Update, Merry Christmas and Drawings!

To all of you followers who still exist… Thank you. I’m not a very good blogger, am I? Well I have some reasons for my absence. Blatant excuses.
It’s so dark here? As soon as I get home it’s too dark to take photos of anythingwhatsoever.
And also, school is cruel to me, and I’m a total procrastinator, so basically, I spend my free time sitting around eating trying to do my homework and failing and not doing my homework and still spending four hours on it. Every night. I hate homework. Homework is my arch nemesis. I’m not violent, but if homework was something I would kill, I would kill it a million times. I would cast homework into the depths of Tartarus to suffer forever with the titans.
Yeah, I don’t really like homework. Or work. Gimme a ukulele, a piano, a wire cutters and wire, a notebook/sketchbook, a pencil, and an unlimited supply of chai and chocolate and send me to the woods for the rest of my life, then I’d be happy, and productive. There are an unlimited supply of curse words in numerous languages that I would use to describe the education system, all of which too vulgar to use here. Ah well…
So yeah, I’ve not been doing much recently, but I’ve been drawing a good bit, of course. I loooooove drawing.
IMGP6080
It’s watching you….

Yeah but I had a good Christmas. I didn’t get too much stuff, thank god. Just the things I actually wanted and needed. Including a HAMMOCK sorry I still can’t handle the fact that this summer I’ll be able to camp hanging between two trees. And I got looooads of books. Good ones. I’m so excited. There’s nature books, some by Tom Brown, basically the most inspiring writer evvvveeeeerrrr, ones about animal folklore, survival guides, and then lots of French books to help me learn, incuding Harry Potter and Greek mythology French books. I’m so excited to read them all, I don’t know where to start.
And oh. Did I mention the chocolate? Thought not. There’s a LOT of chocolate.

 

IMGP6084

Speech on Nature

I had to do this for school, and it got into the school speech competition, which has three people from every year and there’s judges and stuff and I’m kinda terrified… I really wish I’d just said I wouldn’t do it, but it’s tomorrow, so I’m too late… Sorry that this is kinda weird and unedited, but I’ve not got much more to post so yah…

Good afternoon teachers and fellow students. I’m Amy, and I am here today to speak to you about my love of nature, and why I think everybody should love it too.

I would say that I’m pretty well tuned in to nature. I sit in class dreaming about trees. But I’ve been connecting to nature a long time, you see, but connecting with nature isn’t something that you learn, it happens through experience. But sadly, many people never get the chance to try. The way in which I began to discover nature, myself, was through learning about survival, wild food, tracking, and bushcraft, which led me into the woods. Once you begin to learn about the wild, you really can’t stop. For a year, I went out walking in the mountains every morning, rain or shine. I got to know the surrounding hills and forest like they were my back garden.

Nature is where we come from. It is a part of each and every one of us, but it has been torn from our lives. Not many people connect with nature much any more. Sometimes, it feels to me as if soon, everybody in this generation will be ingroant of the world beyond, and if they don’t share any knowledge of nature with their children, thos kids won’t even know nature exists, beyond this scary, wild place outside. Re-connecting this generation to nature may be one of the most important things humans will ever have to do.

In Ireland, sadly, there aren’t many opportunities to learn about nature connection as there are in other places, so I haven’t met any people my age over here who really love nature.

 

Every year in Scotland there’s a gathering from all over the UK and Ireland of people who love nature in the same way as I do. When I was there, I met eleven other teenagers who were so rooted in the natural world, I was pretty much instantly best friends with all of them. We went off into a journey into the cold, wet, muddy wilderness of Scotland, we hiked through a lot of rain, storms, mud, broken tents, lost shoes, getting lost and not being too happy in general, and still it was the best thing I’ve ever done.
I got to know them so well over that week that at the end we could hardly part, because when you connect with like-minded people, when you go through tough journeys and meet your edges together, it’s the most uniting thing you can do with a group of people. We were guided by four adults who were always with us and sometimes by a man who had pretty much inspired my love of nature a few years before with his incredible skills.

There is so much research supporting the fact that children thrive when they are outdoors. If every child had that chance to explore and learn, to play and connect with others and the wilderness, many childhood troubles might be lessened. All our natural insticts to explore, discover and learn would grow and develop. So why don’t schools support this more?

