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The Lee Academy

Free to play, learn and love

Month

January 2017

Week 5 to 8

What an eventful first 8 weeks. God has been blessing this little place of ours and we have a lot to be thankful for.  Lets see what the Lee family got up to this month…

We got a cat. This little dear came to us at 5 weeks of age as she was found with her brother at a construction site after they had knocked down the house. So she was a blessing, and we were told by the vet to expect a 50/50 chance of survival due to her age and being away from mum. She is now 8 weeks old and not just thriving, but knows that kids drop food whilst they eat.

Report on MR. 6

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Best thing about homeschooling is this. Mr. 6 loves doing his math worksheets now… because he gets to hold his precious pet whilst he does. Miracles do happen. Get a pet cat.

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Mr. 6 started circuits and electronics with this Clip Circuit toy. It’s basically like lego so he follows the instructions but gets a thrill when things just work. We have already broken one bulb from the set due to constant on/off/on/off/on/off (what did they expect from 6 year olds!) so we have to go to Bunnings to buy about 1000 bulbs. He wants to join a robotics club when he turns 7.

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Along with his sister, Mr. 6 has been doing the housework by hanging up the clothes, taking them down, stacking the dishwasher, emptying the dishwasher, setting the table for dinner and clearing it. Quite interesting to watch. Sometimes it takes ages and it takes all of me to not take over.

Report on Miss 4

Gorgeous Miss 4 doesn’t have anything like a set curriculum, however, has indulged herself in her brother’s worksheets. So she wants to know how to write.

She has begun to teach herself how to write her name and my name. Her “E” and “B” delight me as the repetition reminds me of the goose from ‘Charlotte’s Web‘.  She is into drawing and her drawings of her family are her favourite topic.

For an entire week, this was her uniform. Including the mask. It was fantastic to see her venture away from the princess genre for a moment and be SpiderGirl for a week. My delight and pleasure of the week.

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The Lee family decorated cup cakes once a week for the whole 4 weeks. It was their way of open creativity. Some cup cakes had one flower, and others had so many decorations, giving new meaning to eton ‘mess’ (mess all over the floor!)… But the aim here was to give them freedom of expression, as well as developing creativity and fine motor skills.

Report on Mr. 2

Mr. 2 obviously has nothing set, but watching his brother and sister learn, there is a sense of belonging when he also wants to do what they do. So this week, we finally received the most wonderful wooden sandpaper letters and numbers. These ones could be customised to have the State letter font (for us it is Victorian). Mr. 2 learnt how to read his numbers so fast just by the sensory feel and touch of the cards. He has also started to read his abcs. It is interesting to note that there is no force here, as these products are so good at helping him keep his interest that he just cannot get enough. If you have young kids and the money, I would strongly recommend these as an investment. I initially bought them for Mr. 6 and Miss 4, but I am proud as punch that Mr. 2 loves them.

We also went out bike riding with all three kids for the first time ever. I am a crazy mother and at times, I feel like it is a minor miracle that all kids are still alive today and no cars were injured in the outing that was my 3 children all on bikes, supervised by one adult. We bought Miss 4 a helmet which irresponsibly was not in this photo!


We had visitors and lots of play friends visit. Most notably was a lovely lady, Dorinda, who actually serves in Africa as a midwife. She is such a down to earth lady, and it was so great to have her come over and entertain my kids with books and conversations whilst I tuned out for a while. She also got them all in her car for a ride and drove off for a 5 minute ride. Kids had a hoot. Just as a side mention, if you ever wanted to suppose someone personally who is doing a great work for the poor people of Africa, please think of helping Dorinda financially. One day, our little family will be visiting her and hopefully helping her with her work in Africa. Thank you for visiting Dorinda!


We are now officially on holidays! 

So whilst the rest of Victoria goes back to school, we will be visiting all the beaches, zoos, museums, fun parks and yes, even a stint at the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (okay, that might be for me!). We were suppose to go away interstate to some sunny destination… but then we got a pet! Haha oops.

Watch this space for our holiday fun!

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An Educated Guess – Why being a mum today is hard

For mothers, sometimes parenting is just an educated guess. Parenting can be very difficult, and at times we make decisions because we believe that that decision is the best.

And why is it so difficult? Was it easier for generations before us? Was it easier before technology? Was it easier when families were more connected?

My theory (and when I say theory, I mean thought process) is that back in the hunter gatherer days, back in the farming days, families and communities stuck to each other. When children socialised, it was with the communities that were already well established; parents, grandparents and friends already knew each other. The level of trust was already established prior to children being brought up. Information was handed down from father to son, from mother to daughter. Sons followed their fathers (and the wider male communities) whilst they hunted and learnt the skills. They had their meaning, they had their belonging. Daughters followed their mothers to catch small lizards, gather nuts and berries or prepare the food. There was a sense of connection and identity here.

