Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Our Music Journey - First Lessons

We are well and truly underway with our keyboard lessons from Children's Music Journey. Both of the kids are really enjoying it and they are the ones that are reminding me, not the other way around! As I knew it would be, especially with B.

B is at the upper end of the age scale for Children's Music Journey, in fact he could of easily started with the Premeier Pian Suite if we chose. I decided to set him up and try him on the first lesson in Children's Music Journey. It is definitely easy and he will fly through the first few lessons. I'll monitor it over the next week and make a decision then if we should have a go at the Piano Suite.

This is a video (a couple of minutes) of the very first lesson, which simply covers high and low notes. If you are anything like me you really need/want to see real life videos and of the software, so I do plan on sharing videos of the kids lessons regularly.

Once the children complete a lesson, they have ample opportunities to practise using the software via games and practice lessons. Once they have completed ample practice the next lesson becomes available to them. That doesn't mean that they have to move on though, if they aren't comfortable. K was a little dubious at all of this at first and really needed to find her comfort zone. She watched B complete some of his lessons before she would even attempt any. Whilst the first lesson was fairly easy for her, she could stay on and work in that lesson for along as she felt she needed.

This is definitely a plus for us as one of my concerns was that the program may move too quickly for the younger children.

Disclosure: I was given a copy of Children's Music Journey from Adventus to review on my blog.

Friday, November 19, 2010

AWOL - quick update

Sorry I've been somewhat AWOL this week, it's been a huge one!

We had a family pass to here and stayed for a couple of days here. We had some lovely family time together.

Then we had my brother in laws wedding here and all the family stayed over to celebrate. It was lovely.

Yep all in this past week. We are exhausted and I didn't have posts scheduled so sorry but my poor little blog just had to wait. We are home now, organising for my dh christmas party being held here tomorrow night. Once we get through that I'll be back. I have so many posts to share with you.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Free Christmas Printables

I thought I'd share in a quick 'round up' style post our Christmas Printables. Some will take some cutting and laminating (that way you can use them for years to come) and you will want plenty of time to get organised.

The file includes 16 images and labels. Whether you 'do' montessori or not these are great way to learn vocabulary or even practice spelling for the older child.

Two different designs and three variations on the 'lined paper' to suit writers of all levels and abilites.

Two different designs are in this download to choose from.

The kids will love matching up the 'small piece of the image' card with the overall image.

I am also adding these images to the sidebar during the Christmas period, that way they will be easy to find.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pay It Forward Bloggy Love Recipients

Thank you to those of you that are excited about participating in some Bloggy Pay It Forward goodness.

It is exciting receiving unknown gifts in the post from way over on the otherside of the world and for me, even more exciting to be sending them on.

I know a couple of you had concerns about being able to keep the Pay It Forward moving. Please don't worry about that in the slightest. I am sure you will all do what you can, even if it means, as I did, to try again later down the track.

Well I guess you really want know who are the recipients are then, don't you?

Our Cup of Tea

Mouse Grows Mouse Learns

Academia Celestia

Please contact me via email ladies with your snail mail address and thanks again for participating.

Vote for us. One click is all you need!

Thank You For Nominating My Blog - Please Vote!

Oh My Goodness, I was totally chuffed, over the moon even to see that my little old blog received a nomination in this years Homeschool Blog Awards!

That was certainly something I wasn't expecting, thank you.

I've enjoyed seeing how these awards have been put together as I have never participated (my blog is still too new). There is a fabulous line up of sponsors offering great prizes too!

It's wonderful to receive recognition from your peers in a positive way without all of the strings attached, as is often the case with general blog awards that do the rounds on the blogosphere.

You can imagine my surprise when I found that I was actually nominated in four (4) seperate categories, wow, thank you to those of you that nominated, that was such a thoughtul thing to do.

So now it's time to vote for the winners. You can read the voting guidelines by clicking here.

And in case any of you actually want to vote for me, I have been nominated in the following categories:

To vote you simply need to click on the little blue circle next to our blog name - Our Worldwide Classroom

Have fun voting and checking out all of the cool blogs that have been nominated.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Bambino Academy Basics: Washing Up - Sensory and Practical Life Lessons

Our little bambino's are never too young to begin the fine art of washing the dishes. What's more, they actually really want to do it and at times will beg to do it.

I know some you are probably freaking out about all of the mess and the water and bubbles everywhere and granted, that is going to happen, but just look at his focus, he was so into this and did a really great job at it too.

Save all of the non breakable easy to wash items from the day and whilst you are preparing dinner, get the toddler set up at the sink. Don't forget that their little fingers can't tolerate the water as hot as we can, add plenty of bubbles for that fun factor, a chair or stool to stand on and let them at it.

