Thursday, January 27, 2011

Our Nature Journal

Nature Journaling

As I absorb all I can to ensure our home ed is nourishing, I must say that I am most excited about starting a Nature Journal with the kids this year! After reading about Charlotte Mason and the style of learning in the way she represents, I can see how this activity is truly going to benefit our learning experience.

So, we have put together our Nature Exploring Kit!
In it we have:
Scrapbook – which we decorated the cover and front page in preparation
The Wonderland of Nature Journal by Nuri Mass from
And the corresponding work sheets
Watercolour Pencils
Jar for water and specimen collection
Sharpener (mostly because Miss Ant is obsessed with keeping a sharp pencil!)
Watercolour sketch book (so we can cut out her art work and glue into the scrapbook)

We are going to start off just exploring our own backyard, and why not! We have a fabulous backyard filled with plants, trees, flowers and BUGS! I have also found a list of local bush walks in our local area that I plan to make a real excursion out of.
For Miss Ant, participation is the key, so Vincent and I have our own scrapbooks too! We will all work in our journals, at our own respected levels but all together.

Well, today is Friday! Art day consists of a sand art activity that Miss Ant chose from the Australian Geographic Shop and then off for a play with other home Educated kids at the local park……it’s already 11am so I had better get a move on!

Stumbling into Day One

So yesterday we started!  We began with Spelling and dictionary work in the morning, then in the afternoon we discussed the latest book she has just finished and Miss Ant started on her book review of it.   It was so nice to sit down and talk ‘book’ with her, we must have done it for over an hour! 
What school teacher can offer that level of support?  Moments like this I find it very validating that I can offer something more, that I can actually add value in her education.
Sometimes it takes having a good chat about  it things get sorted in our own heads, I know that’s how I tick anyway and it appears Miss Ant does too.  Now, her typical ½ page vague book review has evolved into a 3 page character analysis!  After that success, I am going to add that in as an important task for each time she finishes a new book. Not only does it allow her to express her feelings about the book and sort it all out in her head, it shows her that I am interested – and that I want  to share in the experience too.  Now, the usual mundane book review task is a fun opportunity to share how fabulous her experience was.
I also know that simply doing a task because 'Mum asked me to' doesn't rock her boat.  Antonia loves to share her work, so with that, her blog has been reincarnated and is her place to share the final product.  So far so good, her book review should be up on her blog by the end of today!

Starting Off on the Right Foot

School started yesterday! Regardless of the fact we don’t have our work books yet nor have a really planned much! But, Miss Ant decided she’d had enough of a ‘holiday’ and wanted to get right back into it!

Anyway, since this is the 1st week of our 1st official year of home ed, I thought I’d highlight what we both plan to tackle!  Here’s a little list of what we both want to encompass in our learning week:

- Nature Journaling

- French

- Maths

- Comprehension

- Science

- Writing Skills

- ART!

- Music

- Reading (and reading related tasks)

- Computers

- Dancing

- Regular Home Ed group activities

Now, this sounds like a lot! But I assure you, it isn’t :) Everything is broken up into bite sized chunks, and we don’t do everything every day. E.g. On Fridays, we start with a spelling test then the rest of the day is Art and playing with friends at the park.

No pressure!
Yup, no pressure on what we complete every day. Taking a similar approach as I do to food actually! Okay, so an example, to keep my kids eating healthy, I make them a platter of healthy goodies for lunch every day. My thinking is, that if I offer them a largish selection of healthy snacks, it doesn’t really matter what they choose – it’s all good and it’s all filling.

"Do more than belong: participate. Do more than care: help. Do more than believe: practice. Do more than be fair: be kind. Do more than forgive: forget. Do more than dream: work." – William Arthur Ward

DIY Education

I would like to start off by saying that I have always wanted to home school, I believe the appeal is being able to cater to my children’s needs and learning styles wholeheartedly and being the one responsible for their learning successes, and being there to help them overcome difficulties in the most productive way possible.

I wish…… I wish I had come to the decision to home school all on my own without all the mucking around with schools, and upsetting the emotional balance of my precious little person. We spent a whole year battling before realising that Education is a Right, and there is also a choice to how we do it. It’s was so tough to find our way when our way is so different to what we see around us. I believe I am the best teacher for my children, but struggled daily convincing myself this when I am surrounded by a culture where our 3 yr olds attend day care 3 days a week so they are prepared for preschool….which they attend so they are ready for Kindy…..which they attend to be ready for school. I don’t believe ANY of that is necessary for my family. We are all bright happy individuals and I know that with effort, there will only ever be success for everyone.

What do I hope to achieve at the end of it all? My goal is to raise healthy, happy, well rounded successful children so that they become happy, healthy, well rounded successful adults.

Here you will find a recollection of our days, or successes, our highs and lows and all that we encounter on our journey into DIY Education ;-)