Our Unschooling Journey – The Week in Review

Blake started off the week helping to clean the lounge room.

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We use a similar approach to Happiness is Here in her post about cleaning up and find it works wonders.

Our nephews birthday party was held at a gorgeous park and Daisy had fun challenging herself with stair-climbing and sliding on her own.

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Hannah was also proud to discover that she can now easily use the monkey bars.

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There was an old steam roller in the park which caught Blake’s attention and he remembered a similar train in a book we had recently bought from the op-shop.

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That night we checked out the beautiful natural light show in the sky by the moon…

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And also some beautiful man-made light shows on the car drive home.

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Monday was spent crafting,

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shopping list writing,

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and we started work on our homemade Christmas cards.

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I loved seeing Daisy inspired by all the writing going on around her to make her own mark on paper.

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Learning about the countries and flags of the world has been an ongoing interest here for the last year. We have a trip planned overseas in 2015 so I recently downloaded this app called Map the World which they have been really enjoying.

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There were wheelbarrow rides on Tuesday.

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And Bob was kind enough to read a few stories to tired kiddies in the heat of the day.

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On Wednesday we continued working on our Christmas cards,

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And Blake decided to join in. He was invited to join Hannah and I to work on the Christmas cards several days ago and he declined. Hannah has been writing, cutting and glueing on them since but still Blake has chosen to do other things. This hasn’t been a problem, I know craft isn’t his forte.

Hannah was writing inside the cards so she showed him how to write ‘To’. He scribbled some other letters and as I was dictating the letters of people’s names to Hannah (her preferred way to write) I saw that he was getting discouraged that she was able to write letters that he couldn’t.

So I asked Blake if he wanted to write his name. He nodded excitedly and I suggested he write a B which he did easily! (B is obviously not an easy letter for young children to write and Blake has only shown interest in writing his name about a dozen times all year. Generally he lost interest after A so we hadn’t really even discussed K before.) He initially wrote the letter L upside down and added a H so I wrote his name on another piece of paper do he could visually see and copy it while we were saying the letters which he happily did. He was so proud of himself when he did it and could wait to show Daddy this afternoon!

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It’s interesting watching Blake learn new skills as it’s very different to Hannah. It’s always very easy to see Hannah’s progress as she practices any new skill a lot before she masters it. Blake has always been the type of person to not visually or physically show any evidence of advancement until he surprises us with the learning all at once! Obviously things are connecting in his mind all the time but until he shows it to me I have no idea it’s happening!!!

This is where trust comes in. Trust that everyone learns new things when they’re ready and in the way that perfectly suits them as an individual.

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I am so honoured to get to watch this process in action every day. There is nothing better than being the person who gets to see my children’s face light up with pride and excitement! Of course any new skill from crawling to riding a bike to writing a word are celebrated here But I do like to share posts like this in detail because the most common question I am asked is, “How will they learn to read and write without being taught/instructed/forced to?” And this is just our example. Two kids happily learning how to write and third who is loving putting pen to paper already so I think learning from life is definitely working for us!

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We also received our first Christmas card in the mail and after writing Merry Christmas on the front and inside all of our homemade cards,  Hannah was happy to be able to read it easily!

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We visited the library on Thursday morning and when we got home lots of fun Lego Duplo play ensued. Daisy is loving taking things out and putting things back in boxes and containers so she loved doing this with Hannah.

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Blake happily played with the horses – one of their favourite games at the moment – in the background.

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They then worked together to create a few towers to display on our shelves.
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Later, they re-constructed a game they have played on and off all year. They stand on our stool and tie a long piece of string or ribbon to our coffee table and then take turn ‘racing’ a plastic bangle down the string. Lots of incidental learning about velocity and angles in this game and they constantly experimented with how taut to pull the string in order to make the bangle go faster.

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My sister was able to come over on Friday to give me a hand tidying up all those messy shelves you see in the photo above!!

Here are a few peeks at some of the items we have available.
The brown shelf usually contains wooden blocks, small animal toys, musical insturments and Daisy’s toys on the bottom shelf, and then puzzles, reference books and some maths, english and geography based materials which cover the main interests the children have at the moment.

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The white shelves contain all our art and craft materials which are freely available to use anytime.

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Blake then decided to do some more writing on the cards and managed to write ‘To Harry’ on his cousins card. Hannah wrote the rest and decorated it too. Such great teamwork!

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We squeezed in a little Christmas crafting too. I initially saw this idea from a fellow Instagram mama, and since we have some gorgeous gumnuts at the park down the road we decided to put them to good use.

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I wasn’t feeling the best on Saturday so not too many photos but I did notice Hannah working on this Fairy house she created earlier in the year. She added a path and some furniture to the house.

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To end the week we were invited over by friends for a lovely lunch and we exchanged Christmas gifts. Hannah and Blake particularly loved their real Christmas tree and they had fun playing with their friends.

