Thursday, June 30, 2016

Ruby and Willow

This last month has been very hectic for Willow, and has seen her perform in Iolanthe, recover, and spend a very intense weekend running around after celebrities as a volunteer at Perth's Supernova.

Now that the excitement of all that has worn off, and she has finally been to the bank to open a new bank account, Willow has published her first short story, simply entitled "Ruby".

Home Loving

Over the years of home education, one of the things that I value most in our lives now, that was very much lacking prior our brief stint in Steiner schools, is rhythm.  When Willow started kindy in Scotland in 2004, a lot of discussion revolved around the importance of rhythm.  Part of the rhythm in the kindy, was that each day, had a particular activity dedicated to it, generally these were the sorts of activities most kids of that age would find interesting-painting, baking, drawing, modelling.  However the last one caught my fancy and has been part of our life since, home loving.

Prior to our Steiner school experience, we had always had a house work day.  The kids didn't do a lot of it, and I was rather begrudging about it, but it was a necessity that I participated in very ungraciously.  On learning about Home loving in my daughter's school, and just the fact that it could be about love, rather than work, my attitude to it started to shift.  My attitude towards my children's involvement in it also started to shift. 

At the stage that Willow started kindy, she was very much a pre-schooler, 4 and a half,  Gabriel was only 2 1/2.  Neither were at the stage of being able to do too much in terms of help clean.  But this shift in loving my home, enabled me to encourage them to love their home too.  Initially it was just simple things; such as you are finished with one toy, it needs to be packed away to get a new toy.  Later it progressed to cleaning bedrooms, cleaning walls and now we are at the stage where Willow (16years) and Gabriel (14years) both cook dinner once a week, largely manage the kitchen themselves, and are involved in general other housekeeping duties as required.  Arden (8yrs) is at the stage of graduating towards a dinner night; currently he does dinner with the support of Dad once a week.

For our family the hardest thing about this, was creating a pattern.  Damien and I had not had a home loving attitude modelled to us, so for us to model it to the kids took time, practise and developing our own rhythm.  When a new baby has arrived it has gone out the window a bit (though with Irving's arrival it was much easier, as Willow and Gabriel were older and continued with their roles).  Arden and Irving were born into our family having a rhythm, and so they have both requested jobs, and 3rd and 4th time around I have found it much easier, as I know what is reasonable to expect them to be able to do.  (We also own many less toys than when Willow and Gabriel were very small).

For me, now as a long term home educator, this has made our experience much more relaxed and pleasant.  Living together and focusing on being co-operative together, far surpasses the benefits of home education from a purely academic point of view.  That said, our home probably does look quite chaotic by some people's standards, as we have quite a diverse range of interests and activities taking place.  We always try to keep a balance between tidy, clean, and lived in. 

Home in North Adelaide.

Settling into our appartment in East Perth.

Gifting Culture

Over recent time I've been contemplating the issue of finances in my family and our need as a larger family to have more financial support.  In line with this thinking I've been interested in the idea of a gifting economy.  Damien first came across it as a way of living, and found this post particularly inspiring. 

I started to think about our kids busking - for the last 8 years this has become part of our routine as a family.  Our children gift their music, and they are given some money usually but also a variety of other things in exchange for their performing.  I loved the idea that at any time, if they choose that they could make some money.  Of course the thing with working in this manner is that they also may not make money :D However as far as everything averages out this has been a wonderful experience for our children, and has taught them a variety of lessons about money, performing and people.

So now I've come to the point where I've been contemplating how I can create a living out of our home education.  On the whole this is something I'm passionate about and love.  We are into our 11th year of home ed, and are likely to have at least another 11years to go.  So I invite you, if you enjoy my thoughts, and ideas, and activities, to offer a gift exchange if you feel that you have received something from my blog.  Many thanks for reading!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Reading- Little House and Heidi

Arden and I are continuing to read the Little House series and we are now reading "Little House in the Prairie".  This has been complementing our JUMP maths education of Canadian geography, as we look up the places Laura's family travelled, and study maps in maths that are Canadian.  When asked about where Arden lived on the map, we decided to see if we could find a Perth in Canada, and of course we did!  :)

Last week we came to the end of reading Heidi together, and apparently all the kids love this book enough, that I had them all coming to listen to parts of it; usually Gabriel will still listen to me reading, but Willow doesn't often any more.

End of term 2

Amongst Iolanthe performances we managed to get a little bit of school work done, but mostly we spent the time recuperating from the intense performance schedule (9performances in two weeks).  Fortunately there was a long weekend in the middle, and so Damien was at home that day.  During the second week Willow got a cold, with a hoarse voice, so she learnt all about being in the chorus and being unable to sing!

