Category: Mary

October Events and Stuff! (by )

Lace Skull candle

September was frantic and wonderful - the Gloucester History Festival was amazing and has started me down the paths of several new and exciting things for the future! And I have a lot of events photos and sketchtember pictures to share with you all.

But for now it is October the 1st 2018 and this new month hold even more in it that September did! Namely The Cheltenham Literature Festival, Gloucester Poetry Festival and Frightmare Halloween Festival! I am involved in parts of all three of these over lapping festivals - wish me luck!

And then as my fun/de-stress there is Inktober - a drawing challenge that was one of the major factors in me actually producing the art work for Love: A Stranger Dream.

And then there is GothNoWriMo which is a writing challenge and shall see me writing yet more of the Punk Universe (which I will be releasing parts of properly next year!).

So here are the current confirmed dates!

Sat 6th Oct 7 pm Frightmare Preview Night at Overfarm Gloucester - ticketed event (prices vary)

Tues 9th Oct 7pm Operation Beehive in Swindon part of the Gloucester Poetry Festival and a Gloucester take over of the regular Ooh Beehive Night

Thurs 11th Oct 7:30 pm - Hammer and Tongues All Star Poetry Slam in Cheltenham, part of the Cheltenham Literary Festival at The Bottle of Sauce tickets are free and can be booked here

Fri 12th - Sat 13th Oct Young Gods showcase at Elmbridge Primary School 6:30 pm Jean and Mary's Drama group

Young Gods Showcase

Fri 12th - Sat 13th Oct Frightmare Scare Attraction Over Farm Gloucester from 7 pm

Sun 14th Oct 2-4 pm Poetry hosted by Sarah at the Gloucester Waterstones part of the Gloucester Poetry Festival - free event including goody bags as part of Books Are My Bag

Poetry in Waterstones Gloucester

Tues 16th Oct 2-4 Book Wyrms at Gloucester Library a poetry event with guest poets hosted by Sarah - part of the Gloucester Poetry Society and free event

Book Worms Gloucester Library

Fri 19th - Sat 21st Oct Frightmare

Sun 21st 2-4 pm Poetry at Gloucester Waterstones as part of the Gloucester Poetry Society hosted by Sarah

Wed 24th Oct 2-4pm Book Wyrms free poetry event at Gloucester Library part of the Gloucester Poetry Festival hosted by Sarah

Wed 24th - Sat 31st Oct Frightmare Halloween Festival at OverFarm Gloucester

Dino-Roar (by )

Mary building a dinosaur sanctuary

Warning contains some spoilery things for Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom.

Saturday as a treat for trying so hard with the allotment and housework, Mary got to pick the film we went to watch - we were expecting Star Wars but instead Dinosaurs won. Main decider was finding out that there would be no BB8 who apparently I have been misgendering and who according to Mary is obviously a girl.

She even put on her dino claw shoes, and was... noisome all the way there, Al asked her why she didn't have a little rest before the cinema - her reply?

"But I have to sit quiet and still for the WHOLE film" and so she continued to hurtle about with her very loud voice. First off she couldn't see the screen properly so a booster seat was arranged and then she noticed it was a 12 A and had to be reassured that she was allowed in the film.

Once the film started - like the first scene! She climbed onto a lap and spent most of the film on either mine or Alaric lap with some Jean hand holding. She loved LOVED loved the film so much, she identified with the child who was obviously not going to go to bed and the dinosaur Blue. Hence she is now called Blue-Maisy and has asked to see the next film. Actually she keeps asking when the next film is out!

We all preferred this film to the last one, it is going more in the direction I thought the story would have to go to still work - a few things irked - and it is not quiet how I would have done it though the result in world building is basically the same.

On the way home there were conversations about dinosaurs hunting as in the fossils, genetics and subspecies, stem cell research and medical/vetinery care and even computing and building design.

Fiction has always been a gateway to science and science has always inspired new fiction. Something which I think can get lost somewhat in the higher echelons of science and/or education who sweat the small stuff - because you know it doesn't actually matter that Jurassic Park (back in the day) wasn't accurate it drew you in as a story, it showed you a world or science being the tool for the good and the bad, it showed that everyone could be part of that world and... DINOSAURS!

I belong to a generation who's love of space and dinosaurs was sparked by such programmes and you know those inaccuracies where actually really useful - it was awesome finding out about the real creatures and the time periods over which they lived and laughing at the scariest things turning out to be, you know the size of chickens!

It was certainly one of he more enjoyable trips we've made and it mirrored so perfectly when my family went to see the original film right down to the youngest sibling sitting curled up on a lap!

However, there was one disappointment for Mary to find out that she can't go to the US and find lots of dinosaurs rampaging around the place - she was already planning her trip!

She has since been building a dinosaur sanctuary to keep them away from those awful human beings! (pictured above)

Burrow Wake Fading Day Poetry Walk (by )

A Struggle A Head (by )

Last night we had our worst parents evening yet... it was pretty much as we expected. Mary is lovely, bright, mischievous and struggling except in maths. She loves outdoor learning and has brilliant comprehension levels when things are read out to her.

