Second thoughts about school

Sophia has really been struggling this year with school. It really is amazing what a difference a teacher can make.

Last year her teacher was the first to actually take her Autism seriously, as he has relatives who are Autistic as well. Most teachers so far, just expect her to fit in and don’t check in with her to see how she is doing. She thrived last year.

She is bored at school. She has learned a lot of what they are just starting to learn in her class so she gets bored and then disconnects. She also has to take Woodworking every Wednesday which she hates and is extremely afraid she will cut off her finger.

Combine her fear with her sensitive hearing, and the fact that her anxiety about the class kicks in as soon as she wakes up, and her nervous system gets overwhelmed before she even goes there. She even spends some Tuesday nights awake, unable to sleep due to stressing about the next day.

She has been home a lot this year, for a few reasons. There have been some really terrible viruses going around this year and we seem to get every one!

She has been struggling with her menses as she has a heavy flow and there is no allowances made with regard to PE while she is dealing with that, and any woman who has worn pads can tell you, running or playing sports while bleeding heavy makes a real mess and you get worse cramping.

They worship sports and physical activity here and I just don’t get it. It seems like there is a running or biking competition every couple weeks and of course it is mandatory that you participate.

This angers me, because it strips our children’s right to consent about what happens with their bodies. This is a huge issue and not only for girl’s but also, the boys. They see and perpetuate that you can force people to do what they don’t want to do just by pressuring them and telling them they have to. Also, it takes away the child’s ability to be sensitive to what their bodies are telling them. It interferes with their Autonomy and individuality, which is sadly, what schools were originally designed to do. This all needs to change.

Another issue for her, is that she keeps getting sick, some off it is anxiety, which has always manifested as stomach issues for her.  Also, she is environmentally sensitive, so she feels seismic, barometric and electromagnetic variances, so any changes in those areas and she is affected physically and emotionally. She gets that from me, I have the same thing. This has been steadily increasing the past couple years.

Her psychic and empathic abilities are also harder to ignore at this age, so she feels other people and knows things about them. It can be confusing when someone’s words don’t match the energy they are sending out. This is such a tricky age with Extra-Sensory development (now called Sensory Processing Disorder.)

She has had some of her tics coming back which indicates stress. Her appetite has been all over the place and so have her moods. The rage that comes form her is quite overwhelming at times, and I know she needs help channeling that again.

I work with her of course, but catching it in the moment is crucial to helping her recognise the subtle changes before they get to that point.

This illness, anxiety and stress… is all from school. I am seriously considering taking her out and homeschooling her again.

I know she will have great opportunities for learning, and make friends within the homeschooling community. They have an amazing Network here locally and do some really great activities.

Her class is taking a trip to Wellington next week and she can’t go. Brent asked to be one of the parents, but he wasn’t chosen, so she won’t go. I know this is the best decision for her, but it still sucks that she missed out on the opportunity.

We sat down with her and explained the trip and what they would be doing. Just the thought of it made her anxious so we decided as a family we would keep her home due to health reasons.

I can’t have her so far away in that environment without one of us there if she needs help. If she had a full blown meltdown, they wouldn’t know how to handle her. Also, her classmates may not treat her the same once they witnessed a full meltdown and we can’t allow that to happen.

We will take her on a trip down there as a family and see some if the places she missed. She has been to some of it already, when we took our family holiday last year. Thanks to IHC and their Take A Trip Getaway package they so generously awarded us. You can read more about Day 1 here and day 2 here.

Brent and I will talk with her again and go over what her options are. If she is going to keep missing school, I would prefer that she is homeschooled. Right now, she is in a state of confusion and the anxiety and stress are affecting her physically and that is not good.

At least if she homeschooled, I know she is still meeting (and exceeding) her education requirements and can join in their activities and make some friends within the group. She gets along with everyone at school, but yet has no one she is really connecting with.

We will see what happens, but for now, she is in bed, and will stay home again with a slight fever. She has a head cold and a sore throat. She has also been very angry, sleepy and withdrawn for the past few days and her tics have increased. I know she wouldn’t be ok in her classroom in this shape.

We are having a lot of seismic unrest, and that always affects her, and myself. I think we will have a good quake soon to release some of the pressure. Hopefully it will be out to sea and not affect anyone directly, but I also know that God always has a plan.

