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Our Home Ed Stories

Our Home Ed Stories Post New Entry

Please come and share your home education stories.  Your good days, your bad days.  Stories of everyday home eding to show how it works practically for your family.  

We'd also love to know how you started and why? So please don't think you must be an experienced home eder to share, even in the first days you have a tale to tell.

Please come back and update as you travel down the path.  We all know home ed is a journey, it is nice to follow the journey of others.

Hopefully also we can gather tales from those that are through the other side.  We all love home ed success stories. 

view:  full / summary

Promises to keep...

Posted by Anne B on March 31, 2014 at 9:10 AM Comments comments (5)

We're coming up to Madam's 5 year full-time HE anniversary, and today she found my last 5 year diary, which covers the period when we were navigating a somewhat traumatic school exit and was reading it and smiling at how far she'd come and as she spotted the promises I'd made her when we started out. Looking at them, I thought they might be worth resurrecting here.

1) I will not patronise you. If you've done well, I will tell you, if you haven't, I'll also tell you.

2) All I will ever ask is that you do the best you can. If I know you haven't, then I will give it back to you for a 'do-over'.

3) There will be no make-work. If you've mastered something, you won't do it to death. If you haven't, we'll keep going till you have.

4) I will be harder on you than any teacher will ever be because I know what you're capable of. I will, however, provide hot chocolate with marshmallows and squirty cream and biscuits when days are tough.

5) You will not enjoy all the work you will be doing. Life isn't like that. Get used to it. BUT there will be time in every learning day to learn about things that interest you. You simply have to do what I want first.

6) Wherever possible we will find real examples of what you're learning.

7) If we're both bored, we'll find a better way.

8 I love you. Always remember that. Even when I want to wring your neck, it's because I love you and know that you are so much better than you are currently being. While there's stuff you need to work on, being loved doesn't depend on it and it never will.

9) I will mess up sometimes. I will be grouchy and irritable and there will be days when nothing goes right. I will not be able to read your mind, so we will have to keep learning to work together. I promise I will say I'm sorry if I realise I was wrong, and I expect you to do the same, even if it does take a few days for you to calm down.

 Madam flexi-home-edded from the end of the first half term of reception to the end of the Easter term of Year 4, then went full time HE. Monster never managed more than 2 hours a day at school because of staffing issues and fundamental incompatibilities and was effectively home ed from the start, so this is my 7th year of having a full time HE child and my 9th year of home ed. 

A reminder for myself for the bad days

Posted by EmmaH on March 20, 2014 at 1:30 PM Comments comments (5)

My 4th child has always been a challenge. For the first six weeks of his life he screamed. Constantly. It has been up and down since then, with periods of relative calm and others that are the stuff of nightmares.


As I get to know him and understand him better, more and more I see a little boy who is vibrant, full of life and bursting with intelligence. He is also a sensitive little soul: the radio is too loud, the light is too bright, the clothes are too tickley. The most recent fact I have discovered about him is that he is a real introvert, and doesn't do well with new people and new situations until he has checked it all out and come to terms with it in his mind. This discovery came as something of a shock to me, because at home he is my loudest.


Today we went to the dentist. My kiddo got more and more worked up starting from half an hour before leaving the house. He refused to get out of the car. He had to be carried inside. He stood outside the door of the consultation room whilst the others were examined. When I suggested sitting on the chair as well he almost lost control and when we left he hugged me tight with his head tucked in my shoulder.


I told the dentist that this is just my little boy. That he is shy. That I am confident over the course of time one day he will just hop up on that chair cheerfully and open his mouth. We have to go regularly for the others so he will get used to it. The dentist, having spent all of 5 minutes with us pronounced, 'This is temper'. He said it like this is a discipline issue. Like I should be forcing my child into submission. Funny how others view things, isn't it? And so quick to judge.

Just like most parents I want well behaved children. More so because I have so many of them and because we spend all our time together. But in the long run I don't think forcing my children to comply with my wishes will produce the desired results. I am certain that gentleness and understanding will win the battle in the end. And for the time being that means the dentist will have to wait. So be it.

Who Goes There?

Posted by Anne B on February 24, 2014 at 12:10 PM Comments comments (1)

Okay, it's a little over a fortnight, but you weren't counting, were you? Or maybe I'll amend the resolution to twice a month, which is a little bit woollier...

