I want to see her when she figures out how to solve a new maths problem, and discover new Authors and Artists, and whatever, I want to learn with her. I don't need her to be having any type of problem in school to take her out, I just want her to be part of our family now, I want to get as close to her as I am to Alex now, and now I'll get that chance :)

Friday, 13 July 2012

friday the 13th, unlucky for some...but isn't everyday??

Not much to report today, this weather is really starting to get me down and drains my energy :(
Alex came shopping with me this morning, because I forgot to order it online grrrr.... Alex was having a whale of a time, talking non-stop and doing his usual bouncing around all over the place.....again, no meltdowns though...good stuff :)
It was lunchtime by the time we got back, Alex went straight outside on the trampoline, practicing his backward handstands. I think the reason why we haven't got that many activities done lately is because all Alex wants to do is be outside. He's either bug hunting, building houses for his bugs, or bouncing on the trampoline. He did learn a lesson yesterday though, he insisted on bringing a ladybird into a shop with him, even though I said it wouldn't be a safe place for it. The ladybird got dropped and trodden on and he was really sad, I explained again that the safest place for little insects is in the bushes, out of the way of people, and I think he finally got it.
A quite interesting thing I discovered today was, I was in the kitchen making dinner and Alex was watching Mr Maker in the livingroom, and all of a sudden he wanted to do what Mr Maker was doing. He grabbed all the things he needed out from the drawers, had a go but got a bit stuck, he'd forgotten how to do it, so he came and asked me for help. Because I hadn't seen what it was or how it was made, Alex had to try and describe it to me, and he did really well because he was quite happy with the outcome, but it was a really good way of getting Alex to get his brain/memory working, and choosing the right words. It may not seem much to everyone else but Alex normally has trouble finding the right words to describe what is in his head, I think we might have to do it like that again, it was good fun.
It's nine days since we got our caterpillars and they're looking big now, and Alex and Jamie have been having a good look at them.

They're a bit scary when you get right close to them!

I do feel a bit sorry for them stuck in that little cup eating their weird paste.... but they'll be free soon.
Alex came home with another handful of snails earlier, theres must be loads in our front garden now. He's started to collect dead insects now! he got a drowned woodlouse out form some water today, and wants to keep it, he says because he wants to "always remember it".
There was a terrible smell in the house the last couple of days, and I couldn't work out what it was, then I found it....it was a big mushroom that Alex found the other day and left in the bottom of the pushchair!! It looked like a rotting animal, and didn't smell much different! Thanks Alex! 

Hopefully, tomorrow will be a more productive day, I haven't checked the weather yet, I daren't!

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Schools! AAARGHH!!

Another completely hectic day!! I could really do with at least just two days in to catch up on stuff.
This morning got off to a dodgy start. It was Jamies transition day at school, she was finally going to see what her new school was like. On the way in this morning, Jamie told me " If I like the new school, I will start in September, if I don't, then I'll be home schooled". I took a deep breath, and told her that I hope she has a good day, whatever happens. Jamie was really excited about it all and it really sounded as if she was probably going to want to go to school come September, but I don't want her making any decisions out of guilt, I specifically told her teacher to NOT tell her that she should go to the new school, and it took a lot this morning for me to hide my feelings, and not say anything to suggest I wanted her to stay at home- although all I wanted to say was "Don't go!!!" I really want Jamie to feel that she can make up her own mind about what she wants to do, just as I'd promised her I would, and I'll completely support her if she decides to go to school (but I would be really disappointed!) .
So coming away from school feeling quite sad, I went off to my last session with the ADD-vance ladies (a support group for parents with ASD children) . They talked quite a lot again about all the help you can get for your child in school, and the more I listened, the more ridiculous it sounded, there were IEP's which were goals decided that you and the teacher wanted the child to go for, like 'staying in their chair' and 'putting hand up to ask questions' and I just thought the whole thing sounded silly, and feel really sorry for all these children that have to be forced to behave in a way totally unnatural for them, no wonder Alex couldn't handle it in school, I can't imagine MAKING him stay sitting in a chair for extended periods! and at the same time being able to concentrate on what the teacher was going on about, when it made no sense at all to him!! And then they started talking about ways to get them to stay in their rooms at night and one mum said she'd bought a shed alarm that had motion sensors and set it up outside her sons room, and if he stepped out of his room, the alarm would go off, and her son was so frightened of the noise, he daren't go anywhere near the door! and she even had the sensor switched off in the end because her son didn't know that it wasn't on!!!! It sounds absolutely awful! and I was even more gobsmacked when quite a lot of the other mums were saying " ooh! where did you get it from? I want one!!"
Also, they started talking about medication and I thought it was a bit odd that the two ladies running the sessions were pro-medication! One of them said her whole family are on Prozac and she thought it was brilliant stuff!!
I was so glad to get out of there today.

