Sunday, 19 January 2014

January 2014: The beginning of our home learning journey

'New Life' seemed an appropriate title for this, our first post documenting (and celebrating!) the beginning of our journey into homeschooling and life on our little farm, and I suppose, like all stories, we should start at the beginning, and explain a little of what has led us to this journey…

We are a Tasmanian family with 2 wonderful boys, Mousey Brown, aged 5, and Little Deer, aged 3. I have decided to call them by their (self-designated) pet names rather than their real names, to provide them with a little anonymity.

We live on almost 50 acres of mostly bushland, high up in the mountains that surround the beautiful Huon Valley, south of Hobart.

We bought this property when I was pregnant with Mousey Brown, planning to be owner-builders and naively trusting it would only take us a year or two to be finished! Six years and two beautiful children later, we are living in a half built house, and still balancing family life, work, farming and building. And loving (almost!) every minute of it.


I stitch, sew, and make little creations: hats, booties, brooches and toys among other things, now and then selling them through my business WillywamWhimsHandmadeMostly though, my little bits and pieces find themselves on our own nature table, in our play baskets along side the toy cars or bundled up in the dress-ups box.

We are also, this year, opening up another exciting new chapter of our lives, starting a new business Twig and Berry, growing and selling specialty Tasmanian berries. 

This is a long-term plan, but we hope that Hubs may be able to finish working and start full time farming within the next 5 years. That’s what the plan stuck to the fridge says, anyway!


So, to our schooling journey thus far…

I have always been open to the idea of homeschooling, not only because I love nothing more than spending my days with my children, but also because I was homeschooled myself for Grades 7-9, returning to conventional school on an Art Scholarship for Grades 10, 11 and 12. Whilst I went to a very mainstream, traditional school, I have always been very interested in the Waldorf/Steiner philosophy of early childhood learning and find that it most closely aligns with my sentiments, and certainly suits my gentle, creative eldest. We have been attending a local Steiner playgroup since Mousey Brown was around 3 years old, and last year he started his Kindergarten Year at the same Steiner school.

Having never really been away from me and with his sensitive personality, this could have been a very stressful and difficult time; however, the school was wonderfully supportive and allowed me to attend his Kindy days with him to make the transition easier. We had thought that he would ease gently into the transition, and by the end of the year would enjoy being at school, but this did not happen. He was just not ready.

And so we arrive here: the beginning of 2014 and contemplating sending Mousey Brown to full-time Prep knowing he was not ready. So, after much soul-searching, many discussions, lots of research and reading, finally, the decision that we knew deep down had already been made for us: We homeschool!

This final decision was met with huge elation (and a bit of trepidation) from me; a little caution from Hubs; and absolute joy from Mousey Brown. In the last few weeks, I’ve spent my evenings reading, researching and roughly sketching up our daily, weekly, and yearly rhythm and working on our Summer circle-time songs, hand-plays and stories. I am drawing from Waldorfy blogs and websites for inspiration, as well as including some Christopherus Early Childhood resources. We will focus on gentle, natural learning this year, preferring not to put too much emphasis on intellectual learning until Mousey Brown indicates he is ready.

Yesterday, we spent the afternoon crafting our own prayer flags using old Kialla flour bags which I’ve been stockpiling over years of sourdough baking!

 We painted them and then wrote prayers and blessings for this New Year for our family, for all who visit here, and for our community and the wider community also: blessings for new beginnings, following dreams, and for peace and contentment in our lives, among other things. We are off to hang them now.

I will be using this blog as a way of documenting our days learning at home as we find our own rhythm, blogging our crafting and handwork, and our day-to-day adventures on our little farm, as it too grows and develops. I’m not sure how long this homeschooling adventure will last for, or where it will lead us, but mostly we will be guided by what our children need, and right now, it is us. 

And we’re excited!

1 comment:

  1. Oh, my !... I LOVE your blog ! It's just my favrorite Waldorf blog, thanks for sharing ! I can't stop reading it !! :-D
    Warm regards from France (et thank you !)