Monday, February 20, 2017

Homeschool Transitions

Here we are at Week Four, the final week of the Not Back To School Blog Hop. If you missed the first few weeks why not go back and check them out, there's been some great posts shared by some of my fellow Aussie Homeschool Bloggers.

Week One we chatted about our hopes, dreams and goals for the year ahead.

Week Two saw us talking about how we school.

Week Three our focus was on resources for the year ahead.

This year we are transitioning into much more serious work. My eldest has entered his final three years of home schooling and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't just a little bit freaked out by that for various reasons.

He and I have chatted at length about the future ahead. We've both agreed that ensuring he has a strong educational base to leave here with is of the utmost importance to all of us.

That's not to say that we've spent the past ten years of our home ed experience sitting around twiddling our thumbs because we certainly haven't. We've simply done things differently over the years to what we are doing today.

"Today is about more structure, more focus and more accountability on both of our parts."

Is this an easy transition for us?

No, it isn't. I'm tired already and we aren't even halfway through our first term. I am already checking the calendar for our next school break and he is most definitely feeling the added pressure.

But we are simply forming new habits and doing so takes time, hard work,  diligence and perseverance. New habits are not formed over night.

Would we have found this easier if we'd been doing what I guess could be called a more standard model of homeschooling over the years? Without a doubt I believe so yes, as it would simply be a natural progression. Do I wish I could go back and change how we have done things over the past ten years. Without a doubt, NO!

I wholeheartedly embrace the notion that children need play and lots of it, even when they are teens. They need loads of time to tend to themselves, to be bored, to explore, to seek out their own interests and to simply just be. Most often the way to achieve this is by lots of unstructured learning and bucket loads of down time. All of which we have experienced over the years.

I also feel we are finding this much harder simply because we are coming off the back of a very haphazard year.

Now don't get me wrong, I do not believe in any way that I have placed to high expectations on either myself or my tenth grader. I know some of you showed concerns when I shared our resource list, but I will come back to how we are using those resources in another post.

He is still doing far less 'sit down at a desk' academic type work than some of this other home schooled and public schooled peers. Granted he's also doing more than others too. But this is not about what anyone else is doing. It is only about him.

Through our entire homeschooling period one of the most important things to me has been one of 'enjoying life'. That really has been of our big driving forces in home schooling. To not be bound by school terms, school rules, school work and everything else that goes along with attending regular school. We are free to do as we please and simply live life on our terms, not one dictated to us by the institution that is school.

I always said that as a home school family if the kids get to a stage where they don't have enough time to simply enjoy themselves then they might as well be in school. Sitting at home on their own completing school work all day every day is no fun for anyone. At least if they were at a high school they would get to talk to other teens.

I have always vowed that our home school would never become like that and so we find ourselves in that tricky place of transitioning.

Of ensuring we keep the wonder, the fun and the excitement alive. Ensuring there is plenty of 'play time' and time for friends, yet making certain that the academics are not being left behind.

Whilst it is still only early days in the year some of the things we have done to help us ease into our new routine is - - >

A thorough weekly check list for the tenth grader. This gives him the freedom to work on what he chooses, but by having a full week's overview he can easily see what he may be favouring and what subjects he isn't getting in enough of.

Using this though is going to take some work. Whilst we've tried checklists over the years, they've never been something we've stuck with so it will take work and even then I can't be sure it is something we will continue with.

The checklist is not only for him though it also helps me to see where he is at and I use the info on the checklist to plug everything in to a private blog he and I have.

The blog is our primary record keeping tool. I am currently adding in every thing he does in his day onto the blog. This means being diligent in snapping photo's, keeping up with everything he is doing, scanning documents and then adding all of this to a post each week.

I must admit though I am really loving being able to open the blog and see what he's accomplished. In previous years there was a little part of me that wondered how much we were actually doing and now I know because it is right there in front of me.

We also need to start a portfolio of sorts, but as yet I don't really know how we will go about that. For now I think at the end of the first term we will go through what has been completed and decide what is worthy to go into the "high school years portfolio". That one needs some more thinking on though.

The other challenge for us is that we still have two younger kids in the house and so we find ourselves in the position of having two kids that have completed their structured work and are off doing things of their own interest whilst the tenth grader is still going at it with his work. That also means that for me I am still 'switched on' for a much longer period in my day than what I have been in the past.

Being certain that we have a serious focus whilst work is being completed, that we are keeping track of work that has been completed in an adequate fashion and also adding in more assignment based explorations is challenging. I also know that the accomplishments at the end of the week are great.

The other factor is he currently doesn't have a direction he is working towards. Now that is totally fine my be and him, but it does leave us in a situation of not really knowing what is going to be important or not. And so for this year at least we are exploring what we can, ensuring we have a wide enough, yet deep enough coverage in the subject areas for him.

