Tuesday, 16 October 2012

thinking thinking thinking.....

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

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

Friday, 12 October 2012

Swimming and Sore Losing

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

Still having a better time!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

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

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

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

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

Yesterdays activities -

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

 Jamie playing with the leftover clay

 Alex and Amelia saying hello to the geese at the nursery

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

Todays activities -

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

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

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

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

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Out and About

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Amelia's birthday cake!
 Inside a huge conifer tree

 exploring a stream

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