Now to make a plan with my girl and see how she feels about trying to homeschool again, or even do Te Kura (homeschooling with a Teacher that visits once per week).

Finnic for Ace

Art by 8yellowcats for +Ace (The Parademic)

On a lighter note, you can check out some of her latest works of art here, and some of her older work. This is how she copes, doing art. She is really pushing her boundaries and trying new things and I love watching her artwork blossom. She is so talented and I would love to get her into some art classes. Maybe we can take them together. 😀

This post was read and approved by Sophia. 😉 Thanks for stopping by and have a great day. Feel free to leave a comment.

 

 

 

Trialing School Day 1

Sophia is off to school today for a 20 day trial with the expectation to have her enrolled if all goes well.

This was her idea, she has been talking about it for a month, but last week she said she was ready for me to make an appointment so we did.

This past week we have been meeting with the new (to us) Principal and the Teacher of her school to set it all up.

She got the news on Friday that she would be going back, so she had time to process over the weekend. She was very excited that she was going to start today.

She has been practicing getting up with her alarm for the past couple weeks, and getting herself ready so that she would be all good to go this morning.

She showered last night so she would have less to this morning. She got up on her own to her alarm, got dressed, ate breakfast and did her hygiene routine before getting her bag ready and helping me pack her lunch.

Her Teacher is the same one who taught our son Max in year 6. He also worked with Sophia when she was there before so she is also familiar with him. He has also known Brent since they were in school together.

He is a lovely man who has extensive first hand ASD knowledge as a co-carer for his adult autistic brother-in-law.

This Teacher and the new Principal are why we decided to trial her this year when Sophia asked if she could go back to school. She knows she is ready and we are pretty confident that she is right.

We had excellent meetings and discussed her diagnosis and all of her possible triggers and preferences. I went prepared with a printout and he was happy to have it. Here is the link Diagnosis and Triggers for Teacher. We also discussed her strengths and methods for success.

He said most of the triggers and allowances are similar to those of his Brother-in-law so it was easy for him. What surprised and delighted me, is that he even knows the intuitive nature of the sensory issues with regard to feeling others emotions.

He also knows how sensitive the girls are at menses and said staying home is not an issue and of he knows when it is, he knows to be more sensitive with the girls.

We are really looking forward to seeing how well she transitions back into school. She has grown so much in the past couple of years, especially with regard to her self-confidence and knowing who she is.

I took this photo this morning of her first ‘school’ day of year 6.

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“I am nervcited Mom”

We went in early, and it was nice seeing the teacher and some of her old friends waiting for her when she arrived.

He assigned her a desk next to her BFF when she was there last, so she was even more excited. When I left, another of her old friends was showing her around and she was settling in.

She knows her ‘safe space’ and that she is allowed to go there when she gets overwhelmed. She also knows the school well and the staff and that she can ring me.

I am sure she will have a fabulous day and I am very happy for her. We are confident she will breeze past her 20 day trial and want to continue.

I will write more after school, now I am going to bake a cake for the family as they are all awesome and deserve to be spoiled.

 

 

 

Ear surgery and Anxiety

I know this post is different, but it is something we all deal with as a family; our anxiety.  Sophia and I both have Generalised Anxiety Disorder.

I have had it for years but I can control it most of the time. Many people don’t even know I have an anxiety disorder, unless they are very close friends or have been with me when I have had a panic attack. So yes, I can control mine most of the time, but I hate my anxiety especially when it engulfs me out of nowhere.

Here is the reason that has triggered my anxiety. I am having ear surgery; getting permanent tubes put in in two days and I am terrified, with no logical reason. It is a simple procedure and I have had it before as a child.

 

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When the Dr first told me I needed it four months ago, he said there is so much scar tissue from previous surgeries that they will really have to cut and it may not work (while doing carving motions in the air.) I Started having a panic attack from the way he was describing it and he said he would be sure I was put under.

Of course it did not help that a couple nights before I went in, we were watching an episode of Blindspot and I was triggered. Unexpectedly, one of the characters was tortured by being strapped down and having her eardrum stabbed repeatedly with a syringe. I ran out of the room but it was too late, it had brought back the memory and terror from my childhood of the procedure I had while awake.

They have rung me twice since, regarding dates and both times I started hyperventilating and crying just talking with them about the surgery.

