View From My House

View From My House

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Fine Art in the last week or so...Part 1



Dante (top two dinosaurs below and the next pic):
Kai: (all the rest)

1-2-3 Magic going beautifully, as it says works like magic. This is only the first part, tommorrow I'll have at least as many! Not getting my study clean, which is very important as I start uni again next week. I haven't even got my last semester's results, although last week I got my radio script back with 73% YAY for me considering I'd never written a radio play, and also not one for doco's, mocko's yeah but doco's?
Being blissfully stress free again, positive things might just start to happen again, Q.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Lots to catch up on...

severely stressed.
The children of late have:
1. Get up way early and the tidy house I went to sleep to is no more.
2. They can take the cleaning up to way past lunch time on a bad day.
3. They have been doing very, very naughty things like - eating treats without asking (not so bad really), egging some poor people's car, breaking each other's toys, going ballistic at the slightest insult from their siblings, smearing food across the table, trying to break the bow's (yeah, Andrew and I got a bow with a bit more kick), making huge paper messes across the floor in the other room, putting clean clothes out in the wash when its already overflowing, and worst of all hurting each other etc etc.

Andrew has been:
1. Not coping and getting stressed out.
2. Being so depressed we don't see him most of the day (because of the children)
3. Breaking the furniture out of sheer frustration. (He would never turn that on the children though - or I'd be outta here)

I have been:
Feeling quite unwell, stressed, headachy and depressed.

Quite simply, I've been tired, in constant pain from my shoulder/neck and aches in my legs/back and headaches. This kinda painful - my baby pushes on my arm I wince and sometimes cry out a bit, I pale up. I need a massage, a break and a nice holiday. I can't afford any of these things. I do need to go back to my GP to get a referal for the physio people, but hey, I've only been waiting for 3 months for that. I did however, look into respite for Andrew today. If I'm not coping then he's nearing a breakdown. This is sadly the reality of the situation.

So... something clearly needs to change. It's not going to come from the children, nor is it going to come from Andrew. It has to come from me.

I've got out from my bookshelf a book called 1,2,3 Magic... and dusted it off. It's worked for us in the past, I'm determined it will work for us again. I remember the week after we first started using this (and how relaxed and happy I was then), I want that to happen again. I will add to the blog in the near future a select amount of art work/craft etc we have actually managed to do.

Kai has finished level yellow of the HOP program, which means he is officially above his reading age (its just coming so naturally to him). Dante is one reader away from completing the red level - which also means he's above his reading age). Labyrinth needs to review a bit, but HAH HAH to Dr Tyson W... She CAN'T have Small Head Syndrome - she's reading confidently at her age level! She will be ready for Master Reader when it arrives in less than 10 days from the US. Her next step is Chapter Books, yup that's right, OMG she really is progressing! YAY! After that she'll be a fully fledged reader. Dante isn't that far from it either, and this time next year I'll put bets on Kai being there too...

Maths, well, there is a problem. They've forgotten everything, so we have to start all over again. I *might* look into MathsUSee again, but its the great expense that annoys me. Actually it's suppose to be Andrew's call, but he can barely cope with them at the moment (and I don't want to step on toes here either). Personally I have no feelings of needing to rush them though, they'll get it eventually.

We have gotten nearly 200 original DVDs onto the hard drive and we'll be getting them onto the media centre (so no more broken/badly damaged discs - they just won't be getting their hands onto to them). Sadly amongst the casualties are two of my very special Studio Ghibli DVDs (the Howl's Moving Castle was a collectable FFS - limited to 2000 copies Australia wide or something), Tales From Earthsea was also damaged. Howl's was extra special as it was a favourite author who wrote the original novel - Diana Wynne Jones. Of course, same with Tales was too... Ursula McQuinn, but not on the same level for me.

I loved The Dark Knight excepting the fact that they changed the actress for Rachel Dawes with a look alike rather than someone who could actually act. I loved Heath's portrayal of The Joker, I can see now why he got so messed up trying to get his head into that psycho. His best role though? That I'm not sure about. This was suppose to be a special surprise for Kai who complained 3/4 of the way through it was too long and too boring :( Andrew couldn't watch it because the two littlest wouldn't let him.

