Monday, October 30, 2006

Fair ~ The Loveliness of Prayer.

"The family itself is the great mystery of God. As the "domestic church" it is the bride of Christ. "
Pope John Paul II. Letter to Families

The Living Lives of Loveliness Fairs have been a good example of the mystery of families and of domestic churches in action.

The many Fairs to date have been inspirational to me.

I am honoured to host the current Fair, as families share the Loveliness of Prayer in their homes.

I have chosen to share this photo ( above) of two sets of rosary beads that have extra meaning for our family.

Rosary beads add a physical dimension to my prayer - my fingers move along the beads with my prayers and meditations. One of these sets of beads belonged to my husband's mother. They are now cared for by son Jonathon.The other rosary beads were a present from a friend and were blessed by Padre Pio. Special.

Let's take a peek into the Loveliness of Prayer in other homes.

What is prayer?
Dawn discusses prayer and prayer in the home.

Margaret lists the virtues of a Holy Hour.

Roz shares her thoughts on prayer. She writes ~ I am generally a pray-er on the run. I talk to God about everything all day and thank Him for every bird that sings, my gorgeous family and all the little things. There are times when I need to go into a quiet place and really pray and LISTEN to my heavenly Father. Sometimes I will put on worship music and dance as I cry out to Him or praise him jumping around to an upbeat praise song.

I have an area of my lounge room where I read the Bible and sit and meditate on the words. This is where I also have my favourite paintings. You really need to see them but one is of hands and it reminds me of worshipping God no matter what and also the fact that we need one another and many hands make light work. Another is a purple elephant by my youngest daughter, it reminds me to be childlike and remain creative and inspired. Also, a painting by a friend of a stylised version of me and a wooden figure next to it in the same reminds me to be a reflection of Christ. I also remember that I can talk to My Father as if he is sitting there with me so I find empty chairs inspirational and I talk to Jesus as a friend.

Elizabeth tells us of her Rosary addiction. She shares how this form of prayer has flowed throughout her family and life.

Do you find little time in your day for prayer?
Helen responds with ideas for building prayer time in short, simple, humble and consistent ways.

And Cheryl gives us a glimpse into the prayer life of a busy homeschooling mother.

Perhaps you struggle to find flow in prayer? Read Genevieve's blog for inspiration.....

Family prayer time is also important.
Doris posts her thoughts on teaching children to pray while Diane
describes her family prayer time.

When we pray, we can remember the Holy Family . Maria blogs on the influence of the Holy Family in her domestic church.

Does your domestic church have a place set apart for times of quiet prayer? For family prayer? For reflection?

For ideas on setting up a prayer space, read Sarah's description of her prayer alcove and check out A Living Education for the details of their prayer corner.

Read at Yes, they're all ours! for a narrative on their delightful home altar.

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Romans 12:12.

Finally, be encouraged by Angela's submission. And by Elena's thoughts on praying for the dead, especially after the loss of her baby.

Thank you for visiting this Fair.

Sarah's Loveliness of Prayer

Sarah from Cool Homeschool

I have a lovely prayer space in our home.

I have a little alcove which attracted my attention when I moved in here 7 months ago. I thought about the things I had brought with me that I needed to remind myself often of the love that holds us together as earthly family as well as heavenly family….especially being so physically far away from some of our family members.

After we arrived here I found & purchased the heart ornament on which is written “Love never fails” 1 Corinthians 3v8. I placed this on the hook that was already in the alcove. As I unpacked our things I unwrapped my beautiful Madonna statue that my dear godmother and best friend, Imelda had given to me as a gift one year.

I had the family prayer on the bottom right and thought this was a fitting place for us to see the prayer a lot. (I had had it on a high shelf near some photos but I thought it was a silly place since nobody could read the prayer – so I moved it to this obvious place.)

Last but not at all least is my angel holy water font. This loveliness alcove is positioned right between the front door and the garage door and so it is in exactly the right spot for us to bless ourselves as we enter or leave the house or simply as we pass by! I often find myself just looking into this place –especially as it has a spotlight above it and I like to keep it lit up at night.

This spot is dear and inspires me to be grateful for my family and to be mindful that I am (indeed we all are) watched over by our Holy Mother and that she is able to watch over me in a way that I haven’t experienced in my life before.

It inspires me to try to be a better mother and though I often make mistakes I can pray and ask for help. This space has indeed helped me to work on all of my family relationships and healing some that I hadn’t anticipated would be open from the other relative for healing.

