Sunday, 30 December 2012

IT'S NEARLY 2013

Hiya folks

Having a bit of trouble with videos on my computer.  Can't seem to find out how to rotate them, so if I do manage to upload a video onto this blog, you may have to lay on your side to view it.  Might be more comfortable that way though, haha.

Anyway we did manage to get down to the trampolining centre to help out with the foam pit.  Missed the emptying, but got there when it was empty and just about due to be filled back up again.
An empty pit
 His coach, James, is on the left in the green T-shirt and his private coach, Kim, is at the back in the grey.

Chucking back the foam

A very full pit!

Callum had great fun chucking back all the foam and it was amazing how much of it there was.  As you can see it doesn't look as if it will all fit.

The kids were encouraged to jump into the pit afterwards as this will end up by compacting the foam back into the pit and therefore it will be back on the level.

BTW:  Tried uploading video and couldn't.  Will have to investigate further.

Anyway, below are a few Xmas photos:

Draco with his favourite present

Callum in Husky hat - very festive, hehe

Big sis opening presents

I have got more, but I appear to be having a lot of trouble with pics and vids today, so I'm going to update all progs relating to them and try again tomorrow.  Short and sweet blog tonight.  Sorry.

Cya


Thursday, 27 December 2012

CHRISTMAS TIME

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

Really didn't realise that it had been so long since posting up a blog.  I knew I'd been busy, but didn't realise that it had lapsed that badly.

I'm incredibly unorganised at the moment, so no photographs are ready to post up; one, because the camera is buried somewhere under the pile of presents that need to be put away and two, because the lead connecting the camera to the computer/laptop is in a drawer somewhere along with a bunch of other stuff I've put away into a 'safe' place until after Christmas and we can get back to 'normal'.

So all I can really say is that we have done diddly squat official home education stuff, but have been Christmas cooking together; two cakes, mincement, mince pies and chocolate brownies.  Haven't made savouries this year.  We've also been shopping for presents and obviously wrapping them and then giving them out.

We held an Xmas arts and crafts afternoon with a few of his friends where cards, decorations, crackers and hand puppets were made and lots of fun was had by all.  Lots of glitter glue, bits of card, paper and ribbon all over the floor along with cake crumbs and pastry crumbs being proof of a good time.

There was also the final trampolining of the year a week before Christmas and we are now waiting patiently for the New Year to start so we can return.  Although we are supposed to be going along to the centre tomorrow to help clean up and sort out the pit.

I say 'supposed to be' because Callum got an XBox for Christmas and has now disappeared into his room to play on his new toy and chat with some of his friends.  He did spend the day itself with us all as we allowed the XBox downstairs and he spent most of the afternoon killing zombies with his sister and then watching Dr Who, etc with us in the evening.

He had a great day with loads of presents including books, puzzles, games, sweets and clothes including a rather fab husky hat from his Aunt and Uncle for which he had very good comments from the staff of Game today in Chavtown.

He's been very helpful and patient with me over past few weeks as I've been 'playing' with greenery to make table decs, swag and wreath and madly trying to tidy and clear away junk in readiness for festive season.  So have been very proud of him.  He even managed to contain his excitement over the last few days before as he knew what he was getting and was desperate to get his hands on it.  His only problem has been a few bad dreams and erratic sleep which has left him often tired and a bit grumpy, but he has manage to sort himself out and not have any meltdowns.

Anyway, that is a brief catch up.  I will get photos posted once I find the elusive lead and I hope to get back to some more regular posts over the next couple of weeks.

Hope you all had a fab Christmas and celebrated in whatever way is tradional to your family and beliefs.

xx
Cya

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

WEEK GETS BETTER AND BETTER

Good evening all as they used to say in Dixon of Dock Green (showing my age now).

Today was an odd, bitty day, but good.

Washing done before Callum got up again though, so he had to wait a bit before he had his shower (water pressure in the house means that if there is any water running downstairs, you'll get a cold shower).

A nice cuppa and a chat; like the morning chats, then off into the kitchen to weigh out all the ingredients for the Xmas pud.  Had kept and froze ends of gluten free bread, so used those up to make the breadcrumbs and as I'm also vegetarian, we used melted butter instead of the suet.  Lovely easy recipe as you just weigh it all out and chuck it all in a big pan.  Once all in and stirred we take the obligatory turn to stir and make a wish before setting aside to mature overnight.  During the day any other family members get to take their turn of a stir and a wish, so when big sis, Terri, turned up that was her cue for her turn.

A quick tidy up of the kitchen with Callum helping by bringing through any washing up, tidying away the ingredients, bringing through the recycling bags from outside and putting anything in that was necessary and helping to put away.  Then into the living room for him to play on Roblox and attempt to finish off the game he's designed which he was having a slight problem with as he wanted to tilt the end of the bridge.  Whilst he did that I watched Elementary (USA drama based on Sherlock Holmes).  Callum watched along as well and we ended up having a discussion on the great fictional detective.

Big Sis arrived and soon after they both went off to make cupcakes.  I could have a nice lazy afternoon on the sofa.

To be honest not much else happened today, but it was nice to have him downstairs with us communicating during conversations and having a chat about Christmas.  Have found some books his friend likes in the Book People leaflet and he's going on a scouting mission tomorrow night at his house to check he hasn't already got them.  Fingers crossed he hasn't as it's a good set for a good price.

Tonight he's still playing on Roblox and chatting to one of his friends.

All in all, it has been a quiet, social, family led day and it's been lovely.

Cya

A LITTLE BETTER

Good morning my lovelies and apologises for not posting yesterday.

What kind of day was it?  Well, better than the one before.

For starters Callum was up a bit earlier than the day before and no nose bleed, but still a lot of hrumphing.  Our normal, well usual now, morning chat with a cuppa then ensued and we discussed boring things like whether or not he had enough clothes that fit, what cooking we would be doing tomorrow and what he would like to do lesson wise for the rest of the week.  We decided that after trampolining today we would go through his wardrobe, make a list of what he needs and get rid of anything that doesn't fit anymore.  Then check out the ingredients so we can make Xmas pudding tomorrow (well today now).

He toddled off and got dressed, brought down his rubbish, washed and cleaned teeth, got bottles of water ready for lesson and dug out the library books that need to go back.  On the subject of books; we had another lengthy discussion on TV and laptop versus reading at night.  I don't mind him watching TV or playing on the laptop when he goes upstairs, but I don't want him doing it until midnight which is how he seems to be at the moment.  It means he isn't reading anything and he's late getting up in the morning, not that I expect him up early.  We have had this conversation a lot recently and I've said that I'd like him to watch TV until about 10-10.30 and then read for a hour.  He can record progs should he wish to watch them and watch them in the early evening after dinner.  So what did he do last night?  Well he went up at 9pm as usual, but didn't take the laptop.  I went up at 10pm and there he was watching telly AND reading.  Not quite what I had planned and I did argue the point and I will continue to argue the point until he gets the idea.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.

That afternoon we went off to trampolining.  Lots of practice on position of arms, etc to make the moves look more professional.  Then on to somersaults.  Kim, the coach, decided to use the belt and pulley today so that Callum could get much more of an idea of how it felt to come out of the turn.  He's somersaulting fine, just not landing them and that has to do with when he needs comes out of the tuck and using the belt and pulley Kim is more control of the move and should be able to help him out.  I wasn't sure how Callum would feel about being strapped into a belt and then attached to ropes but actually dealt with it ok apart from the one time when he hadn't given himself enough push and ended up suspended upside down in the tuck position. I was going to publish a video, but I can't upload the vid from my phone for some unknown to me reason.  I uploaded via an email, but I can't open the file.  Have checked instruction booklet and online answers but to no avail.  If he does it again next lesson I'll make sure I take my camera with me as I can work that, haha.

