Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Homeschooling, Waldorf Education and Teens.

Into High School is a nine page online booklet on homeschooling teens with a Waldorf influence.

I really appreciated some of the author's thoughts - especially :

I have come to believe that it is
more than okay for siblings
to be best friends.

I have come to believe that it is
more than okay for parents
to enjoy their teen-aged children.

My kids really are friends. Yes, they fight and get annoyed with each other. But because they also spend a lot of time together, they share an intimacy - familiar jokes, shared memories and experiences.

An example. Last week, I printed off a discrete maths activity for Thomas and Anny to try. A spider web mapping game, from Mathwire. When I was upstairs getting changed out of workout gear, I heard them laughing and having fun with the game - really getting into it. I smiled.Friends and brothers.

And this smile leads me into my enjoyment of my kids - the boys (and my dh) are some of my coolest friends. We like the same movies. We share books. We laugh and talk - and even when I am in lecture mode , we get along.

Like tonight, when, at our parish Advent programme, I told Jonathon to sit up straight. His posture need remediation. :-) He gave me a wry smile and I passed him a note with a funny comment. We both smiled. We understand each other ( well, most of the time).

The online booklet, "Into High School", shares many other gems.

* It was as important to be spontaneous as it was to be prepared.
* It was essential to remain flexible.
* It was imperative to keep talking.
* It was even more imperative to keep our sense of humor intact.

Why mention only these points? What about curriculum and academics?

Yes these are important, too. I am not one to downgrade academic skills - a passion for learning is one of the things that drove me into homeschooling and unschooling.

Successful learning, however, always starts with relating to the student as a person. I have found this to be of even more importance when learning and living with teens.

Once our relationship is established, and worked on as an ongoing commitment, then comes academics. "Into High School" has suggestions here.

Our own suggestions?

Currently ~ living books; real, whole books by authors passionate about a topic. Some judicious use of textbooks. Religious books. Biographies of saints. Hands on Science and Art. Projects. Community work. Involvement in groups, homeschool or other. Lots of writing. Maths activities. Using the internet and the library. Movies. Open University. Life. Faith.

Living books? For Thomas this week, it is " Ivanhoe" by Sir Walter Scott.
Thomas was reading this book yesterday, while we were at the surgery of his orthopedic surgeon.

The surgeon looked at the book and said "Oh, they are making you read Ivanhoe, are they? I could never get into it at school".

Presumably "they" was a reference to teachers - or, in this case, to Thomas' homeschooling parents.

Thomas looked surprised. No-one is making him read "Ivanhoe."

He said "No, I just like Sir Walter Scott and the whole knights scene."

This is how living books presently work in the education of a thirteen year old boy.

In the news...

"Muslim Turkey welcomes Pope's peace talks." Interesting.

And ~ Old school skaters re-discover skateboards and reduce stress. I have been learning to skate board. I am very bad at it - I think it adds to my stress. But its fun.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

A mother's role.

Each day, I aim to have a small segment of time for prayer and for some spiritual or theology related reading.

When the kids were little, this segment of time was usually just before bed. Now, I sneak in this time first thing in the morning, before working out.

The last few weeks, I have been reading the encyclical Laborem exercens. Pope John Paul II. On work and the dignity of work.

Part of yesterday's reading focused on the role of a mother.

" Experience confirms that there must be a social re-evaluation of the mother's role, of the toil connected with it, and of the need that children have for care, love and affection in order that they may develop into responsible, morally and religiously mature and psychologically stable persons. It will redound to the credit of society to make it possible for a mother-without inhibiting her freedom, without psychological or practical discrimination, and without penalizing her as compared with other women-to devote herself to taking care of her children and educating them in accordance with their needs, which vary with age. Having to abandon these tasks in order to take up paid work outside the home is wrong from the point of view of the good of society and of the family when it contradicts or hinders these primary goals of the mission of a mother.

