Friday, March 31, 2006

Body & Mind

Maths: BBC Skillswise game: written multiplication

Science: Human Body - Organs, Muscles & Changes During Puberty

Mind Matters
DJ tested his ability to identify the angle of a line by matching it with its twin. This spatial task looked at how DJ pictures space, and his score suggested he finds it difficult to judge the slope of a line. DJ also tested his ability to identify which objects changed position. DJ's score was higher than average for men. Tests suggest the left half of DJ's brain is dominant, so he should be verbal and analytical.

Emotions and Systems: this task looked at whether DJ prefers to empathise or systemise. DJ's empathy score suggested he's slightly better than the average male at judging other people's emotions and responding appropriately. DJ's systemising score was not very high. Systemisers prefer to investigate how systems work. Another task tested the ability to judge people's emotions by picking up information from their eyes only. Results suggest that DJ finds it neither easy nor difficult to judge people's emotions. These aren't the results I would have expected from an aspie kid!

Games: 'I learned that the Battle of Badon Hill was with the Saxons and Romano-British around 580ish AD'

Cooking: I made Macaroons (more like really soft biscuits, if you ask me) and they were nice.

IT: I went on Game Maker and explored the game Roman Total War Gold Edition.* I learned about going round on my computer and searching for things in programs (like backgrounds that can be used for games in GameMaker and FMVs, which are basically movies). If I understood computer language HTML then I could do anything I wanted to the game, like cheats, e.g. making training and construction of buildings instant instead of having to wait a while.

* ha ha, I have the Gold Edition so in ur face ppl who dont, and it was same price as normal edition :) :):):):):)

Documentary: Pompeii: The Last Day
2,000 years ago, the Roman empire was shaken by the volcano Mount Vesuvius: in less than 1 day, the city of Pompeii and 5,000 of its people were wiped from the face of the earth. Drawing on contemporary accounts and recent archaeological discoveries, this drama told the real story of what happened, recreated the final events leading to the disaster and the last day of Pompeii.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Gandhi & Shakespeare

We watched Gandhi, a film by Richard Attenborough's about the Indian political and spiritual leader.

DJ: 'Technically he wasn't a leader, he was more like a man who just wanted the country to be free.'

We also watched Shakespeare, The Animated Tales (1992, 100mns): a selection of abridged versions of Shakespeare's most famous works. Each tale was brought to life with a selection of original animations.

1. Macbeth
2. A Midsummer Night's Dream
3. Romeo and Juliet
4. Twelfth Night

DJ: 'I don't like Shakespeare because he's like the equivalent of Charles Dickens but just older'

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Newton St Loe

DJ was happy to go back to Newton St Loe, and I was happy that he was happy to join in. The boys did another nature walk, after learning how to make charcoal. A lot of physical exercise, running around, rolling down hills, getting to know each other, and so on. DJ seems keen to go back after the Easter break.

Apart from that, we got some new books from the library and... had a massive goose egg! DJ didn't mind scrambling and eating it!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Relaxed learning

This morning we watched Horizon: The Day the Earth Nearly Died. We learned that 250 million years ago, long before the dinosaurs, 95% of all life on Earth was wiped out in the greatest disaster our planet has ever experienced. We learned different theories about the Permian killer, from massive volcanic eruptions and greenhouse gases to a meteor the size of Manhattan and gases from the deep oceans.

After lunch we talked about situations where anger is likely to arise, and that led us to continue our chat about sensitivity to sound.

Gg: 'I completed a worksheet where I had to label continents, mountain ranges and some other countries'
DJ learned that drugs alter the way our mind and body work, that some are legal, others can only be given by doctors, and some are illegal. DJ learned that there are 4 main drug groups: sedatives, stimulants, hallucinogens and painkillers and completed a quiz.
DJ spent some time on this site consolidating prior learning about the reproductive system.

'I learned how to make a hot chocolate drink by using chocolate chunks instead of chocolate powder: you heat some milk in a saucepan, add the chocolate chunks and wait until its all chocolaty - stirring can help'.

HI: Egypt - DJ went on the BBC History site and played Death in Sakkara. The game involved finding clues in written messages, Egyptian Gods and hieraglyphs, and finding the Plough constelation.

In the evening we watched It's Not Easy Being Green on BBC2. It was all about going green, loving our planet and being self-sufficient in energy and food.

