our unschooling journey

All Rights Reserved

Why Play is Important

Why do we all keep going on and on and on about Play? Is it really that important? Isn’t it something that kids just do anyway? Why do we need to be so mindful of it? Isn’t play natural and part of every childs everyday experience?

Those are all really great questions and as I’ve been reflecting on my childrens lives and what I read about in articles, blog posts and social media in recent times, I felt I had to voice some of my own reasons for why I’m passionate about Play.

(more…)

All Rights Reserved

Facilitating Unschooling // The Parents Role

As a parent, choosing to Unschool means choosing to be responsible for your child’s entire education right?

I don’t believe so. A child is an individual and therefore their education will be unique to them. Children are not a vessel to be filled with information and facts, rather they have their own ideas and thoughts that ideally need to be respected, trusted and encouraged and essentially this is the parents role in facilitating unschooling.

So what does that look like? Within an unschooling paradigm a parents role looks like :-

(more…)

Travelling To Europe With Kids // Unschooling Geography

This is the second post in a series, detailing our preparations for travelling to Europe with our three kids.

As I mentioned in my last post, Hannah and Blake have been very interested in learning about the world they live in for over 18 months now. Having this trip to look forward to has served to increase their knowledge and fascination through real-life practical explorations. Today, I thought I would share some of the resources we use in our unschooling journey that have really helped extend this interest and generate lots of fun learning about all things geography related.

A map of the world is a necessity in any home and so is a globe. Seeing how far Australia is to Croatia on the world map really solidified for Hannah and Blake why we would need to use an airplane to get there. However, maps are one-dimensional and looking at a globe allowed the children to understand how the Earth is shaped. They were fascinated by the realisation that the masses of land on the top and bottom of the Earth had freezing temperatures while the middle, along the Equator, was incredibly hot. Antarctica for some reason also became the second continent – after Australia – that both of them committed to memory.

All Rights Reserved
Flags have been captivating for over a year now and this flag activity has been played with many, many times. It doesn’t include all the flags for all the countries of the world but it is enough to satisfy a child’s interest (ours has about 30 flags). As Hannah is a visual learner, she very quickly remembered quite a few of the flags and was able to relate them to real life experiences such as noticing the Swedish flag while on a shopping trip in IKEA and that our maple syrup must have been bottled in Canada as the Canadian flag contains a maple leaf. These sorts of connections never fail to surprise me and it’s also been a great divergent lesson in marketing and advertising!

And although she isn’t a proficient reader yet, Hannah is able to use this activity on her own by matching all the letters on the flag with a country. As she gets older she will be able to read the short facts about the country on the back of the flag which will lead into other interests I’m sure, so I love that this activity will evolve with the children as they grow. This is definitely one of my favourite resources and one I am asked about each time I post a photo with it in it on Instagram, so I am excited to be able to offer a link to all those who have asked me for one!

All Rights Reserved
As a lead on from flags, I found an activity pack like this at our local op-shop/thrift store and it includes stickers of flags, a mini passport, information about different countries and even postcards to ‘send’, so this created lots of space for imaginary play. It was especially fun once we received our real passports and they were able to use the play one to stamp and pretend to fly to far of places with.

We have all enjoyed putting together the world map puzzle that we own several times over the last six months. Although it has 500 pieces I really love how much time it takes and that it requires us all to interact to complete a goal. Because there are a lot of tricky blue pieces, we were able to spend quite a bit of time discussing the different oceans and the smaller islands and countries that are often unheard of. Lots of patience is required with this puzzle of-course, but it is easy to find puzzles with far fewer pieces which are especially great for smaller children.

All Rights Reserved
Of course books have featured prominently in our discovery of the world and this book in particular we have spent many hours poring over. I wish they would make more books like this, it is so fantastic for children to easily see how other children in the world live. Hannah was shocked that the girl from Brazil often wears no shoes or a shirt and occasionally eats  Alligator meat. I then reminded her that in Australia you can purchase Crocodile to eat in some areas and Kangaroo is sold in shops too! A movie I would recommend for highlighting more cultural differences is the documentary Babies.