After tramp, it was subway and a bit of shopping before returning home to sort wardrobe and wait for dad to come home.  Then off to cinema to see Skyfall.  Callum's first Bond movie at the cinema.  He loves Bond, but so far it's only ever been on TV or DVD, so today was big screen time.  He loved it!!  We got there early which meant we were first in the cinema, so we could get sorted and comfy.  Callum had remembered to take DS with him, so he played on that whilst waiting for the film to start.  He likes getting there early, but doesn't like waiting, so the DS is a perfect solution.  A supersize combi of salted popcorn, drink and a chocolate bar saw us through the movie before heading home still in time for dad to get to bed on time.  Disadvantage of getting up early is an early bedtime, but means I get the evening to myself to watch what I want.

I think overall Callum had a good day today.  Tomorrow (today) big sis will be visiting and we'll be making Xmas pud and she'll be making cupcakes which I'm sure Callum will help her with.  As to anything else, we'll have to see what time he gets up and how he feels.  Got loads we could be getting on with. ;-)

Anyway, cya and hope that the today/tomorrows aren't too confusing.

Monday, 12 November 2012

NOT A GOOD START

Okay, where do we start?  I suppose at the beginning.

I got up, cleaned the house, washing on, washed up, sorted out craft corner (mine), had two cuppas and then......yes, he surfaced! :-)   About 10am!  Very floppy flouncy with a bit of hurmph thrown in.

Got a cuppa for himself and went back upstairs to the room of doom.

Checked in a few mins later to discover he had a NOSE BLEED!!  He's had a few of those recently.  He isn't worried about them which is good and I'm assuming it's a hormonal thing and they aren't daily or even weekly, but they are there.  Needless to say this gave him an excuse to chill out for a bit longer.

Then a shower.

Then at approximately 11am he took a look at the new programming lesson on codeacademy.  He got stuck after about 10mins.  Not sure if he really didn't understand it; whether because the site wouldn't actually let him log in properly (sorted now) or whether he just wasn't in the mood.  Anyway, once we got the login sorted, he announced he couldn't be bothered as he was tired!!!!

So, Richard Hammonds Miracles of Nature was watched instead which he was far more interested in and thoroughly enjoyed.

Then a quick kitchen visit to watch and help me make a vegetable quiche before, guess what, yep, disappearing into the room of doom again.

Must admit over the weekend he has managed to clear some of the floor.  I may actually be able to hoover in there before the week is out.  Woo hoo.

Cya

Thursday, 8 November 2012

BOUNCING THURSDAY

Evening all, how are you lovely people today.

Said we'd be back to normal and we are. We'll writing this is, but normal service re education isn't.  It's November, it's dark and it's hibernation time!  AND we have Christmas to think about.

So today started....late!!!  Callum not up until 10.30am, must admit I wasn't much better at 9.30am.  I had loads of paperwork to sort out so Callum went on the Wii and then we did some research into XBox Offers as that's what he wants for Christmas.

This afternoon was trampolining!  Group class today.  Back drop to full twist today!  First time ever done and it was looking good.  Had some good news too as the wonderful James is coming back to teach the class.  Callum loves James and has missed him, so he'll now have two coaches that he really likes and both understand him well.

Afterwards Carol and Lauren came back for a quick cuppa and a piece of cake and a play on Roblox together.

Us big girls got far too involved with our chat and I forgot I had osteo and Carol was going to be late for her appointment too.  Whoops, but never mind.  My Osteo was very cool about it and hopefully the same happened with Carol.

So that was it for today.  He's now sitting with me in the dining room on the laptop and making whooshy noises, so I'm assuming it's a war game.

Tomorrow is ice skating and next week we start Xmas prepping.

Cya

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

IT'S HALLOWEEN'S FAULT - HONEST

Oh my word, I know we've been a bit busy, but how long?

What can I say?  Well there is only one thing I can say...HALLOWEEEEEEEEEEEN!

Yep, Halloween has just been, taken over our house and disappeared in a flurry of red fabric, skeleton scene setters and cake and biscuits.

Halloween is the one festival that we celebrate big time in our house.  I do tend to go slightly over the top and I have enough decorations to open a small shop.  Every year I say I won't buy anymore and every year I do.  We now have 6 boxes of Halloween decs and miscellania compared with only 2 boxes of Christmas.  Not that we don't love Christmas too, but Halloween is where we go over the top and indulge in spooky silliness.  

Even though Callum hates change and isn't overly keen on parties, he's grown up in a house where Halloween has always featured big.  His sister is 11 years older than him and I've been doing parties for her since she was about 6, so they have always been part of his life.  He actually really enjoys them and over recent years has been having quite a bit of input as to decoration ideas, helping with the baking and sorting out the games.

We try to have a themed party, sometimes it's very loosely themed and other times it's a bit more specific.  Last year was a MacBeth theme, so we did try and follow the story as closely as we could.  This year was Zombies and the Land of the Dead.  We started the party by 'dying' eating 'poisoned' grapes in a musical statues type game, then passed our coffin and paid the ferryman his dues to get to the land of the dead.

The Ferryman


Paying the Ferryman with chocolate eyeballs and coins


Next they had to find their skeletons and search for their organs in pots of goo.

Goo of wallpaper paste and food colouring and 'organs' courtesy of Wilkinsons


Then a couple of games just for fun as they were now fully fledged zombies; passing the eyeball balloon and, of course, bobbing for apples.

The later has become a firm favourite and all the kids are getting really competitive.  There is a special competition between Callum and his sister.  She only just beat him this year.  It's getting close!

Callum 'bobbing'


The eyeball balloon pass


And did we eat?  Of course we did.

'Eyeball' biscuits


Cheese 'snails'


Coconut 'mice'


Shortbread 'fingers'


'Mummy' buffet


Unveiling the 'mummy'

So that was Halloween.  Since then we've been deconstucting 'the lab' and 'the land of the dead'; sorting out the dining room back to a usable classroom; going to a local firework display and.... being ill.  Yep, both have been a bit rough since Sunday 4th November.  Just colds, so just snotty and sleepy and snuggly.  So not really much done at all on school front.  However, Callum did design his Xmas card that we are going to have made up into proper cards through a local home ed group and we made apple and cinnamon cake and banana bread today.  So not a complete loss, haha.

Anyway, cya.  Hopefully normal service will now resume.

Fireworks at The Great Lines




Monday, 22 October 2012

OH DEAR IT'S MONDAY

Good afternoon.

It's dull, drizzly and was foggy this morning.  Not the most inspiring of days and a not so inspired Callum either.  He was up at 9.30am, so not horrendously late, but had no get up and go.  We dossed about on the sofas drinking tea and watching The Wright Stuff until 10.30am (news and social studies covered, haha) and then he went off and had a shower.

I had a tidy and then we decided to do a couple of science experiments.  One was dissolving magnesium strips in vinegar (the only clear vinegar we had was rice wine vinegar, but it still worked).  He measured out the vinegar in a test tube, cut up a piece of magnesium and place it in the vinegar.  It immediately started to bubble (producing hydrogen gas).  He then had to heat the test tube over the methylated spirit burner to get the reaction working really well so that he could put on a lid (loosly I might add) and then wait 30 secs before removing the lid and putting in a lit match to get a 'pop' from the hydrogen gas burning.