If schools set aside more time for spending in the wild, so much would change. In this day and age, it is vital that children get to experience this, as otherwise they might never be able to learn whether or not they love nature. Everyone should at least have the chance to see how amazing it is out there, how incredible it feels to build a waterproof shelter from the forest floor, to forage for wild food and make a meal from it, to create a fire from nothing but what’s around you in a forest.
If children and teenagers learned to learn by asking questions and investigating them themselves, as I did, rather than sitting in a room, never asking, never questioning, just being talked at, our childhoods would be a lot more enriched and happy.

Our future depends on this earth. We cannot simply live off this planet any more. We must live with the earth, if we are to survive as a race. Humans have treated the world with such disrespect over the last few hundred years, and if we want our children and grandchildren to survive, the first step we must take is to reconnect with our roots in nature.
We have to go backwards to go forwards, and what better way to learn how important the earth is than by connecting with nature?
Thank you very much for listening, and I hope I have inspired you to think a little differently about the natural world.

Life

I want to go back to real life.

Sometimes everything just feels so false. So dead. So… Unreal.
I wish there was a way to just be.

My life, by most peoples standards, is perfect. I have a lovely family, good friends, enough to eat, a place to live, happiness and laughter.
But I’ve been given a taste of what it is to fully live.
It’s those moments. The ones around the fire, when people who really know what it is to be true, to love, to be themselves, are singing out their souls and hearts to the world. When you see someone you barely know and you can see their love for you beaming through their eyes. When you know that everyone loves you, really loves you, for just being yourself. When although to most people, everything is miserable, it’s raining, you feel rubbish, you hurt, you’re cold and you’re carrying half your weight for miles, you are still with the people who care for you and sing their way along and everything is really perfect. When you see what may be a simple plant to some but yet when you look in the eyes of another, you see the same passion for the earth and the awe at the beauty of nature. When you can feel really, truly at home in the wild.
So from those moments, back to ‘real’ life, everything just feels so stupid.
I have come home, from a place where all those things are real, and all the time.
What seemed so normal before seems false now. I love my family, and my home, and my friends, but all day, all night, I long for that beauty, that community. That love.

I just wish that there was a way to live that way all the time. I mean, at the moment I’m on a week long camp in the woods, for the day at least, and that gives me a tiny taste of Scotland. But only a little.
Soon, in eight days, school starts again.
I liked school so much. I still do. But being in Scotland… It just seems so bland in comparison. So false.
Even with my best friends, who I really love and trust, I feel like I act, I’m someone else. I don’t sing. I don’t talk to them about nature, even though to them it probably seems like I do. But certainly not as much as I think about it. I don’t express my feelings, my happiness, my joy.
Because that’s just ‘weird’.
If I burst out into song all the time, the way I wish I could, if I talked to trees more, if I stalked up on people more, if I talked about the things I really, truly loved, if I danced in joy at the beauty of this world…
Who would talk to me then? Maybe one or two, but still.
Not to get you wrong, my school is incredibly open to different people. I mean, I’m really strange, to most peoples standards, and I’m totally accepted.
But I hear what people say about other people. And I know, although it’s probably said about me anyways, as it always is with everyone, that I don’t want people to think of me in that way. I hear the scornful remarks about little things that shouldn’t matter. I hear so much, and I know that that is only the tip of the iceberg.
But then, if I go back to homeschooling, will the negative aspects of that outweigh the negative aspects of school?
For one thing, I’ll probably have not many friends again. When my two best friends left Ireland a few years ago, I was alone. Occasionally I would visit someone, be happy, then go home.

But now, with all the things I know, will that bother me any more? No more would I be stuck at home… I would be able to experience the world in it’s fullest, make things, discover, write, create, live.
Now I feel as if I am stuck in school, a little.
So maybe. I will stick this year through… But after that, who knows? 😉

A little rant about homework

This is a speech about homework I wrote ages ago for school.

‘Is homework benefiting me in any way?’
This is one of the first questions I asked when I began in school.
Not having done ANY homework in my life before, it seemed like a ridiculous notion to suddenly spend all of my free time doing something boring and labourious, where the positive effects were not to be guaranteed.
I have just missed eight years of homework, not to mention schoolwork, and I am getting on just fine in school. So what has the education system been telling us all our lives?

