Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Getting evidence of learning when you follow a natural approach

I am now officially responsible for the education of my son, who is just beginning Year 1. Although we have been learning from home for a while, this is the first year of his compulsory education. We are very fortunate in that we are free to use the approach that works best for us. As long as we can demonstrate to moderator that he is learning we are good. We just have to collect and present the evidence, which is not always easy to do. He's learning all the time, when he plays when we go to the supermarket, whilst we are at the beach, when he's playing Minecraft, lego, friends... How can I possibly record all that?

This is something I have been trying to master for a while. I miss so much. He creates a picture and I think "I'll keep that for evidence", but then before you know it he has recreated it into something else, or lost it, or spilled his drink on it. He says something which demonstrates a great understanding of a concept and I think i should write down what he said, but then I forget. He's incredibly good at maths but had no idea what my mum was talking about when she asked him about his sums. He does it all in his head. Sometimes he no idea how he knows an answer, he just does. He's a reluctant writer - he knows he's not perfect so he won't try. Getting him to write one word leads to a meltdown that I'm just not prepared to put him through very often. He had a bad experience at Kindy with writing. The teacher used to make them write their name over and oner on a whiteboard and then rub it our and do it again. I can see why she's want them to practice, but he hated the fact that she didn't even value what he had done and just made him do it again. I want him to write when he wants to, he loves writing in Birthday cards and he's happy to sound things out an spell them on the ipad... but of course I do want him to learn to write, and to collect evidence of where he's at with that.

People have recommended all sorts of ways to keep a track of his evidence of learning. You can get a natural learning diary, which i have bought but not used, a blank diary, a note book, there a numerous apps out there where you can tag the different topics and outcomes. They sound great, I've even downloaded a few, some of them caused our ipad phone and laptop to crash, others I just couldn't fathom, those that I did work out I still needed to make time to commit to. We also thought about having a blog just homeschooling - in fact we started one at Train School - but we never add to it. It's just another thing to do that isn't adding value to our lives or advancing his learning.  He's moved on from trains too - I'm sure if I said i wanted to add to it now he's say it's Minecraft School 😂

I think we have finally got a way to make it work though. We recently set up a secret Facebook Group that we can add to as things happen. He has "gone live" in the facebook group when he has stuff to share immediately. He also loves making videos for YouTube at Arthur's Playtime

Here's our evidence for music 😂

And then Science - though he didn't actually remember much of the science once he got in front of the camera, but his personality shines through and I think he has a talent for presenting

A writing sample... he actually managed to spell all of this himself too as Ella is very similar to Emma, which he has mastered, thanks mostly to The Wiggles.

So hopefully this system is going to work for us for now. I'd love to hear what other people do though. How do you keep evidence of learning if you are following a child led natural learning approach?

Friday, 22 September 2017

Firewalking and Gratitude for Disease

This week has been very different to most - with the exception of travelling from Sydney to Albany on Monday, which I admit is quite significant - I have done very little.

What does it take to make me do very little?


I have a bad cold. A man might call it the flu.

Leading up to this I had been working like a crazy thing. I have so much on my plate at the moment, I have been juggling a lot and never quite feeling like there was even time to breathe, nevermind time to actually do everything well. Immediately prior to this week I had been away. Last Wednesday, I dropped off my gorgeous little sidekick with a friend, and drove 400+km to the airport and then flew to Sydney, where I went to UPW, an amazing 50 hour workshop in 3 1/2 days with Tony Robbins, followed by the return journey to Albany.

The event itself deserves a post of its own, but I'll give a brief synopsis here. The first day is about turning fear into power, which Tony teaches with the metaphor of a fire walk.

Yes, I did it!

No, I didn't burn my feet.

Then we went on to smashing our limiting beliefs and creating new patterns. This was super powerful. I had some very unpleasant realisations as to patterns I am repeating that I really don't want to and worked on these. The trigger for one of them has already occurred since I've been home and although I started responding the way I normally would, I found I actually couldn't do that anymore! It's amazing how it works. My limiting beliefs are a work in progress - but I'm onto it. I'm now armed with a proven strategy. I've got this! 🙌

Toward the end of the event Tony told us we would be sick in the next few days; not because we'd hugged a stranger with cooties, but because we had used a lot of energy and shifted a lot of emotions. He was right. At first I wasn't sure if I was sick because Tony said I would be, or if I was genuinely sick, but I can assure you I had no problems surrendering to the process and getting familiar with the couch. Today Arthur has gone down with it, so I guess there is a virus involved.

Now I am in the phase of rejuvenation. I have quite a bit of my energy and much of my inspiration back, and so I thought I'd write. The inspiration for this post came from a meditation I listened to last night. Although I was happy to accept that my body was purging some old beliefs and emotions and catching up on sleep and Arthur cuddles, by the end of the third day I was ready to turn my energy to getting over this disease and getting on with my new life. I ran myself a lovely aromatherapy bath, added a healthy dose of epsom salts, lit some candles and relaxed to the sounds of a wellbeing meditation I found on YouTube.

