Snapshot of our month – September 2015

~ September 2015 ~

For something a little bit different I would like to share some of my favourite quotes about nature, and kids in nature.

gorge04“Unless we are willing to encourage our children to reconnect with and appreciate the natural world we can’t expect them to help protect and care for it.”
– David Suzuki

gorge01“Life must be lived as PLAY.”
– Plato

brimbank02“A child, more than anyone else, is a spontaneous observer of nature.”
– Maria Montessori

blossoms03“I believe that being in nature is nourishment for the soul.”
– Amanda Steele

gorge02“If I were to name the three most precious resources of life, I should say books, friends, and nature; and the greatest of these, at least the most constant and always at hand, is nature.”
– John Burroughs

blossoms01“My best thing in nature is grass and dirt and water. I like to kick the mud everywhere and I like mud on me.”
– Arlia

brimbank04“Teaching children about the natural world should be seen as one of the most important events in their lives.”
– Thomas Berry

gorge03“If I were in nature I would like to see a peregrine falcon flying everywhere, and see a cheetah and a cheetah cub. I wish I was a falcon so I could fly.”
– Kyson

gorge05“A friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

brimbank03“Brothers and sisters are as close as hands and feet.”
– Vietnamese Proverb

blossoms05“The most beautiful gift of nature is that it gives one pleasure to look around and try to comprehend what we see.”
– Albert Einstein

brimbank01Every child is born a naturalist. Their eyes are, by nature, open to the glories of the stars, the beauty of the flowers, and the mystery of life.
– R. Search

blossoms02“I like being in nature because I like nature and it makes me very happy.”
– Shayla

geocache“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.”
– John Muir

wombat01“Satisfaction of one’s curiousity is one of the greatest sources of happiness in life.”
– Linus Pauling

blossoms04“Nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive and even spiritual satisfaction.”
– E. O. Wilson



Snapshot of our week – Weeks 28 – 30

~ August 9th – 30th ~

IMG_4108This was a common sight for a week or so. The kids all tag-teamed the chicken pox and then a virus. Thankfully the chicken pox was fairly mild for them and they didn’t get any of the symptoms other than some spots (and Kyson and Arlia hardly got any spots even). The virus was more troublesome because they kept getting really high fevers that got close to 40 degrees Celsius and were tough to bring down. But other than that they were just tired and slept a lot. It was tough seeing them ill because it’s so rare for them to even get something as common as a cold. I’m so very thankful for their exceptional health!

IMG_4254While the kids were potentially still contagious we stayed in quarantine and only did activities like geocaching that we could do away from other people. This secluded area seemed perfect and it was so good to get outside after being cooped up for so long.

IMG_4345Kyson really enjoyed his first introduction to electronics. He created a little circuit that rang a bell.

IMG_4364Once we were finally contagion-free we went to our regular homeschool group in Brimbank Park. This tree was once again the favourite activity and Kyson kept asking me to take videos of him climbing it.

IMG_4370We made ourselves a bush shelter and sat inside to cook our imaginary marshmallows over the imaginary fire.

IMG_4379Thankfully we ended the month germ-free and in high spirits.

Snapshot of our week – Week 26 & 27

~ July 27th – August 9th ~

bushwalking01I love that we can start off a new fortnight in nature. It’s still chilly and we didn’t head out until the late afternoon, but the sun was shining through the clouds and it was quite pleasant once we got walking.

bushwalking06We’re lucky that we are not too far from some nice national parks. This particular forest is one we have only just discovered. I was looking on google maps and saw a big section of green. Turns out it’s Long Forest Flora Reserve. So we looked up some information about tracks and managed to find one of the little tracks.

bushwalking03The kids were quite fascinated with the lichen growing on a lot of the branches. It led into a discussion about symbiotic and parasitic relationships.

bushwalking04We also found this cute yellow lichen as well.

bushwalking02There was a lot of moss growing along this particular walking track and it was so soft to touch.

bushwalking05Sometimes the track twisted and turned between trees, and then other times it would open up into gorgeous areas like this.

bodyShayla and I have been doing some investigation into the human body. We drew around her body on a large piece of paper and we’ve started adding organs to the body. This is Shayla adding the heart, but it also has some blood vessels and a brain now as well.

