Monday, March 30, 2009

project week :: 1

Well we are a well and truley into the our 'scheduled' learning and every 4 weeks we take one week off to do anything ..I call it project week. Anything each child wants to do with me or spend more concentrated periods of time doing. Some makin, some project type work, a craft that focuses on a particular interest- whatever they want really. I am going to note down our process of having an idea and how that emerges and what that emerges into as well as the obstacles that each child(and myself) may have and our responses to that.
Our first stop, after having a round the table talk about the week and noting down things of interest such as cooking, sewing, making with boxes, cityscape, zooscape and looking at the Crafty crow and our various books of inspiration; was a visit to Reverse Garbage where you can pick up all sorts of materials perfect for projects. The children walked the aisles and probably were a little overwhelmed by how much stuff there is to choose from, but in the end we came home with boxes, hessian bags, tubes, circuits, fabric, old appliances and lots of bits. We had a few more errands to run so didn't get home till late afternoon.
5yob was so excited about his newly acquired..appliance. He got out the screwdrivers and started pulling pieces off with "look mum see how this moves this and fits in there" every time something came loose.
9yob needed a little help focusing on one aspect of his idea to start with , but once started got into a good roll and ended up finishing the Zookeepers home-3 stories mind you.
7yog started with trying to nail plastic 'wheels' onto a piece of wood and seemed to be having trouble as there were groans and sighs coming from the room she was working in. I offered to help, questioned her on what she was trying to do but she seemed to have given up and lost interest. She started looking at some of the books I had put out on the table--nothing seemed to grab her. She went outside to play with Missy and cool down in the blow-up pool. Perhaps it was the wrong time of day, perhaps she needs more help working out what she is interested in, perhaps I need to focus her on something to get her started and then she'll be more inspired.
As I try to stop, listen and watch I hope I'll discover more about-
How my children learn,
How I stand in their way,
How I can facilitate their learning better,
What works for them and what doesn't,
What do I find difficult about the unstructured learning path.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

recovery fun

I hope you had a beautiful weekend with your lovely ones around you. I spent the entire weekend home trying to get well with my lovely ones coming and going. While I was in rest mode ( which doesn't happen very often) I had a little crafty fun. Ohh its so good to be makin. Want to see?

An old t-shirt that I left wet in the laundry basket was found moldy all over the front but this t-shirt was a comfy one & I didn't want to throw yet another laundry disaster away so I sewed a piece of fabric over the top of the mold and had some drawing fun with the sewing machine.
This was so fun and so easy I'll be playing around with this again soon for sure. Once I had the fabric scraps drawer open I started playing with making a little picture. I don't know what this will be maybe a wall hanging, I might add some writing, or it could get left in the come back-to pile. While I was fiddling with the fabric and arranging pieces here and there my 5yo asked for one just the same except no pink and a little bird added so I'll be making one of these again soon, its his birthday in 9 days perhaps a birthday present?

And two favourite things right now- a dress for little Bluebell from Lazy Bones in Bangalow (its a good thing its 2 hours away-the vintage quilts are delicous and though I can resist every 6 months when I visit if I saw it over & over well I'm sure I'd grow weak and convince myself one of us needs a quilt just like that) and this cushion with hand painted flowers. Pretty hey?

Oh and I finally got around to changing the banner-the days are cooling down, the skys are blue with breezes blowing, lorikeets visiting and afternoons spent outside reading, crafting, tea-drinking and biscuit dunking. I love Autumn. Warm, yet soft and breezy.
This week I'm going to be posting a bit on our project learning and some wonderful things I'm learning from Lori's blog at Camp Creek. If you drop in please say hi I'd love to meet you!

Thursday, March 26, 2009


The ability to see the gift of each moment as offering something to us- for us to learn more tolerance, patience, acceptance. And then to not only see but to give thanks for it.
So here is my giving thanks. My seeing the the beauty, the simple and even the ugly as a wonderful tool in the Master crafters hands to do its work in me. ( The ugly didn't get photographed as usually taking an image is the last thing on my mind when the floor is smooshed with a varying assortment of food, toys etc but I'm looking at it differently even in the stress of whatever ugliness is going on and usually its within anyway).

