Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Montessori Three Part Lesson

I love this quick video on the Montessori three part lesson - which I try very hard to remember round here.  It's a lovely way to assist learning without constantly correcting, asking "what is this" when the child doesn't know, and so on.  It's this basic formula for 'teaching' new objects and things, anything really.  The Three Part Lesson is:

1. This is...

2. Show me...

3. What is?

Only the last stage is the demanding "what is?" which can be very intimidating for little ones!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Things I let slide Tuesday!

My lovely friend, Stacey, had a fabulous idea last week on her blog, Live Dreaming, Forego Reality.  It was a post about things she had let slide :D.  As promised in her comments, I'm proposing to make this a regular feature around these parts, sort of as a follow up to my previous post taking on the Homemaker blogs, and generally debunking the "all is perfect in blog-land" theme. 

So here is my first effort, with pictures!  Just think of all the shit I'm not doing to make time to take pictures, and upload and embed them!!  I'm also not cooking dinner, and I'm pretty sure one of my lovely charges has pooped since I started this post!

The laundry, Part 1.

With three kids, two of whom are not toileted, everything in our house has been peed on (or worse) at some stage or other.  It makes for a LOT of washing.  One load a day does not cut it, and barely keeps the various piles from gaining grimy consciousness and taking over the joint, bent on plans of stinky pee-soaked world domination.   I mean, we own 6 single mattress protectors, three brolly sheets (one for a queen bed), four chair pads (and here), and several bedspreads and rugs whose sole remaining purpose is the prevent the soaking of wee into our couches and other important seating areas.  Snail gets about, when not in her chair, by bumsliding, and need I point out that this is NOT conducive to saving ones nappies from leaking out the sides, with tragic if predictable effect, often up to four times a day!  Keeping people round here in clean pants is like my main job these days.  TMI?  Not nearly enough "I" in my opinion!  If I have to clean it up, you can at the very least read about it :p

So yeah, a lot of washing.

Here is the laundry after we did, I shit you not, 4 full loads (teenager) on Sunday, and 3 loads (yours truly) yesterday.  And it still looks like this! 

And I couldn't even get the laundry sink with the pee soaked pants soaking in Milton in the shot, but they're there.  Behind the blue basket on top of the washing machine.

And yes, I do use the dryer most of the time.  Come live here before judging me!

I swear that I can only count the number of times I've been able to see the bottom of every basket in there on one hand.  Possibly only one finger.  It's like some kind of fundamental law of physics that not all our laundry can be clean at one time.  Our house may collapse into some alternative, and clean, space-time continuum.  Or something.

The laundry, Part 2.

I don't mind washing and drying.  I am quite violently opposed to putting away.  Hence our clean laundry sits in sorted baskets in the spare room, waiting for the Mt Foldmore fairy to call. 

Sorting people's clothes into individual baskets counts, right?

He clearly has lost our address.  This makes it hard to maintain my dignity when nagging Smash to put his washing away.  At least I don't store our clean stuff on the floor, generously mixed with the dirty stuff.  Come on, that means I win, right???

The Spare Room.

The Spare Room (with Capitals).

This is THAT room in our house.  Most people have 'em.  Even our cupboard under the stairs (a la Harry Potter) is tidy and organised.  But the Spare Room is that spot where all our unused stuff goes to wait for death or recycling to other families.  The piano only I can play (but never do), held in limbo while we wait to see if Lolly has an interest.  The walking machine (that's all I'm going to say about that).  The sewing area crammed in as an afterthought, coz Goddess forbid I could set up my stuff in a NICE spot where it was pleasant and easy to get to, and had all my thing in it!  The aforementioned laundry and innumerable baskets.  The toys and kid stuff that no one is the right age for yet/anymore but that we can't get rid of for some spurious reason.  The spare bookcase that I Have Plans For.  Storage baskets.  DinnerDads bike gear.  The fan, when it's not hot.  The heater, when it is.  You know, that stuff.  You know you've got some too, in your version of our Spare Room.   The Things You've Let Slide.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Playdough and bubbles!!

Some things Lolly likes.

OMG Playdough!  Dino-Roar (her dino toy) does "cutting" and shapes!

Love the face on this one!

Dino-Roar does cutting out.

Playdough is fun!

We got some beautiful organic playdough, Eco Clay, from an online friend recently, it's just gorgeous!  Here's a pic, and her madeit shop is here - the colours are gorgeous, it's so soft, and scented with organic oils, nom nom! 

Look at those gorgeous colours!

Bubbles are the other sure fire favourite lately.  We had a bubble kit from Snail years ago with lots of cool shapes for blowing bubbles.

Catching a bubble.

Here's a cute face :D

Hi Mum!

Bubbles, U R doin it rong :D


Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Yesterday, despite the rainy weather, we braved the Ekka!  We headed out in the afternoon, and after an exciting start visiting the emergency room when one of Smash's friends cut his head on a ride (he was fine, 5 stitches!), the boys went their own way while DinnerDad, Lolly and I went on the hunt for animals to look at.  We found pony rides!!!

Ridin' a pony!

We looked at birds, cats, fish and dogs, horses, and the animal nursery!  You couldn't get more awesome toddler entertainment into the one venue if you tried!  Lolly LOVES animals, so went from animal to animal with this kind of "awesome!" expression on her face :D  Here she is telling me about this calf.

