Category Archives: Homeschooling Days

My Week in Bullet Points

It feels like the term is winding down.  Only one more week until holidays.  Whoohoo!

*This week, we spent a morning at a Trampoline centre, jumping and playing laser tag with friends.  It’s great exercise.

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*We’ve been busy trying to wrap up some written work that I want finished before the end of term.  It’s nice to start a new term with fresh topics and tasks.

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*We’ve also been trying to finish a stack of books before the holidays.  Our favourite is “Albert Schweitzer: Genius in the Jungle”.

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It’s a gem of a book!  If you’ve ever heard a Classic Educator say that they aim to introduce their children to the true, good and beautiful, this is the kind of book a Classical Educator might read to achieve this.  Albert Schweitzer is amazing and the author’s descriptions of Albert’s time and work in Africa is fascinating.  And the language of this old book is just wonderful.  I want to find more books of this caliber and read them all with my children.

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*As always, we’ve been watching all sorts of interesting things in the evenings.  “Greeks, Romans,Vikings” was an excellent overview or introduction to the founders of Europe;  “Jandamarra’s War” introduced us to an historic event we hadn’t even heard of before; and “Burke and Wills” was a movie retelling of these great explorers.  This weekend I need to do some library searching to refill our documentary box.  We are running low.

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*It’s been a big week of nature here.  First, we found this neat paper wasp nest in our letterbox.  We’d previously sprayed the wasps but hadn’t found the nest.  But, this week, a parcel knocked down the nest and it was lying neatly in our letterbox waiting to be collected and observed.  How convenient.  🙂

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Can you see the two emerging adult wasps?  The spray obviously killed them in the act of emerging.  Of course, we grabbed “The Wonderland of Nature” (yes, we still use it from time to time) and read up about paper wasps.  Next week, the nest is off to my niece’s kindie for the show and tell table.

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Another night we spotted this gecko dining on a moth.  In a household of boys, this is a major event that everyone is expected to come and witness.  For all you soft hearts – the moth eventually got away and Mr Gecko had to go hungry.

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Oh and all this rain has bought out so many groovy mushrooms.  There are all different sorts.  We need to get a mushroom guide.

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*Yes, books also arrived at our house this week.  Two for me, one for the boys.  “Different” and “Hidden Girl” are mine to read.  “Augustine” is for the boys.  It’s not as long as I expected it to be though.  It’s clearly for a younger audience.  But, oh well.  We’ll read it anyway.  🙂

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*We also spent an afternoon at the park with friends.  Our kids love this park.  No, not for the playground equipment, although it’s pretty awesome.

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The boys love the bush surrounds with all its little nooks and crannies and interesting things to discover. And it’s what kids need more of – time in nature.  Man-made stuff is great, but God-made stuff is better.  And I’m glad our boys realise it.

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(Don’t my two little men look like twins in those seemingly matching outfits.  From the front they were different.  Honestly.  But my boys often end up looking similar as we don’t care much about clothes.  When we find something appropriate, we just buy two in different sizes so they often end up with the same shoes, hats, shorts and sometime shirts.  The less time and money we spend on clothes, the more money we can spend on books and reading them.  We are book people, not clothes people.)

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*On other interesting news, this week my parents went up to North Queensland to visit my Aunty Debbie in Ayr.  However, it seems that another Debbie, Cyclone Debbie, will be visiting while they are there.  At this point, it’s looking like Ayr will get a direct hit.  Mum and Dad might want to rethink their accommodations.  Staying out at the ‘beach hut’ doesn’t sound like a secure location.   :O

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And now I need to go and deal with this desk.  I feel it might need a little attention…or perhaps a lot.

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My Week in Bullet Points

* This week was a week of birthdays – my birthday and my niece’s birthday.  We gave my niece Lego and, of course, books.

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My niece gave me a handcrafted piece of art that has taken pride of place on my bookshelves.

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* We finished a couple of school books this week.  “The Great South Land” was a fantastic read.  If you are looking for a book about the men who visited Australia before Cook, then this is your book!  It’s intended for adults (but there’s nothing inappropriate in it) and it reads aloud really well.

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We also finished “Zoom”, a book on motion.  We said, “Wow!” so many times in this book.  We also said, “Huh?” quite a number of times.

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* Some books arrived in the mail this week.  (Admittedly, our parcel postie arrives most weeks 🙂 ).  This week we got books about Greece.  We’re reading the Iliad so I thought it was a good time to explore some Greek tangents.

