Parenting

Homeschooling now? Welcome to the jungle!

25 March, 2020

A  few months ago my nine year old daughter sighed “Imagine if the whole world was homeschooled! I’d be able to play with all of my friends allllllll day!” Ramona hasn’t ever been to school and sometimes wishes that her school-going friends could come over straight after breakfast.  In a bizarre twist in a plot that feels like it’s been written by kids, now basically the entire world is homeschooling – but the kids can’t play! 

If you are new to life without school, welcome to the jungle.

Perhaps you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious at the prospect of being home with your kids for the next four weeks. Solidarity. Personally, I am shitting myself. The next four weeks are not gonna look anything like the circumstances that I opted into. We usually roll out of bed, watch a bit of Netflix and then get with our little homeschooling gang to hit up some sweet museum or beach while us parents banter and generally have a good time.

We hunt down social interactions for our wee extrovert Ramona in the way junkies seek out smack. If she doesn’t get her fix life is terrifying.

Now it’s just the four of us knocking around with the craft supplies I panic-bought from the Warehouse yesterday. And I’m terrified!

So I don’t come to you with a high and mighty sense of yes I’ve done this for nine years and what can I say I’m QUITE the expert, but rather a genuine sense of we’ll get through this together.

‘Cos we will. ‘Cos humans are awesome. 

So, here’s a few things to get you started. Some foundational stuff that means I actually enjoy homeschooling.

1- Not a teacher
Firstly, I don’t try and teach my kids. We go for a type of home education called unschooling or life learning. It’s an education paradigm based on the idea that the best learning is self-motivated, rooted in curiosity and joyfully done.  Over the years I’ve seen our children pick up traditional curriculum topics such as multiplication and writing all through simply living their lives. (Ramona is so passionate about maths that we actually have long multiplication graffiti on our bathroom wall.) We’ve also seen them pick up millions of other skills through being around people in our community. 

Now, I get that some of you are thinking WHAT THE HELL, those poor kids! And that is absolutely fine! Because you can still think I am a nutter AND make room for the truth that the idea of parents becoming teachers is the worst possible idea on the planet, but for a month or six it’s far better for your child to not have a teacher than for them to feel disconnected from or coerced by their parent.

And if ever you have a wobble and think “my kid’s haven’t done the sheets sent from school” you can always think of me and how the government has approved my home education plan!

Kids are learning all the time, whether they are doing worksheets or not. They are learning creativity as they watch you make face masks out of your old bras, self-care as you tend to your caffeine needs and picking up literacy skills seeing you reading a novel on the sofa.*
*probably

I think that in these stressful and overwhelming times, what kids need most are parents committed to connection. Listening to them, holding them, playing with them, processing feelings with them. Basically anything BUT making them do stuff they don’t want to do.

I checked in with some teachers about this and around twenty got back to me, all of them saying things along these lines don’t make your kids study if they don’t want to! Use this time to do stuff together so they remember quarantine as good family time.

2- Stuff you can do lying down
Now one of the the things about that – doing stuff together is that it is knackering. I try not to do too much of it. Ha. But seriously, I do try and keep it in balance, spending enough time playing with my kids so they feel connected and nurtured, but also planning lots of things that they can be self-sufficient in. 

One of the things homeschoolers have got down is activities where the parent lies down. My sister who is new to homeschooling due to Covid19 (shall we just go ahead and call it #virusschooling)  sent me a picture of a man lying in bed and his kids sitting right there sketching him and the caption “Set my kids the challenge of drawing me so i can take a nap.” My sis was all lol emojis about it and I was like, girl that is the oldest  trick in the book. The kids latch on by the third time and you’re going to need the following activities:

The kids paint your belly while you read a book.(What this is a thing!! It’s on Pinterest! Usually the person is pregnant but whatevs.)
You pay them 50 cents for a full body massage.
They have to guess what kind of sleeping animal you are. (It goes without saying that the more obscure the better- a golden snub-nosed monkey is gonna be my next one.)
This game we haven’t named yet where they have to creep up on you while you nap.
Netflix
 

3-Intentional Compromise

Despite what my mum and dad think, our children do not watch Netflix all day. Nope sireeee there is also Youtube Kids and Cartoon Network.