The two ingredients we used

The magnesium strips (we only used 2cm)

We had to put the test tube aside afterwards as we couldn't dispose of the magnesium strip down the sink until it was dissolved away.

After the experiment was finished, the magnesium strip had been completely dissolved

We then went on to make some sodium hydrogen sulphate solution which we would need for the next couple of experiments.  This involved using sodium hydrogen sulphate from the kit and water.  He had to again use the spirit burner to dissolve the solid in the liquid before adding more water to give a solution.

Clearly labelled so we don't confuse it with anything else

Must admit Callum wasn't looking to keen on continuing after doing this, so I asked if he wanted a little break whilst I cleared up.  Although he loves chemistry, we haven't done a great deal of it and I still think he worries about the chemicals especially if they have warning signs on them.  We used rubber gloves and goggles today.  The rubber gloves were a nightmare to put on and he got stressed.  He also got stressed about using the spirit burner and the tongs, but I want to persevere with it as we are doing simple stuff at the moment and I think he'd like it when it becomes a bit more complicated.

We wanted to have a go at finding energy from foods, but couldn't find a thermometer that we could use safely.  Callum was obviously not very forthcoming with doing anything else, so I asked him to have a look on Khan Academy for some maths stuff while I popped up the town to get some extra bits and pieces.

He finished off the addition and subtraction section and earned two more badges and he also had a look at a trigonometry video.  He says he kind of understands, but will need a few more looks.  Hopefully he does understand as that was the bit I hated most at school.  I can do it, but just don't like it. haha.

I went in search of a non-digital thermometer with no luck!!  Bought some extra pairs of rubber gloves, some hydrogen peroxide and some disposable gloves and some matches for our science kit.  Will have to get a thermometer online, but have managed to track down a wine making one for about £4.  Might have a look in Wilkos to see if they do them before I order though.  Didn't even think of using a wine one.  Der me!

Anyway back to Callum.  He still wasn't really up to more experiments and as it was nearly 2pm I gave up.  Don't think we've done too badly today considering.

On a different note, we went apple picking at Gore Farm yesterday with two other families (both schooled children) and the following piccies represent the hour or two we were there.

Happy mummies!


Callum 'lining' up the apples

The 'girls' picking from further down

Tomorrow is Faversham with Mad Science.  Just hope Callum feels a little more up for it than today.

Cya




Saturday, 20 October 2012

'LAZY WEEKEND' ... NOT!

Good afternoon my lovely peoples.  Yes, I know, it's Saturday and I'm blogging which I don't normally do, but I didn't do one on Thursday or Friday, so I think a very quick update is required.

Those on Facebook will know that I totally lost Thursday as I had the mother of all migraines and Callum, bless him, looked after me by making frequent cups of tea whilst I buried myself under the covers and tried not to throw up.

Friday, I felt ok, but, and anyone who has ever had a migraine will understand, I felt a little 'hungover' shall we say.  You get this feeling that if you turn your head too quick or move too sharp it will come back again, so I gingerly went off to Ice Skating after having dosed myself up with paracetamol.  Callum, as usual, didn't ice skate but sat with us at the table and played on his DS.  I don't know what he gets out of it, but he obviously gets something otherwise he wouldn't want to go.  One of these days, I'm hoping he'll go off and talk to some of the other older boys.

After we got home and I was given another batch of paracetamol from my wonderful friend Lorraine because it was raining and I didn't want to walk up the road just for painkillers, he disappeared off into his bedroom and I curled up on the sofa and caught up with some telly.  Feel really knocked out if I'm honest.

And today?  Well, we've both had haircuts.  We then walked down and picked up his friend Callum D and they are now both upstairs playing with matchbox cars and a loop da loop thingy and giggling.  His friend will be here all day today which is nice as they don't see each other as often as they used to and tomorrow we are off apple picking at Gore Farm.  Am seriously hoping it doesn't rain!

Cya

Banana Bread that Callum made on Wednesday
As you can see we've already nearly finished it!

Making the mincemeat the other week

Xmas mincement ready to go in the jars
Wish you could smell it, it was gorgeous




Wednesday, 17 October 2012

LIFE = EDUCATION, EDUCATION = LIFE

Only a short one today as not much going on.  Woke with major headache this morning and Callum was up late.  Cuppa made for me, bless him, and then off he went for a shower.  This gave me a little time to wake up and sort myself out.  Another cuppa and a chat followed.  Talked about TV shows, Tivo box useage and what we were going to attempt to do today.

Whilst I stripped the beds and put the washing on, he went up and cleared down some of his Tivo box to give himself some extra space as he's convinced there will be some programmes he's going to want to record coming up very soon.  He tends to record, but not delete, so his box was getting a bit full. He also tidied up a bit which was a bit of a shock.

Headache still not brilliant, so had to take some tablets which I hate doing and chilled out a bit longer as I was starting to feel a bit sick and I'm prone to a migraine if I'm not careful.  Callum, of course, didn't care as it meant he could go on the computer without feeling like he should be doing something else.

So what exactly did we do today.  Well, as we had some bananas that were going black and I had some veg that needed using up, we both headed off into the kitchen to cook side by side.

I chopped root veg up and put into a baking tray with salt, pepper, chilli, garlic, coriander seeds, cumin seeds and turmeric.  Callum got all the ingredients out to make banana bread.  He weighed it all out apart from the marg as he hates the feel of it and refuses to touch it or weigh it out.  He followed the recipe and used the dreaded food processor to whisk up the butter, sugar, banana and egg.  I know he probably would have been better off doing it manually, but I want to challenge him to use some of the equipment which he has a fear of.  The food processor scares him because it's fast and noisy, but he managed it today stepping well back before turning it on.  He even greased and lined the loaf tin himself today, using oil to grease the tin rather than use marg and he set the oven temperature.

Both cake and veg were put into oven and we went back to doing what we were doing with another cup of tea.

"So Callum, what 'lessons' did we cover?"
"Ummm, chemistry!"
"How?"
"Because of the chemical reaction between the liquid and the baking powder and the heat of the oven."
"What else?"
"Ummm, maths because I weighed out the ingredients."
"And?"
"......."
"How did you know what to do?"
"I read the recipe."
"So........?"
"Literacy!  Coz I had to read to find out what I needed and what to do with it."

So, there you go, even doing something as straight forward as making a cake uses various forms of lesson.  It might not be advanced.  It might not get him a degree.  But I know he can now read a recipe and cook for himself, even if it is just Banana Bread. hehe

Cake has turned out brilliant by the way and we've just had a slice each with another drink.

As to the veg.  I set half aside to make a spiced root veg soup for tomorrows lunch and the rest was cooked up with coconut milk and fresh coriander and eaten with boiled rice spiced with cardamom for dinner.  We also rinsed the butternut squash seeds and dry roasted with a bit of salt to nibble on and to sprinkle over the soup tomorrow.  Just got to make up some soda bread to go with it now.

Anyway, that's it. Cya tomorrow.

