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All posts for the month December, 2015

Working hard…….

Published December 21, 2015 by thefamilyof5

I just wanted to write a quick update because something wonderful happened today. My big girl, the one that lacks all confidence in her ability and would rather not ‘try’ than risk failure, well, she decided to ‘write a story’ today.

It might not sound like much, but for her, this independant choice to ‘write’ and give story writing a try is huge progress! Especially since we’d decided to ‘break up’ for christmas over a week ago!

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Im so proud of how far she has come in such a short period of time, her confidence has grown so much!

She isn’t the only one. My mum today commented on the positive changes she has seen in all of the girls, they’re more focused, more relaxed and are all eager to learn. She also commented on the massive changes in middle girl who’s confidence has really grown, she’s really starting to find her voice more!

I’ll leave you with these pictures of their wonderful Christmas crafts, they may not look like much, but they each, independently carried out their own Google searches to find an idea they liked and then followed the instructions provided, with NO help!! Pretty impressive for kids that didn’t know how to use Google 2 months ago eh!

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We send you all warm wishes for a merry Christmas and new year!
See you in 2016!!

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Beech Lodge School – Please Help Us

Published December 8, 2015 by thefamilyof5

I have heard amazing things about this school, so amazing that i’d consider a relocation if i won the lottery!

If you have experience of this amazing school and the wonderful work they do, that you can share in support of their applications, please help them!

Click below for further information on how you can help.

Source: Beech Lodge School – Please Help Us

Mindfulness

Published December 6, 2015 by thefamilyof5

We had a go at a bit of art relaxation therapy this week, mindful colouring is designed to calm the brain and allow mindfulness, inner calm and peace. Apparently.

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We added a little classical music as well to really get them in the mood for relaxation, which they all love I’ll add! Personally I prefer a bit of R&B!

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The girls thoroughly enjoyed it!

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I did a little bit myself as well last night whilst MrFO5 watched some brain numbing rubbish on TV!

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I’m not sure I achieved inner peace or complete relaxation like the girls claimed to have, but I certainly enjoyed it!

The flood gates are open!

Published December 3, 2015 by thefamilyof5

I knew it was going to happen at some point, I knew once we removed ‘school’ from the equation that the girls would all be more able to focus on the real issue at hand, their trauma and loss. I kinda expected it to start with a trickle over the next year or so, perhaps with our therapy sessions becoming more ‘productive’ without all the focus being on ‘school’. I thought maybe over time they’d slowly start to process some of their thoughts and feelings and the healing process could begin.

I didn’t realise it would be such a sudden flow. Wednesday morning of last week big girl started talking about some of her feelings about her past and since then its pretty much not stopped, all 3 girls have been sharing things with me, processing their feelings, asking me questions, telling me how they feel about things, its been quite lovely in a heartbreaking kinda way. They even, for the first time, willingly and without prompting, shared things with our therapist last week!

I knew school was hard for them, and that the anxiety caused by school prevented them from looking further within themselves, I hadn’t realised however that beneath that school anxiety was a whole load of trauma bubbling beneath the surface so desperate to get out. Listening to them tell me worries and seeing them able to process some of those feelings at last is a relief, but its also really hard. My girls have so much sadness and confusion inside them, it really does hurt me to see them hurting so much and to know that for so long they’ve held it all inside.

If you read my last post you may or may not have noticed that I didn’t mention our regular DDP therapy sessions, I’d wanted to write about all this separately. Previously the girls have had fortnightly individual sessions each, so twice a week, whilst 2 were at school, Id take 1 of them to our local community centre to meet with our therapist. Obviously things have had to change now. Having all 3 girls at home has meant that individual sessions at our local community center was no longer possible, as I had no one to have the other 2 whilst a sister had her session. Eager to continue the wonderful work she’s been doing with all of us, our therapist came up with a great solution. We now have weekly sessions at her offices and her assistant works with 2 of the girls whilst me and the other have our regular DDP work with our therapist. The downside to this is the 75 mile round trip (more expense) every week along with me no longer being able to have my own sessions to ‘chat/off load’.

