Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Update on curriculum

I wanted it to be a great fit!! I kept telling myself it was! I kept telling others it was!! But I was stressed!! But I kept telling myself the curriculum is fantastic I have to make it fit us!! But it didn't fit us :(

The Heart of dakota curriculum is brilliant, but not for my family. I am a disappointed as I was wanting to make it fit into our day, but it didn't! And I couldn't feel relaxed or flexible knowing that we hadn't finished something, as I felt all had to be done. Taking two days is fine, but it just didn't fit! I also missed the choices that I had in their schooling. Yes I am chosen a curriculum that was great, but I wanted to make the choices for my kids, as well as letting them have choices to study what interests them. And I couldn't do this. I also like to organise excursions and hands on experiences for their learning, and I was struggling to do this with HOD.

This is just my experience as a result of my personality and my kids personalities, our timetable and needs. HOD is brilliant and I would advice anyone to take a look and use it if it will suit your families approach to homeschooling.

I am now using what I was in term 1. i using the approach i was using in term 1 before I thought I should be doing more of this and that!! i was wrong! I have now relaxed into homeschooling.

We are doing Ancient Civilisations and the Bible for history (more flexibility and not tightly connected to all other subjects), Exploring creation through zoology for science, nature studies (an informal approach) which includes sketching, collecting, discovering, identifying, reading, journalling, whatever we are interested in doing.

For the staples of education we are doing Drawn Into The Heart Of Reading (HOD), Writing strands, A reason for handwriting and A reason for spelling, Math U see, Rod and Staff english, heart of Dakota dictation for Damon.

We are doing Bible memorisation (HOD, Character Sketches, which is christian character studies based on the Bible and illustrated through the animal kingdom, Adele and I are looking at the Princess and the kiss,Damon and I are looking at the Squire and the scroll. We will be working through Little Keepers at Home and Little contenders for the faith. And the kids are strating a prayer jounal.

We are doing handicrafts like knitting (trying to :)), cross stitch, sewing with Beth, scrapbooking, making cards, general arts and crafts.

We are learning to serve one another and others through home and community -church, playgroup, friends.

We are learning music. Damon is learning drums and guitar. Adele and I are learning piano. And Adele will return to violin at some stage (maybe in a few years!!)

I am going to do a review of each of these curriculum choices with pictures over the next few weeks, so that you can see wat they are and how they work.

I week looks full, but it is flexible and varied. If we miss something, we pick it up next week. We don't do it all in one day, some things are for fun and others fortnightly. We do get out and socialise with other homeschoolers. There is time to play and enjoy each other. We are learning heaps that we wouldn't have except for homeschooling.

Taking time to snuggle

I had a wonderful experience today. A very simple but satisfying plus fulfilling experience. It cost nothing. It was free. And it was the best experience in the world. Everyone has them to give and everyone can receive them. They are free for all. SNUGGLES!!!

Over the past 4 years I have suffered some kind of anxiety which was related to having babies. My anxiety is not the type to cause panic attacks or sleepless nights, or constantly worrying about everything as such (there is a bit of that!). I don't even know if I am using the right words to describe what I have had. My disorder (for a better word?) causes me to be unaffectionate, unsupportive, harsh with my words, withdrawing from those who want a piece of my attention because it is too much. I just want things to be done so I would shout and offer no support. And then when all is finished at night I feel really bad :( I didn't want to spend time doing anything quality time with the kids unless it was on my terms or pre- organised. Also it affected outside of the home relationships because I couldn't hold a conversation, I couldn't relate. Then this made me paranoid that they thought I was an idiot, so then I wouldn't want to speak to them because I was embarrassed or in my mind I would be cranky. I would be snappy and not handle criticism. I was not in a good way. My disorder affected all of my relationships. But I could still function, running home, playgroup, looking after kids, I just couldn't relate.

Now after 23 months since the birth of my youngest, and since beginning homeschooling, but especially since I have relaxed into homeschooling, and through the lessons God is teaching me about love, I am now building relationships.

God is great. He has turned my heart home. He has turned my eyes home. He is working with me on relationships. He is healing my hurts. He is teaching me to love. He is working with me on character. I am changing and although this process can be painful, I am so excited. I am feeling a joy that I have always known but now feel deeply. I am now able to stop, sit, listen, enjoy and snuggle my kids without wanting to find a distraction for me to go to.