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This afternoon Daisy discovered a Christmas Beetle in the backyard, and it was another lovely reminder of the different natural changes that happen at this time of year.

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Make sure to head on over to Memoirs of a Childhood, Racheous – Lovable Learning, Happiness is Here and An Everyday Story to check out what they’ve been up to this week and to get a taste of how natural learning happens in different families.

Thank you for joining me here once again and sharing in our week! If you have any questions or thoughts feel free to leave them in the comments, I love to hear from you!
Our unschooling journey is ours – it’s a representation of how we live and therefore, how we learn. Our children have the freedom to question, wonder, experiment, play, create and explore at will. The photos and words in these weekly excerpts are just an overview and based on the memory I have of the weeks events. There will have been more learning than I could possibly cover here happening in the minds of each of my children every day. And there is a lot of ‘real life’ that happens in our weeks too – lots of negotiation, compromise, frustration and tantrums – because all of that is a part of living and learning, together.

Our Unschooling Journey | The Week in Review

Our week started off with beautiful weather and a fun outing. We were invited by a friend to a ‘mama haircut day’ where all us mums were going to take turns getting our haircut while the others supervised the children and prepared lunch. These friends have a very cool backyard with a kid-sized zipline between trees, a flourishing veggie patch and a gorgeous group of chooks. Although we’ve never had chickens as pets, several friends of ours do and one friend in particular has hens that are very friendly and tame and Hannah has enjoyed cuddling them in the past. So after collecting the eggs with her friends, Hannah assumed that these chooks were just as friendly as the ones she is used to, and proceeded to try to pick them up and give them a gentle hug. I call her my “chicken whisperer” as she honestly has the touch!

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Two out of the four chooks were happy to be patted, held and talked to by her even though the family who owns them doesn’t generally engage with them like that. Hannah was truly in love and in her element. She explained to the smaller kids how to pick up and hold the hens gently and made sure they were all safe and comfortable. Us mamas kept an eye on the chickens and when they started getting a bit hot and tired we asked the kids to put them back in their coop which they happily did.

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When it was my turn to get a haircut, Hannah asked if she could get ‘just a little’ haircut first. We worked out that she wanted a trim and after a chat with the hairdresser about her preferences, she sat down for her cut. I was really surprised she chose to do that as she hadn’t said anything beforehand, but Blake had had a haircut on the weekend so maybe she had been considering it already. I love when I see that my children are comfortable making choices like this about their bodies of their own accord. I think that’s a really important lesson to learn.

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Later I spied some sweet moments between siblings in the hammock.

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On Tuesday – which as I mentioned last week is generally the biggest day in our week – we spend the morning at the city farm as usual.

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Daisy enjoyed having her feet painted with clay by Hannah and a friend and later used the paintbrush to give it a go on her own.

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As I was talking to Bob who volunteers at the farm and is an amazing guide and additonal influence with the children, I noticed something moving in the grass. At first I thought it was a snake but then I saw the little legs and the striking blue tongue.

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It was a Blue Tongue Lizard!  Of-course we kept out of the way but it walked around the perimiter of the childrens area  for about 10 minutes enabaling us to get a great look. I haven’t seen one in the wild since I was a child and Bob mentioned he hadn’t seen one at the farm before either so we very very lucky to see one! We talked a little about what the lizard might eat, where it might be going and wondered why it has a blue tongue. Such a gentle and interesting creature. I tried hard to take a photo of it with the blue tongue sticking out but it was near impossible!

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That afternoon we headed to my parents house as usual. Grandpa was setting up the train that circles the Christmas tree so Hannah and Blake asked to help out. They needed to work out how to fit the batteries to make the motor work by matching the + and – and then there was some trouble with the track layout so they needed to fix that as well. It was interesting watching them try to solve the problems and develop solutions and they were so proud of themselves once they figured it out.

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My sister then pulled out the craft box for Hannah and Blake and using the materials in the box and their imagination, they made these gorgeous snowmen. This was fabulous as I hadn’t added a Christmas craft to their advent calendar that day! I found some letter cards in the craft box and picked out the ones for Snowman. I then brought them out all mixed up and then Hannah and I sounded out the letter sounds to make the word together.

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Next, Hannah began work on a special painting. About a month ago at a friends place, Hannah drew a picture of a mango tree and I had an idea. Brian’s Nanna (the children’s great-grandmother) who we will be visiting for Christmas, has a mango tree in the backyard that has been the centrepiece of many family memories and his Granddads ashes are scattered around the base. I asked Hannah if she would like to do a painting of the mango tree, based on her drawing, to gift to Nanna for Christmas and she agreed. I later suggested she ask for my sisters guidance with the project as she is an artist and works with canvas and acrylic paints frequently. My sister agreed and Hannah learned a few new skills about painting while also creating a memory that we hope Nanna will love and treasure.

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That night we had to stay at my parents house because I had locked my keys in our house that morning. Brian was away for the week for work and he has the spare set! Lucky I always keep some spare clothes for the kids at my parents house and I am the same size as my sister!!! Hannah and Blake thought it was great of-course and reveled in the extra treats and staying up late.

