Tuesday, 25 September 2012


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.

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?"
"Ok, I'll get that as I need mine."

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.



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"


Monday, 24 September 2012


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


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!


Thursday, 20 September 2012


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.


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

Tuesday, 18 September 2012


Good evening my lovelies.  How are we all?  We are good...just!

So what have we been up to?  Well today did not start well for Callum as he didn't get up much before 10am and that was with me waking him up with a cuppa.  Apparently he was determined to finish a book he's been reading, so stayed up until 11.30pm last night to finish it.  Bearing in mind he was already tired from walking around yesterday (or so he says) I'm a bit annoyed that he stayed up so late, but what can you do?  I'm glad he's been reading, but he really needs to manage his bedtime a bit more to ensure he gets enough sleep.  I should probably tell him 'light's out', but he's 13 and I'd like to be able to give him a bit of responsibility to know when it's time to settle down.  Plus I can't make him sleep and there's no evidence that he would have slept before then anyway especially if he was stressing about finishing the book.

So back to this morning.  He woke up late, was tired and a tad grumpy to say the least.  Was supposed to start HE at 10am and get a couple of things done before going trampolining, but by the time he'd eaten breakfast and come to a little it was nearly 11am!  He also said that things had not gone well while he was getting dressed (apparently things kept falling off hangers), so I was not expecting great things.  But I insisted that we, at least, wrote up yesterday's outing and produce a small photo album using a computer programme we have to go into our 'day's out' folder.  As it was, he did pretty well.  He didn't want to do the main bit of the typing up of the day so he dictated whilst I typed, however, he did do the photo album by himself including the layout and the text.

Was in a much better mood when leaving for trampoline class.  Yay!  Today was private lesson with Kim and he had a fab lesson.  Practised lots of moves and his routine, ensuring positioning of arms and style of movement.  Then onto the new way of somersaulting.  Callum, as previously mentioned, has been having difficulty succeeding with the somersaults, so Kim has got him doing rolley polleys and then building up from there.  Today he got to 3 jumps, a flip over, land and then stand from sitting.  He did really well and is getting the tuck of the somersault a lot tighter so isn't travelling as far meaning that the move is looking a lot more controlled; which is good.  A bit of daily practice of rollovers and the extra class in between with the group has definitely shown a difference which is brilliant news.  Callum is a lot, lot happier with his work.

Then a bit of shopping and Subway.  Subway was really busy and his favourite corner was already taken.  Still decided to stay, but we had to sit separately to start with; me on a chair at the table (sitting sideways so that I could at least feel like I was next to him) and him in one of the armchairs (which he doesn't like anyway).  Added to this the staff seemed stressed too and the ladies on the table where I was sitting had said they were finished and just leaving, but didn't make any attempt to move, plus the rest of the armchairs were occupied by college students.  This all added up to a bit of a stress from Callum.  Luckily our little corner soon became available and I got him to rush over and grab it while I brought over the stuff and bags.  However, he was still so stressed that he wouldn't go and get his drink which he normally has no problems in doing and actually enjoys, so I had to get it for him.  Thankfully by the time he'd eaten he'd calmed down enough to refill his cup and be himself again.

Once home we had a present to wrap and a card to write out as he's going to a party tomorrow and he spent the rest of the afternoon (and still is) on the computer playing a Facebook game.

Must point out that whilst in Subway we saw this wee little tot, must have been 4 yrs old, dressed in his school uniform carrying a school reading bag that was as big as him and a lunchbox that wasn't much smaller walking along the High Street with his mum several yards ahead.  He threw down his lunchbox and had a strop to which his mum just ignored him!  Poor little lad didn't look old enough to be in school and we both felt really sorry for him!  Hate the fact we send our kids to school that young, seems so unfair!

Anyway, a day of ups and downs today.  Hopefully tomorrow will be better, but then I'm off out tomorrow afternoon and Callum is with his dad.  Am also hoping that they don't forget the party!