Temper Temper

The weekend was busy, with friends around, and DJ spending most of the time playing with F and trying out his new gadgets.

Yesterday we went to Chew Stoke for another 'aspie mum's brunch'. DJ hasn't been feeling very well over the past couple of days, and had been complaining of stomach aches. I noticed that over the past few days his gluten intake had increased quite dramatically... Anyway, back at home, eventually it was aspie meltdown time!

In the book I'm reading at the moment, Tony Attwood explains that angry outbursts are often reactions to sources of stress. For the child, the outburst can act like a stress reliever, and because it helps end an unpleasant feeling, it becomes negatively reinforced. The book also talks about the importance of developing empathy. Well, a couple of hours later, having noticed I was still upset, DJ offered to make me a drink, and asked 'If I make you a drink, would that make you feel happier?' That was a lovely gesture, and eventually led to us talking about anger, the impact it can have on people's actions and the consequences of those actions on ourselves, other people, and the environment: that's emotional literacy in action, with lots of 'question and answer' going on e.g. 'why are you still upset? it's been ages ago!' Here stories can be really useful, so check these out:

Friday, March 24, 2006

Out & About

DJ spent the afternoon in Newton St Loe with other home-educated children, and went on a healthy and educational nature walk.
It was all about watching wildlife, searching for a castle and finding ammonites...

In the evening we watched a bit of 'We Don't Need No Private Education' on Channel4, where it was argued that money does not necessarily buy your child a better education or a better degree or increase their earning potential. DJ wasn't that interested so we switched the TV off and got chatting instead.

Later on we started reading 'The Rotten Romans' and went through Roman timelines. We also read parts of 'Asperger's Syndrome' - A Guide for Parents and Professionals by Tony Attwood, and DJ listened with interest. We both agree that if he is an aspie, then so am I. We had fun trying to guess how the meaning of a sentence changes when the emphasis is put on different words and enjoyed using the 'feelings chart'. We talked about our sensory experiences, how sensitive we can be to sounds, bright lights, touch, etc, and how this affects our mood and behaviour. We also read some lovely poems written by aspies. I laughed when I read about 'cerebellar dysfunction', and about someone having a smaller than normal cerebellum (remember DJ's comments about my cerebellum? perfect synchronicity too!). Interestingly, one of the implications of this was that what can appear to the neuro-typical as laziness is actually a physiological problem, as the cerebellum regulates stuff like muscle tone, movements, timing of movement, balance and posture. Apparently, it also regulates speech and sensory modulation.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Sex, Drugs & Saying No

Lunch time was the perfect opportunity to explore the anatomy of a fish! Fascinating approach!

SRE(1hr): We watched 99 Ways to Lose Your Virginity on Channel4, which explored the pressures teenagers are under, their most common worries and safe sex. This was followed by a discussion on peer pressure.

We've also watched part of Going Cold Turkey, about recovering heroin addicts. As above, we talked about peer pressure, and then explored several different ways of saying no and reflected on why some ways are more effective than others - a good 'communication skills' session! (1hr)

BBC2 The life and times of Mahatma Gandhi

Portuguese: key words used in games - understanding directions (20mns)

DJ reckons I don't have a cerebellum, and explained: 'which is where you subconsciously do things like riding a bike - when you start to ride a bike you use the cortex to concentrate and get balance and when you get faster the cerebellum takes over'. The reason he thinks that is because: 'you don't do things automatically, you have to concentrate really hard to check a question that I have done! your cortex must be the size of a walnut and your cerebellum the size of an amoeba!'

Later in the evening DJ had a go at the Sex Test

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Sex, Maths & Buddha

Sex Education (1hr): Channel4 'Lets Talk Sex' part2. In the follow up discussion we both agreed that sexual awareness is really important as uneducated sexual choices can have such a negative impact on people's lives.

