You fell asleep without goodbye,
But memories of you will never die.
These are the words JJ chose tonight to print out and bury with her pet rat Scarlet, who died today 26th March 2013. She is very sad and has written all about Scarlet in her section below. We dedicate this blog to her memory. We all miss you kind, gentle, sweet Scarlet.
We’ve finished reading My Side of the Mountain, it is a book that both JJ and I loved and we highly recommend. A creative exploration about the life of a runaway teenager who lives in the wild amongst the animals and shoulder to shoulder with the elements. Written in the 1950’s it was astonishing that we only became aware of this near the end of the book when the boy refers to his mother working during the war. Everything else about the book was timeless, set in the wild where nothing seems to change from decade to decade. Midway through, JJ picked up the writing style of the story being relayed in the past, when it was supposed to be set in the present. This bothered her. We had a discussion about past, present and future tense and how it is used in writing. We also discussed how many writers get this wrong and how important it is to decided what tense you are writing in and to stick to that tense. My Side of the Mountain inspired another discussion around birds being used to test oxygen levels in mines when a scene involving Sam’s Falcon, who reacted to a reduction of oxygen in his dug out tree den by almost falling of her perch. The final gift the book gave us was reigniting JJ’s love of the wild, she has been out in the garden lighting fires, gathering water and starting to chisel out a log into a vessel to carry things. Thank you to @3treescoffee for your recommendation it truly is a great read.
As one of our Home Education families is away I’ve been blessed with two blissful pottery mornings. Not that I made anything significant, I’m really not a very good potter, I enjoy the time chatting with my friend B and pottering away on random pieces. On reflection it is lovely to do something just for the sheer joy of it, leaving behind any expectations. This is my time to play. My craft morning, with my aunt, became a chat morning which meant I unfortunately didn’t get round to finishing of my decoupage chair – there’s always next Saturday! While the children were busy with their projects, making slime, making hay bale’s and a dragon project; B worked on her photography assignment and I did some pewter work (still ongoing).
On Sunday we had a lovely family afternoon working with wood in our garden. A few months ago two dead Jacaranda trees were felled by the municipality just outside our property. I grabbed the opportunity to get a few of the logs with the intention of using them as side tables for our outside furniture. Bruce started by introducing JJ to an electric planer and sander, I wondered over to see what the pair had been up to and found myself drawn to pull off bark from one of the trunk logs. Before long I had a chisel and hammer in my hand removing the stubborn pieces of bark. Soon enough AA and JJ were helping remove bark from these logs with use of the chisel. It felt good to be doing something constructive and together as a family.
I took the plunge and submitted my much worked on article, about integrated learning, to an American based international, online magazine for consideration in their publication. Within a few hours I received an extremely positive response and it looks like it is to be included in the May edition of their publication. I will let you all know when it appears.
After been asked by JJ about the extinction of the dinosaurs we had a long discussion on the theory of the 10km meteor, crater to be found in South America, which was the most likely culprit to wipe out the dinosaurs. This lead us onto discussing the more recent theory which believes volcanic action also played a major part in the extinction of these creatures on our planet.
JJ has been working on a project which is her book, everytime she reads it to me I have to pinch myself to remind me that this is written by someone one who only recently turned 9 years old. She has never been to school and experiences learning organically. I’ve asked her to share a section of her book and I’m sure you’ll agree with me, it’s not just me having a proud mom moment.
We made our own pizzas using pita bread for the base – I do love cooking when it is simple, fun and delicious as these always turn out to be.
Our household was turned upside down by arrival of AA’s, much saved for, Ipod Touch. This is the first apple product in our house and it kept the other family members occupied for days trying out all the new features. I was impressed when JJ & AA came through with some very well constructed origami birds – apparently taught to them by the Ipod Touch!
I’ve felt the need this week to zone out and watched several movies and a whole series, some of the movies were memorable and the series was a total waste of time, at least my crocheting of JJ’s blanket has grown significantly. My aunt and I went to see the Quartet, which is a moving movie about getting old and friendship. Bruce and I watched Mr Nice, the story of Howard Marks the British cannabis smuggler; this is a brilliant movie and fascinating how someone can live life avoiding the long arm of the law for so long. I wasted at least 9 hours straight watching a series called The Killer, getting to bed after 4am in the morning long after the rest of the family had retired. It was entertaining enough to keep me awake for that length of time. I was particularly drawn in by the realistic portrail of the reality of lossing a child by the mourning family, but in the end the story went nowhere and I was unnecessarily left hanging with the annoying twist at the end, leaving me feeling that the whole series was rather pointless.