Jokes.

They probably do watch slightly more TV than they would in my dream homeschooling life. That’s because of something I call Intentional Compromise. My friend and I came up with that term (I think, hang on, let me just google, no yeah we did AREN’T WE GREAT!) to describe the idea that nothing is ever absolutely perfect, and often in our endeavour to believe that it can be, we end up making compromises in areas that we don’t want to. If you acknowledge that we don’t have to be perfect, the perfect parent or the perfect homeschooler or perfect anything, you can instead select where you are going to compromise for the greater good.

I highly value self care. It’s the only way I can homeschool. Every morning I like to have a cup of tea and journal and spend a bit of time nurturing my heart. But I also like a teeny weeny lie in. Instead of waking up at 6am to get my self-care in pre kids wake up, or forsaking my self-care time and snapping at my family members because I’m bitter, I let the kids switch on Netflix when they get up, intentionally compromising my perfect vision of us doing family yoga at 7:30 every morning.

You are not going to be a perfect home education parent during this time. So go right ahead and choose some areas where you are going to release the pressure. This way you can be good enough in the areas that are important. 


4- Do this together

Part of the unschooling educational paradigm is a deep trust of our children. We reckon that our kids are their own gurus. They know their brains, their hearts, their bodies best, so we try and give them as much autonomy as we can handle.

You might not be quite ready to see where you kids go with lots more freedom. But many of you will find the next few weeks and months much easier with your kids if they feel like they’ve had a big say.

One way we do this is in Family Circles. We have two types – one where it’s just a chance for everyone to share their feelings. It might be around a particular incident or it might be just a response to some family tension. We had one this week about Covid19 and Ramona finished it with saying “PPPHEWF that felt good to get that off my chest!” I was surprised as I thought we had a fairly open communication anyway! 


And then there’s the planning kind. Yesterday our Family Circle was the opportunity for our kids to shape the next few weeks. We sketched out a gentle rhythm for each day and all put down our suggestions for things we want to do. The kids suggested loads of things that I never would have dreamt of – if you need us in the coming weeks we’ll be foraging mushrooms.

It’s going to be super important for our kids to have things to look forward to and they will really appreciate our attempts to include them in decision making and planning.

5-  Don’t be afraid of the Internet

There are so many educational programmes on Netflix (you can set up a profile especially for that) and Youtube Kids- you can also select channels that you feel okay for your kids to have free access to.  There are tons of kid friendly podcast to listen to. 

And, in honour of the Coronavirus people are putting out even more resources. Ben Fogles is entertaining kids with adventure stories on Instagram, The Little Oak Learning is running morning circles, there are dance parties and live yoga and so many weird and wonderful resources to tap into. The one I actually skipped about the room about was that Audible have made all their kids books available for free. Don’t tell anyone but this was the one single thing that made me feel like I was going to make it out the other end of this lock down without us turning into the Addams Family. (Pre-Audible announcement I was on a fasttrack to Uncle Fester.)

~

We are going to make it through. Not just as shells of our former selves, but even better versions of ourselves. There’s a very strong chance we will be more grounded, more connected, more resilient. And we get to do this with our kids. So many of them are going to thrive in this time. They are going to learn stuff they can’t at school, they are going to feel closer to you, less stressed, less social pressure and they’ll get to experience a four week long pyjama party with their fam!

~

These are really only the very start of ideas I want to share with you. There are so many little hacks that I think people will find super helpful. So I set up a new video series that’s gonna be jam packed with this stuff!  For more inspiration and support take a look at my Covid19 inspired Youtube Channel: Life Without School.

PS My online parenting course ALLY is kicking off in a couple of weeks. If you want to supercharge your empathy and worldchanging parenting take a look at the curriculum right here. 

