I didn't like dolls when I was younger. But they didn't have dolls as beautiful as this back then. Here is Julie:
Monday, January 6, 2014
We love our sandpit, but I had another idea for this space off our verandah.
We hunted around our place and found some "stuff" (we collect "stuff" although we try not to), bricks, racks, paving stones, an old chip heater, a stainless steel sink bench ... you know, just the normal stuff people have ...
We moved the sandpit (that sounds easy when I say it, but it involved a LOT of hard work!) gathered our stuff together into one place and made the children a "mud cake kitchen" - now called a Mud Kitchen by our 3 year old.
Today I spent $5 at the reuse shop and purchased some lovely enamelled bowls, a neat green saucepan and some snazzy weather-proof/mud-proof utensils.
The children LOVE IT!
Posted by The Mummalady at 7:59 PM
Sunday, April 14, 2013
Is it physics? Is it maths? Reading? Comprehension? ....
Oh - hang on, I don't remember seeing "Fun" as a heading on the curriculum ...
... and taking apart an old video camera - technology ... electronics ... I don't know!
And I don't care.
We don't put learning into a box - we don't give it a name.
It's just normal life.
I don't teach my children.
I observe, provide, facilitate, encourage, answer, question and I'm blessed to share many, many LIGHTBULB moments!
It works. Our 19 year old son just went through a testing procedure - we didn't do tests when he was younger, so I was interested to see where he would score now that he's grown up.
When he was very little I got many books out the library about "Teaching The Gifted Child". I thought he was very bright - gifted even. Then, to my dismay, he seemed to take a few years off being bright. Around 14 years off actually.
Unbeknown to me he was still learning.
And he was learning at his own pace, in his own way.
I put myself through many "I'm not doing enough work with this child" moments. But I should have had more confidence.
The psychologist who tested our son said that they don't do IQ tests anymore, but the result he got in the test she did would be equivalent to an IQ of around 130-140.
So he is a Brainy-Brain-Box after all!
That was a gift to me - knowing that I can continue with educating these younger children the same way I've always done it. Naturally and Gently.
Posted by The Mummalady at 11:50 AM
My husband used to know some people who would look around to see what was "new", "popular", "in" or "looked good" and immediately copy it. Not necessarily because they really liked it, or saw it as suiting them, but it was their nature to just go ahead and copy someone.
It can be annoying to have someone copy you all the time (my Mum says her little sister used to copy her, I was the youngest of two so I didn't know how that would feel) - but as my husband always says "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." And when it comes to our children they will surely imitate us - it's the way they learn!
My little guy in the picture above was "taking a photo" with his "camera" on the beach. He had been watching me!
Here's a bit from my book about imitation:
IMITATION ONCE AGAIN
Babies and children learn so beautifully from imitation. A baby and child's desire to imitate is so strong that we MUST ensure all our words and actions are worthy of imitation. Don't let your children learn to be grumpy, impatient, complaining or rude from your example!
Pray for a sweeter, kinder, more gentle and patient attitude. Be brave enough to ask someone close to you if they will point out when you are getting snappy or off-hand with your children – they don't need to announce it, perhaps just a “look” will remind you to bring your tone down, or remember to look at your child as you speak, instead of issuing commands as you walk out of the room.
A very practical way to learn a better attitude, worthy of imitation is for YOU to imitate someone else! Find someone who speaks to children kindly, respectfully and is cheerful and positive. As much as you can walk away from the negative, dramatic, selfish, demanding, moaning, whining, complaining people who come into your life. My husband tells me of people he comes across who, when given a simple piece of cheerful information will always find something to complain about.
“Nice weather!” will be answered with “Far too hot – can’t get any energy to get going and tomorrow there’s a rotten rain storm coming over.”
Or: “Lovely drop of raining we’re having!” is answered with “I’ve got a load of washing on the line getting soaked and the garden is a mud pond.”