Callum's favourite bit of the day:  "nearly landing the rolley polley with the jumps"


Monday, 17 September 2012


Good evening peoples.

We had an unexpected, unplanned day out today!  Callum's dad, Phil, is off work all week and although we have work to do, it was such lovely weather I asked if we could go out for the day.  As he had nothing planned it was a yes!  So upstairs I went to wake Callum and ask if he fancied going out.  Choices were Legoland, Hever Castle or a runabout at Romney Marsh or if he didn't fancy any of those, he could come up with something else.  I was convinced he'd say Legoland, but no, Hever Castle won the day.

So after a quick trip up the town to get some money and something for lunch, we drove off to Hever.  We have been before but not for ages.  Callum decided he wanted to go around the grounds and into the house, which he's never done before.

So after getting our tickets (I remembered to take his DLA letter, so got one adult in for free) we decided to do an anticlockwise walk around the grounds including a walk around the whole lake (something I've never done before either).  So a visual description of our day goes as follows:

1st Fountain

We have another photo like this when he was small

Off for the 'around the lake walk'

Ducks hiding

Red dragonfly

The Waterfall

The Weir

Phil and Callum on a jetty

The Water Maze

Callum in the Maze

Callum at the top

After our walk around the lake and a rest stop at the Water Maze for lunch and Callum to investigate and have a play around, we headed to The Loggia and had an ice cream.

The Loggia Fountain

The Yew Maze

Anne Boleyn's House

After doing a complete circle of the grounds we went into the house above.  Lots of rooms to explore and Callum had a good look round everything and even remembered who some of the people in the paintings were from the Horrible Histories show that we saw earlier in the year about The Tudors.

Topiary Pig

One of the friendly ducks after our cakes

After a cuppa and cake; they even did gluten free for me, we went into the shop and dolls house exhibition before making our way back to the car ready for the journey home.

Callum's favourite bits of the day were the water maze and the walk around the lake which doesn't surprise me as he loves water and he learn't "that I'm very good at mazes".

Bearing in mind that today was unplanned, Callum did fantastically well.  No kick offs, no grumps, but then we did allow him to lead us where he wanted to go (with a bit of persuasion occasionally) so there was nothing that he didn't want to do.

Hope you enjoy the photos.  Tomorrow we'll be writing it up and doing a bit of extra stuff on Anne Boleyn.


Friday, 14 September 2012


Good evening peoples.  Wasn't sure if I'd get this blog done today as we've had (mainly me if I'm honest) a funny old day.

Firstly I didn't sleep very well last night so, although I was up bright and early, I have to admit I wasn't really with it.  That isn't a particularly good state to be in when you want to use the day to tie up all the loose ends from the home ed week and get other things done.

Callum has been an absolute star today and I don't think I could have got through the day without him.  Sometimes the whole 'not in my bubble' state of mind can be a wonderful thing as he sees me getting stressed, but doesn't see the reason for it, so can usually calm my waters in just the same way I can calm his. I'm convinced that I've got some form of ASD (but then they say everyone has), either that or being in a household with two of them has made me throw myself into their world to such an extent that theirs is normal and everyone else is odd!

Anyway, enough of me!  Started off by getting pancake mixture made ready for a late breakfast (Friday has become pancake day again) and then set up the apples, pears and quinces for Orchard Fruit Butter (a kind of jam made from sugar and pureed fruit pulp).  Was just wondering where Callum was (it was now gone 9.30am) when he appeared with his washing and proceeded to put on the kettle for tea.  Then it dawned on me.  We not only have a timetable of 'lessons' that we want to do each week, but we also have a personal timetable for him with scheduled showers, teeth cleaning, tidying of bedroom, emptying of bedroom bin, stripping bed and bringing in the milk (at 13, he is perfectly capable of taking responsibility for simple jobs, but he does need a prod, hence the timetable).  Today he was scheduled to tidy bedroom so I can hoover, strip his bed and have a shower.  He'd had a shower and had tidied his bedroom, although he did admit that he might need to do a bit more once I take the hoover upstairs.

