Wednesday, December 31, 2014

NYE Traditions

My guys are pretty keen on keeping with tradition & for NYE that generally means a countdown for us. Years ago we started filling little bags that we pinned a paper analog clock to. The bags had goodies or things inside to keep them occupied as we rang in the new year.

Traditionally speaking our bags often had/ve the same things inside & that tends to make them a wee bit predictable, but that's never really bothered the kids. One thing in the bags has always been a movie or a notification to pick a movie to watch. The trick was that we'd pop the movie on & dim the lights. While the kids were watching, generally something reasonably cheesy but fun to them, we'd roll the clocks forward. By the time the film was over we'd have enough time to grab our party poppers, dash out the door, scream Happy New Year to utterly confused neighbours {after all it was only 10pm} & then dash back inside & hurry very tired children off to bed. Those tired kids slept through the city's firework show, hundreds of people outside screaming Happy New Year at the same time, & countless fire crackers going off around the neighbourhood.

As the boys got older we slowly changed the time until the year they actually made it until midnight. The first year they made it to midnight, the youngest was so tired he asked if we'd use his party popper outside for him. After watching it explode we had to carry him to bed & he slept well into the morning. Now that we're dealing with tweenagers & teenagers staying up until midnight doesn't seem to be much of an issue for them though.

When I asked what people wanted to do for NYE this year the cry was, "We want to do the bags!" So, I broke the news to them: We're not doing bags this year. There was a few minutes of silence before one of them started to chuckle, "Good one Mom!" "No, I'm serious! I don't even know where the bags are!!" "MOM!!" "Nope, we're not doing the bags! But, we will do balloons."

There was a few minutes of confusion before I explained that the balloons would work in place of the bags. I have extremely sensitive hearing. I'm the gal in the movie theatre who has to put her fingers her in her ears often because it's just too loud. I hate big parties or crowded anything because the noise is just too intense for me. Yep, I hate the sirens at parades, & I can hear one while driving before most people are aware there's a problem. I have been honked at so much for pulling over for emergency vehicles that are a good 10 blocks behind me!

Popping balloons doesn't really excite me, but my kids don't generally mind. Inside the kids will find rolled up pieces of paper that will disclose what we are doing for the evening. Things haven't changed much around here, so our events {in no particular order} will be pretty simplistic:

  • Make Cherry Ice Cream {we use to buy it, but those pesky food allergies..}
  • Paint Mini Figs {this is our only new event because I was all organised & have some salt dough mini-figs drying in the oven. Here's hoping they work out or we'll be decorating paper ones instead!}
  • Bake mini cakes to enjoy during movie hour
  • Unwrapping the new devotionals for the New Year {we generally give each child one, I'm really excited about the ones we've picked this year!}
  • Play the NYE Game {we purchase something new each year; this year is Rotten Tomatoes Card Game}
  • Decorate the pizza for dinner
  • Fill out Year End Review forms {sometimes we write down goals for the new year ahead; but this year we're snagging a freebie}
  • Hang up the 2015 Calendars {We purchase the kids a new calendar for their rooms each year; plus the family calendar}
  • Walk Around the Block to catch the fireworks {we could actually see them from our second story, but Nana can't climb the stairs, so we take her around the block to the top of the hill instead}
  • Movie Time {we select a newer released movie that we haven't seen yet}
  • Hang up the New Year Banner, grab the party poppers, & Fizzy drink to ring in the New Year

Nothing super special, but the kids love it & it sure beats hearing, "How long until.." Our neighbours still think we're weird, but the new ones find it enjoyable to watch our sparklers & shouts of Happy New Year when it's actually midnight. One year, we might actually have the neighbors join us, but then again they can be loud & I really really don't handle loud noises very well..


Our final day on holiday we took the kids into the city, they were both keen to hit the bigger library & we had a secret up our sleeves anyway. We spent one day hitting a few shops & the library & the final morning before heading out we popped into Airtime 360.

The entire area is nothing but trampolines. All the black spots in the picture above {aside from where the guys are jumping} are trampoline mats. The green is padding over the bars that hold them in place. We had a great time playing a few rounds of dodgeball, a few more rounds of basketball, & then the guys hit the foam pit. I wasn't game because the lights were killing my eyes at that point. Morgan had his old glasses on & managed all right, but I wouldn't let him wear them into the foam pit. I was worried they'd fall off & break with the crazy flips he was doing!

