Category Archives: Family Life


Identification documents are something that homeschoolers probably haven’t thought too much about

…but they should, particularly if they have teenagers.

Recently, Ethan needed a number of different IDs to apply for several things.

But he hasn’t had the right identification and it’s created no end of hassles,

particularly for those things that were time sensitive.

So, here’s a list of things I’ve recently learned about identification (for Australians),

from our own situation and those around us.

* A lot of ID applications can take anywhere from two weeks to one month to process so allow plenty of time.

* Make sure that everyone in the family has a FULL birth certifcate.  Extracts are rarely accepted.

* Passports, while expensive, are great identification and you can get them for your children without the child needing a bunch of ID, other than their birth certificate.

* Even if your child isn’t interested in learning to drive at 16, urge them to get their learner’s license anyway.  It’s really good ID.

* If your teen doesn’t have the right ID (especially something with a signature and address) when applying for a Learner’s license, they’ll have to fill in a form and get someone like your family doctor to state that they are who they say they are.  This takes time.

* Bank cards and statements are also good ID so get your teens to open accounts once they can do it in their own name.  Accounts opened when they were babies and small children generally won’t work as ID.  They need to have a bank card with a signature.

* Apply for a Tax File Number WELL before your teens might need it.  They’ll need it when applying for jobs and also when they are applying for government loans for TAFE and Uni study.  It takes a whole month to get one so plan ahead.

* Oh and get your teens to practise the signature they are going to use on their ID.  Don’t spring it on them at the counter of a government department.

The best advice I can give is to plan ahead.  Look at what might be coming up and see if your teens have the ID that they might need.  If they don’t, start making appointments and applying now.  It’ll save you a lot of hassle in the long run.


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Posted by on July 7, 2019 in Family Life


The Drawbacks of a Motorway

Where we live, everywhere we go requires us to get onto an 8 lane motorway (4 lanes in each direction).

Ordinarily, I quite like motorway driving.

You set your cruise control to 110km/h (about 68mph) and off you go, with a good audio book of course.

However, regular motorway driving has its drawbacks…and those drawback are big.

One:  If you have to drive on it during the peak hour rush, it’s going to take you twice as long as normal.

Two:  If there’s an accident on the motorway, who knows how long you’ll be crawling along in traffic or just plain stopped for hours.

(This is why we always take a bottle of water with us in the car and we always go to the bathroom before we leave home.)

Three: You have share the motorway with all different drivers and their vehicles of choice

– the hoons, the trucks, the ‘way past their used by date’ vehicles, the people who never check their blind spots before changing lanes

and the drivers who clearly got their licenses off the side of a Cornflake box.

Because of these people, it pays to be very alert when driving on the motorway.

And Four (my least favourite thing): Missiles!

What do I mean by missiles?

Flying objects from other people’s vehicles.

Most people have experience rocks flung out of trucks or dirty tyres.

But have you ever experienced large empty water fountain bottles flying off the back of a truck and bouncing like bouncy balls all over the motorway?

I have.

What about a ladder flying off the back of a ute?

Yep, I’ve experienced that too.

How about a plastic paint sheet wafting here and there and flinging itself across your windshield?

Yep, I’ve been there too.

Oh and I’ve lost count of the debris on the highway that I’ve had to manuevre around or over, all the while doing 110km/h.

Sometimes you don’t even know what it is until it slices open your wheel (or wheels if you are extra unlucky).

Been there, done that too.

But today, I have a new missile to add to my list.

A metal or wooden rod about 80cm long and 10cm in diameter!

(I could be over or under estimating the missile.  It’s hard to tell in a split second as it flies towards your car.)

It flew out from under the ute in front of me and, before I had time to react, hit the front bumper and light panel of my car.

Then it bounced off my car and hit a couple of cars beside me.

I may have said a naughty word but it scared me half to death.

In the time I saw the object, it was hitting us.

I don’t know if it fly off one of the two utes in front of us or was debris on the road that got flicked up when someone else ran over it.

Thankfully, the damage isn’t too awful but it will have to be repaired.


It’s scratched up panels around the lights,


grazed and chunked a little piece out of the plastic light covers

(thankfully the lights all still work!)


and, when we looked closer, it’s also snapped a chunk out of the headlight housing plastic.


