Play dough always a winner

We made play dough this morning. Recipe found here ? https://theimaginationtree.com/best-ever-no-cook-play-dough-recipe/ ? A really easy and quick recipe. I added some essential oils but that’s optional.

I am also including a pic of the girls playing with play dough yesterday that a friend gifted them. The play dough came with the most awesome bits and bobs to create and play with. The company is called Squiggle. Check out their website, so many awesome products for indoor imaginative play https://squiggle-craftingmadeeasysa.myshopify.com/?fbclid=IwAR1WqbBg2aYu78bGg2WnWW2Wo1iq5joGsoK4pfWKwhWkEo885lcZ7_AJ4TE

https://squiggle-craftingmadeeasysa.myshopify.com/?fbclid=IwAR1WqbBg2aYu78bGg2WnWW2Wo1iq5joGsoK4pfWKwhWkEo885lcZ7_AJ4TE

Painting an animal peeking through the jungle

We started this weekend self isolating as far as possible and today we kept the girls home in an effort to flatten the curve. Keeping away from everyone is as much important for our health as to others especially the elderly and immunocompromised. In an effort to give inspiration and “help” to those searching for ideas on what activities can be done at home with what is generally found at home I will be sharing some of the activities we do on a daily basis over the next few weeks. Parents at my children’s school have even volunteered to read books for an hour a day over some form of online viewing to help parents get a bit of a breather (some parents still needing to work remotely while having to keep children entertained is difficult). But I digress, today we painted ( we have paints but you could probably use food colouring). It was a good 30 mins down time for me? the aim was to create an animal peeking through a jungle type scenery. Scarlett did the tiger, Leah did the snake. We used a National Geographic Kids magazine we had as inspiration.

It happened again

Sometimes we just need to slow life down a bit, take a stroll and just be…

Yes, I seriously suck at this blogging thing. I struggle to stay committed and have the time (and energy) to keep this little blog updated regularly. I have quite a few blogger friends and I honestly take my hat off to them, keeping it up with interesting content, not to mention the editing and uploading of images must be like a second job!

So a lot has happened in a year, main event being that I stopped homeschooling (so naturally lost my need to blog here) and life got a bit crazier- is that even possible? So like before I neglected this blog …sob sob sad story. However, I’m starting it again and will hopefully be writing about a lot more than just one aspect of our lives. I will change the tag line in time but for now I will leave it because I think this blog is evolving into something slowly, so let’s see where it goes. This is a blog first and foremost (if I can keep it up) a place for my girls to look back at one day and maybe relive some fond memories in addition to the emails that I send them which I’m proud to say is more regular than this blogging has been! Secondly, it’s for me to write, something I’ve always loved doing ( although not very good at especially grammatically) so please forgive my long sentences with poor grammar, I just want to get my thoughts and feelings down, maybe I will go back later to correct… or maybe not 🙂 Lastly, I do not for one second expect anyone to read this or to make fame and fortune (I will leave that to my real blogger friends to do) but if someone does happen to land here, I hope that it will at least be a fun read or maybe a bit thought provoking.

Chasing the wind is a very appropriate blog title for me personally, it is based on a verse in the Bible – Ecclesiastes 1:14 as well as the way I have always seemed to live life, always searching for the next adventure, chasing dreams and looking forward. It’s crazy because have you ever tried chasing wind? Exactly! It’s pretty tiring and probably impossible and yet in a way, I think we all chase the wind from day to day. Life is hectic and chaotic, like a windy day but then some days are slower, softer, like a breeze through the leaves on an autumn afternoon. Sometimes like on a windy day we get caught up in it all and get a little wind swept! I’m trying hard to have more autumn breeze days though, I need to chase the wind but at a softer pace and so I’m hoping that this will become the space to slow it down a bit. So here’s to a retake x3 of this little blog called Chasing the Wind…

Some challenges and a victory

“Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment, full effort is full victory”… don’t you think these are such wise words… wish I could say they were mine but you can thank Mahatma Gandhi. Basically the hard work or commitment to get to the goal (the victory) is more important than actually even reaching that goal at the end of the day.

It has been a weird few weeks, yet again I was tempted to throw in the towel with homeschooling (and general life) but you know what, I had many days like this too when Leah went to school. Life is not easy, there aren’t endless days of everything going to plan in all our decisions and activities we do and definitely very little goals met on a day to day basis (look at my laundry basket for argument sake). Life whether you choose to homeschool or not is hard work either way and requires effort. But remembering that hard toil beforehand when that day does come (and it does eventually come) is so worth it. The victory is so much sweeter really.

