Monday, March 31, 2014

2014 Weekly Wrap Up: Week 8

Another week behind us all ready? I can't seem to keep up, & last week was no expect ion with a few of us fighting off a touch of a cold. We're in the home stretch of this term with only 2 more weeks to go. It doesn't seem like the end  of a term could/should be upon us yet as this one has really flown by, but we could use a short mental break & regrouping.

This was a semi-slow week for us as we used it to catch up on things here & there which we needed to tie up. I'm not sure we accomplished all of them, but the semi slower pace was nice for a while. Mind you it was a little light on photos too, which I didn't notice until I went to find the photos I took for this particular week. Whoops!

We continued on with spelling, mostly working on mastering some rules & straggling words that were holding each of them up from moving on to new steps. Pretty sure we tackled a new step as well. Yes, our board is super tiny for AAS, but it works for us with the tiles we're using right now. Jayden especially needs to see & use those tiles regularly in order to succeed, it's funny because I thought it would be Morgan who'd need them more, but he can go either way.

Both boys wrapped up a couple of writing lessons they had left over. We seem to have that happen a bit with WWE & WWS, for the simple reason that, most often, we don't get to writing 2x a week with swim & our home ed outing. We'll see if that changes in Term 2, but I'm not expecting it to. And, incase you're wondering, no the worksheets in the WWE book don't come in a landscape form, I made that one up for our lefty who thrives with HWOT paper.

We found a free Viking Game to print & play that the boys had a grand time with. It was a great tie in for Jayden's Viking week last week. We stayed with Vikings for a second week running because he was very smitten by them & I was in no rush to move forward. He also made a few viking men from tp tubes with the printout available over at DLT Kids, & we debated a viking helmet cake. I'm still keen to go make it, but he's not sure.

Both boys tackled another math lesson in their books, but found them ridiculously easy. Ahh, music to my ears. No, seriously! When my boys tackle a math lesson in MUS that they can easily tackle we choose one of two options: A. After watching the lecture & doing the A page we move straight into the D, E, & F pages allowing them to practice all previous work too.  Or, B: We simply move onto another lesson. I opted to have Morgan do the practice pages because I wasn't sure how he'd handle the next lesson. Jayden moved onto the next lesson.

Our local Home Ed group had a garden swap that everyone was welcome to participate in, we opted not to participate as our garden didn't have much of anything to share as of yet. We did show up for the competition end we were suppose to be in, but weren't. As in, we found out we were moving a week after getting our seeds & decided not to plant them & participate this year. We did, however, enjoy checking out the items from the few who did participate. The pumpkin above came in 2nd place for Weirdest Pumpkin. 

The boys had swim lessons & were delighted to be back with their normal instructor this week. They were so incredibly nervous about the situation, but I assured them we'd all ready spoken with the people about it & that if they weren't in with their normal teacher they could simply walk away from the class. After lessons Morgan wanted to shower at the pool so while we waited Jayde had fun in the indoor splash pad area. The few littler kids left hanging out at the pool took pure delight in spraying him with the water cannons.

We also:

Finished reading Adara, the ending was a little less then satisfying considering the start, but we enjoyed the book all the same.

Started listening to D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths. We've doing this as an Audio which is narrated by several different people. We've had a lot of laughs over some of the stories & some, "Wow, so how did they go so wrong with that one?!" type moments.

We also Finished up The True Confessions Of Charlotte Doyle which was a book Jayde was listening to alongside his Sea & Sky fun. The ending was unexpected but we didn't mind it. It left the boys wondering which means they enjoyed it.

We started listening to Stowaway with Jayde now that he's wrapped up Charlotte Doyle. We didn't get as far into it as we aimed, but it's a lovely listen thus far & I love that we'll touch in on some Australian history alongside with our world history studies this year. 

We watched a fun episode of Horrible History that touched basis on a whole lot of topics we've studied so far this year. From Ancient Egyptians to Vikings, it was really a lovely tie in. And as much as the show can have it's gross moments we really do enjoy the series. 

