View From My House

View From My House

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I Thought I'd add this

I can't abide homeschool bashing by people who don't know what homeschooling is really about. I found such a thread on the new government site called "MySchool". I had to reply. (Here's the link.)

I'll put my words here though, in case they go missing...
This seems to be a bit of an anti-homeschooling and a school bashing thread.

Firstly, I homeschool my 5 children. I could never imagine sending them to school. Why? Because school has never and doesn't seem to have the ability to address the needs of all students. People forget that homeschooling existed BEFORE school was institutionalised, and it is very natural and a reasonable choice for a parent to make. Yes, orginally I had my daughter and son in school but I regret it. They picked up bad habits, and my daughter was bullied, 6 years on still not fully recovered. But I digress...

Natural learning/unschooling is the term you are looking for Alana. This is a valid path, but one of many paths a parent who homeschols can make. There is also school at home, Charlotte Mason, Steiner, Ready to go Curriculum, Internet based, religious based and eclectic are all choices one can make.

Obviously, you are all uninformed and making assumptions about something you really know nothing about. Alana, two homeschooled children do not represent the homeschooling community as a whole. Marion, sadly you have a picture of homeschooling that is lacking. Yes, the education system is failing, it is doomed to fail as is, or make children into mindless workers who don't think outside the box.

Don't take my word for it read celebrated ex-teacher from New York John Gatto Taylor's criticism of modern schools

Marion I'd also like to ask why you didn't tap into the huge homeschool communty of Qld? I've lived there and I know there are many homeschool activities and communities of varying styles all around, easy to google, find on Yahoo groups. Sure its lonely if you don't socialise, but the people are there if you want to meet them. When I was up there were two informal play groups meeting in North Brisbane, one of which met in various parks weekly and had a lending library and are so willing to help newcomers, very lovely community. Of course other groups run excersions and science classes and all kinds of interesting activities. Theres a Sunshine group, a christian group, Briby Island group that all meet and support one another, and that's just off the top of my head.

Of homeschooling children I know they are beautiful and individual people, they aren't socially backward, some like to be introvert but that's natural in any setting, school or no. Homeschoolers tend to be more able to associate without barriers of sex and age, they are tolerant. School settings are the ones which I have found to be the unnatural setting, putting children same age together they tend to have some rather nasty interactions (rarely this happens with home educated children). Teenagers don't have the same peer pressure to conform or consume or go through fads.

And Glenn, I'm not bashing the people involved in schooling, its just the system, the teachers themselves have been 'set up' to perform their roles and have been educated to think in one way. Teachers do seem to be critical of homeschooling (it is their means of income). I know a principal very well and he is open minded enough to 'wait and see' how my children turn out.

I think the government/education system could do better by opening their minds. I rather like the model (I can't take credit, but I can't recall it's name) where its an open education system, where the teacher has a more facilitator role, its age open I believe, ie adults and children can learn in the same class. It onus is on the self, you go research and work on individual or group projects and learn what you need as you complete it, the teacher is a sounding board and various discussions are the means of communicating ideas. There is a communal learning space that is rather like a library with computers and there are spaces set aside for various activites cooking, science, technical learning like sewing/metal work/wood work etc. No one is forced to learn anything but encouraged to discover, naturally learn and to interact with others as they learn. I believe some split off and learn a trade (which they presumably have experience with already) at age 12, where they take an apprentiship.) Not unlike how it used to be in the past. The theory is one can base their natural predispositions into become really really good at one thing, something they can have real pleasure in and not worry too much about a shallow attempt to learn everything and come away not really being great at anything.

Friday, November 19, 2010

An Explanation and an Apology.

Hey !

I am sorry I haven't been around, I keep kicking myself, but there are some pretty good reasons.

I will endeavour to change my wicked ways and keep up posting because I have enjoyed it in the past so much.

Several things have prevented me from posting. My familie's health and my own. Yeah, sorry excuse maybe, but true nonetheless. I myself have been recentlyish been diagnosed with Sjogren's Syndrome of the secondary variety, something I've lived with literally for years and never knew that it wasn't normal. It's lovely to have some relief from that... It's obviously secondary to my primary condition of Coeliac's Disease. See my other blog here. That alone would not have stopped me from communicating in the intricate web of eminds.

