Friday, 28 September 2012


just thought I'd give you a little update -

The last two days have been another real revelation for me.

As you may or may not know, I've been finding life a bit hard recently, and I've managed to get myself some CBT, which is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. After having my first session, which was just a kind of introduction really, I was given a book to read through and fill in and I wondered just how this could help me. But it's started making me aware of my thoughts and I've discovered a few things about myself!
I realise that I need routine quite badly, and I have my own little rituals that I like to do, and when I can't do them I get stressed! I didn't even notice that before!! I just reacted without thinking.

And when I'm under stress, I can't cope with dis-order and my own organisation skills go out the window.

Also, I'm letting Jamie stress me out a lot as she is really defiant, we have at least 2-3 big rows a day!! but not the last two days though because she's not been very well and stayed in bed most of the time and I feel amazingly LESS stressed!! and her and Alex fighting - that really stresses me too.

So that's given me something to go on, to figure out how to get around these triggers of my low moods.

It has coincided with me reading a book called 'Siblings Without Rivalry', about how you can help brothers and sisters feel better about each other and get on better, which is just what I need to hear right now, especially while things are a bit quieter, I can actually take time to absorb the information and it's really going in there! There's also bits in the book that I know I'm already doing and have always done which has made me feel that I'm not doing everything wrong all the time!

Also, today, I went to the first of four sessions with the Occupational Therapist about Alex maybe having Dyspraxia, it was for parents only and it was really good! It all makes perfect sense now, about how some of his senses are under-sensitive, and some are over-sensitive and how it can change around from one day to the next, it explains a lot of his behavior and I'm really glad I went, I'm pretty sure thats whats going on, and I'm pretty sure it's Aspergers too, he's a mix of both, so now I can understand where he's coming from and why, and it all makes perfect sense.

So it's all happened at the right time.

Meanwhile, Alex is STILL into Skylanders, he's turning it into a ritual, he resets the characters and builds them up, then starts all over again, when he's not playing it, he doesn't know what to do......not sure if I need to try to intervene and find him something else, or just wait and let him do what he needs to do. He's still doing maths and reading and lots of trampolining, so it's not like he's just staring at the screen all day.

And Amelia is turning into a mini Alex more and more everyday, and her confidence growing, I see another little highly spirited one in the family!

Speaking of which, it's her 2nd birthday on Sunday and I've got a Tree Fu Tom cake to make tomorrow :)

Wednesday, 26 September 2012


It's been hectic (again) the last few days, this isn't going to be a proper blog tonight because I might actually get chance to have an evening - Jamie is watching a dvd, Alex is watching a 'times table adventure' dvd, which is something I bought AGES ago thinking it might get watched, and now because Alex has realised that he is actually quiet clever, he's giving it a go and loves it! It's the first time he's done any multiplication, he loves repeating numbers so I think he'll do really well with it - just remembered, his new thing he does, usually in the car, is to ask how long it will take to get somewhere, or to get something etc, then we say 10 minutes, or whatever and then he'll say "so how much do I need to count up to?" so we say, "count to 60, 10 times, but not really quickly" and he does it! He did that all the time when we were on holiday, he was constantly counting in the did get slightly annoying after a while! but then he leant to do it in his head :)
Jamie has done some writing up about the 'Gunpowder plot', she looked it up on the laptop, read about it, then wrote it out in her own words - first time she's done anything like that- and she did very well.
Today she was learning about Samhain and then paganism, which caught her attention, then Wicca, which REALLY grabbed her attention! a friend sent me a link to a Wiccan website for children where it tells you all about the Pagan celebrations, how to analyze your dreams, how to make sleepbags and all sorts if herbal things that Jamie loved!

we went to Craft club yesterday which Jamie loves, they made castles - photos to follow - Jamie really got into hers, and I'm really glad she loves craft club, maybe I need to find another club as well though for them both...

Alex has just come down to read out the 2, 3 and 4 times table to me!! I've also just given him the multiplication square poster that was being ignored on the wall and he's gone counting crazy!