Maths (1hr): We used the BBC KS3 Maths Bitesize Revision video and worked on whole numbers and decimals: place value, rounding decimals up and down, adding and subtracting decimals, and multiplying and dividing decimals by a whole number. DJ checked the site

Art & RE (1hr): colouring in the Buddha, using a printout from; cartoons and animations from

DJ learned about the 2nd Noble Truth - how unhappiness doesn't just come from nowhere but it has a cause, and what Buddhists believe that cause is. We talked about how we feel when we don't get what we want and how we always seem to want more and more. We then reflected on the meaning of contentment. After listening to an excerpt of a talk by a Buddhist nun, DJ completed a worksheet using resources from

Science (15mns): a quick introduction to acoustics - what is sound? using

HI (15mns): An Egyptian Adventure - Death in Sakkara, from BBC History. I found this game really good for communication skills, as the player has to choose what the character says from different options

Film: Charlie's Angels (McG, 2000)

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Chocolate, Sex & The Universe

Today we made Gluten Free Chocolate Cookies and Rice Crispie Crunch.

We've also done lots on Sex Education. We watched 'Lets Talk Sex' on Channel4, and that was followed by discussion, online activities and a worksheet. Online activities included:
naming male and female genitals, matching the different parts of our sexual organs with their different functions & reflecting about sexual choices: why do we find some acceptable and others unacceptable
Pant Man game - learning about sexually transmitted diseases (basically Pacman but instead of Pacman you're a ball with pants on and the monsters are different things that represent different diseases and everytime one hits you, you get information about the disease plus it's quite addicting and fun)
Quiz: what can you get from having sex?

We had planned to have a go at Ki Aikido but DJ changed his mind about it and chose to stay home instead. Someone from the NAS came over to visit us to get to know DJ and talk to him about the local club for aspie kids. They managed to have a nice chat and DJ opened up to the idea of joining the club in a few months time.

As usual, at night DJ begins to wake up, and he went on a History Tour, starting with the Romans in Scotland (Roman Forts and Caledonian Villages) and Gladiators, then moving on to the Battle of Hastings and Weapons Through Time. Next it was time for WW1 and how life was like in the trenches. He then watched 2 short WW2 movies: Battle of Arnham and D-Day. And to finish the tour, he went all the way back to Ancient Egypt with Pyramid Builder. Lots of good stuff on

It wasn't easy to get him out of 'history mode', but eventually we managed to get to our bedtime routine, and finished reading Time and the Universe, by Mary and John Gribbin. DJ was at ease with a wide range of physical concepts, while I struggled to fully grasp them. From the Big Bang to the Big Crunch, the book covered it all: the 2nd law of thermodynamics & entropy, Einstein's spacetime & theories of relativity, blackwholes, wormholes, other universes, time travel and much much more.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Roman Timeline

DJ completed a Roman Timeline Worksheet using the Roman Timeline at to answer 20 questions. After that it was time for an Ancient Rome Quiz of 25 questions (DJ got 58% right), and to check the children's pages at the Roman Baths website.

"We've designed a Roman square shield and I learned how to make rice and I used the microwave to defrost meat (you put it in number 2 which says defrost).

Sunday, March 19, 2006


Last night DJ finished reading 2 books from the Horrible Histories collection: The Smashing Saxons and The Stormin' Normans by Terry Deary

It's been a relaxing Sunday. We made Macaroons and Date & Orange Cake and J came over for lunch. DJ was invited for a bike ride and chose to stay home.
We watched Anger Management, a comedy starring Jack Nicholson and Adam Sandler.

Saturday, March 18, 2006


11.30am to 4.00pm
Friends for lunch
play and fun.

Friends and IPod problem solving last night

Friday, March 17, 2006


We are writing this together - DJ's comments are in brackets. DJ had a go on trampolining this afternoon. Sounds simple doesn't it? However, there was a lot involved, like going out of the house, going to a different place - The University of Bath - (which is huge, which is bigger than a village), going to a place with lots of people (I'd say there was about at least 1500), and a place with strong smells (loads of sweat and swimming pool chemicals and all sorts of gym stuff). After having a go DJ was exhausted and asked to go home (My legs feel tired and sore). And so we drove back home...

Apart from that, there was (1) a morning appointment with the OT at RUH - where we talked about using drama as a means to develop communication skills, (2) a visit to the library to get lots of books about Romans, Greeks, Saxons, Normans, etc. (3) a visit from friends in the evening and (4) a new book we started to read: The Smashing Saxons by Terry Deary

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Rome Total War

"This is Rome Total War".

(get DJ's joke? 'Rome' in italics?)

