Top of the World

In previous years as the school holidays ended I’ve had a horrible empty feeling as I prepared the boys for going back to school.  I always grudged giving up so much time with my sons, especially when deep down I thought I could be doing more for them.  This year has been the polar opposite!  I was really excited about starting Home Education once more.  There was no school uniform shopping and, even better, NO SCHOOL SHOE SHOPPING!  Instead Mr GG and I were preparing workbooks and sorting out work areas for the boys.  Our return to HE was delayed by a week due to a very inconvenient bug deciding to knock my family down one by one but we’ve all rallied and work successfully began on Monday.

There aren’t really words for how proud I am of these three boys.  They’ve taken to the new curriculum so well.  They’re enjoying getting out for a mid-morning walk to stretch our legs and get some fresh air before getting stuck back into the rest of the day’s work. 

We’ve still several wee kinks to iron out.  Last year we tended to keep Fridays free for trips and things.  This year I’d love to do the same but, for the first few weeks at least, I’m planning that we work a bit more until we all (including me) get used to the new set up.   

 IMG_2110As a mum of three I find it hard sometimes to get one to one time with the boys.  Yes, I spend time with them at home but there’s always noise and interruptions … time alone, time to chat, time to laugh and just spend time together … that can be hard.  So, I’ve decided to take advantage of the days Mr GG works from home and take the opportunity to go out with one of the boys a week.  This week it was Son No3 … we went to a local garden centre (he wants a Venus Flytrap) and had snack there.  It was a real treat … for me at least!

 The latest Tinker Crate arrived a couple of weeks ago … it’s so hard not to push my way in and take over, they look so much fun.  This one was a glowing pendulum … so clever!  Son No3 really enjoyed building it and was fascinated with how it worked.  Great box!  We’ve still got a mechanical bird to build but when we started it the blueprint was missing … a wee email to the company got that sorted quickly enough but we’ve just not had the opportunity to build it yet.  I wonder what will be next!

 

 

Not content with allowing us a week to focus on HE, there’s been drama in the chicken coop … Minnie the Minx has gone broody.  She’s, mostly, a happy broody chook but she growls if Ivy or Beryl go near here when she’s sitting on the eggs she’s gathered.  I have to admit, though, it gives me the fear when she stares at me as move her to get the eggs from under her … fortunately Mr GG is usually here to do it for me!  I’m really hoping the broodiness doesn’t last too long … but maybe if she or one of the others is Attachment-1broody next year I’ll be able to persuade Mr GG to let us get some fertilised eggs for her to sit on.  To be fair, she’s not too bad … once we turf her out of the nesting box and gather the eggs we close the coop to stop the temptation for her to go back in and carry on nesting (on nothing) … she’s quite happy to potter about as usual during the day and when the coop is opened again late afternoon/early evening she doesn’t rush straight back in. 

 So, the first week of our first full academic year is over.  We’ve all survived.  We’re all smiling.  We’re all happy with how the week has gone.  We’re all VERY glad it’s the weekend!  For now though, I’m sitting back with a chocolate chip cookie and a cuppa, enjoying listening to the (generally) happy chatter as the boys play and discuss some new game that Son No1 has just bought. 

Until next week folks …

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Breathe

Apologies for the lack of a post last week … life in GGHQ took a wee unexpected turn and writing ended up taking a back seat. 

We’ve been up to our usual high jinks over the past weeks never fear.  Mr GG took a week off work and we had lots of adventures planned.  However, our week didn’t turn out as planned and, instead, Mr GG spent the week visiting his doctor’s surgery as they tried to come to grips with why he’s been progressively more ill over recent weeks.

It turns out Mr GG has diabetes. 

It’s been a shock.  We’re generally a healthy family and things like this don’t happen to us!  However, it has.  And now we have to get our heads around how this affects us as a family as well as supporting Mr GG who can, thankfully, now begin the journey towards feeling well again.   Once again I’m thankful that Mr GG and I always approach things as a team … it’s important to us to work this way and it’s how we’ve got through so many different things.