It really goes to show that just leaving him to do things in his own time, he's taking it upon himself to learm these things!

Alex has sped way ahead of Jamie on his sticker chart, which is quite crazy as it was him the one that hated doing worksheets, and Jamie was always the one for doing that sort of thing.

I had a chat with Jamie earlier, because she thinks that she's not learning because we don't do 'lessons' (possibly still needing to de-school me thinks), so I explained to her about how she can just do whatever she wants to do, follow her interests, and that I'll give her  projects for her to choose what to learn about, to introduce her to all sorts of things and she can see what she likes the sound of, she understood, so now it's opened up a whole new world for all of us, because I've got to find things for her to investigate, which will take us to new places....even more of a reason to get my head sorted!!

(I had my first CBT some homework to do...)

We're going to a Roald Dahl afternoon tomorrow, should be cool, Jamie LOVES Roald Dahl's books, her favourite is 'The Witches'.

Home education is really changing for my family at the moment, Jamie is still trying to get her head around it, it's supposed to take about 1 month for every year they've been at school for the effects of school to wear off, Jamie was at school for 3 years, 4 if you include nursery, and then she has to find her feet as well, it's really interesting seeing the changes....

So much for 'not a proper blog'!!

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Growing and Changing

I've really noticed how Alex is changing and growing.
His confidence in himself is growing. He seems very happy and comfortable with himself and it's so amazing to see because it's a huge change from the extremely anxious and stressed out little boy he was not even a year ago. He's really becoming himself and I'm really enjoying getting to know him more and look forward to seeing how he'll grow.

I'm realising also, that Jamie NEEDS some guidance, whether it's because she's so used to being told what to do at school or what, but I realised because after saying that I wasn't going to make her go to bed at any particular time - trusting her to judge her own bedtimes, she actually, most of the time, still calls down and asks " is it time for bed?" and I can tell she WANTS to be told when she should go to bed. I'm not sure again, if thats because she's so used to being told, but for now I think she needs a little guiding, so when she asks if it's time for bed, I just say yes, and she happily goes off to bed.

 SO, thinking along those lines, I suggested some projects that she could research, which she has gladly taken on.
The first ones are, Samhain, (I thought I'd stick to relevent ones!) and The Gunpowder Plot.
I suggested that along with learing about Guy Fawkes that we get some fireworks and make a Guy to burn as well, do a traditional fireworks night!
We went out and I let her choose her own 'project book' (I've got one for Alex as well should he decide to join in) and she has already made a start finding out about The Gunpowder Plot, which I'm enjoying too because I love history!

Alex has been doing loads of worksheets still, he even got out his maths workbook and said, "I LOVE this one!!"
He's actually really good at maths, he works the answers out quicker than me a lot of the time!

So it's all good at the mo :)

p.s.  I had a little epiphany the other night, I was watching 'Later with Jools Holland'  and I think it was KT Turnstall's debute on the show and she did this fantastic song where she had an acoustic guitar and as she played, she recorded bits on a little gadget, which repeated and made up the backing vocals and stuff (sorry, don't know much about music!) anyway, she basically recorded it, as she did it, as part of her song and it was really cool to watch, and it made me realise, that she followed her love of music, she did what fired her passions and that's what I have to help my children to do, I know it sounds so COMPLETELY obvious, and I did know it before, but watching her performing, I dont know, something just clicked into place. I just just need to be there for them, try to provide what they need to follow their passions and they'll find their path, wherever that leads them.

Friday, 21 September 2012

what a week!

I've not had one full nights sleep ALL week and now it's finally starting to get to me!
My house is even more of a mess, but at least we got our new washing machine tonight!
It's got an awful lot to catch up on, I'll been washing and drying and putting away for a long time....

Alex had is initial assesment meeting with the CDC yesterday, it went pretty well, they are going to go ahead with the testing now, they said he had enough 'quirkiness to warrant further investigation'.
I just want to gather as much information about him as I can, and I'd like to get an experts opinion, although, I'm not sure what I feel about how having a diagnosis will stay with him or how it will affect things for him in the future, thats something i'm mulling over now.