In this context it should be emphasized that, on a more general level, the whole labour process must be organized and adapted in such a way as to respect the requirements of the person and his or her forms of life, above all life in the home, taking into account the individual's age and sex. It is a fact that in many societies women work in nearly every sector of life. But it is fitting that they should be able to fulfil their tasks in accordance with their own nature, without being discriminated against and without being excluded from jobs for which they are capable, but also without lack of respect for their family aspirations and for their specific role in contributing, together with men, to the good of society. The true advancement of women requires that labour should be structured in such a way that women do not have to pay for their advancement by abandoning what is specific to them and at the expense of the family, in which women as mothers have an irreplaceable role. "

I have placed the last sentence in bold as I think it is something that is often forgotten - even by we women .

The Loveliness of Advent

Jenn will be hosting the next Loveliness Fair ~ The Loveliness of Advent. The Fair will be ready for visitors on November 29 .

This week, we finalized some of our Advent preparations.

You may recall, that at the start of this "school" term, in October, we planned some ideas for the term. These plans included an internet search for more Advent ideas.

I pulled some of the ideas together during the week.

On Thursday, we made an Advent wreath, stealing the ideas from the blog O Night Divine.

Our other Advent wreath was made ten years ago - and the current four children homeschooling were nearly 1, 3, 5, and 7 then. So, it was a craft mostly compiled by the then older three homeschoolers ( now homeschool graduates).

I thought a new Advent wreath was overdue.

We adapted the idea from the blog above and spray painted our wreath, adding greenery and fake poinsettia and small pine cone shaped tea candles.

Here is a simple Advent Wreath paper craft to try.

Our Advent preparations this week also included our Advent calendar. We have two.

Each year, we purchase a Cadbury Co. chocolate Advent calender - very commercial of us, I know, but it is something we've done since our oldest son was a preschooler. He is now in his 20s! We all look forward to the calendar and the chocolate. You can see the Cadbury calendar above.

Then, we also usually make some sort of Advent calendar. Or calendar of Advent ideas.

This year, we are using a cloth calendar that I bought on sale from a Christmas shop at the close of the last Christmas season . Similar to the one in the picture.

Thomas typed and printed a list of activities, which we cut and folded and placed in the appropriate pockets. I added a few sweets to the pockets, here and there.

This is Thomas' list ~

6th Feast of Saint Nicholas make Christmas cookies

13th Feast of Saint Lucy make Saint Lucy’s crown

4th feast of Saint Barbara check the weather

16th Begin Xmas Novena

Make and mail Christmas cards

Do something nice for another family member today

Sing Christmas carols

Sing Christmas carols

Sing Christmas carols

2,3,9,10 cat Christmas photos

Christmas photo

Put up Christmas tree

8th Immaculate conception

Walk or drive to see the Christmas lights

Visit Christmas In the city

Christmas Advent crafts

Christmas Advent crafts

Christmas Advent crafts

Christmas Advent crafts

Read Christmas books

Listen to Christmas music

Read Christmas story from the bible

Make Christmas cake

Do Christmas shopping

Make Christmas food

3rd first Sunday of advent

10th second Sunday in advent

17th third Sunday in advent

24th fourth Sunday in advent

Other years, we have made Advent coloured paper chains and simple home made Advent calendars.

So, what do we plan to do during Advent?

