My daughter is 2 and we are definitely working through some tantrums and tears at this age. She is very strong willed and so I see it at my job not to keep barking orders at her, yet guide her with creating a safe space for her, nourishing her with lots of contact and connection, giving boundaries for her to know her limitations and keep her safe, yet not knock her spirit and determination. Honestly it takes a lot of energy to stay with her throughout the meltdowns, listening, waiting and maintaining connection. This is where I have to maintain my self-care and call on techniques I use to keep my anxiety and stress levels from rising. Such as my early morning practice of yoga and meditation, it’s become a fundamental and crucial part of my way to ground myself for the day ahead. I have found the most powerful tool in working through her anger and distress has been to stay with her and listen, she needs to vent and I give her the space to do that. I guess at times it’s easy to forget they are learning these skills and working through new and real emotions all the time. This is the time in their lives where they are learning how to manage these feelings, these tools will carry them through life. So our reactions are really powerful and formative. Not to say we don’t have bad days or weeks, life gets demanding, we are human and constantly learning and growing. Sometimes we are flat out overtired and just blurt something out and think “oh I can’t believe I just said that!!’ I certainly do not have all the answers but I have made it apart of my daily consciousness to we aware of and practice being present and as calm as I can be. They are usually acting out and behaving in ways they know will get your attention even if it’s destructive. The question is not why are they behaving like that? but what is the deeper reason behind that behaviour, because their always is one. Sometimes we are unaware, or distracted but other times we don’t want to see it either. They are processing big emotions all the time and it’s a lot for anyone!
I always had this notion thats seems wildly naive now, that as the kids got older, “things”, life would get easier. When I had both the kids I was pretty strung out with anxiety. I was so anxious that I was completely unaware of how anxious I actually was. I have always struggled with panic attacks throughout portions of my life but I had thought that it was just my DNA, this was my make up and I was just a highly sensitive person when it came to dealing with life. When I had my Son, my first born I didn’t feel completely supported, my husband was amazing and did everything I could have ever wished for. I felt quiet isolated and like i didn’t have a tribe of women around me to help me feel out the newness of it all, I craved it. The stakes felt higher than ever and so the pressure to not F@&K this up felt even bigger. I was surging between adoring love and suffocating fear daily. This journey of motherhood has kinda surfaced a lot of the shit I had been basically carrying around my whole life but I was just able to manage it better before kids and by manage I mean hide it and deny it. It needed it to surface and unravel so then I could really see what I was dealing with. Was this how I wanted to teach my kids to move through their lives. Unable to be truthful, authentic and cope with adversity? Unable to really be joyous, abundant and happy when life blesses you with it. Through birthing these beautiful babies, my teachers in so many ways it shone a light on my vulnerabilities and like most new parents I felt overwhelmed with a sense of protectiveness, I wanted to be the best mother I could be. So the journey of motherhood began and the lioness in me emerged. I realised that I would have to work on my self, improve myself because now it wasn’t just about me but it was for the angelic babies who relied on me for guidance and support of every kind.
So I guess at times it does feel like things are getting “easier” until we reach a new phase, life throws us a curve ball or balance is not in practice. It’s like everything it ebbs and flows. Motherhood is an evolution and a becoming, just as our children are emerging we too are learning to sway, heed and let go with the needs and demands of the family dynamic and the individual spirit. I don’t think there is a point of completion it is always in motion even when the dynamic changes. Sometimes we even see the parts of ourselves coming through our children and it pushes our buttons or we connect with it so deeply. We are all in process it’s certainly not about the destination but the journey.
We as women, motherhood aside need to be supported to in our ventures and personal pursuits. We need to ask for help and create or call upon a support network of others to help us when we need it. I am not sure raising kids was ever meant to be easier, it takes every fibre of your beings some days to just connect in and meet them where they are at with love, kindness and patience. I don’t mean that to sound horrible because some days are so joyous and beautiful and unfold in a way that makes you put your head on the pillow at night so filled with warmth you can’t even describe it. So it’s ok to need time to yourself, to have dreams for yourself, to want to connect with that woman within that sometimes gets lost in the day to day madness of family chaos.
These days I don’t seem to strive for easy, I preference presence and connection even if they seem more of a struggle in moments, I know in the long run it’s really what this journey is about. I can sit with that uneasiness for a few moments while my attention may be called else where until I settle absolute in that moment and get completely lost within my child’s being. I am in constant learning of how to deal with my anxiety and to let it impact as little as I can on my family. It’s really become a daily practice, something I am not sure I will ever perfect but I am conscious and that is all I can ask of myself. I am also vulnerable in front of them and show them we all have struggles, no one is perfect and we must work at overcoming what does not serve us. I apologise. I have chosen a life that is intertwine daily with my children but I still actively pursue other passions outside of that space because it fuels me as a mother, an artist, a woman, a being. I have so much more to give when I am giving deeply and lovingly to myself. I am learning moment to moment that all the imperfections within and outwardly that I have struggled with lead me to great revelations of truth of my spirit and empower me to move forward using those lessons to grow and be better, educate my children from that space that we never know enough and our heart is our compass so let it be your guide. Mostly there are never mistakes just sign posts, sometimes they need to be real big to keep directing us on the path we need to be on. With every hurdle we evolve more, and if we don’t another sign post is put in our way sometimes bigger and bolder than the last. Raising kids isn’t mean to be easy, we are accountable for the protection and guidance of another small human life, a precious universal spirit and that is the biggest responsibility one can take on. Raising our young is a journey, one that asks us to delve deep within search our souls and give unconditionally.
It ain’t easy but it sure is worth it.