Alex has been Skylanders MAD again! He's determined to do the whole game all on his own from the beginning again, I can't wait til he's finished, it seems to be on a lot, I do tell him to turn it off after a while because other people live here and we don't all want to hear Skylanders for hours and hours!

I'm going to have to go now because Alex has just decided he wants to do some more of his work sheets, and needs my help, maths this time! I have to let him do it whenever he wants to do it, even if it is nearly half nine at night, this is when he'll actually properly learn it, and it will stick, because he's willing and 'in the zone' :)

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Blackboards and Crazy Coconuts

Gonna have to do another quickie tonight, at least try to, Alex is going for his assesment for suspected Aspergers tomorrow with the CDC and I found out today that they may not have all my notes I made a while back so I have to write them all down again!
I'm a little bit excited,  a bit nervous, Alex is fine with it so far, I said it will probably be a bit like his speech sessions and he really enjoyed those, so he's ok about it.

After a couple of days of doing lots of work sheets, today was quite a lazy day, had the shopping delivered and I tell you, they dont get as excited at Christmas as they do when the shopping gets delivered! Alex was out in the street in his PJ's shouting "He's here! he's here!!"

Last night was brilliant. The kids nan (my would-be-mother-in-law) came over to bring our washing round (we've not had a washing machine for 2 weeks's starting to get a bit grim...) and she was a bit shocked when I first told her that I'd be taking Jamie out of school, she's always been quite interested in the childrens education, and I think she thought I was possibly making a mistake. So one of the first conversations she had with Jamie was about school, she asked - "And what have you been learning?" All of a sudden workbooks went flying everywhere, reading books came out, Nana was getting bombarded from left and right with all the work they've been doing, all the things they've made at craft club and at home, and they even started doing more worksheets and reading there and then! I couldn't of asked for a better reply to that question!

We went to craft club yesterday and they made chalk boards! which I think her brilliant, Alex and Jamie have used them loads, what a brilliant idea Heather! They both drilled holes in the wood for hanging them up themselves using a hand drill, sanded all the edges down to make them smooth, then painted them with blackboard paint, so that was brilliant for them to do a bit of woodwork too!

Jamie has seen her two best friends this week, they've not seen each other for about 3 weeks and they were getting on as if nothing had changed, there was me thinking that they'd be talking about school, about what they've been learning.....yeah right! they were just messing around and having fun! I was the one asking all of the school questions!

Amelia has finally decided that she'll let me read to her! she always loves books, but didn't want me reading them to her because she always wanted to keep turning the pages too quickly, or go backwards, but now, she gets a book, comes and sits next to me and says "read please" and she'll sit and listen to the whole book!
She's also got to that point where she wants to do everything herself, including her own seat belt in the car, which she can't do yet but if I don't let her at least try it for 5 minutes she gets so upset!

OK, I still didn't write what I was going to write about the other day, I've been learning about attachment parenting and I'm trying to get my head around how it works in older children, I have a few books to read, but I'll gather my thoughts and get it in a blog at some point!

  Jamie sanding down her board
 The finished blackboards!
(I should've taken more pics but I was really tired and not with it!)

 Alex made a funny man from a coconut!

Amelia sussed out how to put a train track together, she loves trains :)

Monday, 17 September 2012


Jamie woke me up this morning after a not very good sleep - Amelia was crying, she cried when i put her in my bed with me, then cried when i put her back in her bed, then she kept crying when i put her back in my bed, then  she pointed to go downstairs, so i took her downstairs, and she went straight to the snails tank, looked at them, smiled, then wanted to go back in her own bed and slept til morning! Did she have a bad dream about the snails?? Anyway, Jamie wanted some help with her maths worksheets, so I gave myself ten minutes and a cup of Rooibos to wake up, and we went through some maths problems. They were quite tricky problems -especially since she's still really new to division-like £39 divided into 4 people, she's nearly nailed it, it did start to get a bit confusing for her, but she'd done loads already and her concentration was slipping at this point, so I suggested that she go and have a break from it, and try again later. She did try it again later and she's starting to get it more, just needs prompting with the method, think I'll right it down for her, step by step.

