It Matters To Them

I have been reading about this everywhere lately. Parents complaining about children whinging over insignificant things. Mothers bonding over their kids crying over petty issues.

And I get it. I do. I get frustrated with my toddler screaming because she can’t fit a dress that she wants to wear so badly. I get overwhelmed when my son won’t stop crying after something seemingly small happened with one of his friends. I know how hard it can feel when such strong emotions are conveyed from something that doesn’t feel important to you.

But I take a deep breath and remind myself: It matters to THEM.

It Matters To Them

This is where I differ from some people. Because I won’t tell my child to calm down or that “it’s OK”. That seemingly insignificant problem is real to them. It is their truth and it is important to them in that moment. Belittling it or telling them “it’s just ___” isn’t helpful to them in their current reality.

Imagine the scenario from your child’s perspective. This is significant to them. This is affecting them and they are hurting. They are looking to you for guidance and love. Would you like to be met with indifference or frustration when you’re struggling?

Of course not. I think as adults many of us are used to our strong emotions being played off or belittled because of our upbringing. How often do you hear your friends say things like “I know it’s silly” when really it’s not. You know that it is meaningful to them and hurting them but they preface their pain or sadness with a disclaimer because they’re used to being told to “calm down” or “don’t be silly now” when they were younger.

Strong emotions are uncomfortable. No parent is loving it while their child is breaking down because they don’t want to leave their friends place or they wanted to have the certain coloured cup.

But watch that almost magical transformation when you validate your child’s feelings. Watch some of that bigness dissipate when you say “I know you didn’t want that to happen. I’m sorry that happened to you”.

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I love that most of my Mummy friends are similar to me in this respect. When Cameron is struggling with something, he is met with compassion and empathy. He’s not asked (indirectly or otherwise) to mute his emotions for the comfort of others.

I value my kids being able to express these emotions because they will gradually evolve into bigger and bigger issues. And I always want them to know that how they feel matters and that they can express it.

This is why this is significant. They’re not going to come to you with bigger problems in the future if you don’t listen to them now.

quote racheous

It matters to them. So show them that that matters to you.

Share this if you agree. I love to read your thoughts in the comments!

A Week of Natural Learning

Just like last week, I’m joining Jess from Memoirs of a Childhood, Sara from Happiness is here and Kate from An Everyday Story to share snippets of our interest led learning. Be sure to check out what they have been up to this week.

worms

At the start of our week I organised for our homeschool co-op to have a talk by our local council about worm farms! We learned about the products of worm farming – worm casts or ‘vermicast’ and ‘worm tea’. The kids enjoyed answering what they already knew about worms – what they need, what they don’t like to eat and where you will find them.

Afterwards, Jess, Sara and I went to the Nature Centre across from the environmental centre.

zoo

It was feeding time for some of the animals and we got to see the spotted quoll and wombats awake which is a rarity!

cutting

Lucy asked for some paper after finding these ‘first scissors’ and spent almost an hour teaching herself how to cut. You have to love child-led mastery and interests. I always have access to scissors but she hasn’t been keen until now. Now she is using scissors and our single hole punch regularly.

map

For our usual co-op day, I set up a simple exploration of maps. I printed out google maps of each of the children with their street and some local places of interest to find and map. There was tons of markers and spare paper to create maps of our homes, magical imaginary places and streets. Hopefully the others got some photos because I was too busy chatting.

natural investigation

Lucy enjoyed exploring some of our natural treasures.

nature

We have spent lots of time outdoors as it’s so lovely and warm.

cleaning

We spent this weekend cleaning and resting. The kids helped us clean out the frog enclosure. Our froggies are doing well and we have been learning about crickets since we are keeping them in bulk to feed to our frogs.

froggies

This week has been hard. I’ve been dealing with my depression so everything is instantly more difficult to cope with.

Still, you wouldn’t really know it from our week. That’s why I’m telling you though. Because this invisible illness is all-consuming at times and yet I don’t get a day off.

So I’m showing you the best bits. Not the Mum laying in bed numb, not the messy kitchen, not the husband coming home with armfuls of groceries and a disheveled wife.

Unless you’ve been there, it’s hard to understand. It’s not about sadness or quick fixes… It’s a total lack of vitality and ability to cope.

One great thing about parenting with Montessori principles and unschooling is that my kids are more self-sufficient when I am struggling with a depressive episode. They’re independent in so many ways and are so understanding when Mummy just needs rest.

I am also really blessed to have friends who are empathetic and kind. & I try to be kind to myself.

I hope you enjoyed what I’ve shared. As always, you can find me on our Facebook page, in the Lovable Learning group and on Pinterest!

Our Interest Led Week

our child led week

I get asked frequently what our days look like and it is so difficult to answer because there is no rhyme or rhythm to our days. Or even our weeks. They are led by our interests and any planned activities (namely our homeschool co-op). But mostly they unfold naturally and flow in intensity throughout the day.

I always love reading what other home educating families do – particularly those who unschool or practice primarily child-led/natural learning. So I’m joining Jess from Memoirs of a Childhood, Sara from Happiness is here and Kate from An Everyday Story to start sharing snippets of our interest led learning at the end of each week.

This week we were all sick so the days were more relaxed and I didn’t take a lot of photos of the play and learning that took place.

muddy spring

As the Winter chill left and some nice Spring weather has started, off came the clothes and our came the sprinkler. This made for some muddy fun!

