Saturday, September 3, 2011

It's not all about the girl

You might be surprised to learn that our home education doesn't just revolve around Miss Ant *shock horror*. Our little man Vince places equal with his worldly needs too. This one is just for him.... My busy, active, bright little guy xx

Enjoying an explore of Richmond at the very beginning of our journey in home education.

Enjoying a moment playing his games on the iPad, usually Starfall or Where's Wally.

Huts and toilet roll binoculars!

Picking flowers for his Mama, a very thoughtful little guy our Vince is :)

Vince loves gymnastics! As well as other activities that he does like swimming and running non stop!

Digging around in the garden is good fun too, this is a potato Vincent planted a while he gets to eat it :)

Vincent loves animals, he has a natural attraction to them. And them to him.... Perhaps they sense his nurturing nature?

Horse riding! An outing he got to have without towing in behind his sister. Often I need to remember that he can lead the way and do his own things too, he isn't a shadow of his big sister.

The culinary whizz! He can whip up a great juice!

Vince also learns, because he is a kid and kids LIVE to learn xx

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Time Out Referee!

This week we are calling a 'time out' ....... Miss Ant doesn't cope overly well with stress (she's 7..... So quite natural!) and she has her 1st ever ballet exam next week, as you can imagine the pressure is on! So instead of fighting it, and pressuring her, we are embracing it. How this goes will determine how she tackles stressful situations in future (now I'm stressed!) so, we are relaxing, doing one thing at a time, having small play dates, doing only the work that tickles our fancy and enjoying practicing and seeing the improvements each be confident for the exam.
I know in the 'real world' you can't call a time out during stressful times, but she is 7 and learning.....she's not ready for a bombardment of real life stressors yet! You simply don't learn to run before you crawl, nor can you understand stress management without nurturing support from those close to you.
This is truly one of those 'I am so pleased we home educate!' moments. I am not sure I would be able to be there for her as much as she needs, if it weren't for home education. After all, we have chosen this path as it best suits our family right now. When she was at school, I always felt removed from the situation and was often confused and misled by outside influences as to how to support her through tough times. But not anymore. Now we have our finger on the pulse and our whole family is much better off for it.

Eating cake....made by Miss Ant! Chocolate mud cake with orange icing (even though the icing is pink!).... Was delicious with peppermint tea :D

Monday, August 1, 2011


In July we were also busy, preparing for Miss Ant's 7th birthday! After her recent success with chopsticks and exploring Japanese, Chinese, and Thai foods in their traditional settings while we explored Sydney in June, Miss Ant decided she would love to host an Asian-inspired party! In our home education, we take every opportunity to learn....this was a great opportunity for us to learn more about an array of Asian cultures/customs and then creating ways to fuse what we learnt with our own birthday traditions.

Rice crackers and folding fans...each child got a fan to keep.

Lanterns through our living room :)

Food! Yum cha was the request, so flavored teas, pork buns, dim sims, spring rolls, rice paper rolls, Thai fish cakes and many more delights!

Chopsticks for eating, playing games with and taking home as a treasure.

Complete, only with a pic of the birthday girl herself xxx

Defrosting Time

Oooh, it's getting chilly in Hobart! We have snow on our mountain and ice and frost in our garden every morning.....winter is here!

In June, we went to Sydney to defrost, have fun exploring the treats that only Sydney has to offer and of course catching up with some of our old friends. We saw Mary Poppins - the show and visited The zoo and the science museum. It was a grand home Ed excursion!

The carousel at Darling Harbour...isn't is magical!

Antonia showing us her new skill....chopsticks!

The 3 of us (Simon is taking the picture otherwise he'd be there too!). It was so nice to not wear long sleeves and thermals! Though all the locals thought we were crazy :)

Monday, June 13, 2011


I am really new  really 'green' new to terminology and it's meanings with home education.  Actually, I am new to all educational terminology!  Anyway, I have been reading on fellow home ed blogs about unschool Mondays....and I really LOVE the concept!  I need to find out more......I really want to participate!  (for more info: Owlet Blog )

So, unschooling to me means to learn through occurances in life, not through a set planned lesson but driven from interest and quenching the thirst with whatever resources we can condure up......I could be wrong, I am very new to this!  Anyway, if this is what unschooling is, then we definitely incorporate this in our educational experience.  So, here is my 'unschooling' experience for this week (possibly for the month....we shall see how good I can be at doing this regularly!).

Miss Ant loves music, she listens to all the words and tries to find the story to each song.  After the Buffalo Soldier experience (see previous posts.....not sure which), I added a new song to my playlist.....'Hurricane' by Bob Dylan.  Now, I don't tell her when I have added a new song, I simply pass her my phone so she can act as DJ while I drive.  I was most interested in what she would do when she stumbled upon the new song.....a bit of an experiment really!  Now, Hurricane isn't for the feint hearted, it's 8.32mins long has a tough story to follow and has a few questionable words in it, but WOW....from the moment she 1st heard it, she was entranced.  (For those that don't know the song, it tells the story of Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter....and how he was wrongly imprisoned.)  After a couple of days listening to it, Miss Ant had already started her investigations - googling Bob Dylan, Dr Carter and racism and of course, asking us a whole barrage of questions on words and terms used in the song that she didn't quite understand. 
Then came her little bombshell.  Driving along like normal, listening to Hurricane (for the 3rd time on the trip...needless to say we now limit this!), she pauses the ipod and says:
"Mum....Bob Dylan is a revolutionary man (just like in the song)......he wrote this song for us.  Not just to protest to the people about the Hurricane, but for us now.  Right now, so we can learn how we were and we can learn from it.  AND, so we can learn to not make the same silly mistakes.  I think Bob Dylan is my new hero."
Now, the thing that gets me is that the song is about the Hurricane, not Bob Dylan!  She has managed to link the story to the author.....or poet as she calls him.  She has recognised the importance that the story teller has, not just the 'character' of the story.