God is good, God is love and love can overcome everything.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Halloween, All Saints and All Souls

Been doing some research for the upcoming week, wrt the liturgical year.

We will be making chocolate fudge and orange and black Halloween chains on All Hallows Eve.

Baking Souls Cakes on All Saints Day.

And completing some of the readings and activities for Halloween, All Saints, All Souls from here.

Thought I'd share!

Relaxed homeschooling

I found this article by Mary Hood, on
relaxed homeschooling.

I like most of the article. I disagree with some of Dr Hood's points.

I do, however, agree with the paragraph below -

"The problem with most of these readers { readers quoted in the article} is that they misunderstand what "relaxed homeschooling" is all about. It isn't a method. Relaxed homeschoolers may use all kinds of methods as they tailor things for each individual child. It isn't a curriculum, or the absence of a curriculum. I've used various books and materials over the years, including some textbooks when a child asked for them or when I thought they were a useful resource in the upper grades. It isn't really a philosophy, either, because I don't have the time to create a whole new philosophy, and you don't have time to study one.

It is really just a mindset. It's the idea that you are a family, not a school. You're a mom, not a teacher. You don't have a classroom. You have individual relationships with your children. Your husband isn't a principal, because there isn't really a school. "

Blast From the Past

We had a blast from the past this weekend.

On Friday, we went to our parish school fair.

We only stayed about an hour, as Gerry and I were going out to a charity benefit that night. And the kids were having other homeschool kids over for videos/pizza and babysitting.

I am so glad we went to the fair! Apart from junk food and Dodgem car rides, we bought a few things from the White Elephant stall.

One was the Blast from the Past movie. The VHS version was $1.00 - and I only bought it because it stars Alicia Silverstone. We liked her in Clueless. Brendan Fraser is the male lead.

What a scream! We watched the movie last night and it was funny ( you'd probably want to FF through some bits). A family thinks an atomic bomb has hit LA in 1961 and they live in a bomb shelter for 35 years. Their son, born in the shelter, has to eventually adjust to life in modern day LA.

Our other even more exciting purchase? I found the Mystery Date game.

I first heard of this game in the Santa Clause 2 movie - the older teachers in the film remember wanting this game as kids - and then they get it for Xmas. I have always thought that the game sounded like a hoot - a real 1960s treasure. Sexist definitely. But still funny.

I was so excited - I yelped! I also only paid 50c for the game.

How do you play? Girls get dressed for a Mystery Date - and if they are dressed correctly for their date when they open the door, they win. If not, they have to go around the board again - never knowing what sort of clothes their date will wear and what sort of date he has chosen. Formal, beach, cycling, etc.

Horrifically sexist. But extremely funny.

As Thomas said - "Mum, you would always win because you'd just tell your date to go home and get dressed to suit you!"

Out of the mouths of babes..

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The (Kumon) Margarita Club.

I am a
Kumon Supervisor.

I love working with children - my own children, other homeschool children in groups, the children at my Kumon centre.

Working with children, however, can be a bit isolating. One has to create opportunities for input from other adults.

A few months ago, some fellow homeschool mums and I got together for a margarita party. We shared and laughed a lot. We have regular Mothers Nights Out.

I decided to extend this philosophy to Kumon.

I asked a few other Kumon Supervisors to agree that we would visit each of our centres, bimonthly and over the course of a year, in order to learn and to offer each other constructive criticism. To grow as we work with children and encourage their growth.

And we decided to follow these visits with a meal together - for friendship and to facilitate discussion and sharing and learning.

Today was our first centre visit, follwed by lunch at Chillis.

I suggested we call ourselves the Margarita Club ( I love margaritas ) - and the Supervisors and I celebrated the lunch with - margaritas, of course.

For most, it was their first introduction to margaritas and to the group sharing concept .

Both were fun ! Both involved learning.

I think that those of us who work with children, homeschoolers/teachers/Kumon Supervisors/whatever, really need this support and information sharing.

I also think its important for parents to have a similar time for talking and friendship - keeps the family on an even keel.

I plan to organize a date with my husband, too.

What about you? Do you have a support group or a date time or a Margarita Club?

Friday, October 27, 2006

The dignity of work

Alexander's religion reading this week centred on the dignity of work.

His religion book quoted two encyclicals - Rerum Novarum ( Pope Leo XIII) and Laborum exercens ( Pope John Paul II).