~ Everyone is choosing a spiritual/theological book to read during Advent. The kids typically choose a biography of a saint. I used to read aloud these books to the little ones.
~We will choose our "Advent penances."
~ Each week, we will click on one of the dates of that week on this online Advent activity calendar. We will follow the suggestions for reading, Bible readings, activities and even Christmas movies! It would be awesome to do this daily, but impractical given our schedules. A weekly Advent morning suits us fine.
~We will re-assemble our basket and box of Christmas and Advent books and movies. We have been judiciously collecting these over the years.
~I have already strewed an old Abeka literature text, one with a section of Christmas stories - including Dicken's "A Christmas Carol."
~We were thinking of making cards this year (didn't last year, either) - but got a good deal on religious cards at the piety stall at church. Who can resist?
~ We are planning our Christmas shopping lists - thinking ahead of how to share the joy via gifts and food.
~ We might try our hand at these Christmas tree ornaments from recycled Christmas cards. We might give the holiday biscotti recipe a whirl. It all depends on the time factor.
~ And we are making a gingerbread house - with a kit! Sorry, but this seems so much more positive and likely to succeed than making everything from scratch. Last year, we made mock gingerbread houses, with milk coffee biscuits - see these directions. The directions call for graham crackers. I have no idea what graham crackers are - as I said, we used Aussie/English milk coffee biscuits.
~ I have invited a few other Catholic homeschoolers over during Advent. We will pray the Rosary and Father will give us an Advent Blessing. We plan to follow this with morning tea/lunch.
~ During Advent, we will be finishing off our term activity - homemade books - Alexander is completing his mini book of three essays, Thomas is almost done with writing his cookbook and Anthony has a chapter to go on his world history of an imaginary land. Jonathon will start and complete a small book of some of his artwork or writing from this year.
~ Oh, and some of us will be attending the Advent programme at our parish - starts this Wednesday.

Here's wishing all a Happy and Busy Advent!

"It might be easy to run away to a monastery, away from the commercialization, the hectic hustle, the demanding family responsibilities of Christmas-time. Then we would have a holy Christmas. But we would forget the lesson of the Incarnation, of the enfleshing of God—the lesson that we who are followers of Jesus do not run from the secular; rather we try to transform it. It is our mission to make holy the secular aspects of Christmas just as the early Christians baptized the Christmas tree. And we do this by being holy people—kind, patient, generous, loving, laughing people—no matter how maddening is the Christmas rush…" Fr. Andrew Greeley

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Today at Homeschool Group Learning, the theme was knitting and crochet.

I am not adept at these things ( surprise, surprise!) . I do, however, know a few Waldorf education inspired wool crafts for children.

So, I taught a few young children how to
finger knit. This site also shares a simple story and verses related to finger knitting. And some easy projects.

We graduated to basic knitting with coloured pencils, in lieu of knitting needles. Felt very rustic.

And if you are very adventurous you and the children can even make your own knitting needles.

Thomas and Anthony made poms poms. Wouldn't they look good as Christmas tree ornaments, in the Christmas colours above?

Alexander undertook a project in French knitting. Yes, knitting. I know what you are thinking. :-)

What did we learn while knitting?

Apart from hand eye co-ordination and creativity, we learned to be at peace.

There is something very restful about the rhythmic flow of finger knitting, for example - and about the conversations that flow when adults and children sit together to undertake a simple, quiet craft.

A teacher reflects on knitting with her sixth grade class.

Lessons learned. Personal reflections. Poignant.

A taste - "Last night three of our students and their mother were murdered. Five weeks ago, another sixth grade student was killed by gunfire. We are all in a state of shock. So in art today, I gave the kids the choice between knitting
and doing free drawing as a way to express feelings. Although a few said
they wanted to draw in their sketchbooks, none of them did. They all
knitted. Interesting. I knit when I'm upset or stressed, as a therapeutic
activity. It seems they are making the same choice. We talked about how
knitting could be healing and soothing (once you know what you're doing
). "

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

JP2 and education

From the encyclical Laborem exercens.

"The organization of human life in accordance with the many possibilities of labour should be matched by a suitable system of instruction and education, aimed first of all at developing mature human beings but also aimed at preparing people specifically for assuming to good advantage an appropriate place in the vast and socially differentiated world of work. "

My emphasis above.

But I like the idea.

Crown cake

We have a busy weekend planned - but I hope to find time to make a Crown Cake, in order to celebrate Sunday's Feast of Christ the King.

Christ is King . You can check out the readings for Sunday here.

Maybe we can make the cake on Saturday evening? I know Thomas will want to bake.

One recipe for a Crown Cake.

And this is a Cinnamon Crown cake.

