Computers, planes and thanks!

First and foremost
I want to thank all of you for your wonderful support during our recent gruelling time...see previous post.
Our biggest takeaway has been how many lovely friends we have. So many supportive comments and actions were performed around this moment. Far outweighing the couple of idiots who live in fear.
Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou!!

This week we rebuild a computer courtesy of a friend's massive skillz!

We also visit the Australian War Memorial for a talk about musical instruments from WW1,

where we visit our favourite exhibit...the planes!

(Here are some photos Aiden took there.)

And finally Miles attempts to teach me to fly on IL2 Battle of Stalingrad...without success!
Please join us once again in our unschooling adventure.

Til next time, keep on creating!
Jazzy Jack and The Bracks

Living outside the box


It has been a massive week in the Brack household.
We found out what happens when two worldviews clash.
I'm still too raw to comment much. I will leave the space for Cris who has written this powerful story.

Terrorists Everywhere

"Come home. The police have just been here and want to charge our son." A message no parent wants to hear. We certainly didn't expect such a call. Our son is only 14 years old and has always thought that police were nice people, most of whom were probably called "Bobby". So, what went wrong?

Our son was playing outside, in a public place. He was playing with a wooden toy he had carved himself. Quite proud of that he was - he'd learnt how to use a jigsaw and a sander, a rasp, and to measure twice but cut once. Well, actually, he didn't measure at all - he has a good eye. He also was wearing a "gilly's suite" which was supposed to make him invisible: a suit that he had tracked down himself on the world wide web. The problem was that the suit didn't work and someone saw him.

An adult male with a female alongside - possibly on the way to pick up a child at the local school, or maybe just enjoying a walk - saw him hiding under a tree and made the obvious conclusion that my son was a terrorist. Screaming obscenities, the man charged. The woman cried "it is only a child with a wooden gun", but the man continued, screaming that he'd smash that wooden thing over my son's head. Sensible boy that he is, my son ran home - distressed and confused - never having been confronted by such rage in real life.

Before he can finish telling his story to his mother, the police arrive. They are not too forthcoming and we can only assume that the adult male followed my son home before calling them. My son, it seems, had broken the law and it was at the discretion of those police whether they will charge him. The police wanted to know if he had other weapons - no, but he had done more woodwork - click, click, click went the police camera. Had he been painting his bedroom with its artistic spiderwebs and fake cracks - click, click, more photos. Did he have internet friends who he talked to about guns and weapons - no - oh, a loner and solitary eh? Why guns they ask. He is interested in World War 2 and studying all aspects of it - that is very serious he is told to be interested in fighting in a war.

Eventually the police leave and my wife is able to call me. What impression do the police have of my son? The word from the adult male who called them; photographs of wooden toys that range from a German lugger through to a Russian antitank rifle; photographs a bedroom painted in spiders and cracks and abandoned things instead of puppy dogs and flowers, and a belief that he is a loner.

It is logical then that my son is told that he will need a psychiatric assessment; that his parents will be contacted by Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services to see if we are coping with him; and the local social worker will "invite" him to the Police Youth Club to help him with his socialisation and emotional issues. In this time of fear of terrorists and terrorism, such actions are so necessary and designed to make us all safe.

But who should we be focusing on if we really want to make Australian society safer? My son and the woman in the park at the beginning of this story are much more likely to be killed in a domestic violence incident by the adult male than they were of being in a terrorist incident. The number of woman and children injured in domestic violence incidents in only a couple of weeks outnumbers all those Australians ever injured in terrorist activities. The adult male clearly overreacted while his female partner kept telling him to stop. Even when it was obvious my son was only a child with a wooden toy, this adult male continued to rage and threaten. He even followed my son home. Surely these are indicators of a much more likely problem than a child playing outside?

We don't know what impression the police have of the adult male who threatened and followed my son. We don't know who he is or where he lives. He knows where we live. We don't know if the police interviewed him about his overreaction and threats of violence against a child, and his anonymity is protected so we can't find out. We don't know if he is living in the unreal world of television news which convinced him that everybody he sees is a potential threat to be taken down. We don't know if any social workers are checking on his socialisation and emotional issues. We don't know if any Mental Health Service people are checking on his female partner to see if she is coping with him. We don't know if he is feeling big and emboldened to continue letting his emotions have free range.

I suppose if he had followed through on his threat and broken my son's wooden toy over his head then the police would have pursued him and disregarded any plea that he was just protecting his woman from terrorism. But just like domestic violence in the real world, by then, it would be too late.

In the real Australia, domestic violence is an infinitely bigger threat than terrorism. In the real Australia, we should be intervening before adult males overreact and move to violence than making grand gestures about stopping terrorism. In the real Australia, inappropriate intervention, even when well intentioned, will lead to children who loose faith in the police and adult males. In the real Australia, an irrational fear of the terrorist may lead to children who are afraid to play outside - because of terrorists or because others may take them to be terrorists.

I must consider myself lucky though that my son is not obviously Muslim or aboriginal or different. That angry adult male, lost in his world of artificial fear spread by the constant reporting of terrorism and stranger danger, would probably have followed through on his threat. Then I would be mourning more than just my son's lost innocence.

And finally, to lighten the mood, here is the video for the week, showing the pure innocence we really live in.
And a big thanks to all my friends and family who are helping us remember the light at this time.
You guys are awesome.

Here's to living in the light!

Til next time,
Keep on creating.