Labyrinth was recently diagnosed with two definitive problems: Universal Global Developmental Delay and Phonetic Processing Disorder. These do NOT complete the puzzle that is Labyrinth. She's had to take epilepsy tests twice now, and they are undertaking further genetic testing. If nothing shows then we'll be seeing her pediatrician late this month to see if she requires further testing, she does require further treatment, this is a known fact. The government now approve her for having a disability. This is going on while she is experiencing the pains of Thelarche, while she sometimes can seem still like a toddler. OK, this isn't Labyrinth's complete picture at all. She's off charts for her age with Bodily-Kinetic and Spatial (See Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences), considering she's got a small weight problem (which is now changing as she matures and is getting a little slimmer), its a little odd. Add to the fact she is ever hungry, cannot be filled up, only gets what the other children eat, plus is quite fit, her body does not 'fit' with her current energy levels/eating levels.

I had to drop out of university this semester. This hit me like a bomb, I was aware of Labyrinth's symptoms, of course, but... I went from first stage depression (which I was only aware of for two weeks) to borderline third stage in under two weeks. I didn't even realise there were stages. I tried Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for those two weeks and was needing to be medicated very quickly before I completely lost it.

That's the tip of the ice burg. Dante looks to have major childhood depression (worrying early, so he might develop bipolar as a teen - poor darling). Kai has become incontinent in his bowels. Monika and Raven have thier dietry issues. Then there is Andrew, he's suffering very badly from headaches, literally constant since early this year. He's got them except when hes asleep it just varies to what degree. Of the tests completed his MRI came back negative, but somewhere along the line he has had his nose broken with swollen sinuses, and he has badly impacted wisdoms. These wisdoms aren't painful at all, unless they are causing the headaches. If it's NOT these reasons they need to begin looking at other reasons, like environmental. He's convinced its not his nose, and doubts its his teeth as it's extremely rare for just headaches. Its making him depressed.

I just want to move, the space is crushing my spirits, there isn't enough room to live here with 7 people, all wanting to pursue different avenues of interests. Argh... But the view is amazing. I need a sea change. We need a new car, preferably a Land Cruiser/Rover so we can have a trailer.

I am having a change of religion too. Positives for another post thought, coming soon!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Some photos I'd like to share:

The above are some pictures of our darling Monika, and below, gee how she's grown the darling!

Here we have the lovely Ella and Monika, sweet cousins together.
They ended up lovely friends after the initial visit. And here are my children and Michelles together.
A very nice shot of Dante.
And another very great shot of little Eric.
Just thought I'd share some strange little details about Monika. She resembles her grandfather very closely, she began life with black hair and very near black eyes, they have mellowed a little. They were both born on the 20th of September and they both can have their way no matter what!

Mother's Day, my birthday and our homeschool month!

