31 May 2011
Coolest colouring book ever + afternoon waiting for Huz to come home = super fun!
Listening to our favourite bands + colouring pages about them = happy owlets + happy mama.
There are so many awesome colouring books available now. It's so much fun just to flop on the floor and spend some time bringing colour to some gorgeous illustrations...
Talking, working together, listening to music and spending time... Happy days.
Little owlet loves blue. On Saturday she wore this to go bushwalking:
* Hand-me-down jeans, too long so rolled up a couple of times.
* Mama-made garden skirt
* Velour long sleeved top from the tip shop
* Mama-knit scarf with mama-made flower brooch
* Elmo socks
* New black shoes - little owlet loves shoes. It's the one thing she always asks me to buy her.
* Hand-me-down beanie
30 May 2011
They really do just learn when they are ready. Even when you think they'll never be motivated to pick up a pen and write. Or use a ruler to measure. Or try to calculate a sum. Somehow they do it. And you're not sure how they learned to do it, or when or why. But they did. And you breathe a sigh of relief and then kick yourself for doubting them. Of course they did!
Yesterday as we headed out on a walk, big owlet grabbed her notebook and wrote the alphabet in lower case. While we were driving and for no particular reason. Since then she has the urge to write. This morning she's copying out poems and discussing poetry with Huz. Excuse me while I pick my jaw up off the floor. This is the girl who refused to write anything a month ago.
This is also the girl who decided she loved polly pockets so much that she set about making some stock to sell in the owlet shop, to make money and buy more. Through making paper crowns, she learned measurement, size, scale, trigonometry, currency, profit and loss... and so much more. No coaxing required. Not even a suggestion. She just did it because she wanted to and grasped all the concepts because she was ready to. And with enthusiasm.
I love that I'm amazed every time it happens... Keeps life interesting. And before we know it, she'll know everything she needs to. Just like that.
27 May 2011
It's been one of *those* weeks. For much of it I've felt submerged, or just treading water. A tiny owlet who will not sleep during the day. Or be happy anywhere but mama's arms and two other owlets so in need of my time and interest and energy. There has been little room for anything I might need or want to do. Missing my family and wishing they could pop over for a chat or to just hold the baby for a moment. So frustrated with this world we live in where help is so near but seems so far away... But tonight I am grateful for many things...
* Friends who give generously of their time, helping any way they can and helping the hours pass with ease.
* Magnificent massages (see dot point one), unlocking the overwhelm and letting it melt away.
* Chatting to Mum on Skype.
* Being able to call a pyjama day anytime we like, then building a mermaid cubby, watching Splash and eating seaweed and jam seastar sandwiches.
* New friends, just around the corner.
* A partner who is truly that in every sense. Who will drop everything to be there. Just cos that's what you do.
What are you grateful for this week?
24 May 2011
Week two of our world tour and we ventured off to Jamaica. Keep in mind it's kind of hard to imagine a tropical island when a cold snap happens in Hobart! Still, we did our best. The owlets transformed the lounge room floor to island mode, using blankets and towels and we had a picnic... in our pyjamas. While listening to Bob Marley. It was all very relaxing.
We listened to Dr. Suess in Jamaican Patois...
Feasted on Rice and Peas, Curried Chicken, Cabbage Salad and Coconut Chips, with fruity drinks and a banana each for dessert - remember the days when bananas weren't such a luxury?
After the feast, we listened to the Jamaican national anthem and watched Cool Runnings... Just for fun. It's quite amazing how the internet makes the world just that little bit more accessible. How we can find out snippets about a place we've never visited. Enough for the owlets to grasp just a tiny bit of the culture and find out about it even when there were no books at the library. The owlets are also surprised at how much of our travels have and will include tales of oppression and eradication of indigenous cultures. Lots of food for thought.
