Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Gestalt learning

Thanks to the contributors at UnschoolingDiscussion, I have some reasonable descriptions of the way Fish & Cricket learn:

"One way you can put this idea across, is to borrow some teacher jargon to stun the next person who tries this {examining & criticising children's knowledge}. Say "My kids are whole-to-part learners, not part-to-whole learners." Or if you want it to be more understandable you could say that they are "holistic" learners. When I want to be LESS understandable, I toss in the world "gestalt", even though I'm not completely clear on the meaning."

{to which another unschooler added:}



"A physical, biological, psychological, or symbolic configuration or pattern of elements so unified as a whole that its properties cannot be derived from a simple summation of its parts."

Sounds like a perfect way to describe a learner, and also Unschooling.

I have also heard the definition that the "whole is greater than the sum of its parts"

So, Fish and Cricket are pursuing a gestalt education.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004


While house-sitting for my sister (dearest sister please give yourself a screen-name for this blog) and gratefully accepting some online time - we found her link to the Auslan signbank. As we have been wanting to learn this wonderful language I registered at the Auslan website. Fantastic - we found video of the signs we want to make - so much easier than trying to interpret picture and description from a book.

On the way to GUF's we practiced numbers in counting down the number of stations to go. When we got back I just how to find out how I would ask "how many stations to go?" So now I can ask "how many stations?" I'm curious whether and if so what sign might make my question clearer.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Go Dog Go

Unlike Logan at Rainbow Academy I wouldn't say this book is a favourite - however I did pick it up at a garage sale this morning, along with "Dreams" by Ezra Jack Keats, "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" by Judith Viorst, and "Whistle up the Chimney" by Nan Hunt (I love Craig Smith's illustrations). AND we read them tonight.

Friday, December 17, 2004


Zac arrived, thanks to Dorset at NVC Australia.

Cricket decided to get a start on it at home while Fish, Margie and I went to the Furniture Op-Shop.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Fish IS developing at reading

Fish, at 7, can read: his name, and game commands such as "play", "start", "go", "joshua", "save" as well as recognising and being able to form 11 letters. His is aware of his very fledgling reading status, particularly as age-mate friends are varyingly more reading-able at the moment.

As an unschooling family we have seen Cricket learn to read without lessons or reading-programs, although he did not have an age-mate crisis because of a dearth of age-mates until his reading was established.

The greatest risk for Fish at this time is *not* that he may not learn to read as there is no doubt that he will (because he already is... learning...) but that his self-esteem will be eroded by comparison with others or "polite" (ie doubtful) queries from family/friends. I do hope his extended family will avoid such negative well-meaningness.

Of course I am happy for extended family to discuss their interest in Fish's reading with me, if they are sufficiently interested in first reading about our perspective on the subject.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Counting by 20s

Fish came up to me today to say he can count by 20s to 100. I guess
the process of spending his gift money on snack-machine food & drinks
daily wherever we go has at least given him the opportunity to come to
grips with currency - even if it doesn't jibe with my frugality!

Tuesday, October 19, 2004


I hope to work out how this photo thing works at some stage - and post
a photo of Cricket, Fish & friend's sandworks.

In the meantime, Cricket is making pancakes and Fish & friend are
watching Starsky & Hutch.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

How to NOT get eaten by a shark...

...Don't look like a seal.

I'm sure it is never too soon to gain such useful advice. Thanks Cricket for watching The Deadliest Sharks on the World Around Us with Lisa McCune.

Although apparently he also learned that bull sharks are the only sharks that can swim in both salt and fresh water.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

What will they do when...

we've moved?

Until we have settled and the expense tracking shows it's relationship to our budget, we shall be on one computer, without internet access, so I wonder what Cricket and Fish will find themselves getting stuck into?

Will they walk with me to the library computers?

Will they get into more creative exploits?

How long will they spend arguing about what time they do get on the one computer?

Why is it that I will be just as disappointed about our diminished technology access?

Don't give me that &^%$#@ about change being as good as a holiday!

Thursday, October 14, 2004

What is the best use for a disposable rubber glove?

cleaning ... or water bombs?

Fish and friend love the wobbly, feeling of those gloves filled with water. They carry them around enjoying that sensation and the wonderful prospect of a wet explosion when they eventually throw them.

