Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Week that Was: Halloween Chickens & Mexican Poinsettia's

After the ups and downs of the past couple of weeks I was pretty determined that we would do our best to have a regular and mostly normal week this time round.

We did pretty well with that, still didn't get to anywhere near as much as I would've liked to but there's always next week!

Co-op day saw us taking a closer look at the Taiga Biome, via discussion, documentary clips and slideshows. Everyone completed their flip book and got to work on their collages.

We also completed an activity on the Seven Ancient Wonders of The World and covered Inclined Planes in our Simple Machines unit.

For B, this week was all about finishing off Fractions with Math U See Epsilon, I have a feeling he's quite happy to have that behind him. Now time to knuckle down and complete the remainder of the Decimals lessons with Zeta.

Fix It grammar is going quite well. At this early stage it is all review for him, but so far this appears to be the one grammar program we have tried that seems to make the most sense to both of us. He is completing a full weeks worth of lessons in one sitting, at the moment. I really like that it includes vocabulary words and the use of a good old fashioned dictionary.

If you follow along on my Facebook page you would have noticed that I recently purchased the Logic Of English program. I spent a considerable amount of time reading reviews and watching video's before jumping in and purchasing this program. It's far too early to offer much in the way of thoughts on it just yet, but so far it has had K and I practicing phonograms and jumping head first into learning cursive handwriting.

We headed out to Art Lessons again this week, where the theme was Halloween inspired acrylics. This was quite an interesting activity, the idea was to paint a Halloween scene that also included chickens, sounds a little strange huh! Apparently next week at art the chickens will come into play again so everyone went along with's Halloween in the chicken coop!!

Venus! We visited Venus this week as part of our space explorations, although we did run out of time to complete our craftivity on that one so first up Monday morning it will have to be.

Friday afternoon saw us gathering for a visit to Mexico as part of our Christmas Around The World Unit. We tried our hand at singing a couple (listening to) of traditional carols, chatted about the Los Posadas festival, marked our maps and made sure we all knew where Mexico was on the world map.

We watched this retelling of the story, The Legend of the Poinsettia, made our very own poinsettia crafts and finished the afternoon off with putting together Mexican inspired Pinata's, which are currently hanging on the tree waiting for our end of term party!

And that is another week done and dusted.

This post is linked at Collage Friday and Weekly Wrap Up

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Week I Became A Parent Of A Teenager!

This week began with an extra fun afternoon and something the kids and I look forward to each and every time it comes around. Our Roald Dahl Book Club! One of the young ladies in our small co-op has envisioned her book club for some time; between her, her mother, who tirelessly organises and preps all the behind the scenes stuff and myself we made it happen.

We meet every six weeks at their home, on a weekend. During that time everyone reads and/or listens to the audio version of the book. We've done, Witches, The Twits and this time around it was George's Marvellous Medicine.

The meeting begins with an always lively discussion about the book, the characters, the juicy bits, the funny bits and the really gross bits. Cause let's face it, there are generally at least some gross bits in each Roald Dahl book.

Roald Dahl Book Club

This time around the group got themselves into pairs and created their very own 'marvelous medicine' which they then presented to the group. So many laughs! I love that we tick so many boxes within this couple of hours but that it doesn't feel like we are learning at all. Isn't that the way it should be? We are simply a group of buddies having a great time together chatting and laughing about our current book.

We always wrap book club up with a yummy afternoon tea (everyone brings a plate) and some play time. Now that the weather is warming up nicely that play time is spent mostly in the pool!

It was our first co-op day for the term during this week also. These days are so important to both myself and the kids. We all love them and all get so much out of participating in the small group learning environment.

We have begun a unit on Biomes and will work through a large number of the Terrestrial Biomes over the coming weeks. During last term we all worked together on an Ecology unit, so a Biomes study for this term, ties in perfectly. This week we looked at the Tundra, chatted about it, viewed a slide show and completed a very cool flip flap booklet.

After a little break for snacks and a bit of an energy release we gathered to work on our Tundra collages.  Each week we will complete a different Biome collage on the faces of a box.

We also took a closer look at Edmund Hillary, Mt Everest and glaciers. Did you know that Mt Everest is actually growing every single year? Pretty impressive stuff!

