Showing posts from 2013

Writing With Ease - Review

My 7 year old is a reluctant writer. When I say reluctant, I mean that he is more than happy to spend time writing stories but resists any of the rules of writing e.g correct punctuation. It is often messy, rushed and unreadable to anyone but him. When he was 5 I was happy with this as I wanted him to simply enjoy the experience of expressing his thoughts. I felt that perhaps as time went on that he would seek to be understood in his writing and learn to write so that others could enjoy his beautifully creative stories. This didn't happen. He continued to resist any guidance in even just the simple idea of capital letters and fullstops. Why? I think he just honestly didn't see any point! Hence why I named him a 'reluctant writer'.

In my search for writing program that would work for him I turned to Writing with Ease. 

It is written by Susan Wise Bauer who is well known for her classical approach to homeschooling and curriculum. I consider my homeschooling style to be e…

Finishing The Homeschool Year Strong!

I can hardly believe it's December - the year has flown!

Here we are thinking about Christmas crafts and trips to the city to see Christmas displays when I feel like the year has just begun. Where did the time go?

Despite the fact this year has had the usual ebb and flow of beautiful homeschooling moments combined with tear your hair out and "That's're going back to school" moments, I want to make sure we finish the year strong. Last year, we fizzled out as lessons got less and less frequent with the busyness of Christmas concerts and family events so that everyone, including me, lost their motivation and getting back into it at the beginning of the new year was a struggle.

How can we finish the year strong?

Looking back at what we've achieved
This is great for the kids to look back and see what they've achieved. This year we finished 2A and (almost) 2B of Singapore maths with both boys. DS5 completed his 100 book reading challenge and DS7 has tac…

Using Lego In Home Education - The Middle Years

Lego is a huge part of my boy's lives and their love for it continues to change and grow in complexity as they get older. My kids loves the free play of the normal Lego blocks but are also developing an interest in the assemble kits. "Mum, Can I please get the Lego star wars deathstar? It's only $400...." I've always known that Lego is 'good' for kids, for their developing creativity, problem solving and more. These reasons are more than enough motivation to encourage the use of Lego in our homeschool. Why Use Lego In Home Education? 1. Kids love Lego, it's fun and motivating! As delight-directed homeschoolers, I love using my children's interests and passions to impart different skills and knowledge. Lego is something I have used many a time to teach mathematical concepts, physics, engineering and even literacy. When a child is interested in a topic they have a motivation, a desire to learn and will readily accept and absorb what is being taught. …

Brave Writer - Homeschool Writing Curriculum Review

We are struggling with writing at the moment. 7yo loves to write but is very resistant to the 'rules' of writing such as punctuation, capital letters etc. He enjoys most aspects of homeschooling but when I say we are going to do some writing I can see his body tense, his eyes roll and then the complaining starts....

We are currently trying out a few different curriculum to discover what is going to work for 7yo and Brave Writer is one of them. A fellow homeschooler suggested the brave writer 'jot it down' resource as I love curriculum I can use for both 7yo and 6yo and this resource is designed for kids aged 5-8.

The book introduces the idea of a 'brave writer lifestyle' and suggests this is the daily, weekly, monthly, seasonal rhythm in your homeschool that explores music, the arts, film, nature, literature, poetry and various writing practices in a natural, predictable flow.

It provides a guide, not a "to do" list of activities designed to support you…

Rocks And Minerals Study

My 7yo has always been fascinated with rocks. So when he spied the national geographic rocks and minerals collection at our local newsagent his eyes lit up! I saw it as a great opportunity to foster his keen interest in geology and for me to learn something new along the way too.

There is something exciting about waiting for the next rock in the collection to arrive, going to pick it up and learning about something new.  And move over Justin Bieber (or whatever the female equivalent is these days) there's a rocks and minerals poster next to my son's bed!

I must admit that rocks and minerals don't intrigue me the way they do my son so I've had to be proactive in finding motivating and exciting ideas for exploring this topic.
To get some ideas on how I could expand on this interest I visited some of my favourite homeschooling blogs and sites. I discovered this idea on teaching the layers of the earth.

