Unplugging

A few nights ago I lay in bed; water in the creek rushing by outside, my babe asleep beside me after boobing to sleep, I could hear Scott’s voice as he read stories to the children by campfire, and I began to write by torchlight.
I wrote of my thoughts, for myself, and my words took me to a thought I’ve had many a time before; of removing myself from social media, and for an as yet unknown amount of time, discontinuing my blog.
This time my thoughts took me to a decision I could not turn back from. And so, I am for now, going to stop posting on my blog, and I am going to remove myself from facebook and instagram.
I have thoroughly appreciated the personal and homeschooling communities that have supported me and have been a source of friendship and comradery since beginning this journey. Social media has been a way for me to gather information and educate myself about subjects close to my heart, and I have truly loved seeing what all the lovely families I follow, or are friends with, do throughout their homeschooling or unschooling days. I have learnt much and been inspired by many.
Writing and photography are a joy to to me. I find both very cathartic and thoroughly enjoy the process of recording my family’s journey. I have also found writing my blog to be an extremely helpful way to organize myself for the process of homeschooling registration.
But at this time; with the presence and energy I bring to the online stage, I feel I need to step back and unplug. I need to be free of the commitments of maintaining my blog, facebook page, and instagram posts.
Now when I write I will be writing for myself. Even though I aim to portray myself in the most honest way I can it has always concerned me in the back of my mind that I may change the way I record things, even if only in the slightest way, because I want people to perceive me in a particular way.
Now when I take photos I will be taking them for myself. I will not need to have any concerns if they are good enough or appropriate for sharing online. And I will feel a release of not needing to capture ‘every’ special moment (seriously, every moment is special, so this is impossible!) and create a visual representation of our journey all the time.
Recording and journaling our unschooling life is a passion for me but certainly the value of my words and photos is not diminished if they are not  shared or seen by anyone else.
I have met and maintained some lovely friendships with beautiful, likeminded people through sharing our homeschooling life online. It is hard to let go of something I have worked on for years now but at this point of our adventure, as we travel around Australia, I need to be present in the now (a state I have been striving to attain and maintain for several years), energetically available and grounded in the Earth as we tread her beautiful soils and become more intimate with our land and waters, and give my whole being to my gorgeous family.
Importantly, I have always had a concern about the healthfulness of sharing one’s life with such an enormous community. The nature of instantaneous sharing and receiving feedback within a community in which the people, on the whole, do not interact in the ‘real’ world or have not formed authentic relationships, can not to me be truly nourishing. There are of course wonderful positives of being able to share with such a wide audience and it’s a very useful tool to raise awareness. I hope that I have, even if it’s only in a miniscule amount, helped to raise awareness about the wonders of the things I feel most passionate about; homeschooling and natural parenting, homebirth, and our beautiful Earth.
I also believe that with the change in our culture from one of close knit family communities who help and support each other, to one in which parents can be and feel completely isolated, that online communities are a way to gain much needed support.
So, in ending, I wanted to say thank you to all of you who have come by and bothered to stick around and read any of my posts, I hope it was worthwhile!
We will be continuing to trundle northward and will be crossing over the border into QLD  in the next week! (Very excited!!) I have started writing a journal (with pen and paper!), and have taken out my SLR camera again. I want to pursue photography in more depth and Anusha is very interested in doing that with me. I think at some point, perhaps when we return to Tas, I will continue with my blog, writing retrospectively of our life on the road, but at this point I can’t see social media enticing me again.
If any of you lovelies would like to get in touch, please drop me a line at dls.lonna@gmail.com it would be a pleasure to hear from you!

image

Blessings and sunshine to you all xx

Advertisements

Tunnel of Stars | Gardens of Stone National Park

Today we went on an adventure to a glow worm tunnel!

image

The drive from Lithgow took us along 30km of fairly unpleasant rough and bumpy gravel and dirt road, for the most part through plantation, but led us to the very beautiful Gardens of Stone National Park and walking track to the glow worm tunnel.

image

Our doggy, in a particularly sooking mood would not allow us to leave him alone. So Elki, upon his own insistence, stayed with him in his father’s place, not wanting his dog to be sad, or Scott to miss out.

image

The walking track wound through invigorating forest,

image

surrounded by ancient rocks and stone cliff sides,

image
and arrived at the fern veiled tunnel entrance;

image
the tunnel of an old rail.

image

With head torches on, we ventured in, light quickly disappearing, leaving us in darkness and revealing the magical lights!