On Wednesday we headed to a friends house for a playdate where there was a lot of glitter crafts for the kids and much discussion and play about their mutual love of the movie Frozen! We also received some stunningly thoughtful Christmas gifts from our friends and were sad we couldn’t give ours to them as they were locked safely in our house!

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In the afternoon Hannah, Blake and Daisy all helped my parents in the garden with varying degrees of actual helpfullness by Daisy darling…

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Hannah was then inspired to do a quick painting of Grandmas garden.

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And you can see in the background of the above photo a couple of pine-cones painted with yellow paint which I started doing while we chatted and then Hannah chose to make her own and decorate it with petals from the garden.

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We decided to do some op-shopping on Thursday morning with my sister (so handy now that she is finished school and has plenty of time to hang out with me and my kids!) and managed to get to a few before things started to fall apart.

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Blake always finds it quite hard when Brian is away and his emotions were hitting their peak. We cut the op-shopping short and then Brian called me to tell me he had made it back home a little earlier than planned which was music to my sore, tired, worn out ears!

Brian and I also celebrated our 12 year anniversary since we became a couple on Thursday and he bought me these gorgeous blooms! I love yellow, and I feel like it’s a bit of a theme colour this week!

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It was late night shopping and I really wanted to get our Wishing Tree gifts organised so we all went to the shops together to choose a few gifts. This was a complete disaster as everyone was in meltdown mode, and in hindsight wasn’t the wisest choice to make. I took time that night to really re-centre myself and remind myself of the type of parent I wanted to be, rather than the one I had been at times during this stressful week.

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So on Friday we chilled out at home and I made sure to tune in, listen up and re-connect. There was a lot of movie watching together and quiet play on the floor.

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When Daddy came home from work we all walked to the park. We took the time to notice our neighbours beautiful Frangipani tree flowering and I mentioned to Hannah and Blake that like the Poinciana that we saw last week, this tree also blooms in December and is a nice way to recognise Christmas is on the way. Last year Hannah was quite distressed to realise that we would never have snow to enjoy during Christmas time, so I researched what seasonal guideposts there were in this state of long summers and little variation from month to month. Frangipanis were just one of the flowers I found that flowered this time of year and as we collectively love trees, this was a lovely way to introduce the local changes we’ll see every December.

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At the park, Blake decided to re-attempt swinging himself on a swing and was filled with pride when he was able to coordinate it. You can see he is concentrating especially hard in this photo!

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As I was taking photos of Blake, I noticed next to me that Daisy had decided to do some experimenting and taste-testing.

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On the walk back home we collected some fallen gum-nuts to use for a Christmas craft activity I have planned for next week.

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We noticed another storm rolling in over the rooftops of neighbours houses.

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 On Saturday it was time to celebrate St Nicholas Day! This is a lovely tradition my family did all through my childhood as we are European. We totally forgot about asking the children to put their boots out the night before but luckily I had put a few little treasures away earlier last week, that I quickly wrapped up for Hannah, Blake and Daisy.

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The kids were so excited to receive these little gifts and after they had had a little play we took the time to talk about what the story of St Nicholas means to us and how we admire and choose to emulate his kind and generous spirit every Christmas by giving to those less fortunate than ourselves. So we jumped into the car to put our lovely gifts under the Kmart Wishing Tree.

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Blake felt a little sad that he couldn’t give his gift to his chosen child personally as he didn’t quite understand this year that it was almost an anonymous process. He wrote his name on the card and we reminded him that the child who receives his gift at Christmas would surely send a lot of love to Blake in his heart.

Back at home Daisy and Blake had a long nap, so Brian and Hannah indulged in some Kinetic Sand play.

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It’s Sunday now, we have spent the morning hanging out at home doing some housework and now we’re off to our nephews birthday party. I will add the photos of that to next weeks post!

Please pop over to see what Happiness is Here, Racheous – Lovable Learning, An Everyday Story and Memoirs of a Childhood are up to in their weekly learning wihtout school adventures!

Thank you for joining me here once again and sharing in our week! If you have any questions or thoughts feel free to leave them in the comments, I love to hear from you!
Our unschooling journey is ours – it’s a representation of how we live and therefore, how we learn. Our children have the freedom to question, wonder, experiment, play, create and explore at will. The photos and words in these weekly excerpts are just an overview and based on the memory I have of the weeks events. There will have been more learning than I could possibly cover here happening in the minds of each of my children every day. And there is a lot of ‘real life’ that happens in our weeks too – lots of negotiation, compromise, frustration and tantrums – because all of that is a part of living and learning, together.

Our Unschooling Journey | The Week in Review

We had a busy week lined up. We’re a family that likes to be pretty busy socially and this week was one of the busiest ones we’ve had in a while.