rocketKyson got this air rocket kit from a little friend for his birthday and he did a great job of following the instructions and assembling it. Then all three kids took turns launching the rocket and seeing how high they could make it fly.

mathsThis kid amazes me. Fractions? At 6?! Maybe he just likes pie 😉

geocaching01We’ve discovered Geocaching. I had read about it briefly in the past and thought it sounded fun, but never really knew where to start. Then I found the the Geochaching app for my iPhone and realised how easy it is! Our first cache that we searched for was actually in our favourite local park. We had no idea that we’d been walking over a cache all this time.

geocaching02After we found the cache we sat down by the lake for a little while so we could watch a couple of remote controlled boats on the water. Gosh they go fast!

fireworks01On Friday nights during July and August the City of Melbourne puts on fireworks displays in the Docklands at 7:30pm. We went a few times last year and it was great so we made sure we got down there again this year as well. This is Arlia waiting patiently for them to start.

fireworks02The fireworks didn’t fail to impress, and they were spectacular again. I’m not sure if I was more excited or the kids. The great thing this year was that the kids didn’t get scared at all by the noise.

fireworks03And look who joined us! Aunty Nikki!!

melbstar03Once the fireworks were over we went and had a little snack, and then we went for a flight on the Melbourne Star. It was a bit rainy outside, but the view was still amazing and the kids (including Nikki and I) really enjoyed it.

Snapshot of our week – Week 24 & 25

~ July 13th – July 26th ~

We started out this fortnight with a trip to Lerderderg Gorge with some of our art supplies and a blanket. It was chilly out, but the beautiful surroundings were enough inspiration for some gorgeous nature-inspired art.

natureart1The girls started with oil pastels and then finished their pictures with some paints.

natureart2I think this is my favourite piece of art the Shayla has ever done so far. She was so careful while creating it.

homeschoolgroup1During the week we had a playdate at a fellow homeschoolers home. She was kind enough to open her home to a few families and organise a nature theme. There was lots of natural bits and pieces for the kids to play with and use their imaginations to get creative.

homeschoolgroup2These flying bugs were a favourite for the kids to create.

homeschoolgroup3Knowing there was a nature theme, the kids and I took along a couple of our Spiny Leaf Insects. The other kids seemed to really enjoy them and were happy to let them climb over their arms.

brimbank2Kyson and I had an afternoon alone together, so we went to the Brimbank Park homeshool meetup. It was a pretty quiet week with quite a few people missing it due to illness, but we still had a lovely time together.

brimbankWe went for a walk down to the river to see how high the water level was. It was probably the highest that we have ever seen it.

bedtimeworkEach evening at bedtime the kids choose a book for me to read to them. The Dr Seuss educational books are the favourite at the moment. One evening Kyson chose the book about plants. After reading the book Kyson told me he needed to do something and asked if he could get some paper. At first I was going to tell him it was bedtime and he could do it in the morning. And then I realised, why does creativity need to be constrained by a bedtime? So off he ran while I got the girls into bed. When I came out of their room I found Kyson at the table finishing up this lovely piece of work showing how a tree grows from a seed. No encouragement from me. Just a pure, interest-led display of learning.

arliaminecraftAnd this here is an example of some of Arlia’s work. How on earth can a three year old even create something like this on their own? She’s enjoying making structures with patterning through them at the moment.

scienceworks5We took a trip to Science Works and spent the afternoon play-learning.

scienceworks3Kyson spent a lot of time on this game. It was a digital reading of a time and you changed the time on the clock to match the digital time.

scienceworks4There was an Alice in Wonderland exhibition and these door were so cute. There was something different that you could see through each door. Some of them were kind of freaky!

scienceworks2This is Kyson’s very favourite activity at Science Works. He could spend hours on this interactive map flying over the city. He finds all his favourite landmarks such as the Bolty and Westgate bridges.

scienceworks1Shayla and I played this really cool interactive game. It gives you a task and a time frame to complete the task in. We had to create an eco-city and meet certain requirements. We won!

twinningWe finished off our week with a trip to Grandma and Grandpa’s house where we got to meet the kid’s new baby nephew. He’s soooooooo adorable. The girls were playing nicely in the kid’s room, so I took the opportunity to take a photo of them in the new dresses I made for them. They are so cute when they are twinning hehe.

