unschool monday – paint for breakfast

Early this morning, right after drinking a breakfast smoothie we got out the craft box.

We started the day with paint. Distinct & separate blobs of colour on paper plates left over from a long ago party. The blobs didn’t stay separate for long, soon the plates were brown. Then bodies were a streaky, stripey, splotchy brown.

When the streaky, stripey, splotchy bodies appeared to have had enough of painting we packed away & had a warm shower.

Running around laughing, shrieking, whooping with delight as the clothes monster tried to dress the no longer streaky, stripey, or splotchy bodies.

Finally dressed.

Some more food. Food dictates the day, you know?

Some “reading” to each other.

Wrapping babies up in colourful play cloths.

A special lunch with Bean joining us at home because Mondays are Tafe days.

Some more baby wrapping after Bean left. Babies eventually abandoned on the bedroom floor.

Drawing with crayons & then textas over the top. Some writing demonstrations from me. Writing in colours I’m asked to use. Writing names, the alphabet in upper case, the alphabet in lower case, the names of the colours in the order they are naturally in a rainbow…

Some Playschool on iView while dishes were washed & vegetables cut for dinner.

Some stories read by me.

Bean came home.

The whole family went to the shop to buy some cous cous.

Dinner was ready when we returned.

We ate together.

The clothes monster chased the sproggets around a little more.

Ready for bed.


A lovely home day for sproggets who have the sniffles & coughs, and for a mother who is still a bit tired from the weekend’s gardening efforts.


Unschool Monday inspired by Owlet

posted by wildecrafted in education,journal and have Comment (1)

unschool monday – literacy

Sprout has suddenly become very interested in reading. She has asked Bean & I to teach her to read. We have told her that she will learn in time. She says she wants to know now. We tell her we understand she’d like to know now & that she’s getting closer & closer to being able to read every day. We’ve told her we trust she’ll learn to read because she wants to learn to read.

The alphabet blocks she’s had since her first birthday are now appealing again, and for different reasons than when she was one. She wants us to sing the alphabet song to her & she’s beginning to remember letter sequences from the alphabet.

She’s much more interested in her library books now also. She’s asking to borrow more books at a time & each evening she’s pushing for three, four and five stories a night instead of the usual one or two. She is also spending each evening “reading” herself to sleep. She pores over each of her library books, recalling the stories we’ve read from their pages & embellishing the stories a little with her own observations from the pictures.

When we’re out & about, she notices signs around her & wants to know what they say. She’s recognising particular letters & remembering signs.

Just last week, Bean’s Mum wrote Sprout’s name on a page & Sprout copied the letters & they were legible.

So, we do trust she’ll learn to read. We trust she’ll learn because the evidence is right there, in front of us. She is learning to read right now.


Unschool Monday inspired by Owlet

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Play in the Park

This morning we went to the local library “story time” which is held at a park each Tuesday morning at the same time as a YMCA run program called “Play in the Park”.

It was nice for the sproggets to have other children to play with & it was nice for me to have a bit of breathing space from the unrelenting expectation they have had lately that I be solely responsible for their entertainment & enjoyment.

Aside from a brief “Hello” to a woman I know from activist circles in Perth, I didn’t really speak to anyone. All of the other people there clearly knew at least one other person, the parents had all separated off into smaller groups they obviously felt comfortable being in & it felt too hard to attempt infiltrating one, or more, of the groups.

I sat with the sproggets while the story was being read. It was hard to hear the voice of the woman reading the story because it was being drowned out by the voices of parents standing around the perimeter of the gazebo talking. I thought that was inconsiderate & can’t imagine going along to a story time only to be talking over the presesnter.

I had thought it would be a good opportunity to meet some local parents, and I suppose it is, but today I didn’t see anyone who felt likeminded. Every single one of the little girls was in a pink “little girl uniform”, head to toe pink with lots of frills, sparkles & impractical pouffy bits. I know pink is the accepted colour code for “girl” in Western countries, but I do still feel a bit alien when I’m at family events teaming with children in their gender uniforms. It’s not what I’m used to & it’s not what feels right to me. There was no one else there with a sling, no one breastfeeding older babies & children, no one who looked like a “kindred spirit” as Anne Shirley would say. I felt a little odd breastfeeding Babyman there, which is not something I ever felt at the playgroups we went to in Perth. Granted they were all natural learning & natural parenting playgroups while this one is open to anyone, but I never thought I’d feel so alien around other parents.

