Archive for January, 2013

Meet the Students – 2013

January 30, 2013

See?  Isn’t that a hopeful title?  It implies that there will be other years.

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Firstly, here is Possum.

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He is our “official” homeschool student.  He is 6 years and 8 months and is starting out Year 1.  He is missing a front tooth.  He is going to be a MotoGP rider when he grows up.

 

Next is Bandicoot.

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He is our “part-time” student.  He attends a pre-school 2 days a week.  He loves it, but there is no way he will ever go without a protest.

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He is 4 years and 6 months old.  He is going to have a Christmas shop when he grows up.

And that is a shark on his picture.  Sharks, flies, snakes, spiders… they seem to appear on his pictures quite a bit.  I was very impressed with his colouring on this one.

 

And here is our Little Princess.

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She is 2 years and 1 month old.  Biologically.  She reckons she is a lot older, even if she refers to herself as “Bubby”.

 

So that is our little lot this year.  Amazing how much mischief three cute kids can get up to!

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Oh, and those ear protectors in the top photo?  Bandicoot came running out with those for Possum.  I can say that today they were not needed.  It was one of those days where the boys did a great job of not hearing me when I spoke anyway.

Year One!

January 29, 2013

Possum is 6 years 8 months

Bandicoot is 4 years 6 months

Little Princess is 2 years 1 month

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Homeschool officially started up for the year again today around here. Possum is in Year One!  Oh my, how grown up.

The day started poorly.  There were tears and locking of self in bedroom when reminded today was the day.  And that wasn’t even me!  Although, to be fair, I couldn’t go to sleep last night because I was so worried in anticipation and wishing school holidays could last forever.  Apparently they can’t.

Once a more subdued Possum returned (probably helped along by the despatch of Bandicoot to preschool), we got underway.  We are starting slowly this year for a number of reasons.

Firstly, it is the return to school after the holidays.  Possum is not writing his PhD thesis this week.  We’ll work up to that.

Secondly, I am finding my feet.  I have some great curricula to help me along this year.  What I need to do is to learn to trust them.  I also need to work out how to fit them all together in a way that works for us.

As well as this, or as part of it, I am not sure which, I am working through a few different educational philosophies.  I am melding some ideas from Charlotte Mason and from Oak Meadow (Waldorf inspired) and trying not to push Possum too much academically, even though he is very clever.  For me it is a delicate balancing act.  I am trying to work out how to let him be a kid, feed his brain and honour him all without burning him out.  Or me.

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At any rate, we jumped in today and got going.  It wasn’t as awful as either of us thought it would be.  Just as well – we are both pretty imaginative!

Now we have the rest of the day to ponder the rain, the washing pile and try not to go stir crazy.

Oh and fix dinner.  Must remember to fix dinner.  Apparently the family will be expecting it again tonight.

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Grade One Minus Two Days

January 27, 2013

…or maybe five.

Possum is 6 years 8 months
Bandicoot is 4 years 6 months
Little Princess is 2 years

Tomorrow is a public holiday here for Australia Day.  I had planned to start school on Tuesday, thinking it was the day that schools went back.  I was mistaken on that one – they go back on Wednesday, but I thought that I would run with it anyway.

Possum, however, is adamant that school does not go back until 1st February.   He was (erroneously) told so by one of his mates. 

Hmm.

Actually, long term that could be a nice way for me to work it.

It is a point that I would be willing to negotiate, but, to be honest, Friday (which is the 1st), doesn’t work so well for me.  For one thing, Mainly Music, the Little Ones’ music group, starts again on Friday.  It takes a huge chunk out of the day, and, more specifically, the morning.  It makes for an awkward school day at the best of times, let alone for first day back.

Also, DH commented, “The excuses will be coming thick and fast”.   Really, not many kids are chomping at the bit to go back to school.  Even the weirdos like me, who, despite it all, loved school, loved holidays more.

To be perfectly honest, I still like school holidays more.  I love having the kids around.  I also love no art class, no music, no Playgroup, no swimming, no gymnastics, no Sunday school…  All that starts again this week, too.  Le sigh.

But apart from all of that, I would be happy for an extra couple of days to get organised.  As well as waiting for some supplies to arrive, I also need to get some stuff printed for lessons.  I want, amongst other things, to do a daily folder – a simple set of activities that are repeated every day as a little warm up to the day and honing a few skills.  The idea is that this becomes almost independent work.  I also want to do something similar for Bandicoot, but with different activities of course, in a quest to provide him with a more ‘stimulating environment’.