The time came to pick Jamie up, and I tried to act normal, fully expecting her to say she wanted to go to school in September.....she came out, and started telling me all the things she did, then as we walked down the road, she said " Mummy, I don't want to go to that school", I asked her why and she replied " I just didn't like it, there's nothing to play with, it looks really boring, the teachers are nice, but I want to be home schooled" I did a little happy dance inside, but kept my cool on the outside, I said "well, you've got the whole of the summer holidays to have a proper think about it".
So that was pretty cool, I feel a bit more relaxed now :)

This evening we went to the 'celebration of achievement' night at the school. There were a few teachers that asked me what Jamie was going to be doing, and I proudly told them that she wants to be homeschooled with me and Alex, and it was quite funny seeing them trying to hide their disapproval!

Oh, and I forgot to say, the other day when we had our shopping delivered, the guy asked Alex why he wasn't at school - in a friendly way, and Alex said full of confidence " I don't got to school, I'm homeschooled" and the guy looked pleasantly surprised, I told him that school couldn't contain him, that Alex has too much life in him to be kept in a clasroom all day :)

p.s. I do prefer the term 'home educated' but home schooling just rolls off the tongue better....I might start changing it though.....

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Grandad

Just a quickie tonight. We went to visit grandad today.Grandad grows vegetables in his back garden and he loves showing the children all of the tasty fruit and veg, and letting them try some, Amelia particularly loved the peas - so did I, they were so sweet!  This time Alex also enjoyed seeing how many snails and bugs he could find and was chuffed to find a frog under some planks of wood. Grandad found a DK book on insects and said Alex could keep it. After a quick flick through, Alex discovered that they were not all from this country, so I helped him find some that were, and then we looked to see what type of habitat they lived in, to see whether grandads garden was one of them. There were a few, but Alex found mainly snails. Yep, snails abound...........
Grandad even went and got him a jar(oh no! not another jar!) so he could put the snails in to take home! great.
We had a good chat about home education, and I'm really surprised and really pleased that even though he's a very old fashioned man, he agreed with it all, even unschooling, he totally got that children learn better through living and doing things, rather than being stuck in a classroom all day everyday.( I hope I don't offend any parents that send their children to school, I understand that not everyone has the desire or are able to home educate their children, and that's totally up to you)
Anyway we had a nice time round grandads :)

 Amelia enjoying some tasty freshly picked peas

On the way home I finally remembered to take a photo of the lovely very old Oak tree near Grandads house. It is hollow and apparently has a girth of 6 metres, and it took 10 children holding hands to circle it! I love old trees, I'd love to know how old this one is :)


After we got home, as promised, although I was not happy about it, we took Jamie and everyone to Burger King. It was to celebrate her getting a good report, everyone else in her class had done something, and it's only because it's been so hectic that I hadn't got round to doing anything yet(feeling guilty though), so I asked Jamie what she wanted to do to celebrate, and she wanted to go to Burger King. I don't normally go to BK or McDonalds at all, but I suppose it's OK once in a while. All of them really enjoyed running around in the outside seating area, good job we were the only ones there!

OK thats it, I'm off to settle another argument between Alex and Jamie, I didn't think I'd be able to get to sit down for long!

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

A Day of Surprises!

We had a much better day today! After my wobble yesterday, I've seen the light again. I think I was panicking about Alex not being able to write, and about being able to keep up with Jamies learning, but today I'm a lot calmer. The whole times table thing, think I'll give it a miss. I'll stick my little poster of the 3 and 4 times table I made up on the wall, and when I'm counting things for them, I'll count in 3's for a bit, but that's all I'm going to do. He'll learn it when and if he wants to.
Alex has been so good today, and lately he has been much better re- anxieties. He got himself all dressed and ready to go - shoes 'n 'all, by 8am this morning, without me having to ask him! He got into his bath with only minimal threat(by the time I counted to 2 he was on his way - MUCH better than before) He even washed himself!!!!! that's the first time EVER!!

