Audible enabling

audibleIn my email tonight there’s a lovely message from my newest, favourite online shop… Audible.com.

I gave their free trial a go and have since joined up for the year on their basic membership.  That lets me have one audiobook per month and a discounted rate on others.

Tonight’s email is a nasty little brute. Temptation abounds and I’m about to share some of my finds with you.  The sale is audiobooks for US$4.95 each.  Here are my picks, some of which will be entering our audio library once I’m done writing this.

The History of the Ancient World by Susan Wise Bauer
Mary Poppins: The Mary Poppins Series, Book 1 – P.L.Travers
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH – Robert O’Brien
Anne of Green Gables – L.M.Montgomery

And there will be a couple of books specifically for me too, I think.

Please note that the links here have the books at full price.  I presume you will need an Audible account to access the discount.   If you don’t already, then you can always give the free trial a go, like I did and see how you go from there.

audibletrial


Yes, these are affiliate links (see our footer). It’s at no cost to you, and we only post to things we love, own or are about to invest in.

 

LightningMatt is about to strike

LightningMattYT1Young Master Oh Waily wishes to get in on the video making bandwagon and has been asking me if he can for a week or two now.
This week both his interest and my time collided so that I could let him have a practice run.   The practice ended up being 30 minutes long and it is likely that I will be asked to edit that in to something he can upload to YouTube.  Then this morning he sat with his sister and did a second one as well.  I didn’t eavesdrop on them, but according to sources close to the recording he might just sometimes forget to use the gamer tag names they have chosen.  I can see much fun and probable hair-pulling on my part when it comes to working out how to edit what he has recorded.

I’m proud of his attitude of giving it a go.  At six years old I think he’s going to have done pretty well just to have completed one and have it uploaded.  He does have his own channel on YouTube.  There was never any chance of him not since his sister does!  I will post here when we have something uploaded, which will probably be some time next week.  Once we do, if you could stop by in a bit of spare time to give him a thumbs up, that would be greatly appreciated.

I’m now looking forward to taking a look to see what they’ve put together.  It should be an interesting comparison of styles – because they really do have very different ways of doing things!

The weather strikes again…

get-well-soon-funny-dogWhy, yes we are Mr Dog, thanks for asking.

Well so far Miss Oh is.  She woke up this morning sniffling and with a sore tummy which has developed into a full scale cold.

I suspect it won’t be long before the rest of us manage to catch it and start to look and feel like our canine friend in the picture.

Today, the only thing going on at the Patch has been snuggling up, keeping warm and resting.  And that’s all there’s likely to be tomorrow too.   Possibly the day after that too…. and you get the picture.  We’ll be keeping everything low key until this passes along.

Until then, I’ll do a bit of reading and write about that instead, eh?  Yeah, right!?!

Keeping it real…

I woke up at 5:30am this morning and the smallest Oh Waily wasn’t too long behind me.  Today has been long and one of those days.  Tiredness led to a couple of meltdowns this morning, just before lunchtime.  It took a lot of patience and energy to get through that bad patch.  A power nap was insisted upon by me as we were due to leave for swimming lessons at 1pm.  Thankfully he could have slept standing up by that time, so he managed to get a good 20 minutes and we headed out for lessons.
The youngest Oh Waily’s lesson is at 1:30 while his sister is two classes up and therefore starts at 2:30.  This means a minimum of one and a half hours of swimming or playing in the pool.  Yep, it’s been a tiring old day.  Add in the regular Brownies, a later dinner time and tiredness crept up for another visit.  This one brought tears over not being able to play DnD with Daddy.

Luckily Mr Oh Waily was able to let it all go, and consent to play after which we christened the new game HedBanz and managed to get a bit of joy back in to the tail end of a very long and very tiring day for the entire household.  So tonight you get the short post.  The post about the days that aren’t Pollyanna-perfect.  The one that requires the cat.

coffee

Although in this case, it’s not coffee I’m needing but sleep.  So here’s to a ridiculously early night to make up for the ridiculously early morning !

See you all, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed tomorrow.  Preferably with a hot cup of coffee in my hand.

Strawberries

We stopped off at the garden centre in our local Mitre 10 a few days ago while on an errand to get a couple of other DIY items that we needed.  The kids had a play in their indoor playground and we all had a drink to revive us after a morning of doing.  While sitting there, innocently enjoying the rest, we were inspired to plant strawberries.  So I brought home the bits and bobs required and they sat waiting for an opportune time to do the work, and tonight brought that.