We discussed some of the ideas on work from Alexander's book.

I had read Rerum Novarum but not the latter encyclical.

Alexander searched for the text online, we printed it out and I have started my reading.

"Human work has an ethical value of its own, which clearly and directly remains linked to the fact that the one who carries it out is a person, a conscious and free subject ... The sources of the dignity of work are to be sought primarily in the subjective dimension, not in the objective one."

Lots of interesting things to think about. And hopefully to talk about.

I failed preschool craft.

I mentioned in an earlier post that we are doing sewing and crafts this term in Group Learning.

This week was sewing - the juniors made hats and bags and the seniors made T shirts.

Now, I am way out of my comfort zone when it comes to sewing.

I looked at the patterns for the seniors and nearly had a fit. Say what? You trace which line? This is the front?

I ended up helping with the preschool craft - threading beads and making a cushion.

I feel really sorry for Faith, the little girl I helped. She now has the most mis-shapen pillow you can imagine. She loved it ,though - it was her choice of colour and materials ( pink vinyl with beads of many colours).

This craft was hard! At one stage, I said "This is dumb. I give up." There was a shocked silence from the children and from the two other mums helping with this group.

Oh-oh. Bad example.

I failed preschool craft.

Did an unschool-ish child say that??

On the way home from Homeschool Teen Group today, we were talking about kids and Kumon and school.

Now, the teens had just spent the morning hanging out together and shopping and eating. Some went to the movies.

The younger ones shopped and ate and hung out with mums and with other young siblings.

Not your typical school morning - if you attend conventional school, that is.

So, up pipes Anthony ( my youngest - just turned 11).

His comment?

" Quite frankly, I think kids should get some choices in life. But there are also things that are no choice. And education is one of them."

Woah! An unschooled education Nazi?

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Theresa asked about our children's books.

Here are a few samples from previous years.

The books are cardboard bound, hand sewn, fabric covered, with dust jackets. We use the ideas from Valerie Bendt's book.

This year, Alexander is writing a book of essays - probably three essays and appropriate illustrations.

Thomas is toying with the idea of (yet another) fantasy book or a cookbook.

Anthony wants to write a either a fantasy book or a comic book like TinTin.

When Jonathon is finished his university work, perhaps he'd like to put together a collection of some of his art and photos. We'll see.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

What's for dinner?

Hey, I'm actually cooking tonight!

Last night was jacket potatoes, cooked in the oven while we were at Mass. With chicken burgers from the freezer and salad and shop bought bread rolls. Ice cream from the freezer for dessert.

A convenience meal - and an unexpected but welcome visitor - who had to eat the thrown together meal. And experience our poor table manners and our noise!

He should come for dinner tonight.

Real food is on the menu.

Why? Well, at the request of the kids, I am making Shepherds Pie.

We are even home early enough for me to attempt to cook.

Here is a yummy heart healthy Shepherds Pie

Real Women, Real Beauty

Take a peek at the Dove Evolution film.

It is part of the self esteem campaign, run by Dove. Building a healthy body image in women and girls and trying to counteract the media myths re beauty and body size.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Cleanliness is next to Godliness?

Maria shared a link to this article.

Kinda fits in with the Speed Cleaning post below.

The Homeschool Rule of Six

Mary is running a blogging Homeschool Carnival - The Rule of Six.

It is based on
Lissa's thoughts on "Our Rule of Six: Six Things to Include in Your Child's Day".

Hmm. Six things to include in each day.

I have thought about our days, our best homeschooling days.

On reflection, these are the things we include most days and that I think we should include every day, here in our homeschool.

St Anthony's Academy ~ promoting excellence in home education.

Rule of Six ~ Things to include in Our Homeschool, Every Day ~

  • Love
  • Laughter
  • Prayer
  • Talk
  • Music
  • Things to do and books to read
P.S. We named our homeschool back in 1997, when Greg needed a school report for a tax file number ( don't ask!). I wrote a report of his homeschool work. We came up with the name because of our family's devotion to St Anthony - and Gerry and all the boys have Anthony in their names! We added the motto to make the report look more professional - and now it has stuck. I use the name and motto on any "official" documents.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Speed Cleaning.

Okay, I couldn't resist, I have to comment on this book.

Speed Cleaning.

Someone gave me the book as a present ( you know who you are!). Jonathon and Alexander laughed and laughed when they saw the title.

I love presents.