When they are done, they will no doubt be soaked through, great time for a bath (unless of course dinner is ready hehehe) and the floor will be a huge puddle. Well it needed mopping anyway and you don't even need to fill the bucket.

    Saturday, November 6, 2010

    Spreading Some Bloggy Love, But You Gotta Pay It Forward

    Quite some time ago I was very blessed to be one of the recipients in some Bloggy Pay It Forward Fun that Mary Lea from Pink and Green Mamma had decided to participate in.

    Mary Lea made her Pay It Forward recipients a super cool repurposed tie dye tshirt bag.  You can see some a photo or two here if you like.

    The rules of participation at the time were simply that you were required to pay the love forward to three other bloggers.

    Well at the time (even though I did what was expected) I think I only had around 10 - 20 followers of my blog and hence no one responded boo hoo boo :-( .

    That little stream of the Pay It Forward project died pretty quickly with me.

    However I have not forgotten about it and have always kept the thought in the back of mind to bring back some Bloggy Pay It Forward Letterbox Love.

    So that is exactly what I am doing. Right here, right now!

    I have 3 distinctly Australian Gifts sitting here waiting for me to send on to one of you. Whilst I am not sharing a sneek peek image, they are very Australian in nature and that's all I'm giving away.

    Participation Rules are as follows:

    • Leave a comment on this blog post stating that you would like to play along (You must be prepared to follow up on your blog with your own Pay It Forward fun.)
    • Comments will remain open until Monday evening (downunder time hehehe)
    • I will choose three (3) random commenters using Random org for my Pay It Forward Recipients.
    • A post announcing those recipients will be published shortly after, whereby you will need to contact me to claim your Pay It Forward spot.
    • Once I receive the address details I will post off the gifts. At which time I hand over to you to continue the Pay It Forward Letter Box Love
    Are you joining in the fun?!

      Our First Blog Sponsor

      You know I realised that when I shared our story with you regarding Music and the experiences B and I have had over the years I completely left out one very important part.

      Adventus Music and Piano Learning Solutions are our very first Blog Sponsors!! I am so excited about this. I don't think I could have wished for a better, more appropriate sponsor for our blog and our family.

      Adventus have given our family a subscription to the MusIQ Homeschool range of products. Our children will be starting out with the first levels within the Children's Music Journey (in fact they have already started). I have chosen to purchase the workbooks that go along with the program for some added 'offline' working.

      We also, of course needed to purchase a MIDI Keyboard and we chose the Yamaha PSR E423. It's middle of the road when it comes to this style keyboard. B was drooling over a $15 000 piano in the store. We suggested that maybe when he is up on stage playing we might consider it hehehehe

      So you will be soon hearing about (and seeing photos and videos) all of the fun stuff we are getting up to with this software and how the kids are travelling in their music journeys. For now it will just B and K, C is not quite 2 1/2 so a little young to get started right now. I'd dearly love to find the time to jump on myself but I'm not making any promises on that one just yet.

      I'd like to say a huge thank you to Adventus, especially to Jim for all of his assistance and patience.

      Be watching for the kids first videos as they find their way around Children's Music Journey.

      Friday, November 5, 2010

      We're On Facebook

      Ok I finally succumbed to this and set up a Page for Our Worldwide Classroom over at Facebook.

      I admit I still don't really know what I doing so any pointers you can offer will be gratefully received.

      Please jump over and become a fan and follow us on facebook.

      Thursday, November 4, 2010

      Way Back When: Cave Paintings, Little Hunter & Creation Stories

      To finish up our Pre-History Unit we chose a couple of fun books.

      There Was An Old Man Who Painted The Sky is the story of a little girl that finds cave paintings. The paintings appear to represent a creation story, depicting day and night, the creation of the planets, animals and people.

      The author tells this story with a rythmic,'There Was An Old Woman Who Swalled A Fly' feel to it.

      The illustrations are beautifully done and of course we simply couldn't resist a few 'cave paintings' of our own.

      K was adamant that she was depicting a wintery snow scene. I encouraged her to try and add in at least some colour.

      B was quite enthralled in the beginning, bu this interest fell away fairly quickly with this one. He is definitely into the whole pencil and paper thing right now.

      >>>>>   I am linking this up to A Mommy's Adventure     Story + Art = stART Link Up

      We stumbled across this little book - Littlenose The Hunter by John Grant.

      There are actually 13 books in this series, with the first one written way back in 1968.

      This was a cute Little nonsense type story. Although as B pointed out at the end of the very first chapter, it is really more of a series of short stories compiled together into one book.

