Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I know that there quite a lot of homeschoolers *out there* & I'm wondering if any of you might take the time to give me some general advice. 

I so want to give my children a Montessori education & the only viable way I can see is to do it in the home. But... I don't know if we're right for it. I don't know if Hug would be happy if the person (me) who is asking him to brush his teeth before bed is the same person (me) who is giving him lessons and asking him to stay at the kitchen table concentrate on his work. Everyday. With little brother in tow. 

This year he has been enrolled in his Montessori preschool enough days that I haven't actually done any actual lessons with him. We mainly do art and cultural projects together, and I found that it's been working quite well - he never took too well to my lessons. Or maybe I never got my confidence up. Who knows?

Anyway, if anyone has some advice I would really like to hear it :)

p.s. This is a lovely blog that I read just before I posted.

p.p.s  For a little extra background information... The other options that I am considering (our local primary school is too large for my liking) is a small country school close by that is government run. I'm not so confident about a public education but the money I saved on school fees could be spent on Montessori materials that we could have at home & I would use the Hainstock book (which I already have) to use in our own out-of-school learning time... or a beautiful private Waldorf-Steiner school. I like so much about this school, but I don't know if I can fully commit to the principals. It's like Steiner and Montessori are the Ying and Yang of Holistic education - a very similar purpose but with widely opposing practices & I know that I am a Montessorian at heart. Hmmm....

{image - media files from AMI}

Monday, August 25, 2008

Picasso and his collection

Our fun trip started with a night in the city (the last post showed the beautiful sunset as we arrived into town) and then arriving at a great river/city view apartment.

This is what we woke up to... Moon still lingering over the buildings being lit up by the reflection of the sunrise :)

T had to leave early (6am - eeek!) for the work he had to do but the boys and I were able to start our day a bit slower. Once we were packed up and out of our apartment we walked down to the river to catch the ferry & came across this fun kids park. Is it ever possible to say no?!

The ferry took us almost all of the way to the Gallery of Modern Art - & to our destination -  the Picasso exhibition!

Here is Pablo Picasso teaching his own children to draw. The exhibition was great. I had the pram & both boys used it (it's a Phil + Teds stacker-style) so that made life a lot easier. Hug and I talked about a lot of the paintings while L mostly chilled out and soaked it all up in his babyish way :) The exhibition was quite large and split into 2 areas so we went for lunch in the middle and Lovely slept in the pram for the second half.

That print of Picasso with his children was a huge backlit print in the kids area called "Yo Picasso!" where there were staff to facilite differnt craft projects. Here Hug is making a mask.

Downstairs in the gallery there was another great area with these cool silver turntables & touchscreens for mixing music. Aimed at teens I guess but fun for us all the same!

Here are the boys grooving out in a music-mixing 'pod'.

This is an area where you can draw on the walls with chalk (Oh God, I love modern art galleries!) & here is Hug channeling his freshly-Picasso-influenced best.

I let him choose postcards of 3 of his favourite artworks (which I think will be good to look back at later) and then we found this brilliant colouring book of patterns (mandalas really) in the gallery store & he was in heaven! I had brought this art set along with us. It's a little kit that folds out into 4 sections: paints, oil pastels, pencils and textas. It was a few hours drive that afternoon to our next stop and he barely said a word during the whole drive, he was so immersed in his art. I haven't photographed my favourite one he did but I might add it to this post later :)

So, our Picasso experience was a great success and one of Hug's teachers was planning on taking her daughters over the weekend and then they'll kick off a few weeks with Picasso as their artist in focus at preschool. Love it!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

On The road!

We have been away this week - having lot of fun in the *big smoke* (Picasso exhibition included!) and the beach & the countryside. A complete whirlwind. And now - home & an amazingly fantastic, soulful and happy weekend :) I will post more...

Friday, August 15, 2008

En plein air

I really like the idea of getting outside or en plein air & being creative. We were invited to visit friends yesterday who told us at the last minute to bring our painting gear - sounded like a great idea! My friend, K, had bought 3 small canvases for my boys & her little guy & set them up outside on the grass in the sunshine.

I quickly became obsessed with how beautiful the paint looked on the palette as it all started to get mixed together with messy brushes.. I'm a bit like that!... I took about a million macro photos... until I got a bit too close to a 2-year-olds paintbrush & got my camera totally gooped! It was worth it (even if my lens cover still won't work ;)

So cute

Don't you just love these gorgeous bird balloons?! I think I bought them at the supermarket a while back & forgot about them until Hug stumbled upon them yesterday. Little red one popped just moments after these photo's were taken but the others are proudly perched by the window in the boys room now :)

p.s. I was trying to think about what I could do with these... I did have them 'nibbling' their own coloured squares off a multi-coloured rug - kinda random! - so any suggestions as to how I could use them in a learning-esque way would be greatly appreciated. I'm sure there are lots of things I'm not thinking of!

The art of getting dressed

I really love Tim Seldin's book: How to Raise an amazing child: The Montessori Way. He talks about (and shows with some really beautiful images) how important it is to organise your child's bedroom so that everything is within their reach, giving them independence and freedom of choice.

My boys share a bedroom which has built-in shelves. This is how it was when we bought the house & in an old house with very little other storage I'm so thankful! At first, of course I dreamed of an actual built-in closet, but this really works well - because they can both see & get (& in *theory* put away) their own clothes.

Hug's clothes are all on the left & Lovely's are on the right. Long pants are on the bottom shelf, shorts on the next shelf up, then long tops, then t-shirts and, finally, vests & occasional things. They each have a basket which holds their underwear and socks.

