2015 In Review // Our Unschooling Journey

2015 is coming to an end so this post is a review of what our unschooling journey looked like in the past 12 months.

Overall, it’s been a challenging year for our family. Unschooling has literally helped hold us together. I cannot imagine how much more difficult doing some of the things we’ve had to do this year would have been if school was an added factor in our lives. Instead, we had the freedom to make choices where the JOY of our family was our only consideration. We grew, we learned and we certainly journeyed. Here is a snapshot of the year that was –

We started the year off in our own home, playing, connecting and enjoying our space.
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Hannah and Blake became proficient at swimming through simply having access to the pool (they’ve never had swimming lessons).All Rights Reserved
We re-commenced our weekly meet-ups at Brisbane’s inner-city community farm space after a break over the Christmas period.
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And our fortnightly meet-ups with another group of friends at the creek.
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In February we sold our home. This process held many lessons for us all. Letting go, and realising that memories are in our hearts and not in a place, was a big one.
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We road-tripped to Goondawindi to visit friends, and then to a little town near Bundaberg in Queensland to see baby turtles hatch and make their journey to the sea. This trip was full of happy memories and connection for our family. Seeing the turtles make their way out of the nest and into the ocean was truly awe-inspiring and something we plan to do again in the near future. Being there and buying tickets actually helps pay for the conservation project and the amount of information that is given by the guides and in the museum was excellent. Travelling really does bond us and experiencing new places together makes for moments we won’t forget.
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Daisy weaned which was bittersweet and full of emotion. But overall it was the right choice to make at the right time for our family as a whole.
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Planning for our trip overseas went into full swing and all sorts of geographical learning became a consistent feature in our life. Every few days we would discuss another region we planned to visit, or one of the children had a question that led to further information seeking. Often with unschooling the interest comes from the child. But sometimes it is a whole family interest, and they are the ones which really shine a light on the knowledge we’ve all acquired during the process which is a beautiful part of this journey.
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Hannah began to seriously focus on her desire to read and it slowly began to come together. I do have a post coming up about how this all occurred but suffice to say, it has been an amazing journey to watch unfold. I never doubted that my children would learn to read without direct instruction, I just wondered how it would happen and to be a tiny part of that experience for her, has been very special indeed.
All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights ReservedEaster came and we celebrated by going camping with Brian’s side of the family to a little island that his family visits every easter. Again, just being able to be together without the pressures of work was blissful.
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Nature as always featured very heavily in our adventures and explorations all year long.
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And this was balanced with lots of unstructured time at home.
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In May it was finally time to begin packing for our trip to Europe.
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We finally left on our holiday and had amazing experiences every single day. Truly the best 6 weeks of our lives!
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When we came back to Brisbane our world was turned upside down as Brian lost his job and we decided to re-locate to Mount Isa as a new opportunity came up. We lived in our caravan while we got to know the isolated outback town but in the end the job wasn’t suitable, and we moved on.All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved IMG_7027 (640x427) All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved
We didn’t leave Mount Isa without a very special souvenir though – our new puppy Echo who we adopted through a rescue agency.
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And by August we were settling into our new home in Rockhampton. This was such a big adjustment for us, especially as Brian began working away. To be honest we’re still adjusting to it, so I’ll probably do a post with more reflection about what moving here has really meant to us in a couple of months.
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One of the best parts of moving to a new place is making new friends and discovering new places with them and we’ve certainly done that.
All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights ReservedThere’s one friend though, that kids have always known, and she’s extra special. Brian’s 95 year old Nana (the children’s great-grandmother) has lived here all her life and we really love the fact that the kids are getting to spend so much time with her and make lasting memories together. It’s been a really nice twist to this year that they’ve been able to spend more time than usual with both their great-grandmothers this year – mine in Croatia and Brian’s here in Rockhampton.
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And finally, this is the place we spent an extremely large chunk of our year driving all around our state and (in a different car) in Europe. I asked Brian to roughly calculate how many kilometres we’d spent in the car this year with all our trips combined and we’ve driven over 15000kms together this year. Brian estimed that that is equal to about 30 DAYS of driving (not including the normal everyday driving around)! So when I jokingly say we ‘carschool’ I’m actually not joking…! We are often asked what entertainment we provide the kids with in the car and honestly, we don’t! We don’t have in-car tv screens and we don’t give them the iPad in the car because there’s only one. Hannah and Blake are expected to remember to bring their own backpack filled with whatever it is they think they need for the trip and we bring a few dolls and toys for Daisy but of-course she gets bored with them quickly. I provide snacks and great tunes to listen to, and nature provides imagery out of their window. They get bored but I don’t think that’s such a bad thing. We talk a lot about all sorts of stuff and they often ask some of their biggest questions in the car. They rest and sleep and use their imaginations and yes, cry. But it’s totally worth it and something that is part of the very fabric of us as a family.
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Of-course I cannot possibly photograph all of the learning that occurred this year. That would be like photographing every moment of every day. Suffice to say, we’ve done a lot and we’ve done a whole lot of not much too. Lots of movies and reading books and pottering around outside, trips to the park and pool and to visit family and friends, that’s how we spent the majority of our days. It’s a journey we’re constantly grateful to be living and choosing and unschooling really is the right lifestyle for our family.

