Saturday, May 31, 2008


Snapshots of our week...

Anthony made mini Christmas cakes, a great homeschool project on a cool wintry morning...Christmas in May??

We had medical appointments and treated ourselves to morning tea at David Jones.. another well, creative, school morning..
I am back to walking with the doctor's blessing! Yay! Thus the scene from a nearby lake on my Friday morning walk...
Table Centrepiece for the Sacred Heart of Jesus ( yesterday)....And today is the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the anniversary of eldest son Luke's Confirmation Day.

Friday, May 30, 2008

I need to remember this.....

I have been criticised lately. Hey, if you do anything you can expect to find someone who likes it, someone who feels neutral and someone who criticises you, right?

But being criticised does not leave one feeling nice.

I read this quote below, from Chalene of Turbo Jam fame. The best attitude, for sure!

As long as I do the right thing, be the best me, do what I love and take care of people, I honestly don't worry about the rest :)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

So, what do unschooling teens do?

Unschooling teens = autodidacts.

Self taught.

As in Kendall Hailey's book The Day I Became An Autodidact.

[A great read, by the way..I own it if you want to borrow it.... ]

So, back to the original question. What do teen autodidacts do with their days?

This question came to my mind recently, when reading mail from the Unschooling Catholics email list.

I thought I'd post about today, a day for two of my teen sons. Thomas 15. Alexander 16 1/2. Or maybe - nearly 15 1/2, nearly 17. Who can keep track ?

How does a day of Living Without School translate for these two teens?

Alexander got up, he is an early riser. He did a yoga and martial arts workout, chatted to me and helped me with a few chores. Then he made his breakfast ( toast), tidied his room, and we had French class at our home.

I had some appointments for WYD Homestay so went out early, and came back halfway through French to take Alexander with me to yet another WYD appointment – he is learning to drive and wants the practice.

While at the lady’s home, A helped set up her DVD player and ate scones.

Home again, A stayed home to fold pamphlets for delivery with the 12 year old - Anny, while the rest of us went out, to drop the 15 year old - Thomas - to one of his part time jobs, for me to get my nails done ( very important) , one son - Greg - to pick up something he ordered from the shops.

Alexander folded pamphlets for delivery with Anthony, then played guitar and read email while we were out.... We’ve had lunch and talked about when A is going to fit in his uni assignment that is due Friday – he is doing one subject part time externally through university, Open University, - Italian. And about the extra help I need, as I am (supposed to be) resting with some superficial blood clots..

This afternoon, A will go to one of his part time jobs, at a nearby Kumon centre ( not mine!) till 6-ish and then we have the St Anthony Mass in our parish tonight, dinner after, probably watch some TV or a DVD and do some reading.

The other teen's day?
Thomas (15) woke up - I yelled 'Are you up Thomas, French is here this morning...' and opened my door - T was standing outside the door with a smile. I was caught out!

Thomas did Wii Fitness, our family's new favourite fitness toy ( not that I am allowed back to workouts ), tidied his room ( sort of), played computer, eventually ate breakfast ( goodness knows what), attended French class at our house, did some Maths while I was out and then we dropped him off at one of his part time jobs – McDonalds. He will finish at 5 – in time for a shower, Mass, dinner, etc.

So, their days are not very school-ish and mostly managed by themselves – we just talk the night before or in the morning and every few months or so, about what is happening ( we are all involved in many things) and about any thing that needs doing, interests and passions and goals and have-tos, problems, issues concerns….

An education for autodidacts. Or Self Directed Learning, to quote this article by Cafi Cohen on older kids and homeschooling.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Our Lady Help of Christians and Corpus Christi

Two days in the liturgical year. Our Lady Help of Christians, Patroness of Australia. And Corpus Christi - body of Our Lord, in honour of the Eucharist.

Thomas wrote a bit about Our Lady of China; Anny about Our Lady Help of Christians..

We prayed for China today, talked about Our Lady of China, Anny wrote a report on China this week, we had take away Chinese food for dinner.

And white cheesecake decorated with red grapes for Corpus Christi - cheesecake as a symbol for the host; grapes to symbolise wine.

Fun, even if a bit weird.

Hey, we like weird.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Two Books

What are you reading?

Right now, I am reading, reading haphazardly, through two books.

Saintly Women of Modern Times by Joan Carroll Cruz. I have read of Elisabetta Tasca Serena, a mother of twelve who still found time to work and provide for her family and to do good works in her parish and community. A great example for me! Except she denied her kids television - my family would revolt! ( So would I! lol!).