Arden had been working on a block on homes, during Iolanthe, and we had hoped to get out and see some of the local historical buildings during the show, but we decided to leave it til a bit later, since people were run down, and it was a very intense schedule for Arden.  Arden did manage to build a model of our home in lego though, based of floor plans that he drew up.

We've had Arden and Irving playing knights and princes around here a little bit recently, and this led into building block castles.  Note the drawbridge.

Arden and I have been working at a book of creation from the Bible this week.  Lots of english and lots of painting.  Working at nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, etc; writing the story up in cursive and painting an illustration for each section.  

Gabriel has been looking at steam and combustion engines, we have plans for a more practical component during the break, but mostly we focused on theory during Iolanthe.  Some of the steam videos Gabriel watched.  This page was meant to be mostly combustion engines, but ended up a mix of things engine related.  This week Gabriel has moved onto chemistry and distillation.  We're hoping to distill essential oils after the break, and as a lead up he's making cold infused frangipani oil (we're thinking of trying this again later in the year, when the frangipanis are more fragrant) and a lavender water.

Willow has been doing a little sewing again, and made herself a small purse.
Gabriel is currently hand sewing his tie, and Arden is making progress on his jammy pants. I've been making a new bra out of green gingham;  I'm making the straps much wider this time.  On the whole I've been happy with my previous bras, except the width of the straps.

 We found this woodening ironing board in the hard waste.  Was too nice a piece of wood to let it get thrown out.

Arden and Irving being fairies on winter Solstice.

Enjoying my breakfast the day after solstice;taking in the sun, before getting started for the day.

We had our first home education excursion for awhile out to the Supreme Court this week for a hypotheticals session.  Willow and Gabriel found the process quite interesting.  Since Arden and Irving were too young for the session we had a few other errands to do, for Irving's birthday tomorrow, so we met up with everyone later.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Winter Solstice

Wishing everyone a wonderful winter solstice.

We have spent a lovely day doing school work at home and hanging out together as a family.  Arden and Irving and I were quite busy working together, whilst Willow and Gabriel worked independently.  Damien came home to join in our solstice fun, which included listening to Elvis and Johnny Cash singing Christmas carols, as well as some Christmas Jazz tunes! (and of course Damien and I did a little bit of rockabilly dancing).

This year we celebrated solstice with home made pork and cider pie with sauerkraut and chocolate pudding.  We sat out under the full moon and released our wishes for the future with a small candle ritual.  We came indoors and messed about with our instruments; it was all a bit chaotic, particularly with Irving claiming everyone's instruments at various points!

I must admit I miss our fire burning rituals from when we lived in Adelaide and we celebrated this time, but I've been trying to reconstruct some of this festivals for the climate we currently live in.  Perth just doesn't have winter.  We do have some cold nights, but a cold day is very rare.  The description of the Aboriginal seasons here, refers to this being a time of wet, whereas Adelaide describes this time as being cold (plus rain is *always* rare in Adelaide, and even Adelaide only has a taste of winter compared to many places).  Winter solstice here, is much more about feeling joyous that the days will be longer, but that there is still some cool and some rain to come, and so lots of time for lovely cosy indoor activities.  Lots of hearty food and lots of craft.  Things that I just don't tend to do in Summer because it's *too* hot!

I hope wherever you Solstice is wonderful, and that you can find meaning with it in your local climate and environment. :)

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Iolanthe has take over!!!

We are now in our second week of Gilbert and Sullivan performances, with Iolanthe.  Irving and I went to see the show last week,and fortunately for me Irving loved it, so I got to watch most of it.  Arden is enjoying his first time acting, and everyone has been returning filled with enthusiasm each night (which is great, because it is quite hectic, 9performances in a fortnight!)

Irving showing off his family in Iolanthe.

We found a beautiful vintage leatherette make-up case for Willow to use for Iolanthe.

We've mostly been taking it easy during the week; just doing a bit of new work (Arden has been looking at homes,  Gabriel; engines (steam and diesel), and focusing on people being well rested.

Some interesting dice construction play!

Another sketch from Gabriel's biology block. (I really liked this but fogot to take a picture of it before!)

Examining our rotary telephone.  (We have two, one doesn't dial- we've figured out what we think needs replacing, and are hoping to find a part)

Willow trialling fairy hair styles for Iolanthe.

Arden learning to sew.  A purse for his doll.

And me, baking, baking and baking. (I've been trying to make sure there are lots of good snacks being taken to Iolanthe- so no-one feels tempted to eat junk whilst there.)

Pear, jam and cream tart.

Pumpkin pie, with our new very creepy looking Jack-o-lantern.

Looking forward to getting back to our normal routine!