kate5kiwis: honey honey


“If you were all alone in the universe with no one to talk to, no one with which to share the beauty of the stars, to laugh with, to touch, what would be your purpose in life? It is other life, it is love, which gives your life meaning. This is harmony. We must discover the joy of each other, the joy of challenge, the joy of growth.” — Mitsugi Saotome

Friday, October 17, 2008

honey honey

for some reason, i've always felt rather wobbly about the *teaching my children to write* part of home education. oh i'm ohk with the handwriting/spelling/grammar/capitalisation parts of it, but the scary fairy creative writing/haiku/prose stuff fair freaks me out. maybe it's cos writing seems to be the thing that peeps *measure* our "education" by? i remember teaching six year olds and their regular production was "i went to the zoo. i saw a lion and it said rawr..."
inspired? me neither.

of course i repliKATEd the classroom when i first started home educating. so we got blood out of a stone with "
i went to the zoo. i saw a lion and it said rawr..." but blow me down, when Danny was about eight i fortuitously (love that word) came across a loidy called Charlotte Mason, who had this fabulous idea that we don't bovver with any formal written language until the child is around ten to thirteen, when after years of being immersed in wonderful literature, the child's lights will come on and fabulous prose will just flow out of them in the style of all the wonderful authors that they've been reading for all their infant years.

i'll buy that for a dollar.

so we left the formal written language stuff for a few years and just concentrated on reading beautiful books, classical books, rich in history and language. we talked about books, we lived and breathed books.

and guess what? Charlotte is right.

Woozie has been at school for nearly three years now. she had half a day off yesterday. well most of a day off. she'd been given a history project by this fabulous teacher and it has really captivated her - so much so that she sat at the pooter for four hours and finished her epic 7300 word linen-bound diary of a girl moving from Ireland to New Zealand during 1881, playing various Mamma Mia songs and creating prose in the style of Jane Austin, one of her favourite authors. her diary has a cleverly-woven plot with lovely little intricacies of learning to embroider, making dolls, and there's even a bread recipe! Woozie has aged the pages by soaking them in tea, and sewed them together at the spine. it looks real. i feel like i really know Francesca Barclay, a fifteen year old girl who was just a name that Woozie lifted from a passenger list on The Lady Jocelyn, the emigrating ship.

it made my heart sing to hear her beautiful alto as she poured her heart onto the the pages, cos i wondered if i'd sold the big kids short by not being so teachery.

it seems so obvious: fill and fill and fill these children up and one day *splash!* their cups shall runneth over...

(so i'm hoping that my little lads' sense of creativity won't be squashed by being in a classroom next year. i hope their teachers give them room to breathe and move and be boys. cos we've been practising our handwriting, but Mouse is still at the "
i went to the zoo. i saw a lion and it said rawr..." phase (although he uses capitals) and Sam prefers to dictate his ideas and i write 'em down. which is fine if there is one mummy and a coupla kids...
uh, no prob's with Charlie - his dam has already burst.)


Blogger Carnies said...

Ohhh, love it love it! Go Woozie :)

6:00 PM  
Blogger Our Home Schooler and Jen said...

what a lot of work she put into it
wonderful wonderful Woozie


6:09 PM  
Blogger Little Miss Flossy said...

What a fabulous project! That Charlotte Mason was way ahead of her time. And I bet her teacher is also singing joyfully with a treasure like that in the marking pile.

7:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh that is beautiful! Amazing. The boys will be fine. School is school, but it's not the be all and end all. They have many hours outside that to spend enjoying themselves.

7:19 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

That's fantastic. I think you are so right too: feed their creativity and more importantly their enthusiasm and then let them do the rest when they're ready...

7:31 PM  
Anonymous Embejo said...

Wow, that looks beautiful!
I find it reassuring to read this...I've been asking E almost 6 to write a sentence daily...(not too big an ask i guess) in the hope that she'll start to want to write stories or journals...This is what we had today:

Hi Mum I do NOT! wont to do this

he he....maybe I should let up on it for a while...or a couple of years. or 10.

8:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"fill and fill and fill these children up and one day *splash!* their cups shall runneth over"...

This my friend is so poetic. I believe so deeply in this, not just related to school work but to LIFE and love.

Keeping filling friend. Your splashing out some crazy beautiful children.


3:11 AM  
Blogger Abigail said...

wow that is so cool. gotta try that sometime.

4:01 AM  
Blogger Laura/CenterDownHome said...

Oooh, yes, yes, I know this one! That feeling that you get when your child sets his/her own sail, and suddenly the wind catches it and they're swept along by their lastest passion/project!

It's a lovely diary, something she'll always remember creating.

Those kids of yours are centered, whole. You've given them a foundation of Love and Trust. I feel like school can be so damaging when kids are trying very hard to fit the mold that school lays out for them, before they've even had a chance to make some decisions about who they are, they're told they are good or bad, A's or F's.

I feel like your kids are sheltered by their wonderful family and already have a sense of their own abilities and confidence in themselves. They're innoculated against some of the most damaging aspects of school. They'll shine wherever they are.

7:00 AM  
Blogger Kate, Katy, Katarina said...

That's sooo great! And soooo encouraging for me as I struggle with the kids learning their second language (and third as they are learning french as well) and all the grammar and stuff. It makes me feel like the weekly trips to the library and the 25 books I have to lug up three flights of stairs each time seem worth it!! Must get to the German library more!!
PS Does Asterix count????