For a more complicated but delicious sounding recipe try here.

We'll probably keep it simple ( you know me). But I think baking and eating are fun ways to remember the Feast of Christ the King.

I'll have to watch my calories, though!

And what if the kids don't want to participate?

Well, tough! ( Oh, dear, I sound mean. But its said with a smile - does that count?)

As I wrote on an email list, recently, there are things in our family life which are non-negotiables. We consider the child, we change and adapt things and change and adapt ourselves but, ultimately, some areas are family concerns. Must dos.

I admit that sometimes my kids don't want to do something - not discuss the movie or do the maths activity or the project. Sometimes this is okay - we'll leave the project.

But, sometimes, no is not an option here - we can tweak things to suit the child but something needs to be done or participated in.

Why? Well, this doesn't sound unschooly but
a) we need some sort of proof of learning for our portfolios for the state

b) I know that often my kids ( one kid in particular) are reluctant about something but, with a gentle push and time, will end up getting into the project/book/whatever. Will like it.

c) Dh and I just think the activity is important .We can see the bigger picture. We try to communciate the bigger picture. Our vision.

Certainly, I have to remember that its not all about me or about my desire to have a super looking home and homeschool with darling looking home school children. :-)

My children are darlings - but each in their own way!

Similarly, as it is not all about me, it is not always all about the kids.

We are a family so we have to consider each other - come for a walk simply because mum asked you to and mum really wants to, watch a movie with younger brothers, participate in a family tradition even if you think its corny - simply For the Family's Sake.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Grab Bags or Lucky Dips.

Meredith has shared her Grab Bag day in homeschooling - a super alternative to checklists in the homeschool.

Cay has shared her simple version of Grab Bag Day, for Advent.

I have been inspired.

Grab Bags remind me of Lucky Dips - you never know what you may receive.

This evening, after Mass and Youth Group supper, I have made a Lucky Dip bag for the week - a busy week for me work wise and so a good week for a Lucky Dip/Grab Bag for Anthony and Thomas.

Some of our Lucky Dip activities -

Do Maths and Kumon

Work on books project

French or Latin


Type a bio of one of the November saints and include a pic.

Music practice

Don’t forget your chores!

Make Advent wreath

What are your goals? Pick one to work towards this week.

Your reading – what are you reading this week?


Cooking – try a new recipe or make an old favourite

Sort through the toy cupboard and toy boxes until you find an old toy or game that seems new. Have a game!

Your Lucky Dip choice…..

I'll let you know how it goes....

Saturday, November 18, 2006


The Tucker Bunch are hosting a sharing of meatless recipes. I think they are calling this Meatless Fridays.

Its not Friday today. And we may eat meat on Friday - or not.

We do, however, often eat vegetarian and I was vegetarian as a younger mum in my 20s.

So, here a couple of our fave meatless recipes.

Impossible Vegetable Quiche

Thomas and Anthony enjoy making this on their cooking nights. Yummy with jacket potatoes or bread rolls and salad.It is called "impossible" since it ( supposedly) makes it own crust.

6 eggs
2 cups low fat milk
1 1/2 cups low fat cheese, grated
1 onion, chopped
1 cup chopped vegetables ( your choice - corn, zucchini, peas, broccoli, mushrooms, tomato, capsicum or a mixture thereof)
1 cup wholemeal self raising flour

Beat everything together. Pour into a quiche dish that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Bake in a moderately hot oven ( 200 degrees Celsius) for 35 - 40 minutes.

You can substitute tinned tuna for some or all of the vegetables - but most of my kids hate tuna!