Snapshot of our week – Week 22 & 23

~ June 29th – July 12th ~

The weather has been cold and wet, so when the opportunity arises to get out and about on a day without rain, we take it. I’d read that Federation Square was setting up a dome and trucking in snow. I’d love to take the kids to see and experience snow on the mountains, but we’re not going to have the chance this year, so snow in the city seemed like a good plan.

snow bubblesWhen we arrived at Federation Square we discovered that the dome was tiny, only fit a single family in it at a time, and the line went on forever. There was no chance we were going to wait hours in line to spend 2 minutes in the dome, with what looked like fake snow. I suspect the real snow melted (the ground was all wet), so now they were using fake snow. Instead, the kids chased bubbles for a while and then we went looking or something else to do.

melb2It never matters how cold it is, water is always a magnet for children. They have to touch it.

melb1I thought we could go visit the National Gallery of Victoria, but when we got there we discovered it was closed that day. Disappointing, but the kids enjoyed playing with the water window again.

mirror2A friend sometimes posts photos of her kids at the “magic mirror” and I’d never been able to find it. Luckily she saw my “what can we do in the city?” post to facebook and told us where it was. And the kids loved it!

mirror1It’s quite mesmerising to stand in there and see the way everything reflects back.

mirror3Hang on… how many of me can I see?

melb4After the mirrors we took a walk a little way along Southbank, down a lovely spiral staircase and head back toward Federation Square. This is when our trip took an even more unexpected turn. We decided to take the elevator up, instead of walking up the stairs. Wrong choice! This photo is of us stuck in the elevator. The elevator got stuck between floors and nothing the emergency call guy got us to do would budge it. See that door in the background? It’s not a grey door. It’s a glass door looking out at the concrete beyond the door. And there’s a door on the opposite side with the same view. Thankfully I stayed calm, which kept the kids calm, whilst secretly I was running every movie-inspired scenario through my head. Ok, so in all honesty, the worst that probably could have happened was if one of the kids said “Mummy, I need to go to the toilet”. Help arrived within about 30 minutes and the kids spent most of it sitting on the floor with me, watching a youtube video about herbivores, carnivores and omnivores. Might as well learn while we’re stuck yeah? Lol.

melb3Our butts were a bit cold from sitting on the cold elevator floor, so we went or a walk through the gardens. We were all curious what these kids were looking at…

treeWe finished our trip by walking through the gardens back to the train station. We thought this tree looked like it had a face, so Kyson and I decided we needed to give it some eyes.

minecraft bookKyson has started writing and illustrating a book about Minecraft. He said it might be a bit scary so he purposely made his words on the bottom of the page a bit squiggly to show they were frightened.

pickaxesKyson’s also been making pickaxes for when him and the girls do imaginary play.

cubby houseThe kids now have a castle to play in. Oh hang on… or is it a rocket? Or was it a cake stall….?

concentrationLittle Arlia has been practising her Minecraft skills. Concentrating always requires a tongue out of course.

aus puzzleThe girls still enjoy puzzles, but Arlia is always the most interested and also the best at them. She has a real keen eye for pieces that match.

blocksFairy castle!

laporchettaA while back the kids did a photo shoot for La Porchetta, so we have some meal vouchers. And boy do they looooove their La Porchettas hahaha!

bikeridingThree little cuties riding their bikes into the next week 😉 Thanks for stopping by.

