Archive for June, 2012

Wonderfully Made

June 25, 2012

I praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Psalm 139:14

 

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Homeschooling

June 24, 2012

Possum is 6 years 1 month
Bandicoot is 3 years 11 months
Little Princess is 1 year 5 months (17 months)

It is an idea that just won’t go away.  It niggles at the back of my brain.  Maybe it is because Possum is having a bit of a hard time settling in to school (although he is doing okay at the moment…). Maybe it is because of the effort homework requires from me.  I don’t know.

Homeschooling.

Long time readers of this blog know that I originally started it to record homeschooling adventures for preschool.  Homeschooling has been playing on my mind for a while.

I think DH had hoped this was a fancy that had died a natural death now that Possum was a school.  I know he has a lot of legitimate concerns (whether or not they are warranted). Things like:
Making sure they get a good, rounded education
Spending time with friends
What is involved for us – planning, expenses etc
How taxing would it be on me, especially given my health, and what would the repercussions be of that on all of us in so many ways

There are many other things, too.  This is to give you an idea.

But it won’t leave me alone.

With every issue at school, I think, ‘would this happen if we home schooled?’
With every good thing that happens at school, I think, could we do this?  Could we give an equivalent experience?’

Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes, no.

There is a boy in HJ6’s class who comes from a homeschooling family.  This year there are two kids at school, two at home.  Next year it is unlikely that this boy will return to school.  I have chatted with his Mum quite a bit, and I have gone to a local homeschooler’s social meet with her, too.

This meeting pleasantly surprised me.  In the past I have met with other groups of homeschoolers, and while lovely, they weren’t of the same, um, academic – calibre? ambition? level? as our family.  That is fine, but it is important to me that we do not cut off opportunities for the kids by the choices we make now.  For example, our kids might not end up at uni, but it is important to me that we consider education options where matriculation is expected rather than impossible or nearly impossible.  This group consisted mostly of highly trained professionals, who have similar expectations.  That’s good.  Should we choose to ever go this route, I would want support from people with similar ideals.

Also, possibly not surprisingly if you have spent much time on American Homeschooling Blogs, a lot of the families are Christian.  One of the concerns that many of them share, and share with me, is the development of our children’s ethics.  This was an issue that made me think most strongly about homeschooling in the first place.  I hate that there are so many other influences on my young child at this point in time.  He is not formed, ethically.  So many societies talk about the importance of the first seven to eight years especially, and here I am sending him away to people who may or may not share my views.  It isn’t even a Christian school (for many reasons).  For many of these families, this is the driving reason for homeschooling.

But back to me.  I can see how this is so doable.  I can see what a wonderful lifestyle it is for us.  But I have concerns, too.  (Not least of all that I would need DH on board!  Child raring is not unilateral.  Not in our family, anyway.). There are three:

To be honest, I, too, am concerned about how I would go with my health.  Is this a strain that I simply don’t need in my life?  Or is it a calling for our family and therefore not going to be an issue?  Or somewhere in between?  How would I cope with always having the kids there?  Always.  Everywhere.  For everyone’s doctor’s appointments, every time I pop to the shops, every cuppa, every conversation with friends or anyone.  Every minute, always.  Yes, kind of like now, except it doesn’t go away for much longer.  MUCH longer.  One of my major problems at the moment is that I don’t have any personal space, and no personal head space either, unless I stay up until much too late at night.  Of course the kids will continue to get older and become more independant, but it will take a while.  And to be honest I do enjoy my days when both boys out of the house (especially when Little Princess sleeps!). Maybe it doesn’t bother others as much as me, or maybe it really isn’t as much of an issue as it potentially seems.

My second major concern is the friend thing.  I don’t think socialisation is an issue.  There are many ways to meet people and make friends.  What concerns me is that Possum has made so many friends at school already.  Also, I have made friends with lots of the parents.  His class is quite a community (and we have made friends with some other families, too, especially around the climbing frame of an afternoon.  It would be hard to leave this network, but hard, too, to maintain it.

