Friday, 29 June 2012


Hi all

Wow, that week went quick!  Can't believe I last did this blog on Sunday.  You must think we've been really busy and I suppose we have, but not because we've been out and about, we've actually done some work.

Callum and myself are feeling a little non motivated at the moment so trying to get into the spirit of doing 'work' has been really hard.  He just wants to play on his games, occasionally see his friends and bounce around on the trampoline as the weather has allowed us outside in the garden for a change.  Now there is nothing wrong with any of that and he has still being doing all of that.

I'm ready for the 'end of year' and having some time to catch up with sewing, gardening, knitting, etc.  But I'm also very aware of the fact that the open day is looming and we still have stuff to finish.  I'm also aware that Callum is now 13 and I'm suffering from one of  my 'aaargh' moments.  Those moments where I feel that we aren't doing enough; what will he do about qualifications; will he get a job; all those questions that all  parents must have from time to time, but I also feel that if any of the above fails that it will be down to me!  I know that everything is really fine.  I know that Callum is learning, maybe not as much as he would do at school, but he's learning what he enjoys and enjoys what he learns and it's at his own pace.  I'm pretty sure that he'll be fine when it's time to find work, but I'm still panicking and I do every year and I'm sure that as the years pass, I'll get worse and worse.  The trick is not to let it influence my attitude towards what we do.  I don't want our home ed experience to turn into one of me being teacher in front of him at a desk telling him what to do and how.

Callum on the other hand isn't having any of those worries.  He is certain that he's going to get a job; he's certain that it will be in computers (games design) and he's pretty certain that he's going to end up emigrating to America to do it!  I wish I had his confidence and his certainty, but I'm glad he has it.  Before we started home education he didn't have any certainty of anything.  He was a scared little boy; a frustrated and angry little boy with very little confidence and no idea of what he was good at.  Home education has taught him that; it has allowed him to investigate his likes and dislikes and has allowed him to grow in confidence in his own capabilities.  He may not be the most sociable kid on the block nor is he the bravest, but he has inner confidence and that is often more important.

So what 'work' have we done?  Well, we looked at areas and perimeters of different shapes and looked at Pi.  We talked about nouns, pronouns, verbs and adverbs.  We talked about what books we wanted to read next year. We had a discussion about how our local area has changed since I was a kid.  We wrote up the Horrible Histories theatre trip.  We looked up Amelia Dyer, the Victorian baby farmer.  We looked up the Charge of the Light Brigade.  We looked at the Tudor family tree.  We discussed next year's 'timetable'.  He rediscovered Lego and built several Halo models and built a base to put them in.

 He built an alarm for his bedroom door and we went to trampolining lesson!

On top of that, we've had visitors, bounced around on the trampoline, read numerous Horrid Henry books and been shopping.  Oh and, of course, played on the computer!


Sunday, 24 June 2012



Firstly I would like to apologise for my moaning on the last post.  This really is supposed to be about Callum, not me, so sorry folks.

We did go ice skating on Friday and, as usual, Callum didn't ice skate, but sat with us adults.  They did the draw for the teams for the home ed 'olympic' sports day and Callum is in blue team.  I'm not sure what he will join in with and what he won't, but luckily he has some other kids on his team that he knows well.  Now just have to check out his wardrobe for a blue Tshirt; know he has blue trousers.

When we got back we pulled down all the boxes of science kits from the top of the cupboard and went through them deciding what we were going to finish and what we were going to sort out for the open day.  Obviously he got distracted and ended up 'playing' with the electric fan he'd made some time ago.

Saturday was a long day.  Callum wasn't really looking forward to it to be honest, although it was the length of the day and the worry about what we would do between shows that was bothering him.  Must admit I was concerned myself about whether we would be able to fill the time and whether he would want to come home early, but it all turned out really well and we both had a fab day.  Thanks go to Lorraine for organising.

Started at just after lunch by meeting up with Dawn and Stew to catch the train to Dartford, picking up Lorraine, Mouse, Boy Wonder and nephew on the way.  Met Carol and Squirt outside the theatre and went in for round one of Horrible Histories - Vile Victorians!  Was brilliant as usual; we've been to shows before.  Learnt about, amongst other things, the Tay Bridge disaster, baby farmer Amelia Dyer and various children's work such as chimney sweep, 'trapper' in the mine and factory work.