I had planned to get that organised, if not for the year, or even the term, at least for the first week or two, this weekend.  Until Little Princess killed the computer.  Oh, okay, not the whole computer.  The mouse.  Or maybe the mouse driver.  Whatever it is, the computer is useless and a locked vault is holding my printouts.  (Does that make them printins?). DH is not highly motivated to look into the matter.  It isn’t his work – he has enough of that at the office anyway.  Besides, he is quite happy to wait until Tuesday when he can bring home his spare mouse and try that out.  Eek! Tuesday night does not work so well for me.

So much for a nice controlled start to the year.

Of course, I could start coercive homeschooling this week.  You know, extra reading.  Activities from my maths cookbook. Bird-watching.  That sort of thing.  But it isn’t so much what he is doing that I am concerned with in the first few weeks, it is the discipline of schoolwork.

Maybe it will be Friday before we start.  Or next week.

Australia Day 2013 (pic heavy)

January 26, 2013

Possum is 6 years 8 months

Bandicoot is 4 years 6 months

Little Princess is 2 years

 

This year, Australia Day fell on that all important day in our household – Croissant Day.  (On the last Saturday of the month, DH and the kids cycle down to the local bakery and buy croissants for breakfast.)

Just a little further down the road there was a community sausage sizzle for breakfast.  After much cajoling on my behalf, DH agreed to check it out.  Really, just how Australian are croissants?  And don’t talk to me about putting Vegemite on them….

Anyway, they returned full of excitement.  Bandicoot had caught and brought home this amazing bug:

IMG_7172

And the kids had all been tattooed painted.

IMG_7173IMG_7174IMG_7177

(And that slightly cool, slightly squished sausage sandwich they unexpectedly brought me?  It had bacon on it, too, and was super yummy.)

So, while Mummy and Daddy tried to relax a little after the strange weather, the kids amused themselves.  Yes, they are digging up the lawn.

IMG_7178IMG_7180IMG_7181

IMG_7182IMG_7186

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You know what he did next, don’t you…

IMG_7190 DH pretending he is really ocker and catching up on the tennis.

 

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IMG_7200IMG_7205

 

Then we went in to the city.  Little Princess found herself a special seat on the train.

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Her friend An-n-coot (Bandicoot, even though it is really a Bilby) came along.  An appropriate day for a Bandicoot to go out partying, yes?

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Too exciting to sit down on the train – might miss something!

 

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Oh – okay.  We’ll all sit down for lamingtons on Australia Day!

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The stairs up onto the Harbour Bridge…

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Cool pic, huh?

IMG_7225 Opera House

IMG_7226Fort Denison

IMG_7227Some boats flagged out for Australia Day

Checking it all out from the bridge IMG_7228

IMG_7231 Ice cream.  This is serious business – it is bigger than her!

William Bligh IMG_7235

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Cadman’s Cottage.  The oldest surviving building in the country.  Possum was pretty fascinated by it, but couldn’t believe how small it was inside.

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The Tank Stream is a freshwater stream that runs into Sydney Harbour.  It was because of this water source that the first European settlement was built here in 1788.  I am sure aboriginal children played in the stream a long time before that.  It still flows beneath the city today and sources these fountains.

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And for dinner?  Harry’s damper, barbequed snags and a pav with green and gold fruit.

IMG_7257    IMG_7258

Australia Day 2013 (pic heavy)

January 26, 2013

Possum is 6 years 8 months

Bandicoot is 4 years 6 months

Little Princess is 2 years

 

This year, Australia Day fell on that all important day in our household – Croissant Day.  (On the last Saturday of the month, DH and the kids cycle down to the local bakery and buy croissants for breakfast.)

Just a little further down the road there was a community sausage sizzle for breakfast.  After much cajoling on my behalf, DH agreed to check it out.  Really, just how Australian are croissants?  And don’t talk to me about putting Vegemite on them….

Anyway, they returned full of excitement.  Bandicoot had caught and brought home this amazing bug:

IMG_7172

And the kids had all been tattooed painted.

IMG_7173IMG_7174IMG_7177

(And that slightly cool, slightly squished sausage sandwich they unexpectedly brought me?  It had bacon on it, too, and was super yummy.)