I am sure this book was meant as a joke - I have such a spotlessly clean house ( hah! hah!).

Well, the house is fairly clean and fairly organized.

According to "Speed Cleaning", I should have spent yesterday doing the "four room Saturday clean" .

Instead, I went to the Air Show with my kids and some friends and we all met my husband for lunch.

Time well spent, in my opinion. Or am I just making excuses? lol!

The book has some noteworthy points.

Although some of the comments are a bit of a joke. Really.

For example , under Daily Cleaning, the authors note - Check there is toilet paper.

I mean, hello? Surely we all know to check that there is enough toilet paper??

I do like this quote, however - "When you have finished the spring or autumn clean, reward yourself and the family....Go out for dinner..."

I don't think I'll wait to finish a spring clean to take the advice...

Fun and Joy

Cindy has a post on her blog about the Catholic Home.

I appreciate this quote, from the book "The Catholic Home", by author Meredith Gould.

"Fun is absolutely compatible with faith."

Isn't that cool?

True Confessions

On the
Unschooling Catholics email list, a friend inadvertantly began a thread on True Confessions.

These are not the sensational, soap opera type of confessions.

But the thoughts of homeschooling Catholic mothers, with regard to parenting.

Sometimes honest sharing is what is needed. It is through sharing our weaknesses that we can often build each other up - we realize that not everyone is perfect and not everyone has it all together.

We share ideas and resources and tips along the way.

A true confession for me ~ I feel a kind of jealousy, when my friends say that they are expecting another child.

I have had to deal with my sin of envy and accept my miscarriages and infertile times.

And ~ I often feel pangs over being what I think is a terrible mother - now or in the past - not always being patient when my older sons were little, or being too busy. Or not teaching enough Science. Or being a bad role model at decision making. Or not converting to Catholicism sooner - my older kids have been Catholics longer than I have.

I am trying to accept that I will always fail at something in this mothering and wifely role ( I am not naturally good at these things!) - so I just have to keep on picking myself up, praying and moving on.

I hope my sharing helps. We all have areas of concern and I get SO tired of blogs describing perfect mothers and perfect children.

I am not criticizing the perfect bloggers, these families are truly blessed and are blessings themselves .

But I am not there yet.

I am working on getting there, however, with prayer - and blogging!

The Loveliness of Prayer...

I am hosting the next
Living Lives of Loveliness Fair.

The topic?

The Loveliness of Prayer.

I am SO happy to host this fair.

Do you have a home altar? Some special religious pictures that inspire prayer? A favourite Bible verse or quote from a Saint? A prayer corner or rosary bead shelf?

Please share any pics and comments about the Loveliness of Prayer in your home. You can send me the links at my email address - see my profile.

If you don't have a blog, just email me your pics and comments and I'll put them up at my blog. I need entries by Monday October 30. Thank you!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Term 4

Okay, as unschoolers we don't really follow terms - but we do!


Our learning and living are our constants year round ~ but our homeschool and other activities often have school term boundaries.

This week is the commencement of the fourth term, the last term , of the school year here in Australia.

Our plans?

Weekly Homeschool Group Learning is doing crafts - this should be interesting. Can you see Jonathon sewing a T shirt next week -and then tie dying it the following week?

The kids have four weeks of surfing lessons coming up.

We continue with ice skating and homeschool teen group.

At home, we are talking about making books. We started our discussion this morning.

Since 1994, we have tried to make a book each year, a home made - hand made book, written by each child.

We use the ideas from Valerie Bendt's book
Creating Books With Children.

Wednesday religion reading continues - and we pick up some extra reading on spiritual matters during Advent.

Come Advent, we typically try to group together for some Advent activities - even if we only fit in one each week.

And that is why I am on the computer at 9.00 a.m. on a weekday morning, instead of helping my kids with their activities or doing the work for my Kumon centre.

I am researching Advent stuff.

Oh, and blogging.

Here are some ideas -

A Homeschool Catholic Christmas blog
the Domestic Church - Advent
the Teaching Mom Advent activity links
an Advent calender - scroll down for links to sites with ideas and activities
a Tomi de Paola Advent unit study - based on his picture books, of course!

Book 13 is out !!

For other fans of the Lemony Snickett books - have your read the new and (last) book in the series? It was released on Friday October 13 ( of course) and it is book 13.

We will get our hands on our copy tomorrow.

Then the fight begins - who will get to read it first??

Goals and homeschooling.