I followed the links and printed and laminated our own set of cards…

South Australian Maritime Museum - Port Adelaide

We visited the South Australian Maritime Museum yesterday for a special school holiday event. We went with a homeschool group to enjoy the play "Shipwrecked".

Despite the fact I grew up in Adelaide, I don't know the area of Port Adelaide very well at all. It was a beautiful sunny, winter day (yep, only in Adelaide) so we decided to explore the port.

We walked along the water and admired the heritage buildings and stopped at a cute little cafe' for a coffee and orange juice.

The maritime museum has a ship that the kids can explore on and play in. The boys spent most of their time playing pirates and exploring the ship before we explored the rest of the museum.

After the play we went to climb the old lighthouse which is free with your museum entry.

We also stopped to consider going on a dolphin cruise. But there was no need as the dolphins were 'playing' right beside the boat so we sat and watched them for FREE!

So, our day out at Port Adelaide was great succ…

All About Homophones

We LOVE this resource!

All About Homophones is a resource created by the team at All About Learning Press. We have been using All About Spelling since the beginning of the year and really enjoy the multi-sensory lessons and were fortunate to receive a copy of this new homophone resource for homeschoolers.

This homophone resource includes engaging worksheets, games and activities and even a graphic organiser to assist with visual learning. It also starts at the beginning and is suitable for kids as young as 6  (year 1) and continues to progress in complexity until about year 8. It's a complete resource - for homophones!

My kids love homophones. They swell with pride when they discover a new homophone from real life and I love to see their brains ticking away as they work through the complexities of the English language. In fact, I was quite surprised at how fascinated they were with homophones. They seem to have a genuine fascination and interest in this topic.

The worksheets are…

Our Trip To Seaworld - Gold Coast

We had an awesome holiday recently on the Gold Coast. One of the highlights was two days at Seaworld.

This was our first trip to Seaworld since our eldest was 3 so it was a different experience with the kids old enough to sit and enjoy the shows such as fish detectives. We scored a seat right at the front and were so close to the seals that the boys could almost reach out and touch them!

One of the newer attractions at Seaworld is dinosaur island and the dinosaur discovery centre. The dinosaurs are life sized which is truly amazing to see and the discovery centre is fantastic. I was explaining some of the exhibits to the boys and how they learn what dinosaurs used to eat by their poo. At the end, I asked the boys what they learnt about dinosaurs and DS3 piped up, "I learnt that dinosaurs eat poo". Not quite son, but good try! This has inspired  the boys to learn more about dinosaurs so we are re-visiting some books and studies on dinosaurs.

 The dolphin show is always my…

Our Homeschooling Room

We are moving house and saying goodbye to our faithful homeschool room! Our new place doesn't have a designated space...yet... so we are going to miss this room!

I obviously took this photo before the wall was filled with artwork and posters and the computer desk is missing the laptop! 

 My love.......Ikea storage tubs!

I'm excited about the opportunity to design our new homeschool room so it's goodbye to our old room and looking ahead to something new!

Are We Doing Enough? Our Experiment!

I think most homeschoolers ask themselves this question from time to time. Are we doing enough? It's hard to measure everything we do as so much of our days are just regular life such as a trip to the shops, bike rides, walks on the beach collecting shells.....and how can we measure the value of conversations with our children or the sibling relationships that grow and develop each day? We can't. Some learning, the important stuff, can't be measured on a standardised test. And isn't the avoidance of these measures at least partly what drew us to homeschool in the first place?

When it comes to 'how much is enough?' we sometimes have to wrestle with our own beliefs about education when we imagine the 6hr classroom day compared to our own days at home.

We returned from a week on the Gold Coast over the weekend so decided to take this week pretty easy as I'm also in the process of re-evaluating how we homeschool. I constantly fall into the 'are we doing en…

In Defence Of Unschooling.....

We don't watch TV much these days but we did happen to see this segment on unschooling on the project where it was described as "stupid" and "irresponsible" by panel members.

I don't identify as an unschooler but I respect the diversity that exists in the homeschooling community and embrace many natural learning approaches in the way we home educate. I've seen the merits of unschooling in my own boys through what they create in their 'free' time. I see their passion and enthusiasm when they pursue something that interests them rather than something I've told them to learn and it takes learning to a whole new level - a much higher level.

In defence of unschooling is "stupid"..........

