30 September 2010
Still knitting as per the family tradition... At this rate it may not get finished in time. I'm counting weeks versus my slow knitting pace and general botherment... Huz has been no help either - he still hasn't finished his square for the last blanket!! Ah well, I suppose it'll be a while before the little one notices huh?
See loads of creativity over at Kirsty's.
28 September 2010
So the blog posts have been few and far between and I've been terribly slack with replying to comments, not to mention visiting my faves and seeing what everyone's up to... truth is its just too uncomfortable sitting at the table using the computer with my... erm... expanding girth. Not long to go, sure, but then what? Plenty of newborn snuggles and hours spent breastfeeding on the couch... with the computer all the way over there... just out of reach and most likely occupied by owlets anyhow! The blog's days were numbered along with my sanity and contact with the world outside the owlet nest. So when the lovely Bec announced that she was passing on her old girl, I didn't waste time :) Thanks Bec! So here she is at our place... all shiny and new looking and working beautifully, as macs do. So now I'm all set to keep growing (oh gosh, really?!!) and keep connected.
Just as a side note, isn't that the most obscenely large jam drop cookie you've ever seen?!!
27 September 2010
One of the benefits of our approach to learning is that we can just slow right down. Life moves so quickly for so many small children these days. They are dragged from activity to activity, often with school in between and often without time to just stop. School holidays are taken up by further activities, educational programs and holiday programs... There just isn't much time for gazing out windows, imagining, daydreaming... There are people who are of the mindset that daydreaming is a bad thing, but around here it's a vital part of our curriculum. As I've mentioned before, active questioning and interest in learning in a more traditional way ebbs and flows. Some days we go from one activity to the next, covering all subject areas, questioning and challenging. Then there are days when we do nothing much at all. Huz and I could freak out and ask ourselves what they're learning, what are we achieving? But this is the magical time. Processing, creative thought, real learning - this is when it happens. Daydreaming and play are such an important part of childhood and honouring that time allows them to hold that childhood for just a little longer.
I've always been a bit of a daydreamer. I'll often be spotted gazing out a window staring at something for a while. Seemingly there's nothing going on... people have commented... You know what though - there is something going on!! Brilliant schemes, plans, creative ideas, sometimes just relaxing. These things all come from that time I spend quietly daydreaming, letting my mind wander... Its my sacred mama time. The nurturing part of the day I grab in snippets that gets me through the niggling, nagging, less fun parts of the day. Oh yes, daydreaming is an important part of life in the owlet nest!
In the photo, big owlet is obviously covered in face paint. The picture is of her favourite daydream... Its one she often refers to and that we use as a meditation for her to calm down and sometimes help go to sleep. There are many variations of it, but usually it involves a field with unicorns and rainbows and flying with her favourite faerie, Moonbeam - yes that is a picture of big owlet painted on her own nose! So we honour those daydreams and that magical time. We talk about daydreams sometimes, and others we understand are private and just part of the day. Sometimes daydreaming turns into other things and brings up more questions. It inspires artwork at all hours, beautiful song and occasionally we'll notice that the owlet we left daydreaming in the comfy corner has just finished reading a book...
Some further reading...
The Hurried Child - Kathleen McDonnell
The Unhurried Child - Catherine Newman
Why Does Daydreaming Get Such a Bad Rap? - Christina Frank
26 September 2010
A custom mini mei tai complete and on the way to a little owlet named Iris. Hope she loves it!!
If you'd like one too, just let me know and I'll whip one up :) Also, just a reminder that there's free shipping on everything in the owlet shop for the time being. x
21 September 2010
Well as full as its gonna get before our new owlet joins us... You'll find new stuff for babies like organic cotton kimono tops and hats...
Also plenty of fun stuff like crowns, silk capes and mini mei tais made to order! I'm offering free shipping for the next few weeks in celebration of sunnier spring days. Perhaps you'd like to get in early for christmas and pick up a little something for your owlets?
20 September 2010
Spring has been slow to visit our part of the world. Snow on the mountain later than expected and rain and cold temperatures that didn't come until August... We've been dreaming of warm, sunny days and waiting... making the most of any patch of sun we can find and getting out in it, looking for any hints of spring... then we take a picture. Its like a seasonal treasure hunt. Reminding the owlets of what's to come and making it a little more exciting wandering the neighbourhood... So what have we found?
Weeds growing in the cracks...
Blossoms everywhere (ooh imagine the apricots we'll have come summer!!)...
Owlets in short sleeves and skirts in the garden...
A green tinge to our favourite tree...
The source of the green...
Flowers along the way and something to do with them...
