Search

The Lee Academy

Free to play, learn and love

Category

Homeschool – Our Life

I did nothing today…

I did nothing today
No lessons, worksheets or reading
No History, Science or English
All they did was draw, watch TV and eat

I did nothing today
Last night Mr. 4 had diarrhoea
Diarrhoea throughout the day
All I did was hold him

I didn’t teach today
I held my little boy
He was in so much pain
But he calmed down at the sight of me

I didn’t read today
I held him tight and snug
He was in pain but warm and safe
It made him feel better

My other two understood
The world could have seen
They should have gone to school
That it wasn’t fair for them… to not be taught today

My other two felt empathy
And we stuck together
As a family to get through this
Together

We learnt what it meant
To be a family

I did nothing today
According to the teaching world
But to my sick little boy
I was his world today

Because all he wanted
Was me, my time, undistracted
To know in his time of pain
My mum cares and loves me… with no other priority

I did nothing today
According to the world
But to one little boy
I did everything right today

 

Advertisements

Happy without Facebook

I am so glad the Sun has made an appearance. If you’re a Melbournite, you will have endured what seemed to be an endless cloudy and rainy season that is our winter. And how absolutely glorious to now bask in the warmth and gentle touch of the Sun, as it makes is lovely appearance.

But I am well aware that even on these sunny days, there are always dark times in our lives that inhibit our ability to smile.

Recently, due to journalists hounding my privacy due to a news story I witnessed, I shut down my Facebook page for a couple of weeks. At the time, I battled with the notion of not having my supposed lifeline to the outside world SHUT DOWN, but in order to get some peace from the constant contact and the public eye getting my private details, I shut it down.

And what an unexpected outcome. I felt free. Not initially. Initially I felt lost, empty and “what do I do now?”. I realised that the times I checked my phone were:

  1. First thing in the morning,
  2. When the children and their behaviour just got too much; and
  3. When I felt like I needed something for me.

It was then interesting to have a life without it. What turned out to be done due to media, has actually enhanced my life. Now, instead of looking at my phone, I:

  1. Embrace my smiles, and settle into the warmth that is God’s love for me, as he prepares me for the day through prayer,
  2. Address my children’s issues immediately, and hold them, as nothing else in my day could be more important than right now,
  3. Know that my life is enough for me, and I have everything I need, and
  4. What you see, hear, smell and feel affects you in every way.

There are more cuddles, there are more face to face conversations, there is more connected play time, there is nothing more important than them, when I am there, with them.

 

I understand that these are things we should just KNOW, and these are things that we should just DO, but I wasn’t doing them. I was doing them SOMETIMES, but I felt that my social media was giving me more joy in my day than the difficult times during my day. And they weren’t. For some unknown reason, I felt unhappier everytime I updated, checked and had a notification with my Facebook. But I was addicted, clearly. I needed people to like my posts, I needed people to see my beautiful life, but for what reason? For likes? Is that a good enough reason not to engage fully, 100%, with my world? Absolutely not.

So it has been shut off. And the only times I check it, is once, at night, for a given time of 10 mins. And then it’s off.

I’ve noticed that most, if not all, of the notifications on Facebook, aren’t actually for me either, which has annoyed me recently. They tell me what people are doing, where they are going, who I haven’t contacted in a while, what happened in my life a couple of years ago; things I really don’t actually need to know.

There is a level of depth to any relationship that grows and deepens more and more with connectivity, complete undivided attention and with unlimited patience.

I started homeschooling because I wanted more time with my children, to do what they wanted me to do with them, to connect. Now, I am connecting with them without the phone.

And it has been bliss.

I am still overweight, I am not exercising as much as I want to, but I am praying more, connecting with God more, connecting and giving to my husband more, and connecting with my children when they need me. It has been an undeniable success. And I will never go back, because I am simply very happy.

Mental health, homeschool and happiness

Sometimes it’s difficult to write a post on how our days have been. And this isn’t because it’s difficult to write about. Simply, every time I write about how wonderful, amazing and fulfilling a day has been, I realise that it absolutely comes across as arrogant, conceited and to be honest, showing off. This is never the intention.