Monday started with watching the movie Frozen and spontaneously Hannah decided that she would take the washing off the line. I asked her how she would reach the clothes and she told me she would figure it out. Blake quickly followed her outside and several minutes later Daisy and I went to see how they were going. This was the scene that greeted me….

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I had to laugh. I had initially imagined them standing on chairs but they obviously had a better idea. They worked really well as a team, negotiating how to hang the clothes and balancing on the cars at the same time.

Hannah began folding the dry towels and tea-towels off the line from the age of two and half, she always enjoyed it and now chooses to help fold the washing about once a week on average. A couple of years ago when she was 4, she went through a stage where she hung the wet washing out, took it off, brought it inside, folded it all, and then put all the dry washing aways. That phase lasted a few weeks and Blake who was only 2 at the time, often helped her as much as he could. It was very sweet and recently that seems to be an interest area again. Hannah has now taught Blake how to fold the towels and sort the clothes and all this week they have done the washing together. They’re putting another load out right now as I’m typing this! This is incredibly helpful to our family as a whole, not to mention a very important living skill to learn. Inside, Daisy was learning a life skill too – eating yogurt from a spoon 🙂

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Later, we had planned to go to the a library screening of Class Dismissed that a local unschooling group had organised with friends. On the way in the car the kids and I discussed bushfires and back-burning which has been a hot topic for the last few months. I then mentioned how beautiful the clouds looked as they were all swishy in the sky, which lead to a question about how rain is formed and we did a re-cap of what we already knew about rain. Hannah wondered why it fell down to the ground and I told them about gravity reminding them about the recent movies we had seen about space and how there is no gravity there. After a few minutes of thought, Hannah asked what would happen if the rain wasn’t able to fall down on the ground and I asked her what she thought would be the case. She hypothesized that all the plants, trees and grass would become too dry. I told her this term has a name – drought – and that currently many regional areas in Australia are experiencing that reality. Weather has always been a keen interest here for a number of years and is something we discuss again and again every couple of months as new questions arise and old information is solidified.

Tuesday is our regular meet-up day with our conscious parenting group and we always look forward to being outdoors and enjoying the day with our friends. After a few months of meeting in the national park, we’re back to discovering at our local city farm.

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Hannah was really looking forward to being able to paint her face and body with clay. There was also lots of mixing with sand, water, dirt and clay with friends, experimenting with making different concoctions. Their favourite was making them look like chocolate milkshakes.

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Tuesday’s really are our constant in our week. We always meet with our group during the day and then go to my parents house that night for dinner. My two younger siblings still live at home, and Hannah and Blake are currently loving learning about video games from my brother.

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Hannah also took a quiet moment to do some reading. She isn’t reading full sentences yet but lately she is really picking up a lot of books and I’ve really been trying to model reading my own books in front of them more too along with our regular reading we do every day.

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Wednesday was our home day. Playing with our toy animals is a current favourite and they’ve also set up an animal hospital so they’re always checking over their soft toys and healing them of their various ailments.

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On Thursday morning we visited with friends. The kids just adore coming here and exploring the different toys, activities and arts and crafts that are freely available. We don’t currently have any smaller Lego at home, so Blake is always quite drawn to building with it.

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Hannah always gets stuck into the art and spent most of her time in there creating alone and with her friends. Us parents enjoyed a lot of great conversation while the kids played, and I really believe because they all have a lot of autonomy, respect and freedom in their homes, this extends to their play too as it was and often is very peaceful and collaborative.

That afternoon a storm rolled in which ended up being incredibly fierce and causing a lot of damage closer to the city. Thankfully we had no damage and because the kids were all at the shops with Brian when it came, it felt like a big adventure to Hannah and Blake as they got wet on the run to the car. The storm of-course sparked questions about storm formation and  hail, which connected nicely with the weather conversation we had had earlier in the week.

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We had planned a park play the next day with a friend but it was still raining on and off so we met at a kid-friendly cafe. On our drive we saw a few houses who had had trees fall on their roofs which really surprised them. As we said good-bye to our friends, Hannah decided to collect some of the fallen blooms from the Poinciana trees for our nature table. On our walk back to the car we found some more flowers, seeds and leaves and discussed the names of the ones we knew and decided to check our nature encyclopedia for the ones we didn’t at home.

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Hannah and I painted some trees back at home and made a nature mandala with the collection she had acquired that morning.

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Saturday was a very busy day. The kids watched Brian fix a car, and asked a million questions about radiators and engines. After all their questions had been answered they settled in for a spot of cloud-watching on the cardboard box.

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As always there was lots painting, much of it reflecting what we’ve been talking about or doing during this week.

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That night we went along to the local Christmas Carols and met my parents there. Hannah and Blake were so excited to go on the rides. They each chose two rides to do together and one that they preferred to do alone because the other didn’t particularly like that ride. I really like seeing their individuality coming out in different ways as they get older. Blake really dislikes heights so it was the motorbikes for him and the ferris wheel for Hannah, who loves them!

