Archive for July, 2012

Home Pre-School Kicks Off Again

July 31, 2012

Possum is 6 years and 2 months
Bandicoot is 4 years old
Little Princess is 1 year and 7 months (19 months)

With all that has been going on in Possum’s life lately, I have been thinking about homeschooling more and more, as you no doubt have realised.  Amongst these thoughts, I have remembered some of the things we did a couple of years ago when Possum was roughly Bandicoot’s age.  I have also been feeling a bit bad for Bandicoot, because things have not been as much fun for him as I would like.

So I had a bit of a rummage and have started to do some homeschooling of the two littles, based on Sonlight curriculum.

On Mondays and Fridays Bandicoot goes to preschool, so on those days Little Princess and I are working through the P3/4 curriculum.  On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays we all work together on the P4/5 curriculum.  Or sort of.

I know someone has probably worked out the order of the readings for a reason, but it annoys me, jumping all over a book.  Bandicoot seems to have issue with this as well.  Therefore we are changing it a little bit.

I am working through the books in the same order as the curriculum suggests, however, I am reading the books from start to finish, not out of published order.  I am also not reading so many books at the same time.

Last week was our first week.  We started on Tuesday.  Our readings during the week included:
The Lion Storyteller Bedtime Book – 2 stories
Eric Carle’s Animals Animals – up to page 19
The Berenstein Bears’ Big Book of Science and Nature – winter and snow
Things People Do – up to page 9

      

We have also been reading lots of books from The Premier’s Reading Challenge booklist.

I have been surprised.  My two little ones are language people.  In fact, when Bandicoot was born, with his first breath he talked, he didn’t cry like a normal newborn.  With the two of them at home together there is not a quiet moment.  Possum didn’t have a problem with language, but he has always been a quieter person.

Possum, however, has always found poetry in any form (except song) tedious.  Bandiccot and Little Princess love it.  When ever I start reading it, they beg for more, whether it be more pages in a book, or to read the same book over and over.  I have to admit that I am enjoying it (and probably improving in the way I read it!).  At school I always loved poetry.  I used to write masses of it, too.  In recent times I have also found it hard going.  I am particularly enjoying the rhythm of the language.

My plan is to try and read about 4 stories, 4 nursery rhymes, 4 poems, one science and one social science and one memory verse per week from P4/5 and 4 readings from P3/4 each week.  This will be tempered by many things, not excluding time restraints.  One of the main limiters, however, will be how many books the kids choose from other parts of our bookshelf.  I don’t mind if that happens – at the moment I really just want to (re)establish the discipline of reading books together every day.  (That is in addition to the 47 books they seem to get us to read to them every night!)

Little Princess and I managed to carve out reading time again today.  Some of our readings included A Boy, A Dog and A Frog, (which we loved); Freight Train (the perennial favourite in this house) and My Cat Likes to Hide in Boxes.

    

Tomorrow is Possum’s school sports carnival, so we will be spending the morning at the park.  Hopefully we will have the energy to do some reading as well.

An Update on July and Possum at School

July 29, 2012

Possum is 6 years and 2 months

Bandicoot is 4 years

Little Possum is 1 year and 6 months (18 months)

 

It has been so long since I have blogged  you must be wondering if I am even still about.  We have had a tough time lately.

Since I last wrote we have had a birthday (and party), been very, very sick with a nasty flu, despite our flu shots (for example DH has been sick for about six weeks.  He is finally started to mend, but he still has pleurisy.)  We have also had some rather un-fun school holidays (see previous point), taken on the endurance event of the Tour de France (only as TV spectators, but 4 hours in the middle of the night, every night is tough going!) and now, finally, have major issues with Possum at school.

That is what this post is about.

Poor little Possum.  I wish I trusted my Mother’s Instinct more.  This is not the first time that I have known there was a problem for a long time, but it has taken getting virtually to crisis point before something can be done.

As you know, Possum suffers from anxiety.  He started the school year quite reluctantly, a little anxious and as a sensitive kid.  During the first term he was identified as special needs due to his anxiety, but our particularly useless school counsellor observed him for a very short time and put the stops on that.  Now, after two terms of school, the poor child is traumatised and pretty much mentally ill.

This has come to a head, now.  His behaviour at home is out of hand, he can’t handle social events, especially visitors to our home, or talking to people he does not know really well.  He has also deteriorated to almost non-functional at school.  On top of that, he is crying himself to sleep and shaking in fear if he thinks it might be a school day.

