Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Monday, December 10, 2007
Thursday, December 6, 2007
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Monday, December 3, 2007
http://www.oxfamshop.org.au/ cute toys and stuff
http://www.tribesandnations.com.au/store more fair trade stuff
http://www.spiralgarden.com.au/ of course! great toys here
http://www.windmill.net.au/ good educational stuff, huge range
http://www.peanutgallery.com.au/ nice timber toys
http://www.honeybeetoys.com.au/ steiner stuff
http://www.dragonflytoys.com.au/ more steiner stuff
This list came from www.nurturedfolk.com.
I hope this is ok Melissa!
I have been busy organising christmas, finshing off dolls and cloths for Bel at http://www.spiralgarden.com.au/. and spring (late too) cleaning before the holidays.
Well, with the weather warmer up and we are preparing for Christmas, lots of maintenance and cleaning is underway. I am in the middle of cleaning and Dave is installing watering systems, gardening and planning next year’s projects. Also training the dog to keep off the gardens lol. The kids and I are on mulching palm fronds, which is going to keep us busy for many more days. It is a good just before dinner job – in the shade and then the mulch straight on the gardens.
Learning at Home:
We are still doing workbooks of a morning for about 30 minutes. Not every morning but a couple mornings a week. Mollie LOVES it and she rips straight through it. She ends up drawing till Lucas finishes. We are busy with Christmas cards, craft and decorating too. I am working on our curriculum for next year. A little more formal ‘sit down’ work but still light and fun. I am currently working on our literacy curriculum, which is presenting the alphabet in a creative and practical format.
They both have been busy building with Lego and duplo, setting up role playing opportunities is restaurants, camping trips and dress ups – we made swords and shields last night ummmm!
The mango trees are full of fruit, we got heaps of lychees from the big tree and the small ones are producing now too. The vegy gardens are slowing down due to the heat but I need to get them prepared for the new year planting. A friend sent me some ‘Rosella’ seeds, which is a lovely fruit to grow – they make the yummiest jam. I will post a photo when I have them up and running.
I have been busy designing and making toys for Spiral Garden and the kids Christmas presents. With the holidays coming, I will slow down and have a rest as I have plans and designs running wound my head for next year toys.
Monday, November 26, 2007
He said 'Mummy it was the best birthday ever' - such lovely words to hear!
I wanted to share with you all the story we share at each birthday at playgroup. Hope you enjoy it!
Crossing the Rainbow Bridge Story.
There once was a little angel who lived way up in the clouds above.
He loved sitting in the clouds with her guardian angel and watching the beautiful colours go by.
One day he parted the clouds and looked down at the earth below. As he looked he asked her guardian angel
‘Can I go down and experience life on earth. I would love to swim in the beautiful blue ocean, feel the warm sand and walk in the quiet rainforest.
But the guardian angel said
‘It is not your time yet’
One bright sunny morning, the little angel woke to see a beautiful rainbow lying out before him.
‘It is my turn now guardian angel’
‘Yes my child, your parents have been chosen and they are waiting for you to arrive’
‘Go now and remember, you will not be able to see me on earth but like the spirits in the sky, just close your eyes and I will be there for you’
So the little angel stepped up onto the bridge and crossed slowly over the rainbow and was born into the arms of his Daddy.
This tiny baby was ___!
Friday, November 23, 2007
Journey to My Light Within.
Who am I, and how am I going to parent and educate these two children?
This is the question I asked myself three years ago, looking at our toddler and newborn. I needed direction; I needed to find the light that was going to guide me through this new stage of life.
A chance ad in a newspaper led me to a local hall and in that hall I found Steiner playgroup. From the morning circle that was filled with verses and songs that created beautiful images to the toys made from wool, wood and natural cottons to the parents who I connected with instantly. Ok, they were not on the homeschooling journey with me but they had a parenting style that was in tune with what was in me. No university degree in Early Childhood gave me what those parents gave me in that first morning of playgroup. They gave me my light!
After many hours of reading and researching I had direction. That direction included respectful parenting that protected our children’s spirits, providing a calm environment that connected with nature and with ample opportunity to use and develop their imagination. It was sometimes a bumpy ride to get my husband and family to understand where I was heading with my philosophy but I thought leading by example was the best way to explain.
