Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Homeschool; Life Update


It's been a hard month. I'm not sure I'm ready to write about it, to be honest. Looking down the barrel of an unknown illness is not exactly the most fun thing in the world. There's been a lot of doctors scratching their heads, and blood tests.

But there has been bright spots - I am now officially 2e myself, with a confirmed ADHD diagnosis. And that bit has been wonderful (apart from the mild hiccough of prescribed medicines with a high chance of pushing me beyond the veil - hello unusual allergies!) There is an amazing relief to be found in describing difficulties and events from the past and having doctors nod their head and say, "That's typical".

I am now more aware of my children's difficulties, and how to help them avoid the problems I have faced. I also know of the pitfalls ahead, which I'd thought of as personal failings - nope! Instead, typical 2e is - me. And the fear I know every parent faces, "Am I raising them right?", now comes with a few more signposts. There is real hope.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Labels: from Self-Doubt to Self-Discovery

I must admit, my hands were sweating a little as I sat in the doctor's office. Being here was something I had run through my head many dozen times before. I had asked my DH to book the appointment, knowing that if it had been up to me, I would never have picked up the phone.

Picture of an old blue medicine box, and a picture of flowers


Friday, 23 September 2016

The Boy and the Canoe

Picture of empty canoe on edge of water


This is the story of a boy and a canoe.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Adventures in the Jungle: Finding Peers for 2e Kids

Picture of a mass of plants



Sometimes trying to find places my kids can be themselves and meet others with the same interests feels like a walk in the jungle. I set off with a map, but it's soon useless as the twists and turns under the canopy disorient me and I'm stumbling through the semi-dark, hoping for a clearing and a brief glimpse of light. For a few moments I'll think I've learned the do's and don'ts . . . until I tumble into a new part of the jungle.

But those glimpses of light - when connections are made, friendships formed and a real meeting of minds happens? Those moments are worth every laborious step.


Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Apple, Ginger and Cinnamon Tea Cake


About a year and a bit ago (I think, it feels like forever), with a specialists help, I finally managed to figure out that I have developed an allergy to egg. If you can't hear the wailing and the knashing of teeth over here, you are lucky! Egg was one of my favourite foods, was an essential part of my baking and was a very difficult ingredient to replace. Not so much for its sticking power (banana does a great job for that), but for the light and fluffy-ness it adds to sponge cakes. So I have been experimenting for months and months with increasing despair - trying to bake a half-decent vegan, gluten-free sponge is hard!

But with the help of Jaime Oliver, and his magnificent Vegan GF sponge recipe, I now have cracked the code. This is not the same recipe, though his recipe is superb (I am incapable of not-tampering with any recipe). But it gave me a few pointers in the right direction for how to craft my own recipe that is repeatable and delicious.

So this is it, my Apple, Ginger and Cinnamon Tea Cake!

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Different Doesn't Matter . . . Until it Matters

Picture: One black fig among a group of green figs. Text: Different Doesn't Matter ...Until It Matters | yellowreadis.blogspot.com.au
There's a well-meaning, but very ignorant article, by Farrah Alexander at Huffington Post floating around at the moment. And like most of these articles, it appears to be inclusive and kind. It's not. It hurts.

Tabitha over at Simply Precocious wrote a beautiful empathetic piece on why the original article was and is hurtful. Please go and read it.

Now, I could write about why dismissing the idea of giftedness is harmful. And I have previously here.
And this isn't the first or the last ignorant piece written by well-meaning but poorly informed people who think they're doing everyone a favour by dissing on gifted people. You can read my previous responses here and here and here.

Instead I want to talk about why the idea that difference 'doesn't matter' is harmful. I see it all the time - "Everyone is different", "Let you're unique self shine!". They're lovely memes. Lots of fist-pumps and "Yeah! That's awesome!"

But it's a rare person that actually means it. Instead, a more honest meme might be:

or
"Be Different! But Don't Make Me Feel Uncomfortable.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Living in Extracurricular Purgatory

Picture via Pixabay. Desc. Image "Sad women on bench in tiled room." Text "Living in Extracurricular Purgatory"


When, all those years ago, we decided that homeschooling was the right choice for our deeply asynchronous children, I kind of hoped that this would mean an escape from age-based norms and expectations. We would be free to craft the curriculum and activities that 'fit' our kids without the limitations that came with the age-grade lockstep that is the traditional way schools organise learning.

Gosh was I naive.

