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Our Home Ed Stories

Our Home Ed Stories Post New Entry

A selection of my blog entries

Posted by Jos on September 21, 2013 at 11:40 AM

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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Reply Karen
6:57 AM on September 23, 2013 
"Never being good at things, never being best, never winning"

This struck home to me because that was what school was like fore C. At least with HE, even on days when she can't do much (like today,) she is not being compared to anybody else.

Thanks for posting this, Jos.
Reply Anne B
5:34 PM on September 21, 2013 
Thanks for posting these up, Jos, especially the bit about the confidence because Madam does the same thing and it gets quite wearing constantly reassuring her that she's doing well enough, so reading that reminded me that it's also very necessary.