Cashew Kapow

Potato - 500g or 1 lb, sliced or diced
Peas and/or Beans - 1 cup
Dessicated Coconut - 3 teaspoons
Cashew nuts - 1/2 - 1 cup
Chilli powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Salt to Taste
Pinch turmeric
Chopped garlic and onion to taste
Curry powder - 1/2 - 1 tablespoon

Cut the potatoes, mix them with a pinch of turmeric and salt. Lightly coat a pan with oil or cooking spray, when it is hot put in the potatoes, fry them till golden brown. Then add onion, chilli powder, curry powder, fry them till they turn golden brown, add garlic , salt to taste, peas, beans and mix them well. Saute them for 1 minute then add the cashews and coconut. Add 1/2 cup hot water. Close the lid and cook them till the vegetables are done. Serve with hot brown or basmati rice. Gorgeous!

Unschooling Catholics.

Cindy has done the legwork in setting up a Unschooling Catholics Blogland.
Have a look! Have a read!

Thanks for all the effort, Cindy.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Charlotte Mason and Maths

Last night, I hosted a Charlotte Mason inspired mothers meeting for other homeschool mums. The topic ~of Maths~ was discussed over tea and coffee and nibbles.

Real Learning describes the type of learning inspired by the theories of Anglican educator, Charlotte Mason. Miss Mason ( dec 1923) described education as " an atmosphere, a discipline and a life."

Mason wrote on many topics, including mathematics. Her thoughts centred on the role of reasoning in mathematics and on the application of living ideas and living books to maths - making maths real and living.

And so our discussion unfolded last night.

We shared questions and resources, practices, successes and misgivings.

We remembered how important it is to suit the education to the child.

We re-discovered the importance of no comparisons - between our children and others, between siblings.

Here are some notes that I wrote several years ago, on CM and Maths.

And some more Aussie style maths ideas for the homeschool.

St Margaret of Scotland

Today is her feast day.

Thomas has always liked all things Scottish - he was born of the feast of St Andrew , patron saint of Scotland.

We are reading about St Margaret tonight...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Mathematics activity - timelines

Anthony has been having fun with time activities this week .

The Year 5 Maths Key Learning Area, in the state's syllabus indicator, states
' In Measurement, students measure, estimate and calculate in situations involving time, duration of time and simple rates. They interpret time-lines and complex timetables and schedules relevant to their lives.'

Here are some time and time line activities -
Time activities - sample unit of work

Now, most of these activities are undertaken as part of life - at least, that is how Anthony has come to understand time and schedules and timetables.

One fun activity that he did yesterday, however, was suggested by a Year 5 Maths book. Anthony ( and a visiting homeschool boy) took the idea on board.

Anthony made a mini timeline of his life, selecting photographs from different stages of his life with the help of our homeschool visitor, adding the year and place and state in which he lived at the time.

Anthony's timeline now sits on our fridge - more refrigerator strewing.

Of course, this also fits in the Society and Environment educational stream - Change and Continuity; Social Structures and Systems; Place.

Most importantly, this was a fun, high interest activity, with a lot of discussion about how family members look and about the different places we have lived.

I thought other kids might like this activity, too.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Loveliness of Homemade Gifts

Dawn, from By Sun and By Candlelight is hosting the next Loveliness Fair .

The Loveliness of Homemade Gifts.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not crafty.

And while I list cooking as one of my hobbies, I don't mean real cooking. I mean making things like fudge and coconut ice and chocolate crackles with the kids.

So, we don't do a lot of homemade gifts.

We do, however, make home made cards.

The kids enjoy it. Making cards has become one of our traditions.

Yes, we buy cards, too - funny ones, artistic ones, pop art.

But there is fun ( and learning) in both making and receiving a homemade card, one tailored to the recipient.

Here are some cards the children made for one of their brothers, on his birthday. Reflecting his interest in Lord of the Rings and in Harry Potter.

Last year, Anthony made a pressed flower card for a priest on the priest's birthday. He also made some pop up cards for his pen pals.

Anthony is our most enthusiastic card maker.

Some helpful card making sites -
printable all purpose cards
Billy Bear's post office
making friends - card making

"Be unselfish as a parent."

From The Catholic Family Handbook by Fr Lovasik.

I don't have this book but found this excerpt. I share this to encourage - myself and others. Being a mother is important work.