Snapshot of our week – Week 20 & 21

~ June 15th – 28th ~

The school holidays were approaching and many of the Shopping Centres have special events that they run during the two weeks. Unfortunately that generally means that you have to navigate much larger crowds to see the exhibits. Thankfully, one of the local shopping centres started their exhibit a week before the school holidays, so we were able to discover the Prehistoric Creatures of the Ice Age at our leisure.

prehistoric3Little Miss Arlia was the only one brave enough to get up close with the Sabre Tooth Tiger.

prehistoric4prehistoric1prehistoric2While we were at the shops I took the kids to the cinema to see a movie. It was Kyson’s second time going to the cinema, but it was a first for the girls! They were all very excited about the popcorn bags and a frosty drink.

minions1The Minions was the perfect first movie for the girls. It was bright and funny, so it kept them entertained for the whole movie.

minions2Shayla got a little bit nervous as the lights went down, but she held onto my hand and was giggling as soon as the minions started their funny banter.

teapartyOn rainy days when we have no plans, what is better than a pink milk tea party? With marshmallows of course! My favourite part is when they pick up the cups and drink from them so delicately… then put them down and smile with their milky moustaches hehe.

printsPlease don’t give me the “Oh my gosh! She lets them paint on the floor” look haha. Yes, we enjoy painting on the tiles. My dining table is right up next to the kitchen bench (we only use two sides to sit at anyway) so that we have a huge tiled area for art and craft. I even moved most of our art supplies to the dinning area so that the kids have access whenever inspiration hits. Tiles are really the easiest things to clean paint and other crafty substances from.

payLook at that gorgeous proud look on my baby boys face! That’s the first 50 cents he’s earned towards buying Minecraft on the PC. He’s doing great with his jobs, although he’s decided that a couple of them aren’t very fun and he often chooses not to do them and not get paid. But that’s ok, because he’s learning that by not doing them it’s taking longer to earn the money he needs.

khanacademyIn general we mostly unschool. We don’t do bookwork or worksheets, and most of our learning is child-led and natural in nature. Having said that, I am also introducing some computer programs to see if we like them. Kyson quite enjoys Khan Academy for maths at the moment. I found that it started good, but I think some of it may be progressing a little fast. I also think the other subjects are aimed for much older kids. It’s free though, so he can keep “playing” for as long as he likes.

comicon1We ended the week with a trip to ComicCon with Aunty Nikki. All the girls had a great time… Kyson didn’t like it though. He didn’t like the first thing we went to (which admittedly went longer than we thought it would and was really aimed at adults) so he fell into a bad mood that we couldn’t pull him out of. But we still enjoyed the day and got to see some really cool stuff that my inner geek and sci-fi fan loved. The girls weren’t too sure about the bounty hunters though…

comicon2Aunty Nikki and the girls even tried to rescue Han Solo!

Precious memories

There are some memories that are forged in childhood that you will carry with you forever. Some of those memories take you back to such joyous moments that your heart is warmed and you can’t help but smile as you remember the happiness you felt at the time.

For me (and I suspect for my siblings and cousins) one of those sentimental memories is a gift from my Grandpa.

When I was young my Grandparents lived on a large property with a lake in the middle and lots of paths that wound through an expanse of bush and garden. Ok, so perhaps my childish memory has made everything a little larger than it actually was… but it was still a big property and really did have a (little) lake in the middle. During our visits my Grandpa used to get out the little tractor and hook up the small trailer that my Dad built when he was a kid. Then one of us would sit on Grandpa’s knee and the rest would pile into the trailer and he would take us on journeys around the property. We’d go down near the lake, up the hill at the side of the house, along the raised track behind the house, and make big lazy circles in the flat area at the other end of the house.

These trips in the tractor are some of my favourite childhood memories. It wasn’t until my Grandpa passed away while I was at Uni that I discovered that the “tractor” was in fact a ride-on mower! He always called it a tractor, and therefore, to me, it was a tractor.

I hope that my children grow up with many similar wonderful memories, but imagine my surprise when I discovered that they may grow up with the SAME wonderful memory! On a random trip to visit my parents we arrived just as my dad (Grandpa to the kids) was finishing mowing the lawn out the back. The kids wanted to play on the swings so we went out the back. Then Grandpa called out “Who wants to go for a ride on the tractor?”. Yes, it’s actually a ride-on mower, and yes, he called it a “tractor”. The kids then took turn after turn going for rides with Grandpa around the backyard. At one point my sister arrived and heard it get called the “tractor” and I’m pretty sure we both had tears in our eyes.

Oh, I’m pretty sure I was a better tractor driver than my kids are though. Surely I wasn’t such a daredevil hahahahahaha.