Alex has been doing so much reading still, he's not read to me for ages, he reads to himself, so I'd like to hear him read at some point to see how he's doing. He's also really got into Skylanders again, he went absolutely crazy the other day because he managed to beat the big baddie right on the end level all by himself! quite a feat because it's really hard even when I'm helping him! So he's had a big confidence boost about it and now wants to do it again and again!

Yesterday was quite cool. My partner had a huge hangover because he drank way too much at a party he didn't want to go to, so he spent the most of the day on the sofa and he and Jamie watched the film 'Capricorn One', Jamie really got into it. I was busy in the kitchen making soup and lunches so missed most of it but it was really nice to see Jamie spend a bit of time with her dad (Alex wasn't interested at all and took the opportunity to have the whole garden to himself.
Then the both of them watched 'The Fifth Element', which I did manage to see some of :)
Then in a crazy impulse, at half 5 we decided to forget about dinner and go for a walk around those really cool woods at Mardley Heath again, which was really good fun, going on the rope swing again and climbing through the crazy tree roots, it's just the best place.
And even MORE craziness, we got home and cooked a roast dinner! so dinner was rather late in the end, but it was OK because we dont have to worry about school anymore!

I was going to write more in this blog tonight but Jamie has just had me upstairs helping her with her English workbook!
So I'm going to grab whats left of the evening and hopefully write what I was going to say tomorrow!

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Poetry in Motion :) (academically-wise)

I wasn't going to write a blog tonight but i thought I'd do a quickie because something pretty good happened today and I have to get it on record!
It all started when I just had to turn the television just after lunch. It'd been on all morning, watching repeats of Tree Fu Tom, Sponge Bob and playing Skylanders and I just go sick of it and said it was going off. Jamie had gone upstairs anyway and Alex didn't seem to mind.
Just on the off-chance, I showed Alex an english work book that I'd ordered for him. (They were the same ones that I got for Jamie a couple of weeks ago that were on offer at the checkout at the supermarket, it was a impulse buy, thought they might get used and they are curriculum linked, only for my peace of mind so that i get an idea of where abouts they are-I know, i still find it hard to let go!- so i  found some for Alex's level online.)
Thinking that he'd not be interested at all,  i had a sudden brainwave and said that i'd do the writing down for him, and he said "OK!"
So i read it out to him, he answered the questions, and then i wrote them down, and he did 8 pages!!
Then Jamie came came down and was really shocked to see that Alex had caught up with her on the sticker chart that they'd decided to make the other day - they decided that for every page of work they do, they get a sticker and when they have ten stickers, i'm supposed to have a tub full of little toys for them to choose one!!
So Jamie quickly got her workbooks out, thinking it was some sort of competition, I did explain to her that it wasn't, but she didn't want to listen to me, and plowed on and did some more (her ones are harder so take a bit longer) and she got a bit panicky!
After a bit of a battle with Jamie and me, me helping her to see that it's not a competition, and there is no winners or losers, it turned into a 3 hour, solid reading, maths and english extravaganza!
Alex read about 8 books!
Then he did some more from his english workbook, then, while i was helping Jamie with her new maths problems, he made up his own sums, and he even got them round the right way instead of right-to-left, and i could see how playing skylanders has been helping him because he was adding up big numbers and getting them right!
Jamie worked really hard and cracked a quicker way to add up big numbers.

So much work was done!
And it really made a difference to Alex that I did the writing for him, he must find it really difficult.

And just tonight, they both tidied their rooms up without me saying anything!!
Amelia is sitting on the rug in front of me putting a train track together, she's really coming on well too.

I know we're unschooling, but i still cant help get excited about the amount they did today, it's happened just the way I've heard it does - weeks of watching tv or not seeming to do much at all, and then all of a sudden a whole half a terms worth of stuff gets done in a day! I could really tell that they learnt so much in a couple of hours today, it really went in, rather than if they were to be forced to do it and not really be interested, it would've taken a lot longer to sink in.

