Friday, January 27, 2012

My changing perspective on education!

I am realising that education shouldn't be about what we learn but how we learn.  I quite like my lists, checking them off and finishing a book/program.  It gives me an end goal that is measurable.

Checking off on a list the skills that dictate how we learn is not so easy.  I can make lists of experiences or follow a curriculum that "should" teach my children how to learn but it is really up to their innate nature if or when they "catch" the skills to learn.

I have been reading more about unschooling and found this wonderful post called "Some Thoughts on Unschooling" at Marvelous Kiddo.  Reading all the comments I have seen my questions and concerns voiced and answered.

My perspective has changed.  I am still wanting my kids to be educated in a structured way but I feel that I am doing them a disservice by having this as their only learning experience.  I am going to be negotiating with them on getting our structured school done quickly in the morning and allowing them the freedom to pursue their own interests in the afternoon.  I may even nominate a day for each child, ask them what interests them and drag everyone off to learn about that.  It could mean a visit to the library, the beach, a park, an art gallery, basically whatever rocks their boat.

I am also going to look into some curriculum ideas that are more hands on with no worksheets, that inspire them to think, to see how the world works.  I know of a science curriculum like this and I think I could really do with adding some more art and music too.

Best wishes
Jen

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Lists are for using (take note Jen!)

I figured out some lists a long time ago for getting ready for each new school term. 

This last week I was meandering around feeling lost and not sure what to do to get ready for this term so I searched through my old files.  Guess what I found!  My old list that tells me what to do to get ready for each term.

Wonderful!  My brain can be so unfocused some days.  I really need to remember to look at my lists and use them on those days.  They could be my lifeline if I would only USE them!

Off to check off what is done and what still needs doing.

Best wishes
Jen

Friday, January 20, 2012

Life as we know it, Jen!

Does anyone else remember that song?  Star Trekkin' ... slowly going forward, things are getting worse!  lol

I definitely had to show my kids that YouTube, after all their cultural education would not be complete without Star Trek and Star Wars, would it?  Oh, and Grease, and Labyrinth, and The Never Ending Story.

Ahh, the good ol' days.  Can't even trust Disney movies these days.

Anyway back to our scheduled post.

The boys have been going to a morning holiday activity put on by a local church this week.  They love it each year.  Even my 13 year old has been enjoying it.  He is so quiet though that he finds it easier to relate to the girls than the boys.  The others are loving the craft and games.  Overall a good event for them all, and free.

We have also bought ourselves a pool, only 12 foot across and about 2 foot deep but quite good for getting cool and having a little exercise anytime we want.  Of course the security for it cost more than the pool itself but having a secure gate and back door are very important when you have little ones.

Rosie the chook is recovering well.  Her crop is not getting so stuck.  It seems I do still need to massage it at least 3 times a day to keep things moving along but I don't mind.  Chasing her around each time (why she can't just come like a dog when I call her I don't know!) gives me some exercise and amusement anyway.

We had to move a bookshelf to get to some Telstra wiring the other day so while one was empty I thought I may as well empty all my shelves and paint them white.  They are Billy bookcases from Ikea that I bought about 12 years and are still going strong.  Couldn't say the same for the Billy bookcase I got about 3 years ago.  They were a dark red brown but we needed to lighten up the room so white they will be.

It could take me a few more days to get them finished so there are boxes all over the place filled with books.  Bit messy but then you do have to break some eggs to make an omelet as they say.

Best wishes
Jen

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Garam Masala Chicken with Cranberries and Almonds

This is a made up recipe out of desperation for a change from creamy chicken.  Copy if you like, adapt if you please!

600g chicken thigh fillets, cubed
1 onion, diced
1/4 red capsicum, diced
1/4 green capsicum, diced
oil
1 Tbsp garam masala
1 400g tin of crushed tomatoes
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1 zucchini, diced
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup dried cranberries


First chop the onion and capsicums and place in a fry pan on high with some oil.  Fry until onion is clear.  Add cubed chicken and brown it.  Sprinkle the garam masala over the hot meat and vegetables and stir to mix in thoroughly.  Add tin of tomatoes, 1 cup of water and the carrot.  Leave to simmer.  When carrot is cooked add the zucchini and cover.  Turn off the heat.  When the zucchini is tender add the almonds and cranberries and toss.  Serve with pasta or rice.


The almonds and cranberries were inspired.  I really think the crunch of the almonds and the tart-sweet taste of the cranberries offset all the sweet tastes very well.


Best wishes
Jen

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Chooky affairs!

One of my bantam chooks has not been well.  She looked really good but after doing some research on why chooks have a lump on their breast we learnt a lot about chicken anatomy. 

Rosie had a lump on her chest about the size of a tennis ball each night.  We learnt that chickens fill their crop (the first stage of their digestive system) really well just before going to roost so they "last" the night without food.  Usually by morning the crop is empty and they happily go off and eat.  Rosie's crop was not empty in the morning.  After some extensive "natural learning" (lol) I started some simple therapy of massaging her crop in the morning and isolating her so she didn't get any food for 48 hours. 

It was not looking good.  After a visit to a not-so-local vet who was very good with chickens I found out that her nervous system had probably been affected by a virus similar to Herpes called Mareks and that her crop could not empty.

All of this, of course, had to happen over New Year's and all of its associated holidays.  I have since been very busy giving her anti-biotics morning and night, syringing 10mls of apple cider vinegar solution into her 4 times a day, giving her fennel tea once a day and massaging her crop every time I hold her for one of these events.  It has been very busy.

The good news (fingers crossed, prayers said) is that she has gained 65g in the last 5 days, her crop has gone down to about the size of a bantam egg and she is looking a bit chirpier.  She is also becoming quite tame and cuddly.  :)

I had intended to start "formal" school back last week but instead we have been doing a little formal school and a whole lot of natural learning about chickens and their digestive system and the responsibilities of owners towards their animals.

Ironic, isn't it, considering my rant a month or so ago?

Best wishes
Jen

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Planning, printing and praying

It seems to be a theme for me at this time of year to plan out the new one, do a lot of printing (I make my own calendar) and to pray a lot that I will focus on the right things and act on them.  It can be so easy to get caught up in other's New Year resolutions and to make my goals big to match theirs but as I get older I am getting more realistic.  I know I have some areas I want to work on in my personal life and my work (SAHM) life.  I will be setting reasonable goals in each, things I can work on in little steps, because life as a mother of 4 boys can sometimes (all of the time?!?) direct me in paths that I had not planned.

I know some people have been thinking of a theme word for 2012.  Last year my word was decisive.  I had a printout on my wardrobe of what it meant to me.  As I went past it blearily every morning and every evening I did glance at it.  Some days it had more influence than others.  This year I think I will do the same, have a word to focus on, but I am going to read it more deliberately.  Having a focus for a whole year is a good idea I think.

So my word for this year is Act.

The parts of the definition I like are these from Brainy Quote.

  • A state of reality or real existence as opposed to a possibility or possible existence.
  • To move to action; to actuate; to animate.
  • To perform actions; to fulfil functions; to put forth energy; to move, as opposed to remaining at rest; to carry into effect a determination of the will.
I particularly like the part of carrying into effect a determination of the will.  Isn't that exactly what goals are, a determination of the will?  I love it.

Have a great new year.  Please drive safely during this holiday season.

Best wishes
Jen
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