With a routine that is filled with creative play, nature walks, vegetable growing, handicrafts and many hours of story telling. Three years later we have two children that have a wide variety of interests, are sensitive to others and animals, love making anything from paper, sticky tape and ribbon and are always happy to be at home playing. I am really happy with where we are in our journey and I wouldn’t change a thing. We certainly have our fair share of challenges but with an understanding and a determination to find calm solutions to problems, we usually overcome them. We take one day at a time and love it!
Rudolf Steiner (1861 – 1925) was an Austrian scientist – philosopher (Simmons, D 2004 pp 3) who founded the first Waldorf School in Germany. For me, and as our children are still young at 5yrs and 3yrs, I see the Steiner philosophies as a parenting guide. My aim at the moment is to provide them with an environment that will protect their childhood and give them the opportunity to slowly awaken to the world around them.
In Donna Simmons book “Kindergarten With Your Three to Six Year Old”; the author defines the first seven years of a child’s life as the “Dreamtime”.
‘These are the years of uninterrupted creative play; of imitation and imagination; of active whole body exploration; and of being surrounded by the right example of loving adults who carefully frame and form the child’s experiences, building upon the young child’s natural oneness and openness to the world’.
Then at seven years, children are ready for a more structured based learning which is presented in a creative format and then balanced with artistic activities. Educating the whole child ‘the head, heart and hands’ (Barnes 1995, pp 12) is providing a sound start to life.
There are many curriculum guides available in Australia and Overseas; the Internet has really opened up number of resources available. I really haven’t any plans for when our son reaches 7 years or when he shows an interest in more structured learning. Maybe writing our own curriculum could be fun – one that is based on nature and also our interest at the time. Anyway, that is a whole other subject. We might throw it all to the wind, grab our backpacks and explore this beautiful country of ours, what a great way for the children to really connect with the world around them. It is all part of life’s journey so let’s wait and see!
Barnes, H. ‘Learning that Grows With the Learner’ Edited by Fenner, P.J & Rivers, K.L 1995. Waldorf Education. A Family Guide. Michaelmas Press. USA.
Simmons, D. 2004. Kindergarten With Your Three to Six Year Old. Christopherus Homeschool Resources. USA.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
I walked into the playroom last week and dd has set her 'children' up watching tv. As I am not a fan of tv, this was a tad worrying lol!
Dd's very own computer. The little piece of paper attached to the ribbon is the 'mouse'. The milk container on the side is the keyboard and the flat piece of wood with the paper is the screen. The funny thing is, if she took 6 steps to her left, she would have ran into their own real computer lol!
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Dh has been coming and going a little bit lately with work and family commitments. The children and I have been busy with the gardens, dog and home.
Monty is going well, still a little unsure with ds but with some lead work mornings and afternoons, he seems to be getting better. Ds has developed a racing game with the dog, which they both love to play. Dd is now walking around the backyard, still close to us but not being carried or holding hands. A few of her friends have been coming over and she sees them not worried and that seems to help. For final incentive ok bribery she said she would like a bag of lollies if she is walking around with Monty by Saturday – not crying, tantrums, screaming. We will try anything now!
Learning at Home
What has been happening in our home? A week ago, ds came to me and said he wanted to do some ‘schoolwork’. It took dh and I by surprise but now on week 2, he is still very keen. I originally was only going to do a little three mornings a week but he insists on 5 mornings a week. I am not sure how long it is going to last but he must have felt he was ready for something more structured. I was going to start this next year, but he has been bought forward to now. No problems, I have always planned to follow their natural learning path so we are. Dd was defiantely going to be in it so she has a little workbook too – making shapes, numbers and colouring in. Ds is working his way through a maths and reading and writing workbook. We have just finished our fourth Enid Blyton book. Ds loves the family / farm ones – The Children of Cherry Tree Farm, The Children of Willow Tree Farm and we have also read ‘The Story of Pip’ and Billy Bob and other Tales’. I am so happy he loves these books; we have found second hand ones at out local market, which I might get to add to his Christmas pressies.
Well at this stage our focus is stopping everything going brown! Ds is in charge of sprinklers (under supervision) and with the little bit of rain we are getting we are keeping everything reasonably green.