So, anyway, here I am, on a break from finding Dr Who quotations for Monster to use as copywork and Madam to use as starting points for discursive essays, which she needs more practice on pre IGCSE English.

I deliberately introduced Madam and Monster to Dr Who after meeting some very nice Daleks. (As you do. Oh, you don't? Ah well, I always knew we were different...) It struck me that these were people that they'd feel at home with. Who had the same love of detail, the same ability to watch the same thing again and again and argue over tiny points. And most universities have science fiction societies so it'd be a way to meet like minded people...

This is one of the things about having children with complex needs. You have to facilitate so much that other parents take for granted. (sorry about all the jargon!) Things like socialising, which starts with working out how much socialising is the right amount...

Now this is a fun question. I strongly recommend asking it of anyone who asks the eternal HE question 'But what about socialising?" It's quite entertaining seeing them trying to come up with an answer...

For me, it's got two strands. One, to have people they like seeing and who like seeing them even when they're at their worst, and the other way round. The other is to be able to cope with the world even when it is really seriously daft and illogical. I started with the coping with the world bit when they didn't have the socialising bit because it at least meant that I could go out, and focused on getting them happy to be out and about and doing things. Which in turn took us to meet knights in shining armour (gorgeous) Medieval falconers (even more gorgeous, particularly on horseback) Vikings (some fairly gorgeous ones.) Napoleonic soldiers (great if you liked Sharpe) Second World War Home Guard... and square dancing Daleks. Oh, and I forgot the tournament knights trying to knock the cuddly toy dragons off each others helmets. Can't see how.

Summer, for us, means a muddy field or hillside with people beating each other up. And hog roast. And seeing friends. And being friends... And it's coming! No matter what it feels like at the moment, it is coming and then we'll be back to time travelling.

See, all this does have a theme, no matter what it feels like, and the underlying theme is that I wish I could borrow a TARDIS and go back in time seven years and meet the me who was just starting HE and tell her that it would all be all right. They would have friends. We would have a good life that suited us. They would learn... I didn't need to buy those CGP workbooks...

Raindrops keep falling...

Posted by Anne B on February 6, 2014 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (3)

I suppose I should have worked out something was coming when the restuarant/softplay/ice rink complex in our beloved park was refurbished and rechristened the Ark, but I clung to the belief that this weather was just a passing few days.

Well, it isn't. We seem to have a choice between strong winds, torrential rain and strong winds and torrential rain, which is pretty tough on a young man who needs outdoor time if he's to be able to control himself.

Luckily, I have the essentials for a home educator. Armed with a long waterproof coat and wellies with fleecy lambskin insoles we go out anyway and are doing lots of practical work on monsoons and flood plains.

But I really outdid myself the day before yesterday. The theme of the day for Monster's engineering project was about the effects of uncontrolled lightning. (Janice VanCleave's Engineering for Every Kid if you're interested. Nice balance of text and practical experiments that don't need expensive stuff.)

So, I was looking for some stuff on lightning strikes when we discovered that the bridge across our harbour had been struck by lightning. And so had a local supermarket, and a big bank. Intrepidly, we pulled on coats and wellies and went and had a look and diverted into town planning (as in how quickly traffic builds up.)

And it struck me yet again how lucky we are to be able to do this rather than being tied to a curriculum, and what an interesting place the world is. Any question could take us somewhere unexpected (and regularly does!) and yet it all ties together amazingly often when you do come to formal book work.

To Blog or Not ... You Decide

Posted by Mandy on February 2, 2014 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (7)

To Blog or Not …. You Decide

I hate blogs and yet I am considering setting up one of my own. Often, I find myself thinking that HE has turned my life and views upside down. My hubby was reflecting on it recently, saying “You’re turning into your worst nightmare” whilst I pinned up a list of things to do for him on the fridge. I was never going to be one of those obsessively organised (and sorry, bossy) women. Here I am though, so, I think what I am trying to say is, life has changed and I have changed. I’m not one of those women who could say that I am happy one of my children has SEN and I wouldn’t want him to be NT because I embrace every day with a different attitude (and they do exist, I read an article on Parentdish over Christmas and I have to say, it depressed me thoroughly). I would say that I can’t believe that mums don’t realise HE is an option, it’s like a BIG secret and once you know (and when I say know, I mean really know by joining a group and listening in), you can’t go back. A little knowledge is dangerous after all  and I still get those little looks from my Mum, which say “Darling, you have become a bit odd”. Thankfully, as she goes to some HE groups with me, she has begun to realise that I am not consorting with aliens.