Both chooks are laying again!! Time to plant out more of the garden again too... This is big owlet's big project at the moment. She's sorted through all the packets of seeds, picked out what she likes, written a list and planted out a square of the vegie patch. Yay! The gardening bug has hit (inspired by a wander through the local community garden) and she's excited about writing, not to mention all the other concepts she's covering... She's excited about cooking at the moment too (thank-you Junior Masterchef), and really looking forward to cooking what she's grown. Little owlet? Well she has a small bug phobia to contend with... not such a lover of the great outdoors and things that crawl... She's enjoying planting seedlings though and playing with the watering can - I think she's looking forward to summer and days at the beach...
18 September 2010
16 September 2010
Its been a long week and its not over yet... I've been playing nurse to the others in the owlet nest and I'm hoping they'll all start to be on the mend soon. Aside from mending the rest of the family, I've been working on mending old nappies, but I'm dubious as to whether they'll hold up, so the enthusiasm has waned rather... I'd rather be playing with colour anyhow.... This is a custom Mini Mei Tai for a little one up north. I was lucky enough to hold her as a newborn and now she's big enough to carry her own babies around!! Where did that time go?
So today I'll be replacing the broken needle in my sewing machine and hoping the new one doesn't break before I get another order finished... haven't had much luck with needles lately. I think my machine is starting to slow down a bit, like me...
Go and hang out among the creative peeps at Kirsty's.
13 September 2010
Despite having the world as our classroom, the owlets are sometimes drawn to workbooks as part of their learning. This makes things easy for me when it comes to writing up a curriculum that ticks boxes for the authorities, but its something that they seem to enjoy from time to time. It all started with dot-to-dots. Big owlet always loved them and recently she's been sharing the love with little owlet, showing her how its done. I'm loving watching them learn together and work co-operatively. For the most part they do...
Also amusing to me is the way they use these books. Big owlet is working her way through an approved Victorian maths curriculum workbook at the moment. It gets dragged out periodically so she can have a look at the bright colours and fill in the gaps... I find that books like this are designed to encourage a particular style of thinking. Often the questions are geared towards a certain answer or idea of what is correct. What I love is how when you have the mindset that anything is possible, the way the questions can be interpreted changes completely. One example... Big owlet had to write possible or impossible for various scenarios that could happen to her this week. Here are her answers:
You will walk home from school : IMPOSSIBLE
You will learn to fly : POSSIBLE
You see, faeries might come and take her flying - she wishes for it every night - totally possible!!
Then the next page is about number lines. She has to pretend her pencil is a frog, bouncing down the number line to subtract. What she creates is a page full of zig-zag squiggles. I take a deep breath and wonder at the logic. I can see that the answers are right. "The frog wanted to do really big hops because that's much more fun!". Uh-huh. She's making the book more interesting by creating stories. Using her imagination. I think about what the response would have been if I'd tried the same when I was at school - I know I would have been told this was wrong, probably made to feel a degree of shame for making the page messy... I wonder if its the same in schools today? Would this freedom of expression, where the process becomes part of the outcome be valued? My guess is no. I'm relishing our world where gold stars are for decorating or wishing on and not for rewarding neat work... and I'm relishing children who think outside the box.
9 September 2010
Well after Monday's smug post about how organised we are with our rhythm and stuff, reality hit again. The various bugs we'd been fighting off caught up with us. I know I'm not alone in this... my facebook news feed reads like a daily bodily fluid update of houses around Australia. It seems everyone has something nasty going on. Really, we're not bad in comparison, but a general feeling of blah has descended upon the owlet nest. The wheels fell off last night and so Huz has taken a couple of days to stay home with us while we all get back to feeling like our old selves... and get a bit organised. Owlets have taken to iview. I've taken to wandering around the house sighing at all the piles of stuff to do and occasionally groaning as I bend to pick something up and Huz, well he's pottering.
In an effort to get us a bit motivated and move away from screens etc., we've taken to turns around the garden to check out the first apricot blossoms, plan the veggie patch and what to plant next and indulge in a bit of craft together. Today we made these Steiner inspired faeries. Its mostly about the process, rather than the product (trust me!!), although the owlets have whisked theirs away for a play in the dolls house...
More creativity over here.