It was late in the day, not long until bedtime, when the Oh Waily kids headed outside with Mr Oh Waily.  Still sunny and bright, the kids got their gardening gloves on and dove in to the potting mix.  They set out the four plants and filled the pot right up.

So now all we have to do is wait, watch, keep any pesky snack-seekers away, and make sure they get all the love they need to turn into juicy summer treats.  Fingers crossed !

Strawberries before bed

Strawberries

Snark attack

It’s pretty much the middle of NaBloPoMo and I’ve had a pretty quiet weekend at the Patch.

That can mean only one thing… a lack of things to write about.  So what does every good blogger do right in the middle of a NaBloPoMo posting meltdown?  She resorts to a picture post.  So here’s the Patch’s.

For those who haven’t come across the Homeschool Snark Shark, you don’t know what you’re missing. Here’s their Instagram account for you to follow or if you prefer, their Facebook page.

I am sharing just a few today, so you get a taste.  Go check out their snarkiness in person.  A great fun way to get out any frustration with silly and/or rude questions and comments you might get in day-to-day life.


Disclaimer:  Dear non-Home School friends, this is IN NO WAY a dig at you or your choices.  This is a humour interlude.  Not all home educators face comments like those parodied, sent up, and snarked about, but some really do!  So please check any sensitivities at the door, and enjoy!


messy

And that is what you will hear from me if you drop by for a visit unannounced, okay?

hand

Like I could get them to, even if I wanted !?  I’d just settle for one at a time, thanks.

slap

Alfred is one well-read fellow.  Hands up how many Holt’s you’ve read?

spa

Hmmm, spa days…. things of my glittery, sparkly dreams.

crap

Wise advice for new home educators !!

I hope you enjoyed our gratuitous picture post.  I know they made me snigger in an undignified manner. Normal transmission should resume tomorrow.

A morning surprise

Two and a half weeks ago I was driving to the drycleaners, as you do.   My phone goes and it’s a chap from a toy company telling me he’s calling to let me know that I had won a competition and that he wanted to confirm my address.   While all this is going on I’m wracking my brain to think what I had entered, and when and where but drew a blank.  However, I tried to be polite and thankful while doing this mental gymnastics.  Afterwards I’m thinking to myself – me? win something? unheard of! must be a mistake! ^

The Oh Waily kids are in the car with me, as usual, so they hear the whole conversation and are super-excited to think that a toy or two might be coming their way.  Me, I’m just perplexed, and not much better off when we get home and I check out the company.  I see that I’ve followed them on Facebook at some point, and no doubt it was one of those cases of seeing a friend entering a competition and then being sheeple-like and doing it too.  (In my defence, I generally only behave like a sheeple if the prize looks like something we would enjoy and make good use of!)

Anyway, two weeks go by and I figure that they’ve finally worked out that there must be a mistake and are a bit embarrassed to phone me back to say so.  Life goes on.

Then this morning there’s a knock at the door and a courier standing there with two large boxes. Addressed to me.  From the company running the competition.

The kids recognise the name immediately and are clamouring to open the boxes to see what’s inside.  No surprises there then.  No chance of hiding things for Christmas either !!  Oh well, that’s just the way things happened.

I certainly had no idea of what to expect, other than maybe a couple of smallish toys, not a couple of boxes!  It was this side of pandemonium as each box was opened and the toys extracted.  There were two very happy kids, I can tell you.  And one amazed Mum !

Here is what greeted us!

Prizes

Do count them!

Fifteen separate toys!

I was not expecting that.

Thank you so very, very much Planet Fun.


Notes:
^ I think I might have had Tyche looking over me.  (Yes, ancient Greece is coming up in history here at the Patch!)

 

When are kids too young?

This article from Science Alert came wandering across my web view today.  It’s called “New study suggests we’re sending our kids to school too young“.

My initial reaction to reading the title was, ‘well, duh!’

The idea of sending my just-turned-five year old children off to school simply turned my guts when I thought about it.  I just couldn’t see how they would cope with a full school day at that age, either physically or mentally.  They were wiped out after the two hours at sessional daycare that they went to for a couple of days a week so that I could take care of my fitness needs.  And as I would hear from folk about their new-at-school kids needing to take the kiddie equivalent of mental health days (or possibly recover from exhaustion) it simply re-inforced in my mind that we had made the right choice for our kids.

The issue with this particular article is that it isn’t the first research to show that we start our kids far too young at school. There have been others, and it was a bit of a hot topic a couple of years ago too.  With even more interesting links and references to follow up, this article from the New Scientist is well worth reading through.  It’s called “Too much, too young: Should schooling start at age 7?

