This week: 33 turns around the sun

“”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.

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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.

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This week: Out of Sync

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.

 

 

This Week: Let your Children be the Guide

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.20370551_10155518416923554_1770087107_n

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.

This Week: Gratitude for Motherhood…

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.

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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.

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The fresh blog… The diary of a homeschooling mama

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

Ax

A few simple Home Ed resources… doesnt have to cost a small fortune!

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!

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Musical Instruments:

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.

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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.

Books :

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.

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LEGO:

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.

 

Globe :

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!

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Chalkboard :

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!

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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.

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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!

Peace x

A

Botanical Gardens… Learning opportunities in every adventure….

As we are very early on in our homeschooling journey I feel no real pressure to enforce learning. The kids naturally do it, crazy thought, we all do! Through their busy and inquiring minds they ask many questions, they initiate ideas or adventures, they probe for information. I guess what we do as parents is provide opportunity to seize a moment, to pursue an interest that is expressed or facilitate learning where we possibly can. Although parents, we naturally do all this from our children’s births, so it feels like a natural progression. We love seeing these little humans achieve and evolve. We will do anything to see them reach their fullest potential, it’s just what we do.

We are all so unique, diversity amongst our culture is imperative to our survival. So why does it feel like the agenda of the education system is to fit us all in a box? Do we dare to unbox ourselves? Crazy thought and unfathomable for some, but the more that I look at the current set up and weigh up what the “pros” are to it, I see less and less value in a system that is not set up with a holistic approach and the absolute wellbeing of the child’s mind, body and spirit. It’s set up for productivity and box handling.

Our goal for our children is to create a space where they can find themselves in freedom, security and in the time they need. Just when I begin to worry that we may possibly ruin our children for life (as the scary world can make you believe), they show me in action why we want to pursue this path. They remind me that they have given me the absolute honour and trust in me 100% as their mother to guide them and I too should trust in their strong and courageous spirits. Both so different, both so loving but both on a strong path of push and pull.

We recently visited the Botanical Gardens in Sydney amongst this AMAZING autumn weather we have been indulged in. I watched the kids interact with the trees, climbing them, connecting with their enormity and wisdom. They saw so many different plants and creatures. We talked about the colours, textures, botanical names and sheer beauty that nature reflects. At one point my son was gathering all the fallen materials of sticks, leaves and bark and creating an artwork on the side of the footpath of the nature around him. No one told him too, he was inspired by what he was experiencing and followed an impulse from that creative spark, that lead to inquiry and the fulfillment of that inquiry. That right there is what I think I want to teach my children, what I what their education to be built on. To look at the world around them, the beauty and horrendous and let it inspire you to do something great. It maybe a small artwork now but that work will evolve and change with what the inspiration maybe. With the level of engagement and interaction with and amongst the world as that relationship matures. To be inspired by what you see and feel needs to be changed and improved and to promote and fully engage in what resonates and stirs passion within you. That is what we, us humans are here to do right?

So even something that may seem small like a stroll through the park can invite all sorts of learning on an emotional, physical and spiritual level. Kids are so intuitive, so adventurous and so beautifully carefree and creative. Let’s not squash that by setting boxes to tick,  grades to meet or potentially “fail”, or timeframes to live within. Let’s be encouraging an environment that promotes and fosters self-awareness and assertiveness a love for learning and life. A connection and respect to family, the earth, life and yourself. Let’s give our kids the space and time to reach their fullest potential whatever wonderful, weird or wacky way that might be expressed or even and hopefully a combination of  all and more!

A xx

Self-Care – My journey with Yoga

I am finding it a little hard to be posting weekly at the moment and considering maybe pulling it back to fort nightly, as I have just taken a big step in my personal life and decided to do my Yoga teacher training. I am only a few weeks into my 6 month course and it’s already transforming me! Beyond anything I imagined. It’s been a long time since I have felt (besides motherhood and family), that I have been exactly where I am meant to be. Like I am working towards something that I feel passionate about and that feels like it has real purpose and meaning.

You see I am one of those creative types, ha! I love a project and so my interest span over so many things, Music, art, craft, WRITING, poetry, reading, performance and the list goes on. I love working in flow and using my hands to create. Although writing is something that I have always loved and been constant, I seem to flip in and out of things quiet a lot. It could be due to my broad interest and I genuinely do love learning so many mediums. It could also be that I have struggled with my confidence and never see things through at the sheer terror of failure. I would say mostly though it’s because although I love to experience many things, none of them seem to stick, never crossing that bridge from enjoyment to feeling a sense of passion and purpose. Maybe you need the magic combination of all the above.

I have desperately been seeking that feeling where I would love to sink my teeth into something. Maybe  I was looking to hard, not actually allowing things to evolve and I guess find me. I have done a few courses over the last few years trying out different things and although they gave me a sense of satisfaction, I didn’t get the feeling like they were things that I would want to do as an everyday practice. It left me feeling lost, like I know there is something out there for me but maybe I would never find it. Yet here I am with that feeling like ‘I have arrived’. The funniest part is that when I enrolled in this course my goal was not to be a yoga teacher exactly, I was open to what may arise but thought maybe this would help me deepen my practice and help me find some answers into what next… Yoga has been a big game changer over the last 12 months and so it felt naturally like a good idea.

