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Saturday, 31 December 2011

To new beginnings!

Only 1.5 hours left of 2011 as of the time of writing this.  To be honest, I think I'll be glad to see the end of this year!

After a tough 2010, this year started with new beginnings.  It was our first year of 'officially' home educating, although as an unschooling family, it was more of a continuation of what we were already doing.  I started a hobby business and found my spark in the process.  Unfortunately, the second half of the year was not so good, as I have detailed in previous posts.

2012 is likely to bring more stressors that are out of our control, but I think the main thing is not engaging with energy drainers as much as possible.  I am really enjoying the work of Bruce Lipton, PhD at the moment and reading about quantum physics vs Newtonian physics.  I always knew that emotional health affected our physical health, but it's fascinating learning the mechanics of it on a sub-atomic level.  The 'stuff' of the last couple of years has not only had an effect on my physical health, it's also impeded on my availability to help Jasmine a lot of the time.   I just haven't had the reserves or energy.  I can't change every situation, but I can change the way I deal with things.

So that's the plan for next year.  No grand plans of losing 30kg or any such thing - although I wouldn't complain  if it happened.  But 2012 is all about focussing on the good & mediating the less desirable.  It's time to be more available to my child & less worried about people who only care about their own agenda.  It's about making sure Jasmine has the tools she needs to thrive as she moves another year closer to adulthood.

I wish you & your family peace, happiness & prosperity in the New Year.  I'll sign off with some pics from the last few weeks of 2011.  Thanks for sharing our journey so far xxx

Monday, 21 November 2011

Independence Day

I've been writing some notes to keep track of some of the things Jasmine's been up to.  There have been moments lately where we've noticed her maturing in certain ways, but when I looked at the half dozen or so things on my list, it was ALL about her growing independence.

One of the things Jasmine usually like to do at my market stall is put items in bags for the customers.  She's also excellent at spruiking and sales ;)  Last weekend, she decided her job was not only to package the jewellery, but to take the cash & give the change.  She was very quick to assert herself if I tried to organise the change - LOL.  What a great way of learning about money & numeracy! :)

That being said, it is a long day & a MUCH earlier start than we normally have, so Jasmine did get bored hanging around the stall for too long.  She asked if she could have a look around the rest of the market & I said it was fine as long as she stayed within the confines of the market.   Off she went, followed a couple of minutes later by the more cautious parent ;)  She allowed him to accompany her around the market as she struck up conversations with numerous people, particularly anyone with a dog.  Later in the day, one of the stallholders she'd been speaking with visited our stall.  She commented that she could tell straight away that Jasmine was a DEFINITE Aries - head-strong, no nonsense and no qualms in taking charge and telling people how things were going to be.  She said most of her friends were Aries and Jasmine was very much like them.  She said that we had an amazing child & she was really happy to have met her :D

The next day, we had to return some books to the library & Jasmine was asking (again) to borrow books on fossils.  I showed her how to use their online catalogue & she insisted on typing in the search details, wanting to know how to spell the words.  Then a few days later, we were driving along & D said something about Jasmine being a monkey, which prompted her to give him a lecture on evolution - LOL.  I was quite impressed by her level of understanding!  I know it shouldn't surprise me, but it was one of those moments where a few minutes reading something in a book led to a complex understanding of a concept.

Jasmine's also been spending more time away from us & is quite happy to do so.  Last week, some local friends who go to the same dance class called through on their way up to see if Jasmine wanted to go with them.  She seemed slightly apprehensive at first, but decided she'd do it.  A couple of hours later, I got a phone call asking if I wanted her home at a particular time and that the kids were playing happily at their house.  I said whatever time suited them was fine & to let me know if I needed to pick her up at any stage.  For me, it was a unexpected but welcomed break.  D had travelled interstate that morning to deal with some ongoing family matters, so I found myself home alone!  Jasmine has also been spending more time with the girl across the road.  It really made my heart smile the other day when I saw the two of them walking up the road together, chatting away.  It was also a laugh when D came back from his walk & chased them up the road which resulted in much high pitched squealing - theirs, not his ;)  The neighbours have recently acquired 4 young goat kids, the excitement of which seems to over-ride Jasmine's fear of their dog.  She happily played there for a few hours on the afternoon of the market when they came & picked her up.