The sad and concerning thing is, that despite a lack of evidence supporting the current school starting age and more supporting the positive effects of a later start, governments around the world are pushing towards an even earlier start for our babies.  The official age that children must be in school in New Zealand is six, but the majority will have begun at five if they are going to go at all.  So here it is a cultural norm rather than a compulsion issue.  And unfortunately it seems very few folk are all that keen on questioning it.

And that makes me quite sad.

Experiment: Letting Go

I’ve decided to run an experiment here at the Patch.

I’m guessing that like most folk I harbour the idea that if left to their own devices the kids would turn in to the world’s biggest couch potatoes, staring in a glazed-over way at the TV.  In our house it would be staring at YouTube gaming videos, Minecraft primarily.

I’m going to challenge that idea in myself and give my kids the chance to show me whether that over-arching belief is a fair one or not.  It’s close to the end of year, the kids have done really well and are tracking along in their skills just fine.  Now is probably the best time to give it a try since year end normally brings a bit of slowing down in energy and enthusiasm anyway.

This is my very small attempt to see if I can get the reassurance I want that we could move to a lifestyle even closer to that of being an unschooling family.  I haven’t set a time limit for this, because I know that deschooling – even from our mild amount of schooly stuff may be required.  I’m as interested to see just how uncomfortable I become if it takes more than a few days for them to be unglued from a screen and actively pursuing something I would consider to be a good spend of their time.  Can you see just how ingrained it is in me, despite intellectually understanding the benefits of the kids learning what they are truly interested in ?!  It’s probably going to really mess with my head.

I’ll try to report back on it next Thursday and see how the first week of my experiment goes.  If I haven’t freaked out and gone back on it beforehand.  Wish me luck!

 

Joyful illiteracy, the best start

It’s no secret that I have become very interested in the Finnish education system over the last little while and on reflection I think there’s a lot about the way they do things that backs up why we chose to home educate.   I came across this article in The Atlantic called The Joyful, Illiterate Kindergarteners of Finland by Tim Walker.  It pretty much encapsulates a lot of my ideas about the need for younger children to have A LOT of free play time and not foisting academics on to them.

Personally I still struggle with letting go of the need to do maths or reading, but I am relaxing more about it the longer we home educate.  It’s so ingrained to think that kids need to be taught everything that I am constantly facing my own issues around what I think we should be doing.  Some days I win that battle beautifully, other days – not so much!

Sitting here on the fringes of our education system it worries me to see us following the US / GERM model where the need for more ‘accountability’ is based on ideology rather than based on observable facts & research.   More testing and more emphasis on the outcome rather than the journey.  We are beginning to treat our kids like a commodity – their worth is tied to their test scores !!   Really ?!?!

You want to narrow the gap, but you open things up to competition.  Ummm, yeah.  Not sure how you see that working.   Competition & league tables must lead parents to create an imbalance in opportunity through the financial ability to buy in zone.  I’m not sure how you can’t see that this increases the gap you are trying to close.  A little bit more funding does nothing to even the playing field when you are talking about serious money at one end of the spectrum.

Also, how about instead of screwing your teachers down by making them accountable, you consider lifting them up with professional development and improving the working conditions?  Any reasonable business person knows that a successful company is built through happy, engaged and valued staff.  If you want to look at schools in a business-like way, which is of course the GERM way.  So why are you making things harder rather than easier?   Why aren’t you elevating the status of teacher and addressing the training, mentoring and long-term retention.  Why aren’t you attracting the best and brightest to the profession, if it’s the teachers who aren’t holding up the standards?  As the boss of the school system, perhaps your hiring skills suck and you aren’t actually that great a boss to work for.

It’s all smoke and mirrors, political ideology trumps the needs of the child – and it is one very big reason why we will continue to home educate.  Whatever mistakes I make as a parent trying to do this will be outweighed by the positives my kids will gain from having the freedom to focus on what they want to learn and how they want to learn.  It’s going to be much better than having them value themselves on the basis of somebody else’s idea of what scores highly in a written test.

I really hope your lovely little school child is that monkey there, or heaven help his self esteem and mental picture of himself !

Testing

Apologies for the rant.  Whenever I think about this topic it starts to grind my gears.  We don’t have to face this because of the path we’ve chosen, but I hate to think of all those lovely little people being told to climb trees when clearly they are much better swimming in the open ocean – and then feeling stink about themselves because they can’t do it.  Heartbreaking to think of it !!

For more about the Finnish style, take a look at these videos over at YouTube.

Happy viewing!