Sunday, February 22, 2015

Learning Spaces - NBTS Blog 2015

Here we are at week four, the last week of the Not Back To School Blog Hop. I hope you've enjoyed all of the sharing between all of the blogs that participated.

Don't forget to leave a comment on the blog posts you do read to say thanks to the homeschoolers that gave you a glimpse inside their lives.

This week it's Learning Spaces, this is a tricky one for me and I'm guessing for most homeschoolers as I can easily show you a room but in reality we truly do use our entire house, and the houses of our co-op families, it just depends on what it is we are doing.

The space where a large portion of our resources and where are desks and computers are situated is shown in the images below. Our dining table also gets a good work out for a large portion of our sit down type activities.

However this past week some of it was here, as we were away on our homeschool camp

And here, due to a huge weather system we experienced in Queensland

It really is a very rare week where we spend our entire time in the rooms in the collage above. That's  the beauty of homeschooling, we are never stuck behind a desk!

Thank you for joining myself and Chareen, at Every Bed Of Roses for this year's Not Back To School Blog Hop.

Happy Homeschooling
Kylie x

Monday, February 16, 2015

Portable Art Supply Box

We enjoy our art and crafty activities and have accumulated a nice little supply of various items.

I have noticed over the past few months that our art has progressed, we are no longer in that little kid zone, with all of its delightfully fun messiness!

However, every time we want to draw or work on an art project we have to go hunting for all of the supplies. Most often they are all fairly close to each other but at other times they aren't.

I really wanted to remedy that issue so that art became an enjoyable part of our day, not one where we couldn't find the supplies we needed because they weren't put back where they should've been.

Introducing our new Art Supply Caddy, isn't she grand! I had first gone to find a fisher men's tackle box but after realising that the only ones that would suit what I wanted were going to cost me well over $100 I quickly let go of that idea.

This is actually sold as a sewing supply box and I found it in Lincraft, they have a smaller version and I did spend a bit of time contemplating. Now that it is full I'm so glad I grabbed the bigger one.

This is completely portable, with a handle, it also has three layers with the top able to be used independently from the bottom two.

Down in the bottom, the main deeper area we have our paints, spare oil pastels, chalk pastels and palettes.

On top of that sits a tray, which has a handle for easy lifting in and out. Here we have our paint brushes and pens, glitter pens, gel pens, paint brush markers and various other coloured markers.

As you can see in this image there are also large white pull up handles so we can carry this part of the box around if someone else is using the next layer.

The top of caddy is clear, has carry a handle to pick the entire container up and houses two separate, snap lock sides.  This one we keep pencils, coloured, water colour pencils and our paper stubs. The whole top piece then also snap locks on the caddy itself.

Across on the other side of the top compartment are sketch pencils, charcoal pencils, erasers, sharpeners and our 'in use' oil pastels.

One the best things I love about this tub is that it is so simple to take our art away with us. Whenever we go away, even for just a weekend I always take art supplies, now all I need to do is grab our caddy and visual art diary's and we're off!

Happy Homeschooling
Kylie x

P.S I purchased this item and was not compensated in any way, just sharing something that I love :-)

Friday, February 13, 2015

A Day In Our Life ~ NBTS February 2015

It's week 3 of the Not back To School Blog Hop, co hosted by yours truly and Chareen over at Every Bed of Roses

This week it's time be a fly on the wall and join us for a 'Day In Our Lives'.  

Hope you can join in with the fun too, I'd love to come spend a homeschool day with you.

6:30am ~ I'm up, tea in hand, checking emails and the like
House is ever so quiet

7:45am ~ Time for another tea
Have last minute work to do for camp coming up next week
I'm a tad a nervous given I've organised this camp for 50+ kids and their families!
House is still quiet aahhh so nice

8:00am ~ The boys are up
A spot of quiet screen time for them
Have a pile of clean washing to put away

8:45am ~ All kids are on a group minecraft session.
I really should get them going for the day but feeling a little unmotivated

8:55am ~ mmmm Thinking I should probably have a quick shower

9:10am ~ That's better
Breakfast is in action
Love my fresh juice

9:15 am ~ My baby climbs onto my lap for mummy cuddles
Enjoy enjoy enjoy, never know when it will be the last time he does this

9:20am ~ Put on a small load of washing
Fresh juice for the kids
Same ingredients as mine, just a couple more apples to sweeten

9:40am ~ Table Time!

