Funny How Things Change

Last Friday I was ready to swing into a new season of our unschooling year. “No more record keeping for this term,” I announced to my girls. No more looking out for educational experiences to turn into Evernote notes. No more strewing. No more reading aloud.

No more…

“Would you like to…?”
“Shall we…?”
“This looks interesting…”
“Did you know…?”

Time to take a break, relax, spend more time on my own projects, and look forward to Easter.

But on Monday morning, my youngest daughter, Gemma-Rose asked, “Would you like to read us another chapter of Return to Billabong, Mum?”

“Wouldn’t you prefer to do something of your own?”

“No. I’d like to listen to you read.” So I opened the book to read more of Mary Grant Bruce’s novel.

After I’d closed the book, I opened my computer, hoping to edit a bit of my novel. But as usual, it didn’t take me long to get distracted. I rediscovered the Evernote Clearly extension, and wanting to try it out, I searched online for a copy of Banjo Paterson’s poem Clancy of the Overflow.

“Wow! Look at this,” I said to my daughter Sophie, showing her the ‘clean and easy to read’ poem I’d clipped using Clearly. “Isn’t this a great way to clip poems before putting them into a notebook?” A notebook? There was nowhere to put the poem because I hadn’t created one for this week. I decided to create one after all.

But it’s no good just popping a poem into a notebook. The girls wanted to read Clancy of the Overflow before it disappeared into the records. So we read it out loud and enjoyed it immensely.

While I’d been searching for the poem, I’d also discovered a Youtube video of Banjo Paterson reciting his own poem. We watched this next. It was a rather strange animation of a photo. We were tempted to google ‘making animations using still photos’ but I decided to leave that for another day. Instead I clipped the video link so we will be able to find it again.

Clancy of the Overflow
is related to another novel we’re currently reading: To Love a Sunburnt Country by Jackie French. Gemma-Rose placed the book on the table in front of me, but I overlooked her hint.

Instead I said, “Haven’t you got anything you’d like to do? How about drawing?” So Gemma-Rose hunted out her sketchbook and pencils. Half an hour later she said, “Do you think my dragon looks more like a horse?” Minutes later, we were on Youtube watching how-to-draw-dragons videos: “Wow, this looks interesting!”

And then Gemma-Rose, taking advantage of the fact we were on Youtube, said, “Shall we watch another episode of Secrets of a Castle, Mum?”

We settled down on the sofa together and enjoyed finding out about medieval weapons. When the episode was over, someone said, “I didn’t know some of our English words and sayings are related to archery.” Of course we had to do some further research. We found an article explaining the origin of ‘picking a quarrel’, ‘upshot’ and ‘point-blank’. “Isn’t this interesting?” I said, as I clipped the info into this week’s notebook.

Next Sophie downloaded her own Clearly extension. “I could use it to collect photography articles,” she said. “Did you see the photo I put up on the 365 Project website?” And then she added: “By the way, I watched a video on the Beth-a-dilly blog. I learnt how she edits her photos to get her personal look. Did you know she began working as a professional photographer 6 months after teaching herself how to use her DSLR camera?” I didn’t. I could see Sophie was feeling inspired.

Gemma-Rose then said, “Sophie, you could do your piano practice while I read to Mum.” She hunted out The Far Side of the Loch by Melissa Wiley while Sophie opened her music book.

But sad to say, I had my head in my computer and I kept muttering,” In a minute… in a minute…” and Gemma-Rose gave up. She left the book on the coffee table and returned to her dragons.

Later, I noticed Gemma-Rose’s book. “Do you still want to read to me?” She did.

After the chapter had ended, I said, “Would you like me to read you a chapter of To Love a Sunburnt Country?” She nodded, as she ran off to get Sophie so she could listen too.

And so the day ended. It hadn’t gone as I’d expected. I didn’t drift through the day, doing my own thing. Instead I was very involved with my girls, as they kept saying:

“Would you like to…?”
“Shall we…?”
“This looks interesting…”
“Did you know…?”

It seems we haven’t moved onto the next season in our unschooling year after all, even though the official school term is nearly over. And that’s okay. My novel can wait. So can my other projects. I’m still enjoying spending time with my girls.

In days gone by, we’d be hanging out for the end of each term. “That’s enough!” I’d declare a week (or two) early. “I’ve had enough.”

“Hurray!” my kids would shout. They’d had enough too.

Funny how things change.


The Angels of Abbey Creek
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  1. Reply

    This reminds me of Sandra Dodd's "Learn Nothing Day" … quite impossible to achieve. 😉

    1. Reply


      I remember reading about 'Learn Nothing Day'!

      Another Banjo Paterson fan! What a wonderful gift. There's a clip on Youtube of The Man From Snowy River, with all the horses flying down the mountain. Heart stopping action! My girls enjoyed it. I bet yours would too.

    2. Reply

      A work coleague gave me the works of Banjo Patterson for my birthday. I still have it and have been able to read it to the kids. Such an awesome book.

    • San
    • March 31, 2015

    Such enthusiasm! Thanks for the Beth link I might even join in with the April challenge!

    1. Reply


      I've never done a photo challenge before. It would be good for me because it would make me look around with more care for photo opportunities. I often fail to see possibilities. I hope to see some of your photos if you do take up the challenge. Just remembered… it's April 1. I think today's word is season. Now what shall I take a photo of?…

  2. It sounds like you've found a very nice season, even if it isn't the one you thought you were heading into.

    1. Reply

      Yes, I am enjoying this season! I guess it won't last too much longer, even if we'd like it to. My husband Andy will soon be home from school for a couple of weeks, and our routine will inevitably change while he's on holiday. But today, we will keep reading… and writing. It's day 1 of Camp NaNoWriMo!

  3. Reply

    I just love your unschooling, Sue. 🙂

    1. Reply


      I love how you're always interested in our unschooling. Some people would click away thinking unschooling had nothing to do with them. I appreciate your encouraging comments, and I'm glad you're an unschooler too!

  4. Reply

    Nice unschooling. I just had to read the poem. It's delicious. Give me a horse and a flock of cattle NOW!

    1. Reply


      You and Susie are always so kind about our unschooling. I'm sure you are a fellow unschooler too even though you're not homeschooling. T

      here's always something wonderful waiting to be discovered, isn't there? I'm glad you discovered Banjo Paterson. He's one of our favourite poets. We keep returning to him. We need a volume of his works like Lisa's, so we can dip into it whenever we feel like a dose of bush poetry. His poems are so wonderful for reciting out loud. All that rhythm and alliteration etc. A horse and a flock of cattle? I can just imagine you as a drover, sitting on top of a horse!

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