An Easter Arty Party

Ok, back to the reason I’m writing this blog…. After my meltdown we decided to take things a little easy. In all areas. We had a rainy day in front of the TV, with lots of added reading and cuddles. We also had a day of playing in the backyard. Miss 5 didn’t mention school work, and neither did I. I thought we needed a day of fun stuff, and in our house “fun stuff” always includes making art of some kind, and making mess of some kind 🙂
When the art activity is my idea, I try not to structure the girls too much. I usually give them the materials and the idea, and let them go with it. Children are incredibly creative when they are not trying to conform to someone else’s idea of what “art” is. I set up 4 different art stations for Miss 5 and Miss 2.5 and I tried to keep to a loose Easter theme. The girls had a ball 🙂
We started doing some wax-resistant water colour painting. I drew some secret Easter pictures and messages on white paper in white crayon. The girls then had to paint the paper with their watercolour paints, to discover the secret message. Miss 5 thought that was a bit of a lame activity XD, pretty soon after starting she decided to ditch her secret message (guessing that it was a picture of the Easter bunny, not even half way through!), and grabbed a clean sheet of paper. She experimented with the paints, adding water with a brush and then a sponge, layering paint and water, until she came up with an effect that suited her. Her finished product was an underwater painting of a fish with coral and seaweed. Her fish was much more interesting and showed much more sophistication than my hidden Easter wax message 🙂
The girls made Easter cards by cutting and pasting scraps of journaling paper. Miss 5 explained to Miss 2.5 that the paper would look nicer if it was pasted in a pattern. While they were cutting and pasting and writing in their cards, I sacrificed 4 potatoes out of the pantry. I cut them in half (lengthways, so they were fairly egg shaped) and carved patterns into the flat half, and then stuck plastic forks into the tops, making Easter egg potato stamps. The girls sat for nearly 30 minutes stamping different patterns onto different pieces of art paper. The results of the mornings art making look like this:

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When lunch was finished and the kitchen tidied, and Miss 11 months tucked into bed for her afternoon nap, I pulled out the big guns 😀 I had been thinking about an artwork that the girls could make for Easter, that would really be something special. I did get this idea off the internet, but I tweaked it a little to suit us. I had carton of eggs that was heading into the land of past-it’s-best-before. Usually I rush to find a recipe to use up the eggs before this happens, but I decided to sacrifice the 8 eggs instead 🙂 This was a HUGE hit. The girls had SO much fun that I almost wished I had more eggs so they could keep going. We were all laughing our heads off while they were doing it, and it looked like such fun, that even I had a go myself 😀
The first thing I did was tap a hole into the top of each egg, and tip out the contents. When all the shells were empty, I washed the shells out with tap water. As best I could. Then I used some cheap, water based, acrylic paint and filled the shells about a quarter of the way. Each egg had a different colour. After each egg had it’s allocation of paint, I added a little water – until the eggs were almost halfway filled – and gave them a little jiggle to mix the water and paint together. This is for added “splat” effect 🙂 I had two blank canvases set up on our drop sheet, in the backyard. Miss 5 and Miss 2.5 then took turns throwing their eggs at the canvases. The harder they threw, the more satisfying the splat. Miss 2.5 did not quite have enough strength to break the egg completely on the first throw, but she quickly figured out that if she picked up the shells after they had been tossed, and stood really close to the canvas, she could get a second, or even a third, splat out of them. Such an egg-celent way to create an Easter masterpiece XD
So we’ve had a few days off. We’ve regrouped and we’re ready to forge ahead. Miss 5 and I made the mutual decision to stop reading Harry Potter. Although Miss 5 doesn’t have the vocabulary to express it, we have both found that the concepts as well as the intricacies of the plot and the characters are just a little bit beyond her, and she isn’t enjoying the story as much as she thought she would. She has suggested that we try again “when she’s 6” 🙂 So we’ve packed away Potter, and we’ve started reading Charlottes Web, which is a big hit, and so far has opened up discussions on spiders (obviously), farm animals, and the five senses. I think this next week is going to be right up our alley 🙂

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Days like today

Otherwise entitled, How I ruined Easter 😦

I ummed and ahhed about writing this, and I almost didn’t, but for two reasons. 1) For the sake of my own records, I need to be able to look back and say “there’s where I went wrong, and this is what I need to do different next time”, and 2) For the 6 people who read this blog, other than me and the moderator (hi Dad 🙂 ), I want to keep it real. It’s not all rainbows and lollipops. And while this is more about me and less about Miss 5, my experience influences hers, so my thoughts and feelings need to be addressed and validated, even if it’s only by me.

