Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Winter Nature Table & Backyard Nature Crafts

After we got in yesterday from our Winter Backyard Exploration we set about having a closer look at our little treasures. There were quite  a few of them to say the least, including some large branches and vines that had to be left at the front door, but where to be used later in some of our crafts.

I suggested we try and make something from our finds, as opposed to just a standard nature collage, you know the typical smathering of leaves and what not glued all over a page. Collages like that happen nearly every week in our house with absolutely no input from me at all. This time I wanted to try something new.

I'm pretty happy with how my butterfly turned out the leaves were perfect and in real life the 'wings' stand out from the paper to give it more life like appeal. As the leaves were very dry and far from lying flat gluing them down was somewhat tricky. We needed to use various kitchen implements as paper weights whilst the glue dried enough to hold them in place.

B chose to do a construction page with some of the bark that they brought back. Ironic really considering that these are normally the types of things that tear our nature areas apart. I chose not to mention that to him though.

K struggled with this activity. Everything was so dry it was really quite difficult to glue things down, hence she has few unfinished pages of work that she isn't happy with. I thought I'd include these cute little leaf people she made at our Family Picnic we had over the weekend. It is even snowing, perfect for our wintery theme, not that we will ever see snow where we live!

I decided to use up our old playdough and give C an opportunity to create his own Nature Sculpture of sorts. he loved this, although had to reminded several itmes to not push the little rocks or gumnuts too far into the playdough. There are several hidden way inside that playdough.

Of course once I offered this to C to do the others quickly wanted some of the playdough, luckily I didn't give it all to C.

K found an old cardboard star left over from one of our mosaic activities for hers.

B got all 'arty farty' with his little masterpiece.

And finally our very first Winter Nature Table, all of the bits and bobs we collected, the playdough sculputres and our pictures on the wall, along with a few inspiring stories. I'm very happy with it, considering this is our first go. I so badly want some of those gorgeous waldorf gnomes and dolls and things but they will have to wait.

I am really hoping that this will become a standard in the home and that the kids will add to it over the season (I know K certainly will) and we will change it out together with the bringing in of each new season.

Winter Backyard Exploration

Our plans for today were cancelled so we made a spur of the minute decision to spend some quality time inspecting our backyard. We live on just over one acre in a semi rural setting, but still have a long way to go in regards to finishing off gardens and the like. We do have some neat places to explore though.

Considering that we are just about smack bang in the middle of winter you'd think that there wouldn't be much going in, but once you actually start looking it is surprising what you find. Even our grass is still fairly green.

We grabbed a basket so we didn't end up with pocketfuls of treasures and headed off.

Some kind of pupa/coccon hidden under a large piece of fallen bark.

These are the weirdest most smelliest fungus I have ever seen. Pretty mesmerising in a weird kind of way though. You can see they have shot up through the recently cut grass clippings as they have grass stuck to their heads. Which by the way is wet and brown eeewwww!

Nearly all of our relatively new lilly pilly's (planted when the pool was finished just before Easter) are all in fruit. The berrries are looking delicious, plump and ready to eat.

The base of fairly large gum, further up the back of the yard. It's pretty clear to see that something is using this to shelter from the cold at night.

Once we'd found fungus they were popping up everywhere. You know like when you never see a certain model car and then you buy one and you see them everywhere!! Well it was just like that in our backyard, lichen and fungi everywere. Even way up high as K very cleverly spotted.

Although we were surprised to see so much life, our little Mulberry Tree is standing there looking all forlorn and waiting for the very last leaf to fall to the ground. I wonder if they enjoy this process or if they just eagerly hang out for spring and all of the fresh buds to appear.

The mandarin tree is very much in fruit although it is looking somewhat sad and the fruit really needs to picked.

We covered just about every square inch of our little piece of wonderland and brought back a few treasures.

The plan is to put a Nature Table together and maybe do a spot of nature crafting.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Time For Me, Mum, Mother, Mom, My Time

I have read so many fabulous responses to this Home School Hop. I love that the participants are so varied, everyone has their own ideas and views on what is and isn't important to them.

Having not homeschooled from the beginning I did struggle somewhat with the initial settling in period and had some days where I wondered if I would ever get to be on my own again.

However I have come to value the quiet moments at home, even though the children are still here in the house.

I am a firm believer in allowing children the freedom to play without the hovering eye of a parent and my lot will often spend hours in the backyard playing all sorts of made up games. I only need to glance out of any rear window and I can either see or hear them and our backyard is fully fenced.

Drives in the car too and from activities can actually become quite the sanctuary, some nice music, children quiet in the back. It is just me and the car and the music. I think it is all about finding those times or places where you can have some solitude.

In saying that however I do need some time away from the home, which is where my fabulous (I say that alot don't I) homeschooling friends come into play. Not only have our chidlren become great friends but we as adults also have and what a blessing that is to all of our lives. We have regular (but not too often) mums lunches and a night time thing here and there.

The beauty about homeschooling is (if you don't isolate your family) that you will have a wide network of friends or accquaintances so whenver you are out attending activities or classes for the children you will always have some one that you know fairly well to chat to.