What to do in between - Pizza Hut!  Decided that this was probably the best place to suit everyone's tastes and it was pretty nearby.  Group of ten (4 adults and 6 children) found tables outside (because it was busy inside, not because of our number) and a frantic ordering took place.  Pizzas, pasta, salads, drinks, prawns and potato wedges and a bottle of wine for us adults.  Then a few puds and more drinks.  Surprisingly almost 2.5 hours went really quickly and the kids all had fun and food.

Wasn't sure about Callum for the second show as he spent the majority of it cuddling Carol and looking like he was falling asleep, but he said he was ok.  Terrible Tudors this time with the spanish armada attacks (particularly funny), Henry VIII's wives,  Anne Boleyn's sixth finger, Edward VI's death as a child and, of course, Bloody Mary (Queen Mary I); it is horrible histories after all!

Caught a train back at 8.45pm and got home around 9.30pm, so it had been a very long day.  Made a cuppa for both Callum and I and we had a lovely chat about the day before he went off to bed.

Today we have had a day at home.  He's been on the computer, played on the Wii with his dad and is now back on the computer again.

Tomorrow we get on with finishing some work off and getting some science kits started.

There no moaning from me, although now he is on Facebook, he can virtually poke me as well as physically, but at least FB ones don't hurt. ;-)


Thursday, 21 June 2012

Hi all

This week has been a bit weird to be honest.  Not sure if I'm going down with a bug, but Monday and today I have felt exhausted and really achy.  I spent most of Monday asleep on the sofa only getting up if Callum needed me for anything, eg, food, drink or to look at what he was doing on the computer.  I have to admit that now he is older I don't need to be running around for him a lot and that, gratefully, I am 'allowed' to feel under the weather, but he still has issues with using knives for cutting bread or spreading things (he's a bit cackhanded to be honest) and he doesn't like the look, smell or consistency of marg or butter so he won't use it at all, but some things like a marmite sandwich are almost impossible to make without having at least a bit of butter on them.  Guess what he fancied for lunch on Monday....yep, marmite sandwich!

Anyway, Tuesday I was feeling all fab and glorious again; full of energy, although not full of brain power.  We went to the Faversham group, but took our time in the morning so didn't rush.  The group was really quiet this week, but to be honest it suited me.  Unfortunately, because it meant Callum's friends weren't there (the friends he goes off to the computer room with anyway), he sat with me most of the time.

I have no objections to this at all, except it does mean that he gets bored and I get poked and prodded a lot!!!  Am actually rather surprised I'm not covered in bruises on my arms as I get poked and prodded on an almost daily basis.  He doesn't mean any harm and he doesn't do it to hurt, it's his way of getting attention and his way of showing his affection; weird though that may sound.  I'm normally ok about it, but I must admit I wasn't really mentally up for it Tuesday and I own up to the fact that I did eventually snap!  I didn't shout at him, but I did do a huge sigh and faced him with an 'enough now' look and a "please stop it" voice!  I don't think he quite understands how infuriating and, sometimes, painful it can be.  There you are trying to have a conversation while someone is prodding you constantly with a finger.  When you ask what they want, they reply with "nothing!"  "Why are you poking me then?" "Don't know, just am!"

I wish he didn't have so much trouble with socialising sometimes.  I wish he could, occasionally, be like other kids and just go off and do something; try something; speak to someone; ask someone something; but I know he can't or doesn't want to (that's what he normally tells me anyway), but there are some days when I'm really just not in the mood to be his sole form of entertainment.  Some days I would just like to have a conversation by myself with my friends.

Right, that's the I'm feeling sorry for myself bit over and I'll now get on with the rest of the week.  Sorry about that!

Wednesday we seemed to do loads.  His sister spent the day with us as she normally does on a Wednesday, but we managed to achieve rather a lot and I don't mean that we can't normally, we just don't seem to.  We finally got around to the Quex House write up, included some photos and some background which we copy and pasted from the internet (I made him read it first though, so he knew what it said and made him decide what bits he wanted that were relevant and which bits he didn't and that weren't).  I also managed to find and print off a one page little geography questionnaire about Africa; simple stuff like how many countries made up Africa, which was the largest, smallest, etc.  He did that by himself looking up the answers he didn't know using the computer and when it was finished we added that to the write up.

He decided he didn't want to paint his pot, but he did stick some feathers on his mask so we completed that as well.

Then, as we had some time spare, we got out all the work we had done so far since September to see how much we had.  At first I didn't think there was a lot there, but then I remembered that we had a purple box full of ongoing stuff that needs completing and we have some science kits that need doing, so I don't think it will be as bad as we first thought.  Phew!