Homeschool Open House and the companion volume ~ Homeschooling: A Patchwork of Days. It has been ages since I have read a book on homeschooling - I think the last ones were in 2007, The Latin Centred Curriculum and The Homeschooling Trail and Homeschooling With Gentleness.

I find that the longer I homeschool (which feels like forever now ~ in a nice way, a this-is-how-we-live way), well, then the longer I homeschool the less I tend to read about homeschooling.

Weird for an avid reader.

But I am enjoying re-visiting the Homeschool Days books, reading about families and a typical day. And we ~ our family ~ are featured in one of the books - a description of our day in 1999. We lived in Perth, Western Australia then. With teens, middle kids and little ones. And, yes, we did little formal schoolwork even then - just some maths and writing about a referendum, then errands and play and listening to books on CD and music in the car...

Some things never change.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Alexander's new friend

A life size inflatable Dalek.. Dr Who, anyone?

And the bottom pic is of my eldest son, Luke, as a toddler. Simply because today is Luke's birthday. Happy birthday, Luke - can't believe I have son so old! lol!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Trinity Cake

Made this Apple Teacake for Trinity Sunday.


Well, the three rings of apple slices on the cake represent the three-persons-in-one- God of the Holy Trinity.

Okay, a rather tenuous connection, but it worked for us.

Actually, I baked three cakes. One for eating yesterday and two for the freezer for unexpected visitors. Or just for us.

I feel such a warm glow, I feel like I am a wonderful, organised housewife, baking and storing food for my family. Especially after surgery!

Just call me Modern Homemaker, please.

Isn't my dh sweet?

He cleaned out the kitchen cupboards for me, while I am on light duties after surgery.

Of course, he had a fit over their disorganised state - he wants to know just how may recycled containers did I think I needed to have?

I don't know, but I tend to hoard them, just in case.

But I won't any more. I promise. Not after dh's hard work. And his fit. So cute, so funny!

And I must admit to liking the clear spaces in the cupboard ~ Hey, I have room for things now! Kitchen things...

( And dh does have a cute b*tt in that pic...).

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Homeschooling and no textbooks?

Living books, often called "classics," are the kind of books that joyfully enliven the imagination of a child. They are written by individuals -- not committees -- and display imagination, originality, and the "human touch." Living books do not talk down to a child's level or omit odd and interesting vocabulary. Children take to living books more than textbooks for these reasons; because such books are not crammed with facts and information at the expense of human emotion. The Charlotte Mason Method By Karen Andreola

Last week, Anthony researched information on Portugal. For Our Lady of Fatima. And he typed the report above.

This week, we thought we'd look at Our Lady of China, following the lead of the Our Lady Around the World calendar. Anthony can read about China, write a narration, do a map and a flag, perhaps. Very fitting, considering that China is the host for the 2008 Olympic Games.

Last week, we made Portuguese Doughnuts. This week we plan on making or buying Chinese food.

And all this "educational stuff" gets done wthout opening a single textbook. Without a school schedule or schoolwork. Just using living books, real life, experiences and passions and interests. And with strewing...

Homeschooling provides a unique opportunity to step away from systems and methods, and to develop independent ideas out of actual experiences, where the child is truly in pursuit of knowledge, not the other way around. Beverley Paine
Homeschooling is fun for me, the mum, - I like doing these sorts of things with the kids....

Thursday, May 15, 2008

You know are an addict when.....

You are on medical rest and can't workout, so you watch workout video clips at Collage Video.....

You get the okay to walk from your doctor, so straight away head off for a 30 minute walk in the sunshine ~ come back tired but on a high......

You buy workout equipment with DVDs as treat for yourself, even though the doctor says you have to wait another six weeks before working out....

You hate wearing the compulsory post surgery bodysuit but are rapt when, wearing the suit, you get on the scales and see you weigh 5 kg less than you did before surgery.....

Yep, that is me. My dh sent me a text in response, only part of whch I can quote here - " you are psycho!".

He loves me. :-)

Men and Women

On being sexy.

Read Cindy's post. What do you think of the article and responses?

As I said to Cindy, my dh loves me for far more than my looks ( Thank God, she says with a sigh of relief. lol!).

Yet, I know that I, myself, feel far more sexy when I am fit, taking care of myself, trying to wear nice clothes even around the house, a little bit of makeup, with my acrylic nails and my jewellery. And how I feel about myself is important for our relationship...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Doughnuts for Our Lady

May 13 The memorial of Our Lady of Fatima.

