Thursday, February 28, 2019

Planning and Term 1

When I make a plan for the year, I like to do it at the end of the year for the coming year, and then forget it for the Summer.  This  year, like some other years, I have totally failed to get my plan done when I prefer, so it looks like I'll be finishing it off in the next few days.  When planning I also like to cross over themes with my children as much as possible, and this year, this is the one area that I am still reviewing in my plan.  I also like to make a plan, as it gives me a sense of the areas, that I hope to cover in the year, and it is amazing how often I come across activities, or interesting books, or resources, just because of reviewing the ideas that we wish to look into for the coming year.

Willow is working an office job as an operations assistant and loving it.  Turns out all her volunteering on message boards as a moderator was useful for getting and succeeding at this sort of work.  Gabriel has started a cert 3 in Screen and media (digital) this is a 6month course, and he has plans to follow on with a second course later in the year.  It is feeling good after 13yrs to have two completed, and enjoying where they are.  The younger two are up to class 6 and class 1, and we have had a lovely gentle start to the year.

All the kids together on Gabriel's 17th birthday.

Lots of lovely moments at the beach and in our pool.  We are truly blessed with glorious beaches, beautiful water and perfect Summer weather in Perth, much of the time.  Especially when I remember beach life in Adelaide. (Usually the water is freezing in Adelaide, unless it has been *very* hot, and on the way home, one can't help but wonder if the trip, to feel pleasant for 1/2 hour of so, was worth the effort.)

Watching the water

Swim between the flags!

Painting with the younger two.

Doing some sewing.  I have done quite a lot this Summer.

We got to a couple of shows in this  years Fringe, and Willow was working flyering again at it.  We also spent some time in the Pleasure Gardens where we came across these "magic apples".  The youngest two *loved* them and the process of collecting the peel, making a wish, and watching them being coiled and covered in cinnamon sugar.  One of the lovely things about how we homeschool, is that the magic of life is kept alive for such beautiful simple joys.

We also got to a home ed excursion to see a Fringe show about culture, performed by young Korean and Vietnamese students who attend an American school in Vietnam.  It was quite insightful into a different way of learning.  The students of the school seemed to have the advantages of what American schools offered as topics long ago, but sadly lack the ability to study them at a higher level at home in Vietnam, as there is nowhere to study drama,etc.

Irving discovering what it's like to be a flyerer in Perth fringe, by assisting Willow on the job.

Collecting leaves, just because they were gigantic for London Plane trees.

Starting on some Shakespeare for Arden's yr 6 family reading.  We all sit around one evening a week (the first time someone in the family reads Shakespeare) and read together.....sometimes it can get confusing remembering who we are.  LOL.  Previously we have read Julius Casear and Antony and Cleopatra, this time Cymbeline that is about a British King in the Roman empire.

Onto the next book in the Little House series, plus Irving and Arden just finished listening to "The Wizard of Oz."  The book is quite lovely and it is the first older kids' book that Irving has really enjoyed.  Though it does still seem funny reading it and know that Dorothy has silver slippers and not red!

Irving was excited to get a smartrider finally and especially to get a changing colour sequin holder for it.

It looks like Autumn might be coming a bit earlier this year....noticing the season changes with the kids.

Off to see Kwongkan with Arden at Fremantle Arts centre.  It was a Perth Fringe Performance about taking care of our home this Earth.  Beautifully done as a cross cultural experience of Aboriginal and Indian performance, Arden and I enjoyed it very much and thought that it communicated the changes across time well. 

As a whole family we also got to see A O Lang Pho, the Vietnamese circus in the festival.  It was very interesting to see them after the Fringe show by the Vietnamese students and to learn that there are very few places offtering opportunities like this in Vietnam.  In fact the circus show's booklet stated that they were expanding there, but that the show we were to see, received a better response in France!