Oh and I forgot we planted up his new alpine garden; he now has two!  Did that when we returned from Faversham on Tuesday.

In addition this week we have played in the garden; he's helped me with some weeding; he made up an experiment using his treadmill and some of his cars, trucks, etc to see how fast he needed them to go and what speed the treadmill needed to be in order for them not to fall off.  I will mention that these were radio controlled or battery powered cars/trucks.  He's also helped me make cakes and done a bit of tidying in his bedroom.

Today I felt lousy again.  Really achy, really tired and kept feeling sick, so we haven't done 'schoolwork' today.  We did make cake this morning although I just wanted to get it done really quickly so Callum helped with getting things out and putting things away rather than going the whole making thing.  He has made me cups of tea today, bless him.  Plus we had a brief visit from a friend this afternoon (my fault it was brief as I forgot I had osteo at 4pm - sorry about that Carol).

Tomorrow, hopefully is iceskating!  I'm just hoping I can clear whatever this is that I appear to have got.  Can cope with the aches and pains, but the feeling sick is horrible and the feeling tired is just...well, tiring!

Anyway, that's it, cya folks

Monday, 18 June 2012


Hiya.  Update of weekend.

Friday went well, although we did get lost in Guildford on the way.  Followed AA route which took us through centre of Guildford.  Awful system that lead us round and round and into many car parks before we eventually found our way out!  Note to anyone planning on going to Dunsford...DON'T GO THROUGH GUILDFORD!!  Phil, of course, started to lose his temper and threatened to turn around and go home which was totally unacceptable to me or Callum.  However, a calming talk and a redirection finally got us there with a few minutes to spare.  Unfortunately that is a problem with Asperger; if something says a time, they have to be there by it or it's a complete disaster.  Callum has learned, being with me all day, that sometimes things don't always go to plan and there is nearly always a bit of leeway to timings.  However, Phil hasn't quite got there yet, but he does calm down pretty quick.

Anyway, back to the day.  There were a lot of people there all booking in and driving off in different cars with families taking pictures or videos so was a bit concerned for Callum, but we managed to find a corner with some plastic chairs and sat down to wait for his dad whilst watching all the different cars come in and out. .

People waiting
A number of cars
He was most impressed with the orange Lamborghini (below) and decided that Lamborghinis should either be in yellow or orange, Ferraris should be red and Aston Martins should be black or grey. 

Unfortunately the Aston his dad went in was red (well Burgundy coloured), but I don't think Phil cared which colour it was.
Phil attempting to get in (bit tight as he's 6ft 3)

Driving off
After the main drive which was four laps round the track (apparently the Top Gear track but in reverse) Callum was able to join his dad for a high speed thrill ride which was 1 lap round the track at mega speed in the car below.

Driving off

Returning (can just see Callum in the back seat)

Returned safe and sound and smiling
Needless to say the boys were on a bit of a high on the way home and I guided us on a different route which avoided Guildford altogether.  Lesson to self:  plan the journey yourself and don't rely on anyone else's directions.

Saturday was a small family BBQ as a belated party for Callum.  He only wanted his sister, Terri; her dad, Dave and his Auntie Teresa and Uncle Stephen (Phil's brother) to come so it was really little.  Oh and Terri's dog, Merlin.  Weather stayed dry, but did get a bit overcast and very windy.  Managed to BBQ the food and have a drink and a chat in the garden before returning indoors and all having a go at making origami boats from the instructions in one of Callum's presents that his Aunt and Uncle bought him.  Was hilarious trying to follow the instructions, but some of us managed to make boats and we decided to float them in the water butt outside.

There were origami paddles to be made to go with them, but we decided that the canoes were hard enough, hehe.

On the subject of Arts and Crafts below is a picture of the pot Callum made at Quex House (unpainted at present) and the Tribal Mask (also not finished) which I promised to post last time.


Sunday we were intending to go to Fuse Festival in Rochester, but due to our busy week and weekend, Callum felt that he just wanted a day at home being quiet (which means playing on the computer), so we didn't go.  First year for a while we have missed it, but then there is always next time.

So lots of photos this time.  Rest of week we are supposed to be sorting out his work for his Open Day next month and seeing what exactly we have, what is unfinished and what there is to be started.  Oh well, I'll probably be buried under paper and folders for a few days now. ;-)


Thursday, 14 June 2012


Well this week has been a bit of a weird one weatherwise.  It started off wet, we've just had a few days of brilliant sunshine and now they are predicting heavy rain again.  All good for the garden, but not so good when you have plans for being out and about.

