28 February 2013
Can you believe it? This tooth-remineralizing lark... it's working! *touch wood*
If you've not followed Tiny Owlet's journey with her teeth so far, here's a quick re-cap...
Her teeth were decaying and crumbling away as they erupted from the gum. She was in occasional, but increasingly frequent pain. The dentist took one look at them and announced that a GA would be needed to pull the worst and fill the others and there's nothing we could do about it... but it wasn't urgent until her pain was constant. So there was time...
So we looked at Ramiel Nagel's book Cure Tooth Decay with a renewed sense of urgency and removed all grains, sugars and most fruits from her diet, while upping good fats, meat, seafood and green leafy veggies. Our daily use of fermented cod liver oil and butter oil blend stepped up a notch to include skate liver oil. And we drank lots more water. And broth. Our house smells like soup.
A couple of months down the track and Tiny's teeth are completely pain-free. But better still, the decay is starting to go. On close inspection, her chipped front tooth, with brown at the back, has an increasing line of white dots appearing as the enamel grows and hardens. The skeptic in me is completely surprised. But the evidence is there before our eyes.
So it looks like this primal/WAPF/tooth decay diet thing really works. And it is here to stay... at least until those brown-turning-white milk teeth fall out on their own, in their own time. And the tooth fairy will most definitely celebrate.
Wish us luck. xx
25 February 2013
One of the unexpected benefits of owning a home business... There's a room full of gorgeous things to save up for. And multiple things to count and sort into colour groups and divide and subtract. There are parcels to weigh and dates and times to ship and receive things... There are numbers everywhere, hidden behind the colours. Empty boxes pile up and owlets count them and measure and work out which shapes will work for their newest construction. And when they've saved all their money and counted it out, that doll they so desperately wanted is theirs. And the learning happens naturally, constantly, always.
If you feel like linking up with unschool monday this week, pop a link in the comments below. xx
22 February 2013
18 February 2013
It's not, you know. All sunshine and lollipops. Some days in this unschooling life are downright difficult. Like they are for any family working, learning, playing and just getting on with life. Some days, some weeks, some months, some years are just hard. Sometimes there's no clear reason why. Sometimes it's because we're trying to do something outside of the norm and there's not much support for that. Sometimes it's because the only support you have is each other and that's not always enough... Sometimes it's because no-one slept or someone's sick or we're all a bit more fragile than normal... maybe it's the moon? Let's call it that.
But it's something that is hard to talk about here. Perhaps because it seems we've chosen a different path to the norm in a society that doesn't generally support the notion of kids at home all day and five people individually doing what they need in order to be happy and learn cool stuff. There's a certain need to keep our chins up to defend the choices we've made. So as not to be encouraged away from them and towards a mainstream path which didn't seem right in the first instance... It's not that it isn't perfectly right for others, it just isn't for us. The hardest part is trying to find support to make that balance happen and to lessen the expectation society has that we are all self-reliant beings all of the time.
We expect lots from the time we have and the freedom that we have and we strive for it... We keep a modest home in a lovely place and fill it with quirky second-hand finds and things that bring us colour and joy. We run a business and Huz holds down a full-time job and we provide all the tools our children need to learn. We think about what our children are interested in and research opportunities for it, which we love doing, truly. And we squeeze every last spare minute of the day for a quiet moment to exercise, rest or ponder... But we do it all without the benefit of the childcare or financial support that school provides, or the second income many families are afforded. Extended family are living full and wonderful lives in far off places, as are we, so we learn to become self-sufficient. Sometimes it carries us through beautifully... Other times we just need a breather. There are as many sacrifices as there are benefits in this unschooling life.
Community can provide support, but establishing solid community around you takes time and patience. The community around you when you choose something outside the mainstream becomes somewhat smaller, which can be a lovely thing... but it can also mean that you are actively involved in your children's social lives, as they are yours. You have to make things happen with and for them. Which can complicate things somewhat, as we've found in recent years. Your time is family time. And true, solid, dependable friendships can be few and far between.
In the scheme of things, in a lifetime, the difficult days, the hard stuff... The needing to clear your head and breathe, and be alone... it is merely a blip. As the years roll on by, the time we spend in this family zone, learning together and watching our owlets grow... Supporting them to find what makes their hearts sing their loudest... That's the most important work; the most rewarding thing we can do. And that is why we choose this. Because in the end, like the blog posts I feel happiest recording here, or the photo albums I look back over, those are the ones we want to remember. And thankfully, those sunshine and lollipop days make up the majority of our time and make it all worthwhile.
There was a blog post last year that was doing the rounds of my facebook feed recently and sparked a huge, rather venomous backlash against unschooling mama and blogger, Soulemama, recently. She tends not to blog the hard stuff, leaning more towards the sunshine and lollipops. She doesn't do it to hurt readers, or provide judgement on their lives. She does it, I suspect, as many of us have done, in order to look back and see that it was worthwhile. There were more sunshine and lollipops than dull, dark cabbage soup days after-all. That choice they made, the sacrifices and compromises that were made in order to make other days brighter... it was worth it.
When I look over all the photos we've taken of our outings or activities done at home... of our creations and general day-to-day stuff, I often think "Wow, I want that life! I wish we could fit that much awesome into our days!" Have you ever thought that when looking over family photos? When you read a blog, you are getting a snippet of a life. When you read about someone saying how happy and wonderful everything is, you are reading a snippet of someone expressing their joy. This doesn't equate to a judgement on you and your chosen lifestyle. It is just their life, as they choose to see it. Sometimes they choose to see the sunshine and lollipops. We do, for the most part. But there's always, always room for a helping hand, a supportive ear, lots of compassion, and and understanding that we are all human, all doing our best, and all hoping for sunshine and lollipops each day.