As always, plans change, we will always remain very fluid and at any given time if his direction changes then everything he is doing will no doubt change to suit that. These next few years are all about meeting him where he is at and constantly reassessing what we are doing on a daily basis. Actually as I type that I realise that that part of home school is no different.

So for now this is where we are at. A place of forming new habits as we both enter what is new territory for us.

Be sure to read the other bloggers posts linked up below. Simply click on one of the square images to be taken to their blog.

Happy Homeschooling,

Come on over and join me at

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Have you looked at my Pinterest Boards lately?

Visit Our Worldwide Classroom's profile on Pinterest.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

2017 Homeschool Resources

Here we are at week three of our not back to school blog hop. This week our theme is that of 'Resources'. This is generally an area that everyone is interested in. It's always helpful to see what others are using and even more so if you happen to find a new to you product that may just be what you're looking for.

Don't forget to visit the other blogs by clicking on their links in the images at the bottom of this post.

If you still need to catch up on week one, our hopes, dreams and goals for the year ahead or week two,  the way we school, then now would be a great time to do that!

I must admit this year has well and truly got a head start on me. I'm still back at January first, in many ways, to be honest. Whilst we've well and truly started back with all of our book work and most of our regular activities I'm yet to actually write up and share a list of our resources for my two younger kids (7th & 3rd grades). The days have been full and have left little time to write I'm afraid.

As soon as I get that done I will come back and edit this post. For now though I do have our resources for my 10th grader which you can see here >>>

10th grade homeschool curriculum

He and I have also started a private high school blog. This is where we will record all of his learning that happens. It also includes lists of all of his resources and go to websites for him. I have started creating his assignments in a blog post too.

So far we are really liking this set up for record keeping and assignment setting. The goal will be to get to the stage where he is adding all of his own record keeping. We will also use this as a way for his over seeing school to easily look in on his work.

Be sure to read the other bloggers posts linked up below. Simply click on one of the square images.

Happy Homeschooling,

Come on over and join me at

Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Instagram ~ Google + 

Have you looked at my Pinterest Boards lately?

Visit Our Worldwide Classroom's profile on Pinterest.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

10th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices 2017

Well here we are, at the tale end of our schooling years for my first born. Oh how bittersweet these times are!

It's so wonderful seeing him grow and flourish and gain more independence, but those times where he would curl up on my lap, or the hours we spent pouring over picture books, or when he would, completely on his own accord, offer you his very last sweet, all seem like they were only yesterday. How I wish I could have those days back, those slow, carefree, full of cuddles days.

Any how, this wasn't meant to be an all out sappy post so let's get on with it. We are doing Grade 10 officially this year. Following are the resources we have chosen. In some areas it will appear as though we are doing way too much but I am now looking at these last years as a whole, so many of them will continue to be used into next year and maybe even the following, depending on where he is at.

Family Morning Basket

*Read Alouds - his choice & mine
*Logic Of English - we are taking our time slowly working through this, it is an extra but we like it
*Rotations of - Nature Journal, Artist Study, Current Events, Character Study, You Tube Learning


*Math U See - Algebra 1, moving into Geometry sometime in the year
*Life Of Fred - Pre Algebra with Physics, he is continuing to supplement with LOF, keeping a little behind where he is at with MUS so that he can come back around and practice, in a different format, already learned material.
*Brainetics with co-op - full of fun math tricks

English/Language Arts

*Institute Of Excellence in Writing - Level C (with co-op)
*Word Up for Vocabulary (we didn't get to this last year)
*Logic Of English, covers spelling & grammar
*All In One High School - we are going to take a look at the English over there this year, but just working slowly on it, will see how we go with this one
*Novel Studies
*Assigned Reading
*Free Choice Reading


*Exploration Education Advanced Physical Science Kit
*Engineering topics with our co-op, including a Science Fair
*We hope to look at the Physics over at All In One High School, will just see how things are going in that area.
*You Tube supplements from Crash Course Physics and Doc Schuster Physics
*I believe our co-op is looking at Joy Hakim Story of Science for later in the year
*Plus supplementary living books on physics


*Big History Project, we will be very much taking our time with this one
*Living Books
*I believe our co-op is looking at Joy Hakim Story of Science for later in the year (history & science)


*Australian Civics & Citizenship with co-op
*Emergency Services Cadets Program with Rural Fire Brigade


*He is still working through the Visits To Europe he began last year. This is really a supplementary course so it doesn't get looked at all that often.

The Arts

*Drama Lessons
*Musical Theatre Productions with community theatre group
*Documentary Film Making with co-op
*Art Classes with a teacher
*Art Appreciation, morning basket and/or All In One Highschool course

Technology & Design

*Wacom Drawing Table
*Coding with Raspberry Pi with co-op
*We are currently chatting to an Art teacher about the possibility of doing some Technical Drawing classes with a small group of teens.


*Sailing Lessons
*Karate Lessons

Home Econmics

*Weekly Cooking of Family Meal
*Household Chores
*Managing his own money


*A resume is high on the list
*Studying for his Learners Permit
*Saving for a car eek!

