Tag Archive | learning

Home Ed courage

I should be putting the finishing touches to my #WASO100 post but I have had to stop and write this quick post because this morning I was bursting with pride and excitement.

I have had a sore throat and generally been feeling quite washed out for a couple of days, so Bumble left me sleeping this morning when he left for work instead of waking me up.

Bumble thought that Buzzbee was also still asleep so he thought I deserved a lie in but it seems Buzz was not actually asleep and shortly after Bumble left for work, I could hear Buzz moving around and chirping to himself in his room. I assumed he had taken the advantage of my lie in to put on one of his favourite DVDs (Planet Dinosaur) because he had gone quiet or at least I had dozed back off to sleep.

Imagine my joy when I dragged myself out of bed and went over to his room to find Buzzbee sat in bed with his tablet, trying to do one of his science worksheets on the EdPlace website independently.

This is unheard of for him for many reasons but the biggest of these reasons is his fear of reading and getting it wrong. But, here he was sat with his tablet and his new glasses on, trying to sound out words that he wasn’t sure about and although he was cursing and becoming frustrated with himself for not being able to quite understand what the question he was trying to answer was saying, he had managed to read just enough to make a reasonable guess at what the answer should be.

And, much to his surprise he got most of the answers right and I could hear him mumble to himself “beginners luck” – I should add, I remained outside his door, listening to him so not to startle him (OK I thought if I walked into his room, he would stop and try to dismiss the ‘awesomeness’ of what he was really achieving).

Beedog did eventually give my location away and Buzz did rapidly turn the screen off and say “I have only just turned the tablet on. I promise I wasn’t playing Minecraft, daddy said I could watch some YouTube Space clips”, so I said that it was OK I knew what he had been doing and I was so pleased he felt brave enough to practise his reading and do a worksheet without mummy’s help, and nothing more was said about while we had breakfast.

It may have only been one worksheet and but he managed to answer the questions without help reading what was required, and he got most of them right but more importantly he took a massive step, doing it on his own, and I want to celebrate this.

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That Monday feeling

It seemed fitting to give an update about the events of last weeks’ post before writing about this weeks’ #WASO theme ‘A typical school morning’.
Last week I found myself writing a #WASO post about Beeswax’s first week back to school, and the anxiety and angst that he brought with him on his return home on the Friday afternoon, due to a confusion with his timetable and placing him into a vocational activity which was for many reasons, so unsuitable. I am pleased to say that one wonderful woman (curriculum co-ordinator) not only took time out from her own personal time to respond to my email at the weekend, but had by Tuesday morning resolved the situation and placed him into a more appropriate programme.
So this is one mum who was hoping that on his return today, she would have a happier teenager son (OK, well as happy as a raging, hormonal teenage boy can get anyway) – Oh well maybe next week!
It is fair to say that, with one son currently being home educated and the other attending a residential specialist school Monday – Friday, there are very few occasions where I can safely say “this is a typical school morning for us”.
Of course I could bore you with the insane madness of a Monday morning in my pursuit to make sure I have 2 boys who are ready to walk out the front door no later than 8.15am – rounding up a gaggle of geese would be easier and far less stressful. Trust me!
“Mum where the hell are my shoes?” (“By the front door where you last dumped them”)
“Muuuuuummmmm! Beeswax won’t get out of my room. He is being a (bleep bleep bleep)” (“Beeswax stop tormenting your brother and concentrate on getting yourself ready for school”)
(“Beeswax can you please stop messing around with the dog and eat your breakfast”) “Why should I?”
If I am honest there is too much talking and not enough ‘doing’ on a Monday morning – I have learnt over the past couple of years that on a Monday, rather than expecting my pseudo-independent eldest son to get himself sorted out, if I want him to ‘get a wriggle on’ I need to walk him through everything step by step and repeat myself 9, 10, 300 times before it is done – his toddler brain, well and truly takes over on these mornings. I am not even going to go into what Bumble and I have come to describe as ‘Waxy’s Monday morning download’ – in short, in order for Waxy to switch into ‘survival mode’ and become the exceptionally compliant pupil that his school have the privilege of experiencing all week, he must first ‘dump’ all this stress and anxiety onto the household before he reaches the front door of the school building. Chaos and stress doesn’t come close to describing it and I would be lying if I didn’t say that I was thankful that I no longer have to endure this EVERY morning with him.

mondaymorning

OK, so let’s move from the routine and structure of getting Waxy off to school on a Monday to the flexibility of home education and ‘a typical school morning’ for Buzzbee.
I think flexibility is the key word here. Buzzbee is a creature of habit in most areas of his life, but now that he is no longer in a school setting and having to manage the stresses of the start of another school day and all the anxiety and fear of failure that this brought, mornings are more relaxed and his is able to gently prepare himself for the day ahead.
Although I have found that allowing the morning to be more self-guided by Buzzbee means that I have a better chance of getting him to engage with school work, there still remains some routine to our mornings:

– Breakfast.
– Washed and dressed.
– Take Beedog for a walk to local fields or woods and sneak in a crafty bit of ‘learning’ without him knowing or have a relaxed chat about what the plan for the day is.
Juice and a snack whilst laughing at mummy grappling with Beedog trying to dry her off or clean her up.