Today we did final arrangements and it hit me again while speaking with them. She was saying my husband couldn’t come in with me and I panicked, as I misunderstood her. He is my rock, he knows me very well and what to do to keep me grounded and calm. I am glad I asked for clarification as I thought I would be sitting in the room waiting for several hours before surgery alone, but she meant only in the operating theatre.

Then it hit, I felt like a terrified little kid and couldn’t speak more than one or two words. I couldn’t stop crying and it felt like I couldn’t breathe and the room started to go dark but I pushed back. I couldn’t pull myself completely back together once the tears started flowing and my husband was not home to take the phone. Thankfully I was able to hold it together long enough to hang up the phone. The poor woman on the other end must have been thinking I was a nutter. He is on his way home now though, so that is good.

You see I had tubes put in a few times as a child and I was left there and did not know or understand what was happening. The last time I was around 8 or 9 years old I think, and I was awake through it and it terrified me and I just froze and internalized it all as I always do.

Back in the 70’s children were not treated the way they are now, especially in the Midwest USA. I was hit by Dentists and Doctors regularly for something as simple as asking what they were doing, or saying it hurt, or crying from pain (…or by my Grandmother for embarrassing her.)

So I am pretty sure that this is subconscious childhood medical trauma rearing it’s head mixed with the recent loss of my mother who was suppose to have a successful surgery. The whole thought of it overwhelms me completely, so I mustn’t think about it.

They are planning on putting me to sleep, and for that I am very grateful, but signing in at 8:30 and potentially not going in to theatre until almost noon leaves me far too much time for my brain to come up with all the reasons I don’t want to do it and possibly plan an elaborate escape. At least I am comfortable with the ENT.

The lady was lovely and said they can give me something for the anxiety. I am so glad my husband will be with me, but I just hope I don’t loose it. I just don’t like not being in control of my emotions and thoughts in times like these. No matter how much I logically understand the reasons for my subconscious reactions, I can’t stop the physical ones.

It is times like these when I wish I had my Asperger’s diagnosis on paper so they might understand a bit more why I have these huge reactions.

This is true when it comes to my kids as well, but not to the extent of physical distress as with myself. With the kids, I worry, but I use that to an advantage by being sure that one of us is always with them when they have any procedures done. I never fear for their safety only that they will be scared, but they never are.

Sophia cracks me up, she is Sheldon Cooper without even knowing it. She walked up and said, “Mom, are you crying?” and I said yeah, just nervous about my surgery is all, I will be fine. She tapped my head twice and said, “There, there.” in her cute little monotone voice and toddled off up the stairs yelling I love you. (One of her tics is she yells “I love you!” each and every time she goes upstairs, it is one tic that I have come to love.)

Anxiety never goes away, it is just something that is lesser or greater depending on the situation and the triggers that come up.

If I got through my MRI when I almost lost the plot, I can do this.*

*After finishing the above, my husband came in with an appointment letter, they have changed ENTs on me so I don’t even know the man who will do my surgery. ugh.

It starts all over again. It may be time to go back on medication as perimenopause is making it very difficult to maintain my equilibrium as of late.

I sure feel blessed that it is school holidays while all of this is going on.

I know that I will be fine, and this too shall pass, it is just a small bump in the road.

This procedure is a very good thing in all actuality. The testing showed I have mild to  moderate loss in my right ear, and moderately severe to severe loss in my left. This should recover my hearing from what they have told me, this is the only reason I am doing it.

hearing test chart

We openly communicate our struggles as well as out triumphs so the kids know that they can too and we will support each other through it, whatever it may be.

Bumpy days; Art, Meltdowns and Earthquakes

We have had a bumpy few days as you do. Sophia was out of sorts and everything was upsetting her. Her senses were heightened and she was quite grumpy, but we made it through. At least she did not feel the earthquakes last night, but she always gets a bit stressed and anxious during heightened seismic activity; we both do.

After breakfast, our morning chat and feeding and chatting with our duck Sugar, we started on work. We got through the book work without too much worry and some great breakthroughs in her grasp of division for Math. She worked on Grammar and Punctuation and we did a science test and she aced it and got 100%! (Just like every test in every subject so far.) 😉

It took a bit of work and some snacks to get her to work through her anxiety and mood, but we persevered until she was able to find the way through. By this I mean that I allowed her to roll around on the couch and attack the pillows, flap and have snacks, we had a few tickle fights, she swore and she clawed me, but, with more patience than I knew I had, we found a way for her to be able to grasp it herself.

