Well we have just started another school year here in the land of Oz…. or Aus! We made good use of our ‘holiday time’ visiting beaches, friend’s pools and also rugging up in blankies on cold days! The weather has been unbelievable! Thankfully we only had a few days of extreme heat! February is the hottest month for us…. it can get to 40-44c locally. This week we had temperatures go from 28 to 38c. It was a bit of a shock! We’ve seen floods above and below us in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria…. there has been snow and it EVEN rained on Ularu! Quiet a memorable holiday season! Here is a link for some revealing before and after aerials of Queensland.
Regular school goers will be back in their plastic seats on the 31st January but we officially started back on Monday the 24th. It was my Nana’s birthday and we had a special lunch to remember her and then visited her resting place. My lovely Nana generated love with her generous hugs and yummy rock cakes! She always talked about others and cared deeply for her family and friends. In her 70′s she enrolled in a year long TAFE course in computing and received 97%! She was a wonderful, strong, supportive and genuine lady and would be now 80 years young.
Our lesson for that day was ’what will my legacy be?’ We discussed what type of people we are and discussed what new things we wanted to explore this year. Now my children know a bit more about our family history and we talked bilingually as my profoundly deaf Aunt was with us that day, so we discussed all sorts of things in a mix of speech and Auslan (sign language).
On Tuesday we had some sit down lessons! Both M and D have requested that I give them some structured lessons this year and they went VERY well indeed! This is to take the pressure off them to generate ‘things to do’ and also because late last year they twigged that there were many things that they wouldn’t know to ask about or learn themselves. Basically they are motivated by a strong ‘need to know’. I’m VERY happy to oblige them! But what to cover? After letting them go pretty much free recently after we covered the state curriculum, which wasn’t the most exciting bits of learning there are so many subjects and topics I haven’t thought of in a while.
I follow both the Montessori curriculum and the NSW Board of Studies curriculum. The former is hard to duplicate in a home-school environment without a large class of multi-age children. The later is very limited and currently is being reviewed by the BOS. I’ve been browsing online at as many of the Montessori/Home Education blogs as my sleepy eyes will allow and I’m beginning to formulate an excitement for Montessori learning that truly I’d only ever really ‘fantasised’ about before.
My renewed direction is based on the prepared environment. With the help of the Flylady (www.flylady.com) I must say my home is flowing and I’m definitely ’Flying’. Finally Loving Yourself is the ultimate aim of this method of ‘domestic order and routines’ which is a great platform for what I plan to do over the next few weeks. I’ve got a deadline for re-registration in March, for home education with the Board of Studies, so I hope to have it all done by then. I will need to list what needs to be done and timetable it in for it to happen though. Giving each job a ‘place to live’ in time and on a calendar means it has purpose. It’s all part of becoming ‘more Montessori’, giving everything a place to live. I know I’m repeating myself as I pretty much have set up a new room at the beginning of each year, but there is a reason for this.
At the end of the holidays I moved the home ed room into the smallest of the three bedrooms we have. The largest still has M and D co-habiting peacefully. So now I have the middle sized room which houses a wrap around computer station for 3 laptops as well as an electric piano. As I have an informal slat based bed without a headboard etc I’ve turned it into a large daybed so my room is in fact a media room. D will be 7 and M 10 in March so this space just for media really suits what they are doing with making music and movies, as well as online learning such as ABC Reading Eggs and Khan Academy.
The small back room which has a full length mirrored built in for ALL of our clothes and linen is now also lined with bookshelves, on the other three walls and there is a round table in the centre. So far it’s been a very productive room but I can see that it is in desperate need of that ‘home beautiful’ makeover treatment! This is the exciting part! There are several challenges such as all items on the shelves are needed and have no other place to live and as such make the room feel crowded, doubly so with one wall, to the right, being mirrored!
On the left, which you can not see at all, are three tall book cases FULL of books and supplies such as paper etc. More photos to follow but for now I will do the research necessary to work out what to do and then formulate a plan. Any suggestions will be warmly received.