The only downer to the area was that it was hot in there. There's no air flow or air conditioning. Just one giant ceiling fan that doesn't move the air too much. Not that anyone was complaining as long as we had plenty of water at hand. You can take drinks in, but only as far as the shoe/stair area.

The place that houses Air 360 also has a few other fun things to do, one of which was mini-golf so we played a round of that as well. We had the entire place to ourselves & yet we still managed to spend 20 minutes looking for a lost golfball. Funny thing is, we found it, but turned around & lost another which we didn't find. We did, however find another one. At one point a set of preschool twins ran out to give us tips on golf. Apparently their Pop plays golf all the time & they know all about it, they were a great cheer squad for us too!  The boys had an absolute blast & were well & truly worn out for the long ride home.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

George Town

 After our museum trip & stop off at Yorktown we headed back to the caravan only to decide we were too close to the Georgetown to not hit it. Unfortunately, with the poor weather there was no way we were walking the beach to get there so it meant a much longer car ride.

We had a decenter amongst us, but the promise of hot cocoa & a movie when we got back lured him into the car. We could actually see the lights on the lighthouse from our caravan park so our goal was to find the lighthouse in question.

We managed to find 2 other lighthouses, which we made the mistake {kinda} of stopping off at prior to finding the one that was still in operation. When we rolled up to the one that was actually working {they all use to relay off of each other} we discovered it had closed 5 minutes prior. Oh the luck! The gate was still opened, so we parked outside of it & walked up the hill, in the rain I might add, to check it out.

Most of us found it well worth the view, all though there was one amongst us who was not happy to be drenched & cold. Same poor subject also managed to wake up with a cold the next morning, & that really didn't help! On the other hand, we learned that we could actually stay at the lighthouse next time we were out that way, you know, if we really wanted to. We also learned the horn in the lighthouse still functions on Sunday afternoons. We were trying to decide if we'd missed it because we hadn't been at our destination at the right time or if we'd simply not heard it due to the distance between where we were staying & the actual lighthouse.

On our way back we stopped at Batman bridge for a photo, & before anyone asks this is not named after the man in black! It's named, instead, after a famous Aussie. We'd actually crossed the bridge & I turned around to go back; if you pop under the bridge you can actually touch a portion of it. Which a few of us did.

Wouldn't you know that once we were done getting our photos & back on the highway the rain finally let up. Not that it stopped us from dishing up hot cocoa to go along with dinner, the movie on the other hand never happened because the dvd player in our caravan wasn't working. Go figure!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Yorktown Adventures

While away we drove, a few times, past Yorktown, the place that could have been the capital of our state. After our stop at the museum we thought we'd pop into the site & have a look around.

Keep in mind, if you opt to check it out, that it's really nothing more then an open field in the middle of now here. There are picnic tables & a foul toilet you can use if you dare. Be warned, though, the walls of the toilet don't reach the base of the structure & lots of wildlife happily strolls in & out. Bull Ants while using the toilet aren't really my kinda thing, but hey it beats snakes!

It was still a great stop off if, for nothing more, then the historical value in it. There's lots of signage before you walk the path to give you a brief idea of what the place use to look like both before it was "settled" & after it's abandonment.

There's also a beautiful metal map that we'd meant to make a rubbing on the following day on our way out. It was raining too much on the day we did stop & we didn't have a crayon or pencil on us. Perhaps next time we're out that way:

The darker spots in the photo were actually wet from the rain. We scooped some of the water off in order to read it. There's also a plaque that hangs up behind it explaining when the abandoned site was cleared & marked as a historical site.

There's a small path you can follow around which leads you to this funny little gate. It kinda feels like you are walking into someone else's property, but it's all part of the path you're meant to follow. In fact, just inside the gate to the right is a guest book for people to sign & to the left is a British Solider standing guard.

Jayden was absolutely smitten with this fellow, & his friends which were scattered around the property. He was pretty keen to go home & "whip one up" himself. I told him if he does we should hang it on his bedroom door to help keep guard. 

The path circles you around the field that use to have gardens & other things in it when the land was settled when the British first landed there. There's also a lot of signs that explain who was there, what was happening at the time, & what it might have looked like. There's a man-made pond/dam there now which is completely fenced in, but was a beautiful site to look upon. So was the little house that stood there. It's a replication of the one that was formerly there. 