In hindsight, I’m thankful that the object was flying low and not up towards the windscreen.

That might have been a totally different story, I wouldn’t ever get to tell.

Ah, the joys of living near a major motorway and having to use it most days.


Off to call a panel and paint man.

There’s a LOT of them along the motorway.


Posted by on June 10, 2019 in Bits and Pieces, Family Life


What We Have Been Up To

I know.  I’ve been really slack at blogging this year and I have no excuses.

So how about an update to smooth things over.

Well, we’re into the second half of the second term of the year

and we are cruising along nicely.

Our days are a rhythm of Math, essay writing, reading and other smaller bips and bops.

For Math, we are using “Mathematics for Australia” which is published by Haese.


Both boys have been doing Mathematical Methods, which is Math B I believe (or Math 1 if you’re old like me).

We’ve only just finished the year 11 book, half a year late, but it’s because we do every single problem in the book.

None of that ‘do every second problem’ type of thing happening in this house.

Just this week we started the year 12 book.  Thankfully it’s a much shorter book,

but I still anticipate that we’ll be working on at least some of it at the beginning of next year.

I don’t have a problem with that.

Once we’ve finished with Mathematical Metholds, we’ll start year 11 Specialist Math (aka Math C or Math 2)

(If you have no idea about what senior Math levels are called in each state, here’s a good overview.)

Essay writing is usually next in our day.  We churn out an essay every fortnight.


The first week, we work on the ideas and outline, which Lost Tool of Writing called the Invention and Arrangement stages.

The second week, we draft the essay and refine it.

We’ve written about all different things this year, usually tied to what we are reading or thinking about.

I’d tell you the titles of the boys’ essays…if my entire harddrive hadn’t been fritzed by an exploding power supply.


Yes, we’ve lost all of those essays, and all of the previous years’ essays, work, plans and reports.

Plus ebooks, audios, and every file on my computer.

Everything disappeared EXCEPT my photos.

Moral of the story:  Have a very good back up system that you actually use.

We do…now.

Since there’s nothing to do except move on and enjoy the emptiness of my new computer,

I’ve done that.

I could spend a couple of thousand dollars paying experts to retrieve the data,

but I’d prefer to spend that kind of money on books.


So, in the last few weeks we’ve built three new computers.

Yes, it’s been a very bad time for technology in our house and we still have another device that needs replacing.

But new computers are exciting, right?

New computers with all of your old files would be nicer, but you can’t have everything you want in life.

Sigh.  😦

Of course, there’s been a LOT of reading happening in our life.

If we aren’t reading, then we probably aren’t breathing either.


For school we’ve read stacks as usually.

Here’s a few of our favourites:

*Red Scarf Girl (which combined wonderfully with Albert Marrin’s “Mao Tse-Tung” biography)

*The Aeneid (combined with Roman Road’s Media Old Western Cultures’ lectures by Wes Calihan)

*Frankenstein (we LOVED this book!!  Did you know that Frankenstein is NOT the monster?!)

*Gulag Archipelego (although we’re still working our way through this one)

*Albert Marrin’s “Black Gold” (it’s a book about oil, but it’s fascinating)

*Scarlet Letter (Oh my, you MUST read this and then read the commentary book by Leland Ryken. So good!)

*Not I, But Christ (still working on this one, but it’s another must read.  This is my fourth read!)

*Candace Fleming’s “The Family Romanov” (fascinating period of history and I don’t feel as sorry for the family, now that I’ve got to know them)

*Chew on This (don’t read this book if you ever want to enjoy fast food again)

*Same Kind of Different as Me (This is one of my new favourite books.  We listened on audio and LOVED it.)


Myself, I’ve also been busy reading.  I mean…of course!!

My favourites have been all of Nadine Brandes books (I still have her most recent publication to read once we’ve finished “The Family Romanov”)


I’ve also enjoyed the Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness.  (I’m currently working on the last book in the series.)

I bought “The Book Thieves” when I was in Melbourne for my newest niece’s baptism.

(Yes, I might have intentionally booked a hotel that was a stone’s throw from a book store.)


The book is non-fiction and describes the theft of books during WW2 as being far more prevalent than the destruction of books.