Because, whether I like it or not, almost anything to do with children is organised based on these traditional age-grade levels. Finding places that 'fit' my kids and their very different needs has been like ground-hog day. Reliving the same situations over and over again, with only the surface details changing.  And each time feels like another walk through extracurricular purgatory. . .


Monday, 18 July 2016

Gifted Education and 'Woo'

text: Gifted Education and 'woo' , yellowreadis.blogspot.com.au Picture: stethoscope and medical forms

In the last few weeks there have been 'shocking' headline articles [1] in my state of Victoria about a gifted education provider used by at least 30 schools. The 'shock' is due to the founder's unusual non-mainstream, non-scientific (and pretty out-there) ideas which were taught without either their parents or the school's knowledge. There were a lot of very upset people - both in the medical establishment, in the schools and in the general public - pulling their hair and wailing about standards, speculating about the 'reasons' [2] and generally lamenting about 'woo' being taught without reflecting on how this incident revealed and illustrated some of the deeper issues that currently plague gifted education in most Victorian schools [3].

Sadly, that this happened isn't really a surprise. It was almost inevitable. Because, when it comes to gifted education, almost all schools already deal in woo.

Friday, 1 July 2016

The Smartest Person in the Room

Stylised silhouette of people against clouds with function equation. Photo via Pixabay.

Whether I like it or not, I am making unconscious decisions everyday on the people I meet. Is a person listening? Are they engaged in our conversation? What are they thinking?

And I have come to realise that my answers to these questions - and the unconscious assumptions I make about people around me - have been driven more by cultural ideas about behaviour than the reality I face each day.

It's steep learning curve to to step away from my own ingrained ideas. Particularly when I am not always consciously aware I hold them. But I work at  it day by day, assumption by assumption. I'm not there yet.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Gifted / 2e Homeschooling : Where to Start?

Words: Gifted / 2e Homeschooling : Where to Start? Picture: Pile of Books

Starting home education can be quite daunting—doubly so if you are deciding to home educate special needs children, whether they are gifted, disabled, or both (called twice exceptional, 2e or GLD). But where to start? What's out there to help new homeschooling families find resources and information? And what are the challenges that families might face?

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Setting Up DIY Spaces for Homeschooling

Picture of tools -spanner, oil can on wooden bench

It can be hard to figure out how to fit all the bits and bobs into a small apartment when the house is full of makers. We do lots of drawing, and crafting, painting, sewing, woodwork, game creation and science experiments in our homeschool. And before we know it, it can quickly descend into chaos - it's beads everywhere, with the pencils and the card games scattered and the floor can regularly disappear. . . but I have learned a few tips and tricks to keep things roughly in order.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

I'm Looking For Your Stories on Giftedness and Twice-Exceptionality


I am in the process of gathering stories and experiences of gifted and twice-exceptional families for my upcoming book on giftedness and twice-exceptionality with GHF Press. This book will focus on the challenges and myths surrounding giftedness and twice-exceptionality. (Yes, I am super-excited and super-terrified to be writing a book!)

So, if you have a child who is gifted or twice-exceptional . . .

Or if you are gifted or twice-exceptional . . .

And you have a few spare moments . . .

I would love for you to answer a few questions in my survey.

Note: This is a non-scientific survey and though they may be printed (in whole or part) in my book, all responses will remain anonymous

If you have any questions, please feel free to comment, or you can contact me by email.



Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Preparing for College; Preparing for Crazy

Sometimes, it feels like I'm trapped inside a B-Grade Hollywood movie. The director is at the side is yelling, "More drama! We need a rewrite here! There's not enough punch to this story."

The punches keep rolling in, and I feel a little bit like a punch-drunk ninja. My children went from crazy accelerated to crazy-crazy accelerated. (How my eldest managed to skip me noticing that he had learned about 2-3 years worth of maths during our 'down' time was the one punch. The two punch was adding yet another acronym to the growing list of family illnesses / chronic conditions / neurological differences / genetic variations / eh, I'm giving up, why don't we call 'em Steves?)

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Is My Gifted Child Autistic?

Staring Child

I’ve done lots of reading, I’ve looked at the standard definitions, I listened to the niggles and ‘problems’ that different people  - my GP, a friend, my child’s teacher etc. have mentioned. I know my child’s quirky . . . But, is my gifted child autistic?