~ The leftovers of play: when I walked around the corner and caught sight of this I stopped and smiled. This is what I want even though sometimes I get caught up in thinking 'the home is always a mess and I can never keep on top of it', I want a home that says play! I really do love seeing the evidence of my children's creativity and most of the time that amounts to lots of mess. Whether that be in the kitchen - the floor today saw buttons, flour, cracked eggs and more as the children cooked and crafted. Sometimes its the bathroom sink mixing potions or washing special stones or the living room with materials, blocks and animals set up in a new land. Regardless of where it is it speaks of living, of childhood, of a creative space where exploration is encouraged and at the end of the day we all pitch in to tidy up and do it all again tomorrow.

~Firsts: paint on paper from the baby

~Friends: people can be tricky but a dog; a dog is simple, trusting and always happy for a cuddle when you need it.

~ Fast feet: They don't stay still for long, they are always on the move trying to keep up with the big kids, or chasing after a chicken, guinea pig or Missy the dog. When they finally are stopped by slumber I hold them in my hands and feel the round soft curves knowing they won't fit in my hands for much longer.

~ Simple Beauty: made even more beautiful by young boys hands offering them up to me. The garden is dry and there isn't alot to choose from but they manage to bring me something each day to brighten a ledge or table.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Enjoying our children

'Homeschooling is about enjoying your children'.
I read this recently, it was the last line in a post about taking it slow, giving our best, doing our own inner work and not giving up on this journey of home educating our kids. It made me wonder how much am I enjoying my kids? Why not more? Why not ALL the time? I mean look at them...really look at them, they are unique, amazing individuals full of life and love.
Ahhh, why do I get so bogged down with.. stuff. OK, sleeplessness yes that could have something to do with it but sometimes i think we can get too close. Our heads are down to the ground and all we see is the dirt. Where is the warmth of the sun, the light that comes with such freedom to have our kids at home with us, teaching them with how we see fitting in with their needs and our families focus.
As we go through our day I will often bump up against 'no, I'm not doing that' or 'do I have to? Why do I always get the harder jobs? Its so unfair!' etc, etc. And its not that I don't realise that this is par for the course of parenting. It's just some days after a looong day I kind a get a little narky about it, you know? I can get into the old & tired ways of thinking that make my responses short & sharp. This is not who I want to be nor who I actually am. So why? Why some days am I not enjoying my children? Why does it just seem so hard?
I think that in having my children home with me, there is alot of pressure, not much room to move when things get tight. If I resist rather than listen to whats happening in my heart and mind, in my children's hearts and minds the general flow of the day can get blocked up and bogged down. The more I try to control the day and the children the less joy surrounds.
Leading through the day with an open heart and mind, letting go as bumps in the road are encountered, guiding and supporting through hurts and conflicts and all the while allowing my own heart to be moulded and shaped through the process is a work of constant balance.
When I yield to the the craziness, happenings and general difficulties of home educating our four children , the rhythm that's in place steers us through the day and its a very simple process. Its no where near as 'hard' as I sometimes believe. At those times I'm probably pushing too hard, trying to control the outcomes, make this home school into the picture in my head. In doing this I'm actually inhibiting it to be all I truly desire and, a place where hearts and minds can flourish. To flourish- to be free.
Letting go is so liberating but it takes faith and courage and some days I'm low on both. But I'm practising. I'm slowly getting it. And I believe that's when one of the true gifts of home educating my kids is given- enjoying these four unique people. Living simply, learning and loving together.
I hope and pray that I am mindful that they are with us for such a short time and even though some days are so long the time with them isn't in the light of the big picture and I never want to wish back. I know I probably will but today is what I've been given why waste it on the things I can't control? Faith and courage. May this be yours too on whatever journey you are traveling on.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


My baby's two!!

like the Bluebells that open as the sun warms
so you have brought warmth to our hearts

