Sunday, 21 March 2010


Hello all, we've had an interesting week this week! Mainly working around documentaries and schools progs on the telly.

I've decided that we need to tie up all loose ends before going away on holiday, so that when we get back we can have a fresh start. So we've been sorting out all the things that need to be finished off and catching up on TV stuff in between. Have only got two weeks and, on investigation, we have tons still to do - eek! Callum has been in a pretty good mood all week which is always a positive thing!

Monday we went through everything that needed doing and made a list. Then Callum decided to upload the photographs we'd taken while out with Linda and Danielle a few weeks ago and set about displaying them by changing backgrounds and typing up text! I didn't even realise he was doing it as I was in kitchen getting ready to bake a cake as we had visitors that afternoon. And there's me saying that he wasn't motivated in the last blog!!! I called him to see if he wanted to help me bake and he shouted out that he was too busy sorting out the camera! Oh well, perhaps I'll shut up in future! After doing 5 A4 sheets of photos and info he decided to help me bake a chocolate cake for the afternoon.

Tuesday morning we managed to finish off the previous week's questions on Primary Geography (BBC schools, 11am Tuesdays) and he happily filled in the blanks without getting distressed - yay! So now have 2 completed things to go in his ongoing 'Water' project. Next we snuggled down with coffee and a snack and watched this weeks Primary Geography which was about floods. Cool, as that can go in project too - am getting quite good at note taking now, haha, just need to persuade Callum to do it. "I do mum, it's in my head!" Then it was off to Peacocks in the High Street to buy pjs and pants for him as he's outgrown everything!! This afternoon I had an appointment at the hospital to do with my shoe raise, so on the bus we went! Callum doesn't mind going to this appointment as he likes the guy who does it and he likes the little office that we go to, so no stress - yay again!

Wednesday morn I had Occupational Therapy do a home visit to see if there was anything that needed altering/adding around the home which would benefit me. They have requested a handrail for the stairs and are going to ask Social Services if they can help with a handrail for the garden steps (although not holding my breath on that one). After that Callum and I looked through my wooden box which contains medals and info of my Uncle and Great Uncle. My uncle was in the Navy and was in WWII so has some stuff that is relevant to our project. My Great Uncle was in WWI so that was interesting to look at too. Callum really enjoyed looking at all the medals and checking the list of ships that my Uncle had been stationed on. Have separated all the WWII stuff and are going to photocopy and put into project as we did with my Aunt's work record and Clothing Coupon book. This afternoon was swimming and, as Callum is in such a good mood, the lesson went really well and he is perfecting his technique for the front crawl. Callum D came along with us as well and they had a play session afterwards until 3.30pm then back to us until 7pm.

Thursday Callum starting to get a bit restless so didn't get any 'work' done in the morning. We did go trampolining in the afternoon though and he worked on the first half of his routine. Much better mood than last week and was happy to head off to Joy's afterwards to play (first time in weeks that we've been there). He was having such a good time, he didn't want to leave! I had a lovely couple of hours chatting with Joy, Jackie and Grace. Weather was lovely too! All in all it was lovely!! Any more lovelies and I might just explode with loveliness - haha.

Friday we decided to curl up with the telly and watch Bang Goes the Theory (Callum had already seen it, but I'd been at pottery Monday so I'd missed it) and Richard Hammond's Invisible Worlds. Took lots of notes for typing up and asking questions. Was rather nice just to be sitting down together and having a chat about things. It's one of those things that I find so valuable and yet will be so difficult to prove to anyone. Because Callum hates writing we often don't have any 'evidence' of work that we've done, but sitting down and having a chat always astounds me as Callum remembers so much and retains so much detail that he often blows me away! Visual and hands-on learning is definitely how he learns and I just hope that if the Bill goes through that anyone visiting will have an understanding of that.

Weekend is now upon us and he's been doing his normal weekendy things which is currently the Wii and SpongeBob Squarepants!

Am hoping that next week is as good. Still don't think we'll complete everything especially as Phil off Mon and Tues, but we shall have a go.


Saturday, 13 March 2010


Well, it's been 3 weeks since school half term and I can't believe it's only another couple of weeks and they are off again! So what have we been up to in that time? Cramming in loads of trips, education, etc?! Hmmm, it's been a bit hit and miss to be honest. Firstly Phil, my partner, has taken time off to use up his yearly leave and it's totally impossible to get anything remotely structured done while he's off, so we've been virtually autonomous!

