Home education this week 14 September 2018

Home educating wears so many disguises. Sometimes it looks like books and papers all over the dining table. Other times, it is a week of adventures with very little book work. Most of the time, it is somewhere in between. This week, for us, was filled with adventures, and exhausting, but we loved it.
Monday, Kenn and I attended an all day training class and Isabelle spent all day at a home educating friend's house. she packed her lessons in her backpack, and somehow managed to come home with them completed while also enjoying a whole day of play.
Tuesday, Isabelle and I left early (for us) for the city to meet up with the home ed group and watch the Pandas documentary at the IMAX theatre which is in the Melbourne Museum. Of course, we stayed on to play and chat with our friends. It was a long and gratifying day, working on friendships. I think we were finally home about 4:45, just in time to start supper. We completed one lesson on the train.
Wednesday is Park day. After lunch, w…

No More Chores or Chore/Reward Charts

They're everywhere!!
Chore charts, responsibility charts, by age, starting at age 3! And most of them include intimidating notes - If your child isn't doing THESE chores by THIS AGE, then she is DOOMED to a life of irresponsibility.  Or worse, you are DOOMED to a life of cleaning up his messes.

Chores.. ugh... everyone hates them. They're horrible, boring, no fun. But they have to be done, even if you hate them. Here is a reward (for your child, not you) to make them more palatable. Sorry adults, you'll just have to suck it up and do them. You're an adult now.

I have had my own struggles with getting chores done - first in my parents' homes and then in my own. Those feelings of "why me?" and "I don't wanna." were so hard to shake. But does it have to be that way? Could it be different for me and for my daughter? I say yes.

Chores are chores because they don't go away and seem to serve no higher purpose. They are menial and I have better…

Book of the Week: Stepping Up by John Izzo

Stepping Up: How Taking Responsibility Changes Everything by John Izzo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a powerful, amazing, life-changing book. Each chapter focuses on a different way of Stepping Up, a specific behavior, what Stepping up means, what it doesn't mean, and includes personal stories from folks who have stepped up to bring the ideas to life.

It is important as we go through life that we are always working on ourselves, learning new skills (physical and mental), and growing. This book is a great tool to use on that journey. I can see myself owning this book (The copy I read is from the library.) and reading it annually, always looking for a new way to apply the wisdom and advice to my life.

You can (and do) make a difference every time you step up, even in the smallest way. Be that person. Be that voice . See a need. Fill a need (from Robots).

The main takeaway from Stepping Up, for me, is to stop looking to the government to solve problems -- whether they are local or gl…

Home Renting vs Home Buying.... get out of the game

I have a theory. Not a dream, but a theory. And it goes like this: All of us who aren't independently wealthy are being bilked. We're feeding the money-making machine without getting any part of the pay-out. And here's how it's happening, or at least one particular example....

Buying into the belief that we need to buy a starter house, then a home to raise our children in, but it's not the house we'll own forever. Because truly, who (besides the Amish) owns a house forever anymore? We're not tied to the land we live on anymore the way our agrarian ancestors were. We allow job transfers to uproot us from family and friends all the time, and so this idea that we need to own the house we're living in is outdated. But.. but... the equity, the money "wasted" on rent, it's a financial investment, my children. Really?

A quick google search showed that in Australia, average home ownership is 10 years; and in the US it's 8 years. That's…

Book of the Week -- Stuffocation

by James Wallman
The material equivalent of the obesity epidemic. That's how author James Wallman defines Stuffocation.
All the time and money we spent buying stuff, we thought we were improving life, making ourselves (our families) happier, improving the economy, thumbing our noses at terrorists. But evidence shows this isn't the case. We're more depressed, anxious, in debt, and lonely than ever. So, now what? 
  In his book, James takes a look at minimalism, the medium chill (as opposed to the big chill), and simple living; and then casts them all aside for the one thing they all have incommon -- experientialism. Then he spends the second half of the book defining, tearing down and then defending experientialism.
I found this book to be well researched, well presented, and an easy, comprehensive read. It has certainly helped me expand and shape my thinking about minimalism and my values and goals after the  Big Declutter which defines minimalism.
I highly re…

The Struggle is Real...

.. and oh how I am struggling!

How's that for an opening line? Ha!

My struggle is not new. Moving from full-time employment outside the home to all the time stay-at-home mom has been the hardest thing I've ever done. It has been nearly 20 years, and I am still sorting myself out. I get bored. I get lonely. I get a lot done. I lose motivation and get nothing done. I just don't know what to do with myself! So it's been 20 years, why write about it now?

I'm writing about it for a few reasons: 1) I'm sure I am not the only one with this struggle - feeling totally overwhelmed, and at loose ends at the same time. 2) I'm not happy living this way! It's not fair to myself, and it's not fair to my family. 3) I've been doing a lot of thinking and writing the last couple of days which has resulted in some self-awareness that is going to make the changes I make stick this time.

What I knew about myself before is that I function better with structure, so ro…

My (new and improved) Capsule Wardrobe

I've been flirting around the edges of a capsule wardrobe for a few years without ever fully embracing the entire concept of a mixy-matchy collection of clothes. The closest I've even been was last summer when I had 4 outfits I rotated through each week

That same collection of 4 outfits makes up the base of my wardrobe here in Australia - 3 pr capri pants, 4 brightly colored t-shirts, and 2 long-sleeve shirts for layering over. And I've added a couple pair of jeans since it's colder here than I expected. But otherwise my collection has stayed the same - a mixture of a lot of different colors without any sense of mixy-matchy.

And then....
I go to put away my freshly laundered clothes this evening, and I have a moment of inspiration as I look into my closet. What I see is that a LOT of my long-sleeve shirts are blue and white, and I have one more pair of white capri pants and a bright yellow shirt still hanging with them.

Blue (which is and always has been my favorite color…