On Thursday I attended a session in his classroom (a class that was open to parents).  I was horrified by how he was treated.  I was horrified by the way some things were said to the class in general, too.  I was not surprised when he left school crying that day and declaring he would not be back.  (Not in the way we all have done at the end of a bad day, but really, really meaning it.)  We cried together.  I nearly pulled him out of school right then, I was so upset.

On Friday, I decided to chat to his teacher.  I felt the need to be polite – she isn’t a bad person, although it seems she is ill-suited to teaching kindy.  Also, should we stay at the school, who knows when we will come across her again?

I am not good at confrontation, but I tried hard to fight my corner.  I am not happy with the outcome, but at least I understand her intentions, now.  I don’t agree with them, but I understand them.

DH and I have talked about this a lot since then.  We are going to try and get him into another class (they have four kindy classes at his school).  That prospect frightens me.  He will need to start again, getting to know all the kids, making friends etc.  He won’t have his mates with him anymore.  We also have to try and get him over his complete fear of the school.  Of school in general.  I, too, will need to start again.  I will need to get to know all the parents and find my spot in the class-mums.  I will need to explain what is happening without bad-mouthing anyone.  It will be tough.

And am I happy about this decision?  Well, no.  I believe it is probably necessary, but I am not happy.

I think it is necessary because we need to try and make school work.  I also think it is necessary because I want him to overcome this horrific fear he is experiencing, not just walk away from it.  But I don’t think it is the best thing for him in the long run.

As this has been unfolding in the last two weeks (all this term), I just keep seeing homeschooling as the answer more and more.  DH’s concerns are still there and are still valid.  I just can see this need for Possum, to heal his frazzled nerves, that would be filled by homeschooling.

Something that I have realised this week, something I always knew, but couldn’t fully grasp, is that this is not about me.  This is not about me as one with my cub.  This is not even about what I should do.  This is not about bringing him up to face my fears, even when his are the same.  This is firmly about Possum.  My job is to protect him and provide him with a safe environment.  This is not happening, so it is up to me to get it changed for him.  I don’t have to face my fears, I have to completely put them aside and get my bear cub to safety.

I don’t know what to do with this one.  It has to be one step at a time, but that is a real test of Faith.  I want a plan, a direction out of this mire.  I want to see the outcome, but I can’t.

I am so glad that I have had God on my side this week.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  __ Matt 11:28-30

Me and my Highly Sensitive Child

July 1, 2012

Possum is 6 years and 1 month

As you know, possum and I both have big problems with anxiety.  Not a bit shy, but really functionally damaging anxiety.

Possum is on the waiting list for the Emotional Health Clinic at one of the local universities, one that is a leading researcher into childhood anxiety.  It seems like forever since I managed to take action on this one, waiting for his name to come up.  Maybe it is a little bit of time for me to find some headspace of my own, as well as find out more about his situation.

One thing that I am looking into is “The Highly Sensitive Child” (and “The Highly Sensitive Person” for me…).  It was recommended to me by my psychologist.  I haven’t read the whole book about the HSC (an acronym with which I struggle, so ingrained in me is its use for the coming-of-age, trial-by-fire in these here parts- the Higher School Certificate).  I did read the age relevant bits and some other selected bits.  I had to rush as Possum’s teacher wanted to borrow it for the school holidays, which start today.

It is so good.  It is so true.  I cried.  How I wish that someone had read this when I was a child.

According to Arons, approximately 15-20% of all species are classified as highly sensitive.  Reading this book it is obvious to me that not only do Possum and I both fit into the more rare highly-sensitive with anxiety and/or depression, but we are at the highly sensitive end of the highly sensitive spectrum.

Now his teacher is lovely.  She has heaps of experience.  She says that she has never had such an anxious child in her classroom and is beside herself trying to find out what to do.

It is hard for me to explain that her classroom is overwhelming and I am only not completely intimidated by her vivacious personality because I have done 20 years of therapy.  Really, she is lovely and friendly, loves her kids, loves to inspire and really does.  She helps kids work at their level, but helps them to keep moving up, not get stuck.  But the room is bright, there is “literary overload” (stuff written on the walls) and lots of action.  Fantastic for most….

Actually, I think the room is much more soothing now that they have started doing big displays of their work on the walls.  They are doing a thing about bugs at the moment and all the kids made these cute little insects.  There is a single large sheet of coloured paper down one panel and all the bugs are buzzing in front of it.  So much better than all the posters and things with writing.  For me, anyway, and I assume for Possum, too.

