Saturday, 25 September 2010



Part 2 of this past week.

After Monday's rather eventful and excessive walking day, Tuesday was spent doing 'lessons' at home.

We had a good sort out of our project and had a brilliant discussion that went off on so many directions! It started off with naming oceans and discussing currents. We talked about the Southern Ocean and how, because there is little to no land mass, the waves can get really large and the currents really strong (remembered from when Ellen Macarther was on Top Gear - useful programme in a strange way). We then talked about the Gulf Stream and what would happen if the Greenland ice cap melts and how it would affect the Stream (Global Warming). Callum used our recent hot and cold water experiment as a way of explaining (rather coherently actually) and then he spotted the sheet which listed the various chemical make ups of the oceans. This led us to drag out the periodic table and start looking things up, which led on to chemistry in general and finally we dragged out the chemistry set and did some experiments on soluble and insoluble materials.

I love home educating! Whenever a conversation/lesson like that one happens I always sit back and wonder if it would have been allowed to develop like that in school - my answer is always 'probably not'!

Wednesday was up to London for a visit to the Aquarium. Train journey ran smoothly and we didn't get lost!!!

Had to walk past the London Eye which Callum stated emphatically that he would never ever go on! Way to high and way to big! As had bought our Aquarium tickets in advance we went straight in only to be encountered by a school group! Eek! Callum not good with school groups as previously mentioned. Headed straight to the lift, got in and pressed the down button before anyone else, except me, could get in! Oh well, never mind!

The Aquarium was really good and Callum had a great time even though we had to manoeuvre our way around the school kids occasionally. He had a one-to-one talk with the guy at the rock pools (unintentional I might add, but no-one else there), he got to hold a crab and stroke a starfish! Then more one-to-one when he went to feed the rays! Lovely Australian guy stood with him and showed him all the different types of ray and explained how they ate, etc. Brilliant stroke of luck! We did get a bit lost because of my incompetent map reading with an 'I told you so' from Callum when he was proved right (hmmm, smartarse moment of the day me thinks)! Went through gift shop and bought our required fridge magnet and an ICE CREAM TRUCK!!!!!! Ok, not exactly fish orientated but it was rather cute and Callum doesn't have one in his immense collection of cars!

Had lunch by the river outside! Big Ben chimed perfectly - much to Callum's amusement and weather was beautiful. Callum remarked that he wouldn't mind going on one of the cruise boats on the opposite side of the river to us. As we weren't running to any schedule, I said 'why not' as long as he didn't mind walking over the bridge and waiting in an almost definite queue!

Off we went and decided that a little round trip up to the Tower of London and back would be enough, so joined the much smaller queue for an obviously less touristy boat and I managed to get 1/3 off even though wasn't entitled to it. Lady at counter asked if I had a travel card and I said that I hadn't as I hadn't needed one. Don't know whether it was my stick or the fact that I mentioned Callum's DLA letter, but she let us have the 1/3 off anyway - lovely lady!!

Had to wait a bit for the boat and Callum did get a bit annoyed as it was supposed to leave at 3.30pm and didn't start letting us on until 3.40pm. He raced upstairs and grabbed seats at the front! Was very excited and said he'd love to go under Tower Bridge. Anyway, boat turned round and off we went. The trip was really nice AND we went under Tower Bridge which was probably the highlight of Callum's day!

Back on dry land he announced that he'd had enough but that he had to admit that there was lots and lots to see in London and that perhaps we should come back and do the tour bus next time!!! Hang on! Did I just hear you correctly Callum? You want to come BACK TO LONDON!!! This is the kid that a couple of weeks ago was freaking out about going to London for The Deep Exhibition! I think I'm finally getting through to him. Must admit, the fact that it was just me and him and no time schedule probably helped.

