Thursday, 12 July 2012


Hiya, don't think I'm doing too bad this week.  Seem to be doing an update every other day.  Could have something to do with me now having a laptop so I'm not fighting over computer time with Callum and, of course, I can do it from the comfort of my own sofa.  However, I also think it may have something to do with the new timetable as I'm now organised with work and Callum knows what needs to be done, so we are doing more.

I don't really notice the difference when we don't have a timetable until I actually have one.  I've mentioned before that total autonomous education doesn't work for us, but every now and again, either because we are too busy or I'm too knackered, we end up practising that style of home ed.  But I know that it doesn't really work and having this new timetable has proved it.  It isn't that we don't do any work at all when its autonomous, but I find that I can't suddenly spring to action when Callum wants to do something (I need to be mentally and physically prepared and that means organising) and I find Callum's motivation lapses very quickly and he just ends up doing the same thing all day every day and that's Roblox or now a game on Facebook.  Callum's Asperger means that he does need a certain amount of routine although as he has got older he is more able to cope with sudden changes that may happen in the day.  However, having a visual timetable and a breakdown of what he's expected to do on a daily basis written up has seen him motivated and self organising which is a vast improvement.  His concentration is better and he is more willing to try.  I know this form of education doesn't work for everyone and I know that having a full day's timetable would not work for us, but this semi structured (mornings), semi autonomous (afternoons) approach definitely works for us.  I just need to ensure that I stick to it plus it helps me as well as I know what I need to plan for.

So what have we done over the past few days.  Well, Wednesday was scheduled for Science and Art and Terri was visiting as she usually does on a Wednesday.  I sort of delegated to her for some of the work and they ended up doing a combination of Science and Art using some experiments which looked at colour and light.  This time we/they looked at reflected colour and light; shining a torch covered in coloured cellophane (red, blue and yellow) onto various toy vehicles of various colours (red, yellow, blue, green and white).  It was quite interesting how the vehicles changed colour when different coloured light was shone onto them.  Non of us totally understood it, but a collective conclusion was that the colour reflected was the strongest colour that was left on the spectrum after you removed the colour of the vehicle and the colour of the light.  Unfortunately the cellophane we were using was from sweetie wrappers and the red one was rather strong in comparison to the rest, so we aren't entirely sure if our results were totally as they should be, but it was fun and we kind of got the idea.

They then attempted to make blue sky by using a glass of water and dropping various amounts of milk into the water.  The torch was then shone from the side of the glass and behind the glass.  As the water became more milky, the light from the side shone through the milk in a bluish tinge and shone from behind in a reddish tinge.  Rather interesting. Will try and post some pictures later.

Then they 'played' on Photoshop on the computer to change a photograph of Draco, the dog, into various degrees of blue tones.  I'm hoping to get Callum to do the same using red and yellow tones.

The afternoon was spent with us all together watching Journey 2: Mysterious Island.

Today was Maths and Computer Studies.  Callum spent most of the morning on continuing to look at areas and perimeters and where he begun to learn to write some proper computer code.  Then it was a single maths sheet on areas and perimeters of triangles to finish off.

After lunch we watched the latest edition of Turn Back Time - The Family, which is a BBC programme about the life of families through history.

Callum enjoys this programme as do I as it isn't all about facts and figures, but more about the everyday life of families and how they lived, worked and played.

For the rest of the day, he has played on the Wii and has now started playing playing one of the games online with other people.  Not something that I would want to do or probably could even suss out how to do, but Callum, as do many others, just gets it.  I used to be pretty good using computers, but I think a lot of it is now beyond me.  But good for C, glad he can keep up as he'll need to.

Anyway, last ice skating meet before the holidays tomorrow and then a bit of a clean up of the house.

Cya folks

Tuesday, 10 July 2012


Hiya folks, hope you lovely people are all fab and gorgeous. We are having rather interesting weather here so far.  It's been chucking it down one minute and then glorious sunshine the next.  So am glad we haven't got much going out and about planned this week.

