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Thursday, 26 November 2015

Looking Back on 2015

It's been a turbulent year.  Here is some of what happened, small and large.

We started out homeschooling well.
I fell pregnant.
Our cat went missing, never to return.  Bye Loki.
We went to our first homeschool meetup.
Our pet rat died.  RIP Ratti.
Pregnancy fatigue and morning sickness.
We took a break from homeschooling.
We rescued some baby wild rabbits.
We were about to get back to homeschooling again, but then...

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Toothscapades of the Monstrous One

Note - this is not a homeschooling post, it's a parenting one.

Losing teeth is not a simple process, or so I have discovered this past year.  My kids have chosen to believe in the Tooth Fairy, and I go along with this for their enjoyment.  For various reasons we don't do the pillow thing, we put our lost teeth into a cup of water on the bathroom sink and hope the fairy drops some money in there.  So far only the Monster has lost teeth, the Wench is not yet old enough.  For fun I am sharing the stories of how my Monster has lost his teeth so far.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Our Homeschool Area

For the final week of the Aussie Not Back to School Blog Hop we've been asked to post about our learning spaces.  I love dreaming about big empty rooms that I can convert into a dedicated homeschool room, I love looking on Google and Pinterest at those rooms.  Oh yes.  I once set up our narrow front room as a dedicated learning area, and it worked well enough, we just didn't really use it.  So I let it go, which is probably for the best as I need to convert it to a nursery soon anyway.

I am as you will find the majority of homeschoolers to be.  We have no real dedicated space, we learn all over the place, and when I set up a room specifically for it, it doesn't get used for anything more than storage.  That said, the majority of our formal sit down work gets done in the loungeroom (living room).  The kids will sit on the floor or on their canvas ottoman/stool thingies and work at the coffee table.  This won't work forever, they will soon get too big for that sort of working area.  We'll probably move to the kitchen in a year or so, I have no idea how I will adapt that yet, as we do not have a dining room, just a kitchen with enough room for a small dining table.  I will adapt, I always do :-)

Monday, 16 February 2015

A Day in Our HS Life

I sit here setting up the draft for this post on Saturday morning, Valentines Day.  I could give you a look at today, but it's not one of our formal school days so it would be mostly boring.  Nonetheless I will share my first bit of the morning, just for fun.

6am and I am considering ignoring my alarm, but I hear a rustling sound in the lounge.  Wondering if my kids are up to something I drag myself out of bed to check.  No, its the Daddy.  He looks at me intently and randomly says, "I have a duck."  That's it, that's all, no explanations, just "I have a duck."  I curl up on the end of the bed and tell him, "I... I don't know what to do with this information."  Now, there is a duck sleeping in my bedroom.



Flash forward to Monday, the start of the Homeschool Week.

6.00am

Awake.  Or something similar.  Coffee assures me that I am awake.  Check Facebook, Emails and Words with Friends (hey, what better way to start the day than to figure out some anagrams).  Check the Veil and make a few comments on some discussions.  Pretend not to hear the stirrings of my children waking up.  Was that really an hour?

7.00am

Make breakfast for the starving children wasting away before my very eyes.  Yay another coffee.  Multitask some more Facebook and some random googling of homeschool stuff, blogs, resources and the like.  Check and finish making my plans for the day.  The kids begin to terrorise me.  Can I have some paper? Can we turn the heater on? Can we go outside? Can we, can we, can we..? They do random things whilst asking for everything.  I realise I forgot to sharpen the pencils last night and now, well it's a disaster Mummy, a disaster.  Put some washing in the machine and ignore the baskets of clean washing I have yet to put away.

9.30am - Circle Time

Change the day and date on the wall
Check the moon phase and change that
Check the weather and record it in our books
Recite the alphabet together, along with the Auslan alphabet
Count from 50 to 70
Skip count by 10s from 3 to 93
And forgot to recite the days of the week and months of the year - oops

9.45am

Wench reads her CVC words list, and then decides on her own to read another 4 lists on top of her usual one.
"Test" the Monster on what Dolch words he knows, so I can figure out what he might need to work on next.
Words "a" vs "an" - sight words for the Wench and language arts for both Monster and Wench.  We will continue this small focus for the full week.

10.00am - Morning Tea

Feed the starving children again who, anyone would think, haven't eaten today

10.15am

Fairy Lore - we learn about Leprechauns, I tell them some short Leprechaun stories and give them some Leprechaun colouring sheets.  We discuss and record, if we caught a Leprechaun who had no gold and it had to give us three wishes, what would we all wish.  Monster, "Bag of lollies, money and popcorn. Wench, "money, pony, lollies."  Extra bonus points, ask Daddy, "Lots of money for all of us, new house, motorbike."

Daddy comes home from a quick day of work and decides it's time to let the duck go since it's doing fine now.  Let it out in the yard and we'll check soon to see if it has flown away.

Solar System - We learn about Uranus, they each colour and cut out a picture of Uranus as we discuss some small facts about the sideways planet.  We hang the pictures and some info cards on their bedroom walls for our "wall posters".  Draw last weeks planets and Uranus in our scrapbook solar systems.

Game Time - We played a new game, a Snakes and Ladders reading game I grabbed from Sightwords.  Dear gods this went on forever, or it felt like forever, everyone would get so close to the end and land on a snake head, down we all go again.  We gave up after we all went down in one round, for the third time.  But what a fun way to do some extra reading.

Maths worksheets
English worksheets

Check to see if our pressed shamrocks are good to go yet, yay they are ready and the kids made some little cards from them.


