Mama's Musings

Home Grown Kids: A Creative Garden

May 23, 2020

Time in the garden need not be only about planting, feeding, watering and harvesting. Another way to enjoy your garden is through art.

The garden itself is often seen as a form of art. Using plants’ colour, texture, shape and size the gardener creates a landscape of beauty. By adding accessories, either natural (such as stones) or man-made, we enhance and individualise our growing spaces. By looking at others’ gardens, parklands, nature, books and magazines from the library, and online, we can collate ideas of what appeals to us and from there gradually shape our garden through the addition of new plants or other items.

Gardening is the art that uses flowers and plants as paint, and the soil and sky as canvas. Elizabeth Murray.

Throughout history gardens have also influenced artists’ paintings, photographs and words. Famous garden artists include Paul Cezanne, Claude Monet and Georgia O’Keefe. Of course for many children, their first artworks include...


Friday Freebie! Head Heart Hands Planner Sheet

May 22, 2020

Here's another daily planner tool!  A good use for this one would be to print once and laminate, and use with a whiteboard marker.

The Head Heart Hands holistic approach to organising our days is one we have used throughout our whole parenting and home education journey.  It gives rhythm to the day and helps remind us to strive for balance.  It is also flows with the natural energy for most of us.  Here are some examples:

Head tasks in the morning - academics, budgeting/bills, phone calls
Heart tasks to recuperate - music, reading, or reading aloud together, cuddling, resting
Hands tasks to engage our bodies - craft, gardening, long walks, sport, cooking

Download your copy here.



Resource Review: Art Supplies - Crayons

May 20, 2020

Following on from last week's review of Lyra pencils, good quality crayons are also really worth buying.  We invested in Stockmar Crayons (sticks and blocks) and Crayon Rocks for our children, and they've lasted years. 

The Stockmar Crayons are made of beeswax and come in a tin or a wooden box.  They're popular with Steiner/Waldorf educators and families.  The blocks are especially suited to small children, and activities such as crayon rubbing.  The sticks are strong (ours have not snapped or bent) and offer the same brilliant result as the blocks.  Neither type crumbles or smudges - they are so smooth.

Crayon Rocks are made from soy wax and come in a drawstring bag.  They're ideal for teaching pencil grip and were designed by an occupational therapist.  These are even more smooth on the paper than the Stockmar crayons!  They're not quite as long-lasting (because the wax is slightly softer), but they're still a...


Three Reasons I'm Glad We Homeschool - Part 1

May 19, 2020

Some of the reasons I'm glad we're a home educating family include...


As an avid reader myself, I'm so happy to be able to give our family the opportunity to read and read and read.  Homeschooling has allowed our children a lot of time to read.  They can read to suit their interests and abilities. 

Our children learned to read when they were ready.  They were aged 3 to 8 when they read independently.

Oh, and books.  Homeschooling = books...  So many books!  Being homeschoolers means guilt-free home library building!


We have had so many occasions when we've come across wildlife, for one example, and had the time to photograph it, research it, draw it, write about it, talk about it to others...  Time is such a precious commodity, and without it, spontaneous learning is difficult. 

A lot of our most memorable learning situations were spontaneous ones.  No one remembers my handmade phonics readers, doing...


Home Grown Kids: What's In The Box?

May 16, 2020

It is vitally important that our children have access to fresh, wholesome, affordable and tasty food.  The freshest food is local food.  Food from the earth, not wrapped in plastic from a store.  The most local is our own backyard, balcony, or a school or community garden.

Potted gardens are quick to establish.  They are ideal for those renting, living in small spaces, with changeable weather or anyone just starting out. This is possibly the perfect ‘garden’ for small children because they are so defined and more easily controlled than a traditional vegetable plot. You may have some space on your rooftop, balcony or steps to begin or add to your garden right away with pots.

On our family’s farm with hectares of arable land we grow a lot of our food plants in containers because they are easy to manage.  I can move them around to suit the weather, the drainage is excellent, they are more easily protected from free-ranging chickens and...


Friday Freebie! Daily Planner Sheet

May 15, 2020

Something simple is often the best tool for the task!

Here's a free printable - day to a page for those busy, busy weeks!


Resource Review: Art Supplies - Lyra Pencils

May 13, 2020

I learned fairly early on in parenting that poor quality art supplies just weren't worth buying.  Instead of paying 99c for a packet of pencils that broke and split and gave a mediocre result on the page, I invested in German-made Lyra pencils for our children.  These have lasted years, being topped up from time to time with a new packet or some metallics or skin tones for variety.  I used to sell Lyra pencils when I owned Spiral Garden, so was lucky to buy a stash of them at wholesale rates.  Years on, though, I don't hesitate to pay full price when it's time to restock the pencil jar, because they are awesome!  They're still available from Spiral Garden, as well as most art supply stores and even Officeworks.

We mostly use the Super Ferby range - they're thick, so they're strong.  They smell good, and they feel good in our hands.  Most of the Ferby range have only natural wood on the outer case, which is good for smalls who like to chew pencils...


Home Grown Kids: The Recycled Garden

May 09, 2020

Recycling in the garden has been increasing in popularity for more than a decade. In July 2008, Richard Reynolds and his team created a Recycled Garden at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. The creators explained, “Everything in this garden would have been thrown away if we had not intercepted it. Reusing and rejuvenating old plants is one tactic guerrilla gardeners deploy when transforming neglected patches of public space. In this way both land and plants are given a new lease of life - sustainably and cheaply.”

In the United States, more than 600,000 tons of discarded material were recycled by landscaper and artist Richard Pocopalia for garden use. Items used in his designs include old guardrails, driftwood, broken crockery and other waste. What an achievement to reduce landfill by 600,000 tons whilst creating beautiful places!

Garden recycling is a great way to inspire interest in the environment especially with kids. Finding...


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