Above are a few of my gifts, these were what I recieved for Mother's Day. I'm Babushka Doll mad. When I was growing up we loved visting a certain older couple who used to fill me up on wonderful stories of their lives in old Europe before immigrating to Australia, and these Bubushka Dolls sat on her mantle, some from 'the old country', some Inga had collected over the years. They used to fascinate me, just as much as the stories they told. I remember Villy being very surprised when I told him the story he was 'reading' to me had different words than the printed ones! Yeah I was a nerd who could read before I set foot in school.
The teapot is such an awesome replacement for the second tea pot the darlings have smashed over the last few months. It's really nice Hello Kitty kind, the plastic seems sturdy though I'd prefer no plastic, and the glass mouldings and the strainer is just perfect. I mean that, it doesn't let any real residue through!
The stamp is a present I brought for myself, I've wanted a Raven stamp like forever and this happened to be going cheap on Ebay, so I thought I'd snap it up. I can certainly add it to Raven's scrap pages, I want more of them, can't ever have enough stamps I'm afraid. Ahhh, the Scrapper's Lament.
I did get some more scrapbook project boxes, a table I can set up in front of the telly to scrap on (hell, nothing expensive), a new tool tote and a scrapbook bag. I'm actually downsizing. I'll be putting four project boxes together and doing them on the couch (with new table) or at the kitchen table, and getting a tall boy for sensible storage for clothes as opposed to taking over my bedroom with scrap storage and least that's the theory. My mum brought me Cadbury Chocolate (plain which is Gluten Free) and a purple skirt. She gave Michelles children an Ocean candle to give me. She's getting better at guessing what I'll like as an adult. Andrew keeps ribbing me about the Independance Day Boardgame she gave me the year they met him (we were already married! That was a story I might deluge one day).
Andrew and I have struck a more structured homeschool, we do four lessons a day, and by god he's taking half of them! We evenly divided up the lessons, giving ourselves a day off a week, plus a weekend which for us in Friday/Saturday (we never school on Friday's anyway because it's pay day and we're oftten busy). Sundays are English creative writing, Blogging (for the children and me - find them in the About Me link), Maths and Japanese. Mondays are Art apreciation, German and double science. Tuesday is English Grammar, Craft or Cooking, Maths and IT (they're building web pages atm), Wednesday is Music, Craft or Cooking, and our playdate with other homeschoolers, this would also be the time for trips to museums and art galleries etc, and Thursdays are English, Reading aloud, Maths, Watching language shows like Muzzy or Japanese Anime. The lessons are done in a fashion that we either take all morning or all afternoon which has left me time to pursue my dream of losing weight, getting fit and doing my university work in the daytime! This was all good in theory till I pushed myself too hard and pulled a muscle in my lower back, and I was doing so well! I might have taken nearly 5 months but I've lost a dress size.
Tuesday's lessons haven't happened yet, it turned into a playdate with their cousins from Perth, my sister Michelle who is now a doctor brought the beautiful bright cousins over to play! Ella also visited on Thursday and we ate tea at my Mum's where they were staying. Michelle was attending a Women's Health Conference (she was doing it for some kind of credit? on her medical knowledge somehow). So this week with me injuring my back on my birthday and Michelle and her children, I've been flat out busy (as has the rest of the family). We've not been able to go to a homeschool playdate since last week, but it's only one week and they got to spend a day with the cousins who they really get along well with.
There are fewer knots and bruising on my back today, but yesterday was painful! I brought some Solopas from the Chinese Emporium which help amazingly, Andrew slathered my back with Arnica and Comfrey mix (which was for my broken arm long time since). I had a long bath with a little Monika intruding for a bath at the end - hey she can have a bath now and she doesn't suffer from eczma anymore.
Finally, we spent four and one half hours with a the very Dr Donahue at the hospital on Friday, which is all about finding the results to the children's various illnesses, all of which I will blog on my other blog Quasior's Recovery From Silly Yaks. He accepts I am a celiac, and Raven is too! After all this time it's nice to have a doctor agree with me. I will be joining the Tassie branch of Coeliac Australia soon.
That's about all for now in our little corner of the world. I'm sorry I've been absent so much, I've just been crazy busy, Q. I will add in photos of more scrapping soon.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I know, I know

Above: Dante and Kai have painted Wall-E, and Raven has done a night time Plants Vs Zombies painting. Below: Labyrinth had done a still life of our fruit bowl, and Monika has done a wonderful colourful picture!

It's way past due for blogging, and I apologise but I have been super busy...
I've been to Armidale for a Residential School for Intro to Preformance and Presentation (Drama), that was fun and a big stretch for me as I haven't preformed on stage for a long, long time. I've been doing my best to get fit, keep the studies up, both the children's and mine, and get on top of all my other needs... basically this came not quite last as my scrapping has that honour. Yes, I'm pining for the time I can sit down and just do some fun stuff for me.