I happily caught up with two good friends on Sunday, they've had a child too, 5 months older than Monika. Lovely.

So, life has not been pretty the last three weeks. Hopefully in another 3 it will be back to fun and games (literally) and lots of natural, enjoyable, happy learning with good engaged children again.

That's the real reason why I haven't been posting - not being on top of it all. Q.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Update... nah, not forgotten

We've been going nuts getting our DVD collection ripped so it is not being destroyed by little Raven and the others. That's over 100 I've personally ripped in the last two weeks. Also getting our house under control which has literally been an uphill battle - one step forward a dozen back - because of and a detriment to the children.
Have a bad habit of sleeping in a little bit. I am always up by nine, and the children are always fed when I get up... but the problem is that up to three hours they've already been awake they've wrecked havoc upon our humble home. I have been having troubled sleep with Monika lately which really sets me back, and Andrew has been depressed on an off, well more on than off. It makes me nearly tear my hair out.
Today has been positive though...
We've surged ahead as a team. I have much to scan and upload onto this blog about what we've managed to achieve - which is very little really.
Well that's all for now, we're about to go out. Q.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Just Quickly...

We are just about finished rearranging and resorting, and still doing our lessons.
Today they did their lessons, reading, writing and improv music, played on Raven's new instruments (and theirs), which was great. They seemed to really enjoy themselves, and it was all about getting familiar with the different sounds and how the instruments could actually be used...
Also, they enjoyed some time on the computers, mostly checking out YouTube, but since thats what they like doing... erg.
Raven played Monika's software, BoohBah. He likes going to the Nick Jnr website and playing mostly Dora/Diego type stuff. Of course I read to them, I do everyday - tonight was Elmo and Wilbur. Kai loves Elmer, and now does Raven.
They also really enjoyed playing with the wooden train table set.
We had a simple but rather happy and fulfilling day today. Music should fill the air everyday, it brings such happiness to the children :) Q.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Raven turned 3 today!

