Sunday, February 19, 2012

4th Week of Home Schooling

As we are about to enter into our 5th week homeschooling, I realised that I've not done up a post on the 3rd week and almost didn't get around to the 4th week.

It has felt like we've not 'done' a lot 'of school work this last few weeks. I have been quiet busy with hospital and doctors appointments for Silas, Aliya and myself.

As a collective we managed to do the basics each day, maths, english and a bit of history work with a start on some lapbooks, but not a lot of anything else. We generally try to finish up our school work by 1ish, but with all these morning appts chucked into the week, I've found it hard to get our rhythm going.

Silas is still being defiant when it comes to learning, I think its just a general 'testing how far he can push things' boy attitude. Since hes in 'prep' I'm thinking of just relaxing abit with him and go for a more natural learning approach.

Callum seems to be of the opinion that he needs to be 'nagged' to learn anything! He still has this 'school suxz' attitude and won't venture to even attempt any learning unless scheduled or pushed. I've had a sit down with him to explain that homeschooling isn't all about nagging to get things done and that he can direct his own learning based on his interest as well as doing 'what needs to be done'. I'm hoping that this pep talk has an effect on him this week.....

Both Livia and Aliya are still on track with their learning (which I'm thankful for, if all 4 of the kids were being difficult about learning, it would totally do my head in!)

I'm not sure how it will go this week, we're out of the house all day on Monday with the homeschooling classes, and then Silas is having dental surgery and I'll be with him all day on Tuesday, while Mike is home with the rest of the kids. Hopefully Silas won't need all my attention on Wednesday so I'll be able to help the big kids get back in the swing of things.....

Improvements to aim for during the week

1. Work on routine
2. Encourage and foster some sort of love of learning in Callum
3. Perhaps add a rewards system, for the girls especially and perhaps as extra encouragement for the boys to participate to their potential :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Art - Inspired by James Rizzi

The kids had great fun recreating pop art by James Rizzi today. I have to confess that I would never have come across this artist's work myself, I'm just not an arty crafty sort of gal. (Though I'm in the process of learning a lot more about art)

Livia participates in an art class run by a homeschooling network, and was introduced to pop art in her latest lesson.

It looked so fun I decided to also do this activity at home with the family. Every one from Silas (5) to Callum (12) participated and really enjoyed it, I even decided to join in with this one :) I was well impressed with the level of operation between the kids and of course praised them, to which their reply was "We're being good because we're learning something fun!" lol!!

Firstly we drew our designs with pastels and then used water colours to paint.

And here are their finished pieces of work!

Created by Silas

Created by Livia

Created by Aliya

Created by Callum

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Why are we homeschooling?

You see this time last year, homeschooling was not on my to do list. Back in the day (10 or so years ago), when I 'only' had 2 children, I was a big fan of Natural Parenting Forums and I came across the idea of homeschooling. But being young, I thought that I had to 'have it all', a career, 2 income family, and of course, a nice little family in a nice local school. There was also the little hurdle of having the family think I was crazy! and also that I didn't know of anyone who actually homeschooled!

SO over the years my family grew and I did wonderfully well with my career, even to the point where I was considered for management, but I was never happy, always felt that I could never 'give my best', as a mother or as an employee. Then in 2009, I decided to make the choice to 'just' be a stay at home mum. I have to admit that it was initially a struggle to find the joy in 'just' being a stay at home mum. The constant chores, nappies, kids constantly needing attention, never any 'down/me' time. There is so little value placed on motherhood, that it took me a few years to really appreciate the fortunate position I am in, being able to choose to be with my children.

Around the middle of last year, we had to start seriously considering which highschool Callum would be going to in 2012. I knew the local public school was out, it was a big highschool, which services a lot of suburbs, and didn't necessarily have the best reputation. (But I'm sure that there has been many successes with students there also). For years I had said that my children would attend the local private high school, small, successful outcomes with it students, close to home, but unfortunately had the price tag to go with it. Sending the children to this school would mean a lot of financial sacrifice for the family, which we're not in a position to do atm.

So I mentioned to Mike the idea of homeschooling for the highschool years and I looked into it and BOOM! since the last time I researched, there had been an explosion of resources, forums and more importantly, actual 'real life' families out there homeschooling their kids!! And they were local!! YAY!