This week has sucked. There is nothing else for it. Sucked big time. Miss 11 months is cutting teeth. She is waking during the night, and screaming incessantly during the day. Miss 2.5 is, well she’s 2.5. She’s intense, she’s demanding, she’s loud, she’s highly verbal, she’s non-stop, she’s into everything and she’s noticing the shift of my focus and my attention when it’s “school time” with Miss 5. And of course her natural response is to be even more intense, and loud, and into everything, and verbal in order to get more of my attention.

The week started with a couple of rough nights with Miss 11 months. Then I had the night from hell!! Miss 11 months awake between 11 and 12. I had just got myself settled and back to sleep, when Miss 5 and Miss 2.5 came into the room, hand in hand. Miss 2.5 lost her Bunny in the middle of the night, so miss 5 brought her down to me, knowing that I would get up and find Bunny. This was just after 1am. I settled them both and went back to bed. Only to be woken by Miss 11 months at 2.30am. Miss 2.5 crawled back into bed with me at around 3.30am – giant scary snowmen were prowling, apparently – and Miss 5 joined us at 4.30am because she was lonely. Miss 11 months woke up at 5.30am for breakfast. And it’s in this haze of exhaustion, that I started the week. And it just kept going downhill. And of course without any sleep, things tend to spiral out of control much quicker don’t they?

And here’s the thing; all of a sudden I have realised that I just can’t reconcile the person that I’m supposed to be. I am a mother of three very small people. I have a household to run, bills to pay, meals to prepare, theatre classes, swimming classes (and soon sports and preschool classes) to get them to. For my own, personal reasons, I cannot leave the housework. I simply cannot have a dirty house. Untidy, of course, I live with four people who don’t understand how to pick up after themselves, but dirty? No. Can’t do it. AND now I have added the responsibility of educating my daughter into this as well. Man alive, I am SO overwhelmed. How the hell am I supposed to do ALL of this. AND give my children the attention and love they deserve, AND find the time to give myself a break, AND still have the energy, desire or motivation to be an attentive wife at the end of the day, AND manage to smile, AND keep my sanity?? I feel so spread thin, that instead of doing a great job at a few things, I feel like I’m doing a very mediocre job at everything. I am not being a good wife, to be honest, at the end of the day, the last thing I want to hear about is how crappy someone else’s day was. I’m not playing with Miss 2.5 as much as she wants me to, I’m not picking up and cuddling Miss 11 months as much as I did the others at that age (and there’s a whole world of guilt wrapped up in that one), and I’m not doing any justice to Miss 5, and what she wants. I have found myself saying no to her and her requests to do more school work!! Seriously! She has said “mummy, can we do x,y,z for school” and I have caught myself saying “not today darling, go out and play.” How can I take on this role, and then refuse her requests to learn??

And everywhere I look there is chaos. Things on the floor, half done jobs and projects everywhere, clothes that have been washed and folded, but not put away. Still sitting, washed and folded, in the same spot they were 3 weeks ago!! And I want to scream! “I know you can’t clean the house, I know it’s not your job to clean the house, I don’t want you to have to clean the house. But do you have to make my job even harder? Can’t you at least put your clothes into the washing basket? Can’t you at least wipe up the mess that you made, or not leave your damn shoes in the middle of the floor where you took them off?”