So far we have had a lovely lazy Monday in pjs all day.  Now don't think we didn't do any schooling because we did, so there!  Subjects on timetable (remember only two subjects per day) were Maths and English Literacy.

Maths was a couple of worksheets on area and perimeter; one was a straightforward one and one was a bit more of an exercise in using areas and perimeters in everyday life.  It was called Martha's Garden and I found it on a website where there are loads of worksheets plus answers to download and they are free! Always a bonus.  Callum had to work out the perimeter of the garden to decide how much fencing would be needed and then work out different areas to see where different plants would be grown.  It was pretty basic, but it was interesting for Callum to see how the maths he is learning is used in day to day things.  This is something that he enjoys as, like most things, he doesn't like learning it unless he can see a reason for doing so OR he really likes the subject.  This is fine when it comes to using the computer or doing science, but the normal maths and english is something that he has to have a reason for.

Next was English Literacy.  He has a list of books (I downloaded the recommended reading list for year 9 and went through them making a sub list of what I think Callum would enjoy plus a few that I felt were 'classics'.  We have 4 on the list already; 2 that I own and 2 which we have obtained from the library.  The idea of the literacy lesson is to review the book using a question and answer sheet and to have a general discussion.  He's just started reading Slam by Nick Hornby and we had a little talk about the book, but as he has only read 3 chapters so far it wasn't a huge conversation and certainly not worth doing a sheet on yet.  So what to do?  Then I remembered that I had recorded a couple of the Shakespeare film adaptations that the BBC showed in their Shakespeare celebration and I decided that it might be an idea to watch one (or at least part of one).  We had 4 to choose from:  MacBeth, Twelfth Night, Othello and Merchant of Venice. Callum has already read MacBeth (in graphic form) and we had a MacBeth themed Halloween party last year, so he decided to watch that one.  I didn't mind as that is probably my favourite Shakespeare.

I don't know about any of you, but as far as I'm concerned Shakespeare wrote plays, not books, so I think that the best way of studying them is to actually see them rather than read them.  His language is often hard to read, but to watch it makes more sense and you can appreciate it more.  We managed an hour of an hour and 50mins movie and Callum began to remember what he'd read and associate it with what he saw on screen, so that was good and when asked, he said he was enjoying it.  It also meant we could talk about the story whilst we watched it.  We'll aim to finish watching later on this week.

After lunch, as Callum had got into watching some telly, he chose to sit and watch The Blues Brothers for the 2nd time (his 2nd, my umpteenth) and we spent a lovely afternoon having a giggle.

Today was English Language and Trampolining.  English Language had to be rejiggled as I, stupidly, hadn't looked at what was next in the book and it involved a lot of writing and I've vowed not to force him to do lots of writing as he says its hurts his shoulder to write.  We have a hospital appointment in August to check to see if anything is physically wrong.  So that page will be typed on the computer and we'll do that next time.  After flipping through the workbook we decided on the page which was all about changing sentences from two to one using connecting words such as who, which, because, so, etc.  He did really well and got them all correct.  It's frustating as he knows the language and how to put it together, he just doesn't like writing it or doing the sheets, but he's getting there and his handwriting is getting neater and neater.

Trampolining went well.  Routine and somersaults practised with him managed to nail 3 complete to feet somersaults, 2 of which were without using the mat.  So well done Callum.  He did get very frustrated with himself as he usually does because he could have nailed a lot more if he'd got his feet down instead of his knees.  Must admit his coach, Kim, is getting just as frustrated and it is quite comical to see them both grrrring.

After trampolining we went off to Subway for lunch and then I had an optician's appointment.  Callum decided that he didn't want to stay with me and for the first time ever he walked home, let himself in the house and waited for me at home.  Well done mate!  A small step each time amounts to something big in the end.

Tomorrow Terri should be visiting as usual and I'm hoping that the weather holds and she doesn't get wet.

