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

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.

18013062_10155186036988554_1401127919_o

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

Project Painting Pots and Sowing Seeds..

This week we have set ourselves a little project to paint some terracotta pots that we have bought and plants some seeds for herbs and strawberries. I wanted to break this down to show how one project can cross so many activities, subjects, discussions and interests. Also how both my 2 and 4.5yr old are learning different things from the same project. This project idea sparked from, as many do the enquiring and creative mind of my 4.5yr old. He asked if we could grow something and I was surely open to that.

Firstly we have gone on a shopping trip to buy what we need. (Generally if I have the time I will try and source things second hand or try to make things as sustainable and cost effective as possible). So we put together a list: (O isn’t writing as yet so I write the list with his guidance and input.) When doing things like this I always ask if he knows how to spell a word? or things like “what letter does he think peppermint would start with?” to keep him engaged and co creating as much as possible.

*Seeds, 8 pots,  8 pot dishes, soil, watering cans, spades. (we have our arts supplies of paint brushes ect at home so we don’t need to purchase these)

When we get to the shop we find the pots, I get him to count them as I put them in the trolley. His sister joins in. I ask him a few questions like “ok so far we have 5 pots in the trolley in order to get 8  how many more will we need?” He counts up and replies 3! Awesome a pressure free maths lessons right there! These things are not preconcieved but seem to spontaneously happen, organically the questions, answers and knowledge seems to flow.

We continue to collect everything on our list, letting the kids be as hands on as possible as this is their project. We collect everything and manage to get ourselves and our bits and bobs into the car and home.

When we get home I put my youngest down for her afternoon nap. I then set O up with his paint, brushes and the pots and tell him to decorate the pots anyway he chooses. After doing one he asks if I would join him and help him with painting some of the pots. I sit with him and start on one. Then he asks of help to paint a galaxy. I tell him ok lets do it together. I ask him to paint the pot black and after it drys I will paint some planets and we can paint some stars together. So we do. We do lots of different patterns and O is getting very confident in mixing colours and experimenting with making different shades, depths and layers. We continue to paint and make each pot unique and different.

After my daughter wakes up from her nap we check the pots and they are dry so we decide to get our potting mix, tools, seeds and watering cans out so that we can plant the seeds. All 3 of us each grab a pot and start to fill them up. Lil A loves any excuse to get dirty but I am noticing how well she is digging the soil and then placing in the pot. It’s so interesting to see how much she learns and absorbs from her older brother by just watching and mimicking what he does.We fill all the pots up. I had written down the names of the herbs on paddle pop sticks and laid them all one the floor and all the seed packets next to them, in no particular order. I then asked O to pick a packet of seeds and try to find the corresponding paddle pop stick. So after he matched correctly he could open the packet, pop the seeds in, cover them, water the soil and then place the paddle pop stick in so we can remember which pot is which. He goes and does this for each of the packets until he is done. Meanwhile I am showing Miss A how to use the watering can and she is having a ball adding extra water to the seedlings. We all then help to pack away and clean up all the mess we have made.

The next day I sit down with O and chat about our project. We are both curious to see which seeds will sprout first. I ask him if he thinks it would be a good idea if we track there progress over the next 4 weeks? He is pretty happy with that idea so we do up a very basic little chart and plan to track and monitor the progress of the seeds. He already has the responsibility of watering them but now he can take special note of any changes while he does. O then asked if he could take photos of the pots this week and then also on the following weeks to keep a visual log as well. I thought it was a great idea and gave him my phone to do so. On the back of the chart I drew up for him he also practiced spelling some of the herb names. He is a perfectionist and so I try not to push with his writing as he always thinks its not “neat” enough, or ‘good’ enough. I always tell him it takes practice and just try to encourage him to write words here and there as long periods seem to get stressful and distressing. He is only 4.5 and can spell some basic words but I can see the pressure he puts on himself already, I certainly don’t want to exaserbate that so I find sometimes it’s better to give them space to come to things in their own time. When the readiness and willingness is there. I just try and create the space and opportunity for the learning to occur when they are ready to take it on.

