Just a (little) 2 year absence…

Wow… So much has changed since I was last here. The reason for my absence – another babe and a whole lot less time. Our darling girl, Xanthe Summer Rain was born into water at home with only my soul sisters, husband and second born present, in January 2012 (she’s almost 2, can you believe it!!). I’m still very happily at home with my (now) 3 children and we’re venturing into the world of homeschooling. That’s why I’m back here in the blogging world! Trystan is 6 and a half now, and whilst Facebook is great for the unattached-not-quite-social stuff, I’d like somewhere to document our years through the ‘grades’.

Up to date we’ve been ‘Waldorf inspired unschoolers’. I think we’re both now ready to have a bit more structure to our rhythm (is than an oxymoron?) , so we have a curriculm (or a few, lol), and an amazing mentoring program that comes with some of the most inspirational mama’s I’ve ever met (sadly, they’re also mostly in another hemisphere).

So, here we go! I have 4 weeks until we kick-off our first ever school year (with T in first grade, I’m still happy to unschool our 4yo in waldorfy ways, and well Xanthe just needs room to move and boobie-snuggles lol) I’m cramming like the biggest exam of my life (kinda not kidding) while I sort through what I’m going to present, what happens when, how the heck I make a chalkboard since no-one in Aus uses them anymore, and all the while trying to tame my Sanguine AND Pisces self (oh, yes, quite the combination!).

This is going to be an exciting ride! ❤

Here are some photos from the past year (to insert the last 2 years would take forever, lol!)

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He can do what?!

I’m not sure if my babes are having massive brain growth spurts at the moment, or if I’m more sensititive to their learnings, but oh.my.Goddess these kids are on fire!! Koala-babe is singing 2,4,6,8 AND usually counting something with 4 things (like his toast), so he’s essentially doubling his counting (whatever floats your boat baby!), he’s also taking great delight in walking backwards for quite a long distance (usually when he doesn’t want to do something), and has an extensive vocab for a 24 month old that blows my mind. He’s also more than slightly obsessed with Banana’s in Pyjama’s circa 1990s – none of the new-age fully animated crap *laugh*. T-man is starting to identify the letters in his name, and the initial letters for ours (G for Grandma, M for Mumma, etc). Yesterday he asked me to help him find the magnetic letters so he could spell his name out on the blackboard.. he then requested assistance to WRITE it underneath. Both very new developments! He had no problems with some of the letters, but others were ‘too hard’ and I had to write them in the correct place for him.. showing him with the chalk was not acceptable, but I guess that’s part of me needing to learn to trust he’s just not ready for those yet and not to push him to try *smile*. Earlier this week he also drew our family, including the baby (who HAD to be blue for some reason!) in mumma’s big round belly. I resisted pointing out that he left poor Koala-babe with no arms, but after I took a photo he realised his oversight on his own. T-man also seems to be taking an interest in math! Characters on a pyjama t-shirt became a game of subtraction (“look, 4 Buzz… now, 3 Buzz!” as he placed his hand over one, and then 4-2=2 as he placed his other hand over another), and then dinner became another game of subtraction as bits of sausage disappeared off his plate. DH then asked him if he cut up another sausage and gave him x number how many would he have.. a few minutes of this banter and then T-man was over the ‘game’, but it did demonstrate he has a pretty good understanding of mathematics for someone who’s not been ‘taught’. Moments like these are both reassuring for me (so I’m reminded to leave him alone!), and excellent examples of natural learning for DH who is slowly coming around.. *happy sigh* .

Unschool Monday: learning to notice the ‘little things’

Since starting to read about unschooling and natural learning I’ve found myself noticing more of the ‘little things’ happening in my childrens lives. On the surface it may look like they’re not learning anything, but then something happens to surprise us. A drawing of a (not upside down, lol) person whose mis-shapen head is quickly determined to be a mouth (profile).. a series of what appears to be random coloured lines but is in-fact a rainbow.. the random singing to his toys of ABCD and 123.. the endless questions and ‘whys’. Being able to witness these natural miracles and just be ‘present’ with my children makes my heart sing with such joy!

Our Classrooms – October – week one

A glimpse of our natural learning ‘classrooms’ – linking up with Unschooling Sarahs.

Unschooling and Natural Learning

I have another blog, and had considered incorporating our natural learning journey there, but given quite a few family members and friends read that blog and I’d rather not discuss our choices at such a premature stage, I have decided to start up this blog. Perhaps I will merge them down the track, perhaps not.. it might help from a documenting point of view to keep these facets of our lives separate even though they are so intertwined.. Regardless, I think it will be good for me to debrief (brain dump) the information I learn and my children’s natural learnings so let’s just start here.

I’m Alemona, wife to Timsy and mama to T-man (4) and Koalababe (2). I’m also currently growing a Summer blessing. At present Timsy works full-time and I work part-time so our children attend care, which I CANNOT wait to pull them out of. I’ll be home with our babes full-time from Solstice and the plan is to continue with that even after the next year ends. T-man is expected (by mainstream society which includes extended family and just about everyone else outside our local village) to start 4yo kindergarten with his peers early next year, and then school the year after. We seriously considered a Steiner (Waldorf) education, but after attending playgroup and then Little (3yo )Kinder, we discovered that was ‘our’ ideal of schooling, not the optimal choice for T-man. He became shy and secluded and upset at even the thought of attending Kinder, so we pulled him out mid-year with thoughts of attempting mainstream (council run) kinder next year and then deciding on our choice of schooling (Public or Steiner) for the year after based on that.

T-man has thrived since moving back to ‘home-days’ and having the freedom to socialise with our chosen friends and engage in activities he enjoys. He has bloomed once again into the social butterfly that he was, and is learning about the world around him at an astounding rate. The age of questioning has begun, and I LOVE it! What other parents seems to complain about – the endless ‘whys’ – we embrace as learning opportunities that take us from the diet of dinosaurs to koalas and from the concept of extinction to native animals. Conversations that can begin with picking up a lone gumleaf on a walk, or flicking through a new picture book.

That brings us to now.. and the idea that perhaps what would be best for him, is to skip ‘school’ as we know it, altogether. To nourish the innate love of learning he has now and to support learning as play, rather than as the chore it is turned into in school. To trust that just as he has learned how to walk, talk and eat on his own, he can also learn how to read, research and problem solve.

Trust is a huge leap, even for those of us who have taken it in other areas before. Swimming upstream, unlearning what has been drilled into us.. deschooling ourselves. But, it is a leap I am willing to take. I trust that he WILL learn what he needs to in order to be a happy, well rounded adult who is able to function within our society. An individual with a love of learning and life. One step at a time, we embark on this journey together, and as koalababe continues his natural learning journey I’ll include his adventures as well. Enjoy the ride, I know we will 🙂 .