Blessings A xx
I had such a fortunate experience this week to be able to take care of my two nieces while my sister and her partner were away. It’s funny because we are very close but we don’t live close and so the older the kids get the harder it seems to be with all of life’s commitments to really get to spend big chunks of time with them. My kids are younger and when I told them we would be going for a sleep over and hanging out over the weekend they just beamed with excitement. So much so they woke early on Friday morning and first thing they asked was “are we going to see our cousins today?”.We drove down to Sydney in the pouring rain but not even that or the mad traffic we hit could dampen the spirits of these excited little munchkins. I picked up my nieces from school and we went home to begin our wild weekend of fun. Yep a movie night and homemade pizza’s were on the cards!
There is this sort magical thing that happens when the kids get together and I am not sure whether it’s a chemical or natural kinda magic but when the kids connect instantaneously they bond and pick up where they left off. There is no awkwardness and maybe it’s just a familiarity or security response but in a moment of them being together there is sheer joy and pure love. They all have really unique personalities but are also really accepting of each other just the way they are. As soon as we got home after being drenched in the rain the 3 youngest kids decided to get in the bath so they stripped off and just jumped in. Playing and singing, so uninhibited and so eager to share with me loads of trivial yet insightful knowledge. Each of them giggling and laughing, acting sillier than the next in order to capture and maintain my attention. The way the playfulness is amplified when there is more of them, when they feel safe and free is infectious, delightful and warming to the soul.
I have mentioned before that it is one of my strongest beliefs that we can dramatically change the future of the world by the way in which we choose to parent, connect, nurture and educate our children. The beautiful thing is as we invest in their best future, nurturing these little beings precious souls, we challenge our beliefs and patterns simulataniously. We too grow, evolve and shift. We question what we know and whether it best serves our children, our most valuable gifts as it is currently structured, we want to leave it better for them and we want to teach them how to best move through the world bettering themselves and all life. We give them the space to grow into their fullest expressions and as we connect with them from that place of pure love, they learn how to share from that space and pour that back into the world.
Watching the kids connect, naturally so open and loving reminded me how we are all born in this way. We are all born with our intrinsic being, a vehicle of love, compassion and truth. The human race is all the same at the core, we all want to feel loved and to give it out. Children just show this in the most extreme of ways, when they are in need of comfort and support they will surely hold you and hold you close as if surviving off your touch alone and they are so open to talking and engaging with you, giving you praise and cuddles without thought of whether you “deserve” it or not but because it is something deep within that compels them to show you love. They follow and connect with that place within, that drives them to be and live in truth. We were all like this once, for how long, I guess it varies on our experiences. We we’re all free in our love once and our ability to recieve it and to give it.
They went on to play with some toys and watch some telly and my eldest niece who is embarking on her teen years and I were preparing some snacks. We talked about what was relevant in her world today and what her and her friends were “in to”. We talked a fair bit about what is happening socially for her as she finishes her last year of primary school and how important her friendship groups were to her. It took me back to that time where navigating good friendship seemed to take up most of my time and how truly important that felt. It was beautiful to watch her tend to the younger ones, her touch gentle, a mothering instinct full and present. She had this beautiful way of flowing into childhood and connecting with the kids and then adeptly talking to me in adult like conversation. It seemed apparent though that her childhood is beginning to fall away, into a not too distant memory that she could easily tap into and her taking those first steps into her womanhood. It was a dance that happened throughout the weekend that I almost felt it was like a super power. One I thought I need to engage in more of, my playful inner child and my feminine goddess dancing through life and calling on whoever I may need to best serve me in any of life’s ever changing circumstances. A beautiful skill to work towards strengthening.
We made dinner, the kids making there own pizza’s and all huddled on the floor to eat as of course that seems the most obvious place to have dinner right? I asked if anyone would like to sit at the table but they all informed me the floor was fine and they were having a picnic. They all were skin to skin and huddle in tight, I thought this didn’t look that comfortable but I put my thoughts aside and joined them on the ground. It felt connected and intimate, a sharing of a meal that was bonding us. We then went on to watch a movie and we cuddled up close before bed.
The next day after the initial excitement had melted away and the late night to bed started to show it’s affects through the girls feeling a little emotional and them expressing missing their mum and dad. I remembered that feeling when you were away from your parents, worrying about them, missing them from that place in the pit of your stomach and hiding in a bathroom or secret hiding place to have a little cry. I walked into the youngest bedroom as she sat their sobbing into a letter her mum had left her. With her big blue eyes, all red around the brims, she looked up at me and said in a large sobbing cry ” I miss my mummy and daddy” and it all came streaming out. I sat next to her and I reassured her that I could completely understand why she was sad and that it was ok to cry. “Sometimes a good cry makes us feel so much better!” I told her, which hey I totally believe to be true. I sat with her and rubbed her back. Then my son came in and sat on the bed opposite as she continued to release her sadness, genuine tears falling from her face, all the while clutching the letter. My son looked at her jumped on her bed and sat behind her and said ” Yeh I miss my mum and dad too sometimes.’, Moving in closer to her to let her know he was there, supporting her. “it’s ok to cry cause sometimes we feel sad or angry or upset.’ the words I had told him not sure if he had taken them in had poured out of his mouth as he confided how he too recognised these feelings. My little Amika came in to see what she was missing out on. She came and looked at Daisy and then looked at me trying to make out what was going on. Intuitively she sat on my lap and started stroking Daisy’s back and telling her that “it’s ok”, she sat with her doing this for a few minutes. We all sat there, held that space compassionately for her all recognising on some level that we had felt like this too at some point. Her older sister standing in the doorway obviously feeling she needed to take responsibility of her younger sibling said ” I have made you something special to eat come lets all have a picnic.” I asked Daisy if she wanted to join us and she gently nodded. Her older sister told me she found these treats that she absolutely loves and knows they would definitely cheer her up.