After a morning appointment at the hospital with the paediatrician, DJ spent most of the afternoon exploring his new game. Through playing, DJ is gaining an historic insight in the Roman Empire and a solid foundation in western history and culture, even though in an unconventional way. This is a historically based game that passes on information in such a way that it sticks because it is fun. So why not use it as an educational tool? DJ learned that “Spartans were Greeks because in the battle of Sparta, when I was attacking Sparta, the defenders were Greek.”

As I quickly browsed the instruction manual, I came across all sorts of key words, like 'senate', 'factions', 'settlements', 'taxable income', 'trade', 'farming', 'mining' and many many more. Gaining an understanding of historical, societal and economic structures sounds pretty educational to me!

Eve: DJ checked the atlas and matched ancient world civilizations with modern countries - then looked at what kinds of pirates where there during the Roman Empire period - and then decided to read aloud Why the World's Wonky by Richard Robinson: 11.30pm, page 149 and still reading!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


This afternoon, after a brisk walk, we went to a Stargazer's Astronomy session organised by The William Herschel Museum as part of National Science Week. DJ had the chance to go to an Introduction to Astronomy talk and to use computer software to manipulate images of heavenly bodies. The museum is situated at the house where William Herschel lived and discovered the planet Uranus in 1781 using a telescope of his own design. Find out more on
D’s favourite part was the computer and, as always, going home.

In the morning we watched 'What the Stuarts did for us': really interesting stuff, like road signs and road maps, street lights, fire brigades and the hose pipe; the start of the Royal Mail and of modern agriculture with the first farming machine; plus the Bank of England (1st paper money) and organised politics.

I’ve been reading about John Holt, deschooling and unschooling, and the educational benefits of games. So watch this space...

March 2006

Wed 1st Mar
1pm HI/Sc What The Stuarts Did For Us BBC2 – we watched this program and DJ wrote a summary of the main points covered (1hr)
2.30pm EN Writing to persuade – Benefits of Gaming
3.00pm Portuguese: Numbers; revising; greetings & introducing yourself and others
5.30pm EL thoughts and feelings and facial expressions (sketch pad)
5.45pm RE Looking at Buddhist cartoon pages online
8.30pm Food Tech: Baking Cookies

Thu 2nd Mar
10am Trying to find South Stoke – getting lost and finding our way
10.30am-12.30pm Visit to The School in The Woods: socializing, going our to new places to meet new people (Maths: fractions)

1.45-3.15pm Final therapy session: closure

Eve: reading History in a Hurry: Stuarts by John Farman-Chapter 3 (Food) & 4 (Having Fun – Stuart Style)

Fri 3rd Mar
Rivers and water BBC 2, 10.50 - 11:10
We looked at how a river, its valley and the landscape features change from the source to the mouth, why settlements are situated alongside a river, and how they have different reasons for being there, how the river is used and what environmental issues this poses and how the water is controlled and why this is necessary.

Mountain landscapes BBC 2 11:10 - 11:30
Exploring the physical geography of mountains using Mount Snowdon in Wales.

Stereotypes BBC 2 11:30 - 11:50
Understanding some of the difficulties people with learning disabilities may face - experiences as a person with Down's Syndrome.

3pm – Losar Worksheet (following from 28thFeb)

EL: Focusing on people’s positive qualities

4pm Portuguese conversation – revision & Numbers up to 100.

5-6pm Tibetan Traditional Herbal Medicine – DJ saw Dr Tamdin and they talked about feelings, emotions and attitudes towards family and other people. Issues like opening up to others, being patient/tolerant with people’s imperfections, giving and taking, happiness and relationships, communicating and so on were addressed.

Comedy: we watched The IT Crowd

Week-end 4th & 5th Mar

Family & Friendships: D spent the night at Dad’s and had the chance to spend some time and play with an old friend whom he hadn’t seen for a long time (maintaining friendships)

Sun 5th Mar
1.15pm Library
Local Resources: Youth Theatre Groups
Internet Resources: Nutrition, Animal Rights, etc
Eve: read Those Unschooled Minds: Home-Educated Children Grow Up by Julie Webb / The Educational Heretics Series – DJ identified with Chapter 1 interviewees and kept saying ‘same…’ and ‘parallel universe’

Mon 6th Mar

Appointment with OT was cancelled

1pm BBC 2 Maths Challenge - TV Workout: Percentages; reducing by a percentage. We looked at percentages and their equivalents, the meaning of per cent, fractional percentages, factors of 100 and what hundredths can be cancelled to.