We have had some discussion at the 4 real learning
unschooling forum.

I remembered an old article about goals and homeschooling - have a read and see what you think.

Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals by Julie Bogart.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Inspired by Picasso.

Picasso is our "artist of the month."

Each week in October,we find new Picasso prints for the computer background .

On Tuesday, I read aloud a piece on the life and art of Picasso.

Then, some of the boys chose a Picasso-inspired activity from the book
Discovering Great Artists.

You can see a glimpse of the art above.

Fridge Art

On our fridge this week.

We purchased this poster on a recent visit to the art gallery.

A collage of different prints and different views of Sydney Harbour.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

On Housekeepng.

30 Days to a Clean House.

Just reading the list makes me feel tired.

Have fun!

Just when I think I'm doing okay...

Well, God points out that I have a way to go. :-)

At Mass tonight,during the homily, I am reminded that it is what is inside that counts - we must not focus only on our outward appearance. And I just had my hair cut and coloured today!


Then, in finding good quotes for a friend, good quotes relating to parenting and to unschooling, I look in my folder and am struck by the following -

"As far as possible avoid punishing . . . . try to gain love before inspiring fear." St John Bosco


Do I remember to love ? Or am I sometimes cross or distracted when with my children?

I travel to an internet homeschool message board. What do I read?

St. Alphonsus de Liguori and 50 Maxims for Attaining Perfection.

( Read below).

Well, I am not even close to perfection. But its a lifelong adventure, right?

1. To desire ardently to increase in the love of Jesus Christ. 2. Often to make acts of love towards Jesus Christ. Immediately on waking, and before going to sleep, to make an act of love.; seeking always to unite your own will to the will of Jesus Christ. 3. Often to meditate on his Passion. 4. Always to ask Jesus Christ for his love. 5. To communicate often, and many times in the day to make spiritual Communions. 6. Often to visit the Most Holy Sacrament. 7. Every morning to receive from the hands of Jesus Christ himself your own cross. 8. To desire Paradise and death, in order to be able to love Jesus Christ perfectly and for all eternity. 9. Often to speak of the love of Jesus Christ. 10. To accept contradictions for the sake of Jesus Christ. 11. To rejoice in the happiness of God. 12. To do that which is most pleasing to Jesus Christ, and not to refuse him anything that is agreeable to him. 13. To desire and to endeavor that all should love Jesus Christ. 14. To pray always for sinners and for the souls in purgatory. 15. To drive from your heart every affection that does not belong to Jesus Christ. 16. Always to have recourse to the most holy Mary, that she may obtain for us the love of Jesus Christ. 17. To honor Mary in order to please Jesus Christ. 18. To seek to please Jesus Christ in all your actions, 19. To offer yourself to Jesus Christ to suffer any pain for his love. 20 To be always determined to die rather than commit a willful venial sin. 27. To suffer crosses patiently, saying, "Thus it pleases Jesus Christ." 22. To renounce your own pleasures for the love of Jesus Christ. 23. To pray as much as possible. 24. To practice all the mortifications that obedience permits. 25. To do all your spiritual exercises as if it were for the last time. 26. To persevere in good works in the time of aridity. 27. Not to do nor yet to leave undone anything through human respect. 28. Not to complain in sickness. 29. To love solitude, to be able to converse alone with Jesus Christ. 30. To drive away melancholy [i.e. gloom]. 37. Often to recommend yourself to those persons who love Jesus Christ. 32. In temptation, to have recourse to Jesus crucified, and to Mary in her sorrows. 33. To trust entirely in the Passion of Jesus Christ. 34. After committing a fault, not to be discouraged, but to repent and resolve to amend. 35. To do good to those who do evil. 36. To speak well of all, and to excuse the intention when you cannot defend the action. 37. To help your neighbor as much as you can. 38. Neither to say nor to do anything that might vex him. And if you have been wanting in charity, to ask his pardon and speak kindly to him. 39. Always to speak with mildness and in a low tone. 40. To offer to Jesus Christ all the contempt and persecution that you meet with. 41. To look upon [religious] Superiors as the representatives of Jesus Christ. 42. To obey without answering and without repugnance, and not to seek your own satisfaction in anything. 43. To like the lowest employment. 44. To like the poorest things. 45. Not to speak either good or evil of yourself. 46. To humble yourself even towards inferiors. 47. Not to excuse yourself when you are reproved. 48. Not to defend yourself when found fault with. 49. To be silent when you are disquieted [i.e. upset]. 50. Always to renew your determination of becoming a saint, saying, "My Jesus, I desire to be all Yours, and You must be all mine."

