Thursday, February 18, 2016

What If?

You can do it!
Because none of us knew that we *could* home educate until we did.  Some days were rubbish.  Some days were great, and then eventually it became life!  It became what I do.  Now we have come to our 11th year, and I love it.  We have so much diversity in what happens around here, and it's part of the reason that our family is close. It was probably the first time through about grade 4 that this change happened, when I stopped thinking about "how could I do high school?" and just started thinking about the year I was doing, and the year that would follow on.  After that the whole process became less daunting.  What other job do people live that far in the future?  So that helped me remove the fear of the experience, and since then I've only ever looked a year ahead.  I changed my view from what if we fail (people would ask when I was doing yr 2,3 etc what about high school- as if that was relevant!?!) to what if we succeed?  What if doing this the whole way through is better for our family?

Performance Central 2

Our Saturday evening;PIAF's opening event- HOME!

We were all pleased to be part of the Home opening.  The performance was the first I've seen where it felt like Australia celebrated it's Aboriginal story, good and bad, and all the other cultures that now call this place home.  It felt like perhaps we are starting to get it, that the Aboriginal people are as important as every other culture in this land. 

We also attended Lil Bizarro at the Fringe last weekend, which we loved!  All the performers were engaging and entertaining and did something a bit different from the usual circus show.

Damien and Willow both received offers for the Chorus of Iolanthe.  Reahearsals starting in March, which is great as it means that Willow can get to most of this terms musicianship classes.

Tonight we are off to the Get Lost Maze, most likely our last Fringe outing for this year.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Performance Central

This week has seen quite a bit of performance happening. 

Thursday last week, Irving and I were out in the city, when we were the lucky recipients of some tickets to see "William the Great" at Fringeworld.  So four of us headed out to their evening show, and it was fabulous!  There was a good variety of circus, and an amusing storyline that flowed well throughout the show.  Willow was pleasantly surprised to discover that Felix Pouliot, who taught her some chinese pole last year was in it.

Over the weekend Arden was invited to be a paperboy and busk harmonica in the Streetside festival in Northbridge.  From about 12noon til 5pm Arden walked up and down William st waving papers (from 1924!) yelling "paper!paper!" and various other headlines from the 1924 news.  Such as "Horse bolts down James St! Lands in Lorry!"  We did a little bit of research to help him out,which involved watching some old footage of paper boys, and then he got dressed up for the day.  He absolutely loved it and is apparently sorry that it's not possible to actually be a paper boy in this era.

Damien and Willow both auditioned for Gilbert and Sullivan's production of "Iolanthe" for this year, over the weekend.  Whilst they were out doing that Irving and I went for a walk around Elizabeth Quay, which wasn't overly pleasant, as there is *very* little shade there, the water playground wasn't working and it was an extremely hot day (42C), so I think in future we'll avoid visiting there in the heat.

This week we've been getting our lanterns ready for PIAF festival, with the rehearsal happening tonight for tomorrow's opening.  Arden isn't old enough to be in the official procession, but Willow and Gabriel will be in it, and all our lanterns will be hung up.  (Irving made one too with my help.)

Our lanterns looking ready. (They are coloured on the inside, so that they were glow beautifully!)

Irving working on his oil pastels, on a spare lantern.

This is the promo for the opening tomorrow night.

Slowly starting

So this week saw the return of the heat and the official start of Willow's year 11.  She has been busy working on restoring her bike and doing lots of music.

Gabriel and Arden will start our organised section of the year in a couple of weeks.  With that in mind I sat down to plan our start to the year.  Since Arden is in year 3 and we are focusing on aboriginal culture, local environment and the old testament this year I thought that it would be a relaxing start to the year if we focused on some outing on these areas  Gabriel is also doing a bit of work on the local environment, so we are starting out doing very similar work.

My overviews for the year

When I sit down and plan the year, I always try to keep the similar blocks for each child at about the same time, so that we can do as much cross over work together as possible.  Also I'm trying to encourage interested learners in my home, so I like have some differences in new topics and some cross overs- everyone is inspired by each other, and because we use a Steiner inspired philosophy the older students get to revisit areas of interest and explore them again, and possibly more deeply.  (As an example Willow's focus for essays this year is music and mythology.)

My plan for our first block.

When planning my blocks in our early days of home ed, I was quite restrictive, but always if we came across something that was of interest to anyone we would explore the new thing further.  These days when planning I start with a theme, how many days we're looking at it for, and then have a chat to the kids as to what would be of interest to them.  This time we came up with  visiting Bold Park, Kings Park, and doing a walk along the river front from Canning Bridge to South Perth and then catching the ferry  (In the process of this, Gabriel said that he would like to visit some waterfalls this year).  In between we will be doing some writing, gardening, nature studies.  Arden will be listening to aboriginal mythology, and Gabriel will be reading "Oaxaca Journal" by Oliver Sacks.  I try to make much vaguer plans for our blocks these days, so that we have more room for spontanaeity and creativity on the spot, but I still like a plan, so that I have a sense of what we are aiming for.  That said if something else amazing comes along, the plan is totally able to be rearranged!

So that's how we are planning Willow's home ed this year.  We have a starting point and goals that are being aimed for, and weekly meetings to discuss progress and outcomes.  It will be interesting to see how it goes!

Some fun Irving has whilst I was planning today.

Monday, February 1, 2016


We usually spend the beginning of the year, heading off to a few Fringe and Arts shows and enjoying the weather and ambiance that Perth offers during this time.  This year, we've already been out and about quite a bit, catching some buskers last night, and Arden and Gabriel both getting an opportunity to be part of a show.  Gabriel was invited to help the strong man, and Arden was invited to help a balloon comedian. Last week as a family we all head to a vaudeville show for my birthday;down at Scarborough beach, where we enjoyed fish and chips after the show.  Everyone's made a bit of  a list of things that they would like to see this fringe so hopefully we'll make it to some more shows.

Chocolate cherries and cherry cinnamon glaze cake for my birthday!

I've been continuing to work on my sewing, and have made a silk bra, using raw silk, combined with the back off an old maternity bra, and I've now progressed onto gingham pyjamas for Arden and another gingham bra for me.

Preparations are being made for our home ed activities starting in around 4weeks.  Classes mostly start back next week, and Willow is starting her work before the rest of the family.  We're having a very natural learning year 11 for her where she is focusing on a variety of goals that she wishes to achieve this year with the aim of putting a portfolio together and applying for WAAPA again at the end of the year.  Some of her plans involve self-publishing a book, repairing her vintage bike, putting together a busking show involving circus and singing, studying mythology and operas that are connected to this area, and learning to sew further to develop some skills in costumery.  It is looking to be quite an interesting year.  Damien and Willow are both looking at auditioning for Gilbert and Sullivan's first performance for the year, which this time is Iolanthe.

I have Arden's class 3 planned, got that done at the end of last year.  I quite enjoy class 3, and it's interesting how it's easier to plan 3rd time around; something I know and am familiar with vs learning about.

I am still to sit down with Gabriel and plan his class 9, I'm hoping to do this next week.  I've made some notes and have some ideas, as does Gabriel, so it will be good to sit down together and apply our ideas to a plan.