 In the midst of the appointments and blood tests (he has to check his blood six times a day at the moment) we’ve managed to enjoy time with my cousin and her lovely family … Son No3 particularly enjoyed having cousins to play with and had a blast zorbing on water with them.

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Our latest ‘self sufficiency’ challenge was making butter which was a fun experiment for us all to take part in.  OK, so we don’t have a cow or goat to get milk from and had to buy cream to start off with but the butter tasted amazing!

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Last time I wrote, the chickens were on lock down for medication.  That’s over now but, feeling a bit sorry for them afterwards, I gave them the bucket of kale that was growing beautifully … it doesn’t look so healthy anymore!

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All our workbooks arrived last week in preparation for starting back to home ed soon … our plan is to start back on 13th August and take an early half term for our family holiday.  The boys are all quietly looking forward to getting back into a routine although more loudly protesting that they’d rather stay on holiday!

 Lastly, just before I leave you all in peace for a few more days … we have finally bought a polytunnel for our garden.  I love it!  I planted lettuce in it two days ago and wee shoots are already peeping through!  I particularly love that we’ve got a polytunnel as it sounds way more smallholdingy than a greenhouse does haha.  See you all next week … when normal service may just be resumed!

 

Africa

 

 

Some readers may have noticed that I always use the name of a song as the title for my blog posts.  This week is no different.  Africa is the song choice for this week … chosen by Son No1 as it’s a song he’s enjoying teaching himself to play on the piano.  It’s also highly applicable as it bears no relevance to anything that’s happened in GGHQ this week … it’s not been a bad week, not at all, but it’s probably best described in this way  …

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Early on in the week while we were out exploring we found these teeny, tiny frogs.  There were so many of them hopping about around our feet and we’re all hoping we made it home without reducing the frog population at all.  The boys managed to catch some and hold them, they were the smallest frogs I think I’ve ever seen.  Son No3 was keen to bring one home as a pet but, thankfully, he realised we don’t have a pond and couldn’t dig one quickly enough so the idea was abandoned … phew!

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The chickens have been on house (run) arrest this week as they were having routine worming treatment.  This meant that they weren’t allowed any treats which did not go down well.  We’ve all been grumbled at and told off by the girls and if we went near them we were pecked.  Thankfully tomorrow is the last day and Monday we’ll be back to normal.  Beryl the Peril however, whilst voicing her dis-satisfaction, has proved that a week without treats has done no harm and produced these two massive eggs for us … I can’t help but think it must hurt!

Garden wise everything is rumbling along nicely, the last of the leeks were planted and we used an improvised tub having run out of proper tubs to use and being too mean to buy any more.  We picked the last of our raspberries and Mr GG added them to some delicious wild raspberries picked by my parents to make some jam.  It is SO good!  We also harvested the peas … which is a fancy way for saying we got half a dozen and rather than going from farm to table it was more a case of farm to mouth!

Our simple living efforts continue and this week I tried semi-drying excess tomatoes we had left over from the veg box we got from a local farm.  Personally they’re not my taste, I prefer tomatoes fresh but Mr GG seems to think they’re delicious and I’ll admit they look nice in the jar. 


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Halfway through the week the Junior GGs mentioned the ‘bored’ word … I’m surprised that they’ve not yet learned how dangerous this word is to use.  I always find something for them to do, somethingIMG_1976 they’d probably not choose … this time I set them to stripping the walls in the living room.  Now, this wasn’t planned.  Not at all.  To be fair, the living room is crying out to be redecorated but decorating is just a bit bigger a job than we’d anticipated at the moment.  However, the boys took on the challenge and we’ve now got paperless walls.  I’d forgotten how much fun stripping walls is so I think Mr GG is hoping they don’t mention the ‘bored’ word again next week or we’ll start stripping the hall. 

