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Category Archives: Homeschooling Days

A Day in Our Homeschool Life

So what does a homeschooled highschooler’s day look like?

To be honest, it’s a little dull.

In the primary school grades, there were hands on activities galore.

There were lots of excursions and fun projects to do.

But, highschool…well it’s a lot of work.

Don’t get me wrong though.

The highschool years are fascinating.

We’ve learned so much and read the most amazing books.

Anyway, I better get this day moving.

To start with…chores.

I don’t spend my day doing housework, but I quickly do what must be done

and then leave the rest for a less valuable time.

The house can wait, the kids can not.

But rest assured, I have my own little workers I put to good use.

This morning, my boys stripped the bedding from their beds for a wash.

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Have you ever timed how long it actually takes to empty a dishwasher?

In our house, it takes as long as it takes for toast to cook,

so I unpacked the dishwasher while I wait.

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And I filled the waterbottles

because, seemingly, no one else in the house does.

Some things you can teach kids,

and others…well, there are more important things in life.

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After a quick breakfast,

we started in on some reading.

We finished off our current chapter in “Not I, But Christ”

and discussed the purpose of Law in the Bible.

It’s not so we have a list of behavioural guidelines,

but rather a standard by which we can measure ourselves to see how far short our efforts fall.

Without God, we do not measure up.

We need Him

and that’s what the law was trying to show us.

It is also a ‘shadow’ of what Christ is like.

A description so to speak.

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Next up we talked about conscription and national service schemes.

This is a fascinating topic, particularly when you look at Australia’s history.

Did you know that there were two referendums in WW1 asking whether Australia should conscript soldiers to the Western Front?

Both failed but it was a very close race.

Did you also know that Australia had a compulsory universal national service scheme?

(By universal, I mean that all the men had to participate.)

Actually, we’ve had a national service scheme a couple of times.

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We also read a few interesting articles I found.

One was really eye-opening.

Did you know that conscription was being discussed in Parliament in 1999 and 2000?

They wanted to increase army numbers in East Timor.

As always, all of this reading and discussing left us with questions.

Today we had two that we needed answers to.

How large is our current defence force, particularly the army?

Are women permitted in direct combat positions nowadays?

We discovered that our army is just shy of 30 000.

We were shocked at how small it was.

Compare it to the US army.

They have over a million.

And sadly, women are now permitted in direct combat positions.

With this comes repercussions.

When the next conscription rolls around, women will be on equal footing with the men.

Oh joy.  😦

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By now the sheets were ready to hang

and a new load of washing was ready to be put on

so my not so little men found something to do while they waited.

Ethan worked on his PrepL course,

the new online ‘learning to drive’ course.

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We’re loving the new PrepL course.

It forces learners to ACTUALLY READ the road rules

and be competent before getting their Ls.

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Brayden grabbed a book and read while I hung washing.

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With the chores taken care of,

it was Math time.

First, we watched a video that explained the concept of our Math lesson.

I find the videos the night before and use them to better explain the concepts.

Yes, senior Math is tough, particularly the two advanced Maths,

but it’s not impossible.

I mean, we’re expecting our kids to be able to do it,

so surely mothers with 40 to 50 years under their belt can cope.

(Yes, this is my Math mantra.  Hehehe.)

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Today we were working on exponential equations

and learning how to use logarithms to help solve them.

It wasn’t too bad,

although we did come a little unstuck with the way the answer book was factorising the problems in question 3.

I should add that a ‘worked solutions’ book is VITAL for highschool Math.

Not just an answer book but a ‘worked solutions’ book so you can see all of the steps.

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All up, we spent about an hour and a half working on Math,

not including the video.

Yes, that’s my Math exercise book on the table between the boys.

I do Math alongside the boys.

Oh and don’t you LOVE the book holders I got from Ikea.

They are actually ipad stands.

$3 from Ikea.

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I finished my Math before the boys

(this doesn’t often happen)

so I ducked out to the letterbox and checked the mail.

I got a newsletter from Creation Research.

There was a brilliant (scary) article on the current state of Science education.

