Writing Again

Hi folks!

I am here today to let you all know that I am writing again! I have started a new blog, though, to meet the direction I wanted to head with my writing, and what I wanted to express on these pages.

You can now find me at https://undereucalyptus.wordpress.com/. I will be writing about our Earthly journeys, including of course, Unschooling, and also Natural Parenting, Celebrating Earth, and my family’s transistion to Waste Free living.

I will not have a presence on social media but if you do pop over for a read please say hello, it’s always lovely to hear from you!

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Many blessings,

Danielle.

2015; A year of change

As I think back on this year it has been really massive and life changing. It has been a gift that has brought so much love, surprises, adventure, growth, and learning to our lives.
I love the opportunities and flexibility that homeschooling offers, and this year we have experienced so much together as a family that would not be possible if our children went to school. This year brought one of the biggest of life’s lessons as we brought a new babe into our family; Zubin, our long awaited little spirit. We have learnt so much together from this adorable cherub…..

Together we bonded over the expectation of his arrival; sharing our last months, days and hours together with just the four of us, whilst imagining what we’d be like as five.

We pulled together, supporting each other, my two beautiful children, and loving partner supporting me as Zubin was birthed in our home. A lesson I hope my children will carry with them in their hearts of their mama; a strong, fearless woman of this earth facing one of the most hardest and rewarding of life’s challenges.

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Over Zubin’s first days and weeks earth side we learnt to be that family of five. It was not always easy but together we looked after each other, fell deeply in love, shared the tasks of keeping this new little being safe and all his needs met, cried together as emotions like waves rolled high and low, laughed joyously within all the magical little moments, and kept our tiny house functioning as best as we could.

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Then it was as if Zubin had always been with us and together we journeyed on.

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In September another change entered our life in the form of a year long camping road trip around the mainland.

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We are learning as we travel; from our wild amazing Earth, museums, from meeting new people and making new friends, and seeing old friends and family, botanic gardens, libraries, constructing tents, cooking under a blue sky, camping through storms, rain, mud, scorching heat, and wind, from reading books at night by our solar lamp, the internet, swimming in rivers, bushwalking to our physical limits, catching trains into the biggest city in Australia, festivals, reading road signs, budgeting our money, driving across plains of dry, flat country, and watching sunsets as we stroll along country tracks……..and this is only the beginning.

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Yep, it’s been a big year. Our family has changed, our life has taken a new course, and the way we homeschool has been evolving. We are now travelling down an unschooling path and I am so excited by what 2016 has to offer!  Loving new year blessings to you all 💖

Gilgamesh – Babylonian Mythology main lesson

Recently Elki finished a main lesson on Babylonian mythology. I chose to read him the story of Gilgamesh and base the main lesson around this story. He made a main lesson book, which I think will probably be his last main lesson book. Now that he is getting older he is finding main lesson books a bit tedious (although he did really enjoy creating some of the pictures for Gilgamesh), and next year as we move onto History I think his recorded work will be much more independant and report or project based, really I want him to have much more input into how he expresses what he has learnt, although he does still need my direction and motivation.

For this block we used the story of Gilgamesh by Bernarda Bryson, which is really child friendly and easy to read.

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Each day we read a chapter, or two if they were short, and then the following day recalled the chapter (Elki is actually much better at this than me!) and then we sat down together, drew a picture to represent the chapter, and wrote a short summary. I asked Elki what picture he wanted to draw each day and we drew together, rather than I me preparing a picture beforehand. I also wanted him to write the summaries mostly on his own, and as the block progressed he became much more at ease with this and increasingly confident with his writing.

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Elki’s drawing and summary for Uruk of the Walls

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My drawing

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Elki’s drawing and summary for The Luring of Enkidu

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My drawing

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Elki’s drawing and summary for The First Dream, and The Terrible Battle

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My drawing

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Elki’s drawing and summary for The Monster Humbaba

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My drawing

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Elki’s drawing and summary for The Wooing of Ishtar, and The Bull of Heaven (he most certainly enjoyed drawing battle scenes the most!)

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My (unfinished) drawing

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Elki’s summary for The Vengeance of Ishtar (he really wasn’t up to drawing a picture on this day so we just left it).

