Phew! I've been a bit quiet on the blog while I tackle my first full-time semester of uni in over 25 years! It's been a great big learning journey. I have just a few weeks to go before a long summer break.
When I'm not at my desk working or studying, I'm trying to pop out to my garden regularly, because it's so calming for my mind. And harvesting great big bowlfuls of produce is also appealing... we have snowpeas, shelling peas, a couple of varieties of green beans, some broccoli, tons of leafy greens - Asian greens, lettuces, kale, spinaches, several edible flowers, gooseberries, mulberries, black sapote, chokos, lemons and lots of herbs in abundance right now. The chickens are also laying, and two hens had chicks recently. So life on the farm feels great!
To read some of my writing about gardening, go here.
Zeah and I did a Wild Weed Walk the other weekend. We both loved it! I used to take my bigger kids to lots of...
I've been listening to The Brave Learner on audible for a few weeks now, and I'm really enjoying it! As I listen to each chapter, I'm thinking "Yes!" Julie Bogart succinctly describes the learning adventure our family have lived for the past last 25+ years. To hear her describe how she learned to create a rich learning environment (and lifestyle) for her children, and trusted their choices and abilities is a beautiful reminder of how our own home education journey was also heart-centred and adventure-driven. Would I make the same choices again? Absolutely! I am, with Zeah who is 4 and will have a different experience to her siblings aged 16-26, but hopefully it will be as full of fun and love and help her to grow to be independent and brave adults like her siblings (she's already quite brave!)
Want to hear more? The Brave Learner is on Audible (your first title is free). It's also available as a paperback for around AUD$25 -...
I loved themed learning at any age! From reading Teddy Bear's Picnic and eating outdoors with babies, right through to teens writing essays inspired by concepts in a sci-fi movie they watched or novel they read...
Last week I read The Rainbow Fish to Zeah and the little ones I babysit, then we did some simple related activities.
The Rainbow Fish, with his shimmering scales, is the most beautiful fish in the ocean but he is proud and vain and none of the other fish want to be his friend—until he learns to give away some of his most prized possessions.
Sometimes the activity is so simple it's completed by the end of the story, and other times, we can spend a week or more immersed in the theme of a much-loved book.
When I looked online for activities related to The Rainbow Fish, there were hundreds of free ideas including arts & crafts, colouring pages, worksheets, games, loose parts play, snack ideas, and more! Learning like this is a little like a...
Marie from Nature Study Australia has collated a fantastic list of free resources for homeschoolers looking to include Nature Study in their learning journeys... We've used some of Marie's resources before, and I attended her workshop at the Australian Homeschooling Summit.
Once I started looking for nature study resources, I found there were hundreds, including freebies, available online. If you have any recommendations, please let us know what you're using, especially Aussie products!
We've had this set for about a year and I play it with Zeah, she plays with it alone, and we take it when I babysit some other homeschooled children. It's been really popular with 3-8 year olds. We have the version pictured, with activity cards.
Zeah uses the pebbles for sorting (size, colour, shape), stacking, counting, and making patterns. The pebbles are ideal for loose parts play, as maths manipulatives and the activity cards prompt plenty of variations of learning and play. There are several sets available.
I share printable resources I've made to my email subscribers and on my Facebook page and group. There are three up on the Resources page right now too!
As a Friday Freebie this week, I'd like to share a new one for the littles (or young at heart)... an animal-themed super-simple weekly planner page - ideal to print, laminate and use with a whiteboard marker over and over again!
We love Twinkl for printables and inspiration. We took advantage of the full free access during the covid-caused global homeschooling era, and we were rapt to see they're offering discounts for home educators this week so we can continue to access the resources.
Are you creating things with little people? I often am! I have a few craft books to inspire, but I don't regularly use them... I normally search online for a specific theme, eg: "rainbow craft preschool". Or sometimes I search for activities to use up specific materials, eg: "seedpod crafts". I have the beginnings of a folder of ideas in Pinterest, but I forget to add to it!
We like to use materials from nature, mixed with materials that can be composted. We try to avoid plastic, foam, synthetic fibres, over-packaged kits, single-use everything! I remember about 20 years ago taking my tribe of small children to playgroup and coming home with at least four creations made from plastic and styrofoam, glitter and googly eyes. And another four the next week. And over and over until our home was filled with non-recyclable art that inevitably ended up in the bin. We still have way too many precious creations floating...
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.
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.
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...
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...