See, most days for me, ever since taking this journey of homeschooling with my three children, is wonderful, it is fulfilling and most days are amazing. Hard days are days when no one (including me) wants to do the work, and instead, we go to the local trampoline bouncing play centre and have 5 hours of jumping fun (pelvic floor training fun). Hard days where little kids throw tantrums and cannot regulate their emotions become our hug days, where we bake cupcakes together, hug it out on the couch whilst reading a funny book that has no pictures.

This was a far cry from the end of last year, where I was booking appointments for mental health experts for Mr. 6; paediatricians, child psychologists, having conversations with them over the phone about what is wrong with him, booking assessments.

Today, he is simply a very different child.

I asked Mr. 6 today five reasons why he likes being homeschooled. Here they are:

  1. After “work” time, I get to play and I get to play a lot.
  2. I love break times where we eat together.
  3. I love being with my brother and seeing him be silly.
  4. I like seeing friends and playing with them for the whole day.
  5. I like staying inside when it’s cold and not rushing in the morning.

Sometimes I feel the need to check with my children, to see if everything is okay, and they are happy. Is this working out, is homeschooling making you happy, are you happy with the way things are. And the reason is, is that the reason why I first started to homeschool, was simply because my children’s mental health is of the utmost important to me.

Now yes, every parent would probably say the same. Why would a parent say anything different?! But the little man I have this year, and the little man he was last year, are two completely different little men. Something has shifted, and an overall confidence has replaced a scared and shy little boy. School and kinder may not have directly done that to him, no, but it’s more what is HIS priority. Being away from family was the issue. And when you look at his responses to what makes him happy about homeschooling, you can see why he is finally being fed.

Mr. 6 is no longer chronically shy (he is still cautious but no longer shy), loves making friends and being around them, but more than anything, he is happy, secure and confident in what he does, how he talks and who he is… everyday.  I have had many people tell me just how different he is this year, and how he has changed. To me, it is nothing short of miraculous to see Mr. 6 sometimes steal the limelight from our very bold Miss 5.

Mental health is such a major issue in Australia. We are spending $8 billion each year to just treat mental health issues. It is stated that almost half of all Australians have had a mental health issue, and 1 in 7 children between 4 – 17 years old have a mental health issue currently being treated. My son was nearly this child.

In such an affluent country, why is the prevalence of mental health so high, and why is the expenditure on it so very high?

Health Direct’s website advise the following 8 tips for good mental health:

1. Build relationships
Having good relationships with other people is the most important factor contributing to a sense of wellbeing. This can include family, friends, workmates and others in the community. Investing time and energy in your relationships can lead to great benefits for all involved.
2. Exercise and stay healthy
Exercise has been shown to increase wellbeing as well as reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Good physical health is related to better mental health so a healthy diet, avoiding excess alcohol or drugs, and regular checkups with the doctor can all help.
3. Develop gratitude
Count your blessings. Try keeping a gratitude journal and write down 3 positive things for each day. This can lead to increased wellbeing.
4. Identify and use your strengths
We all have different strengths and weaknesses but finding out what you are really good at and using those talents can increase wellbeing. A strengths questionnaire is available at Authentic Happiness. Using your strengths to help others or contribute to the community creates a sense of meaning and purpose.
5. Create flow
Flow is the state of being so highly involved in an enjoyable activity that you lose track of time. This usually happens when the level of challenge is about right for your level of skill. Flow can happen during work, hobbies, creative arts or sports.
6. Give to others
Making a contribution to the community, however small, increases social wellbeing. Many people feel a sense of contributing through meaningful work, but this could also mean volunteering, helping a neighbour or performing small acts of kindness. Take some time to do the things you really enjoy. Pleasant events can lead to positive emotions that can cancel out negative feelings.
7. Spirituality or religion
For some people, being involved in spiritual or religious practices can improve wellbeing, help in coping with stress and reduce symptoms of mental illness. This can include belonging to a faith community, meditation, prayer, mindfulness or practices such as yoga and Tai Chi.
8. Seek help
If you are struggling to feel happy, cope with everyday life, find meaning or feel connected to others, see your doctor or a mental health professional. 1 in 5 Australians will experience a mental disorder at some time in their life – depression, anxiety and substance abuse are the most common disorders.