1.15pm Planning Day Trip to Magdalen Organic Farm
Gg: planning our route with Britain Road Atlas
Maths: calculating how long the journey will take
Planning: list of what we need to take (inc. food)
Interactive map at

1.45pm An Introduction to Animals Rights Video (and other animations) from

2.15pm Break

3.15-4.30pm Cooking – Corn flake crunch; Chocolate cookies; Cheese on toast

4.30pm Break

5.15-6pm Portuguese: The Portuguese Flag and the Portuguese language in the world – colouring the flag and quiz. Translating into EN. Numbers from 10 to 100. Colours. Conversation.

6pm Tea & Simpsons

DJ started organising & labelling his home-recorded videos
Reading: Pirates by Justin Scroggie & Pirates of the Past by Jim Hatfield
A lot of resistance about going out tomorrow

Tue 7th Mar 06
D refused to go to From the Soil Day 1:
Going out is not fun for an aspie!!! After a difficult time he went back to bed and slept until 1pm

1.15-1.30pm BBC2 Science Investigations: Animals and Plants: Rabbits & hares, frogs & toads, bird songs

2.15pm Portuguese: revision vocabulary and numbers
· Speaking without words: working out how people feel by watching their body language Test 4 out of 5
· Reading faces: understanding facial expressions Test 7 out of 8
I was impressed with these results (thumbs down for Theory of Mind?).
Real-life experiments at home
· Jumble Letters how the brain processes language
· Impossible stories
· Testing reaction times
· Test your Memory

4.15-4.45pm Emotions: what do you laugh/get angry/get anxious about?
4.45-5.30pm IT: GameMaker – making new game
5.30pm Tea
5.45-6.00pm: IT: back on GameMaker
6pm The Simpsons
6.30pm Playing Puzzle Pirates
7.05pm Buddhism – 4 Noble Truths: the 1st Noble Truth = Dukkha
7.30pm more Puzzle Pirates
8:00 pm - 8:30 pm BBC2 The Maths of Modern Manners
A 21st Century look at modern manners - identifying today's unwritten rules of social behaviour
8:30 pm - 9:00 pm How to Watch Wildlife
9:00 pm - 10:00 pm Jimmy's Farm: being a pig farmer, dealing with problems (employees leaving, serious accidents, fencing animals, getting a new boar, ex-battery hens, unwelcome deliveries).
10pm Bed time: D read Why the World is Wonky by Richard Robinson while mum read Asparagus Dreams by Jessica Peers and Educational Provision for Children with Autism and Asperger Syndrome: Meeting Their Needs by Glenys Jones

Wed 8 March
D woke up at 10.15am (isn't it great to be able to catch up with sleep?)

10:45-11.15am Channel 4: Don't Make Me Angry

2.10-2.50pm We discussed the purpose of knowledge: knowledge for knowledge’s sake versus knowledge that brings benefits, and brainstormed what benefits do we want from knowledge. This led us to the issues of human happiness and suffering and what type of knowledge brings happiness and minimises suffering. Where does happiness come from? What do we need to learn in order to be happier? Can we know happiness without knowing suffering? We linked this discussion with the Buddha’s 1st Noble Truth and explored different types of suffering. We reviewed our home-ed and talked about what do we want to learn and why.

1/2hr DJ cooked Gluten-free Chocolate cookies

Interacting & communicating: J came over for tea

40mns Portuguese What time is it?

30mns Animal Aid: Eat This DVD – How does meat end up in our plates? What are the disadvantages of eating meat (for humans, animals and the environment)?

1hr Reading (& discussion) The Usborne Book of World Religions p.24 & 25 (Buddhism) & Time and The Universe by Mary and John Gribbin (up to p.19)

Film/cinema: Laurel & Hardy Classic Shorts

Thu 9th March

10:45am Channel 4 Don't Make Me Angry
11:10am Channel 4 Live Now, Pay Later A teenager sets up his own airline... at the tender age of 19.
11:30 - 11:45am BBC 2 What does it mean to be a Jew? The basic beliefs of Judaism and the emphasis on the family in the Jewish faith.
11:45 - 12:00 BBC 2, we found out about the Jewish festival of Passover and what it's celebration means to believers.
1.10pm Follow up from Passover: 3 worksheets
The 10 Plagues of Egypt = Put the plagues in order to reveal the secret word
Getting Rid of the Chametz = find and get as many loaves of leavened into the trash as you can.
1.35-2.10pm Art: drawing