We made Filhos ~ Portuguese doughnuts.

Thomas made the dough, with the help of our bread machine. I shaped the dough into (sort of) doughnut and doughnut ball shapes - then got too tired, too tired of standing. I am a wimp after this surgery! So, dh and Thomas took over frying the doughnuts, dusting each one with cinnamon and sugar.

Should have taken a leaf out of another homeschooler's book, and had Nando's Portuguese chicken for dinner!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Internet friends are real friends!

In case you ever wondered...

I received this lovely gift in the post today, from two internet friends in Texas ~ you know who you are!

A Rosary bracelet. A Get Well soon gift and accompanying card.


I love my Internet friends..

(Twelve Fruit) Fruit Salad

For Pentecost. And Mother's Day.

And, yes, I am still on rest - ~ and it is killing me! lol!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Funny things you say after surgery

Coming out of surgery on Tuesday, my first words were - "Has my mascara run?".

Can you imagine it, in the drug induced stupor I was concerned about how I looked! And I texted my dh and sons today, saying - OMG I am trying to wear pjs over the body suit I have to wear for two week. And it makes me look FAT!

Drugs make you say and do funny things.

I'm still in hospital, but surgery has gone well. Wednesday night and Thursday were bad pain and nausea filled days but I'm much better today. Hey, I'm blogging, aren't I? And I was blessed by a visit from the friars, bringing me the Eucharist. Made such a difference for me, especially on my day of pain and nausea.

I'll be home for Pentecost but on very light duties. I've planned to have the kids make a twelve fruit fruit salad for Pentecost, mirroring the twelve fruits of the Holy Ghost.

The twelve fruits of the Holy Ghost are Charity, Joy, Peace, Patience, Benignity, Goodness, Long-suffering, Mildness, Faith, Modesty, Continency, and Chastity.

Monday, May 05, 2008


You know I have mentioned that Thomas is reading through a Chemistry textbook this year?

Well, I have been looking for cool supplemental resources and found this Chemistry site ~ activites and experiments to illustrate concepts. And what is more, these can easily be replicated at home!

Thought I'd share this helpful resource..

Sunday, May 04, 2008


...of my female only Singstar night.

Several friends came over, the males were banished to the movies, we had cocktails, food, cocktails, and LOUD Singstar.

We sang and danced our heart out. "The Groove is in the Heart"

The conversation was good, too.

And did I mention the cocktails?

I love Singstar on the Playstation - our own personal karaoke!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Homeschooling as Housework

Last night we talked about our unschooling, how we mostly just have an atmosphere of learning yet we still do some formal work in parts, and our bits and pieces of formal work.

Thomas has been reading, in an ad hoc fashion, a Chemistry textbook. I had talked with him earlier, about exposure to these topics and ideas, and to "textbook use".

The book is as dry as stale toast. Truthfully.

We have been doing occasional experiments, to enhance the concepts presented. And last night I ordered a kitchen lab manual, with things that Thomas said sound like fun. From Castle Heights Press.

Anthony has been weaving his way through parts of a Prince Caspian unit study. We talked about some geography study in May, study Anthony's way ( What?!), choosing countries to rabbit trail, using ideas from this blog post ~Around the World with Our Lady.

Alexander is working on his Italian at uni, and then trying to find time to do some maths, some Latin, some Physics. some religion reading. Well. the others try to squash in maths, French, religion, Latin, and writing their novels, too!.

I like how we have our life, how we read and learn and talk all the time and how we supplement this with formal work - and how any formal work gets squeezed into life - not the other way around. Formal work doesn't run our life, it is just a thing to push in here and shove in there - a bit like housework really!

Everything gets done, just at odd moments and odd times. I may mop the floor at 11.00 pm, as I did last night, and the kids may do some Maths and religion reading in the car, on the way to ice skating...

Or not!

Parish Mission

Our parish has had, is still having a Mission this week.

With a priest from the Fathers of Mercy.

What is a Mission? The purpose of a mission is to assist the priest in his ministry by conferences, administration of the sacraments, and preaching the Word of God to the people of the parish. The mission seeks to "inflame all the members of the parish with the Infinite Love of Almighty God, and to call them to receive the Merciful Love of the Heart of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ."

I have found the mission to be helpful for me, spiritually - a great week before my surgery next week.

I hope it has been good for my dh and kids, too - we have discussed many different aspects of the mission and of the talks, this week, that's for sure.

Not as much formal work as usual - a Catholic filled unschool this week, and lots of friends over too!

But then, again, not a lot of formal work is our norm....