Wednesday, May 30, 2007

How chocolate is made.

Here are our teens working on a chocolate activity, as part of Homeschool Group Learning today.

The teens are doing debating session 1, and joining in with the Juniors for How Things Work in session 2.

Here they are with a kindergarten project...Hey, there is a little bit of kindergarten in all of us! lol!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Maths activities today.

Alexander and Thomas worked a Numb3rs activity, based on the epsiode where Charlie tries to prove that a brilliant student did not commit suicide but was pushed off the bridge.

The activity involved exploring parabolas.

What was most interesting was the relationship of the parabola to the fall off the bridge, mentioned in the episode of Numb3rs. We watched that episode last week.

Meanwhile, Anthony made lattice multiplication grids, from the Mathwire site.

He enjoyed seeing how Napier's bones could work ( "its like a magic trick", said he!)and we did a little bit of internet research on John Napier and his mathematical bones.

Oh, and what did Jonathon do? Well, yesterday, he sat an online exam for uni; today he has been at work at McDonalds and on Thursday he sits another uni exam ~ this time with an invigilator.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Acts of the Apostles

On most Wednesdays this month, the kids have been reading chapters from the Acts of the Apostles.

This is the fifth book in the New Testament and is titled praxeis Apostolon, describing some of the acts of the apostles of Christ, opening with a discussion of the forty days following the resurrection of Christ.

Here is a summary of each chapter.

We have been using the questions from Laura Berquist's book
Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum as follow up discussion or writing questions - in this book, Mrs Berquist includes questions for the Acts of the Apostles, chapter by chapter, in the suggested curriculum guide for one of the student grades.

Thomas, in particular, has enjoyed comparing two different versions of the Bible and the differences in the wording of the translation of the Acts. He and Alexander have been reading the Dhouay-Rheims Bible; Anthony has been reading the RSV ( Revised Standard Version, we have an old version but it is now reprinted by St Ignatius Press and often called the Ingnatius Bible).

Thomas will often read a chapter in the Dhouay-Rheims and then the same chapter in the RSV and point out differences in language. He finds these differences to be interesting.

A budding linguist? I don't think so (lol!) but at least his interest is piqued.

St Rita

It was the feast day of St Rita last week, May 22.

I have a special intention for this week wrt medical tests and surgery on Friday, and am asking St Rita for her intercession. Perhaps you'll join me in prayer? Thank you!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Organization 3

The main bedroom was also cluttered. I had a very large old desk for my work desk for Kumon. Quite frankly, it was too large for this room. It fitted well in our last house, an old house in Adelaide. But it swamped the smaller main bedroom in this new, more modern house.

I came up with a solution. Remove the desk and use bookshelves to store all my Kumon supplies. I never actually plan at my desk anway. I used my desk for storage. I tend to do all my Kumon planning in the kitchen and family room, while the children are busy and so I can be available to help them with their activities.

These are the shelves - and, suddenly our bedroom room seems larger and the space is freed for our rowing machine( the treadmill is on the garage/activity room!) and for a framed photo collection.

Up to now, I have been reluctant to put up paintings and photos. We might move again, has been my thought. We have moved so frequently.

However, we have been here for two years so I am gradually getting brave enough to put down roots, to add paintings to the walls in this rented home.

Organization 2

Next step for organization was the upstairs landing. We store books on the landing and Thomas and Anthony also have toys there. They use the space to play with figures and lego - their own upstairs playing area. But the toys were everywhere - a nightmare to walk over during the night.

We bought toy shelves from Aldi and organized the upstairs toys. Then I added a Monet print, just to make the toy and play area visually appealing.

Marcus Aurelius
Beauty can be organized - at least, organized in that we can plan for beauty in our children's rooms, to place good art prints and plan attractive areas for our children. These plans are not obvious, but the overall impression of a pleasant area does have an effect on the souls of our children.

And I hope some sense of my organizational skills rub off ~ here you can see a solution to all the numerous music books and sheets that were cluttering up the piano area. A large crate - easy to access and use, but looks neat. Tucked conveniently into the laundry.

Organization 1

Last weekend was Mother's Day weekend - and I took time to fix up a few organizational areas. Little niggly things, not major re-organization.

Laura Ingalls Wilder

I dislike over-organization. And our house is reasonably organized anyway. But there were a few things that didn't work, and needed fixing up, in order for our life to flow more smoothly.

I kept this organization low key, so that I didn't fall into the trap that Mrs Wilder mentions .

I began the day, Mother's Day, with homemade pancakes made by Anthony. You can see dh and I at the table, waiting for pancakes.
And then the organizing started with a placing a picture on the wall. One of Our Lady of Good Counsel, placed near the kitchen, above the phone.

Into Great Silence.

My dh and I went to the cinema last night to see the film Into Great Silence.

Only in complete silence, one starts to hear.
Only when language resigns, one starts to see.

This film is a documentary on the life of the Carthusian monks in France. A life of (mostly) silence, of order, of rhythm, of peace, of joy.

It is a (mostly) silent film.

I came away at peace. I see the need for quiet time in one's life. And the peace and order and silence of life in the monastery was a direct contrast to the busyness and noisiness of my life.

Perhaps I need to carve more time in my week for peace and for stillness.

Or perhaps I can gain inner peace within the busyness of my vocation.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Our reading today.

An article in The Bulletin re Pope Benedict XVI and his book "Jesus of Nazareth".

Very interesting. And generating discussion .

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Anthony's Tuesday Maths Activity

...was making his own magnetic tangrams, for us to play around with on the refrigerator.

From the site Making Your Own Maths Manipulatives.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

A Mother's Day present - to myself!

Some new kickboxing gloves.

Dontcha love the pink?

I love kickboxing - aka Taebo and Turbo Jam, for me, right now.

I'm ready to kick some #@%!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Happy birthday, Luke!

It is Luke's birthday this month ( oldest son). So, on our bulletin board we have a montage of photos of Luke's childhood.

Happy birthday to you....

Saturday, May 05, 2007

On the table for May.

May is the month of Mary. So, we have removed our Easter wreath from the dining table and added this new centrepiece - a statue, a picture and flowers. All in honour of Mary .

Tonight's table looked very colourful!
Read more of May and of Marian customs at the Catholic Culture site.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


This is our tomatosphere project - growing tomatoes from seed. We enrolled in this Canadian based project for schools and educators. We are making observations and will work on projects and research.

Some seeds have been exposed to a simulated space environment; others haven't. You do not know which seeds you receive...

Today is day 8 and look - the seeds are sprouting! Both samples.

This has rekindled our interest in gardening - hey, something you can grow, tend and eat.

The garden is a fertile ground of opportunities for families to grow together and learn more about each other while tending the garden.It offers the opportunity for adults and children to share ideas -- to talk and, most importantly, to listen to each other and, by working together, to communicate the many messages that must be said without words.Gardening develops self-esteem, a sense of nurturing, and the quality of generosity. The garden is a wonderful family room!
From Pioneer Thinking.

Okay, the tomatosphere project is small but it is a start. We grow flowers, some vegetables and some herbs in our back yard. But container gardening, as with our tomatoes, is a new experiment.

A learning experience.

And I am inspired to search for other "learning gardens" .

Check out the Loveliness of Gardens Fair next week, for more ideas.