All in all not too slow of a week, especially since we were on the run every single day except Wednesday when I told everyone I was refusing to go anywhere for anything. The boys were annoyed, they'd hoped for a trip to the library, we made up for that with a bike ride there on Saturday instead.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Adventures In Sea & Sky

This year Jayden chose to do Adventures in Sea & Sky. Nearly our entire theme is inside that big old notebook, all though many things are also on the Kindle{s} and/or iPad as well. We're all most done with term one with our this study & I thought I'd share a bit more about it & how we're enjoying it as I get lots of questions about our Winter Promise studies.

First off, I'm going to start by stating that I generally buy digitally from Winter Promise. Remember, we live "overseas" compared to most of the world & thus purchasing digitally allows our homeschool budget to go farther. I appreciate that!

When I get our digital products I generally try to print out the Guide first & foremost so I can read through the introductory materials. You don't have to, you can easily read through it on e-devices or directly on your computer. I've done, & do, that too. While many times the introductory material can be the same from Theme to Theme I always love the refresher & reminders inside. I've shared before about my favourite quotes from the WP Themes being the Aunt Lucy Quote. I need that reminder, often.

I really like to print out the Overview Of Studies. This is like a Table of Contents in regards to what you'll be studying each week for the next 36 weeks. As you can see, we're only 7 weeks into our 10 week term & mine is marked up all ready. By the end of a year it could be marked up to the point where I often need to print out a new one! The basic scribble on it you can see above is me breaking down what we'll study in each term, but if life happens & we spend time reading the books from Aunt Lucy then I need to change things up a bit, & that works too. This is probably my biggest Go-To page in the entire Guide, & I often have one in the notebook, one on each of our e-devices, & often another one in my planner. Seriously!

Another set of pages I like to print out are the craft pages. Winter Promise themes are really loaded with hands on projects. I select ones, highlighted, that I know my child{ten} would enjoy, but it's never written in stone that any of the projects have to be done. I like to print out these pages though so that my children can be the ones to collect the supplies needed. They put away dishes, & collect up recycling so it's easier for them to see what items they might need to put away for use with a craft later. One year Morgan was on a war path for a cereal box as we don't buy a lot of it. Every morning when Mr S had his Weet-Bix we heard how desperately he needed that cereal box only to discover one morning not only did it get thrown away but ripped up! Next thing we knew the box for the cornflakes was missing but the pouch of cereal was happily sitting on the shelf, which now causes us an awful lot of laughter whenever we have a box of cornflakes in the house. Needless to say, some of us take our crafting supplies more seriously then others! Having these papers really helps though.

Next up I like to print the field trip suggestion page out as well. It can be easy to get stuck in the mind trap that we live in a small town & there won't be anything we can do in those regards, but seeing a list in front of me can change my attitude entirely. It also causes me to stop & read the boards at the library about upcoming events, & carefully watch the advertisements the local council releases about upcoming events. Basically, it gets those creative juices flowing for ideas of places to go! We have a few ideas flagged, & a couple of outings planned for this year that have our boy quite excited. Of course, he's thought up a few ideas of his own, which weren't too hard considering we live in a costal town.

One of the things I really appreciate each time we use a Winter Promise theme are the notebooking pages. Last year when we used the World Travels Diary my kids had a blast with the pages & ended up with an Atlas of sorts that they had created all on their own. This year's pages are a different as they are historically bent & perfect for slipping into our timeline notebooks. The only downer is that Jayden doesn't like glue. He refers to it as his mortal enemy, but he was really excited about the notebooking pages again this year. Which is when I came up with a plan to conquer his mortal enemy.