Reading aloud
Days of the week
Admiring last weeks sketches
Discussion about the rest of the day
Begging for more story time

10:30am ~ History

Making A start on our journey through The Renaissance

11:00am ~ Skwirk

Science and SOSE
Everyone busy
I, bring in washing,
Hang out washing
Tidy kitchen
In between 'mum calls'

11:30am ~ Math Prodigy (prodigy game)

12:00pm ~ Lunch Break

12:30pm ~ Bath & hair wash for the child with the broken arm
DS 13 read library books to DS 6

1:00pm ~ Quiet reading in bedrooms

2:00pm ~ I spent a little more time doing some co-op planning

Other two kids are showering and washing hair
We are heading out tonight to have dinner with some homeschool friends

3:00pm ~ Making Valentines
More Prodigy Math

Today was very laid back and relaxed, none of us were really all that into it but still a fairly productive none the less.

And that is where I am going to leave you. I'm shooing my kids outside and I'm off to get myself organised before we head out.

I can't wait to see all the link ups for this week. Fly on the wall posts are totally fun! We all want a glimpse of how others run their days. So be sure to link and read all of the posts this week :-)

Happy Homeschooling,
Kylie x

Monday, February 9, 2015

Learning and the Brain

learning and the brain activities for kids

To start our year with our co-op family we spent some time looking more closely at our brains and what is going on in there.

The aim was to have everyone understand how important it is that we all continue to exercise our brains, to learn new things. The more learning we undertake the more our brains grow. The more actively involved in that learning we are the more pathways we create within our brains.

This you tube clip talks about the brain, what happens within the brain, the things it needs to thrive. We watched this in smaller increments so that we could discuss it and complete a few activities I had planned along the way.

I found a free mini pack of note booking foldables on the brain, we used these in conjunction with the clip.

Firstly we discussed the four lobes and what each is responsible for, as science stands today.We had fun trying to see who could pronounce the names of the lobes. I was pretty impressed as to how close a lot of them came, with one of them even getting Occipital the on their first try.

 Then we moved onto neurons, path ways, connections and how a brain cell is structured.

To assist in a tactile way everyone made their own brain cell from play dough, they played around and discussed how the brain cells work together to form neural path ways. Thanks Ticia for this idea.

To cement the knowledge further we played the one minute dot game. Make as many dots on a page as you can in one minute. Then proceed to join those dots and make as many connections as you can in a minute.

They had loads of fun with this and it was a neat way to make further connections in their understanding of how their brain works.

Happy Homeschooling,

This post is linked at:
The Measured Mom

Saturday, February 7, 2015

NBTS Blog Hop - Our Curriculum

We are back again with the second installment of the All Aussie Not Back To School Blog Hop. Did you stop by all the other blogs during the first week?

This week is all about sharing some of those resources we plan on using over the course of the year. For some of us that is easy, we have our year all mapped out and know exactly what we will use for each subject area and when we will use it.

For others it simply isn't like that, for others life is learning in the truest sense of the word. I do hope we have some of our Australian unschoolers join in this week as I'm sure there are many of us that would love to see how they go about planning for the year ahead.

We here, at Our Worldwide Classroom, often seem as though we are simply just doing our thing. We do use planned curriculum, unit studies and the like but we never ever allow them to own us. There are no schedules or sheets with lists of do this lesson next, or next week on Tuesday we are going to be learning about XYZ. Oh no that simply doesn't work here, far too inflexible for us. Now sometimes I wish it would work but I think it is far better to embrace what doesn't and to go with what does, rather than fighting an uphill battle.

