2017 is going to be our 2nd year in this homeschooling journey here in Sydney. And just like that, January has just ended and these summer lovin’ days are over soon in a few more weeks. i’m not ready to let go of summer yet…so hopefully we can still pack up our beach bags to more beach trips before summer’s gone again.
this year is also the start of our commitment to live less and learn habits of minimalism. so I set rules for us and told you we won’t be needing to buy more toys and clothes because you have enough to live through the seasons this year. It’s not easy for you of course but I’m proud that you agree most of the time and would respond in a grown up way. “Mama, I wish I have a new unicorn toy. But first we need to save money and we can buy it next time.” of course, some days we do fight about it, too. a lot.
our homeschooling weekly rhythms are always a work-in-progress and naturally ever changing. soon when you reach 6, we are required to meet a certain curriculum and (if our circumstances don’t change in 2018) we will need to register officially to homeschooling here in NSW. but while that’s not happening yet, we follow mostly our flexible, playful and natural way of learning things, anywhere and any time we choose. i sometimes just let the weather of the day lead us through our activities.
i’ve learned how life shifts constantly now and some days can be tough or tougher, meltdowns in between, there’s always our little and big fights — but we adapt, strive and embrace that it’s okay when things don’t go always as we thought they would be.
so while washing the dishes, out the blue, you just asked, “Mama, do you love me when I’m preparing the plates, when I wash the dishes? And do you love me when I do my journals and drawings?”
With a big grin (pretending I wasn’t shocked at what you just asked) I replied, “YES I love you!”
With a delightful face, you smiled, “I love it too Mama… I love washing, doing my drawings, my journals…I love you and Papa ….I love everythiiiiing!”
those tough times just got paid off. my heart exploded.
In a quick highlight, this is what our day looks like, but not necessarily in any order (like bath time)
fix the bed. prepare breakfast. set the table. eat. ukele sing-along while eating. wash dishes. gardening.
morning lessons (either language (reading eggs)/writing/basic math). free play. bath time.
prepare lunch. eat. wash dishes.
free play. afternoon lessons (either geography/science/arts). read aloud. naptime. free play. gardening. biking. playground trips. nature trips (or beach trips).
prepare dinner. eat. wash dishes. family movie times. free play. playroom clean up (or not). read aloud. bedtime routines.
taekwondo. playdates/playgroups. (soon swimming lessons).
So, if I’m not napping with you, I breathe in few minutes to recharge, savour a cup of tea/coffee and catch up with photography work. since i don’t scroll Facebook feeds now, I’ve spared time to actually read more chapters in a book –finally feeding my mind again. By the time you wake up, we grab snacks together and freely let you play afterwards or read aloud another book. lately, you’re more engrossed in writing and drawing. i’m really loving where your imagination takes you all the time. because i’ve set limits on your screen time, we only watch documentaries and educational videos like Planet Earth in between our homeschooling hours. But when it’s Saturday, I let you pick your own videos to watch as a treat. Funny how you never forget to ask, “Mama is it Saturday yet?” well, i’m really glad you’re totally not attached to the iPad for a long time now. you’ve agreed that we can sell it away because you don’t need it anymore.
These letters you made for the New year to friends and families but blame it on your forgetful Mama, we haven’t mailed them to the post office yet. Uh-oh.
“Mama, can i help you bake today?” despite how chaotic it becomes, i say YES to you of course.
Oh see that wooden rack storage? Though not perfect, but your proud Mama here hand-built that all by myself. I hope you learn to see how valuable these skills will be if you wish to learn them, too someday.
You always point to me where Australia is and I keep reminding you where Philippines is, too.
I’ve started subscribing last November to “Little Passports” introducing you to more geography and encouraging more your love to travel & explore the world. That reaction you did when you open your first package from the mailbox was just priceless.
Counting, identifying and differentiating coins…
and whenever the weather’s perfect, I’d ask you where you love to go. “Mama, I have a plan. after we eat breakfast, we take a bath and I’ll change and put my lotion and ride in your bike and go to — (you literally take a few seconds pause while thinking where you really want to go before squealing in delight) —– go to my favorite blue playground!” Or some days, we explore the lake in the neighborhood, or you prefer to go to the museum or when i get tired to head out, just swim in our small backyard play pool. Everywhere can be our own classroom.
our last carrot harvest this January…we washed ’em, counted ’em and juiced ’em! (photos only taken from my phone)
we biked to this neighbourhood lake one happy afternoon..
I’ve been a big fan of “Mulberry Magazine” since I subscribed online last year — and this is their first ever annual print edition and loaded with sooooo much inspiring journeys from other homeschooling families. (p.s. stoked that there is a tiny photo of me and you inside this first print as part of the growing community of #mulberrymama)
“Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.”
– Khalil Gibran
I wasn’t sure what these plants were called but you explored and learned you can squeezed them and use them to paint something. “Look Mama, look what I can do!”
“Look Mama, look at my feet.” Ok, we need to trim your nails…but this …this was too cute.
“Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”
by Lao Tzu
That quote resonates deeply. And you reminded me again unknowingly what truly matters in life when you showed me one of your drawings,
“Mama, this letter is for you..this is our house, with Pixie and Papa and you, thats your camera and our bike! thats the sky and the sun, too!”
Oh my little grown up girl, the whole world belongs to you.
Proud of you always,