My second child, a little boy of 2 years, is thriving by just being in the same room with us while we learn. He joins in with activities and is flourishing. For him, school could work and I’m not anti-school, I’m pro choice. I would struggle to see a situation where I would send him full time to school though, when he could benefit from 1x1 attention, tailored learning and the joy of embracing the outdoors as part of his learning.

So, where was I? Ah, to blog or not to blog. As I add a bit of structure to our HE lives, I wonder at whether a blog would help me or give others an insight into what we do. Does being part of this world mean we automatically share our world and thoughts? I met a mum online, asking for tips as she was prepping to start HE in September. I couldn’t help myself from starting to write a reply (even if I didn’t have time for it). Now, maybe I understand, being a HE mum makes me a better person, because I now share my world with those outside my immediate circle and try to make it better for them as well as me. It reminds me of a Church sermon once, where the Priest talked about not being able to be a proper Christian by sitting and praying at home and on our own … you needed to worship at church, become part of the community and share your beliefs.

And what about names, what would I lovingly call my boys in this anonymised world? I love and am inspired by Monster and Mighty, so what would have the right ring and fit in with their personalities? For the eldest (5 year old boy), whirlwind or tornado comes to mind but he has a softer side too. He has a nickname, it may be recognisable though. His love of pizza and chocolate provides no answers. So I alight on Captain, a little boy who feels his parents are running round obeying his orders (without him even needing to speak), he is in charge and is keeping us and his territory in order. His 2 year old brother, must be Commander, clearly from a different division yet exerting authority of his own and sneakily taking charge of many of his brother’s military assets (toys).

Well, big decisions made, I guess I can relax for the rest of this Sunday afternoon. I’m not sure if this foray into the blog world has served any purpose. It’s neither educational, nor enlightening and I hope I haven’t offended anyone along the way.

Best Wishes from a wannabe blogger


Sometimes, it looks as if I'm planning this

Posted by Anne B on January 7, 2014 at 5:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Like today, when our project on biomes (types of habitat for those, like me, who hadn't heard of them before) took us to tropical rainforests and what constitutes excessive rainfall and how you define a monsoon.

We work on 2/3 what I want them to do and 1/3 interest related stuff, and, being the nosy and curious pair they are, more often than not they end up working together on their interest-related stuff and coming at it from different angles. So, today Madam is looking at how animals are affected by unexpected heavy rainfall cos some horses had to be rescued in the New Forest and weren't cooperating with the RSPCA and Monster is looking at the mechanics of how a tidal surge works and how much water it takes to swamp a car and float it and what bits of the engine get wrecked and how much that decision to drive through a flood could cost you.

None of which, technically, have anything to do with biomes, which we're doing because Monster will be doing Environmental Science not Geography, which is too people orientated for his liking and I want to do an interesting overview before we get into the subject for an exam.

For me, one of the best things about  home ed is that we have time to wander off and learn because it's interesting not because it's on the syllabus, so we're doing the IGCSE's over a much longer period than school kids do, let alone most home educators so that if anything leads to a question we can sneak off and have a look at it until it stops being interesting.

As they get older, they do more and more of it by themselves, then come and share whatever  they've found with me, so I'm learning as much as they are these days and they're doing what I'd always wanted them to be able to which is knowing where to find information, how to check it to make sure it's reliable and how to relate it to what they already have.

And if that means that a lot of my records are in the form of spider diagrams and that our projects very rarely end up where I thought they would when we started, then that's part of the fun, and thinking of the LA trying to follow their trains of thought when they do their annual reviews of their Statements of Special Educational Need is pretty fun too. I even enjoy sending them copies of all the certificates they've acquired during this year, which, this year, include them having flown the TARDIS. Which, obviously, is going to be very useful in the future, but I do feel I ought to warn the Daleks and Cybermen that they're coming so they have time to run away!

Back Again!!

Posted by Boyceview on October 2, 2013 at 7:20 PM Comments comments (4)

Been on our annual HE break - well we haven't actually been anywhere - just our usual mid June to end August time off HE. Now we work through to next June, Christmas off of course!