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Shopping spree.

Warning Will Robinson - boring post ahead. Only of interest to close friends and family. :-)

This week, we have had a bit of a shopping spree.

Gerry got a new ( secondhand) car.

We purchased a new fridge ( our older one just wasn't working that hard). And a slightly bigger TV - we are not really into big TVs so its still pretty average sized but it is a plasma screen TV. Better picture. Apparently.

I bought some clothes for the boys.

And new summer pjs for me - Felix the Cat. You can see the pj top here.

I used to watch Felix on TV! Remember?


Thanks for all your happy thoughts about our decisions.

Short term, the decision was made for us - Gerry did not get the posting he wanted. We stay here. :-)

Long term - who knows?

Only God knows.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

St Augustine

My morning reading today was "bits and pieces" from St Augustine.

Sharing two quotes ~

"It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels."

" To many, total abstinence is easier than perfect moderation."

Thursday, October 12, 2006

"A New Chapter in Education: Unschooling."

An article on msn - subtitled
Controversial hometaught approach lets kids take the lead in learning.

I like the article. I like the quotes from Pat Farenga.

However, I don't think the author or the unschooling detractors are familiar with educational trends.

Unschooling in many ways equates with the emergent curriculum ( read here and here. )

The emergent curriculum is something I have read about and worked with for years ~ in my unschooling homeschool, in my teaching a number of different grades in a number of different schools and in my working with groups of children.

It works.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

One thing leads to another .

A week or so ago, someone at the 4 real learning message boards posted a link to nature journal sheets.

I thought these looked like fun. Yesterday, I printed out the sheets and laid them on the breakfast bar.

Sure enough, others became interested, too.

Anthony and Thomas chose the mammals sheet - Anthony wrote about humans and Thomas about our cat. This started a search for more information on skeletons - see Anthony's human skeleton above and Thomas' notebook page on the skeleton of a cat.

Alexander observed and sketched clouds and read information here.

Jonathon and I read about the 2006 Nobel Prize in Chemistry ~ this is now part of our refrigerator strewing.

As I logged these activities in our homeschool diary, I thought of the phrase
" one thing leads to another."

The learning path in our home is often scattered with these "one thing" activities. We don't always know where an idea will lead. Or if a little spark will light a small fire, a bush fire of interests - or fail to catch at all.

I could see and feel the litle flames of interest and learning during our Science morning on Monday.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Looking Sexy at 60 +

My new fitness
role models.

Okay, I am nowhere near 60 but I hope I look as good as these when I get there.

Oh, well, I don't even look that good now, in my 40s! lol!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Fruit Buns.

Thomas and I are having fun with a bread machine.You can see some of the results above.

{We have a bread machine on loan, while a friend is away in Texas until March next year.}

Yesterday, we made fruit buns. Very delicious.

I used to make these a lot, during my Earth Mother~Little House on the Prairie stage.

Yes, I had an Earth Mother~Little House stage, when Thomas was a baby. I made nearly everything from scratch. I tried sewing and crafts. I tried the simple life. It was not very simple.

And it was so not me.

We had fun, however, making the buns yesterday - here is our recipe ( of sorts).

Start with a batch of once risen bread dough - white, whole grain, soy and linseed, your choice.

Roll out to a rectangle. Lightly spray the dough with cooking spray. Sprinkle the dough with chopped dried fruit, sultanas, nuts, grated apple - any or several of these. We used sultanas and chopped nuts.

Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, to your taste.

Roll up, slice. Place slices, cut side up, in a baking tray that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Leave to rise 10 minutes. Bake at 180 Celsius for about 20 minutes.

Yummy hot or cold, with or without butter or margarine.

A joyful spring morning.

Just home from a very pleasant morning with the family.

We woke early and drove , not to our local parish for Mass, but to a Latin Mass (1962 Missal ) - the celebrant was a priest from the Fraternity of St. Peter.

The drive to the church was fun - first prayers then listening to the Beastie Boys. Strange mix, but it worked.

After a quiet, peaceful Mass, we drove to Birkenhead Point for breakfast at a cafe. Blue skies and attractive views.

I love spring.

And - as was said recently on an unschooling email list - It is unschool when it doesn't feel like feels like joy.

We can choose to be joyful.

