Wednesday, June 24, 2015

June journal

The kids have adjusted to living at my parents' house. I'm grateful to be in a household with four adults, with my sister's family just next door.

Some cool stuff from June:

Clay Room, Hout Bay

We've gone to the clay room twice to make gifts for birthdays. I justify the expense by saying it's a bit like an art class, where you get a cool plate or bowl at the end... The brilliant bonus on our most recent visit was that they had three jumping castles set up for a party later in the day:

Heaven = painting clay + bouncing castles
The first two creations from the clay cafe are the kids' bowls now.
Eli's in the top right, Noah's still full of breakfast, in the front. 

We're still doing art first thing in the morning. We sometimes get into a bit of rut, then I remember to look up something and prepare a little. Five minutes of prep goes a long way. We've recently discovered watercolour pencils.

Eli still likes pastels over anything else. He seems to be right-handed, but he sometimes likes drawing with two hands at once...
On the day when this photo was taken, there was loadshedding (electricity outages) and our day starts out pretty dark in winter:
Burning the candles on both ends.
Giant bubbles!
We've been looking out for glycerine for this project and found some for R5 at our local Spar. It's cheap, it's fun, it works!


Noah has been wanting to learn chess for a while, but he also hates feeling like he's being told one way to do things, so up to now we've waited. But recently, he's been learning chess using an iPad app called Dinochess. His eighteen year old cousin is an avid chess player, and has also started coming over to play with him. Noah uses the "hint" function on Dinochess liberally.


As part of the quest to preserve my dad's sanity while we're crowding out my parents' house, we went to Tulbagh for a couple of days. We tried to work and hang out with the kids...

Running to start art time.  
Noah explains he's going to draw the mountain landscape. Eli explains he's going to draw a train track.

This locust hung out all day, and we spent a lot of time watching it.

Tulbagh is a pretty quiet area, so there's not tons of places to go to-- we decided to pull over and find a place to play by the river. It turned out to be the party bank of the century, covered with glass and trash. But the kids didn't care.

Trying to be good citizens, we spent a few minutes cleaning up. I spent cleanup time trying not to let my compounded public health/mom paranoia get the better of me.

Planning stuff by the river.
This time, the swimming pool was much too cold to swim...

...But not too cold to play, and try out making vortices in the pool
This time we discovered Fynbos guest farm, where you can call ahead and ask to visit the animals, in exchange for bringing some vegetable scraps. It's a lovely and inspiring visit, with a lot of detail and work put into making the farm pleasant and interesting. The animals-- rescued from various places-- seem really happy.
Hello goat!

Hello turkey!!

Hello Horse!! They leave their horses to free-range. The horses were calm and friendly.
Hi pig!

They have brushes for pig-scratching, which the pigs seemed to enjoy...
We also visited Die Tolhuis, where we saw some baboons and explored another mountain stream. The kids loved this playground by the side of the highway... but it was super cold and I just wanted to go inside. The owner encouraged us to just let the kids play while we were inside, so I briefly overcame my fears and we did just that.

Winter colours.

The kids and mountain streams...  
When we visited Tulbagh wholesale nursery, I was pretty much in heaven-- trees for half the Cape Town prices!! But Eli was disgusted that such a large nursery doesn't have a playground.

Truck tire swan...
bananas for R40!
Grapefruit for R79!

If only I had a large truck.
Noah found rocks and sticks to make a garden sculpture. Hopefully Eikelaan doesn't mind...

Cool websites I've gone to for inspiration this month:

Project-based homeschooling for discussion of homeschooling generally, and an approach based on engagement in specific projects. 

Happiness is here -- I love this blog about unschooling kids about the same age as Noah and Eli. Those organized wooden toys get me every time!! But I also had the insight that some things that look totally awesome on a blog don't fit every child's temperament (like when we try to copy stuff from Pinterest, right?!) and that I shouldn't derive theories about all children from my tiny sample size of two. The kinds of organized beautiful learning zones on this blog are completely lovely, and would make me go crazy if I tried to replicate them right now.

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