I just realised its become usual to have this break actually, and I usually stay away from laptop/forums/school stuff/HE activities as well. We've evolved into a yearly rhythm!

We started 'back to school' at beginning of September. I've also realised it gets easier to get back into the routine of our days. We've all slotted back into work and lessons etc etc. Work isn't so difficult to sort out, but maybe thats because we've tried everything available known to man.

So DD12 continues with Tapestry Of Grace and All About Spelling, with Key To Maths, and a few other bits. DD14 had started Catherine Mooney IGCSE, continues with Key To Maths to catch up, All About Spelling & ECDL. They both go to IGCSE biology HE group and are doing silver and gold arts award. Finally both work at least half of the day without any input from me - lots of time for knitting, reading etc ironing, housework etc.

Hope everyone had great summer.

An average day

Posted by tarenath on September 24, 2013 at 8:50 AM Comments comments (4)

So this is what we did yesterday. I'd say this was a better than average day, plus it's a Monday and we always seem to get the most done on Mondays. My alarm goes off at 7am but I've been awake for a while listening to DH get ready for work. I throw on some clothes and put my hair up, not enough time for a shower this morning. Mighty is already awake and getting dressed, and I prod Mouse out of bed to do the same. Breakfast for them this morning is waffles and I spend most of the morning chasing them around making sure they're ready to take Mighty to school. Somehow I've got into the habit of making Mighty's lunch the night before so I just have to pull that out of the fridge and put it in his bag (hooray!). We are out of the house at 8am to walk down the hill and put Mighty on the school bus. 

Mouse and I come home and the first thing I do is attack the house. The cat has brought in fleas so I'm vacuuming and spraying everything daily to prevent an infestation. I don't have the luxury of leaving the housework right now. It's 10am by the time I finish that and I'm actually able to do anything with Mouse, who has very patiently been playing in her room. 

First up is phonics. She is determined to read and I'm determined to help her. We spend some time with Starfall, as well as looking at different letters, finding things which start with our letter of the day etc. Next I get out my fabric tapemeasure and we have fun measuring different things around the house. Mouse picks the most bizarre and difficult things to measure, including the cat who is less than impressed!. Then we move onto a craft project. We're been doing a lot about how we are linked to other people through our community so we're going to make a helping hands wreath to help demonstrate it. Plus it uses up some of the ridiculous amounts of cardboard that's leftover from our bulk bought food! Mouse has great fun drawing round her hands and I cut them out so she can stick them on our wreath. Once it's dry we're going to hang it up in her room. 

All that work has only taken us about an hour and Mouse asks to watch TV before lunch. I say she can have half an hour but when we turn on the TV Equestria Girls is on, so half an hour quickly becomes an hour. I make lunch at 12:30. I'm partyway through making my own lunch when I realise I haven't checked on our neighbour's dog that I dogsit while they're at work. I rush over there and let him out in the yard so he can go to the bathroom. Once my lunch is finished, it's time for my schoolwork. I've just started a level 2 module with the OU. I spend the afternoon attempting to study. It's warmed up a bit since this morning so Mouse spends the time playing outside with the dog. At about 1:30pm I get a phonecall from the school nurse. Mighty got hit in the face by a swing. After establishing that he's more or less ok and he doesn't need collecting, I get back to work.

Soon enough it's 3pm and time to go get Mighty. His bus is supposed to arrive at 3:18 but has yet to arrive before 3:30. I wander down the hill and get there at 3:20 just as the bus is pulling up. One of our neighbours hasn't arrived yet so I collect her daughter too and walk them both back up the hill. Reminder note: be on time for the bus tomorrow! I ask Mighty how his nose is and he tells me he was pulled off the swing by another child. The nurse didn't tell me any of that!

Once we're home I check through his bag to find homework. Monday is sight words to learn. He already knows them so it takes us less than a minute to run through them and double check, including saying them in a variety of silly accents. Mouse has dance tonight so I get her ready and the kids ask if they can have some computer time. I given them an hour and they spend most of it playing Minecraft. At 5 it's time to take Mouse to dance. I see her into class and settle Mighty with his DS. He's managed to make a mutual friend with the brother of one of the girls in Mouse's class. They have both brought DS's this week and spend the time comparing notes. Who says DS's aren't good for social development?

