Saturday, February 19, 2011

Family read alouds

Charlotte Mason used "living books" instead of textbooks in her schools which is what we also try to use in our home school. Hence read alouds are something we do as part of 'school' a la Charlotte Mason.

However, when I first started looking into home schooling, I remember reading Susan Schaeffer Macaulay talking about a 'family read aloud' time in "For the Children's sake".

So, last year, Ron and I began that tradition on a Saturday night (when we are at home). We began with "Winnie the Pooh", a great book for the young and the young at heart:) We enjoyed reading this book, all three of us snuggled up on our couch at home, laughing at this silly old bear and his 'expotitions' . We usually read just a chapter at a time so this took us quite a while to get through.

Next we undertook "Little House in the Big Woods" by Laura Ingalls Wilder. This book was just lovely, it transported us to a very different time and place with Ma and Pa, Laura and Mary and their house which was indeed oh so little, poles apart from our day and lifestyle. A lot of it was way over Rebekah's understanding and life experience just as any other six year old's living in the 21st century, not something she could relate to, e.g., hunting bears and lighting fires, but despite this she really enjoyed it as did we. This charming book we finished last Saturday.

Today, we begin "The Magician's Nephew" by C.S.Lewis. Rebekah has been patiently waiting for this book since mid last year when Ron started telling her stories from the Narnia books as part of her bed time stories.

We hope that this tradition carries on for many years to come, even into the teenage years (as Susan.S.Macaulay talked about in the afore mentioned book).

It is such a great bonding time, very special and if you have not done this with your kids I would encourage you to try this out too! You will be making memories for them, not to mention encouraging them to really enjoy good books and also educating them at the same time(wink)! So, I'm off to begin our Narnia series! Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Homeschool park (fun) days

With all the kids back at school, our fortnightly home school park days have commenced again.
It was a humid hot typical February day in Sydney today in the very high 30's (approximately 104 degrees Farenheit) and so I was expecting it to be a small turnout.
I was wrong! I think most people must have missed these fun get togethers (like me) and like me must have been wanting to get back into them. It was like a great big family reunion!
Rebekah was hot,red, sweaty and thirsty but it was still hard to drag her away from her friends at the end!

For those of you who don't home school, they are get togethers at a park with other home schooling families - kind of like a massive play date with several families, oh what fun (for the kids and the mums/dads )! :) The kids always have such a ball, just running and playing and being kids outdoors (which is so good for them) for many hours at a stretch!

(this was taken at another time)

As a home schooler you're in a minority group and this makes it all the more necessary to meet up with other like minded mums. I always come away feeling so encouraged! We get to share our experiences, learn from more experienced mums, encourage the younger mums just starting out etc.

Also, I have been finding that Rebekah is increasingly wanting to be around other kids more. I'm not sure if it was being on holidays that caused her to miss her friends or if she is needing to be around kids more overall. I suspect it is the former as we've had a long break at home (usually we go away on holidays during the Christmas break) Anyway, whatever the reason, I've decided to spend more time out and about with her, and to get her a bit more involved with things going on in the home school community that we were not involved with last year. I know this is going to be a stretch for "li'l ol" introverted me but I'm just going to have to bite the bullet and do it for my daughter's sake.
I know that this is unique to us as she doesn't have other siblings but that is part of the challenge of home schooling an only child. I'm sure I'll know in a few months time if we need to scale back or not but until then I'll be out and about more!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

New ballet school

Rebekah has been loving her 'dance' lessons she's done for the past two years. She started off with jazz, ballet and tap in 2009.In 2010 we dropped the jazz and did ballet and tap.
In 2011 we've dropped the tap and she will be doing ballet only and that at a different school.

I have spoken to quite a few mums who feel the same way as me and are not happy with most of the dance schools - from the choice of music, the dance moves and even to some of the costumes - just way too inappropriate for young kids. That was the reason we dropped jazz and tap gradually and continued with the ballet last year.
Well, Rebekah just LOVES dance and music! So quitting altogether is not an option.
Besides we feel she needs the extra curricular activities in her life especially as she has no other siblings. Also she seems quite musical and just loves loves loves music! She loves listening to most types of music but I just love the fact that she LOVES classical music.

In fact when she was a baby - around 8 months of age, I remember there used to be a car commercial on TV with not many words and a background of beautiful classical music. She would come crawling as fast as she could from wherever she was in our house to watch the TV whenever that ad came on!

Fast forward six years and she still loves music and dancing ballet to her collection of classical music is one of her favourite things to do in her free time.

So, anyway, when we found out about another dance school which is run by a large church about 20 minutes drive from our home we decided to check them out. Their website states that they are commited to protecting the innnocence of children. So, we enrolled Rebekah there and I will have to tell you some time later in the year how it's all working out!

I will just have to put up with the driving in Sydney's peak hour traffic (oh how sheltered and protected I've been from that for the past few years) and I don't have the luxury of dropping her off and coming home as it won't be worth the time with only an hours lesson. So, I guess it will be either walking or reading for me for an hour, which is all good!

I'll keep you posted on how it all works out no doubt!
Here she is dancing after we got her her new outfit for 2011: