Most of last weekend was spend processing and preserving. I have had a go at bottling/canning for the first time this year and have six jars of my seven veg sauce all ready for future use. Also jarred some pears in sugar syrup and have made blackberry and pear, pear and mixed berry, strawberry and pear and banana and blackberry jams. Managed to find enough elderberries for a few bottles of syrup for colds etc. but none going into the jam this year. I am going to look into buy a young tree or two for my garden as there do not seem to be many trees in the area and our other two houses both had elderberry trees so I am missing using them.
The weather has warmed up a bit and my strawberries and runner beans are both flowering and fruiting again so hopefully we will have some more of those to come. The patio/pot veg garden has done great this year so I will be sticking with that for future. Planning on evicting the patio table and chairs and expanding too 😀
Skating was a success on Friday again and we met up with friends on the way. Jack was happy as they have a son his age and the two of them went round together and had a few races. It is good to see him spending quality time with other children out of choice rather than struggling because it is being forced on him in an uncomfortable environment. This week we are working on the ocean as a project topic and enjoying the virtual library on Reading Eggspress. Jack is fascinated by the daddy long legs that are suddenly everywhere and wants to keep them as pets. Should have my new site finished this week and back to uni on the 3rd as well.
Today we went to Pizza Express with a group and had a go at making pizzas. Jack had a go at tossing the dough and then each child got to prepare and top there own pizza. Though Jack didn’t want to eat the pizza he did try a bit and had fun making it.
After pizza making we met up with a friend for jacket potatoes and Starbucks. Great day 😀
Yesterday and today Jack wrote willingly with no encouragement needed at all 😀 such a big step from a few months ago when he would become instantly upset and frustrated just from being told he would be writing or seeing worksheets and pens out. Working with him one to one I quickly realised he wasn’t deliberately not writing but was actually having trouble holding the pen and using it with enough pressure to mark the paper. His grip was all wrong and when I suggested he try and copy me he said he couldn’t do it because he hurt him. We experimented with some different pens and he wrote best with a felt tip so I bought some chunky ones and he has found those much better.
Today are internet went down so we had to change around some things and dyed some eggs and made white play dough along with some minibeast project work and reading. We are reading the series of Seriously Silly Stories.
My big boy has done a whole week and a bit of not eating meat as of today which he is really pleased with. Just a few months ago he was worried he’d miss meat way too much and thought he didn’t like/had sensory issues around so many other foods that he would not be able to be vegetarian. So he is doing really well and has tried quite a few new foods as well.
Our pear tree has produced an incredible amount of pears this year. I have 12 jars of jam and 8 jars of preserved pears so far and have also given away 10 carrier bags full to other Freecyclers. Lots where no good after falling and were badly bruised of being eaten by insects so they have had a good meal too. Rather than collect them up and throw them out or compost them I have been putting them in the hedges and side borders to break down or being eaten by any creature that fancies. Next year I want to weigh them and see just how many. The smaller pear tree also has some fruit on this year though they are still small.
This week I added some more structure to what we have been doing and found we have gotten so much more done without feeling under pressure or overly regimented. It has also meant that I can write out what Jack needs to do and he will happily follow it. Works well with computer activities as I can open each in a separate tab and have it ready to go. I am planning to buy some A4 plastic folders so I can create the same effect with off computer work and see how that works out. Could even set those up for the week in one go…
Thursday’s pirate day was a big hit. Jack has never shown any real interest in pirates but as it was International Talk Like a Pirate day I thought I’d give it a try. I downloaded and study pack from CurrClick and a couple of other things too. Had a rough start with a word search, which didn’t go down well at all but the reading, quizzes and treasure map designing was better. Jack came up with the idea of the map being of the house rather than an island and hiding a toy as treasure for me to find. I made octodogs, fish shaped sandwiches and ‘cannonballs’ (grapes) for lunch and then he had some pirate treasure of midget gems. Create a pirate profile was a hit too and Jack made up two pirates, Yuk and P, one who’s worse habit was licking people lol
Friday was some health, safety and citizenship lessons on Studyladder, learn Polish videos on home and fruit vocabulary and currently, wii music for a bit of a chilli out before an early lunch and then we went skating as the Spectrum has a reduced rate session for home ed families on a friday. Jack loved the skating and although it has been a long time since he went, got back into it quickly.
