Thursday, 31 March 2011


Hi all This is to say that Callum has not been feeling himself for over 4 weeks now. I don't know what is going round at the moment, but it seems that everyone is feeling grotty and has been since Christmas. Callum had managed to avoid it when I had it, but he's definitely got some kind of very persistent bug now.

It started as a cold, coughing, sneezing, that kind of thing, but it just wouldn't go away. We did the usual plenty of fluids, rest, tlc, but he was getting fed up with feeling crap. Anyway off to the docs we went last week and he was given antibiotics to clear up a phlegmy throat (yuck!). The antibios were finished yesterday and he still isn't right, poor bugger!

All this week he has woken up with migraine type headaches with light sensitivity. He's been walking around the house wearing sunglasses. To be honest he looks like an extra from the Blues Brothers as for the past few days he's been wearing his black pjs as well. Back up the docs we went today. Apparently his throat is no longer phlegmy and his chest is clear, so it's back to tlc, fluids and paracetamol. The worst thing is that he keeps feeling so tired. One minute he's his bouncy self and then he's as white as a sheet and wants to go to sleep. Unfortunately, being an Aspi, he will not give in unless he drops (see pic above). Bedtime is 9pm and he will not go to bed before then. Oh well.

Undetered, he's been keeping up with his home ed work, so fair play to him. We are now trying another new approach! I'm going to give him a list of things that I want him to do by the end of the week and he can choose what order he wants to do them and when he wants to do it. As long as the whole lot is done by the end of the week. So far, admittedly it's only been a week, it's working and he's enjoying ticking things off.

The idea came from a discussion with some friends whose children go to school. They are getting their homework at the beginning of the week and as long as it's handed in by the following Monday, they can do it as and when. I thought, why not. It means that if he wants he can work really hard at the beginning of the week and have the rest of the week off. Or he can spread it through the week evenly (or mad rush it if he really wants to - haha). What it also means is that he's taking responsibility for his learning. I've started off with a fairly basic list that is easy to follow and to do and he's working his way through it nicely! Each week I'll add a bit more until we are including experiments and artwork. At the moment it's just review sheets, maths, a bit of documentary watching and some computer research work.

So, all is not well on the health front, but on the work front things are going pretty swimmingly.


PS: The little dog in the picture is Merlin. He's my daughter's dog, a Chiuaua/Jack Russell cross and he's fully grown!!

Monday, 21 March 2011


Hello all

Happy Ostara to you all. It's the first day of Spring today and it's been a beautiful day. The sun has been shining and Callum awoke in a very good mood.

He came down and decided to make a cup of tea for me and for him and sort himself out some cereal. He then sat down on the sofa with his breakfast AND his maths! He whizzed through his questions, pointing out that he wasn't up to date on some of the sheets, so he was going to do extra to get them all on the 50 mark. He'd finished both breakfast and maths by 9am!

As I was totally unprepared for this rush of inspiration, I decided I needed another cuppa to get my head around it. So Callum played on Wii Sports until I'd done what was necessary.

He then spent another hour on the computer researching pictures and some pictorial information about two of our projects that we need to sort out. Doing title pages for both and cut and pasting relevant pictures he'd found. One was for Waves, which we are doing at the local Home Education Science Fair in May and the other was for Transport which we are hoping to cover in a couple of months. He still has Titanic (we are going to the exhibition at the O2 next month) and Space, which we have been covering off and on since Christmas, to do, but he'd had enough and, to be honest, he'd done quite a bit.

After lunch, and still happy, we went off to trampolining. He was fine on the way there, fine when we got there, fine going in and then suddenly he was playing up. Wouldn't listen to James and started mucking about and being very half hearted about the whole thing. We let him have a play bounce to see if that worked, but it didn't. 20mins in he still wasn't himself and I stopped the lesson and asked, seriously, what was wrong. "I don't want to do it, it's boring!" was the reply. Well, I know for a fact that he doesn't think that, so I asked if anything was bothering him. He replied "no". I told him that he was wasting James' time and his if he was going to muck about and asked him if he wanted to continue or get off. He said he'd get off and then promptly burst into tears! This is when Asperger Syndrome can be it's most challenging. I know Callum's triggers and I hadn't seen any. I rechecked in my memory and still couldn't see any. James had a think and he couldn't come up with anything either. I know that there doesn't always have to be a trigger, sometimes it just is, but it's a lot easier to deal with when you know what's going on.

