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.

Tunnel of Stars | Gardens of Stone National Park

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

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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.

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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.

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The walking track wound through invigorating forest,

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surrounded by ancient rocks and stone cliff sides,

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and arrived at the fern veiled tunnel entrance;

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the tunnel of an old rail.

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

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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!

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

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And we were greeted by a grove of green.

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

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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.

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Amongst the amazing cliff faces we spied secretive caves.

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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.

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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!”

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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.

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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

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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….

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Another piece Elki liked was this by Frank Stella,

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And he absolutely loved this Astronaut Refugee.

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

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and she showed me two favourites; this one,

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and this one.

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This was Elkis favourite of the Aboriginal paintings.

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

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And this one Elki’s.

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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.

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

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And the intriguing glowing uranium chandeliers!

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Anusha found it was not only the chandeliers that glowed,

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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!

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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.

The Ocean Our Classroom at Pettmans Beach

Last week we spent our days on a stretch of 90 mile beach called Pettmans beach; nearby Lakes Entrance.
It was a sand filled, water immersed week of camping; the children’s afternoons occupied by swimming, playing, and exploring this truly beautiful area.

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Zubin loves the beach and was fascinated by the feel and taste of the shells and sand.

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There was a sand bank along the shore which changed slightly each day with the coming and going of the tide. I loved to watch Zubin as he deftly climbed down; turning around at the top to safely clamber down backwards, feet first. Climbing back up was a little harder but after several attempts he triumphantly succeeded.

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He spent hours of the afternoons and evenings in our arms and on his Dad’s shoulders as we strolled along the shore,

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curiously observing and taking in the beautiful surroundings,

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and sleeping in the Ergo with the sounds of waves to lull him,

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and my footsteps to rock him.

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And he played; his brother and sister his playmates, the ocean’s offerings his toys.

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Anusha immersed herself in beach life. The sand dunes her adventure playground.

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The sand and sun her sanctuary and warmth when the water became too cold,

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and providing her with hours of fun as she built fairy castles, tunnels, and trenches.

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At first Anusha was unable to swim as the waves were too rough and a trench on the shoreline too deep, but after discovering the low tide in the afternoons she excitedly took to the water.

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At times she needed the help of her big brother,

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But as the week passed by she grew more and more confident and swam more in the sea than she has ever before. Having an amazing time and never wanting to leave.

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Elki took to the ocean with his love of swimming and enthusiasm for adventure.

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He found the water irresistible,

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the waves providing hours of thrill and challenge,

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and the inspiration for imaginative play as he battled powerful enemies.

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Elki’s love of crystals and Earth treasures was ignited further by the plentiful and beautiful trove of rocks and shells along the beach. Most days a new find was added to his collection and he excitedly collected these special rocks with his sister to give to Zubin on his approaching birthday.

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The stunning sunsets most evenings were colourful and magical,

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and food for our eyes

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and spirits.

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I found the ocean a refreshing and inspiring delight for my whole being; my afternoons spent with my feet in the invigorating water, listening to the rhythm of the ocean and my children’s playful enjoyment.

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And an exciting surprise for all of us was catching glimpses on several days of two stunning Lace Monitors! A true highlight of the week.

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I was constantly amazed by the beauty of Pettmans beach, and surprised that we often had it all to ourselves! Thank you to this most special part of Australia for being our classroom for a week ❤

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….

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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.

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

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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We had a wander around the Children’s gallery,

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

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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,

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and saw fish swimming under the water of a creek.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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,

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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….

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embracing each tide and every wave.

Stevenson’s Falls

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Last week we went for a wander to the falls where we are currently camped; Stevenson’s falls, about 30 km inland from Apollo bay.

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The trail led us alongside the creek, through wet native forest, distant plantation, wild blackberries, and the occasional fungi.

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Anusha finding it hard not to constantly stop to pick and munch blackberries, and the forest providing a veritable smorgasbord for Elki’s imagination; after not long we found ourselves at the day use area and crossed the creek.

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The cool water called but we continued on, the children venturing onto the rocky paths winding along the creek.

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Hopping from rock to rock Elki and Anusha made their way to the waterfall as Scott, a sleeping Zubin, and I strolled alongside on the path.

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Before long the easy peaceful trail led us to the beautiful falls.

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A welcoming, refreshing, and cooling sight.

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Elki immediately climbed down to the bottom of the falls,

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exploring the surrounding rocks, small caves, and pools.

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Anusha shortly ventured down too,

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And then Scott and Laska followed,

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Whilst a now awake Zubin, and I, observed and breathed in the beauty from the lookout.

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I love to watch my family delight in nature’s wonders,

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And capture our time together in these special places.

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On our return walk I rock hopped with the children along the creek whilst Scott strolled back with Zubin.

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We met at the day use area and the children and I cooled our feet in the water before walking the remaining stretch. Anusha, with a sore foot, was carried by Scott and they picked the highest berries, previously out of reach!

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Elki led the way, and I found him resting and reading under the shade of a pine in our camp upon my return.