My solution was sticker paper. I ended up printing out all the "cut & glue" pieces on sticker paper so that he can just stick them down without messing with glue. He's been delighted each week when we pull a set out, all though I'm pretty sure the fact that he's been learning about Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, & Vikings has also had a lot to do with it. He was so excited to get to use some of the really "big" stickers! I'll tell you something else too, not only does he enjoy tackling the notebook pages now there are no more laments & groans from his corner of the table or a billion cries of, "Help it's stuck to me!!" Seriously, this child & glue don't mix well!

Each week we have a lovely introduction page. I love them! At a glance i know what we'll be studying & I tend to read it out to Jayde or just give him a paraphrasing of what we'll be learning for the week. Each time I read something out to him he's given a little fist pump & a, "Yes!! I've been waiting to learn about..." Seriously, a lot of the cultures we've read about this year are ones he's checked the same books out of the library about for a long time now. He knew a good deal of the information about the Roman & Greek ships, but was delighted to learn the why behind it & see the photos.

Each of these pages is followed by a weekly schedule. One for the parent & one for the student. They differ slightly in that the student's schedule has blank spaces for adding in other lessons like math & their schedule doesn't have items on it that the parent reads with the child. Each schedule is for a 4 day week which is really nice for us at this stage. While I do have these schedules on our electronic devices I print them out each week & staple them right into my planner ticking off each thing as we go along or making simply noting which things we aren't doing. I also date each day so I know which day we did what on should I need to remember for some reason. This means I can use the lovely schedule & have no need to copy all that into my planner since all the work was all ready done for me!

There's generally 6-8 notebooking pages a week as well, most of which are based on his reading, but some expand a little beyond it giving us more details on the smaller things we read about. He loves using his notebooking pages & then showing them off each weekend to Daddy. I love that many times the details he's learned are spoken of again on the pages because that way if he forgets or wants to refresh himself I can tell him to check his notebooking pages. I don't know about in your home, but in our home notebooking pages & lap books come out often, not just for sharing with family members who may be visiting but also because a child remembers some acute fact they learned & knows they've recorded it.

Something I like to do with all our notebooking pages over the summer is number them. You'll find on your schedule that it will give a topic for each notebooking page & what day of the week to do it on. They generally coincide with your reading which is great. So when I'm setting up our notebooks at the start of the year I jot down the week & day on the bottom of each notebooking page. So if we're on week 7 you may find a notebooking page labeled: Wk7-D1 to indicate when to do it. This works for us, but isn't necessary.

The new S&S theme has more pages in the Under The Sea book, & notebooking pages in the Make Your Own Captain Log based on the readings. These can be filed in a science notebook or in his timeline notebook & I often leave that choice up to him. Which means they are generally still hanging in a page protector on our schoolroom wall. Does that sound odd? Let me explain. Each week there are a set of notebooking pages filed behind that introductory page in his massive notebook. We pull them out & as we complete them we put them in a page protector that is hanging on the wall above his notebook & book basket. That way we file all our page at one time & he can show them to Daddy before he files them. So, for pages he might be undecided on which notebook to file them in, they often remain in the page protector!

The books, oh the books! Now, you probably know we're all ready a big book family with several read alouds going, a few audio books, plus each person's individual reading as well. I like to keep each child's books for the year in a large basket somewhere in our learning area. Most of Jayden's books for this theme are in this basket, all though some are still coming, & many are on a Kindle which is in that basket, all though perhaps no visible. I also obtained a few of his readers/read aloud as audio books as well because I enjoy curling up with the kids & listening the afternoon away. It's not abnormal for us to pop up a bowl of popcorn, grab our quilts & lose track of time as we listen.

All the books this year have been lovely. Our first book, The Strange Intruder, kept everyone captivated & we had to delay our reading at times because Morgan was busy doing his own things & didn't want to be left out. We ended up listening to Treasure Island when it arose on our schedule & oh my did the boys love that book. I found a website with colouring pages & even the 2 paper dolls above which Jayden insisted on printing out & putting together. He was desperate for characters from the rest of the book & was a little disappointed when I said there were no more.