Since then, I have immersed myself into the homeschooling 'way of life' reading blogs, making connections and dare I say it friends with other homeschooling families :) I've gathered resources and even renovated a space for our homeschool experience. I even did my 'crazy homeschool talk' on the reallies who came to understand that I mean to give this my best shot :) The time I spent preparing really did make things a lot easier then suddenly pulling the kids out of school, even though I was keen to start our homeschooling journey.

Don't get me wrong, the school the kids were attending was and is fantastic. The kids got along great with their peers, the girls excelled in their work and were often coming home with prizes and glowing reports from their teachers. Callum, being a typical boy, was the class clown, did well at subjects he liked, but overall did well at school. And if it did come to a stage where the kids did need to attend school they would be going back there (apart from Callum who is now high school). Can you believe that the Principle, in her 27 years of being a teacher, had never come across a mother who wanted to home school her kids?? NEVER!

I'm so glad that I had the confidence to actually go ahead with home schooling, and while I understand that this is not for everyone, perhaps eventually it won't be for us, at least I can say I did it and not what if. So far things have gone really well, not as hard or as draining as I thought it would be. I can already see our family becoming closer, the kids still have their spats, but are not so divided any more. We've only hit our 4th 'official' week of homeschooling, so really I can't comment on how things will pan out, but I'm optimistic for the future and I am planning on homeschooling for a long while yet :)

They say the 1st year is the toughest. I think the challenge for us will be the adjustment from being school kids to being homeschooled. Realising that learning happens all the time and not just from a text book. And just saying yes more often then not.

Fingers crossed we find that balance, and that we all fall deeply in love with homeschooling :)

Meet the Students Aussie NBTS Blog Hop

Our Worldwide Classroom

I'm pretty excited to finally be able to join in with the NTBS Blog Hop. This is our 4th week of homeschooling :)

I'm keeping it short and sweet and will add a recent pic soonish :)

Callum (12) year 8
Schooling History - preschool to year 7
Likes - xbox, playing football, angry birds,
Dislikes - anything to do with school work
Wants to be - someone who travels and works with animals as he is a passionate animal advocate

Livia (11)
School History - preschool to year 6
Likes - reading, littlest pet shop, animals, computer games, expanding her mind with weird facts, learning languages
Dislikes - repetitive school work
Wants to be - a linguist, or in a position with travel

Aliya (8)
School History - prep to year 2
Likes - reading, computer games, animals, arts, baking, dancing, singing, dressing up
Dislikes - boring school work
Wants to be - various things have been mentioned but nothing concrete yet, which is great :)

Silas (5)
School History - part time pre-prep last year
Likes - Pokemon, angry birds, animals,
Dislikes - school work unless its fun
Wants to be - a pokemon master

Kaydence (2&1/2)
School History - never been
Likes - Dora, drawing, story time, playing with big brothers and sisters
Dislikes - nap time, being made to act her age, clothes (loves being nudie)
Wants to be - boss of the house!

Braith (1)
School History - never been
Likes - cuddles, being held all the time, new past time is walking, love being outside, bath times
Dislikes - sleeping through the night (lol)
Wants to be - just busy being cute

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Baby #7 - 28 weeks :)

pregnancy calendar

pregnancy calendar

Here I was thinking that this pregnancy is dragging along and find out that its been 8 wks since I did my last pregnancy post! 8 wks has gone by fast and in a boring sort of way, there is nothing too exciting to report! But when it comes to pregnancy, boring is good!!

So how have things been? Well good considering this is my 7th pregnancy and 3rd in a row, but I have to admit that this time around I'm really feeling physically tired! I am rocking the heavy, big belly, duck waddle pregnancy style!

In an effort to try to pick up my energy levels a bit, I'm starting up juicing and adding wheat grass power to my juice! Inspired by a few others out there, some pregnant, some not who are also trying juicing and green smoothies to improve their overall health and energy levels!

This week I have my glucose test and at my last appointment everything seemed well with bubs, great heart rate and measuring to dates.

I've started to move Braiths clothes out of the change table (where I keep the newest baby's clothes) in preparation for setting up for this bubba! I've been so busy that I've not thought too much about organising for this baby, but luckily I still have 12 wks to go, and most of the newborn baby stuff is on hand.