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Lucy’s Very Favourite Thing is to play Mummy. Here she is napping with her babies.

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One day we had my two nieces for the day and this led to lots of laughter, drawing and sensory play.

sand castles

Water was also added to the sandpit so that the perfect sandcastles could be created.. and destroyed!

beach weekend

Our weekend finished with the beach. Cam seems to be at home at the beach. He LOVES it.

collecting shells

Lucy spent her time collecting shells and pretty rocks.

playing in the waves

Running in the water and jumping the waves.

What we’re reading this week

What I’m reading this week: Stay tuned because I’m reviewing my read this week!

What Cameron chose to read more than once this week:

To Market To Market Nikki McClureTo Market, To Market by Nikki McClure

I adore everything by Nikki McClure and this story is no different. With her unique paper-cut illustrative style and a beautiful storyline that explores food production, sustainability and family, this is a book I love reading with my kids. I’m glad Cam likes it too!

What Lucy chose to read more than once this week:

9780547366203Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox

Mem Fox is my favourite children’s author. If you don’t have several of her books on your shelf, you really must add them to your wishlist! I love her simple rhythmic prose and sweet storylines. This book is one I read to Cam a lot as a baby so it was nice to read it several times again recently!

This week I also began sharing Everyday Montessori – a quick simple way to share the easy ways we practice Montessori in our homes. Join us and share on my Facebook page, in the Lovable Learning community and/or with the hashtag #everydaymontessori on Instagram!

Exploring Skin Colour Diversity for Kids

Exploring Skin Colour Diversity for Kids

Within our family alone we have a spectrum of skin colours and ethnicities. Cameron has started to ask about it and other differences. I thought I would share some of the lovely ways I’ve found to explore this topic!

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Aside from the obvious reasons to teach diversity and celebrate differences. I love that these activities are inclusive and simple.

With free paint chip cards, you can match skin tones as well as create cute puppets to role play with. This would be lovely for many ages.

 

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This tutorial explains how to use natural spices like tumeric, cocoa, cinnamon, etc to colour handmade playdough for skin colour exploration and play.

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Speaking of playdough, I love these multicultural playdough mats for an extra creative extension via Picklebums.

 

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Celebrating skin colours with paint is another lovely idea that is hands on and fun.

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My favourite store for educational resources, Modern Teaching Aids, has the best multicultural creative resources for diversity exploration.

Note: This isn’t sponsored, I just love their range and had to share!

Creative Diversity ExplorationPeople Paint | Skin Tones Pencils
Dough People Colours | Felt People
Human Paper Shapes | Washable Multicultural Markers

These would all be incredible for multicultural and diversity related provocations and activities. I love that many of them could be played with afterwards or decorate something for imaginative role play.

Have you explored different ethnicities or diversity recently?

Come like my Racheous Lovable Learning Facebook page for more ideas and share in the Lovable Learning community!

Lovely Early Reader Books

Lovely Early Reader Bookscontains affiliate/sponsored links

Beautiful early reader books with stunning illustrations and meaningful text are hard to come by. I’m excited to show you this set of lovely books for early readers.

These early reader books provide really unique early reading content that is visually stimulating and genuinely respects the intelligence of young learners.

 

Jernigan interior box close up

“We believe that children deserve reading material as rich as their imagination”

I love that unlike many typical early readers, the language is not limited to phonetics. The text in the books starts at single words per page and progresses from short phrases to full sentences forming a story.

They fit very well with the Montessori method of learning with their realistic topics and imagery. You can read more about choosing Montessori appropriate books for children here.

all box covers

The Home Grown Books range features four sets:

  • The Environmental Set – 7 titles: Earth, Fire, Air, Water, Habitats, In My Garden, Landscapes
  • The Adventuring Set – 7 titles: Submarine, Flying, What Comes Next?, A Place to Live, A Collection of Characters, Maps, Let’s Play a Game
  • The City & Country Set – 8 titles: Finger Painting, How to Make a Fort, Make Me a Pirate, My Walk, Night Light, Please Don’t Touch, Sledding, Strawberry Pie
  • The Play Set – 9 titles: A Day Out, Planet, Bake It, Band, Dress-up, One Sock Puppet, Garden, Animals, Instruments

We have The Environmental Set and I truly adore the minimalist nature of the books and the engaging pictures. Cameron was instantly drawn to the text and could tell there was something special about these books.

In My Garden

seeds in a pail

water in a can

a bird in an apple tree

a garden in my window

Parts of the ‘In My Garden’ from The Environmental Set by Home Grown Books

Water HG books

One of the best things about these books is that they actually inspire activity.

From simple science experiments to meditation, you can provoke analytical thinking and project work with the guided resources. Each book finishes with tips or ideas to expand on learning and exploring the topic of the book. They range in complexity and involvement. It makes the books that much more valuable for the reader and parent!

Night Light spread 1

Home Grown Books have just released a new toddler series, which is a series of board books made of 100% recycled paperboard, for little ones who aren’t quite reading yet! They look just as striking and would be a gorgeous gift too.

Be sure to check out Home Grown Books Parent Resource Page with free resources that help parents support their little readers through things like picture walks and phonics cues with resources and videos.

You can also find Home Grown Books here: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest