Wednesday, 30 January 2013

KIDZ at Aldenham

We spent the day at KIDZ at Aldenham today, it took me about 45 minutes to get there and it's a really lovely place. I took some photos and thought I'd show all my home ed friends in case they'd like to come to,it's made with SEN children in mind but any children can come, we're organising monthly visits, my three didn't want to leave! :)

 This is a sensory soft play room..

 the different coloured squares change things when pressed...

 a little starry cave :)

 Outside in the main room...

 The main room, different tables for different activities, theres
a big painting table and a foosball table in the background :)
and in the far corner is a lovely reading room with bean bags and 

 I know Amelia's head blurred, she was swinging from side to side!
this was an amazing sensory room....

 there's four of me!

 This room was very chilled, there's an interactive projection 
on the floor, changing between keyboard, drums, and the planets..

and nice comfy sofas :)


  Lots of fun, there were also lots of other bits but I forgot to take 
pictures of them! lots of musical things and wobbly mirrors!

 This is the lake right next to KIDZ...

it's very big! next time we're going to investigate it further :)

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

The Story So Far.....

I was having the mother of all wobbles. I had so many thoughts popping around my head; thoughts from other people; thoughts from me. So many doubts (it really didn't help that I was having another pmdd attack!) It all started I think because I'm having the Elective Home Eduction Officer coming round(still haven't seen her, it was postponed because of the weather), she is on my side, but it still made me scrutinise the way we home school, and with other home ed friends talking about the different ways to home ed, I was feeling confused and lost.

But now I'm not :)

I thought I'd start from the beginning (this is for my own benefit more than anything) :

I took Alex out of school because he simply couldn't handle it. There was nothing the teachers could've done to help him, he would've been better if I had been able to come to school with him, but that wouldn't have solve it. So I took him out of school, Alex having almost immediate relief. Then, getting to know Alex better and realising that there was more to him than I ever realised, I took at least, the next 9 months learning all about him and what makes him tick (or not tick as is sometimes the case!) and I've only just finally figured him out, although I wont ever know everything!
During that 9 months, Jamie was getting more and more unhappy with school, with the lack of freedom and lack of choice, so it was only natural for her to join me and Alex(and Amelia).
But because Jamie had been pushed(and pushed herself) to be the best and stay the best - not saying she WAS the best but she was in the top group and felt the pressures of being there, and that took, and is still taking, a long time to come out of her. She's only now just realising that its ok to not be good at something straight away. So Jamie is still deschooling I think.

And all this time I have been learning. Learning about all the different ways of home educating children, trying to find a style that suits us, and having just spent over a year learning about Autistic Spectrum Disorders, and letting Jamie deschool and letting all three of them get used to being around eachother most of the time, I can now, put my proper attention to HOME EDUCATION!!

I feel like we're only just starting out!

It all makes perfect sense now, I can stop panicking, we're doing OK, and it's about to get even better!

We made lap-books today, it was great! I decided that I'd just get on and do my own lapbook, and within seconds, Alex wanted to make one, moments after that, Jamie wanted to make one too!

 busy at work...

Jamie's one (unfinished)
She spent a long time colouring it in beautifully, and has since done more
for the inside...

Alex's one...front cover...

Alex's inside, he's got crazy stories about Skylanders that I helped him write
he did most of the writing and drawings :)
My one, front cover...
My one inside (unfinished) 
the printer was for some reason only printing in black and white
so my one looks a bit dull :( lol


Monday, 21 January 2013

It's All Snow, Snow, Snow!

What have we done in the past week?.......

Well, it's mostly been snowy so theres been LOTS of messing around in it - sleding, skidding, throwing, building. We all got completely exhausted today having spent 6 HOURS out in the snow!
Alex and I have been sorting out his bedroom, he gets his room into a HUGE mess and then can't cope with it, so I got some more tubs and drawers and we went through all of his things and put them in order. He helped  decide what was going  in the tubs and drawers, and this evening I helped him tidy all of things things away again. He really wants order in his room at the moment but doesn't know how to do it, so hopefully, after he's seen what to do a few times, he'll be able to do it himself. I was having a bit of a wobble (another one...) the other day, thinking that he wasn't learning anything - probably due to the fact we were supposed to have our local Elective Home Education officer coming round (I don't have to have her round, but she's a really lovely lady and it was either have a chat for half hour or spend days trying to write my own report..) But I have realised that with Alex it's not going to be about how good he is at reading (he's getting much better by the way but still has no interest in it) or writing, or how well he's doing at maths etc - not yet - for him it's all about being able to look after himself, being able to deal with his emotions and the everyday things that he finds difficult, and it's also about him finding out about himself, building his self-confidence. I'm so glad I'm not pushing him to read or write because that would be a sure fire way to put him off completey. As it is, Alex can write when he wants to, read when he wants to, on his terms, he doesn't feel like its something that he's constantly failing at, theres no emphasis on it.
We also played 'shop' to get his pocket money. I made some price tags which when all added up came to a bit more than his pocket money, he went and found some things to 'sell' and put the price tags on them, and me, my partner and Jamie all took it in turns to buy things, at least 2 items at a time, with a load of change. I also gave Alex some coins so he had some change t give us back. It did take quite a bit of explaining that we weren't REALLY going to be taking his things away, and that it was just pretend, but the money he COULD keep - Alex doesn't really get 'pretend', but he soon understood, and I reminded him about doing long addition, and he added the items up on paper, and worked out the correct change. It all worked really well, I wish I could give him pocket money everyday! I bet Alex wished that too!!
Jamie has been learning to read music! she found the recorder that I bought from a charity shop a while ago, and started trying to play it, so I dug out the 'easy recorder songs' book - that I also got at a charity shop :) - and she took them into her room, and within half an hour, she called me up and had learnt the first song reading the sheet music! I was really impressed, but not as impressed as she was at herself! Jamie has been making videos of her 'littlest Petshop' toys, she made a news programme, its actually really funny, I'll have to see if I can stick it on here!
So thats some of what we fitted in, in between lots of snow play, most of which I didn't take photos of, partly because we were having too much fun, and partly because i keep forgetting to charge my phone up!!

Here's some pics I did manage to take :)

Jamie said I could show this too! :)

'Littlest PetShop News!'

Friday, 11 January 2013

A week full of surprises.

This week has been full of surprises! Alex all of a sudden decided he would clean and tidy his room! that was 3 days ago and whats more shocking is that it's STILL TIDY!!!! So I helped Jamie tidy her room (actually I did most of it, she just managed to get distracted by everything, conveniently...) and after both their rooms were tidy, they had so much fun, at last, having all that space to play in!
Another shocker - Jamie and Alex have been getting on REALLY well! They're co-operating and sharing and doing nice things for each other! Jamie even showed Alex  how to do a clapping game!
And, we made Casserole for dinner tonight, and they all sat there happily munching away on it rather than moaning and saying they hate it!! (I have been doing dinners differently lately, letting the 3 of them choose what they want - out of a few choices, its better than trying to make one meal that all of us will like - which is really hard!)
AND - to top it all off, just this evening, Jamie helped Alex find some baby moshlings on Moshling Zoo, and Alex was so happy, he yelled from the top of the stairs - "THANK YOU! YOU ARE SUCH A GOOD FRIEND!!"  I am happily flabbergasted! :)

We went to a lovely little home ed meet up today, a play session, all three of them enjoyed running around having cushion fights, painting, playing with sand and generally messing around, it was for younger kids really, just right for Amelia, but Alex and Jamie loved it too!

This week the 'Squishy Human Body' arrived in the post, it's pretty gross,but really cool. You open up the person and can take out the internal organs and they're all squishy and slimy, you get a pair of tweezers to pick them out and match them up on the chart, and it comes with a book explaining how the body works. Jamie immediately took a liking to the brain and made up loads games with it, Alex did a very..erm... odd thing with the heart and the kidneys...he made a tower out of lego to keep them in, it's more like a tomb.....

notice the heart at the bottom and the kidneys at the top....

and with the door closed.(we were talking about symmetry and now Alex likes to build 
symmetrical buildings)

Alex asked if he could get an animal to dissect...he means a pretend one....hmmm, it's a bit weird but I bet surgeons were into that kind of thing when they were little....

Anyway, he's some pics of some of the things they've been up to :)

 There's been lots of 'zoo making'

"Welcome to our zoo!"

 Squishy Human Body!
 More Lego building

 At the play session

Saturday, 5 January 2013

First blog of the year!!

Ello, ello ello!

I've been thinking about how i was going to write this blog for quite a while, and it's taken me longer than expected because I just don't get very much time to concentrate (or even think) properly these days, so I decided that I'd just start throwing words down and see what happens.

Well, my 'new start' hasn't quite started yet - REALLY quite annoyed about that, all because my stupid housing accociation were two months late coming to repair the ceiling on my stairs and landing that started to fall down. We had about 50 million books on the middle bit of the stairs, which I had to move for them to come and replace the ceiling, I stacked them all against the wall in my bedroom, but then in the wait, we had damp problems behind the books, so I had to move them all back onto the stairs, treat the damp, and move them back into the was actually more complicated than that too, but I really can't be bothered explaining anymore! Now they've repaired the ceiling, I had to spend most of the next day clearing up all the mess that was made. Consequently, this whole business took quite a bit of time, and with Jamies birthday and Christmas, I haven't managed to get everything done when I wanted it to.

In other news, I'm realising that I very probably have Aspergers myself too! After all the research I've done and learning that girls show it differently to boys (Jamie shows a lot of Aspie traits too) and after my (failed) CBT which made me learn more about myself, I'm pretty sure I'm an Aspie too.
So this is why I'm utterly RUBBISH with social situation, so I just wanted to explain to those who know me, I can't really do groups, I haven't got a clue, I start losing the conversation, I don't know what to say or when to say it, I usually end up doing something weird or rude, so for everyones sake, I generally avoid groups.
It also explains why I need routine, and another reason why I get so overwhelmed with life. It's kind of cool finding out all this about myself. I'm realising that theres a really good reason for all my weirdness and why I've always felt that I don't fit in anywhere. I do get quite lonely, but because people stress me out, I don't mind being alone most of the time. And I really hate to say this, but this is where facebook has really helped! : / With facebook, I can communicate the way I want to without fear of being strange, I can comment in my own time, I can socialise without the confusion and stress. I've also made some really lovely friends on facebook, I love my facebook friends :)

OK, back to home education!
We are all eager to start doing stuff again now, Amelia, Jamie and Alex are all brimming with energy and possibilities, I just hope I can be the mum they need, i still haven't got the support I need butI am much more positive and determined now.
Alex has finally settled down again after the upheaval of the room swap, it took 2 and a half months, but now he's quite a happy little boy again, I'm so proud of him, he's such a funny and quirky character, it's so good to have him back to normal again!
Both Alex and Jamie have been doing some english and maths over the last couple of days having cleared away all of the christmas things and revealing the work books that had been forgotten about. Alex was also counting all the money he could find, and adding it with other little piles of coins he found in his room, after showing him long addition, he understood it perfectly. He also started reading again, went straight in at the highest level of reading books we have, he was only on level 3-4 a few months ago when he last read a book, I was thinking he would find it hard, but he had no problem at all!! It's crazy that without reading ANY books, he's still improving! it's like magic! ;)
Jamie is becoming more and more aware of the realities of life. She's starting to see the flaws in society, she's getting morals and is a bit of a little freedom fighter, she reminds me a lot of myself when I was her age!
After a bit of a rough time between herself and me, we've found a way of dealing with arguments; we write little notes to eachother expressing our points of view. It's so much better than shouting, we calm down a lot quicker and things get resolved quicker. We get on pretty well these days :)

Amelia is becoming quite a little character now, copying Alex's craziness, which isn't always a good thing...she's got so much confidence, yet still very chilled out, although she does have her mad comic moments, especially in the evening, which really makes us laugh, the other night, after hearing it on the TV, she said "You suck!" !!! funny but we probably shouldn't have laughed at that one!

I will try and do blog once a week now, gotta get back on it, I feel the time is right, I've just gotta find the time to squeeze it in!