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.)