2.45-5.15pm We visited a local new resource for home-educators in Newton St Loe’s Farm, situated in a rich rural environment that included approximately two acres of walled garden, easy access to fields, streams and woods and lots of animals. Free access to land and animals plays a key part in their educational philosophy. We visited a beautiful walled organic garden with a large summerhouse, and an old apple orchard with access to lovely walks and countryside, and we met rare breed ponies, dogs and cats. DJ met J and they got on really well. We took the digital camera and DJ took some photos. On the way back with popped in at J’s.

Fri 10th March

Today we received loads of great free resources from and started to look into ways of integrating D’s current interest in pirates in his education

9.55am – Channel4 =A to Z of your head (Youth Mental Health) – we watched this programme aimed at increasing understanding of mental illnesses and how they affect people. We talked about the experiences of young people suffering from a range of mental illnesses.
11:30-11:50am BBC 2 Bullying: What is it? How does it make you feel? 1.30-4.30pm Social Interaction Practice / PE - Beckington’s monthly FAB Home-Ed gathering: an incident and complaints from a mother re. DJ’s playing with a stick got me rethinking the whole issue of socialisation and reinforced my belief that the focus should be on the quality of relationships rather than quantity, or social interaction per se.

4.30pm We went to Berkley and picked up a Monty Python video
Eve: F came round for a sleepover and DJ made Corn Flake Crunch and had his first attempt at making pizza

Sat 11th March

The Big Bath Bookswap was organised as part of Wiffle - the Walcot International Fringe Festival Literature Event, a local response to the Bath Literature Festival. Got some nice books for our home library.

I started to read School is Not Compulsory – The Essential Introduction to Home-Based Education by Education-Otherwise
Film: we watched Monty Python’s video The Life of Brian

Eve: started an email group and sent out invitations

Bed Time Reading: Horrible Histories: Vicious Vikings

Sun 12 March
2 Pirate quizzes on
Completed worksheets (re. Passover, Manners, Emotional Health)
5.30pm Film: A Night in Camelot (1998) Whoopi Goldberg
9 -10pm BBC1 Planet Earth – Mountains: A look at mountains, beginning with the birth of a mountain at one of the lowest places on Earth, and ending at the summit of Everest.

Mon 13 March
Civilization PC CD-ROM: building UK and Europe
Maths: Why bother about maths? P.8 What is algebra? P.62 and 63
Cooking: we made Chocolate Brownies
Family / Relationships / HI: Dad came over and there was a discussion about the history of pirates in England (inc. scurvy and why pirates drank rum and how they got vitamin C from limes). Dad also showed DJ what he’s been up to, using the website:
8-9pm Angry Earth: why earthquakes occur, how the dangers could increase over the next century with the expansion of urban populations and theories of prediction
9-10pm Extraordinary People: the woman who lost 30 stone10pm Reading: Pirates of the Past by Jim Hatfield up to p.19 (time-line), then p.29-42 (crew, diseases, daily life, rules, food & punishments) and p.79-84 (ships)

Tue 14th Mar

D wasn’t feeling too well today so we decided to take it easy. We had a very short but productive piano lesson, a quick look at the learn premium site (geography: earthquakes & checking what’s on the History section). Nothing seemed to grab his attention, so he played on Empires: Dawn of the Modern World, where he recreated WWII D Day.

In the evening little owl began to feel more awake and watched 2 programmes on Global Warming: (1) Meltdown: A Global Warming Journey, and (2) Climate Conspiracy or Global Catastrophe? What’s really going on with our climate, and what’s it going to mean for the future. Are these changes part of a natural cycle, or something we’ve brought upon ourselves?

