Thursday, December 21, 2017

Homeschool Curriculum 2018 - Did someone say highschool?

2018 marks our 6th year of learning, laughing (and crying) together at home.

When we first began homeschooling the most common question after, "But, how will you stay sane?" was "But what on earth will you do for highschool????".

I had no idea - my son was 6 and secondary education seemed a million years away....

Then... just like that we have an almost 12 year old ready for highschool.

ME: Did you realise year 7 is the beginning of highschool?
HIM: Nope. So am I going to go to a highschool?
ME:, do you want to go to a highschool?
HIM: No - not really.

And so begins those 'highschool' years - at home.

After initially freaking out about what I needed to change to get more 'serious' about schoolwork and put a stop to all this 'fun' we were having,  I received some wise advice.

If what you are doing is working - why do you need to change anything just because he's in highschool?

So I cancelled the booking with the boring old English professor and packed my Bunsen burner away realising that this was only going to be as complicated as I made it....for now.

So this year I will homeschool a 12, 10 and 8 year old and here is our resource list.

I want to reinforce that homeschooling is so much more than curriculum and resources - it's about giving our kids the freedom to direct their own learning and allowing them to find and explore their passions. Our focus has always been getting out and exploring and enjoying the world together...but when we are at home - this is what we have on hand.


Singapore maths

Once they hit level 6 - maths got REALLY hard (for me).
Maths teaching has now been delegated to my husband who thankfully is a maths wiz.
The 2 older boys do the same level to keep things simple.

Maths is reinforced with lessons on studyladder online and various ipad apps.


We have taken a relaxed classical approach to literacy based on classical method outlined in the well trained mind.

 Image result for writing with ease


Image result for well trained mind books


We use All About Spelling for my 8yo and sequential spelling for the other 2 but we only do this occasionally as they have good visual memories so don't really need to work on spelling.


This is our absolute favourite subject - including mine.

This year, we are using a bible based history curriculum so it starts with history documented in bible and how it lines up with other historical documents and accounts. We have used a few history curriculum's in the past like SOTW but I find history makes so much more sense and takes on a new relevance when we start at the beginning.

We will also look at Australian history.


Move over science - history is our focus this year! We have a bookshelf full of science books and will go where the boys interest leads. We also have a membership to the University science club which holds events and activities throughout the year and will continue lots of hands on experiments at home.


Music is a big part of our life. 2 of my boys play the piano and the other 2 the drums and have various opportunities throughout the year to play in bands and perform.

We also make the most of community, cultural and homeschool arts events during the year.

Physical Education

We usually begin our day with a run and some brain gym.

The boys are active and love sports and plan to continue basketball and tennis. They will attend a basketball camp for a week in January and will continue their weekly homeschool parkour group this year.

Homeschooling is the hardest but most rewarding decision we have ever made for our family and now that I've decided not to freak out about highschool.........

Bring on 2018!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Why We Don't Celebrate Australia Day... And What We Do Instead.

One of the first trips we took when we began homeschooling 5 years ago was to the Northern Territory. We spent time with good friends and immersed ourselves in Aboriginal culture. We learnt so much about the beauty of one of the oldest cultures in the world. 

But I was ashamed to admit that most of what I learnt was new to me. 

I don't remember learning about the stolen generation in school or that the Aboriginal people killed / massacred by the colonists numbered in the hundreds of thousands wiping out entire languages and tribes. I don't remember learning about how colonists actively infected the Aboriginal people with disease in an attempt to wipe them out. I didn't know that almost 100% of Tasmanian Aboriginal people were murdered. I didn't know that white people introduced alcohol into Aboriginal communities as a way to manipulate and control the Aboriginal people. 

This new knowledge seemed to cast a shadow on the idea that the first settlers were heroic pioneers that we should honour. In fact to honour them seemed to dishonour the people that called Australia home long before they arrived.  

The reality was there was nothing at all 'honourable' about the way Australia was taken from it's original occupants.

Suddenly I realised that what I wanted my kids to learn about Australian history was very different to the history taught in schools and the one discussed in most history books. I wanted them to know the real story - the truth - not a carefully constructed snapshot sugar-coated by a political agenda. 

I wanted them to feel love and compassion for Aboriginal people and to learn to love their culture.

So, instead on Australia day we talk about invasion and celebrate survival. 

 I  ask my kids to close their eyes....

Picture our home. 

Think about how we have a comfy couch so that we can snuggle up and read books together. 

Think about the photos on the wall of our family members and people we love and value. 

Think about your bedroom and how you feel safe when you go to bed at night. 

Then imagine that the council decides to rent out our home to other people - and strangers move in. 

Other people sleep in your bed and sit on your couch.

These strangers take the photos off the wall and smash them because they don't understand that those 'things' have value to you.

How do you feel? 

Then imagine these people start to threaten and intimidate you. 

You realise that not only do these strangers want to live in your home - they don't want YOU to be there anymore. 

How do you feel? 

That's how Aboriginal people felt. 

No, we weren't there personally at invasion which mean we weren't personally responsible. But that doesn't mean that we can't acknowledge the suffering of Aboriginal people. It shouldn't stop us from feeling compassion for what they went through. It also doesn't mean we can't stand alongside them and celebrate that their culture survived a dark time in our countries history.

Understanding the truth about Australia's history enables compassion which is the opposite of the intolerance and judgement often directed towards Aboriginal people. I admit that my old opinions were steeped in my own ignorance. 

I didn't know the history. I didn't know the stories. I didn't know the people.

Now I do. 

That's why we don't celebrate Australia day.

Car-schooling with Jonathon Park Audio Adventures

  I once asked a seasoned homeschooler how she managed to fit so many activities and events around 'schoolwork'. She told ...