“360 Degrees Longitude” was a great travel read.  I highly recommend this one.  It would be a great geography read for the kids as well.

“Teacher:  One Woman’s Struggle to Keep the Heart in Teaching” was brilliant.  All teachers (and government departments that look after education) should read it.

And I’ve recently just finished “Marilla of Green Gables”.

If you are an Anne fan, you’ll probably love “Marillia of Green Gables”.  I found it delightful.


Hmmm…what else have we been up to?

Well there’s been plenty of socialising.  (I know that may come as a shock to those who don’t know any real life homeschoolers.)

We’ve been to friends’ places and we’re often at the park with friends.

We’ve been to the theatre a couple of times already this year.

We saw “Fantastic Mr Fox” with my nieces.  (It was a birhtday gift to the girls from us and they LOVED it.)

Fantastic Mr Fox

We also saw “Junk” by the Flying Fruit Fly Circus.  That was brilliant!

We’ve recently been to the Orchestra for the educational program called “Lights, Camera, Action”.

It was one of the best orchestra programs we’ve encountered.

It was all about how music is used in the movies to evoke feelings and impressions.

We also attended the World Science Festival.

Oh and I’ve spent lots of time working out the details of Ethan’s tertiary studies next year.

This is his final homeschool year.  Yes, I know, where did the years go?!

As well as school, he’s been volunteering at a bricks and mortar school helping with tech support.

After school, he helps out with a computer programming class and has done so for a number of years now.

Anyway, next year Ethan will begin a Tafe Diploma.

For homeschoolers, Tafe seems to be one of the easiest ways to get an official ranking for university entrance.

(Homeschoolers, who don’t do distance education, get no official recognition of their work, even when they register with the government.)

Ethan’s Diploma will give him a great ATAR/OP ranking and then he’ll be able to apply to study Bachelor of Computer Science at university.

So homeschoolers who are wondering how on earth you’ll get your children into uni, don’t waste another moment worrying about it.

I am finding the process so much easier than I ever expected.

Next year will be odd though.  I’ll only be homeschooling one child.

That will feel very strange.

Anyway, that probably wraps up the past term and a half.

In future, I’ll try harder to make my blog posts more frequent.

I can’t promise anything but I will try harder.

Oh, before I go.  Check out my latest book purchase.

“Radiant Girl” – It’s about the Chernobyl disaster, which will make for an interesting read,

but, secretly, I think I bought the book for its cover.

I love Russian dolls.



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Posted by on June 9, 2019 in Family Life, Homeschooling Days


Zoodoo Wildlife Park

After our visit to Richmond Gaol,

we headed over to Zoodoo Wildlife Park,

which is also in Richmond.

(I told you…for a little village, there’s stacks to do in Richmond.)

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Now, Zoodoo isn’t a huge zoo.

It’s a privately owned attraction

and it’s a little rough around the edges,

but it’s got a lot of character

which we quite enjoyed.

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Our favourite experience, by far, was the safari bus ride.

We got into an open-style bus,

armed with a cup of plant-based food,

and headed off for the back paddocks.

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…where we met the emus!!

It was rather wild and chaotic

but hilariously funny.

Next, we stopped and visited the zebras

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where we got to pat them.

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Have you ever patted a zebra?

We can say we have.

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Finally, we stopped and visited the camels.

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We got up close and personal

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with this camel.

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Like…REALLY close.

You don’t realise how big they are

until they’ve got their face in your face.

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This was such a cool experience!!

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Leaving the camels, zebras and emus,

we headed back.

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Isn’t the property just beautiful?!

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The things you see in your photos AFTER you take the photo.


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After the bus tour,

we were led to the lion enclosure

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to feed a lion.

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Yes, FEED a lion.

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Armed with tongs,

people could line up

and hand feed a lion.

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No, we weren’t lining up for that activity!!

We like our fingers.

Just being this close to a roaring hungry lion was enough to impress us.

There were plenty of other animals at Zoodoo

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but the main reason for our visit to Zoodoo

was to see the Tasmanian Devils.

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We love Tassie Devils.

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These little critters have so much character.

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How could you not love them.

Just look at this little face!!

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While we only spent a little while at Zoodoo,

it was a fun few hours

that perfectly wrapped up our day in Richmond.