Archive for the ‘Museum’ Category

I failed once more to keep up with my blogging. Life got in the way, was waaaay too sparkly, and led me astray!

But. Exciting things have been afoot that I want to talk about! As I’ve previously posted, Sandra Dodd has been in Australia and did a number of visits and symposia, and I was lucky enough to attend two ALL Symposiums, and have Sandra at our house for nearly a week – oh, and we all drove from Adelaide to Melbourne too!

This time i’ll cover the Adelaide ALL Symposium, and then I’ll get to Melbourne – so much happened along the way!

Sandra arrived in Adelaide on the 13th March, and Kai and I picked her up from the airport. On the way back to our place, Kai spotted a koala moving up a tree, so that was pretty cool and we stopped to take some photo’s!

I’ll admit it. I was VERY nervous having Sandra stay at our home! Honestly, who wouldn’t be!? When I first came to unschooling, I didn’t gel with Sandra’s writing or website. I found it overwhelming, and found her direct manner off-putting. It took me a while of investigating other writers, meeting other unschoolers, and living unschooling, to realise that Sandra’s information, websites, links and writing bring together the very best of information available on unschooling, together with Joyce Fetteroll and Pam Sorooshian (and the contrast between Sandra’s chaotic website and Joyce’s orderly website is not lost on Sandra!).

But, despite reading and writing at Always Learning and the Radical Unschooling Info group on Facebook for a couple of years, I was still nervous!

Well, Sandra is absolutely delightful and lovely! An easy house guest, warm, and very funny! She was understandably exhausted and had a few well earned early nights, but we shared many stories, went out for dinner and saw a little bit of our local area….

Adelaide ALL Symposium happened on Sunday and Monday – 16th – 17th March. We ended up with a much bigger turn out than we’d imagined – 20 people!! Who knew there were so many unschoolers in the Adelaide area. One family even flew in from Perth – which was wonderful!


Sandra spoke about making better choices, about being your child’s partner, and told many anecdotes and stories about her life with Marty, Kirby and Holly, her three now grown children.

Some notes from Adelaide can be found here. I also spoke at Adelaide – my first time talking about unschooling in front of a live audience!

I was very nervous, and wondered what the heck I could talk about, having only one kid who isn’t quite 8 years old! But, it turns out it’s easy to babble on about your own awesome kid!! Much easier than trying to convince skeptical scientists of esoteric life history theories at an academic science conference!

When i’ve finished editing it, i’ll post my talk as a blog post, but it needs a bit of tweaking before it goes ‘live’!

On the day after the conference, Sandra, Kai, and I went to our local wildlife park, and Donna, Martin, Liam and Quinn – all the way from WA, also joined us….we had a very lovely, but looong day there…we all had a bit of a rest in the cafe for a while though!


The boys reading the wildlife park map and deciding what animals to see next!

That evening Sandra showed Kai a few games on her iPad!


He liked her Simpsons game!

On the following day (a Wednesday – try and keep up!), Sandra, Brett, Kai and I started the road trip to Melbourne. Since we had a visitor, who had never been to Australia and so far had only travelled by plane, we had an excuse to go the ‘scenic’ route to Melbourne – which involved going to Mt Gambier, via Naracoorte Caves and Fossil Centre (which we’ve wanted to do for ages, but keep putting it off!).

We all LOVED the Wonambi Fossil Centre – full of awesome mega-fauna!!!


I promise I didn’t plan that Kai would be wearing that shirt, it literally was the first in a pile I picked out!!

The caves were super cool too, although we only ventured into the ‘Wet Cave’….


After the cave, Kai wanted to go back into the Fossil Centre, Sandra had a rest on a bench, and was apparently visited by a couple of kangaroos!

We then drove on to Mt Gambier where we got a motel, very generously paid for by Sandra…and went out for dinner….next to the restaurant was a sinkhole – of which there are a few in Mt Gambier…


Sandra at the top, Kai down on the balcony thing!

After dinner we drove to the biggest sinkhole – Umpherston sinkhole, as our brochure in the motel said it ‘comes alive with possums after dark’ – so we figured we’d show Sandra some possums! Well, I don’t have the photo’s, but i’ve never seen so many possums in one spot! And one bit Kai on the finger!! Oh, we also took Sandra to her first Australian Macca’s, where she took a photo of the menu, and Kai got a happy meal!

The next morning we headed onward and eastward, stopping at Waarnambool for lunch….there we found some cool WW1 machinery and weapons…I can’t find the photo’s though!

And then the last push to Melbourne where we dropped Sandra at Claire’s house – then we headed on to Nana Bev’s!

And that’s where I’ll finish this for now….next installment – Melbourne!!