I looked at these kids and thought WOW we can learn so much from them. They were supportive, compassionate and kind and in a moment when they saw someone really hurting, they were present and had pure love available and accessible to give out. Isn’t that what this whole experience is about, what we all are here to feel? Inside of all of us there is a seed of potential, a seed of pureness, a seed that is love. We can water it, letting light shine in on it but it really needs very little to grow, because it was born with the intention to grow into it’s full beauty. It doesn’t need forcing or protecting, when it is left and allowed to just be it will grow in perfection. Love needs very little to shine, hate takes far more energy to to access and spread. Be more like children, more present and connected to your seed of love and let it express itself fully outward into the world in which it was birthed into.
I feel so blessed to have spent some time with these guys and that the lessons they have taught me are etched into my heart. It’s these moments that are a blessing and I am utterly humbled to be connected to such beautiful crazy little souls.
Blessings A xx
It’s been a really big month with lots happening hence why it’s been so long in-between posts. I have been in a really creative space and really enjoying life and learning with the kids. It came to me in a passing thought this week that this time last year I was in such a different place and we as a family were in such a different realm.
A year ago we took the move out of the city and are now residing coastal while we build our house, located further up the coast (which is taking far longer than anticipated to build but ehh that’s another story!) and what an amazing journey the past 12 months have been. Not long after and we decided that I would leave my job as a hairstylist and take some time out and really “trial” homeschooling/ un schooling the kids full-time. I felt prepared I had read so many books, watched many documentaries and listened to so many podcasts. So where are we at?? Well I could never look back, it’s still early days, an evolving journey but in my heart I can feel this is the right road for us and I can tell you a few reasons why.
One of my main concerns was being with the kids all the time. I love and adore them but a 2 and 5 year old are full on and I am the sort of person that immerses myself wholeheartedly in the doing. Would I get burnt out? Hell yes I certainly could but a few short months into our full-time experiment I knew I was going to have to find ways to care for myself or I would surely burn out and this family unit would not be thriving. So I have begun a morning routine, waking before the kids and having some sacred time before they wake, where I generally spend some time stretching, doing yoga, meditating and some journaling or writing of my choice. I was finding doing anything for myself in the evening was virtually impossible as I was exhausted and really by the time dinner, showers and bedtime rituals wound up I was left with limited time to truly nourish myself. This has been such an integral time of self assessment and setting my intentions for the day. I find that when I start the day clear and have that time to spend with myself I can ground more in being present with the kids and not always trying to steal 5 mins in the day to do something for myself, taking me away from them and them wanting to get my attention. This is such a beautiful practice and it has transformed the way in which I move through my days.
It’s been such a learning curve to really notice how and when I am not functioning well, I maybe overtired, hungry, anxious or frustrated for whatever reason, the wheels seem to start falling off and the kids start to react to my downward turn. So when I can do as much for myself as possible, have my needs met then I am fully able to meet the needs of the kids, ride the waves and really cherish the beautiful moments completely. It’s actually something that has been really coming up for me, that we have so much available to us to help support us with raising our children but there is very little awareness and attention to us as mothers and carer’s well being, we are never really taught to care for ourselves. It seems silly and may even sound selfish to some but the more I travel down the parenting rabbit hole the more I realise we need to be supported in our roles, empowered to nurture ourselves as creative, intelligent, emotional beings and create that support system around us in order to be the best parents we can. I get it now, we really do need a village to raise children right!! This has really started to motivate me to create a space in which to share this and have a dialogue about it.
Another thing I have really noticed emerging is how we are starting to talk about decisions as a family, we are a unit and the comprehension that our choices affect one another is becoming really apparent in the way in which we work through things. Even though the kids are young there seems to be so much discussion about how and why some things needs to happen. Why Dad needs to take time out to study and what he is studying for, for instance. My son has been going through a phase of really feeling like he wants to spend more time with his Dad but as my husband is at the end of his study his workload has increased so we have had to have some real honest discussions why this has to happen now and ways in which we can meet his needs to spend some extra time with his Dad through this transition. Even when those needs can’t be met in the moment we plan how we can support his Dad now and it will create more of a chance in the near future to spend some quality time together. We discuss a lot about the interests that the kids have and how we can create projects and experiences to fulfil their curiosity. Now the kids, especially my son is taking the initiative to create projects and experiments he would like to do and may ask if we could get these ingredients or supplies to make this happen. We can see this self directed learning space evolving through so much talk and discussion. Through this experience we are creating such connection as a family and supporting each others individual needs. Even when things are getting overwhelming we are learning how to best support each other.
Another big shift and something I have touched on before is that my husband and I have begun to be unschooled or de schooled rather. We are thinking of life through different lenses, pushing our selves to further our knowledge, live authentically, creatively to support our family from a financial, emotional and truth seeking stand point. To lead by example in pursuing our passions and live lives holistically making choices not from a place of fear or insecurity but actively questioning and assessing what our needs are and how we can live a life positively being our best selves. I was burnt out from my previous career and I have started doing some short courses to help me move forward in a different path as a yoga and mediation facilitator and also many other self directed projects that I have been dreaming of doing. My partner and I have begun little challenges to spur each other on to push ourselves out of our comfort zones. To really act on things in which we have been dreaming about. What an amazing gift for our children and what an amazing gift for ourselves to work at reaching our fullest potential.
Lastly but most certainly not least, before we moved to the coast I had researched and discovered there was a big homeschooling community. I had put it out there with the universe to show me a path to like minded individuals, connect us to a community if this was meant to be the path for us to put the right people in front of us to connect with and with a full heart I can say we have met so many beautiful friends and people. Families like ours and so very different but beautiful wonderful people amongst our community. By nature I love connecting with people, genuinely connecting but I can be a little shy in putting myself out there to meet new people. This has been such a wonderful experience in opening my self up to the new and being a little more open to new friendships and connections.