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I also got a book gift from a friend.  I’ve drooled over this book for a long while, even since this friend highly recommended it as their favourite children’s version of ‘Cinderella’.

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The illustrations are gorgeous!

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* Currently I’m (trying to) read “The Bear and the Nightingale”.  At this point I’m not sure if I’ll make it to the end, although I’m so close to the end that I think I’ll have to make myself continue.  I really liked the sounds of this book, after reading the blurb and review, but it has turned out to be something completely different from what I was expecting – it’s much darker.  If I had to name a theme for this book, it would be fear – fear to leave the old beliefs (traditional nature centre beliefs) and fear of not accepting the new beliefs (Russian Orthodox).  Not a book to read at night before bed!

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* Thankfully I can pick a different book to read before bed time.  I picked up this bundle of goodies from the library this week.  Decisions, decisions.  What will I start with?  And how will I finish all of these before they are due back at the library!

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* We’ve been doing some viewing too.  We watched “Hacksaw Ridge” and it was excellent.  It’s not for those with a weak stomach though.  The gory battle scenes are among the worst I’ve seen, but we had to watch it as it was a true story of great faith.  We also finished watching the 6 episodes of, “Civilisation:  Is the West History?”.  And tonight we’ll watch “Gagarin:  First in Space”.

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* We also had book club this week.  We LOVE book club.  We (the mums, obviously) are currently reading “Life Under Compulsion” by Anthony Esolen (everything he writes is wonderful!).

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While the mum’s chat about the book, the kidlings run wild in our beloved bush setting.  This week, the kids had to seek shelter during a quick but heavy downpour so they sat and played a round of Uno.  After the rain, they went out and played in the mud and had a blast.

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Who knows what next week will hold?  Definitely more books!




Mid Term Review

Well, we are plodding along nicely here in Term 1, I think.

Mid-term is a great time to pause and assess your term’s work.

Are you achieving your goals?  At the rate you planned?

Are some subjects being left behind?  And other subjects consuming too much time?

Which things are working and which things simply aren’t?

So I decided to sit down with my diary and records and do a little homeschool diagnostic

to see how well we are progressing.

Here’s what I uncovered:

Mathematics: – We are progressing well, almost finishing up a unit of work each week (we usually do the review the following week and it can take two days).  In order to get through both Math books (our text uses two books a year), we need to be finish half the first text by the end of term 1.  We are 4 units into the 7 units in book one so we are right on schedule, perhaps a little ahead of schedule.  Starting the day with Math instead of reading aloud is currently working for us.  It means Math isn’t hanging over our heads in the afternoon.

English: – Hmmm…in some areas we are going well and in others…well, we need to pick up our game.  Brayden’s English is going really well but Ethan’s is lagging.  We’ve started a new writing program and it’s a bit light on in the early stages so it feels like he’s not doing much (and he’s not because the writing expectations are well below what I’d normally expect).  In literature, we are steaming ahead and reading a translation of Iliad and loving it.  We’re moving forward slowly though and it could take us much of the year to read it but that’s okay.  Handwriting is my big bug bear at present.  I’m raising doctors I tell you.  (If you have young students, knuckle down with the copywork pages.  Don’t wait until they are teens!)  And, to end on a high, their grammar is excellent.  We’re at a point in grammar that is well beyond what I ever learned at school (and I actually learned grammar at school).  We really enjoy grammar, which isn’t something most people can say.

Latin – We are cruising along, completing one unit of work each week.  Sometimes we space that work over a few days, and other times we complete it in one sitting.  I’m happy with one unit a week.  I used to expect Latin work on a daily basis but it just wasn’t achievable with everything else we want to do.

History: – We are off on one big tangent in History.  We ticked off one topic we wanted to explore a little (Irish history) and then got sucked into the fascinating vortex of early Australian maritime exploration.  This was not on my plan but you have to follow where your interests lead you.  My plans will still be there when we climb back out.

Geography: – We are on track for Geography and it looks like we’ll finish up our two current books before the end of term (we finished one from our list, earlier in the term).  One of the current two is an extra we added in when we wanted to know more about Albert Schweitzer.   Geography has also been a big part of History recently.  As we read about the early Dutch sailors who ‘bumped’ into Australia, we’ve been poring over our big Australian map locating the places they mention.  It’s fascinating knowing the reasons behind place names.

Civics: – We are plodding along with Plutarch and our Anne White study guide.  It’s been a lot easier than I expected, but we only nibble away at the reading a couple of times each week.  It’s more enjoyable in small doses (the writing is very dense and heavy).  We’ll probably finish the first life (and hence the study guide) by the end of the term.  I better start ordering the next soon.