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Kai has had control of the laptop most of the week, so I’ve been slack at updating! But we are now back at my cousins and he’s on the PS3, so laptop control is miiiiinnnnneeeee!!

Here’s our week…


On Sunday we went on a drive to Springbrook National Park and visited the Natural Arch. It was pretty cool, and lots of beautiful rainforest…although we didn’t get to see any glow worms, I think it was too light..

On Monday we headed north to Brisbane to stay with our friends with the yurts…there was lots of trampolining, running around, catching chickens, and here’s Kai on an egg hunt in the wilds of the ferns!




We stayed there Monday and Tuesday, and then headed to another unschooling friends house on Wednesday morning. We headed straight for a Park Day! Hooray….





There was a lot of this:


Which is Kai playing L4D2 and his pal watching (because unfortunately his computer wasn’t playing it :()

There was some of this…



On Friday we headed into the city and Kai and I spent a lot of time in the Queensland Museum and Science Centre (which are both AWESOME btw!)..


Hahahaha! Hours of Fun!


Check out his facial expression!


We also caught up with my dear friend Tanya and her family, who luckily are here visiting family at the moment – since they currently live in China! It was a wonderful, but all too short, catch up…

The kids enjoyed fish and chips…




And Kai and Arlo had a lovely time in the playground….


Then we went out with our unschooling friends to celebrate a 9th birthday! Lots of eating out!

Saturday was Kai’s friends official 9th birthday party in the park. It was a cosplay – Kai went as Frodo Baggins….


So, after the party we headed straight to the train station and headed back to the Gold Coast, and we head home on Tuesday…So, there may or may not be another holiday update before then!




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Ok. I know, I know. I said not so many updates! But here’s just one! And I promise to do a post on something else on the weekend!

So. What has January had in store. Well. We finally seem to have our wireless working again, thankfully! What a palaver that has been!

In no particular order, here are some things we’ve been up to….

We went to the Semaphore Greek Festival. I ate too many honey balls, Kai got his face painted….(and didn’t much like honey balls!)



How cool is that?! The woman doing the face painting was amazing, and it was free! This was her palatte…



Cool huh!? We also listened to some Greek music, and went on the fairground adjacent…



Kai always loves the bungeeeeee!

You may (or may not) have noticed Kai had lost a tooth in the lion picture above….well, five days later the other bottom one came out too!



So. Like Santa, we are ‘doing’ the tooth fairy…who has clearly been busy this past week!

At home we did some freestyle experiments…


…and for the eagle-eyed, yes those are moth wings in the mortar bowl….but we found them as is, we didn’t kill any moths!

And today we went to the Maritime Museum to their school holidays show “Ghost of Memory Cove” which we thought was really, really cool!



Kind of a pantomine on the ship in the Museum, it tells the story of Flinders trip to circumnavigate Australia, and his ship-mate JohnThistle, who was washed off the ship at Memory Cove…If you are around in Adelaide next week, and have younger (probably 9 or younger) kids, i’d totally recommend it, Kai absolutely loved it!

So…that’s about it really. Our parthenogenetic snail has in fact left us 3 new snail babies…which is kinda cool…after the museum show, we went to play with friends in the playground, and now Kai is currently engrossed in playing the Minecraft world from Good Game Spawn Point (a games review show on ABC 3 that he likes) – you can download their world here.

Oh, and we’ve also been surfing twice this week, and snorkelling yesterday (after surfing! I think I was more tired than Kai!) – we saw some very cool fish while snorkelling too -and Kai did all his snorkelling without his floaty vest on this time! I did take photo’s, but on Brett’s camera, and i’m too lazy to go download them right now – maybe i’ll edit later!

So…that really is it! Oh, and we’re also trying to get enough interest to get unschooling legends Sandra Dodd and Joyce Fetteroll to Adelaide later this year (spring)…costs could be as low as $100/family or less if we get enough people (to cover their internal flights). So if you are reading this and are interested, leave me a message, or join one of the Facebook groups on my sidebar :) They will also be speaking in Brisbane (defnitely) and possibly further south on the east coast, depending on interest…Updates should be posted here as we know more, and the amazing and lovely Karen and Kim are also gathering interest for either Canberra or Sydney!

Ok, truly going…




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I can’t believe another week has gone by already!! I’ve thought, this week, after a series of events, I might post more unschooly theory stuff, but at the moment I like to keep this blog a happy place…recording our fun days and showing what unschooling reality can look like…

So. It’s another update!

Since last Wednesday it’s been a busy week (as usual, it seems!). Kai’s pretty into Pirates still (re-overtaken Ninja’s!)…he designed his own Pirate Flag after we read about the different types of pirate flags for different pirates…


I don’t know why it’s showing the wrong way around, and I can’t seem to fix it! But obviously it’s a man being stabbed with a hook! Still not as scary as BlackBeards flag, we decided!