Last week on Thursday I got all my mid semester essays in, a week since getting back in the state, I had three assignments due on Wed/Thurs last week, one was fun, that was a workbook for my drama subject which meant designing a stage and drawing up a scene ready for designers/actors to go. The other two essays for the same subject (which could have been a great subject) Reading Pop Culture, which was about Steve Irwin and Micheal Jackson. I mean come on, it could have been Princess Diana - I figured I'd do the lesser two of three evils...
I've also been sick, trying to get the children prepped for a mini gluten challenge (which all the details will be on the other blog.) I've also got my Mental Health First Aid certificate, my Mother has had complications from a bowel operation, Andrew has been recovering from a nasty foot injury from Dante's birthday. On the up and up now personally for health, which got a huge boost from my four day Res School, which was quite physical. I've barely had time to scatch!

During this time the lessons haven't exactly been um... consistant. However, they have made huge bounds in reading/writing and maths, which are the subjects we have been mostly concentrating on while I've been otherwise occupied. Monika and Raven have been learning the phonic alphabet, learning new dancing song combos like Incy Wincy Spider etc.

About a week before going to Armidale, we went on a homeschool excursion to the Molesworth Enviroment Centre, learning about Aboriginal history right in the area with a bushwalk and building temporary huts, complete with mini lecture to begin. They have had lots of play and they chat online with cousins, so they haven't been lacking for social contact.

Naturally, they have had access to painting/drawing. We've also been enjoying the interactive WII that has been brought so I can do cheap Yoga, I get the WII Fit tomorrow, we got it on special, it beats paying for the gym. We also do SingStar which has substitured for music lessons for now. Dante has been getting into modelling, we keep fish, still eating out of our garden but it will have to be settled for the winter months coming up...

Current Books:
Labyrinth: W.I.T.C.H. no 3
Dante: The Spiderwick Chronicles - The Field Guide aka no1
Kai: The Strange Museum - The Royal Switch
Raven & Monika: If you're happy and you know it - song'n'action book.
Me: Sookie Stackhouse Books, Rereading No.1 Dead Until Dark- I've read up to No. 9 (Andrew's and my Anniversary present to each other - Yeah we had one of those on the 7th of April, it was our 12th!)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A week that seemed like a month...

Raven's picture of Eric, that's after a family vote we decided to call our kitten.
Above: Our primary and secondary colour lesson. Below: cute Kai!
Dante's birthday on the 19th - below is the RC Smasher Destroyer, one of his favourite presents...

Above is Dante's Transformer - it transforms into a tank. Below Labyrinth and Monika all dessed up and read to go to a birthday party.

So this week there was 3 birthday parties involving our children, and one birthday - Dantes! We've also been very busy doing a whole lot more. I'll begin with the parties first. Monika's lovely fairy friend turned 3 and had a tea party at Kingston Beach. Unfortunately Monika was unable to enjoy herself too much as she has been suffering even worse of late with her diahhrea. I'll be blogging about that in my other blog. That and the lovely early autumn warmth had us leaving early. I only took the time out to go put my free spotlight $10 voucher to good use - I brought choc making moulds for Easter this year because of all the allergy/intolerance in the children means it's safer to make our own - and hopefully cheaper too... and to exchange some clothes for Labyrinth. Monika slept a lot in our travels and over the next couple of days enjoyed hydrolyte icy poles.

Next party was for thier cousin George (My sister Tania's lad) who was turning 4 - a HJs pirate party. There isn't a single food on their menu that's GF, so master Raven had a LegsNBreast chicken and chips meal - but they managed to contaminate it and got him and me sick for the evening/next day. Never going back there! But at the time it was a good evening for them, and I reaquainted with many mormon people including my brother and sister-in-law, whom I never see because I don't believe in it anymore - and purely business when it comes to Michael's Mob... how enlightening and such a sense of freedom I have that I'm definately not giving up now. But it was nice to see them. George has grown tall and thin!