All Rights Reserved
When I noticed the children drawing maps constantly – initially sparked by a pirate movie – I asked my parents to buy a special book for the children for Christmas which is incidentally named Maps! I explained to Hannah and Blake how the maps they are drawing to get from one place to another can also be interpreted a different way as a map of a country. I particularly loved that the book includes Croatia since it’s such a small country it doesn’t always get mentioned. There is so much detail in this book and it is again another resource that will grow and evolve with the children as they do.

And this book is one we borrowed from the library recently and we were able to use  with our Around the World models to match some of the famous sights Isabella sees on her adventures. The book also includes detail about each sight, for example the Eiffel Tower and The Statue of Liberty, at the end of the book which was a pleasant extension.

As you can tell, we don’t shy away from technology and an app we have used to extend our geographical knowledge is called Map the World which Hannah and Blake both enjoy playing. It’s a simple puzzle app where the user has to put the countries in the correct places on the continent and a voice calls out the names of the countries. This is a really great way to get to know all those smaller countries in different regions and Hannah can now easily find many countries on a map or atlas.

All Rights Reserved
At the end of my last post I received a question about languages and whether or not we were teaching the children Croatian (I am bi-lingual as I grew up in Croatia). As with all new things, we are guided by the children’s interest and motivation because coming from that perspective means we know the learning will be meaningful to the children. Hannah and Blake are aware that I know Croatian and we speak to my grandmother in Croatia at least monthly via Skype. We also often say Good Night in Croatian to my parents when we leave their house so they’ve picked up on a few phrases here and there just from those sorts of interactions.

After learning that we were going to visit my grandma for a couple of weeks on our holiday, Hannah asked me how she would speak with her since she doesn’t know much English. I explained to Hannah that she could learn some Croatian if she wanted and she then spent several weeks asking me all sorts of Croatian phrases. She then realised that the chef on a cooking show we often watch is French, and decided that she would like to know the words he is using so that she can know some French. In the last month she hasn’t been interested in learning any more of any language but I am not concerned. She will be immersed in other languages on our trip and it is up to her, and each of my other children, to decide for themselves which languages they naturally gravitate too.

So although that wasn’t an exhaustive list, it is a good overview of how preparing for this trip has helped accentuate and bring together the passions Hannah and Blake have already shown us. It shows how quality resources support unschooling, but it also doesn’t need to be complicated either. There are more things we have done in regards to learning about the world we live in and even more that we will do in the future as travel becomes a major focus of our lives.

 

This post contains affiliate links that I recommend and have used myself in most cases.

 

The Crux of Unschooling

Do you want to know what gets me excited to wake up in the morning?

This life.

All Rights Reserved
I am just so passionate about this way of living. And I say living because it is – it’s a lifestyle choice. It’s a whole new way of thinking about learning and living.

Well, not really new, we all felt it at some point… probably in our early childhoods. Unschooling is not an educational method – unschooling is about seeing learning in a different way to how we are taught to see it in the western world.

Learning can seem complex and mysterious when we’re looking at it from the outside, but when we stop trying to analyse it, we realise what we already know deep inside – that learning is innate. It’s what we’re born to do. There is so much freedom and joy in truly living that knowing.

All Rights Reserved
This article really gets to the heart of why Unschooling is a Lifestyle – even though it doesn’t mention unschooling at all. It gets to the heart of how ingrained learning is. Learning is like breathing, we’re always doing it but we don’t often realise we are, until we put a specific focus on it.

However,  in our western society we like to put labels on learning. Labels like ‘school’ and ‘studying’ and ‘university’ and ‘classes’ and ‘courses’, it goes on and on. What about the learning we do when we drive down a new street? When we talk to a person we haven’t met before? When we taste a new food? When we try a new experience? When we try something a different way to the way we did it last time? When we spend time gathering resources and knowledge about a topic that we feel passionate about? Just every day things. Things we don’t really think of as learning. We don’t shout it out from the rooftops when we cook using a new recipe like we do when we complete a degree, but it’s all the same thing at the end of the day. A new learning in our personal evolution.