IMG_1977I have finally dug out my knitting once again and set to making some more squares for a patchwork throw I’ve been working on for, at least, a couple of years.  It’ll probably never make it to ‘throw’ stage as, the squares are all different sizes and I hate the sewing part … I keep promising myself to start sewing a couple together each week but something more exciting always distracts me.  Nevermind though, I enjoy knitting and feel ridiculously proud of the different patterns that can be made.  I’ll never become so dedicated to simple living that I start knitting jumpers for the boys so they can rest easy on that score.  Little knitting projects are fine for me!  I just seem to have a problem with the finishing part!

So, all is happy in GGHQ, life doesn’t work out as we always anticipate it and we go off on random tangents from time to time but the kettle is always on and we love it when folks drop in for a cuppa … hint hint!

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Simple Life

There is peace in GGHQ as I start writing today (oops, that was Saturday and now it’s Monday!).  Mr GG is outside mucking out the chickens, Son No1 is chatting online to one of his local friends, Son No3 is playing a game and Son No2 is watching television. 

We’ve had a fun week, quietly busy but also relaxing at times too.  The weather has been brilliant still although there were one or two wee much-needed rain showers.  Most of the GG family don’t like the heat too much and Son No3 has been overhead grumbling that he can’t wait until winter!

IMG_1889Mr GG & I have been looking at a curriculum we would like to use next term.  Unfortunately, and much to the dismay of the Junior GGs, this involves diagnostic testing to determine the level of work that will be appropriate for them.  The tests (four in all) have nearly been completed with just one left to do … it’s probably fair to say that they’ve not been completed with happy, contented hearts!

 The Juniors had a fun day at the beach with Grandma GG during the week and managed, between them, to bring most of the beach home with them … always, I believe, a sign of a successful day. 

 IMG_1894We had a visitor one day too which was fun … it’s been a long time since I’ve had a really little person to look after and this wee lad could not have been a more perfect houseguest.  He smiled and gurgled and waved and was fascinated with the chickens.  Son No3 was a fantastic helper and spent the whole time making sure our guest was OK.  It was so lovely to watch him … he’s desperate for a younger sibling (never going to happen!) so I think that was what encouraged him.

What else did we do?  Oh yes, we had a couple of days spent in and around the house as well as a lovely walk one day which involved lots of rolling down hills … I didn’t partake this time having learned my lesson from a previous time that didn’t end quite so well!

Mr GG and I are enjoying our ‘simple living’ challenge.  We’re getting used to thinking twice about things and, you know what?  At the end of the week we’ve done all we wanted to do, we’ve not always gone for the ‘time-saving’ options and we’ve not missed out on anything.  The challenge has really made us think about how often we would try to save time and end up more frazzled than ever.  

 So, when we made frog in the bog for tea (toad in the hole to those not in know) we didn’t opt for our usual choice of bought Yorkshire puddings but decided to make these bad boys!  Instead of keeping a jar of ready sliced lemons in the fridge, we sliced and froze them ourselves.

We even opted for the simple option when it came to cutting the grass this week.

 We’ve had a couple more harvests during the week … our raspberry plants have yielded this wee crop.  Not enough for jam but we’re planning to add to it and make jam anyway.  Also, I was ridiculously excited that the first pea was ready for picking … it made its way into the kitchen purely for the photo before being eaten … delicious!  Small beginnings but a step in the right direction.

The simple life is becoming more and more appealing (although maybe you should ask me again in winter!) and we’re enjoying making the best use of everything we have although, I do think Mr GG was taking things a wee bit too far when he tried to make himself sunglasses out of a plastic bottle … the only way to keep it on was to hold the sides which left him looking slightly reminiscent of Kevin from Home Alone!

