Saturday, 10 October 2015

Unschooling, Learning to Read and Bilingualism

I am currently unschooling, which means I do not actively teach Butterfly but let her choose what she wants to learn. This doesn't mean I don't do things to enhance her learning, but I do it based on what I see interests her. For example she asked about the sun setting and just explaining wasn't enough so I bought her a globe so I could shine a torch in a dark room and show her while turning the globe round how the sun sets. Meanwhile she got interested in the counties on the globe, so one thing leads to another [unfortunately the globe broke quite quickly].

I mainly want her reading/writing and early maths skills to be "unschooled" [in the future I do intend to do more teaching, though with a tendency towards unschooling] as such I didn't want to teach her the alphabet song or letters etc  before I saw she was ready for it. The time has come when I felt she was ready and so I got her some magnetic letters. Hmmm... Butterfly took no interest in them. I thought that's how most children somehow learn to read, while playing with letters. I also thought that reading books to her will lead to her "reading" them back to me while slowly getting it and really reading. Nope, that never happened.

What she does do, and I believe will be how she will eventually learn how to read and write, is to find printed words [they are everywhere! on her bag, on a box for a toy, on a kid's tent, etc..], copy those words and then come up to me and ask what she has written, I love that she does that because that is her unique way.

She doesn't do this everyday, rather from time to time. On the one hand I would like her to do it more often, I am eager to have her reading or beginning to read already, and she seems so far from it. On the other hand I do want to give her the time she needs. Research shows that when kids are left to learn at their own pace (i.e they don't have to keep up with the pace dictated by the school or by homeschool parents who teach "by the book") they learn to read anywhere between the ages of 4-9 or even later, so we do have time, no need to rush..

In the beginning, the words she copied were in English, but now she finds words both in Hebrew and in English. I am not sure if she distinguishes between English and Hebrew words [though totally different!]. It seems that she doesn't but maybe she knows more that she expresses. Anyway I am wondering about this [I thought she would first learn to read and write in English and then in Hebrew. Seems that nothing goes how I thought it would :-) ]. I know that you don't teach reading simultaneously in two different languages, especially languages so different, more so when one is from left to right and the other from right to left. It is just too confusing. But that is true when actively teaching reading. What happens with a bilingual unschooled child is not something I know much about. I do believe it will slow the learning thoughI do believe she will eventually learn to read and write but how and when.. no idea!

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Twice in one day..

It is a hot day. Me and Butterfly go to several shops, get ourselves something nice to eat, then go nearby to sit in the shade on some grass and enjoy ourselves. Suddenly I realize we are missing her scooter. as we assume that we forgot it in the last shop which was nearby, I tell her to wait for me, I don't even put on my sandals and I go.
Well of course it wasn't there! And I had to go barefooted on the hot pavement to where we did forget it. Anyway, as I was returning with the scooter, from a distance I could hear a child crying, and I just knew it was Butterfly. It wasn't that I identified her cry, I think I was too far for that, but it was more of that knowing feeling one has. Seems I was a bit too long and she got scared and she even started to pack our stuff to look for me (luckily I got there before she actually went off...).

Later in the evening she was going to spend the night with my mum. Her cousin also wanted to join, which sounds like great fun! But when I left she suddenly wasn't so sure about spending the night without me. She has spent the night a few times at her grandmother's without me and was very happy about that, but maybe reminding her earlier about the first time she "spent the night" at grandma's [we lived in a unit in her house] and how I had to be with her, caused her to reflect. Anyway she did agree to stay (with her cousin, sounded much more fun than going home!) and I limped [=blister on foot. see above story...] my way home. I came home, relaxed, ate a bit and about an hour later decided to call to see how things are. As I pressed the number 2 to dial to my mum [the shortcut key] the telephone rang. It was daughter asking to come back home. That was totally amazing because it really was that same second!

