Wednesday, March 30, 2005

THE Most Frustrating Day - Ever!!!

Boy - can days like today get right up your nose!! At the weekend we inherited a perfectly functioning computer from Paul's parents, but it was running Win95, only had a 2GB hard drive and was full of junk!! So toady I set out to add another hard drive and a faster CDRom, plug in a USB card and upgrade it from Windows 95 to 98!! and successfully managed to de-funk the thing completely!! How is that? All I had to do essentially was plug in the new drives to the IDE cables, slot in the USB card and do the upgrade, but no - now the thing won't even boot!! Earlier this evening it was ALMOST running OK (it was finally recognising the A drive, which it seemed to stop doing almost as soon as I took the back off, and accepting the boot disk) except that it wouldn't recognise the CDRom Drive for no apparent reason, so it wouldn't read the Windows CD - so I re-installed the old slower CDRom drive - but it didn't recognise that either. I put back the faster one and then it refused to even recognise anything - nope - just a blank screen!! It has consistently refused point blank to acknowledge the presence of another hard-drive (yes I've fiddled with the jumpers in any number of combinations - all to no avail). Unless I disconnect the bigger (4GB) HD altogether it tells me there is no hard drive at all!!
RRRRRRRRR - is all I can say - a whole day WASTED!! And I'm really stumped as to what to do now! All the IDE cables seem to be the right way round, the CDRom drive is powering up OK, but can't be recognised, the A drive has gone AWOL again and now I can't even see what's happening on the screen! The hard drive SOUNDS like it's starting up, but...

Oh - and I managed to stuff up win95 in the process of all the fiddling too, so I'm not even loading in 98 yet, just trying to re-install 95 - thought that MIGHT be an easier starting point, but it seems not!!

Grumpy Mummy, disappointed kids!! I had hoped that I could simple switch the 4GB hard drive from their old PC to the new one - thereby carrying Win98 across with it and all their programs, but it JUST WON'T LET ME!!

Is there any computer whizz out there with any suggestions as to what I might try tomorrow? Jax? Jon? Anyone...?

And just to cheer myself up - I'll post these piccies!!

cow bum (stuffable)

pink bum (wrap)

minki bum

Thursday, March 10, 2005

LEA visit - 2nd time around!!

I already wrote this post once, but forgot to make my usual 'copy' before I hit publish and guess what...blogger ate it!!

Anyway - today went well. Carol (the LEA lady) came and she was very nice. When she arrived Jacob was sat reading quietly on the sofa, the big girls were playing in the yard, Ellie was sleeping and Joel was hoovering the kitchen, so all was calm and peaceful - for once! We sat and chatted for a bit then Jacob decided to show off his handwriting - his show piece (he does have great handwriting for his age)! Other than that the children hardly showed their faces. The children did all knew she was coming and why - and were completely un-phased by the whole thing :) She certainly was not intent on quizzing them about anything and didn't she seem too worried about seeing any of their work. She said that, as everything was so hunky-dorey last year, this was really just to update the files as to where we are at. I have no problem with that. I showed her my 'planner' - she was suitably impressed I think (!!) - and explained that I use it as a baseline, but that it is quite flexibly adhered to. We chatted about what resources I use and I explained that I try to teach one subject at any one time, but at 2 levels, for the most part and that generally this works out OK :)

I then broached the subject of my difficulties with Jacob with her. I explained that Paul & I think that he MIGHT have ADHD and why we think so. We discussed some of his 'behaviours', his inability to concentrate for more that 5 minutes at a time and his seeming lack of attention even when he thinks he is listening to you! There are all sorts of other little 'odditites' that make us think he might be ADHD and really we want to be sure we are schooling him appropriatly. It's not that a 'label' will change anything that much, but it will help us know HOW to tackle the problems we face with him. SO, if his attention span IS only 5 minutes we have to only EXPECT 5 minutes of attention from him - if we get more that's a bonus, but our day will need to be a lot more broken down than it currently is. However if there is no REAL problem, outside of Jacob's control, than really it's just a case of disciplining him (appropriatly) so that he learns how to knuckle down and concentrate for a given slot of time. We (Paul and I) need to know if our expectations of him are too high (which if he has ADHD then they probably are, because they are based on expectations of a 'normal' (almost)8 year old), or if they are about right and we just need to help Jacob reach what he is capable of - bearing in mind that he is a very clever kid in reality. The amazing thing is that he has begun to voice his difficulties, so I think he even recognises that he has a bit of a problem. He has said things like; "it's like my brain switches off and on and off and on. And when it's off I can't switch it on again" - how descriptive is that! But there is a sad side to that too, in that he has also begun to say things like "Joel is brainier than me." This simply is not true - and I have told him so, but what he sees is Joel being given a task, completing it and going to play, while he is struggling through - having not even really started on the task he has been set to do that should have taken him about equal time (ability level taken into consideration). Because Joel is able to apply himself he naturally gets more free-time and Jacob equates Joel getting his work done with him (Joel) being brainier. But if I let Jacob go at the same time he would achieve nothing at all and there would be even less reward in that - it would only add to his discouragement to never have anything to show for a day's school :(

Anyway - Carol ageed that it would be good for us to have a formal assessment so that we would have a baseline to work from and have a better idea HOW to get the best from Jake. And she is going to find out for me how we go about that outside of the school system. Like I said - she was very helpful and sympathietic to my dilema, which was nice. :)