The Rugrats video is playing in the background. If you cannot tell for yourself what "counts" as learning from watching Rugrats cartoons, I cannot be bothered (right now) telling you. And neither lack stops the viewer from learning whatever is relevant for them at the time. {maybe Elise could give some insight)

Friday, October 08, 2004

Knights and Coconuts

Thanks to Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the boys have pestered me for their own clopping coconut. Digging out the hacksaw, I hope for a little coconut meat for my trouble, but alas this coconut is destined for cloppers only. I'll see if I can photo-catch the boys on their knight's quest.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Can we really blog by email?

If so, our blog will show this report:

Cricket is right now playing "The Sims". Naturally I figure this is an opportunity to begin logging the potential learning streams associated with this activity-choice. But first you get to learn something about me: I usually figure that someone else will have already put thoughts similar to mine into words - and often better than I think I would have - so I often google when I need a well-phrased explanation.

And so I did in this case. (Of course Cricket is best placed to know what he gets out of the game, but the fact that his focus is the fun doesn't impress anyone who thinks that learning is work) So what from google? Criticisms after my own heart (it is so inane) from Douglas Kern at Tech Central Station who appears to have spent a lot longer playing it than I. However Mr Kern has hopes for The Sims 2
"In fairness, it appears that The Sims 2 will introduce levels of complexity that address many of my criticisms. Sims must now confront mortality, divorce, childhood recollections, gene pools, and a sense of inner purpose... Please hurry with the spirituality in The Sims 2, Electronic Arts; some of us need lessons in goodness-budgeting wherever we can find them."
... so perhaps Cricket will be happy next time we are game-shopping.

Still, Mr Kern points me to the positives expressed by Glenn Harlan
"Thanks to The Sims, they know how to make a budget, and how to read an income statement -- and to be worried when cash flow goes negative. They understand comparison shopping. They're also picking up some pointers on human interaction, though The Sims characters seem a bit dense in that department at times. (Then again, so do real people, now and then)."

The Sims Resource Forum points out that the Sims reminds players (because naturally they will have already learned the following from parents) of such things as the value of personal hygiene, learning to cook, time management, and the golden rule.

There is exposure to home decorating and architecture, hobbies and personal development, career options and the practicalities of keeping a job and getting promotions.

Operating this and every other computer game he enjoys has contributed to Cricket's reading ability.

I like "Blog This"

I was here when I discovered the thrill of Blogging This.

How did I get there? A link in a post to Always Learning that I explored for ideas for the chemistry set I want to compile for Fish's birthday.

I was curious about the What type of homeschooler are you?
quiz - while Marlette & Guisseppe's mum is apparently a Mr Potato Head (eclectic), the quiz results told me:
Salvador Dali Melting clocks are not a problem in your reality. You are an unschooler. You will tolerate a textbook, but only as a last resort. Mud is your friend. You prefer hands-on everything. If your school had an anthem, it would be Dont Worry, Be Happy.


Wednesday, October 06, 2004

First Post

I've been looking forward to the possibility of blogging for months. I find myself constantly thinking of things I'd like to blog about - to record those little things that are relevant to people who wonder/worry about what the boys are learning. However right now - having finally selected a title, and opened the account - the boys want to use both computers (Cricket to play Sims and Fish to play an online ScoobyDoo game) and I find myseful unable to fulfill my desire to appear witty or fascinating or even relevant.

I am excited for the potential... Why "Counting Everything"? because this blog is about the everything that counts (see Sandra Dodd) as learning from life for my sons principally, but me too.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Mt St Helens welcomes GUK

Cricket and Fish heard of a personal connection to the Mt St Helens activity that Cricket noticed on the news. Their great uncle (GUK) sent us an email about his safe arrival in Washington State, to the delight of Mt St Helens. Naturally we googled for the latest on this event and enjoyed the CVO Photo Archives - Mount St. Helens - 2004 and the Yubanet reports most.

Fish was shocked to learn about the people killed by Mt St Helens in 1980, and begged to be reassured that it would not endanger us! Out comes the globe again, perfect opportunity for geography "lesson".

Sunday, October 03, 2004

SCA Stormhold - if I can backdate a blog?

Sunday 3 October.

Cricket, Fish & I attended court at the Barony of Stormhold after delightedly observing the tourney. And Fish had a go at the Boffey tourney, and archery. True to form Cricket preferred a more lengthy observation period and regretted missing the opportunity, though perhaps he will participate at the next monthly bash.

Perhaps a chronicler of the event will be able to offer a photo?

Learning opportunities: chivalry, its practice and forms; a multitude of crafts; diplomacy; tolerance; historical perspectives