And last thing on my list for this week relates to our first visit to the local pool for the season.  Jasmine knew it was open & had been asking to go....and asking....and we did.  Turns out that swimming classes started that same afternoon, so there were quite a few kidlets there.  I asked Jasmine if she was interested in swimming lessons, but she gave me an outright 'no', stating she "wasn't ready for that".  We continued on, going back & forth between the shallow pool and the main pool.  She was happy to Doggy Paddle & swim like a frog (breaststroke) with the noodle under her armpits for buoyancy.  After a while, she started holding the noodle out in front of her and was surprised to find she didn't drown.  I said she'd be swimming without the noodle pretty soon at the rate she was going.  A few minutes later, she tried it - and swam for the first time without any floatation devices!  She was so excited & proud of herself!  Sure, it was no more than a couple of metres at a time, but she'd done it & the look on her face was priceless!  I'm sure that was a huge boost to her confidence and hopefully by the end of the swimming season, she'll be making her way around the pool totally unassisted :)

Why children protest going to school

A lovely unschooly friend of ours just posted a link on Facebook that I think is awesome & wanted to share with you.

It discusses resistance to institutionalised learning from an evolutionary perspective & it makes perfect sense to me.  It also makes me realise how much I protested school myself, without realising at the time that's what I was really doing.

Happy reading.....

This post has been shared as part of owlet's 

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

The last 3 weeks in review

A couple of days after my last post, the three of us went to the see Circus Oz perform their 'Steampowered' show.  I'm happy to say without a shadow of a doubt that it was one of the BEST shows I've ever seen!!!  We all agreed that although Cirque du Soleil was technically excellent, Circus Oz was more engaging & entertaining.  A couple of the cast members talked to Jasmine before the show started, and another later mocked her when she laughed at a tense moment, so she really felt involved & loved every minute of it.  I'd recommend it to anyone & everyone and can't wait to see the next show they bring to Hobart :D

We also took Jasmine to play her first game of Minigolf.  It was bucketing down that day, so we chose the indoor course.  Suffice to say, it's something we will be doing more regularly.

Silly face time
I'd been umming & ahhing about heading to Deloraine in Northern Tassie for the annual Tasmanian Craft Fair.  When Jasmine saw the ad on TV for it, she got very excited & wanted to check it out.  A few days before hand, we received our new tent in the mail.  A few families we know had suggested camping as a group, so we thought we'd better get some gear together.  Jasmine & I set up the tent, slept in it for a night, then I took it down a couple of days later.  I had been thinking of maybe going up the night before & camping at the caravan park so we didn't have to drive so much (3 hours each way) on the same day.  When I worked out how long it would take to set up the tent, especially taking into account the fact that it would be near dark when we got there, and then packing everything up in the morning, I figured we'd be better off sleeping in our own beds & getting up early.  We left about an hour later than planned, but still got there at a time we'd usually still be asleep.  We paid the exorbitant entry fee & started looking around.  Tired family, hot weather & big crowds weren't a good mix, but we still had the chance to admire some amazing artists & craftspeople, many of whom reminded me just how far I have to go to produce the type of jewellery I'd really like to be doing.  Jasmine got her face painted & we ended up spending FARRRRR more money than we had planned, meaning we've had to be rather frugal since.  We finished the day with dinner at the Empire Hotel (really impressive food) & a roll down the banks of the Meander River before making the trek back home.

The day before we went up there, I had the realisation that our sick, elderly cat Bonni had not been seen since the previous afternoon.  It was totally out of character for her not to come inside for the night.  When she didn't show up that night either, I came to the conclusion she wasn't coming back.  Neither D nor myself sensed her around the place & I really believed she had passed.  The horrible part was not knowing where she was for closure.  I shed a few tears on the drive North.  To our absolute amazement, when we came home after dance class the next day, there she was stumbling around the front yard.  The poor thing was so skinny - I don't think she'd eaten in those 3 days - but she's made up for it now.  Apart from the carcinoma on her head, she's now deaf & blind, but hanging in there.  She's eating well (still has her sense of smell) & can manoeuvre her way around the house & through the cat door to the outside enclosure, but she's definitely not allowed out the front door again - far too risky.  She probably hasn't got all that long to go, but I know she'll let us know when it's time to make "that" call.  

Waiting for Gymfest
to begin
Last weekend, Jasmine performed in the annual Gymfest.  It was the first term of rhythmic gymnastics after swapping from trampolining and I think she did really well.  She was a bit tired & hungry after her performance, but on the way back to the car, she excitedly said she wanted to do it all again & had totally made up her mind to continue with rhythmic next year.  I just love watching her do things that she really loves :)

Proud of her soap
Our 'Hobart Natural Learners Co-op' is coming along nicely, with everyone getting along very well & having fun each week.  This week's activity was felted soaps, with fleece, froth & bubble wrap a-plenty.  There was also bubble blowing & a water play table for the younger ones.  It was lovely to see the girls playing together more & developing story lines to guide their games.  We also celebrated the 1st birthday of one of our youngest members :)

While we were setting up our tent a couple of weeks back, Jasmine asked me what school was like.  She said, "Do the teachers boss you around all the time?" to which I replied, "Well, you are expected to do what the teacher asks of you, when they ask you to do it.  There are about 30 other children in the class and you usually all do the same thing at the same time."