image

The lights in the tunnel akin to stars in a night sky delighted us all. Anusha mystified by there beauty as she skipped and jumped from rock to rock along the wet tunnel floor.
On observing the worms under a red light we found they do indeed glow from their bums!

image

As the light at the end of the tunnel emerged the tiny stars receded,

image

And we were greeted by a grove of green.

image

We weren’t sure which end of the tunnel was more beautiful.

image

After a short exploration we headed back through the tunnel, marvelling again at the lovely glowing lights, finding one cluster of worms in the shape of a capital E (E for my dear boy Elki looking after his doggy ❤), and Anusha counting the doorways cut into the tunnel rock wall.

image

Amongst the amazing cliff faces we spied secretive caves.

image

One of which Anusha had found on the walk in when I had been carrying Zubin in the ergo. Now that Scott held him she was able to show me her ‘amazing!’ find at the bottom of a short but steep and slippery path.

image

It was truly amazing and even more so after we saw a bat! It flew around us as we excitedly squealed, Anusha exclaiming, “it came this close to my face!”

image

She couldn’t wait to tell her Dad (who had gone on ahead telling us to take our time) and Elki as we walked the last of the track, noticing the beautiful colours of rock along the way.

image

We found happy boys back at the car; Zubin having loved the walk on his Dad’s shoulder, Elki not minding at all his quiet time of reading and playing games on his phone, and of course Laska having had company while he waited.
I had missed my boy on the walk and we all agreed we would return before leaving the area as Elki just has to see the awesome tunnel of stars.

A Few of their Favourite Pieces | The National Gallery & Museum

image

We’ve spent a few days near Canberra recently and over two days took the children to the National Gallery and Museum.
We were all very impressed with the art gallery and spent a relaxed afternoon wandering through the galleries and exhibitions.
After filling our bellies in the sculpture garden and admiring the sculptures (particularly the slit drums) we entered the gallery, starting with the Indian and East Asian gallery.
I thought I’d take a few photos of some of the children’s favourite pieces….

image

The Indian and East Asian gallery was Elki’s favourite in all of the NGA. He loved so many pieces, exclaiming over many of the ‘archaeological finds’; his fascination with archeology rekindled. This throne was a particular favourite.

image

Anusha loved this statue. We read through its explanation a couple of times and she showed me the parts she liked best; the jewelled waist and chest.

image

Waterlilies by Monet was a favourite of Elki’s. He chose it not realising it was by Monet, whose paintings we have on the walls at home. He then showed me another painting he really liked before noticing it was also a Monet!

image

Another piece Elki liked was this by Frank Stella,

image

And he absolutely loved this Astronaut Refugee.

image

As we strolled through the Aboriginal gallery Anusha found this one amazing,

image

and she showed me two favourites; this one,

image

and this one.

image

This was Elkis favourite of the Aboriginal paintings.

image

We first noticed this awesome didgeridoo garden from above and as we walked through the children chose their favourites.
This one Anusha’s,

image

And this one Elki’s.

image

We left the main gallery to find the Contemporary gallery; the children interested in an exhibition there. Anusha loved the music we could here floating over the lake from the Carillon tower.

image

The exhibition in the contemporary gallery was amazing! Elki and Anusha were enthralled by recreation of The Last Supper made completely from salt,

image

And the intriguing glowing uranium chandeliers!

image

Anusha found it was not only the chandeliers that glowed,

image

and we were all fascinated by the intricacies and details in the food of the banquet.

image

The children were able to feel some of the pieces of food, amazed that it was just salt!
Ken and Julia Yonetani’s exhibit was a favourite for all of us.

image

The next day found us at the NMA. The gallery we spent the most time in was that of a temporary exhibition called Encounters; an exhibit of Aboriginal history. Elki is always most fascinated by the Aboriginal weapons and tools; particularly liking this shield and club.

image

Anusha is more often drawn to the jewellery, adornment, and craftwork; this feather necklace a favourite.

image

Undoubtedly though, the children definitely got the most enjoyment from the Kspace. Here they were able to design their own robots, which they then used in a computer game to complete tasks in a particular time in history.
Coincidentally, the first time they played I joined in, and we were taken back to the 1980s protest of the damming of the Franklin river in Tasmania!

image

Zubin had a turn at being a robot with his Dad too, it was too cute not to capture!
Elki and Anusha played again later after we had wandered the rest of the museum; and then we headed back to camp and some downtime after our two full days.