Luckily James didn't need to rush off so we gave Callum plenty of time to relax and 'come round' before we had to leave. When asked if he wanted to do a lesson next week to make up for it, he replied that he would. See, I knew it wasn't because it was boring. At least at the end, we ended on a good note.

Afterwards we went up to the Medway Park sports complex to ask about swimming lessons and we had a nice look round and a cuppa in the cafe. By the time we left Callum was much happier and we had a nice laugh and joke whilst doing a bit of shopping.

On our return we got out the Arts and Crafts drawer and started making flowers, buds and butterflies to go on our Season Tree (a bunch of twigs tied together which we decorate in accordance to seasons and festivals). So we now have a nice Spring themed 'tree' with chicks around the bottom. And mini chocolate eggs in a basket to nibble on as we walk past the table.

So in conclusion; we started the first day of Spring on a good note, it spiralled a little downwards in the middle, but it's ended back on a high again.


PS: We've just had a bit of a crisis. Some chick shaped candles just burst into flames!!!! Callum was a little freaked, but didn't panic. One wet T-towel later and doors open to stop the fire alarm, all is well with the world again. Plus a nice little lesson on fire safety! ;-)

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Hi all, what have we been up to this week?

Well Monday and Tuesday were pretty quiet. Callum watched some catch up documentaries with me and we wrote up a bit about The Wonders of The Universe with Brian Cox. It was a test run as I'd like to start doing a little write up of what we have watched. I did some basic questions like What, When, What Channel (I thought I might use this information later on to show what channel we watch most - pie chart anyone?), What Did I Learn and What Would I Like To Do Now. I wrote it out this time with Callum giving me the answers, but I want to get him to start writing it out himself. It's good practice for writing up experiments, etc, and it gives me an idea of what to do after a show that has grabbed his interest. We had an hour long discussion on attention span issues and what works and what doesn't. We have come to the conclusion that we may have to watch hour long docs in two halves as, although he can watch for an hour, his ability to take in the information starts to lapse after about half that time.

He also continued with his maths questions and he seems to have got the gist of rounding up and down to 10s and 100s now, so am going to introduce some subtractions - his choice. I know this is a little going back to basics, but it really is necessary for me and him to be 100% about the basics before going onto the more complicated stuff he should be doing. It isn't that he can't do it, but he needs to be able to start working a little quicker so he doesn't get so frustrated, so a bit of revision on the basics won't hurt!

Wednesday we visited some friends and took along our old children's garden tools and a couple of packets of unwanted seeds to give them. Callum has outgrown the tools, but they are still usable. And I'm so behind in my garden that I don't have enough beds prepared to plant all the seeds I've got (I sent off for loads of freebies last year and I'm now seeded out). All had a great time and it was lovely to have a cuppa (or two) and a chat.

Thursday Callum helped Phil paint the bathroom ceiling as I was on a course for the day. He, apparently, didn't like using the roller, so he did all the cutting in with a paintbrush. I must admit that he and Phil have done a grand job!

Friday was another play date with his bf Callum D. They haven't seen each other properly for a while, so it was nice to get them back together again. They had a great time and I hardly saw them all afternoon. Michelle stayed for a cuppa for an hour and it was good to catch up.

Saturday, we had to go to Tunbridge Wells to find out/sign up for The Arts Council Bronze Art Award. Phil was working this weekend so we had to do a bit of advance travel research to find out how to get there. The best route, if not the quickest, was by bus, so we set off at 10.40am to catch the first bus. It was running late, but luckily so was our connection, so we still managed to get there on time, arriving at 1pm. 2hrs and 20mins! A journey that would take just over 1hr by car!