We also pretty much have a name picked for this little man, I love love love the name, Mike is still not 100% in love with it, doesn't hate it, but can't come up with something else he really loves either. I suggested that he should start using the name a bit and see how it fits then.....

Its soooooo hard picking a name! Especially as its our 4th (Mike's 5th) boy!! lol! and boys names are hard enough to pick as it is!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Happy 1st Birthday to my 3rd Born Son Braith!!


Can you believe that Braith is the big 1 already?!? Seems like just the other day I was preparing for his birth!

Being a Mumma of 6 kids (plus my stepson who came into my life at 2) you would think that I had babies all worked out! But no Braith was my not-so-easy-not-gonna-sleep-for-noone sort of baby that taught me that my patience has no boundaries!

He was sick at 6 wks with RSV and hospitalised for a week over the Easter school holidays, and when he was weaned we eventually discovered the poor little mite was allergic to dairy products. I even tested him today with some yoghurt and he has had a sick, upset tummy all day! Sorry little man!

He has never been a baby to sleep through the night, been a persistent crier but always happy little chappy when held, rocked and walked about!

He is our little dinosaur in the making. Braith loves to give big hugs and finish off with a big munch, usually on the shoulder or arm! And boy does it hurt!! OUCH!

Apart from all that drama, he is such a good little guy and the cutest baby around (even Callum said so!) lol!!

He loves rough play with his big brothers, will tolerate his sisters dressing him up and brushing his hair into a mohawk. He loves to 'talk' on the phone, give big smoochie kisses and has just started to master the art of walking by himself (he now walks more then crawling).

I love my littlest guy to bits and wish that time would slow down just a bit so that I can enjoy his babyhood just a little bit longer!!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Break Through - Presented by the letter A

As I had previously mentioned Silas was experiencing frustration when it came to writing the letter 'a' in his name.

Another homeschooling Mum suggested I do some tactile stuff to encourage him to give it a go while being able to easily rub out the mistakes :)

So outside we went with trays of flour and the fun began :) Check out that smile, I never see that smile when he came to writing 'a'!! Success at last! Silas was at first doing the usual 'I can't do it' til I showed him how to mess the flour back up and start again :)

Even Kaydence gave it a go and in usual 2 yr old form, had to eat her words lol!! Yuck! But she really enjoyed eating that flour!

Even big kid Aliya wanted to join in :)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Popcorn Science = Home School Fun :)

As I had previously mentioned, a few weeks back (can't believe I'm already saying a few WEEKS back) we were having some very monotonous days of bookwork, so I decided to add in some fun with Popcorn Science - a resource I either got free or purchased cheap (I can't quite remember now) from

It was a good choice as there was activities that all the different ages could join in with!

Inside there is a few experiments to do with popcorn and our 1st activity was about how the force in the kernel reacts to create 'popcorn'.

We learned about the structure of a kernel.

We 'damaged' some kernels with a hammer (it was too hard to use the pliers there was kernels flying everywhere!) to see the difference to the level of force created when heated.

The difference between 'damaged' kernels and 'whole' kernels when heated.

And then we decided to make some caramel popcorn :) Not part of the lesson but very fun and just in time for afternoon tea :)

And it was a good opportunity to teach the kids how to make caramel popcorn, especially Callum who is showing an interest in cooking :)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

2nd week of Homeschooling

Its taken me a little while to come around to deciding what to talk about in this weeks post. The last week has been filled with ups and downs when it came to homeschooling.

I have family that read my blog, some who expect that homeschooling should be a success from the get go and that bad days = enrolment in school........

But my sister in law once told me that the reason she follows blogs is because they reflect 'real life' so here is a dose of homeschooling 'real life'.

Generally our days start well, I find that we achieve our best if we start by 9am, after that the day feels like riding a bike up a hill......

We even had a moment where it was declared 'homeschooling was supposed to be fun!' Tell me about it! lol!!

I even posted about my issues with Callum on the Connecting Qld Home Schoolers Forum to gain some insight to homeschooling a 'teen boy' lol!

But over all it was a good week, we learned, and even had some fun in there somewhere! A park play with lots of other homeschooling families and a trip to GOMA with a few homeschooling families. Here is a little bit of what went on this week with everyone.

