Tag Archives: Play

Iris Grace’s Mother: On Autism, Natural Play Spaces and Child Led Home Education

unspecified1Iris Grace is a seven year old little girl with a massive talent for painting. Her work has been compared to Monet and has been bought and shared by the likes of Angelina Jolie and Daniel Radcliffe.

Iris also happens to have Autism.

Professionals were ready to give up on her, writing her off and offering outdated, one size fits all techniques, but Iris’s mother, Arabella Carter-Johnson knew that there was so much beneath the surface that wasn’t being seen. She knew that if she could find the right way to communicate with this beautiful little spirit, she would help Iris to escape her anxiety and reach her true potential.

She was a mother on a mission and she wouldn’t give up on her child.

I was lucky enough to get Arabella to agree to an interview for Love Parenting, in which she shares how she made the decision to walk away from her dream of sending Iris to school and choose interest based home education instead. She discusses the affect nature has on Iris’s behaviour, and her personal coping mechanisms that helped her survive the darkest days and long sleepless nights with a child who didn’t like to switch off.

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Why I Got Rid of All of My Son’s Christmas Toys

It’s midnight and I am wide awake, rushing around the house with a bin bag, filling it with toys, toys, toys. Since Christmas, we have been drowning in “stuff, ” and it has been stifling.

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How to Create Rhythm in the Home When it Doesn’t Come Naturally

When I first began learning about parenting and Steiner Waldorf education, one thing that struck me was the importance of rhythm in the lives of children, especially young children under the age of seven. Rhythm can transform a child’s behaviour, bring them more confidence and stability and can make daily tasks run more smoothly.

Naturally, wanting the very best for my son, I wanted to incorporate a rhythm of our own to our days. Yet there was one big obstacle, namely, my dislike for routine and predictability. I like, no, I LOVE my freedom. I love spontaneity and adventure, and despise having my week all planned out, knowing exactly what’s to come. It stifles me.

At first, I went ahead with it anyway, hoping I would adapt and grow to enjoy it. I planned daily tasks that looked something like this-

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The Benefits of Giving Your Child a Screen Free Week

We just completed another screen free week, something we do at least five or six times a year.

We already have pretty strong boundaries when it comes to screen usage for Little Cat (aged 4), before this week he was only allowed cartoons for up to an hour, usually between 3-5 days a week and always in the afternoon, just after lunch for a bit of quiet time. The cartoons and films he has access to are all things which I am happy for him to watch: No violence or cruelty, respectful attitudes towards children and adults alike, slow paced (with the exception of Octonauts) and/or educational in some way or another.

He doesn’t have use of a tablet or computer, no apps or video games and no access to the internet unless we are specifically looking something up together – For example when he was interested in volcanoes recently we watched several youtube clips of erupting volcanoes and looked up some answers to his questions, before we got a book from the library for him to delve into.

During screen free week we had no screen time whatsoever during the day, myself included. I made an exception during the evening after his bedtime, to have a quick check of my emails to make sure there wasn’t anything urgent, but anything that could wait was left unopened. I also decided to relax the TV rule for the evening as my husband didn’t participate with this screen free week (although he often does,) and we watched one or two programmes together.

My main goal for myself was to have a week off social media, especially facebook which I find can be such a time thief and so addictive. My goal for my son on this occasion was for him to break the habit of asking for TV on autopilot straight after lunch, and to give him more room to rediscover creative ways to entertain himself instead.

As always happens on our screen free weeks, the first day was the hardest, with complaints and negotiations from Little Cat and an afternoon energy slump from me which was a struggle to get through.

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An Unschooling Week – How Natural, Passionate, Interest Led Learning Occurs

I get a lot of people asking how our son can learn through unschooling. Am I qualified to teach him all he needs to know? How does learning happen without set lesson plans in place? Well it occurred to me that the best way to explain how natural, passionate, interest led learning occurs, was just to simply show you a little of our week. You see, where learning is concerned, every day is different and opportunities to learn can be found in almost everything we do. So here is a look at what we have been doing (and learning!) this week…

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