      A simple easy, fun read that certainly got the kids wondering what life would have been like for a Cave Boy that had a Mammoth for a best friend.

        Wednesday, November 3, 2010

        Christmas Fun 2010

        We are gearing up for our 2nd Annual Christmas Fun Party here at Our Worldwide Classroom.

        We sure hope you will join us!

        Four Weeks of sharing your Cooking, Crafting, spreading Christmas Cheer and plenty of  plain old Christmas Fun.

        Our Linky Fun will kick off on December 2nd, make you sure you mark your calendar!

        The schedule is as follows:

        • December 2nd - first link up open
        • December 9th - second link up open
        • December 16th - third link up open
        • December 23rd - fourth and final link open.

        Each linky will remain open for a full week, so you can link up as many Christmas Fun Posts as you wish.

        All we ask is you link back to us in each of your posts. Feel free to grab the code for the Christmas Fun Button and share it on your blog.

        It is just a few short weeks before we get the party started. Please help us spread the word, simply copy the code below and place it in the sidebar of your blog or maybe you'd really like to blog about it to let everyone know.

        Our Worldwide Classroom

        I can't wait to see all of the fun Christmas things you have planned this year.

        Vote for us. One click is all you need!

        Tuesday, November 2, 2010

        Our Music Journey

        Music, as in a curriculum/learning to play an instrument, has been an area for us that has been lacking.

        Not because we wanted it that way or because we simply overlooked the subject of music. No, simply because we have had an unpleasant taste of music linger with us for over four years now.

        B enjoyed kindermusik from quite a young age (around 12 months but I can't remember exactly). I always knew that I wanted music to play an important part in the children's lives. Together we loved Kindermusik, it really was lots of fun for toddlers. Our only problem was our 'local' Kindermusik was 30 minutes drive away and after some time the drive there every week became too much.

        Hence I began my search for something comparable, but closer to home. Eventually I settled on a program that, on face value, appeared to be very similar to Kindermusik and was only 15 minutes from home. The transition was simple and painless, great, it was a fun program and B loved it immensely. 

        When he turned 4 he was ready (according to the music school) to move up to their beginner keyboard lessons. Yay, finally we were moving on to 'real' music and learning to play an instrument, so very exciting.

        For some strange reason though I felt the need to discuss this further with the staff of the music school. They informed me that he would be going from a 30 minute class sitting on the floor in a circle, partaking in lots of active music fun; to a 45 minute class sitting behind a keyboard. He would have a workbook and would be required to do homework at least 3 times a week, but preferably 5 times. 

        I raised my concerns instantly. I just did not feel that he was ready for that structure at all. However, I was assured that he would be fine.

        This was a pivotal point in my role as a parent for me and one experience I will never forget. It was the first time my gut instinct, mothers intuition, call it what you will, told me that something was up and I chose to ignore it.

        I chose to listen to the 'experts' after all they know what they are doing don't they?

        Never again will I ignore my instincts.

        We spent a pretty sum on the required materials and headed off for our first class. Admittedly in the beginning, it was fun. If my memory serves me correctly he learnt to play Hot Cross Buns pretty well straight away and was totally chuffed at that.

        But then things started to turn hairy! First it began with him not wanting to do his homework, which eventually affected his lessons as he was behind. Very quickly it all spiralled out of control and lessons ended up in tears every single time and they weren't only coming from him.

        What a failure! Me, him, the teacher and the music school, we were all failures. Well at least at the time, in my mind anyway.

        Needless to say music lessons for B ended pretty quickly after that. I always wonder how many children that happens to and how many totally miss out on the music experience because of it.

        He was so turned off music (and so was I) that it has only been in the last 12 months that he has shown some kind of interest in instruments.

        Here I was back to square one, music was again a dilemma in our house. I don't think he really remembered the situation when he was 4 but I am certain it has influenced him over the years that have followed and I wasn't about to make the same mistake again.

        I have agonised over this for 12 months, possibly even longer. In the end I came to the conclusion that it just wasn't feasible to take music instruction outside the home. At roughly $15 a lesson x 3 children, including having to purchase the instruments, the dollars quickly add up. Then there is also the time factor to consider, we already have a considerable portion of our time spent outside the home and where possible I now try to combine our activities. It is so much more productive to spend a full day out than to be out running around 3 or 4 days a week.

        So that was it then. The decision was really made for me. I needed to find a way to provide instruction for the children at home.

        I'd remembered seeing a Children's Music Program sometime back during my online travels (but never bookmarked it and couldn't remember what it was called) it took me some time to find it again.