She was very proud when she saw the pattern for herself and realised she actually knew how and could do it very easily. We celebrated with a hot chocolate and some cookies.

After her bookwork she did some more art. She has been on an art quest lately, researching and trying new things with her art. Along with this comes anxiety and stress as she is a perfectionist and gets really down on herself when her hands can do what her brain sees in her mind.

We have been working on drawing traditionally, then photographing and uploading the art and digitizing it with Fire Alpaca. She started this drawing yesterday, we finished the adjustments today and she uploaded, then completed the art in digital format.

 

WP_20170327_001WP_20170327_013WP_20170327_015 (3)Glowhearts AJ Art Trade by Sophia Lawless 27 03 2017

I love this one! This is an OC/original character by another artist that she is trading art with. GlowheartsAJ, the other artist, is drawing one of Sophia’s OC/original characters she created a couple of days ago. They trade their interpretation of each other’s art for practice, it is great to see her working with other artists in this way.

She started another abstract piece after lunch just because it was in her head, and I can’t wait to see what it is when finished. She is dabbling with perspective and shading.

I have spent some time today going over 2016 and organizing our binders. We will most definitely need a larger art binder. I will be printing out all of her digital art again, to place in her portfolio and we will keep this not only for home school records, but for her when she is older. It is also great to allow her to browse the pages and see how far she has come, especially on days when she is feeling not too good about her art.

I will be uploading more of her essays, artwork, projects and some assignments that I found adorable; as time allows.

All in all, she did well today considering how it started. So did I, considering my lack of sleep.

 

 

 

I made the correct decision

I just saw this memory (below) on my Facebook page, and it was so amazing to realize that 2 years ago I walked into the MOE and asked for an Exemption Application so that I could home educate Sophia.

I was so determined that I could do it, regardless of my doubts and fears, and here we are two years later, and I know I made the correct decision on that day.

Seeing the growth in Sophia and the changes in such a short time has been amazing. Not only in her, but myself as well and our family as a whole.

At the time I made the decision to file for exemption, Sophia was self-harming, had panic attacks, had insomnia due to the fear of the following school day, had a bunch of tics, said through tears that she hated herself, cried and begged not to go to school and was physically ill from stress and anxiety. Not to mention a lot of bruises on her which she had gotten in school.

Now, she is relaxed and confident, sleeps 10-12 hours every night, is rarely ill, has very few tics left (and only when in a stressful environment), she eats well and has truly discovered and likes her Self.

By her Self; I mean she has her own views and likes, she has discovered her love of art, she has found her love of video editing, she has found music enjoyable -including creating it, she knows which books she likes, she loves baking and cooking, She loves science experiments, she loves learning about other cultures and their history, and she is always trying to learn new ways of creating. She has taught herself several complicated computer software programs as well as computer programming. All this, is in addition to her regular studies and Cognitive and behavioral therapy we do at home.

It is so nice to see her redevelop that deep curiosity and love of learning that she had before starting school. She is constantly asking questions about a variety of topics which we then study until she is satisfied that she knows enough about it. She is also sharing the knowledge she has gained. She is willing to give anything a fair go as long as it is approached in the right way at the right time.

Our home is part library, part music studio, part museum, part artist studio and part cinema, but it will never be a classroom as such and learning happens all through the house, as well as in the world. Learning it is a lifelong venture, and we model that to her as well because we are natural seekers of knowledge and experience and it is no surprise that our kids would take after us in this way.

Max on the other hand, loves school and this is great. We allow him to choose how he wants to learn, but we also encourage his other passions. He has joined the cadets, Air Training Corps, and yesterday our sweet son was flying above the earth in a glider and had the best day learning something new and amazing. He hopes to be a pilot for the Air Force when he gets older, and that is awesome.

Sophia thrives at home, Max thrives at school, and I guess that is the key, finding here they excel and supporting them in any way we can. Letting go and allowing them to make choices for their future can be hard, as with Devin moving out, but as parents we hope all that we have taught them over the years is instilled enough courage, intuition and good sense for them to make good decisions and be the best version of themselves they can be. We are proud of all of them.

 Parenting is not easy, and some days you feel like you are not up to the task, but in the end, if you are doing the best you can for your children and truly allowing them to thrive, then you are doing a great job. Today I feel proud of us as parents, we are doing well.