Parenting was easier in this setting as the men were able to socialise with the men, the women socialised with the women (don’t you always feel energised in a group of chatting mums!) and the kids could run around like mad. If you have ever been in this setting and thought to yourself, “What a fabulous day”, maybe we can finally see how life was always suppose to be.

However, when I listen to parents and children these days, I hear about things like the generation gap. I hear about how ‘back in my day, things were harder/simpler/nicer/not as easy’, basically indicating that this generation doesn’t connect with theirs.  And in these very fast moving times, sometimes it is very difficult to pass on information that might be useful, because in fact, it simply is no longer relevant… or so we think.

In a short 120 years, we have had many wars. Two World Wars. The generation that raised children during the war, did it for survival. For these children, it must have been difficult to live without your parents, with little money and security. As these children grew up, they raised a generation wanting that security. These children are now our baby boomers. This generation is amazing. They lived in poverty as children, in a very insecure world, and as adults, they work hard, they invest and save, to ensure their future and their children’s future.

However, now comes something very tricky. The baby boomers gave extraordinary opportunities to their children, sometimes because these opportunities were not presented to them. This X and Y generation had lessons, fantastic schooling, toys, holidays, the latest this and that, friendships and above all… the freedom to focus on themselves. The frequent rhetoric of ‘Who do you want to be when you grow up?’ made children think that they could actually be anything they wanted to be.

But suddenly, we no longer knew our identity. And frequently as I was growing up, I felt people say to me that I would discover my identity when I was 15, then 18, then 21, then when I got married… But I continued to think, as with many young people today, “Who am I?”

What has happened to family connectivity? Why is it common place that we hear teenagers separating themselves from their parents, not wanting to be with them anymore and wanting to socialise more with their friends. Why do we hear teenagers speaking badly about the two people on earth who love them more than they love themselves? How did it ever get to this?

Is it because of all the advances in technology, in materialism, in the opportunities in life, or possibly, does the separation of children from their parents at a very early age, AS WELL AS the extraordinary pressure to succeed, fit in and ‘survive’ life mean that parents no longer matter.

Only in the last 30-40 years have we seen a surge in Aged Care. Yes, this is because of a very well cared for population who are living longer. But more than that, we are seeing people not being able to care for their parents any longer. We have become a society that is so busy and too caught up in doing well and giving our ‘future’ and children the best, that we must separate the care for our parents.

How did this ever happen?

So back to the title of this blog. An educated guess. It is difficult to get a sense of how our mums did life. If you are fortunate to have had a stay at home mum as your mum, you may have had more time to see her cook, see her take care of you and your siblings, you may have also had the pleasure of her guiding you through the hard times. And even if this was your best case… it still may not have been able to set you up for being a mother today.

Because today, there is the internet, society early sexualisation and certain social acceptabilities that come with this, there is dis-connectivity through TV, screens, there is heightened pressures on kids to ‘not miss out’ and be their best, drug related issues. What happens when you have a child who simply isn’t just naughty, but might have a behavioural problem or a learning disability, who just doesn’t fit in? When kids can’t hear well, or can’t speak well, when they aren’t hitting milestones, growing too slowly, growing too fast, what’s that lump, do you vaccinate, is panadol enough, should I go to hospital now, did they eat any veggies this week, what do you mean it’s PE day today, your stuffs in the wash…. Mums have to follow rules from play group, kinder, school, soccer clubs, ballet lessons, the right shoes, uniform, the right time, the right food, nude food, reading lists, dress up days, volunteer on behalf of your children, PTAs, some of us work, keep a clean house, be a good wife, a good daughter in law, be a good contributor to society…

There is so much pressure on us mums, too.

So sometimes when people ask me if what I am doing for my child is right. How do I know if homeschooling is right for my family.

The truth is, I don’t. I will never know 100% if homeschooling is right for my children. It is an educated guess. And I am prepared to wear the guilt, and to power through because I love them more than all the sacrifices that could ever be made. Because sending Mr. 6 to school when he simply does not want to be there is something I just could not do.

So lets start to be a bit less judging of our fellow mums, because mums these days have to make VERY BIG decisions for their children. Do you work really hard and long hours to send your children to private school? Well done. Good on you. It means you love your children and you want the very best for them no matter what. Do you send your children to the local primary school so they can be with their friends and you can pick them up and spend time with them, or take them to karate class? Excellent.  You are a brilliant loving mum who wants to connect and show your children you care. Do you homeschool your children because you want them to learn freely? You are amazing. You care so much for your kids that you are willing to give up your time (and additional income) to give that to them.

See we all love our children. And we are guided by what we have learnt through our upbringing. And in a world that is changing so fast, where generations do not quite understand each other as well as they did in the past, lets us mums stay connected and help each other bring the village back and raise our children together.

Hopefully somewhere in this educated guess, we can have teenagers that know how much we love them, we can raise young adults who not only respect and serve themselves, but also serve and respect their families and community, but most of all, we can raise self-assured and confident people… who could never doubt that their mothers love them.

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