Author Archives for Katie

About Katie

I am a Catholic home-school mother of 5. I enjoy the Australian bush, cooking, essential oils and spending time with my family.

2017 Booklists

Thank goodness it’s Friday. I love Fridays. We work so hard all week and Fridays are our day to relax and take stock of the week so far. It’s a day for tying up loose ends and preparing for the weekend (and just maybe having sleep-ins!). When I hear a little voice ask me, “Can you push me on the swing?” I can say, “Yes!” When I get asked, “Can you read me a book?” I can say, “Yes”. “Can I make a robot?” “Can I play lego?” and sometimes I may even say yes to “Can we watch a movie?” It is Friday, right?

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We still do school on Fridays but we only do maths, a little writing and whatever they missed during the week. There are no timetables, and the kids are free to decide when they  do their subjects. But of course, there will be no movie if their school hasn’t been done!

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Today the kids have made robots, done electronics, played music, read books, constructed cubbies, designed fairy gardens, rode their bikes, wrote out recipes, wrote out book character names into notebooks and much more.  So much learning occurs even without structured school.

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With much less on the agenda today, I have had a chance to take photos and make a list of all the curriculums that we are using this year. I love seeing what other people use, and it so often gives me ideas for what I would like to use in my homeschool. So here is goes….by grade level.

Year 10 (age 15)

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English: Pearson English 10; Windows to the World; The Elegant Essay; Advanced Spelling.

Maths: MathOnline

Humanities:

Science – Chemistry 101

History – Christ the King Lord of History

Geography – North Star Geography 

Logic: – The Art of Argument

Economics: Continue Penny Candy from last year

The Arts:

Music: Guitar

Religion: Catholicism DVDs, The Teen Timeline

Year 8 (age 13)

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English: Pearson English 8; Windows to the WorldThe Elegant Essay; Life of Fred Language Arts; Phonetic Zoo C

Maths: Saxon Maths

Humanities:

Science –Physics 101

History – RC History – Living books (for another post)

Geography – North Star Geography 

Logic:  The Art of Argument

Business:  Life of Fred Financial Choices

The Arts:

Art: Ever Ancient Ever New

Music: Guitar

Religion: Catholicism DVDsThe Teen Timeline

Year 6 (age 10)

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English: Writing and Rhetoric Books 3 & 4; Life of Fred Language ArtsPhonetic Zoo B

Maths: New Syllabus Primary Mathematics 5A & 5B

Humanities:

Science –Magic School Bus

History – RC History – Living books (for another post)

Geography –Draw Africa & Draw Asia plus living books

Logic: One Hour Mysteries

Civics and Citizenship – Parliament

The Arts:

Art: Ever Ancient Ever New and art classes with a teacher at a friend’s house

Music: Violin

Religion: Catholicism DVDs, Bible reading for history

Year 3 (Age 8)

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English: All About Spelling Level 3; Beautiful Feet Books, All Things Fun and Fascinating

Maths: New Syllabus Primary Mathematics 3A & 3B

Humanities:

Science –Magic School Bus

History – RC History – Living books (for another post)

Geography –Draw Africa & Draw Asia plus living books

The Arts:

Art: Ever Ancient Ever New and art classes with a teacher at a friend’s house

Music: Piano

Religion: 1st Confession & 1st Holy Communion Preparation,  Bible reading for history

Well there it is! As you can see, many books are shared as I teach the kids together as much as possible. So far, the kids are enjoying their schooling for 2017, and I am enjoying teaching them as well 🙂

My Daybook – February

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW I SEE…a beautiful overcast day. I can also see some gorgeous new shoots on the rose bushes. If the parrots don’t get to them, I should be able to pick some soon to bring inside.

I AM GIVING THANKS….that Jay was feeling much better than usual yesterday and he was able to enjoy his birthday.

I AM PRAYING FOR……..Jay – that his up and coming medical treatment interstate will fix his health and he can lead a normal life again!

I AM LISTENING TO…a very quiet house!!! Only one of the big kids are up so it is very quiet. I can hear many different birds chirping outside.

I AM THINKING ABOUT….how I haven’t posted ANYTHING in so long. I really want to get back into it again. I like to blog so I can document our days and have something to look back on. Hopefully I can start up again.

