Drop School, It’s Tulip Time!

Sometimes you just need to drop everything and go and spend some time in nature. When there is a tulip festival on, how can you possibly resist? We skipped school this morning to go and visit the very beautiful Araluen. Every year, at this time, Araluen is in its finest. People flock from near and far to feast their eyes on the beautiful tulips that fill the grounds.

We set off early this morning, trying to beat the crowds.


We spent time admiring the flowers, waterfalls and wildflowers.


The kids climbed rocks, and explored hidden areas in the bushes.


While Beth and Dami did some nature journaling…


the other boys went on a bush walk.


We enjoyed morning tea (yummy fermented apples and kefir) and then the kids decided it was ‘stacks on’ Dom!


When we got home we had lunch then spent the afternoon reading about the parts of a flower and drawing and labelling our flowers. Of course the younger kids just drew and labelled whereas the older boys had to write definitions as well.


It’s funny after such a beautiful spring morning, it is now raining. As we sit and drink tea and some kids continue to draw more flowers, I am so grateful for homeschooling. These are the days that I want to remember forever.

Writing and Rhetoric – A Review


I have been wanting to do a quick review on this curriculum for a while. We are really enjoying the change this year. We have previously used IEW for many years. I love IEW but after about 6 years of using the program I felt like a little change – a change is as good as a holiday right?

Each book lasts for 6 months. Each lesson is varied and lasts about a week and is broken up into 4 sections;

Tell it Back – Where the children retell the story from the beginning of the lesson.

Talk About It – This section is discussion time for the teacher and student. There are various questions about the text and sample answers are provided for in the Teacher’s Text.

Go Deeper – This makes the student analyse the text more.  This consists of multiple choice questions, and grammar type questions (nouns, verbs, adjectives etc.)

Writing Time – This gives the student an opportunity to write at length. Sometimes this is improving part of the story, or changing it slightly, or in older grades it involves writing essays. Often at the end of the writing time it has a section on encouraging children to improves their public speaking skills. In our homeschool this might be reading aloud to each other, or to Dad at the dinner table.


Beth and Zac have completed Book 1:Fable and they are now doing Book 2: Narrative 1.

To be able to do this curriculum with an age difference I expect more of Beth than I do of Zac.  Beth writes more lengthy dramatic stories, whereas Zac’s are more simple and sometimes he even dictates to me and I write for him.

Another thing I love about this curriculum is that it encourages picture study. Some lessons include a study of a famous painting. One such painting for Beth and Zac was Rembrandt’s ‘The Return of the Prodigal Son’.


Dom started this year on Book 5: Refutation and Confirmation and is now doing Book 6: Commonplace. Although very good, there is a large emphasis on American history. Dom has said that he prefers IEW, but I have said that we will be doing this until the end of the year. And possibly into next year too 🙂 This curriculum is pushing his mind into very critical thinking ideas (thesis formation, confirming/refuting arguments, essay writing, annotation).

I am very pleased with this new curriculum and glad we decided to have a bit of a ‘holiday’!

What writing curriculums are you using this year?


Beth’s Zentangles


I have mentioned briefly before how Zentangle has been a wonderful addition to our homeschool morning basket. Since beginning to add this to our read aloud time, Beth has taken quite a liking to it and continues to do it in her own spare time.

I thought I would share some of her creations – she is becoming quite an artist (and she definitely does NOT take after her mother 😉




Her ‘Zentangle’ bag is ready to go whenever she knows that she will be sitting around at appointments for a while. In it she has her Zentangle books, her notebook which she draws in, a fine line marker, a pencil and her kneadable eraser.


For those who want to know how it works here is a brief description:

  1. Draw what is called a ‘string’. This is a few lines across your page, this will make little segments for you to draw patterns in.

thumb_IMG_1717_10242. Choose a section to begin patterning in. Beth got her ideas from her Zentangle books but you can make up your own. Some examples are here.

thumb_IMG_1723_10243. Keep going until you have filled all of your sections.


Only one section to go…


I hope you now are inspired to go and do some Zentangling of your own!

Be grateful, pray and give thanks

Life has been pretty hectic lately. Blogging has certainly had to take a back-seat. It’s a pity really because the whole reason for starting a blog in the first place was to have as a keepsake the things that we do in our home-school.

Lately, all I have managed is cooking for our very strict diet, and getting small amounts of school done. I have even been quiet on the Instagram front too. Jay’s health has taken a turn for the worse. Even though it is entirely ‘normal’ when going through a detox program such as this, it doesn’t make it any easier.

As toxins leave the body they initially make you feel a lot worse. This is difficult because you are putting so much work into trying to heal the body and all you feel like you are doing is making things worse!

As we peel back the layers of Jay’s problems I feel we are gradually getting towards finding out what is going on in his body. His ileocecal valve is not shutting and it looks like it suffered some trauma from having his appendix out 4 years ago. Other problems are surfacing too, but at least this gives us an idea as to what we can do to help him heal.

I want to begin blogging more again. I will be trying to document what we are doing for school. Jay isn’t managing much school work. His work load depends on how he is feeling each day. On a good day he focuses on getting some maths and english done. If he is able to do more, he reads his textbooks for history and science. He also has the option of religion and geography which are online courses. When unwell he spends lots of time on the couch listening to audio books and reading. He also watches documentaries. I have faith that he will catch up and I am so grateful that we homeschool and we can adapt his school as we need to each day.