Interesting links this week
Louis Barnett is a young successful chocolatier. He was home educated having left school when he was 11 because of bullying. Thanks Sean
Thanks to @trys_shwartz for Stuart Brown’s TED talk on the importance of play. He sees play as a state of being as important as sleep for the human condition. This connected with me as I’m very aware of the healing properties which play bestowed upon me during difficult times in my life.
I’d like to end with the following description about unschooling shared by Nadia from the Creative Unschooling Facebook group
Unschooling takes more,
more thinking and questioning,
more choices and better choices.
My rat Scarlet has been sick, for a while, with a chest infection, she has been wheezing. I have been looking after her and giving her medicine but the infection would never go away. Today my mom asked me if I had fed my rats, I went to feed them and saw that she was lying straight, so I went to pick her up to take her to her food and she felt stiff, I knew then that she had died. I started crying and told my mom. I put her in an ice-cream container with shredded newspaper and waited for my dad to come home. He dug a grave and we all buried her. I wrote her a letter and said goodbye Scarlet I love you. I’m going to sleep with Mom and Dad tonight because I am very sad. My other rat Charlotte I thought might be lonely without her sister so I took her out and got one of my dolls pillows and drew 2 eyes, a mouth and nose on the pillow and gave it to her to keep her company. She seems to like it. I am going to make a pottery headstone for Scarlet’s grave. I miss her so much.
Dad made 2 perfectly square hay bales then squished the hay so hard he accidentally broke the forma – whoops. We fixed it the other day because I needed that for Monday to make loads more hay bales for my dolls house. With my dad we stuck the door frames onto my doll’s house, we, measured the wood for the windows and cut them and then we made the window frame and stuck it in. We talked about how we were going to make it and new ways. My dad then said ‘do you want to see the mega machine in action’ and I said yes. He showed me, it looked just like it was nothing just a flat thing but it was not it was very sharp – it is called a planing machine. It made the piece of wood we were cutting very flat. We want to make a bed side table someday. I used it and then showed my brother how to have a go on the planing machine. Then I scraped bark off a tree stump, I want to make a vessel to hold things out of it.
I played dominoes with my brother and dad. I won two games and my brother won the other one. We played 3 games by the way. It was so much fun I started giggling all the time for no reason and everyone laughed with me it was fun.
My great aunt came over for a sleep over, she sleeps with me in my room, it was cool. I baked chocolate crinkle cookies for her visit and she really liked them. She gave us easter chocolates. That night I made a domino house it looked like a temple, I hid chocolate coins inside - everyone liked it. We were planning a bike ride with my dad for later on in the day but we didn’t do it because we were too busy doing all of our stuff and wood work.
I went for a sleepover with my home school friends and we played spin the bottle, well not the real spin the bottle with the kissing and stuff. We played truth, dare or command spin the bottle – where you had to spin the bottle and whoever the lid of the bottle pointed at and whoever the back of the bottle pointed ate. The person which had the back of the bottle had to ask the person at the lid of the bottle truth, dare, puppy dare or command. The person at the lid of the bottle would choose one of those. If they chose truth then the other person asks them a question where they have to answer with the truth. If they chose dare then the person dares them and they have to do it. If they chose puppy dare then they get the choice of 4 things to do. If they chose command then the other person commands them and they have to do it. Well I’m sure you get the idea? It was super fun. Then my friend taught me how to finger knit it was so easy. I tried to do it at home but I couldn’t do it for some reason. I painted an Open sign for a pub my friend and I were setting up we did it at the sleepover. Also we had to rescue their bird Lotus from a tree outside their house, naughty Lotus! Can you see him in S hand while she is coming down the ladder?
We were reading My Side of the Mountain and I learnt about bird’s needing more oxygen than us to live. Mom told me about birds being used in mines to test oxygen levels – shame poor birds hay? We finished reading My Side of the Mountain I was sad it had finished, I really like the book. But I’m happy now because we can start reading Harry Potter again.