So as I reflect on the last 12 months my heart fills full and finally it feels we are on the right path ( for now at least until we change as the wind does). Not too say it hasn’t been challenging and at times exhausting but it has made me know myself better, it has challenged me as a mother and I have grown so much and am connecting with my kids in a deeply loving way. That was a big part of what all this is about! My partner and I have definitely learned more about each other and have had to learn to work through challenges and support each other in ways that will guide us forever. The most beautiful gift is we are living in the present, we wake up and assess our needs and we move forward trying to nourish them. We are constantly checking into where we are at and not weighed down by choices in the past nor are we always wishing to be elsewhere in the future, we are content and connected in the here and now.
“”Everybody is a genius but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it’ll live its whole life believing that it’s stupid?” Albert Einstein
When I first heard this quote I thought to myself “that is me!, I am that fish!” My whole life it’s felt like I have been searching for that thing, the thing that will make me feel like I could be me! Although maybe I didn’t even know there was such a thing as water! I just felt I was more, I could be more, I had more. But here I am a few days after my 33rd birthday and I have come to know truth, that I have been aiming to climb and feeling like I am constantly failing when really I was born to swim.
Learning naturally and at home is going to look different for each and every family, it’s an extension of ourselves, our experiences and outlook on how we want to spend our days. I guess that’s why in the early days we so often question are we doing it right? Is this enough? Am I enough?
Our choice ( my partner and I ) to choose a path of more self-directed learning for our family, has stemmed from our own journey, to a deeper understanding within ourselves of our experiences in mainstream learning environments and weighing up the “rewards” in real-time life experiences and opportunities. I feel the most genuine and enriching learning experiences I have had have been those I have undertaken under my own free will and with real, authentic passion for what it is I am embarking upon. Through these experiences I have found the deepest self understanding, the most enriching learning that has supported me throughout my life and not just for a season. I have made connections and friendships that have nurtured my spirit and path. I have found the fullest of satisfaction in the activity or experience I am doing at that time which has given me a real sense of value and gratitude for the experience of life. This is the foundation I want to lay for my children.
I realise with each passing day that this is so much bigger than education, it’s a way of life. We are laying the foundations on which our children will model their lives upon. I was only thinking this morning that as we enrol our children into a system that defines to them, not with them what they should be learning, how they should be learning, to force them to endure learning things that have no value or resonance to them. We are saying that this is how you should feel in your workplace, this is how your job and career must feel. You just trudge on through! With every path there is always hurdles and parts that seem a little chore like, but when we are passionate and purposeful about our work we are still happy to do these things, it’s our choice and they still add value to our lives.
Are we genuinely satisfied with the outdated curriculum and delivery of it within our schools? Will what our children be learning now even be of relevence when they leave school? Do we send our kids off to school not through real feeling of choice but more through societal pressure? Are we even aware of our options? It’s such a big choice how we educate our children, yet a lot of us feel we have very little power to choose a different path. I am not anti school, I think there is a need for re establishment of the current, tired system. There needs to be more options, more hands on deck, more out of the box learning. Places where children can go and learn freely, undertake self-directed approaches and projects, where they have ample time and space to be free and play amongst nature. Where their learning is THEIR learning and it is tailored to them and their ideas. A place they love to learn and feel safe. A place where their best selves can flourish, do we rush a flower to bloom? We allow it to take it’s course to become it’s full expression not comparing it to all the other flowers who bloomed a little earlier or differently. Why are we so scared to let our children learn at their natural pace? Human instinct is to learn, we are naturally curious beings, where there is questioning there will be evolving. From the moment we are born it is our natural way to attain knowledge, we watch, observe, play, mimic, role play, discover, create, grow, test, then we ah ha! learn. It’s what we are born to do.
I want so much for my kids to have the space in their lives to really learn about themselves. For once they learn about themselves and their connections in the natural world they can then project their brilliance outwards. I also want for my children to learn about science, maths and english. To have a hold on all the academics but I want for them also to know these intimately, knowing how to use them in the world, how to use them to be of service and practically in their lives. To journey through life curiously and relying on their skill set which they will develop at their own pace and need, to learn to adapt and grow with the challenges and tasks at hand. I want for them to have the freedom to choose their path not from the list of A,B or C on the university entrance list but from that place in their gut and heart that drives their life purpose. Above all what I want doesn’t really matter because it’s uniquely theirs, I can only supply the space, the example, facilitate and nurture but this is their self-directed learning and I completely trust in them to find exactly what they need, when they need it. I will be there to support them all the way.
For me I have been a fish trying to climb but it was when I became a mother I begun to swim. Not only did I swim but I wasn’t fighting the current, I was guided by something greater that me and something within me at the same time. I have had to un-do so much of the “education” that I received on so many levels and it’s only truly now that I am coming to learn to know myself intimately and therefore moving forward with my life’s work purposefully and from the heart. We are all so precious, we are all here with intention, life’s such a sacred passage and we should all have the space to develop ourselves as uniquely and timely as we need. Our days should be spent pursuing our interests, being engaged and connected and working towards a better world for everyone. Whether we are a child or an adult we all have the capacity to grown, learn and evolve into our best selves. So do the things that you fear, live genuinely and pure of heart and never stop learning.
It’s been a few long and crazy weeks since my last post. I have felt really run down and as though everything has been piling on top of me and I am suffocating under the weight of it all. This has felt like it has played out in the family dynamic big time. Alas things seem to be shifting and we are on the upward swing..
We spend so much time together that when one of us is off kilter it rolls through the unit and has big impact. Inevitably there are 4 individual needs, wants and stages that are seeking to be heard and nurtured, it’s likely most of the time someone is going to be processing something, so learning to deal with this kind of thing is going to help us reduce suffering for all. The way we learn to deal with it is by feeling it right? Going through the motions and learning to express and communicate what we feel we need to be happy and acknowledged. Sounds simple enough right?