 

Mental health problems are caused by so many issues. Now, I am not a mental health expert. But I cannot help join some dots in wanting to understand why it is such an issue. Why are people simply not happy? Is it because society’s expectations on our youth too demanding? Are we trying to put our kids through too much so they won’t miss out? Is it social media? Is it the iPad addiction? Is it the foods we feed our kids? What could it possibly be.

When we first have our kids, when we hold our child for the first time, we are just so happy they are here. We are so happy they are safe, and alive and our lives change because they are here. They are so precious to us, they could be covered in scales or have 3 eyes, we would still love them with all of our being.

But suddenly when they start life, we want them to be the best. Either we start to live through them, or we just want them to never be second. We want them to be the best ‘them’ they can be. And this expectation makes us see things in them, such as their strength, their musical ability or their intelligence. We sign them up for activities to enhance this, we sign them up for the best schools, we sign them up for things to make them the best. Surely, to be your best, you will be happy. We rank them, we judge them, we work so hard to spend money on all these opportunities… to make them happy.

But they aren’t. They simply, are not happy.

Here’s another idea.

This is the link to the Australian Curriculum. The first welcoming paragraph of this website reads this:

The Australian Curriculum sets the expectations for what all Australian students should be taught, regardless of where they live or their background. For F-10, it means that students now have access to the same content, and their achievement can be judged against consistent national standards. Schools and teachers are responsible for the organisation of learning and they will choose contexts for learning and plan learning in ways that best meet their students’ needs and interests.

What I see here are words such as ‘expectations’ and ‘achievement can be judged against’. When I read this for my Mr. 6 and my Miss 5, it makes my heart ache. Because I don’t see words like, helping children flourish in their “Natural Flow” (point 5 of the mental health recommendations), connect with families and community (point 1), identify and develop their individual strengths (point 4), giving to others and also spirituality (point 6 and 7, which incidentally, spirituality has been removed from most public school curriculums). At this time, the only expectation I have of my children, is that they are truly happy.

If you are not aware, homeschooling in Victoria is going to take a bit of a shift as of January 2018, due to new regulations that will require all new registered homeschoolers to summit a plan for the year, be ready for checks, and possibly, a requirement to stick to the Australian Curriculum for the children you are teaching.

I have read all the requirements for Foundation, Grade 1 and Grade 2 (all 600 pages thus far) to just simply get ready for this. I am currently changing my homeschool to ensure I am within the requirements.

But nothing here… tells me how my children are going to benefit. It simply tells me what is expected, what they should achieve and how this achievement will be measured. It does not teach my children perseverance through mistakes, it teaches them that there is only one answer to every question, and it will be marked and judged. And simply, if it doesn’t measure up because rather than getting his reading up to scratch, he would rather learn the periodic table’s list of elements, they are advising that possibly, homeschooling will not be an option for him.

My beautiful family is happy. My beautiful son is a happy, free and secure child. I do not aspire for him to get 99.95. I do not aspire for him to be a doctor, or the next olympic swimmer, or the next Thomas Edison (although, he was homeschooled).

I aspire him to be happy.  I aspire them to be happy, and to know how to be happy.

Just like what they are now.

And some of you may say, yes, but will they be happy in years to come, without school friends, without certain opportunities, without all those activities and lessons, school sporting opportunities on weekends etc.

My response to that is this. If they have the best childhood, that is filled with happiness, with slow days, with cups of Milo whilst you mull over sums and reading, with warm hugs in the Sun whilst reading the Iliad and Shakespeare, watching the rain whilst indoors inside a warm doona, whilst helping your brother spell ‘poo’ and ‘wee’ and laughing at each other when mum finds out, whilst learning with your family and celebrating achievement instantly when you finally get it, slow family days that connect connect connect…

… they will carry with them something worth more than anything could ever buy.