Listen to this:

“ALL geology students HAD TO choose a NEW dissertation project from either:  Natural Hazards (i.e. earthquakes, volcanoes, etc.) or Past Environmental Change WITH EMPHASIS ON CURRENT CLIMATE CHANGE.  EVEN students of historical geology (fossils etc) MUST connect any study on past climate change to claims of current climate change.”

This poor geology student, who wrote the article, was forced to change his dissertation project

because the university wanted to focus primarily on climate change to the exclusion of everything else.

Grrrr.

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With Math finished,

another load of washing was put in the washer

and the last load hung.

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The boys took their bedding and remade their beds

and then scootered around my house while they waited.

Yes, scooters inside the house.

We have extra wide hallways and the perfect circuit around our kitchen,

which is in the centre of the house.

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Next up was spelling.

Usually, the boys use a program Ethan created to drill their spelling

but, every week or two, I quiz the boys on a new batch of words to see which words have to be added to their drill list.

Yes, I’m still doing spelling in the senior years.

My spelling lists are just a hodge podge of lists I’ve found on the net.

Both boys are using different lists and quizzing them turns me into a crazy person.

I have to say the name of the boy and then his word,

then glance and check the other boy’s word and give him a new word

and back and forth like a ping pong ball.

Since most of the spelling is correct,

(I’m just looking for gaps)

this process happens quickly,

somewhat like Olympic speed ping pong.

After the quiz, the boys had to take their missed words and add them to their spelling program.

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Grammar is done quickly every day at our house.

We’ve been doing it for years and it comes pretty naturally nowadays.

To all those people who think that grammar is pointless…

you are wrong.

Oh and I do grammar alongside my boys as well.

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Another quick task that we do every day is geography reviews.

Today, we were back reviewing the countries of Europe and the states of the US.

Next will be Asia and Africa.

You have to review to keep this stuff in your head.

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While the boys were blitzing through these mini tasks,

I jumped online and bought their first Christmas present of the year.

A new Gigamic game…Squadro.

I’ve been waiting to find this game.

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These games aren’t cheap

(although, when I first discovered them, I found them for about $10-15 each!!),

however they are beautifully crafted wooden game that will last forever.

I love them.

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We have stacks of Gigamic games.

I love these kinds of strategic quick games.

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Back to the washing machine for my last load of the day.

No I don’t wash this much every day.

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Then lunch.

Phew.  A break.

Each person makes their own and gets an hour to do whatever they want.

Me…I checked emails,

I read the news headlines to make sure the world wasn’t going to end tomorrow,

wrote what we’d accomplished in my planner

and mindlessly surfed for while.

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When the timer goes off, it’s back to work.

Next up on the agenda was essay writing.

We aim to complete one essay each fortnight.

Currently, we’re up to the drafting stage of our essay about whether conscription should be used in times of war.

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Essay writing takes a while

and both boys are quite good at it now.

If they hand me a half-hearted effort,

I’m happy for them to repeat it on Saturday.

so they make sure to read it through

and add plenty of flourishes.

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Meanwhile, I vacuumed.

Might as well.

The boys didn’t need me for this task.

And my LG stick vacuum, which is right next to my desk,

makes it super easy to just pick it up and go.

I love this invention!!

Have you seen that they have an attachment head that mops now?!!

I want it so badly,

but apparently they aren’t selling it separately.

Please LG vacuum people.

Make it possible for me to get one of these.

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Next up, I folded the dry washing.

Yes, I’m a KonMari folder.

(Don’t know what KonMari is?  Read “Spark Joy”.)

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Then it was chocolate time!

No, not for the boys!

They were busy working.

Besides, chocolate is only for Mums.

That’s why we sneak it when we’re pretending to be doing important things in the pantry.

Shhh…don’t tell the kids.

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With their essay drafts completed,

we moved onto our favourite part of the day

…read alouds.

On days when we have plenty of time,

I read a little bit from every book in our pile.

On days when we’re squeezed for time,

I simply select a book or two from our pile.

Today we read a couple of chapters from “Isaac the Alchemist”.

You get a really good insight of what Isaac Newton was like in his early years from this book.

It’s fascinating.

We read the chapter about the skeletal system in “Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology”.