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Daydream believer

Hello folks!  Another week over and a new one beginning … just like that!I’ve been pondering what to write this week.  Not much has happened for me to report about home education … we’ve just been enjoying time in the sun and making the most of holidays … well, some of us have … to be fair on Mr GG, he’s been working hard as usual but this past week he was working from home which we all love.    IMG_1785One of the things I’ve noticed lately is how easy it is for us all to slip into an attitude of entitlement … I’ve been trying to foster a sense of thankfulness and gratitude in myself as well as trying to encourage the boys.  A wee while ago I shamelessly stole this idea from a friend on Facebook … 30 days of gratitude.  Most evenings, as we eat our meal, we’ll discuss what we’re grateful for for that day.  There have been some interesting ideas and it’s fair to say that Son No1 nearly spontaneously combusted when he was tasked with naming just one piece of technology that he was thankful for!  At new year I set myself the challenge of recording something I was thankful for each day … I’m pleased to say that we’re now more than halfway through the year and I’ve not run out of thankfulness!Mr GG and I have set ourselves a challenge to reduce our spending each month as well as reducing our electricity/gas bill.  I’m enjoying the challenge although it seems that ‘living simply’ seems to make for much more work! Naturally one of the first ‘cut backs’ has been to dry our laundry outside rather than use the dryer.  For several years I’ve opted to give washing dried outside a wee blast in the dryer as it seemed to help with Son No2’s hayfever.  For many years he struggled so badly each year, ending up with eye infections and, sometimes, eyes that were so swollen they couldn’t open.  It was awful.  However, ditching the dryer this year doesn’t seem to have had much of an impact on him so it appears his susceptibility to hayfever has reduced as he’s got older.  Something to be thankful for! Simple living means I’ve been baking more which I’m enjoying.  I’ve always loved baking but tend to get caught up in life and fall into the trap of just buying biscuits etc.  One of the main things I bake is chocolate brownies … it’s a favourite of all three boys (well, four if you count Mr GG) and something I’ve baked with the boys so often that two in particular can make themselves with little intervention from me.  We also discovered lately that gluten free brownies are even more tasty that ordinary ones! IMG_1810In the middle of the week I discovered a full packet of Lotus Biscoff which were going out of date soon.  Rather than waste the biscuits I made fifteens which, in turn, left me with half a tin of condensed milk I didn’t want to waste.  A wee google led me to this recipe … chocolate chip cookies … they are awesome!  I’ve never managed to make cookies that had the right crispy/gooey ratio.  These do!  And, even better, the cookie dough stores in the fridge for a week so I’ve been able just to make as many as I need at a time to keep the boys happy.  Win win!  I feel virtuous that I’ve not wasted anything and the boys are delighted with an almost daily supply of cookies.Bread has also been something that I’ve been making more often.  We have a breadmaker but I don’t really like using it … it’s bulky and takes forever to use.  I found an easy bread recipe which I’ve been trying out and the results have been delicious.  Previously when I’ve made bread I’ve been able to set the dough on the dryer to prove but that’s no longer an option so I’ve taken advantage of the sunny weather to set it on the windowsill of our front room.  Mr GG assures me that our neighbours already think we’re a bit quirky (chickens do that!) so they’ll not really be surprised by us!IMG_1811We’ve already enjoyed some of the rewards of our garden in the past few days.  We have a lone blackcurrant bush (well, technically there are two but one is in the chicken run and only has two wee leaves left at the top … chickens do that too!) which has excelled itself this year.  While Mr GG loves blackcurrants, I can’t stand them so we weren’t too sure what to do with them … eventually we decided on jam … maybe seen as a bit of a waste of effort as this was the result, but Mr GG is enjoying it so that’s good enough for me (to be fair, he made the jam himself anyway).