By the time we get home it's nearly 7pm and dinner is almost ready. Chicken alfredo pasta tonight. After dinner I need to clear up (whoever doesn't cook cleans up!) and make lunches. There's enough pasta leftover for tomorrow's lunch (hooray!). DH spends the time playing with the kids and starts the bedtime routine while I rush around putting away the 2 loads of laundry I somehow managed to get done today. The kids are in bed at 8:30pm and I settle down to relax. My plan to watch sunday's football game is ruined because there's still one more game to play and our subscription still has the previous games blacked out. Grr. So instead I give myself some computer time and play a little Lord of the Rings online. I stumble off to bed at about 10:30pm and settle down to read another chapter of A Game of Thrones before sleep.

A day in our life

Posted by EmmaH on September 21, 2013 at 4:50 PM Comments comments (7)

Notes from a day last week. It was a middling sort of day - we have had better and we have had worse. It was also a 'booky' kind of day - some days are more craft, or sporty or something else! The narrative has ended up mostly about me - if I have the energy I thought it might be interesting to write from each of the children's perspectives too. It's also pretty long - just a warning - I won't be offended if you get bored with our trivialities!

By way of explanation, M is my eldest age 8; N is my only daughter, age 7; Y is my 5 year old; Z is my 3 year old; and S my baby, age 13 months.........

We get up late because hubby didn’t get back home until 10pm last night. That’s always a good start to the day – not! The baby wakes us around 7, so I feed him whilst darling hubby makes me a cup of tea and I drink it in bed whilst reading a few bits on the iPad. If we’re going for accuracy I moved into the spare bed for my tea because Z is asleep in my bed having joined us in the middle of the night, and I don’t want S to wake him. Whilst drinking my tea I am joined by everybody except the eldest and dh decides it’s more relaxing back in our room!

I have a super fast shower and go downstairs to start the day. Hubby wants breakfast today and a packed lunch so I whiz around sorting breakfasts and his lunch (salad). Thankfully 4 out of 5 want weetbix, so that’s easy and I just have to make hot chocolates. The baby proceeds to make a fuss about being fed by me so I leave him and he gives himself a massage with the weetbix, and then decorates the kitchen floor with it. N spills her hot chocolate and I can’t find any teatowels to mop it up (a consequence of always mopping up spills).

Everybody gets dressed and does their morning chores whilst I clean up the kitchen and wait for M to get some teabags from the village shop because we’ve run out. A sure sign I’m drinking too much tea at the moment. I get the chicken for dinner out of the freezer because I forgot to do it last night.

I make tea and we start school, but I forego breakfast because it’s now quarter past nine and we can’t slack today if we want to get to tennis on time. The work phone rings (I am my husband’s PA) so I sort out the worried caller whilst the kids do their ‘training’ (press ups, sit ups, that sort of thing) in the lounge and Z screams outside the door (very professional!). Realise I have forgotten to get the baby dressed so I quickly do that and everybody starts maths.

M finds decimals hard, mostly because I can't explain it to him very well. N moans because she is finishing the maths book she likes and has to swop to something we have that she doesn't like because I can't afford what she wants until next month. Y tries very hard with Explode the Code and writes the letter ‘g’ in his handwriting book. S plays in the kitchen and Z drinks tea with me. Maths is stressful because everybody needs help all the way through today and then the little two start fighting over cuisenaire rods. I send them all out to play for a bit. I'm dreading winter this year.

It starts to rain so they play inside. I camp out in the study for 10 minutes with the door closed because I need quiet. Bit of an issue for a mum who likes peace and quiet in a house with 5 kids who all stay at home instead of going to school. Outside the door I can hear strains of ‘I am a pineapple, a juicy pineapple’ and I wonder not for the first time where they learnt that.

Onwards and upwards, we start reading and religious studies. We haven’t done school unless we hit these, along with maths and writing. I read Pocahontas to them all (yay, they are attentive today!), and then whilst Y does his phonics book (OPGTR) M reads A Samurai’s Tale and N reads a book about the rainforest and then the encyclopedia. We finish reading and a few little bits with just Y. Z spends a long time whilst we are reading yelling my name from the toilet since he refuses to get down without help at the moment. I finish what we're doing because I can't face another interruption.