It was lovely to see :)

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

back into the swing of things

I've not had a gentle start to the new 'term', it's gone straight into being really busy!! caught me off guard a bit too, what with badminton and Beavers last night, was supposed to go swimming tonight but just really needed to not go out tonight - ended up having a bath with Amelia instead! She did a fantastic job of washing herself, not bad for a nearly 2 year old!

I handed in the de-registration letter for Jamies school today, finally we are officailly home educating! yay!

Yeah, Beavers last night....Alex was really willing to go, Jamie was all set to go too, then asked if she had to wear a uniform if she joined, when I said yes, she got in a weird mood, and refused to go.....I know she wants to do it, they said there's a space for her for the rest of this term if she changes her mind, so perhaps she will, she especially looked interested when I told her that in a couple of weeks they're going to to be doing a night-time treasure hunt through the woods! It was a bit of a nerve-racking session last night, introductions with all the new members, Alex wasn't going to talk, but then did in the end and he even had to tell the whole group that he was home schooled! I'm really glad he's more confident about saying it now, he was slightly worried, being the only one who's home schooled, but he did it, and it went down well....I think!
He still didn't want to join in any of the games, and at the end he started playing up a bit, got a bit stressed and walked away when he was being spoken to, then as soon as the doors were open, he was off like a bullet! I asked him if he enjoyed it and he said yes, and was full of beans afterwards again.

I know it's just something I need to get used to, but with being with Alex and not being at school, Alex can be himself and we all know him and everything seems pretty normal, but when it comes to him being around neuro-typical children, in a school-like environment, it really shows how he doesn't quite fit in, and it was a bit of a shock after having just spent the last 7 weeks without him being in that kind of environment. I know he was nervous as well because it's still very new, I'm hoping he'll start to relax, it doesn't matter if he doesn't join in everything, but he'd be happier once it didn't freak him out so much.

Jamie has been less like 'Kevin the teenager' and a lot more settled and relaxed. She's found a different programme to be obsessed about, it's still a bit inappropriate, but it's made a huge improvement on the way she talks to us, she's been watching The IT Crowd!! for those who know this show - I know! there are some swearing and rude bits, but she thinks its hilarious! It all started while we were away, I took our 'IT Crowd' boxset with us and we watched it most nights and the kids bedroom was right next to the livingroom, so we could hear masses of giggling going on behind our shoulders! But now, instead of sounding like some annoying cartoon character, she sounds like Jen from the show, which is a nice change.

We've done quite a bit of home ed socialising this week - yes, you heard me, I said SOCIALISING...hahaha
Yesterday we went to craft club and was pleased that Jamie joined in this time. It was pottery this time and they both made some very interesting sculptures that are to be fired. I was really pleased to see Alex having fun with a boy that he's been getting to know, my friends son, and her other sons too actually, he's actually making home ed friends which is so brilliant!
Today we met up with some home ed friends again and went for a lovely walk through the best woods I've been to! there are some fantastic trees and a rope swing, it is so cool, I even had a go on the rope swing! We all had a brilliant time.

So it' been a busy start for us this week, and even though I'm already feeling a bit overwhelmed with it, it's been great. Ready to take it easy for the rest of the week though, although, Jamies friend is coming round tomorrow! and I'm pretty sure something else is happening too but I can't for the life of me remember!!

Pics aren't brilliant, but the other pics had everyone else in them too so can't use them!

I hope Hal the dog doesn't mind being in this one :p


Amelia collecting acorns :)

Monday, 10 September 2012

A wonderful Week in Wales :)