And what about the collective experience?  There is something (although not everything) to be said for that.  A connection to others that sits differently to a friendship.  A shared experience, even if you may have a very different one.  Will they feel they have missed out?  That they are segregated from society, somehow?  And apart from that, I really loved school – for the first five years, anyway.  But I loved it enough during that time that those years, combined with my passion for learning, somehow bouyed me through the following eight years (of bitchiness, fighting, cliques and bullying).in

Oh alright, one other thing (I have had to pause during the writing of this too many times and have lost my train of thought):  what about the extra curricular?  I know that so much is available, into these parts anyway, externally to school, but there is a lot at school, too.  Art, music, computing etc are all included every week.  Could I do that?  What about sport?  Yes the kids could join a team, but what about events like the cross country, that are still being discussed daily? What about a school play or concert.  How do you get those experiences without joining a dedicated drama, or singing or music class?  Is that important?  Does different kinds of fun make up for it?

I wish that this was an easy or obvious decision for me.  I wish I was convicted one way or the other.  I pray on it, I try to live one way or the other to test the decisions, but all I get is more questions.  Questions that others cannot answer for me.  The obvious solution would be to run an experiment for a term or two or a year, but that involves the commitment of DH, too, and how can I expect that when I am so confused.  It is also an experiment with the life of my anxious little boy, and I don’t want to make things harder for him than they already are.

Oh dear.  So many thoughts.  So much confusion.

My Front Door

June 23, 2012

As you know, I have been feeling a bit grim lately.

One of the things that has been really getting me down is my front door.  Since F1 came along, and especially since this bout of depression, housework is pretty much on a survival basis (as is everything else.)  Even at the best of times, a lot of housework doesn’t inspire me.

However, it has really been bothering me that when I arrive home, I go to the front door and it is dirty.  I put my key into a dirty door.  Yuck.

I am already feeling bad, and I know my house is a comparative bombsite, but to have it greet me before I even get inside – well it is just awful.

So this morning, I cleaned my front door.

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As you can see, our front door is a very cheery colour.  I love coloured front doors.  I grew up in a house with a green front door (number 32, just like Paddington Bear).  When we were house hunting I completely fell in love with a house with a red front door.  The house was totally inappropriate for our needs, but I still think about that house because of it’s door.

And now, I can see our lovely, coloured front door.

It just gives me a little buzz inside.

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Playdough!

June 21, 2012

Possum is 6 years 1 month

Bandicoot is 3 years 11 months

Little Princess is 1 year 5 months (17 months)

 

Today, we made playdough. 

We haven’t had playdough for a long time.  I like to think that I swap the toys around a bit (but really, it is just a theory and I hardly ever do – oops!)  However, a while ago I realised that, while they still played with the playdough frequently, they didn’t really care for it much.

And so I let the supply run out without replacement and packed the playdough playstuff up out of reach.  Still within sight (my mistake, combined with a lack of suitable storage for such things.)

The begging for playdough has been going on for a little while now, off and on, but this last week or so, it has got more insistent.  When Bandicoot begged me to at least get down the playdough things (the cutters etc) and let him play with those, I felt the time had come.

We were planning a home day, anyway.

I was going to make blue playdough, as blue is his favourite colour, but he asked for pink instead.

And so we have beautiful pink playdough.  I use this recipe here.  I also love the idea from Counting Coconuts of adding scents, so we added rosewater today.

And, just to make things easier, I experimented with using the dough hook on my lovely, new kitchen mixer.  It certainly saved burning my hands, and it ended up being wonderfully smooth.

Poor, deprived Little Princess.  It was her first playdough experience, and she wasn’t sure what to make of it, much to Bandicoot’s amusement.  I am not sure that she was totally impressed once she found out it wasn’t for eating!

Bandicoot, on the other hand, played for hours.