Josef was a little suky yesterday. He woke up from his sleep, still sleepy but just wanted a snuggle. In the past I would have made him go back to sleep, as it was all too much!! He would have screamed! And I would have wanted to! But I didn't do this, I picked him up and carried him out and we snuggled. We snuggled for a long time, it was warm, it was deeply satisfying and I didn't want it to end. I was comfortable, relaxed and wasn't wanting to put him down.

When he was a baby, I didn't want to be holding him all the time, I didn't want him to become to get into the bad habit of wanting to be carried everywhere, never wanting to be put down. I needed space :( It was a horrible time, I was stressed and not coping. I wanted sleep. I wanted to enjoy my children. I wanted to enjoy my husand, but I couldn't and I was screaming for help on the inside (and sometimes on the outside). But I am changing and I am now ejoying all of my family.

Always remember a snuggle is free and it is important. God is always with us and always willing to help, encourage and help us to grow/heal. He is a great, loving God. Call out to Him today :)

Monday, 29 August 2011

A wonderful spring day out and about.

It has been a glorious day today. The sun has been shining and we have been outdoors enjoying it :)

We met some good friends in the park this morning for a play and morning tea. We hadn't been to this particular park before and found that it was very family friendly. There was something there for everyone, even us big kids!!

The kids had such a lovely time chasing each other, taking turns pushing the swings and spinning.

Josef decided today that the swing was owned by him and only him! He was sitting quietly eating his morning tea when he spotted one of his friends hopping onto the swing!! And he dropped his biscuits, jumped off the equipment he was sat on and bolted for that swing!! He was so quick I couldn't believe it! And he was devastated when he realised that neither mum nor damon was going to kick off his friend so that he could go back on!!

It was also very muddy in areas around the pond today. I was walking very carefully with Avril and thought I had avoided all the mud, when 'SQUELCH!!', up to the ankle in mud!!! Avril thought it was so funny, cracking up at mum squelching around!! Heather (my friend) thought it hilarious when I arrived back at the play equipment pne shoe on, one shoe off, heading for some nappy wipes :)

We later decided to take a walk around the pond. My keen nature observer, Damon, was very keen for this and all the other kids followed. He spotted them a giant water skink which he tried to catch on camera, only to be disappointed when it shot off! They spotted tadpoles and ducks. The little kids loved following Damon along the waters edge and amongst the trees and bushes.

It was beautiful around the pond. Lots of things to explore, touch and throw into the pond - hey kids!! It was a lovely morning with lovely company.

Then this afternoon, much to Damons delight, we pulled up to Beths' home for sewing, only to spot a bearded dragon sunning itself on her front lawn. He was so excited, jumping straight out of the car, calling 'where's the camera?'! After taking a couple of shots, Damon shared his discovery with Lincoln, Beths son.

Sewing was so exciting today. Adele and I have now finished our cushions. I have now given mine to Avril (she is sleeping on it now!!) and Adele is delighted. They both look great, so thankyou Beth for great instruction and encouragement. We are so excited to choose our next project. Adele is thinking she wants to make a dress and Damon a patchwork quilt. I am not sure yet, I need some inspiration :)

Whilst we were sewing Abbie and Josef crept off into mischief!! Well not really...just exploring all the rooms in the house.

I love homeschool days like these...relaxed, flexible and thoroughly enjoyable :)

Adventures with Dad :)

My husband is really good at spending special time with the kids. Last week he took them on a photography excursion because they missed theirs on friday. They took a trip into Newcastle viewed photography in the Lovett Gallery, then took photos in Civic park plus along the ocean. They all came back with wonderful photos.

Last weekend was our church women's night away at Tahlee. We had a wonderful night and day away, learning about Rahab and faith. We played games, chatted, made a flip flop card and ate. It was a lovely time away.

The kids also had a wonderful time here at home with Dad. They dressed up, they cooked a bbq, they played, they visited the park and collected water for Charlie and Liam the tadpoles. They had a wonderful time with Dad. I am so thankful for him.


And the park visit...

And when I returned I was greeted by a BBq dinner
(cooked by them all!) and a dwarf umbrella tree. I am very well looked after