 In this sunny weather I’ve been experimenting with infused waters rather than fizzy drinks or diluting juice.  Some have been successful, some not so much.  I’m enjoying gathering herbs and some fruits from the garden to try out and one of my favourites so far has been lemon, raspberry & rosemary.Our faltering attempts at making our garden pay are beginning to show results.  Some of the potatoes are nearly ready for digging up and we have a steady supply of herbs, lettuce and salad leaves.  Not everything is working out though … the tomatoes are stubbornly refusing to perform and have, so far, only produced one manky looking tomato.  The mystery veg that we planted looks like it’s possibly peppers … no fruit appearing but I’m fairly chuffed that we’ve managed to identify it.   The peas we planted are mostly doing well and I can see some pods appearing … few, if any, of them will make it to the table for, in a nod to a happy days spent with my Grandad ‘helping’ in his garden, I’m likely to sit outside and eat them all. IMG_1720Beryl, Ivy & Minnie continue to delight all five of the GG clan and have completely won over Mr GG who was adamant he didn’t want them.  They’re all laying pretty much every day and are ever so patient with me hopping about outside the coop waiting for eggs so that I can bake.  I have dreams of one day having meat chicks, and quail and maybe a pond for ducks, as well as an orchard with a bee hive or two, and a field with pigs, sheep and maybe a couple of cows (for Mr GG).  I can see me working in the fields in my wellies (pink of course, in a houseful of male-ness there needs to be some pink) and scooting about in my land rover.  But, for now, I’m content … I’m already seeing some of my dreams come true … home educating my awesome boys and chooks in the garden … truly living the dream!IMG_0016

Mr Blue Sky

And just like that another week ends. 

It’s been a stunner of a week even if there have been moments when we’ve felt like we were melting.  The GG household doesn’t really ‘do’ hot weather and Son No3 was heard grumbling that he ‘can’t wait for winter’ (I think he’s a wee bit like Grandfather GG).  It’s fabulous seeing skies like this though … I love it!

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We’ve had a mixture of a week.  Some lovely days out and some days at home enjoying our garden, our chooks and some shade.

At the start of the week we went to one of our most favourite places to go.  It’s not particularly beautiful but I love it simply because it’s one of the few places that my anxious Son No2 can go without worrying about anything.  All three of the Junior GGs are in their element on a beach so they were all content walking along searching for shells and other treasures, chatting about games and retro consoles (Son No1 collects retro consoles and had just bought a Nintendo 64).  We collected some teeny tiny shells … they’re amazing, so perfect and yet so absolutely tiny, it’s hard to imagine the little creatures that lived in them before moving on to a new home.

For weeks Son No2’s anxiety has been sky-high and his fear of germs, need to wash, worry about touching something that has touched something else that has previously touched something (I kid you not!) has been holding him back from enjoying pretty much anything.  When he was younger he had a fascination for mud and water.  I used to keep towels by the back door because there was nothing my lad liked more on a rainy day than sitting in the muddy dip under the swing and gently rubbing mud onto his face, over his clothes and, well, everywhere.  The water magnetism has stayed but the mud attraction not so much.   Surprisingly, I miss it! 

 So, it made my heart happy on Monday when I saw Son No2 paddling along in his shoes and then squelching about in the mud.  Everything washes and, once again, I was thankful for a sunny, cloudless sky to dry his shoes.  The shoes have since been worn to walk along a river so they’ve spent quite some time hanging about outside this week!

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This week also saw Son No3 acquire a drum kit … it’s currently squashed into his bedroom until we work out how and where best to have it set up.  He is so excited … the neighbours maybe not so much. 

We’ve enjoyed time out in the garden this week.  All of the fruit and vegetables that we’ve planted is growing nicely and there’s something really exciting about nipping out into the garden to gather something to eat (or make a cup of tea with) especially as we’re also getting (and eating) a regular supply of eggs from our chooks.  Over the course of the week I read somewhere that ‘smallholding is a way of life’ rather than dependent on how much land you have … I love that, our wee garden is tiny but we’re aiming to make it pay its way as much as possible.  That doesn’t stop Mr GG & I dreaming about having a proper smallholding one day but in the meantime …

Lastly, Son No3 tried out his latest tinker crate … an automaton.  He loved building it and is so good at following the instructions, asking for help when he needs it.  There are lots of good ideas for other automatons so I think that may end up on the plan for next week.  It may be a bit pricey but the pleasure my boy gets from building and playing with the tinker crates more than makes up for it.