We went to our local markets last weekend and bought 6 native plants to fill in some holes in the gardens. They have been given compost, mulch and lots of water so all is good so far!
A good friend of mine and a fellow homeschooling mum has taken over the website
www.spiralgarden.com.au and wants to stock some of my dolls and toys. I am absolutely thrilled. Even though I LOVE homeschooling the children, and caring for the home and family – I feel this is something of mine. We are going to look at it as a part time job for me and I might look locally to sell my toys too.
This fulfils my need to do something against the poor quality of toys and equipment found in the big department stores too.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Next I dyed some old sheets and made some play cloths for the kids
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Joining in with our local homeschooling group
Our days are full of reading, drawing, adventures in nature, friends, outside play with our dog, swimming and helping around our lovely property. I was talking to dh this morning and we are both really happy with how the children are going. They are both very creative, always busy and eager to participate and learn in life. Life is great so why change it!
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Morning – washing out, check gardens, wipe bathrooms, check bills, put bread on
Afternoon – washing in, dinner on
After dinner – sweeping, washing on
Monday – bathrooms and towels
Tuesday – our linen
Wednesday – Ds linen
Thursday – Dd linen
Friday – dusting
Saturday – vacuum, mop and clean cars
Sunday – catch up day
YEARLY – spring clean
January & July – Our room
Feb & Aug – Dd and office
March & Sept – Ds and playroom
Apr & Oct – kitchen and living room
May – Nov – bathroom and laundry
I try and stick to this routine as much as possible as it really frees up my days for homeschooling, craft and gardening. – I have routines for those too which are alot more flexible!
Friday, October 5, 2007
Sunday, September 30, 2007
I thought a little update would be in order
Our new dog Monty has settle in really well. How about this for a dream dog - he doesn't bark, he comes when he is called, sits when asked, sleeps in his kennel all night and has a lovely gentle nature. One thing we are working on though is getting him used to the children - not sure if he has had negative dealings with children or he is just not sure about them. We are off to the butchers tomorrow for bones and a department store for a few more toys. All in all, he has been a pleasure. Dd would like him retured to the pound though, still working in her animal phobia. She LOVES looking at him through a window or door, just not close.
Dd had a lovely quiet (perfect for her nature) birthday. Lots of swimming, playing duplo and sharing her favourite meals with the family. Bix for breakfast, lavish bread for lunch and tuna and rice for dinner and her butterfly birthday cake for dessert. She has a few more toys to come, dramas with the online toy shop - oh well. She wanted a few more wooden toys for her kitchen that her Daddy made for her.
Dh has been really busy back at work at the moment - the dreaded overtime too. His pool heating is working really well, and has had heaps of blokes at work interested in his home designed and built pool heating system. He has nearly finished the retaining wall down the back - with me on the cement mixer and the kids playing in the car nearby.
Learning at Home
Well, after a long holiday down south, the new dog here at home and the beginning of the swimming season, we have been pretty relaxed with the routine at the moment. Ds is enjoying catching up with all his friends and they are both discovering all their toys again. We watched a lovely documentry on whales tonight which will spark lots of discussions over the next couple of days. Dd has been drawing and painting most of the time and playing with her babies of course.
Might have to get a little more structured next week as ds seems to be ready now.
Back to homeschooling group this week too!
At the moment we are focusing on trying to stop everything from going brown and dying. The sun is extremely strong at this time of year and only going to get worse so what was once a lush green acre, is now a brown dry acre. A little disappointing but normal for this climate. My vegy gardens are continuing to grow lots of tomatoes, eggplants, herbs, spring onions, corn, silverbeet and chinese cabbage. I am going to try and sneak another planting in this week, just to save the organic food bill for a while longer.
We are working on developing the gardens a bit more so a couple more trips to the nursery and maybe a little cutting nursery could be in order.
The fruit trees are going well - heaps of mango, lychee babies coming and we are still harvesting mandarins. Yum, we know Christmas is coming soon when we see fruit on the tropical fruit trees.
I have been busy in my crafty room with painting a key rack for home, a cushion for a pressy, making a doll that a friend has ordered and getting some cards together for family and friends. The children show a lovely interest in my craft and really enjoy looking and discussing what I am doing. It usually kicks off a craft project for them. Dd is desperate to try fabric painting, I just need to get some more medium to mix in with her paint.