Cya soon folks.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Hiya, have a little bit of peace and quiet at the moment, so am going to do the weekend update.  So here goes:

Friday was supposed to be a lazy day and it kinda was.  Our timetable stated ice skating and then a free afternoon, but as we have been so busy this week, we decided not to go to ice skating.  It doesn't really matter as, already mentioned a million times, Callum doesn't actually go ice skating.  He sits with us and has a bit of social time or joins in with conversation.  Instead we decided to look over the week's timetable and do whatever we hadn't managed to complete.  So that meant making a colour spinner that, when spun, should turn 'white' to represent how white light is made up of different colours.

As I've mentioned in my own blog, this did not go according to plan as we couldn't find the compass, the protractor or bluetac, but we managed to get round the compass by drawing round a cup.  We finally found the protractor, so Callum could measure out the angles and divide the circle into 6 equal parts.  Then it was colouring in the sections with the following colours; red, yellow, orange, green, violet and blue.  He then stuck a small pencil through the middle and spun it like you would a top.  Experiment relatively successful.  The colour wasn't really a good white, but it was a pale grey, so near enough.  You couldn't tell the separate colours, so they had definitely merged.

Callum wondered if, by putting them onto his small fan (kit from ages ago), the wheel would work better because it would be going faster.  Good idea.  However, had a bit of trouble finding bluetac, but managed a find a small amount which was just about bit enough.  Still wasn't really white, but it was still fun to do.

The rest of the day was a lazy one in front of the telly.

Saturday, I popped to the library and got out a couple of books for me and a couple that were on the recommended reading list for year 9 (which Callum will be from September).  He now has a choice of 4 books that he can read for English Literacy.

Saturday evening we went off to his friend Callum's 13th birthday party which was being held in a church hall near us.  Callum was a bit nervous about going as he knew there would be people he didn't know and that there would be a disco, however he really wanted to go and I said that we could stay as long as he wanted to.

He ended up having a brilliant time.  Thoroughly enjoyed it and was off with the boys playing and dancing.  I hardly saw him and we ended up being one of the last lot to go home.  He's had such a good time socially this week and I've been so proud of him.

Today he's off with his dad to work.  They don't really do anything, it's just them sitting in the office waiting for the 'workers' to get back, but he enjoys doing it and it's only once every 4 weeks.

Callum accepting his medal at Sports Day

Callum and Callum D at the party
That's about it folks.  So cya later.

Thursday, 5 July 2012


Hiya, it's been a very busy week this week and Callum and myself are knackered.  So much so that we are looking forward to a lazy (ish) Friday tomorrow.  So what have we been up to?

Well, Tuesday saw us off and out to our Faversham meet, so didn't have any timetable work to do.  Had a great day.  Callum's main friends weren't there, but after one of the other mums and myself had finished on the computer he took our place and spent the rest of the time in there laughing with the other kids and, apparently, helping some of the little ones when they got stuck on something.  Travelled back with some friends which is always lovely as it makes the journey so much more enjoyable.  So another enjoyable day.

Wednesday his sister Terri came round as usual and we had a grand day out foraging with Carol and her daughter, Lauren.  Terri brought Merlin the dog too, so Callum and Lauren had lots of time running around, playing with the dog and climbing under and over fences.  We did do one little adventure through lots of thistles and brambles and nettles which didn't have the desired effect, but it was an adventure all the same.  I got bitten twice, however, and those have now become rather hard lumps on my wrist and finger.  Callum was fine!!  We collected sea wormwood, mugwort, linden flowers, a bit more red clover, samphire and purslane and ground ivy.  The samphire was eaten for dinner, the purslane put aside for tomorrow and the rest was dried for teas and moth repellent sachets.

We were supposed to make a colour spinner for art which also works as science as it should spin and create white, but we never got round to it and that's on the list for Friday.  But Callum did get his English Language task done before we headed off for the day.  So that's 3 days this week so far and all have been brilliant.

And today was home ed Sports Day at Mote Park.  Wasn't entirely sure how Callum would be, but he was dressed in his blue trousers and T-shirt ready to be part of the blue team.  Managed to squeeze in a watch of the BBC's documentary Turn Back Time - the Family which was about the 1920s and the depression before we went as we were both up quite early.  Got a lift from Lorraine and Amy, who was also in blue team and arrived at the park with plenty of time to spare and eat lunch and say hello.