The boys were disappointed that it was locked up tight, but they got over it quickly enough when we spotted the huntsman hiding at the top of the house. It's a little confusing to see, from Yorktown, the image of what must have once been a river that would have encouraged them to land there, but if you drive a few k's up the road you'll quickly see, especially at low tide, where the river is & why it turned out to be such a poor choice.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Beaconsfield Mine

We knew it was going to be rainy on the Monday we were away so we wanted to find something inside to keep us occupied & the Beaconsfield Mine that was a little drive from where we were seemed to fit the bill. In the end it turned out to be a wonderful idea as we spent so long in the museum Mr S had to finally drag us out before he passed out from lack of food.

The kids had an absolute blast as a good percentage of the museum is hands on & clearly marked to that effect too. The lady who gave us our tickets also gave the kids a lovely little Eye-Spy page to keep with them to spot a plethora of animals throughout the museum as we went along. My kids love these silly little things & they seem to be readily available at most museums lately.

First off the kids tried out telegraphs, telephones, & various things down this line. There was an old phone booth you could use as well & ring a number which would work on one of a variety of phones in this section. Morgan tried it out & one of the Asian tourists answered the phone, they had an awkward conversation as one was speaking in Japanese & the other English before they both hung up in a fit of giggles.

The museum is huge & very maze-like in it's appearance as it's intermingled with the older portions or factories that are no longer in use but still there for the viewing with the newer portions that have been recently added on. The photo above is an older section that's run down, but you're still permitted to walk through & view. To get to it we had to walk through the newer section which had an entire section based on the cave-in from several years back. It was complete with a small tunnel to climb through to understand what cramped quarters the men inside were stuck in until they were rescued.

We really loved walking through the older ruins of the museum & seeing so much that was built well before machines did the majority of the work. Those steps led up to a small little cabin similar to what someone mining for gold might have slept in. There was also a gold mining area up there where you could try your hand at mining for museum gold if you wanted. While the boys tried it, they had far more fun working the old hand pump that was up there.

At one point Morgan & I broke off from Mr S & Jayde who were busy searching for something on the list & enjoying building with some bricks provided. Morgan & I found an entire section in another arch just next to this one with wrenches in it. We had a bit of a laugh that they were labeled wrenches & quickly confirmed that they were imported from the USA; otherwise, they would have been called spanners. Im' not sure how I missed a photo, but one was nearly as big as we were!

We got lost in an upstairs section for a long while as there were a great many things to do. Morgan contributed several strips to the newest rag rug that was in the process of being put together. The strips are all tired to a piece of canvas with large square holes in it. There were needles & other "tools" to help you poke your strip through if you needed them. Jayden {in the background} was checking out the old fashioned stove. He was a little nervous about opening the doors to peek inside because there was suppose to be a snake hiding somewhere. Not a real one! But it had him a little leery of opening up closed items.

Mr S got a little distracted writing his name in calligraphy, after we pulled him away from trying on the wigs! The kids thought it was hilarious to see him with black curly hair instead of his normal mop of redness. We have a video of Mr S who tried out the organ on display. Most people were just pecking out a few notes, but he treated everyone to a full song until he realised others were coming to check it out, then he opted to move on.

Back outside in another section you could operate this amazing water wheel. We were kept pretty busy in this area as well as there were heaps of blacksmith tools to check out & a variety of mine simulations to try out. In fact, there was even a set of stairs to climb up so you could sit on a bench & watch the actual mine at work. Which, the kids were keen to do.. until they realised this mean staring at the entrance in the ground where the very occasional person came out to obtain something before darting back inside.

We have so many photos & videos from our hours inside this place! It was time so well spent as the day was miserably wet & rainy. The kids didn't spot everything on their lists, but were still rewarded with a small treasure packet from the lady at the desk which includes a sticker or two & some museum gold. They were pleased as punch with the gift, but spoke of little else for the next 2 days! They can't wait to go back & finish finding all the missing items.

If you're in the area it's really well worth a trip out & geared for little ones to be quite hands on. All hands on displays are clearly marked. There's a park nearby if you happen to visit on a less wet day, as for us, we had a picnic in the car which elicited lots of "great ideas" from the locals who were scurrying around under umbrellas as they walked their dogs.

Saturday, December 27, 2014


For the past few years we've planned 1 getaway after another only to have something crazy come up & prevent us from going away. Sometimes it's a minor like when Jay came down with bronchitis & had a poor reaction to his medication. Yeah, we decided camping a few hours from home wasn't the wisest choice. Other times it's been more major, like the year Nana broke her hip. This year we were determined we were going to have a small get away up the coast line.