Now autonomy is a strange word and, to be honest, it scares me! The dictionary describes it (my dictionary anyway - a rather old Oxford Concise) as "the possession or right of self-government" or "freedom of action". This means that I should let Callum find his own way and learn as and when and what he fancies. Now in principle that's great and I do follow that to a point as I base his 'lessons' around his interests and we don't have strict times or timescales, but I do have an idea of what to expect (as does he)! However, autonomous education, means I've got to be ready for action whenever Callum feels the urge, which as an Asperger child isn't that often and, when he is, it's right in the middle of when I'm doing something I can't leave - normally when I'm up to my elbows in flour, clay or, on one occasion recently, dog puke! This is the bit that scares me! You see Callum is 10 and pretty bright and has an interest in all things sciency or computery! I, on the other hand, am 46, a bit less intelligent than I was 10yrs ago (or so it seems) and have no interest in science except for watching documentaries and a very limited knowledge of computers (I can type, do a spreadsheet and copy and paste from the internet. I can also upload photos and print them off, but beyond that is beyond me). Science and ICT for me has to be planned!

As I knew that Phil would be off the Monday and Tuesday and that we already have Wednesday swimming and Thursday trampolining and a hospital check up for me, I decided not to 'plan' anything and just let it roll. Monday was Phil's birthday; a hospital appointment and my pottery. All was good and Callum and Phil played (well Phil played while Callum watched) the new Wii game that we'd bought for dad's birthday. Tuesday, Callum discovered a Dune like game on the computer and spent the day running between that and watching dad on the Wii. All good so far as I wasn't expecting anything, although I couldn't get on the computer for 2 days! Wednesday we made a cake for his sister's birthday in the morning which took all of 15mins and then he was back on his new found game. We did go swimming though and he did really well; getting another thing ticked of the list for his next badge. Thursday his sister came over in the morning and spent the day with us, so no structure that day either although he went trampolining. Friday I suggested doing something, but got the reply 'Mum! It's Friday and we don't do work on Fridays!" The fact that we hadn't done any on any other day was beside the point as far as Callum was concerned. So went to a friend's house for lunch instead and he entrenched himself on her sofa under a blanket and watched Open Season while we had a good chat!

The following week I decided we needed to do something! But Monday came and went under I don't know what! I think Callum was still on his game. Tuesday he had a private trampolining lesson and got something ticked off, so that was good. Wednesday we did some worksheets. Although when I say some, it was 2 as Callum still obsessed with new game! Did go swimming and he had his friend back afterwards to play. Thursday I woke with a stonker of a headache, but we went trampolining and Friday his dad was off work again.

Two weeks of autonomy and I feel like we've done absolutely diddly squat! Callum, however, is now bored with his game and is a little more responsive, so maybe allowing him to 'get on with it' wasn't too bad. But what worries me is that this is ok for a short period of time, but I certainly couldn't do it long term. Callum would, out of choice, play on the computer or the playstation or the Wii. The games he enjoys are battle type games and you could argue that he has to learn strategies and work out how many men/machines he needs to win. He also has to find them in the first place which involves an understanding of the internet, but that doesn't sit right with me. I've said he is now bored with the new found game and doesn't seem to want to play it anymore, but he will find another! He 'cycles' between computer, DS or playstation with the occassional Wii thrown in. He isn't, like some other home educated children that I know, what I call motivated unless it's to ask if we can make a lava lamp when I'm up to my elbows in dog puke! He wouldn't, off his own back, go and cook or go onto Education City or read or even do something creative. He needs to be steered! He'll happily sit and watch a documentary with me, but then the suggestion of researching a bit further in something that caught his attention has him running off upstairs and he most certainly wouldn't watch it by himself! That's the bit that frustrates me the most! Even bits he wants to do and is interested in, he will not do without me getting involved. The lava lamp remained undone even with all the 'ingredients' found - why, because the dog puked again and we never got round to it!

This week we were pretty back to normal although Monday Phil was off again! Tuesday we baked flapjacks for the afternoon when I had a friend drop round for tea and watched a 'schools' programme on the Water Cycle! I was very impressed with what Callum remembered from last year and the following programme on circuits got him interested in his Primary 2 Electronics Kit. So while he 'played' with that I wrote up my notes from the prog and typed up a few questions for Callum to do. Wednesday morning we attempted the questions and verbally he knew all the answers, but to write them down he fell completely apart as he said that his '4' looked like an 'a' and he didn't seem to be able to write 'e'! I looked at his work and discovered that the letters were legiable, but Callum wanted them perfect and, as they weren't, he refused to do anymore. We went swimming and he worked really well, but due to the morning's upset, he got distressed because he could only do 3 laps instead of 4!!! Thursday we managed to finish the sheet without any further problems and I chased the hospital regarding his Speech and Language Assesment. Apparently his paediatrician has sent a letter, but, on calling the centre, I discovered it had been 'lost'. It hopefully is now in hand! Trampolining went ok, but he got frustrated again as he didn't quite 'nail' one of the things he wanted and ran out of time to practise! We also went to Monkey Bizz in the evening with the Autistic group MAGIC. Friday we had a dentist appointment for me and he went to his friend's for tea.

Although we still didn't achieve mammoth amounts, we did get something done and I feel more than what we'd achieved in the two weeks previous. Now I'm not knocking autonomous education, it works! It just doesn't work for us and so we prefer a bit a stucture!