Friday, September 28, 2007
This is what I came up with.
For other regions, look at eden seeds website for planting guides.
Planting Guide – for the tropics (from Eden seeds)
Bush beans, climbing beans, beetroot, cabbage, capsicum, chilli, corn, eggplant, gourd, Luffa, mustard greens, radish, sunflower, watermelon.
Asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrot, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, leek, lettuce, marrow, okra, pumpkin, rockmelon, rhubarb, silverbeet, button squash, tomato, zucchini, rosella
Board bean, onion, parsnip, pea, salad greens, shallots, turnip, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrot, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, leek, lettuce, marrow, okra, pumpkin, rockmelon, rhubarb, silverbeet, button squash, tomato, zucchini. , rosella
Board bean, Buckwheat, herbs, kale, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrot, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, lettuce, marrow, okra, pumpkin, rockmelon, rhubarb, silverbeet, button squash, tomato, zucchini, onion, pea, salad greens, shallots
Board bean, Asparagus, broccoli, carrot, celery, cucumber, lettuce, marrow, okra, pumpkin, rockmelon, rhubarb, silverbeet, button squash, tomato, zucchini, herbs Buckwheat, kale, onion, pea, salad greens, shallots
Asparagus, broccoli, carrot, celery, cucumber, lettuce, marrow, okra, pumpkin, rockmelon, rhubarb, silverbeet, button squash, tomato, zucchini, buckwheat, herbs, kale, onion, pea, salad greens, shallots
Asparagus, carrot, celery, cucumber, lettuce, marrow, okra, pumpkin, rockmelon, rhubarb, silverbeet, button squash, tomato, zucchini, buckwheat, herbs, kale, salad greens, shallots
Asparagus, carrot, celery, cucumber, lettuce, marrow, okra, pumpkin, rockmelon, rhubarb, silverbeet, button squash, tomato, zucchini, herbs, kale, rosella
Asparagus, carrot, celery, cucumber, lettuce, marrow, okra, pumpkin, rockmelon, rhubarb, silverbeet, button squash, zucchini, herbs, rosella
Asparagus, carrot, celery, lettuce, rosella
Asparagus, carrot, lettuce. , rosella
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Our little fairy girl is 4 yrs old today. Wow, how fast it goes. She asked for some wooden toys for her wooden kitchen set, picked some duplo from Grandad, a toy dog from her brother, lovely colouring book and a couple reading books and some lego from Nana and Pop. With lots of swimming and her favourite food, it is set to be a good one!
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Anyway welcome Monty!
Thursday, September 20, 2007
http://www.extendabilities.com.au/ - about to close down but atill have a lovely selection
http://www.dragonflytoys.com.au/ - great books too
http://www.rudolfsteiner.com.au/ - also great fro reference books
http://www.winterwoodtoys.com.au/ - my crafty supplier too
http://www.honeybeetoys.com.au/ - haven't ever bought from them but they look great.
www.spiralgarden.com.au - another great one.
Making childrens toys is a love of mine but woodworking is something I haven't got into yet - I wonder if dh would let me loose in his shed!
Monday, September 17, 2007
WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE THE TOY MAKERS OF TODAY THINKING!!!!
It is dd birthday next week and I usually make all birthday pressies but life has got very stressful over the last couple of weeks, so i went into the local toy shop - big mistake. Don't they realise how important toys are to children, maybe they don't and that is why they make so much c**p. Scary faces, fragile plactics structures, once they push the button - that is all is done, agressive, over the top with colours, so many tv characters, all this and really expenive. I could not buy one thing - even ds said 'look at all the plastic Mummy'
Kids need to connect with their toys, use their imagination to create and to BE KIDS. Kids toys don't need to break the budget either. I regulary add to our chidrens toys because none of the wooden stuff gets broken. I bend the rules for Lego only, just because i feel it is an educational toy that the children learn alot from it. I really feel for the children today, they should get lost in their play as their toys take them on a journey of discovery. Now they break after one session and scare them at night.