IMG_4877Tyrannosaurus Rex as made by Bandicoot.  He told me it was vicious, but I thought it was just too cute for words.

And when Possum got home from school, he exclaimed, “Aw!  Is that really new playdough?  Wow!  And it smells like lollies!”  He has been elbow deep in it ever since.

Sometimes it is nice to be a “good” mother.

Sometimes the Little Things Mean So Much

June 10, 2012

 

Spotted today in the supermarket….

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I love this cereal.  It is my all time favourite (even better than Rice Bubbles with cream).

We used to buy it on an as-required basis.  Then is disappeared!  I was devastated.  As a breakfast-hater from way back, losing just about the only thing palatable to me in the mornings was quite a blow.  As the kids had developed a taste for it, too, things were doubly – er triply – bad.  At least they liked other stuff as well.

I was so excited when I say this on the shelf that I squealed with delight.  I even kissed the box.  Yes, truly *blush*

I so hope it has become a permanent fixture on the shelves again.

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Pyjama Friends

June 6, 2012

Possum is 6 years 1 month

Bandicoot is 3 years 11 months

Little Possum is 1 year 5 months (17 months)

 

Do you have pyjama friends?  I do.

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These are two very special friends of mine.  We are all Mums of kindergarten and under kids, mostly boys (until Little Princess crashed the testosterone party), and boys of particular temperaments.

We know what life can be like.

And we love each other dearly.

Today, both these girls came to visit (for a total of five kids under the age of four).  This is what we refer to as time out for Mumma.

My friend Sam-O, you already know.  We went to high school together-where she was in the cool, A-crowd and I was a nerd (had to put that in for you, Sammy!), (our Mum’s were friends, too), then lost touch, then, thanks to facebook, discovered that we lived just down the road from each other (nowhere near where we grew up) and that we had kids the same age.  We clicked and have become besties.

My friend L and I met at Church when our big kids were 7 and 8 months old respectively and have been besties ever since.

Why “pyjama friends”?  Well, we established long ago that if you are having a rough day, you don’t have to get dressed.  You can turn up in pjs, or be in pjs when someone arrives.  We know the score.

Yes, we are that close.  These are the kinds of friends with whom we can share our worst grievances about family life, when our DHs are annoying us, when we want to put the kids on eBay- and, instead of calling the Department of Community Services, they listen, say something supportive and hand us a hot cuppa.  We know that we all love our families dearly, but sometimes we need to let off steam.  These girls are that safe environment.

I would be lost without these two.  I hope they know how much I love them.

Only our Bandicoot

June 5, 2012

Bandicoot is 3 years and 11 months

Do you feel like you know our Bandicoot?  He is a bit of a special little guy.  Sometimes he is special, like a sweet little angel, and sometimes, well, like Special.

Photo0188(Bandicoot as an angel freeing St Peter from Prison at Sunday School this week) 

 

Today, we had an “Only Bandicoot” moment.

Let me just point out a little background.  I live in a Boy house.  Despite the presence of Little Princess and me, we are often just one step off a bachelor flat.  Especially when it comes to toilet humour and fascination.  And “peeing in the wild” (for example, in the garden, rather than the loo) could be a national sport in these here parts.

Well today I had finally managed to brave the backyard and the littles followed.  Swinging, and an impromptu tea party ensued.  And then Bandicoot got the jiggles.  You know the jiggle I mean.

Well, despite his fascination with all things excretory, it takes a fair bit of encouragement to get Bandicoot to visit the little room.  After considerable –erm- nagging, he finally conceded that he needed to go.  In the garden.

Next thing I hear is, “Oh no, I have pee on my tummy.”

“You what???!!??”

Yup, he did.  How?  Well that was my question too.

Well, you know when you have a tap or a bubbler or a hose and you put your finger across the end of it to spray it like a fountain….

“I was just trying to make my wee into a fountain…”

Only our Bandicoot!