Basic Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake

This is the cake I make all the time. I don’t need to look at a recipe anymore, it’s so automatic. I use this cake-base as a start for pretty much all my cakes and cup-cakes – just add other flavours – banana, dates, cinnamon, raspberry, apples or blueberries.  It works beautifully.

This cake is lovely just as it is, but is also lovely iced, or turned into a cinnamon tea cake. Continue reading “Basic Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake”

Pancakes and Fruit Smoosh

This is a guest post from my husband. He and C are the chief chef’s for this recipe. All I can say is that this is on very high rotation at our house. Over to him!

Coconut  Pancake Stack

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This recipe came about through experimentation, desperation, and the inspired input of a 3 year old. We call it pancakes. The finished product is probably technically closer to a pikelet (around 10cm in diameter and about 6mm thick). So I hope the purists out there don’t get too upset. I have no idea just how thin you could get this and have it still remain a coherent pancake, so they shall be pancakes in name.

The following recipe feeds two adults and two small bottomless pits on legs, and there might be some left over if the little ones aren’t completely ravenous.

Assuming you use the plain pancake recipe, then a good topping is a fruit smoosh (name coined by C at age 3). For a smoosh, you basically cook diced fruit in a little butter for as long as it takes for the juices to release a little and the fruit to warm through. Continue reading “Pancakes and Fruit Smoosh”

Putting Together A Chemistry Curriculum

There is quite a difference between the way I thought I would teach chemistry compared to the way C prefers to learn. C is very visual-spatial in his thinking. He absorbs knowledge when he can see it and touch it. He doesn’t mind listening, but he can’t just listen – there has to be a visual component, or lots of space to wiggle and jump around. And when he’s excited by a new idea he gets very loud! Which is a joy. He also loves to play with an idea – to absurdity if possible.

This makes putting together a chemistry curriculum in the more formal way a problem. But it also gives us great scope for experimentation. Afterall, where else can you go? Continue reading “Putting Together A Chemistry Curriculum”

Normalising Disability

My little girl, J is a funny girl sometimes. Recently, when we took C to his physio session at the hospital, we had to share the room with another therapist and patient. J loves these ‘go Doctor’ sessions, as she calls them – there’s lots of cool toys, and she usually has Mummy running around after her while C ‘plays’ with the therapist. This time, she spent her time watching the other patient – a teenage girl with motor problems – grab toys from one location and crawl to another to put it in a circle. Suddenly J wasn’t next to me, but had raced forward to join the other girl – grabbing toys and putting them in the circle. I quickly sped forward and scooped her up, exclaiming,
‘I know it looks like a lot of fun, but it’s the big girl’s turn now.’

The other girl and therapist laughed and J went back to playing with her toys and copying and bugging her brother.

It was only after the session that it hit me. This is J’s normal. She has spent her life going in and out of doctors’, therapists’, and specialists’ waiting rooms. It’s been like that from the very beginning, even in the womb.
Continue reading “Normalising Disability”

Homeschooling My Gifted Kid, Part 3: The Twice Exceptional Wrinkle

In this third part on our convoluted journey to homeschooling, I’d like to talk about what twice exceptional means – and a bit about what it feels like to parent such kids!

This is not meant to be a definitive guide for people trying to discover more about twice exceptional kids. This is just our personal journey, and a few of the curious signposts along the way.


What is Twice Exceptional?

Twice exceptional refers to kids who are gifted and disabled. It can be a physical disability, but more commonly refers to an ‘invisible’ disability, e.g. autism spectrum disorder (ASD), aspergersdyslexiadysgraphia, dyscalulia, dyspraxia, SPD, ADHD, bipolar disorder and many many others. In many ways, it’s like they’re going out to bat and can only score 0’s or 6’s. There’s no nice, safe middle ground. It’s a wild ride honey.

Continue reading “Homeschooling My Gifted Kid, Part 3: The Twice Exceptional Wrinkle”

Homeschooling My Gifted Kid, Part 2: What the Bleep is PG!?

In this second part on our convoluted journey to homeschooling, I’d like to talk about the crazy slippery slope of figuring out what ‘gifted’ and ‘PG’ actually mean.

This is not meant to be a definitive guide for people trying to discover more about gifted kids, or IQ. This is just our personal journey, and a few of the curious signposts along the way.

What is high IQ?

This is actually pretty tricky to define. Is it ability? Talent? Potential? How do you define it? What does it mean? Is there more than one type of intelligence? Western society has been tying its metaphorical knickers about this for over a hundred years, and there’s still no end in sight.
Continue reading “Homeschooling My Gifted Kid, Part 2: What the Bleep is PG!?”

Homeschooling My Gifted Kid Part 1: How Learning Happens

The path we have taken to get to homeschool the way we do has been rather convoluted. It is a path that has had some peculiar turns, as I have discovered more about the nature of the way children learn, and the differences between how most children learn and the way my two bundles of joy learn.
I thought I might, in the next few posts, take everyone on a journey to a few of the sign-posts along the way that have led us to our own personal homeschool experience.
This is not intended to be a guide for anyone interested in homeschooling. There are many upon many resources for that. This is just a personal journey. Continue reading “Homeschooling My Gifted Kid Part 1: How Learning Happens”

Three Inventions That Could Change Our World, By Not Changing Us

Today I thought I’d go in a different direction to usual. In the course of homeschooling, sometimes I come across really cool ideas when looking for lessons that I wouldn’t otherwise have known anything about.

Wouldn’t it be cool if we could fix the problems of global warming, not by cutting down on our lifestyle, but through replacing old products with new ones? Cheaper ones? More humane, more economic, safer products? Well. here are three that I think could rock our world.
Continue reading “Three Inventions That Could Change Our World, By Not Changing Us”

How to Read Science Journalism

I have decided to write a piece on how to read articles on science. Because, quite frankly, most (but not all) science journalism sucks. The more mainstream the website / newspaper / TV the news appears in, the more the contents are awful and removed from reality.

It doesn’t matter what the topic – climate change, GM foods, vaccines, or ‘gee whizz we’re going to the stars!’, journalists by and large are science and maths illiterate, and will usually get it wrong. Even the good ones are prone to exaggeration and hyperbole.

The thing is, it’s really, really easy to make sure you’re getting the truth. And this is how to do it:
Continue reading “How to Read Science Journalism”

Sneaking in an English Lesson

Hi everyone, today I wanted to talk about how I get C to do English lessons – by stealth! My wonderful son has until very recently (the last month!) refused to read fiction books bigger than picture books. He is still an avid reader, but has up until recently preferred reading non-fiction. And writing …well that’s a challenge that we and the OT are meeting one day at a time.

As I have previously talked about, book reviews are a no-no. They managed to completely turn him off small chapter books for months, even ones on Marvel Superheros, a firm favourite topic.

So how do I encourage my reluctant reviewer, writer/ fiction book reader? Well I have a few strategies that have slowly started to make a difference.
Continue reading “Sneaking in an English Lesson”