So I’m not keeping up with the house work, I’m not keeping up with Miss 5s expectations for school, I’m not keeping up with being a proper mother to all 3 of the girls, and I have spent the last week being cross and cranky and tired and overwhelmed, and scared that Miss 5 is going to come to me and tell me she wants to go to school, just so she can get away from her crazy, cranky mother! And I feel like I’ve backed myself into a corner. I can’t speak up, I can’t ask for help, I can’t ask for something that I can’t expect to receive.

In a perfect world, I would have a network of people whom I could turn to and say “You know what, I need help.” Or “Can I just drop the girls off for a couple of hours? I need some time to regroup, centre myself, or just mop the goddamn floor”, but I chose to move to Perth. I left my family and my closest friends and I moved 4,500kms away (and while I have made friends with a small but wonderful group of ladies, it’s not quite the same). And that was my choice, and I don’t regret it. But the point it it was my choice. Just like homeschooling Miss 5 is my choice. I pushed the point, and I decided this was the way I wanted to live. And it is, it definitely is, BUT now I feel like I’m backed into a corner. I feel the weight of “this was all your decision, your choice, you made the bed now lay in it” hanging over my head. I have survived the last 3 years, moving into 3 different houses, 2 pregnancies, 2 newborns and 1 miscarriage with very little in the way of a support network. I truly believed that I could do this. I truly thought that compared to those events, educating Miss 5 at home would be a breeze. But on days like today, I feel that I cannot do enough, I am not doing enough. I am just not enough. And yeah, I probably should have thought of this all before I pulled her out of school. But I didn’t.

So I have refused to join in the Easter celebrations with Husband and his family. Which, as you can imagine, has made me the least popular person in the world. Husband will have to face the embarrassing task of lying to cover for me. But I’ve had to do that too, and I know that he’ll live. I did. In the meantime I’m relishing the next 4 hours to myself. To be able to put myself back together, make a better plan for Miss 5s next school week, cuddle my baby without making another child jealous, and maybe even put away the basket of washing that I’ve been staring at for nearly a month. Maybe. Or I might nap 😉

I can sit here and recognise, that I need some sleep. And I can recognise that I need some time just for myself. And I know that I’m not going to give up on this, and that next week is a new week. I know that tomorrow I will put my big girls pants on and start taking care of business again. But on days like today I am building a blanket fort, and hiding in it.

To end on a positive rather than finish this, feeling sorry for myself, Miss 5 is starting to read. And as soon as I figure out how to put the video of it on the blog, I’ll do that too. She’s doing a wonderful job 🙂

Life lessons and Boxes for Christmas

I have had opportunities in my life to meet many, many different people, from many, many different backgrounds, with many, many different stories. I have always thought that the people in the best position to offer help in this world, are unfortunately the people who do not. Husband and I have always endeavoured to show our girls that they are lucky to be born in a country like Australia, where we have fresh food, clean water, free health and education systems (regardless of our opinions of these systems, it boils down to the fact that we’re lucky to have them. So many countries do not) and where we are safe from the ravages of war. We also like to show our children that they are lucky to be born into the family, and the lifestyle that we have. We are not fabulously wealthy, by any means, but we do have more than one property, we do a fair bit of travelling around Australia, we have just returned from an overseas trip to Mauritius, and we can afford for me to stay home with the children and live in the way that we want to, not the way that we have to. I know so many other families who cannot do these things. Husband and I are ever mindful that when we are finished raising our children, the rest of the world will have to live with the adults that they become. We encourage them to be helpful, thoughtful, respectful, kind and generous. We encourage an attitude of “global citizenry” which encompasses not only the planet but the people who belong to it as well.

With this in mind, when we decided to pursue a home education for Miss 5, I thought to myself ‘what an excellent reason to try volunteer work’. In offering our help to a charity, not only will we have the time on our hands to do it justice, but it will reinforce the life lessons that we are hoping to teach. And to keep it real, it ticks so many boxes as far as the curriculum goes too 🙂 We already donate clothes and toys to the local Good Sammy’s, but I began looking into animal shelters, soup kitchens and other local charities. The problem I found was most volunteer programs have an age restriction, and 5 falls waaaaaaay below the minimum. I understand why, but I must admit, I was terribly disappointed. Then one day, thanks to Facebook, I had a lightbulb moment.

