Sunday, May 24, 2009

Learning Stories

Maaike collected these shells and sticks at the Kumeras yesterday while they had a play on a family bike ride. All the family made sandcastles at the beach, and Maaike decided her collection of shells belonged in our sandpit so that she could make another sandcastle. This morning at 7.30 (it wasn't even properly light yet), she went out there and made her sandcastle . "take a photo mama" she said.
What do I think is going on for her? She is certainly able to determine her own tasks and actions, remember her own plans and follow them through. She also knows how to document something that she feels is significant to her learning and development (or just being).

During a game of buses on Sunday, Anoushka decided to write a list of toys who couldn't come on the bus that day for various reasons. She sat down and occasionally asked me for help with the spelling of names. i find it fascinating that her letters are having directional challenges where they weren't awhile ago.However she is also writing more independently and not asking for help with forming her letters so that may have something to do with it. Sorry i can't seem to turn the photo right side up. My next challenge perhaps?

creating and wild spaces

A trip to Rabbit Island in the Tasman District on Saturday. We spent hours there, playing in the sand, following tracks through the bush, finding mushrooms, climbing trees. We had a yummy picmic lunch: Homemade sourdough seed bread, beetroot lacticfermented, homemade feta cheese, pickled chilli carrots, fermented cider, kiwifruit and apples. Yum!

We took our foraging bags and sketch books and Maaike here was drawing the sand and sea and a lone seagull with great effort.

Along with our efforts to eat no processed foods we thought we'd try a recipe for soba noodles I found in a book called The HArvest Wholefoods Collection. Here is the recipe: 1 cup Buckwheat flour
1 tbspn Oil
1/3 cup water
Salt to taste.

Mix all ingredients and knead for five minutes unitl smooth. Roll out and slice into fine noodles. Refrigerate for a few hours. Cook in boiling water with oil added to prevent sticking for about 3 minutes.
We served ours with an asian inspired dressing and sesame seeds.

A head band made to tame wild tresses featuring some of the dutch ribbon I bought from Holland Fabric house on Etsy.Hope you all had a good weekend

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Family times

A quick outing to the local river bank for a bit of blowing out of cobwebs!

We were also inspired to have a family drawing time (after a week of sickness and snot and indoorsness, we were all well again to do something new) after reading this recent post by soulemama. Equipped with a still life (or just some objects )for inspiration and paper, charcoal, crayons etc we all had a go. It amazed me what my reactions were! I initially though my attempts were good, having always thought of myself as arty, then looked at struan's, which blew me away. my initial reaction was to call him a showoff (how very tall poppy of me!), then think of mine as crap. Every comment he made of mine made me feel as if he were trying to make me feel better thereby being condescending, however, and of course it was not intended that way. To think drawing can evoke such feelings of competition and inadequacy in me! I must practise more to draw and be accepting of the process and really think about how what I say can affect others by putting a competitive spin on something that is not intended that way. More Family Draws to come for sure. And more reflections on schools, competition, language of commentary or praise too.

A Foraging/ finding bag, quickly whipped up to save mam being the carrying bag for treasures found at the beach. They are cut down out of a pair of my old jeans and are adorned by some stitching the girls have done themselves(the one pictured is anoushka's handwork. They are big enough for a sketching pad or notebook and a pencil and enough treasures but not too many to carry. They were inspired by this blog post by tiny happy (but not nearly as nice. More utilitarian perhaps?)

Friday, May 15, 2009

A Lesson in Geometry(A Learning Story)

We've all been home this week with sick children. No Kindy, no friends, no pressure(no sleep, but that's another story). Last night Anoushka, while drawing said,"I'm drawing lots of shapes". A circle, a triangle,a square. I saw a "teaching moment", and said "what other shapes do you know and can you draw? " "A heart and a diamond and stars. Mama how do you draw stars?" So I tried and explained my method of drawing stars (two triangles) but that didn't click for her so I suggested she ask her father as he has different (better) ways of explaining things, and sure enough after only two demonstrations she was away and drew about twenty more stars. "I can do it, mama! I can even do it with my eyes closed!" "You are so proud of yourself, anoushka"we said.

Interesting that when something is self initiated and really learnt that there is that element of self imposed practise until there is mastery of the achievement objective (to use some jargon!) We see it all the time in wee Tobin's quest to conquer new heights (literally).

Saturday, May 9, 2009

May Days and Mother's day

Its been a while, so here are some highlights of the month so far! Some bread bags, inspired by thispost by Amanda, and made out of a vintage tea towel and vintage tablecloth which was getting a bit holey. I'm looking for a bread bin now, to give our bread some space of its own, on the bench. I make sourdough bread twice a week, which is fermented for at least 48 hours and has yummy things like pumpkin seeds, cumin and fennel seeds and sunflower seeds, added. As Anoushka says: I love your bread mama!
A skirt by Delume, the designer who has a little, very cool shop in Nelson who kindly stocks my stuff. I love that it reminds me of a fifties housewife/tea towel design! It is made with a wool fabric and she screen printed the design onto the skirt directly.

A tee shirt design by Struan's brother: stylised pics of five grandchildren/nieces and nephews(my three are on the left)printed on a tee . Thank you uncle Alasta!

And finally some bits: New fabric and gorgeous ribbons from Holland Fabric House found on Etsy, some groovey retro fabric from a friend's very talented garage sale mum! And my mother's day gift: a small cheese mold for making feta and Haloumi cheese; my latest kitchen adventure. (note to self: three children underfoot, papa home late, no bench space and preparing food on stove top= small kitchen fire!!!!!)
I have been really enjoying reading and cooking from my new cookbook, Nourishing Traditions and will blog more about this in future posts. If anyone else is into this and other alternatives like unschooling, we would love to hear your comments!
I read yesterday in one of our books how real learning starts with a question. I know how that works as a fundamental principle in Early childhood education here in NZ, but the more we talk about this together, the more we know it is not easily possible in a class room situation for each child, nor are real questions really encouraged....If a child is curious enough about something to ask and then you can learn together, then it will be LEARNT and remembered...