Category Archives: Homeschooling Days

Another Fortnight

Two more weeks have flown past and now it’s the holidays.

As usual, we have been doing school.

(Yes, our ‘school’ photos are usually of Math.

That’s when they look the most studious and when I think to take a photo.)

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Check out this groovy little stand I got from Ikea.

I absolutely love it.

It cost less than two bucks.

We’ve been using it for everything.

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Brace yourself – this is year eleven Math.

Doesn’t it make your head hurt just looking at it.

Mine too.

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We’ve been on a bit of a Winston Churchill spree recently.

These are only a couple of the books and dvds we’ve used.

What a fascinating man.

If you haven’t learned about him, you should.

I learned absolutely nothing about him when I was at school.

I wonder if learning about Churchill is scheduled in the Australian National Curriculum.

I doubt it.

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As I’ve read aloud to the boys,

Brayden has been dabbling with the Fractiles.

These are just a few of his creations.


This is my favourite.

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One of my nieces turned 5 this past fortnight.

Gosh little people grow fast.

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She was delighted with the size of our gift.

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It wasn’t full to the brim…it simply had a lot of little gifts at the bottom

and they happened to arrive in the post in this giant box.

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Last week we spent two mornings at the World Science Festival.

The first morning we attended the “Cool Jobs” lecture

and the second morning we attended “MathMagic” by Dr Arthur Benjamin.

MathMagic was excellent.

(Check out Dr Arthur Benjamin on youtube.)


During the festival, the Science Centre

(what remains open of it during their renovations)

was free so we also popped in there for a quick visit.


All in all, it has been a very busy fortnight.

But, now, it’s the Easter holidays.

Happy Easter everyone.

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Posted by on April 1, 2018 in Homeschooling Days


More School Updates

We have had some rather busy weeks here.

Our biggest event was our termite inspection.

Our guy likes all the furniture pulled away from walls

and all the stuff pulled out of cupboards to expose the skirting boards.

It’s a huge job but it’s a great opportunity to do some decluttering.

So that’s where a huge chunk of our last fortnight went.

(Thankfully, he found no termites.  Whoohoo!)


Of course, school has happened around all this mess.

Every morning we spent a few hours on Math.

Year 11 Math takes a long time.

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And an expensive calculator!!

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After Math we did some grammar, Latin, spelling and worked on our current essay.

We always have an essay on the go.

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By then the postie has usually been so it’s reading time.

Okay, he doesn’t come every day (that’s a shame!)

and he rarely brings big piles like this,

but, when he does, it’s lovely.


In the past fortnight, the postie bought this lovely book on Abel Tasman.

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I bought it primarily for the illustrations.

Just look at them.

It was a good read too.

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We also got this little Anzac title.

I’m always adding to our Anzac book collection.

This book also become the subject matter for their most recent essay.

Picture books aren’t just for the little guys!

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We also read this lovely newly published book, “The Chinese Emperor’s New Clothes”.

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And a lovely friend sent me several book gifts –

“Twelve Kinds of Ice”, “Roxaboxen” and “Miss Dorothy and her Bookmobile”.

My book friend knows my tastes so well.


And from the library, we read “Ten Pound Pom”.


I highly recommend this book.

It’s an interesting historical read.


As you can tell, I’m very partial to children’s picture books.

But never fret, they are always additions to our school reading.

The core of our reading is always big people books.

Here’s our current reading basket.

(Actually, we’ve already finished that Louisiana Purchase book.

I need to move it back to the bookshelves.)


In the evenings, our documentaries have had a Russian flavour.

We’ve been working through the “Peter the Great” miniseries.

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And, yes, we pulled out a picture book from our shelves for a quick review of Peter the Great.

Picture books are much lovelier than a paragraph from a dull textbook.

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We also watched “The Way Back” which is about a group of people escaping a Russian gulag.

It’s based on a true story and quite inspiring.

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Recently, we’ve been watching a little family of curlews.

The mother and father bird nested in a friend’s front yard

so each week, when we’ve visited, we’ve checked up on the little bird family.

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Check out the way the curlew bird sits.

Their ‘knees’ bend forwards when they sit!

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But, our whole life isn’t bookwork, books and birds.

Recently, we headed to a friend’s place for a computer processing workshop.


My computer boy was in techie heaven.


Actually, all of the boys loved the workshop.


Dr Karstan Schulz presented the workshop

to demonstrate his product, the B4 Learning System.


We were all, parents included, incredibly impressed with the product,

the presentation and Dr Schulz.


I’m very very tempted to purchase further kits to work through.

