Wednesday 30 December 2020

Christmas Memes

2020 has been a very strange year and it really doesn't feel like Christmas has been and gone. But it has, and the new year is creeping up very, very fast. So before the end of 2020 arrives, here a few of our Christmas memes.

Tuesday 29 December 2020

Christmas 2020


Christmas usually means lining up, or in this year's case booking for, Santa photos. Over the last 11 years we've tried many times to get the perfect Santa photo. Sensory Santa was the fantastic as it allowed both little superheroes to interact with Santa in a quieter environment. While O loves sensory Santa sessions, L really isn't a fan - he reverts to being non-verbal and will let O do all of the talking.

This year we decided to do something just a little bit different, we went and met a surfing Santa at the beach. Goingto the beach at Christmas is a very Australian thing to do, so a surfing Santa makes complete sense.

Both little superheroes loved the idea. And L was so at ease that at the beginning of pur session he walked over to Santa, introduced himself and started chatting with Santa.

Guess where we'll be going next year for our Santa photos!!!

2020 The year we all played Jumanji .... Our Unschooling Journey

2020 .... The year we all played Jumanji! The year that the world shut down, millions of people lost their jobs and schools were closed and learning was moved to an online system.

We were fortunate in that as both myself and Daddy superhero were classed as essential workers, both little superheroes were able to keep going to school. However due to the fact that L has a lower immune system and we had a family member who was critically ill, we chose to keep both little superheroes at home. So for about ten weeks, Daddy superhero and myself became instant teachers.

The thing is, as parents, we were always going to be our children's first teachers. All parents are. Both little superheroes received school work via the online platform on a daily basis and we had constant contact with their teachers, which was truly wonderful.

But we also chose to mix it up a little and do some unschooling in amongst their school work. So here is a little record of what we did for the last week weeks of term 1 and much of term 2 this year!

First up, the little superheroes spotted a daddy long legs hiding under the edge of our couch. They promptly decided that this was our class pet and named him Scott!!

Class photo time! When the schools were temporarily closed was around the time that the school the little superheroes attended would normally have their whole school photos. So not to miss out on the opportunity, we had a class photo day at home. 

The sibling photo was a little tricky to take and Darth Vader just had to get in on the act!

And don't get me started on the student and teacher photos. How many children do I have again???

Our unscheduled unschooling journey was a little trial and error in the beginning. We wanted to keep the little superheroes school day routines in place but we were also very aware that both little superheroes were anxious about the last minute changes in their every day routines due to the impact of Covid19.

We usually started each morning with a walk as even though the restrictions in place meant that we weren't able to go very far, we were able to leave the house once a day for some brisk exercise. There is a lovely short footpath that literally goes from one main road through to another, so every morning that's the walk that we did. The little superheroes would ride their scooters or walk or run. It was a great little walk for ourselves and a brilliant movement break for the little superheroes before they started on their school work. We did try to do school work a few times without this walk first, and the movement break definitely made a huge difference to the little superheroes concentration.

The footpath went over a small creek and both little superheroes always wanted to stop at the creek to see the changes that were happening as the season changed. We looked for fish and other aquatic creatures. We tested the depth of the creek using long sticks that the little superheroes collected. We talked about the aquatic plants that the little superheroes spotted, including the Duck Weed that was taking over one side of the creek. We watched the water currents moved through the creek using leaves. And we did an impromptu science experiment on what sinks and floats. 

And if we weren't able to get out for our morning walk, we did some yoga on the back verandah! A few months ago we spotted a Yoga pose ball at Kmart - you just have to love Kmart and the cheap finds that they have! Even our our dog Ruby would get in on the act and join O with some yoga poses!

Late one night when L was meant to be sleeping, we had a play with the Google 3D animals. Both little superheroes thought these were just brilliant. Why would you want to sleep when you could be investigating animals floating in the bedroom! The next day we incorporated the Google animals into some yoga poses!


When we were able to, we spent a fair bit of time at the beach. Again, as per restriction guidelines we were able to go to the beach for exercise. We are incredibly fortunate to live in a wonderful part of Australia with loads of beaches very close. A little sea air is always great for the soul and both little superheroes just love the beach.

L would usually find a huge piece of drift wood to drag along the beach! He is happy as long as he has a long stretch of beach to run along. This particular stick L wanted to bring home so we had to compromise and L found a slightly smaller stick to bring home!