Our original plans were to spend a couple weeks up the coast line in an area we've yet to make it that Mr S is desperate for us to see. Scheduling clashes caused that idea ot go up in smoke & Mr S was pretty disappointed. So I laid out the suggestion we go west instead of east & check out the coastline in the other direction.

Oh the excitement that ensued! School was well into it's 3rd term so we were likely to have the majority of the camp ground & the tiny town to ourselves. Our plans were looking well rounded & we were deciding which sites to see on our own vs signing up for the touristy end of when we got the news.

Turned out, our tiny little no one really goes there kinda town was being invaded by Hollywood. Yeah, the one from California. Because, as it turned out, the town was this perfect little "no one knows about it, but just right for what we want to use it for" in regards to filming their latest film. Apparently where were some big names up there too, but I've got to be honest with you, I'd never heard of them before.

It got worse, all the accommodations were booked for the next 2-4 weeks. What?! Yep, really. Then the next report was that the town was being done-over to make it look more authentic for the movie. This included covering the streets with gravel, because I mean what says authenticity quite like a few tons of gravel being spread through town, right?!

We canceled our idea to head west immediately. There was no way we were hanging out in a town run-over by Hollywood. Our idea of fun is being in the bush, or on the most deserted section of the coastline you can find. No internet, no interruptions, no phones, no work. Just the 4 of us & the occasion wildlife darting through.

We scrambled for a few ideas & then took on a rather poor defeated attitude. We had a dog-sitter all lined up for our pooch & they showed up to collect the dog on Saturday, the day we were suppose to leave but ended up being asked ot do something else instead. We woke up Sunday & decided we were going away.

We had no idea where, but insisted the kids pull out clothes for 4-5 days, some pjs, swimming gear, & a favourite board game each. We made a few calls & found a speck of coastline a few hours away that was reasonably deserted, & close to a few fun activities we were keen to check out with the kids. Talk about a flurry of activity! We had all hands on deck & were out the door & to our destination in two hours time.

20 minutes after arriving we spent the entire afternoon on this stretch of beach. There were a few more people, after all it was still the weekend, but it emptied out pretty quickly & it was just us. The kids swam, & built sand castles, & played ball. After tea we returned to the beach & spent the evening walking up the coastline until we decided we'd better head back before we got trapped on the beach at high tide in the dark.

Our accommodations were pretty quiet too because aside from the odd camper or two & the groundskeeper we were the only other people there. We spent the evening having a great laugh over watching the wallabies run around the adjoining golf course, & wondering who was going to clean up that kinda mess in the morning. Which resulted in a whole lot of laughter about wallabies out there having their own golfing tournament. Not a bad way to spend a few days!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

2014 Week In Review: Week 34

I didn't forget about the other weeks in our school year, we've just been busy wrapping up end of school things, Drs appointments, & life events. Week 34 was more of a half week for us which isn't the end of the world, but I always feel a bit silly calling it a full week when we may not have schooled each day.

Monday & Tuesday were reasonably normal days despite the snuffles & coughs in the house, but Wednesday Morgan & I had an appointment with the Irlen Specialist. Our former specialist retired from this particular speciality & we'd yet to meet the new one. Morgan had been complaining on & off about not seeing properly, but I'd often discover his glasses needed a good cleaning & then I wouldn't hear anymore about it.

However, we started to notice some number reversals again, problems with reading were creeping back in, he was tripping a lot again, & becoming continually more cranky. I honestly didn't make enough connections until he burst out in tears {not at all normal for him these days} & lamented that he couldn't see anything properly & when he took his glasses off it was all most like having them on.

We immediately contacted the new specialist & were so blessed to find out she was making a trip to Tassie in a 3 days time. There was serious rejoicing happening in our home! As she'd never met Morgan & Morgan had never met her there was a lot of preliminary things that had to happen & our appointment was the longest we've ever had while dealing with SSS/IS {scotopic sensitivity syndrome/irlen syndrome} It was absolutely gruelling for Morgan who was extremely nervous which only heightens his problems. We did eventually explain to him there was no passing or failing what he was going through & that regardless of the outcome of the day he was still taking his now "less then stellar" glasses home. He eased up a bit considerably at that information.