It’s a question almost every parent of gifted kids I have ever talked to has brought up at one time or another (particularly the parents of highly to profoundly gifted children). And though it seems there should be an easy answer to this question – a quick test, a definitive way of putting a yes or no to this question, the answer is actually much, much more complicated.

Having travelled down this rabbit-hole for a long while now, I’d like take you on a trip into the world of giftedness and autism.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Gifted and 2e: An Exceptionally Different Road

It can be easy to think of exceptions as things that need to be fixed, to treat difference as something that needs to be shoved back into the box (even while we laud the idea of individuality). But living with my fantastic twice exceptional little tribe has taught me a very valuable lesson: there is no path. There is no right way to do anything, and the exception can be just as beautiful and amazing as the more familiar way.

Friday, 8 April 2016

Homeschooling Without a Car

Homeschooling Without a Car - Picture of a tree
"Well, you're going to have to buy a car."

It's the first thing almost everyone says to us when we come upon one of those life transitions: 
  • When I was pregnant with C (public transport with a baby?); 
  • When I was pregnant with J (public transport with a baby and a toddler?!);
  •  When C was diagnosed with mobility issues (walking and public transport when your son needs walking therapy!?!); 
  • Again when C was identified as gifted (all those extension programs, you're going to need a car!); 
  • When we began homeschooling (how will you get to all the activities?).

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Ideas For Creating An ADHD-Friendly Homeschool

What do you do when you realise you need to make your learning spaces ADHD friendly?

Well, if you're me, you go on a cleaning and reorganising binge. Here are some of the things we've been  doing that seem to help.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

2e in the Family - Loving the Alien in Us


One of the first things that you read about when you start to learn about what it means to be neurologically different, is that it can feel like being an alien, the veritable 'Stranger in a Strange Land'.

In our family, it was both a shock and a relief to realise that when we were looking for answers to why our children were developing outside of the box that we were also finding the answers for ourselves as well.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Those 2e Crazy-Eggs Just Keep On Popping Up


You know, when I started this parenting gig, I didn't really know a lot - hell, what parent does? There's been highs and lows - the highs are really really high, the lows . . . let's just say that the Mariana Trench has a lot going for it.

But somewhere along the line, I kind of got the impression that if my kids were hitting the milestones at roughly the right time, "all was well". (The right time, of course was statistically figured out with a bell curve. They're really neat and rather mathematically beautiful. I actually like them, as an idea).

Somewhere, in the depths of over eight years of crazy, the bit of my brain that used to sigh with relief when my kids hit those milestones exactly on time got rewritten. Now, when a nurse or doctor assures me that something is perfectly normal, just what they expected of child brain/body/whatever development, I go into full-fledged panic mode. Even though the maths part of my brain keeps reassuring me that my kids have to fall inside the middle of the bell curve for some things, another, perhaps more realistic part of my brain will go "you keep believing that if you like, buster, but I'll be over here locking myself in the panic room."

Friday, 19 February 2016

The News: A Home Educators' Perspective

"If you're not paying attention, you're going to miss something."

That's probably the core belief at he heart of why we watch the news. Something vital, something important and life-changing is going to whizz on by us and we're going to miss it.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Book Review - Writing Your Own Script


As parents, we may really want to believe the common wisdom that if we place our children in a typical childhood setting, “They will be fine.”  It can be difficult to separate what others say and what we believe to be true. As parents, we don’t always trust our own instinct. We should.’

Finding practical ways to help people understand and work with your neuro – atypical children can be hard. Even when you understand what your child needs to thrive, how do you go about convincing others? I found Corin Barsily Goodwin and Mika Gustavson’s new book “Writing Your Own Script: A Parent's Role in the Gifted Child's Social Development”, helped me to understand that journey into the unknown.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Creating an Unschooling Environment for my 2e Kids

Adapting our homeschooling environment to support our kids needs has been a work in progress that has taken years of trial and error. I personally love the idea of self-directed learning and unschooling, but I have had to adapt it to fit the needs of my children.

As much as I would love to be able to say 'you can do whatever you want' and let it happen (with me strewing and facilitating, but having the kids in charge), it hasn't happened. Instead, we have taken a lot of slow, small steps in that direction, and have had to treat it as more of an end goal than a blueprint.

Over time, (and with an understanding of their neurological differences) I have come to understand why my children need support and why those supports need to be different for each child.

Monday, 4 January 2016

Twice Exceptional: What's Going On Here?


Twice Exceptional (2e): What is it? And why does it matter?

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