The main educational point to this little example is.......Comprehension.  I think she nails it ;-)  Oh, and my kid has musical appreciation  *proud mummy moment*
Miss Ant having her Piano Lesson xxx
Oooh, and the most coveted book (since this all began) has been 'The 16th Round' The autobiography of Dr should have seen her face when she opened the latest book depository delivery!  It's her new 'precious' and it lives at the end of her bed.  I am the mother to a crazy-smart-eccentric child......and I am uber proud xxx

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

When Everyone Else is Working....

I'm not entirely sure what most are up to in school these days.  Miss Ant would be in year 2 if she were still in the NSW public school system.  We don't go grade 2 work anymore, we enjoy a wide variety of 'levels' all that match where Antonia and Vincent are up to.....that's when we do school work, that is ;)

This is what we do when we don't do 'school' stuff, and be quite honest, this is when we get most of our 'life learning' done and we all get to experience the WHY in 'why' we learn certain things!  I also can't possibly include everything, as we have lots of 'life skills' days, so I will just share what we did today  :)  I am not going to point out the learnings....I believe the photos speak for themselves!

Today we got our stand all prepared for the next Home School Market Day!  This will be our 1st one but I have heard it's great fun!  The kids all set up a stand with home-made/2nd hand goods to sell and they each get $100 in home school currency. It's a great activity!  Anyway, Miss Ant has been working very hard over the past few weeks, getting her stuff in order. Secretly she can't wait until I get my A into G and get back into doing real markets!

Here, we have a box......the contents of this box are all the marvellous goodies that Miss Ant and I put together today for her stall!
We have:
- Sculpey buttons and beads
- Sculpey pendants/charms
- Hand made greeting cards
- Fans
- Bracelet making kits!  

Here is a closer look at the bracelet kits (as these are my fav!), Miss Ant did this all herself.  The writing, the stamping, the hearts, the bead choosing and most importantly...the idea!  Each kit comes with stretchy rubber thread, beads, momento felt hearts and instructions.

A bracelet for a friend who has just welcomed a little brother :) 
Now, if only I could be that efficient and get the Milo vest finished for the little man!

The vest......this is what I did today .... still not finished!

And to finish the day off, Miss Ant sat down and joined me on the couch and under a rug for a spot of knitting xxx

Love is a better teacher than duty.
- Albert Einstein

Monday, May 9, 2011

Are We Finally Sorted?

It has taken a whole term, but I think we have finally got our curriculum sorted! We don’t follow any set curriculum, I take what I like from all styles and adapt it to what’s best for our family. Here’s a basic run down on what we might cover in an average week (at the moment!) with what ‘style’ you might classify them:

- Chapter or 2 of Ancient History - Classical

- Guided Art Lessons - Monart

- Maths workbooks (we use Singapore Maths)

- Maths worksheets – to reinforce what we just are covering in the workbooks

- Living Science – we are doing the MrQ Science curriculum (it’s free and fabulous!) Mr Q

- French….only idly though! - Classical

- Nature Journaling – Charlotte Mason

- Comprehension/grammer (Singapore System) - Classical

- Story writing

- Independent projects – free choice (At the moment, my crazy Royal-wedding-obsessed child is doing a project on the Royal family!)

- Gymnastics (and Kinder Gym for Vince at the same time as Ant’s lesson)

- Piano (Ant is doing Simply Music Piano lessons with a fellow Home Ed parent)

- Ballet

- Swimming

- Baking

Don’t be alarmed and scared of all that…… it doesn’t really take any great skill, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist or a professor to cover it all! I also run a business from home, have usual home-type duties and have a 4 year old to entertain too! We pretty much get all of the ‘school’ type stuff done and dusted in 2-3 mornings! Somewhere in there we also meet up with friends at least twice a week (and by meet up, I mean play for ½ a day!) and go on a planned excursion approximately once a week.

Let me introduce you to our current favourite, the ‘Story of the World’ History curriculum by Susan Wise Bauer Susan's Books 

We are on Volume One, Ancient History, learning about Nomads, Ancient Egypt, The Fertile Crescent…. Learning about the geography of the 1st civilisations and why the 1st people farmed the way they did, what devices they used, how Historians and Archaeologists discovered these things……in fact, we have learned what the difference is between history and archaeology! All I can do is sit back in wonder, I fathom what amazing topics my home educated kids can explore and learn about while their counterparts are lining up and waiting with their hands up in the classroom (not saying that it’s better as such, just that we have such an amazing choice and can use our time exactly how we want to!) . Ancient history is only one of them! And what a fantastic resource ‘Story of the World’ is. We have the book…the one that has the stories and information and equally as important, we have the activity and lesson plan book. The activity/lesson book comes with all the sheets for photocopying, like maps and colouring pages too. And yes, I know some are shaking their heads at the thought of a 6 yr old learning something like ancient history but I assure you, it is totally within their realm! ‘Story of the World’ was written to be adapted easily for any child from yr 1-4, the activity book includes map work right down to art/craft and science experiments, it’s up to you as to how much detail you want to cover. What’s even better still, is I have found this website that has a quiz for every chapter! Quiz The kids are loving following this history curriculum so much that, at Ant’s request, we are now doing it twice a week!

So,are we finally sorted?  I highly doubt it!  There is  so much to learn, so much to discover that this curriculum will change....and you know what?  We welcome that!