In between the two programmes there was a lot of dialogue and effective communication about how we both felt about HE and how the pressure to produce evidence to the LEA was affecting us. We talked about different ways of structuring learning, including the autonomous approach, and DJ is keen to try them all and experiment for a while to find out for himself which approach would best suit his personality. He told me how tired he’s feeling and that he needs some time out. DJ insists that he learns a lot from games, especially about history and suggested doing more on castles. We also talked about the idea of making games and DJ said there was nothing else he could do with the GameMaker program. I suggested finding another downloadable program online, and before the second program started DJ spent 1/2hr on Google search and downloaded Cybertoy, which is now ready to be used for tomorrow. After we finished watching the 2nd program on Global Warming D expressed his desire to join in the biggest research project ever on climate change.
As for me, I’ve started yet another yahoo

February 2006

This is the beginning of our new adventure: our journey into the world of home-education. We're trying out a new path, looking forward to exploring different approaches as we go along.

We worked out that DJ had about 192 school days, or 960hrs per year.
We decided learning takes place every single day. According to our calculations we’d need about 3.5 hrs per day to make 960hrs per year if we have Sat off. If we didn’t, then 2.45hr every single day in the year would be enough. But really this is all very silly because we’re learning at every single moment in our lives. We’re beings with minds and learning is what we’re about!

Wed 5th Feb
Communication & planning: discussing possible HE subjects

DJ wants IT to be a major part of his learning. He wants to find out about computer language and learn how to make games. We talked about maybe learning Portuguese. PE would focus on opportunities for physical exercise rather than team games and DJ suggested things like cross-country, riding the bike and trying horse riding Following this discussion we repaired the bikes and DJ is now on a waiting list for horse-riding

Other ideas included: (1) Music: learning how to play the piano and to read and write music (2) Drama: focus on comedy and maybe try to do some film sketches (3) HI: read Horrible Histories books (4) Gg: do things like using the Encarta; EarthGoogle, make it part of multi-disciplinary projects (4) Art: drawing, cartoons, digital photography (5)RE: cover all different religions, especially Buddhism (6) Emotional Literacy / social skills & interaction / communication: listening and speaking / making and maintaining friendships / going out into different environments and meet different people / celebrate difference and diversity

All of the above needs to be discussed further. As we both want the flexibility of choice and the opportunity to experiment, this plan is not set in stone but to be adapted and changed as and when we feel it’s appropriate to do so

Today DJ went to the Programming4Kids website and downloaded the Gamemaker program. Through following the online tutorial DJ created his first game: Catch the Bear. DJ had the opportunity to spend the day focusing on his interest in IT.

Thu 9th Feb
Sc: we watched Horizon on BBC2 on the substances that make up the universe and DJ learned about matter only makes up 4% of the universe, the rest being black matter and black energy. We also talked about nutrition after watching the DietDoctors program on TV.

Fri 10th Feb
1.30-5pm We went to Beckington to a FAB (Frome & Beyond) Home-Ed family gathering. I met a mum from Bath who told me about the School in the Woods in Southstoke. DJ did a lot of physical exercise, running around and playing, met O and other children and practiced social skills e.g. going out, meeting people & making friends. In the evening F came round = maintaining friendships

Sat 11th Feb
PE: 40mn brisk walk
Values: helping out & doing things for other people
Social interaction: spend 3 hrs at A-M’s with her son C while I went to a Buddhist class. R gave D a book on Java.

Mon 13th Feb
2-7pm Maintaining Friendships: D went to B’s house and stayed for tea – a lot of running around and playing – again practicing going out and social interaction. B suggested D joins his Scouts group so they can see each other regularly. We phoned up the Scouts group leader and arranged to attend from Fri 24th Feb.

Tue 14th Feb
1hour of Science, watching BBC Robert Winston: Human Body
3.10-3.45pm Music theory: treble clef; names of notes on lines and spaces; rhythm: crotchet-quavers & semiquavers
Booked Magdalen Farm Days nr. Chard 7th, 14th & 28th March

Thu 16th Feb
Family relationships – Dad turned up and took D to see his half-sister
Booked Summer Holidays

Sun 19th Feb
Family & relationships – J came over for lunch and we had a delicious Spaghetti Bolognese; we had invited DJ’s sister and her mum to come over for tea and had a nice time together. DJ really likes his sister.

