Mad about the boy …

A wee update on Son No1’s surgery.

An early morning alarm call woke Son No1 (and Mr GG & I) for breakfast before fasting began. If I’m honest, I think I was more apprehensive about dealing with the fasting than the surgery itself! It’s no mean feat keeping an ever-hungry, ever-growing teenager out of the kitchen.


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Grandpa and Grandma GG arrived at 10 to take Son Nos 2&3 off out for a day at the zoo (the joys of home education meant that this was a ‘day off’ for everyone!) and we set off for the hospital.

Hospital was mobbed! The waiting area was packed out and noisy which immediately cranked the anxiety up another notch or two … what if we don’t hear our name being called? It’s irrational I know, but I’ll always be a bit of a worrier!

img_4184Eventually we heard Son No1 being called … phew … and off we toddled to a wee room where he had to put his pjs on, get temperature, weight & blood pressure checked. Lastly some numbing cream was applied to his hands … apparently that was the worst part … so far!

Due to the busy-ness of the hospital Son No1 couldn’t get a bed on the ward until after surgery so we were back in the waiting room to wait … list began at 1pm and was done in age order so we were expecting a long wait.

Over the next couple of hours we saw the anaesthetist who talked Son No1 through the difference between using a drip or gas for going to sleep. We also saw the surgeon once again who reassured us he would definitely operate on both legs and, thankfully, gave us an idea of the time we could expect surgery to begin.

Eventually we were called for theatre … I was able to stay with Son No1 until he was asleep which was great. He opted for the drip (with a little encouragement from me!) but two attempts to insert the img_4183cannula failed so he had to have gas. There is something eerie about watching your child clutching a mask to his face and slowly drifting off to sleep … I can’t say I liked it!

Once my lad was asleep my nerves left me (although still kicking about as since then I tried to spell ‘failed’ with a ‘ph’, ‘cannula’ with one ‘n’ and ‘eerie’ with a ‘y’) and I felt incredibly calm until we neared the time to expect Son No1 back from theatre, then the time seemed to drag … so … terribly … slowly.

Finally we got word that Son No1 was in recovery and we went to wait in the room he’d been allocated. A very quiet, woozy boy was wheeled in, struggling to keep his eyes open and shivering in that horrible uncontrollable way that seems to happen after general anaesthesia. He rallied enough to give a couple of hugs then drifted off into a deep sleep so I took the opportunity to leave my boy and Mr GG and go home to relieve the GG grandparents from their duties.

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When I got back to the hospital the next morning a bright, sparkly, hungry boy met me with two new casts on his legs … he opted for the brightest yellow I’d ever seen which, given the weather warnings we’ve had lately is probably a good idea … he will never get lost!

Shortly after I arrived Son No1’s transport for the next six weeks was delivered and he practised transferring from bed to chair and back again.  All went well and, just like that, he was discharged!

There aren’t words for how proud I am of my lad.  I am completely in awe of him.  In the, little over, 48 hours since surgery he’s not complained once.  He’s mentioned a couple of times that he’s sore which is to be expected but no complaints at all.  It’s no mean feat for a teenager who’s been relatively independent to suddenly be dependent upon his parents for pretty much everything once again.  He has to bear Mr GG lifting him and out of our car as it’s too high for him to shimmy across using his arms.  He has to put up with my somewhat clumsy attempts at wheelchair pushing and I’m sorry to admit that, already, I’ve bumped him into a wall and squashed his foot in a door … I’m hoping practice makes perfect!

The next six weeks are going to be tough.  A real lesson in patience.  There is to be absolutely no weight-bearing until the casts are removed in early March and then the real hard work begins as my boy learns to walk properly for the first time.  We’re all adapting to this temporarily different way of life.  Our plans to have Son No1 pretty much living downstairs fell to pieces when his chair wouldn’t fit into our downstairs bathroom so he’s confined to living upstairs most of the time for just now and seems to be relishing the opportunity of having me, Mr GG and Son Nos 2&3 at his beck and call. 

For anyone, let alone a young person who has a diagnosis of autism and ADHD, Son No1 has coped brilliantly … so brilliantly that I’m tentatively scouting around the internet trying to find something to add to his collection of retro games consoles … he’s getting suspicious because of all my questions about them though … I’ve no idea where to look.

So, that’s us for now.  Academic work has been limited to just two days this week to give Mr GG and I time to recover and get our heads around everything as well as allowing Son No1 time to adjust.  The next two days won’t be taxing workwise but enough to get him into a bit of a routine again and let him see just how well he can adapt.  

