Mayhem and Stardust

We are the proud parents of, amongst others, Jig, who has a handsome collection of diagnoses (ADHD, AD, FASD) which probably mean nothing and a generous smattering of fairy dust which probably counts for everything. School was a huge challenge and so we decided, probably rashly, to move to the country and home educate him. No medication, no 'support', chickens, space, a farm on the doorstep and a beach nearby. What could possibly go wrong?

Archive for the month “October, 2014”

It’s not you, it’s me.

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Being special is all very well but we are struggling slightly with finding ourselves a tribe at the moment.  We don’t quite fit into any of the groups available to us, at least not fully, and I am thinking about why that might be, if it matters, why it matters and what I could do differently.  I know that the slight disharmony is a clear and accurate reflection of Jiggy’s own unique approach to his days and am happy to acknowledge that on his behalf (sorry Jig) but it does raise so many more questions, much harder ones, ones about me, my days, my choices and how my approach to our life impacts us and the people around us.  Maybe I am the one with the special and different needs after all, maybe his way of living is just as good as anything I could come up with and I should stop trying to make that any different. Or, maybe I have spent too long in Jiggy’s world, I am beginning to lose the clear edges that I always thought I had marked out which is, frankly, a little discomfiting. Maybe they were all rubbish anyway and we are about to stumble (or fly, or crawl, or swim – whatever we are) upon a new and better way or maybe I am, quietly, losing the plot.

Holding Moo and Titch

Sometime back in the Spring I wrote about Moo and Titch and how they were “behind” at school.  They are, of course, only “behind” because school are measuring things that they can’t do, yet.  If they were measured according to that things they can do, like survive early trauma, recover from parental addiction, show phenomenal resilience and perseverance in the turning of the tanker that is the shift from fear to trust then, to be honest, they would have won awards.  But they aren’t.  Not in school anyway.   I wrote about going in to school and banging about a bit. School responded well and we now trust each other. Titch wasn’t even slightly ready for the leap from year 2 to year 3 so we are staging it.  Year 2 in the morning, year 3 in the afternoon. He is stretched but not breaking.  He can’t see why he can’t stay in year 2 until its time to “do college” but does, now, two months in to the term, agree that there are a few, a very few, good and exciting things that happen in year 3.  I am loving how school have let us hold this little boy tightly enough, for long enough, for him to be able to just put a brave toe in to the undeniably chilly waters of ‘moving on’.

Moo, now 8, is such a wonderful mix of paper thin vulnerability and steely determination.  She is as tough as old boots and crumbles like cake within seconds of each.  She isn’t great academically but, with a nudge (actually, quite a big shove) school have ‘seen’ her.  They know her now which means that they can communicate.  They have listened to me, and then to her and they have come up with a few different ways of trying to reach her and, frankly, succeeded.  She has additional help but also additional responsibilities.  She is praised for things that she wants to succeed at.  She is smiled at, for no reason.  She feels held.

I read, on braveheart education’s blog, about witnessing each others lives and this is it, exactly. There is nothing more I need for them, for now, and I am feeling good.

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Baby Moo and I, starting out (and both looking younger…)

Fruitful days

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We have picked fruit this week for jams and jellies and a delicious (me) revolting (Jiggy) syrup for tickly throats from Elderberry and clove.  It covered science for several days and made the house smell very mellow and autumnal.  We have had interesting visitors who remember our old house from years ago – tick that living history box. We have found the Khan Academy (www.khanacademy.org) which has reinvigorated maths, poetry day which encouraged Jig to hide rude words in seemingly innocuous lists to make acrostics and BBC i-wonder which saves my bacon day after day when I don’t know what we are going to do next.  A new art club has led to marbling and patchwork and an old home ed club has cemented friendships and social opportunity.

We followed a child, not dissimilar to Jig, around Tesco the other day.  He was in uniform, had two helpers and was obviously on a ‘life skills’ lesson.  I idly wondered how much the hour they spent in there had cost and hoped that the exercise had by some miracle coincided with a period of receptivity that means it would have been worth the considerable effort both women were putting into the buying of bread and milk. I have to say that it looked rather like sowing seeds on stony ground.  Jig and I are lucky, really lucky, that we don’t have to do all that now.  We can simply live our days and harvest the fruits that are right there, under our feet.

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