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We settled in to watch the carols when it got dark and Blake chose to go to sleep on the rug soon after dinner. Hannah was getting tired but desperately wanted to see the fireworks and her expression when she saw them was worth the wait! I think it’s been a couple of years since we’ve seen fireworks at an event so she would have been too young to remember previous experiences. Blake and Daisy slept right through them

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On Sunday morning we decided to put up the Christmas tree and our advent table. Our tree is quite large and the branches are letter coded to make it easy to put up so this year Hannah and Blake put up most of it and they were really proud of themselves.

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We then decorated the tree and set up our advent table. All the fun starts tomorrow morning and we’re really excited for our month-long December celebrations. You can read more about our Christmas traditions here.

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Our unschooling journey is ours – it’s a representation of how we live and therefore, how we learn. Our children have the freedom to question, wonder, experiment, play, create and explore at will. The photos and words in these weekly excerpts are just an overview and based on the memory I have of the weeks events. There will have been more learning than I could possibly cover here happening in the minds of each of my children every day. And there is a lot of ‘real life’ that happens in our weeks too – lots of negotiation, compromise, frustration and tantrums – because all of that is a part of living and learning, together. I hope you enjoy our week in review, if you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments below and I’ll be happy to answer them :).

Don’t forget to check out Memoirs of a Childhood, Happiness is Here, Racheous – Lovable Learning and An Everyday Story to see all the fun and discovery happening in their week too!

Family Camping with our Tribe

During my pregnancy with Blake I became increasingly desperate for a community of like-minded families to surround ours in support and friendship. I tried a few different groups and then finally struck gold when Blake was a few months old. These mamas were exactly what I was looking for and our connections have meant so much to me and my family over the last 4 years.

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Something we began doing as a group a couple of years ago was camping! Brian and I had already been camping with the kids a few times before and this was exactly how we enjoyed our holidays, so to do it with our friends was a bonus.

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We began camping two to three times a year and increasingly our locations turned bush, which lead to Brian and I really falling in love with basic, bush camping. This time we went to a farm-stay which has more amenities than we normally have, but with three small kids, it’s always welcomed!

We had such a great time. We drove down interstate to the camping location the day before everyone else did, and the kids lit a small campfire and toasted a few marshmallows to celebrate.

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The site we had booked as a group was quite sunny, so the children were able to witness a lot of discussion and negotiation as we all worked out how to set up our ‘living areas’ (lots of gazebos pushed together to create our kitchen, eating and lounging zones).

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The kids were always around, helping in their own little ways 😉

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The dam was incredible and we spent quite a bit of time there. Hannah loved the kayaks and enjoyed paddling them with or without me or Brian joining her.  Blake was slightly more hesitant, but with the dam water being so murky I couldn’t really blame him. It was so calming just being there among the water-lillies and the dragonflies. I love being in new environments, and for the children it always sparks their creativity and imaginations.

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One of the plans us mamas had while camping as a group, was to indulge in some yoga, chanting and meditation together. Many of us have been on a journey of self-discovery and self-love this year, and yoga and meditation were some activities that quite a few of us had enjoyed before, so we wanted to share that as a group.  It was beautiful to connect in this way, whilst also nourishing ourselves as people first.

The children were free to join in as they pleased and most of the older kids got right into it, especially with some of the more up-beat chanting music that we had available. A friend and I had been to a Kundalini yoga retreat a month prior and most of that music is very uplifting and positive.  Even Daisy tried out a few yoga poses! On the last day, all our partners sat and supported us by watching us and the kids, and it was lovely to have their encouraging presence around us while we took time to care for ourselves. So beautifully nourishing and revitalising.

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Of-course being a farmstay, there were quite a few animals to feed and pat and cuddle so the kids spent many hours enjoying those experiences. Hannah and Blake predictably adored the bunnies and were devastated that we couldn’t take a couple home (they’re considered a pest in our state).

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We even discovered a Mulberry tree on the property and the kids were excited to climb the trees and taste as many Mulberry’s as they liked.

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Apart from the animals, the campfire every night was a sacred, much-anticipated event for the kids and the adults alike. The first camping trip we went on where we were able to light a big campfire, we set up a rope around the perimeter and explained to the children to stay on the outside of it. So many people had expressed their surprise at doing a big fire with small children around, but like with everything a lot of trust and a little adult supervision means the children have always been free to enjoy it as the amazing experience that it is.

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Five days, eleven families, and over twenty children under the age of 6 enjoying nature, time together, exploring and learning… well, I call that a successful holiday!!!

Unschooling Mentoring Sessions

Are you interested in Unschooling?

Do you need help with how to start unschooling?

Are you searching for support and understanding while moving towards this new way of being with your children?

Unschooling is not a trend or an ideology; it is a framework of connection, respect and trust between children and their parents. It also about more than educating at home, it is a lifestyle of learning through living and a deep understanding that the two are never seperate.

