Thursday, 25 March 2010

Photos by Phoebe

Miso. Yum.

Photos by Phoebe

Crochet in bed. Resting and trying to get over this illness.

Photos by Phoebe

Her toes. This girl loves her feet! :)

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Living in a bubble

"Often parents ask 'Are Waldorf Educators too protective? Shouldn't we
be preparing the child for the real world?'. It is debatable as to
just what is 'real' in this sense. Are we offering children a 'virtual
reality', a second-hand 'almost' reality, rather than the integrity of
a true, direct, perception of the world in which they live?"

- Lynne Oldfield, Free to Learn


Sometimes in conversation the term 'living in a bubble' comes up. I
hear occasionally "You can't live your life in a bubble!". Well I want
to argue that you can, and most of us choose to do so in our own way.

Each family, each home, has it's own way of doing things - be it the
food they eat, the way they use their time or the ethos they live with
daily. This, then, is their bubble. Children, and indeed adults, are
exposed to other influences - friends, extended family, the media (in
most cases) - and they all have an impact on forming our children's
world view, but none so much so as the prevailing atmosphere and
philosophy of home.

Why would I be deemed to be 'living in a bubble' and others not?
Because we are out of touch with what is going on in the media? We
don't know who did what in Eastenders and what the latest is with
Cheryl Cole or Jordan? Because my daughter wasn't sent to preschool
when she was two and a half like most of her peers? Because I'm not
'toughening her up' for 'reality'? Who's reality is that anyway? This
is *our* life and *our* reality! We live it every day and I would
argue my children are far more in touch with what is 'real' than many.

What is school if not one giant bubble, seperate from the rest of
society with it's own unique rules and customs? Where else do you need
to ask permission to go to the toilet? To get a drink? Where else do
you have to submit your own will to that of another so completely?

We have chosen not to send our children off to be 'educated' by
someone else, using their standards and ideals. They will direct their
own learning and be intimately involved in the 'real life' decisions
of our family. They will not be stuck inside on a sunny day learning
about money, they will be outside the grocer's choosing vegetables and
handing over the cash. They will not just be talking about fractions
but sharing food out daily with their siblings. They will not be
'doing lessons' on plant growth but planting, watering and looking
after plants every single day. They will feel the leaves, smell the
blossoms and dig their fingers into the soil. And we will be there to
answer or help find out the answers to the myriad of questions that
naturally occur when children are left to learn uninterrupted. How
much more 'real' can you get?

Our bubble, the lifestyle we choose, is no less valid than anyone
else's. We choose this for our children consciously, with our eyes
open. We know exactly what 'the real world' is like and we choose to
let our children live in it, walking right beside us.

Reading List

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Love

Guess the child!

Today's haul

Easter owl made at home ed group and yummy yarn from a lovely mum at the group! Thank you! xx

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Beauty in words

"the invitation
by oriah mountain dreamer

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, 'Yes.'

It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn't interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments."



Sent to me by a very good friend, the beauty in these words moves me intensely. I just wanted to share :)

Saturday

I have a lot of thought buzzing round my head right now and it's hardto really express them - a host of interests merging and coliding and slowly working out their place in the filing cabinet of my brain! I can thank recent conversations and emails with good friends for that. I am pondering on whether to use this place or not still. It seemed like such a good idea but suddenly... suddenly I'm not sure about baring my soul and sharing all. I'm thinking maybe discretion and discussion with my friends may be better. I am writing my Morning Pages every morning and am committed to that. I love it! I have a journal which contains these and also my random notes, thoughts, lists etc. If something needs to be written down it goes in my book. It's a wonderful tool and also will be great to reflect on when I'm older.
My neighbours today are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary! How wonderful! We went to the party this evening. I hope, no trust, that we will be as happy as they are when we celebrate our 50th! It will be our 5th anniversary this year in October. It's the "wood" anniversary so I'm told. Which is probably going to be favourite - after all if you know me you'll know my passion for this beautiful gift from the trees. The feel, the smell, the colours and patterns - I love everything about it.

To move on to something else, my brain is more than a little rambley this evening, I love the idea of working on my journal more and creating something like this: http://www.aholyexperience.com/2008/03/visual-homemaking-journal.html
Sorry I can't figure out fancy linky things when using my phone. It's a visual homemaking journal. I am really feeling at the moment an intense amount of gratitude for the life I live. I am incredibly lucky that I am able to choose to be at home with my children and I want to fully embrace my role as a homemaker, just as I have done as a mother. I have lots to say on this but I fear it may come out a bit garbled at the moment. But I may share soon. For now I am busy enjoying my family and the little things we do each day to work towards creating the nurturing home we dream of! Goodnight. x

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Thinking

Having a bit of a think tonight and wondering if this is worth doing. Maybe I should keep one blog and just invest energy elsewhere. I feel strange seperating my life in this way when really I am so much a part of my family, and my family are part of me. I'm in a phase of discovery and expansion and want to share that but also feel the need to spend time developing nurturing rhythms and routines for my family. I have so much Reading to do and homemaking and I need to rest. So I'm going to ponder on this a while. What should I focus on and how do I stay balanced? How can I simplify but still maintain connections and feel in touch with people? What don't children need most right now? These are the questions I'll be dreaming of tonight. Goodnight. x

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Peaceful Evening

Our new bedroom

Today's Home Ed Group

Today we got a bus and walked a little and very soon we were at a local play centre for a home ed group session. It had great facilities and Phoebe enjoyed bounding about in the soft play area, the sandpit and play equipment. We found everyone really friendly and got to have a good chat to a friend. I loved the relaxed atmosphere of the group and it was great to see Phoebe settle in to the place. Tomorrow we have two people coming over to plan an unschooling group we are setting up. Really looking forward to it. I am mindful though of doing too much. I feel as Spring arrives fully we will want more time at home, just being. We do already do this far more than the average family but I feel it is important to enjoy and look after our space and I love being here.
We are making plans for this place as we would like to create a more nurturing family home and after two years of living with other people's old decor we have to do something. Just deciding exactly what. The layout of our house is odd too so we think we'll change that if we can. Lots of decisions to make really but the first step has been moving our family bed to another room so we can decorate. I really enjoyed the feel of the new room and spent the evening in there reading. It was so peaceful. :)

Monday, 15 March 2010

Gratitude

Today I am thankful for:

* an evening in bed catching up on inspiring blogs whilst my children sleep beside me
* my daughter's wonderful sense of humour "My Daddy is such a cheeky man! He brought me socks to put on! I'm wearing socks!"
* raw chocolate pie (yum)
* finding the energy to move our family bed into a different room so we can start to decorate.
* Ezra's amazing beautiful smile, despite his first tooth being on the way.
* our garden and ourneighbours gardens. It's open at the bottom so we could wander over to explore their snowdrops.
* the fact that I am able to stay at home with our children
* the moments of pure elation that Phoebe feels on seeing her Daddy again!
* good friends who check in to see how my day is just because.
* my husband who works tirelessly to keep the house going and without whom we would be living in squalor!
* the anticipation of fun tomorrow morning at a home ed session.
* Veronika Robinson and her family - their book Life Without School has filled me with joy at the thought of our path ahead and affirmed everything I believe about how children should learn.
* Ezra having learnt to blow raspberries - super cute!
* sleep, which is what I'm off to do now!

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Pixie Hat

Phoebe's hat

Cute pic of Phoebe in her new hat

Pixie Hat

Snuggly scarf

Hat for me, modelled by Phoebe

Phoebe's hat

Cute pic of Phoebe in her new hat

Recent crochet projects

Pics sent seperately. I do hope posting like this works! :)

Happy Mothers Day and 500th Post!

This is just a quick post to say two things:

First of all this is my 500th post on this blog! Doesn't time fly! I started when Phoebe was just a few months old and now here she is three years old and with a baby brother.

Secondly, i have decided to launch my own blog as a journal to talk about a number of things that interest me. I decided to make a seperate blog so that i feel the new blog is really 'me' and also that i don't put rants or discussions of heavy issues in between pictures of my children which family want to see. So to sum it up: family and friends - stay here and follow the updates which will be mainly pictures of Phoebe and Ezra. Fellow blogging mamas can head on over to my new blog at Unschooling Mother to read my journal type blog where i'll be talking about attachment parenting, home education, creativity and family life.

Happy Mothers' Day to all of you out there and to my own Mum and Mother in Law on this sunny Sunday afternoon.

Welcome to my Blog

Welcome to my place here on the web. It is a space for me to talk about all things close to my heart - birth and breastfeeding to craft and creativity. I chose the title to reflect both our family's philosophy of unschooling, life learning, and also the journey that i am on myself as a mother. I am learning all the time and really feel that now i am discovering more about myself than i ever knew before. Motherhood really opens you up to change and finding your true self, if you let it.