I cleaned the inside of the car for extra money. I am cleaning 2 cars every weekend to earn R25 each car. I did well on each car but I still haven’t been paid yet! So I’ve written it up on a piece of paper and stuck it with a magnet to the fridge, now Mom and Dad won’t forget.
I was playing Sumdog when my friend from England called me on Skype, it was cool. But she had to go after a few minutes – we haven’t seen each other in ages at least we get to talk on Skype.
I have been reading lots of Percy Jackson in bed – wow it has been a lot. I am enjoying the story so far.
One of the days I played at another friend’s house all afternoon, when I came home I asked my mom to set me some long multiplication questions, I am really getting the hang of them now.
I was playing mini bowls in the garden, with my dad, I thrashed him he he he. But the next game he beat me. But let me tell you a secret, don’t tell my dad, I really tried to let him win. Then my brother came and played but we didn’t finish the game.
I got a bow and arrow out from our garage and tried it out, not that successfully – I sort of got it, no not really, he he! What a disaster.
I nearly broke my record bouncing a tennis ball on my tennis racket my record is *300* and I did *264* so close.
I did a sort of concert for my mom and dad with piano and singing it was fun.
My brother AA got an Ipod Touch 5th generation (the newest one) with his birthday and Christmas money and money he earns selling biscuits at the coffee shop. I love it. It has sirri, it also has this cool game called subway serfa, it is REALLY FUN and it has this app that teaches you origami I made a bird it is so much fun. My brother let me play with it, he is very kind.
I learnt Yankee Doodle on the piano and I’m singing Favourite Things from The Sound of Music.
My friend taught me how to bead with tiny beads and wire. I made a gecko it is very sweet and tiny. I really enjoyed making it.
I wrote some more of my story last night and read it aloud to mom and then dad. They think it’s very good I am so excited to show it to you. I have copied an extract and put it at the end of my section of the blog. What do you think?
My Book – Cleo’s Magic
Cleo woke with a start. ‘Wake up wake up! We are going to Annie’s party.’ Aunt Hannah said
‘Do I have to go’ Cleo yawned.
‘Yes you do’ she said. ‘We all have to go it’s your sister’s party’
‘No it’s not … it’s my step sister’s party, besides I don’t even like her,’
‘Yes but you still have to come and do the washing up after’ She said. Aunt Hannah was Cleo’s dad’s girl friend but she was forced to call her aunt. Her mom had died just after she was born and Annie was her step sister.
‘Come on then get up get dressed we need to go soon’
‘Where are we going anyway?’ said Cleo
‘We’re going to the Disco where she has her party every year daa’
‘The disco? She has never had her party at the disco?’
‘ Grrr you know what I mean.’
‘Err no I don’t Grrr never mind.’
‘Well get ready. Enough of these chit chats and I need to have my shower now get ready’
Cleo got up and sighed - why did she have to go to a four year old party and she didn’t even like the birthday girl I mean she was ten. Why did her father have to be like this, she didn’t think he even liked her.
Annie came out of her bed room and jumped straight into the corridor and faced Cleo, she said in a very irritating voice. ‘So Cleo wacha getting me for my birthday?
‘ho I forgot it was your birthday and I didn’t get you a birthday present.’
Annie burst out crying and whaled ‘Mommy Cleo isn’t getting me a birthday present’
Aunt Hannah burst out of the room. ’Cleo what did you do’
‘I was just making a joke’ Cleo said.
‘A joke! Do you think I would fall for something like that. Tell me the truth my little Annie poos what did she do?’ Annie wiped her eye’s and started talking in a quiet voice,
‘She … she … told me that she hated me so much and said she hadn’t bought me a birthday present.’ and then burst out crying again.
‘Oh no’ my Aunt said ‘Cleo you stay in your bedroom until we leave and when we get back you will stay in their for three hours ok?’ and walked off with Annie.
Cleo could hear her say to Annie ‘Don’t worry she can be such a brat sometimes can’t she?’ Annie nodded.
Cleo heard someone knock on the door 5 minutes later she opened it and her dad was standing right outside the door …..