I know it can seem overwhelming to decide to take the leap into your own unschooling journey, and that is why I’m here! I’m here to be your support person, your sounding board, your information and resource centre and your guide, as you re-condition your beliefs about living with and educating children.

This is the sort of service I wish was around 5 years ago when I was doing the bulk of my research. I had so many questions and concerns and I had very few people to turn to. If you’re in that situation, please know, you’ve got me now!

I’ve been in your shoes and I know all your worries, I can be there alongside you as you discover this lifestyle for yourself. If you feel in your heart that unschooling is right for your family, then don’t hesitate to contact me via email or the contact form for a free, no obligation 15 minute Skype Discovery Session where we can get to know each other better.

I felt called to offer these sessions because even though there is a plethora of parenting advice and information on the internet, there is often little to no support to make those positive changes we desire to make in our parenting journeys. It can feel incredibly overwhelming, especially so if the responses to your decisions from family and friends are negative and critical – this is where true, emphatic support is invaluable.

 I am so happy to now be able to offer a personalised one-on-one Mentoring Session for only $70 per call, where I can focus solely on you and your unique experiences.

We will connect via a Skype Call and I will offer you real-life support with all your Unschooling questions and concerns. You can always add on sessions if you feel you would like more support and I do offer a 90 day package for those of you who would like consistent weekly support.

During the Mentoring Sessions, I offer you the knowledge I have learned over the last seven years of reading and research combined with my degree in Human Services which helps me see the bigger picture – the social conditioning and outside systems – that make an impact  on all our lives. More than that though, I offer you my experience and guidance as a woman and mama, and although I am not an expert (and will never claim to be), I am here to be the friend and support that you may not have in your every day life.

If you feel that you are ready to step into a more connected and conscious way to parent and educate and you like what you see here, contact me for all the session and investment details. I look forward to connecting with you, and working together to create your best possible life for you and your family.

Email me at hello@hippyhappymama.com or use the contact form below.

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Testimonials

Dear Andi, I would like to express my gratitude for the ideas and support you have provided for me and my family on our conscious parenting journey. Over the years I have come to you will all sorts of concerns and dilemmas. Your support, encouragement and advice has always been so helpful. You seem to have a natural ability to see clearly and different perspectives on a situation, where I would be feeling overwhelmed, lost and confused. Your advice hasn’t just help my connection with and understanding of my children but also helped me sort out a lot of ‘stuff’ that’s been going on inside of me. I can see now that my children are a reflection of what’s going on for me at the times when things aren’t flowing.  This realisation has set me free and we’re all enjoying the journey of a heart to heart communication as a family. My hope is for all families to become aware of the deep connection that is available to them through conscious parenting. Thank you.  
K.H. QLD.

Every now and then there are moments in your life where you think “Geez, if I hadn’t had that conversation I don’t know where we would’ve ended up?!” This has happened twice to me since meeting Andi. I am a pretty confident, independent woman but for some reason I really struggled to incorporate this aspect of myself into my parenting. I doubted so many of the decisions I made early on in my daughters life because they weren’t socially conventional. Fortunately, by chance, I met Andi and her family and she provided me with the support and information I needed to help me gain confidence as a parent. Andi’s reflective and questioning nature means she is full of insight and information that has been such a gift to my family and me. It’s not every day you meet a mama who is so switched on, informed and passionate about parenting the way that Andi is. I have seen first hand how her experience and understanding has helped families really learn to enjoy each other and the lives they live together. If you have any questions about authentic parenting, conscious parenting, unschooling, natural birthing (to name just a few), a session with Andi would be well worth your time!!  – Bel, Tash and Lex , VIC.[contact_form]

Dearest Blake – Happy 4th Birthday!

To my dearest Blake,

Oh Darling boy! You’re four!!!

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You’re so excited to be another year older, bigger and stronger and able to do more things. You kept telling us of the things you will do once you turn 4 – like click in your own seat-belt which you’ve refused to do because you were “only 3” 😉 – so I’m sure this birthday is an incredibly important milestone in your life. We’re so happy to share it with you Blake. You’re such a special child and you truly add to our family in the most amazing way.

You’re still our most affectionate child. You often murmur, “Babies are so lovely.” as you stroke Daisy’s little cheeks. It’s been the most adorable relationship to watch grow. As a parent the best thing is when your children really, really love each other, so watching you love your sisters is so beautiful for me to see. I hope you always keep that bond strong. They’ll both be there for you through anything and everything.

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Your physicality hit a new high since you turned three. You began using pencils as shotguns (the most pointy thing we have in our home!) just out of the blue! Hannah found it quite disconcerting so I had a flashbulb of an idea for you to aim your fierceness at the tree downstairs and you loved it. The tree and you connected in a way that only a boy and a tree can ;).

There have been some extremely challenging moments as well. Many, many boundaries were pushed and tested and still are. And because of your physicality when upset, my patience and limits were often pushed too far. It’s something we’re working on together and I know this stage has it’s process and we just need to go through it.