We’re very much looking forward to what 2016 holds!

 

On My Birthday // 30 Things About Me

  1. I don’t have a middle name.
  2. I believe in past lives.
  3. I love to sleep. But I hate going to sleep.
  4. My current favourite colour is yellow.
  5. I never knew that I wanted to be a mother.
  6. Until one day I looked at Brian while we washed the dishes in our little cottage and then I knew.
  7. I dreamt about Hannah loooong before she was conceived. She looks exactly like she did in my dream. Exactly.
  8. I knew Blake was a boy and I was buying clothes for him at 8 weeks pregnant because I was that convinced. When we were told at our ultrasound that he was a girl I was surprised. I wasn’t surprised however, when I gave birth to him and found out that he is in fact a boy.
  9. Daisy called to me before we conceived her. Her name followed me around. When we saw that pregnancy test Brian said immediately, “Our little Daisy is on her way.”
  10. I loved giving birth. Every time. *
  11. I believe in numbers. 11 is a portal number. Google it.
  12. I’ve been the same size since I was 15. Even after 3 pregnancies. It actually gets a bit depressing, I would love to have curves.
  13. This is my favourite number.
  14. I lived through a war. I am still processing how that has effected the rest of my life. Actually, that’s not entirely true. I know it has contributed to my Anxiety. Anxiety sucks.
  15. I love black and white photographs. So much. Those family photographs are what made me want to learn photography  in the first place.
  16. I love eating out. I hate cooking. I’m starting to think these two facts correlate in some way.
  17. I didn’t get my licence until I was 20. I wanted to feel like I could safely drive on the road with thousands of other crazy people. On the day of my driving test, we’d been driving for 10 minutes, I had done one manoeuvre, and we were stopped at a light. As my light turned green a pedestrian 100m in front of us was hit by a car. My driving instructor and I just stayed at the light open-mouthed and missed the green (people went to the pedestrians aid, they were okay). He told me to drive back to the testing centre, and passed me straight away and told me to go home. Lucky for him I am actually a good driver!
  18. I have a really good memory.
  19. I’ve now known Brian for half my life. He’s my best friend, my teacher and the only person who truly knows me the way every person wants to be known. I’m infinitely grateful that my wish came true and that nice boy moved in across the road.
  20. I love music. I love anything with a guy and an acoustic guitar. I’m listening to James Bay as I write this. If I could bring Jeff Buckley back to Earth to play Hallelujah I would.
  21. I have a degree in Human Service majoring in Youth Work. I’ve never actually done any paid work in this field but I’ve done a ton of volunteering through my uni years. Most people in high school thought I would become a counsellor.
  22. I’m a creative person. I had no idea that I was until recently. School sucked the creative right out of me. I had to find that spark again.
  23. I have ALWAYS been different. I have ALWAYS made choices that seem to go against the tide. I haven’t done this to rebel – quite the opposite – they’re just choices that feel good to me.
  24. I can read tarot cards and interpret dreams for people. I have predicted future events accurately. I can channel spiritual guidance.  I actually have a lot of skills in this realm that I am still a bit scared to explore.
  25. I love reading. My dad influenced a lot of what I read, so I began reading autobiographies, self-help and inspirational books as a teenager. They’re still my favourite books to read and buy.
  26. My birthday gift to myself is a tattoo that I had done just a couple of weeks ago. I’m totally and completely in love with it, and can now understand why people cover their entire body with art.
  27. I’ve always felt an affinity to France and one day I would love to live there, learn French and soak up the sublime provincial lifestyle with weekend trips to Paris. Every time we’ve gone overseas I’ve made sure we’ve somehow managed to fit in a weekend in Paris.
  28. I don’t run. Not ever.
  29. I plan to live to 111.
  30. I believe in the power of choice. And of JOY.

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