Decided to walk to Charing Cross as at least we may get a chance of getting a seat on the train home as we'd be one of the group first getting on. Walked up past The Old War Office (where I used to have to go to get my wages when I worked with the MOD) and on up to Trafalgar Square! Thought Callum was going to wet himself with excitement! No he wasn't excited about Nelson's Column or the huge lions, he was excited as he could see the fountains!!! Water again - he's obsessed! Thought he'd freak because of the mad traffic, but he thought it was hilarious how the cabs and buses beeped each other and started making up conversations for them - bless! Spent ages playing with the water and getting soaked by the spray and then headed for the station. Here Callum did freak!! He really can't cope with rush hour (or rush 5 hrs as it seems to start at 2pm and go on till about 7pm nowadays), but I stayed calm, gave precise instructions and made him hold my hand. We got onto the platform and the train without a fuss and got seats straight away - result!

Back home we both collapsed again after another long day - I am so going to ache by the end of this week!

Anyway, part 3 tomorrow!

Friday, 24 September 2010



We have just had an incredible week! And a very good one at that. Although I feel like I've walked for England and I now ache like hell, but that's a different story!

Back to this week, well Monday anyway (part 2 will follow).

We went out on Monday to meet up with our ASD home education group. This time it was being held at Manor Park, West Malling as I had worked out that it was easier for me to get to than Trosley. Bless them! We are trying out different venues to see which ones work for both us mums and our very special children.

Anyway, we set off at about 10.15am to catch the first of our trains (3 in all which doesn't sound very easy, but the park was supposed to be about 15min walk from the station so was actually easier than the last meeting). We get on what is supposed to be our train to link with the Maidstone train at Strood, but as we are pulling into Strood we see the Maidstone train pulling out!!!!! Had to wait 1/2hr for next one - hmmm, internet directions not good on this occasion. We get to Maidstone Barrackes and walk up to Maidstone East where Callum promptly points out that we could have got a bus to here and saved ourselves changing trains twice!!!!! Remember me mentioning 'Smartarse Syndrome' last week? Well, here we go again! I sheepishly agree as it wasn't even something I'd thought of, partly because neither myself or Callum travel well on buses, so I'd automatically looked up the train version of the journey - der!!! What made it worse was that because we had already missed a connection, the whole journey had been mucked up, so there we were stuck on another station for another 20mins!

We finally get to West Malling and I get out the map that I'd printed off. We follow the directions, checking with a guy with a rather amazing handlebar moustache that we were heading in right direction. We were! Although he did state that it was a long way! Should have listened, moustaches like that never lie!!

Off we go, following the map and end up in .......... a farmer's field! Yep, horses to the left of us and orchards to the right and Callum stuck in the middle with me!! (ooo I feel a song coming on!). Okay! What to do? Don't want to go back as it's miles (or felt like it by then), so decide to go forward as we've spotted a duel carriageway ahead. Off Callum stomps like some intrepid explorer while I hobble along with my stick behind him being watched by horses who obviously thought we were completely bonkers! We reach the dual carriageway and have no idea which way to go, but as map had said we should have gone right somewhere along the last road we were on, right is where we went. Bit scary walking along a dual carriageway with lorries thundering down by the side of you. Callum did incredibly well not to completely freak out, in fact, I think he was rather enjoying it - strange lad! We get to a roundabout, no signs for Manor Park, but I spot a guy in a suit loitering on the corner. Assuming that he'd come from over the road at the industrial estate, I ask him directions only to discover that, yep, you've guessed it, he was lost too!!! He was looking for a bus stop as he'd come down for an interview (on the wrong day it turned out, glad it wasn't just me having a der day) and he must have come out of the estate the wrong side. Anyway, we all head off together towards another roundabout that we can see ahead of us.

Turns out that he works in mental health and lives in Reading!!! Had come down for an interview (on wrong day as already mentioned) and was now heading back to the train station. We had a good old chat about Autism, home education, university (his son was just about to go off to one and he didn't even know how to make a cup of tea!). We found a bus stop, but as we were having such a good chin wag, he said he would continue to walk down with me to keep me company - bless!