It’s funny because I spend ALOT of time with a spirited 2-year-old and a totally switched on 5-year-old explaining the importance of them expressing themselves, their ideas and needs in a gentle way so that they can be heard and their needs can be met. The last few weeks I have not been practising this at all. I have been repressing and falling into old habits of not honouring my self-care and my needs. I have not been communicating, instead bottling things up and depleting my energy till I end up, curled in ball and tears flooding. I can blame a lot of things and people but ultimately it’s really me. I am responsible for having my voice heard and needs met. If I can’t acknowledge what I need than I certainly can’t expect my family to read my mind.
It’s been interesting to see how the kids really run off me energetically. Maybe because we spend so much time together but they really tap into my energy and seem to almost absorb it. It’s been a big lesson these last few weeks about the silent power one harnesses and how our young are reading us, all parts of us, all the time. I guess because they are so much more in tune with the subtle nuances of our tone, manner, touch and feel. They are reading the world in such a way that they are tapped in and engaged all the time, they are looking out, where as we can become so consumed within our own head and minds that sometimes the screamingly obvious we are completely oblivious too. Sometimes it can seem like a great weight to carry, the prime care givers and emotional stabilizer for 2 small individuals but that’s why we must honour ourselves.
When I really started taking the idea of having my children with me all the time to facilitate a more self-directed education seriously, one of the big things I was worried about was finding that time to replenish my cup, feed my soul and recharge my batteries. I think it is one thing that every carer embarking on this journey questions. Because the fact is if your well is dry no body drinks and this will just not work. As parents and especially mothers, our society on a whole does very little to support and encourage us to raise our young as we so feel is right for our family. From pregnancy there is little empowerment and a lot of fear created around what we are so naturally inclined and to do and flourish in. Little acknowledgement for a mother’s intuition and a culture that lacks very little guidance or initiation to mark the welcoming of motherhood’s journey. It seems quiet obvious that this is one of the hardest journeys to take on especially when we are walking it alone. We are not supported in our choices as parents to nurture our children’s individual needs and the pressures of household, work, finance and child rearing are rising with little validation that we are well equipped and entitled to make the best decisions for our children, despite if they go against societal norms.
So as I slowly venture farther down this path, a few things I am coming to understand are that on this journey it is so important to prioritize time for me and the things I love. I mean certainly as an un-schooling/ home educating mother but really for all us mothers out there. I am being opened up to how important it is to create the community that may not already be in place and advocate for the pro-choice of parents, the need for support for mothers and carers. I certainly don’t have it all figured out but I am feeling more drawn to creating initiatives that create a more connected family unit. To create spaces in our community that give us a chance to grow and flourish as individuals and as community.
If i don’t keep myself growing and learning, I will have nothing to offer my children. I have a lot on my plate at the moment and I am moving though some pretty big shifts and changes of my own. It’s funny how this decision to home educate has aligned with myself and partner’s outlook on our lives, our educations and the systems in which we function within and want to create a sense of change and wellbeing for all. To be conscious of the power of choice and to work towards reclaiming power and freedom for everyone. To live lives that are of service to our community. This move, this change in thinking, a step against the grain seemed like a small choice in the scheme of things but it has created a whole new dimension of thinking for our family and is opening a whole world of possibilities of ways in which we want to live.
I guess motherhood has been such the journey that it has made me look at the way in which I live and want to better myself to be the best role model I can for my children. To try to teach them by practicing a life of love, kindness, respect and truth towards myself and all. We are the change and we can shift things but it’s the small choices everyday, the moving through our life a little more gentle, thoughtful and kinder to ourselves and our loved ones. It’s the impact of those small moments, where we are mindful in our approach and make a choice not to just repeat what we know but to move away and choose something a little different this time. Mistakes are inevitable and we must welcome them as that is where real growth takes place. There is such an abundance of cultivation of self, when we allow ourselves to be open enough to dare to travel to those vulnerable spaces. Those parts of ourselves we repress and push down, when we go there and learn from that space, shifting the darkness into beautiful shades of light, that beam down onto our children, allowing them to absorb the warmth of change. They can then use this fuel to take it to the next level, to know more and do better, to progress to be the pure light they were born.
I am learning so much about letting the kids be the inner guides for what it is that they truly need. Home education aside, this experience of immersing myself to educate my children is teaching me some big lessons about who we are, who I am and amazingly who they truly are.
No matter what we may want our children to be, quiet simply, they are who they. We are born with our spirit strong and many of our traits ingrained. Yes we learn along the way but essentially we just are. Sometimes as parents we want our kids to be more courageous, not so shy, have more concentration, be less stubborn….. the list goes on. A lot of this comes from our own experiences and us wanting MORE for them or “knowing what is best ” for our wildlings. In spending my days with the kids I am seeing more and more who they truly are. I am tapping into the intricate parts of their personalities, their quirks and having a deep appreciation and fundamental awakening into what lays beneath the surface of their humans vehicles. For most childhood is such a magical time, where our true nature and greatness is so clear and uninhibited. Maybe instead of preparing them for adulthood we should let them be fully embraced by childhood.
Through simply just watching them and giving them space to be. JUST BE! Not instructing or coercing, just allowing their natural and divine spirit to be, to play, to create. I see how they naturally dance through the world. My motherly instinct wishes for so much for them from this life but my intuition tells me to strip it back and DO LESS. Let them be raw, let them know that I am here to assist, aid, repair and console if they choose but also that they have got this and they can figure it out. Empower them, even from this young age to ask “what is it I need? am I ok? can I handle this?” and what ever the answer may be, know what action they need to do to move fourth. It’s a delicate dance between knowing when to step in and when to step back.