They will have the confidence to follow their dreams, to achieve their interests and goals, and to strive for that idea.

They will have had time to connect with their family, with their community and grown a strong relationship around people who are feeding them positive messages about themselves, and not more aligned with society’s ideals of who they should be.

They will have had so much time to play, run, jump, kick, somersault, climb, each and every day that it will be so normal for them, that sitting down all day will be absolutely abnormal.

They will discover and develop their strengths, their interests and what makes them tick. They will find that element that makes time flow so fast, they won’t know that they’re working, studying or achieving set goals. They will have found their passion in life.

They will discover what it is to give to others, to consider others and to be thankful for what you have. Because they are not rushing from life goal to life goal, from activity to activity, they are focused on other things… and are able to allow deep thoughts on certain matters through time and having the space to do so.

And of course, they will understand their own spirituality, and what it is to be human.

A parent is always happy when their child is happy. My days are full of happy days, and our lives are fulfilled and warm. Schooling takes part, yes, but our homeschooling provides so much more than one on one teaching for our children, it gives them happiness, security, comfort, warmth and connectivity, delivered in a slow paced family orientated setting. I cannot think of a better start to life for any child than this.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

Precious minds

So this is a photo of Mr 6. He has been busy in his own little world, creating his first language. This one was called the Rufus Code, however, he says that it’s not good enough. He’s aim is to create a whole new language.  He is now using these codes as a really fun and engaging way to spell new words, make sentences and like a ‘secret ANZAC soldier’, pass secret messages to people to work out.

Totally stunned.

I am loving how much this space has allowed him to shine in his own brilliance.

Mr 6 is shining with all his science knowledge, creativity with all his drawings, stories and ideas, as well as swimming through creating ciphers and codes. He even made a codex that simply makes no sense to me.

 

Safe and Protected

This is the first night in so many nights that I am unable to sleep well.

This Homeschooling journey has blessed my family so much, that rather than documenting it here, I wanted to bask in the glorious sunny glow that is our family routine. Everything that I had wanted for our family has happened, and we are in love with it.

So when today’s incident with Miss 5 (she had a birthday! Yay) occurred, I was not just stunned by my response, but so convicted by it, that I felt I could not choose any other option.

Miss 5 and Mr. 6 have swim classes. Mr. 6 loves them. He has them so he doesn’t drown. He spends most of the time submerged. Miss 5 however, has always had a intense fear of water, especially over her face. She has had this fear since baths as a little baby, and has only now been okay with showers. Miss 5’s first classes began this year, and we began our 2nd term last week. Still not wanting to completely submerge her face into the water, she is now happy to have the goggles on, and quickly put her face into the water for a second. If you had seen her at the beginning of term 1, this is actually progress. Getting in the water was difficult. To see her happy to look through googles, even briefly, made me happy. She progressed well with her kicking, her floating… all was going well. Until they changed the instructor.

And the instructor, not understanding Miss 5’s previous apprehensions, saw her unwillingness as stubbornness. She kept asking her to just simply put her face in, how hard can it be, everyone else is doing it. She started to cry, but only a little. She kept it in. She held it in.

Today, the instructor was less delicate. And Miss 5 broke down. She quickly rushed out of the pool, wet, distressed and upset, ran up to me, and without waiting, held on to me, wet and soaking, and asked me not to let her go. Begging me to hold her.

Another instructor who was attending to other students, simply said to me, “You’re better off just leaving her, going away, and getting a cup of coffee. You are making it worse by holding her.”

I looked at the instructor, and did something I would have previously not done. I said to her, “No. I’m going to hold her.”

Previously, and I have done this with Mr. 6, I have left my child crying, upset, distressed. I had left them because the world told me that if I stayed and made an issue of it, that they would then believe that something was wrong. So ignore their cries, walk away calmly, and let us deal with it. And I listened, thinking that this was what I should have done, that it was right.

Spending so much time with my children this year, getting to know them intimately, how they think, feel, act, I am getting to a place where I understand how every fleck of difference and change affects them. It is a wonderful place. It is a place I am gradually getting to. So slowly in fact, that until an incident occurs, I don’t realise how much I have changed.

Because today, every part of me did not see a stubborn child, or a child that needed to simply get use to fear and get over it, or a child who would not be affected by their mother walking away from them because the world says that this is the way children should be treated when they cry for them.

Every part of me was angry. And like a big lioness surrounding her cubs, I simply could not let my child go. I just could not walk away and get a coffee, put her back into that pool, screaming, crying, distressed and upset.

She had no one to trust but me at that point… and I was not going to walk away from her.

I am still shaken. Not so much by the incident today, as seemingly small as it was compared to so many other incidents that have/could occur. But I am shaken by how much getting to know my children, spending most of my days just talking with them and being with them, has made me so different to who I was, even just 6 months ago.

And I am still getting to know this new person, that I have become. I have always loved my children. I use to believe I knew them. But I now know, that I know them so well, that I feel that I know exactly what they want, need, crave, wish for, everything before they do. I love learning every single thing they learn, I love seeing what makes them tick, and I absolutely love just being able to hold them through their tantrums, their hard times, and their stubborn outbursts. I love running to them in the middle of the night, if they cry from a nightmare. I am their defender, and I am there for them, no matter what anyone says or will say. My world has changed, as I suddenly, am only living for this family. I am there for them and my husband, 100%.

I have read a lot of articles, blogs and a few books on resilience. Yes, I am concerned that Miss 5’s resilience isn’t quite where I would like it to be. I had hoped that this time of homeschooling could have made her stronger.  She use to be the strong one of the family. Teasing about her height and people calling her ‘baby’ has somewhat etched that away. She still talks about these incidents that occurred last year (please see previous blog). When she is on the stage, when she is singing and dancing, acting, she shines. She is brilliant and beautiful and such a graceful being. But there are things in her mind she is still dealing with.

So my time here, at home with her, has been to build her up. What I have somehow inadvertently done is allowed her to project all of her that energy into ensuring that I am her protector. Being at home, I had no idea this was the case, until today.  So the thing that shook me, was that if I walked away from her today, she would have been alone, without her protector.

Was it the right thing to do? I don’t know.

I just know that at the time, it was all I could do. I simply could not, and would not, go away, and get a coffee.

When the ‘why’ changes…

When I first started thinking about homeschooling, I felt it was a way for my Mr. 6 to thrive. When you have a little boy who just wants to be at home, and loves his family so much, he seems to function at 70% when he’s not being entirely engaged, you know in your motherly heart that there is just something more you can do for him.

I first started homeschooling because I honestly felt he was brilliant. All parents think their kids are brilliant. That’s why kids turn out brilliant when they’re adults. Because they are just simply brilliant, amazing, creative, wonderful, magnificent and perfect in their element. They really are. I now know that of many kids, but at the time of thinking about homeschooling about 3 years ago, I felt he was simply brilliant.

But homeschooling has completely changed for us from the initial reasons why we started. We started so that Mr. 6, Miss 4 and Mr. 2 could flourish in what ever area of learning that they wanted to undertake. They would have the time and resources, full supported, to explore whatever it is that they needed and wanted to learn about. We also needed a slower pace in life where we could learn about each other, learn about our world, and most importantly, slow down life to listen to God’s voice.

However, things have changed. Homeschooling for our little Lee Academy has changed to being a time to connect, do things together and learn from each other. It has been a school where respect, love and all those things that come with love are developed. Things like compromise, like creativity (to keep siblings happy), like enjoying each other’s company and learning about snails and mushrooms together. And whilst you may say that every family has the opportunity to do this regardless of going to school or not, simply, our family was not doing this when two of our children were at kinder in different year levels.

And yes, I absolutely agree that academics, learning how to read and being guided by an adult to learn and be exposed to new teachings is crucial and critical for a child to learn about their world. This premise has not altered.

But the wonder of the homeschool space is how much time our 3 have to just simply play, talk and be present with each other. And suddenly the mental health of my children, their healthy relationships and their self esteem, is far more important than any academic achievement goal that I initially had for them. Mr. 6 use to be shy and nervous, and remarkably is now no longer. Confident, full of life and full of esteem, he has a life about him that is sometimes unrecognisable.

