Monday, November 26, 2007

Happy Birthday to our Boy!

Well, yesterday was our little boys 6th birthday - ok not so little anymore. He had a lovely day with family, friends, a fire engine cake and lego!
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

Goodbye Playgroup

The time has come to say goodbye to our much love Steiner playgroup. Now that ds is 6yrs (on Sunday) and dd is 4yrs, it is time to move on. A friend who edited a National Homeschooling Magazine - Education Choices - asked me to write about our journey to steiner and homeschooling, this is what I wrote!

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!

Reference List

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

Tyre Wall

This has been Daves project over the last couple of months. We lost some of the bank into the creek during Cyclone Larry so to support it and rebuild the bank, Dave used tyres. The local tyre place LOVED it - they didn't have to pay to get rid of the tyres. We got the bobcat in yesterday and it is now backfilled hooray - so bring on the next cyclone we are ready! Actually there is one giving up lots of wind and rain at the moment lol.

Update on Monty!

Well we have all fallen for him and now he is allowed indoors - really just to follow me around more though lol. He is alot more open to interactions from Dave and the kids and ds thinks Monty's favourite show is 'Top Gear'
We have taken him to the beach a couple of times and he loves the water and interactions with other dogs. He had his first bath 2 weeks ago and it went well. Time for another I think! He is gentle natured dog who needs lots of love and attention. We can do that!

Creative kids!

With an endless supply of sticky tape (insert groan from dh) paper, boxes and ribbon, look what the kids have made lately

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!

Ds own Electric Guitar. The blue tool box (dh old one) is the amplifier. We enjoyed many show using this instrument lol!

Helping Mum!

Well, nothing like a couple of helpers in the kitchen. With being so busy with my toy making, the kids helped by picking over and cleaning some alpaca wool for me. This is the wool we got from the Spring Festival in the Central Coast of NSW, a couple months ago - it feels beautiful!

We made a Rocket!

This was a lovely experiement. We threaded a straw onto a long piece of string and tied it between the pool fence and the verandah. We used sticky tape to attach a blown up balloon to the straw and when we were ready, we let go - it blasted of across the grass to the other side. Of course these ideas develop and we ended up attaching another rocket set up and had races - what fun!

I am back!

Sorry it has been a few weeks, I have been busy helping a dear friend stock her new website
You will see some of my dolls and cloths on this site.