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You also rarely stop moving. One of our favourite things to do lately is tell each other stories and your whole body moves when it’s your turn! Your gestures, your dramatic jumps in the air and your crouching down and whispering during the suspenseful moments almost send me into hysterics. It’s never dull with you around Blake!

This year, we had a party planned for you, but we noticed during Hannah and Daisy’s parties that you became quite withdrawn and clingy and then fell asleep half-way through. We were concerned that your party would have the same effect so we had a chat with you and offered you the options – to have a party with family and friends as planned or to just have immediate family over and a cake and without hesitation you chose the latter. So with only weeks to go we canceled your party and just had family over to celebrate you turning 4!

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Your favourite things at the moment are playing with your cars, watching 4×4 videos on YouTube, playing imaginative games with your friends, asking me what all the words on all the signage we see says, being a knight, and going on adventures.

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We love you Blake, you’re an amazing little boy and we know you have so much to share with us. I can’t wait to get to know you even better in this 4th year of yours. I hope it’s your best one yet!!!

Love, Mama xx

Hannah’s 6th Birthday Party!

Hannah began planning her 6th birthday party soon after her 5th had finished. She decided she wanted a unicorn/mermaid/fairy/castle themed party and that she wanted to colour her hair pink and purple. So began my year long search to make her wishes a reality!

We discovered ‘hair chalk’ which didn’t end up being as bright as she had imagined, but she was impressed with it. It ended up washing out after a fun swim in the pool soon after the party started anyway!

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And then I had to figure out how to incorporate her chosen theme into one birthday cake!
It all came together in the end and it was a lovely simple party. All her favourite things with all her favourite people means Hannah was a very happy girl. She’s such a gracious child and I always love seeing how much she enjoys the planning and celebrating of parties.

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Dearest Hannah – Happy 6th Birthday!

To my dearest, darling Hannah,

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The cold days of Winter have come to an end and with them so has your birthday. My winter blossom, already 6 and growing up magically before my eyes, blooming into a young girl with her own ideas, thoughts, questions and wonderings. You are creating your own story Hannah darling, and I am so grateful to be on this path with you. Even though you rarely reach for my hand anymore, I hope you always know I am here for you today, and every day, forever.

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You’ve matured so much this year. There have been many changes and adjustments to make, from welcoming a new sibling, to moving house and you have accepted it all with an understanding and wisdom far beyond your years. You have been helpful, considerate, patient, kind, loving and thoughtful when I needed you most. Being the eldest is not the easiest of roles Hannah – believe me! – but just as I know you chose your birth order, I know that you have the ability to make the most of this time, even when it is challenging. So thank you, for being my most devoted assistant and responsible leader of the pack with Blake and Daisy. I hope in the future, these character traits will serve you abundantly.

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This year, we walked the talk and committed to unschooling. We went against the grain – as we’re prone to do – and you have flourished. Watching you learning every day, delighting in all the wonders of life, humbles me. Your dedication to yourself, to your own learning adventure is inspiring and seeing you confidently attempt and succeed in all manner of tasks is pure joy to your Daddy and I. We love seeing you so comfortable and free. Free to be yourself, to make choices, to take risks, and to begin to navigate this journey of life.

I thought I’d add a list of things you’ve been interested in and/or learned to do this past year for you to look back on. This is not an exhaustive list by any means, you do this and much more every day but these stood out –
learning to blow up a balloon; teaching yourself to hula-hoop;  horse-riding; taking a term of gymnastics classes; learning about countries and flags and general geography; teaching yourself to tie knots; choosing to have your ears pierced; so many home science and art projects; learning circus skills; attempting crochet; a deep interest in evolutionary theory, what happens when people die and the wonders of the universe; gardening; your ever growing interest in the human body; you lost your first tooth; your passion for writing has only increased and your mathematical skills are growing ever sharper; you participated in a television commercial and you spent more time immersed in nature than ever before.  You’ve covered this and more and wow, we’ve had a lot of fun along the way.

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Your star shines bright Hannah. It’s obvious to me that your purpose here is beyond anything I could have imagined, guiding us to think about our lives differently than what we did before. You inspire me with your passionate nature, your willingness to jump in and give everything a go and even though I try to think of words that perfectly describe who you are, I just can’t. You can’t be put into a box or a category, you’re above that. My whole world changed during my pregnancy with you and the last 6 years have spun me 180 degrees. Life is different for us because of you and we wouldn’t have it any other way. You’re truly a beautiful soul and I can’t wait to get to know you even better in the coming year, and hear more of your thoughts on this wonderful world we live in.

Hannah. I love you. I hope your 6th year is just as amazing as you.