To be fair, an unschooler saying they let their children do what ever they want does at first, sound crazy. However, what others imagine this to look like is usually incorrect. Unschooling doesn't mean letting kids do whatever they want whenever t…

Managing Screen Time When You Homeschool

I'll be honest. Screens including the TV, computer and gadgets have often been my babysitter and sanity saver. I could defend why I use them until the cow's come home but the truth is, at times, I'm just lazy. I've become dependent on screens to give me a break, provide distraction for the kids and keep them engaged while I complete important (or not so important) tasks. The problem? I've become increasingly uncomfortable with what my kids watch on TV and the addictive nature of gadgets like ipads. I've learnt to recognise that when I begin to feel uncomfortable or uneasy about something it is often the still, small voice of God trying to get my attention.

So when I heard about the screen free week challenge it seemed the answer I was looking for. It would offer us a chance to disconnect from technology and give us time to re-connect with each other. I felt it would also be an opportunity to re-assess our use of screens and to seek God for help in what change…

Against The Flow - Christian Homeschooling

Part of the reason we chose to homeschool after spending time in a local state school was because we wanted to teach our kids Christian values. We had the opportunity to experience education and socialisation in a secular environment which helped us realise how important it is that not only our home life be centered about the person of Jesus but also our children's education.

I have mentioned numerous times about homeschooling being a socially unpopular choice. It is also a counter-cultural choice. But what many people don't realise is that we often face opposition from other Christians and Christian leaders. Homeschoolers really are going against the flow!

Even in church communities we are taught that it's best to go with the flow - just follow the majority and we should be right. The problem? We end up using imperfect people to guide our decisions rather than look to the word of God. We stop following God and start following church culture and church leaders instead. Sadl…

A Day Out In The Adelaide Hills - Gumeracha

Last week we went for a scenic drive in the Adelaide hills to a little town called Gumeracha.

This is one of my favourite drives as the scenery is just so beautiful - but if you're driving try not to take too much notice as the roads are very windy.

We visited the big rocking horse which you can enter and climb to the top. Hubby took the three boys who all climbed right to the top - even my three year old had a go! 

There is also a small wildlife sanctuary that you can enter for FREE! You have the option to buy some 'feed' for the animals. We spent just under an hour in there meeting the kangaroos, peacocks, chickens, alpacas, goats, sheeps, ducks and talking cockatoos!

The boys loved it!

Although DS7 wasn't too sure about the alpaca!

We then had a look around the toy shop and the boys loved 'peeking in' and seeing the carpenters making the toys out of wood. Most of the toys stocked at this toy shop are made on site and they also stock other local produce…

Maths With The "Life Of Fred"

I first heard about the Life Of Fred on the Rockpool Homeschool Forum. It was suggested to other homeschoolers as a math resource for kids who found maths boring or were difficult to engage.

We use Singapore maths as our maths curriculum.Singapore maths is a complete curriculum and we love it. My boys have maths brains and I want to make sure they continue enjoying it so I try to make maths as fun and engaging as possible. We have loads of maths manipulatives and games but I wanted to find something that got them thinking about maths in a 'real' way.

So I decided to buy the first book in the Life Of Fred series to see what is was like.

The Life Of Fred is a maths curriculum that is written like a chapter book with pictures. Each chapter contains a story about Fred with some maths lessons thrown in. It concludes with some practical application where you read out a series of questions and kids write the answers in a blank notebook. Each chapter builds on the knowledge from the…

Finding Your Homeschooling Style

When I first looked into homeschooling I was confused by 'styles'. What did they mean style? Wasn't homeschooling just well, homeschooling? When we were considering home education as an option, mentally I found the fact there wasn't a "This is exactly how you do this" guide to be a challenge. It was difficult to know where to start and easy to be anxious that I was going to get it wrong!

Now, I realise this is one of the benefits of homeschooling. We don't have to teach our children the same way and we certainly don't have to replicate the mainstream school environment at home.
Most homeschoolers teach children essentially the same things but in a way that flows from individual value systems, family life and children's learning styles. 

We often follow our children's lead. What difference does it make if a child learns about the butterfly life cycle when they are 4 or 10? As long as they learn this at some point in their education - why enforce …