Finally found Manor Park, with a bus stop opposite so my new found friend could get back to the station!!! Had only taken 45mins walk!!!!! Whole journey had taken nearly 3hrs, was supposed to have taken half that time! Met up with everyone and had a good laugh about our adventure. Callum even fell asleep for about 20mins under the picnic table! Spent a rather enjoyable afternoon with everyone and left about 3pm as I knew there was a train at 3.20pm. Decided to get bus back to West Malling and then bus from Maidstone East to home! Journey went much smoother and it took us 1hr 15mins to get all the way back! What we also discovered, while waiting for a bus at Manor Park, was that there is a bus that goes there from CHATHAM!!!!! So the journey could have been even easier! Am going to have to research it as I found that St Leonard's Tower is there and I've been wanting to visit it for ages!

Got home shattered! Both Callum and myself flopped on sofa and didn't move for about 1/2hr! Was a good day though; Weather lovely, people wonderful and sometimes it's nice to have an adventure!


Saturday, 18 September 2010

Hi all,

Been a couple of weeks now, so I hope you have all settled back in to the termtime thing, whether that is at school or otherwise!

We've been busy, then lethargic, then busy, then poorly and hopefully busy again next week!

We never made it to private trampolining. Callum just wasn't feeling up to it and, to be honest, neither was I. I think that was the start of the Autumn hibernation time and possible bugs.

We did go to the Natural History Museum though for The Deep! Had a great day and his friend Callum D enjoyed it too! I started the day feeling rather smug but was promptly brought back down to earth again! I thought I'd covered all of Callum's issues, but you can pretty much guarentee that there will always be something I've missed! There were no escalators involved in either of the tube stations - check! I'd got tickets in advance, so no queuing - check! As it was first week back at school, there were no school groups - check (Callum still freaks out if he sees a school uniform!). I'd got a packed lunch I'd knew he'd eat, so no having to make decisions re food - check! However, numpty here forgot about the main hall!! No, it wasn't the large dinosaur bones he was freaked by! It's the fact that it covers the whole building from floor to ceiling and is therefore really really high!! He can't stand high ceilings, it's like vertigo in reverse! So what did we do? Well, everytime we had to cross the main hall, he'd get to the edge, I'd point out an opposite alcove and he'd leg it as fast as he could to the appointed target while myself and the other Callum took a slower pace and caught him up! There's always something, but we normally find a solution! The joys of Asperger's!

Talking of Asperger's, another little quirk is the 'I'm a smartarse' syndrome. Take this for example; I told both of them (both have a diagnosis of Aspi, so it was double whammy day) that they could go on ahead, but not too far and not to leave the exhibition and to make sure that if they did go ahead because something had caught their eye, they were to tell me first! Fine, all was well and they did exactly as asked. However, half way round they were getting a little restless and wanted to go ahead a bit (we'd reached a bit of a bottleneck, so they needed some space). Off we went, but something caught MY eye and I stopped to take a photo! Next thing, no Callums! Eeek! Bad enough losing your own kid, but when you have someone else's too, it's a bit more eeek!! Anyway, off I go in the general direction we were heading and found them round the corner, quite happily waiting for me and using the computers to send images to their emails at home.

"Why didn't you stop and wait for me?" I ask.
"We didn't know you'd stopped!" My Callum replies
"I thought I'd lost you!" I start to say, but I get interupted by my Callum going
"You told us to tell you if we were stopping or going ahead! But you just stopped and didn't say anything, so it wasn't us that got lost, it was you!"

Hey ho! That was me told then!! And to be honest I couldn't really argue as he was right - smartarse!! And, at least they didn't go too far, although if the computers hadn't grabbed their attention, I'm not sure what would have happened.

Anyway exhibition wasn't bad, although Callum did point out that it was pretty stupid to give the kids an activity sheet when it was so dark that you couldn't read it - smartarse again! But, in his defense, perfectly true!!

Decided to get them both a sticker book from the gift shop and Callum D had some money of his own to spend. My Callum wouldn't buy anything as it was "too expensive" (said rather loudly while I looked for a hole to jump in) and then proceeded to reorganise all the rubber fish so that they all faced the same way (3 trays worth I'd like to mention!). So impressed was the shop assistant that he said it was a shame he wasn't older as he would have shown him to his supervisor and given him a job! £6.50 an hour if you're interested!