I had a day like that this week. I met up with an old teaching colleague (well she’s more than just an old colleague she is a dear friend) to chat about how I could go about encouraging Leah’s thirst and want to read in a way that would be beneficial and helpful. I am intermediate and senior phase trained, so by the time the lovelies got to me they could “usually” read … so I needed some guidance now. I’d been feeling quite low on all fronts, feeling like I wasn’t “doing” enough with Leah, that I wasn’t engaging her enough, that we weren’t going on enough outings and then what about handwriting and manners and… and.. just generally crappy feelings all around. Anyway we met at Cafe Roux (lovely place if you ever in Noordhoek) and I thought I’d be clever and get Leah to do some basic written maths and phonics written work. She’s not overly keen but she does it anyway and I can see this is as boring as heck and way too basic but anyway she’s doing written work that has to count for something right? … Wrong… What she needs to be doing is playing on the beautiful jungle gym, counting the monkey bars as she goes, skipping and hopping, picking up leaves and sequencing from biggest to smallest, playing with feathers and stones and working out what sinks and floats, coming up with imaginative stories as she weaves and sings under the jungle gym and trees. Ah-ha moment… I know this is the way children learn best with concrete things yet here I was making her do these “colouring in” activities as my friend politely pointed out to me and that it wasn’t really teaching her anything! Flip man, obviously that makes total sense but that teacher person in me needed to tick boxes again. I needed to have something on paper to show progression and attainment of knowledge…

After a good chat with my friend and chatting about all these concrete ways children learn, I left the playground less burdened, happier and more determined to focused on the important things in life, like playing and finding opportunities in those moments to engage, stretch and challenge her little mind. Yes, Mahatma Gandhi, satisfaction lies in the effort – the hard slog of learning through playing in Leah terms and the hard effort for me to allow these natural learning moments to occur and see opportunity and use it – not in whether we have ticked the box for the day, week or month. I am starting to understand the process of homeschooling that it is just that, a process that looks different for everyone as each person is unique… this was my little victory this week.

Getting into the swing of things

Leah has taken to homeschooling like a duck to water… her mama… well not so much! I started out with all these plans in my head that this would be the year of playing and learning through play with a touch of more structured work like handwriting and written maths but the reality has been quite different.

The first week went smoothly with a few outings and pottering in and around the house, painting, crafting, sewing, puzzles and a bit of sit down work but it soon fizzled out to Leah keeping herself entertained and me trying to catch up on all the house chores I had neglected. I know that she is only 5 years old and this is probably okay but I had a bit of a wobbly thinking that maybe I am making a huge mistake. But then I see what a change in behaviour there has been in her, she is much happier, more relaxed, listens better (although not all the time obviously) and she genuinely seems to be enjoying this one-on-one time with me. Even though I am a lot of the time sorting things out or packing away things the little conversations that happen between all the chaos has been probably one of the things I enjoy most about being able to do this with her this year. She has a safe space to say stuff to me and elaborate without interruption or fear of judgement. She has so many new interests and questions and this thirst for knowledge causing me to get excited about the ordinary things that we sometimes take for granted or overlook. Cutting up a pineapple for lunch is no longer just a simple task, it now involves 100’s of questions about pineapples which we now have the time (and energy!) to explore. She has taken to homeschooling like a duck takes to water because that is her natural default as a child, to want to gain more understanding and to feel secure enough to ask, investigate and discover. It is me, her mama, that has struggled with adapting to this new routine and new energy and spark from this very curious little mind. I won’t lie, it is a very exciting time, but I am so exhausted by the days end that I hope (and pray) for renewed strength each day in order to help her through this journey of discovery. I know that this isn’t just the struggle of a homeschooling family, I know that we all have children that are curious and ask a million questions. The difference for us (I have noticed since starting) is that she’d come home from school with all these questions which I would give half answers to because I was just so exhausted. The girls were usually by this time of day at each others throats, both vying for my attention. Then started the awesome crazy hours (those hours just before supper/bath/bed) usually starts around 4pm for us and then I am finished, no time and no energy left… I was depleted and felt defeated. We still have those days, but they are fewer now and maybe it’s just for now but I can’t help but think that the calmer start to the day and general flow has something to do with how the day ends for us.

 

Sooo… cutting a very long story short, we have had some teething problems and we still working it out each day but so far, Leah is happy and seems to be enjoying this new routine and I am finally (I think) getting into the swing of things.

This is week 3, I wonder what I will say next week…

If you are new to homeschooling, I’d love to hear how things are going and if you are an old hat homeschooling family, I’d also love to hear any tips or words of advice!