My role as a mother is to guide my children in the paths that they choose. To create the environment and empower their choices but ultimately not to do anything for them but allow them to do it for themselves. Of course as babies we rely solely on our mothers and caregivers, but as we grow and want to know and do more it’s a mothers job to know when to let one go for it. It may be small stuff now, even stuff that seems insignificant but I think that flows on into teenage years, they have and inbuilt understanding, a confidence to do it themselves. Because maybe by being there and doing all the hard stuff for our kids, while it alleviate momentarily, prevents pain and heartache in that instant, long-term it gives them the message that they are not capable themselves. It dis empowers them and tells them that they alone are not enough. We teach our kids confidence by allowing them to do life, make mistakes, fall down and know they will survive whatever is thrown at them on this journey. Because they can and will.
Home education for us at the moment highly revolves around the kids being out in nature a lot! Getting dirty, making something from nothing, playing, finding their place quite literally in the world. Seeing the wonder and beauty in nature, what greater inspiration for the young mind! (for us all really!) We also have set the kids space at home up, so that they are free to read and create art anytime and this also is a big part of what they choose to do. But what I notice that they want to do the most besides play is connect with us, their parents. Both my wildlings ask about and want to connect with my/my husbands passions of art, yoga, nature, writing and music. They want to know more about what we do, why we do it? They want to know about us, connecting emotionally, physically and mentally. My son loves hearing stories about places his dad and I have travelled and how we met, people we know, our passions and dreams for the future. We have these conversations not like adult to child but spirit to spirit, person to person. I want to let them in and for them to know us deeply in this way. I want them to respect us as their parents but also know us as loving individuals. That we too just like them have many dreams for ourselves, our loved ones, our community and the future of the world. Home education is lending itself to our kids knowing who they are, their roots through connection with their loved ones. It’s natures way to have parents/grandparents/ family be your teachers, it is a force greater than us that bestows this treasured and sacred transfer of knowledge and wisdom. It feels tribal and I am truly understanding my birth right as mother, creator and caregiver. We have just forgotten that all we have to do to be our children’s greatest teachers is to be our greatest selves.
From the beginning of civilisation the elders have taught our children and prepared and nurtured them for the future. Until we have begun a more rigid and formal system to educate our young everything progressed with respect, awareness and acknowledgement for truth and life. The family unit is something to be completely worshiped and maybe as a society we should return more power and support for it. This too for giving new mother, fathers and caregivers help and support. All we support is for them to return to work as quickly as possible.
I don’t doubt that we will have moments along this journey where it is hard or we get stuck. I don’t doubt that what we know to be true right now may in the future change. I am open to the fluidity and learning curves of this journey. But if I have learnt one thing on my personal path through motherhood it is, that when you become a parent, there is a guide within you, a compass. We don’t have a manual on how to raise children perfectly, the playing field of how, when and under what circumstances children are born into are uneven and sometimes unfair. Each child is unique and absolutely precious on arrival, we just need to foster, love and educate THE WHOLE CHILD, with a holistic and compassionate approach. We may not have felt ready, we may not even feel like we are enough but we are here shoulder deep in parenthood. Just take a moment, stop and tap into your inner compass, get to know your children’s quirks intimately and follow your gut because YOU do know exactly what your child needs despite what society or anyone tells you, YOU are the chosen one, YOU ARE ENOUGH.
Being a mother really is the greatest honour isn’t it? Sometimes it’s easy to forget or lose sight of the absolute sacredness of this gift. I am having one of those weeks where I keep looking at my kids and seeing them growing, morphing right in front of my eyes. I am seeing their inner light shine and develop into these beautifully expressed little beings. I am watching and thinking truthfully ” what a gift to witness, what a blessing to be a mother.” They say we choose our parents and I feel so incredibly lucky to be chosen by these two, I only hope I can be the best guide for them to fulfil their paths and purpose here.
This week I am noticing how the more I let go of this concept of education, the more I can see the kids just trusting their intuition and finding their way, resolving their problems and finding the information they desire. I am noticing how my son seems to have so many ideas that he wants to birth into real time. He made a puppet show out of a box laying around the house, thinking up the concept of a dinosaur world, painting it, hanging up some plastic dinosaurs he had and repurposed them, using shells, sticks and bits to then make up stories and present his puppet show. I didn’t tell him to think of something to do with the box, or to make a puppet show, nor did I tell him how to make it when he expressed his desire too. He just knew what and how he wanted to do it, so he did. I assist where needed and offer guidance if called upon but I also let him make mistakes and try to resolve them.
I am learning so much how to let them just be, it’s a big learning curve as a parent because my natural instinct is to jump in when I see them falter. This comes from a place of love yes, but also my need to do something “correctly”, or thinking my way is right. We forget there is so much beauty and so much discovery of ourselves, the world and meaning in being “wrong”. The wrongs are just as necessary as the rights, maybe even more useful. As I let go, I see the lessons before my eyes, that my little wildlings are here to teach me. They are right too, being older is not always wiser and certainly not always right! You never stop learning and as I learn from them, in their freedom to find themselves amongst this space, they are also seeing me learning, making mistakes and growing. It never stops! and it’s all OK.
My son is now showing us that he is starting to read small sentences and words. We were driving in the car the other day and he says mum does that sign say “The car museum”. I turned and said “oh yes it does”. I was caught off guard and as I looked through the review mirror I noticed how the kids look out the window, watching and observing the world tinkering away. They are figuring it all out. We don’t allow the kids screens in the car and to be honest we monitor what they are allowed to watch and how much screen time they have quiet heavily, as I don’t think much of what is targeted at kids is appropriate for their minds nor do I care to promote ipads for a long list of reasons. But mainly because it takes them away from this world, this amazingly beautiful world and the connection around them, had my son been on a screen he wouldn’t have noticed that sign nor would he have suggested we go back and visit that museum. Also sure the wildlings do push each other’s buttons a bit back there in the back seat but mostly they play and hangout.