The day rounded out with the introduction of our Simple Machines Unit. We discussed the terms Power, Force and; Work and put them into action with a couple of simple lifting experiments. I introduced the topic with a couple of very short clips found on you tube. From there we looked at Friction and completed a simple experiment on the amount of force required to move an object dependent on the level of friction that was in place.

Midweek saw us bouncing and chatting our little hearts out! The kids simply love these giant indoor trampolining centres and with the weather warming up quite quickly we wanted to get in a visit before the heat inside this place becomes unbearable. It was a lovely opportunity for the mums to connect with friends both old and new. These little homeschool outings truly are just as important for the mums (parents) as they are for the kids.

However the highlight of the week was most definitely our first born, turning 13. Did you see that? 13, I said, yes 13. I am now the parent of a teenager. Everyone tells you but you don't really get it until you experience it for yourself. Those years of little sticky fingers and muddy feet and tiny kisses and cuddles truly do fly by.

One minute you are up to your armpits in nappies and running around after toddlers, the next you are off buying your child their first mobile phone in peparation for the inevitable times ahead that they are off doing their own thing.

B13 chose to head to one of our newest attractions with just a few close friends, they climbed the walls, raced around the go cart track and tagged each other in laser force. All in all a fun couple of hours.

Later that afternoon all of our friends and family gathered to celebrate with him. The kids all got into games of backyard laser tag, smashing the pinata, enjoying birthday cake, dipping strawberries in the chocolate fountain and just plain old having fun! He went to bed one very happy teenager.

I took a look back at one of the first posts I ever wrote on the blog with an image of B in it. He's 7 in the photo on the right and working on one of his first pottery pieces. This was taken back in 2009. The photo on the left is one from his 13th Birthday party with his beautiful Great Grandmother, that turns 90 in just a few short weeks.

 My heart swells with love when I look back over the photo's on the blog, which truly is the number one reason I keep this little space going. A spot to reflect, to document and to count my blessings, which I do, every single time I sit down and look at it, because my life is full to the brim of blessings.

This post is linked at Collage Friday  and Weird Unsocialised Homeschoolers

Sunday, October 12, 2014

First Aid, Pottery, Dancing & Samurai's

We've had a somewhat topsy turvy week here with the mess of the break in still being sorted. So we certainly didn't get to everything that was on the list, but you know what, that's life and life happens. Everyone has had many valuable learning experiences regardless.

At the beginning of last term B joined our newly formed local Emergency Services Cadets, so far he has thoroughly enjoyed the experience and is learning heaps along the way. Towards the end of the term he had the opportunity to sit for his First Aid Certificate, these were presented at this week's meeting. Loving that we now have someone in the house that is First Aid qualified!

Scratch got more of a workout this week, he began designing a Hobbit game. Typing practice is a regular thing here, yep even for my boys, just a great skill to have I think! He is very close to being done with MUS Fractions and has already made a start on Zeta, working in both books gives him a bit of break when the lessons get a little heavy going.

We reconnected this week with some lovely art teachers that we used to go to classes with a few years back. Their studio is a little out of the way for us but B gained so much from his time working with clay I really wanted the younger two to have that experience.

He began work on a report about Genghis Khan and continued to munch his way through The How To Train Your Dragon book series. He's nearly done, I think he will be heart broken when there are no more. We also started IEW's Fix It Grammar program this week. Grammar is a bugbear for me. I do see the value but really dislike the dry, drill and kill way that most programs teach the concepts. It's too early yet for any thoughts about Fix It so I'll save those for a few weeks time.

Miss K is plodding along with her academics, things don't come easily for her in this area, but she is making slow and steady progress. There's always read aloud practice and phonics work, she is working through MUS Beta at the moment and decided that she would tackle a Draw Write Now book I had here on the shelf. Not sure how long this interest will last. We have also recently begun Writing With Ease, to help her work on oral narrations.

Creativity is absolutely her thing, for the full 2.5 hours we were at the clay class she didn't flinch, complete focus. We were lucky enough to be given yet another hand designed bouquet from the garden this week and she literally spends hours upon hours on the trampoline.

C6's academic time is still very laid back and I try as much as I can to allow him to take some of the lead. I prepare items that I'd like him to look at and have a go at but he generally makes the choice on what he will actually do. So far he is grasping concepts with relative ease so this approach is working well for both of us.

The pool has well and truly gotten a work out this week. It's still quite chilly but you know kids!