6 September 2010
I'm sure many families experience a bit of a slump towards the end of winter. Things can get a little messy and relaxed and in need of a spring clean. Its certainly the case for us. The garden has been neglected all winter. Little piles of things we've been meaning to get to start piling up around the place and our days seem to blend into each other... So, as the days grow longer, we start to tidy up and we think about the rhythm of our days. Its something we do naturally at the beginning of each season, but particularly in the spring. It makes all sorts of sense, really. In thinking about the way we do things, I've noticed that we're needing a little more structure some days. Big owlet especially thrives on it, always has. She loves days where we stick to a plan. I'm needing it to keep my focus in this cloudy headed stage of my pregnancy... to maintain some connection and mindfulness. Is there room for structure in unschooling though? Well, I think so, for us anyhow. So what does our version of structure look like right now? Its just a re-visit of our daily rhythm and paying close attention to each part of it, then making sure we try to repeat it a few days a week. A typical day at home is something like this...
hang the washing out and potter in the garden
rest (mama nap time, owlets play quietly or read to themselves or each other)
go for a walk or outing
craft or music or watch a dvd
dinner/bath/books/bed/quiet time for grown ups... ahhh...
Days like this are very full and tend to flow beautifully. We incorporate little rituals, stories and songs in each activity. We follow the concept we came across in big owlet's time at the Steiner school of "in and out breath" - meaning that we balance and follow activities that are exuberant and active with those that are quiet and reflective. Of course there's loads of time in between and throughout all the activities that is taken up with owlets playing together, pulling out books to write or draw in, sitting down at the computer for a while, asking a gazillion questions or something else entirely. Usually its up to me to set the rhythm and they'll join in if they feel like it and more often than not they do, just happy to work or play alongside me. It also means that things get done and everyone has a chance to do what they need or want, including me. It keeps things family centered, rather than me just following the owlets' every whim, but its full of things they love doing too. We'd manage days like this about three days a week with other days taken up with swimming and the library or a day in the park with friends...
I imagine that by the end of the season things will be quite lax again and I'm ok with that. There will be a new owlet in the nest and our days will be filled with a whole new kind of beautiful, hazy fog. Then summer and days at the beach, christmas, fruit galore and a new kind of rhythm. As for the actual learning bit... well we follow their interests and it all just fits in, often because the focus is taken off what we'll be doing next and trying to cram things in, we can concentrate on the important stuff more. Inspiration flows from the rhythm.
5 September 2010
Well for this year anyhow. I've decided that a christmas market would be a bit ambitious and I'll see how we're all coping with a new owlet in the nest before committing to any next year. Today was lovely, as usual. So many lovely stalls, gorgeous people and beautiful things all around. Thanks to everyone who stopped by to say hello or to take a little piece of owlet home with them. x
PS. Happy father's day to all the awesome dads out there - especially my Huz. I've done a market on the last two days that were supposed to be all about him - his birthday and father's day - so I think I owe him one... next birthday he's getting a sleep in for sure!!
4 September 2010
We've all been just pottering and mooching around the house today. Slowly getting things done...
Playing backgammon for the first time.... fire's crackling, music's floating - Emmy Lou, daft punk and everything in between... chicken soup to soothe our sniffles and chocolate covered raspberries for later. Hope your Saturday has been lovely too. x
This is what I've been working on over the last couple of days and I'm finishing it all off on this beautiful rainy saturday. I'm re-stocking the favourite stripy lovebird onesies. There's also some new products for spring; gorgeous lovebird kimono jackets and a pixie hat or two. I love working with these beautiful organic cotton baby things. So soft. These will all be at the Market tomorrow and any left over will be listed on etsy... or set aside for my own tiny owlet ;)
Well I started this the other day, but, you know... owlets and all... interruptions happen as do sniffles and strange fevers... Here's #9 all finished, anyhow. Big owlet loves this skirt best. Its size 4-6, but she just might squeeze into it... As for #10, well I can't show you because its on my way to Dad for Father's Day tomorrow. Very chuffed that I managed to make something in amongst it all...
2 September 2010
A sunny morning and a new season to celebrate. The owlets woke to a freshly decorated nature table yesterday, with a few little surprises around the place. A rainbow, some new crafty bits, older things we've had tucked away for them to explore all over again...
Some new yarn and knitting needles, fresh books to fill, flowers from the garden and a clean fresh space to draw and write, work and play. We always find ourselves needing a shake-up towards the end of a season and incorporate a little more rhythm and structure (very loose structure) in our unschooly days. New seasons tend to re-focus us and get us back on track. More on that next unschool monday... Until then, we're loving spring and a breath of fresh air - mind you, as I type this, its raining... and there's still a hint of snow on the mountain.
Ok so I haven't posted my one things for a couple of days... I'm making a couple of things in multiples at the moment, like onesies... so I'm in mass production mode for sunday's market - should have thought of that before I committed to the one thing per day challenge!! Back to regular programming soon.
More creative spaces here.