 

Activism, Parenting

*new online parenting course* ALLY

2 March, 2020

The kids are forty minutes into a heated discussion about where they will live once they have their own families, all of us here in the big yurt together? Or Juno and her kids in the little yurt, which feels unfair to her, frankly? So I’m just taking the opportunity to zip in here with a rollicking big announcement! I am suuuuper excited to let you know that registrations  have opened for my new online course ALLY – be the guide, advocate and friend your child needs. It feels like the culmination of eight years of my work in this area. It’ll be the fourth course I’ve facilitated over this last year and I can say with confidence that these are deeply powerful, transformative experiences. Details below and you can register here.

The future of a fair and equal society lies in adults using their power to come alongside children in a supportive role.

Learn more about the principles of this kind of parenting and how to apply them to your life in a practical way. Discover how a fresh perspective and response to everything from tantrums to mealtimes can super-charge the connection and cooperation between you and your child, bringing you more joy and a sense of purpose into your home.

This radical course sits at the intersection of parenting and child rights. It is a holistic experience, where you are invited to bring the whole of you to this learning. We come to new understandings via teaching, reflection, meditation and discussion.

Ally involves weekly 1.5 hour interactive Zoom workshops, downloadable worksheets and an energetic pop-up community on Facebook.

Loving this course! The discovery and learning each week, the sharing, the 2 hours to myself each Monday. This is absolutely self care in my mind. I’m really enjoying taking the time to delve into something I believe so wholeheartedly in and being led by hand so to speak. (Can’t thank you enough Lucy.) 
Course Participant February 2020

The online course was so much more than I thought it would be! I love the fact it’s focused on us as parents, in a kind of healing way…
Course Participant February 2020
 I have to say I am already SO happy I decided to take this course. My mind and heart have been blown to bits. 
Course Participant February 2020

Module One –  Ally
A just and beautiful world begins in the home
SUNDAY 19:30 (NZST) 5th April
(This is 8:30am UK time)In our first session together we consider a radical new starting point for parents.Once we establish this new perspective we are better able to see how our parenting can impact the future of the world, the nurturing of a just and beautiful society. We take a look at some of the evidence for the idea that a peaceful world begins in the home.

In the second half of this module we begin to unpack why as a species we haven’t made the connection between empathetic parenting and social justice, despite all the evidence.

We begin to do the important, empowering work of unpacking our inherited beliefs that prevent us from truly living the way we want to with our children.

Module Two – Guide
Treating our children as though they are visitors from another world
SUNDAY 19:30 (NZST) 12th April

When we redfine the role of parenting we are freed up to consider what it is we really should be doing! In this session we take a look at how we navigate societal norms and holding boundaries with empathy, whilst making room for our children to bloom into who they really are. We work through each developmental stage and their associated needs and rights. We consider how we can practically honour these needs and rights practical, taking a look at common negotiations from mealtimes to clothing and visiting places other than our own homes.

Module Three – Advocate
How can we stand up for our children?
SUNDAY 19:30 (NZST) 19th April

Once we accept the invitation to be allies to our children, we accept that part of that may well be standing up for them. How does this look, both with close family members and society?
In this session we discover how to live in alignment, living authentically and courageously with the parenting decisions and lifestyle we have chosen.

We look at conflict as a doorway to connection, both in terms of our advocacy and in our general parenting life. How do we keep connection alive through struggles and tricky times with our children?

Module Four – Friend 
Are we afraid of a level playing field?
SUNDAY 19:30 (NZST) 26th April

So often parents will exclaim (at least on Facebook!) “I am their PARENT not their friend!” Friendship is technically simply about having mutual affection for one another, but of course, compared to the parent-child dyad, it is a very non-hierarchial relationship. This sense of power-sharing can be terrifying.  In our last session we consider how parents can very practically share their power with their children. We consider the needs and rights we ourselves are trying to have met, making room for inner child healing.

In this session you will understand how this kind of parenting doesn’t have to be depleting, and be given tools to ensure this is a sustainable and mutually fulfilling path.

~

You can register right here.