So I won’t bore you with any more ‘health talk’. I will be posting more about what’s happening around our home. And I will be focussing on all our achievements of the week (even if very small). When things are difficult I believe the only way to survive is to celebrate the success and be grateful for the little things. Be grateful, pray and give thanks!

Thess quote

My Daybook – May

This month of May has been so busy. I am only squeezing ‘My Daybook’ post just in time before winter begins tomorrow. The little three kids are in bed and I can sit and reflect on what has been a particularly crazy month of May.

OUTSIDE MY WINDOW I SEE…. Nothing….it’s dark! But when the sun is shining our rose bushes look beautiful at the moment.

roses May 2016

I AM GIVING THANKS…..that I get to go out with my hubby Friday night. We are going to see one of our favourite bands “The Idea of North.” I can’t wait!!!!

I AM PRAYING FOR……..so many people at the moment. Mostly at the moment I am praying that this diet we are on will make our sick kids better.

I AM LISTENING TO…. Jay playing some Spanish music on his guitar. The heater is also whirring away trying to dry my bedding so I can get it back on my bed tonight.

I AM THINKING ABOUT…starting a journal to document how we are progressing each week on the diet. Each week there is new developments and I think I will never forget them, but I am sure I will  😉

I AM LEARNING….how to experiment with recipes to make them ketogenic/GAPS friendly. Prior to this diet I could only cook from a recipe. I am finding more and more that I can adapt recipes to suit our needs and even make up a few of my own.

I AM READING….’Gene Genius.’ It is a fascinating book about how our genes influence our health.

IN THE SCHOOLROOM….we are much more on track now after having a rough few weeks. Firstly, it was the adjustment to the diet, then we had our National testing, NAPLAN.


COOKING IN THE KITCHEN….coconut yoghurt, fermented apples, fermented carrots, kefir, lots of slow cooked meat and veggies, broth and a couple of fermented drinks. One yummy drink I made was a kefir beetroot and ginger juice – yum!

Here are some that I made with the kids on the weekend….

fermenting weekend

IN THE MORNING BASKET… On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness and lots of Zentangles.


morning basket May


I NEVER WANT TO FORGET….our trip to the hills last week. We went to Mundaring Weir. It was a beautiful autumn day and the scenery was lovely. The whinging 3 year old in the back of the car on the way there wasn’t so lovely (he was crying that his foot was ‘wobbly’ – we think he might have had pins and needles!). Nevertheless, we arrived after 50 minutes of driving. We had a lovely walk and then cooked a BBQ lunch. We then got back in the car and drove to the other side of the Weir, had a walk across the dam wall and then made ourselves comfortable and began some nature journalling. It was a day to remember. Even Dami keeps asking me if we can go back to the hills.

Mundaring Weir nature journalling

PLANNING FOR THE WEEK AHEAD….appointments, a coffee night with a dear friend, lots of school and no doubt lots of cooking!

Katie’s Home – GAPS style

Gee it’s been a while since my last post. I don’t think my feet have touched the ground since then! We have embarked on a new health journey. It is one which is currently taking up a LOT of my time, but one which we feel is entirely necessary.

My eldest, Jay, has had migraines since the age of four and has had a constant headache for four years now. He also suffers from frequent tummy aches. He has numerous food intolerances and the food on the ‘can’t have’ list seems to be growing by the day.

Thankfully, after searching for years in the mainstream medical world, we stumbled across someone who can help us to get Jay back to full health. It will be a long, hard road to healing but we are committed to join him as a family for the ride.

The diet we have taken on is basically GAPS/ketogenic style diet. We starve our bodies of carbs and sugar and pack it full of fermented food for good bacteria, bone broths and meat and veggies which are gentle on our tummies.


Prepping veggies for breakfast and lunch


Fermented Jelly

During these first few weeks it takes a while for our bodies to adapt. Some of the kids have a larger toxic load than others and are taking longer to adjust. Vomiting and lethargy are common during these early stages. Thankfully, we are over the vomiting part.


A large part of my day is spent in the kitchen, as there is NOTHING at the shops that we can just buy and eat. EVERYTHING must be cooked or fermented. This takes
a lot of forward planning and time. Ferments can take anywhere from 8 hours to three days. For example, fermented apples take three days, as do carrots. Coconut yoghurt takes 8 hours and kefir takes about 24hours.


Coconut Kefir needs to be drunk every day



Fermenting Apples


Epsom salt baths or magnesium spray is important as is bentonite clay drinks or baths. Jay also takes charcoal tablets which soak up toxins and eliminate them from the body.


This protocol is HUGE and the benefits may not ben seen for a while, but we are committed and are determined. The kids have been amazing so far. I have been so proud of them. They only eat the foods they are allowed, even when being offered sweets by their friends! It has been wonderful for their self control. They are maturing before my eyes and I have been impressed by their obedience and their understanding of what it will take for them to  get to full health. They are also getting really good at helping in the kitchen.


Coconut Yoghurt Starter


I am confident that we will pull out of this in the end better, healthier people. And we will be glad that we have taken the difficult, yet more rewarding path.