Saturday, 31 December 2016

Good news for 2017 - price reduction

I'm receiving fantastic feedback about the Adventures In Natural Learning: Handbook, and the Seasonal Journal.



Handbook - (was $40) NOW ONLY $30 each
Seasonal Journal $20 each


One copy of the Handbook
PLUS one copy of the Journal only $45

- extra copies of the Journal for only $15 each

Postage $6.50 flat rate within New Zealand

This is proving to be a resource that is changing people's lives, and I am very blessed to hear how families are enjoying using them, so my goal is to get them out there to the people who will love them!

Remember that these books are the spring-board for your own personally-designed family plan.  I've given HUNDREDS of ideas, lists and points to jump off with as you journey forth together.  I really wish I'd had these books years ago!

The Handbook is also being enjoyed by people who work with children - it makes life so much easier to have a neat and tidy resource with so many commonsense, fun and easy ideas to cycle through with the children in their care.

Overseas enquiries welcome.  I have PayPal.

You can either email me on
visit my facebook page:   Adventures In Natural Learning  and message me there.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

The Little Boy by Helen E. Buckley

Someone reminded me of this poem, and thanks to the Internet I was able to find the whole thing.

I first heard it when I was about 13, sitting in assembly at college. One of the older boys was leaving school, and he had the opportunity to share some "wisdom" at assembly.  He shared this.  At the time I thought it was possibly quite true, but I'd been in the system since I was five, highly compliant and never a problem to anyone.  However, inside my timid, introverted little heart, the stirrings of discontent were starting.

Of course, over the years, the message of this story has come to mean a lot to me, even though I couldn't remember the actual poem.

But now, here it is.


Once a little boy went to school.
He was quite a little boy.
And it was quite a big school.
But when the little boy
Found that he could go to his room
By walking right in from the door outside,
He was happy.
And the school did not seem
Quite so big any more.
One morning,
When the little boy had been in school a while,
The teacher said:
“Today we are going to make a picture.”
“Good!” thought the little boy.
He liked to make pictures.
He could make all kinds:
Lions and tigers,
Chickens and cows,
Trains and boats –
And he took out his box of crayons
And began to draw.

But the teacher said:
“Wait! It is not time to begin!”
And she waited until everyone looked ready.

“Now,” said the teacher,
“We are going to make flowers.”
“Good!” thought the little boy,
He liked to make flowers,
And he began to make beautiful ones
With his pink and orange and blue crayons.

But the teacher said,
“Wait! And I will show you how.”
And she drew a flower on the blackboard.
It was red, with a green stem.
“There,” said the teacher.
“Now you may begin.”

The little boy looked at the teacher’s flower.
Then he looked at his own flower,
He liked his flower better than the teacher’s.
But he did not say this,
He just turned his paper over
And made a flower like the teacher’s.
It was red, with a green stem.

On another day,
When the little boy had opened
The door from the outside all by himself,
The teacher said,
“Today we are going to make something with clay.”
“Good!” thought the boy.
He liked clay.

He could make all kinds of things with clay:
Snakes and snowmen,
Elephants and mice,
Cars and trucks –
And he began to pull and pinch
His ball of clay.

But the teacher said,
“Wait! And I will show you how.”
And she showed everyone how to make
One deep dish.
“There,” said the teacher.
“Now you may begin.”

The little boy looked at the teacher’s dish
Then he looked at his own.
He liked his dishes better than the teacher’s
But he did not say this,
He just rolled his clay into a big ball again,
And made a dish like the teacher’s.
It was a deep dish.

And pretty soon
The little boy learned to wait
And to watch,
And to make things just like the teacher.
And pretty soon
He didn’t make things of his own anymore.
Then it happened
That the little boy and his family
Moved to another house,
In another city,
And the little boy
Had to go to another school.

This school was even bigger
Than the other one,
And there was no door from the outside
Into his room.
He had to go up some big steps,
And walk down a long hall
To get to his room.

And the very first day
He was there, the teacher said,
“Today we are going to make a picture.”

“Good!” thought the little boy,
And he waited for the teacher
To tell him what to do
But the teacher didn’t say anything.
She just walked around the room.

When she came to the little boy,
She said, “Don’t you want to make a picture?”
“Yes,” said the little boy.
“What are we going to make?”
“I don’t know until you make it,” said the teacher.
“How shall I make it?” asked the little boy.
“Why, any way you like,” said the teacher.
“And any color?” asked the little boy.
“Any color,” said the teacher,
“If everyone made the same picture,
And used the same colors,
How would I know who made what,
“And which was which?”
“I don’t know,” said the little boy.
And he began to draw a flower.
It was red, with a green stem.

~ Helen E. Buckley

Thursday, 1 December 2016


I have a dislike of the majority of purchased sorting boxes for children.   It seems that when a child is at the age of REALLY WANTING to post items through slots that they're too young to figure out which side a certain shape goes into, and it causes a lot of frustration.

So, six children down the track, I decided to do something about it.  I designed this sorting box, and my husband made it.

Then we went around the house and found safe bits and pieces to include in the box that were fun to post through the various holes.

It was very popular with our sixth child (and his older siblings).

He liked to slide the lid on and off, and post EVERYTHING through the biggest hole, or if he was feeling up to the challenge he would post the items through the most appropriate hole!

We regularly found new things for him to post through the holes so the game had new challenges.

Unfortunately I can only find the lid for this game now!  The box is hiding somewhere even though I've looked in every box-shaped gap, so our seventh child makes do with posting things into empty tissue boxes, and other cardboard boxes that I cut holes and slots into.  Almost just as fun!


Here are some old photos of a project I did a few years back.  This little cat still comes out to play games from time to time.


I find that handsewing is much easier to pick up and put down than getting the sewing machine out.  It doesn't interfere with the children too much. However, there is a certain desire to finish a project once I start!

Before I sewed a circular base on the bottom of the cat (see the orange felt shape on the right) I stuffed his top half with stuffing, and then put a small amount of barley in a plastic bag, to give him weight on the bottom.  Very nice to hold in the palm of one's hand.

Here's our darling Charlie Cat - much missed now  :(   but fondly remembered.



I’m using a medium-sized camphor box (like a miniature camphor chest) for our rainy-day-or-not-feeling-well-fiddly-things box.  I think it’s important that the box that contains the fiddly things is special and nice – it adds to the care the children take of the items inside.

Some children are extremely tactile and love to hold and feel things.  Other children are very orderly and like to sort and order everything they come across – both these types of children will love this idea.

In the bottom of our box I've cut a piece of purple fur fabric to fit so that everything sits safely in the box without sliding around.     
If you have room in the box include a nice piece of black felt or velvet, rolled up for your child to set the items out on.  

These are some of the items you might like to include in your box:
-          smooth glass shapes like marbles or glass sea-shells
-          acorns
-          chestnuts
-          bits of chain – various thicknesses
-          smooth or bumpy shells
-          wooden rings
-          bells
-          acrylic, enameled or wooden rings or bangles
-          deep sea shells
-          polished rocks
-          “sea” glass (bits of broken glass smoothed by the waves)
-          Beautiful old brooches (take pin out of back if children young)
-          Various old bits of beautiful costume jewelry (not junky!)
-          large beads of various shapes made from various things:
o        ceramic
o        acrylic
o        glass
o        wood
o        enameled

Another idea along this line is a button tin or button box.  It can take several years to collect items of interest to put in this tin, but it’s a lot of fun for a child to sort through the button tin, and it can calm a restless child as they look for all the dark blue buttons with the triangle shape on, or all the red car ones etc.