Would LOVE to see you in the room!

writing

Just launched an online course for those thinking about unschooling!

7 January, 2020

Now here’s something I’ve been dreaming of doing for a little while! (2020 is going to be the year of bravery, I reckon.) I have just launched an online course for those keen on life learning but wanting to go into it inspired, energised and confident.

DISCO – Embarking on a self-directed learning journey filled with joy and freedom.
A 4 week course throughout February. 

Are you drawn to the unschooling life but feel overwhelmed by the prospect? Enter this safe space to go deeply into your motivations, address your fears and resistance and become excited about the possibility of a life with your kids at home, learning in a self-directed and curriculum-free way. 

This is for the parent that knows there is a an education available that will bring out the very best in their child and wants to embark on that journey feeling fully equipped. You have imagined a different childhood for your kids, one where they feel able to grow into exactly who they are rather than squeezed into a box, one where their energy and creativity has full expression, where their rights and dignity are upheld, but you have just a few questions and concerns to work through before saying a full YES to that childhood!

This pop up community of fellow travellers will give you chance to ask the questions and imagine a different future for your family. This course is for parents considering Self Directed Learning at home – otherwise known as life learning or unschooling.

You can see all of the DISCO course details right here.

PS- this year I am hosting an array of online courses, real-life workshops and retreats. See what’s coming up by clicking this link.


(This photo is from the massive off grid unschooling camp we held on our farm last week! Such an incredibly magical time.)

writing

All the changes! (And your invitation to kinship)

4 November, 2019

My dear friends and blog readers!

Some of you will have seen that I recently finished my Lulastic Youtube channel. In the month since that intense decision I have:

Finished one course (which was an overwhelmingly mutually fufilling thing. Gosh. I just loved facilitating this and people got an enormous amount out of it) AND launched my next course. This one is called NEST and is about nurturing an earth-centred spirituality. It’s for all types of people, faiths, upbringings. Anyone who has the sense that their full aliveness rests in the arms of nature (it does!) and is wondering how to go about activating this kinship. Together we uncover a great wealth of treasure in a super practical and creative way. There are a few more days to register (you can join in from ANY time zone) in time for our launch on Sunday. Click here for more on that.

Filmed a documentary with a large film crew for a very popular show. It was an incredible, exhausting and intriguing week. We are curious, a bit nervous and excited to see how it turns out!

Been to Aotea (Great Barrier Island) for a huge adventure with our unschooling friends, where I also delivered a Parent Allies workshop with their Family Support Centre. I *love* delivering these workshops and hope to turn it into an online offering soon. We were stranded for a while, because the waves were so big we couldn’t boat home. But that gave us more time to befriend a wild pig (who became a pet that came back to the mainland with us) and have more campfires on the beach and even a very, very, very off-grid Halloween.

Shut down three climate criminals (momentarily) as part of the Extinction Rebellion Week of Action. We were in Wellington for five days for an incredibly life-affirming time with other earth lovers.

Began work on the family camps we are hosting here on our farm over summer. We have an unschooling one AND one for EVERYONE. It’s called Wild Kin and if you are here in Aotearoa, we would love to see you here! Click here for more on that.

I’ve been enjoying connecting with other people in the space of healing and women and stuff – including connecting in more with Red School and their offerings. They are still recruiting people for their Menopause course where they are guiding women through this intense Rite of Passage, lighting the way for menopause to be a time of power and wisdom, rather than the negative life transition it is usually seen as. Click here for more on that.

And I have been doing lots of dreaming about WHERE NEXT. It might be another Youtube channel, or a podcast… but whatever it is I want it to be a whole hearted expression.

I wanted to check in with you all as it’s been a while! And I think there is a little chance I might begin posting on this blog more often as I have SO MANY THOUGHTS AND IDEAS I WANT TO SHARE. Ha.

Love you all, love your support, love how we are together, in all these different pockets of the world, bringing more life and beauty to this place.