Yes, this is an elementary text but we’re using it to quickly and easily fill a gap we’ve found.

We’ve read a lot of books about health and diseases,

but our basic knowledge of the human body could be better.

We did a unit on the human body when the boys were younger,

but it was a long time ago now

and well forgotten.

So we’re blitzing through this book for review.

We read another chapter from “Chew on This”.

This book is horrifyingly good.

Today we read about how fast food restaurants are putting their foods in schools in the US.

The statistics were terrible.

40% of elementary schools sell fast foods from places like McDonalds, Pizza Hut and Burger Kings.

75% of middle schools have it

and 90% of highschools.

Wow!  Just wow!

We also read another chapter from “The Family Romanov”.

This book is GREAT.

Currently, we’re reading about Russia’s involvement in WW1

and their lack of essential supplies.

Their soldiers went without winter coats and boots

and their ammunition were rationed,

if they had a gun at all.

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Finally, we read the first book of “Consolation of Philosophy”.

This was another great read

and not nearly as hard to read and understand as you might think.

Lots of discussion was had about this book.

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And while I read, the boys folded the smalls.

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Yes, it was getting late by the time we wrapped up school for the day.

So I went to start dinner

…only to discover that I was missing a crucial ingredient.

So a quick call to hubby was made to ask him to stop in at the store and bring home a can of tomatoes.

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For dinner, we were having pasta bake; everyone’s favourite.

Imagine the aromas

…garlic, tomatoes, onions, cumin, cinnamon, cheesy white sauce

Made from scratch,

then poured over the pasta and baked in the oven.

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While I waited for the pasta bake to bake,

I tidied the school desk,

which looked like this at the end of the day.

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I also ironed hubby’s work shirt for tomorrow.

I hate ironing.

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And looked over Math for tomorrow.

Then wished that Math was never invented.

Then, in desperation, turned to youtube for a video that explained things to me.

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After dinner,

(yum!)

I edited the boys essays,

read and responded to some emails,

watched an old episode of 911 on 7Plus

and then went to bed and read more of “Monsters of Men”.

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That was our day.

Not the most fascinating day

but not the least fascinating either.

We didn’t cover all subjects,

but we covered a bunch.

“Will your days look like my days?”

No, and they shouldn’t.

Your days should look like your days.

So look for inspiration or comfort in reading about my day.

Or just enjoy the read.

Avoid, at all costs, comparisons.

Every homeschool should be unique

because every homeschool has unique students and teachers.

🙂

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2019 in Homeschooling Days

 

