Mama's Musings

Seasonal Fun: Winter

May 31, 2020

Garden:

There are a few flowers and vegetables you can plant in winter. Do you have some produce to harvest from your Autumn planting, or seeds to save from the last surviving plants? Keeping the food garden growing during Winter gives us a good reason to venture outdoors each day. If your garden isn’t producing it’s a great time to mulch well to deter weeds and feed the soil for Spring.

Play:

If the opportunity to play outside is limited, gather natural toys. Have a box of seedpods, dried leaves and pebbles for your little ones to sort. Some of these items may become puppets, some may become money in a store, some may build a scene and others will just be held and treasured. A natural modelling material is beeswax. It can be used to create small figurines and sheets can be rolled into candles.

Craft:

Winter allows us time to be creative together. To make a snowy scene - draw or colour a page with crayon (press hard) and paint over with white acrylic paint....

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Home Grown Kids: No Dig Gardens

May 29, 2020

A no-dig garden is also known as sheet mulching or lasagne gardening. It is built by layering materials on top of the soil or in a large vessel, thereby creating a friable and nutrient-rich environment in which to grow plants, especially vegetables.

Why no dig?

No-dig gardens are quick to build and require little on-going maintenance. They mimic nature with their layers of organic matter decomposing and being added to in time. There is no tilling and a covering of mulch so weeds are less of a problem. Because digging isn’t required the method is suitable for all gardeners.

How?

You can begin on any fairly flat surface, including using an old bathtub or other recycled raised bed. Ideally, the garden will receive at least five hours of sunshine per day. If building on the ground you might like to edge with wood or rocks if you have them, but it isn’t vital to the project and is something you might do later. Creating a no-dig bed directly on the lawn is fine, too. The...

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Friday Freebie! All About Learning Press Resources

May 28, 2020

I heard about All About Learning Press during the recent Australian Homeschooling Summit because they were one of the sponsors.  I went to their site to check out what they offered, and found a TON of free resources.  They have ebooks, checklists, activities, articles, posters, quick guides and apps.  

I'm embarking on a phonics journey with Zeah right now, and found a few really useful tools on this site - but it's not just for smalls!  The game sheets, for example, look like an excellent tool I'll use in future.

 

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Resource Review: Australian Homeschooling Summit 2020

May 26, 2020

From May 4th to May 15th 2020, I participated in the Australian Homeschooling Summit.  I presented a workshop during Week One about our family's 25 year home education journey.

I've also had the pleasure of enjoying other workshops and bonus sessions by Aussie home educators Lusi Austin, Kelly George, April Jermey, Andrew Lord, Karen Willson, Erin Hassett & her graduate homeschoolers, and Heidi Conway.  And there are at least a dozen I hope to watch or listen to in the coming weeks!  Even though I have six home ed graduates myself, there is so much of value in these workshops for me as a parent as I embark on this journey (again) with 4 year old Zeah.


The Summit was run mostly through a Facebook group, where there were Live presentations and watch parties, as well as a lot of bonus materials, opportunities to network, and Q&A with the presenters.  Workshops were also accessible directly via the Australian Homeschooling Summit website live,...

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Three Reasons I'm Glad We Homeschool - Part 2

May 25, 2020

Following on from last Tuesday's post, here are another three reasons I'm glad we're a home educating family...

TALKING

Homeschooling has allowed our children the time to talk to us - their parents, each other, neighbours, friends, other parents in the home ed group, their various tutors and coaches, team mates,employers and fellow staff at their jobs, professionals and more.  As with many home educated children, most of ours are very happy to have a conversation with anyone,and have gained a great deal of knowledge and confidence by doing so.

AVOIDING PEER PRESSURE

Not altogether, but for the most part, home educated children and teens are more free to be themselves, and to ponder the possibilities in life and learning.  They are able to make choices without too much influence of their age peers.  

FREEDOM

This can be scary, but also so empowering.  I feel blessed to allow our children so much freedom during their childhoods.  Freedom to choose,...

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Home Grown Kids: A Creative Garden

May 22, 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...

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Friday Freebie! Head Heart Hands Planner Sheet

May 21, 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.

 

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Resource Review: Art Supplies - Crayons

May 19, 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...

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