Tag Archives: school

Weighted Blankets.

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My next project is a weighted blanket for HB.  I have never heard of this before, but it was recommended by the educational psychologist.  She said he may benefit from using one of these in the class, across the legs or shoulders.  Apparently it provides the sensory requirements and may help him sit still.  Proprioceptive sense will be helped by this.  He seems to have an issue with this whole sitting still thing and she suggested deep compression massage and this blanket will help him.  He loves loves loves the massage.

She said the blankets are expensive, so perhaps a sock filled with rice will work just as well as an expensive blanket.  Now I can just see what will happen if I send HB to school with a rice filled sock….there will be rice everywhere, because he is just that kind of child.  Together with his friends they will open it out.  Also, I have this thing about weevils.  What happens if it gets weevils in it..and then they are crawling on him in the class. How would I wash it?  Or would I make a new one every time?
We checked out the price of these blankets, and it is very expensive.  I was surprised at how expensive it is.  So then I decided, I can sew this thing…but what to fill it with?  It is not easy to buy that stuff in South Africa, and the shipping costs too much.  So I decided glass beads…and I tried to buy some only to find that the bead shops don’t want to sell two kilograms of beads to me.  I was told they only sell in small packets. I mean really?  I would have paid for it the same, or bought a hundred small packets if that is what it took, but they do not sell like that. Surely they buy it by the kilogram and could just charge me differently.  No business sense.
I eventually came across glass beads used in road marking paint but I have to buy 25 kilograms and I only need 2.  And this morning I came across Reborn Doll fillings…which is perfect for me to use, and way, way, way cheaper and just as safe to use.
As an aside, those Reborn Dolls are completely creepy…they look like babies…but they are not babies.  However, they have their fans and each to his own.
The glass beads will make the blanket look like a normal blanket, which will take away the interest of opening it up.  The boys are less likely to care about it, if it looks like a normal old blanket.
It is going to take me a long time to sew these little glass beads into the blanket, but at least I will be assured that it is safe, washable and likely to last, because I would have constructed it myself.
Essentially I will make a lining with these beads sewn into the inside and then I will make a cover over it that HB can choose.
I hope it does help him sit still, because this is the point of contention between HB and the teacher.
Added to the blanket we have a home programme of things like deep compression massage and exercises to help him strengthen the core muscles and assist in the chair sitting so loved by schools.

Two blogs in one day!

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I feel like I want to run outside and scream it to everyone and anyone…MY CHILD IS FINE!!!!!!

We had the big assessment today and HB is fine…academically and emotionally and there is no need to keep him back to repeat a year.  She says he is actually very intelligent.

Yes he does not always listen or sit still and needs to be moving, but that is not a big issue.  We will do some exercises at home to encourage him to sit still for longer.  He does not even need the speech therapy he is currently receiving.  He just needs patience and tolerance.

It was suggested maybe there is a personality conflict between HB and the teacher and perhaps she is not being as patient as she should be.

I want to tell everyone that my baby is fine and just be nice to him.  He is mine and he is fine and he is good and he is beautiful.

 

Updates.

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This weekend I have engaged the services of a lovely lady to help us out with the domestic situation. She said she would eat whatever we eat and the only request she made was for instant coffee.  We use a coffee machine, and I think we have become used to the stronger coffee. 
We agreed on a payment of R170,00 per day.  I feel it is a little low, but for now we will see, and if it works out, I will raise that to where we are comfortable. I have told her that I cannot fetch and drop her, she has to make her own way to us, and that will be the test, if she can make it to us on her own.   Thank you all for the advice on my previous post.
I took some time for myself and sewed a pair of palazzo pants for myself.  I just wanted to sew something that was not utilitarian and wanted to do something for me.  HB declares it is too big (he does not understand the style is meant to be floaty and almost a skirt).  he says I cannot wear it anywhere.  Hubby was also a bit sceptical, but I do not take fashion advice from either one of them, I buy their clothes for them.  I love it.  It is comfortable, printed linen, and I think it is pretty.  I shall wear it wherever I want to. 
This morning HB is having his school readiness assessment as I write.  I wish I could be there, but I cannot be. Hubby is going to be there.  I am far too anxious to be there and I will communicate that to HB.  Hubby will go back later for the part that the parent can observe.  Good thing there is so much drama in the news to keep me distracted. 
We received the school fees notification for next year…14% increase.  I have closed it, put it away and I will think about it next January.  I refuse to pay upfront at the beginning of the year, as a 5% discount is not enough of an incentive. If we invest the lump sum for a year we can get a few percent higher interest.
 