I love a good book, but with so little free time part of me feels guilty for reading just for pleasure when I have a list a mile long of parenting, homeschooling and other books that I want to read. Ridiculous I know but we all have our little idiosyncrasies don't we!

I enjoy getting lost in a good movie, no matter how trashy, as you can just let your mind go, however with a toddler in the house the opportunities for this are somewhat limited for now.

As you can tell I enjoy blogging, it gives me an outlet and also serves as a record and journal for our homeschool days. Even if I can be a sparodic blogger at times. ;-)

My early morning cuppa is definitely one thing that I savour. I try to always rise before the children to have some time to just sit, sip and ponder.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Female Prime Minister

Oh my! Oh wow! Well done, even though she wasn’t voted in I still thought that I would be reading lots of ‘well done to the women’s movement’ type info around the traps and whilst I have seen some, sadly  I keep seeing a lot of how horrid this choice is for men, for women, for our country!

More importantly for the men that are supposed to lead us! For the men that we are supposed to follow!

These statements sadden me greatly.

Follow?  What ever happened to being a free thinking, choice making human being in our own right? Sometimes I need to remind myself that we do live in the year 2010 and that the majority of women are no longer oppressed by men (granted that many still are).

I’m not necessarily a huge feminist movement activist but I do admire women for leading the way, paving the way for future generations to have the freedom of their convictions. To do with their lives as they choose, not what is expected of them!

Whilst I don’t agree in the ‘women can have it all mentality’ because, in my opinion, women having it all is, in a lot of cases at the detriment to their children’s welfare, even though many of those women refuse to see it that way. Although this is a topic best left to a later discussion.

Why are we not encouraging free thought in our children? Why do we not want them to ask questions? To grow up to be who they want to be as opposed to ‘who’ they ‘should’ be or their parents would prefer they be.

I wonder if one of the reasons we have so many unhappy adults in society today just might possibly be due to their ‘well meaning’ parents choosing their path for them.  Choosing what they read, choosing what they believe, choosing their friends, their schooling and the list goes on.

Whilst I’m very much a mother that chooses to discuss openly with my children many of the choices they have in life and not just allow them to make choices alone; after all they are still children and I strongly believe that they need ‘some’ guidance. I am not afraid to let them know what I think is a wise choice and a not so wise one and why. But ultimately it is still their choice. I might not like every choice they make and often they have learnt that after a choice has been made they don’t either, which is why they can always change their minds on a lot of things.

If children never have the opportunity of choice, good, bad or otherwise in the safe haven of a loving home environment how will they ever be able to make choices (especially the more difficult ones) as adults. In fact many adults suffer from the inability to make choices, could this possibly stem from childhood?

I know some will say well isn’t free choice just like letting your children eat lollies all day and really it might possibly be like that if you always had lollies in the home so that they could access them all day. But I am getting off the beaten track.

Why do we not value the strengths and the weaknesses in both sexes? Not all women want to grow up to be mothers. That needs to be ok, in fact I think Mother Nature would thank those women for making such a bold choice, to go against the grain of society, to choose to not bring another human being into the world, with our awfully bad habits of slowly destroying our planet.

I’d be kidding myself if I said that I would be completely 100% happy if I never experienced life with grandchildren. But that will never be my choice to make, it has never been any potential grandparents’ choice to make and never will be.

When will we realise that just because we have been raised in a certain way. To believe certain things about life, it doesn’t make it ok to continue to pass those beliefs on to future generations. Why do we do that? I think for most it is fear, fear that what we have grown up to believe just might not be what everyone else believes. We are then forced to take a long hard look at our lives and why we are the way we are and many adults simply do not want to do that. Even if on the surface we don’t realise that the fear exists or that we wholeheartedly believe that we are doing the right thing by our children.

To discuss, to ponder, to wonder those are all the many things that we can experience and should experience with the loving guidance of our parents. To freely and openly look at both sides of any argument is something most of us need to learn as adults, when really it should come naturally if you are afforded this luxury as a child. To understand that it is ok to think differently from others and just because one does think differently doesn’t make ones thoughts right or wrong.

So whilst I’m unsure if Julia Gillard will be voted in by the people later this year. I do wish her every success and it is plain to see that she has come from a home where being able to question and to think for oneself was highly valued. Well done to her parents.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Oh It's Great To Be A Homeschooler!

We had our mid year LHEN Family Picnic today. These are moments I cherish, the moments I know that it truly is wonderful to be a homeschooler! A homeschooler blessed with a community of similar minds and friendship.

With the gorgeous surrounds of Daisy Hill State Forest the children were free to run, play, explore and do what ever it is that children do best. Whilst the mummies and daddies got to mingle, socialise and chat. Especially the dads, they so often miss out on all the fun we homeschoolers have and it is very important for them to connect with other homeschooling dads.

There were soccer matches, cricket, badminton, totem tennis, hiding in the bushes, some simple but delightful craft activities and just plain old having fun.

We did manage to round up the troops, well most of them anyway for a group shot.

You can see in the top right image they are all nicely finding their place and then the mass exodus, after the photo shoot was through of rushing to get back to whatever it was they were doing before hand.

