27 August 2012

unschool monday :: tiny moments

Pivotal moment for Tiny tonight. She learnt to build rather than destroy. Much excitement ensued. Then she learnt to say her sisters names. High-5s all round #unschooling #loveher

This week, Tiny reminded us how learning happens... You live, grow, take in new information... You play, go away and do something else, sleep, think on it for a bit... Then, in what seems like a sudden development, you master the thing you were trying to learn. In one tiny moment, you put it all together and figure it out. In Tiny Owlet's case, it was figuring out how to build with her blocks, rather than smash them down as she had done the week before to her sisters' frustration...


Suddenly there is celebration, "ta-daaa!" and laughter. And high fiving. And a world that seems like it has opened up with this new knowledge learnt. It happens like this at any age and stage. Sometimes with less celebration, but there is always moving forward and learning.

Thanks for reading along with Unschool Monday. If you have a question for me, or one of the other participants on the linkup, ask away! I'm happy to try and answer here next time. If you feel like linking up, it'd be lovely to have you on board and see how unschooling happens at your nest. xx

26 August 2012

sunday snippets

Do you like to swing?
Pre-assembly Squish. #sandcastle #sandy
Afternoon tea :: sorted #cake #coffee
Ran out of tea light candles so I made my own. #beeswax #selfsufficient
Unorthodox Flight. #balance
Cake for Nanny #cake #chocolate #lavender #owlets #baking
I think I just died of cute #reading

{sunday snippets} A collection of photos from your week. No need for words. Let the pictures tell your story. More here

25 August 2012

Colour and movement


In the words of my late grandmother, "I've never been much of a joiner..." She continued chain smoking into her late seventies because she didn't want to join any Quit campaigns and thought it'd be much harder than it was. Then, one day, she just quit. I wonder what might have happened if she quit earlier, or accessed support earlier... but then she wasn't much of a joiner.


One day I decided to do something very unlike me and join something. It saw me up before sunrise and running around the soccer field, a flock of pacific gulls and a white-faced heron as my training buddies. I discovered that my neighbourhood is at its busiest at this time. Other people get up early and run around in the dark too.


I started moving my body most days and remembering how good that felt. I remembered how great it felt to do something just for me. I bought a bra that wasn't designed for breastfeeding. Clothes designed for running. I giggled at the thought and was completely sceptical, a little embarrassed. But joining was what pushed me to get out of bed and stop making excuses. Paying a large sum of money forced a commitment from all of us to give me space and time.


I was worried that the owlets might see what I was doing and think that I had an issue with my body. I didn't. I never have. I've had an issue with a fashion industry that has refused to make suitable clothes for my body, at any size, but I've never had an issue with the look of  it. The only time I've had an issue with my body was when I thought it was letting me down and interestingly, this led me to ignore it. I stopped caring for it. Stopped moving. I developed all sorts of pain in my joints, injured my knees, accepted a new wardrobe of dark, dull clothes. Chocolate, black, dark denim. Designed to help me blend in, hide away, disappear... Pregnancy saw me find peace with my body again. But the year or so after a baby arrives can be so taxing. It's so hard to find, to make, time to drag yourself away. I still haven't perfected that yet...


At the end of 12 weeks and the beginning of another, I'm feeling so much better. I'm less tired. I'm not in pain. I'm stronger. My head is clearer. I feel a sense of a achievement on the days I manage to get out the door and move. I've taken note of where my body is at and it's doing ok. Big Owlet commented that the biggest thing she's noticed is that my knees are quieter now when I walk down the hallway. That's something.


Instead of making do with drab, goes with everything, dark clothing, I'm also challenging myself to wear more colour. Everyday if I can. Colour that makes me feel good. Colour that matches my mood or helps to brighten it. A little bit like a Colour Dare, but for everyday. Always.


And so I begin again with renewed energy and the assurance of a body that will look after me as I look after it. Everyday and always.

21 August 2012

split personality

Making new things for @spiralgarden #sewing #crafting

Did you know that I sometimes blog over at the Spiral Garden blog too? I do! And I write regular Spiral Garden newsletters too. I'm finding it a bit tricky and fun keeping up and blending Owlet with Spiral Garden. So far it seems to be working ok...

I've made a return to creating stuff under the Owlet brand. A new line of craft kits is on the way, as well as the old faves like skirts, crowns, capes, bean bags... Lots to do! But it's so nice to have a reason to do it again and a lovely home for all the things I love to make. I'm looking forward to more creativity to come. And hopefully more energy or time to make it all happen. Ha!


Tonight I've blogged over at the Spiral Garden blog about our crayon range and what we've learnt in the process of choosing that range.  I've reviewed each of our crayons to tell you the positive and negative points of each and to tell you why they're there. It's been an interesting process! More interesting than you'd think. Really!

20 August 2012

unschool monday :: papa owlet style

This unschool monday, I'm welcoming Huz along to guest post. He spends lots of time with the owlets on our unschooling journey, so it seems only fair that you hear from him too. xx

I am excited to feed the fish. #salmonponds #anticipation

Hi folks! It's me, Papa Owlet. This is my first post on here, and it's kind of nerve-wracking being on this side of the blog machine! I hope you go easy on me...