Which reminds me, all though I don't have a photo of it here to share, there's another page that I always print out as well & it's the 2 pages with the books listed on it. 1 page has the books you really need to complete this study & the other page has books dubbed as Adventure Reading. They aren't needed to complete the study, but they give you that much richer of an experience. Books like Treasure IslandStowaway, Carry On Mr Bowditch, & Around The World In 80 Days. I also print out the readers suggested for each theme, & you can obtain a schedule for them as well. Again, they aren't needed to complete the study, but they sure do make the experience that much more fun!

In fact Jayden's current reader, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle is one the whole family is enjoying listening to. Jayden was a little put off by it at first because he thought it might be a girlie story, but I suggested he give it a chance & could make a choice after we listened to some. I say listened, because we chose to do this one as an audio as well. When I went to turn it off he was quite dismayed! In fact as I'm writing this I'm torn on finishing this blog post & suggesting we put the book on, it's just that lovely of a story.

Needless to say we're thoroughly enjoying our studies this year with our Adventures In The Sea & Sky. We'll check in later this year with it again to let you know how we're going then & share a few of his completed projects as well.  He has grand plans of making a cardboard figurehead to go with a cardboard longboat. I'm actually interested to see how it turns out!

Sunday, March 23, 2014


Here's the other half of our library, this is the area where all the school books are stored on the shelves. These ones are actually broken down by topics with science books in one area, math in another, history taking over a good portion, writing, art, etc. The walls are loaded on this side with various posters, school stuff, & certificates from previous years. There's a gap in the wall up by the ceiling because one of our Bible verse posters from our Five In A Row days has fallen down & I can't find where on earth it's gone to. I'm beginning to think someone pulled it down, but who I have no idea. Nor do I have any idea where it's gone. I've even moved the book case to peek behind it!!

Despite the picture it really is a warm & sunny place to do our seat work as that window there lets in lots of light & the heat pump is right there as well. The only downer is that none of the windows in the front of our home have screens on them. The front of the house is older & for whatever reasons the former owners didn't install screens or consider replacing windows. This means mozzies can come in at night if we don't close the windows soon enough & during the day the occasional blowie comes in, or worse, huntsman spiders.

We were sitting at that table a few weeks ago cutting out bits & bobs for notebooks & chatting away happily when Morgan's face went white & he jumped up stating adamantly that he had to leave the room immediately. Both Jayde & I knew exactly why, but we could not see the spider anywhere. Extremely unnerving because the only thing worse then a spider the size of your face is not being able to see it. We eventually found it sitting atop the lefthand side of those nifty white curtains.

I managed a scrambled, "Huntsman in the school room!!" to Mr S before attempting to remove it myself. Morgan is petrified by spiders, but truthfully so am I! Mr S actually asked if he needed to come home from work to take care of the problem, & he received a garbled, "Leave me alone I'm trying to conquer this beast!" type message back.

I'm not sure who ended up more terrified by the end, the spider or myself. He was not keen to get on the elongated dusting device I used to remove him with & once he did he came running up it straight at me so I flung the contraption out the front door, only Mr Spider jumped off of it & came running back up the floor towards me. So I went with the "sweep him out the door" technique which only caused us both much angst, but we both managed to survive the whole ordeal.

Me, still shaking over the whole ordeal informs the kids it's safe to return to the room now, & Morgan, hiding in the kitchen the entire time while I'm screaming things like, "Open the front door!!" & "Where on earth is everyone I could use some moral support here!!" Trots happily back into the room & says, "Well I'm glad that's over, his hairy legs give me the shivers." 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

2014 Weekly Wrap Up: Week 7

Another week behind us, & what a full week we had especially after last weeks very lax & quiet week around our home. We've reached that point in the term where, while there aren't complaints, kids are curious as to when their term break is happening. All though a good portion of that could also be because of the activities & visitors planned in our upcoming time off.

Two of us ended up feeling like we were getting colds this week with the cooler temperatures that rolled in. Not the fun side of the crazy ups & downs with the weather we're getting. We got them early enough that I'm praying we won't get taken over with them, we had a really rough year with sickness last year & we're not keen to repeat it.