Then there’s: “Got much work on?” (this seems to be a fairly common phrase for tradesmen to ask each other). The negative guy or gal will answer “Coming out my ears, can’t keep up with it and everybody wants their jobs yesterday of course.” OR “Nah, hardly anything coming in, don’t know how the bills will be paid this month …” Sometimes these people can also be magnets for negative controversial information (mostly gossip), and like to file away, then share stories (definitely gossip at this stage) of the guy who was ripped off by the panelbeater and another fellow who bulldozed all his neighbours trees and made a path down the cliff to the beach even though he never got resource consent and the council never did a thing …
The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly. Proverbs 26:22 (KJV)
Negativity can be infectious (and gossip is sinful, damaging and poisonous). If it is within your capability you might like to try and sort out WHY a person lives in a negative frame of mind – do they need practical help, positive interests/hobbies in their life, an opportunity to serve others, encouragement, or a friend to talk to? But overall if you can, try to stay away from being over-burdened with negativity for your sake, and the sake of your children.
Posted by The Mummalady at 11:30 AM
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
She was telling me about her grandson - he's nearly 5, and almost starting school.
I reminded her that we are "allowed" to keep our children to ourselves until they are 6. After that time we have to apply for an exemption to keep them out of school.
I think the majority of parents are either happy for their 5 year olds to go to school, or else they are a little worried that if they leave starting school until their child is 6 then the child may have missed something out, or be behind. If you are a loving, involved parent your child will NOT be "behind". They will probably be waaaay out in front of their peers!
PLEASE parents - anyone reading this who is unsure - please ask me - or go to the Home Education Foundation website: hef.org.nz to check out all the lovely information there about home education.
I recently attended a session in a workshop run by Barbara Smith of the Home Education Foundation. The session I picked to attend was entitled "Training our Children's Minds". I've heard Barbara, and her late husband Craig speak many times over the years. I came away, as always, even more confident about our choice to home educate. This last year has been very hard for us - including a huge learning curve of the Autistic Spectrum Disorders type. Barbara's talk was very encouraging and managed to clear away some of the rubbish that has accumulated in my head.
Barbara has the information from her workshops available as powerpoint presentations on the HEF website. http://hef.org.nz/workshop-powerpoints/
You needn't have a long-term vision of home education. I did, but that's me. Perhaps you just want to keep your 5 year old with you for another year before they're sent into the world? Perhaps you could review how you feel about it then?
Home education gives a child space, time, confidence, and most importantly - it builds beautiful relationships with those people who are REALLY important to them.
Posted by The Mummalady at 6:48 PM
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
After looking at them for years, and wondering how we could make one that would fit into our little house The Daddy has come up with the design above. We made this model from recycled pine that comes apart and stacks up into a much smaller space! The heights of the shelves can be changed, and right now the playstand is in our lounge covered in cloths and will turn into a shop tomorrow (I tend to like playing shops!). The little boys were climbing in and under the shelves earlier - that's not my sort of game.
I highly recommend this piece of equipment for anyone with a child or children - extremely versatile, fun, long-wearing and beautiful.
Within New Zealand they can be ordered from us - go to our website www.willowcottage.co.nz
Posted by The Mummalady at 8:43 PM
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Another piece from my soon-to-be-published book
I’m using a medium-sized camphor box (like a miniature camphor chest) for our rainy-day-or-not-feeling-well-fiddly-things box. I think it’s important that the box that contains the fiddly things is special and nice – it adds to the care the children take of the items inside.
Some children are extremely tactile and love to hold and feel things. Other children are very orderly and like to sort and order everything they come across – both these types of children will love this idea.
In the bottom of our box I have cut a piece of purple fur fabric to fit so that everything sits safely in the box without sliding around. If you have room in the box include a nice piece of black felt or velvet rolled up for your child to set the items out on.
These are some of the items you might like to include in your box:
- smooth glass shapes like marbles or glass sea-shells
- bits of chain – various thicknesses
- smooth or bumpy shells
- wooden rings
- acrylic, enameled or wooden rings or bangles
- deep sea shells
- polished rocks
- “sea” glass (bits of broken glass smoothed by the waves)
- Beautiful old brooches (take pin out of back if children young)
- Various old bits of beautiful costume jewelry (not junky!)
- large beads of various shapes made from various things:
Another idea along this line is a button tin or button box. It can take several years to collect items of interest to put in this tin, but it’s a lot of fun for a child to sort through the button tin, and it can calm a restless child as they look for all the dark blue buttons with the triangle shape on, or all the red car ones etc.
Posted by The Mummalady at 4:09 PM