Talking with friends about unschooling and structure.

Reading a blog about unschooling, which had many links to homeschool schedules.

These are not traditional post Xmas activities but are where I am today.

Structure can be developed, though. I like to do lists and ‘getting things done.” I just don’t force my need for minimal structure onto my kids.

Instead, we discover rhythms and dances, meeting needs and wants and blending these in a large family. Especially right now, when all seven boys are at home.

Sometimes, too, my structure and example rub off onto others in the family.

Thomas mentioned that he never got around to the extra things he wanted to do. I suggested he make to do list at the start of the week, so he can write the things on a post it pad and stick it on his bedroom door. I have no input on this list and never check it myself but T likes the (minimal) structure, simply because it is his.

That is Thomas, in orange, in the photo. Anthony is the other – the one eating ice cream!

More on structure.

Father Xmas also gave Jonathon a diary , a cool Triple J diary. The idea being to encourage the jotting down of and keeping track of his Open University assignments.

We’ll see. Perhaps he’ll develop his own system. Or maybe he prefers the nebulous organic approach to university asignments – I have seen this work with his older brothers. Their approach to structure is diferent to mine, but still valid and effective.


Unschooling is..

I have shared this with others but wanted to keep the quote here, for a record. So I can look back and read and remember.

I like the description of unschooling in Rue Keam’s book – Parenting a Free Child: An Unschooled life.

” We choose to live in ways that keep us conected and involved in each other’s day to day lives. ..We believe that learning will happen in its own time and is not more important than loving or hoping or laughing. We live without subjects, in a world where life is not separated into neat little pieces but instead swirls and flows together in ways we could never design….Our unschooling is our parenting is our life together.”

And Christmas was fun. Mass was beautiful. Having all the boys together is great.

And I got the book “The Taebo Way.”



Yessterday was the last Teen Group for the year – we went to the beach.

It was a seriously beautiful day. I loved the surf, the lunch on the grassed area was fun and the kids loved swimming and catching up with friends.

Christmas and Advent are always times of endings for us – it is the start of the summer holidays and many regular activities finish.

Some people finish homeschooling, with the aim for children to start school in the new year , at the end of January or beginning of February, when schools resume.

Other people plan to start homeschooling in the new year, so we know the new year will often bring new people to our outings and groups.

So, we are finishng off our Christmas crafts with decorating teddies – well, its mostly the youngest, but he is having a whale of a time and getting suggestions from the others.

Next week, the three youngest fly interstate to spend time with their older brothers. And Alexander will have his braces removed!

At home, it will just be dh, I and Jonathon. Weird having only one child at home!

Everyone returns on the night of the 23rd for Christmas – all nine of us will be home for Christmas.

I am planning on a Father Christmas photo for Christmas Eve.


Another Christmas Activity

We are aiming to complete at least one Christmas or Advent craft each week.

Now, I know one does not sound like much but the weather here has been HOT and we have been swimming and indoor ice skating ( both of which are a great way to stay cool in summer!).

We have the end of year drama presentations and rehearsals for carols at church – J and A are playing and singing in the youth band for the carols.

We have end of year teen group and time to catch up with friends …Mmm…A minimum of one craft a week fits nicely.

This week we made miniature gingerbread houses. The original recipe called for graham crackers – what are they??? We substituted milk coffee biscuits.

We had trouble with the icing and decorations, as it was a hot, thirty five degree Celsius day.

Finally, everything “gelled”. And we were proud of our creations.

Here are the instructions, in case you are interested –


Our Day in Chinatown

Back, way back, in September, I posted about a Saturday spent in Chinatown and in the city.

Finally found some pics – here I am at the entrance to Chinatown, with Jonathon (16), Alexander (14), Thomas (12) , Anthony just turned 10.

See any resemblance to our older three sons? You can double click on the pic to enlarge..


A Fancy Dress Party

Awhile ago, Jonathon and Alexander were invited to a fancy dress party.

We tried to think of pairs, of characters that fit together, since the two were going to the party together.

We came up with the Blues Brothers, Starsky and Hutch and Neo and Morpheus from the Matrix, among others.

Our final decision was based on what was easily available at the op shop – A found a cool, inexpensive leather jacket, so the Matrix it was.

Here they are as Neo ( Jonathon, 16) and Morpheus ( Alexander, 14).