She pondered for a moment before saying, "But they teach you to write there, don't they?"  I smiled, somewhat amused, and said, "Yes, just as I have been trying to help you for a long time, but you have not wanted to do it."  She gave a knowing smile back and said, "I think I'm ready now."  She's still not overly keen on workbooks, but has had a bit of a play with Spellodrome.  So far, I'd been focussing on phonics, but I think throwing some more sight words in there might better suit her learning style.  I've been trying some of the techniques recommended here and it seems to be helping.  The other thing she's doing more of is copying things others have written, particularly during her early morning Skype sessions with her Aunt who's in London.  Some may call it collusion, others might say it's the motivation she needs to write ;)

Nice try kiddo ;)

I'll leave you with this photo.  Bucket of chicken, anyone???

Poor Emily   o_O

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Show Day

For the last few weeks, every time an ad for the Royal Hobart Show appeared on TV, a certain young child would call me into the room with some urgency, only to ask, "Can we go there???"

Alright, so off to the Show.  We decided to go on the Friday as that was fireworks night.  We got there about 1.45pm & started with the animals.  We worked our way around the various displays & rides.  The favourite activity was trampolining with a harness & bungee cords - something she was more than happy to pay with out of her own pocket money.  We still ended up spending more than planned, but it was worth it to see Jasmine enjoying herself so much.  Here's some happy snaps.....

Thursday, 20 October 2011

September - October 2011

  Again, life has got in the way of blogging, but I at least had the foresight to make notes along the way this time ;)

OK, here's a summary of the last 7 weeks.....

- Upon our return from Darwin, we decided we needed a fun family day.   Having enjoyed her time in the motel swimming pools in Darwin, Jasmine was insanely keen on going to the Hobart Aquatic Centre.  She has gained so much water confidence lately - although not enough to enjoy the large water slide.  Still, the fact that she was willing to try was a huge step for her :)  I think we'll be at the local pool a fair bit this Summer!

- A few weeks ago, the movie 'Hairspray' was on TV.  Jasmine was questioning some of what she saw, which lead to a lesson on racism & segregation.  Such concepts were quickly deemed to be "stupid", which was a proud Mummy moment.

- She's been gorging herself on Mathletics, particularly counting by 2/5/10, probability, mass, data and capacity in the 'Rainforest Maths' section.  She found most of the Gr 1 level too easy, declaring, "I'm a little bit older, you know". :D  So she's sitting somewhere between Gr1 & Gr 3 concepts.  Mind you, I tried suggesting Mathletics & Spellodrome to her today & she stormed off because I was "trying to make her do spelling", after which she had no interest in maths, either.  

- Jasmine has discovered Science and LOVES doing experiments.  She particularly liked the 'peeling a raw egg' eggsperiment using an egg & vinegar, which was a good chance to talk acids, bases, CO2 production & ion transfer.  

We also grew a stalactite & stalagmite using epsom salts.  I'll have to get some copper sulphate crystals to make some pretty blue ones like I used to do as a kid :D  We also tried making a cloud in a jar, but that was a flop, unfortunately.

Other adventures include....
Making lotsa lasagne 
 Losing teeth (with another lost since this pic)

                                 Random pheasant visitations

Playing with slaters (wood lice)

Slightly overcooked Gluten free pizza base for a picnic lunch

Playing with grasshoppers

The solar system model we painted months ago has finally been assembled, sans Saturn.    I think we'll need to get a replacement as I can't find it anywhere.
Sales Assistant at my market stall

Amongst all that frivolity, there has been more sadness for our family.  Jasmine's Nonno passed away, 2 months & 1 day since the accident that killed her Aunt & Uncle.  We travelled to Sydney last week for the funeral.  Despite being a sad occasion, it was great to see Jasmine playing with her 8 cousins.   They are all early-mid teens, but throw a jumping castle into the mix & age is irrelevant ;)

Now we're settling in at home again & just hoping that there are no further tragedies for some time!  Jasmine has changed from trampolining to rhythmic gymnastics this term & is absolutely loving it.  Another new activity is gathering with other unschoolers at the Hobart Natural Learning Co-op.   This group is the brainchild of some lovely Owlets and I think it's going to be a great addition to our weekly schedule.  Our first meet went really well & we took advantage of a gorgeous Spring day to make & fly kites.  The wind was slightly lacking, but there were occasional gusts to get them airborne.