All Rights Reserved
Our children do that too. But at a much higher frequency, at a higher speed, and at a higher level. They are gaining so much new information every day we would have trouble naming it all. And the best thing is – we don’t have to! We can come from a place of trust, a place of knowing, a place that still lies deep inside us from when we were small children spending our days exploring and questioning and daydreaming and creating and learning.

So I unschool. My children unschool. My family unschools.
Because we live life and we learn, and we don’t separate the two.

Learning. It’s life!

Our Unschooling Journey | The Week In Review

So it’s already the second month of 2015 and this is the first time I’ve managed a week in review! Of-course there’s been lots of living and learning happening since the year began but this is just a slice of the last 7 days in our world.

Life is busy here at the moment. I had a real moment of overwhelm on Monday, lots of tears and a bit of a breakdown. We’ve been doing some work on the house and it had all become too much. Having three small kids at home full time with no outside help makes work like that almost impossible, and yet we had to struggle through. I decided taking the kids out for some fresh air with friends in the afternoon would be helpful, so we jumped in the car and off we went.

All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved
I couldn’t have been more wrong! It was ridiculously windy, Blake cut his foot and then wet his pants, Daisy crawled into a puddle… which was all fine but then I had to get them back to the car to change them with the wind shutting my door on the back of my legs constantly while I tried to get Daisy changed in the front seat and Hannah running back to the beach to gather our shoes and waterbottles (what would I do without that child?!). It was all a mess. These photos are of the few minutes where it felt like I had made the right decision instead of the wrong one! But that’s life. Some bits are just hard.

All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved
We finally re-planted our vegetable garden this week.  When we were watering, Hannah found a baby Christmas beetle which Hannah and Blake studied intensely for quite a while, remembering the Christmas beetle we discovered last month. We’ve all remembered to water the vegie patch every day too, so it’s been a lovely team effort.

All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved
I asked Hannah which plant she thought we would be able to harvest from first – we have tomatoes, capsicum, broccoli, lettuce and purple carrots (plus basil, mint and parsley). She chose the capsicum as the most likely to produce fruit [or vegetable!)] first, and it looks like she was right. Although tomato is coming in a nice second 🙂

All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved
Tuesday was spent at our city farm haven again with lots of book reading, playing in the sandpit and imaginative play with friends.

All Rights Reserved 209
There was also something else. A dead gecko. The interesting part about this story is that the children found this gecko in the cubby house, not moving and easily captured. They placed it in an empty palm frond and brought it over to us to ask if the lizard was alive or dead. We all discussed what signs we would look for in a dead animal but Bob also pointed out that a defense mechanism most animals have is to play dead in order not to get eaten. Someone also suggested that it may be really scared and therefore not physically able to move away. With all this information the children were left with a choice about what to do next.

They began talking with each other and realised that if the gecko was in fact not dead, then it would need to have the opportunity to continue on its way. Bob suggested they put it near the cubby and leave it for a while to see what happened. We all concluded that if it was still there after about half an hour then it must be dead.

All Rights Reserved
More play together ensued and then finally someone remembered the gecko. They ran off to retrieve it and sadly it was still there. A burial was discussed, the right tools to dig the hole found and a perfect spot under the big tree was chosen. We left them to it and when I walked over after about 10 minutes to take a photo I heard them discussing the lizards anatomy, how he has cold blood and how his tail might have been broken. One of the children wondered if she could do an operation to save it’s tail before he was buried, so that occurred before the gecko was finally laid to rest.

It was a fascinating process to witness and the children took it all in their stride with a matter-of-fact attitude. They were all somber about the fact that the lizard was not alive, although he obviously wasn’t a beloved pet so I assume this was why they were able to be more objective. On the way home Hannah brought up the topic of death and we chatted about it once again. Death has been an ongoing topic of interesting conversation here for over a year now. I might write about our approach in discussing death in more detail in another post if there is interest.

That night at my parents house, we had an unexpected blackout. Blake asked if we could have a campfire and although that obviously wasn’t possible, we were able to compromise with candles, mini-marshmallows and toothpicks = excellent blackout fun!