And no, if you have this planner & print it out I promise all the lines line up perfectly. Morgan noticed that mine weren't lined up by the binding & wondered what was up with it. If I type my plans up on the computer & print them out I just trim the printed pages & glue them in my planner. Easy Peasy, all though it did, this week, for whatever reason give that funny look. It might be that I bound one of my test planners, who knows!

Morgan & I read Hittite Warrior which was a delightful read, all though a violent book in some areas. It was a nice book to come in with after reading Tirzah though & we both really enjoyed the book. It tied in well with some other things we were reading as well. We'll be using A Child's History Of The World throughout the year as we haven't read it before & it's one of our called for spines. It's simple enough & we've enjoyed it. We also began The Trojan War this week which we've enjoyed thus far.

Once again Morgan was spotted with headphones on a good deal of the time during school hours this week as he listened away to Mystery Of History at a quicker pace, listened to science lectures, & is working his way through the Old Testament as well. I mentioned that we might be switching history for a year or two & he was torn on that one, we'll see what happens.

Jayden & I made our way through portions of all these books. We have the older copy of Adventures in Sea & Sky, but we updated to the newer copy which has given us the ability to take parts of all of it that we like & combine it together. For instance, the Ship book is currently out of print & difficult to get ahold of, but it's so lovely & ties in so well with what we're reading we didn't want to skip it. If you didn't own it all ready though, I can see why removing it from the theme would be very beneficial! Awesome Ocean Science isn't in the newer theme as much either, but we really love the book so we're using the schedule from the older Guide for that book as well. Dragons of The Deep we're taking at a slower pace then schedule but enjoying most of it. The Kindle houses a lot of Jayde's spines which is why it's in the stack.

Both boys completed another step in AAS this week much to each child's delight. We'd been on a slight halt with the programme since moving as Jayden really needs those tiles in order to benefit the most from the programme. They were on our fridge & we were suppose to do spelling at the lunch hour, but you know it just wasn't happening. So I made a rash choice & picked up a small white board that sits in our school area. We do Bible & then jump right into spelling every day. It might sound weird, but my kids are delighted to be back at it! 

Both boys were using Writing With Ease this week at his own level. Morgan doesn't need it for the dictation or copy work practice, but rather for the spelling & punctuation practice. He actually enjoys it quite a bit too so it's a double-win for us. Our intention had been to do 6 weeks of non-fiction writing in a term & 4 weeks of fiction writing. We might change that up a bit next term, but we'll see what unfolds for him.

Jayde still does WWE for copy work, dictation, narration, spelling, & grammar practice. He's gone from struggling to write 1 sentence decently to doing well with more then that, all though this week there were a few, minor, complaints. So I told him that if he kept complaining & went to swim & told his coach that writing was his favourite subject again I was going to shout out, "Then how come you complained!" And no he doesn't have a facial issue, he's got a mouthful of grapes or rice crackers, or goat cheese.. your guess is as good as mine..

Speaking of swim, we had lessons this week which deflated both boys. For whatever reason they were put into a different class this week which didn't not excite them, but it was compounded by a few other off setting issues the biggest of which was their favourite coach wasn't teaching that class. Both boys were so frustrated after their class & were distraught enough that Mr S & I went in & spoke with the manager about putting them back where they were. We'd specifically requested the coach they had & much prefer him over the instructor from last week. We're all a little nervous about next week, but they should be good.

Morgan had too many books going so I told him to select one of them & read it to me. We own many copies of this book so we each grabbed up copy & a comfy bit of furniture & he read away to me. I was happy to read him a few bits here & there if he wanted, but he was quite adamant on reading to me, which was a nice treat I must say.