Highschool isn’t to be Feared

Today I thought I’d chat about homeschooling highschoolers,
since I’m just about to graduate my first homeschooled highschooler.
Lots of people worry about homeschooling in the highschool years;
I was one of them, although I tried my best not to think about it too much.
My approach was to think only about the step that was in front of me
and not to let tomorrow’s concerns creep into today.
And this approach seems to have worked.
Here I am with a grade 12 student and a grade 10 student and I’m still sane
…well, mostly.
Actually I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the highschool years
and I’m so thankful that I’ve been able to spare my children from the stress and nonsense
that happens in the senior highschool years at school.
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So, what can I share about homeschooling highschoolers with those coming behind me?
Well, firstly and most importantly, stop worrying.
Work with the day in front of you and enjoy it.
Worrying won’t help at all, unless you’re aiming on going grey early.
Secondly, highschool takes more time so prepare to spend a good chunk of the day working.
If you are able to finish highschol work in half a day, you aren’t doing enough.
When your kids reach the highschool years, their work expectations need to increase.
They need to be reading harder books, writing longer more complex essays and studying more rigorous topics.
That’s just the nature of highschool work.
This is partly why I find it more difficult to blog nowadays.
I have less time and the work that we’re completely isn’t as photogenic,
but I assure you that our days, while not visually interesting, are mentally interesting.
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Now, for the most common question, “How do I teach all of those senior subjects?
There are two parts to my answer.
Firstly, you don’t have to teach all of those difficult subjects if you can’t or don’t wish to.
There are so many resources to help homeschoolers.
Online classes, tutors, dvd courses and more.
Secondly, my own approach has been to work alongside my children, especially for Math.
It’s been a long time since I studied senior Math subjects
so I’d really struggle to teach or help my boys if I wasn’t in the midst of it with them.
I look over the exercise beforehand and I also use youtube videos to help me understand and teach new topics.
Then I sit beside my boys and actually complete the exercises alongside them.
Yes, I have my own exercise book!
Its great for my brain and it means that I can easily help my boys when they struggle
(and they can help me too!)
I work alongside my boys for a number of subjects.
This is probably where I’m very different to most homeschoolers.
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It’s common for homeschooled highschoolers to be given their textbooks and a schedule
and be sent to their rooms to teach themselves using their materials.
The idea is that this approach encourages independent learning hence self-education.
Those things are great, however, I have a different priority at this stage in the learning process – mentorship.
A mentorship is a relationship where a more knowledgeable and experienced person
guides or teaches a lesser knowledgeable and experienced person.
I think a mentor, or a teacher, better educates a student than self-education,
particularly at this stage in life.
Not to undervalue independent learning, however, if I have a choice, and I do, I’d want someone to teach me.
Consider having to build a car from scratch. Which would you prefer?
Having an teacher guide and instruct you or teaching yourself with a textbook?
I know which I would choose for myself, so I want my children to have that same advantage.
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Having someone to guide and instruct them, also gives them someone to discuss and converse with.
Dialogue is a vital component of learning.
Explaining, questioning, elaborating, debating – these are all part of a good education.
Highschool is also a time when our children need people around them.
It is not a good time for them to be alone.
They crave social interaction so spend time doing things with them
and make sure they have plenty of time with their friends.
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Another thing I don’t do that other homeschoolers may do is narrow our subject selection in the senior years.
In school, students select a narrowing number of subjects as they get older.
The reason for this is that senior subjects are seen as the first step towards their future job or career.
The subjects they won’t use in their future jobs are ‘dropped’ in favour of ‘more useful’ subjects.
In my homeschool, we don’t narrow the subject focus because we view education differently to schools
If a subject was worthy of study in the beginning, it doesn’t lose it’s worthiness
simply because it won’t be used in future careers.
Education is for life, not merely a job, so we’re still studying all manner of things.
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But if you are going to narrow your subjects,
I’d advise you to keep Math and English (particularly essay writing).
You’d be surprised how many university courses have at least one Math subject as a prerequisite;
courses you wouldn’t think were Math related in any way.
And the universities we have looked at have all had English as a prerequisite for every one of their courses.
So keep working hard on those essay writing skills.  They really do matter.
Oh and encourage your highschoolers to read, to read a lot.
(Dvds and podcasts are a poor substitute for books.)
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What else can I share with you?  Feel free to ask questions.  I’m just throwing out thoughts of my own here.
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I think the most important thing I can say, aside from don’t worry,
is don’t change your homeschooling to suit your tertiary goals…unless you want to.
You don’t need to send your kids to schools or distance education programs
to get them official paperwork or rankings.
You don’t need to rush them into courses and Tafe certificates to fulfill university prerequisites
…unless you can’t wait.
There is no need to change the great education you were providing your children
before the fears of highschool hit.
There is time to finish giving your kids the education that you dreamed of when you first started homeschooling.
Don’t let irrational highschool fears steal the final years from your child.
Enjoy those years of homeschooling your highschooler
…and there’s plenty to enjoy, especially the great books and discussions.
But most importantly,
let your highschooler enjoy their final homeschool years.
They can’t get them back once they are gone.
🙂

 

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Posted by on June 11, 2019 in Homeschooling Days

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.)

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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”)

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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.)

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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.

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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.)

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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

 

First School Week of 2019

Well, week one of the homeschool year is complete.

We survived.

No one was particularly keen, myself included.

Holidaying is much more fun.

Plus, the end of this year is the end of homeschooling for Ethan.

So, if we don’t start the school year, then we can’t finish it.

That sounds logical, doesn’t it?

Nope?

Well, we did manage to drag ourselves to our books,

so the year has started.

This week there has been plenty of great reading.

Reading is always our favourite part of the school day.

No, I don’t send my kids away to read through a pile of books by themselves.