He played with his baby doll for a bit today, changed her nappy, fed her, and put her on the swings. I thought that was really sweet. Then he made a very cool picture from using the newly sorted out doodle drawers -

He used glitter, paint, pastels and plasticine!

On the way home Alex and Jamie and Jamies friend went bug hunting in the little woods by the park. Jamie also told me that she met the teacher that would be teaching her if she went to year 3, she said she was really nice. Then I asked her if she'd like to go to school in september if she liked the teacher, she said no, she likes some of the things she does at school, and she likes the teachers, but she doesn't like the way school is. I can't argue with her there.

While I was getting dinner ready, Jamie all of a sudden decided she was going to start weighing loads of things on our scales, comparing the weights and recording the results. Her and Alex learnt how to read the scales, and work in half ounces and had to figure out which was was heaviest.


We had just sat down to eat dinner, at 6.30 exactly,and Dad had just walked in through the door from work, I suddenly remembered that it was Beavers! Starting at 6.30! Alex said "Lets go then" I was so surprised! even more surprised when Jamie said she wasn't going to go and he was still up for it! So I said "OK then, lets go now!" I'd only had one mouthful of my dinner and we shot out the door.
He didn't want to join in any of the team games, but he loved the clay modelling, and there was another boy just like Alex who didn't join in the team games either, so he wasn't the only one sitting on the side.


This is Alex's Owl he made :) it's so cute!

He was in such high spirits when we got home, he ate his dinner then got his pyjamas on without any problem - unlike usual, and went to bed!

I feel really happy tonight :)

Oh and my two books that I ordered arrived today, we should have some fun with these :)



 

Monday, 9 July 2012

The dreaded Wobbles

AARRGHH!! What a day!
This morning we went into town. I had to go to the post office, the bank, and then the library. Alex was being VERY energetic again, non-stop talking, I got so hungry(forgot breakfast again) we stopped by at the cafe for a snack. Alex is completely mad, he had a milkshake, cereal and a slice of lemon! When he realised he couldn't eat the whole slice of lemon in one go, he wanted me to take the rest home with me, we had a bit of a discussion about that, then we left, Alex remembering his stash of snails that he'd hidden in the bushes outside the cafe.

Then we got trapped in the library! We got in there, started looking around, then about 50 babies and their mums turned up! My pushchair was completely blocked in, but it wasn't too bad because it was 'Baby Rhyme Time' and they were all singing nursery rhymes and Amelia loved it! Alex on the other hand was quite stressed out, and started acting up, but we couldn't leave, so it was quite stressful, Alex was on the brink most of the time.
We got home, it was lunchtime and I was completely worn out, my asthma is bad today because of the rain and humidity, and pushing a pushchair full of baby and books was tiring.

I've been wobbling at both ends today, and I don't mean my head and my bum, I mean about Jamie and Alex's education. I'll start with Alex. As I mentioned in my last blog, I wanted to try a couple of new things, so I tried Alex with his 3 times table. He said it 5 times as I'd asked him to, but he did struggle, he kept getting the numbers backwards and muddled up, was thinking that he might find it easier the more he does it? Then I said about him doing the handwriting sheet and some reading, he said he'd do it for 2 sweets( 1 for the handwriting, 1 for the reading) I thought that was fair enough. He got really cross with me whilst doing the handwriting, every time I corrected him he said "stop telling me what to do!" but he finished it OK, then he started reading the book (The Raft Race - oxford reading tree) He struggled SOOO much with it, it was so obvious that every inch of his body was fighting against it, he kept getting distracted by everything on the pages, kept getting muddled up, I could tell that he just wasn't in the right mood for it. I said to him that he didn't have to do it, a couple of times I just went to put the book away, but he insisted on carrying on. I almost suggested that he have the sweets anyway, but didn't want him to feel like he'd let himself down or something. So he carried on, and finished it. I'm wondering if he would still do it, if it wasn't for the sweets?