We had such a brilliant time in Wales!
And we were so lucky we had the best weather all week, it was only a little drizzly on the sunday morning, and sunny and clear the rest of the time!
We did LOADS of things. We tried to cram in as much fun as possible into the week.
We went up to the top of Mount Snowdon, in a train (which we very nearly missed, we had to run down the road and were still late but amazingly the train had been unusually delayed!) I was quite scared at the top of the mountain, there wasn't that much room and Alex was quite excited and liked disappearing around the corner out of sight! But it was amazing to look out and see the other mountains and hills around and know that we were taller than all of them, and to see a few wispy clouds hugging the side of the mountain beneath us.
We went to a Himalayan fairtrade exhibition where Jamie bought a 'singing bowl' out of quite a few to choose from, she chose the one that 'sang' in her hand - reminded me of Harry Potter when he got his wand lol (I bought a gorgeous warm hand-made jumper!)
We went to Caernarfon Castle, which Alex absolutely LOVED and quite terrifyingly, kept running off and tearing up the twisty stone spiral towers right to the top which was VERY high! He kept saying "I love this place!"
We went on a boat trip around the Menai Straits, which is the bit of sea that goes between mainland Wales and the Isle of Anglesey.
We spent quite a bit of time on Red Wharf Bay in Anglesey where Jamie and Alex collected lots of shells and saw little fish and crabs and Alex found a sea urchin, and we saw lots of different types of sea bird like Oyster Catchers, and Curlews and Great Black-Backed Gull and some Herons.
We went for a walk up the big rocky hill that we could see from our cottage.
We went for a walk around the bottom of snowdon, Alex has found something that he LOVES doing - rock climbing! he was brilliant at it and loved it, he just had to climb every rock and boulder he found, his confidence was amazing! So I'll be looking into seeing what I can do for him back here......
We went to a butterfly park and mini zoo type thing, the butterflies were so cool, and because everyone was back at school, we got the whole big bouncy castle all to ourselves for as long as we wanted! I managed to do some somersaults too!
We went to a hill that had standing stones, hut circles, burnt mounds and a cairn circle from the bronze age, it was lovely there and had a lovely view of snowdon.
And we went for an evening walk across Menai Bridge, which joins mainland Wales to Anglesey, and watched the sunset - another scarey experience as it was VERY high and close to the road and a bit windy, but a fantastic view!

It was sad to have to leave the mountains, I'll miss them.

When I got back I started feeling a bit low again, I think my house is really getting me down, so I have the dilemma to either really give it a good try at sorting it all out myself even though the children are here all the time, in the hope that it'll get done relatively quickly and then I can get back to having some proper fun with the kids, OR do I just chip away at it little by little whilst still having a bit of fun with the children??....... and while I'm trying to decide this life keeps ticking away.....i really need a life coach or something....
I got an appointment for the Cognitive Behavior Therapy people today, hopefully they'll be able to help me sort things out in my head.

This morning I had to de-register Jamie from the junior school she's supposed to be going to today!
I asked her a few days ago if she was sure about not going to school, it being her last chance, she gave me this look of disbelief, and said "why would I want to go to school???"

I also set out some work sheets for them to do, Jamie wanted to do some, she did all of them so quickly! it was some multiplication and division, it was the first time she's done division and she picked it up straight away. She also did some literacy too, zipped through it really fast making me think I'll have to give her a bit more tomorrow! Alex normally does what Jamie does, so I set him up a couple of pages to do just in case he wanted to do some too,  it was fractions, he first had to colour in the half or the quarter/s of some shapes, which he had no problem figuring it out, but when it came to writing down what the fractions were, he started complaining and didn't want to do it, he knew the answers, just didn't want to write it down. I'm thinking that it's because he finds writing quite difficult...........or boring!

He was up til nearly midnight last night reading though!

Jamie even got out her maths book this evening after dinner and did a few pages, then started writing a story but became too tired, so stopped.

I'm really gutted at the moment because I'm going on a course about dyspraxia which just happens to be on at the same time as craft club, but I'm really lucky because my mum has offered to take the children to it while I go! I'm so pleased they wont be missing out, but I'm gutted because it's a chance for me to have a little chat with some other home ed friends, which I haven't seen since before the summer holidays :(
It's only 4 weeks though so I'll get there eventually!

OK, I got to play Badminton this evening, first time in ages and it was really good fun, so now I'm feeling quite relaxed and content...for I'll stick on some pics from the holiday and go have a rest :)
I'll stick on the ones of us at the top of Snowdon tomorrow as they are on my partners phone, my phone died halfway up :(