"If you surrender completely to the moments as they pass, you live more richly those moments." Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Computer strewing...

The artwork of Picasso. Our artist for this month. We change the background on the dining room computer, to reflect our current artist or an interest or the liturgical year.

St Francis of Assisi

"What a man is in the sight of God, such he is and no more."

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Coffee table strewing.

On our coffee table and trolley this week.

Let's take this in non logical order.....

The second pic is of the trolley in the dining room. What have I strewed?

Some banksia nuts we found at Dee Why lagoon, after our swim at Dee Why beach on Sunday.

St Francis of Assisi by G. K. Chesterton. ( St Francis' feast day is this week).

Pic number one is our coffee table ( camphor wood chest) in the sitting room.

Set amidst the pot plant and my china are -

A Pictorial History of Australia ( out of print but I remember reading and enjoying this as a child. I found a copy at a secondhand bookstore.)

Game of mancala. We've been having some mean games this weekend!

The Story of the World Vol 4 - we had this out to read about the first Gulf War ( after watching Denzel Washington in The Manchurian Candidate). The book has stayed out and is sometimes picked up and read.

The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Luke has our copy of the CCC so we are making do with this newly purchased Compendium. Nice for easy reference and as a conversation starter ( I hope).

Oh, and for a refresher on the concept of strewing in unschooling, read here.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

A week of maths.

Over at the
4 real learning forum, I am a moderator for the maths section - Living and Loving Numbers.

We have recently been discussing maths without a textbook.

I'll be up front - my children do have maths workbooks. Of their choosing, with discussion and input from me.

They do not, however, work in maths books every day.

Okay, they don't work in any book every day!

This is the essence of unschooling. Seasons of unschooling.

We have had seasons of no maths books and seasons of books.

I love keeping maths journals with the kids.

I like to often just see how maths will come up in every day life, without me manipulating things for a "maths lesson." Keeping a (maths ) journal for myself of these daily/weekly things has enabled me to see learning.

And I also like going to the library to the children's non fiction and pulling out a different fun maths book or maths picture book on each visit, for us to borrow.

We have used games books, maths cooking books, history of maths books, maths for real life, "all the maths you'll ever need" books for teens - you name it!

Over the last week, I have kept a log of our unschooly maths activities, for the purpose of sharing at the 4 real learning forum. I am sharing it here, too.

Here is the log of some of our maths activities this last week.

As you can see, we have some workbook stuff and non workbook activities.

1. Collaborative and internet computer games followed by discussion on problem solving and strategies.

2. Plan routes for delivery of newspaper, using street directory and co-ordinates.

3.Work on budget and wish list, check savings record and bank statements.

4. Written maths - workbook pages on fractions, patterns, probability, money and written problems.

5.Fractions and double recipes for cooking.

6.Mental calculations while playing board games and rpgs - Rum Rebellion, Tunnels and Trolls.

7. Probability and calculations - card games - Bridge, 21s, Up and Down the River, etc.

8. Play with our geoboards and discuss making another geoboard.

9. Mathematical thinking - game of RISK.

10. Maths journals - mathography - when and how did you learn to count? How old were you when you first counted to 100? When you were younger, what did you think about maths?

So we are doing "things mathematical" ( very Gilbert and Sullivan ~ The Pirates of Penzance) . Sometimes this is formal and sometimes informal. Sometimes suggested by me ( the written maths, the maths journal) ~ sometimes initiated by the dc.

"The best way to meet numbers is in real life, as everything else. It’s embedded in the context of reality, and what schooling does is to try to take everything out of the context of reality. So everything appears like some little thing floating around in space, and it’s a terrible mistake. You know, there are numbers in building; there are numbers in construction; there are numbers in business; there are numbers in photography; there are numbers in music; there are fractions in cooking. So wherever numbers are in real life, then let’s go and meet them and work with them." John Holt in an interview for the Natural Child Project.

“Mathematics depend upon the teacher rather than upon the textbook and few subjects are worse taught; chiefly because teachers have seldom time to give the inspiring ideas...which should quicken the imagination. How living would Geometry become in the light of the discoveries of Euclid as he made them!” (Charlotte Mason Study Guide, p. 107-108)

Charlotte Mason also said, “The chief value of arithmetic, like that of the higher mathematics, lies in the training it affords to the reasoning powers, and in the habits of insight, readiness, accuracy, intellectual truthfulness it engenders...” (Charlotte Mason Study Guide, p. 106)