This week we have also been discussing some group activities for the kids to get involved in as O has said he would like to make some more friends. He gets quite nervous and anxious starting anything new but we have been talking about how important it is just to try new things and give it a go. We are throwing some suggestions out but haven’t had a huge response on group stuff. He seems to be drawn to solo activities and he does enjoy his own time and space which is important too. He did go with his Dad to see his first ever football match and I think he had a ball so that might be a lead… we are just observing and seeing where his interests take him. He will surely let us know with his passion and gusto! We just try to create that loving and supportive environment for him to feel safe to express himself in whatever way he so chooses.
I feel so lucky to watch these guys and connect with them all throughout our days. I really feel like I get the best of them. To see those breakthrough moments, the spontaneous learning, the freedom to express and create and the way they just play. I get to see their bond as siblings flourish and strengthen, how they learn to co inhabit this space and deal with all the wide range of emotions that come with that. I get to instil in them the values that we uphold to be of the highest importance, from loving the earth, to loving your neighbour, investing and sharing in community and respecting yourself, your life and your purpose. To live earnestly and honestly. To be their mother is truly a gift and one this week in particular, as a light seems to be shining it brighter than ever for me and I am extra grateful for. We make choices that may seem bold to some but all I can do is trust my intuition as a mother and guide my children with what I believe to be a way that is best for them. So that they can grow to be free thinkers, wildly imaginative and playful but mostly to have love and respect for themselves and the people around them, for at the end of the day this is what really matters most. When we make choices from the loving space in our heart and not fear based we teach our wildlings to move through the world with loving kindness, compassion and authenticity. We move towards a world that is connected, peaceful and free for all. A world in which I hope my children will co create and enjoy in their lifetimes.
I have been re- working my blog this week and it’s slowly reshaping.. I felt like I haven’t been writing as much and have been wondering why? YES YES time, but there is never really enough time for anything right so why let that stop us!
I guess what it really came down to was I wasn’t feeling really connected about what I was writing. Not so much the content but the topics. So I have decided to get back to really just expressing truthfully the journey of being with my kids day in and and day out and choosing to educate them out of the system. I want to write about us, really connect and share what this journey is for us and how we are kinda making it up as we go. I am learning a hell of a lot about trust in my life at the moment, this theme keeps re-occuring. To trust in life, in oneself, in others. It’s certainly not an easy thing to do and this need to control often arises, but I am really open to trusting this journey and trusting my self as a mother, that I am enough to provide the right education for my children, trust in my partner to walk along side me in co-educating and re enforcing the choices and path we choose, To trust the children to find themselves amongst the freedom of home schooling. To trust life really! ( Cause I certainly can’t control it!!!)
It was only a few short months ago that I quit my job, feeling run down and like I was shuffling kids around from one place to the other and not truly tapping into what they needed. My partner and I decided that despite the financial burden this would create me being at home with the kids was exactly what our family needed for this time. Now we decided as my son was soon to turn 5 that we would “trial” what it would be like to home educate. What it would be for me to be with the kids full time, could I handle it? Would they drive me nuts? Was I enough? Trial how they respond to learning from the life around them.
We have joined a few homeschool activities and groups to feel out the circles, talk with people and connect on their experiences. It’s been such an eye opener and such an empowering time. I love being with my kids, yep all the time! Even the times they drive me up the wall. I feel the most connected to them then I ever have. I can feel the shift in them having me around, like I am a compass as they navigate their space. They feel more settled, more grounded. We have a flow, definately not a routine but the word flow seems to sum it up. We are learning the right amount of time to be on top of each other and enough time lost in our own projects. I am learning little ways to take time outs for myself, like having my yoga mat out and taking moments to stretch and pause. I also carry my writing books and poetry books and when moments arise that the kids are engaged in play or activities I lose myself in my creative passions, even if for a few short stolen moments, they are my stolen moments. I am learning to give my kids space, to get lost in things they love to do. I guess when I was working I would feel like I would have to fill up every minute of our time together to make it last while I was away, I guess feeling like my presence alone wasn’t compensation enough. It is though, I can see having me around they are more content, they love it and so do I.
It’s totally not all roses and I have days where I get burnt out, I am tired and feel I have very little to offer. Some days where I feel like “how the hell am I going to do this?”. Days where the mess of such a lived in home gets on top of me.. But then I have days where I see something click for them, or I get lost watching them play, or create or simply share lunch and talk with them on how they see the world. I have noticed how often my son now says ” mum I have an idea on how we could make this”, or ” mum maybe we could look up how x,y,z works, or why this happens?” and how is always is enthusiastic about going to museums or galleries, knowing there is some magic piece of knowledge for him to seek out. Everyday is an adventure.
The learning is practical, it’s tangible, it’s connected. They are learning through constant engagement with the world around them. I have learnt so much about my role as a mother and learnt so much about myself in the world, through these few months with them. I feel in so many ways I have been so unclear about how I am mean’t to guide these children. I think for a long time I had fallen into a pattern that I thought was right because many others around me were doing the same. It certainly wasn’t wrong but it wasn’t me, wasn’t us. I guess I hadn’t really connected with what it was that I wanted to pass onto my children and in spending this time with them I am discovering that more and more. I am more secure in myself as a mother, not worrying about what others may think or say of how I choose to bring up my children. This has been something I struggled with a lot in the early days of motherhood, feeling such judgement in even a few passing words from others. I really feel I am enough for my children, I don’t always get it right, I am in constant learning as well, I am full of flaws. But I am enough!
So I hope this gives you a bit more of a feel of the new direction of my blog.. I’m just gonna tell it how it feels really. I hope that, that’s enough for you to keep reading and sharing with your friends xx This experience is all about following your authenticity and heart so I really hope you follow and join this journey with us.