We are very relaxed in our approach and allow equal amount of downtime/own time/free time as we do more formal structured learning. We've ditched many a curriculum because we simply weren't all that into it! If it doesn't move us, engage us and want to keep us coming back then most generally out it goes! We're kinda picky like that.

Anyway, if I keep rambling this is going to be one very long post. I guess what I am trying to get across is that we invest (and I spend a great deal of time researching) in good quality materials and resources that we make work for us and not the other way around.

Let's get on with it shall we.


You could say that we right in the thick of Math U See these days. This is our preferred mathematics curriculum. With three kids, all very different ages and very different ability levels we are utilising a large portion of the MUS range.

I'm not sure if we've ever had a year where one of the kids has started a book from lesson 1 and completed the book at the last lesson by the end of the year. Like I said earlier that's not how we roll. We simply pick up where we left off the next time we do math or maths depending on where you live right now!

So I have one child finishing off Zeta (decimals & percents) and about to begin Pre-Algebra, another in the middle of Beta (multiple digit addition/subtraction) and may or may not get to Gamma (multiplication) later this year and one coming to the end of the Primer and will start Alpha some time soon.

As a supplement to the MUS range, things to do together, on the computer, in the book basket or when we simply want a break from MUS.

We have on hand Targeting Maths Lab PC games and activities, Life of Fred, Skwirk Maths, various mathematical puzzle type books and we are going to give these Geometry books a whirl this year. These were gifted to us and are definitely old school, but some of the activities look pretty cool. So will see how we go.

Finally I always include mathematical picture books as part of our book basket morning routine, these vary depending on if I am trying to introduce a concept, help solidify a concept or to simply read just for fun. Arithmetic Village will probably get a good work this year with my youngest.

Language Arts

With two children still heavily working with phonics, learning to read makes up the bulk of our Language Arts time. We use a variety of resources, websites, computer games, board games but there are certain staples that we use consistently.

They are The Fitzroy Reading Program, Bob Books, Explode The Code, and we are really enjoying Julia Donaldson's range of readers. They really don't feel like readers at all.

***Apology for the remainder of the post as there are no more images to follow. One of my children broke their arm on Thursday and so I haven't had time to complete this post in as much detail as I had planned.***

Other resources we are also using for Language Arts include (these are across 3 kids so not everyone is using each of the items listed):

Logic Of English - phonics, spelling, grammar
Fix It Grammar
Spelling You See
Grade Spelling
Cover Story Writing - my eldest will complete this with a small group of kids his age, should be lots of fun working through this together.
Reading/Writing Response Activities - the youngest two will do these activities with our co-op
Writing With Skill
Skwirk English Lessons

Plus we always read aloud every day, me to them, them to me, audio books and we spend time on quiet independent reading.

World History

We are covering the Renaissance period this year. After one day of history we knew we had to do things differently around here, even though we had chosen new world history programs for the year we realised very quickly that they just weren't rocking it for us!

I was so excited when Homeschool In The Woods agreed for us to show you all around their Project Passport pack, after completing the Knights LapPak last year I'm very confident that DS 13 will enjoy using this. So stay tuned for more on this resource, I am busy printing and sorting it all out now.

For the younger two I am considering doing our own thing probably with a focus on Famous People of the Renaissance, but I'm still processing all of that given that we only made the decision the other day to not use the program we had intended on. They will also join in on any appropriate activities from the Project Passport pack.

Australian History

We will be exploring this with our co-op family this year. The older crew have their plans all laid out by one of our very clever teacher mums and the younger ones will be exploring the history of Australia via picture books and hands on activities.

We will also utilise Skwirk here.


This is another co-op subject for us this year. Our co-op worked so well in 2014 we were all keen to ramp things up a notch this year.


You guessed it, co-op again,! We are covering Chemistry this year. Although DS 13 will be studying Physics here at home, we are doing our own thing and have chosen not to buy a program. We have a great Encyclopedia and will use that as our spine.  Skwirk will come into play again with science.

The Arts

We will be covering some art and art appreciation with co-op. We also have a lovely art teacher coming to us this term for an 8 week block of art lessons, general art for the younger kids and perspective drawing for the older ones.