I AM LEARNING….more and more about the bible. This year for Religion we are focusing on the bible. Not that we don’t already know how to read it, but this year we are using lots of resources to come to love and understand scripture more deeply and to understand the timeline from Adam and Eve right to Jesus.

I AM CREATING….lists, lists and more lists. I will be in Melbourne for 2 1/2 weeks with Jay. Our GAPs diet will have to continue at home, and so will school work. The kids will need to know what to do while we are gone.

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IN THE SCHOOLROOM….there is plenty going on. I will have to do a separate post all on our chosen curriculums for this year. Dami is in Kindy this year. Although I prefer learning at this age to be completely natural, there are days where he wants to be like the big kids. Sometimes we enjoy a cup of tea together while he is doing his ‘Kindy’ work.

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How are we supposed to do school with this little guy peering in the window?!!

 

COOKING IN THE KITCHEN….last night was a no dairy, no sugar, peppermint ice-cream for Jay’s 15th birthday. It was delicious!!

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IN THE MORNING BASKET…we are listening to Peter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes and we are learning the poem My Country.

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IN THE GARDEN…we are fencing in the property so our new puppy won’t escape! We needed to cut down a few trees to be able to put the fence in. The logs became a good table and chairs.

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I NEVER WANT TO FORGET….a cute little moment from Jay’s birthday yesterday….Dami spent the morning bringing ‘presents’ to Jay from the playroom. He gave away his Octonaught toys, his keyboard, a backpack and some toy cars. When he was off to bed that night he also gave Jay his teddies. It was a very serious activity, he was adamant that Jay was not to give them back.

The kids enjoyed a trip on their Poppy's sail boat. The boat literally rocked Dami off to sleep!

The kids enjoyed a trip on their Poppy’s sail boat. The boat literally rocked Dami off to sleep!

My Daybook – November

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW I SEE….Beth and Dami playing together. That 3 year old is one lucky kid! He adores his older siblings and they are so good to him.

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I AM GIVING THANKS….. for this beautiful weather at the moment. I can’t get enough of being outside.

I AM PRAYING FOR……..family members who are ill. My Nana, who is 93, has been struggling with her health lately. She never ceases to amaze me with how switched on she is though. When you go visit her in the nursing home she gives you a running commentary  of all the old folk whose poor minds have been lost to them long ago. I think her good brain health is due to her never having her drivers licence so she would walk and take public transport everywhere.

I AM LISTENING TO…the sound of the basketball hitting the driveway – the two big boys are really enjoying shooting hoops together at the moment. They are out there at any chance they get. I can also hear the laughter from Beth and Dami.

I AM THINKING ABOUT….next year! I know it seems like a long way off but now is the time to order books.

I AM LEARNING….as always, I seem to being learning about the gut. I have loved reading ‘Brain Maker’ and now I am reading Pete Evans ‘The Complete Gut Health Cookbook’.

I AM CREATING….neat and tidy bookshelves. Not very exciting – or creative! I needed to give our playroom/schoolroom a makeover. There is still plenty of work to be done…my house looks like a bomb has gone off in it. I hate it how things always get worse before they get better 🙂

IN THE SCHOOLROOM….we are taking it very easy this term. We have enjoyed plenty of excursions, and the kids are planning their own days. All the kids know what needs to be done to finish the school year so as soon as one subject is finished, then they have less work to do. Beth, Zac and Dami are creating pretend food for their Cafe. They have finished their maths, spelling, religion and geography for the year.

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Our Zoo Excursion

COOKING IN THE KITCHEN….as always… our GAPs food and plenty of ferments.

IN THE MORNING BASKET…we are using the Baltimore Catechism each morning. I read from the text then choose one question for the kids to write in their notebooks. It has lead to many an interesting conversions about many parts of our faith.

We are also doing a fair bit of picture study. I’ll keep my method for another post, but it has been a lovely addition to the morning.

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Our morning basket time. Dami is fully dressed for the day but insisted on wearing his dressing gown.

I NEVER WANT TO FORGET….what a blessing it is to be a mother. Every day has its challenges, but also its blessings. I can choose to dwell on the bad, or I can try to see the blessings in each day. Sometimes it is as simple as a walk among the roses, or a cuddle from the three year old.