The rest of the morning (days’) home education adventures really depends on Buzz’s frame of mind that day.

I suppose this is why I say that a lot of our day is guided by Buzz. Maybe a better way of describing it would be to say my plans are guided by Buzz’s mood and his threshold of tolerance to making mistakes – some days the volume of work I can get him to do is amazing, but then there are the days where I have to be quite creative with how I get him to engage with learning, or more accurately allowing him to believe he has wormed out of doing any more work that day and instead getting to play his PC game ‘Spore’ (reading practice, designing and programming creatures, planning and strategy, emotional literacy/social interaction between creatures – but he definitely isn’t learning anything 😋) or one of my recent favourites – Geography on the beach.

SandMarks
OK, so while I am reading this post back, it occurs to me that in hindsight, maybe there is no such thing as ‘a typical school morning’ in the Hive – Normal is so overrated sometimes anyway.

I want what is best for all

Ok this is not my usual type of post but if I don’t write it down I am going to explode lose all sense of rational reasoning and most probably it will make absolutely no sense.

A couple of weeks ago in ‘Sports day Pride’ I praised the work and commitment that Buzzbee’s school were demonstrating to supporting him and how maybe I had been premature with my fears that his needs were too great and maybe that this school is not right for him.

Well, scratch that because to listen to Buzz’s school this week you would think he was a demonic child, who is completely unmanageable unless he has 2 adults with him all the times.
They have had their request for additional funding turned down by the statement review board and are now completely panicking because they feel without it they fear for his academic future (more like they fear that they will be back to a position where they are routinely receiving the wrath of other parents when he falls apart and it is mishandled).

OK I am going to try and be a little reasonable for the moment. In the past school have made several mistakes which they have reluctantly held their hands up to which has brought them to this point but during our conversations with them they still fail to accept that we have concerns about their ability to cope (actually they always have the wounded puppy look anytime we have tried to raise our concern) They honestly believe that they have been doing all they can.
While I cannot agree they are doing everything they can. I do feel they are doing the best they can.
Our worries are as much for the staff and Buzz’s friends, as it is for Buzz’s wellbeing (OK Buzz will always be our first and foremost priority).

Buzzbee is certainly no angel (I know that he is a handful. I live with him) but he is a very complex, traumatised little ‘buzzy bee’ and since starting school in reception his anxieties and need for control have only escalated, and now we are in a position where they cannot get him into the classroom and he is barely accessing school work.
On the rare occasions he has allowed himself to trust the staff enough to try a little bit of work, they understandable want to give his self-esteem a boost but have gone completely over the top and sent him into a spiral of destruction because in his mind he is the world’s most naughtiest, unlovable child and so he needs to prove it to them.
I have spoken to them about praising the work not the child and have been accused of being a cold and unfeeling mother (mind you I am getting used to being seen as lacking emotional warmth with my boys simply because they don’t understand and only see what they want to see).

Anyway I am getting off point. A professionals meeting was held to discuss whether they were going to appeal the decision and we were not permitted to attend or even given the opportunity to discuss our concerns. However our family placement officer and PASW were invited so before the meeting we explained to them in the hope that they would be able to raise the concern again at the meeting which they did, but this morning our SW has reported back that school were absolutely shocked that we had any concerns (Oh really, so I haven’t raised them in several meetings?)

We are concerned that their communication with us has become somewhat substandard and severely lacking of late, and Bumble and I believe this is because they do not like the fact that we have concerns about how they are coping and about the fact our 7 year old boy is not in the classroom 98% of the academic day, they cannot tell us what level he is in terms of learning because they are unable to get him to access work within school (despite the fact that he will readily read to me at home and attempt homework), I am frequently seeing him playing outdoors with his support staff but no other peers (lesson time). Actually the list could go on for some time.

If you are reading this you may be thinking something along the lines of “why on earth have you left him at this school”.
In truth I have wondered this myself so often and to be honest my only reason has been that Buzz finds transitions so difficult and it has taken him so long to feel safe enough in this school that I am concerned if we managed to find a school who would be prepared to take him. Would we just end up back in the same position?

I really feel that home-schooling him would be the best option at the moment so we can help him get back onto an even keel but his current legal status prevents this from being an option (AO please come quick).

Buzz is a very bright, articulate boy but emotionally he is still trapped at a much younger age and we are finding he is unable to respond in a socially acceptable manner within the school environment at times of high stress and anxiety.
I do not believe that it cannot be remedied and I do not believe that I could never put him back into school but at the moment he is miserable, school are miserable, heck even I am miserable.

My first priority is to my boys and it breaks my heart to see Buzzbee struggling so much. I just feel that at the moment we are all stuck on a perpetual hamster wheel which just keeps going around in circles and until someone breaks that cycle no-one is ever going to be happy or thrive.

Ok rant over. Time to gather up all the used Kleenex tissues and put them in the bin and try and salvage what is left of my day