Mon 20th Feb
Values: Helping carrying shopping bags & put stuff away in cupboards
Portuguese: Greetings – listening, repeating, reading & writing.
Cookery: Rhubarb Crumble – cutting, chopping, preparing.
Science: BBC Robert Winston: Human Body - Human Reproduction and Birth plus a little time on LearnPremium
Math: Letts KS3 Maths CD-ROM: revising Numbers: Place value in whole numbers; ordering whole numbers; multiples of odd and even numbers; end of unit test
IT: Watched Gadget Show: How to eliminate data from your PC’s hard disk & tips on digital photography
Drawing together: castles & battles

Tue 21st Feb
12noon Film/cinema: Laurel & Hardy Classic Shorts
2pm Music: Piano lesson= Piano Magic by Jane Sebba Tutor Book 1: white key warm ups p.11 – Easy p.12, My New CD p.16; Theory: names of notes: reading and writing middle C-D-E
2.45pm Sc: Robert Winston: Human Body – development after birth
7-9pm Teenage Rampage @ The Hut – Twerton: going out to different places and meeting people from all ages and abilities. DJ loved playing in the Soft Room and had a good time with one of the staff members.
Eve: reading History in a Hurry: Stuarts by John Farman-Chapter 1

Received EO membership pack & emailed local HE families

Wed 22nd Feb
10.15-11.45am We looked at all the emotional literacy work we’ve done over the past 3 months and all the positive changes that have taken place.
IT: DJ set up his own blog and began exploring how to build a web page.
Health: on the internet DJ found out about head lice and their life cycle
EN/Drama/Comedy: Scripts – Python / Holy Grail scripts - DJ entertained himself by reading aloud, clearly and expressively Scenes 1,5,10,13,14,18,19,20,21&23

IT: DJ installed iPlayer mass Storage Driver V2.0 and learned out to copy MP3 files from the PC into the MP3 player

Music: Piano Magic by Jane Sebba Tutor Book 1: practising Easy p.12 & My New CD p.16 – exploring different keyboard sounds, pedals, resonance, timbre & improvisation

Thu 23rd Feb
Maths: Using and applying maths skills – solving 2 practical problems using mathematics pages 7 & 8 from Letts Study Guide KS3 Maths
Gg: Using Earth Google: flying to different places across the globe and finding our neighbourhood
IT: 1hr+ exploring GameMaker program; we read The Incredible Internet by Michael Cox for another hour.

Fri 24th Feb
Sc: The Human Body BBC Series presented by R. Winston
Raging Teens; changes in puberty in boys and girls; used Letts KS3 Science p.11-14 on Reproduction
Brain Power: learning about the adult human brain (neurons, memory, consciousness, thoughts and feelings, etc)

19.30-22.00pm Scouts
Objectives: overcoming resistance to going out to new places, meeting new people, trying new activities, interacting/relating with others, maintaining friendships – learning about knots and recycling

Sat 25th Feb
DJ installed Tiscali Broadband and went to AM’s house. The digital camera has been installed and pictures have been transferred to the PC.

Sun 26th Feb
Portuguese: Family tree, relatives (1/2hr)
Music: Piano (20mns)
EL (Emotional Literacy) D started his Daily Journal (10mns)

Mon 27th Feb
Mum’s enjoying - someone picked up our old gas cooker this morning! And there was a meeting for Aspie Parents at home. 3pm Recycling: we went to collect a pile of unwanted Computer Active magazines from Timsbury and then went to Tesco: in our way there we talked about healthy eating.

In the supermarket we looked at product labels and ingredients and found that some of them are exactly the same thing but some are more expensive than others. DJ commented that people are paying for fancy packaging and concluded that a good way to choose was (1) 'if the ingredients are exactly the same then buy the cheapest' (2) if the ingredients contain weird things like E numbers and artificial stuff, then it’s better to buy the more expensive but healthier product. We also talked about trans fatty acids (in margarine, biscuits, cakes, etc). DJ learned that shops don’t tell the actual truth and wondered how would he know that products labelled as organic actually were. We talked a lot and D helped out.
RE: Tibetan Buddhism - we read The magic life of Milarepa -Tibet’s Great Yogi by Eva Van Dam

Tue 28th Feb - Tibetan New Year
9.30am-5pm DAY TRIP We spent the day at Lamrim Buddhist Centre in Penrhos, South Wales to celebrate LOSAR, the Tibetan New Year. Traditionally each New Year new prayer flags and a newly sewn Victory Banner are offered. DJ ate loads of “Khapsay” but didn’t like the raisons in the traditional ‘good-luck’ rice offering. We took the digital camera and DJ took lots of photos.