I’m really feeling very positive about our therapy sessions now, I had wondered what we’d talk about now that school wasn’t an issue (that seemed to be all the girls were able to focus on) and now I know. I’m seeing the start of a new journey for them, a journey of understanding, acceptance and security. I see a new future for them now, and its one where they may have been able to heal from some of their hurt!

Smiles, smiles, lots of smiles!

Published December 3, 2015 by thefamilyof5

I think the title says it all really!

We entered the unknown territories of Home Education around a month ago. Its going really really well. We have quite a structured week with bouts of downtime for play and cuddles. We’ve been attending regular groups and clubs each week and the girls are already making friends, its so wonderful to see them all so relaxed and interacting. We visit our library every week, we go swimming every week (big girl swam 18 lengths last week!!! something she’d never had the energy to do before), we do a gym/dance class each week (and all 3 take part, no embarrassment or apprehension, they just do it and they enjoy it, something they’ve not been able to manage before!) we also attend a HE group with activities that vary from trips to cool places to arts and crafts. We have a math tutor ready to start with all 3 girls in January and a guitar tutor for middle girl. So we’re pretty organised already eh!

The flexibility of Home Education has meant that we have been able to go right back to basics and fill in some of those learning gaps they all had. Not many 11 year old’s get to go right back to the ‘KS1 Jolly phonics’ stage or learn how to count in 10’s!

By 9am each day, yes even weekends, they’ve written a daily dairy and practiced their spellings for the week, most schools are still settling children in to class or taking registers by then! We also use online resources such as ‘Education City’ and ‘Twinkl’, both of which have been amazingly useful actually.

We’ve baked cakes, made soup, they’ve finally learnt how to make their own breakfast, we’ve learnt about how our bodies work and what they need to keep them healthy, we’ve learnt about colours and light, written poetry, letters and book reviews, our lego collection has finally been dusted off, albeit for maths! We’ve been working on fractions and times tables and a little bit of division. We love to play ‘time’, money, spelling and maths games. We’ve done crafts and sewing. Dictionary skills and internet skills. They’ve even done some history, geography and RE. We’ve actually done so much work that I’m having to re-think the A4 folders they each have for their ‘school’ work because we’ve filled them already!

As well as improvements and achievements in their learning I’ve also seen some amazing transformations in all of them. They’re no longer bickering none stop. They’re no longer competing over absolutely everything. They seem to have more confidence in themselves and their ability’s. They’ve been able to play independently which is a dramatic improvement along with their ability to play together ‘nicely’. They’ve even played with some of their ‘toys’ rather than just organizing them!

The biggest negative of Home Education is that it seems to be costing quite a lot! clubs & activities, stationary, work books, online subscriptions, tuition, petrol, extra heating and lighting for the day time, it all adds up, to quite a lot! Home Educators aren’t entitled to the Pupil Premium Plus or any other financial support it seems, so that really sucks. The other negative is that I NEVER get a break, which means house work, ironing, household paperwork and even getting the car washed/MOT’d/serviced is nigh on impossible never mind hair appointments or doctor appointments for myself. I foresee this all becoming more of an issue over time as my ability to tolerate an unkempt house wears thinner. Because it will, I like a clean and tidy house! (as do the girls actually but that’s because mess/grime is something they were sadly familiar with in their past)

Do I regret our decision? Home Education isn’t a ‘lifestyle’ choice for us, I don’t have any issue with the Education system itself, in fact we were blessed with some amazing teachers in our primary school that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to anyone asking me about local schools. I’m still a traditional thinker and feel that school is the place where kids are meant to go every day to learn, I also don’t have any issue with families that choose Home Education as a lifestyle choice. I just hadn’t ever planned anything else because I didn’t know anything else. Home education was never in my plan, I wanted to return to work eventually, Id planned to return to work a year after placement, but appointments and therapy and assessments and the girls inability to manage any sort of child care put a stop to that. It was the realisation that My girls just couldn’t manage school, and that no matter how hard I, or school, tried, it never seemed to be enough. Seeing the changes in them this last few weeks has made me realise just how hard they found the school environment. I don’t regret choosing Home Education for my girls, but I do regret not making the decisions sooner.

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