The school have her as a focus kid for reading but due to cut backs and things they no longer have the teaching assistants and can't give her anymore without depriving the other kids. We are reading with her at home though I don't think the school actually believes that. We've had to stop Jean pointing out what books she was reading at the same age - our not so small little bookworm is struggling with just how different her sister is to her.

Mary also throws her books at me and gets in a rage and informs me that she has no homework and hides her spelling sheets.

She is 7 yrs old and the gap between her and her peers is starting to widen - this is where the self confidence drop could happen and it has taken us ages to get her settled in school because she is a high energy bouncy child. Also stupid bloody SATS is coming and the emphasis on exams and results and testing testing testing is there and it makes me so angry (with the system not the school).

Mary is often giving up her playtime to read - she gets distressed when I tell her at home that she should play in the garden why it is light before homework because she feels the pressure of it but again she is miss bounce so she needs to get ride of all that physical fizz in order to sit and focus. Neither me nor the teacher think giving up playtime is good as it's soul destroying - I was that child sat inside yearning to play.

I look at some of her work and I can't work out what is needed - I don't know what an imperative is... I have a degree from one of the best universities in THE WORLD. Does she really need to know that now? Wouldn't just getting her writing clearly and coherently be best? The curriculum is stifling.

Again the teacher suggested we do bedtime reading with her were we read to her but we already do that - or rather Al does that - due to the head injury I couldn't and so I tend to tell her stories. It's not every night because sometimes it gets too late but it is most nights.

I don't know how to help - she won't sit down to do the booklets like Jean did, she is not a bookworm though she is thirsty for knowledge though she has come to like books in a way that she hasn't before recently - I set up the indoor "fire circle" for stories and had some spoken/improvised and some read out stories over Christmas and we go to the library once a month to fortnightly where she spends ages with the picture books (yes the ones for toddlers). Sometimes she reads them to us, sometimes she makes stories up from the pictures - I was still doing this at 10 yrs of age - I couldn't read properly until I was 12 and already in secondary school and the social implications of that are... not nice.

But I am at a loss as to what to do? Teacher friends and family - suggests are appreciated.

Her teacher suggested that we get up earlier and doo reading then - but we are a) not morning people any of us and b) we already get up at 6 and Al is often struggling with tiredness so to be honest I think earlier mornings would probably make it unsafe for him to drive - Mary often has to have a run around before school and goes to breakfast club not for breakfast but so she can be brighter and more with it at school.

She has never been able to drink or eat cow milk so it's not like I can cut that out and I know that is something that often improves things for kids in her situation.

In her written work both numerical and letter based there are reversals and transportations and not just in one axis - there are Ps where there should be ds and her numbers are often mirror images.

I've asked the school to look into dyslexia - I have dyslexia, ADHD and dyspraxia where the dyslexia is extremely bad. She is still considered a bit young for the tests and things as dyslexic tendencies are thought to only become properly differentiated from general childhood learning mistakes etc... after 8 years of age - I am worried that the damage will already be done if we wait until 8. The school are being very supportive including Mary's odd take on clothing she will and will not wear :/

I debated about blogging this - but part of the problem with these situations is that they get hidden - I know people worry that it could harm a Childs future employability if this sort of thing is shared but really that comes down to something that needs to be drastically changed in our society. If just the suggestion that someone might have had learning difficulties is enough to stop them getting a job then this country really needs to look at itself. And if she does have dyslexia then hopefully she can be supported through the education system - though with the current government I am doubtful of how long there will be support for.

The biggest problem for kids with learning difficulties like this is the confidence crash - this is something I really really hope to avoid but she is in many ways a very shy child anyway. Being dyslexic myself I find it really hard to help her - I can't tell her how to spell a lot of things and we end up looking things up in the dictionary. I have already introduced Scrabble which was a big thing for me with spelling and we are still using the board that my nan gave me. She loves the game - I think she might actually have won the last family game - destroying Al's theory that I always win it. I've given her my little spell check machine that my cousin Ivan gave me when I was doing my GCSE's to help - it has some spelling games and things on it too. But again these are things I have already done - what else is there?

On the plus side she spent her last round of pocket money on an actual chapter book which she has been "reading" in bed - it's a sparkly kitten type book and is actually quiet thick - there are some pictures in it at the beginnings of chapters and things. I hope that the love and want of books will work the same magic on her as it did for me - she is a very clever little engineer and loves puzzles and designing and drawing and is always winning things for her ballet.

Working Things Out (by )

Cuddly Science is about the kids engaging and discovering things for themselves - sometimes this leads to "off topic" discovers such as how the magnetism of the earth works when the workshop was about looking at the rocks with the hand lens attached to the compass! These are the best moments though when the child is fully engaged and working things out for themselves and asking questions!

Working out how the world works with Cuddly Science

Plus this is a super cute picture of Mary 🙂 But in all seriousness one of the things I came up against time and again is restricted learning - to keep children focused on the "task in hand" for box ticking rather than it being about the learning process. This is one of the reasons I am sticking to informal education rather than formal - my brain doesn't work like that and though will agree that children including those with ADHD need help to learn to focus often I feel it is detrimental.

I love these moments when the child falls down the rabbit whole of enquiry and you can see their brains actually working things out for themselves - it is AMAZING!

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