My other wobble is Jamie. I was thinking about her not going to school and was worrying that she might miss out on something. I think it must be last minute jitters, because after discussing it with some other lovely home schooling mums(one of them who was homeschooled herself!) I feel much more reassured. Yes, there will be things that she'll miss out on, but they're only little things, the pros of homeschooling far outweigh the cons.  Yes, she's doing brilliantly at school, imagine how well she'll do without any restictions? in her class, she learns things so quickly, then can't move on until the whole class has caught up. But being homeschooled, she'll be able to go at her own pace, and be REALLY good at the things she's interested in. Which is quite a lot really!
I think the only problems are going to come from me, whether I can get my act together and be able to enable them both, all three of them, to let them, whoever they are, flourish.

Hopefully tomorrow will be better than today, I messed up big time.....dinner was REALLY late and I forgot to give Alex a bath!

Oh and one last thing....I've had it with the snails in the house. Alex had stuffed a load of them into his pocket and one of them - which he says he thought was just an empty shell - was dead and gloopy, and the smelliest thing I've ever experienced. Even Alex was disgusted and thats really saying something!


Sunday, 8 July 2012

Lazy Sunday

I've been thinking again. I think when Jamie is homeschooling it's going to change a lot of things. I was really impressed with Jamies results of her SATs, she got a level 3 in all subjects! I showed the results to Jamie and she was SO chuffed with herself. It's really spurred us both on. Jamie said she wants to keep on learning more and more, and I would like to brush up as well, I didn't do very well in school, I gave up in secondry school, especially after trying really hard with maths and getting most of the answers wrong, the teachers didn't give me any help, they just went onto the next stage, which I inevitably got those wrong too, still no help, so what was the point :( And I really love maths, but have lost all confidence in myself for it. I was also let down in English too, and Art(another subject I loved and I'm quite good at)......and music, oh and I was really good at physics, but I didn't know I was good at it until I read my school report after I'd left school!
Anyway, I'd love to re-learn all of those subjects and this is a perfect opportunity to do so. Especially because at this rate, I can tell Jamie is going to be knowing more than me soon!!
There's a few things I want my children to learn, but as I'm unschooling, I have to tread carefully.
I'd like them to know their times tables. Even my brain switches off as soon as hear those words - BUT- it would be a handy tool to have. I suggested to Jamie and Alex that we learn them and I got an "OK" but they were not really listening properly I don't think, but I'll give it a try, Alex loves numbers and Jamie loves learning so it might work, but I wont be forcing it on them.
Another thing I'd like to do with them is read certain books, that I read to them - or we take it in turns reading. I think if they are just left to choose their own books, they may miss out on something amazing. Again, I wont be forcing it on them, but I'd like for them to give the book a try, if they don't get on with it, then I won't continue to read it, and find another book.
The other thing I would like Alex to do, is practice his handwriting. It's really gone downhill because he doesn't do very much writing at all and he's forgotten how to form certain letters, so when he does do any writing, he gets upset that he can't do it very well. So I said to him that I'd like him to practice some handwriting, I printed off some worksheets, and he said he would do it, whether he will or not is another thing. But if they're not interested in doing any of these things, I'll just leave it, and suggest it again in a few weeks or months time, it's no biggie.
As for today, we had an easy, lazy day. After yesterday's mega early start we needed it! We didn't even go and see the Olympic torch as it came through our town, none of us wanted to go, we were happy just messing around at home. Jamie has started to write her own book on the laptop, using a paint program we've got. The title of the book is - 'The Alien That Went To The Moon!!!!!!!!!!!!' with that many exclamation marks. We had a game of war with a pack of cards, and for once, Jamie didn't go ballistic when she didn't win, she wasn't happy about it, but didn't have a massive strop!- I only just won though! I also found our pack of Letterland flash cards which Amelia really enjoyed and she actually knows a couple of the sounds already!
Back to school tomorrow - and I've got 2 weeks to get the house all sorted!!!

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Water, Olympic Torches and Tom

I am SOOOO tired! I'll probably make loads of stupid mistakes in todays blog!
We got up at 5.15 this morning! left the house at 6am and got to Lee Valley White Water Centre by 7am.
It was a kind of rehearsal for the Olympic games events, we got free tickets to go because Davids mother works for the police force. There was loads of security going in, it was just like being at an airport with the metal detectors and xray scanners, Jamie got upset because her favourite toy had to go through the machine!

We saw the team for the British Olympic slalom race do some training and were interviewed afterwards. We saw some guys doing some freestyle tricks in their little canoes and we saw the Olympic torch arriving and doing a circuit of the rapids in a raft, actually they had to do it twice because they went so fast the first time round the water splashed the flame out!