PS:  Callum has another loose tooth and the other one that caused him so much grief has come out.  It's like having a toddler again.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

NO MOTIVATION AND A TELLING OFF FOR ME

Funny old day today.  Woke this morning with no get up and go unlike yesterday; funnily Callum woke up feeling the same.  So what did we do?  Well, we made a cuppa and curled up on the sofas and had a chat.  Something we do on a daily basis in the week; sometimes they are short talks, others (like today) are a lot longer.  We talked about Christmas, DVDs, films, Halloween, trampolining, the state of the house, renting vs buying, neighbours pros and cons, money, savings, bills and jobs.  We were still talking and in pjs when Terri turned up at 10.30am.  Hey ho.

Continued to chat until about 11am and then it was a dash to get dressed and make some toast and get ready before heading off to trampolining.  Private lesson today;  it's been a month since his last one as he wasn't well when he was due to have one last.  Has managed the class classes (??), so not been a total lack of bouncing.

The class went really well today and I got my first telling off of the day.  Callum reuses drinks bottles for water to take with him wherever he goes and he had a Mountain Dew bottle that he'd had ages.  So much so that it's been washed so much that the label had gone completely white and was hanging off.  He refused to rip the label off and both Kim and myself always remark on it.  When I had my 'moment' the other day with regard to the tea in the bed incident, I had a bit of a blitz and .... threw the bottle away.  He didn't say anything at the time, but I was chastised about it today.  Whoops!

Anyway, back to the lesson.  Callum is looking a lot more controlled and Kim got him to do some combination moves into a routine with a somersault to end.  The whole routine went well, so just the dreaded somersault to crack.  His rollovers went well and he was landing on his bottom but was able to go straight to standing.  He had a go at some more somersaults with the mat and again positioning was good and he landed to then roll up to a stand.  He just has to get the legs out straight at the right time to get to stand straight from roll.  Kim got on trampoline and they had a practice with Kim holding Callum's wrist and shoulder.  Somersaults nailed this way, but when on his own, they still aren't quite there.  Having said that they are improving every week we go and his control of the moves is getting so much better.  I don't think, well I hope, that it will be much longer before he finally nails the somersaults proper.  More practice on rollovers needed.  Callum pleased with himself and so was Kim, so all good.  And Terri, who hasn't seen him for a while was impressed with his height and movements too.

Off to library to pick up reserved book; Ian Fleming Casino Royale and also discovered the other book we'd reserved was in too, Junk by Melvin Burgess.  So Callum should have plenty to keep him reading for the next week or two as long as TV doesn't get in the way.  We've decided to leave Brave New World for a while and go back later.  I know that they did a dramatisation of it a while ago, so might see if that is available on DVD.  Might be easier for Callum to watch than read.

A nose around Indian supermarket for rice papers, which they didn't have, and £10 spend on various things that I decided to stock up on and then Subway for lunch.  Second telling off of the day came when we'd finished and were packing up to leave.  I was sorting out the rubbish (Subway has far too much waste material if I'm honest, so might have to comment about it on their site) and I accidentally threw his drinks cup away.  Wasn't entirely my fault as Terri handed it to me and without thinking I shoved it in the rubbish bag and put it in the bin.  Whoops!  In case you didn't know you can refill your drink once more and Callum normally does.  Of course, because I'd thrown away the cup, he couldn't and I got a bit of a moan shall we say.

Pound store for severed body parts, Savers for face wash and WHSmiths for maths book and then home.  Was nearly 3pm before we got back, unpacked, made a cuppa and sat down.  Needless to say we didn't do anything else today.  Art and Craft will be done tomorrow instead.  Cardboard trees need to be made.

Since then he's been back on the computer playing Roblox and game on Facebook.

So not much, well no work done today, but that's how it goes sometimes.  Lots of discussion, a bit of bouncing, shopping, eating out and spending time with the family which is all good, so I'm not worrying about it. We'll get it done another day.

Tomorrow intend to nip to Chatham to pick up some fabric and then get on with some arty, crafty stuff for the party.  Might even get a banana cake made; Callum's second favourite cake after chocolate brownies.

Cya

Monday, 15 October 2012

TRIANGLES, SQUARE ROOTS AND EEEEK

All I can say is well done to Callum today.  Not only did he end up doing 3.5hrs of maths, he also coped with a slight disaster.

I woke up in lots of pain, but with a 'need to tidy up' head on me.  As Callum wasn't up I decided to get on with clearing up which meant me blitzing cupboards and shelves instead of the normal dust and sweep.  Callum woke up when I was about half way through and, as it was Monday, he switched on the computer to get on with his computer studies.  However the new Ruby scheme on Code Academy wasn't up and running (or at least he couldn't log in) so he went onto Khan instead.

He wasn't sure what to do, so we had a look at the current maths and science that we are doing and he looked up those as best he could.  We are looking at powers of 10 in maths and chemical reactions in science.  The trouble was Khan didn't have anything he could find on powers of 10 and all the chemical reaction stuff was too complicated and aimed at older students. He opened up Bitesize instead and had a go at a couple of activities on there.

I finished up the living room and had a quick tidy of the dining room table so I could go through the workbooks and see what else we could find to do while I finished up.  However, still nothing more to be found on Khan, so I suggested he finish off the 'areas of triangles' sheet we had.  Simpler said than done however as all the easy stuff was done and all that was left was the areas of isosceles triangles.

This involved looking up the formula and then trying to explain what it meant before he could even start to solve the questions.

area

This meant we had to go over square roots and then grab paper and pen and calculator to work it all out.  Wasn't something that I was prepared for and Callum, although understood it, wasn't really up for doing it.  However he did manage 3 out of 6 of the triangles, which I was very impressed with as he did struggle.

He decided to go back to Khan and have a look to see if he could find anything easy to finish on. I like him to finish on something positive if he's done something he's found really hard. While he was looking I noticed that there was a family tree type display of different maths sessions and asked what they were.  He explained that it started with easy peasy and then the branches went off onto more and more difficult things.  I said that it would probably be a good idea for him to start at the top and work his way through.  I knew that it meant doing really basic stuff, but revision is never a bad thing and it would mean he would progress naturally through the work.  We could then tie that in with the books and sheets that we are using when it gets to the work we are supposed to be covering now.  I'm trying to push him at the moment to get him back up to speed and I know that he can do it, but there will be bits he'll breeze through and others that we'll need to cover more in depth and I'll deal with those as and when he hits them.

As he was doing the easy stuff and gaining his awards on the site he carried on for another 2.5 hrs!!!  Only stopping to have some lunch.

Ah yes, lunch!  Disaster time for a while.  Callum's new teeth are coming through thick and fast at the moment and as he bit into a piece of carrot, one of the old back molars decided to dislodge.  Not enough to fully come out unfortunately, just enough to make it loose and to make it bleed; a lot!!!  We ended up having to make a plug from rolled cotton wool to bite down on until it stopped.  Callum's solution of constantly rinsing his mouth with water and spitting out the blood wasn't working and probably not helping it.  However the makeshift plug did eventually stop the bleeding and he attempted to finish his lunch by eating on the opposite side of his mouth.

"Soup for me tonight mum!"  was his response after finally finishing his sandwich and that's what he had.  
Hopefully tomorrow he'll have forgotten about it and the tooth will come out within next few days.  However, I do think a trip to dentist is in order as a few of the new teeth are not pushing the old ones out, so he'll end up with quite crooked teeth if we don't get them out soon.  Am dreading that visit!!

After his mathematics marathon he disappeared into his room for a couple of hours, but is now back downstairs on the computer playing some war game, so laptop for me tonight.