Now, at 28, I feel i am finding myself, the person i may have been years ago had peer pressure and bullying not gotten in the way. I see glimpses of my old (young) self emerging, a decade after i have left school. I am rediscovering interests i had when i was a child - a love of nature, watching the birds and other animals, growing things, caring for the environment, and design and beauty in all its forms. I wonder if i had not had the inherent pressure of the system bearing down on me would i have retained my passions and followed a better path in life, more true to myself, rather than being just another teenager who didn't really know what she wanted to do.

So now I am unschooling (or should that be deschooling) myself and allowing myself this time while my children are young to fully explore the possibilities open to me and explore my emerging interests and passions. I am not in any hurry, after all raising children and taking full responsibility for their education in this way is a full time job. But i do feel I need a some space for me to reflect on what i am learning both as a mother and about that which inspires me, and i feel i will eventually give some of my time to something other than my family. It may be something related to holistic health or something creative but one thing is for sure - families will always be at the heart of my agenda.

So i welcome you to my blog and i hope you find some of my writing resonates with you or brings a smile. I gain much inspiration daily from the blogs i read and they really have been important to me in my development as a mother and a human being. So thank you to every one of you who writes for sharing your world and helping me on this journey.

As I write it is Mothers' Day, the perfect day to 'launch' Unschooling Mother' and i'd like to dedicate it to all the amazing and inspiring mamas that i know (with special mention to Sam, SJ, Louise, K, and Shona) and most of all to my own mother who truly honours children and raised all of us to be open, kind and compassionate, as well as being an important figure in the lives of many other young children. I love you Mum. xx

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Trip to Lynsey and Andy's New House

This past weekend we took a trip to Waterlooville to visit Lynsey and Andy in their new house. Its in such a good location as its relatively near the sea and the new forest and some other lovely places to visit like Chichester and Brighton.

The house is lovely and they have done such a good job already of making it homely, making it theirs, that you'd never know they only moved in just before christmas.

We'll spare Andy the embarassment of posting the photos of him being bossed around by Phoebe whilst still in his dressing gown (poor guy!) as she was so excited about playing 'music' with him!

But here's Phoebe singing her songs and tapping out rhythms on sticks.





And here are the photos from our trip to Acres Down in the New Forest.



Phoebe was adamant she did not want to walk to start with (apparently she wanted a nap!) but Uncle Andy ran back for her boots and we showed her some of the things to explore and she was soon stepping on logs and jumping in leaves.























So much beauty! And we had so much fun. Thank you Lynsey and Andy for having us! XX

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

February in Pictures

Treasure Baskets.





Ezra enjoying his mummy milk. :)



Playing with friends (This is Ezra's friend Eleanor :)







Taggies on heads



Love



Beauty



Suprises (snapped by Phoebe without my knowledge until i found it on the camera!)



Learning to sit





First tastes of solid food






A beautiful present for Phoebe from a very talented friend. Thank you so much! Check out her folksy shop 'Slugs and Snails' for all sorts of artsy stuff! :)



Room rearranging :: home corner



Imagination flourishing :: Saling in a bag boat



Lunch with wonderful friends (and wonderful news)



Cuddles (and a sneaky nap) with Grandad



A present from overseas. Thank you so much to Uncle John and Auntie Maria, Molly and Dave for this really cute bodywarmer. It fits perfectly! Sending loads of love and hoping Molly is feeling better soon! xx



Sharing food.



Smiles.



Horsey ponytails



Fitting into a new gorgeous sleepsuit. Thank you Becky! xx



Leaving out 'blossoms for birds' aka wool for them to make their nests.





A new Early Spring seasonal table.



Trying on Grampy's hat.





Driving buses.



Planning the growing season.



Planting.





Oops!




Also:

Preparing a new blog.
Discussing plans to extend and possibilities.
Hearing wonderful news from many friends - lots of summer and autumn babies to look forward to meeting.
Crochet and reading.
Being nagged for not blogging. Sorry people. xx
Lots of discussion on my favourite topics: homebirth, breastfeeding, natural parenting and autonomous education. :)

Next post (when i get the time) will be the photos of our lovely weekend with Lynsey and Andy! Will update again soon! xx