        I was ever so thankful to once again stumble onto the Children's Music Journey Program from Adventus.

        The keyboard is purchased, and I might add, has not been left alone since we have had it here. B is so excited and is itching to dive right in and learn how to play the thing. We are only few days in with the program and I am holding my breath for a wonderful learning experience.

        We will be sharing lots more with you as we progress on this journey. I hope you will join us.

        Monday, November 1, 2010

        Monthly Highlights: October 2010 for B

        This month was big on activities outside the home, so our indoor academics were a little lighter than last month. It seems that the tide of indoor and outdoor activities flows regularly.

        Some months we have little on and spend a good deal of our time on academic work and other months it is the complete opposite.

        I am firm believer in all activities having equal importance, there is after all learning to be enjoyed in everything we do. So I am rarely concerned when our out of doors activities seem to take over our desk work. Just another reason why homeschooling is a wonderful way of life.

        Language Arts

        Fitzroy Word Skills 4, completed the first lesson. Finally these lessons seem to be digging a little deeper (we've been breezing through them for a while now). The readers are now relatively easy for B but we are continuing on with the lessons as they cover much more than just the reader.

        This lesson worked on a-e sounds, ou sounds, sight words, opposites, nouns, literal comprehension with both fill in the gap type questions and more open questions for discussion, oral english discussion questions, Idioms and he had to design his own Birthday Party Invitation.

        Explode The Code Book 3 1/2 Lessons 1 - 6

        We've started including some of the Developing Literacy Activity Books by Blake Education into our day.  A brief description for this particular book from their website: develops children's understanding of sound-spelling relationships. It includes activities which focus on phonics, spelling, word recognition and vocabulary. You will find extension activities on each page which reinforce and develop what the children have learned.

        We did not use this cover to cover, only where we saw a need or we knew that the activity would benefit. The Word Activities book contains a few games also which we have enjoyed. B has now completed this book and will move to some of the activities in Book C.

        Developing Literacy Sentence Activites Book B: helps children to develop grammatical awareness in order to make sense of text, skills in prediction words and an understanding of elements of grammar introduced in Book A. It also helps to develop an appreciation of the appropriate pace and expression with which a sentence should be read, an understanding of the effects of changing word-order in a sentence, people's titles, family names, titles, headings and captions, the demarcation of sentences using full stops, questions and the use of the question mark, when to use capital letters to begin names other than those of people. This book provides as well an understanding of different kinds of sentences and their structure, and the roles of different kinds of words. (from their website) Once again we've only used parts of this book.

        Read Alouds
        African Hippo Race (finished off from last month)
        Littlenose The Hunter (history read aloud)
        DK's First Book of Fairy Tales (requested by K)
        We also made a start on  The Children's Treasury of Fairy Tales, Nursery Rhymes & Nonsense Verse (requested by K)
        We started Enid Blyton's Story Time Book.

        Free Reading - Time Travellers, The Snack Attack Mystery, A Star Is Born

        Computer Classroom At Home Software - Spelling after having access to Time 4 Learning for a month it has prompted us to pull out some of software that has been sitting for quite some times.

        He is progressing nicely with Handwriting Without Tears Cursive and completed pages 16 - 21.


        You might remember me mentioning that we had decided to go back and pull Math u See off our shelves. Now we could have easily skipped a level but we chose to finish off the Alpha level simply because I like the way the concepts are taught and if you don't have the basics down pat then everything else is generally that much more difficult. So whilst B is breezing through Alpha, his number facts recall is increasing in speed considerably. He completed lessons 15 - 17, the unit test for lessons 1 - 17 and lessons 18 - 23.

        B has also been working on the Math U See online timed drills. Twelve months ago he disliked anything that was timed but has been enjoying seeing is time score come down, this has also really helped his fact recall speed.

        Qld Targeting Maths completed end of term Revisions work and finished off 5 Evan Moor Daily Word Problems.

        We were given a copy of Letts Toady Times Tables Level 1, a fun, colourful, sticker book introduction to Times Tables. Since this is exactly where he is at with his Qld Targeting Maths work we decided that this might be fun. He worked on, what they call the 'Tricky Twos'.


        We finished up our Pre History Unit earlier in the month Charles Darwin and Evolution, Littlenose The Hunter & Cave Art (post coming), Galapagos Documentary and Notebook Pages


        Mapping the HMS Beagle Voyage

        We attended our first ever homeschool camp where the kids did some beginning Orienterring and Map Work. B loved this, although it was more challenging than it appeared to be.(post coming)


        Learning about the Galapagos was exciting for all of us and B especially loved this, he was enthralled as the vastness of some of the volcano's and the diversity of the wildlife. He was intrigued with how the islands are slowing shifting and transforming. I think we will definitley revisit the Galapagos sometime in the future. Galapagos Documentary and Notebook Pages

        On camp everyone had the opportunity to try their hand at pond skimming in the Creek to see what Critters they could find. Several little bugs and beetles were scooped up, as well as quite a few guppies.