MEMORY: March 20, 2015 at 8:57am

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Lydia, this picture is just like we were saying the other day. I went straight over and got my application from MOE just after our visit. Just another reason why we love you, thanks for helping me retain my clarity.

Sensory Overload

This post Sometimes it is best to say nothing at all! by Bill Nason is excellent and so true. To read it, just click on the pink title. Below is my reaction to it, how it is useful to us and a bit more about my own sensory issues throughout my life.

For both myself and Sophia, voices become like fingernails on a chalkboard when the sensory system is overloaded. Sophia and I both have this sensitivity and sometimes we just need space and some quiet time.

I have built up coping mechanisms over the years, but she is just learning, so it is good that I understand exactly what she is experiencing and can help her build these mechanisms up slowly.

Even if in the middle of a lesson, when one of us has had enough, we simply take a break and come back after we feel better and then it is smooth sailing. Often we will take a bike ride together without speaking, or draw or read for a bit and then we are fine.

Pressing on when in this state does nothing but lead to a full shutdown or meltdown. This is one of the things I love about home educating, is allowing her to feel and know her own limitations and learn to self-regulate before it gets past the point that she can.

I went through life not knowing what was happening to my mind and my body, and I don’t want Sophia to have to be afraid of, and distrust her body and mind, like I did for far too many years.

Now as an adult in my late forties, if I do too much and ignore my signals, I shut down and my body literally makes me unable to move and I usually must sleep at least two hours to recharge.

This has changed over my lifetime; when I was younger my mind would go blank and I would stare off into space and rock, or I would lash out in anger. I had no idea where the anger came from but I felt it start in my stomach and flow out all around me.

When I hit puberty, I would just pass out. Everything would start to get dark and my hearing would go and I would just drop on the ground. I was really scary, especially if I was not fast enough to sit down before drifting out. I passed out a lot as a teenager, and I know now it was because of all of the activity going on around me. Especially at school or places where there was multiple sensory over-stimulation.

The grocery store or shopping when it is busy has been the worst throughout my life especially in my late teens and twenties. I would have to sit down right where I was to avoid passing out and hitting my head on the ground.

Having someone yelling at you, or expressing their displeasure with your actions is not helpful, in fact it makes it worse especially when they just leave you sit there because they are embarrassed.

So you find yourself not in control of your body, scared, vulnerable and alone. Then strangers either try and help, by talking to you and asking if you are alright, or touching you, while you can’t respond; only pull away or push them back. Or others ridicule you, make snide remarks or assumptions about drugs or alcohol or say mean things about you because they are ignorant.

I am better know, but some days it hits me. Usually, I can tell when I am getting overwhelmed, because I start to get angry before my mind goes blank. Thankfully I have an amazing husband who does all the grocery shopping. But more than that, he also understands me, so when we do go together, he knows the signs and helps me out by gently taking my hand and leading me through, or getting me a cart to hold on to when my knees start to buckle.

The other shoppers may see my knuckles turning white from gripping so hard, or they may wonder why I am leaning over the cart; it is to keep myself from falling.

Often people who know me, will try to talk to me in the store when I am in this state, and I feel bad because I have to keep it short or I am not really there, sometimes I don’t even remember speaking with them. Often I don’t even recognise them in that moment, until a coupe days after; when my brain is clear.

In my twenties and thirties, when overwhelmed I would get uncontrollable tremors and I would be in a fog and I would feel far away and couldn’t respond, or just close enough to respond in one word sentences. I spent many breaks in the bathrooms at my jobs over the years trying to regulate myself before this point and sometimes I would fail and have to sit there for a while until the tremors stopped and my mind became clear, and I was functioning enough to leave or get picked up.

When you are in a work environment, hypersensitive senses are simply impossible to ignore for too long.

The people smell; the overwhelming smells of colognes and perfumes, body odours, deodorants and shampoos, lotions and make-up, shoe polish, what they cooked for breakfast and their breath are just a few that overpower me.

The environment smells; the smell of the papers and tapes, glues and copy toner, air fresheners, a variety of foods (some quite pungent), cigarettes and cigars, the fresh cut grass and flowers on people’s desks or outside the door, chemicals used in cleaning, etc. all affect me.