And on another note.. I've got a FB friend. Someone I know personally from the homeschooling community and I really love her. Except she is pregnant now and ohhh.. Although I suspected she was pregnant, her "announcement" (more asking for advice on a FB group we both belong to) was painful. It was probably a crappy timing for me as I was just beginning to come to terms with me not being pregnant.
Anyway she did mention in another FB group we both belong to how she hates being pregnant, also about having pregnancy diabetes. And I get it that some women just hate being pregnant, even women who try for years to get pregnant [NOT her case] can feel crap and horrible about the actual pregnancy. I did enjoy my pregnancy and really loved it, but I do get it that others feel differently.
She now posted a short status saying that being pregnant is like being in a prison; being with pregnancy diabetes is like being in a dungeon in a prison.
It is her page, she can say what she wants and she is having a hard time. But oh, how I would LOVE to be in her place. On one hand I want to say something bitchy about how there are women who would love to be pregnant, on the other hand, as I said, it is her page. I think I will be much more relieved than her when she finally gives birth!

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Butterfly has a book with her story. Something I bought which talks about donor sperm plus IVF but since they were out of print, I had to print it myself and laminate and put it together as a book. In her eyes, I created this book for her..

The other day she said to me - mummy, I will make a book for you. And this is what she made:
(don't know what she drew on the left. any ideas?)

the last word is the Hebrew for boob, since that's the word we used.
After she drew the pictures, she told me the story and I wrote it down. These are mostly her words. I did add the sentence about being pregnant (how could she skip over that...) but the rest is hers.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Guinea Pig

My daughter has a new pet - a guinea pig. She feeds it, plays with it, cleans its cage (hopefully!) and whatever needs to be done. Well actually it is all because of Stirrups Queen and a post I was reading ( and Butterfly seeing the guinea pig just fell in love with that animal.

As it happened to be Peggy's birthday,

[not ours but exactly the same..]
she got a guinea pig as a present!

And this is our [well Peggy's] new guinea pig:

As you can see, he's got a wheel and some food and water and some games (he did have a place for going into and Butterfly did try to make a see-saw for him).

I just love my kid's imagination and how she can play pretend and create a real-imaginative world from the things around her [unfortunately we are not allowed real pets in out flat]. I also love how we've learnt a lot about guinea pigs, each time she asks a question (what does it eat? does it like water? how long does it live? etc) we google it, watch a video and learn more about this animal.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

At the Pool

First time this year with daughter at the pool. Our plan this year for the summer is to go at least once a week to the pool as our local pool has a cheap, almost free, rate one day week  [summer is always hard financially for me, this year even more with that final attempt at a sibling].

Last year and the previous year, when we did go to the pool, she would not go into the big pool but rather stayed in the little kids' pool. Which was okay, but don't you want to have fun in the big pool? Mummy would sure rather the big pool, lol.

This year she's been talking about the big pool and if I will allow her etc. I thought we'd be a bit in the big pool but spend most of the time in the little pool. Well we spent the whole time in the big pool! Obviously in the big pool we needed floats. She did wear floats before, but in the little kids' pool it wasn't a necessity and as the pool was so shallow, they didn't really make her float, so today was like it was the first time. She was scared at first and needed me to hold her.

Then, about half a minute after she went in, when she was still clinging to me, she was wondering why she wasn't moving. Oh well.. We also had a float board. She quite quickly got adjusted to it and managed to get around in the pool, saying she was swimming. At that time there was a swimming lessons taking place very near, so I pointed it out. "I don't need swimming lessons", she declared, "I already know how to swim!". okay, lol.

All in all it was a lovely time :-).

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Birthday Party

It was Butterfly's birthday a few weeks ago and we celebrated it last weekend. It was a themed birthday - for the first time! At first she wanted a dinosaur party [at one time she also wanted a princess party, but, well, no..], but then changed it to pirates. I love that we live in a day and age where you can just google and find almost anything you want. So I googled and got many ideas from the web.

We played treasure hunt, with each clue they found they had some kind of mission before they could continue looking for the next clue.