So, while Mummy and Daddy tried to relax a little after the strange weather, the kids amused themselves.  Yes, they are digging up the lawn.

IMG_7178IMG_7180IMG_7181

IMG_7182IMG_7186

IMG_7188IMG_7187

You know what he did next, don’t you…

IMG_7190 DH pretending he is really ocker and catching up on the tennis.

 

IMG_7194IMG_7198

IMG_7200IMG_7205

 

Then we went in to the city.  Little Princess found herself a special seat on the train.

IMG_7206IMG_7209

Her friend An-n-coot (Bandicoot, even though it is really a Bilby) came along.  An appropriate day for a Bandicoot to go out partying, yes?

IMG_7208IMG_7210

Too exciting to sit down on the train – might miss something!

 

IMG_7211IMG_7214

Oh – okay.  We’ll all sit down for lamingtons on Australia Day!

IMG_7215IMG_7217

The stairs up onto the Harbour Bridge…

IMG_7219

Cool pic, huh?

IMG_7225 Opera House

IMG_7226Fort Denison

IMG_7227Some boats flagged out for Australia Day

Checking it all out from the bridge IMG_7228

IMG_7231 Ice cream.  This is serious business – it is bigger than her!

William Bligh IMG_7235

IMG_7238IMG_7239

Cadman’s Cottage.  The oldest surviving building in the country.  Possum was pretty fascinated by it, but couldn’t believe how small it was inside.

IMG_7243

IMG_7245

The Tank Stream is a freshwater stream that runs into Sydney Harbour.  It was because of this water source that the first European settlement was built here in 1788.  I am sure aboriginal children played in the stream a long time before that.  It still flows beneath the city today and sources these fountains.

IMG_7244IMG_7249

IMG_7251IMG_7252IMG_7253

And for dinner?  Harry’s damper, barbequed snags and a pav with green and gold fruit.

IMG_7257    IMG_7258

Australia Day 2013 (pic heavy)

January 26, 2013

Possum is 6 years 8 months

Bandicoot is 4 years 6 months

Little Princess is 2 years

 

This year, Australia Day fell on that all important day in our household – Croissant Day.  (On the last Saturday of the month, DH and the kids cycle down to the local bakery and buy croissants for breakfast.)

Just a little further down the road there was a community sausage sizzle for breakfast.  After much cajoling on my behalf, DH agreed to check it out.  Really, just how Australian are croissants?  And don’t talk to me about putting Vegemite on them….

Anyway, they returned full of excitement.  Bandicoot had caught and brought home this amazing bug:

IMG_7172

And the kids had all been tattooed painted.

IMG_7173IMG_7174IMG_7177

(And that slightly cool, slightly squished sausage sandwich they unexpectedly brought me?  It had bacon on it, too, and was super yummy.)

So, while Mummy and Daddy tried to relax a little after the strange weather, the kids amused themselves.  Yes, they are digging up the lawn.

IMG_7178IMG_7180IMG_7181

IMG_7182IMG_7186

IMG_7188IMG_7187

You know what he did next, don’t you…

IMG_7190 DH pretending he is really ocker and catching up on the tennis.

 

IMG_7194IMG_7198

IMG_7200IMG_7205

 

Then we went in to the city.  Little Princess found herself a special seat on the train.

IMG_7206IMG_7209

Her friend An-n-coot (Bandicoot, even though it is really a Bilby) came along.  An appropriate day for a Bandicoot to go out partying, yes?

IMG_7208IMG_7210

Too exciting to sit down on the train – might miss something!

 

IMG_7211IMG_7214

Oh – okay.  We’ll all sit down for lamingtons on Australia Day!

IMG_7215IMG_7217

The stairs up onto the Harbour Bridge…

IMG_7219

Cool pic, huh?

IMG_7225 Opera House

IMG_7226Fort Denison

IMG_7227Some boats flagged out for Australia Day

Checking it all out from the bridge IMG_7228

IMG_7231 Ice cream.  This is serious business – it is bigger than her!

William Bligh IMG_7235

IMG_7238IMG_7239

Cadman’s Cottage.  The oldest surviving building in the country.  Possum was pretty fascinated by it, but couldn’t believe how small it was inside.