Jayden & I have been reading this particular copy of Robin Hood written by the infamous Michael Morpurgo. Jayden loves the Morpurgo books as many of them are related to WWII, this one has had a mention of it, but it's not the main theme of the book. The book is quite descriptive so we've been swapping on & off with paragraphs as we make our way through. We have a few other differing copies of Robin Hood we might pull out to read as well to compare the varying versions.

Deep concentration over common factors there. No one moved forward in math this week as we just reviewed from the last full week we had. It was a good option as their review pages covered lots of things from the rest of the book. No rush or fuss this week due to the slack week prior. We'll move forward next week. 

Thursday we had a wonderful outing to a museum not far from us that had a venue from Italy on display all about Da Vinci. We were all set to take some lovely photos but they asked us not to. We're not entirely sure why as none of the works present were actual works, it was all replicas. As the curator stated, "We could never afford the real ones!"  Despite our lack of photos it was an amazing venue & we enjoyed it thoroughly. We went through with a guide who very much loved her job which made it a joy to hear her gush about each item. Then you were welcome to go back through it & try everything out on your own. As if we didn't all ready know this man was amazing, to see actual replicas of his work & realise what they are used for now was just mind blowing. They had a working  display of a robot the man created! A wind up car & a machine that looked a whole lot like a piston! Morgan loved the creativity & genius behind it all he's such a creative thinker it doesn't surprise me at all, where as Jayden preferred to test everything out & see how it worked, again not a huge surprise there. We were also treated to a copy of the Mona Lisa, which was quite amusing because Morgan shared all sorts of funny facts with the lady at the front desk about the said painting upon our departure.  All up a full & fun week. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Our Library

When we moved into our lovely new home we found we had a lot more room then we did previously. This was both an amazingly fun realisation but also a little daunting. After all who wants to scrub that many toilets or dust that many rooms? One of the blessings of a bigger home, however was that we could dedicate, once again, an entire room to our learning if we wanted. I was really torn on this at first because I know our learning can get crazy & messy.  The thing is, the room we were looking at for schooling is a really long room. Once upon a time I suspect it was two rooms, but now is one long one. It has a beautiful fire place in it, a heat pump, a lovely huge window. Plus, if it gets insanely messy in there I can shut off all the doors to that room & no one is the wiser of what's in there. The only thing was, we had no furniture for the room aside from a table & a couple of chairs.

I had a bed in there which we were using a couch, but this past weekend we discovered one of the local Op-shops was having a car park sale. This is when they generally bring out lots of big things from the back of their shop & sell them off. We were a little disappointed to discover they didn't have much out there, but after sitting on the couch & chairs Mr S instantly dubbed "Old Lady Furniture" we figured they were comfy enough & in good enough condition they'd totally work in the room. And, let's face it at $45 who cares if it is "Old Lady Furniture"? We paid & put them in the back of our car. Or rather we put the couch in the car, then packed the kids in & went back for the chairs. The kids were really glad we didn't walk, because they weren't sure how cool it would have been to walk up the giant hill to our home carrying a floral couch.

With a little moving & rearranging of things we all ready owned we ended up with a lovely cozy area for reading our school books, sitting with company who drops in if the rest of the house is trashed, or just hanging out for the fun of it. It's not a grand picture above, but you get the idea. There are three end tables in there all of which my father-in-law made & some were made specifically for us others were hand-me-downs that I was very grateful for. The "coffee" table is actually a TV stand we used in our previous home that wasn't being used anymore. The purple chair is the only other item I purchased. We'd picked it up prior to the couches for, oddly enough, $40. It's a huge lovely two person style chair with a bed that can be unfolded from it. The quilt on the back is a bottle quilt my mother-in-law made, she's made one for each of her grandchildren.