Friday, the day of birth for two cousins, Dante and Micheal's son Rueben. Ironic in a way as I had two friends who were inseperable long ago in a past life by those names. Dante was born 12.5 hours before! Anway, it was a day of shinanigans. Firstly the timing was off with appointments for me to take back and get another sleep apnoea machine, put off so much we couldn't get a parking spot near the pool on the domain so we went to Glenorchy Pool, it was booked out by a high school.... so we gave him his first present, the RC ship pictured above. He had a great time playing with that until a change over of batteries and lack of connection seen Andrew diving into the highly polluted water to retrive said ship only to rip a sizably deep gash into the sole of his foot. It bled for a long long time and so we went straight home to lunch and phoning around Doctors... so it was a huge boring wait before being seen and being told that it couldn't be stitched with a high likelihood of infection, most of the gunk taken out, script in hand and off to Rueben's Mini-Golf party. Dante over ate on the sweets and made himself ill, he came home to Kai who was also under the weather with high temps and a sore neck (a few moments of menigitous concern - but then his temp fell as quickly as it came. Cupcakes were his birthday cake of choice with underwater animal lollies. He felt a little sad and ripped off, but he'll have an unbirthday to make up for it later. As with all birthday traditions the birthday boy gave a small gift to each sibling - it really does work as an antidote to sibling rivalry! This is what was given:

Labyrinth - A new dress Kai - A model tank Raven - Transformer ship Monika - a Littlest Pet Shop Monkey Plushie (he had his eyes on that gift for weeks! Monika and her Monkeys!)

So some of the lessons we've squeezed in are: The primary and secondary colours, and how to make them, making and decorating cupcakes, gardening, McDonalds math (it's pretty good for free), singing, parts of speech, 3 lessons of Japanese, a lesson of Spanish, Monster's We Met Documentary, some new books, reading aloud/chapter books, PE, forming an argument, and drawing.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Annual Home Education Picnic and A New Addition To Our Family!

Above is the new addition to our family, as yet unnamed The Cat is asleep with Monika. He's a pretty lad, isn't he? We did it the responsible, and ultimately the less expensive in the end way. He's had his vaccinations, vet checks, a voucher for desexing, and microchip all for $130. He has blended into our family rather nicely. He's got a very sweet nature, and of course lots of kitten energy when he's not asleep! We brought him from the Cat Centre having decided very early on we didn't want to buy kittens from pet stores, who are pretty irresponsible when it comes to cat/dogs.
OK these are the only photos we have of our picnic at Ross with the other registrared home edders from around the state. Really shouldn't have went along, but I didn't want to disappoint the children, they still had a good time, I made muffins the day before. I was unwell that day and hid most of the time in the car.

Last night was the first night I had with the Sleep Apnea machine... and wow what a difference one night makes !! I got about twice as much as I usually get done, I didn't have to wait the obligatory 4 or so hours to wake up properly. Really. I have a nickname "Zombie". So a four hour time slot where I was already fairly awake makes a huge difference! The experience was slightly uncomfortable for a while, and about twice the pressure was literally painful, but it's an easy thing to just turn it off and back on again and it resets itself. Its the machine that reads my responses so they know what settings it needs when I get my own machine later on next week. I think it is going to be great, as I felt like my lungs hadn't opened up that much since probably before Raven was born and I got asthma - so it might do even more things for me. They told me I was moderate to severe, having 31 small sleep apnea's an hour, thats about every two minutes! I think I've got a bit of work to do, but I'm going to be healthy soon! I feel like I might be a real human at some point this year, won't that be different? Anyways, things are looking great here at the moment, until next time, Q.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Hand Art

Kai felt rather inspired by the Rainbow Serpent Aboriginal art he did last week, and today he drew the above picture. Its a hand drawing with his favourite animal, the elephant, at a watering hole. I was so impressed I used it for inspiration to get the children to all do an ink print of thier own hands and see what might emerge. I was happy with the results!

Above top is Raven's Raven. He chose the black ink, and he knew what he was going to create before he began. So cute! Below Raven's is Monika's face. There are distinct eyes in there, and an oval face too, with a wide smiling mouth! She had a lot of fun creating this.

Above is Labyrinth's Jelly Fish. I love her interpretation! Her colour choice is also very pretty and suits her subject matter. Below is Kai's man in chicken suit. He has put baby chicks around the man too. At first he thought he had done it wrong, but then Andrew gave him some inspirational humour to work with, and it was OK. I think he did a wonderful job.