I am of the belief that if confidence, happiness, and inner self esteem is present, then their natural curiosity and abilities will spur them on in the direction they need to go, academic or otherwise.

For the family, happiness, peace and love isn’t just a goal, it is the way of their daily life.

For those of you who are still just thinking about homeschooling, or just pondering on whether it is for you, just remember that once you’re there, and you are in it, your reasons to homeschool may indeed change… because, like me, you might just fall in love with the results it brings to your family, your life and your world. Results may not necessarily be A+ and High Achievement, but your world may change so that you will realise that it does not necessarily matter, as long as they are happy and know who they are, and want to be. 

Mother’s Guilt – The Homeschool Edition

As a homeschooler, this life consumes you sometimes. I find myself even when I am alone, unable to let go and constantly thinking to myself what else can I do to make this educational journey as fulfilling and bright as possible. Then there is the self-doubt of whether you are doing enough, are you doing something wrong, can you be better. I’m not sure about you, but homeschooling has somewhat elevated my mother guilt about 10 times over where it was this time last year.

Today, I was very hard on Mr. 6. And in hindsight, I did not want to be. He diligently wrote out a beautiful writing piece on Peter Rabbit.

img_3719

His writing for a 6 year old is actually pretty good. He is starting to read as we progress through the 100 Magic words.

But today, as we started to do our Maths, he sighed and said these words that meant more to my inner-judgemental spirit than it was really intended. He said, “Oh maths, not again.”

And to him, it simply meant this. “I don’t like math. Mum says I’m good at it, I just don’t like it.”

To me, I heard this. “My mummy doesn’t make maths fun. I don’t like it because mummy hasn’t made it fun for me.”

See, I can actually think quite clearly now about it, but at the time, I’m not quite sure what came over me.

I did not yell at him. I just implored him to try and see it from my point of view. I then uttered these words that made me think that a lot of this effort I have put into his education was mis-focused and all of a sudden, did not align to my mission statement that I had set in December.

“I’m doing my best. Can’t you see that? I’m sorry that you don’t like maths. I’ll do better.”

I immediately stopped myself when I uttered those words, because all of a sudden, I realised I had lost focus, and that this homeschooling route somehow veered off course and became about how much we could achieve.

The guilt became so much, I was exhausted and at 7pm, I went to sleep, only to wake at 12am… which is why I’m on my blog!

I lost the reason why I initially did all this.

The summarised mission is this:
For Mr. 6, Miss 4 and Mr. 2 to be free to discover themselves. To connect as a family. To have fun, build happy memories and to not be restricted to the standardising of kids based on what year they are born. For our kids to find learning fun, and always be engaged in what they are doing. Being engaged. 

Mr. 6 loves Science and History. This week we learnt about genetics and how he got some traits from mum and some from dad. We made playdoh and we did the baking soda/vinegar thing again; that never gets old.  We also continue our studies in history, and Mr. 6 loves greek mythology like it’s Avengers. (Pictured below reading Usborne’s Illustrated Greek Myths) He loves drawing and making books. He loves sumos and since he cannot be one (being as skinny as a rake), he’s settling for the next best thing… Kendo classes. Great thing is, is that he is doing these classes with dad, so both him and his father get to spend one on one time together every week, hitting each other with sticks.

img_3313

Ultimately, we need to stop being so hard on ourselves, and also on our homeschooled kids. They are amazing beings, all children are. And as parents, we make choices to better their lives. But the internal judgement has got to stop, to ensure that the parenting is actually about the betterment of them, and not to make ourselves feel better. 

Sometimes as homeschoolers, we lose focus. Sometimes as parents and people, we lose focus. For the sake of my kids, I will freely admit that I am not perfect, and do make mistakes. But for the sake of my kids, I will always be open to change to ensure that they can be happy, resilient and connected kids. 