Labels: worldly wednesday
23 May 2011
This week we were privileged to participate in a workshop exploring the Tasmanian Aboriginal community's use of ballawinne, or red ochre. We all learned loads about the symbolism and tradition of it, how it is found and used... we also learned loads about the Tasmanian Aboriginal community. Stuff we didn't know before and how their culture varies from mainland cultural practices.
The owlets enjoyed grinding the ballawinne, painting with it and being painted with it.
I'm sure Huz's ballawinne mohawk went over well when he returned to work. He was pretty chuffed with it.
Big owlet was sad to hear that the meanings behind most of the petroglyphs she painted have been lost... All the more reason why we were so glad to be there.
I do find it amusing watching home educated children at these kinds of organised activities. They don't know to put their hands up, or to hold their enthusiasm.
The ages are varied and it is lovely to see older kids working alongside and with tiny children. In general, the information was presented in a visual and interesting way. I do find it interesting how educators tend to ask questions for the children to answer and discourage the children from asking their own questions.
I understand that it's because there's a time limit and it's easier to guide the group if the questions are guided. But, I know that our owlets learn more from asking and feel self conscious when they are asked to answer things they don't know the answer to... A reminder of why we often avoid organised education and follow this life learning path.
Labels: unschool monday
22 May 2011
That jar is so us... We've had a busy, scavenging kind of weekend. A spot of pre-rapture looting. First the beautiful canister on Friday night, then the op shopped linen and pattern on Saturday morning.
Little owlet is particularly keen on the pinafore but a bit miffed that the shoes aren't included.
The owlets scored with some vintage Polly Pocket toys at a garage sale - supercute from before Polly grew hips and bosoms. They picked up some tea cups for our special morning teas, a bumper bag of Hama beads, a wetsuit for big owlet and a hand knitted jumper for little owlet. We did break the budget, just a little. But oooh isn't it fun to wander and rummage the weekend away?
More flea market finds here.
20 May 2011
19 May 2011
Here's the bad news: I suck at knitting. I'm slow and I make lots of mistakes and I forget where I'm up to and I forget to count. However, I am tenacious and by hook or by crook (or circular needles), I will finish this Milo for tiny owlet. Good thing is she's small and doesn't know.
Here's the good news: My creative mojo is found! It was missing, not just in the things I made, but in the day-to-day as well, and with much concentration and some collaboration with Huz and the owlets, I feel it has returned. Our days are suddenly extremely full. Now to find time for the creative projects I have planned. And the lovely bits I'm making for other peeps' owlets. And the growing list of things my own owlets have in mind for me...
Pop over here and see creativity happening in other spaces. Kirsty has created a whole new space for the creativity! Bless her!! xx
Labels: my creative space
18 May 2011
We've been itching to travel for the longest time. But life tends to catch up with us and the idea of leaving our island, one day, seems to get further away. So we've decided to bring the world to us. Inspired by Jo's International Food Nights, but taking it a step further, we've decided to pick a new country each week and immerse ourselves in the culture. On Sunday morning we pick a country at random, then set about learning what we can about it.
During the week we listen to music, talk about the history, art, geography of the place. We learn a phrase too. On Saturday night, we celebrate and eat a feast with traditional dishes from the country we are visiting. There will be dancing and dressing up and new foods to try. All the things that owlets love best. And surprisingly, we are exploring and finding culture existing in our own town. We're also thinking we just might find somewhere we'd love to visit in real life in the process... To ease in, we picked a country to start with that the owlets might have some concept of and having just seen Rio, we chose Brazil.
There were churros...
Followed by Bossa Nova and Samba...
Then a simple feast of beans and rice and orange salad and greens and polenta... with chocolate for dessert.
We did attempt to teach the owlets the phrase "Wow! I have the best parents in the world!", in Portuguese. Sadly they didn't seem to take to Portuguese naturally...
It was declared a hit, so look out for our travels again next week. We're heading to Jamaica!
17 May 2011
Little owlet, in the backyard yesterday morning. Questionable style, but points for warmth and practicality.
- baggy-bummed, pink and white striped velour garage sale leggings.
- pin cord green and navy plaid garage sale shirt.
- khaki long sleeved second-hand top with elephants
- new shoes that she usually refuses to wear because they fit :/
- lilac hand-me-down socks
- bike helmet, 2 sizes too small.
Yes, she did wear it to the shops later. It took some coaxing to get the helmet off her head. We bought a new one at the shops. She wore it for the remainder of the day...
Special mention this week to big owlet who figured out, after hearing only 2 bars of Madonna's "You Can Dance" vinyl album, that it was all about bare midriffs... and shiny belts and leggings.
16 May 2011
Well if you're visiting the owlet nest this week, you'd see there's most definitely room for structure in unschooling.
Last week when we were trying to help big owlet set her own healthy boundaries around screentime, she mentioned bringing back more of a structured rhythm. One that was written down. In the very early days of home education, I used to do that. Write it down. Then I curved the edges of the paper and coloured it to make it kid-friendly and a bit steiner inspired. It was mostly for me, so we could ease our way from the Steiner school rhythm to our own family rhythm and still get things done. Then big owlet learned to read. She loved knowing what was coming next, as she always has. She loves routine. Perhaps that's why she loves the screen so much...
Anyhow, this particular time, she asked me to write it all down for her and introduce some sort of schedule to our days. I suppose it's a follow on from letting go of our control and handing control to her. Helping her find self control. Instead of being totally in charge of the day (because it's all happening in my head), and instead of just doing whatever big owlet wants, but finding a balance for us all, we needed to write it down. To share it, so they can take responsibility for themselves.
So right now we have lists. The lists of responsibilities I mentioned last week, but also a list of how those responsibilities might fit into a day. We have a very loose schedule, but one that fits in everything for everyone. It goes something like this:
Morning chores (aka. making beds, getting dressed, clearing the table, feeding the guinea pigs, but the owlets want to call them chores).
Screen time (1hr)
Activities - cooking, craft, music, maths, science, bookwork
Morning tea & story
Activities - art, music, gardening, outing
Rest - yep, they actually wanted a nap, or quiet time. I'm shocked too.
For the times where we don't know what to do, we have a list of seasonal activities pinned up. We're also providing a weekly theme which I'll go into on Wednesday. I suppose the freedom comes into the day in the form of time where they choose what activities they want to do. Really what we've done is set up a domestic schedule. For getting all the domestic stuff done. The learning stuff is up to them. Although, of course they are learning while getting the domestic stuff done.
Like the day where they decided sewing nappies for their babies was essential, as was making a salad and doing the dishes. And while we were at it, ironing might be fun. At least they know what an iron is now...
Not like the time where they saw me iron something and said "what's that mama?" I guess it had been a while...
I suppose it makes sense they are showing interest in domesticity and structured days. I always find when the weather turns colder, we become more introspective and focus on self nurture. That's what they are doing. It's one of those in-breath times and I fully expect that in time, we'll dump the lists again... But there's still plenty of room for freedom along the way at the moment. And a little structure seems to be nurturing big owlet's need. So we go with it.
15 May 2011
On Thursday, Huz took the day off to go with us on an excursion organised by the local home ed. group... but it was cancelled. So we rugged up and bundled the owlets out the door for our first visit to MONA. What we saw was definitely exciting, surprising, highbrow, lowbrow and out of the ordinary. For us anyway...
But it wasn't for everyone...
So on the way back to the car, we played chess. We all felt much more at ease and then it was time for lunch...
So we pulled into the nearest castle...
And had Yum Cha. Of course. We were the only ones there on that cold Thursday. But the service and the food were fantastic. It was Huz and the owlets' first yum cha experience and while I'm not sure they enjoyed everything they tasted, they got into the spirit of trying new things. Which is what the day was all about...
And then we played pool...
While explaining the ins and outs of home education to the flabbergasted owner of the castle/yum cha restaurant. Yup. It was an odd day, but an adventure. What fun!