PS: while I write Hubby sent me a message saying it was so hard to drop HB off at the test.  He says he went back to the car and broke down crying….I was bad and selfish to leave it to him alone.

The joy of reading.

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It is so lovely to watch the joy on HB’s face when he realises he can read.  He can actually read by himself…and when he realised he could do it, he was so extremely excited…the look on his face made me want to cry.

I don’t remember learning to read, I am sure I must have been formally taught to read.  I don’t remember that joy HB felt when he realised he could read by himself.

Hubby even made a video for him, and showed it to HB…him reading by himself, with me just pointing to the words.  Without even trying to teach him, he seems to have picked up the sight words by himself.  I have just been concentrating on the synthetic phonics, because that is what he needs to learn, but the reading seems to have allowed him to work out the sight words at the same time.

With all the talk about how behind my little boy, this little achievement gives me the confidence to know, even if he is a few months behind the rest of his class, he can still do it.  He still has the ability to read and love it.

I have been so afraid, he will not want to read, because it is all about school work.  I know he does not love schoolwork, however, we have to do it. We go to the library and he is allowed to choose whatever he wants to read. He does understand there are English and Afrikaans books, so he will ask if a book is Afrikaans.  Then there are the books we read for school.  These readers are excellent.  We read the first round, with him only reading the phonics.  Second round is him reading all the words he thinks he knows and third round is reading with actual expression.  He loves the stories, and I like being able to sit with him and read too, not  just instruct.

We now use this manner of reading with all books.

In the meantime he has also learnt to read different fonts (which we had not actually taught to him…and he has picked up most of the capital letters).  At this stage they do not learn capitals.  Maybe it is for next term, I am not sure.

In the end we decided to make an actual appointment with another educational psychologist for an assessment. There is only one term of school left, and we need to make decisions and prepare our child for Grade 1 or staying another year in Grade 0. A proper school readiness assessment will help us make that decision. The school will want one by their staff psychologist, but it happens too late in the year. We also need to understand the ways in which he needs help from an emotional point of view.  The wait and see approach is not working, and the distraction of the school staff with personal issues, means he is not getting the full help he needs at school. Whether he stays or moves on is immaterial at this point, it is about making the right decision for him.  I feel I cannot rely on the school alone to make this decision.

While I feel for the personal lives of the school staff, I cannot put that in front of the needs of my child.  I will do everything I can do to make sure he remains happy and know that he is loved.

The meeting.

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This drama of the school thing had me so down for the earlier part of this week.  We had our all inclusive meeting and I left it feeling like the worst tiger mother and so sad and inadequate.

The three women turned up late and unprepared, so it was a waste of time, as the could offer nothing in terms of the way forward.  I found them to be patronising and uninformed.

I was so upset, I just cried and that continued up to yesterday.  I have seriously been considering moving him to another school.

Moving schools is not a really feasible option for us because we really do not have the money to just move, and really that school is a very good school and it was a carefully considered decision when we chose that school for HB.  All my feelings yesterday is a very unconsidered emotional response, not necessarily rational.  The money we can make a plan, and that fact will not be the deciding factor.  HB’s well being will always be the only factor.

The principal was not in the meeting, because I decided not to ask her, and escalate the whole thing to a level we could not resolve.  Anyway, she did call me and we had a long chat.

I then decided, all caution to the wind, and I was frank with her that I feel the teacher is not giving him a chance to be himself, and he is has been forced into a label, and I feel that he cannot shake that label if he remains in that teacher’s class.  I also said that we were considering moving schools, because this is all too much.  I just feel my child needs to be given a  chance to learn in his way and also, he is not in Grade 1 so can we please stop forcing that pressure onto him.

I was also clear that I think the teacher is not making an effort to assess him properly.  I mentioned that we are paying for a private school for one on one attention for our child in the class, so I cannot accept it when the class teacher says she cannot give it to him.

The principal was very calming, objective and she was great to talk to.  She invited us to observe in the class anytime we feel like it (not that I think that will help, because it is not as is we can do it secretly).

I am glad I told the principal everything that has been going around in my head, because she helped putting it into perspective.  She also knows that we are not going to sit back while our child is walked all over.  I may have been totally out of line criticising the teacher, but I did say, it was my subjective view of the teacher, and I do realise that it is not necessarily a true reflection of the teacher.  I was also clear that I felt that they are not helping and I wish they could provide more direction.

I have made enquiries to get a private evaluation for HB, but I have held off actually making the appointment.  He has enough with all the testing and I think he needs to know he is good enough just the way he is.  Even if he cannot read or whatever the teacher feels, he is good enough and is our darling child and we love him, and do not need for him to bend into a pretzel to fit into a mould.