As I still feed Miss 11 months 4 times a day, 4 times a day I get to sit down on the couch and check out the news online, and have a quick flick through Facebook. All of my family are on the East Coast, so Facebook is a great tool for us to stay in each other’s lives as much as possible. One day, a few weeks ago, a post appeared on my facey feed, that caught my attention. I have a friend who has been heavily involved in a charity called Boxes for Christmas for many years. Being that I have been in Perth for 3 years now, I have missed a lot of what she has been doing, but seeing this post about Boxes for Christmas reminded me. And it made me wonder if that was something Miss 5 and I could get involved with. So I messaged my friend, and through her I got in contact with a lovely lady by the name of Margaret Chivers, the founder of the charity.

Basically Boxes for Christmas organises the purchasing and distribution of Christmas gifts to elderly residents, in aged care facilities, who do not have any loved ones left in their lives. A gift from Boxes for Christmas means that an elderly friend will find something under the tree, with their name on it, on Christmas morning. Hopefully making the day a little less lonely and a little less sad. Reading about the charity, on their website here, and on their Facebook page here really touched me. And after speaking to Margaret (who incidentally, actively encourages the involvement of children and had very kind words to say about homeschooling :D), I was convinced that this was the organisation that we wanted to be a part of.

Explaining to Miss 5 what we were doing and why, was actually quite easy, and very rewarding. Easy in as much as all aspects of the work are relatable to small children. Elderly people – like Granny and Granddad – who weren’t going to get a present at Christmas time, because they had no family and no one to love them. Even Miss 2.5 could understand and relate to the concept. The rewarding part came when Miss 5s face started to droop and her eyes watered, and she said to me “mummy, that’s terrible, can we do something to help them?” She is truly an amazing, empathetic, kind little soul. We received in the post a “purple piggy” from Boxes for Christmas, which is a small, purple, rubber piggy bank. Miss 5 personalised it with her paints and named it Swanee after the Swan River here in Perth. The next step is to spread the word about Boxes for Christmas, and tell people that we only need $10 to buy an elderly friend a present. Miss 5 has been practising asking “so if you have any spare change, could I please have 5c, to feed my pig” XD In the last two weeks, my girl has raised $20! We have also requested to have a book of tickets sent to us, to sell for the upcoming Mother’s Day raffle. Miss 5 has already decided all of the people she will be taking her raffle tickets to.

With regards to the education side of things, Miss 5 is getting practice in public speaking – she has taken Swanee into Husbands office and spoken to his staff about the charity and what she is raising money for – and in this she is ticking a social box as well. She is also learning real life maths. She has a greater understanding of money, and has learned that coins have different values, and that just because there are more coins in a pile, does not necessarily mean that there is more value there. She has learned about the animals on the coins, as well as talked about the Queen and why her face is on our currency (which tied in well with a lesson we had last week when she noticed that the Union Jack was on Australia’s flag and New Zealand’s flag as well). All this and the obvious counting of the money, means that she is getting quite a lot, academically, out of her fundraising work.

But so much more importantly, she is doing something that is making her (and me too, as I’m just as committed to what we’re doing as she is), feel really good about herself, and helping others, and giving back to the community. She is making plans at a rate of knots, for other ways that we can raise money or help in some way. She has taken this little project of ours and run with it. And I am so very, very proud of her.

Please feel free to check out the Boxes for Christmas website, as it truly is a great cause. Also, while you’re online, feel free to check out our new, A Little to the Left facebook page. This blog is great for keeping track of particular topics, like this one, or a general recap of the week, but I’ve found that for the everyday stuff, that isn’t necessarily blog-worthy, I can keep track of it more efficiently on a Facebook page! So for some shameless self promotion – click the link and hit like 😉

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Math is actually fun, in the real world!

