Have a drool over blue! It’s such a lovely colour for all sorts of feathering and nesting.
Today was a fun day for our natural learners’ group. We met at the aquarium in Merimbula for the feeding of the fish and a talk given by a wonderfully enthusiastic, knowledgable and passionate marine life expert whom we have met with on other occassions. He has a wonderful way of connecting with the kids and making his talks so interesting. Today his theme was ‘strange things about fish’. Lewi was in his element…listening intently and taking photos and videos of his favourite creatures. He’s a marine life enthusiast to the max!
Some interesting things we learnt today include:
* Seahorses suck their food like we slurp up spaghetti
* Pineapple fish have 2 sets of eyelids – the bottom ones are red and glow in the dark and encase little headlights for better night vision.
* Octopus have to ‘feel’ to learn things.
* A crab that once lived at the aquarium dropped it’s claw and it measured over 50 cm in length. It had been known to crush a glass jar with its claws.
After the talk we all met together at Spencer Park for lunch and a play. The kids spent lots of time trading Pokemon cards (potential stock-market careers ahead of them, maybe???), playing and swimming in the pristine water. The water was the most gorgeous greeny-blue today and it was a nice temperature for swimming. I wished I’d brought my swimmers!
These days are lots of fun. We’re so blessed to have a really wonderful group of homeschooling friends who we can hang out with and enjoy life with. We always look forward to the fun our next week’s natural learners group get together will bring.
Nests! I love them.
Nests conjure up thoughts and feelings of …cosiness, warmth, security, beauty, protection, provision, comfort, nature, gardens, homeliness, birds, feathers, pear trees….all things homely and inviting.
Everyone has a nest. Each one is unique and special and says something about the person who feathers it. There are soooo many different sorts of nests……..
colourful nests white nests
minimalist nestsbold nests
country nestsshabby nests
flowery nestsgreen nestsblue nests
warm nests luxurious nests
So many beautiful nests!
So grab a hot cup of tea and a piece of chocolate coated licorice (or two!) – or whatever is your temptation of choice – and join me, as I grab mine, and indulge in some feathery and nesty therapy.
It’s so wonderful to be able to witness my child fulfill his passions to the limits that he chooses for himself. Drawing is a huge passion for Lewi and something that he’s loved to do since the age of 4. From those early monster truck and shark drawings through to the elaborate detailed characters he regularly works on, I have been in awe at his love of putting pen or pencil to a blank sheet and making the page come alive with creativity.
Drawing has never been my forte. It’s not something I ever spent much time doing. I didn’t do art at school and always felt I was ‘not the creative’ type. I have fun now, alongside Lewi, drawing with him. It’s fun to copy things from books and nature and connect with Lew on this level. He would rather draw from his imagination although lately he’s more confident at copy-drawing.
Last term, before the end of the year, we organised a homeschooling art class with a wonderful local artist. She gave the children an amazing experience of a terms worth of classes. Lewi really enjoyed his time with her and gained much from her expertise and lovely nature.
This term, this new year, we will do some casual art lessons with another artist whom we are yet to meet. Lewi is really looking forward to this new mentor and the possibilities that may be awaiting him. I secretly can’t wait to see inside the artist’s studio. I love the name of his studio: Mister Jones. So chick and funky. I’m hoping the interiors will be too:)
I look forward to blogging about the new art experience very soon…
Yah! Lewi’s now officially a blogger! Today we set up a blog spot for Lewi and he’s feeling really excited about it. He called his blog ‘My Spore Creations’. It’s a blog especially for him to discuss all of the Spore creations he’s made and anything Spore that he feels the need to share. He’s finished two posts so far and he’s looking forward to adding more soon. So go to his blog (you can find it under the blogs I’m following) and have a look:)
He loves Spore! Can you tell? He spends lots of time each week playing the Spore game, which he has on PC and creating fantastic creatures, buildings, vehicles, music and lots more. Some of his homeschooling friends also have Spore and so they have lots of great conversations about their latest creations and Spore adventures. Hopefully, Lewi’s blog will be another space that he can use to share his Spore passion. Can’t wait to see your next post, Lew!
Lewi loves birds. It’s one of his newest passions and I’ve had so much fun getting interested in birds along with him. There’s something pretty cool about grabbing a bird identification book, a log book, pencil, rubber and clipboard and going for a walk in the gorgeous Bega Valley autumn in search of birds.