Friday, March 20, 2009

nature study ~5

:: we collected this little guy as a caterpillar that was making its way through my Gardenia- I left him there to eat happily as he was too beautiful to move. After he got really big & really fat we put him in a jar with a few stalks & leaves, we drew him and then placed him on our nature table to observe. He ended up building himself a hard cocoon under the dead leaves & stayed there for a few weeks. We wondered if he had died but still kept him safe from the littlest & not so gentle hands. One morning we woke to find this quirky creature sitting at the top of the jar readying himself to fly. And he did.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

she turned eight

shes a wildflower
beautiful, sensitive, fragile, open to the suns rays
bouncy, feisty, passionate and poetic
she loves fully with an open heart
she extends herself
she feels deeply
time together and she opens like a flourishing flower
time together and I am young again filled with joy and wonder

nature study ~4

:: connecting with nature and with eachother...these are the building blocks that make us who we are. Sometimes the effort to get out there seems not worth the trouble but then you have those times when after all the energy it takes to get everyone & everything that we 'need' in the car & arrive at our forest, beach, lake or even the park; the freedom to run to explore to breathe lifts off us the tension and we begin to just be. This is who we are, known by the creator and knowing his world and our place in it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

nature study ~3

These are some photos from a camping trip 9yob did with dad. They roughed it, got lost, wet, dirty and came home full of stories (9yo didn't want to come home). Can you see the hidden moth in the leaf photo?He is planning his next one- "a much longer and harder hiking trip" for his 10th birthday.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

nature study ~2

:: from the nature table.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

nature study ~1

Nature study in our home is pretty simple and seems to happen effortlessly and often without any assistance from me. I think children have a natural curiosity in their natural environment and often an awe & wonder in a creature or the color of a leaf. As they come in and show and tell their discoveries we marvel together and they know that I also share in the wonder & beauty of nature, that it is a priority and valid work to be collecting leaves and flowers, different colored stones & seeds, setting up the nature table and keeping personal notebooks, reading about the seasons, animals, how plants grow, gardening and anything else that interests. Mostly though, nature study is the child one on one with nature ( I did say it was simple) the children run through the garden feeling the wind or sun on their skin or in their hair, they climb any tree that lets them, they scout the garden bringing me posies of flowers, they stop and look at that spider, ant or lizard, look up to see the latest bird that is visiting our trees. In other words they just get out there and experience it for themselves and we do make time for that, that freedom and exploration and each one being drawn to different things but all making their own connections with creation. This is nature week on Warm Love.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


This is a little of how I try to incorporate poetry into our lives:-

First, have some good books nearby for when a moment may present itself, usually morning or afternoon tea but we do go through seasons when the children are so rowdy I can't get a word in or a flow happening so I just let them get it out of there systems and leave poetry for another time. Our most used and favorite are-
Eric Carle's Animals Animals
Colorful collages bring to life animal poems as diverse as Lewis Carol to Japanese Haiku to Shakespeare. Great for those with animal lovers in the family.
The Hutchinson Treasury of children's Poetry
An anthology of poems for the youngest member to the oldest. It includes nursery rhymes and action poems as well as Rudyard Kipling, Robert Louis Stevenson and Christina Rossetti and many others. Heart warming and funny illustrations. I picked mine up half price at a discount book store. When the children were younger I recorded myself reading some of these poems onto a tape that they would listen to at bedtime, 'The Mummy tape' was the favorite going to bed tape for years. It was unravelled I think by the bubba last year, its definitely time for a new 'Mummy Tape.'
Favorite Poems of Childhood by Dover
We used this easy to handle paperback at our weekly teatime, with the children choosing a poem to read aloud. My eldest two used some of the poems for copywork. This is a very enjoyable book and good for the confident reader to practise reading aloud.

