Australian Curriculum, Family, Health, Home Schooling, Parenting, Uncategorized

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

 

Australian Curriculum, Faith, Family, Home Schooling, My Daybook, Uncategorized

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.

Family, Home Schooling, Uncategorized

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.

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We spent time admiring the flowers, waterfalls and wildflowers.

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

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While Beth and Dami did some nature journaling…

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the other boys went on a bush walk.

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

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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.

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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.

Home Schooling, Uncategorized

Writing and Rhetoric – A Review

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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.

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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’.

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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?

 

Home Schooling, Uncategorized

Beth’s Zentangles

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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 😉

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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.

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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.

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Only one section to go…

 

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

Catholic, Family, Health, Home Schooling, Parenting, Uncategorized

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!

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