Sending love and light All
When I first started looking into homeschooling I thought it would cost a fortune to get a little set up going. I scrolled through blogs and Instagram feeds of flashy and expensive resources. I love looking through these things still for inspiration and connection to a great community but initially I found it a little intimidating. What I soon realised was, it was more about taking away a lot of the unnecessary and unused “stuff”, that served no purpose and was just taking up space. It was more about really looking at what the kids used and taking a minimalistic approach with maximum usage focus. Also things that facilitated their learning and interests, also things that had a beautiful quality about them, or were handcrafted.
So I thought I would share a few things that the kids love to use and use all the time. Our simple approach has the kids playing with things over and over and finding new ways in which to reutilize the same stuff. It’s been super interesting to watch. It’s really hard to moderate what kids in the modern world have in terms of excess. They have so much! So I feel for us it’s about providing more in terms of quality and experience and trying to scale down the amount of unused and waste.
So here are a few things we love to use… also I might add our biggest resource by far is the internet. We use it to print charts and find information, watch documentaries, look up projects and experiments… recipes.. how to everything! I think internet, books/library card and a simple art and craft kit will take you 90% of the way, then just get out and explore!
Felt and wood toy food:
We do a lot of real-time cooking and baking and the kids love it! But they love to play shops or cafes and cook up lots of delish “pretend food” too. They use this stuff daily, they have a little toy register that they use to punch in the numbers and at the moment my son is really starting to become interested in how much things cost and the value of money. They love to lay the food out and draw it, they play tea parties and they feed it to their stuffed toys. It’s such a hit!
It seems music is always playing in our house, whether it be via the speakers where the kids play musicals and tracks they like, or the constant singing that is coming out of the wee mouths of babes, or my husband plays a few instruments and we love to play some vinyl! I love as soon as they hear something they like, it’s straight to the musical baskets for party time. We have bells, shakers, maracas, triangles, tambourines you name it! My little girl loves jamming on the Uke. Music is a fundamental part of our household. It’s a way we express and connect. I find with these simple percussion instruments they are such a good outlet and release for the kids and simply just so much fun.
Art Supplies and Air drying clay:
Our art cupboards are always full! We are all always trying out new mediums for the kids to experiment with but I always feel that there is something to be made when the cupboards are full. We tend to use acrylic paints, watercolour paint, oil pastels, beeswax crayons, coloured pencils, air drying clay, hot glue gun, moulding clay, craft nic nacs, coloured paper, ribbons and pretty much any thing from the recycle bin that sparks interest from the kids to create projects, models, toys and art! They tend to ask now “can we make something out of this?” We use an awesome online programme called Artventure which I know a lot of homeschoolers use and that is widely used in schools. My son loves this and is now able to set it up on the computer, navigate it himself and knows all the equipment he will need to get going. I highly recommend a look at this great tool. I also wanted to note how awesome air drying clay is. I always have some in the cupboard and my son loves to use his hands to make all sorts of stuff. Generally he paints it after and then plays with it. It’s such an easy to use and great addition to any art kit.
I love books and this is a little weakness of mine. I find we utilise our local library ALOT! We even library hop! But I do love having some good quality books at home to refer too. Who doesn’t love reading and re reading books! I tend to spend money on good books at birthdays and christmas. I have had some good finds at Op shops and charity stores too. Again I do try to navigate from that same space of quality over quantity. It’s something we have tried to spend time really instilling in the kids, a love of books and reading. I feel like it is a gift you have for life. You can take anywhere and can get lost in worlds so far from your own, find any knowledge you seek.
You can never go wrong with a tub of lego! We have a load of duplo that the kids play with and now my son is getting older he has a few sets of the modelling lego. To be honest we don’t really follow the recommended age as they both love playing with both sets. Lego is great for creative play, counting, colours, problem solving, you can pretty much use it for anything you want to teach! They get so creative with what they build and we are going through a big fortress building phase which is awesome to see how my son is figuring out how to solve the problems that arise when you have an idea in your head, that you want to build and bring to life.
We got this Oregon Globe for christmas last year and it’s interactive. It’s pretty neat, as you navigate the wand over countries, cities or places it can tell you facts, national anthems, games, quizzes all that relate to the area you would like to know about. My son is particularly curious about earth, maps and planets so this really appeals to him. He is learning how to work it but really enjoys all the information that it relays. We also use the globe as a constant reference to the many questions popping up about languages, places and travel. It’s out on our dining table all the time!
This small chalkboard is indoors in the kids space. They use it to draw all the time and love it. It also has a white board on the other side. I am finding this particularly great at the moment as we are starting to work on spelling with my son. He is always asking how is this spelt? and that? so the chalkboard is out and easily accessible for him or I to write on. He is also starting to practice words he remembers on there and ask is this spelt right? It’s old-fashioned yes! But it’s reliable and handy! Oh and it works for us at least. its great for me to write a bunch of words on for him to copy in his book throughout the day also. Again this is something that you can adapt for many learning uses. I think we scored this from Ikea a while ago!
These are things that many would have in their home and I guess what I am trying to say is that you don’t need to go out and spend a fortune. Especially when they are small because there is learning opportunities in all the stuff you have around the house. I would highly recommend joining your local library and many have toy libraries as well. Visit your local op shops and charity stores and you will be amazed at what you can pick up! Mostly though I would reccomend to get outdoor and go exploring. You will be amazed at the kind of learning that happens on a bush walk, a visit to a beach, a trip to a new park. You will talk about all you see and can extend on the learning through things as simple as conversation, a quick google search can answer so many questions! They love just doing and being apart of your life.
I would love to hear some of your favourite learning resources. Please share your experiences. Just remember it’s not about quantity but quality and really the time you invest in your children is far more valuable than anything that can be bought!