We went to the Op Shops the other day and scored big time!!


All that for $12!! Seriously! We got full sets of Junior Scrabble and the Jumanji board game ($5 the lot!), a copy of Age of Empires for the PC ($1), and some other DVD’s and games, and obviously two lovely skirts for me ($1 each!!)…Yay!

We went to our friend Llogan’s 7th birthday party at the ice skating rink. It was awesome!!! They had an hour of snow play first, before skating.


Spinning on the ice in this was probably Kai’s favourite thing!

Yesterday we went to the Maritime Museum, down at Port Adelaide. Our first trip, it fits with our current Pirate theme….Kai loved the museum, especially the tall ship, the pieces of eight, and the talking cat ‘Scuttlebutt’!


The kids also got to sit inside the cabins they would have had, had they been 10 pound poms on the immigrant ships from England!


It was a really good, interactive museum – we joined for the year, and i’m pretty sure we’ll go back soon!

After the museum we climbed the lighthouse…


And then went on a dolphin cruise…..


We didn’t see any dolphins, unfortunately, but the kids had fun…until Kai fell on deck and smashed his head into a metal pole :/ ….a late night trip to the after hours doctor confirmed all was well (I was worried as we found some blood in his ear a bit later on)…all seems well today, aside from a whopper of a bruise on and around his ear…

Erm…what else?? We’ve played some Junior Scrabble since we got the set…we tried Jumanji but it’s quite complicated and we’ll need to really sit down for a while to figure it out!

Kai asked to do some science experiments with food colouring. So we did the old flower/water transportation one. Kai asked if the length of the stem would make the flower change colour quicker – so we decided to find out and cut 3 flowers with different length stems and we made it a ‘proper’ experiment this time….and Kai was happy to help me fill in a table and colour in a graph …


Turns out he was right! The flower with the shorter stem (red colouring) changed colour quicker than the blue and green!

However blue turned out to make the prettiest flower!


And finally, very exciting, Kai’s book arrived! (Look away now Nana, if you don’t want to spoil your Christmas present!!)…Kai narrated a story to me, and then drew illustrations, and we made a book with Blurb.

I was a little hesitant, as it’s quite expensive, but we were really happy with the resulting book – it’s a *real* book!! And looks awesome!


The front cover….


A peek inside (there are other illustrations! haha!)

I’m really pleased with the final result, and so is Kai. If you have a child that loves writing stories and drawing pictures, i’d really recommend it, and Blurb is the only company I found that has an Australia page/Australia postage – all other sites are overseas….

So, that’s it for this week!


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So, we’ve been in Alice for a few days now. We’ve done a lot of digging in pitfall traps, and worked pretty hard, but we’ve done a bit of sightseeing and caught up with a friend too – so it’s not all red dust and work!

Unfortunately we haven’t caught many lizards. We think it may have been too cold and windy (seriously – it was only 22 C for two days – that is COLD here!) – but getting warmer again tomorrow, so fingers crossed it picks up.

We did catch a very cool whip snake….here it is demonstrating how a drift fence works for reptile trapping….


Kai has been researching ants. He’s been catching ants of all kinds and keeping them overnight (and then putting them back where he found them). He caught a particularly cool and interesting one, that seems to mimic a wasp – it had a black and yellow abdomen – a type of mimicry called Batesian mimicry – where a harmless species mimics a dangerous or poisonous one to protect it from predators. The warning colouration of dangerous animals is called aposematic colouration…..(come on, I gotta use my sciences degree’s somewhere! Someone might be interested!).  We still haven’t found out the species, but here it is….


We’ve also caught a Wongai Ninguai – a little carnivorous marsupial which is restricted to the arid zone, and today we caught a little button quail….now we just need to catch some lizards!

Aside from work, Kai’s been swimming at least once a day since we got here….most often twice…


The amount of activity he’s been doing every day, I can’t believe he’s not totally knackered! Although he did go to sleep around an hour earlier than normal last night!

Yesterday Kai and I also went to the Alice Springs Cultural Precinct, mostly to go to the Museum of Central Australia….it had a great megafauna display and also meteorites….Kai particularly liked this Dromornis….

Apparently he hunts them in his iPod hunting game!?

We also visited the Aviation Museum, which was pretty cool, and free! Kai liked the old planes…


But REALLY liked the old communications section…


Then we went to the Araluen Arts Centre….no pics allowed, but we saw some incredible Indigenous art, including paintings, sculptures and textiles….

Then we had a play in the playground!

