It's about time for a little bit of a catch up on the homeschooling front. Not that the learning has ever stopped, or in fact could ever stop, it's just that I feel I haven't been writing much about home schooling in particular.
So....with the weather getting colder we have been doing lots of our 'work' in front of the combustion stove. Tonight we even moved the coffee table and had dinner sitting on the floor in front of the fire.
Flex saved up his sausage sizzle markets money and bought an Xbox. Researched it on the net, searched on gumtree, weighed up pros and cons regarding price, age of unit and wether games were included or not and did the deal over the phone all by himself. A really big step for him as he has always been a bit 'phone phobic'. He was truly chuffed with himself and feels a great deal of self satisfaction with his purchase.
I was quietly freaking out the whole time, but trusting 'the process' went ahead with the whole idea.
So far so good. It's actually prompted a good reworking of our days' schedule, in that the screen time hours have been examined and moderated. It also brought up a discussion about violent 'shoot 'em up' games and we all as a family decided that we didn't need those kind of images and practices in our lives. So we have skateboarding, Lego Indiana Jones (yes they have guns but cute little lego ones;) Sonic Sega Allstars and tennis.
So far, so good. I feel that the boys are actually really keen to do their schoolwork as this earns them extra xbox time!
We have also, as per usual been exploring all sorts of interesting places such as the Natural Bedding Company where we purchased a hand made latex and hemp mattress. The boys were given three big pieces of latex to play with and they have led to all sorts of imaginative games and amazement that latex is actually made from tree sap!! We also learned that the man who made our mattress also hand makes all the Dalai Llama's cushions! Sleeping has never been so spiritual.
We have been reading a book called 'Little Brother' which is all about a young boy who escapes from the Khmere Rouge in Cambodia. This had led to lots of talk and internet research about what happened during this time. I feel we have all experienced great whacks of empathy for what those people went through and tonnes of gratitude for living in a free country.
A trip to the museum in Sydney was great fun as always. We focused on bones (all mammals have 7 vertebrae in their necks, a shark has no bones at all, there is only one real human skeleton in the museum and it's an Asian female), rocks/gems/minerals ("look at this meteorite!" "I just love emeralds don't you?" "let's go fossicking for gold!") and carefully finding Giant Stick Insect eggs in a tray of dirt and extracting them carefully with tweezers for incubation.
We also picked up our lovely new wwoofer Elodie at the museum and so began a French themed week....she taught us how to make proper crepes and quiche and we have been enjoying having that beautiful accent in ze house! It's been a great opportunity for me to practice my high school French and for the boys to learn some new words. Elodie is a horse rider so we have been doing lots of that, and of course the boys love to show the horses off to someone new.
And art! We spent a few hours soaking up the sun yesterday sitting on the roof of the houseboat and sketching. We did sketches where you don't look at the paper, 10 second scribbles and drawings where you don't take your pencil off the page at all. This was specifically to loosen up Flex who gets very pedantic with his drawing and tends to screw it up if it's not 'perfect'. It seems to have worked as today we went to the gallery in east Gosford and he happily sketched an artwork with no frustration - even though it wasn't perfect! We had just enjoyed a great exhibition on Reconciliation and made a point of noticing the places where the art wasn't 'perfect' but was still great. The boys also coloured in Indigenous flags and animal images and we discussed the meaning of 'reconciliation' and what it means to consider someone 'black' or 'white'. Kids really get that inside we are all the same.
I had picked up (as I do) a craft kit from the council clean-up and we did that yesterday afternoon as well. It involved painting bandannas with 'sun paint', placing paper cut outs on them and letting them 'set' in the sun. In a cool chemical reaction, the paint darkens where the sun hits it to create a funky shapely shaded effect. Casper the pony looked on as they dried in the sun.....
As an example of how my eyes have opened to all learning opportunities hows this one.....the boys had a fight the other day and a punch was thrown. Into the car one boy went and off for an excursion to the police station to learn what the definition of 'assault' was. I wasn't even angry. True, I was sick and dosed up on Panadol but even through the haze of tissues and mucus (sorry!) there was enough energy to see this chance for learning through. Didi you know that even threatening someone with harm is classified as common assault? I didn't. I really feel that I'm learning how to combine mother and teacher, and for that I am both grateful and proud.
And somewhere amidst all this we have also done stacks of our maths and spelling books, lots of hanging out with friends and us mums even managed to fit in some hula hooping.
Phew. I'm off to sleep on Dalai Llama latex and dream of Indiana Jones......