12.00pm

Formal school work is done for they day.  I sit and type our day so far into this blog post as I have a little break.  Check if the duck has gone, it hasn't, it's still there. Some people turn up for a few minutes, they have a laugh about seeing me and the kids last Friday running into the local panel beaters to get out of the hail storm.  Then I go down to the servo to grab an excessively expensive cheats lunch.

Not lunch, just for reference.
It's the rescue duck who the kids have nicknamed Quackers, though "Hissers" would be more appropriate.


12.30pm

Lunch time.  Oh my stomach is exploding and my wallet is empty.  Won't be doing that again anytime soon, even if it was yummy.

1.00pm

The kids are pretty much free for the day, so they go outside and play, jump on the trampoline, run around, sneak around to pick flowers and leaves they probably shouldn't be picking (including the one in the neighbours yard, stop it!).  Oh and some more four leaf clovers, awesome.  And a thistle flower, great more seeds spreading through the yard.  I'll just sit for a while and vegetate.....

I forgot to get the washing out of the machine!  In the dryer it goes.  Sit and do my HS records.  Laugh evilly as the kids torture Daddy, kind of like this, "Mwahahahahahahaha." Eventually I rescue Daddy from his loving kids, which results in a tantrum from the Monster. Awesome.

2.00pm

Quiet Time.  Oh Quiet Time how I love thee.  Quiet Time is one hour each day, from 2pm and 3pm where everyone in the house must be quiet.  Kids in their rooms, playing quietly, or "reading", drawing, sleeping, whatever. I am out in the lounge, being random on the interwebz, reading a book, or something. But this time I am finishing this blog post and planning to sneak into my room for a little nap.  The rest of our day will be unstructured, perhaps boring, probably filled with fighting children and a tired mummy.  You know, just like any home.



So that's our day, up until 2pm.  As you can see, we don't do a lot of work during our formal school work time.  Most of it consists of reading, a bit of maths and our mini units.  It's still the start of our school year, so we're just beginning, as the year goes on we will add more stuff to our days. And, to be honest, I am working with a 5yr old Prep girl and a 7yr old stubborn as hell Grade 2 boy.  We don't need much time to do what is necessary as we don't have as many distractions as mainstream classrooms do (duck notwithstanding).

Our afternoon won't be so productive, probably will consist of some Life Lessons, ie. Cleaning! I'll leave the idea of two kids having to clean their rooms up to your imagination.


This post was done as part of the Aussie Not Back to School Blog Hop, co-hosted by Our Worldwide Classroom and Every Bed of Roses.




Saturday, 14 February 2015

Resources for 2015

We don't use a set curriculum, I plan what we will do for the year, loosely, and then I gather resources, make resources, grab freebie printables and put together a rough plan of how to implement the work.  I don't really want to go too far into what we will be doing this year because I plan to, hopefully, make individual posts for each thing we focus on.  I also don't make full plans of everything for the year, at the start of the year, so I haven't compiled all of our resources yet.  Still I have a few I am looking forward to using, and some we are using now, so I will just flash some photos.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Socialisation


What the hell is socialising anyways? I feel like socialising is interacting with people on an informal level.  Making friends, hanging out, partying, meetups in the park and the like.

Is a job interview a social situation? Is a job a social situation? Is it a social situation when you sit and talk to a therapist or counsellor?  Is that a social situation for the therapist?

Personally I don't think these are social situations.  I think they are, what I am currently calling, false social situations.  Situations that people, mainstreamers usually, use as examples for why homeschoolers shouldn't homeschool, why our kids need to be in school.  It is important to be able to communicate properly and interact with people on a human but professional level in these situations.  But that is not socialising, that is not making friends, talking about random nothings.  In a job you should be doing your job, you should be able to interact with your co-workers in an amicable way, and you should be able to communicate your needs efficiently.  But that is very different to talking about your favourite sports team, TV show or the weather. Not to mention delving into far more personal things.

I am an anti-social introvert, I could happily be a hermit out in the woods.  I am not great with people or socialising.  This is not because of my childhood, I was actually very social as a kid and teen, its only as an adult that I have become this way.  In the end, I can make friends.  Despite not particularly enjoying the social life, I can make friends if I wish to.  I can talk to people I am friends with and comfortable with, people I have know for a long time, and sometimes people I have known for almost no time at all.

And I can very easily navigate a job interview or other interview, a job itself and I am pretty sure if I needed to, I could talk to a therapist.  I can do these things easily enough, way more easily than I can hang out with a group of people I am supposed to be socialising with, but don't really want to socialise with.

Isn't that all that matters?  Is it really necessary for us all to know how to perfectly navigate a room full of strangers and make pretend friends with all of them, for no reason other than that is what is expected?  If you can make friends, be a friend and keep friends.  If you can interact and communicate effectively in non-social areas, such as jobs and interviews, then isn't that all you need?

I think so.  It's not about socialisation so much as it is about effective communication.  And, sad to say, faking it when necessary.  Probably it is important for some of us anti-social introverts to learn how to grit our teeth, subtly, and just put up with it without exploding.  And I suppose school is a great place to learn how to fake it. But it is not the only place to learn it, it is not the only way to learn it.

It's not necessary to force ourselves or our children into mass groups of people to teach them how to socialise, they can actually learn that by interacting with one person at a time.  It isn't needed to force ourselves and our children into mass groups of people to teach them how to communicate effectively, they can learn that by interacting with one person at a time, or a small group.  It isn't necessary to force ourselves and our children into a large group of people to teach them how to fake it, because they will learn how to fake it anyway.

I don't need to be socialised.  My kids don't need to be socialised.  My kids can interact with people of all ages and in that moment of interaction, they get to decide if they will make the interaction a social one, a formal one or a fake one.  They just need to know how to communicate, and I am pretty sure I can teach them that.