Farm Visit – Part 2

After the bush walk (Part 1), we ventured down to the cow shed.

IMG_20140703_140211624_HDRThere were about 5 cows who had lost their calves and so needed milking, and the small number meant it was the perfect opportunity to show the kids what it was all about.

IMG_20140703_141739162_HDRWe started off with Sam explaining to the kids what happens to the milk once it comes out of the cows.

We followed the pipes through into the room where all the equipment was and he answered a million questions about from the kids about the process and what each piece of equipment was for.

IMG_20140703_141808637_HDREven for the couple that aren’t so good with loud noises, they stayed and listened to the whole thing (though, covered their ears at times). They were really interested in the process.

After that it was back into the shed where Sam brought the cows in and lined them up – it was here that we learned possibly the piece of information that will stay with us all the longest!

When a cow is scared, it poops – Sam explained this after the kids were making a bit too much noise and frightened them.

IMG_20140703_142305931_HDRThey all watched with interest as he put the cups on and showed them the difference between a cow with a full udder and an empty udder, and reminded them again of where the milk goes.

Overall it was an awesome trip. The kids asked a lot of questions and really made the most of the experience. I don’t think any of them had been in a shed before, and despite the noise and mess they were all really engaged.

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A nook

We’ve been doing some shuffling of rooms around the house over the last few days, culminating in the big move today – back across the hall from the kids. I’m hoping this gives the house more flow, with the school/play room coming off the lounge, and the bedrooms both in the same part of the house. We’ve been here for almost 6 years now, and I think I might have finally cracked it.

IMG_20140930_144139651An unexpected, and wonderful, result of this has been the creation of a quiet nook in our bedroom. We’ve gone for a slightly unusual layout, and I love what we’ve created. It’s a little room created in a corner behind the headboard when you shut the door.

Natalie (4) has needed a lot of time out lately. She’s working through her emotions in a practical way and has decided that when she feels bad/angry/sad about things, the best thing for her is some quiet time. Now, I’ve never sent her to time out – it’s just not something we do in our house – so it’s completely under her own steam. I think I must use the phrase ‘time out’ when I need some space and peace, because it’s what she says.

Because the girls all share a bedroom (their own choice), it can be hard to get some alone time, and sometimes it’s not very convenient for having ‘time out’ when it’s bed time and everyone else is trying to get in there. We’ve found ways to work around it, but she has been quite desperate for a quiet space she could go.

IMG_20140930_145049436And I am so pleased we’ve been able to create one.

The girls have spent a lot of time today relaxing in the nook. Natalie took a book in and that gave me an idea. I suggested we get a little box and put some things in it that might help whoever needs the nook to relax and the girls thought it was a brilliant idea! So I found a box, and they came up with the things they wanted in it. Awesome 🙂

Loosening the reins

I admit to being a bit of a control freak. I like things done a certain way – the easy way, normally, the most efficient way – so one of the biggest lessons for me in our home schooling journey has been letting go. Without room to breathe, and make mistakes, and find their own way, the kids can’t really learn what they need to know.

It isn’t something I have had to face with our eldest (Ivy, 8). She’d much rather I did everything for her, even if it’s something she could easily do for herself. The struggle there has been in encouraging her to give things a go, to make mistakes, to get messy. Teaching her that if you have an accident in the process it’s not a big deal because you can just clean it up, or have another go.

Our middle child (Lauren, 5) is a little different. Her early years were spent in my arms and she spent a lot of time surveying the world and the people who populated it, but she actually has more confidence to strike out and try things on her own, she is a determined soul and a fantastic problem solver – and her younger sister Natalie, at 3, is even bolder, and forever pushing herself to catch up to her big sister.

More and more, I am having to let things go. The most recent has been breakfast/lunch. It’s now a time of experiments, and taste testing. Lauren has been making sandwiches for herself and her sisters, and this morning she took the helm completely. There were some interesting combinations, that’s for sure, many of which were tested, but not eaten. I said yes, more than I normally would, because who am I to tell them what they want to eat? We all have different tastes and preferences, and so, they explore.

WP_20140104_005Lauren’s favourite is nutella with 100’s & 1000’s. Natalie just likes nutella or peanut butter. Or tomato sauce. Tomato sauce and 100’s & 1000’s was not so popular, nor was the marmite and 100’s & 1000’s. Actually, marmite isn’t popular at all.

And when all is said and done, it looks a little like this, and that’s okay, because it gives me a chance to guide them in learning how to clean up after themselves and take responsibility for the messes that they make.

WP_20140104_006WP_20140104_004And they look a little like this, and I love it.  Lauren looks positively blissed out on having the freedom to make her own breakfast of choice, and Natalie, while pulling a funny face, was thrilled to experiment with Lauren and have tomato sauce for breakfast, and more than happy to clean up the sticky finger marks she left on the chair and bench.

I love my little monkeys, and I’m getting better at loosening the reins and giving them the freedom to explore the things they want to. I’m just grateful that I can be here to watch them grow, even if at times I have to take deep breaths to calm myself! lol

Approved!

Well, the letter has finally arrived. Our application to home school Ivy has been approved!!! I think my hands shook for a good five hours – starting from when I saw the Ministry of Ed header on the envelope.

There have been a million emotions and thoughts swarm over me since then, and I think that the reality of it all is still sinking in. Above everything I feel relief, and excitement, and joy – especially when I see how happy Ivy is about it all.

On Friday I took her in to say goodbye to her classmates, and while I cried the entire time, she took it all in her stride. Clearly pleased that she wouldn’t be attending school any more, though admitting that she will miss her friends. They know where we are though, and have our number, so it’s not the end of friendships, just the end of shared school times.

Afterwards we stopped in at the hospice shop and picked up a tall cabinet for storage, and so now our study room is looking pretty organized. I finally feel like our long wait is over and I can move again!

Calm Before The Storm

Or is it the storm before the calm?

Hi, and welcome to our new blog! We sent off an application to home school our eldest, three weeks ago now, and so are currently waiting for approval to come through. She is miserable at school, and desperate for the exemption certificate to arrive. It’s been a good lesson in patience for us so far, though I can say that everyone in the family will be relieved when we can officially begin home schooling.

It was not something we intended on doing. I’d never had a strong desire to home school, though over the two and a half years since she turned 5, it’s cropped up in my thoughts many times. I just wasn’t sure I’d be able to cope. It wasn’t until we’d gone through several other options, trying to figure out what was wrong, that it struck me that in fact the problem was simple.

She didn’t fit in at school.

Sure, she has friends, and she can do the work for the most part. She isn’t a bad kid, nor does she have behavioural problems. But she was miserable. Having to sit down for most of the day, not being able to move or listen to music, or follow her own rhythms was stifling her creativity and her passion for learning. She became depressed.

And that’s not okay by us. So the simple solution was to quit traditional school, and do things in a way that would suit her, build her up, improve her confidence and sense of self worth.

So here we are. On our way to becoming a home schooling family, and happier for the decision. She is doing her best to stay balanced while she waits, though it’s hard on her and us. I’m trying hard to be patient, though that’s never been a skill of mine. I know we have a long road ahead of us, and it’s going to have its ups and downs, but we’re really excited to make the change and can’t wait for our journey to begin.