There is virtually no evidence at all that homework helps us learn. The opposite of that is the conclusion that I make, myself.
For a start, At Tønder Gymnasium in southern Jutland, Denmark, where third-year high school students have not had homework since they started at the school, the graduation rate has grown from 70 percent to 85 percent. The national average is 75 percent. At the same time, grade point averages have risen by 1.1 points on the 7-point grading scale.
Many experts have claimed that homework creates negative energy between students and their teachers and parents. When parents are constantly nagging children it forms a negative relationship. If we did not do homework, this would not be an issue.
So why do we still do homework?

There are some small bits of evidence supporting homework, though.  Studies have shown that homework is of some benefit for students aged 11-13, for exam purposes, but for older students, there is research that shows that more is counterproductive when more than 2 hours of homework is given to them. For younger students, there is very little evidence of it being beneficial, apart from drilling into them the long, tedious chore of homework and study.
This is not sufficient enough proof to show that homework should be such a routinely part of our lives.

My biggest issue is the lack of free time that I have during the day. When I get home, all I want to do is read, bake, play piano, play cello, go walking in the mountains, or simply relax, but I can’t. I usually have lots of homework piled up. I still have to spend 1-2 hours doing homework, spend an hour on the piano, eat, tidy the kitchen, and get to bed in time to be able to open my eyes the next day.
We must have to have some sort of time to spend on our hobbies. If we do not develop our own interests and opinions, what are we going to do when we leave school?

One issue that causes me many problems is the excessive amount of weight on our backs. Books are so heavy that they are causing serious problems in the spinal development of children. For stronger students, perhaps in older years, this may not be such an issue, but for younger students in secondary school, this is a serious issue that may lead to long term back problems. Michael Lynch, who carried out a study on the issue in 2006, noted that a government working group report in 2008 recommended that 12-year-old pupils should carry books weighing no more than 3.7 kg. However, he pointed out that average student of this age has a school bag weighing 11.8 kg. Bags should be at the very most 10% of our body weight.
Just the other day, I had homework in nearly all the subjects I had had throughout the day. When I swung my school bag onto my shoulder, the weight of it pulled me over and every time I tried to stand up, it pulled me down again. I did finally manage to get up, though. For a 30 kilo person like me, carrying a 10 kilo bag is 1/3 of my body weight. That is 3 times more than the recommended amount.

In my opinion, homework should be stripped back to the bare minimums, at the very least. If we spend all of our day in school, why should we spend more time doing schoolwork when we get home?
All evidence clearly points toward homework being an impractical and counterproductive use of our spare time.

Blog Birthday!

So, today, one year ago, I made this blog! I didn’t think it would last this far, to be honest with you.
I started then with the idea of making stuff and putting it online. I suppose it still is. But now I post about more than just my crafts, usually.
Then, I didn’t go to school, and had no intention to. But with my friends gone, and my being rather lonely, I did decide to. But you can thank that for my crafting, as my lack of friends prompted to stay in the house more, therefore make more, bake more, and blog more. Those who have followed me since then have probably noticed how my posting has considerably dwindled since September. But for me, school has been a blessing, not because of the homework and schoolwork, but because of the amazing people I have encountered there. I am so lucky to have met the people I now, after a few months, love so much.
But I still craft, even though I have less time. It is still my escape, where I go into a crazy meditative trance while crafting and making jewellery. If I have music on while making things, it is even more relaxing. Some days, when I have too much homework, I just don’t do it and sit in my room twirling wire for hours. Even though homework detention is looming the next day, I don’t care, because I made something.
I think that’s why I started crafting in the very first place. A world of freedom where my mind can soar is the best gift I could have.

Life… And Excuses.

So where have I been, you may ask?
I am sorry, life has just been busy.
I have been crafting, and baking. Honestly.
But I have an excuse for my sorry deficiency of posting. For one thing, the light is so bad when I get home from school that I cannot photograph anything. The other (and this is for the baking) is that my family has stopped buying sugar. I live off baking. I don’t need sugar much, I’m not addicted to sugar, I don’t even really love sweet things. But I love baking so much, I have not been able to bake for a good while.
I am planning to build a lightbox, which will help, for the photography part. But the whole baking thing will have to be solved by me buying myself a few bags of sugar.