PS – I am always thrilled to bits to receive the financial support of people coming into my Patreon community. I continue to do livestreams and weekly updates for my Patreons. So if this is something you can do, I would be delighted! But of course, I know so many of you support me in other ways in which I am utterly grateful for too. Click here for my Patreon.

Parenting, unschooling

Cool news for Juno! Home Education Application Exemption (for a six year old unschooling)

11 June, 2019

Hi friends!

We received a cool email today letting us know that our home education exemption for Juno has been approved. You might remember that here in NZ you have to fill in a form in order to be exempt from school. It looks like this is a path the UK is close to embarking on too.

I shared Ramona’s application right here. And I wanted to share Juno’s as it is both a good example of an unschooling exemption (for those who want to be totally up front about the style of learning they have at home) but also does put a bit of flesh on the unschooling bones for those who really don’t get it! The bits in bold are the questions they ask.

Tim wrote this one even though it maybe made more sense for me to do it ‘cos I’ve already done one, but, you know, we are committed to absolutely sharing this parenting and home education gig.

Unschooling home education exemption nz

Section 2 As well as:
A) Help us to understand your home education philosophy/approach, and how you will meet the requirement to teach at least as well as a registered school.

Lucy and I are strong believers in the innate ability of our children to learn. We have watched them both develop in their physical movement from a young age. We have witnessed them motivated by their own curiosity develop a deepening understanding of themselves and the world around them. Our educational philosophy seeks to support and help to replicate this in their further learning and development of understanding. We seek to support Juno’s learning urges, asking appropriate questions to fuel her appetite for understanding. We deliberately follow up these learning urges, travelling to geographical places and accessing relevant resources in order for Juno to have the chance to learn in this way.

As Juno embarks on these learning journeys we encourage her to process these new ideas through discussion with us and others, craft, experimentation in expressing the learning through creative mediums, and recording her learning pictorially and when she is able, through literacy, and numeracy.

Creative arts, social interaction, literacy and numeracy in this context are forms of expression of the learning that is going on inside Juno.

The physical environments of Juno’s learning are wide ranging, whether this be in Te Papa, our farm, at the beach, bush, community organisations or far flung places. We endeavour to make these contexts as limitless as we can. This allows Juno to interact with a wide range of places, cultures and learning facilities.

Juno does not have special educational needs that need catering for.

B) What resources do you intend to use and are you delegating any teaching responsibility?

Library and bookshelf: Juno loves exploring the libraries in Paeroa, Waihi and Ngatea. When we travel to other places she loves to visit the libraries there to read books with us and explore the children’s areas. We encourage Juno to find books that are of interest to her, and read them with her at our home.

iPad and laptop: Juno enjoys ipad games especially the series of Toca Boca games which have been specifically created to enhance a child’s creative development. She loves building homes and facilitating the interaction of her characters in these games.

Friends and family members: Juno had developed close relationships with a handful of other significant others who she feels comfortable with. She enjoys going on trips with these people, exploring places and embarking on creative projects with them, such as clay work with the local potter and trips into the city with her grandmother.

Craft box: Juno loves to explore new places, but enjoys the comfort and familiarity of home where she can happily craft away. We have three huge craft boxes filled with beads and threads for bracelet making, wool for finger knitting. Paints, colours, paper. Felt, scissors, glue. A whole load of interesting craft materials left over from experiments and projects.

Local homeschool community: Juno is becoming increasingly interested in learning opportunities presented through the homeschool community in Tauranga. She currently attends a Kapa Haka group there and a Circus performing workshop. We see this an increasingly important element as she feels more comfortable with the children attending and adults facilitating. Juno loves to make cards and already has a clear hand writing to copy out long notes to her friends.

The natural world and tools to explore it: We are right next door to Conservation Land, with a river. We have kayaks and life jackets which Juno loves to use single handedly. She has a pocket knife and loves to whittle some of the beautiful wood we find. She has rope and tools and together we might set a trap or build a new swing.

C) What are your educational goals for the next 12 months of your child’s home education and how will you know if you’ve met them?

