And/Or

by Shae on December 2, 2014

 

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There is a lot of talk right now about gender neutral toys. About how gendered toys are having an adverse long-term effect on kids.

I think we have overshot the mark.

 

The toys are not the problem. Granted some of them are problematic and ridiculous in their general stereotypical crapness BUT it’s not their existence that we should be focusing on. It’s the fact that we don’t give kids the choice to decide which toys they’s like to play with. Rather than taking the gender out of the toy we need to take the gendered expectation off the child.

 

Kids should be allowed to play with (and wear for that matter) whatever takes their fancy. Barbies AND superheroes, trucks AND play kitchens, baby dolls AND tools. Not Barbies OR  superheroes etc. The difference between AND and OR is important.

These tiny little ridiculous gender boxes we expect everyone to fall neatly into. It is that which causes the long term damage. Boys believing that showing emotions is weak and girls being taught that looks matter most and so on and so on. THIS  is what is problematic.

 

And it starts with putting an expectation with which toys are the right things to play with when they are kids. Let’s cut that shit out right now and let them play with what they like.

 

And if you want to talk about problematic toys. This one. I can’t even.

 

 

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5 things all new homeschoolers need to know

by Shae on December 2, 2014

 

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So you’re done with school, or maybe you have decided to not even go there in the first place.

But it’s a bit scary, right? I mean HOW WILL YOU SOCIALIZE THE KIDS and what of tertiary education and will you even get 5 minutes to yourself?

Here are a few things you might like to know.

 

-It’s easier than you think.

All legalities aside (and it’s legal all over Australia) it might be a whole lot less work than you think. Even if you choose to use full curriculum or do a fair bit of lesson planning, the actual book work side of things may only take a few hours each day. And that’s with multiple kids! Kids who are home educated tend to be far more self motivated in finding things to do,  following projects of their own, and being able to play without input for long stretches of time. It is a commonly held myth that if you have your kids out of school they will be at you all day, looking for things to do. And eat. This can be true of kids coming out of the school system (or school kids on holidays) as they might be used to having their day mapped out for them with little input or freedom of choice. With time and space, that gets better. Obviously I’m not talking about young children who do need a lot of input and help-school or not. At my place now, with kids who are 9,7, and 5, I do some setting up and some packing up and some help with projects and book work. And I also get large chunks of time where they are immersed in their own work or play.

 

-Home education is not an inferior choice to school.

This one is important. Homeschooling  is simply another choice-not a lesser one. There are opportunities for further education, accelerated learning, kids with learning difficulties to work at their own pace, and so on. Children are able to learn about things they are interested in for as long as they like, and not based on their age or class size. This point is not to bash school- it is another valid choice on the education spectrum. But don’t feel like you are doing something wrong by making the no school at all choice. It’s equally as valid.

 

-People will have an opinion.

I hate that I need to point this out, but I do. Everyone from well meaning family to the random person who put you groceries through will have an opinion. Perhaps even a strong one they feel the need to berate you about. It’s OK. Home education DID used to be an unusual way to raise your kids and there are groups that still use it as a way to separate their kids from broader society. Times, however, have changed and many of us are now so boringly normal it can be surprising. But those old stereotypes stick and different can be confronting. Learn to grow a bit of a thick skin and realize that you don’t need to defend your choice to everyone.

 

-You need to find your tribe.

The size of said tribe will depend on how introverted or extroverted you and your children are. It really does make a difference to have at least one family, close enough to visit, who are on a very similar page to you. I’m talking similarly aged kids, parents that you like and a similar home education/parenting philosophy. It might be a group that meets at the park, it might be a sporting group or it might be just one family who live an hour away. It might be all of those things if you’re like me! Somewhere where your version of normal is commonplace and celebrated. Somewhere where you can talk out any issues you might have-without fear of judgement. A good tribe is worth their weight in gold.

 

-Home education is a totally different way of life.