Lastly, if you see a luminous-yellow-legged boy in a wheelchair being pushed erratically along a pavement by a wild haired crazy woman then give us a wave before you jump out of the way … we’d love to say hello!

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Sorry, so sorry

I have to begin today with an apology.

Son No2 read my last post and had some constructive criticism that I need to address.  I am so very sorry for my errors!

Firstly, I told you that Son No2 likes to sit and chat to the chooks … he would like me to add that he also enjoys watching the chickens being put to bed at night and finds it hilarious when they flap about and run away … especially Minnie the Minx who hates bedtime so she runs and hides under the coop with her back to us.

img_1832Secondly, I omitted to tell you that Ivy the Terrible likes to yell. She loves to yell. She yells when we’re all indoors and she would like a cuddle (I kid you not). She yells when she is considering laying an egg although she’s quiet after the actual event. She yells when Beryl the Peril or Minnie the Minx are (in her opinion) faffing about and taking too long when egg laying. She particularly likes to yell at Minnie and has been known to screech in her face and frighten her out of the nest box. Ivy likes to yell.

Now that my conscience is clear I can tell you all about this week … hopefully this post will meet with approval after the scrutiny of Son No2 … but I’ll let you know!

This week has seen the return to work after the Christmas holidays. Although there were some rumbles of discontent at the thought of having to get up ‘too’ early, all three boys were up and working with little complaint when the time came.  They’ve all worked well this week and settled back into the routine ever so well.

(Old photos, but I’ll not tell if you don’t)

Son No3 recently started swimming lessons so on a Thursday morning he is extra motivated to get all his work done before he goes to the pool. He loves the water and is really enjoying his lessons.  Lessons started again this week after the Christmas break and he was super excited about being back in the water.

Those of you who follow me on Facebook will know that this week also saw my annual ‘dark day’, the day I remember the pain of losing our babies. I generally write something about my babies that day, not because I’m wanting sympathy but just as my wee memorial for them. I found this year harder than usual which puzzled me but I think maybe the fact that the Junior GGs are getting so grown up makes me realise that my babies would now no longer be ‘babies’ but turning into young adults.  Also, I think seventeen is a key age, especially here in the UK, as it’s the age when young folks can learn to drive and take on a little more independence from their parents.  I remember seventeen so well myself, I was incredibly excited about the freedom of being able to drive and, if my aging memory is correct, I had my first driving lesson the day after my birthday.
 

Earlier this week I saw this quote on Facebook from my favourite author, Sally Clarkson:

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I love it.  This is something that Mr GG and I have held onto at times of heartache and, not least, through his bouts of depression and anxiety.  I can testify to the truth of this.  Over the years I have been given many opportunities to listen to, pray with, cry alongside folks who are grieving the loss of babies … I would never have had this compassion if I had not walked the devastating path of baby-loss myself.  I am thankful, not necessarily for the physical pain, but for the ways that my experience changed me and I am thankful too that my babies are safe in the arms of Jesus where, one day, I will meet them.

Alongside the ‘dark day’, there were many highlights to our week, not least the visit of a dear aunt and uncle who we have not seen for several years.  It was a delight to spend time with them, laughing, chatting, reminiscing and drinking tea together.  I have a wonderful family.

I had my first attempt at making face cream using essential oils this week.  I only made it on Friday so haven’t had much time to try it out but it looks OK and smells amazing.  I’d been wanting to try it for ages but I’m also trying to be measured in introducing DIY recipes to our family life rather than go diving in.  I’ve been using my own recipe of facial oil for the last couple of months which I’m really liking.  

Crafty-wise Mr GG and I have both had a couple of projects on the go.  I tried out a new bracelet pattern which I had found … once I’m used to it I’ll start adapting it and experimenting with different beads, patterns etc.  Mr GG also finished off a table he’d been working on restoring (now sold) and finalised an order he’d got to make a guitar pedal board (delivered and in use already).  We have a dream of one day living somewhere with room for a proper workshop as well as more land for growing fruit and veg … and more chickens … oh, and maybe a pig … and, well, some sheep would be nice … and ducks … and … and …

As a reward for a week’s work well done the Junior GGs had a trip to the local trampoline park.  Anyone who knows our family knows that Son No3 is a magnet for disaster. 

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Yes, as you can imagine our trip ended up with us dusting off our A&E loyalty card and paying a visit to the hospital.  I hold myself partly to blame for saying, just the day before, that we hadn’t been to A&E since beginning our home ed adventure. 