Seems like such a huge year when it is all typed up like that, but even with all of this I am still pleasantly surprised with just how relaxed most of our weeks are. He and I have chatted about ramping things up a little for this year, but mostly it's more about ensuring that whatever he chooses to do he gives it his best shot. As is always the case with each year, we are very fluid. We always have a plan but we are always open to plans changing.

Happy Homeschooling,

Come on over and join me at

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Have you looked at my Pinterest Boards lately?

Visit Our Worldwide Classroom's profile on Pinterest.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

The Way We School

It's week two of the Not Back To School Blog Hop for 2017!

Have you all been and read the posts from the first week of our not back to school blog hop? If you haven't done that yet please go and check them out. You will find the links to them here at the bottom of this post.

This week our theme is

The Way We School

Like most homeschooling families, this has changed many times over, during the past eleven years for us. I try my hardest to be fluid, to meet the kids where they are at and to find ways that work for all of us. Simply doing what works, as opposed to what everyone else is doing, has been my mantra for quite some time now.

For now what has been working for us is a 4 pronged approach to homeschool. Those 4 prongs are made up of co-operative peer group learning, morning basket family group learning, independent rotation learning and doing one more thing.

I'll give you all a quick overview of each of those prongs and how we roll with them.

Co-operative Peer Group Learning

This is an area that has grown exponentially for us over the past couple of years and for my teen especially has become an imperative part of his education. I am a strong believer that we all need a peer group and even more so as our children age. That's not say that I agree with sending off them for 6 - 8  hours a day 5 days a week to spend all of that time with their peers. No way! But we do need peers, they help us see the world through their eyes, to learn from, to grow with, to bounce ideas and thoughts around. To be there for us celebrate to good times and hug us in the not so great times. Our peers help us navigate the world around us, they assist us in learning how to deal with others both in good times and bad. If we forego those experiences as a youngster then how will we ever learn to navigate the world that is full of strangers out there.

However, co-operative learning for us needs to be quality, it needs to be able to mark off a true day of school. Yes we are absolutely having fun, but we are also learning and learning at a deeper level, not just gathering with others for socialising and calling it educational.

So we currently partake in 2 co-operative learning days a week, during school terms. One runs for 6 weeks and the other for 8 weeks. One is very small with only 4 families involved, but it allows for a real closeness to grow. The small size also gives us the opportunity to really dig deeper in what we are studying and truly spend time on the things we need or want. For example our teens in that little group have spent the last 2 years working solidly through Australian History and a Creative Writing Program. We have time to take our time, we don't need to limit what we are doing to a short 8 week block.

Our other co-op is larger, with around 35 children across a wide group of ages in attendance. This co-op is a bustling hive of activity and all of us enjoy our co-op days immensely.

Morning Basket, Family Group Learning

I've mentioned our morning basket time a bit here on the blog, simply it is a way for us to gather together as a family. To bring all the various ages, abilities and interests of my kids together. A time to begin the day, to bond and to grow together.

As the kids have grown they have needed to branch out and work more independently, morning basket has been our way of keeping at least part of our day for us to all be together.

Independent Rotations

This part of our day is exactly as it sounds. Independent Rotations follows straight after our Morning Basket time. Basically each of the children complete independent work and then I rotate through seeing each of them.

Each child heads off to their own area to work independently. For my 8 year old this means still having me very close by, but slowly he is becoming more and more independent in his work.  As soon as he and I are done, he has some free time.

I then move on to my middle child to go over her work and to complete anything we have that we do together. We also use this time to do more reading aloud, when it's just us and she can choose a book she really wants to read.

Then she joins her little brother for a spot of free time and I head over to see what my eldest is up to. We don't meet every single day, but at least twice a week he and I will sit down together to chat about what he's up to and where he is headed.

By that time it is well and truly lunch and we are all ready for a break.

Doing One More Thing

Now this is one area that I am really not very good at. We always start the year out well but I do tend to let this slip by the wayside. So once again my plan is to be more intentional with our 'doing one more thing'.

All this simply means is that after lunch we do something else. It doesn't mean that it is an afternoon spent tied to the books. So basically it could be an art project, some history reading, a documentary to watch, a science experiment to complete etc etc.

In my head I see us rotating through topics and subjects for this part of our day and I have begun writing out some plans for this, but in reality it is more likely to be, let's just see where it takes us.

And that then brings us to the end of the day, or the more structured, formal learning part of our days anyway. It's been working well for us and it is a routine we will continue to put into place until it longer works.

How about you? Do you have a routine like structure to your day? Please share it the comments so others may be inspired. Or if you blog, why not join us in our blog hopping fun.

Be sure to read the other bloggers posts on 'how they school' by visiting the links below.

Happy Homeschooling,

Come on over and join me at

Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Instagram ~ Google + 

Have you looked at my Pinterest Boards lately?

Visit Our Worldwide Classroom's profile on Pinterest.

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