Science: – We are spending a lot of time on Science.  The curriculum/guide we attempted to follow has ridiculous expectations.  They were scheduling full sized books to be read in under two weeks, which may do doable for fiction but Physics books take more thought and time.  So I’m using most of their books (I did drop a few) but I’ve abandoned the schedule completely.  We are taking our time and enjoying the journey.  Learning isn’t about filling our kids’ heads with facts, it’s about developing passions and you can’t do that in a hurry.  I do need to be more proactive about hands on activities though.  We tends towards books rather than do activities, which we tend to watch on youtube.

Economics: – Economics.  Oh yeah.  We should be doing that.  I think we’ll do a block of Economics over a couple of weeks and then set it aside again.  It doesn’t really need to happen all of the time, does it?  😦

Technology: – Well, this subject kind of just happens by itself really but we’ve also being reading an engineering book which I’ll admit has been sitting on the shelf more often than we have been reading it.  I need to set a goal to help us move through it (it’s a good book).  The problem is that each chapter requires a hands on task and if I haven’t prepared it, we tend to leave the reading.

The Arts: – We don’t do Art regularly; we dabble and we’re happy with that.  We’ve already completed an art project this term, visited the art gallery and thoroughly explored one artist – Winslow Homer.  I’m perfectly happy.

Socialisation (since everyone else seems so panicked about it): – Overabundant.  We see friends at least twice a week, sometimes three times a week.  We also see cousins and grandparents every couple of weeks.  We’ve been to the art gallery, the trampoline centre and the Hadron Collider exhibition and we’re only in week 6.  (If you are thinking about homeschooling and worried about socialisation – don’t.  Once you make some connections, your biggest struggle will be making sure you are home enough to do work.)

So that’s our term so far.

If I had to rate it out of ten, I think I’d give it a seven and a half, because there is always room for improvement.

How is your term going?



How We Spent Our ‘Not Ready to Start School’ Week

As I said in my last post, we didn’t start school this week.

However, reading aloud always happens around here.

How else can you fill all those hours in a day if you aren’t reading something?!

So our week still looked rather ‘schooly’, which is pretty normal for us.

We simply aren’t normal people.

Anyway, on Monday, we actually went to a real live school.

Yep, true story!

But, there were no kids.

Well, unless you count my two.

We were helping hubby clean and prepare his classroom for the first day of his school.

Then, on Tuesday, we sat down and polished off eight chapters of “Spice and the Devil’s Cave”.

Great book, by the way.

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On Wednesday, we sat together and read through the remaining chapters of

“Around the World in a Hundred Years: From Henry the Navigator to Magellan”.

If you could only read one book about the Age of Exploration,

then, this is the book I would choose.

It’s very well written and contains fairly detailed chapters on the key explorers –

Prince Henry the Navigator, Bartholomew Dias, Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama,

John Cabot, Ferdinand Magellan and others.

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And on Thursday, that’s today, we read Stuart Waldman’s “Magellan’s World”.

This “Great Explorer” series is fantastic.

(We have all except 3 of the books in the series

and this afternoon that number was reduced to 2.)

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Every book in the series is a picture book,

however, the accounts are quite detailed and take a while to read.

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I also loved the fold-out map that we could keep open and in view as we read the account.

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In honour of Australia Day, which is today,

we read a couple of picture books about the First Fleet and the first Australia Day.

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Then, this afternoon, we sat down as a family and watched the documentary,

“Arthur Phillip:  Governor, Sailor, Spy”.

(For my overseas readers, Arthur Phillip was the man in charge of bringing the first colonist/convicts to Australia.

He was also the first governor of our first settlement).

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Gosh the ABC Store has some great documentaries.

I might have to toddle over to their website and see what else they have on offer.

I bought this documentary when their bricks n mortar stores were closing down.

I was one of the only people in the documentary section of the store.

Everyone else was wasting their money on television show merchandise.

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And, tonight, we plan on watching an episode of a documentary about the history of spice.

Tomorrow, will be a social day.

First a trip to the surgeon to remove my stitches,

then a trip to the store to find a birthday present for my youngest niece

(yes, she’s nearly one already!),

and then we’ll spend the afternoon in the park with friends.

All in all, I think it was a pretty good, “Not Ready to Start School” week.


Posted by on January 26, 2017 in Family Life, History, Homeschooling Days, My Library