I’m thankful to say that Son No3 hasn’t broken any bones, he’s pulled a ligament and is ‘supposed’ to be resting for a few days.  Any tips on how to encourage a 10 year old boy to rest his foot would be greatly appreciated …

 

 

 

I’m still standing …

Did you miss me?

This blog post has been started, scrapped and re-started (and re-scrapped) dozens of times since I last posted.  Life has taken over, we’ve been wrapped up in learning and working and it seems as though the weeks have passed without me realising!

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In the past months (I can’t really justify saying ‘weeks’ really) we’ve celebrated birthdays (there are now two teenagers in GGHQ, gasp), wedding anniversaries (well, just one actually, 17 years with Mr GG!), Christmas and New Year.  We have delighted in academic achievements and rejoiced in how well all three junior GGs have adapted to the new routine in our home ed life.  We have had at least two ‘holidays’ – one spent glamping in Aviemore (stunning) and an incredibly lazy week in the beautiful Isle of Skye.  In the past months there have also been tears over the deaths of two much loved pets … sadly Pringle, Son No2’s guinea pig and Steve, Son No3’s hamster have reached the end of their wee lives with us.  There were many tears over the deaths, many discussions over what (if anything) would replace them and, no, we’re not replacing Pringle with a snake nor Steve with a budgie … my suggestion that a ‘useful’ pet like another chicken or some sheep, however, was not well received by Mr GG!

December marked the first anniversary of our home education adventure.  There has been much reflection, many chats and discussion and the over-riding opinion is that the past year has been a great success.  We are all loving the freedom and flexibility that home ed brings to our lives.  There is something so incredibly special about being able to have guilt-free days off as a reward for working hard.  There is also something satisfying about watching children going to school when my own don’t have to!  I’m proud of how well the boys are learning, all three of them.  They are working hard, reaching and exceeding targets we set for them and one in particular, is well on the way to completing a full year’s work in two terms.

Becoming a home ed family hasn’t been completely straight-forward.  Workwise we are pretty much where I expected and, if anything, the workload on me is not as heavy as I expected but there are times when it’s overwhelming!  There are times when one of our lads misses the social aspect of school, he enjoyed the bustle of school but, workwise, he has done far more in the past terms at home than he achieved in over two years of school, something he recognises himself.   

I recently read a post on Facebook about the best and worst aspects of home education.  Many, many parents commented that the best part of home education was being with their children all the time and that the worst aspect was being with their children ALL the time.  I’d agree with this.  I love the company of my sons and I don’t get tired of them being around but I’ve found it much harder to achieve things at certain times.  It used to be that, on birthdays, I’d spend the time the birthday boy was at school to decorate his birthday cake … I can’t do that now as there isn’t school.  I also found preparation for Christmas much more difficult this year.  I didn’t have so many opportunities to nip out and do present shopping and wrapping was done sitting in my bedroom with my back against the door so that they couldn’t come into the room accidentally and ruin surprises!  These are such minor niggles though and compared to all the incredible benefits of taking ownership of the education of my children pale into insignificance.  I am also incredibly grateful to Grandma GG and Grandpa GG who take the boys for a few hours each week and I’m learning to use this time for ‘me’ not spend it rushing about doing housework!

Mr GG and I still yearn to live a more self-sufficient lifestyle although our garden has been sadly neglected over recent weeks … I have to hold my hands up and say I’m more of a fair-weather garden girl than anything, I don’t like being wet and cold!  However, I’ve started dabbling in essential oils and for the past wee while have been making my own cleaning products, including washing powder and fabric conditioner.  I’ve also been making hand soap as well, mainly in the hope of relieving some of the damage continual handwashing does to the skin of my lad’s hands … OCD is such a horrible illness, it breaks me to see the pain he is in, both physically and mentally.

Ivy, Minnie and Beryl still delight us every day.  They are amazing wee characters and provide great therapy … Son No2, whilst too nervous to venture too close to the chooks, spends time every day sitting beside the chicken run chatting away to the girls.  When we go out anywhere he goes straight out to see them when we get home.  Son No1 is a dab hand at catching the chooks to put them in the coop at night although he’s not so keen at getting up early to let them out in the mornings!

The past months have, sadly, seen a decline once more in Mr GG’s mental health and he has had to take some time away from work.  In times like this, manual labour really helps Mr GG mentally and he’s been using the time to be creative … he made some beautiful wooden Christmas trees which were really popular in the lead up to Christmas.  As I write he’s outside making a wooden compost bin for the garden and he also has several other projects in mind for the next wee while.