Once he was done I had to go through the paces, all though not nearly as many as he did. We told him he could enjoy being on the other side of the table to see how it all looked, but he was so exhausted he couldn't keep his eyes open. Poor kid tried to pull up a video on my phone so that he wouldn't fall asleep.

It's really tough watching him go through the paces, & each time I do something new comes to light. It was so evident, this time, how little his current glasses were helping him. I think it's made us both very aware of the signs to be alert to! We also learned a lot more of the science behind what's going on with him & were even treated, yes I really mean treated, to seeing a brain scan of the situation.

When a normal person reads, writes, or goes about their daily business their brain works at a moderate to slow pace depending on what they are doing. When Morgan's doing these things without his glasses or with glasses that don't suit, his brain is working in overdrive. It was amazing to see the differences in brains between a person who struggles & one who doesn't. The imagine is enough that if one saw it I think they'd understand how a person seriously has nothing left to give when they are struggling like this.

Morgan wasn't alone on the front, we've known for a long time that SSS/IS are hereditary, & his former specialist was keen to put both myself & Mr S through the tests to see which one of us it came from. As we've learned more over the years, I've become increasingly more aware that I'm mostly like the parent Morgan received his situation from. It seems both my children have been blessed with my sensitivities, one with light the other with sound. Hey, I like to share!

Morgan & I both walked out with a new prescriptions, all though we're both still eagerly anticipating the arrival of our glasses in the mail. We have to mail our frames & prescriptions to the mainland to the Irlen Lab & wait for their return which is, on average, 3-3.5 weeks wait time. I think in the past it's generally been 3 weeks for us.

Jayden was an absolute trooper through all of it. He patiently watched each of us go through all the testing & then assured us the sun was not burning our eyes out of our faces. He even attempted to offer kindly advise to us on which frames looked best, all though I'm not sure his tastes are exactly mine.

For now we have some overlays to use, plastic coloured sheets that have to be laid flat against what we are reading or doing, until our glasses come. The overlays work, all though they can be more cumbersome. They also don't help with my sensitivity to glare in general when I'm going about day to day things in the home.

We called school off for the remainder of the week because our eyes were just that sore! So school consisted of what we accomplished on Monday & Tuesday as well as the books we listened to on our way to & from the Drs. We did get quite a bit done in our day/time home, all though I'd all ready let Morgan off the hook for reading & math until after we found out what the news from the Dr was.

He's officially done with Math & reading for the year until his glasses come. At which point he'll probably remain done with math until the new year. He's a little frustrated by that as he'd set a goal to finish his current book before the New Year, but this was a situation beyond his control.

We started Son Of Charlemagne & continued on with Adam Of The Road which was our audio. We are enjoying the later far more then the former, but both have their places in what we're studying. We wrapped up Ephesians this week, & have kept our pace with MOH 2 as well. The kids also did a few spelling lessons, they are doing really well there. It really felt like a light week for us, but it answered so many important questions about our boys vision struggles that a light week was worth it.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

2014 Week In Review: Week 33

It was a bit of an unusual week for us around here. We had no school Monday as it was a public holiday & Jayden was down for the count with a sore throat anyway. Tuesday we were back at it with a lighter version of school {we rarely take off completely when people are sick}, but we had 2 appointments at the eye Dr in town. Wednesday Morgan was down with the sore throat & was unbearably grumpy from it. Thursday Mr S ended up home from work early with his throat being sore & by Friday he was home all day, aside from an hour he slipped in to work to fix something, sleeping off his version of the cold. I'll be grateful when they are all done with the sniffles & coughs, as will they! They all still have some portion of it, but for the most part are on their way to feeling better.

Despite his dazed & confused look he sat the spelling lesson with Morgan. He managed a 100% which had him tickled pink. The balloon was a gift for him from the Chemist when I went in to get medication. I always cause a lot of grief at the chemist's due to our food allergies & unfortunately most medications have some form of milk or gluten in them. They also sent us home with a stuffed animal which I think he passed on to Morgan. We finished Day #17 in Sequential Spelling this week, & that was all, Morgan was in no shape for spelling on Wednesday so we hung it up for the week.

The kids were pretty lathargic & I figured if they could lay around & watch tv they could lay around & listen to school books instead. So we listened to another four chapters in Our Island Story this week. Jayde was so excited to hear another version of King Arthur! He's super keen to read the actual King Arthur book I have on the shelf for him, & he paused even in his drawing to listen in full to this story.