By the time we've finished this the baby needs a nap so I feed him off to sleep and start the DVD for next writing lesson. I get only a couple of minutes before they need me again because one of the cats has knocked the file off the table and all the papers have fallen out. Consequently M can't carry on with the lesson. I put the baby down, sort the papers and make a cup of tea. I decide to eat something as well (egg mayo and bread) and read a couple of pages of my magazine (a quality journal obviously!!) whilst everybody else watches Andrew Pudewa. I love Andrew Pudewa. I can hear everyone laughing at a lesson in strong verbs which makes me happy. Baby wakes up at the end of the lesson. Less than an hour, sigh.

They polish off a packet and a half of rice crackers with marmite and we finish memory work. M does the best I've ever heard. I feel like sleeping so I lie on the sofa but then the man comes with the veggies (Riverford – thoroughly recommend them) so I have to get up and then we have lunch. They share leftovers, fruit and eggy bread. I start on dinner because I had such a late breakfast I'm not hungry now. Dinner is marinated chicken thighs and salad and rice.

I tidy the kitchen, kids tidy the lounge and we all enjoy a big bowl of oranges cut up. They sing ‘I should be so lucky’ while they work (where do they learn these things?) I start the dishwasher and I start a second load of washing. I say a prayer of thanks for appliances.

We finish off 'box work'. The kids each have a box of books just for them – things like spelling, grammar, latin for my eldest. It is a noisy day today and I yell at them to be quiet!! Those not working with me finish the tidying, run around the house, colour, play with blocks and fight with the marble run. Everybody has taken turns fighting over the pieces of the marble run today. We have a boxful of pieces but everybody only wants the red ones. No wonder I have a headache. Z sits with us at the table playing with Fireman Sam and S is a cutey pie with one sock on and one sock off going up and down stairs following big people around and coming for hugs with me on the way past. Everybody laughs when I put on voices for learning about direct and indirect quotations.

N finishes copy work, I get Z dressed! And then I clean my teeth! I decide not to put my contacts in today because there doesn't seem much point now at quarter past three. We get ready for tennis, I make a coffee on my new coffee machine (happy dance) and off we go.

We have fun at tennis. M has moved up a level so the class goes well, and everybody else enjoys seeing friends. S spends the whole class running onto the court. We get home; Z and S are asleep in the car. I leave them so I can finish off dinner prep. M and N lay the table and empty the dishwasher but a friend calls about a HE meet up and then both Z and S wake up screaming. I finish the call, give Z and S weetbix and banana, finish dinner then put S in the bath. For some reason the oven keeps flipping the fuse so I have to get the step ladder up from the cellar to get up to the fuse box every few minutes! Everybody wants to wait for dad for dinner so they play outside on bikes and play hide and seek. I sit for a few minutes to write this whilst S plays in the bath.

Hubby still not home and baby not sleeping so we start dinner. Baby starts to whinge so I whisk him back upstairs where he wails for half an hour. We eat some food and then get ready for bed around 8pm. I finish off the last bits in the kitchen and put the second load of washing in the dryer. I sit with the baby till he falls asleep. Not long once I am with him. I am tired and ready for a quiet cup of tea. Still no word from hubby (he is operating today). I sit in bed with more tea and watch the Great British Bake Off.

A selection of my blog entries

Posted by Jos on September 21, 2013 at 11:40 AM Comments comments (2)

Note these go backwards in time and are probably best read from the bottom.

AAS is All About Spelling

Scone - son 13

Moo - daughter 11

Peter and Jane

Posted on September 21, 2013 by jinnyjos

AAS Ground to a halt. Too many different sounds to be mastered before we seemed to get anywhere. Upset child, despairing mother.


Conversations with dyslexic brother about how he only learnt whole words.


Back to Peter and Jane, that is the Ladybird Keywords Reading Scheme. Books 1a and 1b went swimmingly, a few mistakes but we got there. Books 2a and 2b are harder. 2c is over the limit. Avoidance strategies, move away, look away, cry. Sometimes I circumvent these with a judiciously whispered word. Sometimes I think up a new strategy: making and sorting flash cards, writing the words on the white board and we stutter forward a little. Always I feel guilty, if this child had been in school she would have been made to do it. Then a little doubt is allowed. Would she be sitting there unable to do what the rest of the class does, having that failure ground into her every moment of every day.


I have ordered a laminator and have made a list of bright fresh new ideas for going over the same old stuff a few more times. If 100 words make up half of what we read, and we learn one a week, in two years we will be half way there.