So, fruit butter on to cook fruit down.  Then a friend turned up for a cuppa, chat and for me to give her some sage (scheduled visit, people rarely just turn up).  So Callum went off and stripped his bed, after jokingly arguing that he wouldn't do it, sarky lad, and then went on the computer to play Command and Conquer.

After my friend had gone and pancakes had been eaten, we decided to do a bit of basic work, although he wasn't really up for it and neither was I.  The potato experiment still hasn't been written up and will now wait until Monday, the maths revision sheets needed help and I was up and down into the kitchen checking on the fruit, so we left that too.  What we did look at was why Jews don't believe in Jesus as the Messiah.  Why?  Well, it's Jewish New Year next week and they are on a different year to us and we decided to find out why.  Didn't do any written work, but looked up some reasons, read through and had a 'compare and discuss' session.  I don't want to do religious education as a main lesson, but thought I'd look at important dates throughout the year and do a bit of work in relation to those.  I think it's good to have a look at all different types of belief from Christianity through to Pagan.  Callum can make his own mind up what he believes in when he is ready.

After our hour long chat we decided to finish off his bedroom, so he carried the hoover upstairs for me, bless him, and we gave his room a good clean.  He even carried the hoover back down for me too.

Other things he's done today; played in his sandpit, made me plenty of tea, told me to sit down (a lot!) and generally been fab!  Thank you mate!

Tonight he's on the computer again and I'm feeling a lot better after a long soak in the bath.

What has he learnt?  Adults get stressed about little things sometimes, Jews don't believe in Jesus because they don't recognise him as the Messiah as he didn't fulfil the prophecies written in the Old Testament and Orchard Fruit Butter and Plum Leather tastes rather good.

Oh and he dried up for me and put away the dishes!  Big hugs and a big fat star pupil me thinks!


Thursday, 13 September 2012


Good evening all you lovely people out there.  How was your day?  Ours was a bit of a slow start to be honest.  I was shattered and didn't wake up until 8.30am and by the time I'd mentally surfaced after a cup of tea it was nearly 9am.  Callum was still asleep, but woke about 15mins later.

I hate waking up late as the plan is normally to get up and do housework stuff before 10am, which is when we are supposed to start.  Callum was still very sleepy.  As he's now 13 I'm convinced the teenage hormones are really taking hold as he seems to be constantly hungry and constantly tired.  But will he go to sleep early....well, sometimes he resists and goes about 10pm instead of midnight, but he still fights it.  Routines and Aspergers can sometimes be a bit of a nightmare.

Anyway, as I really couldn't give him 100% attention this morning as I had so much stuff to do, I decided that today would be a good day to start the revision pages on maths that I'd typed up.  I knew he could be left to do them without too much necessity for me to be there, but he could still stop me and ask if he didn't quite get the question or he needed to double check with me that he was on the right track.

Due to late rise we had a late breakfast, but it was a good opportunity to teach him how to do scrambled egg and beans on toast using the toaster and the microwave.  I was washing up at the time, so he had supervision.  He was really chuffed at how easy it was and that he'd managed to produce himself a decent breakfast by himself.  Only thing he really has a problem with is the tin opener!  I'll have to teach him how to do it properly a bit later, haha.

This afternoon we returned to the group trampolining class that I'd originally set up 6 years ago when I first pulled Callum from school.  Having private lessons is doing him the world of good and he's progressing well, but I can only afford them fortnightly and he is beginning to find that he is falling back on the basics, so going fortnightly to the group class in between the private lessons will ensure he can practice the work Kim, his coach, gives him and keep on top of the basic moves.  This will hopefully mean that his private lessons can concentrate of the elusive somersaults.

He thoroughly enjoyed the lesson and he loved seeing some of his friends again that he doesn't get to see as often as he'd like.  So all good.

And what did he think of today?  Well, he said that the trampolining was brilliant and that he felt more confident in what he was doing.  He also said that he was beginning to understand why he was having trouble with the somersault landings as he was becoming aware of his legs.  After one extra lesson, I'm rather pleased, so long may it continue.