The constant noise; of office machines (copy machines, 10-key and keyboards typing, computers humming, scanners, etc.), paper crumpling, people writing (yes I hear the pen go across the page), the constant buzz of the lighting, the air conditioner blowing or heater humming, phones ringing, and not to mention office chatter and gossip, make it so hard to maintain an equilibrium within that type of environment.

I even hear what is outside, birds chirping, trees rustling, the wind howling, trucks and motorcycles on the freeway, lawnmowers and leaf blowers in the spring and summer, and wood chippers and chainsaws in fall and winter, bugs buzzing, airplanes, helicopters and jets, etc.

It is especially difficult when in a position where many personnel speak with you (often before you have quite focused on them and they have your full attention) and they get way too close and are just so loud.

Empathic and psychic sensitivities are also a huge issue. I can feel other people’s emotions, I know who had a fight with their spouse (and usually what/ or who it was about.) I feel their despair, hopelessness, feelings of being trapped, the need to leave the situation, how hard it is for them to hold it together everyday and their sadness.

I know who will be divorced or separated by the end of the year. I know whose partners are cheating, whose kids are thieves, liars or drug addicts and who has addictions or is abused. I know who has issues with control, with manipulation, who is passive aggressive, or has low self-esteem, who was molested or beaten as a child, and on more than one occasion who was close to death.

I also feel people’s physical ailments and pain; broken limbs, backaches, headaches, earaches, toothaches, stomach ulcers or constipation, period cramps or women’s issues, bad lungs and heart issues, etc. I feel them all in my body.

I feel all of this with my non-physical senses, on top of trying to maintain my physical senses. Up until a couple years ago, I had no idea why, and it was much more difficult trying to discern what was me or mine and what was not. At that point I was unaware that others did not have these sensitivities.

That is why I ended up on medication, in order to fit in to the 9-5 work life and be like everyone else. However, the tremors did not stop (only lessened) and my mind was still numb -but now all my emotions and all of my senses were dead as well; the good along with the bad. I had to slowly learn how to regulate my senses in order to be off of medication as I loved helping people and I was no longer available to do that while being numb.

This is just a small glimpse into how sensory issues have affected my life and maybe it can help you see how it affects you, or someone you love. I am glad to be able to use my experience to not only help my child, but hopefully other parents who may benefit by us sharing our journey.

If you want to know more about ASD and sensory issues, I encourage you to check out more of Bill’s posts or purchase his books, as they are very helpful and insightful.

As for us, we are learning every day and we all just do the best we can. Some days are harder and some are easy, but they are all necessary for growth.

Please feel free to leave any comments or questions you may have and thank you for taking the time to read our blog.

First Day of Year 6

Today we started Year 6 at Lawless Academy. Yay!!

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It started out a bit rough, just getting back into routine, but we got through it.

Sophia has a hard time writing with a pencil so she had a bit of a hard time doing her book work, but she did finish it.

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We may need to move her up to the next grade book as she is getting bored with the problems and whizzes through them verbally, but won’t write the answers in them. This is frustrating to us both because she knows the work, but we need written records.

Although, if I do the pages verbally and the tests written, that could be enough to prove she has learned the material. (Hmmm, I may qualify as her Reader-Writer because I am her teacher. I will ask Cynthia about my options.) Alternatively, I can edit the books we have, or create our own based off of them but make them all about Pokemon or her other special interests.

I may give these ideas a go and allow her to move ahead in her work to the grade/age level she is more comfortable with, so that it keeps her attention. I will discuss it with her; I am sure she will love these ideas.

I usually show her all of her workbook work at the beginning of the year and she knows when she finishes it, she is done for the year. She usually does the whole year’s work in the first two terms, due to a combination of wanting to be done with it and her ability to pick things up so quickly that she can figure most of it out on her own without needing instruction or assistance.

I will buy (and edit or use as a template) the next couple of years up in workbooks, and she can just keep going if she wants to see how far she can go, but I will only have them here if she wants to do them, but not make her do them.

She still loves doing digital art and video editing, although that has slowed a bit compared to the past two years. She is moving in different directions with her creativity, she really loves cooking, projects, painting and crafting at the moment so we will be doing more of that this year.

We will also be doing more gardening and science experiments, especially with growing things as she absolutely loves observing the process, and it gets us outdoors more and helps feed the family.

She also received some amazing books from her Aunties in the states, on Big Cats so I imagine she will be doing something with those as she loves writing about Big Cats… well any cats really.

