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The Tale of Three Birthdays · Sunday November 19, 2006 by Abbie

I can’t quite believe it but Ram was 10 on Friday! Everyone under 12 in the house was very excited and woke early, and everyone over 12 wanted to sleep a little longer before having to get up and tidy the house!

We have never had the type of party that only children come to. I guess if Ram went to school then I might have fallen into that way of doing things. But because home educated children are so good at mixing with children of all ages, it just seems natural to invite whole families. That way the parents get to have a good time too.

On the Friday we had six children ranging from nearly six to 16, and their parents. We didn’t do games this year, but just had a lovely supper with everyone round the table enjoying the chat. Ram came up with a great idea for the cake this year. He requested individual muffins so that everyone could decorate their own! It was great fun, not only for the children but the adults too! Sometimes I think adults should have a chance to have some fun too!

Afterwards the four younger children went off and played goodness knows what. There was a mixture of schooled and home educated children, but that doesn’t seem to matter to them. They all got on well. And by having a mixture of ages we adults knew that we could trust them to not do too much damage!

One of the older teens stayed with the adults for a cup of tea and one went off baby-sitting. The Dxh was here, but we let him go after supper as he had some important software to write. I think he finds these family get togethers too much! Because we have a household where we don’t make divisions between children and adults but give everyone an equal space, the rest of us, regardless of age had a lovely natter.

Then we had another family round on Saturday. Normally they would have come on the Friday but the mum had a stroke a few months ago, and I knew that it would be too much for her and the family to come round after school.

Ram didn’t mind that we had less on the Friday and an extra bit on the Saturday. He understands that we have to make allowances for other people, even on our birthdays!

In fact, I think it is important that children learn about charity, both small c and large C. And the best way for them to do this is to watch their parents do this.

I do some official volunteering for a national charity, and he knows that I have to spend some time every week doing that. But he has also learned about small c charity. The neighbourly stuff that communities seem to have lost over the years.

We used to visit an elderly gentlemen while waking the dog and feeding the village ducks. At first Ram didn’t understand why we went to see him every day. But by explaining it he slowly began to see why we were doing it.

So not only do I visit my house bound friend that had a stroke once a fortnight because she is a dear friend and I want to do that, I am also using it to show Peter how charity begins at home with friends and neighbours and it isn’t just all about donating some money to a good cause.

According to research in America, 71% of grown up home educated children participated in a volunteer community service activity compared to 37% of adult Americans. HSDLA-Home Schooling Grows Up

But unless I show Ram how to do that sort of thing, because of the autistic way of thinking he will never notice other people doing this and may never think that visiting an elderly person or a sick friend is a good and useful thing to do.

So he had no problem with having to have a second party. Well, he wouldn’t, would he!

Today, Sunday, he is going to get another surprise. He is obsessed with Lego Bionicle and wanted all six of the new models. So far he has received four of them from his friends, but I have saved the last two for today. We have four little cakes left so after lunch I will bring them out, complete with candles, and sing that song again for the third time. Then he can have his last two Bionicles and Ram, Banana and Sheepy can decorate their cakes until the cow’s come home while the two mums have a rest!

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