Formal learning is out on birthdays! Doesn't mean it stops though! There is always natural learning going on all the time. So Raven's birthday, a day of fun, happiness and frustration too.
The morning began well, we visited Nan and Pop, and Nan set them up for a lovely little party whilst they watched Scooby Doo live action movie. Andrew was at his psychiatrist appointment, being rather frustrated that the dosage for the anti depressant wasn't upped to a decent enough level.
Later we braved the weather, which was wet and a little cold and headed up to Tolosa Street Reserve for a BBQ, which they enjoyed, but no one was into having their photo taken today :( - especially birthday boy. They played together really well, which is very nice as it doesn't always happen. Then it was time for ice cream and plays at Hungry Jacks at Raven's request. Since it was becoming so late (because we had to wait for the appointment in the morning making everything else later) we were not looking forward to making nor eating pizza. So Raven told us "sammich" in other words toasted sandwiches. It was his day so why not? We headed into the supermarket to get things for this, and we mistakenly left the other children in the car.
BIG mistake. I knew something was up, so I left as soon as we got to the check outs to find the children had used the left over eggs meant for Raven's cake to decorate the car besides us :embarressed:. This was not good. It caused a pretty low downer in Andrew and I still had to get a cake cooked without the eggs and give him/them thier presents. Raven had been asking pretty adamantly all day for his cake, I couldn't let him down. And I'd realised I'd broken our mix master recently (you know cheap crap - not worth buying). Things were quickly spiralling out of control.
I tried getting Andrew to be a part of the gift giving, but he fell asleep without response so I put it together and gave the gifts out. As you may be aware, we have a birthday tradition - the birthday child gives gifts to the other children, always. I had mixed feelings about this particular time, very unhappy. But I gave them out anyway.
Here is what Raven received (photos tomorrow): An african drum (as he loves music) and another wooden instrument and the other children recieved other wooden instruments to compliment this. He also got wooden Thomas the Tank Engine add ons for his/their train table and a bilingual game for Spanish. All he wanted to play with was his Thomas, but he'll enjoy the rest of the gifts in turn.
Anyway back to the cake. I was at a loss, I didn't want to substitute a whole cup of oil for the oil and 3 eggs, so I put less oil in and added more water and it ended up OK. Andrew was conscious again and took over just as I was ready to put the cake in the oven and the children were watching Walking With Monsters again so they were all OK. Then comes the phone call from my sister needing help as she has decided to begin homeschooling her children. This took an hour and then it was a rush job to decorate the cake, dish it out, read books and send them off to bed. We managed so it was OK in the end, but it could have really made Raven's birthday very sad if we hadn't, if one more thing had have gone wrong.
My sister is at the daunting but exciting stage of the very beginning homeschooling parent. Not at all DeSchooled in the least, worried about the little things (to me now, anyway) such as fears about adequacy and socialisation, removing them from school etc. These are non problems to someone who has homeschooled for some years, but very real and big to someone just starting. I had these concerns too, when I pulled Labyrinth and Dante out of school - I even had phone calls from the school worried about them. I didn't even attempt to register in Queensland. No point, they are ridiculous up there. Here, no problem, they are easy to deal with and no hassles whatsoever.
So, yes, I've done it illegally before, and I'll do it again if I have to. It's that important to me. Would you send your child into an environment to have them systematically honed into a worker bee? Hell No!
I think she will attempt the School At Home, which only works for absolute hard asses, which I know her too well - this probably won't suit her family. But this is a family based thing, and what works for one won't be true for another. It's all about CHOICES. I don't have to pay loads of money for a superior education, an alternative education, I can provide it myself. Any parent can, providing they have the right facilities ie, the ability to read/write and do research.
I've mentioned before we're eclectic, leaning towards unschooling plus basics. Child driven or led perhaps. But that is just it, and reflective in what we gave Raven for his gifts today - we have a touch of Steiner-Waldorf in there too. Natural wooden musical instruments and wooden train set materials. Its not just because they are more difficult to break, its about getting their hands on real things, things that matter, things derived a little more directly from nature. Its not about being told what to learn, its about providing them with various kinds of things/experiences/resources and letting them discover some wonderful things, all on their own, and if they wish some guidance.
Well enough... I'm tired, and I'm going to bed. Today has been full of laughter and tears, and I've loved my children and I might have felt a bit betrayed by them today. There is some bad with the good to realise just how good the good is sometimes.
And if it was your car - I sincerely and deeply apologise. This is not normally the actions of my children, they have been punished (they would have recieved $20 pocket money- the extra for finishing off a level in HOP, but that is now regretfully not happening. The money will go towards something else that is needed now, not to them directly.)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

A Weeks Worth of Art

Labyrinth's Art:

Dante's Art:

Kai's Art:

Raven's Art:

Not much to say. We've been busy madly getting things finished off, catching up on washing, trying in vain to make sense of our lives that kind of thing. Not much luck really, on any part, it seems we move 3 steps forward we go backwards in quadruplicate. Really, really trying to move ahead, this has had to wait for one big go and it isn't all of it, that would have been nearly impossible. Anyways, of the three Australiana pieces (Labyrinth's idea), the ones with text, here's what they say:
Labyrinth: The kookaburra sits in a tree in the forest and there was a kangaroo.
Dante: The dingo went hunting for two marsupial rats.
Kai: The ANZACS fought for freedom for all Australians.
Well, that's about it, hopefully the following week will me more productive, fruitful and happy.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Some Random Photos of the Kidlets

That's Twinkle Twinkle Little Star he's singing to her above :)
Playing with FisH

Labyrinth Shall not be forgotten!

Garden of Earthly I wish... part 7

Above we have Kai and Dante sporting some moss found growing on our tree out the front, we are considering it for our paludarium.
Yes, even in the depths of winter we are attempting our garden. These roses were given to me by my mum (thank you mum), and in the depths of winter because they were sleeping and less likely to be traumatised by changing houses. Anyways: BEFORE


Progress of what we've already done: Jasmine, Spider Plants, the Other Jasmine, Osirus's Rose (which has been in continuous bloom since it was planted at his resting place), and the foam boxes which is home to our spring onions, beans and various herbs.

So still happening, just slowed down since its cold. We will also be transplanting another half dozen or so roses, and a whole heap of raspberry canes yummy.