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Watching Mr GG making and crafting has encouraged me to begin making jewellery once again.  I’d stopped making jewellery when Mr GG was first ill nearly five years ago and it’s been lovely to be creative again … so much so that I’m tentatively contemplating selling at craft fairs once more.

So, that’s where the Life of Five is now … we’re trundling along well, enjoying our new life, battling the gremlins that attack mental health and striving towards the dream of a more independent. 

Until next time folks … 

 

 

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!

 

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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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!

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!)

 

I’m so excited …

… and I just can’t hide it

In the past six months two of my long held dreams have come true.  How great is that!

The first dream was beginning our home education journey back in January … and I’ll talk more about that in a wee minute or two.  The second dream, oh, I can’t believe it’s finally happening is this:

Mr GG has been working for the past wee while on building a fabulous chicken run … it was his birthday present to me and now, today, our birthday presents from my parents have arrived and are scratching around inside it.  Already, within a couple of hours their personalities are shining through and we’ve had many laughs at their antics already. 

IMG_1413Beryl the Peril is the noisy one so far – apparently she lays pinky/brown eggs.  She’s, naturally, a bit wary of us but has beautiful feathers and fluffs herself up now and again, I think, to make us think she’s scary!  She can’t bear anyone to do something without her so if Minnie the Minx flies up to the roof of the chicken coop, she’s right there too

IMG_1442Ivy the Terrible is in the inquisitive one and has explored all around the run – she lays brown eggs.  So far, Ivy is the only one who has allowed me to touch her … so currently she’s my favourite!  She seems to be quite placid and likes to sit and watch what’s going on around her.   She also seems to have cottoned on to the idea that she goes into the coop at night … she takes herself off into the coop and then pops her head out as if to hurry us along!

 IMG_1416Minnie the Minx lays cream eggs but, sadly, not Cadburys – Minnie is the most timid so far and spent most of the afternoon hiding under the coop when any of us ventured into the run.   Minnie & Beryl seem to be teaming up and tootling about together.  It’ll all be fun and games trying to catch those two to put in the coop tonight … hoping Mr GG will be here to help!

I love that, as a home educating family, everything we do can be made into a learning opportunity.  Our new chickens are providing endless sources of learning, right from before they even arrived today.  Our youngest GG helped his Dad with building the run … he’s a practical lad, has lots of imagination and regularly comes up with ‘inventions’ of his own.  Son No1 is doing a course with a local university on chicken welfare and behaviour (I think I’ve told you that before … blame old age … my sons do!).

One of the things that I’ve found hardest about our journey into home education (HE) is holidays!  Now, anyone that knows me knows that when the Junior GGs were in school I was continually counting down to the next holiday … and why not … my boys are fantastic company, they keep me amused and, well, we enjoy learning things and getting out together.  Family time is special … not necessarily calm or harmonic but definitely special.

However, any mother (or probably parent … but I can’t talk for dads) knows that no matter what you do someone has an opinion … and if you don’t fit into one of societies perceived ‘norms’ then often folks feel obliged to offer their thoughts.  Our journey into HE has been littered with masses of advice … some of the advice from those who already HE has been invaluable whereas some, from those who’ve no experience of HE has been, well, not very helpful.  Yes, I do know how old my sons are (child birth is not an experience to quickly forget!), I do know that how important education is (precisely why we’ve removed them from school!) and no, my sons are not going to suffer socially from being out of the school setting.  That’s just for all the doubters out there, haha!

Anyway, I’ve digressed into a moan … I was talking about our problem with holidays.  We have a decision to make … do we follow the school timetable and stick to holidays when schools have holidays or do we take holidays at the times that suit us?  Guess what we’re thinking of?  Yep, we’re going to do our own thing.  At present, we’re working along the guidelines that if the boys get all their targets met in a week then Friday is a free day for us to chill, or go our somewhere, or just enjoy doing whatever we fancy.  We will have holidays planned but if we can see that the boys are tiring or losing motivation we can take an additional holiday.  Love it!  After all, most days the boys are like this:

But we know it’s time to take a day out when they are so tired they start looking like this:

IMG_1400

In every way the flexibility of HE is wonderful!  If a day is sunny in the morning we can take advantage of that and turn our day upsidedown … after all, sunny days can be few and far between so why not take advantage of them when they arise!  Work can always be done later in the day … we have no school hours … if we want to work in the evenings then, that’s what we’ll do.  Good times!

Can you tell I’m happy with my dreams coming true?  I’m thinking maybe a smallholding is next … I’d love some sheep and maybe even a pig … shh don’t tell Mr GG ….