Trampolining lesson tomorrow and hopefully a bit of art and crafts with big sis.

So will cya later folks.

Thanks for reading.



Sunday, 14 October 2012

WEEKEND OFF!

"Mum...can you wash duvets?"
"Why?"
"Just wondered!"
"What's happened?"
"Nothing...."
"What's happened?  You don't just ask to wash a duvet off the top of your head."

OMG I'm thinking, please not what I think.  I have to say that at this point I'm laying on the sofa watching telly and relaxing with a cuppa as I've decided that, as my hip is really hurting today, I'm having a day off.

"Ummm, I spilt my cup of tea all over the bed and it's gone right through the duvet."

Thank God I think.

"Did you strip everything off?"  I ask, hopefully.

"Yep.  And I've put a towel over the patch on the mattress."
"Ok, cool.  Let's have a look and we'll get washed what we can."

So, bed stripped and in wash.  Duvet won't fit in machine, but as it isn't what I was dreading, I'll dry and air it only.  A quick visit into the bedroom also throws up the fact that both sides where Callum could have put his cup of tea are full of sleep mist, a pack of cards, 2 half empty water bottles, an empty packet of crisps, a jar of sweets and umpteen empty fortune cookie wrappers.  Hmmmm, not best pleased, so slightly lost my temper and we had a bit of a tidy up.  Explained that if, instead of just dumping stuff, he actually put things away or in the bin (that's my biggest bugbear), he'd have plenty of space for cups of tea or plates of toast.  Don't think it will change anything but hopefully, if I keep telling him, one day it might sink in when he's about 40!

That was Saturday morning and once that incident was sorted he disappeared back into his den and wasn't seen again until the evening when we all sat down for tea and Wipeout and then again a bit later for Merlin.

Today, I wasn't feeling any better and in fact felt a bit worse as I suddenly came over feeling really sick half way through Merlin and still don't feel 100% now.  Was going to be going out foraging today, but didn't, so have we seen Callum today?

Well, I popped in to see him this morning and he was on his DS in his pjs.  He popped down about lunchtime to grab food and then he disappeared again.  And he came back down for dinner and is currently on the computer.  So it hasn't been quite as bad as I thought, but it hasn't been as far off.

Not that I really mind.  He's a teen and having already gone through one child as a teenager I'm pretty sure it isn't going to be that much different with the second and I'm not going to feel offended by it as I know it isn't anything I've done.  He'll grace us with his presence when he wants food or drink or, as about half an hour ago, a hug and then he'll disappear again.  Will just make the most of his company when I have it.

Cya

Friday, 12 October 2012

END OF THE WEEK

Hiya

It's the end of the week and we are knackered!  Been a bit of a busy one.

Frankenweenie was fab on Wednesday night, but we did have a bit of a moment as didn't realise, until we got there, that it was in 3D!  Callum hates 3D, big time, and so had the right hump to begin with.  At least he went into the theatre though which was something I wasn't entirely sure he would do and certainly isn't something he would have done in the past.  In the past, he would have just thrown a wobbler and walked out, but he went in, found a seat right in the corner, at the end of the aisle and sat himself down and contented himself with having a grumble about 3D being a waste and how he hates it and how it hurts his eyes, etc, etc.  He then started having a moan about every other little thing he could find to moan about; sounded like a proper grumpy old git to be honest, but better than walking out.  He stuffed his face with half his popcorn and finally settled in to being a little less hostile.  Phew!

Whilst waiting for the film to start he decided to have a little think about the piped music, wondering and asking whether the music was individual to each screen or piped into whole theatre and just cut out when film starts.  Must admit, I have no idea, but assume it's whole theatre.  Unfortunately I didn't make a note when I came out so will never know, luckily Callum had forgotten about it by then.  Any ideas?

As the film was a premiere preview there were no previews of up and coming films, which he moaned about, whoops!  But he did wear his 3D glasses, even when he didn't need to, and he watched the whole film with them on.  The film was brilliant!  Funny, sad and a little scary.  He enjoyed it and I think he forgot he was wearing the glasses to be honest.  He said that he liked it as there wasn't loads of stuff jumping out at him, which is true, there wasn't!  He has now told me that, apart from the glasses often giving him headaches that that is the bit he really doesn't like.

Thursday we continued to plan the Halloween party we are holding.  He's decided that the living room should represent the journey to the land of the dead with a red ceiling and black cut out trees.  Oooookaaaaay, let's see how we can do this one.  So 20mins later, 14 metres of red lining material ordered online and nearly £40 spent I think we may achieve something suitable; at least it'll be reusable unlike attempting to cover ceiling in tissue paper (our first thought) which would have probably cost just as much and would have ended up in the bin and it'll be far better than Callum's next suggestion (admittedly jokingly) that we could paint the ceiling with red paint - I think not!

Had a good look at the games we'll be attempting and had a think through how we could tweak our original ideas (well, mine and Terri's) to actually make them work within the space we have.  Have decided that there is a least one game he won't/can't join in with as he'll know in advance where things will be, but then if Terri's friends turn up then it will work out ok.

The afternoon was trampolining class which went according to plan and he practised some more somersaulting.  Then Carol and Lauren came back for a cuppa for an hour; Callum and Lauren being on the computer for Roblox.

Then, in true teenager style, he disappeared into his room for the evening.

Today, he woke up with headache!  Can tell he is now getting older as you'd have thought his head had fallen off.  He flumped on the sofa, flumped on the dog and huffed and puffed as if he was dying.  I dosed him with Calpol, made a cup of tea, gave him a cold flannel and sent him back to bed for an hour.  He woke up fine and devoured 3 lemon and sugar pancakes and another cuppa before we headed off to Dockside with Terri to buy even more Halloween bits and bobs.  I already have more Halloween decs than Xmas, but each year end up buying more.  I'll be able to open up my own shop one day, either that or we'll have to start a Halloween Party Organiser business. ;-)

Back home and, yet again, he disappeared into his room and, basically, we haven't seen him since apart from coming down to collect dinner and grumping a goodbye to sis when she left.

Nothing planned for this weekend, so doubt if I'll see him before Monday!  Oh the joys of teenagers.  Hehe.

Cya

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

FAVERSHAM DAY - WOO HOO

Hello lovely peeps, sorry didn't post yesterday, but find Faversham really tiring.  No idea why as I'm not exactly running around, but lots of people and lots of things going on and a train journey there and back always knackers me.  Callum finds it the same, to the point where he dozed off on my shoulder on the train home.

So what did we do this week?  Well week 2 of Mad Science for an hour to start with which was an interesting look at some basic forensic science tasks.

We started off by getting into groups and the kids were given a ripped up sheet of A4 paper with a message on it.  They had to sort out the paper to read the message and then, using a dictionary, they had to figure out some of the message as it was written in Spanish.

Next we did some testing of acids and alkalines using litmus paper and then another group activity using foam skeletons.  Each group was given a bag of bones and using the skull had to find the right bones to go with the right body.  Each foam piece had a coloured man on the back and your group's colour was determined by the skull.  The kids had to visit each group and swap pieces to end up with their own complete skeleton.

Much noise and running about ensued!!!

Finally back at the tables they were given A4 sheets of plain paper, some pipettes and some paint and they had to produce some splatter blobs using the pipettes at various heights from the paper.

A lot of the smaller (and even some of the older kids) had had information overload at this point, so ended up making pictures rather than splattering, but it was all good fun anyway.