We also listened to three more chapters in Mystery Of History. For some reason our WP schedule didn't touch Chapter 16, & I wanted to cover that before we got too far along, so we heard about the Mayan people. It was quite an interesting chapter. We also listened to chapters 22-23.

Tuesday we started in our Middle Ages cd that goes along with a another product from HSITW that they gave us for review purposes. Jayden is so excited about the other product which you'll see glimpses of next week & will find a full review about it over on TCC when we're through using the product. While I don't normally self-promote reviews too much, I'd encourage you to keep an eye out because it will involve a giveaway.  As for this week, we read about the barbarian invaders & the fall or Rome. Yes, again, which is exactly what Jayde said. Morgan is using the newspaper, as well as other bits, from the Project Pack so he wrote a little article/snippet about the fall of Rome & also filled out a postcard {pictures above}.

By Wednesday Jayde was certainly on the mend & horribly restless, where as Morgan was out flat & not interested in anything but the pain in his throat. The poor kid just doesn't cope well with a sore throat which compounded by the fact that he has an ugly wound on his lip which is the combination of a mouth sore & biting himself. I pulled out a craft kit for Jayde while Morgan was busy finishing off Pippi Longstockings.

Believe it or not, the craft kit was suppose to be viking related, but when Jayde opened it up low & behold it was king & queenish. He was a bit annoyed because he was really looking forward to the viking. Once he put these two together I suggested we call them Lancelot & Guinevere. He told me not to be ridiculous they were obviously called Tim & Tom. Oh dear..

I ended up enlisting Jayde's help on Wednesday to help whip up some salve, also known as homemade vaseline, so we could coat Morgan's wound because he was in too much pain to drink anything. It's a combination of coconut oil, olive oil, & bees wax. I added a couple of drops of essential oil to a smaller portion that we put in a separate container for the war wound. Seriously, the poor kid has a wicked fat lip from it & I ended up getting some numbing ointment too.

Jayden was really feeling antsy on Tuesday & was desperate to do something. He'd been flat out on Sunday moping about how he wasn't feeling so great but refusing to take the things I offered him to help him feel better. Monday he was truly sick & miserable, so by Tuesday he was ready to move. Unfortunately lots of moving made him cough so I offered to play a game with him while Morgan was resting. He brought out this hideous game. For a person who hates Monopoly as much as I do, I don't even want to know why we own 6 different versions of it!!

I did suck it up & play it with him & within two turns we were both pretty sure I was about to get knocked out, but I came back for a pretty big win. Mostly because someone incorrectly stocked the ATM & I reaped the benefits of that casualty. He's still annoyed that I won considering I never win at Monopoly, but it kept him busy for a while & he was laughing most of the time we played.

Despite all the craziness of the week we finished off Black Horses For The King. It's a different sort of telling in regards to King Arthur & doesn't involve any of the mythical portions in regards to the sword in the stone or merlin. Rather it simply tells of him before the whole messy love triangle issue & concentrates it's efforts on his desires to protect Britannia from the Saxon invaders. Over all it was a great story & it matched up so well with much of what we've been reading in Our Island Story. If you have a horse lover they'd probably really love this book too as it's very very horsey in regards to information & storyline. So much so I'd say King Arthur {not called that in the story} takes more of a back seat to be honest.

By Thursday the sore throat was gone for Morgan but he had a drippy nose to no end. So I told him to slap on some essential oils, take his tablet from the chemist, & draw a picture while I read. Thus we have his art work this week. He's taken to enjoying drawing things with a sharpie & then colouring them in with his coloured markers. I like it! If you're wondering about the men in the photo you have: {L-R} A man who cooled his metal sword too quickly & it bent & twisted. Another man just pulling his dagger out of the hot fire, & the final picture is the hero of our book working on a horse sandal.

I found another craft project I had stowed away for our space study, but it was needed this week so I handed it to Jayden. He actually did this one prior to king & queen cups. He loves these silly things because they don't require glue, all that crazy foam comes with sticker backing on it.

He gave the alien from the packet to Morgan to work on, in hopes it would distract brother from the sore throat. No such luck & the craft sat unfinished until Thursday. At which point Jayden asked if Morgan would like help with the craft & Morgan finally decided he'd better put it together or he'd lose out.

We read our poetry book as well, all though we missed out on Wednesday I just read extra on Thursday as everyone was content to sit & listen. I figured it was getting a little boring snapping photos of the same book over & over so I went with a small poem we found funny this week.