It is not perfect or without problems. You will read beautiful blogs filled with gorgeous kids and their incredible artwork and parents who seem unflusterable. Homeschooling is just as messy as any other life with kids and imperfect parents in it. But there are perks, and life is simply different. There is so much time together and freedom. Bedtimes, screen time, homework, playdates, extra curricular interests, and even down to hairstyles do not need to take an outside party (school) into the equation. Learning is different when it is not done by age and without state approved expected outcomes.  Don’t waste your time comparing your life to school or trying to replicate it. By all means buy the workbooks and stick to a schedule, if that is your family’s way- but remember that you have the advantage of being flexible and tailoring anything to suit your individual children.  And enjoy it.

 

Are you new to homeschooling?

Do you have any tips for people who are?

 

 

 

 

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Pinterest Playdough

by Shae on November 28, 2014

 

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I know I’m not the only one who loves Pinterest. And I’m certainly not the only one who looks at all of the beautiful activities laid out and thinks “one day, I’m gonna….”

The kids had been begging me to make playdough for a while and I guess I just got carried away. All that inspiration that I had flicked past kind of took on a life of it’s own.

 

It started simple. I thought I’d add some lavender essential oil to the lavender coloured playdough. Then I figured why not bring in some ACTUAL LAVENDER from the garden. Ooh and maybe some other strong smelling herbs.

 

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Wait! Maybe I’ll nature theme it. YES. So I made green and blue for the other two colours and added some stones,sticks, and feathers.

Once the kids got stuck in I remembered seeing someone using plastic animals with the playdough. PERFECT. It fits right in with the theme.

 

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You know what other things I have shaped like animals? COOKIE CUTTERS. By now this simple batch of play dough had taken on a life of it’s own.

 

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They cut and stamped, created and played, and fought and giggled over said batch of pinterest inspo (pinspo?) hybrid mix playdough for ages. So  I felt pretty smug. And they came up with some pretty cool creations. Which all smelled like lavender essential oil because I may have added a little too much.

 

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And at the end of the day I ended up with the bit that they don’t show on pinterest. The aftermath that needed cleaning up and returning bits and bobs to their original place.

 

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I didn’t take a photo of the floor. But I know you know what it looked like.

 

Totally nailed it. I think so.

 

 

 

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Minutiae

by Shae on November 25, 2014

 

 

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Big things? Give me big things to tackle and I will knock that shit out of the ball park all day long and twice on Sundays.

Drive 14 hours with the kids on my own? No problem.

Have all the palaver that comes with a child involved in ballet performances? Ok, let me make a coffee and I’m there.

Homeschooling? Making all our meals from scratch? Having pets?

Easy. I got this.

 

But the minutiae of day to day life? These tiny things are the ones that will drown me.

The pile of crap next to my computer that needs sorting, the dusting, posting that one fucking letter.

The piles of little things that need my attention comes in like a tide and I can’t seem to make myself move under their weight.

I find myself almost in tears over a to-do list that has about 45 minutes worth of work on it.

I ignore it until it all piles up and joins together. Swelling to become it’s own major event.

 

Then I tackle it and berate myself for putting all the tiny things off for so long.

And start again.

Making big things out of small ones.

 

 

 

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Like a kid.

November 18, 2014

  When we were off on our camping travels the kids played with other kids who were camping with their families. As they do. I love how kids are just “Hi, I’m seven. Let’s build a castle together.”. Mostly. For my kiddos there is often the conversation of some kid pointing out that something they […]

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Time to write the christmas list.

November 14, 2014

    Every year I sit down with the kiddos and they give me a list of things they might like to see under the tree come christmas morning. I always remind them that thew won’t get all the things but a long list of ideas is helpful to everyone. They all want Pop! Vinyl […]

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One of those days

November 12, 2014

  Today started with me having some sort of Game Of Thrones related dream. Luke and I have almost finished watching season four (NO SPOILERS PLEASE) so obviously it’s hanging around in my subconscious a bit. I have no idea what the dream was about but in real life I was woken by the sound […]

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Post-holiday post

November 10, 2014

  So we’re back from our road trip. Three weeks, four stops, one caravan and a million games of UNO/sleeping queens.           We’ve been to the mountains, the ocean, a city, and a lot of space in between. We saw waterfalls, forests, salt lakes, landmarks, wind turbines, & tiny towns.   […]

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