AAS update

Posted on July 16, 2013 by jinnyjos

Back from two weeks of family, seaside play and Cornish sunshine we have restarted the reading.

From refusal to look and try with protestations of tiredness and tears to a smiling meeting of eyes and back in a moment, again and again and again. It sounds so little, ten minutes of ‘Reading’.

Phonemes: still problems with n and l – tongue to top of mouth I don’t think she can feel it. Can only hear the sound when pronounced ‘nuh’

Initial sounds: whizzed

Segmenting two sound words: mostly quick and right.

Coming to the end of HP and the Chamber of Secrets bribery incentive reading.


Lego Sale

Posted on July 16, 2013 by jinnyjos

Nearly as tall as me and so grown up – a lot of the time – but happiness still is the smell of a new box of Lego.




Posted on June 20, 2013 by jinnyjos

Can’t help be amused at the argument. After a lengthy investigation into who had stolen the cupcake, main suspect Scone, detective Moo (culprit me – I’d put them somewhere cool) complaint to me by Scone: “Moo thinks she has juristiction over the cupcakes!”. His solution to deflate her paddling pool chill pad which has been in the sittingroom full of soft cuddly things and somewhat in the way.


Another day, another list of words, on this never ending road to literacy

Posted on June 14, 2013 by jinnyjos

Late start.


Willing to have a go (whole chapter of Harry Potter just minutes away might have helped).


Reluctant to review the Sounds of Doom (yes you must say it like that, if you didn’t, try again with more bass and a little echo).


But I skimmed lightly over the hesitations, was glad she had most of the letter sounds and stopped her falling into the vowel-holes with some quietly murmured prompts and slight deafness.


A quick reminder of her awesome 100% record on the initial sounds. A brief allusion to how much harder the end sounds are to identify and to how she persevered yesterday and worked out five.


And we were off! If not running at least walking.



Posted on June 14, 2013 by jinnyjos

ASS is hard, very hard. I find it difficult to remember the strings of vowel sounds so no wonder Moo is sometimes at sea. So we tried Step 2. Just the beginning. The pleasure she got from being right all the way through the initial sounds section was huge.


Never being good at things, never being best, never winning, shapes people. I remember not winning, not being chosen, not being special and I was reasonably good at the basic skills. Moo runs, swims and cycles really well but compares herself to her able bodied peers. Not being able to read or remember the names of numbers is very difficult when with most people. Dreaming dreams and thinking about possible futures isn’t so fun when you have a sneaky fear you won’t ever be able to read.


I think a summer of confidence building is in order.



More of the Same

Posted on June 6, 2013 by jinnyjos

More bouncing, same letters, same sounds – well some of the time. This is so hard. How does one ‘overlearn’ as required by many dyslexia methods when just learning takes a huge effort and doesn’t stick?


In The Garden

Posted on June 4, 2013 by jinnyjos



Yesterday, after a break of too many days, the lure of Harry Potter was enough to prompt action on the AAS front. I tried making the letters with our bodies while chanting “y i I ee”. Kept things fun and an excuse to keep repeating the sounds but not the missing amazingness that we seem to lack. Today we started sitting demurely in the dappled shade of the lilac in full flower and ended lurching in giggles as we chanted round in circles on the trampoline. But she still can’t remember all the sounds and I have to think to remember after a gap. Is this new scheme all wrong? Does she need a whole word approach? But in its favour she hasn’t cried about it for days.


Day um ?… something in the Big Spelling House

Started disastrously. First letter ‘i’ brought on tears and tiredness with its mantra of ‘i I ee’ . She had all of the right sounds but not in the right order by the time we finished.


Moo disappeared to console herself cuddling up with the TV. The campaign for other forms of consolation will not start right now. I gave her a little time; ensured my time was a precious resourse: Scone was about to need me for maths, and mentioned we could have another go but I might not have time for the whole chapter of Harry Potter in one go.


It worked! Bit only until we hit d which came out as b. Again she was tired and itchy. Again we stopped but this time we sorted out what she as a poor tired snotty child could watch on the TV (Northanger Abbey) while I worked with Scone AND THEN we STARTED AGAIN and did, despite a few more tears and the mysterious itchyness and pauses to berate me on speed of helping and other interferences, do enough to start a chapter of HP.