On our return he went out in the garden and played in the sand pit and then did some more on the computer to the Command and Conquer mission he's doing.

Tomorrow with be a catch up day before the weekend; tying up loose ends and making sure we know what is planned for next week.


Wednesday, 12 September 2012


Good evening peoples.  And what have we been doing today?  Well education in it's formal and most obvious state wasn't on the menu today.  Today we had a day out; no lessons, no workshops, just a day out with friends.

We were taken to Greenwich today for the Chinese supermarket.  I've been cooking a lot of Indian and Asian food recently and was in desperate need of expanding my store cupboard.  So Carol and Lauren, myself and Callum were let loose with a trolley for each family unit into a vast warehouse full of goodies.  Was amazing to see so many things that are often so difficult to get hold of and when you can they are really expensive.  Here it was available and reasonably priced.  I was like a kid in a sweetie shop and Callum pushed the trolley and enjoyed looking through all the bits and pieces and boxes and bottles and cans and packets.  As a pescatarian and gluten free individual (one through choice and one not) I find buying foods often difficult and/or expensive, so to be able to get large packs of rice, rice noodles, rice wrappers (for summer rolls, like spring rolls), a wide variety of dried mushrooms and frozen fish at ridiculously cheap prices plus all the condiments I could possibly wish for was fantastic.   Callum even got a large box of prawn crackers (I can't eat them, but he loves them) and a gigantic box of fortune cookies which we split between Carol and myself (again I can't eat but Callum also loves) for £11.  I also treated myself to a bamboo steamer for just under £7, a pack of beautiful chopsticks and a couple of other utensils which would be handy.  Spent rather a lot, but most will be things I will never have to buy again and the rest will last me months.

Then off to Hall Place for a picnic lunch, where we had to fight off the geese, and a wander round.  Weather stayed lovely even though they had threatened rain today.

Callum at Hall Place

 There was a stream/river running through which, of course, drew Callum's attention and this is the view from the bridge we walked over.  The rest of the pictures are me playing with the macro button on my camera in the green house including one which shows the fish in the pond.  The large one, middle right, was Callum's favourite (of the fish that is).

Frangipan blossom


Bottle Brush Plant
After having a good walk around and looking at everything, including eating mulberries off the tree and swiping a couple of quinces, we made out way home, stopping off at Morrisons so I could show Callum the wide variety of fresh fruit and veg that they have and so he could see the 'dry ice' machine that they use to keep things fresh.

Carol picked some rosa rugosa hips for me and then it was home for a cuppa and a division of fortune cookies (one rather full carrier bag each) and then me attempting to find a home for all our wonderous goodies.

Callum's favourite memory of the day "FORTUNE COOKIES"

Tomorrow will be back to normal with lessons and then group trampolining.  Cya

Tuesday, 11 September 2012


Hello again...yes scarily I'm here for the 2nd day in a row.

So what of today?  Well apart from me being up before Callum, which is beginning to happen more often than not as he's getting older (another plus for the home edding, no forcing a disgruntled teenager to get up and get out of the house on time), we managed to be ready 1/2hr before we needed to leave to catch the train!!  We still managed to have our morning chat over a cuppa although neither fancied breakfast today.   Lunch was made and packed, I remembered to take everything I needed to and Callum had time to sort out extras that he wanted to take just in case.

We decided to leave a little earlier and go and do what we were going to do on the way home rather than sitting about knowing it wasn't worth starting anything and just watching the clock go round.  WHSmiths didn't have the book we wanted, but we managed to order it which saved us P&P and it should be here by the end of the week.  Bank was next and then the train station to head off to Faversham picking up Callum's friend on the way.

Home ed meet was brilliant.  Lots of people today including some newbies.  Callum disappeared with Stewart as soon as they got there which meant I could have a good natter and gossip with the mums and dads knowing that he was safe and happy.  Travelled home with some more friends and he got an invite to a birthday party which he is looking forward to.

