Tuesday, November 27, 2012

gettin' an ed-U-kay-shun...

EJ - our little leftie

I think most of you know I'm a fully diplomarised, notarised, motorised teacher - of the high school visual arts variety.... not that I've had much of a chance to teach my curriculum area - I've spent my entire school teaching existence as a casual/ relief teacher and haven't been teaching anything, anywhere in schools over the past couple of years.

Now, as a fully loaded (non-teaching) teacher, I'm naturally full to the brim with opinions about ed-U-kay-shun: I've got opinions on everything from WHAT should be taught, HOW it should be taught, WHEN and WHERE it should be taught - to WHY... yup when it comes to education I've got enough opinions to launch a hot air balloon!

This school term I decided to put my money where my mouth is (welllllll maybe not money per se...) After much researching and thinking and talking to various folk - including our kidlet's public school teachers, local homeschoolers and unschoolers, we made the not-so-radical move to 'own-school' our two kidlets at home for one day of the school week... no it's not exactly a HUGE move - but it IS a significant one.

why we are keeping our kidlets home for just one day per week?

Some may remember my loooong post all about our sassy boyo's dyslexia  and my whinge about how the NSW Government doesn't consider dyslexia a supportable problem (scheez you've got to wonder about the intelligence of policy makers haven't you...) Because of his dyslexia, our lad has some specific educational needs - I'm a staunch supporter of public education, but I'm an even STRONGER supporter of individualised, personalised education  (these two things need not be in opposition... hence we're keeping our kids enrolled in the local public school and doing all we can to ensure they are not swallowed up by our increasingly centralised, standarised, homogenised educational system). By keeping kids home for just one day a week,  we hopefully don't draw the attention of the home-school liaison officer (aka the truancy officer) - because what we are up (a mix of home and public school) is actually not permitted in NSW.

Since we started our 'own-school' experiment I've been fielding quite a few questions from curious friends and fellow parents - mostly they like to know what we do and how we do it (and if the kids drive me totally KRAZY by the end of the day!) wellllllll....

During our day together we do lots of one-on-one reading. We read what Sass and EJ have chosen: Sass is munching into a big pile of tractor, bike and 4WD magazines, he's trying out dog training manuals and slowly making his way into the novel 'Red Dog' - oh and he just purchased a fat autobiographical tale of Bear Grylls (oh save me! I have visions of small boyo attempting to abseil off a Sams Creek rock!) --  EJ is attacking 'Charlotte's Web', an encyclopaedia on dinosaurs, and the tales of Hans Christian Anderson.... she thinks 'The Emperor's New Clothes' is an absolute hoot! (obviously her mother's daughter...) Both kidlets also research/read on the ipad (mmmmm nothing like the lure of a device to get one motivated!) - I'm not opposed to using technology to support learning - key word there being support.

As well as reading, which is our focus, we do multiplication (aka 'times') tables -- did you know that rote teaching of times tables was dropped many moons ago in NSW State schools? .... I have no idea how kids are expected to learn times tables (by osmosis perhaps?) or perhaps it's no longer considered a necessary skill? (as mobile smart devices are now seemingly ubiquitous - who needs to memorise or indeed learn anything? GOOGLE IT!) well our poor kids are learning there times tables the good old fashioned way - recitation, recitation, recitation (wring, rinse, repeat)

and lest you think our poor two are chained to the desk all day - we also bake together (there's a heck of a lot of reading and measuring involved in following a recipe), garden together (again - oodles of applied literacy and numeracy), spend time in creative endeavours, as well as have fun with practical science and natural history, and of course they spend time with farmer Phil doing 'secret farming business'...

oh and Sass also spends time training his Honey-Hound....

Honey-Hound is growing up fast
and fetching is one of her favourite things (along with chasing the cats!)

All-in-all our approach to learning is very fluid, and as our kidlets are into serious sport activities, the 'own-school' day is a chance to slow down, relax, be quiet with our learning. The biggest bonus (and surprise) is how much the kidlets enjoy the day. I anticipated we might experience a bit of friction and for our kids to miss the interaction with peers - but no! they LOVE doing things at home. EJ loves doing far MORE work than she is allowed to do at school (yes - she lurves all things academic) --- Sass loves that he can try reading (and to read things he wants to) without being made to feel like a failure over and over and over again... oh and he loves that he can play with his dog in the middle of the day as a bonus for work done!

We've now been undertaking 'own-school' for a couple of months - enough for us to realise how we ALL enjoy this concentrated extra time together and how 'own-school' seems to be giving our kidlets greater self-assurance and independence... (and for me to appreciate the efforts of home- and unschool families)

To all folk taking ownership of your kiddies education I say BRAVO! all power to you!

ahhhhhhh they all grow up so fast don't they?......