Juno is a naturally curious person. She loves to work out carefully how to do something. Often these activities are extremely complex and take patience, resolve and commitment. We want to honour that element of her personality, helping to facilitate these learning experiences, but not pushing her into them. While she feels motivated to learn new things, take on new challenges, make sense of new contexts we will feel that she is progressing healthily. Juno likes to take on something new and master it. We delight in seeing her in this context and encourage her to work in this way.

Juno takes time to warm to people, but when she does she develops deep and real relationships. We work closely with Juno to help her feel comfortable in new contexts, deliberately making ourselves available to her if she feels that she needs support in order for her to feel safe and comfortable. As she settles into a new context we slowly and subtly give her space to practice independence. As long as Juno is growing in her social confidence we will feel that we are judging our involvement correctly.

Juno loves to develop new expressions of creativity. She adores drawing the most intricate patterns and pictures. Juno loves weaving, cutting, painting, building, creating cups out of clay, writing her name and messages to friends, and experimenting with numbers. As long as Juno is enjoying these creative expressions and involving herself in them we will feel as if we are offering her the correct amount of learning opportunities through creative expression.

D) What is your vision, and what are your goals for your child’s long term educational achievement?

Our vision for Juno is to be a internally motivated and self directed joyful learner. She is that already, and our ultimate goal is to propagate that and not puncture it through other’s expectations. We want Juno to love the learning she does, to feel comfortable within the context of that learning. We want her to follow her passions, curiosities and capabilities. We want her to feel empowered to follow whatever learning pathways she needs to in order for her to become the person she is discovering she is.

We want her to feel confident interacting with a wide variety of people, across a wide variety of cultural contexts. To bloom into the limitless learning opportunities the world has to offer, knowing that something new is not something to be feared or threatened by, but rather an opportunity that may present itself.

We want to see Juno relishing being able to express herself and be understood by those around her. To project her understanding powerfully, confidently and accurately, through the arts, literacy and numeracy.

If she wants to go to a tertiary institute, we want her to know that that is a possibility. Equally if she discovers the need to initiate her own creative dance troupe, or likewise, we want her to know that she has the tools and efficacy to do that.

E) Give a detailed description of a special project or topic plan you will do, or describe one you have done in the past.

Juno has developed over the last month a love of weaving friendship bracelets. She is amazingly good at the intricate movement and patterns required to make a beautiful bracelet. Already she has made and given away eight friendship bracelets, representing hours of important motor skills work (and also critical for reading readiness.) Juno has said that she knows what she wants to do when she grows up now: sell friendship bracelets.

Throughout the year we regularly attend life learning camps. One camp particularly offers the kids a chance to sell their creations or offerings in a marketplace. Juno really wants to build up a collection of friendship bracelets to sell at this camp in October. Already she is researching the different price structures that she may employ in the selling of these friendship bracelets by asking friends and family members what they would be willing to pay. This has also lead to an increased interest as we move around the supermarket and op shops noticing prices and discuss value of each item, through this she is gathering basic numeracy skill as well as an understanding of money, cents in the dollar.

Juno will need to source reasonably priced thread to make this price structure work for her, and within the budget of her weekly allowance. We will support her to do this through finding a thread supply online or in local secondhand shops. Juno will need to develop processes that allow her to meet the production levels required of her marketplace stall. Juno will also need to make sure that her product design is desirable to her client base which will through our regular excursions and visits to friends. And when we get closer to October we will support Juno to design her own market stall and packaging, including sign writing and artwork.

SECTION 3 “As regularly as”

A typical week:
Monday: Morning trip down to Tauranga, beginning with Kapa Haka, followed by a meet up with other homeschooling and life learning children at a local park. Spend the afternoon at one of her friend’s house either playing outside or crafting inside. After dinner Juno attends a circus performing class. Drive back home after club.