We’ll go again to the story time at the library this Thursday, and we’ll return to the park next week in the hope of meeting some friends because any socialising is better than none, but it’d be a lie to say I’m not a bit disappointed. I suppose I expected too much.

I have asked Bean to go around town & pull down the flyers we put up a couple of weeks ago calling out for other homeschooling families to make contact. I had a call today from the previous tennant of Wonderland asking me to take his dog for him! He got my number from one of the flyers & I’m a bit put out that he contacted me actually. The flyers we wrote were clearly requesting homeschoolers to contact us, there was no mention of my number being a free-for-all. I don’t appreciate receiving an unsolicited call from a virtual stranger (we met briefly at a store he works at but we didn’t even exchange names, just made the connection that we’d moved in to the house he’d just moved out of) asking me to take his dog simply because we live where he used to live! Feeling a bit vulnerable to more unsolicited contact I’ve decided I don’t want my number “out there” anymore. That will make it harder to find other unschoolers in the area, but it will give me piece of mind.

It might be time to register a new email account for a Great Southern unschooling collective & make up some new, more annonymous flyers.

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A very domestic Monday

And it’s not even midday yet!

This morning Babyman woke for the day at 6.15am. I really enjoy that time of the day. I used to try to be up and moving about by 6am most days before having children and after going through adolesence myself! I found it hard to feel enthusiastic this morning though as we’ve had a couple of quite wakeful nights with Babyman and I wanted to keep sleeping.

The Bubble ended up sleeping in until about 8am so I felt pretty ripped off that Babyman didn’t seem to want to follow suit. He was in his usual happy mood though so we just pottered around until his sister woke up, then we all sat on the couch eating fruit and reading story books. I’ve been on the hunt for some story books that share morals that are in line with our ethics (diversity in characters, diversity in story lines, acceptance of diversity i.e. not attacking the duckling because he’s different and “ugly” and then accepting him when he grows to be beautiful), I found a few online last night so I’ve taken a bit of a gamble and ordered books online for the first time.

Aaaanyway, we ate fruit for breakfast then The Bubble played with a bucket of soapy water on the deck while I tackled Mt Washmore with Babyman on my back in the ergo. I managed to get a load of dry washing folded and put away, a load of clean washing hung on the line and a load of nappies in the machine so the mountain is looking a little more like a hill than a mountain now. Phew!

Babyman stayed where he was while The Bubble and I made some spelt muffins with banana and coconut. By the time we had finished and put them in the oven Babyman was asleep so I put him down in bed so The Bubble and I could clean out the guinea pig cage.

The muffins were ready and we each ate one before Babyman woke up and joined us for a bit of morning tea. With mouths full of muffin my small friends are both fairly quiet and I’ve been able to work out what other domestic activities I’d like to get done after the weekend.

So this afternoon (in no particular order and with no particular pressure to complete the list) we’re going to:

  • Pull the last of the weeds from the paving out the back & add them to the compost heap
  • Water the pot plants
  • Mulch the last of the unmulched plants
  • Clean the bathroom & toilet (this one may have to wait until Babyman is sleeping again 😉 )
  • Change bedsheets on The Bubble’s bed & the big bed.
  • Sweep up the muffin crumbs after lunch
  • Dishes
  • Make playdough with blue & green glitter
  • Hang the clean nappies on the line (& probably chuck another load or two in since it’s perfect laundry weather)

This evening we’re leaving the children with my sister and her family while we have an appointment with a financial someone-or-other to work out how we can get ourselves into a position to buy a little acreage not far from Perth. Cross your fingers for us, please, because it’s going to be a long way off I’m sure.

Anyhow, that’s enough of a break in the productivity, I’m on a roll so I’m off 🙂

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Compassion Caravan (before)

This weekend we’re going on a bus trip with 20 odd people (yes, we’re all very odd :P) from the Refugee Rights Action Network. An 850km bus trip to Leonora and back (1700km round trip) to visit families of asylum seekers being held in detention.

For info on the purpose of the caravan, see here.