Our fireplace is a little too decked out for use at the moment, but it's not quite cold enough yet to fuss about that. We also have heat pumps in our home so we don't have to use it if we choose not to. The basket on the left is Jayden's & the one on the right is Morgan's. I pulled the books leaning against the baskets of the shelf earlier this week & put them there so they could look through them if they wanted. I'd nearly forgotten we owned those to be honest. We moved our AAS to our school room & just purchased a tiny whiteboard to use for now. It won't house all the magnets in later books, but it works for us now. Jayden absolutely needs the tiles especially when he's working on a new step or he really struggles. Morgan can do fine if he just writes the words out, but this gives each of them the option of doing whatever they prefer. The cross atop the stove is really not something I'd generally have for decoration, but there's a cute story behind the thing.

When in America last we went to one of our favourite shops where it's way too easy to spend far too much money. I would have done my best to avoid it, but my mother-in-law asked me to go there specifically & pick her up some quilting supplies. Seemed like a good idea! While in there we wandered down the isles of Christmas ornaments, something we don't see here much. Jayde picked out a funny ornament for Mr S, but then felt he should get me something. He ended up picking out the cross & was very insistent on watching out to be sure we packed it in our luggage. In fact when we got back & opened up our cases one of the first things he asked about was that to be sure it hadn't been damaged. Oh he can be so funny sometimes!

The house had a built in bookcase on one side of the fireplace whig we quickly filled in. Crazily enough there's an electrical outlet on the bottom shelf which drives me batty. Australian outlets have on/off switches on them, but it still freaks me out that the books could cause a fire hazard. The books are not currently in any order on those shelves, all though some series are grouped together. The shelves are all varying heights so when we unpacked we simply filled the shelves with what would fit. The books on the top two shelves aren't of interest to the kids & the tippy top houses their lap books & a few bigger books that don't fit elsewhere. It's really is a cozy corner to sit in for reading in front of that big window. All though I had to go out there & attack the roses that were scratching the window & making me squeal, the sound was going right through me!

No unclose pictures of them at the moment, but each of the end tables also house things we use daily for school. The top of one has our book basket of books we use on our short day of school. That's when we try to read about a famous person {musician, president, artist, prime minister, mathematician, or scientist}, & we try to read from a few of the other fun books in there. The same table also houses or memory box which is in plain sight so as not to be forgotten. Another table has our read aloud box on a shelf on it. The tables all have a shelf under the tops & then a cupboard under that as well. The third table houses our globe which Jayden uses often to find the places we read about in his theme this year.

Excuse the mess, we hadn't tidied up yet from our school week. This is our "coffee table" which is just the right size & with all the shelving space works beautifully where we have it. On the lefthand side we have some photo albums on the bottom & my copy of a book a child is reading to me. I follow along in case they stumble on a word, all though admittedly I've lost my place a few times & had to scramble to catch up. The next shelf up has a few Bibles on it & our Greenleaf Guide to the Old Testament. Morgan is reading through the OT this year & it not only has the schedule in it but discussion questions afterwards. He loves discussing what he's reading so they make good points of topic to address.

The right hand side has our spelling books & boxes on the bottom shelf as well as Mystery Of History Volume 1. Even though Morgan is listening to the audio version we have the hard copy. I use the quizzes & pretests to be sure he's remembering what he's hearing. Which work well for us. I've never considered them a quiz just a way to be sure he's grasping what he's doing. The top shelf has our Aussie History book a second spelling card box, & some of my homeschool books. 

This part of our learning area is actually dubbed the library because most of our books are in this room. Mind you there's another half of the room not even in the above photos!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

2014 Weekly Wrap Up: Week 6

Monday was a holiday here which was a good thing because we had some catching up on sleep to do after our big camping trip the weekend prior. After getting everything unpacked Monday we went to the local hardware shop to pick up some water absorber packs we like to keep in our packed up tent. While over that way we popped into a local cheap shop & I found a book full of 3-D dino masks that I snagged for Jayde. It was .49 well spent as he spent Tuesday morning working on getting all the pieces punched out for it while I was reading to him. I helped him assemble it as it was a wee bit fiddly & required some sticky tape to hold pieces in place. Pretty cool though once we got it done!