Tuesday: Crafts morning after breakfast and some Netflix, followed by outside play at our farm. Often Juno will be involved in a project such as gardening – at the moment she is growing a giant pumpkin for a Giant Pumpkin Competition at a local farm. We might make a tree house or construct a waterslide, or more simply go on a bush walk beside the river collecting fascinating rocks, insects and minerals. In the afternoon we will go to studio of a local potter for a few hours and Juno will make some crockery. In the evening Juno helps to cook dinner, regularly chopping all the vegetables.

Wednesday: A bunch of other families turn up at our farm to play and explore together. Juno will often spend a lot of time with one particular friend making things, drawing, making greeting cards, bouncing on the trampoline and playing games. In the afternoon Juno will help me tidy up if she doesn’t end up going off to a friend’s house for the afternoon.

Thursday: Netflix in the morning punctuated with breakfast. If the weather is nice we will head out to a new place to explore. Juno loves exploring the seashore, the intertidal rockpools and deposits at the high tide mark. Often a friend will come along on the trip. more often than not we will discover something that we have never seen before, carrying on the investigation at home later. If the weather is not so nice we will often go to a local library, art gallery or museum. After lunch while we are out it makes sense to visit the op shops and if not before, the library before closing time. Juno loves finding good books and treasures that she can take home and enjoy.

Friday: Today after breakfast we will get crafting together. Out will come the sewing machine, cuttings of various fabrics that we have picked up from around the place, cardboard boxes, glue, paint, flour, food colouring, scissors pens and paper to draw on or fold. Juno has mastered origami shown to her by a family friend, she often settles into folding foxes and roses. If the time is right Juno will spend hours working with intricate designs and patterns. After lunch we might break things up with a play outside or swim. Juno will store her creations in her treasure cupboard.

In the afternoon with a bit of support Juno may bake a cake to share for afternoon tea. These are often very creative and reasonably edible. We trust that over the coming years her enjoyment of cooking will create the perfect environment for learning some of the more complex maths skills such as division and multiplication as she creates and develops recipes. Often on Friday we will finish the day enjoying a family movie together before bed.

Saturday: Another day to explore, this time perhaps with her school attending cousins. She will spend lots of the trip chatting away with them about what they have been up to at school while sharing some of the things that she has been doing not in school. The trip may involve an excursion to a waterfall that someone has heard about or a trip to the hot pools for a soak.

Sunday: At home day today, often people will come to visit. We swim together in the river play in the bush, go rock or insect collecting and then make hamburgers together on the fire before watching the sun go down and first stars appear.

Juno might spend some time finding new music on Spotify, an interest inspired by her big sister’s love of music. They cultivate a growing playlist of a wide variety of music, often asking members of our community for song suggestions and then coming home and looking them up – typing into the search bar the letters as we spell it out.

Throughout each day we are all involved in deep conversations ranging from the activities we are doing to the complex science behind life on earth. We estimate that between activities and one to one conversations Juno is involved in around 8 -12 hours of active learning everyday, including weekends.

~

After we sent this through they responded with two follow up questions:

Education goals – 12 months

You have really good broad goals thank you. You’ve also given me a picture of what Juno likes and is interested in.

In line with your approach I’m now interested to know in terms of the ‘learning area’s’ what Juno can do (skills) /or knows (knowledge) and what her next learning steps might be?

Alternatively, you could give me one or two specific education learning goals for English, Math, Science, Social Sciences i.e. the skills and/or knowledge you’d expect her to have within the next 12 months

Resources

Thank you for the list you have supplied.

As you start your home education journey with Juno, I need to know some more reference materials (named texts/internet websites) that will assist you with her individual learning progression at the level of learning she’s currently at or moving toward.

It will also be helpful for you to tell me a little about the resource and how you intend to use it.

We replied with:

English
To continue to love stories and books. To continue to explore the sounds of letters and consider the sounds different letters make when they are put together.
It would not surprise us at all if Juno is reading basic stories in a few months, such as her enthusiasm for letters, but making that a goal would go against our desire to let Juno progress at her own pace.

Maths

Juno loves and is working hard with counting and adding. We will continue to support her in adding and giving her sums to put together. We have already seen Juno embracing games books containing maths challenges. We will continue to give opportunity for her to feel challenged in this area by moving on to adding double digits when she is ready.