Jazzy Jack and The Bracks

War, water and wheelchair

Hello fellow travellers.
This week we head to the woodworking room to watch Miles making his WW 2 replica wooden guns.

We also have some fascinating moments watching the interactions between water, plastic bottles, tissues and food colouring.

And finally, we view a burnt out car from a wheelchair!

All accompanied by Aiden's eerie guitar music - composed and performed by him and sound bending by me.
Sound exciting?

By the way, look at the gorgeous shapes made by plastic bottles left overnight in an aquarium!

We'd love your company on our Unschooling Adventures.
Click on the picture below to enter the rabbit hole...

Til next time,
Keep on creating!

Jazzy Jack and The Bracks

Where we visit the zombies at the art gallery.

Greetings one and all.

We return with another video. That's two in a row. On a roll here!
The puppets with freaky penises!

This week we watch Miles build and sleep in a bivouac ( gorgeous word!) in the backyard, play with the zombies at the art gallery in the fog sculpture, visit a couple of sculptures inside, and hear me singing!
Please come along for the ride.
So simple and so beautiful.

The other day Miles wrote about a day in the life of an unschooling teen for an unschooling newsletter at Stories of an unschooling family.

I include it here to round off the story of the video.

A Day in the life of Miles Brack age 14.
From the outside my day looks like this.
I wake up somewhere between 11am and 1pm.
Play video games till about midnight.
And go to bed.
Very basic and boring to write about.
However on the inside:
This morning I woke in my bivouac which I built in the back yard, in order to test out my new folding bed which is going into my Andersen Shelter I am digging on our block of land.
The temperature was between 0 and 5 degrees Celcius which added a little spice to the adventure.
I lay in bed surrounded by two jerry cans I discovered at the recycling centre and resprayed, imagining I was in the Home Guard during World War 2.
At 5:30 am after a surprisingly comfortable but short sleep (3 1/2 hrs!), I returned to the 21st century and the work of Slowmoguys filming glass shattering at 324,000 fps.
Porridge for breakfast called me indoors and I snuggled into my other bed to eat it with more Slomoguys entertainment.
Returning to my favourite era of 1940s I jumped on the computer to play Heroes and Generals enjoying the indepth environment of the frontline. Including installing a new weapons pack on the back of my SdKfz(a 1944 halftrack German motorbike).
After lunch I mostly watched Youtube videos of funny moments in Heroes and Generals.
Then I got bored and decided to conduct some experiments in my fish tank. ( It's alright there are absolutely 100% no fish involved) I bought the fish tank last week at The Green Shed. Various experiments were conducted with food colouring, cut in half plastic bottles, and tissues, studying floatation, water pressure, surface tension, vortexes, bleeding, filtration and oil leaks.
Mum videoed some of this for our vlog Natural Medley on youtube.(subtle plug!)
Various housework took place and writing of this article.
Now I'm off to have more porridge before going to bed in the am. Couldn't do that at school...

Bushy (Cris) on our date at the fog sculpture the weekend before.

Aiden also had some insight into the fog sculpture :
"Being in the fog was like the Arma3 mod for DayZ (Computer game). When the hoard comes out there's lots of fog!"
"It was really pretty when the sun rays shone into the water. When the music started playing it was really 'majestical' "(quote from our favourite NZ movie - Hunt for the Wilderpeople).


We hope you can join us for more adventures.
Make our day and like, comment and subscribe to join in the fun!

Til next time, keep on creating!

Jazzy Jack and The Bracks

Meet the family

Hello there my lovelies!

We have a treat for you today...hopefully.
We decided to video one of our unschooling outings and use the filming and editing as part of our schooling experience.
So we hope to bring you videos on a regular basis and use this as structure for our week, encouraging us out of our cosy home to explore the world a little more.

As it was impossible to avoid using names in the video, we have gone live!
Please meet, Aiden our 11 year old...( formerly known as Mr Actor)

And Miles our 14 year old...( formerly Mr Artist)

Cris also known as Bushy...

And Jack also known as Jazzy Jack !
Collectively we are The Bracks, so yes, I am Jack Brack :-)

We kept the editing loose (!) and allowed the voices of the kids to shine so you can get to know them and their wonderful world a little more.
Hopefully you enjoy visiting the Arboretum, meeting the Australian Magpies and seeing some more of our beautiful country.

So here we go...

Til next time, keep on creating!
Jazzy Jack

A couple of unschooling adventures

We have been enjoying some unschooling adventures lately.

Firstly we visited the train museum with our local homeschooling group.

Here is Mr Actor in front of the largest steam engine in the Southern Hemisphere and the fourth largest in the world from memory. He is always moving and balancing and parkouring when he is well!

This the interior of the diesel engine section. Very dark and claustrophobic but my brilliant camera managed wonderfully. This is a V12 engine with 2000horse power. Very impressive to my engine mad kids!

Mr Artist in his usual playful mood...grossing us all out!

The second adventure was a long weekend at Heartwoods our bush property.

It's always a special day when there is water in our leaky dam. Winter, our water dog, was in her element.

There was even water in the bath tub in the goat paddock (so called because it is a small fenced area...we don't have goats) which is unheard of.

Mr Artist has a passion for all things WW2 and has decided to build an Anderson Shelter at Heartwoods. He spent the entire weekend digging in the rain. He wouldn't accept any help. The wet conditions were ideal for digging.

And ideal for sinking as Mr Actor discovered!

Hope you enjoyed our wet winter adventures.

Til next time, keep on creating!


Jazzy Jack