For the first few summaries of the block I would ask Elki what happened and lead him on through the chapter as he developed the summary. I would write this down and then he would copy it into his main lesson book (he is not a confident speller and usually needs my help with any difficult or new words). As we progressed through the block I wanted to work with him more on his spelling and sentence construction so I changed how we wrote the summaries. I got Elki to write each summary completely on his own, I would then go through what he had written with him correcting any mistakes and telling him why they were wrong, and then I would rewrite the summary and he would copy this into his book. It was a more time consuming and tiring way to write the summaries but I really feel that it was a much more helpful way for Elki to develop his writing and spelling skills, and give him more confidence.

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Elki’s drawing and summary for The Scorpian Men (he put a lot of effort into this picture and really enjoyed creating his representation of the scorpian man).

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My drawing

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Elki’s drawing and summary for Sabitu, and How Gilgamesh Crossed the Bitter River.

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My drawing

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Elki’s drawing and summary for Utnapishtim, and The Secret of Utnapishtim

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My drawing

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Elki’s drawing and summary for The Magic Weed, and Gilgamesh at last Finds Enkidu (he put a lot of effort into this, his last drawing, and was very proud of his gate of the underworld).

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I chose to draw something different for the last chapter, Gilgamesh lying down to join Enkidu.

Elki really enjoyed the story of Gilgamesh, the battles and adventures appealed to him. I was quite emotional reading the last chapter! Over the Summer we are going to just read through the rest of mythology – a small amount of Indian, and then Roger Lancelyn Green’s books on Egyptian mythology, Greek mythology, and I also have his version of The Tale of Troy. We’ll probably just read these as bedtime stories, and during the days I hope to cover some maths with both of the children. Then next year we’ll be moving onto History, which Elki is eagerly awaiting, and will really speak to where he is at right now 🙂

A Second Alphabet Block

It’s been a while since I finished the second block on the alphabet with Anusha, but I’m only now getting around to recording it! In this post I thought I would talk about how we went about our days and the activities, verses, and songs I chose to do with Anusha, and then I have made a separate post here including all of mine and Anusha’s drawings that we did for her main lesson book.

Throughout this block we continued on with the story of The Wise Enchanter. I chose to move a bit faster with Anusha for this block and introduce two letters at a time. I felt that we would be moving too slowly otherwise and Anusha was very keen to learn all the letters so she could start to learn to read.

Our first block ended with the introduction of F, so we continued on starting with G. Throughout this block I used the same song and verse each morning at the start of the lesson. Both are from Journey Through Time in Verse and Rhyme. The song is a traditional one, which Anusha really enjoyed, and I partly chose because of her love of birds,

‘ABCDEFG

Little Robin Redbreast sitting on a tree,

HIJKLMN

He made love to little Jenny Wren,

OPQRSTU

Dear little Jenny I want to marry you.

V and WXYZ

Poor little Jenny she blushed quite red.’

The verse is called Alphabet by Margaret Morgan, and goes through the whole alphabet. Each day I added the next two lines for the letters that were introduced in the story the previous day. I also made up little actions for each letter. Using a verse like this which I could add to each day made it much easier for me to remember and Anusha looked forward to hearing the next part each day.

We followed the same basic rhythm as in the previous block, reading from The Wise Enchanter and each day looking at the new letters in The Old Freedom Train. I feel it’s really important to incorporate as much movement as possible into the lessons, which we did after each new letter was introduced, and then Anusha would copy my pictures of the letters she’d been introduced to the day before into her main lesson book. After this (if I was organized enough) we would do an activity together that was related to a letter.

Some of the activities included; making Footprint Paintings for F, creating “Hand Tree” collages for H,

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wet-on-wet watercolour painting to create Purple for P.

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For this painting I told a little story of a hot desert as we painted. We started with the clear blue, cloudless sky, then the red hot, shimmering sand, and when they met in the middle they created a priceless, purple sunset on the horizon.

Dry watercolour painting of a Rainbow for R,

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designing and printing Tree Buntings for T,

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 for U and V, modelling a clay Valley for the Underlings from The Wise Enchanter,

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and drawing, cutting, and decorating a Whipper-Whopper (a twirling kite) for W.