So that is that, we will keep an eye, water and tend to our little baby seeds for the time being. We will also monitor and record whatever happens and put together a little poster of our findings at the end. But I hope you can see how when a child has an inquiry or interest in something that you can extend on that, in your everyday life and they can learn across many different subjects from one small project. I feel like things like this, pop up all the time in life and we just allow space and encourage the kids to follow and find out the answers to their own questions. They can express their learning in creative and artistic ways, psychical skills, literacy and numeracy skills and also fostering a connection to life and the earth while learning without pressure. Meanwhile we are learning and growing as a family and individuals, side by side in a loving and nurturing environment.

 

Hope this inspires you with a little project of your own! Learning can come from any interaction, any interest, any moment all you have to do is tap into it. Let the child guide you x

blessings to all

 

 

Morning Gratitude

 

I have recently read a book, that I would highly recommend called “You are your child’s first teacher “/ encouraging your child’s natural development from birth to six – Rahima Baldwin Dancy. Rahima is a well respected Waldorf Educator and this book is one I wish I had read when I first became a mother, as it has so much useful and practical insight into the lives and well being of babies and children but also mothers. I am very much drawn to Steiner education and philosophy as learning through beauty and creativity is something that resonates with me deeply and that I practice within my own life.

 

There was lots within these pages that really spoke to me, but there is one thing I have recently implemented into our daily routine that I am loving and I wanted to share. We as a family do not practice any particular religion, I personally have many ways in which I pray, meditate and give gratitude on a daily basis. There are lots of religious texts that resonate with me and that I refer too without being rigid in my beliefs but more taking bits of what speaks to me and incorporating them into my life. Allowing them to inspire me, living by them through my human spirit. As a child we would pray in the evening before dinner and give thanks. Something I think is a truly beautiful gift for all in the family. A moment to stop and take note of what lays in front of you, to acknowledge how it was prepared, who you are sharing your meal with and all you have to be thankful for. Now when I read in this book about incorporating a “giving thanks” before dinner it really bought up a lot of positive memories and I thought this is definitely something I want to bring to life in our home. I love the idea of instilling ritual, gratitude and connection within our children.

So for a week or so there I attempted to do “giving thanks before dinner”, it did not go as I had planned it in my head (but when do things ever?). The kids were overtired, not really listening or engaging, they were hungry and just wanted to devour what was in front of them and they just didn’t seem to be connecting with it. You know those moments as a parent you feel discouraged,  you feel like you put so much effort, thought and love into something that seems to be received with very little care. I felt hurt and frustrated and after the week was out I just thought why bother… I just won’t.

A few days later, I went to a yoga class and in the class the teacher read a passage that just sung to my heart when I heard it. You know when you hear words put together that speak exactly as your heart feels, it feels like that springtime warmth of the sun on your skin but on the inside. After class I asked her what the passage was and she said I was more than welcome to take a photo of it on my phone, so I did. I got home and I read it and re read it. I sent it to my mother and sister as it moved me so much. I thought to myself this is exactly how I want to live my life, I want to wake everyday and read this passage, to inspire my day, my life and the world around me. I then thought actually this is what I want for my children. Maybe I could read it with them when they wake of a morning. So I decided after we wake up each morning, the kids have had breakfast and we find our groove to start a little ritual. To get the kids engaged and feel really connected to this we have created a little “Morning Gratitude” that evolves something like this. The kids get their box of crystals out, a beautiful little cloth with bells, a candle and a small little table. I get the kids to dress the table with the cloth, place the candle on it, place crystals and anything they really want to, then they both choose a special crystal that they hold. I begin to light the candle and as I do I tell them as we light this candle we are lighting up our intentions for the universe. They sit and repeat after me as I say the following passage.

591a691ad5a81435be91dd3318c17173.jpg

“We give thanks and gratitude and send love and light to all those in need at this time.”

I then let the kids blow out the candle, which they love and as the smoke rises I tell them look at our prayers going up to the universe. They love this and now they are actually asking to do it. They are wanting to do it and connecting with the time of reflection. The funny part is we were at their grandparents house the other night and before dinner Lil O asked if we could say a prayer and give thanks for our food. So we did. It’s funny how they absorb things, process things and when that connection is made they live it and truly understand it. I guess we are not only their first teachers but their biggest teachers. In all that we say yes, but more how we do and how we live our truth. I love those moments when you see flashes of the most purest of hearts, that of a child. As a parent it’s their innocence and purity that keeps you working harder, expanding and bettering yourself in order to give them exactly what they need. What they deserve. It’s pure and unconditional love.