This is the British Slalom team practicing -


This is the first time round with the Olympic torch when it went out, although you can't quite see the torch!


There were a couple of TV crews there, I've not seen it on the news but the event is on the Daily mail online!
(We're in the crowd somewhere in that picture) On the way out, Jamie and Alex saw BBC three counties radio interviewing some random people, asking them how they liked the show. Luckily it stayed dry while everything was going on, only raining when we got back to the car. It was a good day out, a real experience!

Also, later on, we braved the rain and went to Hitchin to see Tree Fu Tom for Amelia :)




Friday, 6 July 2012

An indoors day

It's been a very muggy couple of days here, I would really love to see a storm! but today it's just plain old raining again. I'm trying not to let it dampen my spirits.
Yesterday we went to Gambados (it's a big indoor play area) met up with some other home ed friends. It was really good to have a little chat and Alex almost played with one of the other children in the group-I saw him talking to her anyway, and he even went and played without Amelia after a while! It's slow progress but progress none-the-less.
After an hour and a half Alex came to me saying that he "felt weird" and then about 5 minutes later wanted to go, he did look very hot.
Nana came round in the afternoon and Alex showed her all of his snails and caterpillars, and his new tricks he can do on the trampoline, he's getting really good now, I did try to get him to have trampolining lessons, but he'll have none of it :(
I suggested earlier to Alex that we could find more empty snails shells and make a big snail collage out of them, he thought that was a brilliant idea, so now we've got a jar slowly filling up with empty snail shells.


After Jamie came home from school, she helped me make the cheese sauce for the macaroni cheese that we were having for dinner, she did a really good job of mixing the flour and melted butter, and then very carefully added the milk a little at a time while I stirred it all in. I was even more amazed when Alex ate it all at dinner time, he's not had it before!
Before dinner, Jamie and Alex were desperately trying to build a tree house in our Lilac trees, Alex was telling me how he was going to use sellotape to hold planks of wood to the branches! When I told them they'd have to use nails and a hammer and have my help(which I couldn't at the time as I was getting dinner out) they were really disappointed. I'll have to have a look and see if it's possible to make some kind of platform in the trees :)
Jamie had a complete meltdown after dinner, Her and Alex were fighting over whose 5p it was that she found under the swings, I knew it was Alex's because he dropped some out of his pocket in that same place earlier but Jamie went into meltdown and stormed off into her room. I think Jamie's behaviour recently is mostly due to her having a lot of broken sleep lately, she has insomnia too which really doesn't help, and neither does having to get her up in the morning to take her to school.(10 days to go!)
When Jamie went to bed, she made her own calender and added as many events as she could think of(as many as I could too). Alex was still feeling a bit weird, so after building a house out of Lego, he settled in bed quietly(for once!).
Tomorrow is a very exciting day, we have to get up REALLY early and get to Lee Valley. They are doing a test run of the Olympic canoe slalom events, using real crowds, and we've managed to get tickets to be in the audience! The Olympic torch is also going through there too, it should be a good day, especially if it's not raining! Afterwards, Tree Fu Tom is apparently coming to Hitchin! so we'll try and make it there too :)
Today, after taking Jamie to school, we had our shopping DELIVERED! yay! that was sooo much easier! :)
Alex did a brilliant job of helping bring it all into the house, and then amazingly, immediately found the bag that had all the chocolate and crisps in.
I was suffering from 'Alex-not-being-able-to-go-on-the-trampoline-because-it's-raining syndrome', he was just crashing and jumping and running all over the place, constantly! then, I was saved, he decided that he'd watch about 4 episodes of 'Andy's Wild Adventures'. He looked absolutely mezmorised seeing how the mother Cayman really gently picks up it's babies and then gently puts them in the water, and then even more gently, cracks open some unhatched babies into the water. Alex thought they were so cute :)
After lunch, Alex started playing Skylanders, which he hasn't played for AGES, while I cooked dinner. Alex actually learnt to read 4 figure numbers playing Skylanders, and to recognise which is the highest 3/4 figure number out of 2 to choose from, and he's also learning to work out how many more points he needs to get to a certain number, so I don't mind him playing it, theres loads of maths involved :)

Update: I got Jamies school report today, it was really good as usual, and also got her SAT results, she's on level three, above expectations for her age! Just think how well she'll do without school holding her back!