Hmmm…whose birthday is next?


This past week, we also headed to the orchestra to hear some Mendelssohn and Brucker.


And almost every week ends up in a park somewhere.

This week we explored a new park and I believe it may become a new favourite.


Outside of school hours and playing mum’s taxi,

I’ve been busying reading, “Saving Leonardo” and “How Should We Then Live”.

“How Should We Then Live” is touted as an excellent read

but, to be honest, “Saving Leonardo” is so much better.

Toss Schaeffer and keep Pearcey, I say.

You must read “Saving Leonardo”!

It’s all about worldviews and it’s brilliant.


Speaking of books and book spaces,

(Do I ever speak of anything else?!),

I bought myself a new little bookshelf recently.

We have all of these delicious books that we want to read

 sitting on my desk cluttering up our work space.

I didn’t want to put them away in the bigger bookshelves

because they’d be forgotten and overlooked before we got a chance to read them,

so I bought them their own little shelf.

I suppose you could call it the ‘to be read’ shelf.

Yes, some people have a pile, but we have a whole shelf.


Finally, we had a some birthday cake with friends this week.

Lauren, Miss 15, baked this cake for me.

She bakes me something every year.

Yes, she’s that sweet.

And this was her birthday surprise this year – a cupcake.

It tasted as good as it looks.


Tomorrow, for my actual birthday, I have a dishwasher installer man

coming to bring me my birthday present – a new dishwasher.

I haven’t had a dishwasher in years and years.

So, for my birthday, you now know what I won’t be doing…

washing dishes,

ever ever again!


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Posted by on March 11, 2018 in Homeschooling Days


What We Achieved This Week

Okay, well we are still warming up to full speed, but here’s what we achieved in week two…

Monday –

In Math, we completed the first review on linear relationships, inverse proportion, reciprocal functions and rational functions (after only one week of Math, we had already filled a WHOLE graph pad and needed a new one)

Reviewed Math facts (you can never review Math facts too much)

Diagrammed the structure of four sentences (looking at objective complements)

Completed a few lines of copywork

Completed the ANI chart (from Lost Tools of Writing – it’s the thinking/planning stage of an essay) of an essay about whether the Emperor should wear the new clothes or not.

Read independently (must be done every day if they hope to get anywhere near an electronic device)

Chanted through the states of the US as I pointed to the map (we have a giant homemade made of the US states on the wall in our front entry hallway)

Listened to three chapters of “Around the World in 80 Days” and orally narrated them

Read aloud several chapters of a book about the ‘Louisiana Purchase’ (it’s a Landmark book; they are brilliant!) and wrote a narration about what was learned

Read several entries from “What Einstein Told His Barber” about friction, traction, and tyres; learned how to judge if a tyre is bald (checked our tyres), why vehicles need tread and how smooth tyres perform on race cars – orally narrating all of it

Listened to an hour of the audio, “Jasper Jones” (reader beware; this is not a book for everyone) as we drove Ethan to school to help out in a computer coding class

Did some errands and then came home for more independent reading

Tuesday –

In Math, we completed review two on the same topics

Reviewed Math facts and completed a mental math exercise

Diagrammed four more sentences

Completed some copywork

Created the outline (using the Lost Tools of Writing curriculum) for their essay focused on why the Emperor should NOT have worn the ‘new clothes’

Read independently

Reviewed the states of the US (they always forget poor old Maryland)

Read a section from “Prisoners of Geography” (we are reading about Russia and NATO; excellent book); orally narrated

Read another few chapters from our Louisiana Purchase book and added to their written narration on this book

Read, discussed and narrated our Plutarch reading about Marcus Cato

Read a section of Charlotte Mason’s “Ourselves” (I hope this book improves)

Completed a Latin lesson (and decided to switch Latin programs for one of the boys)

(My voice was struggling with read alouds this day.  It takes a little while to get it back into the swing of long read aloud sessions.)

Wednesday –

Began a new Math chapter about quadratic functions

Reviewed Math facts and did a mental Math exercise

Had to look up ‘triangular numbers’ and played with the idea for a while

Diagrammed four more sentences; this time focusing on coordinating conjunctions

Completed some copywork

Began their Emperor’s new clothes essay draft

Read independently

Reviewed the states of the US

Read a chapter from “Book of Marvels” about the Golden Gate Bridge (had to pull out our San Francisco holiday photos and reminisce)

Read more of “Prisoners of Geography”

Read more chapters of our Louisiana Purchase book and the boys added to their written narrations

Read sections of “Science Matters” (reading about gravity, Galileo and Newton)

Read about Jan Van Eyck, “Arnolfini Marriage” from “What Paintings Say”; each boy held their own copy of the painting so they could observe as I read

Explored information about the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games (looked at the history of the games, participating countries, the symbolism within the baton construction, the baton relay and its current gps location, and the games mascot and his features

Both boys completed a lesson of Latin

Thursday –

Completed another Math lesson about quadratic functions

Finished their Emperor’s New Clothes essay and edited it

Read independently

Read a chapter/book of the Odyssey and orally narrated it (this reading took forever!)