Callum began to get a bit clingy which could have caused a bit of a problem as I was helping Lorraine on the Quoits game.  However, the lovely Erica agreed to take him under her wing and he was happy to stay with her.  He ended up competing in 4 of the 5 events and every time I looked across to see how he was he was smiling and chatting to the other kids!  Am so proud of him today!  Am still miffed by the fact that if he'd stayed with me he probably wouldn't have done anything, but if happy to go off with someone else, he'll join in.  He even did one of the races that he'd told me seconds before that he wouldn't do.  I wonder if it's because I try to encourage him and he becomes stubborn and refuses.  When someone else suggests it, he's fine.  It's very strange and very frustrating as I don't know what to do to change it.  Am so glad he joined in today and he's admitted that he had a great time and wants to do it again!!!!!

Lovely bunch of kids of all ages and they all worked together as teams and no-one was left out.  Everyone got stickers depending on where their team came and all got Royal Mint Olympic Coins to keep as mementos.  And the weather stayed glorious!

As I've already said, we are having a 'lazy' day tomorrow.  That means we are not going out and we haven't any visitors due: so it will be making our spinner and watching a bit of telly with a possible documentary thrown in and I'm sure we'll have a chat about how well the week has been.

Anyway, that's it; a busy, but fun week and Callum has done things he wouldn't normally do and has had some great social time and produced good work to boot!  Go Callum!


Monday, 2 July 2012



Today was the first day of the new timetable which I'm supposed to be putting into action proper in September, but thought I'd use it from now to organise finishing work off ready for end of year.  There are only two subjects a day and regular social meetings are scheduled in, so no surprises.  It's a 2 week timetable as we do some things fortnightly, but it now shows Callum exactly what to expect and when.

So today he was up early surprisingly and remembered to shower.  Can't believe he remembered to shower as he normally needs reminding, so that was a good start.  We then sat having our first cuppa in the living room and started on a discussion which was another of those wonderful subject to subject to subject ones that never cease to amaze me and makes me thankful for my decision to home educate in the first place.  I can't exactly remember how it started, but I know we ended up going from currency to strength of the pound to affiliation with Europe and the Channel Tunnel to tectonic plates (Callum wanted to know if eventually the tunnel would collapse due to the movement of plates) to the moon moving away from us to world destruction to space travel and ideal planets to colonise and then onto orbits, lengths of days vs lengths of years and finally finishing on fact that a lot of what you see in the night sky actually probably doesn't even exist anymore.  We got out books; talked about programmes we'd seen and news items we'd read and obviously his own theories.  Surprising how you can cover geography, politics, economics and science in just over an hour without even trying.

Then off to sign up for khanacademy and codeacademy for computer studies session.  He ended up watching all the videos on how to work out areas and perimeters and after the initial grump about having to do it, found he thoroughly enjoyed it.  Didn't try any of the challenges, but that's for next time.  And as for codeacademy; I had trouble getting him off it.  Think that one was the clear winner and he'll probably be back on that one whenever the mood takes him rather than when he's told to.

Science next, had one failed experiment where we were supposed to create rainbows using water and light reflecting through, but didn't manage to create any rainbows at all.  Oh well, beauty of science; some work, some don't.  We then went onto refraction and used submerged coins and immersed thumbs to demonstrate Snell's Law.
The submerged coin.  Top one real, bottom one refracted image

The fat thumb
This afternoon was round at a friends for a belated birthday lunch and social time.  Didn't see Callum all afternoon.  Friend's house was lovely (had moved some months ago and we just hadn't managed to get round to visiting).  Was nice to catch up and have a good natter with lots of cups of tea, pizza, nibbles, cake and strawberries.  Left later than we were intending, but even then, Callum was reluctant.  Promised we wouldn't leave it so long for next visit. Got home just in time for his dinner which he wasn't really up for eating, so has eaten that a little later on this evening.

All in all a good day and all ran pretty much to plan.  Callum happy and has had a good day.  Hopefully tomorrow's meeting at Faversham will be as enjoyable (usually is).