But it gets better! We finished the chapter and later in the day did another session including moving some cards to Mastered and selecting some new letters for tomorrow. She rejected ‘y’ which has 5 sounds and, I fear may take us months to learn.


I’m torn between pleasure at the progress she has made and deep fear that we are not moving fast enough.


On reading that through I feel a little unsympathetic I don’t think she is ill or I’d not push er encourage her to do more.


You know you are past redemption when…

Posted on May 18, 2013 by jinnyjos

…you get out the hoarded European puzzle maps for family fun while watching The Eurovision Song Contest.


And find yourself pointing out the location of each country as its butterfly and song comes along.


The end of Minecraft?

Posted on May 18, 2013 by jinnyjos

Is the Scone Minecraft Passion ending? There are signs:


Upturn in Lego construction related injuries.


Reduction in YouTube Minecraft video watching.


Increase in of numbers of intricate Lego creations appearing inches from my nose.


Thoughts about stopping the Minecraft server.


Questions about Dungeons and Dragons…


Not All All About Spelling

Posted on May 18, 2013 by jinnyjos

Showing The New Scheme to a politely interested friend does not count, do you hear me Moo. Spending the day revelling in the sunshine, dancing barefoot on the nearly dry lawn and making mudpies does not count. Sewing badges onto your guide rug ready for camp does not count. But rain is coming, save the formal stuff for wetness and get those Scottish blue legs into the Sunshine.



Posted on May 16, 2013 by jinnyjos

We are dribbling on. The bribery er incentive scheme seems grossly disproportionate: She looks at a few letters and makes some noises I read to her for about half an hour. It is just what she needs and I guess if I had struggled for as long as she has I’d need a big boost to my enthusiasm too. Everything else we’ve used has jumped this stage far too fast. Need to look at All About Reading perhaps.


St Trinian’s has come under Moo’s radar and she, predictably, is hooked. It involves school uniforms and a tarty approach to wearing them; both of which things are deeply appealing to my daughter. Why? Child led learning would embrace her enthusiasm and The Autonomous Child raised with Project based learning …


(Must learn how to add a link)


… would, with my well judged nurturing, develop a passion for 20th C history relating particularly to fashion, clothing and education; film history including the technical developments and storytelling methods.


I’ll probably make a comment at the wrong time and put her off any further thought or interest or maybe she’ll just do inappropriately sexy dressing through her tweenage years and The World will tut at my lax parenting methods.


All About Spelling

Posted on May 9, 2013 by jinnyjos

Now known as Aas and I won’t dwell on how I pronounce that.

The CD-rom has saved us. Moo can check it herself and listen to the sounds again when and how she wants to. I can let out a little of that breath I’m holding whilst concentrating on the wonderful learning of letter sounds and skirting, eyes firmly in the other direction around the question of how and if the sounds will be joined together.


All About Spelling

Posted on May 9, 2013 by jinnyjos

It came.

It was new and shiny.

We set it up,

She did it, nearly right.

I was encouraged and delighted.

The bribery, er incentive, actually well deserved compensation for having to work so hard at it: delux edition comprising bag, filing box and bee stickers and a whole chapter of Harry Potter for each session was enjoyed.

But then it all went wrong:

I mentioned, as gently as I knew how, hedged about with careful confidence keeping comments about how everyone says it wrongly, that she needed to say ‘t’ not ‘tuh’.

Tears, tiredness and instead of wanting to do it as on Saturday and Sunday we have skirted round the floppy bag and awkward white board for three days.



Posted on March 7, 2013 by jinnyjos

But no dolls and the drums haven’t been used for ages.

The question is can I teach the valuable lessons of robustness and self reliance by retreating to my bed with chocolate and books. In favour the Joslings have to forage – does Moo know the crisps are hidden in the garage – and motivate themselves; on the other hand modelling head under the covers retreat as a way of getting through Home education burn out might not be best.

I’ve read reams on dyslexia, the small amount of my brain not taken up with guilt is full of plans and a dark tangle of phonemes, graphemes and phonics surrounding a tiny spark of hope that time might be all a Moo needs.

The scone: his layer of butter is thinner, he is wanting to learn to spell and motivated to work at that. He does jobs around the house but he crumples. Crumples when he can’t do things or thinks he can’t. I home educated to give my children the confidence it took me half a lifetime to gain.


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