Obviously between all this activity the guy explained what the tasks were, why they were used and what they would obtain from the results if used at a real crime scene.

After the session, Callum  ran off with Stewart into the computer room and I didn't see him until it was time to clear up and go home.  He's really enjoying the Mad Science; joining in and working well with the other kids.

Today, was seeing his sister day.  But we managed to finally complete the sheets of maths revision questions I gave him weeks ago and he got a score of 55 out of 57!  So really pleased.

And this afternoon they have been baking.  Completing and now cooking the Creole cake that we set up the fruit for last week and making 16 chocolate cupcakes which will go in the freezer ready to be iced for Halloween.  They are now both watching TV together in the next room

All off to pictures tonight to watch Frankenweenie.

Cya later.

Monday, 8 October 2012

CHANGE OF PLANS

Good afternoon people.  Hope that I find you well.  It's very wet here and dull and overcast, but can't complain as 1) we have had so much dry weather that the garden still needs the rain and 2) we weren't planning on going anywhere today, so weren't going to get wet.

Our original day was supposed to run like this:
Callum get up
Callum have shower
Breakfast
Computer Studies
Science Theory
Lunch
Friend round to play

However, it kind of ran like this:
Me up
Me plan lesson
Me waiting for Callum
Me giving up waiting and making tea and toast and taking Callum breakfast in bed!!!
Callum get up and have shower
Lots of discussion and moaning from Callum.
Computer Studies and Science Theory gets combined
Lunch
No friend to play   :-(  but meet up online on Roblox   :-)

Callum has taken to watching comedy on TV at night in his room and normally he stops about 11pm. However, last night he was still up watching until about midnight, which meant I had to wake him at 9.30am this morning in the vain hope that we might be ready by 10am to start 'lessons'.  We spoke, again, about it this morning once he was finally up.  I don't mind him watching TV, but he needs to remember that 'late' nights should be Friday and Saturday and any other night should finish about 10.30pm with a bit of reading to calm him down so he can get some sleep.  He then proceeded to say that the book he is reading, Brave New World, is too hard to read at night and he hasn't got another book.  Not a problem, but would have been nice to know earlier.

Much discussion ensued about how I agreed that BNW is a bit hard going and perhaps he should read it in the day as part of lessons and that we should pick another book off the list that better appeals to him that he could read in the evening.  We also discussed recording programmes that are on after 10/10.30pm so he can watch them earlier in the day (he does have a recordable box in his room).  At this he decided to have a moan about the fact that Tivo doesn't have a delete folder option and that deleting individually annoys and frustrates him.  Looks like that task will be down to me then.  But at least I think he's agreed that recording would be a viable option.  Just got to get him to choose a book now.

Finally we get started on 'work'.  We finished off Plants project by writing up the leaf experiment that was overdue and then collating any bits and pieces that we had lying about before putting in Science folder.

Slippery Leaves - how leaves lose their moisture.  Leaves had Vaseline rubbed into them as follows: left to right; underside (the vein side), none, all, topside.  Then were left hanging in the sunlight for about a couple of weeks.
Leaves before experiment

Leaves after experiment
Then he had a go at some Bitesize activities on BBC website with regard to Acids And Bases And Metals and Behaviour of Matter.  We are now going to look at Chemistry.  The plan being 4-6 weeks on Biology, then the same amount of time on Chemistry and then same again on Physics, then back to Biology and so on.  This project will be on the behaviour of chemicals and matter; acids and alkalines being something we looked at last year.  He did pretty well considering we haven't really covered all the work yet.  Scoring 9 out of 14 for the Acids one (the questions he got wrong were subjects we hadn't covered at all) and 5 out of 5 for the Behaviour of Matter test.  So very pleased with himself and so I am.  That's being pleased with him not me being pleased with me, haha.

He also completed a bit of 'homework' from last session of Mad Science at Faversham which was code breaking and then we discussed chemical reactions and what I was hoping we will achieve over the next 4-6 weeks.

He did look up some videos on chemical reaction on Khan Academy, but they were a little too advanced (college level) for him to understand.  His description of a 15 minute video where he lasted 5 minutes:

"Got it, got it, yep, understand, no, lost it!"

The fact he lasted a 1/3 of the video was impressive enough for me!!

This afternoon he was supposed to have a friend over to play, but due to weather and logistics it just became impossible for him to be here, so they arranged to meet online on Roblox instead where they could play and chat together.

Anyway, that about sums up our day so far.  Nothing planned for later, so he'll probably do the usual computer/TV combination with dinner thrown in somewhere.  Tomorrow we are back at Faversham for more Mad Science and a social meet up.

Cya

Friday, 5 October 2012

Good afternoon!  Yes, an early one!  More through necessity than anything else.

Started off a good day.  Both up, although I woke Callum at 9am with tea and pancakes (lucky boy), and dressed and ready to go ice skating.  Callum was incredibly helpful; bringing in the milk, helping me with laundry and tidying stuff away.  Was in a good mood and looking forward to going.  So off we went to skating with the lovely Lorraine and Biscuit.  Double checked the prices at the front desk as Callum doesn't actually participate in the lesson and we have had issues in the past with reference to amount needed to pay.  Was quiet today when we arrived so I could ensure they fully understood that, although part of the home ed group, neither skated, so would just be spectators.  Was confirmed that we only had to pay £4, which is what I've been paying luckily, but one week I was charged £8 (although I still only paid £4 in the end).

Was very busy and very noisy in the cafe today.  Haven't seen a few people for a while so was nice to catch up.  Callum played on his DS with the occasional interaction with Erica's boy, cups of hot chocolate were drunk by us adults and all seemed well.  Then as it was getting near to lunchtime I asked him if he wanted some chips.  He said "no".  Ok, bit odd, did he want a hot dog?  Again "no".  He was looking a bit pale, but his cheeks were bright red and were very hot.

"Are you ok?"
"No, too noisy!"
"Have you got your ear defenders?"
"No."
"Do you want to sit outside for a bit, you're very hot?"
"No.  I'm not hot!"

Hmmmm, got another drink for him, but he still didn't look right and started laying his head on the table.

"What's up?"
"Feel sick and my head hurts."

So, Lorraine and Biscuit kindly let us leave a bit early today.  Callum dosed with Calpol for the headache and took himself off to bed.  He's been there ever since coming down only when the postman arrived with his helicopters.

Meanwhile I put the mincemeat in jars and have got green tomato and orange marmalade on the go.

Am hoping he'll feel better tomorrow as I'm out with my daughter and he's home with dad.

I really thought we'd cleared it, but obviously not.  Oh well, a dose of elderberry syrup for the vitamin C is needed, although he doesn't like that either.

Cya

Thursday, 4 October 2012

A WEEK OF BLEURGH!

Good evening.  Sorry been no posts, but we have both been feeling yuck all week.  Started with sore throats, then headaches, then feeling dizzy and really, really tired.  Callum still a little lacklustre today, but I'm back to bouncing self after overdosing on Vitamin C.  Unfortunately Callum doesn't like Vit C tablets or drinks, so have been making sure of plenty of fluids with the occasionally dose of Calpol and lots of rest.  So this week has been a bit slooooooooow to say the least.

Firstly last Friday:  held a coffee morning for Macmillan Cancer Support.  Had a few friends round for tea/coffee and cake (some, I made, some, people bought with them) and Callum had some friends to play.  Had a really good day and raised nearly £70.