On another subject now; Nappies :)
I got a 'bimble in the post today. How cute and gorgeously tiny is this nappy?! Paul reckons it'll never fit a real baby! I think he forgets just how diddy they are (babies that is) when they are new!:) Ellie appears to be getting 'into' the whole cute nappy thing too. She keeps going to look in the nappy bucket to see what new additions she can find and if I'm not quick enough - she brings them to me - eeeew!! I think it's not helped by the fact that I can't resist fleecy pink nappies/wraps - and neither can she apparently! I really should be trying to buy a bit more unisex - poor little baby - if it is a boy (which I'm fairly convinced it is this time), he'll be in pink nappies half the time!! Although, that said Abbie has gone to bed tonight in a blue car print nappy. I'm trying to discourage her from wearing them and when I put a woolly sheep one on her she liked it a bit too much!!

Check these out too -all you nappy lover - pocket liners - what a cool idea! I'm going to try making some this evening - just to make life even easier for Paul, but if mine don't work I think I might invest in some :)

I might even post some pics of in the next few days - just to get you all coveting cute nappies!! And so that I can have that memory of my babies with cute snuggly bottoms!! Oh, how I wish I had discovered these YEARS ago - it's only take me nearly 8 years, but then I must confess I wasn't looking much in the in-between times. Kooshies were naf, so I think I gave up on the whole idea for a while and went down the 'green disposbles' route as a compromise - shame!!

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Still Alive!!

Well hello!! Thanks to all of you who have kept in touch despite my absence from blog-world of late. I thought it was about time I gave you a really brief update of the Wellyboots tribe!

Well we survived Daddy being away with great success and even managed a trip to Wales for a long weekend to see him in action! His absense has even resulted in a much greater level of acceptance of household chores for all :)

Since then life has been ticking along steadily, with it's usual ups and downs of family-life and homeschooling :) On the whole the boys are doing very well - the usual ebbs and flows of enthusiasm taking their course! Joel seems to have finally grasped that 'making 10' strategy that we were struggling with some weeks back (no, we've not been at it constantly since then - just a steady drip-feeding and regular visits!!) and Jacob is nearing the end of Sing' Maths 2B, which means we will be into 3rd grade Maths. Having looked ahead, I think we might do some CGP Yr3 stuff first - for consolidation purposes - before we move on. I don't want to bull-dozer ahead just yet with Maths and leave him still back at Yr2 level for English. I'd rather concentrate less on the maths and broaden our horizons a little :)

Today we learnt the (potted) history of Ireland; from the Celts (300BC) to the Anglo-Irish Agreement (1921) and the declaration of an Irish Republic in 1948 - yup - that was a long tough one, but some very interesting stuff there and it made the boys see that we 'English' are not always the good guys!! Didn't we do some nasty stuff to those Irish people back then in history - no wonder they hated us!! Anyway - not dwelling on politics, but I learnt loads today hand-in-hand with my boys :) I think I might remember more than them, but ...!

I think I might try and attempt some kind of 'lap-book' type thing for our studies of Ireland. That really would be adventurous for me. I'm trying to figure out HOW I might do it though!! Any of you done any 'lap booking' can give me some advice?

In History we are just reaching our studies of Egypt (having done 'UR' and Babylon briefly last week and made 'early' clay jars - which we still need to seal and paint). I'm really looking forward to having a good delve into Ancient Egypt :)

If you are all wondering WHY I haven't been around much it is basically that come the evenings I am spent on 'giving out' - so to blog takes too much brain work!! I have been busy vegging on e-bay buying far too many nappies for the new baby! I have decided that, bearing in mind I will have two babies in full-time nappies for at least 6 months (unless Ellie trains early like Boo did) and Boo still in them at night, life could get VERY expensive to keep using 'Nature Baby' disposables. SO, we need to go back to re-usables. I used to use Kooshies, but to be honest I never found them that fantastic, so I have been on a 'best nappy' hunt :) I have discovered MINKI nappies - and they are simply fantastic. I have NEVER successfully used re-usables at night but now I not only have Ellie back in them full-time daytime, but I have BOTH Ellie & Boo in them at night - with NO leaks and nice dry-to-touch bums in the morning!! I also really like WONDEROOS and I am about to try out Fuzzi-Bunz too. A friend of mine is selling me on her size 1 Tots-Bots for when the baby is newborn. The Wonderoos and Fuzzis can be used as wraps and as stuffables, so they will come to good use with the TotsBots :) I just like the idea of something I can use like an All-in-One for ease of Paul using it too. He seems to like the Minki's best as well :) Thank goodness for e-bay though. I can get them for half the price and they are still in great condition even though they are 2nd hand :)

The pregnancy is going fine. I'm getting fatter all the time and the baby is lovely and lively now ;) !! The children seem to be quite excited about the prospect of another brother/sister and Phoebe keeps saying "your baby out now?" in a questioning, yet demanding type way! and "your baby kick me!!" - not sure she appreciates that much!!

Anyway - that's my brief update and I shall TRY not to leave it so long next time. In the meantime I shall try to get round the blog-ring and visit you all over the next few days or so. I've given up e-bay for the next two days at least - I've spent all my money!!

I forgot to mention - we have our annual LEA visit on Thursday. I'm not at all worried - we have it in the bag!! :)