Last, but by no means least is Dante's Rooster with baby chick. It is very much the way he is with Monika, he really loves and looks out for her, almost parental in his relationship. This picture he made was great. I was so pleased with how organic it all was, a natural progression, and they really enjoyed doing the art activity.

We have been studying Monsters We Met a BBC documentary series. So far we've covered the first two in the series, and they've been making a 'natural' science journal, where they draw a picture of a chosen animal from the episode, and write a few sentences about the animal. We've covered a few so far: Demon Duck of Doom, Red Kangaroo, Caribou, Saber-tooth Cat, the Woolley Mammoth and the Devil Dragon. I've been grabbing various information sheets and pictures of each off several sites and printing them off. They read aloud to each other a paragraph from each animal - such information as diet or anatomy, and we talk a little about what they've learnt. Much like what we've done with the Life On Land series. We will be completing the Dragon Myth lapbook and unit shortly and revisiting and making a lap book about Greek Myth next. It's been great discovering different cultures with them, and we have been discussing Aborigines a lot in the last week or two. That will be nicely highlighted with an Aboriginal excersion that's been organised by a fellow homeschooling mum.

I might not be so tired after tomorrow. I finally get my sleep apnea machine and might have some good sleep so not be so dopey. One of the benefits will hopefully mean more bloggin! And lots more other kinds of things. We have also done music lessons, language, reading, writing, lots of other natural learning.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Rainbow Serpent

Raven's drawing and writing above on The Rainbow Serpent, below is Monika's drawing.

Above is Kai's interpretation, below is Dante's drawing. I am very pleased with Kai's - he seemed to transform the ideas of the Rainbow Serpent and Aboriginal art into something rather personal. Dante's done some wonderful interpreting himself, with rock art drawings and waterholes too!

Above Labyrinth has drawn the Rainbow Serpent into a water hole, surrounded by trees, animals and people. Aboriginal dreamtime talk of how one must be respectful of the Rainbow Serpent while he is present. He can make the day turn out well or bad, accordingly to the behaviour of the people.
I encouraged the older three to write a poem about the Rainbow Serpent from our readings and the video presentation we were able to find. Labyrinth decided to go alone, whilst the boys worked together. This is Labyrinth's Poem:
The Rainbow Serpent
The Rainbow Serpent
Goes across the land
River to River
If happy he stays
If mad he goes
And if he's not mad he'll stay there
Because he is happy.
The boys came up with this together:
The Rainbow Serpent
The Rainbow Serpent
Crawls across the land
Shaping it as if it were a sculpture
He jumps from a water hole to another
He never dies, he leaves a rainbow in the sky!
We've been madly working on finishing off our dragon myth unit, completing bits and pieces and working on our overall unit presentation which is a scrapbook file book (it needs to be ready by Saturday so I can have it presentable at the statewide home education picnic).
Just our happenings in brief: We've been doing lessons everyday but one a week, we've been learning about myth, language, math, art (including painting and modeling), reading of course, cooking, walking, lots of science, our garden is growing!! We've been enjoying basil, tomato, cauliflower, brocolli, lettuce, a few berries that aren't gotten by birds (raspberries/blackberries/strawberries) and peas. We're waiting on spring onion, pumpkins, zuchhini, capsicum and more of the above - oh and kale!
More to come I know I need to be doing more blogs! I'm getting worse = zombie, but hopefully that will turn around when I get this sleep apnoea machine on Thursday. I will do a final post of the Dragons, with pics of the scrapbook file. Until next time then, Q.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

2 Little Fairies tend the Flowers....

My daughter, Monika, and a friends daughter play fairies in her garden, they are tending the gardens... It was so cute I had to break the silence, I've been way too slack. I've actually been enjoying my holidays! I've read the Twilight Saga, almost finished my Halloween off the page album, which I'll post pics of on here soon. Yes, I feel incredibly guilty that I've not done anything so I'll have to begin posting again!