The shelves above here hold the soft toys that they don't use everyday. Coats & dress-shirts and that type of thing hang from a simple rack on the back of the door. There is a dresser between their beds that has drawers which hold their pj's.

It's a little hard to see in this photo but I made little labels for each shelf / each boy. Maybe I can photograph these & add them later? Basically, each is a laminated circle made of card with a drawing of the item (e.g. shorts) with the child's initial in the middle. That's H or L in this case.

Now, it doesn't always look quite this tidy but not far off ;)

EDIT: After Lovely's nap I went in and took some pix of the shelf labels. Please excuse the sketches - all very 'organic'  ;)

And here is the hanging rack on the back of the door. I have another of these in the playroom to hold the dress-ups. Please note that the only reason that it's relatively easy to keep these clothes under control is that I only have out the clothes that fit / are in season / that I like (which basically means - no logos or characters). This means there isn't too much stuff to mess up & that I pretty much don't mind what they choose to wear! They mostly choose their own clothes (esp. Hug) & I think they always look pretty sweet:)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Happy butterfly days!

'Adventures of a Montessori Mama' just won its very first award! 

I know that this has been floating around for a little while but I am *thrilled* to have received it! A big shout-out to Julie at Havin' Fun Yet? for nominating me :)
I have stuck the image onto my previous post - because all of those ladies are my nominees! 
As Julie says on her site:

If you're named (below), and you want to share more bloggy goodness *no pressure here*:
1. The winner can put the logo on their blog.
2. Link to the person you received your award from.
3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
4. Put links of those blogs on yours.
5. Leave a message on the blogs you’ve nominated.

{image: "Flutterby" | greeting card}

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Inspired reading :)

I would like to let you know what my favourite blogs are at the moment. These are my must-reads:

   A Montessori mama & teacher gives us amazing insight to her family & her classroom.

   Jo is an English mama living in Japan who shares her Montessori & life adventures with her 3 year old boy.

   I am soooo inspired by this creative, colourful mama. I just adore her fabrics & have some stashed to frame in my new bathroom!

   All good Montessori-blog-readers have probably already discovered O's wonderful adventures :)

    I've just discovered this blog & it's got some great ideas for Montessori on a budget!

   A mama of 4 little boys gets started with Montessori at home. 

   A creative Montessori mama and teacher who lives in the U.K. We have just printed their cool roadsigns. Love it!

   A mama and her sweet 3 year old daughter homeschool together.

   Shannon teaches her son with the Montessori method and is about to introduce a little one to the teaching mix. Stay tuned!

   The original and the best ;)

A *huge* thanks go out to these inspiring women. I find so much strength & creative energy from your blogs. Keep up the amazing work gals!

{Image: Lovely's beach legs}


Aloha {Hello. Affection, Love, Peace}.

I'm back in the 'world' again :) I just decided today to get out there again so here I am! I have actually still been blogging so please feel free to scroll back through the archives. 

We've done some fun Kandinsky artist baskets (here & here ), hung out at the beach, read favourite books (like this one), created some Montessori-inspired activities & learnt more, mused about *balance* , got crafty, and ate gingerbread men :) And more.

If  you find something you enjoy please leave a comment & say aloha!

{This image is from my greetings card range. I'm hoping - fingers crossed - to get my etsy store up and running sometime *soon* !}

Monday, August 11, 2008

Cubby envy!

Now, I do love our sweet little cubby house, photo below, (we actually ended up painting our house to match it) but it pales in comparison real quick after seeing this gorgeous *home* from restyled home. Have a look for all the gorgeous details.  Ahhhh, if only I had a girl ;)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Happy Birthday Dad!

Rainbows and hairy caterpillars!

Here are some more of Hug's recent artworks. They make me happy :)

He brought this home from preschool so I'm presuming that they were all working on rainbows - or maybe it was inspired by our felt rainbow? I must ask him.

And a hairy caterpillar. Also inspired? He was drawing with one of his friends the other day & I had to bring this cutey home with us.


After our brilliant beach morning the boys got out in the yard and did some bonding over hammers and nails :)

T helping Lovely with his equipment

Lovely counting his nails. Awww...

Hug at work

And the smiley dog who watched on :)

Sunny beach days in Winter

We spent all morning at the beach! How fun. We were farewell-ing our darling friends (who I am going to miss *so* much) with breakfast at the surf-life-saving club & the kids got themselves invited in to see all of the equipment. They were completely in their element! Ahhhh, it makes a mama's heart shine to see her children so happy :)

Here is Lovely steering the rubber-ducky

And Hug on the quad bike

When we got home H decided to get drawing & came up with these very colourful pictures. This was the first & my favourite. The surf life saver guy with the rubber ducky to his left and the quad bike to his right and then the blue sky & sunshine. Love it.

Another image of the bike on the grass with the water behind him.

Now, this doesn't look like much - but it is actually a view of the SLS room from the door: Surf boards stacked to the right, 3 rubber-duckies (2 on wheeled trailers & then 1 suspended from the ceiling) and that square to the left is the viewing trailer. I'm always amazed at Hug's memory for detail. He's quite like me in that regard - we both usually know where things are whereas T & L have no idea! :) A mapping mind I think it's called but even I couldn't have recalled everything like this quick sketch did.

3 men in the viewing trailer

2 surf-life-savers out in the rubber-ducky on the water

Hello :) That's me.

Fun friday

When I posted about buckets full of soapy water this is the photo I hadn't downloaded yet... the aftermath! 
And then I found him in the playroom in the midst of some very focused game. I still have no idea what it actually was but he was really enjoying himself :)

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