As with all great ideas then our minds get in the way! Funny that huh? In making my choice to do this I decided to try something different from my usual approach. I am a pragmatic, grounded thinking Virgo! I analysis everything and I tend to make choices from my head. I lead with the practical mind and not so much from the heart. This is something I think that has escalated since having children. I shouldn’t do this because… it’s so much money, takes so much time, doesn’t work with everybody’s schedule, will put people out, doesn’t fit in with my plans….and so on and on and on… But mostly because maybe somewhere deep inside it’s easier to hide behind excuses than own my space.

So I sat in meditation for a few weeks and just felt exactly what my heart was telling me to do. I had reached this crossroads where I was sure (SO SO SO SURE) that I was done doing what I have been but not sure what the next step was. As much as my head was talking me out of it my heart was telling me there was something here for me. So I jumped in, heart first. I feel like I am so in sync with myself and I had almost forgotten what it felt like to feel like that. A sense of utter joy in the doing..

About a year ago I started committing to my practice several times a week, no excuses. At home and classes. I feel like I have worked through so much stuff on my mat and it has filtered through so many aspects of my life. Key areas are parenting, self-love and care. I feel like the more I am dedicated to a regular practice, the more grounded I am with the kids, more rational, more connected and more conscious. I feel I don’t fly off the handle so much and I tend to just not let the small stuff that used to get to me, affect me so much. It has made me observe how I am as a mother and acknowledge things that I feel I am doing well and other areas where I feel i can modify things. Also more grounded in the decision-making of how is it that I truly want, need, must parent each individual child. I have my mat out at home and even if I feel like things are getting too much I literally go sit, or stretch on my space and give myself a break. Even this, the kids ask what I am doing and it either opens up a dialogue about how I am feeling, how they fell or they join me. My son actually asks me and his Dad to do meditations now. Hurrah!

I have learnt in the time and space that I allow myself (guilt free now), how hard I have been on myself for so long. How hard I push myself and how much pressure I put myself under. I have been the cause of most of my suffering for so long. Now I approach myself with more love, kindness and gratitude. The nicer I am to myself the more I seem to flourish and thrive. I focus on my strengths and acknowledge my weaknesses but don’t channel my energies there any longer. I channel them where I want to see myself shine. Invest them in the people and things I love.  Trust in the process of life and try practice being present. As mothers we give out so much loving energy to our children and families and to raise these beautiful souls it uses ALOT of vital energy. It’s certainly not an easy job and it is relentless. The little energy we have left we need to harness not direct into self loathing, or feeling unworthy.

The funny part is when we offer our selves that space, even as little as an hour a week to tap into ourselves. Reconnect with ourselves in something that makes us feel great, a walk, a class, a meditation, a good book, a coffee child free!, WHATEVER YOUR ZEN MAYBE! When we make ourselves a priority two things happen we find a joy in ourselves again, a love for ourselves, a contentment in our life and it flows into all aspects of our lives! By us loving ourselves enough we are also teaching our children one of the biggest lessons in life too. That they must love themselves enough, they are worthy and need to make themselves a priority! As one day they may choose to become a parent, or maybe that is not their path but either way they will know by the example that was set for them, that self-love is one of the most important kinds of relationships that we engage in as it will determine all the others we experience throughout the rest of our lives.

I encourage you this week to find a space even if it’s for 15 mins to just sit with yourself and see what comes us for you. Just drop down into your heart, feel and listen. You may be surprised what you hear or maybe the freedom of dropping out from the constant noise may free you in a whole new way. Just remember YOU ARE WORTHY!

Blessings A x

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Field Trips – Wollongong 

This weekend we extended our weekend, due to Anzac Day and headed out of town . We’ve have had a couple of science museums on our radar in Wollongong for a while and so we decided as it was Miss 2’s b’day we would celebrate as a family on a little adventure.

We didn’t really get Little A any gifts (she managed to get so many from family and friends anyhow). We have decided that we would prefer to give the kids more experiences over material gifts for birthdays. So we try to encourage this as much as possible.

I had seen somewhere, probably in my constant, addictive googling! That there was a kids only museum in Wollongong. THE KIDS EARLY START LEARNING SPACE. I thought this sounded pretty cool and as Mr 4 loves going to museums and anything science based, (and Miss 2 loves anything her older brother likes), it’s been on the radar for sometime. We decided to get there as early as it opened and I think this was a good idea because by lunch time it was pretty packed. We went on a Saturday but it was the tail end of school holidays so that could also be a factor. The space was awesome in the 3.5hours we spent there, the kids were busy and engaged the whole time. There were many different areas and it catered for many different learning abilities. I loved how hands on it was. They run shows throughout the day also. We didn’t get to either of them as the kids were “too busy”. Some of the activity areas included an area for human body where you could brush oversized teeth, human body puzzles, books and charts. Felt wall hanging where you could move body parts, human body torso, that you could take body parts in and out of to discover where they were positioned in the body.  The shop and cafe, this was probably by far the kids favourite area. My kids LOVE creative, imaginative play and being able to get their own shopping trolley fill it up with groceries, take it to the register was right up their alley. There was a little pizza and sandwich making space, like a cafe restaurant and the parents could take a seat and the kids could come over take your order and make some food. It was super cool. They also had a giant mouth and esophagus that the kids could crawl through and see how the food travels. Another highlight with its burping and farting noises! There was a huge pirate ship to play on, a building site to get right into and loads of musical and dress up areas and activities. Like I said we were there for almost 4 hours and if the kids weren’t totally exhausted we could have stayed longer as they loved it. The cost of entry was $60 for 2 adults and 2 kids. I would highly recommend this space if you live near, or visit regularly the Wollongong area. Even if you are passing through its definitely worth a visit.