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This rose was picked and given to me 🙂

I don’t want to wish this time away because I know that in the blink of an eye they will be all grown up and left home.

Tidy Time Madness!

It’s 3 o’clock.

School is done for the day, what a relief! There is only one problem….the only way we could get through our school day is by letting our gorgeous 3 year old get out any toy he liked!

Mess drives me crazy. I have learnt to live with it though. I don’t know that it is possible to keep a perfectly tidy house when you have 5 kids who are home all the time. I do know  that I am a much more happy, relaxed Mummy if things are tidy and organised though.

Often I can’t stand the mess and I will enforce the ‘one toy out at a time rule’. Other times it’s not worth the effort – I’d rather use the time to teach the other kids and let Dami get out whatever he likes. Once one toy is out he gets quite attached to it, but he wants more toys out as well. Today it was his Marble tower, so carefully made, but not yet ready to pack away even though he had finished playing with it. I tried packing it up and all I heard was “No! Not my Marble tower, Beth helped me make it!” His cars are out, along with his Octonauts toys. Add in there a couple of other toys, and it’s madness!

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I often tell all the kids, if all of them leave just 5 things lying around, that’s 25 things to tidy up. If they do that in a few rooms in the house, then that quickly becomes a messy house.

Even though my house doesn’t seem to stay tidy for long, I have a few tricks up my sleeve for getting people to tidy fast.

In case my tricks will help anyone else then here you go…

  1. NUMBER PICK UP – I pick a number generally between 15  -30 (depending on how much time we have or how messy the place is) and I tell the kids – in a very enthusiastic voice – “Right! Everyone pick up 20 things and put them in their correct place…on your marks, get set, GO!” Everyone (including me) rushes around to see who can make the target number first. As we are running around we often yell out what number we are on. No one argues about whose things they are tidying up because it doesn’t matter. This doesn’t get the place completely tidy but it does make a huge difference.
  2. CATEGORY COLLECT – This one takes a little longer but makes tidying fun for the little ones. As quickly as they can they need to tidy up toys that fit in a particular category…”Pick up all the red/orange/hard/soft/round/little/big toys”. Keep changing categories until all or most of the toys are picked up.
  3. LOADER SCOOP – My younger kids are always the ones who need some encouragement to tidy. Left to their own devices they would get nothing done. This game gives them an easy job. They are the loader and they need to scoop up all the toys and place them in the middle of the room. The older kids then put the pile into categories to make it easier to put them away. Some kids can sort and others can put away. It does save time when tidying so you aren’t going back and forth to the same toy box each time you find yet another toy that belongs there.

These games don’t just include tidying up toys. Anything that is not in its proper home is included in the game.

 

Anyone have any other ideas for keeping a tidy house? Please share your ideas with me and help me to keep a tidy house ! 🙂

 

The Perfect Homeschool? – or Not!

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It’s planning time again! It feels like only yesterday that I was planning for 2016, and here I am again thinking about what books I need to buy for next year. I was thinking the other day, for the first time since I started homeschooling 10 years ago I am not excited for the next school year. Planning and organising is my passion, so why no enthusiasm?

It took me a while to work it out, but I think it is because I feel that this year was a total flop. So many curriculums which I planned on using, just didn’t happen. Life threw me a curve ball. Term one was three broken bones in the family. Then term 2 we began our huge detox as a family.

Little did I know back then that we would go into survival mode.

Little did I know that Jay would spend most of his days unable to move off the couch. His detox was so debilitating that school was not a priority….his healing was our focus. So one by one, each subject got put completely on the back burner. Our daily plan become this;

Having a good day? Then get as much school work done as you can.

Having an average day? Then do maths and english.

Having a bad day? Then do your easy online subjects (religion, geography) and your textbooks which you can just read (science, history) –  we ditched anything that involved writing for these subjects.

Having a terrible day? Watch documentaries, listen to audio books, rest and relax. Just try to get outside for a small walk and some vitamin D. Even if you have to crawl out there….just get yourself outside.

 

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Soaking up some vitamin D, and some brotherly love.

I was so worried when it was time for our moderator to come (in Western Australia we have a person come out from the Education department to see how our homeschooling is going). Jay said to me, “Mum, I have nothing to put in my portfolio!” After having a little panic, I realised that although we had no concrete proof of learning, I know that he has still been learning and expanding his mind.