We’ve been on a convergence with RRAN before, in 2005, a much longer one. We went to the Baxter Immigration Detention Centre in Port Augusta, South Australia. In 2005 we didn’t have children though. Actually, in 2005 we weren’t in a relationship either, Liam did sit next to me on the way there though…

So, given that we’re not childless, single people anymore, there is a lot more for us to consider this time around, it’s not as simple as packing our clothes/tent/snacks & hoping for the best. We’ve got a 3 year old child & a baby to entertain in the confines of a bus, a bus that we’re sharing with another 15-20 people.

Babyman doesn’t require much in the way of entertaining yet, he’s not really very mobile & basically as long as he has free access to boobs, cuddles & regular clean nappies he’s pretty happy. The Bubble on the other hand, she’s 3 & VERY high energy. I’ve thought a lot about what things we can do with her on the bus to keep her occupied for the 20 (or more?!) hours we’ll be bussing for.

I’ve bought her some new story books, which she was about due for anyway, because new is often more captivating when it comes to story books for 3 year olds. Her favourite of the new story books is her copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.

I’ve made her a craft kit. I don’t mean to blow my own trumpet but it is AWESOME (toot toot toot)!

I’ve got a clear plastic box with 8 compartments and filled them with:

1. cotton wool balls

2. wooden dolly pegs

3. foam monster shaped stickers

4. colourful plastic pony beads with large, toddler friendly size holes

5. rainbow coloured popsticks

6. different size & shape fabric off-cuts from my quilting stash (yes, there is paisley in there)

7. different size & colour pom poms

8. craft ribbon & goggly eyes

I’ve also got a bag filled with things that didn’t fit in the box:

Sticker sheets with stickers of many different sizes, shapes & colours; multicoloured pipe cleaners; craft glue; scissors; a colouring book; coloured pencils & sharpener; large size, natural (non coloured) popsticks; a large ball of grey yarn for threading beads & other general crafty applications; a pad of scrap paper that Liam made at work to use as a drawing pad.

I’ve deliberately excluded things like glitter & paint because they’re a little too messy for the bus.

Tonight, once The Bubble was in bed Liam made some playdough to include in the activity bag, I suggested he mix lavender essential oil into it, hopefully it’ll act as a calming activity if/when The Bubble needs calming. We have already made 8 batches of playdough in the thermomix last night to give to the children in detention at Leonora. Liam made the playdough & I kneaded the colours & some essential oils into the batches by hand while he got started on each new batch, true production line styles. We made a playdough rainbow…

Red with rose oil, orange with tangerine oil, yellow with lemon oil, green with lime oil, blue with ylang ylang oil, indigo with patchouli oil, violent with lavender oil.

On top of all that stuff for activities we’ve packed about half the clothes they own, we’ll probably not need them, but if we don’t have extra clothes they’ll no doubt be needed. Better to have them in the bag & be able to put them back in the cupboard unused when we get home, than to leave them in the cupboard & curse when we run out of clean, dry kids clothes.

We’ve got awesome snacks for the trip so there’ll be no roadhouse stodge for us. I went to the little organic place just up the road from our house to get enough food for snacks & meals. I’m sure we’ll be rolling off the bus when we get to Kalgoorlie tomorrow night after eating hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, brazil nuts, pistachios, dark chocolate covered cranberries, raw cacao nibs, goji berries, sultanas, roast veg salad, fresh fruit salad (kiwi fruit, red apple, banana, orange, pear), mushrooms, carrot sticks, celery sticks, spicy lentil dip, cold organic beef sausages, avocado, fresh honeycomb & popcorn!

I’ve also got a herbal first aid kit of sorts. I’m not feeling well & since I’d be taking herbs at home, I’ve decided to dispense myself some travel sized herbs. Tinctures of Echinacea, Olive Leaf & Golden Seal plus some essential oils, herbal lozenges for my sore throat & wholefood supplements (bee pollen, barley grass, spirulina etc.)

On that note, massive weekend begins in 8 hours, I need to rest now!

I’ll be taking notes & writing an update on the trip when we get home. Keep an eye on the RRAN website (www.rran.org) over the weekend for live updates.

posted by wildecrafted in activism and have Comments (2)