It began, "It is nice to have an opportunity to visit with you, for the purpose of tuning to your natural rhythm of wellbeing..." 

It so is!

It's nice for me to have that opportunity to visit with myself. I don't think I am alone when I say I don't find it easy to make the time to tune in to my natural rhythm of wellbeing...

I am grateful for the time and opportunity to tune into my own wellbeing that disease has given me. I am grateful that my body knows best, that I was able to surrender rather than mask the symptoms with drugs. I am grateful for the time to process and reflect on what has gone before, to purge the past and make space for an even brighter future, to map out my next steps, to design the newest version of me. I am grateful that I found the 10 seconds of courage it took to purchase the ticket to the event back in January, that I didn't listen to any of my excuses as to why I really shouldnt go and for my beautiful friend and her family who cared for Arthur whilst I was gone. I am grateful for Tony Robbins and all that he does to help people transform their mindset. I am grateful for everyone else that contributed to the event, and all the people I met who shared this amazing experience.

I am grateful that my body is super intelligent, and that sometimes dis-ease is the cure!

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Discovering hidden local art

My friend tool us to this spot in Albany, just off the Bibbulmun Track. I wasn't quite dressed for the bushwalking but hey, I managed to make it there and back without falling on my bum though! It was worth it. Magical little spot. In some ways a shame that this work doesn't get more views, but at the same time special because it doesn't.

We also explored the echoes you can hear when you stand in the middle of an enormous cylinder

Friday, 14 July 2017

Creatures of the Deep

We spent a lovely morning with friends at The Vancouver Arts Centre

The Octopus - Arthur's idea but made by mum -
we were challenged by the lack of sticky tape

Boat made entirely by Arthur

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Monday, 13 February 2017

Officially Off The Couch

I'm officially off the couch!

Regular readers will know that I have been on a bit of a health kick for a while. I've spent several years trying to find out what works for me nutritionally and finally feel like I am getting somewhere. I've been flooding my body with a high quality whole food supplement for 7 months now, my systemic inflammation has gone, my pain has gone, my energy is up and my weight is going down. I even look like a different person.

I've set some goals for the year ahead, and running in the Albany City to Surf is one of them. I plan to run the whole 4km option. Not huge I know, but for me it is. It has been a very long time since I ran. I used to try and do a 5 km every year - just to be sure I still could, but I have never ran any further than that.

A long time until know that is. Last week I managed to break out into a little trot a couple of times whilst I was walking on the treadmill, and today I finally took the leap and started the Podrunner Couch to 5k  . It was good. I managed the whole session which I am proud of myself for. I was even feeling so good that I was thinking that maybe I should set a stretch goal and try for the 12km... but that could be crazy. Next year though...

Running on a treadmill is new to me but my only option really as a single mum. It's going to take a bit of getting used to. I need to remember that when the interval has ended and its time to go back to walking I also need to slow the treadmill down! I'll soon learn.

Although I did wonder about looking for a new program and some new music, I ended up going back to the same interval series that I have used in the past. It brought back lots of memories, so I was simultaneously running through the Telegraph Station in Alice Springs at the crack of dawn trying to beat the scorching sun, and along a canal path in the UK trying to dodge the rain drops, and on a treadmill in Albany.  It was nice. I feel so grateful that I have had the opportunity to experience life in so many different places.

And it feels good to be able to run again.

If you want to know more about the products and the JBT lifestyle program that I used to turn my health around please get in touch here

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Broccoli and Chick Pea Salad

This has been one of my favourite go to recipes for so long I can't even remember where it came from. It was the one I always took to parties where you were asked to bring something to share, and I was so often asked for the recipe that I wrote it on my first ever blog and and just shared the link. Now its enjoying a new lease of life as I am falling more and more in love with the Juicy Body Transformation - it's not an official recipe but it's definitely JBT compliant


1 head of broccoli
1 Avocado
1 lime
1 cup cooked chick peas
2 tbsp pine nuts
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp olive oil

Lightly steam broccoli so that it is cooked but still firm and leave to cool
Juice the lime, crush the garlic and mix both with the olive oil
Chop the avocado into small cubes and cover with the lime/garlic/oil mixture
Place the broccoli, chick peas, pine nuts and avocado in a bowl gently fold to mix the components
Add cracked pepper too if you wish

Tip: Canned chick peas are convenient, but I prefer to use home cooked for this recipe as you do really taste the chick peas, and canned ones, in my opinion, just aren't quite as good . I cook chick peas in bulk and then freeze in one cup portions. Just as convenient as a can but cheaper and tastier.