        One of the Instructor lead, camp activities was to follow a Waterway from a rainfall catchment area, along the river and out to sea. 

        The group followed along the story with their maps in hand,  as the Instructor lead them through the journey of what our water experiences as it travels down the rivers and makes its way out to sea.

        To begin she had B scoop a small clear container of water from the dam where this activity took place (the rainfall catchment area) and there the journey began, past parks, through residential areas, so on and so on, finally making its way to the ocean.

        As each area of the river was passed the children discussed the types of pollutants that could possibly enter the waterway, as they did this one of them added these pollutants to their water way (the small container of water).

        By the end of the waters journey it was quite icky and horrible, terribly polluted.

        Discussions then lead into how our ocean life handles this pollution and what it would be like to be a fish swimming in the polluted waters.

        Many children came up with various ways in which they could help our water and little fishy friends.

        A great hands on, visual activity. Oops this what a tad too much detail for Monthly Highlights Post, oh well it's all typed now so I won't be deleting it hehehe


        One of our very lovely Grandmothers has offered to teach small groups of Spanish. B enjoyed three trial lessons this month and has loved it. He seems to have a knack for picking up the pronounciation quite easily and his dad was very impressed with him rattling off what he had learned - Hello, My Name Is, What Is Your Name, I am x Years Old, A few colours and a couple of other random words.

        We are very lucky to have a fluent speaker working with the kids.

        Social Studies/Cultural Studies

        We have started a brief Aboriginal Unit this month (post coming) and also experienced two very neat Aboriginal Experiences.

        The first was to a local cultural centre where the children spent the day learning more about the Aboriginal way of life (post coming).

        The second was a shorter experience, whereby the presenter came to us, but was fabulously hands on and interactive.

        Art and Crafts

        During one of Little C's Playdough exploration times B decided to join him and sculpted himself a pet Playdough Pet Dinosaur.

        His drawing is still advancing in leaps and bounds as can be seen from his recent notebook pages in this History Unit.

        We used Oil Pastels to create cave drawings, similar to those done by early man as part of our History Unit. (post to come)

        He also completed Mosaic Stickers Pirate kit that we had here in the cupboard. I'm not sure why the poor old craft kit gets such a bad knock. Do they really stifle ones creativity? Not in this house they don't anyway.

        I suppose if a child had limited experience with various art materials and mediums and was utilising craft kits (cookie cutter crafts) and colouring in books as their staple art and craft experience then I am sure that their creativity would be limited.

        However if kits and the like are only used as a supplement, a from time to time activity (as they are here in our house) then really I see absolutely no harm in them.

        All things in moderation is one of my motto's!

        They are fun, generally quick to complete. Easy to put together and generally give fairly good results. Often some of the kits we have had on hand have sparked many a creative adventure. I ask for craft kits as gifts as I would much prefer the children received these than some plastic toy that will either end up broken or left in the cupboard after a week or two of play.


        B has been quite keen on learning to type of late so he tried out BBC's Dance Mat Typing and I dug out a Sponge Bob Squarepants Typing disc we have here. This was a sparodic exercise though as we were out and about so much this month. I do know that I will continue to steer him to Dance Mat Typing over the Sponge Bob program, which offers very little in the way of 'exactly how to type' and much more game type activities.

        As always he spent a great deal of his spare time working on Lego creations. His desire for new Lego kits seems to be slowing down (thank goodness as we are being over run by them) and he now seems content to just build his own things.

        This Ice/Snow war type scence took some searching through his buckets for all of the white pieces. He enlisted dad's help for that!  He uses the, "hey dad, come play lego with me" spiel when really all dad does is find the bits and B creates....do you think he has his dad all figured out all what hehehe

        However I was most impressed with his Razor Scooter, with fully working wheels, moveable handle (the whole wheel piece swivels like on a scooter) and a working brake.

        And here I struggle to build a simple bridge design lol!!!


        B had a super active month what with we our camp activities, regular outdoor play and our annual Sports Day. (posts coming so I won't go into details here)


        And we can't forget that my firstborn baby has now entered his last year of single digits. He celebrated his 9th Birthday.

        We have another busy month ahead of us and will certainly be ready for some down time come Christmas.

        Related Posts with Thumbnails

        Blog Design by: Relevant Designs