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Apart from this we put together some paint bags together so Anusha could practice her letter writing on a surface with a different feel and texture,

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and she began sentence writing in her main lesson book. We hadn’t done any in the previous block, so we started with A, writing a sentence on the opposite page to her picture, and I showed her how to draw the golden path for her words to walk on, and a star between each word for spacing.

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As we progressed through the alphabet she drew the path in the same colour as her writing and left out the stars as she was already pretty good with spacing her words.

I tried to make her block varied, fun and interesting, following the same rhythm and form but within that doing lots of different activities to really enhance her learning of the alphabet. We always started each day with ‘circle time’ including seasonal songs and verses, and at different times throughout the block I included other poems, such as The Jumblies by Edward Lear for the letter J, and stories, such as Grimm’s The Golden Goose for G. I didn’t get around to completing my alphabet frieze, only finishing one for E! But I’m hoping to finish that throughout the year as we continue on Anusha’s reading journey.

A Waldorf Numbers Block – Part 2

Before our holiday break Anusha and I finished her first Maths block and I’ve been trying to get around to writing about it until now! We continued on with the story The Old Forest that I wrote for her and worked through the numbers 6-10. You can find parts 6-10 of the story here, or under my Stories menu.

We followed a similar rhythm to before, starting the lesson with movement, verses, and song. Some of the verses and songs we used included, ‘When I Was One I Had Just Begun’, ‘Counting Game’ (Molly De Havas, Journey Through Time in Verse and Rhyme), ‘Chook, Chook’ (The Singing Year, Candy Verney), ‘There Were Ten in the Bed’, from Eric Fairman’s A Path Of Discovery Grade 1, ‘Two Squirrels’, and from Christopherus Curriculum’s Joyful Movement, a favourite of Anusha’s ‘ Ten Tall Candles Stand in a Row’.

Two activities that Anusha really enjoyed was making and drawing a five-pointed star, and a figure eight. We spent some time walking the figures on the floor. Anusha and I walked the star together and she did it alone, then she tried drawing it in the air and on the blackboard,

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I wanted to try walking the star with each of us starting from different points but she found that a bit daunting. She loved drawing it though and surprised me with how easily she caught on!

When it came to walking the figure eight I asked Elki to join in and each of us started walking it from different points. We then walked faster and faster until we were going as fast as we could, both children loved this! Afterwards Anusha drew the figure eight in the air and on the blackboard, tracing it with all the different colours we have,

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Another activity we did for number eight was making some prints with paint. Anusha loved the feel of the paint on her fingers as she spread it over a sheet of baking paper that i stuck to our table. I simply squirted colours onto the paper, she mixed them with her hands, and then wrote the number eight with her finger,

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Then we made a print by firmly pressing a piece of paper onto the paint,

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Anusha had a lot of fun with this, we hadn’t done a painting activity like this for quite a while. She went on to make lots of different prints, and made some beautiful ones that I just love,

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As we continued on through the number story, as we did with the numbers 1-5, Anusha copied the pictures I drew for each number into her main lesson book,

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My picture of six mountains,28th July 2013 029

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My picture of seven Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos,

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I actually made a mistake with this picture and drew nine gumnuts by accident, I must have been getting a bit tired! I fixed it up rather than drawing it all over again, the children found it rather amusing!28th July 2013 033

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Anusha’s picture.

For number ten I decided we would paint a big picture of the old forest, to complete the story and block. This is what we made together,10th August 2013 281

Afterwards Anusha just wrote a big number ten in her main lesson book and she was finished!

Other things we did along the way was continue with the Arithmetic verses from Journey Through Time in Verse and Rhyme, and read ‘How six men got on in the world’, ‘The seven ravens’, and ‘The Gnome’ from Grimms. At the end of the block we also practiced counting in 1’s, 2’s, and 3’s whilst throwing a beanbag, did some skipping, and found out how many ways we could make ten with some rocks using this verse,

‘How many ways can you bring me ten?

Now think fast my merry little men.

Glad to be first, see Jack’s eyes shine,

as he quickly comes to me with 1 and …….’

(Journey through time in verse and rhyme)

Over the next couple of weeks I’m going to spend some time on form drawing with Anusha, and fingers crossed we’ll get a break in the rain and will be able to get out into the garden!