On the way home from skating we went to Lakland to buy some jars. The pear tree in our garden has produced a huge amount of pears this year so I am planning to make some more jam and have a go at canning some in sugar syrup so need some Kilner jars. Hoping I have enough saved jars in the cupboard for the jam. I don’t buy a lot of food in jars but my nan saves them for me too so should be ok. I am planning to make mixed berry and pear jam. I collected some elderberries up on the Downs and near the hospital to make syrup for colds. I often use it to make a elderberry and lemon hot drink for colds, though I have also just used the jam before and that dissolves and works fine. Every other house I have lived in had an elder tree and Grimsby had so many all over as well. Here there are hardly any so I am going to look into buy a young tree or two for the garden. Both sides are lined with trees and there are a few gaps that would be perfect. Emily spotted yesterday that the smaller pear tree also has pears on this year. They are still tiny and look like they will be the darker, longer type than the older tree. They were here when we moved in and I wish one was apple as that would be perfect.
Lakeland where out of stock of the jars I needed but yesterday I was lucky and got some jars from another Freecycler. Using a River cottage recipe bottled 8 1lb jars of pears and made some strawberry and pear jam. This morning I made the elderberry syrup and have nine small bottles which is great. In perfect timing, I woke up with a cold coming.
Maybe making apple pie later and wondering how pear pie would be. Will take some photos too.
Happy equinox 😀
Today started out brilliantly! By lunchtime Jack had done maths and English online activities, read another Seriously Silly Story and Jack had made up his own using the generator over at Schoolastic Story Starters. Then we did a worksheet on bread making and made a loaf of seeded gluten and dairy free bread. Jack seemed over his moodiness of yesterday and as he is really enjoying the silly stories I had a look online for some more books, did five loads of washing and tidied up and hoovered downstairs.
Having fun making bread.
We ate our bread for lunch which was nice but it could of done with a bit longer in the oven and was quite fragile. After lunch we had planned to work on the Jamaica project and make some marbled eggs but neither really worked out. Started using Google to look up the answers to some questions I had prepared last night but the presence of paper and pens totally threw it off and to be honest spoilt what could of been interesting and fun. Tried to stick with it but we weren’t getting anywhere so quit for the day. As I was already suspecting I noticed his pen grip was poor and also very awkward. I suggested trying holding the pen the way I was and although Jack tried, he said it hurt his hand more. He cannot explain why he gets so upset about writing. I think it was pushed at school and that has, in part put him off. I have the program Dragon on my laptop so I may see how using that goes next time or maybe type the answers and then print and cut them out to stick into the project book. Talking to the computer and having it type for you is probably pretty cool in a 6 year old eyes in itself lol 🙂 Either that or crash course in creating editable PDFs for me so he can type on the sheets and then print it out!
I also remembered I had not posted a picture of our finished handprint sunflower. We sued home made paint for the hand prints and next time I would use a lot more colouring, as although it looked fine as we were using it; it has dried much lighter. When we topped up the bird feeders and tidied the veg patch last week, we put the head from my sunflower up for the birds. Something had already been eating the seeds and knocked it over a few times anyway. Jack’s is now about 8ft tall with a small but very bright flower on top. Twice he has been thrilled to see bees on it collecting nectar and has come running in to tell me.
Sleepy boy ❤
Another good week for us. My oldest son, Andrew completed his first week at college and so far says it is easy! Worked on our normal English, maths and science bits, the minibeasts project is still going strong and one good point about the fact that it has rained so much over the last few days is that hopefully we will be able to collect some worms for the worm farm easily. Jack still wants to learn Polish and has been watching some videos on utube and picking up odd word. On Thursday Jack had his MRI scan so now the waiting begins for the results.
I decided it would be much easier to get all our home ed resources into one area, or at least room. So having got two new bookcases set about rearranging things. We have a combined kitchen-dining room which is where the PC is so I emptied and moved an old dresser that was there too and now have a large but low bookcase in the space so that jack can reach everything for himself if he needs too. Dresser is now in the hallway full of bags/hats/gloves etc. Needs a nice plant on top I think. Need to get some plastic boxes for pens, pencils, glue, paint and other bits so I can stack them up on the shelves as well and everything will be together.
This weekend we went to the children’s great nan’s 82th birthday in London which was good. We don’t get to see much of the family and it was good for all the cousins to get together and have fun. They are all very similar ages and overall everyone had a good day. Jack was moody on the way home as he generally is after being around a lot of people, but most likely was partly tiredness as well. He’s on and off today but we decided to go to the Autism Friendly screening of Planes at our local cinema. I had to take him out for a few minutes as he was getting to loud and moody at one point but otherwise it was good and everyone enjoyed the film. We also got given three free tickets on the way out to use on another day which is great as Emily enjoys going to the cinema. I will most likely keep them for the next autism friendly film. We are hoping to go to another at the end of the month at the cinema in Camberley, which is Madagascar 3 and tickets are only £1.75 each!