Read a chapter from a devotional book (it was about ‘hearing’ the voice of God)

Read more from “Science Matters”; it focused on the scientific method

Listen to an hour of “Jasper Jones” as we drove to a friend’s place to chat and play board games

Went to the library and did the weekly grocery shopping (nope, no online groceries shopping for us; we want our children to know how to shop and fend for themselves one day)

Friday –

Spent the little time we had in the morning, reading independently

Listened to just under two hours of “Jasper Jones” as we drove to our afternoon activity

Spent the afternoon at a park with a bunch of teen boys running around like wild things getting some socialisation and exercise



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Posted by on February 11, 2018 in Homeschooling Days


First Week

This is our eleventh year of official homeschooling.

Well twelfth or thirteenth if you count the preschool homeschooling years.

Or seventeenth year if you start the homeschooling count from birth.

So there’s not as much fanfare about the start of a new school year anymore.

You just open the books and get started.

The books we chose to open first were our new Math books.

We’ve finished the Singapore Math series so we’re starting on a school text.

I was a bit worried about the changeover as school texts aren’t as supportive of parent tutors,

so I spent ages on the weekend going through the Math, making sure I understand the week’s lessons.

But when we opened the books and started the exercises, it was simple.

Despite being a publisher known for high standards, it’s got nothing on Singapore Math.

We simply had to plug and apply the new learning.

There was hardly any stretch and strain for our brains like we are used to with Singapore.

And the whole exercise was finished in less than 90 minutes.

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Because I was expecting a lot more adjustment with our Math text,

we didn’t dive fully into the language component of our curriculum this week.

We just slid back into some sentence diagramming, copywork, Logic and written narrations.

We’ll add essay writing and Latin next week.

However, we did dive head first into a big box of fabulous books

…of course.

(I’m also trying to improve our narrating habits this year.

And Karen Glass’ latest book will help a lot with that.)


We also worked through a number of Arduino projects this week.

If you haven’t tried your hand at Arduino electronics and coding, we’d recommend it.

Our boys really enjoy it.

This project uses a light to activate a motor connected to a little fan.

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In addition to school, we had a number of appointments to squeeze in.

We had a doctors appointment, a car service appointment and a plumbing appointment.

It was unfortunate that they all fell in our first week of school, but, sometimes, that is life.

Yes, our main toilet was sick and if your main toilet is sick, you can’t have guests over.

So this had to be attended to immediately.


Oh and our printer died!

I think it was rather rude that it waited until the day before school started to die.

No one needs to be researching new printers and new ink systems the night before school,

but that’s what I was doing.

Below is our new baby.

Our first multifunction printer and I’m already in love with it.

We haven’t installed the ink system yet as we’ll wait until the original ink cartridges run dry

and then install it.


This week was also sprinkled (okay, drenched) with book parcels arriving at the door.

(Aus Post – How come things arrive in big batches like this?

Do you hold them back until the pile is big enough to bother delivering?

I’m not complaining.  I love the big piles.  I’m just curious why it happens so often.)

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These were the books that arrived this week.

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Did you spot the imposter?

No, I did not order that book.

Book Depository made another mistake.

(Do you remember the book debacle of 2017?)

I actually ordered this book…


and received the book below.


The book went into the bin.


On a better book note,

I read “Jasper Jones” this week.

It’s an Australian book that is commonly read in grade 9 and 10

but I found the reading experience to be a bit of a roller coaster ride.

One minute I was offended and the next minute I was impressed.

One minute I’d resolved not to like the book and the next minute I was declaring that I liked the book.

And there were a lot of moments when I questioned whether I ‘should’ like the book, given all of its indecorum and difficult themes.

(It doesn’t hold back on the foul language.)

But, by the end of the book, I’d determined that I liked the book and that there was value in reading it.


Now I’m reading “The Librarian of Auschwitz”.

It’ll be a totally different reading experience.


So, that was our week.

Now I best go and plan our second week.

I have Math to preview and essay writing videos to view.


Posted by on February 3, 2018 in Homeschooling Days