Holy Crap!  A cow!

We bought some straw to feed them all, Lolly loved to get some in her palm and give it to the calf.

Feeding the calf.

We had some yummy Ekka food, saw the big cows, some more horses, then tackled the showbag pavillion.  I loaded Lolly up in the Ergo for that one :D  We got her a Backyardigans bag and toy, and some jelly snakes which kept her happy for a bit longer while we checked all the foolish showbags out.  DinnerDad and I grabbed some coffee and headed up to the arena to get a spot for the night show, finding enough space to meet the boys right up the front of the sheltered area, so we got pretty wet!  Here's Lolly admiring the view and the weather.

Watching the arena in the rain.

The three hooded teens :D

DinnerDad went foraging and returned with food!  Then ice creams!!

Strawberry Icecream!

A lot of the show wasn't on in the arena coz of the rain, but they did do the fireworks, which was great, though a little scary for Lolly, she liked the ones that weren't tooooooo noisy :D

Blurry fireworks in the rain.

It was a wet and muddy walk back to the car, totally worth the day, we had such a great time.  And at home sat on the lounge room floor and emptied our showbags, just like when I was a kid :D  Lolly ran round like a lunatic high on fun and chocolate.  DinnerDad ate and Extreme Sour Warhead from his showbag (which was hilarious), I ate chocolate, it was all good!

Nerd funny :D


Monday, August 9, 2010

A little bit Montessori...

We're kind of Montessori round these parts, Lolly periodically goes to NIDO (we've had a bad run the last few months due to illness) and we're seriously considering the same Montessori school for her.  There's a lot I like very much about the Montessori philosophy of approaching childhood and "learning", especially in providing a certain kind of environment for a child, meaning both the physical surroundings and the social and emotional side of it all. Of course, I have some issues with it, too, but that's a post for another day!

Here are some examples of what I mean.  We set up things at Lolly's level, changing things round to keep her amused.  We have a large amount of plastic (not quite Montessori, but hey...) but also have a lot of simple, everyday tasks and activities that Lolly loves to do.  You can really see the concentration on each task, and the value of returning things to their place.  I keep her tables clear, or put one or two things on them so she can focus, and then we put things away (okay, it's mostly me, but she does love to clean and help tidy).  I tidy every night so the environment is clean and clear for our next day's fun!  As she gets older, the more she does to help me do this, it's just normal for her.  For small children, putting things away is often just as much fun as getting them out and doing them, and for me, sometimes the frustration is that putting it away reawakens her desire to do it more, and we have to get it all out again (this happens a LOT with play-dough) :D.

The Bookcases in the lounge room

One of the tables set up with some of her music things

Lolly's peg boards and pegs in a basket

I found this nice introduction to Montessori in the home here - this is part 1 it's a simple explanation from a real world mother, showing her set up at home.   The Monte book, available in pdf form for free here - The Joyful Child has some lovely ideas in it for all areas of the house.  

I get a lot of inspiration from Montessori stuff, everything is just so lovely!, and from Steiner and unschooling sites and books as well, though we are nowhere near 100% Monte (check out the video collection in the bookcase shot - lol), nor are we planning on unschooling.  There is so much to be learned from treating our children as people, adapting and changing to suit them, encouraging their natural ways of doing things, meeting them where they are at, respecting them as small people, not treating them as inferior beings that simply should be controlled until they are big enough to know better.  Each of these learning philosophies embody those principles, so they are all worth drawing from.

I'm planning to write more about all this fun stuff in future, so stay tuned!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Of books, playdough, and salt...

Had to share my two gorgeous girls, out in the windy weather coming home after the brother was finished playing soccer on the weekend.  Naw!!  Check out the too cool for school Lolly in her glasses :D

Two gorgeous girls!

Lolly has started on playdough for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and is mad keen on it!  Here she is sitting on our dining room table with her "shapes".  She calls it "play shapes" and requests playdough fun several times a day.  Snail is also very keen, and says "playdough" as they do it at school with her as well.


The other day Lolly was endlessly making these "snakes", I roll em out with her, then she puts all the accessories on, first eyes, then "a tail" then "a back" - lol - which means all those blobs on their backs.  I think it's representing their scales, we had a snake skin here (sorry mum!) to look at the other week and she was very interested.  I was less impressed with DinnerDad who hid it behind the bookcase with just the tail poking out to scare me :-o

Lolly's snakes
And here she is eating salt on the rocking chair one morning.  She is salt obsessed, and given the slightest chance, nabs the salt grinder, gets up in the rocking chair, and eats all the salt out of the top of it. 

Like so... :D

Apparently it is nom nom nom!

Busy days here, here there and everywhere, we are slowly getting out of our sickness slump and getting back to normal (we hope!).  Today we went in to Snail's school to hang out, played basketball with the kids at break time, and generally were a huge hit with her class :D  We went to Ippy library and got heaps of books, Lolly is enjoying factual books at the moment, with real animal photos in them, as well as her Bears in the Night Dr Seuss, Hairy McClairy, and a book called the Wide Mouth Frog that Nanna got her.  She has a whole bit where we say the lines from the book, and pretend to eat her up for dinner.

She LOVES Bears in the Night at the moment, and recites it as we go.

So that's a snapshot of us lately, will post more soon!