Science

Juno loves to experiment with the different way craft materials can work together to form something else. So she will mix paint with dishwashing liquid and try and blow bubbles and discover the paint is too heavy, but it actually looks quite good when you push paper into it. Our goal is to continue to support Juno’s enthusiastic fascination with experiments and help her make links when appropriate and welcome.

Social Science
We have just spent some time with Juno’s Great Grandad who jumped out of a place as a paratrooper on D-Day and is about to do it again! As a result she has discovered much about World War 2 rooted in her own curiosity. We will continue to help her make links between things happening in every day life and the historical context for it.

Resources

Reference Material:

We have a large bookshelf filled with reference material the girls can access at any time including:
Every Child’s Answer Book
Family Guide to Nature
Reptiles at your Finger tips
How It Works
Human Body Encyclopaedia
Native Birds of New Zealand
Native Trees of New Zealand

But more importantly we visit the library weekly to access reference material in any topic.

Both girls receive Junior National Geographic which is an incredible resource for learning about the natural world and often has games and challenges to interact with. We read them from cover to cover.

We don’t tend to spend an enormous amount of time on screens just now as both girls are big into exploring the outdoor world. However Juno’s favourite apps include:
He aha tēnei – a child friendly app for learning te reo Māori basics
Wordscapes – a word game app that Juno loves to play with
Garage Band – collecting sounds and making music tracks with them
Spotify – Juno has her own playlist and loves to explore new music and curate them
Netflix – we often watch cooking and nature documentaries together, such a good resource.

As she gets older we look forward to introducing her to the many websites that are available to her as a learning resource.

home education new zealand unschooling exemption
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And today it got approved! Hurray!

Picture here is the shopping list Juno wrote today – just teaching herself how to write in exactly the same way she taught herself to walk and talk, totally self motivated and self directed.

Stay radical x x x

Feminism

The seasons of your menstrual cycle and your sex life

6 March, 2019

Have you ever considered your menstrual cycle as mirroring the seasons in nature a little? Applying this imagery to my monthly cycle has been quite transformative for me.

I first understood it from the wonderful book Wild Power. I now apply it in heaps of practical ways to my life. One massive way it has changed my life has been in my marriage with Tim, particularly in our intimate lives. Gosh yes. I’m talking about sex. Sorry mum.

Here is a little presi…

Winter: Day 1 of your menstrual cycle is the day you bleed. It’s also the beginning of your winter. This is a time of great power and vision, but with great needs too! I like to be as alone as I can be, usually in the forest, able to write and sing and create some dark matter! Menstruation is a bit of a muse for me. I feel quite heightened sexually too.

Spring: I start to come out of my shell, but am still quite vulnerable. I start to feel my libido stirring.

Summer: Here is the middle of the cycle – ovulation. I become a super woman! I can do everything and anything and need to remind myself *not* to take on a looooad more exciting projects! I am creative and sexual, and have the power to direct my energy into my creative work, or the bedroom.

Autumn: For me, autumn, the transition between ovulation and menstruation is the hardest part of my cycle. I am grumpy and sore boobed and really don’t want to meet any one’s needs and definitely DO NO EVER WANT TO HAVE SEX. Ha.

The video below is Tim and I having a chat about how really seeing my menstrual cycle as seasons and then applying that to our marriage and sex life has been utterly transformative. We cover rejection, being enough, libido- ALL THE THINGS! We also talk about how we have implemented some rhythms and rituals to add lots of magic to our, er, night life. Lots of people have watched it with their husbands or partners and have used it as a basis for discussion later.

There are other resources on the Channel Mum site- they were the folk that actually gave me the guts to talk about sex! So do have a look at other mum’s stories here.

And I also have a creative journal I made for $5 and up Patreons. It’s a gentle journey into the seasons of your menstrual cycle, and how to practically and spiritually embrace the power of menstruation. You can become a Patreon here.

So here’s the vid!

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Menstrual cycle, periods, husbands, sex