So I hope this little offering of morning gratitude inspires you to create some time to give thanks for the abundance in your life. It’s there you just have to want to see it. Create a space in your week to connect and engage in a little ritual that will create moments of magic within yourself and your family.

Love and blessings friends, I am always open to connecting so please feel free to let me know how you go with your little moments of offerings.

Peace

17269098_10155070456533554_1799829356_o

 

 

What does an education mean to you?

As I write this I am sitting in my comfy bed, with my salt lamp gleaming by my bedside, essential oils burning and I have that feeling like, deep breath in and sigh out, “AGH HOME”. I have always been a gypsy by heart, but as time goes on as much as I love to travel I love to return to my nest.

Our time in Fiji was amazing and gave me a some time and space to just be and to allow things to just present them selves. I love that when you change your space, your senses are heightened and you begin to look around at the world through more perseptive eyes than the grind of the day to day allows.

As we spent 2 weeks in Fiji, it really gave me time to reconnect with the culture there and I must say throughout all my travels I have found the Fijian people some of the most genuine and heart warming people I have ever come across. They have a genuine happiness that comes from acknowledging and truly just being amongst many of life’s simple pleasures. Many locals tell you ” we live simply, but we are happy”, honestly you can see it.

As I observed life in the villages, I felt like such a foreigner but one whom was and is completely fascinated by the village life. Living truly connected with the land, growing their own food, catching their own fish, making their own medicines. Women supported in their roles as mothers by other women. I then look at my own life and wonder if I would be able to fend for myself under such a climate? How un supported we are as mothers in the modern world, how disconnected we live from the earth and our neighbours. Observing life in the village also really made me think about the wealth of knowledge that is past down through community and family, how we learn through the guidance of those around us. What education looks like for these kids in Fiji as opposed to modern day Australia. A lot of these kids attend local schools, some for longer than others if they are not called upon to work or help the family. Although village life seems to provide a whole other level of education that we are completely missing in Oz. Locals know about history, their culture, how to hunt and grow things, medicinal concoctions, they understand the weather patterns, things I think are so important to reconnect ourselves and our children with. They have a respect for the earth in which they co exist with.A more harmonious way of living.

Don’t get me wrong the country has it’s issues political,health care, economical and beyond, but when you think about it what countries don’t ? Rich or not? I am not ignoring any of this I just found the simplicity and contentment in life on the island something in which I find my self working towards in my own life.

I also had time to watch the children just be, sometimes amongst the haze of duties within life I feel like sitting and watching them is rarer than I would like. I can’t imagine what it would be like if they went to school for 6-7 hours of the day! I watched my son’s confidence in swimming soar, just swimming everyday and loving it. Feeling stronger in himself, not rushed or forced but just tapping into that “I am ready, I can do it” feeling within. I watched them play with old coral, rocks and shells on the beach, my son making skeletons and human bodies from them. Learning and feeling confident in speaking in the local language to everyone. Another thing that was lovely to watch was my son’s confidence around making friends and new people. He seems to be hitting a new level of interaction where he wants to hang out with his friends in the pool and have little adventures not needing us, his parents in direct contact. He knows we are there but he was socially interacting with his peers. It was lovely to see him happy and confident. It’s all I really could ask.

My daughter too speaking so much and expressing her self, She is hitting a challenging spot and it’s battle of wills. She has also been very clingy with me but I try to just be there and cuddle her as much as I can. I looked at both of them and thought, they are learning! Through life, creativity, expression, watching us, questioning, through their community, through love and life they are learning. I don’t think I have to try so hard to set up activities or worry that my son isn’t writing or reading enough, fuss over the nitty gritty because they are learning, they are whole and they are happy. I guess this journey is really about being open to acknowledging who they are, what their interests are and when they have needs meet them as best as I can or find someone better equip. Nourish their spirit and the rest will fall into place. Trust in this journey of life, that our human need to grown and learn is their instinctively, when we need it, it’s how we survive and evolve.

What does education mean to me? Yes I want my kids to be able to read and write, to calculate sums and interact genuinely and truthfully amongst society. But what I think education is and should be is experimenting with things that spark your interests and intrigue you so deeply that you can’t not know more about it. To tap into that genius inside all of us and be allowed to nurture that space, refine it and let it flourish. To live life with a life long love for learning, learning is a passion, it grows with you and takes you where you want to go, into who you really are. As your spirit evolves, the knowledge deepens and grows to allow your spirit to truly shine authentically. Education is learning how to exist in the space harmoniously with the earth and all inhabitants, creating a better future not just for yourself but for many, being the best you can be and being authentic. Just being you and be the best at it.

Standardised testing what is it that we hope to achieve?

I am not anti school, nor is it that I have disregard for educating my children. It’s actually the opposite I am very invested in my children’s education and that’s exactly what has lead me to consider and approach home educating my children.

I think school could be amazing and I am sure there are many that are, but I don’t think one stream of education can possibily suit and get the best out of every single individual out there. Sure I had a pretty decent education in a mainstream setting but I always wonder if I had been given the chance, allowed the time and space to evolve creatively and academically, supported and nurtured allowing one to just be, how different my path could have been. I have no regrets as it’s all a journey and process but it’s only now as I open myself up to “un schooling and natural learning” that I realise the true value and wealth in it. We are born with the natural desire to learn and we should want to learn for life unless that is beaten out of us by what people define education to be. By the dictation of facts and fictions, rules and regulations that make up our days by what we have now become to know as necessity, mainstream education.

One of my main dislikes in the education system is the constant evaluation, comparison, competition and utter anxiety brought on by the relentless standardised testing. This model seems completely unnecessary and who is it really benefiting?  Why exactly do we need to mark and rank our children? Are we not just putting them in a box and telling them what their capabilities are and not really allowing them to truly reach their potential and then some? And what about those kids who excel at things that they may not get the chance to be tested on? We all have different gifts and talents, we are not meant to be perfect at everything so why not just allow children (and adults for that matter) to just love what they love, to focus and channel their energies on that?

Are we scared that if we don’t constantly monitor or control our children grades that they will fail out their in the real world? Do these grades really indicate how “smart” our kids are? How capable they are? Time and time again we hear of people who have succeeded in life coming from an unconventional upbringing, having little to no education (or education how we define it), even people who didn’t attend school or were “drop outs”. They were not constantly tested or evaluated. They followed their interests, passions found a persistence in learning all they could to ultimately rise above and beyond. People such as Aretha Franklin, Quentin Tarantino, Bill Gates, Ringo Starr, Richard Branson, Doris Lessing, Enzo Ferrari just to name a few and there are many more. All succeeded without finishing or attending school, all household names who have changed, moulded and guided the way in their chosen careers and areas.

Is it from a government or education body that these streamline tests are enforced? Is it more about lifting the schools/education departments profile to justify the money spent to attend? Making it enticing for you to spend your cash, investing in your children future. When you think about it what purpose does ranking children have to benefit the child? None really. We all know where our strengths and weaknesses lie and if we don’t life surely presents opportunities to highlight them. When the time comes you will step up to the challenge but in the meantime I don’t think placing a child in the top class or bottom class does anything beneficial but pigeonhole them and create stress and anxiety to either maintain or keep up before you get left behind.

I want school to be about fostering a love for learning, building a safe environment to grow, learn and tap into your truest potential. Not the constant barrage of testing and the environment of encouraging unhealthy competition. We need not promote to compete with anyone else but yourself. We are not here to be better than others and rate our worth against theirs, more to be the best we can be, to reach our greatest potential. To tap into our gifts and talents and utilise them. For me as a mother I don’t need the constant reassurance that my child is performing on par with his peers, that he is the best or worst at something, that he has the potential to reach great things if he can manage sit still in a class and reiterate information that most likely won’t serve him throughout his life and will be forgotten. I want my child to be the best at being them they can be. The spelling, the math they will learn it when they need not under our projection of what our needs and wants are but when they need and want to know. I want them to have a passion to seek information as they need it and utilise to tap into their desires and goals. I have come to learn in my own life, that we will get there, there being wherever we want that to be. All in which  we need to know is within us and for me showing a child the path to connecting to that is far greater than any knowledge that a school can provide.