Spent last weekend, which was fine in the day and wet by the evening, out and about foraging with Phil and Callum down at Riverside and Motney Hill.  Saturday was elderflowers for cordial, chickweed for infusing in oil for an anti itching lotion for later and sea beet for prawn stir fry for dinner.  Callum isn't into picking stuff, but loves trying things out when I've cooked them.  But he is getting rather good at spotting things, so armed with my 'shopping list' we set off.  Elderflowers this year seem rather abundant so managed to get plenty for cordial and a few extra for drying for making 'flu season' tea later in the year.  He thoroughly enjoyed himself running up and down the 'beach' with the dog and climbing over the walls.

Once home his dad had to go back to work and I spent the afternoon in the kitchen prepping my free goodies.

Sunday was Motney Hill for some more elderflowers; this time for fritters and we managed to get some samphire from the beach for dinner.  Also collected some red clover for drying for a tea.  Callum actually helped pick today, but only the clover as he was having far too much fun running up and down with the dog on the beach, but at least it's a start.  Both him and the dog ended up covered in mud and sand, but it all washes out so who cares?

Monday we went off to a friend's house and ended up picking even more elderflowers (this time from her garden) and showing them and her student how to make the fritters.  There were tons of them; plenty for 4 kids and 4 adults.  Callum had a great time playing with Azeem in his little den.

Tuesday was Callum's birthday; the big 13!!  Was planning to take him to the beach, but it poured down all day so we didn't go.  Asked him what he wanted to do and he said "pj day"!  So that's what he had.  All day in pjs.  He watched Tin Tin on DVD, played on the Playstation and the computer and watched a bit of telly.  Big sis visited for the day as well and he obviously had some presents to open and some cards.  Has ended up with £30 in cash to spend and a WH Smith voucher, has already ordered a new PC game.

Wednesday was a beautiful sunny day which was brilliant as we were on a home education trip to Quex House in Birchington.  Quite a large group of kids, but Callum coped well and he did have some space to retreat for some quiet time too.  The guide we had was fab; very good with the children and very patient and funny.  We learnt a little about the Powell-Cotton estate, but he didn't dwell on it for long.  We then watched a short video on how to make African pots before going outside in the sunshine to have a go at making our own.  Will post a photo up next time.  Then back inside to make masks.  First had a little discussion about different types of masks and why we would use them and then pretty much all the kids went to make animal masks in the animal room.  Callum wasn't too keen on doing that, but decided to make a tribal one instead.  So I went and gathered some paper and crayons and we returned to the tribal room to make his mask.  Had to leave him to get on with it as he didn't want me watching.  It's turned out really well and I'll post a photo of that next time too.  He wants to add things to it before we finally put it together for a mask, so I may wait until it's complete, but then again I might not.

Then it was lunch and free time.  He needed to get some space by this point, so we went over by the fountain to eat and then walked around the gardens before coming home.  Was rather proud of him as he remained with the group for the majority of the time which I know was quite hard for him on occasion.

Today he's been at home playing on a game he's found on Facebook.  He now has an account as he's 13.  He wouldn't join before as you aren't supposed to have one until then.  A few of his friends already had their own account, but he insisted on waiting.  I must admit, it's a bit odd seeing him comment or like posts.

Tomorrow is his dad's driving experience day at Cranleigh and hopefully the thrill ride for them both.  I'll be making sure I have a large flask of tea to drink while I watch them career around the track.  Might have to make sure there are waterproofs too as they are forecasting heavy rain again for the afternoon.

Oh well, here's hoping it'll stay dry enough for them to have their afternoon.  Cya later folks.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Hiya all you lovely people.  Hope you all had a fantastic Jubilee weekend with the extended bank holiday and that you have all now recovered.

We had two parties to go to.  One family and one friends.  Sunday was our family get together.  Callum loves going to Uncle Stephen's.  They have a pretty large house and garden and a Bassett Hound called Floyd who is a bit naughty when it comes to food, so has to be permanently watched.  Not good when you are BBQing and have a buffet out.  Must admit at one point he did show his intelligence by pulling on the end of the runner and trying to get the tablecloth to come off the table and all the food with it.

Both Phil's brothers and their wives were there (obviously one of the brother's and wives would be there as it was their house) plus his elder cousins with their boy/girlfriends and his other cousin who is 16 and who is also an Aspi.  There was also Teresa's sister and hubby there; so a nice little group.  Lots of food and drink, Flotilla on the telly in the background and a silly 'Royal' quiz later on.