9:41 PM  
Blogger Rosie said...

Wow, that is so beautiful! You are so right, fill them up with the good stuff and, if it takes their fancy, it will come tumbling out.....I am amazed at what comes out of our little A3's mouth as she goes about her business.....listening into the read-alouds definitely has benefits! Your lads will be fine.....they have had such a wonderful beginning and I'm sure what happens at home won't change too much:-)

9:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All children are different. Two of my children have always written - from when they were 6 or 7 just for pleasure and Harry my 11 year old who is a maths genius writes the most wonderful pieces - he's really funny. My daughter always wrote poetry. I have never made any of my children write. They do stuff at school of course but that's not the same - it's when you actually want to do it like I do, when you sit down and it pours out.

But my third child has no interest in writing. He spells impeccably - better than most adults - but writing just does not float his boat at all.

My youngest loves to write signs. Our house is covered in them. They say things like "this toilet stinks - keep away".

I don't think school either encourages children to write or knocks it out of them - if people need to write they will do it whatever you do or don't do with them.

Good old Woozie - a girl after my own heart for sure!

4:20 AM  
Blogger kate5kiwis said...

thanks, she had such fun with it! X

yes, it really captured her, i love it - i get a glimpse into our kids' souls when that happens! X

yeah, charlotte had no kids at that time, not sure if she went on to procreate - she was a fabulous person, she had a beautiful view of children - much like yours X

thanks honey - yes. one thing i'm desperate to avoid, and that is "school defines who we are". cos that happened to me and i would rather that my kids grow up knowing who they are and school is just a tiny part of their lives. we'll see how we go X

yes, it's all about readiness, in my (not so) humble opinion - however our children are wired, that's the way they need to go/grow... X

yes, if she loves it, then i think that's cool. if she hates it, then i think it's ok to wait a while and see when the desire resurfaces, cos i believe it will. for me, it's all about trusting the child X

you and i seem so similar on our outlook on so many things. i love the way you think. thanks for the love and smoochies X

you! are! beautiful! and (i've said it before) you, my fave niecegirl, have a gift for writing. mwah X

you are so affirming. that's my one niggle with school, and my driving force behind home education - i want our kiddos to grow up knowing who they are - i want them to determine their own loves and specialness without it being defined for them by the pack, you know? so we'll try this School Buzz out next year, and if it all turns to custard, we'll hastily return to the status quo... because the most important thing to me is that everyone is happy and living freely X

i really admire your fabulousness and bravery and resilience. you are taking on the world baby, and doing it with style. and for all the things that are tough where you are, there are some incredible bonuses. love that your beautiful girls will have *three* languages... that's such a gift! X

it's just that it's presently "unknown", ya know? i love that danny and raych have both had the school experience, yet we're still all so close and i LOVE the buzz that we share. it's vitally important to me that we retain our quirky familyness. part of me fears that i'll get into my own world and be so busy. cos as a mummy, i really need our worlds to collide, ya know? X

i agree wholeheartedly. i am certainly not into holding anyone back - if my two year old wants to write, they write!
i think it's just the school requirement that "we read/write/do maths, even if we're not ready" that irks me. and it's difficult when ya have a classroom full of sweeties to determine who is ready and who ain't.
if people need to write they will do it whatever you do or don't do with them.
absolutely. and it's taken me all this time to realise that... i actually love to write.
maybe i'm just a late developer? lol X

8:27 PM  
Blogger Jess said...

Kate, thanks for sharing this. We are just starting down this path and are loving the Charlotte Mason philosophy! It is so awesome to see the end result and not just have to blindly trust we are doing the right thing! Woozies work is amazing!

6:16 PM  
Blogger spread your wings said...

i greatly admire all parents who home school their children.
woozie is obviously a very gifted child and your charlie is as well ( amazing poem) - their cups are running over with creativity and insight. ( I love how you put that - fill and fill and splash...)
i'm sure your children will do fine in the classroom - you have given them such a incredible foundation to build upon

3:13 AM  
Blogger kate5kiwis said...

yes, charlotte was like a breath of fresh air. i resonate with much of her thinking. it's a lovely journey, this home educating buzz. luffs X

i/we've had such a wonderful time over the last 16(!) years... and i am very thankful that we've been able to dance along this road together. it's important to me that we keep the homey-flavour as we go our separate ways a bit next year and beyond... lovely to meet you. mwah X

4:20 PM  
Blogger Ang said...

Far out doll, this gives me the chills... I think you've given your life in the most exceptional way to your children, and it has worked. It makes me ponder my stint with homeschool and salivate a little for what could have been if I were a different person!!!

3:59 PM  
Blogger kate5kiwis said...

the thing is, i *love* how we ALL roll, i *love* what we all give to our little families simply by being WHO WE ARE.

funny though, i am feeling myself beginning to compartmentalise my life into twenty-year-slots:
1. childhood
2. mothering/home educating
3. freak-out

it's that "change thing" still going on in my head. i am still getting my skull around the whole Skool Adventure Buzz.

cos i'm not sure how to do this thang when we're gonna be apart during the days. but lots of other peeps do, so maybe it's not gonna be such a freak-out? X

8:13 AM  

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