 

 

 

Those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer …

The sun is shining, washing is drying on the whirligig, the chooks are scratching about contentedly, the boys are playing quietly (always a worry!), Mr GG is sitting on the swing seat relaxing/sleeping … and somewhere along the way I’ve obviously blinked and missed the week!  Our first week of summer holiday is over already but it still feels like last weekend.

There has always been a period of adjustment when it comes to holidays.  My routine loving boys often struggle getting used to a new routine although the first week of the summer holidays has generally been kept empty … a chance for the boys to relax, catch up on sleep and recover from the stresses of the academic year.

This year has been no different …

… oh …

… no …

… wait …

… erm …

… that’s not right …

… this year has been completely different.

This year it has been me that has struggled with the change in routine.  The Junior GGs have all been relaxed and drifted into holiday mode with no issues.  I, on the other hand, have been completely out of sorts, grumpy, stressy, tired and struggling to get used to being on holiday from home ed!  What’s that all about?

It struck me that the past six months have been completely full-on … I’ve been either been actively involved in home ed or I’ve been thinking about it.  It’s been my life absolutely.  I don’t regret it, not one wee bit, but suddenly not having to think about it has been a bit of a shock!  For the past years I’ve counted down to the summer holidays growing more and more excited about having six or seven uninterrupted weeks with my boys.  The night before the last day of term was always more exciting than Christmas … I often couldn’t sleep.  This year has been different … I’ve looked forward to not having work to prepare or mark or plan but … it was different … and it felt odd!

Work isn’t completely finished quite yet.  Son No1 and I have been working on a Chicken Welfare & Behaviour course with Edinburgh University.  It’s pretty much finished, just a few bits of work to be done and we’re through … it’s been ever so interesting and we’ve both learned lots about our own chooks as we’ve learned.

This past week I’ve also managed to complete a course in reflexology.  I’ve no intention of inflicting my grumpy crabbiness on the general public but I’ve often wondered if reflexology would help my anxiety-ridden Son No2 so I thought I’d try it out and see … so far I’ve not managed to get him to sit still long enough for me to even touch his feet, far less try out any reflexology but there’s still hope!  If there is anything at all that I can do to help him deal with this world that is so alien to him then I’m all for it.

Son No3 has enjoyed the holidays so far.  He’s made the most of the sunny weather to play outside with his friends (rain never stops us anyway) and has built lots of interesting Lego creations.  Lego has got to be one of the best toys ever … only limited by our own imaginations.

And there it is … week one of our holidays is finished, completed, gone … the grumpiness is gone (for now!) and I have much to be thankful for … no matter how much of a rush he is in, Son No1 will not ever go out without coming to give me a hug and tell me he loves me … how blessed I am!

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Week two is looming (well, it’s Monday now so it’s kinda loomed already) … we’ve planned a bit more structure for this week but I’m not telling you yet!

 

 

Nothing’s gonna stop us now …

Hooray! Happy day! We have made it to the end of term … all still standing and smiling!

It’s been a week of preparation, work has been steadily reducing and lots of planning for holidays and free days going on.

Traditionally, in the distant past when the boys were in school we would make a list of things to do in the holidays … colour-coded according to whether they could be done at home or away and whether free or not … maybe I’m a wee bit of a control freak after all haha!

So, our list has been updated, new activities added and some discarded with claims that the boys are now too old for them. We’ve easily got 70 different activities and I’ve tried hard to make as many free as I possibly can.

IMG_1661On one of our many walks this week Son No 3 found his first painted rocks … such excitement. The rocks have been rehidden ready for someone else to find … I wonder how far they will travel?  We are planning to paint some rocks of our own and hide them around the parks and woodlands in our local area.  I’m quite artistically inept but hopefully Mr GG will join in!

The latest Tinker Crate arrived a few days ago so it found itself included on the plan for this week … and what fun!  Son No3 did really well following the instructions to build an arcade catapult and has spent lots of time playing with it, even inviting his friends in to give it a go.  There’s something satisfying about building something yourself and he was, quite rightly, proud of his efforts.