Sharing and Learning Mabon

This morning the children and I prepared for our Mabon ritual.
It was one of those really lovely, flowing mornings in which we shared our interest and one thing flowed to the next.

image

I started writing down notes for our ritual; (inspired by a Mabon ritual from an issue of Pooka Pages, an online magazine for pagan families) Anusha helping me, and Elki asking about pagan gods, goddesses, and magick.
Anusha discovered she could download the magazine on her tablet and copied a picture of a Mabon pentacle and wrote her name in runes.

image

Elki also downloaded an issue, writing his name in runes, and creating some runes with some of his beach rocks. He then downloaded an issue of Pagan Moonbeams; another online magazine with a section for teenagers.
We started talking about altars and making a portable one each for travelling,

image

and then Elki began making a temporary altar using his drawing book. Anusha also made one, and then we continued with our preparations.
Elki and I talked more about magick, runes, and crystals. He asked if I knew of a crystal for protection and after I encouraged him to look it up, he found the quartz to be of help and made a simple pouch to hang a rose quartz around his neck.

image

Anusha found a twig needed for a wand and headed into the tent to decorate it, and then after lunch we painted symbols for the directions and elements together.

image

Anusha created our Mabon pentacle and symbol using coloured pencils, and we collected the last things needed for our altar.

image

Our Mabon feast was to be pumpkin and almond tortellini, followed by apple pudding. Scott prepared the pumpkin filling, and then the children and I made the pasta dough,

image

and folded the tortellini.

image

In the early evening we set up our altar and practised the ritual whilst Scott prepared dessert.

image

We then came together for our Mabon feast; some delicious apple pan fried cakes an extra delight made with left over pudding mixture!
To share my love of Earth and paganism with the children, and for them to respond with such interest, curiosity, and eagerness to be involved was such a natural and flowing way for us all to learn, and incorporated many different ways and opportunities for Elki and Anusha to follow what captured their imaginations the most.
Mabon blessings to all 🍄🍂🍎🍇

Celebrating My 14 Year Old’s Birthday | The Melbourne Museum

My first born turned 14 years old on Tuesday the first! I am such a blessed mama!
In the morning we woke, wished our boy a happy day, gave him his birthday cards and gifts, and I read him his birth story….

image

We camped close enough to Melbourne so that we could take Elki into the city to celebrate his special day.
After breakfast we took him out to spend his birthday money; he had planned his spending and knew what he wanted, and then we went out for a seriously delicious vegan lunch at Lord of the Fries, and dropped in to Smith and Deli for takeaway vegan birthday donuts.

image

That night we sang Happy Birthday by candlelight and torchlight and he ate his Birthday donut (Amazingly yummy!)

image

The next day we embarked on another big day; the Melbourne museum.

image

There was some initial frantic, rushing to see what came next; the dinosaur walk an exciting start, and the flying pterosaurs (especially Quetzalcoatl) sparking a lot of interest.

image

Elki was in awe of the giant squid in the underwater gallery.

image

The bug gallery was super interesting, we saw dung beetles with life sized elephant poo, gorgeous stick insects, and tiny, tiny wood insects but Anusha was very trepidatious about seeing any spiders so we walked on to the Wild gallery to see the animals.

image

Animals are what she is drawn to and most interested in. Even though we all found the stuffed animals rather unnerving, we tried out the interactive computers to find out the names of animals we didn’t know.

image

We had a wander around the Children’s gallery,

image

The textural feel of this a favourite of all the children.

image

The different visible levels and layers of the forest gallery were quite beautiful. The children looked into the core of a dead tree to see what lived inside,

image

and saw fish swimming under the water of a creek.

image

The Aboriginal cultural gallery was fascinating for us all: Anusha listened to the different languages of the varying Aboriginal countries and Aboriginal names for some Australian animals; telling me the name for Echidna and asking me to listen.

image

Elki spent time finding out the names and uses of some Aboriginal hand tools and weapons,

image

And we all learned about Aboriginal toys. I absolutely loved the breasts and baby toy!

image

After wandering the Aboriginal gallery and Te Pacifica gallery, with it’s awesome boats and masks that Elki showed me and thought were awesome, (interestingly, the masks were made in an area of New Guinea close to where Scott spent the first five years of his life) we had a look around the Melbourne gallery.
Anusha and I were fascinated by this construction of an old Melbourne house. Elki found the old weapons most appealing.

image

We then made our way outside for a picnic; Elki happening across a blunderbuss, a favourite of his!

image

After lunch and a rest in the shade we made our way back in and looked around the Mind and body gallery.
We were all getting a bit weary but before leaving we checked out the Dynamic Earth gallery and it was a definite favourite!
After Elki and I had looked at each of the globes of Earth in formation and were dazzled by the crystals, we all found each other in the movie theatre. The 3D volcano movie was amazing, Elki exclaiming in delight; “it was like surfing the lava!” Anusha and I loved it and felt slightly sick and overwhelmed all at the same time. But definitely a great way to end our visit.

image

The following day we recovered and Elki enjoyed his new birthday purchases; Lego, Yu gi oh cards, which he tried out with his Dad and sister, and a set of the Heroes of Olympus books.
I’ve now been a mama for about two fifths of my life and I am dearly looking forward to sharing another fifth with this beautiful boy.