"The sublime and difficult task of child-rearing demands that you be willing to embrace self-sacrifice and self discipline. You must have an inexhaustible patience, deep faith and trust in God, devotion to duty, prayerfulness, and a right reverence for your children's human dignity. You must have a serenity that no reverses can disturb and that rests upon faithful devotion to doing God's holy will. You will not falter if your confidence in God does not falter. Such stability and unfaltering bravery is the ideal of every good mother and father.

You must be so deeply rooted in the changeless God that your children need only your example and wisdom to become exemplary Catholics.In order that you may fulfill your office worthily, endeavor to be what God intends you to be. You cannot impart character, virtue, and nobility if you do not have these qualities. You cannot teach respect for God, for religion, and for you if you are lacking in this respect. You cannot expect your children to be faithful to their duties toward you if you are unfaithful in your duties toward them.

If you want to be a good father or mother, make every effort to acquire the following qualities:

*Be deeply religious. Religion is not only to be believed, but to be lived. Without God and religion, you cannot hope to meet and solve the problems and difficulties of married life. If your children see that you love God and your neighbor and practice your religion conscientiously, they will be drawn to imitate your example.

*Be approachable. You will attract and enjoy the most intimate confidence of your children by a sympathetic interest in their work and recreation, their plans and problems.

*Be gentle, but firm in working for your children's welfare, regardless of their whims. Firmness does not mean severity. Strength and rule must be tempered with gentleness.

*Be loving and generous. Love your children sincerely, and be ready to make any sacrifice for them, especially in making home life pleasant.

As a Catholic parent, you enjoy, like priests, the greatest ministry in the world: the education of the conscience and the training of souls. Yours is the mission of fashioning the young hearts and minds of the children God has entrusted to you according to the divine Model, Christ. Try therefore, to realize the dignity of parenthood and its grave responsibility, and use the means offered by the Catholic Church to fulfill your duties faithfully."

Whew. A rather daunting list of qualities. But I can do this with God's help, right?


I am a very, very big believer in pushing oneself out of one's comfort zone. Not all the time but at least some times.

I think its good to challenge ourselves and our children, and to persevere - and I find that succeeding in completing a challenge in one area of life actually helps me in other realms, too.

So, what has all this got to do with the Taebo workout DVD above?

Friday and Saturday, I worked out with
Taebo Ultimate Butt and Ultimate Abs . Kickboxing and killer floorwork.

I could barely walk upstairs after each workout - my b*** was killing me.

However, I was pleased with myself. Pleased that I finished each hour long workout and that I persevered. And as I discuss my personal workout challenge with my children ( as I moan "Ow, it hurts to stand up - no pain no gain!" :-) ) - well, I also have an opportunity to share the importance of challenges and of perseverance.

Go Taebo! Oh, and Turbo Jam. Go working out!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Albert Einstein and Its a Wonderful Life.

My friends, Catholic Mommas posted some cool quotes from Albert Einstein.

My favourite?

"I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious. "

This describes me to a tee.

Unlike Einstein, I am not talented ( except I can talk a lot! lol!).

However,I sure am interested in many things - there are so many interesting things to find out about, to read about, to explore ( and to talk about.)

It is this attitude I hope to model for my children in homeschooling - the attitude that life is interesting and that being interested in things is fun.And hip. And important.

Don't you think this movie fits in here? It is from our drawer of Christmas movies and - it is a wonderful life.

Satisfied Saturdays

Lisa is hosting a blog carnival - Thankful Thursdays. Each Thursday she will compile links to those participating blogs. In what are we participating?

We are compiling a list of 10 things to be thankful for during the week.

I was too late for this week's carnival ( very busy with work this week).

So, instead of a Thankful Thursday post I have decided upon noting a Satisfied Saturday.

Ten Things I am Thankful for this week....

1. My husband.

2. My husband.

3. My husband...

Okay, you get the drift. But , especially during busy weeks like this one, I am grateful for my supportive husband. He is reliable. He is fun. He is dependable. He is cool. And he likes me the way I am! lol!