My weak spot in school (and, as a continuation, outside of school), is math. My mind just does not seem to understand numbers. I can memorise them – and still, after 20 years can recite a lot of the formulas that were drummed into me as a student – but when it comes to application, I do struggle. I remember math classes being either super boring, because they were a solid hour of sitting at a desk and staring at a textbook, listening to the monotonous monologue of the teacher. Or completely frightful, thanks to one certain math teacher who was infamous at our high school, with a reputation for making people cry with his toe-the-line-or-else approach to teaching. Needless to say, there was nothing that seemed to be fun or encouraging about working with numbers. And it didn’t help that most of the adults in my life could be heard saying things like “Pythagoras’ Theorem; never used it. Don’t know why we were even taught it.” Or “I spent all my time at school trying to figure out what ‘X’ was. And for what? It would have served me better learning how to manage money and keep myself out of debt”.

So I try very hard to keep all of this in mind with Miss 5, when we do number work. I’m not particularly concerned about my skills in relation to teaching her – yet. After all, she is just 5, and as long as my skills surpass hers, we’ll do fine. If we are still homeschooling when her skills surpass mine, then we will obviously get a tutor 🙂 In the meantime, I want to show her that math can be fun. The more fun I can make it for her, the more she will be inclined to stick with it, when it becomes a challenge. And this week has been a lot of fun!

I taught Miss 5 and Miss 2.5 how to play Uno a few weeks back. We now have regular Uno tournaments. Miss 2.5 particularly enjoys playing. Miss 5 loves the game, but has been taught some lessons in sportsmanship along the way 😉 A funny thing that has also happened, is playing this game from Husbands childhood, as well as my own, has inspired Husband and I to have our own, rather more competitive, after hours tournaments. Uno has become another way for us all to bond, as well as a great learning opportunity for the girls. Miss 2.5 gets practice in number recognition, matching numbers and of course colours. Miss 5 gets the same practice but on a higher level, more appropriate to her age, where she is learning number values (9 is bigger than 5, so worth more points), as well as basic addition in the scoring of the game.

Shopping is another great way for Miss 5 to learn about numbers. She learns through reading the prices (and finding the cheapest one 😉 ), as well as paying for the groceries at the checkout. Our local IGA has child sized trolleys, which is just the bees knees for Miss 5 and Miss 2.5! They walk around the store putting this and that into their trolley, and it makes them feel super special and “grown up” 🙂

Another thing that we’ve been doing for “real life” maths, is fundraising for charity. I’m not going to go into too much detail in this post, because I’d like to do another blog regarding that. But Miss 5 has been learning about money, it’s value and how to count it.

Which brings me to yesterday’s activity. The girls made a snakes and ladders board game. I jumped onto the laptop and printed out an Excel table numbered 1-50, then I printed out a few snake clip art pictures as well as a few ladder clip art pictures. The girls coloured them in, cut out the snakes and ladders (with my help, as they were a little bit fiddly, and they wanted them to be perfect to put on the board), and pasted them on to the board. I covered it in contact to keep it clean. We then found a couple of little pieces to use as markers and we pinched a dice out of mums Trivial Pursuit game 🙂 The girls played 5 games in a row. They did number recognition, counted out aloud when they moved their markers, we talked about greater than and less than and probability and they spent the whole time giggling!

Husband and I were talking about our home schooling lifestyle only last night. He made the comment that “all we need to do is pay attention to how they learn, not how we want them to learn. If we do that, and we keep it fun and interesting, they’ll do the rest”, and in that I believe he is totally right. He’s a bit of a clever clogs sometimes 😉