“The medicine for my suffering, I have had within me all along.” Bruce Lee

 

 

 

 

Play doh Sundays

As we woke this Sunday morning I myself was quite tired but happy to have had a bit of relief from the heat overnight. The weeks have been hot down here in Australia as to be expected at this time of year, but upon waking to a overcast and cooler morning I truly felt grateful.

We pottered around the house with usual Sunday morning activities, breakfast, play it was a gentle to start to the day. We started talking about what we wanted to do for the day and as the drizzle of rain continued outside we decided something crafty might be fun. We wanted to use what we had at home so to the cupboards we searched and then we googled. After googling a little we thought making some homemade play doh might be fun. Although we had most the ingredients but not quiet all. So Dad and lil O made a list and under took the mission of the 10 minute drive up to the shop for some salt and food colouring.

We sat, all for of us and started to measure and follow the recipe we had found online. It was lovely to watch both kids so engaged and having a ball using their hands to knead the doh.As  we made red play doh first, it is O’s favourite colour it opened up a discussion about primary colours and secondary colours. Also questioning if we mixed this colour with this colour what would be the result? There is something so grounding about making something with your hands, feeling it, plying it, creating it and enjoying it. It’s a special gift to give your children to make your own things, not always store bought. Their is such a sense of achievement and joy.

Time flew by and we had such a beautiful family morning doing something that was inexpensive, kids loved it, we connected and engaged, we learnt something and the thing I was most pleased about was that both kids seemed to connect and enjoy equally. It was one of those moments that kinda happened organically and felt like such a beautiful space to be present in. It’s really something special to connect as a family, to get into a rhythm in which you are all in sync. I find with small children this can be challenging at times as their are so many variables and ultimately they are just dealing with so much (as are we generally.)

Here is the recipe we used

PLAY DOH RECIPE

2 cups plain flour

1 cup salt

1 cup cold water

1 tbs oil  (we used vegetable oil worked great)

2 drops food colouring or as needed ( we used a bit more )

  • optional glitter  we added this in at the end for some fun it did get everywhere but had a cool affect

PROCESS:

  • Combine plain flour and salt
  • Add water, food colouring and oil. Mix well till combined
  • Knead till you can roll in a ball
  • If consistency is too wet add more flour
  • Add glitter if desired

16118355_10154889593008554_1080827122_n

I highly recommend doing this with your kids and I would love to hear or see how you go so please comment if you try and like it. Take some time time to play and connect, enjoy and watch the little souls shine. You may even relax and have some fun too.

Peace

 

The Volcano

 

volcanop4_20

Project based learning has been a method  we have naturally taken too in our home education. I guess we have been doing this long before we even thought about home schooling and it’s something that we feel is not just about learning academically but connecting and communication. It can test the patience, skills and management of all involved but ultimately it is a great learning lesson in so many ways for all of us. It’s also a super fun way to learn!!

Lil O had expressed interest in making a volcano after watching a song about volcanos on youtube. After some googling and over a few days Dad and O began constructing their own volcano. My husband has tended to take on these “projects” with my son and it has become a little thing of theirs. It’s a beautiful bonding experience, wonderful to watch and hear about how they are doing. Science experiments, models, art projects to name a few have just popped up and developed from his natural curiosity of life.  All the waiting of paint to dry tested O’s patience but we got there in the end…Hope you enjoy this little video of the artist’s creating their Volcano…





What you will need to make your own Volcano….

FLAT PIECE OF CARDBOARD

PLASTIC WATER BOTTLE

CLAG GLUE

NEWSPAPER

WATER

PAINT

VARNISH

 

METHOD

1. On a cardboard base attach bottle with some tape.

2. Scrunch up some newspaper into different sized balls

3. Place and tape around bottle in the shape of volcano

4. For islands, flatten and tape newspaper balls to cardboard base.

5. Mix some glue and water.(sludgy consistency)

6. Tear up newspaper into strips and place in glue, stick to volcano and islands and dry.

7. Paint brown ( mix green and red ) ….wait till dry

8. Squeeze red paint for lava around top of volcano Mix some orange ( red and yellow ) for more lava…… wait till dry

9. Paint islands green. ….wait till dry…. Paint blue for water and white for waves crashing.

10. After all paint is dry, Varnish to waterproof.

( you can use red dye baking soda trick  or ping pong smoke bomb to create smoking effect just google the techniques!)

volcanop4_26

Empowered to Home Educate

On Sunday I attended the second day of the 2-day expo Raising Happy Kids, Connected parenting and Home Education Conference. I wasn’t really sure what to expect to be honest but I went with an open mind and hopes of getting some of my questions and concerns addressed about home education.