This week has also seen Son No 1 update his hair colour … the blue is gone and replaced with red. He was a bit reluctant to let anyone see the work in progress!  I was a bit nervous about how the red would look but I think he’s looking great 🙂


IMG_1653Our three chooks are continuing to supply us with eggs and there was much excitement when Beryl the Peril laid our first double yolker … clever girl.

Our fruit and vegetable patches are continuing to grow and, I think, everything we planted has sprouted. Storm Hector battered the garden but, thankfully, everything survived  including the chidkens and Son No2’s precious guinea pig, Pringle (although she looked a wee bit shell-shocked afterwards).

We celebrated the end of our academic year with a trip to Auchingarrich Animal Park. Mr GG took the day off work so we were able to have a lovely family day together. The weather forecast was dire but Team GG don’t let something like rain put us off and I’m so glad … torrential rain most of the journey there and torrential rain most of the journey home but in between was lovely!


We saw all sorts of animals but, for me, the highlight was seeing the wildcat with her kittens … so beautiful! It’s hard to imagine that they’re so different from our own Princess Leia.

For many years there has been a tartan sheep at Auchingarrich and we’ve loved looking at her. Today she looked old and tired but had two lambs with her. Seeing her wandering along with the lambs and quite obviously getting impatient with them at times reminded me of my role as a mum. I get impatient with the boys, I’ve so much to learn as a mum but I’ve held on to this verse, especially in the years when the boys were so much younger and my job was much more ‘hands on’.
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And there we are … we’ve reached the end of our first academic (half) year. We’ve made mistakes, we’ve had successes but I can honestly say I don’t regret our decision to start home education for a minute. It’s not always been easy and we’ve had times when school has been missed but I could not be more proud of how well my lovely boys have coped and adapted to such a massive change.

I’ve a few plans for the blog over the holidays … but I’m giving away no secrets so you’ll have to wait and see! For now, though, I’m off to sit back and relax and enjoy the holiday (at home) feeling!

Road to Nowhere

You know those days that start off with one thing planned and then end up flying off in a totally different direction?  Sometimes the diversion isn’t pleasant and sometimes it’s absolutely brilliant!  Well, Friday was one of those brilliant days.

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Fridays are usually kept free in GGHQ … they’re an opportunity to catch up with work that’s not been finished or to go out somewhere or just to chill.  It was another beautiful day so I thought I’d take advantage of our Historic Scotland membership and visit Cairnpapple Hill … enjoying time out in the fresh air along with learning a wee bit more of the history of our beautiful country.

All three boys and I piled into the Great Behemoth, set the sat nav and headed off arriving safely at Cairnpapple Hill with no wrong turns (not altogether usual for me). 

We sorted out the backpack with bottles of water and snacks, checked our shoes, tied hoodies round our waists in case it got chilly as we climbed … and turned round to see this …

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Nope!  Never!  Not on your life!  Are you wise? 

There is no danger I’m going anywhere that has a sign warning of a bull in the field.  It appears I wasn’t alone as Son No2 & Son No3 jumped back into the Great Behemoth and shut the doors.  I mean, it wasn’t as if it was an empty warning for at the top of the wooden steps we were about to start climbing was standing the most massive bull I have ever seen … or so I thought … as the bull lumbered forward a few steps we realised that, quite clearly, she was definitely not a he!  But anyway, Cairnpapple Hill may well be very interesting, have a lot of history and be somewhere we would have enjoyed visiting but it’s never going to happen!

Climbing back into the Great Behemoth I had a quick search to see what else was nearby and, most importantly, free.  We landed on Malleny Garden, a National Trust for Scotland property in Balerno, Edinburgh.  Setting the sat nav once more we took off flying along country roads (I’m sure I’d love being a rally driver) and landed safely at Malleny Garden.   

Wow!

 It was beautiful, peaceful and all four of us enjoyed spying different plants and trees.  We even found a pond with tadpoles in it (and even more importantly, my water magnetised son stayed dry!).   