They then decided to go round the rest of the museum and were especially taken by the dinosaur section and, in particular, the robotic velociraptors and the TRex! So much so that my C wants to do a project on them. Most boys love dinosaurs from a very young age, but he's never been interested until now! I can feel a Jurassic Park film session coming on and a good old ferret around for some books + we have Dino-opoly (Monopoly with dinosaurs), so we might actually get to play it after owning it for 2yrs!!!

The rest of the time up to now has been the usual round of trampoling, seeing friends, working on workbooks and doing science experiments. One of which was a rather cool one involving hot and cold water. The cold water is heavier than the hot water, so it stays at the bottom, while the hot water 'floats' on the top! There is no paper between the jars and it is the water that is coloured, not the jars themselves. It was rather brilliant! We are currently immersing an egg in vinegar for a week to make a bouncy egg - it already feels really disgusting and we experimented with weight and found that 4 raw eggs will withstand nearly 11kg of weight before 3 of them broke. The books were so heavy that even we had trouble lifting them!

Other news is that Callum has decided to read! By himself! No pushing from me. He's reading every night before he goes to bed and yesterday I caught him reading the local free paper and moaning like an old man that of all the events that had happened locally this past weekend they had only covered one of them!!! Perhaps he'll be a journalist - haha!
Well, that's about it for now, cya!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010



We had a quieter week last week (beginning 23rd August)! We had planned on a quiet August, but so far, as you know, it hasn't happended!

I had a friend come for lunch on the Monday, so Callum spent most of the day on the computer. He's into Roblox at the moment and plays every chance he gets!

Tuesday we were on our own, so I pottered and Callum was on the computer again!

Wednesday, we went to the pictures to see Marmaduke and Terri, his sister, came with us! I've finally got round to sending off for my CEA card, which means I go for free as his carer and it turned up last week. It means that the money I would normally spend on my ticket can be used to buy the treats! I think having popcorn and a drink is all part of going to the cinema, but it works out so expensive. Having the CEA card is a great help! You have to be in receipt of disability allowance (or in this case Callum is) and you pay £5.50 per year for the card. It has a photograph of the person in receipt of the DLA on it and it entitles them to take a carer for free! Well worth the £5.50 as you virtually gain that money back after the first visit!

By the way, the film was really funny and Callum had a great time!

Thursday, he saw his best mate again! Trying to pack in as many visits as possible before his mate returns to school in September!

Friday was quiet again as I had a hospital appointment in the afternoon. Was the quickest appointment I've ever had!! 25mins!! Wow! Went shopping in the sales afterwards for 'school stuff'. Was going to treat Callum to a hot wheels track thingy, but although it was amongst the sale items it wasn't in the sale!! I wish shops wouldn't do that. As I didn't have enough money, I had to disappoint him - he was gutted and I was angry with the shop and felt upset for him. Am hoping it will still be there tomorrow as going back up the High Street then and will have the money! He has been so good over the holidays; being helpful, going to the MAGIC days by himself and he has now managed a week and a half of being dry at night, I think he deserves it!

Bank holiday weekend he spent time with dad at the allotment and taking the dog out for longer walks and we had P's brother and sister-in-law for dinner on the Monday!

Yesterday, was Broadstairs with our 'baby group'! Fantastic weather! Callum spent practically the whole day in the sea, partly exploring rock pools, partly watching the tide come in and mainly jumping waves!

Today he has Callum D here, tomorrow is private trampolining and Friday we are going to Natural History Museum for The Deep exhibition. We never did make it to the zoo, but as we can go whenever we feel like it, it isn't really a big deal!

To all of you preparing for your kids to go back to school - good luck! So glad don't have to worry about uniforms or first days anymore.

To all of you home educator people out there - good luck in whatever you're planning to be doing in your 'school year' and have fun if you are attending any 'Not Back to School' picnics!