As a child I wasn’t really into birds. We were never allowed to have a pet bird as mum didn’t like birds in cages. I never ever remember feeling disappointed about it, though. I’ve always hated the flappy-bird behaviour when one is loose inside a house and wants to get out. Freaky! My bird experience stems from my childhood days when we lived at The Pinch. We had lots of chooks. I loved getting the eggs but I was always so paranoid about getting lice. I couldn’t stay in their pen for any length of time for fear of parasites infesting me. I’d itch for ages after collecting the eggs, just thinking about the lice-possibilities. Oh and there is that other little experience. The cosy little memory that many a hobby-farm girl would have…that of their mother chopping the head off a rooster and seeing the headless animal escape the chopping block and run-til-it-dropped somewhere, way down there, in the paddock.
My nan had birds in cages. Big cages but cages none-the-less. She had budgies and canaries and parroty birds. The one we really loved though was Cocky. He was a very old, sulphur crested cockatoo that my nan’s mum used to own. He said some pretty cool things but was also pretty temperamental and would bite at the drop of a hat. I was always extremely wary of Cocky and very rarely had the guts to enter his cage.
When Lewi was really little, about 20 months old, we went to visit nan and grandpa. I remember him loving Cocky and giggling over Cocky’s screeching and funny little up-and-down dances as he sang la-la-la-la-la-la-la. Cocky died a few years ago now. I think he was well over 80 years old. A pretty good innings for a highly strung bird.
Lewi and I now know quite alot of bird species. It hasn’t always been the case for me. I can’t believe how ignorant I’ve been for most of my life. I hardly knew any bird species. I knew magpie and parrot and cockatoo and kookaburra and those sorts but not really many more. Now, through the eyes of my child, I’ve learnt most species in our garden and the local lagoon bird life. I’m learning about sea birds of our area and the different types of honey eaters. It’s so exciting seeing a new bird that we’ve not yet identified. We are always so keen to grab a bird book and race it back out to the bird in hopes that it doesn’t fly away before we’ve found its page.
Lew has fallen in love with magpies in a big way. Since moving here we’ve got to know the local magpie colony. The baby’s are always keen to be fed, which we’ve done many times. I know you’re not supposed to feed them but it’s so hard not to. They are so demanding. Lewi always says that if he had to be an animal parent he’d never want to be a magpie father because the babies are so full on!
This last magpie breeding season (Spring, 2009) we found two baby magpies that had fallen out of their nests after a huge wind storm. We called WIRES and they came to help and set up a make-shift nest on a branch for the babies to keep safe in. It was so lovely watching the magpie parents so diligently looking after their babies throughout a really long period of time. The babies, as they got bigger, started trying to fly but because it was the ‘windy’ season they were having a bit of trouble staying up in the air. They kept blowing out of their make-shift nest and we’d have to go and pick them up and put them back in again. Eventually we couldn’t contain them anymore and they left the nest but still couldn’t fly too well so they’d nest on very low branches and fence wires around our garden. The parents were the most amazing carers. They were always there ready to feed them and meet their irate demands. They protected their babies like nothing else and Poppy soon got the idea that baby magpies were not the most fun animal to investigate with her cockerspaniel-sniffing nose!
This experience added to Lew’s desire to join WIRES one day. He always has had a love for nature and now it’s so lovely to extend to the feathered variety. I’m looking forward to learning about many, many more types of birds with my ‘Little Steve'(as my Grandma often calls Lew). I’m not too proud though, to wear an icecream container hat where necessary!
Lewi, at 10, loves:
reptiles, especially lizards
his pet blue tongue lizard, Steel
nature in general
gaming…Mario games on the Wii and Halo on the XBox 360
jumping on the trampoline
playing with his friends
homeschool groups and get togethers
his Mum! (I put that one in myself….LOL)
When people begin on their homeschooling journey the big ‘S’ word is usually the thing that causes the most concern and anxiety for our family and friends. They usually feel totally freaked out by the thought of you choosing to keep your child from a normal, healthy childhood of school and socialisation.
What is socialisation? It’s learning to interact with a range of people in a range of situations which help a child grow and develop into a fully functioning adult who can keep friendships, have working relationships with people and hold down a job, buy food at the supermarket, have a family of their own….you get the gist.
Why all the fuss about this only being able to happen at school? I think it’s because school is what’s normal and what we all did and what needs to happen because that’s what everyone does. Hmmm….sounds like there’s not a lot of thought going on in that rationale.