Here's a little poem from our budding poet- she loves & appreciates poetry, often will come to me with her latest favorite and has her favorite poetry book- the Hutchinson Treasury:-
Tree to Tree
My little brother
a tree
way up in
the sky
he loves trees
so do I

This week we had an impromptu 'teatime' as we had some homemade biscuits from the market and honey tea was requested so with the table laid and children drinking tea and eating yummies there was a moment of quiet; a chance for me to read something! I went to the shelf, grabbed the nearest poetry book and started reading. First up for the littlest one Jack and Jill, Hickory Dickory Dock and a few more with actions that all had joined in with she was happy, drenched in honey tea and ready to get down and play. Next I scanned for a poem the older 3 would all like and found one called 'I saw a ship'. Before I started reading I told them were great artists and they had been asked to paint a picture of this poem, 'Close your eyes and imagine the painting come to life while I read it aloud'... 'I can see it'! they responded. Then I came across one that made them all laugh and run after each other being crazy monsters ( yeah, as if I need to make more opportunities for that), they loved it so much I thought I would share it here, it adds to the reading if you read it kind of scary like. ( I wouldn't read this to a 3 or 4 year old)

Question Time
What does a monster look like?
and scary
and furry and burley and pimply and dimply and warty and naughty and wrinkled and
that's what a monster looks like.
How does a monster move?
It oozes,
it shambles,
it crawls and it ambles, it slouches and shuffles and trudges, it lumbers
and toddles, it creeps and it waddles...
That's how a monster moves.
Where does a monster live?
In garden sheds,
under beds,
in wardrobes, in plug holes and ditches,
beneath city streets, just under your feet...
That's where a monster lives.
How does a monster eat?
It slurps and it burps and gobbles and gulps and sips and swallows and
scoffs, it nibbles and munches, it chews and it crunches...
That's how a monster eats.
What does a monster eat?
Slugs and bats and bugs and rats and stones and mud and bones and blood and squelchy squids... and nosy kids!
That's what a monster eats!

Oh, the squeals of make believe fright mixed with giggles and grins made this poem one to remember.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

days of summer ~ 24 and no more

:: Didn't get to the brook but I did find water, sand and shells.
Buckets of shells, hats full of rocks and tired, delighted bodies came home after our day at the beach.
I really enjoyed doing this little days of summer in photo, it made me think about the seasons and what marks summer for us, what will the children's memories be of their summers, what is significant for our family in this hot and humid season that goes on and on for what feels like half the year. Our summer days continue even though its now officially Autumn- the children have been coming up with all kinds of suggestions for another series, the favorite so far-'awesome autumn'.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

nature study bags

I made these nature bags from old pants, I got the idea from Camp Creek Blog...the kids love them and are itching to get some use out of them, if only the weather would cool a little ....

They are packed with all the essentials for a little nature study- nature notebooks, pencils, rubber, watercolors, magnifying glass, little specimen containers for collecting samples and bringing bits home because the 2 yr old doesn't always understand the need for sitting patiently while her siblings sketch so we may need to bring them back and do our drawings later but to be outside-looking, running, discovering is so worth it, the children are settled, the bodies and senses are fed and a calmness seems to fall on everyone. Ahhhh, bliss for this mama who often finds herself surrounded by an insane amount of noise and energy. More nature walks, definitely more nature walks!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A circle of quiet

"The sight of a meal's worth of dirty dishes, pots and pans makes me want to run in the other direction. Every so often I need out; something will throw me into total disproportion and I have to get away from everybody-away from all those people I love most in the world- in order to regain a sense of proportion. I like hanging sheets on lines strung under apple trees-the birds like it too. I enjoy going out to the incinerator after dark and watching the flames; my bad feelings burn away with the trash...My special place is a brook, and I sit there, dangling my legs in looking through the foliage at the sky reflected in the water, and things slowly come back into perspective."

Reading this delightful book by Madeleine d Engle called A Circle of Quite. Its a series of 4, this is the first. Its more like a letter really. I enjoy her writing style-unhurried, as if your spending a lazy afternoon on the veranda drinking tea sharing stories from a life well lived.

Wishing to dangle my legs in the brook this week, maybe we'll go find one this weekend.

Monday, March 2, 2009

days of summer ~ 23

:: a little bit of time and space for mama aka SDO. Very much needed after the week that was. A whole day to read, play with my camera, read some more, journal, browse the bookshops, see a movie, walk and read some more. Yes I can spend a whole day on my own..the introvert in me cries out for it every few weeks. Hope your weekend gave you a little time and space to just be as mine did.