I will be interested to see if she finds the book helpful.  I hope so.

Another book that I had previously started, and have picked up again is, “Raising Your Spirited Child“.  I am pretty sure that I have at least two of those.

Next I need to look into “The Highly Sensitive Person”.  To be honest, I am a bit scared.  What will I find?  What will it make me do?  Will it provide comfort and safety in this dangerous world, or will it leave me feeling more vulnerable and exposed?

Me and my Highly Sensitive Child

July 1, 2012

Possum is 6 years and 1 month

As you know, possum and I both have big problems with anxiety.  Not a bit shy, but really functionally damaging anxiety.

Possum is on the waiting list for the Emotional Health Clinic at one of the local universities, one that is a leading researcher into childhood anxiety.  It seems like forever since I managed to take action on this one, waiting for his name to come up.  Maybe it is a little bit of time for me to find some headspace of my own, as well as find out more about his situation.

One thing that I am looking into is “The Highly Sensitive Child” (and “The Highly Sensitive Person” for me…).  It was recommended to me by my psychologist.  I haven’t read the whole book about the HSC (an acronym with which I struggle, so ingrained in me is its use for the coming-of-age, trial-by-fire in these here parts- the Higher School Certificate).  I did read the age relevant bits and some other selected bits.  I had to rush as Possum’s teacher wanted to borrow it for the school holidays, which start today.

image

It is so good.  It is so true.  I cried.  How I wish that someone had read this when I was a child.

According to Arons, approximately 15-20% of all species are classified as highly sensitive.  Reading this book it is obvious to me that not only do Possum and I both fit into the more rare highly-sensitive with anxiety and/or depression, but we are at the highly sensitive end of the highly sensitive spectrum.

Now his teacher is lovely.  She has heaps of experience.  She says that she has never had such an anxious child in her classroom and is beside herself trying to find out what to do.

It is hard for me to explain that her classroom is overwhelming and I am only not completely intimidated by her vivacious personality because I have done 20 years of therapy.  Really, she is lovely and friendly, loves her kids, loves to inspire and really does.  She helps kids work at their level, but helps them to keep moving up, not get stuck.  But the room is bright, there is “literary overload” (stuff written on the walls) and lots of action.  Fantastic for most….

Actually, I think the room is much more soothing now that they have started doing big displays of their work on the walls.  They are doing a thing about bugs at the moment and all the kids made these cute little insects.  There is a single large sheet of coloured paper down one panel and all the bugs are buzzing in front of it.  So much better than all the posters and things with writing.  For me, anyway, and I assume for Possum, too.

I will be interested to see if she finds the book helpful.  I hope so.

Another book that I had previously started, and have picked up again is, “Raising Your Spirited Child“.  I am pretty sure that I have at least two of those.

Next I need to look into “The Highly Sensitive Person”.  To be honest, I am a bit scared.  What will I find?  What will it make me do?  Will it provide comfort and safety in this dangerous world, or will it leave me feeling more vulnerable and exposed?

I want my Fenugreek

July 1, 2012

Possum is 6 years and 1 month
Bandicoot is 3 years and 11 months
Little Princess is 1 year and 6 months (18 months)

As you may know, I am a firm believer in the mystical powers of Fenugreek.

image

Usually I take it for the “side-effect” of increasing milk production.  While I could do with a bit of that at the moment, it is its more usual therapeutic use that I could do with just now.

Our household has been hit with a dreadful lurgy.  I know that it is going around – most of Possum’s friends have it, as do any of Bandicoot’s with siblings in Possum’s school.  It is a terrible cough and cold, along with body aches and pains, headaches, eye pains, nausea, fevers…  Just a truly miserable winter virus.  It is really very debilitating.  My little dynamo, Bandicoot, spent three days lying on the lounge.  Yesterday I spent the day in bed, too weak to even roll over.  And the worst bit is that it goes on and on.  One of Possum’s friends had a fever for eight days.  DH and I are certainly over our fevers and chills. I, personally, have been sick for over a week, let alone everyone else.

Yes, that’s right, all five of us have been sick at the same time.  It has not been pretty.

However, now that the kids are getting better (Possum somehow seemed to miss the worst of it), I think it is even tougher.  When making the kids toast takes every fibre of your being, fulfilling requests for bike-riding is nigh impossible.

It has not been a good time to run out of fenugreek.  Not only do I want some so that I can feed my sick babies again, but I would be more than happy with its anticatarrhal and antiviral effects right now.