Sure, that’s fine,

but, in our house,

we prefer to read aloud and share what we are learning.

This way we have shared learning and experiences and can discuss it.

In History, we are reading about Theodore Roosevelt.

I find the man fascinating

and his character is to be admired.

Franklin Roosevelt, his distant cousin,

said Theodore was ‘the greatest man he ever knew’.

Did you know that Eleanor Roosevelt

was Theodore’s niece (his brother’s daughter)?

Franklin was a distant cousin to both.

The book we are reading is by Albert Marrin,

one of my favourite authors.

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We also read a book called “Kids at Work”.

I’ve had this book on the shelf for ages

and we finally got around to reading it.

The photos in this book are by the famous photographer, Lewis Hine,

who showed the world the reality of child labour.

The photos are haunting.

To see such young children working at dangerous jobs

for long periods and for so little money.

Children as young as five!!

It was a tough book but a necessary one.

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We also started two literature titles this week.

We began reading Frankenstein and the Aeneid.

Well, we haven’t launched into the ‘real’ Aeneid just yet.

We always start with a children’s version of tougher books,

so, this week, we are reading Penelope Lively’s “In Search of a Homeland”.

Straight away the boys noticed the changed in the names of the gods and goddesses.

In previous years, we read the Iliad and the Odyssey,

so we are used to the Greek version of the names.

Now we have to switch to the Roman names.

I’m going to get one of the boys to make us a name comparison poster,

so we can refer to it as we listen.

I can’t keep all my Roman gods straight in my mind.

Oh and I won’t be reading the ‘real’ Aeneid.

We’ll be listening to an audio version of the story.

Just reading the children’s version, I’m massacring all of the names.

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No, we’re not using a children’s version of Frankenstein.

These sorts of classics don’t really need a simplified version.

Well, not if you are used to classic books.

Sure, the language is tough,

especially when you dive into the first few pages,

but the storyline is relatively straight forward.

Well, it is so far.

I haven’t read Frankenstein before so I’m looking forward to this book.

I’ve also ordered a book about the author, Mary Shelley.

From what I understand, the story of the creation of “Frankenstein” is rather interesting,

however, Shelley’s life is rather a sad one.

The book I ordered was “Mary Shelley:  The Strange True Tale of Frankenstein’s Creator”.

Having checked out Common Sense Media,

I’ll be avoiding the Mary Shelley dvd like the plague.

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We also began reading the Tuttle Twin books.

I only just heard of these late last year

and HAD to read them

(mostly for my own curiosity).

They are way too young for my boys,

however, if the content is good and could spark discussion,

age recommendations never worry me.

The first book, “The Tuttle Twins Learn About the Law”

took us only a few minutes to read

and each book is the same length

so the books won’t take much time away from our other reading.

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Plus, I plan for the books to be launching points.

This first book leads naturally into reading Bastiat’s book, “The Law”,

a book perfectly suited to my students.

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We’re also reading, “Uncle Eric Talks About Personal, Career, and Financial Security”.

We love the Uncle Eric series by Richard Maybury.

We plan on reading them all.

These books also spark conversation!

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In Science we are finishing off a book we started last year,

“What Einstein Told His Barber”.

It’s a ‘popular science’ book that answers all manner of questions

and it’s great as a launching point for different directions of study,

which is why it’s taking so long to finish the book.

We also make notes about our learning in a notebook.

We made several new entries this week.

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We also returned to reading “Art of Argument”.

I’ve done a terrible job at teaching logic.

It’s the subject that is always forgotten

and set aside.

So this year we are going to attack it with gusto.

This week, we reread this book from the start

and even worked through a few new chapters.

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Logic is so important.

In a world without logic, you must use power and threats to win arguments.

In that world, people aren’t pursuing the Truth,

but merely desiring to win,

while embracing or ignoring their ignorance.

So, this year, we WILL study Logic.

Oh, I can’t help myself.

I have to add a great related quote I read this week.

“Be careful that you’re fighting for the right cause.”

I snorted.  “What, for the Igniters?”

“No.  Don’t fight for the Igniters.  Don’t fight for the Keepers.”