Today we headed out to the Eweninga Rock Carvings, petroglyphs at an ancient Aboriginal site, that has special significance for males. The site may be up to 40000 years old….WOW!!


Today we also had to move caravan parks, as our other one was booked out for the weekend, so we are now at a more child-friendly park, with a bouncy pillow and a bigger pool! Whoo!

So…that’s the trip so far….much red dust still to come!


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We’re road-tripping next week, so this may be the last post for a while…..school hols officially are over now, although the school kids do at least get two more days over the weekend….We made the most of the school holiday activities though, this time – now Kai’s older he is enjoying a few more ‘structured’ type activities…..although we have walked out of a few mid-way because he’s got fed up!

We went to the ‘Wildshow’ at the local conservation park – which was all about animal movement. We got to see a glider and a snake before Kai got fed up….we liked watching the glider glide a lot!


Of course, a snake is no big deal in our house….we actually have a little one in the lounge right now that is going to be released on the road trip! It is a little smaller than the red bellied black they had in the show, though!

They also had a guided walk and questions at the park, which we did – we learnt Kai’s arms are shorter than the wingspan of a pelican!


We ‘won’ a sticker for doing the questions (love the reward/bribe activities during school hols…NOT!) – which is now adorning our car!

Later in the week we finally finished Kai’s catapult/slingshot…he had a go at shooting at some cans in the yard…


We went for a walk in our local National Park, to look for stuff (orchids and dead insects…mostly!)…

We found some orchids…including this rare white waxlip…


Kai was ‘tracking’ a koala! This is him with a piece of evidence!!


The next day I took Kai and his friend to the Museum for the Insect Pinning workshop….we had a wander around before hand…they both wanted to go visit the ‘ice wall’ in the Mawson Antarctica level….


Then we got down to some insect pinning. Luckily the museum supplied the insects, because actually ours would have been way too dried out, it turns out!


Kai was having fun (mostly – although it was actually quite tricky work for a 6 year old!). This is one of our insects once done…an ant was added later….the beetle is an introduced pest, so we didn’t feel too bad about using it…but if we do any in the future, we’ll use dead one’s we find!


It was a pretty hot day, and after insect pinning the kids played in the fountains outside of the museum….and cooled down! haha! They both went home soaking wet!


So…that’s our week. I’ll try and keep updated on the road, but may not have internet all the time….


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Spring has sprung! Finally! Considering we were actually in the Northern Hemisphere summer for two months of winter, I still feel like winter has dragged on forever! Leaves are appearing on the tree’s, blossoms have come (some have already gone!) and I’m thinking about planting a mass of basil in one of my pots….although thinking nights are still too chilly up here for a few weeks yet!

We’ve been busy busy…Or at least I feel like we have – although that might just be the past few days! We went to the museum last week, and Kai wanted to go look at the skulls in the Pacific Islanders Exhibit (and the weapons!)…these skulls have been lengthened for aesthetic reasons and are from Papua New Guinea. You can read more about head lengthening here.

We went to Extreme night at the Laser Tag place….there was a disco….which was amusing to behold…

And of course there was laser tag!…

Kai was top of the board in the first game – #1 out of 11 kids (all older than him!), and he was very, very happy about that!! They printed out the scores for us, so he got to keep it!

I picked my cabbage from the garden, and made Finnish cabbage rolls with it…

We had a natural learning park day on a gorgeous sunny day…

Yesterday Kai and I went into the city and had a quick look at the RiAus Inner Space Exhibit – an exhibit of microscopy photographs – after we’d been to see the electron microscopes, it was kinda cool, and there were some really interesting photo’s there – on the left of Kai’s head is the skin of a velvet worm, and on the right is graphite from pencil lead (I can’t remember what’s in the middle!)!

Then we had lunch in the sun in front of the museum, and headed to meet friends at the zoo….

Much fun was had at the zoo, and Kai apparently took the role of ‘tour guide’ (his description) and told the girls all about each animal!

We’ve also been learning about what the centre of the earth looks like, after Kai asked on the way home in the car – I vaguely remembered something about mantles and crusts from school, but it’s more fun to learn about it with Kai! We’re also hatching plans for cool christmas presents for the fam – which I can’t share here, becaue some of the fam reads this blog! hehe!!  

We’ve also been to the library. The boys went fishing (but didn’t catch anything) on the weekend. And to Kai’s weekly Stunt Monkeys class, and on the weekend enjoyed some TV movies, including Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief on Saturday, and a double bill of The Mummy movies on Sunday!!

For those of you that enjoy my rants more than my everyday posts, I feel a rant coming on about ‘age-appropriate’ activities, and how it’s just not appropriate! Ha! I’ll start working on

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