4.Luke - eldest son - he is always faithful in keeping in touch with email and text messages and phone calls.

5.Greg - second son - his funny comments via email this week have made me smile.

6.Nick - son number 3 - loved his long phone call on Wednesday night and his concern for one of his younger brothers.

7.Jonathon - fourth son - he is always sensitive to my needs and free with his hugs.

8.Alexander - next son, who has been so helpful this week - "Anything I can do to help, Mum?"

9.Thomas - next to youngest child - whose constant cheerful chattering about computer games has created a diversion this week and given me insight into how he thinks.

10. Last but not least - Anthony - who made a delicious zucchini quiche for dinner, one we all enjoyed, even though dinner was late.

A bit corny I know but these people are definitely my blessings this week.

And I think I'll dig out our book of The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright.

Perhaps we''ll read it next year and do some of the BYFIAR activities.

We'll definitely remember how important Saturdays are, as we read about the Melendy children's Independent Saturday Afternoon Adventure Club ( I.S.A.A.C.).

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

A joyful family

My friend Maria shared a sad article today.

She also, however, shared some quotes of hope.

I particularly liked the one below and so I stole it for our family....

To maintain a joyful family requires much from both the parents and the children. Each member of the family has to become, in a special way, the servant of the others. Pope John Paul II

Unschooling Voices

The new
Unschooling Voices is available. Have a read!

I enjoyed these thoughts on when to push and when not to.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

A homeschool day...

A couple of people have emailed me to ask about a homeschool day.

What sort of things do we do?

Well, to be honest, every day is different. It depends on our outings and appointments and on my work.

Over all our homeschooling years, especially during the years of babies and toddlers and school aged children, our homeschooling has centred around our interests and our community and our outside activities.

I am a social person. And I always envisaged homeschooling as community education.

My babies and toddlers learned to be happy anywhere, to sleep anywhere, to
enjoy others...

But I digress. Let me tell you about yesterday - and here is a pic my dh took at the end of the day. How a homeschooling mum looks at the end of a busy day and busy week. Notice the hair that needs a comb? lol!

We would normally have attended homeschool ice skating on Friday - but Alexander had a medical appt so this changed our schedule around.

We rose, I worked out and did my quiet reading early, the kids got their own breakfasts ( they've been doing this since about age three - I have very independent children. Let me do this myself! was their constant cry) , they tidied bedrooms, played computer, did their own fitness routines. Our usual morning routine - and I think routines are the spines of our homeschooling lifestyle. We peg one activity to another and so end up with a morning routine and tidy up pegs throughout the day and pegs for things we do each week ( for example - religion reading and discussion on Wednesday, before Group Learning) .

I cleaned up the kitchen, started laundry and we all went to morning Mass for First Friday. Praying our morning offering in the car.

We stayed for part of the Rosary after Mass and then went to the post office to pick up a parcel , to the video store to return a video ( X Men - Jonathon is writing an essay for his university course. The essay is on class structure in this movie.) Bought a few items at the supermarket. Had morning tea together at a cafe - took home some doughnuts for dh.

Drove to Alexander's medical appt and I worked on my Kumon maths in the waiting room. The others read their choice of books. We always take books everywhere - we used to keep a small container of books and toys and drawing items in the car for little ones. With a packed nappy bag and a nature journal backpack. Now, I just remind people to grab materials before we leave. Car schooling?

Home again for Maths activities - we discussed this in the car - if we are home, we always do some Maths and English activities together, another peg - Anthony made models of polyhedra, Thomas and Alexander worked on Kumon maths ( fractions/decimals and quadratic equations respectively).

Jonathon did some more university reading and worked on his current maths review.

Lunch and Kumon English study followed for Thomas and Anthony, with a discussion on fear and on Mark Twain. Alexander completed another Latin exercise and Jonathon continued his reading.

