Monday, November 26, 2012

Home to Public School - 64 days to go

So in the most part I am actually accepting the idea of school now.  I am even at peace with it.

Today I read this post from a dad about kids who don't learn how to deal with pain and how it doesn't necessarily make their life as an adult easier.  The rest of the blog is also great.  In fact bought the book and read it over the weekend.  :-)

This is a big factor in the decision to put some of my kids in school.  While it hurts my heart that they may not make friends easily, may get rejected at times (as we all do) and will have to cope with being behind/ahead in some subjects, I do also know that my kids have been protected by our homeschooling.  With everything else in our lives being fairly stable at the moment and likely to be for the next 12 months this is the ideal time to take on the big Public School Experiment. 

In the 4 years before we settled here we had moved from Brisbane to Hobart to Launceston to Dorrigo in NSW, to the Hunter Valley.  We were not in any of those places (except Brisbane) for more than 12 months.  Now we have been here almost 6 years.  I couldn't put my kids in school during that time of upheaval.  I didn't think it was fair on them when we had so many other stresses going on but now... not so bad.

I still have my boundaries in place.  There are certain lines that if crossed will mean the end of the PSE.  I will post those another day.

Best wishes
Jen


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Home to Public School - 70 days to go

Someone I was talking to today who works in the special ed part of a high school said they have to be insistent, persistent and consistent with kids with Aspergers.

I googled it (as you do) and came up with this article which was very relateable to how I have mismanaged things so far and gave me a much clearer idea of how to manage my children.

Today the middle boys, 10 and 7, went to their school for the morning.  They went well although my 10 year old, late reader, only reads at level 14 whereas the 7 year old reads at level 18 (don't know what scale they are using).  This will likely mean remedial work for the 10 year old and maybe a grade jump for the 7 year old.  They are thinking of putting DS3 (now 7, 8 in February) into Grade 3 instead of 2 as he would normally be expected to be.  I am not sure how that will go, just hope they keep him challenged.  (Nice to know for me as mum/teacher that they can't say I didn't teach my kids if one can do so well while another not so well!)

The 10 year old just wants to make friends and have kids his own age to play with.  I hope they don't dump on him for his lack of skill in some areas and that he can have a good school experience.

In discussing it all, sometimes at high volume and speed I must admit, dh and I have decided to make a check list of the things that we will not tolerate happening in school for our kids.  If too many criteria get "bad marks" then we will pull them out.  I don't want school to be a damaging experience.  I guess though my perspective of school may be coloured by my experiences of 13 primary schools over 4 states in 7 years.  Not fun being the new kid all the time!  May be they will have a great time, learn lots and make some good friends.  I have to let them travel their own journey, no matter my fears.

It may not be so easy for the 14 year old Aspie.  He may struggle and I am not so sure I want to throw him to the sharks in a system that is reducing its funding for special needs across the state.  From stories I read of those kids pulled out due to "uniqueness" to do homeschool I think putting him in school may be a risky gamble I don't want to take.

Ahh, well!!  Lots to consider.

Best wishes
Jen

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Home to Public School - 73 days to go

I had a funny dream the other night.  I always "ask" my dreams what they mean.  In other words I think of my dreams as my subconscious trying to tell me something.  If I am still in that dopey post sleep state and I am reviewing the dream I ask myself what it means and take the quickest reply without thinking as my subconscious expressing itself more clearly.

So this one answered me that essentially I am the one responsible for making my dreams of long term home schooling get taken away due to my inaction and lack of gumption.  Hmm, don't like that!  Is it fair that your own subconscious kicks you when you are down?

What do I do?  Well, I am making plans and continuing on as though the boys are going to go to school.  I will change the way we do things to fit in with the timetable of school.  If I struggle to get the boys on track with school then I will have to hand the job over and just cry at home on my own.  Really, if I can't go for my dreams (that are totally possible) then I just don't have it.  If I can guide our days onto a better path with the 'threat' of my boys going to school for a big chunk of the day (and eroding relationships we have built, taking away our choice of free time, bringing home attitudes I may not agree with, dictating what happens on our weekends due to assignments or homework) then I get to keep them home but I need to work at this lot harder.  I need to do everything I can to make this homeschool experience something that my boys will not regret.