We love our Faversham meets, such a lovely group and the activities are fab and as diverse as the children.

Tonight he is knackered to the point where he has decided to go upstairs with a cuppa and watch some telly in his room.  Wouldn't surprise me if he doesn't doze off on his bean bag AND we are going out again tomorrow.

As to the science experiment we did yesterday:

The two potatoes side by side (both were the same size)

The salt has been absorbed by the potato and the crystals are coming through the skin.
The potato wasn't particularly shrivelled, but had shrunk in comparison to the other non salted potato.  I think it's pretty much successful.  Just got to right it up now.

Anyway, that's it for today, cya later folks.

Monday, 10 September 2012


Hello all you gorgeous and lovely people.  I hope you have all had brilliant, albeit wet, summers...we have.  We didn't do a great deal as we tend to stay nearer to home during school holidays, but we did have a break from work (hence no blogs), but we are now back, so hello again!  We have, however, continued to go to our Faversham meets and Callum has been doing his fortnightly trampolining.  We were going to try and make the park meetings, but never managed it.  Callum spent time on the computer (surprise, surprise), caught up with his school friend Callum D and we've been out and about to some small events.

Most of the schools around us went back last week, but we decided to eek out an extra week before starting again proper today.  Last week was spent reshuffling the timetable, sorting out books and tying up loose ends before the work got too much.

So today!  What was our first day back like?  Well it was a bit chaotic and a bit mishmash, but then home ed is always like that.  Our two lessons today were Computer Studies and Science.  We didn't start until 10am as usual because we sat around and had a chat; talking about the week ahead mainly plus we are looking after my daughter's dog, Merlin, for a couple of days so a play was required.  Then off to the shower Callum went while I did a bit of clearing up and sweeping.

Breakfast of beans on toast was next with another cuppa before finally switching on the computer ready to do some work.  Computer Studies is supposed to be split into 2 sessions; one on Khan Academy and one on Code Academy.  However, Callum didn't feel up to Code Academy today, so he stuck with Khan.  I wanted him to refresh prime numbers, factors and prime factors so he did that; watching a couple of videos before doing some of the test work.

Then we moved onto science.  This month we are going to look at plants; cellular structure, photosynthesis, plants as food, growth, etc.  We had covered a bit about cells last year, so I got him to read over that plus a passage about photosynthesis.  I'd also printed off a few experiments we could do with regard to plants and he read through those too.  As it was the first day back, I wasn't expecting a great deal of written or theory work, so we had a few discussions and then went off to do some experiments.

Number 1 was called Shrivelled Potato.  It is supposed to demonstrate how certain plants need fresh water to develop and survive.  One half of a potato is placed in a saucer full of plain tap water, the other in a saucer full of salt water.  The potato in the salt water should shrivel as the salt draws the moisture from the plant, the other should remain the same as originally placed.  We are going to leave it overnight and see what happens. Will post a picture if experiment works.

The next thing we did was with regard to classification of food plants.  We had to select various fruits and vegetables that we had around the house, cut them and decide if they were truly a vegetable or a fruit (ie tomato), then we sub-classified the fruits into separate groups depending on how their seeds were produced; Berries, which have seeds all the way through (blackberries, strawberries, etc); Drupes, which have one large seed (plums, peaches, etc) and Pomes, which have seeds around a central core (apples, cucumbers, etc).  We had 10 various items and Callum produced a bar chart from our results to show what we had found.

When asked what he had learnt today, he answered that "not all vegetables are vegetables and that there were 3 different types of fruit"  plus "prime numbers are a pain in the bum as there is no pattern to work out which ones there are".   Hmmmm, at least he's honest. haha.

Anyway, we spent the rest of the day in the garden with him doing his trampoline exercises and then playing in his sandpit and me trying to clear the garden of the dead plants and some weeds.  Managed to fill up a brown wheelie bin so far.  Can't do any more until Thursday as need an empty bin and we are out and about for next few days - my excuse and I'm sticking to it.