When people choose to home school they do it with a lot of thought and research. It’s a huge decision and it’s one that parents don’t take lightly at all. Some of us choose to home school right from the start. Most, however, choose it after their children have been in school and are facing dilemmas which are difficult to deal with within the school environment. Funny, one of the most common reasons for people pulling their children out of the school system is bullying. Hey, but what about socialisation? Yes, I know, if you pull them out of school they are far less likely to face bullying and belittling in the name of socialisation. It is definitely a difficult choice: weighing up whether to rob them of the bullying experience which will “toughen ’em up”or pulling them out of school and helping them develop problem solving strategies for coping with negative situations in an environment that’s supportive and nurturing. Whoa…hard call! NOT!
What about making friendships? How on earth are they going to have friends if they don’t go to school? Yes, I know what you’re thinking. These days we never see people under 5 foot 2 walking around the place. Kids are such a rare commodity. You never see them in the neighbourhood or at the shops. They are never at the beach and certainly never at the local swimming pool. They are never at parks or skate ramps. They never join sporting groups, art classes or Scouts. After school you never see them at their homes or playing in their backyards.
Kids are everywhere! Lewi has friends his age who go to school. He has friends around his age and of varying ages, who home school. He has family members he loves to hang out with. He has adult friends he enjoys being with. Lewi has not had difficulty making or keeping friends. One very special aspect to homeschooling which is not seen in a lot of other set up situations (like school and sports groups and scouts etc) is seeing children of all ages playing happily together. Much like family living, this multi-age mixing adds so much texture and variety to our children’s lives. Watching older children look out for younger ones and teenagers hanging out with adults and participating in all range of conversations is notably socialising…isn’t it?
When Lewi and I go to our local coffee shop for a milkshake and a melting moment and Lewi orders and pays for us, is this not socialisation? When we go to the supermarket and Lewi converses with the deli ladies and with the man at the check out, is that not socialisation? When, at least every week, we meet with our homeschooling group and do things together at the beach or park or museum or aquarium or art class, is that not socialisation?
Socialisation still happens when you live in the real world with a range or real people. It can still take place outside of a four walled institution. It happens wherever there are people. Phew!
So, no need to worry about Lew’s socialisation needs. It’s OK. He’s ‘getting socialised’ by living in a real world surrounded by real people. They are as real as the ones in school. Most importantly…..he’s happy!
Finally the day has arrived…it’s the last day of summer! Yah! I can’t believe I’ve made it through the heat and the humidity in one piece. What a hot blasting 3 months we’ve had. Thankfully the summer brought with it lots and lots of drought breaking rain. A flood! Another, yah! The valley looks beautiful. Green, rolling hills peppered with black and white cows happily grazing non-stop…now. Only a month ago it was a different story altogether. We’ve had some unbelievably dry times over the past year. Depressingly dry. Hot. Dusty. Winge. Winge.
But now…..summer is all but over. The grass is lush and green. Water’s everywhere it should be. Dams are full. Creeks are flowing. The river has water in it! The fleas have drowned…I think?
We’ve had a big flea problem here over this summer. The poor dog has not been enjoying the season. We’ve tried everything possible to get rid of them. Each thing we try works for a moment and then the second Poppy runs outside she’s infested again. We’ve even had to flea bomb the house. Urgh! I may as well confess it here. No point hiding it. Lew’s told everyone about it as if it’s something we shouldn’t feel ashamed of anyway. That and the cockroaches that we apparantly have in our bathroom. He told his Nan these details today on the phone. I’m sure she’ll be keen to visit now. Not! The cockroaches really aren’t a problem though. Really, they are not.
Anyway, enough of the summer woes of our world. Tomorrow is a VERY special day. Not only is it my 38th (yikes, that looks much worse typed out!) birthday but it’s also the first day of my favourite time of year…AUTUMN. I can’t wait! The air is cooling in the evenings. The mornings are crisper already. The leaves are changing on some of the trees. Soon we will be kicking the dried leaves as we walk along the lagoon in the middle of the day instead of after dinner when sun’s not so intense and the mozzies are out looking for blood.
We seem to be alot more active in the autumn. Kicking the soccer ball and playing cricket. Going for bike rides and much longer walks. Hopefully I’ll be able to get my body back into better shape now too. I know that’s been said many times before but… tomorrow’s a new day.
So here’s to new beginnings and alot more blogging over the coming autumn. See you in the cool!