So as you all would guess, the owlets spend most of the weekdays time with Mama Owlet. I'm there with them waking, and for the breaky bonanza, but then I head off to the office, leaving the girls at home to explore the great (un)school of life. Despite all the years of doing this, it still feels very unnatural, and it's a drag that I can't be home to learn with them while the sun shines brightest (literally and metaphorically).

The best chance I have of securing quality time with the owlets is during the evenings, and on weekends. I take Big Owlet to cub scouts one night a week and this has been great for the more 'grown-up' conversations that come with one-on-one time. It's great to be able to be her support in the more intense social situations that can occur at cubs. She knows I'm there and feels re-assured. She doesn't cling to me but is comforted by my presence. Without doing much at all I can help her ease into the world. Idle parenting rocks like that.

Garlic Bread Production Line. #cooking #cubs

A new regular outing with the kids has involved going on Insta-meets. These are gatherings of local photography enthusiasts that use the iPhone and Android app Instagram. Now I'm not normally one to attend these sorts of events, but I've had an increasing love of photography over the last year or so and this kind of felt natural. Plus the outings were on the weekend and provided a chance for me to take the girls out for a few hours and let Mama Owlet have some much-deserved space and time alone.

The outings have been great for many reasons, not least of which are the new learning experiences for the owlets. Little Owlet has discovered her own passion for photography:

Budding Instagrammer. #instatassie2 #youngphotographer

Today, for example we went fossil fossicking at a secluded spot at the end of a forest trail...

Fossil Fossick. #unschooling #instatassie3

Followed by a climb up the tallest Shot Tower in the southern hemisphere, where Big Owlet overcame her fear of heights (and of stairs with 'spaces in them') and Little Owlet pressed on despite the talk of ghosts in the tower...

Conquering fears 45m off the ground. #instatassie3 #heights

And Tiny is always in on the action, exploring her world with beautiful gusto...

My finger is purple. It's not easy taking pics one handed!  #instatassie3 #pool

But more often than not they are happy to enjoy life wherever we go...

Floating on Air. #omm #meditate

I feel lucky to learn with them, even if it's not every day! (pic by Matt Glastonbury)

Me and my amazing girls. Thanks to @mattglastonbury who took this pic! #instatassie2

And to prove that I, Papa Owlet wrote this blog post, here is a picture Big Owlet drew of me whilst I wrote!:

Oh hi there, this is me right now (drawn by my 9yo daughter) #beard #unschooling #portrait #itsme

Thanks for reading along with Unschool Monday. If you have a question for me, or one of the other participants on the linkup, ask away! I'm happy to try and answer here next time. If you feel like linking up, it'd be lovely to have you on board and see how unschooling happens at your nest. xx

19 August 2012

sunday snippets

My little cake baron #helping #baking #cake

She was covered in chocolate ganache so I ate her. #scrumptious

Happy Birthday Blossom! #happybirthday #timeseries

My neighbour brought me flowers from her garden to say she thinks I'm doing such a good job as a mama. Isn't that lovely? #neighbourly #love

It was time for a change... #hellofringe #mamanurture #selfie

Doctor' Owlet's Pretend Patient. #bandage #silk

Beautiful, soft pastel wooden rainbows for spring #spring #rainbows #spiralgarden

Waiting patiently at the lazy susan shop #fridaynight #dinner #chinese

{sunday snippets} A collection of photos from your week. No need for words. Let the pictures tell your story. More here

13 August 2012

unschool monday :: the nature of unschooling


Unschooling, like learning, happens all the time and everywhere.


When the world is your classroom and there is no timetable for learning, every day and every outing is an opportunity for learning new things.


Taking time to slow down and spend time in nature and together is pretty important. The conversation flows and so do the questions.


When there is no timetable and no set teacher, the responsibility to pass on information is shared. It's not just up to me to educate these owlets. It is up to Huz too. It is up to our extended family and our whole community. All we need to do is listen, ask questions, seek answers, pass on knowledge. It is that simple...


It means that time spent together is precious. And important. It means that the different knowledge and skills Huz and I bring with us are important and useful. We share the load in that way, passing on what we know and sharing our passions with our owlets.


It also means the responsibility for what they learn is up to them. They learn independently, supported by their community. They learn to be independent. They learn to help themselves. They learn that there are always people around them who will support them and that they are important and needed too.


They figure out their place in the world, their place in nature...


And their place in their family. So often people tell me they couldn't unschool because they could never get their children to listen, they couldn't take on that responsibility, they couldn't spare the time... But the nature of unschooling means that the burden is shared... And rather than working against each other, you work together. You listen to each other. The learning just happens, naturally... That is the nature of it.

Thanks for reading along with Unschool Monday. If you have a question for me, or one of the other participants on the linkup, ask away! I'm happy to try and answer here next time. If you feel like linking up, it'd be lovely to have you on board and see how unschooling happens at your nest. xx