When the tide was out we'd go searching for marine creatures. The little superheroes were fascinated by a shrimp that we found in a tide pool. It was a female due to the huge numbers of almost fluorescent orange eggs that she had on her underside. Once both little superheroes had had a great look at her, we very gently placed her back into a deeper tide pool.

On another beach walk we found a number of sea cucumbers and a marine segmented worm. These are great unschooling moments - talking about marine life and watching over the few months the diversity of marine life coming back into the sea grass beds off of the beaches that we walked on.

We spent time outdoors climbing trees and creating obstacle course - great movement breaks!

We spent a whole day researching why the native bees in the backyard where having massive bee wars. L then created a power point on the native bees as part of his schooling.

We relocated beautiful green tree frogs to one of the garden beds that we found while cleaning the caravan. We researched what species of butterfly we found on our walks.

When the weather was just right, we relocated out onto the back verandah and created an outdoor learning space. We painted, we learnt online, we played games.

We did some outdoor scavenger hunts and then used the items that the little superheroes found as part of their maths work.

The little superheroes spent most evenings playing card games. They made up their own rules, but they had fun! L discovered the Rush game that we had in our games cupboard and much to his surprise is actually really good at the game.

They taught themselves Go Fish, Uno and Snap!

And when they weren't playing card games, they were creating with Lego! The new series of Lego Masters was showing on television during the isolation period so each episode of Lego Masters, the little superheroes would set themselves a challenge. It was wonderful to watch them work together to create various Lego models. We then just had to smash the models onto the floor in the kitchen, just like the contestants did on one of the episodes.

We cooked all sorts of yummy snacks and both little superheroes learnt how to use my sewing machine and made reversible bags and face masks.

O dyed her hair and found new ways to say hello to her school friends when the world began to reopen!

We did lots of STEM challenges as part of the little superheroes unschooling. L created an umbrella for a Lego MiniFig and then tested the umbrella to make sure that the MiniFig wouldn't get wet!

Both little superheroes created their ultimate playground using whatever they could find around the house. They both drew up blue prints for their playgrounds and then spent a few hours creating and perfecting their designs.

We spent a day pulling apart an old mobile phone and an old stereo. This was a huge hit and lots of fun. We had bits of mobile phone and stereo in zip lock bags all over the house.

Both little superheroes asked to do a raft STEM challenge after finding colourful paddle pop sticks in the craft box! The raft STEM challenge then turned into a science experiment as they realised that the colour from the paddle pop sticks was coming off of the sticks and spreading through the container of water.

We used the electrical circuit kit that I have hidden away to create electrical circuits as part of the little superheroes science school work. It helps to have a parent who used to be a Science Education Officer!!

Another STEM challenge that both little superheroes enjoyed was creating a boat to keep L's teacher afloat! Every child in L's class was sent a "flat Miss P" so L decided that flat Miss P just had to go in the boat.

We had a birthday, well L did, while the world was shut down. This was a tricky day as L didn't really understand why he couldn't have friends over for a party. We made the most of his birthday by creating an online virtual party and a number of his friends sent him video messages. He received a video message from Optimus Prime, which was pretty cool. L wasn't overly impressed by the roll of toilet paper on top of his birthday cake but having an entire pepperoni pizza to himself for dinner was a hit!

O's Australian Girls Choir sessions moved online and became a highlight of O's week!

We kept in weekly contact with all of the little superheroes teachers and support staff via email and the online learning platforms. Both little superheroes were so very happy when they received mail from their teachers - certificates for their reading experiences.

Then to the little superheroes surprise, they both received more mail from their teachers. L received a "flat Miss P" to watch over him while he did his school work and O received a card complimenting her on her outstanding effort on her school work!

Flat Miss P watched over L as he did his school work each day, she also went on a Pokemon hunt, she went to the beach and played superheroes upstairs!

We did therapy sessions online via Zoom and both little superheroes reconnected with friends in Perth via Kids Messenger.

Easter was a little different as well. Usually the little superheroes school would have an Easter hat parade. With all of the social distancing restrictions that were in place, the school decided to have an online Easter hat parade instead. So both little superheroes created their own Easter hat creations.

We had a steam punk day and we played with glow sticks!

Both little superheroes had their regular school work that we received daily via email and the online learning platform but both little superheroes would ask for extra work. They both enjoy learning Japanese at school but unfortunately during the school closure, the school focused on the core subjects. Both little superheroes helped me to find some fun Japanese activities to do so that they could show their Japanese teacher that they were still learning about all things Japanese!