Managed to fit the BBQ in between the showers, but we ended up mainly indoors.  Left about 8pm which was just about right.

Next day we were off to one of my friend's house for her red, white and blue party.  BBQ again in the garden and two tables full of food within the house.  Pat does know how to provide a good spread!  Weather held off and the sun came out on occasion.  Had a firepit in the garden under the marque type shelter which is where Phil and Callum sat themselves for most of the afternoon.  Sean's son, Victor, was there too, so Callum had someone he knew there, even if it was only vaguely.

I had a great time catching up with people I haven't seen for ages.  Again, we didn't stay too late as Callum was getting a bit overwhelmed by the two days of socialising.

Tuesday we had a quiet day with no visitors or visits to make.  Spent it pottering about watching TV, playing on the computer and generally being lazy.

Wednesday Callum had his school friend Callum D round for the afternoon and Terri, his sister, did her usual Wednesday visit.  Callum and Callum D don't get together as often as they used to, but as soon as they are it's as if they have never been apart.  Sign of a true friendship in my book.  They had a great afternoon on the Wii and upstairs in Callum's room making up games using the marble run and Callum's numerous tanks.

Today we worked!  School work that is.  We had 3 write ups that hadn't been done and so we knuckled down and got them out of the way.  Bee Release at Dungerness; Tree Walk at Capstone and Mini Beast Hunt at Riverside.  After writing up the days; searching the net for a press release re the bees, pictures of things that we hadn't got photos of and extra info and putting all the photos we did have into a display with added info, 3.5hrs had gone by.  Must remember to allow an average of 1hr per write up in the future.  Was very interesting to see how much Callum had remembered and to search the net for information when the discussions led us down a slightly different route, but we were both mentally shattered at the end of it.

Tomorrow he has, hopefully, another friend round and next week his dad is off, so we won't be doing any 'proper' work now until a week Monday.  But as we will be out and about a few days next week, I'll sure Callum will have some new experiences and lots of fun.

Sorry no photos today, but I kept forgetting to take my camera out with me.  Silly me.


Sunday, 3 June 2012


Hiya, just popping in to do a quick catch up before going off to our first Jubilee Party of the weekend.

Haven't really done a lot as it was my birthday last Wednesday and I've had a couple of 'days off' and had visitors, etc.

Monday was an early start, 5.30am for Callum, 3.30am for me.  We were being picked up at 7am and Callum needs an hour or so to come to now and I was wide awake so thought might as well get up.  Where were we going at just an unearthly hour?  Well, we were heading off to Dungerness with Carol and Lauren to watch the release of the short haired bumblee bees which have been extinct in this country for about 25 years.  This batch of 50 queens had travelled all the way from Sweden.  Read the article below for more info:

It was a long morning of talks and press interviews (not with us I might add) before we went off to actually release the bees, but it was wonderful to be there especially as Lauren got the honour of releasing one herself.  My Callum really enjoyed it, but kept hiding from the cameras.  Was nice to be part of history.

Spent the afternoon down on the beach doing some cockling; found enough for my tea at least, hehe.  Tide was out so there was loads of sand for the kids to investigate.

Tuesday was trampolining and Terri came with us this week.  It'll be Callum's last lesson for a few weeks as the next one falls on his birthday and he doesn't want to do it.  He worked on his routine and Kim, his coach, is trying to get him to perfect the moves to look more stylish.  He also showed him some exercises that he should do to strengthen up his core muscles.  After the lesson we went off to Subway for lunch and as Callum hadn't really had a proper breakfast he ended up with a foot long sandwich.  Afternoon was spent in the garden opening presents with my daughter and having a small white wine spritzer.

My Wildflower Corner looking rather well established.
Wednesday was my actual birthday and I had visits from both Lorraine and Linda which was lovely and more presents which was also much appreciated plus cake.  Thanks girls!

Thursday was a lazy day and Friday we spent most of the day watching my new DVDs before I went out to a friend's house in the evening for drinks and nibbles.  Thank you Linda for driving and thank you Gina for having us.

Yesterday Callum and dad pottered about whilst I felt crap all day.  Was really stormy weather without the storm itself and I always end up with migraines when it's like that. 

Today is a family Jubilee party and tomorrow a friend's one.  So hope you all have a fab bank holiday weekend and try not to drink too much, hehe.

Cya soon