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The sweetest thing

Miss 5 has been reading chapter books with me for a few months now (I have listed the books we have read so far, on the blog site, if you want to check them out), and we have slowly been making our way through Roald Dahls collection. The girls love the humour and silliness in his stories. I will admit to censoring some of the text on the fly, as I’m reading it to them. Some of Dahls dialogue is a little different to how we speak in our house, and not really what I want them to pick up. But for the most part we are all having a ball. I am enjoying reading these books as much as the girls. I read them myself, as a child, and I find them delightful in a whole new way, reading them as an adult.
We read everyday as part of our “schooling”. We have read books on Egypt, both non-fiction and fiction, we read recipe books, we read articles in the paper and online. But we also read for pleasure, for nothing other than entertainment. Usually we do this before bedtime, as part of the girls’ winding down and getting ready to turn in for the night. I also read to them over breakfast most days, and sometimes they’ll ask to read during our “quiet time” when Miss 11 months is having her afternoon nap. So we have already read The BFG and The Witches, and for the last couple of weeks we have been reading Charlie and the Chocolate factory. And in reading this I have watched something truly inspiring. My girls – both Miss 5 and Miss 2.5 wholly engaging in the story. Miss 2.5 can recite the name of all of the characters in the story. She is fascinated with Veruca Salt and all of her demands 🙂 Miss 5 can’t get enough of Willy Wonka, she thinks he’s just about the smartest man in the world XD As I watched and listened to the girls, I noticed more and more that their play, and their drawings, and just their everyday conversations were involved with the story on some level. Even listening to them jumping on the trampoline, I could hear them singing and chanting a tune they had made up, about the characters in the story. So seeing this, I embraced a week of learning everything chocolate!
Miss 5 has designed her own chocolate bar “Dad’s chocolate”. We did a creative writing/art exercise where I asked her to imagine she was a character in the book, and tell me a Story about that person. Being infatuated with Mr Wonka, she dictated a story about him building a room in his factory with a giant chocolate slide. Wonka and the Oompa-Loompas decided to have a competition to invite children to the factory to see all their hard work. This brought up new words for her vocabulary illustrated and prequel being two of them 🙂 once I had scribed the story, we stapled it together and she illustrated the finished product. We have had a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory quiz, she has coloured in her favourite characters, watched the movie (yes we watch TV as part of our “school”. Watching the movie, apart from being fun, gave us an opportunity to discuss whether the book was the same as the movie – and then the differences and why we thought they weren’t in the movie. We also discussed things like props and actors and their role in making movies believable. And when it boils down to it, we spent 2 hours cuddled on the couch, simply being together), and, finally, as we were nearing the end of the story, I planned CHOCOLATE DAY!!
Our Chocolate Day started watching you tube clips on how chocolate is made. Miss 5 learned about the cacao tree, and the beans. She watched a few different clips and saw how the beans are processed both by native cultures in South America as well as western cultures in factories. We looked up Venezuela and Costa Rica, the countries in the clips, on the map. She learned the difference between dark, milk and white chocolate and she watched how chocolate is poured into moulds for the purpose of adding a filling. When she felt she was ready, we got dressed, and drove down to the beautiful Swan Valley, about 30 mins from our house. There we visited The Margaret River Chocolate Factory. The chocolate factory offers free entry and free tasting of dark, milk and white beans. It has a viewing window, so the children could watch the chocolatiers making the days sweets. It also has a screen close to that window which plays a short film about chocolate and the chocolate factory. It also has a shop, a cafe and a large grassed area for the children to run off the sugar 😉 We tasted, we wandered, we watched. Miss 5 and Miss 2.5 enjoyed a chocolate ice cream, and made friends with a small group of children who were also enjoying the day. “Socialising” is something that seems to concern everybody, except us 😉 The group played together for about 45 minutes, running around, rolling on top of each other like puppies, and exploring the small creek off to the side of the property. I had to wipe the mud off my girls feet, as well as the chocolate off their faces before we could walk back through the store, to the exit. It was bliss.
On our return home, we made rocky road. My girls don’t eat a lot of sweets as a general rule. Things like chocolate and ice cream are very much special treats. So you can imagine what an awesome day “chocolate day” was. The day finished with the last chapter of the story, and their very first try of hot chocolate. Miss 5 doesn’t have a huge sweet tooth, and didn’t really like the drink, although she scooped the marshmallows out and enjoyed them. Miss 2.5, who does have a huge sweet tooth, must have had enough by then, as she didn’t finish her drink either.
What a wonderfully sweet week it was for us. And a great example of following the interests of the children, having fun, being together, and still learning.