Saturday and Sunday Phil was working, so Saturday Callum lazed and pottered about, but Sunday he went to his friend Callum's house again where he had a fab time and stayed for dinner.

Monday he woke up not at all right and we ended up lazing on the sofa together watching telly.  I'd recorded Animal Farm a few weeks ago, so we ended up watching that; writing up a little review on Tuesday (it's one of the books on the recommended reading list for his 'school year' so he doesn't 'have to' read it now, but maybe he will later as he did enjoy the movie although he did find it very sad.

Tuesday, we did a little bit of maths and he had a look at negative numbers of Khanacademy, but he felt very rough and so after about an hour he took himself off to bed and spent the rest of the day sleeping and watching a bit of comedy on telly.

Wednesday we were both feeling a bit better, but just very very tired.  So didn't really do a great deal of anything apart from discuss what cooking we wanted to do for Christmas and writing out a shopping list.  Off shopping that evening and then set up the mincemeat to soak overnight in the orange and lemon juices.

Today, both feeling a lot better.  So mincement finished off, now just needs to have brandy stirred in and put into jars.

We also set up the fruits for the Creole Christmas Cake which we are going to use for small cakes for Halloween as we are doing a Voodoo/Zombie theme and are looking at cooking from New Orleans.  AND we did some science Bitesize tests and activities on the BBC website.

Tomorrow ice skating.

Am hoping we are back to normal again, but considering we've been ill, have still managed to cover some English literature, some computer studies, some science, some maths and some cooking, so really not that bad! hehe

Cya

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

JUST AN EXTRA BIT OF INFORMATION

This blog was originally set up to show what we do as a home educating family with an Asperger child.  It's partly to share our experience of learning and partly so that I have a record of what we do should anyone come knocking asking questions.  We don't do loads of written work, nor do we follow a curriculum, so having a record somewhere is nice for me and it's nice to get feedback from readers.

But I'm digressing!  I just thought I'd add an extra blog today just to say what it's like as a parent of an ASD child.  I know my experience will differ from others because all ASD children are different and on different levels so I can only speak from my own day to day experience.  Why am I writing?  With everything that is in the news with regard to DLA, etc, I feel that people often don't understand the often 'hidden' problems of ASD.

Callum has Asperger.  It means he is bright, logical and can interact.  However, he has trouble interacting.  He worries about new situations, new people and he can't cope with change very well.  He also has to be reminded to do things all the time. Some people will see it as him being lazy or me being too much of a controlling mother, but if I don't remind him he just wouldn't do it.  He isn't lazy, he just wouldn't think to do it in the first place.

We have visual timetables for schoolwork expectations.  We also have a visual timetable for personal things such as cleaning his teeth, washing his face and when to have a shower.  But even with those timetables I often have to still remind him.

Take this morning.  I got up to make lunch to take, feed the dog and sort out what I wanted to take to Faversham (Body Shop brochures to give out, Macmillan Coffee Morning invites and a friend's Body Shop order) and to get dressed.  So far, as normal as every other parent.  Callum got up and had a cuppa with me and then started to play with the dog.

"Have you had your shower?" I said
"Just going now."

After that he got dressed and brought down his washing.

"Don't forget you need breakfast today.  Cereal will do as it'll be quick."  As he went back to playing with the dog.
"Ok"

Cereal got whilst I finished making pack up and eaten while I make another cuppa.

Then I started sorting out the packing and getting ready to go.

Callum sat on the sofa.

"Could you clean your teeth please?"
"Yep."  Off he goes.
"Can you get your bag and make sure you have it packed with what you need?"
"Yep."  Brings back his bag, his shoes and his jacket.
"Got everything?"
"Yep!  But I might take my Dune game this week."
"Ok, go on then, whilst I clean my teeth and get my boots on."

Down he comes, puts the game in his bag and then sits there.

"Can you put your shoes on please."
"Ok."  He does and then puts on his jacket and sits down.
"Did you get your lunch?"
"No."
"Ok, I'll get that as I need mine."
"Ok."

He puts the lunch in the bag and we set off.  We get to the station and he discovers he hasn't got his glasses. First thing I think is 'damn, forgot to ask him if he had his glasses' not 'why didn't you remember your glasses?'

I know that all this sounds really mundane and pathetic, but this happens every single day.  I have to ask him to do things.  I have to prompt him to ensure he has everything he needs.  You might all be saying 'why are you asking him, he's 13!'  But if I hadn't prompted, if I hadn't reminded him, he'd have continued to play with the dog until the 11th hour and we probably wouldn't have made it.

All outings must be organised with military precision.  All outings must be checked beforehand for any issues that might arise such as long escalators, high ceilings, lots of noise risk and whether easily accessible from train station or bus stop and that I know EXACTLY how to get there.  I cannot show any worries or apprehension and I must be ready and be able to take instant decisions or make instant changes if things don't go according to plan.  I must be able to instantly find a solution and be able to approach anyone to find that solution if necessary.  I have to remain calm and deal with the situation as well as dealing with any breakdowns that Callum may be having at the same time which can include running, hiding and/or shaking/flapping.

In addition to this; clothing must be of a certain feel, shoes will have to be prised off feet when new ones are due as he won't recognise that things are getting too small or at least won't want to admit that they are getting too small.  He also hates shopping, but has to be there to feel the clothes to ensure that they are right; if they aren't he won't wear them.  So shopping has to be as planned as any other outing.

If he's anxious, he'll hide or he'll poke me constantly.  He'll want my full 100% attention if his friends aren't there when he expects them to be there, so trying to talk to others will be difficult.

He can still wake in the night with nightmares and left to his own devices he isn't particularly motivated.

He is getting better at dealing with things and there is less running away from uncomfortable situations.  But whether he really is getting better or I'm just getting very good at avoiding the trigger issues, I don't know.

Having an ASD child is an experience.  It's challenging, but often fabulous fun.  Callum has a great sense of humour and he's fun to be with and I love being with him.

But I'd still like people to remember that it isn't always as easy as it looks and it's often all the background work that has gone on that has made it that way.

Anyway, thanks for listening, ranty moment over.  I'm sure many of you that I know will recognise some or all of the things I've mentioned and those of you that don't have ASD kids still may not 'get it', but hey ho.

Cya

MAD, MAD, MAD.....SCIENCE!!!!

Good evening all.

Had a fab, but very long day today.  It's Faversham week, but this time with a bit of a difference.

Today was the first day of Mad Science (I think we are forensic based this time round).  We were based in the hall and had the kids around three tables.  The guy who took the session was very good, keeping the kids engaged and gave them lots of things to do to keep their attention.  Code breaking today.  Started off talking about spies that the kids might know about, what they did, what equipment they might use, etc.  Then he gave out pieces of paper and told them to come up with a spy name and write it onto the paper.  He then said  he would walk around amongst them and they had to pass their code names between their allies (people on their table) without him seeing them.  Lots of giggling, bits of paper being handed sideways, under chairs and under tables then ensued.  After a few minutes he said that although it was all good, there was still evidence of their code names so it wasn't really safe.

"I know a better way" he says.  "I can make this information disappear in 5 seconds"

He then promptly ate the piece of paper.  Many open mouths, giggles, sounds of awe, etc followed.

"Go on then." He says.

Several kids stuffed the paper in their mouths straight away, others peered curiously at their bits of paper, others nibbled the corners cautiously.

"I'ts ok, it's edible paper."  He then informs them.

Several more kids eat the paper, others still nibble, but I don't think any didn't finally eat it.

A good start to the session I thought.

Then onto something a little more serious; well kind of.  Semiphore sheets handed out and a demonstration by the guy with all the kids shouting out what they think it stood for.  Then their turn, which was rather fun as they had to mirror what was shown on the page with their partners trying to figure out the coded message.

More code breaking using morse and dancing men and then a tape maker with which they could write their name in braille and take home.

Good session.  Happy kids.  Roll on next time and thank you Davinia for organising.

The rest of the day Callum spent with his friend Stewart in the computer room as normal.   Then a travel home with Liz, Harry, Bethany, Ali, Joy, Gabby and Johnny.

We left the house this morning at 10.15am and didn't get home until 4.45pm this afternoon.


Callum rather tired by the end of it and is now sitting at the computer playing Roblox.

It's been a fab day today.

What has he learnt:  "That codes are easier to break than I thought"

Cya

Monday, 24 September 2012

BACK TO NORMAL - WELL SORT OF

Good evening folks.  Hope you have all had a good start to the week.  We went back to normal today as Phil returned to work.  What does normal mean in our house?  Well, a quiet chat over a cuppa with Callum, a quiet tidy up, a quiet hour or so doing some home ed and a quiet couple of hours chilling out.  Note the common word in that rather long sentence - quiet!

My partner, Phil, has a tendency to put the radio on as soon as he's up and doesn't turn it off until it's time to sit down and watch TV.  So all week it's been a constant drone of noise.  Now Callum isn't a quiet soul and neither am I, but we both like a bit of quiet in the daytime, especially if we are going to do some work.  We both find the 'background' noise distracting so as the week progressed we were both starting to feel a little fraught, but each to their own.

So this morning we had an even more leisurely cuppa (in fact we had two) relishing the peace and quiet.  Then Callum went off to do some work on Khan Academy whilst I had a tidy and hoover up.  Unfortunately Callum couldn't find what he was looking for on Khan, so asked if he could finish designing his game on Roblox.  As he is creating a game almost from scratch, I'm happy to include this in his computer studies session, so that's what he did, finding a few issues when testing and managing to solve them by tweaking the script a bit.

As it was Monday and it's about the only day we have this week where we are either not going anywhere or not seeing anyone and after having a week with dad, we both were really slow on getting ourselves together. Add to that the printer has run out of ink (I've normally always got back up cartridges, but somehow this time I didn't).  The work I had planned for science theory today is all on the computer and needs to be printed, so we decided to finally watch the last episode of The Dark nature programme that the BBC ran a while ago.  Nocturnal activities of Humpback Whales, Pumas and Vampire Bats feeding on Sealions this time.

Then a mushroom and cheese omelette for a late breakfast/early lunch and a wait for Terri to turn up with Merlin.  I prepped dinner and he disappeared upstairs to watch some telly whilst we waited.

A good afternoon spent with daughter planning Halloween party and Callum flitted up and down the stairs doing whatever he felt like doing.

So an easy day, laid back and restful.  Was nice to be able to recharge the brain and just take our time.

Tomorrow is the proper start of the week.  Hope the ink turns up soon.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

END OF THE WEEK LETHARGY

Good morning, sorry bit late with this but I was out gallavanting last night (seem to be doing that quite a bit this month - oh well, never mind, hehe) so didn't get round to writing up our day.

So, what did we do?  We were supposed to be going Ice Skating, but as one of our friends wasn't going and we had a couple of things we wanted to catch up on, Callum decided that he didn't fancy going so we stayed at home instead.

Both of us were feeling a little tired and, to be honest, neither of us could really be bothered to do much.  However, I did say that we needed to write up the potato experiment that we did ages ago, so that's what we did; creating a new basic blank sheet with prompts for writing up experiments.  We have them for days out and book reviews and they make life a little easier as Callum can see the questions he needs to answer and it gives him prompts as to what information he needs to include.


I know I may have posted this picture before, but this is the experiment we were writing up.  The potato on the left was standing in salt water and the one of the right just plain water.  Over a period of a week, the one on the left shrivelled and salt crystals grew on it, but the one on the right remained exactly the same.  It took longer than it stated to get the results, but was simple to do and could be left to get on with it, so all good.


This picture shows the salt crystals a little clearer and the wrinkling.

After this we did a little maths and went over the rest of the revision sheets to ensure Callum knew what he was doing; going to knuckle down and get on with those next week.

Called it quits after that.  Callum went off on to the computer to create a new game on Roblox.  Have asked him to print off a screen shot and the script so we can use it in our computer studies folder.  He spent pretty much the rest of the day on the computer although what him and dad did when I went out I don't know.

So that's Friday done!

Cya

Thursday, 20 September 2012

FIELD TRIP THEN WORK, WORK, WORK

Good evening, hope you are all well.

Today we really knuckled down and did some work.  We said we would have a whole day of science and we did.  We are covering Biology at the moment and in particular trees, plants, leaves, grasses and, eventually, plants as food.

We started our day off on a field trip to Capstone Park to look at trees, leaves and grasses.  Firstly we had to pick out 4 different trees and measure the circumference of the trunks using string and a tape measure and then record the results.  We then picked a leaf from each tree to aid it's identification and took bark rubbings.  We also had a look at some cut branches around the park and counted rings to decipher age and discussed why some rings are wider apart than others.

Then we gathered a few more larger leaves that were similar in shape for another experiment which we set up later (more on that in a bit).

We then moved onto a nearby field and, whilst the dog ran around, we looked at one length of the field and it's hedgerow and picked as many different grasses as we could find to identify once home; taking note of how common they were to find.

On the way back to the car we found a largish cut log with very clear rings that Callum counted and then measured the circumference of the log to find a comparison with number of rings in relation to circumference of trunk.

Once home we used the two measurements 62 rings with a 127cm circumference to come up with the calculation 127 / 62 = 2.05 years per cm.  Using this we could work out an approximate age of the trees we measured.

We also used various references to identify the trees and created a page for each tree with the leaf, the identification, the measurement and approximate age and bark rubbing.


Callum also did some leaf rubbings to create some artwork.

After dealing with the trees we used the computer and a print off to identify some grasses and made a little booklet with the grass, id and some general information.  We also recorded the popularity of the grass within the border that we took them from.

This completed most of the written and research work and it was time to set up a couple of extra experiments which we can monitor.

One was to see how much moisture a leaf will lose over a period of time, using petroleum jelly to mask parts of or all of the leaf.  One leaf was left completely uncovered, one had the top side covered, one the underside covered and one completely covered with jelly.  They were then hung up by string and will be monitored over the next week or so.


Working from left to right;  underside covered, not covered, all covered and topside covered.  We'll see what happens.

Then we set up another experiment to see how roots and shoots grow using a piece of sweet potato.


Again, we'll see what happens.

Callum worked really hard today to get everything done and even when he was starting to flag, he suggested a break and then went back to it.

So what has Callum learnt today, in his own words: "we can use other ways of finding out the age of a tree other than counting rings and that the size of the leaf is not compared with the age as our oldest tree did not have the largest leaf." and "there are lots of different types of grass".

Best bit of the day: "The field trip to measure the trees".

Tomorrow will be tying up any lose ends from the week and getting some maths done.

Cya

All experiments come from http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1741856140/?tag=hydra0b-21&hvadid=11068759565&ref=asc_df_1741856140