Anyway, this subject is my bugbare and one dh agress with but is sick of hearing about. It is my love of early childhood that all this comes from and the fact that from a marketing point of view I feel it is not being respected anymore. End of rant
Friday, September 14, 2007
Oh, frangipani - love the colours, love the smell. The kids are always bringing the flowers to me and arranging them on the nature table or for a centre piece for the dinner table.
Lovely hibiscus - all around the pool is a must. We have a few varieties which need a little up keep at the moment but nothing a prune and a little white oil (homemade of course) won't fix.
I will get the variety names soon.
To make white oil
* water, squirt of detergent and a slurp of oil in a spray bottle and spray on little insects sucking at your favourite plants. Best to spray late afternoon to protect the plants from sunburn.
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Sunday, August 5, 2007
Earth we thankyou for this food, for the rest, and home and all things good,
For wind and rain and sun above
And most of all for those we love.
The golden sun is shining
Up in the sky so blue
Good morning happy morning
To you and you and you.
Star light, star bright, the first star I see tonight
I wish I may, I wish I might
Have the wish I wish tonight.
The golden sun is shining
Up in the sky so blue
Good morning happy morning
To you and you and you.
The golden sun is shining
Up in the sky so blue
Farewell, my friends, farewell
To you and you and you.
Blessings on the blossom,
Blessings on the root,
Blessings on the leaves and stems
And blessings on this fruit.
Blessings on our playgroup and a happy happy day.
I have my golden hands, helping today.
I have my golden hands putting things away
Flip and dip your hands like fish
Fly and dry them gently so
Flip and dip your hands like fish
Fly and dry them gently so
Gathering for Circle Time
Puffer train oh puffer train
Carry me through the sun and rain
Down and up the hills we climb
Taking me to circle time
Miller, miller, grind our grain,
Grow from sun and earth and rain,
With this grain we bake our bread
With this grain our friends we feed
Healing water cool and mild
Take the pain
From this little child
Lavender, Lavender from the soil
Lavender, Lavender give us your oil
Lavender, Lavender tell me true
How does the perfume get into you
These verses have been collected over time and I apologise for no references. I will add if I find them
Friday, August 3, 2007
Right what have we been up to?
I have been having a big rethink about our routine, homeschooling plans and philosophies of late. One thing is for sure – they all centre on providing a positive creative environment for us as individuals and family.
We have been enjoying a Steiner playgroup for the last three years and have been slowly including some of Steiner’s philosophies at home.
Some things are
* A clean out of old plastic toys and introduce lots of natural play materials into our environment – wooden blocks, glass beads and stones, cottons and muslin play cloths.
* More creative discipline techniques i.e. sorry pictures, warming up cold hands to make them able to receive positive play better, walking in the garden to find happy self.
* Lots of sewing, clay play, wood construction, home based chores i.e. each child taking on two chores a day.
* New routine with a balance of active and quiet play. Also I have taken a step back and not having such an influence on their play. I am still keeping the routine flexible, as I believe Ds does need more stimulation. Just one of those active children that needs to be challenged or watchout. He is his father all over. Currently Dh has four major projects going!
* Nature table, candle at meal times and mealtime and nightly blessings.
* I made two Steiner dolls and the children love them. I am now adding felt and knitted animals
The children have received these changes really well. I feel it is a calm, respectful philosophy to include in our home life. I am not sure about the education side; I am still like the natural learning ideas. We have been natural learners from day one and it works well, so why change it!
Thursday, August 2, 2007
Steiner Playgroup Ideas
· home based routine
· baking when first arrive
· morning verse and favourite songs
· free play with drawing and crayons
· finger and felt story
· fruit then baking
While children are in free play, parents sit down with craft basket and weave, doll making, knitting, sewing
Routine flows and parents watch for any behaviour guidance that maybe needed ie if being rough – warming hands up muslin wraps, wax or clay play, walk in the garden to find happy self.
I have lots of programs I can share during the course of the year. As we live in the southern hemisphere, it is based on Australian seasons and festivals
I am an Early Childhood teacher with a passion for the teaching of Rudolf Steiner so you will read alot of ramblings about my parenting and educating of our family following this philosphy. Our children are DS 5 yrs old and DD 3 yrs old and we live in Tropical Queensland.
I love any art and craft, growing our own produce and living a grass roots life.