Hopefully the weather will be a bit better this week as we’d like to get up on to the Downs or maybe the arboretum in Onslow village and collect some autumn bits and pieces. Other plans for the week are ice skating, more polish, making bread and a pirate themed day for International Talk like a Pirate Day. There is also a Lego club we could go to and also our normal HE group in farnham so we will mostly likely go to one or the other. Though I am not going to do the full 12-4pm at group as it just wears Jack out too much for the rest of the day.
Hope everyone has a good week.
Another week begins but what happened to the sun?
Today Jack went to the first session of reading group at the library called Funky Fiction. I wasn’t sure how he was going to be as he can be quite unsettled and disruptive at times but he was fine and enjoyed it too. I had a feeling that the book Revolting Rhymes would appeal to him! We also tracked down some bamboo canes and a wooden box that will be perfect for our bug hotel project. The rest of the day has been smooth and transitioning between activities, especially between what he wants to do and learning is still good. I’m using a countdown technique and as Jack gets better at understanding time will move onto pointing out on the clock. Although he can tell me what time it is fairly accurately, he struggles with the passage of time, 60 minutes sounds like a long time to him purely because 60 is a big number. He didn’t want to watch a 130 minute film as he said ‘it will go on forever’. I’m sure it will get easier in time.
I received the paperwork for Jack’s proposed statement, which was huge and had me in tears. I feel bad for sending him back for so long and wish he had said more. Though I know he was anxious about getting in to trouble for not going to school so maybe he thought there was no way out and so no point? 😦 Makes me worry about what else he could be keeping inside. I feel a little cross that school did not make it clearer just how much Jack was struggling because I would of taken him out long ago. Although sad, what I read confirmed for me again that I have made the right decision in de-registering him. I also received a letter from our LA today which actually seemed very friendly and accepting. I had been a little worried after the stories I have heard from some people. They are going to write again in a few weeks to ask how I intend to provide information about educational provision and plans for Jack. I have seven weeks of records already and some rough idea what we are doing between now and Christmas so that shouldn’t be any problem at all.
Work wise I am mostly writing tutorials at the moment for Jewelry Lessons. I have a head full of ideas and past made projects so building up a good selection of tutorials for sale shouldn’t be a problem. It is also something I can pick up and put down easily in between other things or if I am needed. Passive income is definitely the way to go. Now I have over 100 hubs on HubPages that is picking up as well. I am planning to write some more jewellery designing articles and some on other crafts but as for making actual jewellery will be mostly sticking to only creating commissioned designs. Although I closed the shop on my main site, I will be moving all the items over to a new shop on Mystic Bid as that is easier to maintain and also a lot cheaper. I am working on designing a portfolio type site that brings everything together in one place, bit like a digital business card I guess 😀
Our garden tile projects are all finished, dry and in place now. Mine and Jack’s are in the veg garden and Emily made hers to go by the front door and including the door number. Pleased with the results and am thinking of using the technique again to create some other decorations or maybe stepping stones. I thought maybe some small stepping stones with footprints in could be nice, not so sure about the sensory experience though!
This week seems to be flying by! Spend most of Monday sorting out Andrew’s college courses as they were pushing him to taking an IT BTEC which he didn’t really want to do. He does like computers but wants to take a psychology degree so was planning on taking science courses. The morning went well though and got everything we wanted to done. jack is really liking using EdPlace so I will most likely be subscribing after the trial ends.
Clothes shopping yesterday (very thankful for internet shopping!) as Jack has all of a sudden grown out of so many clothes. I can’t complain as clothes last him ages, he still had jumpers that were bought for him before we moved here in 2011. Mothercare had a but one get one half price offer so I went with that and also bought some swimming shorts for the first time. Jack has never liked the idea of swimming as he is afraid of being splashed or water being in his eyes but he recently saw the local pool and it is the fun type with slides and bubbles etc. and asked if we could go. Going to get some goggles and see if they help and give it a go one morning, when hopefully it’ll be pretty quiet and empty and see how he goes. He loves water and I used to take him on my back into the sea when we lived by the coast from when he was about 2 which he always loved, but a few years ago he became scared of it splashing him and even of rain falling on him. He is ok with rain now and I think he would really enjoy swimming/playing in the water if he could do so without the worry of getting splashed.
Was home ed group today which Jack enjoys and always totally tires him out. We got home and he ate a big plate of omelette, chips and beans. He’s not a great chips fan but asked for them and although he likes hard boiled egg white he is suspicious of egg any other way so I am happy he was accepting of the omelette and ate and enjoyed it. Though this may mean I’ll be making omelettes constantly for a while! We have signed up for a reading group at the local library and skating groups starts soon which we are hoping to go too some weeks.