Love Always,
Mama xx

Facilitating Unschooling // The Writing Centre

I am often asked questions about how unschooling works in our family and sometimes people have trouble imagining how our home is designed if we never do any structured, sit-down bookwork. As unschoolers, we do believe that learning comes from all things in everyday life and we do not need designated learning areas in order to learn. However, this concept was something my children valued and enjoyed and this is the reason we have decided to continue with the addition of specifically tailored areas in our home that address the childrens needs. In our new house I have set up a bigger, more permanent, more inviting space designed around the childrens needs and I will blog about those areas in seperate posts. First up, the writing centre –

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We have recently moved back to the house that we own after renting closer to the city for a few years. I knew this move was going to happen since around March this year, so I have spent quite a bit of time considering how I will organise the house to suit our entire family. Since we share a family bedroom, we have always had the room to have a dedicated play/learning space in another bedroom. However I quickly noticed the children rarely played in that room for long amounts of time and generally just brought items out into the lounge room. So I began setting up little corners of play where we all gather, as Lori Pickart from Project Based Homeschooling calls it – the heart of the home.

Hannah has always loved to write, doodle, draw and make marks on paper. She first put pen to paper at age 2 and hasn’t stopped since. I’m not sure where I first saw the idea of a writing table/centre but it was probably on Pinterest.  I immediately knew Hannah in particular would love it and as I was planning on buying her a journal for Christmas that year, I knew the writing centre would compliment that nicely. I didn’t have any expectations of how and when they would use it though, rather I set it up as an invitation. Both children took to it with gusto, and Blake wrote his first recognisable letters sitting there for the first time. They have both used it regularly since then and it’s been great to have a specific space for our writing supplies.

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Since moving, I have added a few new parts to our writing centre. I was really excited about the addition of this simple wooden ‘mailbox’ (I bought this from a thrift/op-shop) and judging by the amount of mail and letters we have been inundated with, the kids like it too!  Hannah has always loved writing little letters to her friends and grandparents and this is a nice extension on that activity. When her grandma was sick recently she was able to write her a  real letter, address it accordingly on the envelopes we have available, and send it off. She was even more excited to receive a reply addressed to her.

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All our white and coloured paper, notebooks, post-it notes, staplers, rulers, and extras are all housed and easily accessible in this shelf to the left of the writing centre. This shelf – just like the writing table, chair and most of the baskets – was sourced from thrift/op-shops.

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A better look at the baskets which house stamps, stickers of all shapes and sizes and Montessori sandpaper letters in lowercase.

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After watching the children use the writing centre and their mailbox for a few days I realised they were constantly asking us how to spell particular names. I needed to find an easy way for them to find the names of the members of our family so they could have more independence with their writing and this was my quick solution. I cut up some recent photos and wrote our names in upper and lowercase next to them. I plan to add grandparents and extended family soon too.

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 This simple project has had a tremendous impact on both children. Blake’s confidence with using pencils and paper has improved and he is excited to write or draw his letters and put them in the envelopes. He is recognising his own name better and attempting writing more letters. Hannah has begun to remember common words used in letter writing such as ‘To’, “From’, ‘And’, ‘Love’ and of-course all our names. She has also begun to use questions in her letters which has been a good jumping off point for talking about punctuation. But the table has been used for more than just writing letters. Maps have featured prominently as have puppets, painting, card-making and all forms of art.

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Having a writing centre in our home has shown our children that we value communication in all it’s forms, and that their attempts at writing, drawing or any way they choose  to use these materials is important to us and they have the freedom to use them whenever and however inspiration strikes. Making sure our children feel comfortable, valued and respected in our home is one of the keys to unschooling, and having spaces that inspire and recognise their needs is just one way that we do this.

 

 

Daisy’s 1st Birthday Yellow Polka-Dot Party!

Yes, it’s a touch cliche but I just HAD to theme Daisy’s party around her name! With sunshine yellow decorations, polka-dots everywhere and daisies in vases, our home was set to celebrate our little blossom’s 1st birthday. It was a lovely party and while Daisy seemed a bit overwhelmed to start with, she loved when everyone was singing her Happy Birthday and began clapping 🙂 She sneaked a piece of cake and we ended up doing an impromptu cake-smash as she was so excited to eat it!All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved

The next day was Daisy’s actual birthday and as it was coincidentally a public holiday in our area, Brian had the day off. We started the day with a little photo-shoot, went out for a yummy lunch and then for a play at the park at our favourite place. Daisy enjoyed her first time on the slide and Hannah took a few lovely photos of Brian, Daisy and I. We reminisced about her birth day last year and talked about future plans with our family of five. So many blessings. So very grateful.

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At One
– Daisy has 8 teeth –
– She is crawling and pulling up but she doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to learn to walk –
– She loves food and eats anything and everything –
– She is clapping, waving, high-fiving, pointing and blowing kisses –
– Her favourite things to do are find pieces of paper or tissue on the floor and scrunch them into her mouth before anyone catches her and playing peek-a-boo with Hannah and Blake –
– She is happily a breastfeeding, co-sleeping, ergo-snuggling, stick-munching, beach-exploring, car-tripping, sibling-loving, cheeky-giggling little baby –
– and we love her to pieces! –

Happy 1st Birthday Daisy Emmeline!

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