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A Glimpse of My Week in Bullet Points

*  We had a family emergency this week (nothing major) and we had to help look after my nieces for a day.  There is nothing nicer than snuggling with little people all day.  We went to the park, to an environmental centre and an animal park.  Then, while little Missy 1 napped, we played shop with little Missy 4 and read piles of picture books.
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*  We finished an audio story this week – “Age of Miracles”.  I can’t recommend it though; there was way too much swearing in it and a few other eye popping moments.  But the blurb sounded so interesting – the earth’s rotation was slowing down causing all sorts of problems.  We love a survival story but this one, despite it’s promising blurb, didn’t really hit the mark.  Shame.  The concept had such potential.

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*  Our documentary this week was called, “Federation”.  It was excellent.  I would definitely recommend it.  Somehow it made a rather dull topic quite interesting.  (We watch a documentary of some kind most nights of the week).  Tonight we are watching “Charles Kingsford Smith”. (Later – It wasn’t a very good documentary at all!)

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*  I finished reading two children’s books (I love children’s literature) this week.  First, I read, “Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos”.  It was a good little read (the book is part of a series).  The main character, Theodosia, spends her days in the museum (her parents work there) removing curses from the artifacts that her parents bring back from Egypt.  But one particular artifact causes her all manner of grief.  It would be a great book for anyone studying Ancient Egypt.  The other book was “The Scourge” and I really liked this book (although the ending was a smidge weak).  The Scourge is a deadly disease and people who contract it are isolated on an island.  Then, Ani and Weevil are captured and tested for the disease and are told they have it.  I enjoyed this book so much that I’m on the hunt for more of the author’s books.

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* Oh and we were given a meat tray this week.  So, we’ve been eating roast, sausages, steaks, lamb chops and pork chops.  Clearly, we aren’t vegetarian.  Is there any such things as a meatatarian?!

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*We’ve been reading a stack of books as well.  That’s nearly always the favourite part of our weeks.

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

🙂

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2017 in Family Life

 

A Little House Guest

This little fellow flew into our home today.

Isn’t he absolutely exquisite?!

Of course, he could be a she.

How does one tell the difference?

Regardless, we just loved this little critter.

After a bit of googling, we discovered that he’s most likely a cuckoo wasp.

(Here’s some info about him if you are interested).

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The species is a bit of a bully in the insect world.

They lay their eggs in the nests of other insects

so their larvae can feed on the resident larvae.

They usually target hornet nests,

and we aren’t fans of hornets, so we are definitely on Team Cuckoo!

We gave him a little piece of apricot while we took some photos

(which was pretty generous as those apricots cost us $12.90 a kilo!!).

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We could have gazed at his iridescent colouring all day long,

but, we eventually released our little visitor to the outside world.

It just amazes me that even the tiniest creatures are created with such attention to detail.

His little visit reminded us that we need to notice beauty in our world,

even when it’s found in such tiny forms.

🙂

 

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2017 in Science

 

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?

🙂

 

A Hodge-Podge of Recommended Books

Okay, so the first recommendation isn’t a book, it’s a dvd.

But it’s the perfect compliment to books.

Over the holidays, we read about various Portuguese explorers

who went sailing off into the unknown looking for a sea route

to the islands where spices could be found.

At school, I was led to believe that all those maritime explorers

were just off searching for new land,

but it seems that they were just out shopping for spices

and trying to figure out how best to get to the super-spice-market.

It all makes sense now that the explorers have been linked together by a common thread.

So, after all that reading, I found this dvd at our library – “The Spice Trail”.

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I was a little hesitant at first, thinking it could be dead boring,

but it was excellent.

I never knew that spices could be so interesting.

The documentary twines a little history with the cultivation and harvesting of various spices.

We thoroughly enjoyed it and it gave us a better appreciation of spices.

My sons even stopped in front of the spice section at the supermarket

and checked out the various spices they learned about.

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The next recommendation is a book.

It’s a book I chose to read to myself

after hearing others recommend it as their favourite children’s book.

Well, I didn’t think it was ‘that’ good but it was a good book,

especially if you are looking for a book about the issue of poverty and homelessness.

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The story is cleverly crafted for children (probably in upper primary school years)

by placing a giant invisible cat (that’s Crenshaw) in the midst of the story.

Having Crenshaw in the story, makes a deeply emotional issue

a little less scary for a younger audience.

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“Straw into Gold” is my next recommendation

and it’s a BRILLIANTLY written book.

(I’m now on a frantic hunt for all things Schmidt).

The language in this book is superb!

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And discussion starters!  Oh boy!

There are so many discussions that could be had,

centred around the ideas in this little book.

Initially, I picked up the book because I liked the idea of the story –

it’s a follow-on from the story of Rumpelstiltskin

(or, more accurately, “The Miller’s Daughter”).

And, yes, I loved the story,

but what most impressed me was the skill of the author.

This book is gold!

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The last book is an Esolen book.

We’re just starting this book for our bookclub

but I know it will be excellent.

I mean, it’s written by Esolen.  How could we go wrong.

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Don’t panic.  The author isn’t actually hoping to destroy the humanity of children.

The author is pointing out how modern society is leading parents to unconsciously destroy the humanity of their children.

It’s a wake-up call type of book,

just as the author’s book, “Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child”,

was a reminder that our parenting, or lack of it, has very serious consequences.

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Oh, and if you are a fellow ‘Esolen-lover’,

did you know that he has a new book out?

“Out of the Ashes – Rebuilding American Culture”.

It’s already on my shelves and begging me to read it.

But there are these pesky children,

who demand to be educated,

getting in the way of simply dropping everything and binge reading.

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Speaking of children demanding to be educated,

I best go and start our afternoon reading session.

Actually, my students are being very quiet,

hoping that I’ll forget that our lunch break is over.

No such luck kiddos.

It’s read aloud time and I never forget that.

 
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Posted by on February 14, 2017 in My Library