The next day we visited THE SCIENCE CENTRE AND PLANETARIUM. When we heard there was a planetarium in town we knew without a doubt that we had to go. Mr 4 has had such a strong interest in space, planets and all things astrology for some time now! When we told him we were going he was pumped. The planetarium does a few shows daily and it’s really worth a visit. You are looking up into space and seeing constellations and then go on a ride through space with some alien friends. It was super cool and miss 2 and mr 4 both sat through the 1/2 hour show without so much as a peep. Actually so did mum and dad!!

The science centre also runs a bubble and balloons show. Which was fantastic. It again goes for approximately half an hour and is a demonstration and a few experiments. Mr 4 got up and volunteered to be a helper in an experiment which was great to see. Usually not so confident in standing up in front of a crowd like that. It really showed me how when a child is engaged in something and has that wanting to learn they will. They will let you know when they are ready.

The actual Science Centre itself was also pretty neat. There were many displays and it’s set over 2 levels. Lots of hands on and tactile learning to be done. Some of the displays included bee keeping, the effects of earthquakes, dinosaurs, parachute/gravity, electricity and magnets, plus so much more! I also loved watching how Miss 2 and Mr 4 navigated the space so differently, they both went on everything but were getting different things from it and that was really cool to see. Again we spent another half a day here and the kids were very much engaged the whole time. My recommendation especially with little kids would be to check out the show times online before you go and arrange your visit around that. Again the cost of entry was $60 for 2 adults and 2 kids. I would also suggest taking your own lunch as the cafe is full of snack type food and not a lot of healthy options.

So we loved this as a bit of a birthday get away and treat for my daughter. It was heaps better than presents that she wouldn’t remember and it was not only educational but a lovely chance for us to connect as a family. The kids were pumped about the adventure to get down there, the thrill of sleeping in a hotel and getting to out and visit heaps of fun stuff! The greatest moments are those shared amongst our loved ones. I love sharing experiences where we are learning together.. Being able to watch my kids and see them grow not only in a literal sense but in a spiritual sense is such a divine gift.

Please if you have any questions don’t be afraid to ask or if there is anything else you think i should add let me know!

 

Many blessings xx

How do we say it aloud?.. We are going to homeschool!

I have been a little slack with posting of late but I have been working through a lot of things and generally been feeling quiet tired. We have been busy and the long weekend gave us a chance to reconnect and regroup as a family.

I think I have also been quiet as we have been to a few events lately where people have mentioned that my son will be starting school next year and asking if we have looked into schools ect. I find myself feeling awkward and brushing it off like “we still have lots of time to think about it”, as I don’t feel like I want to have THAT conversation with disapproving eyes and judgements. Although this is what I have thought in my head and the reality is it could be a totally different scenario. A lot of people close to us know our intentions but it has made me feel like a bit of a fraud and coward to be honest.

The fact is that I have been researching and reading, attending seminars and conferences for the last two years on homeschooling our kids. It is by no means a choice I or my husband has taken lightly. I think this is a far more challenging but in my view rewarding route to take on. I don’t think it will be easy, but when I think of sending the kids to school, although I went to school myself it feels so unnatural, so wrong for us and mostly for them. I don’t think this is the case for everyone but more so for our unit. I have and continue to look into some local Steiner Schools in our area, which seem lovely but when I really connect to it, home educating at least for the early part seems most right. I am not anti school, I feel for many reasons that this is the way we want to raise our children.

So I guess because I am following my instincts, my mother’s intuition I have to trust that when the time is right all those whom we care for will understand and if not understand just accept and encourage us on the path we choose for our family. We more than anyone else want whats best for our children. I think this is a big challenge for me also because I tend to be such a people pleaser but I feel this test has been put before me, for a reason. To show me my strength, to learn to speak my truth and not be ashamed of it. I am only doing what feels best for my family and it’s not at the harm of anyone else.

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Image sourced from @parentingpassage

There you have it I guess as the year ticks on by more and more people will ask us about schooling options for our kids and I will undoubtedly have to speak my truth. For now I have a bit more time for it to sit and build courage within. I know, as my heart speaks to me that it is the right thing so I must trust… trust that all will be well when you pursue truth. These are my core values and I test them in real time, I trust in the lessons of the heart.

For any other homeschooling families out there I would love to know how have tackled telling people close or random about homeschooling and what responses have been. Prepare me my friends..

Blessings love and light… xx A