It was a lovely way to end another good week here at GGHQ which included an afternoon out for Son No1 and I visiting another home educating family.  There is something special about time alone with one of my boys, sometimes it’s not so easy to arrange but we both enjoyed our time together as we travelled, chatting together, laughing about funny things, trying to find solutions to problems and, of course, listening to music.  The afternoon was great in so many ways … I benefited so much from talking with another HE mum who has years of HE experience … we compared notes and talked about things that worked and things that didn’t.  Son No1 loved spending time with lads his age and disappeared off on a quad bike exploring. 

Last week also saw our long-awaited trip to the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow for Son No1’s spine MRI.  It was the first MRI experience for any of us and wow, it was noisy!  Unfortunately tics mean that it’s hard for my lad to stay still but he tried really hard and the radiographer was confident that she had managed to get the best images she could.  Now for the long old wait for results … we couldn’t make the original appointment given so the next available is October!  Thankfully we’ve no real concerns about the results, the MRI is more to rule out any problems before making a decision on surgery on my boy’s legs. 

And because I can’t post without mentioning any of the less human members of the household … our chickens are now all laying eggs … in true GG style the white hen lays brown eggs and the brown hen lays white ones!  And Princess Leia is maintaining her disgust at the arrival of chickens, refuses to go into the back garden where they are, preferring instead to spend her time sitting in the plant pot glaring at us … whoever says animals don’t have facial expressions!  She’s going to get a wee fright soon as that pot is ear-marked for the leeks to be planted in!

The Long & Winding Road

I’m a bit late with the blog this week … it’s been one of those weekends!

We’re really starting to look ahead to the summer holidays now and we’re all looking forward to them.  The boys are looking forward to some time without academic work to do and I’m looking forward to some time when I’m not constantly preparing lessons and thinking of what to do next.  Mr GG and I are planning to spend some time looking ahead to when we start back but there won’t be that same pressure which, I must admit, will be lovely!

The work that has been done in the garden is beginning to pay off and several wee shoots can be seen poking through the ground.  It’s amazing how one wee shoot will appear and then a couple of hours later there are loads, as if one seed breaks free and the others are encouraged to follow along.

All three chooks are growing and developing their wee personalities.  They are a huge hit with all the family and all three boys love spending time outside talking to them.  They’re not shy around us at all now and as soon as anyone is outside they’re squawking about at our toes (and pecking them) looking for treats.  Beryl the Peril is still our sole egg layer but she’s been consistently laying an egg each day.  I’ve been using an old eyeliner to write the date on the eggs, I know some folks use sharpies but I’m a wee bit hesitant about using something like that.  I was going to say I was hesitant about using something I wouldn’t eat but there again, who eats eyeliner …

The patience we need when waiting for plants to grow or the chickens to start laying eggs has made me think about our approach to home education.  We don’t just plant a seed and immediately have veg to eat.  An egg doesn’t hatch and immediately turn into a laying chicken.  Similarly, here at GGHQ, we haven’t just left school and turned into the perfect HE family straightaway (whatever that is anyway!). 

These past months have been fun, but they have been hard work.  The Junior GGs have had to get used to being out of school, to learning in a different environment and in a different way.  Mr GG and I have had to get used to a completely different homelife and to learn, through trial and error, what works for the individuals in our wee family and what absolutely doesn’t! 

Lots of work has been going on behind the scenes, lots of research, reading, soul searching, praying, even tears now and again.   

I know I’m repeating myself but I’m proud of how all five of us have adapted to the changes that we’ve faced.  It’s not always been straightforward and there have been hiccups but as we enter our sixth month of HE I think relationships are stronger, the atmosphere in our home is, mostly, calmer and we’re all benefiting from spending more time outside.  Change is not always easy for people on the autistic spectrum but my boys amaze me time and time again how well they cope with whatever life throws at them.  They’re awesome lads and I’m proud to be their mum.

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(And when they choose to do a geography puzzle when they have free time … well, that makes me feel we’re doing something right!)