We also listened to Galatians 5-6 to wrap up another book of the Bible this week. We moved right into Ephesians & are just over halfway done having made it through the 4th chapter. We'll pause with our forward movement at the end of the money & retreat to our annual trip through the Bible leading up to Christmas.

By Friday both boys were doing so much better & I kept sending them outside for fresh air & sunshine. It's not abnormal for my kids to lay in a quilt on the trampoline with a book while they are sick, but our trampoline is currently hiding int he garage lest anymore gail force winds rip it away. Instead they took turns on the swing & sat on the patio for a while telling jokes. By the time they came in & we'd wrapped up our small portion of studies for the day Mr S was zonked out on the couch.

Two kids who haven't run of steam all week & aren't quite well enough to go to the park meant things were getting a little hair raising. I suggested something quieter & Jayde pulled out Risk & challenged Morgan & I to a round. They got so busy fighting over Asia I snuck in & snagged Africa & England for a win.

That was it for us this week. No math, while I did warn the boys there'd still be school Jayden asked me oh so seriously if he could get off math this week because of being sick. I hadn't intended to give him the whole week off, & was going to have them both do a review page on Friday, but Mr S was home & all that jazz. No outings this week aside from a trip to the normal optomotrist.

Some time next week Morgan & I meet up with the Irlens Specialist from Melbourne, & she wanted to be sure normal vision was in check. Morgan's vision has not improved via the Optometrist, but neither has it deteriorated. I don't know if they'd get differing results if he was permitted to use his tints while taking the exam. All up a crazy week for us!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

2014 Week In Review: Week 32

Another week has flown by for us, & it was a semi-short week as Mr S was home on Friday so we took the day off as well. The kids still did a fair amount of work, but they had to work a bit more a few days in order to have that time.

We had hoped to whisk them away for some fun activities for the day, but life happens & it wasn't to be. Mind you, they weren't disappointed by it because they had no expectations either.

Maybe next time, & as it's a holiday weekend here in our neck of the woods {no, not Halloween} there's still a possibility we might be able to fit a few of the fun things in we'd hoped to do on Friday.

We're still working our way through our poetry book this year. We're scheduled at roughly 3-4 poems a day? I'm not sure, but we read a few more here or there & less other days. It all depends on what the day holds for us. The boys are still using the math flash cards, especially Jayden as he embarks on division with remainders so those were out in use this week. We tend to do poetry followed up by our Memory Box.

Speaking of division, He really rocked this lesson. He was, in all fairness, petrified of it, but I assured him that he's been doing division & multiplication long enough he was ready for this lesson. Just to assure him we pulled out the MUS blocks which we haven't used in forever & a day. We backed off from 2 pages per day this week 2 just 1 page in order to give him time to let the new idea sink in without him feeling overwhelmed. This seemed to work quite well & my typical math hater was heard saying, "Wow, this is probably the easiest lesson I've ever done in this book." I refrained from saying, "I told you so.." Or explaining it was easy from all the hard work we put in memorising those lovely multiplication facts.

I spotted this naughty little doodle in my eldest's math book. We actually don't encourage doodling & generally they get a telling off, but I found this one quite funny & didn't make him erase it. Morgan embarked on multiplying decimals up to thousandths. He did well with the theory behind the lesson but struggled a little bit this week with his vision. I have no idea what was up, but everything was back to front {notice the n's his drawing} which resulted in carrying 1's & putting 10's down.

When we hit a situation like this with his SSS I do have him help with the fixing up of the mess, but generally I just have him sit with me while I say, "Your answer is wrong, but only because.." then we erase the numbers in the wrong spots & put them back in the right spots reworking anything that needs it. It does not help him feel any less incompetent with what he's doing/done, & there can even be a few hot tears & angry words that are shed over it. However, I try to point out he knew exactly what he was doing & give him a few aids to help him out. This week I handed him a place value sheet & had him write his double digit numbers on it prior to putting them into place in his math book. I also had him pull out his graph book to use for working math problems & between the two he had the problem conquered before the end of the week which was a huge relief to both of us.

There are not always reasons for his off days. As in, it's not because he's had a headache or overused his eyes. Somedays are just harder then others. Helping him learn to cope without losing his cool is important so he can understand that he doesn't need to throw in the towel when he has a down day.