We spent our entire last term with a focus on Knights so I really wanted the kids to understand some of what was going on in other parts of the world at around the same time. We began a brief intro to the Samurai by reading the applicable chapters in SOTW Book 2, checking our world map for place reference and printed off some of the mini booklets available here.

The Qld Fire & Rescue Service brought their smoke house (van) out to us and gave the group of 30+ kids an excellent Fire Safety Presentation.

Seriously I cannot believe it is this close to Christmas! We started a Christmas Around The World unit and will work on that once a week for the next 7 or so weeks. I needed something that had ALL of the prep work done so I headed to Teachers Pay Teachers and found quite a few different units on the topic. I ended up choosing two, one of which had a powerpoint included and the other had super cute journal pages that I knew I wanted to use. These units are aimed at young children, but we are still having fun with it.

Each week we talk about the different things that kids do from that chosen country, traditions that may be different to ours. Find the country on a map and look up Google Earth, listen to and sing traditional carols. We complete a journal page and a couple of simple crafts to go along with it all. A nice way to round out the year!

Last night we helped celebrate a special friends 40th Birthday at our closest German club. We had a blast and the kids had a fabulous night. Lots of dancing, massive meals, loads of people and lots and lots of noise!

And that about wraps up another week for us.

This post is linked at:

Collage Friday

Sunday, October 5, 2014

From Lion Kings To Break Ins

We are currently on term break at the moment, which means a nice little break from planning lessons and facilitating our days. Things are all pretty carefree here right now. Since I have some time on my hands I thought I'd get to work on a week in review type post.

Our week began with a bang! We've had our tickets for The Lion King for some time now, waiting patiently for this day to arrive. Our children are regular theatre attendees, they've seen and been a part of some fabulous productions over the years but this was their first experience inside a theatre of this size. It was really quite exciting!

The production of The Lion King certainly did not disappoint us in any way, each and every one of us had our eyes and our hearts glued to that stage. We can't wait to see what's coming next!

We headed into the city much earlier than we needed to for The Lion King, this gave us some time to check out the Jemima Wyman Pattern Bandits exhibition at GOMA. It was full of patterns, kaleidoscopes, tessellations, camouflage and more.

The kaleidoscope hall was particularly fun and interactive. Odd shaped screens all at different heights so that people of all ages could easily interact with them.

Each screen had it's own camera and gave the kids a kaleidoscope image of themselves that had them giggling for ages.

As you moved closer or further away from the camera the image changed quite dramatically. They had to work to position themselves to get a great looking image. This exhibition was loads of fun!

Quite a bit coding happened this week after I saw a magazine at the store. B13 got straight to it as soon as I handed him the book. It covers scratch in a little more detail, SmallBASIC and gives them a start on Visual Basic. He will continue to work through it over the coming weeks.

The kids attended a school holiday program at their Gymnastics/Free Running centre. They were originally only booked in for one day but they loved it so much they begged to go again! They are goofing around at break time here!

We spent time catching up with friends, no photo's to share though, as I was too busy catching up ;-)

More holiday fun at their gymnastics centre, it's tricky to get any decent photo's when they are always moving so quickly in there.

We have a budding florist on our hands and K10 has been whipping up handpicked and created bouquets quite a lot of late. Always lovely to bring inside some of the goodness from outside.

 C6 was pretty chuffed that he got in his first quick dip of the season. Still a bit chilly but he was all smiles regardless.

We got to spend the day with my sister and her gorgeous kids! Always love hanging out with these guys. It was our first trip to the beach for the season also. Once again water was freezing, but it was lovely relaxing on the sand, soaking up some gorgeous rays.

Whilst we were out enjoying a lovely day someone was at home breaking in, going though our belongings and stealing our beloved items. What a terrible thing to come home to! Consequently we have spent much of the weekend clearing up the mess that an experience like this entails. It will still be some while before this is all behind us.

So what's a girl to do when you are somewhat down on your luck and feeling a little blue, besides picking yourself and carrying on of course. Well a little retail therapy always does the trick!

Given that we are in the think of the Middle Ages with our history studies this year I have been thinking of this series for some time now and decided to take the plunge. We've only watched the first couple of episodes but so far we are enjoying it.

So whilst our week didn't end so well we are very much looking forward to a much smoother, less eventful week ahead.

This blog is linked at:

Collage Friday
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