Sunday, November 25, 2012

art gesture sunday - week 47...


three red covered books
fit perfectly into an ex-post hole
made in the rocks off Horseshoe Bay, main beach Bermagui


Thursday, November 22, 2012


I've been making books for BookArtObject edition 4


I've stupidly put my hand up to complete 3 small editions 
as part of the latest BAO major project
so I thought I really SHOULD 'seize the day'
and get started with my edition 'carpe diem' ....

'carpe diem' is an edition of 12
with 2APs (which are slightly larger and slightly different)  

 the artist proofs have been completed 
 and tomorrow I'm hoping to case-in the 12 little books in the edition 
that will be posted out to BAO group 11 peeps
and after they have all been received I'll do the big reveal

oooo I hope everyone enjoys the small book
(its had a loooooong gestation period)


Sunday, November 18, 2012

art gesture sunday - week 46...

'The Jacaranda Atlas' 1969 edition
 1960s Australia-shaped souvenir ashtray with inlaid abalone


Thursday, November 15, 2012


I love the word abundance
 (part of our HUGE purple garlic crop just harvested) 

abundance (uh-buhn-duhns) : ampleness, bounty, deluge, excess, fecundity, fruitfulness, lavishness, lushness, luxuriance, multitude, myriad, opulence, overflow, plenty, plenitude, profusion, richness, sufficiency, teemingness, wealth...

I suspect for many abundance means having everything that you want  - aka oodles and oodles of STUFF. Here's the rub - for those on the 'get more stuff' treadmill, too much is never enough: the house isn't big enough, the phone isn't new enough, the body isn't thin enough... there's never enough time to make enough money to get enough stuff.... ENOUGH ALREADY!

Real abundance is the sensation that you have more than enough for a rich life: enough time to have a moment for yourself to walk, create, wonder, marvel and to cuddle with loved ones; enough space - physical and psychological - to feel free and unconfined; enough funds to pay for your needs (as opposed to wants); enough water to bathe and drink, enough food to eat --- enough of all the necessities.

Abundance for me means - overflowing dams & rainwater tanks, waist-high early-summer green grasses, a huge woodpile at the beginning of cold weather, shelves of books (libraries make me swoon!), jars and jars of colourful preserves. 

Nothing says abundance more to me than a garden full-to-bursting with ripe fruit and vegies

For months we've been picking and eating fresh produce from the garden beds: fresh asparagus spears, leafy greens, broccoli, beetroot, baby broad beans and peas..... the good things just keep coming (I've just harvested the first of the garlic crop - and the chickens are now in full production, so our house is overflowing with eggs!). It's hard to beat the feeling you get when you serve a meal made from your own fresh garden produce (we had yummy kale frittata with fresh garden salad for last night's meal...... mmmm DELISH!)

One of the things that comes close to topping that feeling is giving gifts of goodies from my garden - now THAT is something I never get enough of!

mountains of kale in the garden
 hey have you ever tried kale chips? 
place kale leaves on baking tray, drizzle a little olive oil, bake in low- moderate oven until crisp, 
sprinkle with sea salt - devour --- they are fantastic and kale is sooooo good for you!

And talking of abundance and things we can't get enough of - this week a lovely gift arrived in the mail from Fiona - so I'll leave the last word to her...



Sunday, November 11, 2012

art gesture sunday - week 45...

 eight yellow hard-covered volumes of 'The Encyclopedia of the Animal World'
arranged as a circle in Sams Creek spring clover

one week later....

the books are removed...



Friday, November 9, 2012

to market - to market...

to Bega - to Bega
to shop I must go

once a fortnight is SCPA markets day in the park

today there was a bonus display of art from waste materials made by local school kiddies
(oh what fun!) 

always there are small stalls with yummy fresh seasonal, local fruit and veg, 
organic meat, honey, olives and preserves, delish coffee,
seeds and seedlings, goats milk soap, fibre, leather goods...

all local (no plastic-fantastic market crap)

this was sara's first market with her yummo vege and salad offerings

oh and occasionally (like today) there is spontaneous music and merriment 
(that's actually our RADO in full voice.... 
belting out a version of 'psycho killer'.... hee he heee )

ahhhhhh all this makes the trek to Bega almost bearable ;~)

yee har!


Thursday, November 8, 2012


This week my island-nation stopped for the running of the Melbourne Cup 
-- it seems everyone's thoughts were on bookmaking

I bet my efforts have yielded a better dividend than most punters
(welllll at least I've still got a smile on my face!)

 I have made a very big start on one of my promised BAO editions

This week I've printed, penned, collated and bound 
12 small books and 2 larger artists proofs for 
'Carpe Diem'...

The 12 little volumes still need to be cased in...

...but I'm on the home straight now!

I've got a few more things to do after the books are completed
 before this puppy is ready to post out to fellow BAO folk
so you'll all have to be patient before the final reveal

ahhhhhh its nice to be making some books again....



Sunday, November 4, 2012