When I speak to mums about homeschooling, no mum has ever said, “Oh I wouldn’t want to do that.” Every mum says, “Oh that’s wonderful. I just couldn’t do that.” We are our own harshest critics, even before we have thought about it or attempted it. But sometimes what I hear is, “Oh that’s wonderful. I just couldn’t handle the guilt. I don’t think I’m good enough.”

And to all you mums about to try something new, maybe it’s homeschooling, maybe it’s going back to work, or maybe it’s doing Kendo with your 6 year old… just remember… You are good enough for you beautiful children, whom God gave you and trusted you to take care of.  So take care of yourself, and your kids, and stop being so hard on yourself.

 

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

img_2801

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.

img_2694

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.

img_2212

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.

img_2310

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!

Freedom and Time – Our first two weeks of homeschooling

So we are close to the end of our first two weeks of official homeschooling. And it’s been such a beautiful journey, with some ups, and some downs (which I simply call discoveries about my children) and many alterations.

We have thoroughly enjoyed reading together, spending endless amounts of time just sitting together, reading together, laughing and learning. We did the normal curriculum such as learning about nomads and early farmers, frogs and fish (which became a day long information search about piranhas). We also did fun things like mummy taking direction from Mr. 6 who wanted to teach me about all the different Marvel superheroes (from the Marvel superhero encyclopedia we borrowed from the library). Miss 4 loves her princesses and fairies, as usual, but each child has been able to embrace each others interests, I think because there doesn’t seem to be a time limit to our time together.

We have enjoyed crafts and free creation time, obviously. This is the time where we have directed craft activities such as making Ancient Roman Coins from back in Jesus’ day, and our Prayer Hands activity, to non-directed open creative time where the children can draw, cut, paste, colour in what ever way they want.

img_2046
Miss 4 putting sequence on.

img_2040

What surprised me though, was that Miss 4, who usually cannot sit still, stayed with her colouring activity for 3-4 hours, and has now consistently looked forward to this time to finish her creations. We need to get her something more comfortable to draw on.

We also played in the mud for about 7 hours one day last week. 7 hours. Yes, we. Me too.

We had many opportunities for socialisation as well being the ‘school holidays’, which were absolutely well received.

We also had our downs, of which I now call ‘discoveries’. Mr. 6… in all of his brilliance with Maths, actually doesn’t like it. He’s currently completing a Grade 2 homeschool maths curriculum, and has told me very strongly that in fact, he doesn’t like math. The reason? Because there is always just one answer to the question. I asked him what he meant by that, and he explained that when we did Science, History or even conversational English, it was free flowing. You could ask a question and we could discover things together. With math, there is only one answer, and it just never felt ‘fun’.

So I am changing the way I teach math (he’s well ahead anyway), to introduce a range of manipulatives, and doing math as a ‘conversation’. This has proven successful so far. We shall see…

It’s been a hot week here in Victoria, so we have mainly stayed indoors.

Mr. 6 has created loads of books, creations, a robot T-Rex out of recycling materials, and a few angels created from baking paper from his latest obsession, SuperBook.

However, what I love about these two weeks is the bond that has been built with my children. Something I could never imagined would occur was how the 3 children are not just noticing each other, but they are helping each other. They’re empathy for each other use to be non-existent or performed because ‘it’s what mummy told me to do’. Now, they are really feeling for each of the children. Mr. 6 and Mr. 2 have such a strong bond, it’s quite surreal to watch. Mr. 6 finds museli bars in the pantry and always makes sure he sneaks one for Mr. 2. Mr. 2 helps Mr. 6 pack up his toys. Surreal. Miss 4 is starting to not just tolerate Mr. 2 (who still steals her toys and throws them in the bin) but there are times when I see them dancing together to music, laughing.

And then there’s this.

When the rains broke out this afternoon, and released all that humidity and heat… they all collectively decided to take their clothes off and run around in the heavy rain… the happiest kids I’ve ever seen. For about an hour. No asking if this was okay, no fear of the rain or repercussions. They just did it… together.

screen-shot-2016-12-29-at-8-54-54-pm

No restrictions, no timeframes… just the freedom to fully enjoy every opportunity, and be a child.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