Unschooling | Our Homeschooling Journey

image

Over the past year our homeschooling journey has been evolving and settling into a new rhythm.
New tides and growing waves have brought changes into our life and my way of thinking.

image

A precious new baby joining our family, and our decision to embark on a year long family camping adventure around mainland Australia were catalysts for needed change.

image

For several years our homeschooling life has been based on a loose but consistent Waldorf foundation and curriculum.

image

But as we adjusted our days to meet the changes occurring in our life I began to see our family’s needs being met in different ways.

image

Ways that are more natural, more flowing, and truly authentic.
The children’s learning has become more self led; instigated by their current interests and needs. And I have realised that letting go, really letting go; of false ideals and previously held misconceptions of how natural learning occurs, is the best and most exciting way forward for our family.

image

I have been reading a lot, and affirming my own realisations and thoughts.
On our homeschooling journey I now see that unschooling is where we are all happiest and the children are learning the most.

image

They are learning in their own ways; we do not need to tell them what to learn or coerce them, and I now trust with all my being that they will learn what they need to as they need to because they are self driven individuals whom know their own desires better than anyone else.

image

We will support and encourage their interests and learning in all ways that are within our means,

image

continuing this journey we began as a family nearly eight years ago with love and understanding.

image

I spoke to the children about unschooling before writing this, and we discussed how learning is not something that happens at school from the ages of five to seventeen; it is life long. And Anusha asked me, “What are you going to learn this year mummy?” It made me smile and feel so excited as I talked about what I want to learn this year,

image

And thought about how the children are sharing in and experiencing my, and Scott’s, love of learning.
What could be better than learning together as a family….

image

embracing each tide and every wave.

What a day at camp looks like….

image

The morning started with Zubin waking first and Scott and I rising for our morning cuppa’s.

image

The children ventured out later after spending some time in the tent; playing Lego together, Elki reading (finishing the third book of the second R.A Salvatore trilogy he has recently been reading), and Anusha drawing.

image

After breakfast Scott and Anusha picked blackberries for making jam; I began some sewing that needed completing,

image

and then Elki and Anusha played a fantasy card game; Magic, The Gathering.

image

Whilst Scott started to prepare lunch the children walked down to the rope swing.

image

I followed after a while spending time watching their tricks and giving some big pushes.

image

Zubin explored, played, and watched his brother and sister.

image

Often we spend time observing the local birds; I captured this sweet fella and Zubin and I watched a little tribe of Superb Fairy Wrens flitting around looking for food.

image

Scott lit the campfire; Elki taking some time to read by the warmth,

image

And then we all helped make tofu and vegetable kebabs,

image

Which were cooked on the fire BBQ for lunch.

image

Following lunch Zubin had his second nap for the day, snuggled close to me,

image

And upon waking chewed on an apple Scott picked from an apple tree, whilst watching his Dadda cut firewood.

image

The children spent some down time playing games in the tent,

image

And I finished my sewing.

image

While Scott and Anusha made pancakes for dinner, Elki drew,

image

And then the children washed dishes and we tried the fresh blackberry jam on our pancakes.

image

The children headed into the tent, Anusha drawing some more, and I followed shortly behind with Zubin.

image

And the evening drew to a close in the usual way; with bedtime stories from me and then Scott. 😴

Of course our days at camp vary; a card game could be a family board game or an outside game, swinging could be playing in a playground or an imaginary adventure, drawing could be writing about something important to the children, starting a story, creating something with their hands, or looking up something they want to find out more about, down time on their phone and tablet could be checking their instagram account or skyping a friend.

There is contstants though; we are always cooking together, the work of upkeeping our camp is shared, play, play, play, reading together and on our own, caring for our beautiful baby together, Lego usually appears at some point, as does drawing, lots and lots of conversation, laughter, time when no conversation is needed, usually some silliness and loudness, loads of cuddles, kissing the baby a thousand times, working through disagreements and problems, and spending a lot of our day in and with our natural surroundings.