Their first mission was to dress up as pirates

The next mission was supposed to be building a boat from a milk carton. That was supposed to be our craft work for the party, but since I hadn't managed to collect enough milk cartons and since we were beginning to be pressured for time as we started late and sister had to go with her kids, I decided to skip it.

Next was my daughter's mission. She has the idea that pirates throw bottles with messages in them to the sea, so she wanted our pirates to do the same. Okay, that was easy - we took empty bottles and the kids drew or wrote something on paper and then rolled it and closed it with some plasticine. I did originally want to have a tub with water, for the previous mission and for this one, to have the bottles float in the water, but we didn't in the end.

After that there was a game of biting into an apple which was hanged on a string, with their hands behind their backs. Maybe it is more doable for older kids, but it was quiet impossible for this lot.. At least they had fun trying and got to nibble their apples once we decided it was enough and took them down.

While searching for the next clue, Butterfly found the last clue. Poor girl, I got really cross with her! Oh and sometimes the kids were running in the wrong direction, and nooooo, not there. The first clue was actually the funniest in that sense as we were standing next to an olive tree [when planning, I didn't know where we were going be at the beginning]. So we were standing near the olive tree and the first clue was hiding in the.... olive tree. But the kids, following the leader, just run some-place else. One kid said he didn't know what was an olive tree, but Butterfly does know!

Now the mission was to dip their hand in a bucket (a small tub, actually..) filled with stones and plastic gold coins, and with eyes covered, take out as many coins while we are all counting to ten.

The last mission was to make a pirate's hooked hand. I had a paper cup for each and a shape of a hook (actually like a capital J so that they can bend the top part and stick it to the cup.).

And now was supposed to be the last clue. The one that Butterfly found earlier. It was a stupid clue saying - you have reached the treasure, and luckily Butterfly didn't realize the treasure was so near [she can't read, it was a bit behind], because she would have yelled that she found the treasure if she did sea it... While the kids were searching for the treasure (and asking me about all sort of little things if they were the treasure), I saw it click on Butterfly that she knows! And indeed she run there (while I purposefully looked at the other kids who were way off, trying not to give away..) and found the treasure. She did have some advantage over the other kids as she did know what it was. 

I had an old plastic "tool box" which I wrapped in brown paper and some gold to make it look like a treasure chest. I then filled it with stones which I wrapped in gold sticky paper to make it look like all sorts of gold, some more of the coins and a little bag for each kid, containing a pirate rubber, some gold coins and a little pirate [with the baby getting an airplane] 

Then there was the cake. Oh, dear, the cake! She wanted a blueberry cake. I couldn't find then so I bought what I thought was the same idea (I think cranberry, but I'm not sure). At home I realizes they were sour. Ouch. So I put them in sugared water. But the worse, I was supposed to bake two round cakes in order to make a dinosaur (yes, a pirates birthday, but I had already learn how to do a dinosaur cake and she was happy with that). Well, left it to the very last minute and they didn't come out. At least I managed to save one of the cakes so we had cake at the party, but not the dinosaur one. Oh well..

Let me tell you, it was hard work towards the party and the day itself, but it was all worth it!! She had a wonderful day and enjoyed it so much she didn't want to come home (we had it at my father's place as he has a big garden). She had quiet a big tantrum coming back which was not easy as I myself was over tired. Next year she wants to have bonfire at the beach. Oh yes, that sounds so much easier!!  

Thursday, 2 July 2015


Image result for venus moon

Noga is the Hebrew for Venus. The meaning of the word is brightness, glow. In the bible, Noga was one of King David's men, so originally it was a masculine name, but today it is very much a girl's name. Noga was my intended name for my child, whether girl or boy.
I know it's weird having a name before you are even pregnant (which obviously is not to be). but I feel very strongly to this name. In fact, it was only when this name came to me that I managed to start trying for a second child. I wanted to start T42 when daughter was two, but I couldn't get to move on it until, as I said, I had the name.

Post is a response to the images on FB of a huge Venus and a small Jupiter side by side. Jupiter, by the way it Tzedek in Hebrew, which means justice, fairness. Just saying..