I'm of two minds whether to continue along with unschool mondays... maybe it's a this time of year thing... maybe it's because I forget that we're unschooling most days, because we just don't really think of school much anymore. It's hard to be un-something if it doesn't really fit into your life at all. Perhaps unschool monday's time has passed? Let me know what you think and if you feel like leaving an unschool monday link, please do in the comments below. xx
4 February 2013
So the year is well and truly in full swing and today school went back for many of our friends... Some went excitedly for the first time. The owlets felt a slight sadness that their friends were moving on from what, to them, is normal life. Long holiday days where so much is crammed in that a tiny snippet is a blog post in itself, even if the rest of it was spent, seemingly, lounging in the garden...
When Big Owlet is asked if she's excited to return to school, her line is "I don't do school. Everyday is holidays". She means it. She understands the freedom and space this lifestyle affords her, and how fortunate it is for us that it works for our family. Most of the time. Conversely, I suppose, it is never holidays here (some days it feels like it) - ha!
Right now, the owlets find it hard to understand why anyone would choose differently. When you live as if school isn't a thing, it's a bit of a shock to see the girl across the road thinking it is... however they whole heartedly feel excited for their friends embarking on new adventures and they can't wait to hear all about them.
We're eternally grateful that we live in a place where our choice to live and learn as we please is supported and encouraged and that there are enough options to support almost any lifestyle and any family. School, or unschool, or anywhere in between, we have choices and support for what works best. We're pretty blessed.
So on this "first day back", in lieu of a "first day" picture (because I neglected to take one as we headed of to homeschool gym), here's a snippet and a catch-up of what we've been doing while everyone's been on holidays... much the same as school holidayers, I expect. Nothing amazingly special. Just everyday magical moments of learning and living and life that will continue in the months to come, as they do for every family... Like turning "lets move the furniture around" into an architectural design project...
Or when Tiny Owlet wanting to paint in the garden became an afternoon of plein air painting for all.
Little Owlet discovered her inner fashion designer...
And spontaneous dance parties happened on a regular basis.
Tiny discovered crayon rocks "treasure" as a form of mathematical learning...
There was playing...
We all got an i-thing, thanks to the school kids bonus, meaning there are now multiplayer games happening all over the nest and Big Owlet is improving her communication and photography skills via iMessage and instagram*.
And we discovered Tiny's fearlessness anew, on the big slide, as she hurtled down it face first, in the same way she approaches everything. With gusto. Safe in the knowledge she is supported by us and her adoring sisters.
And this afternoon's late-afternoon paddle at the beach, as we attempt to stretch this summer as far as it will go...
It's going to continue to be another brilliant, lovely, exciting and wonderful year of living and learning at ours.
Wishing you all the best for your year. I bet it'll be marvellous! xx
If you'd feel inspired to join in with Unschool Monday, or maybe share a pic of your back to school owlet, please pop a link in the comments below.
*If you're on instagram, Big Owlet is @treehouseme. Go follow her. She'll be chuffed. xx
3 February 2013
I'm writing this tonight in the lounge room, under fairy lights which are still draped from the ceiling in our vague attempt to ignore the fact that it's February and this year has already begun to fly by. I'm still in the planning phase of my year... It takes time, you see. And time is what I don't have very much of. Yet. For the longest time, I've suspected that putting it all down on paper - writing lists, setting dates - would be the thing that tips me into feeling organised again. Organisation is most definitely what I lack. What our nest lacks. And when you live in a state of, as Big Owlet puts is, "everyday is holidays", it's easy to see why organisation falls off the list, so to speak.
So I've begun with my gorgeous diary (yes, skipping a month to Feb), and this. After a long time on Leonie Dawson's email list, nodding my head along to certain posts and things I needed to hear, I invested just under $10 and bought her workbook planner. So far I'm about halfway through and it's fab. Just what I needed. A little hippy and goddess-y, but gorgeous and nurturing and full of all sorts of exercises that make me pause and think about me for a sec. Not something I've done for a very, very long time. What is it that I actually want to do this year? For me? Now I have some semblance of an idea and that helps immensely. Things that were bothering me, and I couldn't quite work out why? They're now turned around into positive, actionable things - or let go of, which is hugely cathartic and feels just right for the decluttering path Huz and I have been on for the last 6 months.
During the process, I've had wild, vivid dreams about situations that were upsetting or bothering me and I hadn't given much attention to and expressed anger, fear, sadness... All the things that came up and were making those instances negative for me. Woah did I express myself?! And then woke up, able to make a clear decision and move on. Stopping and thinking, putting things on paper... Amazing, simple and very important stuff.
Huz and I also bought the business yearbook and we've been using it for mini-conferences in the kitchen, over cheese platters and cups of tea, as we sort out a direction for our business. It helped us to identify the negatives, work on the positives and work towards a business that only brings us, and others, happiness. Yay for that! Joy and abundance seem to go hand in hand and this year we are welcoming big piles of each into our lives. It's going to be so fab.
Now to just work my way through to the end... And sort out some time. That will come, right? Yes, it will. It's in the plan.
How about you? Are you a planning type?
Or do you fly by the seat of your pants while everything falls into place?
Are you dreaming up a beautiful year too?
I hope so. xx