We had to be guided to where we were supposed to be going as nothing was signposted And when we finally got there, the hall (high ceiling) was full of kids, most of which weren't even signing up for the Arts Award. Only 6 kids were signing up proper. This was not the impression she'd given me. I'd explained Callum's problem and she'd made me feel that it would be in a room with maybe one other signee. As you can imagine this was not good for Callum who, at first, wouldn't even go in and then promptly hid!

On top of that the woman we saw seemed a bit unorganised. She dished out a load of papers and rushed through the explanation and then started getting all the other kids who were signing up to show each other how to do something and taking photos of them doing it. Showing someone how to do something is one of the things he needs to do! But obviously he wasn't going to do that with strangers. I asked if he could show either his sister or some of the kids he already knows and she said that was fine - phew.

Another thing was that she didn't tell us we needed to pay in advance, so I hadn't taken my cheque book. I've got the address now to send the cheque to. She didn't even tell us how much it was going to be until I asked!!!!!!

Anyway, I had a chat with some of the other mums, who seemed to feel the same as me (she'd given them the impression it would be in a office not a hall and they weren't expecting to have to do something on the day either). This made me feel like it wasn't just me being stupid. After that, I managed to get the info I think I needed and we left so Callum IS going to do the Arts Award. It does look really simple, so I don't think he'll have a problem with it.

Nearly 3hrs later and we were home. Nearly 5.5hrs of travelling for 1 hour of hell (for Callum at least). Can't win them all and I'm very proud of him for even going in, let alone staying for as long as he did.

Today - nothing. PJ day. Total chill out and it was lovely!!


Sunday, 13 March 2011

Blinking heck! Can't believe last post was in November!!!!!

Some people may be wondering if we've given up home edding. We haven't, I've just not been doing blogs! Partly due to last computer playing up and having to find my way around a new one and partly because we've been a bit autonomous and partly because we've been 'hibernating'.

December was full of Christmassy things. Card making and writing; present buying and wrapping; cake and biscuit making and generally doing all the things that come along with the festive season.

January we were both ill. First me, then Callum, so we pretty much wrote off formal ed and stuck to watching docs on TV and looking at books.

February brought Phil into DIY mode and as our house is already practically a building site and none of the rooms have 'sealed' ceilings, we ended up not being able to use the 'school' room/dining room as he was ripping the bedroom above it to bits and everything was falling down through the gaps around the edge of the room. Needless to say there were dust sheets everywhere and this meant that home ed resources, equipment and the computer were out of bounds for about 3 weeks!!!

Now we are in March and trying to get back into some sort of routine, but it isn't working as Phil has taken another week off to do the bathroom, so chaos is reigning again! Plus Callum has had a rotten cold again and is a bit hit and miss on the concentration levels. But we have started going out and about again and he is still reading loads AND the other day he came up to me and said he wanted to do Maths! Yes, WANTED to do MATHS! Apparently he is concerned that his mental arithmatic isn't fast enough so he wants to go back and do some basic adding and subtracting and build up some speed! Turns out that instead of mentally rounding up or down to 10, he's rounding up or down to 5!! Eh? Means everything is taking twice as long, so am glad he raised the issue.

He's also stopped his group trampolining and is just doing a fortnightly private lesson instead. He says it's because he is doing more complicated stuff and wanted more time to practise which made a lot of sense to be honest. Attempting to do somersaults and flips in a 1-2min section is a bit rushed. Now he has 1/2hr to practise as much as he can and he's a lot happier!

We also might be signing up to do an Arts Award, but have got to have an interview next weekend before signing up/making a decision, so will see how that goes!

As to projects; we have 4 to complete before the end of July, which sounds a reasonable amount of work, but not too pressured. Am hoping that we can complete 1 a month from April. Will be happy with that.

It does appear that we are pretty autonomous at the moment, but that is fine. We seem to have done a year semi-structured, a year autonomous and then back to a year semi, so this year, being our 4th year, being autonomous is probably about right! hehe

Anyway, update done!