I have my grade 5 piano exam tomorrow. I am taking a day off school to meet some old friends and practice my butt off.
It’s quite odd, that when I think of taking a Tuesday off, I am happy about it (triple Irish… Aughgghaugh), but when I think of taking a day off school, I don’t want to. I got into school at the right time, with the right class. I am so lucky to have got the class I got. I don’t think I would be enjoying school as much as I am if they weren’t there. (if there are any of you guys reading, I have entrusted you with the site details and I am probably an idiot. Sorry.)
My transition from home to school is running surprisingly smoothly. I suppose my school is more of an in between space, as there is a ridiculously small amount of students for a city centre school.
But enough of that.
I promise to have some more posts lined up in the future!

What to do with no camera lead?

I simply don’t know. I have searched and searched to no avail. I know, I could use another camera. Except for the slight issue that our other camera ALSO uses that lead. Where it has gone I do not know.
So. Today I took part in a poetry competition. Nobody in my school got into the semi finals. I was delighted that I wouldn’t have to go ahead again and miss another double art class. And I practically starved, since it went way overtime and I couldn’t eat any food in the cafe apart from an apple.
So. My Halloween costume. I am going to be a dryad (a tree nymph, for those of you who do not know greek or roman terminology) and I am making it out of a top and a dress with leaves hot glued on. I will also paint my face green so that i am a little more… foresty.

School… and stuff.

Oh my. I am so sorry. I only realized that I have not posted in ages and ages. I have no way of getting photos onto the computer at the moment, and I’m working on that one all the time. I think I will bake tonight, as long as the huge amount of science homework given to me earlier does not hold me back from my urgent need to whip up a batch of muffins.

I’m enjoying school so much. Its probably a bad thing, but every day I get to school half an hour earlier than I need to just because I want to get in there. I just hate that even after seven and a half hours in school every day, you STILL need to do an hours homework.
Don’t they teach things well enough in school? I mean, I kind of understand the logic of it a little, but the amount they give is just blatantly stupid. Can’t kids have their own lives without every waking hour spent either eating or doing work? How are we supposed to have hobbies, be artistic, or get out in the woods to spend some time with the earth, when we are stuck inside all evening doing sums that will most likely never help us? I mean. How many years have I spent out of school, doing all the things children should, having fun and not caring about anything, and creating memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life? And how am I doing in school, with eight years of total unschooling in my belt?
Great. I’m at the same level as all the other people in my year. which is a ridiculously small amount. I can do all the subjects with no trouble, apart from Irish, because if my parents ever tried to teach me my own language, after a week I would suffer from an educational lapse and suddenly decide that doing a project on Siberian Lynxes would be a much better way to pass the time.

That’s what happened every year, when before all the other kids went back to school, my mother would say:
“Ok. this year we are actually going to sit down and do some work.”
And every year, it would be halted by my sister and I, pleading that learning is all just a bit of a bore, and yes, we would like to go to the park instead. So that’s what happened. I really did have a great time.

Hmm…

Oh my, what just happened? One minute I was down in the cabin sewing and then I was sanding a spoon and now I am writing a post. but what happened in between that made me stop sewing? I was just about to pin the pleats and… I have no idea. I think I saw some wood carving tools. I get so easily distracted. It’s ridiculous. It usually happens when I am about to do something normal, that I don’t really think about, and I just wander off. I always take a long time to get dressed, or take a shower, just because I get distracted by something more interesting. Right now, I should be sewing. sewing, sewing, sewing.
Why am I even writing this? I probably don’t intend to post it, but I probably will.
I have less than a week left of being home educated and technically being a child. I am going to school for the first time ever and celebrating my 13th birthday on the same day. How unfair is that?
I’m going to be a teenager. Its the weirdest thing. I will most likely not really notice. But I will still make stuff. Don’t put it past me. I will probably make even more stuff, and crowd up my creative mess even more. My bedroom is such a crammed spot of craft materials, books, and overflowing drawers that I cant even call it a room. Just a mess. But it has always been in my nature to be messy. When I was little my room looked like a bomb full of toys had sailed through my window. now its the same, but with craft materials and books.
Why am I even bothering to blog on this anyway? Nobody really cares, and its not like I want to boast about what I have made. but I will keep going, because there are a small amount of people following my blog. thank you. especially the followers who have followed me since my first day.
I have been going on this for nearly half a year now, and…
Sorry. I really need to get back to my sewing.
I will post some more random crap on this on monday.