We're still in 2 Timothy for our Bible Study & will probably be there for the remained of our term. The first 18 verses are looking quite colourful & busy at this point but all of it means something to us. I've had some questions about this method which I'll answer better in another post, but I did want to clarify that yes we can still read our Bibles just fine.  We also finished reading Romans & began Galatians.

We read about the Byzantine Empire & The Golden Age Of India in our studies this week. We tend to listen to SOTW first & then read from our encyclopedia. From there if we have a corresponding chapter in CHOW we read that. The other 2 larger books we only read 2-4 pages a day from. It all blends together quite nicely. In fact after reading about the Golden Age Of India in SOTW I was going to google a few of the things we'd heard about, but there were pictures for it in Kingfisher which was a delight to see. Before I'm asked, I'm using this chart here to match up CHOW to SOTW.

Black Horses For The King is our current read aloud, we'd hoped to finish it this week, but it wasn't to be so we should wrap it up over the weekend or in the coming week. Either way works for us & then we need to check our list to see what our next read aloud will be. The only problem we are having there is that we have so many delightful books to read it's always choosing the next one that becomes hardest! As for our current book I'm curious where the final bits will take us, but thus far the book has been quite lovely to read & if you have a horse enthusiast there's a lot of equine information inside. In fact a few of us have been heard saying, "No hoof, no horse.." this week.

We're still moving along with Our Island Story as well which is, as mentioned before, the history of England. Having done a geographical study last year where we briefly touched in the history of each country, compounded with learning about middle ages this year it's been really interesting to read this book each week. We covered chapters 10-12 & I meant to have the boys pull out their Travel Diaries & look at the photos we'd printed out last year of the Giant Causeway, but I forgot.

We had a lighter week of science, as Chapter two in CKE was only about lab equipment. It turned out to be a great week for a slower chapter with little to no additional reading due to our short week. While it's not pictured we did read pages 18-25 from Chemical Chaos this week. The boys are really loving that book. We also tackled chapter 2 in The Story Of Science. We didn't get to our scientist biography this week, but I'm not stressing over it. The boys were a little disappointed that there were no major experiments this week, so I didn't tell them that next week there's a huge amount to tackle. I thought the surprise of it would be fun.

Our weather has been insane here this week with incredibly strong winds {our trampoline blew away & we had to retrieve it then put it int he garage}, rain, rain & more rain. We get a bit of sun, but as soon as we'd gear up for a bike ride the rain would open up on us. With no swimming happening right now we were all getting extremely antsy so I pulled up The Ultimate Homechoolers Physical Education Game Book. If you have Kindle Unlimited it's free. Personally, I think you really need a proper copy of this book, but an ebook works too. I selected Basketball Golf to play with the boys as our hoop has finally been installed. We have our own score sheets & we played several rounds. We don't have 9 hoola-hoops and the few we had were MIA, but we have a driveway & I always seem to have chalk on hand so that worked too.

While I don't have photos of it, the kids each continued reading in their currently assigned book. Jayden is really loving his book which is called Bible Wars & Weapons. He's enjoyed building, via his army men & such, scenes from what he's reading or asking me if I knew about one person or another. As much as he's enjoying it he asked if he could read ahead {as if I'd say no!} because he can't wait to read King Arthur which is next on his list. Morgan is still plucking along with The Lion The Witch & The Wardrobe & on track to finish it next week. I was quite worried that with the vision issues he was having he'd struggle with reading, but he was fine. It may help that I've found a larger print version which he's currently using. He found the finer printed one much more difficult on his eyes again. I'd love to obtain the entire collection of the larger print ones for him.

They also did another weeks worth of work in their Langue Arts workbooks completing nouns & verbs. That sounds very basic but it was determining the difference between linking, helping, being, & action verbs based on the predicates. The nouns had to be classified as concrete or abstract. They found the noun work really easy, & found the verb work a bit more complicated. They wrapped up another case & finished Workbook A!

They also had spelling all week & finished off lessons 14-18. I loved that by this point of working with these words they were looking for syllables to decide about how many consonants to include when suffixes were in use. They both did outstanding on their spelling work & I saw a lot of the carrying over to written work this week which was nice to see for a change.

We're also doing history quizzes this term because I feel it's important for the kids to know how to take a test & this is a great way to start. This term tests can be open book if they aren't certain of an answer, but they only needed that luxury with 1 of the 2 history quizzes they took this week. 

We also caught up with friends at the park for a play & chat which was a lovely way for the kids to finish up their week as they had Friday off. Not too shabby considering our much shorter week.