I decided to look at each individual subject and list every book that he has read. We also noted down all the tests he has had and what he learnt from them (DNA tests, bacteria tests). He has also learnt a huge amount about the body and how it functions. He is even now thinking when he finished school he would like to be a chiropractor and functional doctor.

So this year was not a waste. His portfolio still looked great, even though it was very different to each of his past 8 years portfolios.

So while I sit here sifting through curriculums, talking to the kids about what their interests are for next year, and thinking about what worked and didn’t work this year, I have to keep in mind that you never know what another year will bring. What challenges will you face? How will your goals and plans change? As I have done for the last ten years, I will search for curriculum that meet the needs of my kids but I will be prepared to change whatever I must as life always takes us in directions which we cannot control.

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The path is long….and hard

What never changes though is the fact that God is by our side. With the help of Mary our mother, the angels and saints we will continue to strive to do our best and even though we fail many times we pick ourselves up and keep trying. Will we ever have the perfect homeschool? No, but we will continue to do our best and that is what we are expected to do.

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My biggest achievement this year, climbing Bluff Knoll

 

My Daybook – September

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW I SEE….a beautiful spring morning..it is truly magnificent!

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My morning walk, down the back of our block.

I AM GIVING THANKS….. that the term is nearly at an end. Holidays are in sight and we are taking time out to go down south for a week – I can’t wait!

I AM PRAYING FOR……..a dear friend’s children who have been in a car accident.  And I am praising God that they miraculously came out ok.

I AM LISTENING TO….Zac cooking an omelette for his breakfast. At 8 years old he is quite a whizz in the kitchen….he makes awesome omelettes and scrambled eggs.

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I AM THINKING ABOUT….how to add more steps into my day. I bought a fitbit for my birthday with some vouchers that I had. I am so pleased that I got one, it is really helping me to get more steps into my day. Hopefully I am going to be fit enough to climb Bluff Knoll in a few weeks!

I AM LEARNING….all about the gut. I am reading and enjoying ‘Gut‘. The big boys are also reading it. I love that they are learning so much about their body at such a young age.

I AM READING…. I have a number of books on the go right now. ‘Anne of Green Gables’, ‘A Story Formed Life‘ ‘Gut’ and ‘Brain Maker‘.

I AM CREATING….checklists to show my homeschool moderator. I know any day now she will call and make an appointment to come and see me, and I want to be prepared!

IN THE SCHOOLROOM….we are enjoying our world war one studies. I have been using Bloom’s Taxonomy with the kids lately and it has really enhanced our homeschool experience. Here is a good post explaining how to use it in your homeschool.

We have also just finished ‘On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness’. It was such a fun read-aloud we didn’t want it to end! Now I have to decide on the next family read-aloud. Any suggestions?

COOKING IN THE KITCHEN….as always… our GAPs food and plenty of ferments.

IN THE MORNING BASKET…a new read aloud! I don’t know what yet. We are also learning about Handel by listening to these. Maestro Classics is a wonderful site for teaching the kids more about Classical music. They also have downloads to integrate into other learning areas.

I NEVER WANT TO FORGET….How much fun it is playing games with the kids. We have plans to spend most Saturday nights playing games. Last games night I played Labyrinth with the younger kids and then once they were in bed Paul and I played Dominion with the big boys. Our games cupboard is quite extensive as I buy the kids a new game every Christmas. One of my most treasured childhood memories is playing games with my sister. We still reminisce  about the games we used to play. My kids still play the exact games now, in fact Labyrinth is from my younger days. I can’t wait to play games again with you one day my lovely sister!

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The fire after it had burnt down a fair bit

 

We had an awesome bonfire on Saturday night. The kids had a ball riding the motorbike and playing tag with friends in the dark. They also played ‘King of the Castle’ on a huge pile of dirt. The aim was to stay at the top of the dirt pile as long as you could – all the other kids would try and pull you down. As you can imagine, they were all filthy and black by the end of the night – I wish I had a photo of that!

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The dirt pile…it looks bigger in real life!

PLANNING FOR THE WEEK AHEAD…organising costumes for our drama concert and trying to finish off subjects for the term.

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