Callum (12) decided to declare to me that he thinks that his history work is a 'waste of his time' and is pretty much chucking a tantie about having to even do basic research.

Callum had picked the Medieval Times, and I've asked for him to jot down some important dates to create a timeline, which he has decided is too hard, even though he has done timelines at school and Wikipedia is handing him a timeline that he could just copy down.

His teachers from grade 5 and 7 warned me (when I mentioned that we were going to home school) that he has a poor attitude when it comes to school work, rushing work and wasting time allocated to a topic so he can get out of doing work he's not interested in.This was the main reason I wanted to especially home school Callum for his high school years as I felt he would not achieve to his potential.

So after a bit of yelling (frustration from me) and him acting as the world was ending, I decided to call it quits and organise lunch. Generally I let the kids have some free computer/xbox time, but after Callum's performance decided that he would have to have a 'rest' instead and read some of his novel. Well low and behold, Callum later comes to me with a completed timeline and tells me he has read his novel and is ready to do his book review in the morning!! I was more then pleasantly surprised to see that he had gone ahead and completed the work, and asked him why? to which he replied he just need some time to 'sort it out in his head'. Fantastic :)

Callum then asks me 'Can I play the xbox now?'....ummmm NO! lol!!

I have to admit the girls are a pleasure to home school. They love learning, they love learning new things and generally get on with their work so they can do what they want with the rest of their day.

Livia (11) goes ahead with her work with little prompting or direction from me. She especially loves the fact that she can do her school work in coloured gels pens instead of 'having' to use lead pencil or blue pens. Livia is interested in learning different languages this year and is already making strides with Spanish. She is also due to start weekly Spanish classes this 'term'.

Aliya (8) loves her 'school work'. She loves to learn and learn quickly. This year she is learning 'running writing' and is keen to write as well as her sister. She is moving through her workbooks really quickly as she will spend hours working on a task, I often have to tell her to finish up!!

Silas (5) is starting Prep work and is easily frustrated by the littlest things. There has been a few bad days where his teeth have been playing up as well causing him a lot of pain (he is due to have surgery to get his back molars removed on the 21st of February, so hopefully being pain free will make things easier) .

For example, in his name is the letter a, which he is having trouble writing. If his first attempt at a 'a' isn't perfect then he throws his pen down and refuses to continue writing. I asked an 'experienced' home schooler who has taught boys at home for advice and she suggested to attempt some 'tactile' exercises with him, writing letters in shaving cream or flour in big writing with his hands, so there will be a lot of fun to be had with that this week :) On the other hand Silas has come along well with his readers (I loaned a bunch from the library). This week was Pets (a horse, a cat, a dog) and I see (I see a bird, I see a girl, I see a frog). He mastered these books after day 3 and declared them boring! lol!! We have also been reading aloud Wombat Stew which was his book of choice and Kaydence also loves it :)

Kaydence (2) and Braith (nearly 1) have, in a way, been my most challenging 'students'. They can't be left to their own devises long or they start to 'make their own fun' getting into things or in Braith's case mastering climbing the stairs! I hate to admit that we've watched a little too much Dora this last week :( but I'm hoping that this week will be better planned out and more 'productive' for the little ones.

So if you've gotten this far I've one little thing I would like to add to my weekly updates, improvements I would like to aim for during the coming week.

1. Plan out my days the night before, I'm sure that in a few weeks this won't take up much of my time but atm, I've found that previewing everyone's work the night before sets the pace for the day.

2. Start the day with a 'Morning Meeting' with the kids.

3. Add a bit of fun into the day. The kids had a great time with 'Popcorn Science' (post to follow), after all 'homeschooling is supposed to be fun!'

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

WW - Wordless Wednesday

I was just browsing through the photos and came across this amazing one of Callum at Australia Zoo back in July 2010 - my mind boggles at the thought that its going on 2 years since we were there last!! Callum's favourite animal was/is the Red Panda so for his birthday he was given a Panda Experience at Australia Zoo - and it was well worth the price! So hands on and I was also lucky enough to be able to enter the exhibit with him and pat the pandas myself! They are soooooo soft, softer even then a Persian Cat......And they are so CUTE CUTE CUTE!!!