All Rights Reserved
On Wednesday and Thursday my sister graciously came over to help with the kids while I continued working on the house. I love being a full-time stay at home mama, but it IS hard work. It is also not realistic, in that humans haven’t evolved to live so individually. Having my sister around during the day, reminds me how much support and help really is necessary in order to truly enjoy this process of raising children. We all had a lot of fun together,  building block cities, befriending a neighbourhood cat, chatting about the full moon and going crystal shopping. And in-between all that I even managed to get some work done. Total win-win.

All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved

Friday was spent hanging out at the park with more unschooling friends and I loved watching Hannah and Blake climb the trees instead of playing on the playground. I love knowing that they know they have the freedom to challenge themselves in this natural way.

After spending most of Saturday at Southbank (a family-friendly precinct in our city) watching the buskers perform and Hannah and Blake spending their money at the markets, I wasn’t surprised that money was a hot topic on the way home. The children both had just over $5 in their bags and I reminded them that if they chose something that cost $5 they would have no more money but would have that item instead.

Hannah asked how we earned money and what she would have to do to make some money. I suggested a few different ideas such as asking her grandparents if she could work on their garden or clean their cars to earn some more dollars. Almost immediately she asked if she could clean our car and we suggested that if they both cleaned all their toys out of the car they could have $1 each. After doing that Hannah was keen to make more so she asked if she could vacuum the car out and Blake was eager to help so they ended up with $2 each.

All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved
Hannah is already planning how she can earn more. This money-making scenario has played out a few different ways in the last couple of years with the kids baking cupcakes to sell at events and garage sales to earn money previously. It will be interesting to see whether this is another short-term interest in money and business or whether now that Hannah is older, it will escalate to something bigger.

We ended our week by inviting Racheous – Lovable Learning, Memoiors of a Childhood, Happiness is Here and their delightful families over for a swim in the pool and a barbecue lunch. Of-course, there had to be a bit of a tinker with the Spielgaben set as well! I don’t think we could have fit more fun into one day! It was seriously adorable – albeit busy with 10 children under the age of 6 – watching them all enjoy their time together. Us adults had a pretty good time too!

All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved

Make sure to pop over to Racheous – Lovable Learning, Memoiors of a Childhood, Happiness is Here and An Everyday Story to check out what their beautiful weeks looked like.

If you like what you see here please get in touch, I love supporting other families to make this unschooling lifestyle your reality and I offer a very personalised mentoring package to guide you through the process. Just email me via hello@hippyhappymama.com 

Our Unschooling Journey – The Week in Review

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

All Rights Reserved
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.

All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved

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

All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved
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.

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

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

All Rights ReservedAll Rights Reserved
Monday was spent crafting,

All Rights Reserved
shopping list writing,

All Rights Reserved
and we started work on our homemade Christmas cards.

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

All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved
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.

All Rights Reserved
There were wheelbarrow rides on Tuesday.

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

All Rights Reserved
On Wednesday we continued working on our Christmas cards,

All Rights Reserved
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!

All Rights Reserved
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.

All Rights Reserved
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!

All Rights Reserved
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!

All Rights Reserved
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.

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

All Rights Reserved
They then worked together to create a few towers to display on our shelves.
All Rights Reserved
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.

All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved
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.

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

All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved
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!

All Rights Reserved
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.

All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved
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.

All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved
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.

All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved
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.

All Rights Reserved
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!

All Rights Reserved

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.

All Rights Reserved

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.

All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved

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

All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved

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.

All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved

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.

All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved

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.

All Rights Reserved

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!

All Rights Reserved

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.

All Rights Reserved

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.

All Rights Reserved

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.

All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved
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!

All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved

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

All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved

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

All Rights Reserved

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.

All Rights Reserved

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.

All Rights Reserved

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!

All Rights Reserved

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.

All Rights Reserved
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.

All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved

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.

All Rights Reserved

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!

All Rights Reserved

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

All Rights Reserved

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

All Rights Reserved

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

All Rights Reserved

 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.

All Rights Reserved

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.

All Rights Reserved

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.

All Rights Reserved
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.