Well let me just say I wish I had gone to both  of the days, as it was such an amazing event. I totally got my questions answered and feel more empowered in our decision to home school. The energy was lovely, the conference was full of great information and speakers, and it was a lovely place to connect with other people on the same journey as my family and myself.

944931_1558458301115064_5970626781258323304_n

Please get behind  events like this as it is so important to show our support and connect within our community.

One of the things that really appeals to me about home schooling is the tribe in which you connect and journey with. Although I am very early in the journey I really hope to meet some like-minded friends and connect with the community out there. The conference really opened my eyes to the diversity within the home schooling movement and although peoples motives for choosing this path differ it’s all for the same outcome, to raise happy, healthy and connected children. What better way to bond, right?

It really does make you question though why this movement is on the rise? Each year more and more Australians are choosing to home educate their children. Mostly removing their kids from mainstream schooling and deciding they can give it a go. In fact Australia has the largest number of home-schooled children/families per capita in the world. I personally think people are waking up to a flawed and dated system that is sold to us as a complete necessity in order for our children to grow up “educated” and “whole”. This in actual fact couldn’t be further from the truth.

It also made me really question my motives for why I personally want to educate our children from home or world rather. I had obviously thought about this before and we (hubs and I) have discussed it in great depth but this really gave me a chance to clarify. After pondering this is what I came up with,

1. A connected family is one of the greatest gifts I think you can give a child; I want to engage emotionally, mentally, physically as much as I can daily with my beloved little ones. Watch and engage with them as they grow, support them daily helping them to tackle what may arise. Surrounding them with love and allowing them the space to be children for as long as possible. Then allowing them to grow and flourish into young adults, the kind they so choose to be.For them to learn amongst the world in which they will live, grow and contribute too.

2. I feel the current education system in regards to how and what is taught is extremely dated, un useful and un necessary on a lot of levels. A lot of what we learn has no real application or translation into the world around us. Why should we be dictated to what we should learn? Why not allow children to follow  their passions and interests and let the learning occur naturally through life? Why not invest a love of learning, for life so they can go and seek the knowledge they desire to create the life they so choose to, to create a world they want to live in not the broken one that we are so sadly passing onto them. A life that will be purposeful and passionate because it comes from a place of authenticity.

3. We as a family seek a slower pace lifestyle, we as parents want to connect with the kids and pass down our knowledge and support to them, we want to be there for them not just after hours but always. Teaching the children about nature amongst nature not from a text-book. We want to teach them about their community whilst being in their community, we want to allow them the time and space to learn in their own time and rhythm not being “boxed” into an A B C. Or teaching them to compete with others when really they should only need to compete with themselves, to better themselves. Why do we need to test children to tell them or us how intelligent they are? They, us, we are all capable of brilliance if we are given the chance to tap into it.

4. I would like to teach my children about spirituality and connectedness, in a way in which will allow them to be able to go and seek the knowledge they desire to find out their truth, their reason and connection to this earthly experience. I want to teach them how to deal with emotion, stress and anxiety and to look after their health. To care for their bodies, mind and spirit. To love and treat people with kindness and respect. Not that by teaching them at school this will not happen, but it’s that the importance placed on the simpler of teachings gets lost amongst the hard strive for academic success. The pressures now more than ever are intense and weighty.

So all in all attending the RHK expo was so great because it took some of the fear away from something we will surely be judged negatively for, but ultimately we feel, my husband and I, this is the right choice for our family. But I leave you with this as what I have come to know through my experience, whenever you set out on a journey, if at the centre of your intention is pure truth and love you will never go wrong. For we must keep our intentions pure and the rest will fall into place. Trust!

For any of you home educating, natural learning, un schooling peoples out there please I’d love to hear from you and connect. For anyone this has sparked an interest with please share your thoughts. Also if you get the chance to attend the RHK expo in either Queensland or Sydney I highly recommend you do, home school or not it’s beneficial to every parent.

Peace