Also she has a new emotes journals for critical thinking and exploring who she is and what she likes. Getting to know herself as her own person is awesome. She wants to start on them, this will be up to her, but it is a great tool for decoding who she really is becoming as a young woman. (Plus it helps her practice her writing. 😉 )

One activity I absolutely love, is that since daddy taught her to ride her bike, she rides everyday and it has a great calming effect when she starts to get stressed.

This is a great tool for calming her body, as she is self inspired to use it and knows she can at any time, and usually she gets straight into her work afterwards. We usually ride our bikes together as I love it too and it is great exercise as well as makes us have fun playing together.

We also will be doing Tae Bo (an exercise programme) this year as she finds kicking and punching the air good to calm, she never aims it anyone, but it had me thinking how much I loved Tae Bo as it helped me regulate my body and my emotions.

  • Total commitment to whatever you do
  • Awareness of yourself and the world
  • Excellence, the truest goal in anything you do
  • (the) Body as a force for total change
  • Obedience to your will and your true desire for change

We have already started learning about puberty and the body and we will continue to do more of this as well. I got some special information about puberty and Asperger’s sent to us from All Together Autism, and it is great material.

Sophia also plays Age of Empires (version three is her favourite) with her brother and dad and absolutely loves it. This is a huge teaching tool for history, and social studies (as well as commerce, building villages, battles, producing food, building armies, hunting, etc.) and it peaks her interests and she asks about historical figures in the game which we then research.

Soph would also like to visit Japan this term with her Passport Studies. She has some ideas of what she wants to learn and write about, and has asked to learn some of their language as well, so we will be getting some supplies from the library (and some friends).

Next term we will be re-visiting France in Passport Studies, as she wants to go more in depth into the language and culture. She has already been teaching herself french words by playing in the French server of Animal Jam. (Clever monkey.)

Mexico was the other place she wants to visit with Passport Studies, so that will be term 3; she also plays in the Spanish servers and loves to learn from Max when he comes home and tells her what he learned in Spanish.

We have not decided the destination for term 4, we will have to see what peaks her interest.

This may seem like  a lot, but for a kid whose mind is always going, anything less and she would get bored and grumpy.

Most of these areas can be tied into the Passport Studies so it is actually a nice smooth rounded way for her to learn. With learning the currency, science, historical figures, language and scriptures, and by doing some art, listening to or playing some music and sampling and cooking the foods, she gets a broader view of each country while lightly touching on all her subjects in a tangible and practical way.

We also can ‘extend our visas’ if she finds she wants to explore a country longer and push the others forward a term, or have short ‘stopovers’ if she wants to visit more. This is what is so awesome about Home educating; we can change our schedule to whatever works for her curiosity and learning.

I am really looking forward to this year and seeing what she can accomplish and how she develops. She has grown so much in so many ways the past couple of years.

She rarely has anxiety anymore and her meltdowns are less violent and pass more quickly as she is able to self regulate more easily now.

Her Tourette’s Syndrome / Tic Disorder has not yet been diagnosed, we wanted to wait to see if the tics stopped and they have not. It has been a few years now that she has had the tics.We may talk to her Autism Pediatrician this year and get the diagnosis if he feels it would help her in the future.

She still has some of the old tics and some new ones, but they are waxing and waning. Some are barely noticeable unless you know her and some are pretty obvious. If is she is tired or stressed they appear to increase or become more obvious. Max also has tics, as do I. This is another reason home educating is good for us as she will not get bullied for her tics like her brother has at school. (As did I.)

Here is a great video I found, on Tics to help get a better understanding of some of they ways that they present. The boy in this video gave a great description, and I feel the same way – it feels like a build up in your muscles and joints, and you have to make the movements or sounds for relief. It overrides and worry of social stigma for the moment.

Thank you for stopping by to read about our home education journey.

Feel free to leave any comments or questions and like our posts.

It will be a good year.

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‘In My Shoes’ DVD

We rented ‘In My Shoes’ DVD from the library for us all to watch. Easy to watch, as it is four 12 minute episodes.

We watched them all and they were really helpful, especially for the kids and Sophia to understand more about ASD.

The website has great stuff. (check resources tab) Excellent resources for parents, teachers and family and friends of children with ASD to help them better understand how it is in their shoes.

I will be getting a copy to keep at home and asking how we can get one for our schools in town as well.

http://www.inmyshoes.co.nz/resources.html

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