The afternoon was spent in Music lessons for the youngest two, part time work for the teens, Kumon preparation work for the week at the Kumon centre and Kumon phone calls and phone calls for our parish council for me. Oh, and more laundry and tidying up.And email.

Thomas and Anthony went for a bike ride after music and played a collaborative computer game. I managed to have some time with dh when he got home from work! Yay!

More quiet reading for the kids and an early dinner ( cooked by me), with an extra teen over for dinner. One son and friend went to youth group and I went to a meeting at our parish while Gerry and the others cleaned the kitchen and watched some old episodes of Dr Who. Discussed science fiction and other genre.

And then the kids and I had time for more reading before bed. With prayers and guitar or piano playing thrown into the mix.

Before bed, I wrote up our day in my homeschool log, assigning curriculum areas to the brief notes of activities. Made a list of things to do for Saturday. Jotted down thoughts on learning and curricula for next year. Read some blogs - so did Jonathon.

A typical yet an atypical day. Atypical in that we did not attend homeschool ice skating.

We tend to blend in academics with life, regardless of the day of the week or the time of the year. The kids are just as likely to writeor draw in their journals on Saturday as on Monday. I am just as likely to suggest an educational activity or text in the January school holidays as I do during official school terms.

Over time, we achieve. And learn. And grow.

A good book which discusses a similar homeschool lifestyle is
Fundamentals of Homeschooling by Ann Lahrson-Fisher.

Happy reading and happy homeschooling. I hope this day in the life helps...

Catholic education

Pope Benedict XVI, Ad limina Address to Polish Bishops Saturday, 26 November 2005 - as quoted in L'Osservatore Romano N.49 - 7 Dec 2005, p5

"...[we need to] to devote ever greater attention to the education of young people in the faith. We know that [this education] is not only a matter of didactics, of perfecting methods of transmitting knowledge, but also has to do with an education based on the direct, personal encounter with the person, on witness - that is, on the authentic transmission of faith, hope and charity and the values that directly derive from these - from one person to another. Thus, [Catholic education] is an authentic meeting with another person who should first be listened to and understood. JohnPaul II was a perfect model for us of this encounter with the person."

Friday, November 03, 2006


Another homeschooling mum, at the 4 real learning message board, shared a link to Mathwire.

I have printed out some sheets for "Pascal's Pumpkins" and think we will undertake some activities next week in Discrete Maths.

Today for Maths activities, Anthony made models of prisms, cubes, and other polyhedra.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Tagged -

- by Maria.

12 Random Facts About Me.

Random as in miscellaneous or random as in cool?

1.I love words - I go through phases of favourite words and I love the sounds of certain words. Like the name of of the Egyptian princess in the movie The Mummy. Anck-su-namun
2. I was addicted to the Jane Fonda Workout in the 1980s. Did the workout every night, without fail.
3. Currently addicted to the Turbo Jam workouts and have discovered I like old school and rap. And kickboxing.
4. I always secretly wanted to be a dancer. Think thats why I like the dance and groove in Turbo Jam?
5.One of my online screen names is Anny. My other persona.
6. If I wasn't going to be a dancer, I was going to be the first female Australian Prime Minister. And delay marriage. I am still into politics but got married young...
7.When I was young, I thought Catholics were weird. God has a sense of humour - I converted to Catholicism.
8. I was baptized in a Seventh Day Adventist church at age thirteen.
9. I am a terrible cook, a terrible sewer and a terrible iron-er. My house is relatively clean and organized, however. :-)
10. My current favourite music to drive to is MXPX and the Before Everything and After album. Also Good Charlotte's The Young and the Hopeless.
11.I love homeschooling. Its just fun to hang out with my kids.
12.I like black and green and wear a lot of black. Why? Its cool, and it can go anywhere and goes with anything.

And ~ I tag
Sarah, Pam and Susan.


Joanthon pased his driving test yesterday and is now a driver!

On All Saints Day - what a great day to pass the test.

"Keep your eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel.."

From Roadhouse Blues by The Doors.