We will continue to keep up our morning drawing challenges and when the kids want to they will participate in Sketch Tuesday. We've also begun Art Journals this year, let's hope we can keep them up.

Drama is on the list again this year, which involves weekly lessons and participating in plays at the theatre. We always see live productions throughout the year.

Everyone let go of keyboard but we may have an opportunity to start that up again, will just have to wait and see.

Technology & Design

With the amount of Lego in this house I am never concerned about this subject area. There are always plenty of opportunities here and I am sure DS 13 will continue to keep up with some coding fun. The kids are all building superbly creative worlds in minecraft these days and we will take a closer look at one of the sites available for homeschoolers and minecraft.

Gee, did you make it this far? You did really well, thank you for reading. You know it really seems like a lot but because we are joining forces with 3 other families this year we won't even realise how much we are covering until we get to the end of 2015 and look back over the year.

What about you? What resources do you have planned to use this year. Link up your posts below.

Be sure to stop by and visit Every Bed of Roses, our joint host for this years blog hop.

Happy Homeschooling

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Half Price Skwirk Subscriptions

Since the school year has already begun I didn't want to wait any longer to share with you some details about Skwirk.

Not heard of Skwirk?

This is an online, National Curriculum aligned, educational resource centre suitable for learners from Prep all the way through to Year 10.

It offers thousands of activities and lessons covering the subject areas of Mathematics, English, Science, Geography and History.

Skwirk caters to various learning styles through activities such as animations, video clips, colour images, reading passages, worksheets and games. Offering a flexible, easy to navigate learning resource.

Throughout the year I will be sharing with you the various ways in which we are utilising Skwirk in our homeschool. The flexible nature of the site and how my children, aged 6, 10 and 13 use the activities as part of their learning adventures.

We will give you behind the scenes glimpses into the site, an overview of the lessons, the reporting area and even a look at lesson planning.

Already my 6 year old begs to do 'Skwirk' at least a few times a day. I love that I can get him logged him, give him access to a learning area and from there he is basically independent.

For example I am currently writing this on a Sunday afternoon. My 6 year old was asking questions about water. I suggested to him that this week we have a look over Skwirk for some activities to do with water. Of course he wanted to jump on and have a go straight away.

Here we have logged into his K - 2 lessons and chosen the Science area. You can see he has already begun working through the first unit and has completed 100% of the first three topics. Next up is seasons and then, look at that, water! Exactly what we wanted.

The screen shot above is showing the lesson on seasons. Each part of the K - 2 area is laid out pretty much the same so the kids quickly get to know how to navigate their way around. The lesson on Seasons has 3 chapters, they simply click on a chapter, watch the animation, then do the game and complete the read along area.

Once finished the lesson, they can go back to see their 100% completion bar is full. My kids love to see that filling up!

In this final screen shot above the kids can easily see what they have yet to complete in their online lessons. So next time my 6 year old logs in and chooses science he will notice straight away that he has a lesson not quite completed. It really is that simple and on a Sunday afternoon, I'm truly loving that flexibility!

Would you like to sign your children up for a year of learning and fun with Skwirk?

The lovely people at  Skwirk have very kindly offered all of you 50% Off a 12 month subscription, simply by using the code - worldwide - on sign up. This won't last forever though so jump over to Skwirk and register now.

Happy Homeschooling,

Disclosure: Our family has been given a subscription to the Skwirk Website in return for my reviews. All opinions regarding Skwirk are mine (and my children's).

Monday, February 2, 2015

Monday's For Mum (Mom)

Just a quick one this morning. I'd love for you to jump over to the facebook page and join in with Monday's for Mum or Mom ;-)

Let's spend just a few moments honouring us and the things that we do that bring us joy.

We spend so much time doing, doing, doing for everyone else. What I want to know is, what are you doing for you?

Leave a comment, snap a quick pic if you can and share them over here on our facebook page so we can all get a glimpse at the things that have brought you some joy recently.

Happy Homeschooling,
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