We did in the end mange to grab a nice group photo of them, not an easy task with a large number of children, that aren't used to sitting still for very long!

I think I counted 16 families, anywhere between 40 and 50 children so not all are in the photo, but that's ok. What a gorgeous bunch of happy, smiling, carefree children.

Oh it's great to be a homeschooler!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Words of Gratitude: Snuggles, Down Time & Free Thought

This week I am grateful for:

  • Down time at home after having completed all of the organisation for LHEN activities for next term.

  • For morning snuggles in bed with the kids when it is oh so cold outside and knowing that we don’t have to venture out into it.

  • For my parents in allowing me free thought and to have an open mind.

What are you grateful for this week?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Time For Mum - Home School Sharing Blog Hop

Time For Mum

If you are a mum you are busy!


Regardless of any other hats you may wear during the day, SAHM, Work from home, outside the work and for us as a Home Schooling Mum
means busy, busy, busy. Schooling, reading, maths, art, science experiments, driving here there and everywhere for various classes and play dates, even those of us that keep outside 'activities' to a minimum are still busy within their own homes.

How do you as a busy mum, find some time for you?

What's your sanctuary?

Your place?

Your thing?

Even when you can't leave the home behind what do you do at home with a houseful of children to find some time for you?

Time to recharge, relax, be still, calm the mind and the spirit, so you can be 'there' for your children.

Share with us.


Coming Theme: Theme Free


Blog Hop Participation Rules

STOP: Please DO NOT add your link below unless you have a post published about the blog hop and the current theme, and the McLinky code showing in that post.

Please ensure you have linked directly to your blog hop post and that the title includes the words 'blog hop' somewhere. All links added are checked via McLinky and those without these details are removed immediately.

We are all enjoying this immensely, please play fairly as the majority of blog hoppers do! Thanks for participating, have fun!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Home School Sharing = Home School Blog Hopping

Meet the Home School Blog Hoppers that share their thoughts on various topics that relate to all Home Educators.

Photobucket Children Grow

Academia Celestia

If you have regularly participated in the past few blog hops please let me know so I can add your button here.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Blog Friends Award

I received this award from Leptir (Natasa), completely blown away actually that she even thought of me, so thank you. :)

I am only passing this one on to a few blogs this time around, they are blogs that I try to read every post and visit them often, even if I don't always leave comments.

Stuff On My Blog

Kez's Blog

Walk Beside Me

Children Grow Children Explore Children Learn

Tired Need Sleep

Delightful Learning

Thanks for your inspiration ladies. :)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Words of Gratitude: Life, Support & Bloggy Goodness

This week I am grateful for:

  • Just being, being here on this planet, being alive. Since it's my birthday and all, I'm grateful to see yet another year.

  • I'm still very grateful for my blog. It is so nice and clean and tidy, love it! (even though I still haven't finished getting all of my links working)

  • I've said this several times before on various posts but I am ever so grateful for my supportive homeschool friends. Without them I wouldn't be where I am today. I continue to meet homeschooling mums that have very little support and my heart goes out to them. I'd be lost without my support network.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

L.E.A.F - Logan Eco Action Festival

We went along to L.E.A.F over the weekend. I'm pretty sure this was the first ever Festival of it's kind for Logan and that being so, I was very impressed with what they had on offer.

Lots and lots to see, from Eco Aware Stalls, Vendors, Conservation Stall Holders, Organic Food, Wildlife, Roving Entertainment, Activities for the kids and more....all free (except for food purchases)

B potted up a tomato plant. The presenter took the time with each child to explain the root system and how the plant takes up water and nutrients. Of course B already knew all of that from our Mini Plant Study we did earlier this year. I was, however, so proud of him, he listened to every word she said, smiled, nodded his head and said thank you at the end, never once mentioning that he already knew this stuff!!

One group had an Animal Sorting Activity ~ Munchers Sort ~ set up. They had painted large sheets of card, into 4 different areas, one area for the Sun, one for Animal Munchers, one for Plant Munchers and one for Sun can see how the sun travels and affects all 3 of the areas on the board.

The children were given piles and piles of plants, mini animals and other creatures, loads of variety, some of them were fabulous. Everyone then had to go through their creatures and decide what type of ~ Muncher ~ it was and place the animal/plant/creature onto the appropriate area of the board.

Next stop, face painting. B wanted a lizard and K a butterfly and C wouldn't have anything to with it at all.

There were several roving characters around the place. K has never liked these things and C was absolutely terrified so B got all of the fun. Especially with this big Kanga man, he actually hopped and bounced in that suit it was pretty incredible. B gave him an awful fright when he turned around and saw his big green lizard face.

The frog (I missed his species) was endangered and wasn't bothered by B's green looks at all...wonder if thought he was family!

C was very intrigued with all of the reptiles on show and if you enlarge this pic you will see some of a gigantic snake that was just out laying on the lawn aaarrrghhh! All I will say is that he is sure used to getting grabbed by lots of little hands, there were kids everywhere.

We spent a good couple of hours wandering hour browsing, listening to some of the entertainment. In fact one band was so good we came home with 2 of their CD's (they were recently on Australia's Got Talent). Our morning finished with some yummy organic ice blocks.

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