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The latest in learning :)

It has been a really busy couple of weeks for us. We have started renovating the backyard, which is a bit of a task as we have a 6 week deadline. Miss 2 and Miss 11 months will become Miss 3 and Miss 1 within a week of each other, so we are under the pump to have a yard that is child friendly for the upcoming birthday party 🙂 So the girls have been helping us lay turf and plant gardens. Miss 5 also helped me build a bookshelf for the office, to hold all of her “school stuff”. Miss 11 months has been sick with a little cold and teething, which has kept us at home on and off. We have also resumed swimming lessons for all three girls, and Miss 5 has started in a Musical Theatre class. We have had 3 play dates and we’ve been to a homeschool science class. We have actually been so busy working in the garden and socialising, that we haven’t done all that much in the way of book work! Am I worried? Not in the least 😉
Tying in with our learning about Ancient Egypt, I found a science activity where you “mummify” an apple. I had made plans to do this with Miss 5, however when we were ready to start, I discovered that Miss 2.5 had eaten the last of the apples! Not discouraged, Miss 5 and I decided that a potato would probably be just as good. So we tweaked the instructions a little and mummified The great Pharaoh Potatohead. The girls got a bit of a kick out of the face I had carved into the potato. If you want to know how we did this little activity, you can find the instructions here.
We also had another Jamie Oliver cooking lesson. Last week Miss 5 picked a recipe that included a sausage pasta dish, a basic rocket salad, and frangipani tarts. She did a phenomenal job. I was so amazed at, not only the skills she showed, but the finished product. Let me tell you it tasted as good as it looks in the photos. Husband had seconds and Miss 11 months just inhaled the pasta 🙂
Our homeschool science class took place at Scitech in Perth. In the class Miss 5 met other children roughly the same age who homeschool. This was something that I thought would be a big deal, but something that Miss 5 kind of took in her stride. It’s funny how children define, and redefine ‘normal’ so quickly and efficiently. I am still new enough to this lifestyle that I see homeschool as “Homeschool” 🙂 Miss 5 just sees it as the way we live, simply and without complication or stigma. The children were taken into a lab on the premises, and they read Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss – which is a favourite of ours – after they read the book they made green slime, which they got to take home. We left Miss 2.5 with her Granny for a few hours, so we were able to take advantage of some time just the two (and 11 months!) of us. We wandered around Scitech, played with the interactive exhibits and had a lot of fun. Miss 5 liked the plasma ball the best, while I fell in love with the robot who was reciting lines from Star Wars 🙂
We have also tried our hand at felting. I’ve never done it before and I thought it would be something that Miss 5 might enjoy. I watched you tube clips and googled tutorials, then, when I thought I knew enough to guide them through it, Miss 5, Miss 2.5 and I made our first felted square. Miss 5 has plans to cut the square, and make book marks out of it. We have bought little tassels to tie onto the tops. She wants to give one to her Granny, send one to her Grandma in Sydney, send one to her Aunty in Canada and keep one for us. I’ll post some photos of the finished product when they’re all done!
Otherwise, we have been doing some reading eggs, some maths puzzles and lots of reading out loud. Her interest in Ancient Egypt is beginning to wane, and she is showing a curiosity towards other countries. So we have put a giant world map up on the wall and we’re always running back and forth to the Atlas. She is fascinated with Easter Island! The girls have also spent a good deal of time watching our resident Bob Tail Lizard. He lives in our front garden and with the heat we’ve had lately, he has been making himself known fairly often. The girls have been talking about reptiles and how they keep warm, and also discussing ‘Bobs’ diet and googling what he eats.
And there has been, as always, LOTS of time for play, getting dirty and exploring the world. We have a moderator assigned to us from the Department of Education. She is a lovely lady, who is our go to for advice or help, if we get stuck. She is also the one who makes sure that Miss 5 is learning, and making improvements from year to year. When we met last, our Moderator made the comment “she will learn in spite of you”. I have been thinking about that often lately. I truly believe this is the case. Our children will learn. They will learn in spite of their parents, or their peers, or their siblings, or their school. Miss 5 is certainly learning, and I am happy giving her the best kind of learning environment that I can.

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