We started ice-skating lessons again this year, with Irving taking his first formal lesson.  He did very well on his first try, and seems to have gained the maturity at 5 1/2 to manage himself for his half hour lesson.  I did wonder if he was ready, so it was a nice surprise to see him do well, and not look to me much.

Again at Fremantle Arts centre, this time to see a Bluegrass band- Bluegrass Parkway.  We felt the gig was too large for their style, having seen them at other more intimate locations, particularly as they use old fashioned microphones for amplification, so we stopped in the cafe for coffee and enjoyed the music from the distance instead.

Finally this pic of youngest and oldest child is why we started to home educate 13years ago.  Family.  I feel blessed that we made this choice, as it has transformed our lives, and especially anyone (like us) who has a child close to the cut off date for starting pre-primary in WA (Irving is 6 days off it), and is finding that their child is already being labelled a "problem", contemplate the idea that the child is simply too immature for a system that has forgotten how children learn.  When I was 5, 40yrs ago, and 4yr olds were expected to start school, we often started with half days,  had afternoon naps! and there was so much play (my favourites were dress up, and water/sand play on hot days). Our culture that encourages adults to become parents later and later, has lost its ability to understand how children learn, and is causing immense emotional issues for many small people who simply have nothing wrong with them other than needing more time to grow, so that they can cope with skills in a flexible age appropriate manner.  
Scandinavian countries start school at an older age-7- knowing that this is the age that most children will succeed to learn to read easily.  If that is the case, starting 4 1/2 yr olds, we as a culture and schooling system are  sacrificing a lot of children to a school life of feeling like a failure and various forms of anxiety. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Break Time

The Summer break always goes quite quickly and with interstate visitors, a rather cool start to Summer and a few events, my planning for this year has not happened yet!  Usually I like to do it, at the end of the previous year, and then take a look the week before we start "planned" work.  Fortunately we won't be doing any of that for a few weeks...well except a few home ed classes, so I still have a bit of time for my planning.

Gabriel will be starting TAFE tomorrow, which will be interesting, as it is his first experience of systemised education.  He has done plenty of courses, and home ed classes and volunteering over the years, but he is my first home educated child who has not been schooled.  So far I think he's been learning a lot about how disorganised that these systems and places can be!  :D

We've been off to Fringe a little this year, swimming (in our pool and at the beach), relaxing at home, doing jigsaws, playing pool and pokemon, building lego and for me, quite a bit of sewing- the younger two wanted some "Hawaiian style" outfits!

Willow started a new job, as an operations assistant for a small local business.  Turns out all her volunteering to moderate on message boards was very helpful!  She was working in a local cafe last year, but was frustrated by the irregular hours and shifts, and the new work is suiting her interests and experience much more.  She has also started a basic ballet classes for adults with WA ballet which she is loving.  Currently she is also flyering for fringeworld.

So this year I am back to home educating two students.  yr6 and yr1.  At least for the first half of the year.  We will have to see what the second half will hold for Gabriel's yr 12.

Left over pics from last year...
Silhouette drawings with home made almond charcoal.

And in regular black charcoal.

Reading on Greek Myths.  I love Padraic Colum.  He is one of our favourite children's mythology authors.

Another favourite author.  Read this to Arden for our botanical studies this year. 

One of Arden's cactii flowering.

Some of my recent reading. 
I'm also re-reading Harry Potter for some lighter Summer reading.  Gradually getting through it...onto book 5.  I also read "The Trial" by Kafka, after Willow, Gabriel and Damien went to see a performance it by WAAPA students, at Spare Part Puppet Theatre.

Making multi-coloured beet kvass and butter.

Christmas lights and rides around Perth. 

Arden received and built this excellent model of Leonardi's bridge design, on Christmas.  He also got a model hyrdapault.

I made this snake outfit for Irving!

And Arden has a cat outfit.

Gabriel needed some jean repairs.

Covered one stool, that I found in hard waste last year!  The navy blue corduroy is a huge improvement.

Finally some fun on my birthday.  Rolling and running down a hill!