I pressed both hands against one of the house walls, taking a deep breath.  “Shouldn’t I fight for what I believe in?”

“It’s not as simple as that.  Fighting for what you believe in is too subjective.”

I raised my head to meet her eyes.

“We need to fight for truth.  Your beliefs can be misguided.”

“So can yours,” I ground out, defensive, though I wasn’t sure why.  Hadn’t I been thinking the same thing before she entered the alley?

“Exactly.  Both Igniters and Keepers and people in between fight for their own agendas…instead of being willing to discuss and seek what’s right.”

I tried not to sneer.  “Do you really think there’s some ultimate truth out there?”

She laughed.  “Of course there is!  It is the foundation of morals and justice.  A foundation of truth represents what life was intended to be.”

(p267.  “Fawkes” by Nadine Brandes)

“Fawkes” is a brilliant book by a brilliant author.

Yes, she’s a Christian author,

but I love that she doesn’t moralise in her book.

Faith is an integral part of her writing,

but it’s not lathered on thickly as decoration,

which is so often the case in Christian fiction.

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Anyway, back to our school week.

Each school day, the boys reviewed the states of the US

and the countries of Europe using Seterra.

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The boys also worked on Latin using Picta Dicta.

Picta Dicta has been great for building their vocabulary skills,

to go with all the Latin grammar they know.

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They also worked on grammar each day, parsing four sentences a day.

It’s pretty second nature to us now

and we actually enjoy it.

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The boys also worked on their spelling.

It’s an area where they need some refining and tweaking

so it’s going to be a big focus this year.

The first essay of the year was also started.

As you know, we don’t use textbooks for content areas, like History for example.

Instead, the boys write essay to relate what they have learned or are thinking.

Since it’s the start of the year,

I had to select a non-book topic.

So the boys will be writing about whether we should celebrate Australia Day on the 26th January.

Using the Lost Tools of Writing, the boys have to research and address both sides of the argument

and that’s what they did this week.

They also gathered their arguments together and selected a viewpoint to defend,

and then wrote a detailed outline of their essay.

Next week, they’ll draft the essay.

It generally takes two weeks to complete an essay

when you include all of the steps.

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Yes, we did some Math too.

Yes, there’s a hint of reluctance in my voice.

We are still finishing off our year 11 text

so we had to dive right into a tough chapter

with no warm up period.

My head hurts just recalling it.

But we blitzed through two exercises a day!

The online worked solution book disappears from our account in April

and we have several chapters to finish before then,

so it’s full steam ahead.

Why are we still working on last year’s text?

Well, lots of people are happy with

the ‘you don’t have to do everything’ approach

or the ‘do every second question’ type of thing,

but that’s not us.

Seeing how the exercises are carefully planned

to guide your learning,

it just doesn’t sit well with us to be skipping things.

So, we often don’t finish a whole textbook in ONE year,

but we ALWAYS finish a WHOLE textbook.

At the rate we worked this past week,

we should be on schedule to finish this book this term.

I’m happy with that.

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What else did we do?

Well the boys read independently each day.

That’s a requirement.

In the car, we also listened to several hours of our latest audio story,

“1493: From Columbus’ Voyage to Globalisation”.

It’s a fascinating book.

Did you realise that slavery in the US was heavily influenced by malaria?!

While slaves from Africa were a lot more expensive than indentured servants from Britain,

the indentured servants (and colonists) more often died from malaria,

so the extra expense in the short term became a better investment in the long run.

We just listened to the chapter on sugar plantations

and it’s already inspired a learning tangent.

We want to learn more about Queensland’s history of kanaka labour in our sugar cane plantations.

I will have to see if I can find a book or documentary.

Yes, there was some socialising this week too.

Non-homeschoolers are always worried about our social life.

Well, we went to a friend’s place and played boardgames all afternoon

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and we also went to the park with different friends for an afternoon.

Oh and on the weekend we went to my niece’s third birthday party.

So that’s plenty of socialising.

That wraps up our first week of school for the year.

If anyone is wondering, there are 54 sleeps until the next lot of holidays,

but who’s counting.

🙂

 

 
2 Comments

Posted by on February 9, 2019 in Homeschooling Days