I am looking into work potentials that will work around either option as I really feel that part of our struggles are a single income that pays the bills and keeps our heads above water but not much extra.  It doesn't help with doing the fun stuff like art or music classes, or going to live performances, or getting sport equipment for more activity as a family.  I also really need a home with furniture that means the clutter can be cleared away or I get overwhelmed and depressed at the mess.  After all, no point trying to clean up if items don't have a place to go.

I also really need to get a backbone too.  Either way!  If they are at school and bringing home attitudes I don't want in my home then I need to make sure they know what will not be tolerated.  If they are at home I need to make sure my kids understand that when I say do I mean do now, and quickly.  I need them to understand that I am in charge and that while I will allow a certain amount of freedom that I will expect respect in return.

Hmm, will keep you in the loop as I try to cope with these upcoming changes in my life.

Best wishes
Jen

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Home to Public School - 76 days to go

So I have since seen the principal and the kindergarten teacher of the local primary school and called the local high school.

The kindergarten teacher said that Griffin, with a June birthday for turning 5, is just a bit too young for Kindy.  Did you know that they expect them to be able to write a sentence by the end of the year?  Wow, that is so quick!  What I would like to know is why are there so many high school students who can not be get by at Uni standard of writing if they started so young?  Some thing is wrong there!

Jackson (10) and Harry (7) will be going for a visit next week from 9 to 12. 

I hated sitting in with all the boys while I pointed out where their weaknesses lay.  That should have been done out of their earshot.  Anyway, Jackson was "great".  When asked what his favourite subject was he said xBox at the beginnng and end of his list.  And when asked if he liked history or science he didn't reply.  Funnily enough back home when asked he could give me a very good definition of history.  And only yesterday on a cartoon a character said he would fly to the moon or Mars.  Both my 10 and 14 year old said go to the Moon and they both explained different aspects of why such as weather and temperature.  Not so bad!

I am talking school up a lot.  I don't want to jeopardise their experience.  I may have all these fears inside but I need to be strong for them.  Jackson is not bursting into tears at every mention of it now, but I do wonder how he is coping when we had a wet bed this morning.  He did sleep in compared to his usual early bird wake up so that may have been why.  He usually only has about 1 accident a year because we figured out what his triggers are and how he needs to dress in each season.  I hope this was just a one-off and not a sign of stress.

Anyway this blog is becoming my journal of how we go on this journey.  It will hopefully help me to see whether this is a good or bad idea.

Best wishes
Jen

Monday, November 12, 2012

Home to Public School - 78 days to go

Hubby and I are strongly considering putting all our boys in public school next year.  As I consider this I want to "nut out" all my fears and thoughts on this idea.

So far my biggest concerns are that my 10 year old is likely to be "behind" so he will have some struggles with work until he catches up, my 14 year old is a typical teenager thinking he knows everything and he will be in for a severe shock, and I am worried that my little 4.5 year old may cope with being away from me. Sob!

I am going to call the schools today and find out the procedure.  Bit scary having to deal with public servants who will likely think they are better than me, and with regards to education do know a lot more than me, but I know my boys and I would say I have done better than they would have with regards to shaping their character and morals.

Best wishes
Jen

Friday, November 9, 2012

So, how do you eat vegetables?

I come from a family where vegetables were eaten either of 2 ways.  And a limited variety!  My dad wasn't so big on different things.

For dinner we would have peas, corn, carrots and potato, boiled and mashed where appropriate.  I think we had broccoli every so often and cauliflower.  Pumpkin too. I do remember a little zucchini on occasion.  The other way we had vegetables was to have a salad which consisted of iceberg lettuce, tomato, grated carrot, corn kernels and beetroot.  No dressing, not tossed, just in piles on a plate with your barbecue meat or whatever.

When I left high school I was studying at a Natural Therapies college and I got introduced to vegetarian food.  I loved it although lentils and chickpeas were a bit hard to handle at first.  I still like vegetables now. 

If I have been having a big junk food run I just love steaming up carrots, broccoli, zuchini, sweet potato/pumpkin, peas, corn and cauliflower and eating them plain, maybe white sauce if I have the energy.  Always fixes the dragging tiredness of not eating well.

My family now are not as big on vegetables.  I can serve them more variety than I had as a kid but I would love to know how you eat vegetables.

Best wishes
Jen
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