IMG_7243

IMG_7245

The Tank Stream is a freshwater stream that runs into Sydney Harbour.  It was because of this water source that the first European settlement was built here in 1788.  I am sure aboriginal children played in the stream a long time before that.  It still flows beneath the city today and sources these fountains.

IMG_7244IMG_7249

IMG_7251IMG_7252IMG_7253

And for dinner?  Harry’s damper, barbequed snags and a pav with green and gold fruit.

IMG_7257    IMG_7258

Australia Day 2013 (pic heavy)

January 26, 2013

Possum is 6 years 8 months

Bandicoot is 4 years 6 months

Little Princess is 2 years

 

This year, Australia Day fell on that all important day in our household – Croissant Day.  (On the last Saturday of the month, DH and the kids cycle down to the local bakery and buy croissants for breakfast.)

Just a little further down the road there was a community sausage sizzle for breakfast.  After much cajoling on my behalf, DH agreed to check it out.  Really, just how Australian are croissants?  And don’t talk to me about putting Vegemite on them….

Anyway, they returned full of excitement.  Bandicoot had caught and brought home this amazing bug:

IMG_7172

And the kids had all been tattooed painted.

IMG_7173IMG_7174IMG_7177

(And that slightly cool, slightly squished sausage sandwich they unexpectedly brought me?  It had bacon on it, too, and was super yummy.)

So, while Mummy and Daddy tried to relax a little after the strange weather, the kids amused themselves.  Yes, they are digging up the lawn.

IMG_7178IMG_7180IMG_7181

IMG_7182IMG_7186

IMG_7188IMG_7187

You know what he did next, don’t you…

IMG_7190 DH pretending he is really ocker and catching up on the tennis.

 

IMG_7194IMG_7198

IMG_7200IMG_7205

 

Then we went in to the city.  Little Princess found herself a special seat on the train.

IMG_7206IMG_7209

Her friend An-n-coot (Bandicoot, even though it is really a Bilby) came along.  An appropriate day for a Bandicoot to go out partying, yes?

IMG_7208IMG_7210

Too exciting to sit down on the train – might miss something!

 

IMG_7211IMG_7214

Oh – okay.  We’ll all sit down for lamingtons on Australia Day!

IMG_7215IMG_7217

The stairs up onto the Harbour Bridge…

IMG_7219

Cool pic, huh?

IMG_7225 Opera House

IMG_7226Fort Denison

IMG_7227Some boats flagged out for Australia Day

Checking it all out from the bridge IMG_7228

IMG_7231 Ice cream.  This is serious business – it is bigger than her!

William Bligh IMG_7235

IMG_7238IMG_7239

Cadman’s Cottage.  The oldest surviving building in the country.  Possum was pretty fascinated by it, but couldn’t believe how small it was inside.

IMG_7243

IMG_7245

The Tank Stream is a freshwater stream that runs into Sydney Harbour.  It was because of this water source that the first European settlement was built here in 1788.  I am sure aboriginal children played in the stream a long time before that.  It still flows beneath the city today and sources these fountains.

IMG_7244IMG_7249

IMG_7251IMG_7252IMG_7253

And for dinner?  Harry’s damper, barbequed snags and a pav with green and gold fruit.

IMG_7257    IMG_7258

Read to Your Children!

January 23, 2013

Possum is 6 years and 8 months

Bandicoot is 4 years and 6 months

Little Princess is 2 years

I have a confession to make.  I don’t read to my kids all that much.  It is a terrible thing to say, considering I am a complete bibliophile and a homeschooler.  But I don’t.

Oh, they get read to, lots.  But I don’t do it anywhere near as much as I would like.

Things have happened along the way to make this habit develop.  Firstly, when Possum was an itty-bitty thing, we heard of the advantages of having Daddy read to kids.  Apparently it has a lot to do with the timbre of the voice assisting in their language development or something.  At any rate, DH does bedtime stories.  It grew into a routine that they all loved.  (I loved it, too, because it was one of the few moments of the day or night that I had to myself.  I say “had” because I now sit in for stories.)

The other thing that happened was that not long after I started to recover my sanity and enjoy being a Mum to Possum, I became pregnant with Bandicoot.  And likewise with Little Princess.  I don’t do pregnancy well.  I spend a lot of time utterly, utterly exhausted (as in can hardly stumble to the loo, let alone look after myself, a family, a job, a house or anything else).  If I tried to read to the kids during these times, much as when I have a little Little One, I would fall asleep during the story.  Hmm.

So it was, that when ever someone would offer to help out I would beg them to read and read and read to the kids.

But it wasn’t me.

It isn’t that I don’t like, or even didn’t like doing it.  In fact I LOVE it.  The problem is that now, the kids just don’t see any point in snuggly up with me for a story.  Not even with bribery (Seriously.  We have a reward chart.)  What is the point?  They get their stories elsewhere.

So I feel guilty that I don’t read to them enough.  I feel sad that I can’t get them to enjoy it.  There are so many books I would love to share with them, but it doesn’t happen.  (In fact, there is a particular book that I loved as a child.  I searched high and low and eventually got a second hand copy of it.  I am sure that they would love it, but DH hates it.  He read it to them once, declared it a pretty awful story and it has remained on the bookshelf since.)  There are so many fantastic curricula for little kids that are completely literature based.  But oh so out of my reach.

Alas!

Who knows, it may change.  Bandicoot lets me read to him sometimes.  Not every day, but sometimes.  Sometimes, Possum even comes by to listen, but not close enough that I am supposed to know that is what he is doing.  Little Princess still likes me read to her, and it seems she will only be challenged by older siblings, not younger. 

Maybe I’ll end up with one out of three.

The Monday Group

January 21, 2013

Possum is 6 years 8 months

Bandicoot is 4 years 6 months

Little Princess is 2 years

 

Today we trialled a new homeschool group.  This is pretty much a social group for homeschoolers, sort of in our area, although from time to time courses and group discounts are organised through them.

Years ago, we did visit this group.  At the time, we weren’t really ready.  Also, there were a LOT of teenagers there at the time, and not many younger kids at all.

Now the group has a wider range of ages, although today, it was mostly the younger crowd that were there.

I was nervous about this.  I really want to find a homeschooling group.  It is nice to have some real-life support.  We have attended another group, but it just didn’t work out so well for us, despite us actually having friends in the group.  I don’t know if it was Possum’s mood, the layout of the park or what , but it was a painful experience.

Today was different.  The group was relaxed.  The kids are friendly, but much less intense than the other group.  Possum was nervous about going.  He was quite delighted when I said we could pick Bandicoot up from pre-school at lunchtime so that he could come, too.  (Poor Bandicoot is having a hard time settling in to preschool this year.  I thought that a short day today would do him no harm.)  By the end of the day he was playing well with all the kids and enjoying himself.

IMG_7119Nn-Noos!  You forgot your hat!

 

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Even with a totally grotty face she is cute as can be.

IMG_7124Listening to the whir as the flying fox goes.

Gratuitous cuteness                              IMG_7126

IMG_7127Ready….IMG_7129 Go!

More gratuitous cuteness…

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Ally-oop!   IMG_7138

IMG_7139Aah!  An action shot of Possum.  He would NOT go it for the longest time, but by the end of the day he was riding the flying fox standing up.

IMG_7140  A water monitor walking by…

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Who then tried to hide up a tree…

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This is why.  (Actually, I got Bandicoot to pose here so that you can see how big the lizard is.)

IMG_7147I tried to get a shot to show his amazing markings – they were spots near his back legs, rather than stripes.  This one shoes the pattern better, but you can’t see the colour so well.

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A couple of the families are kite junkies.  Bandicoot was devastated that we didn’t have his kite with us.  One of the other Dads helped him to fly and box kite.  He loved it so much that it was almost consolation.

A Brand New Road from Bandicoot

January 20, 2013

And just for fun, here is the story written for the “Weekend Adventure Book” at Bandicoot’s preschool.

Hello,

This Saturday my Mummy had to go out. When she turned onto KP Road she saw some interesting goings-on and rang Daddy so that he could take us for a look.

 imageThis is my big brother and me arriving at the scene.

See that really big truck behind me? It is digging up the road!

image The road works went all the way past our Kindy and on for about a kilometre. There was lots to see. This truck is dropping the new tar in the holes. It is really hot and soft now. The workmen used another truck to flatten it all out before it cooled down. Once it cools down it goes hard.

(It was okay for me to stand just there to look, because no cars could use the road. Also, my Daddy and the workmen were watching me.)

image

This is me looking after my little sister. She wanted to see, too, but I wouldn’t let her go anywhere dangerous.

Bandicoot

Gecko Class