I also picked this nifty little thing up for him for an additional .49 He was tickled pink to put the whole thing together himself without needing any help. It came with some "jewellery" from the time period, but he wasn't keen to try that & just popped it up on his display shelf instead. The little craft kit was originally from the British Museum & is suppose to be a paper replica of the Sutton Hoo ship. While we haven't read about this particular one in our Sea & Sky studies yet I figured it would still be a fun craft for him. There was a little paper that came with it to tell us all about the peoples, times, & boat!

So not only was our week ridiculously light so were the photos taken because not only did I find this funny one, I also discovered that a certain little boy took funny photos of his brother helping scrub laundry, & a funny toy they found in the op-shop & felt Mr S should have a photo of straight up. We spent the week reading, reading, & reading some more. In this photo I was actually listening to Morgan read before we swapped & I started reading to him.

Thursday we met up with our Home Ed group at a local park where the kids enjoyed biking with friends. Many in the group are in a play that one of the kids has written, but my boys opted out. They deputed non speaking parts, but in the end decided not to accept them. Funny thing was, many people they needed were missing for the practice that afternoon so my boys stood in for various people & found each part they played a wee bit funnier then the one before.

Friday we finished our reading for the week. Seriously, it's all the school we did for the week aside from the crafts Jayde worked on. After finishing up our reading we decided to go to a couple of op-shops because I was looking for a few things for the house. While I didn't find much of anything that I was looking for I did pick up quite a few warm tops for the family, a chair, & a couple of items for our trailer. After that Jayde begged for a game in a local town square which I obliged him with. Or rather Morgan obliged him because I sat in the shade & watched them play. Then again, so did the elderly men who like to sit in the old train depot area while their wives shop. 

What did we read this week anyway?
30 Days With Jesus {just reading through the prophetic telling of Jesus's birth-his death as we await the arrival of Easter}
Tirzah {we finished this one off}
Red Pyramid Book 1 {actually listening to this one in the evenings}

I should add we've also been watching CNN Student News as a family after tea too, & while the kids did not have swim lessons this week we hit the pool late on Thursday evening so they could have a practice while Mr S & I swam laps. It was amazingly quiet & slow at that time.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Timeline, A Game

Earlier this year while spending a Sunday afternoon playing games the boys commented that we hadn't purchased many new games of late. Which is true. I use to obtain each of them a new game for Christmas, but games have become incredibly expensive here & since I'd rather spend money on obtaining a good game I've taken to buying 1 for the family.

Mr S told the boys my normal mantra, "She's too cheap." Which is often what I say when the guys ask me why I won't purchase something. So I told them that if that's the way they were going to be about it I was going to get a new game every month this year just to prove to them I'm not always cheap! They had themselves a grand laugh over the whole thing, which only inspired me to stick with plan.

So last month I flagged a few games that would coincide with learning themes around our home, but when I went to purchase the one I'd intended for the month it was out of stock. I debated purchasing it elsewhere, but instead stumbled upon the game Timline. It was on sale for such a delightful price I picked up two different versions which can be used together & another game to boot! When the games showed up the guys were delighted, all though they'd completely forgotten their ribbing & my statement of purchasing a game a month.

As for Timeline, it's a lovely little game that is pretty open ended in regards to play. The idea is that you each start with 4 cards & you must slip them into the timeline you're all making in sequential order of time. You build off the first card flipped over by the dealer from the remainder that are not dealt out. Pretty simple, right?

It was interesting to discover how much we remembered from past lessons & how much was being remembered from current lessons, but also how much we thought we knew that we had all wrong! We even found a few cards that inspired a little late night research to discover what on earth they were all about, & a few more cards that required a little picture hunting so the boys could giggle at things from the past. Things like the first computer for starters.

When you place your card on the timeline you flip it over where the same information plus the date are also displayed. If you've placed it correctly you leave it & if you didn't you put it in the discard pile & pick up a new card. The first person to run out of cards is the winner. It's a quick play which has resulted in many rounds of the game being played since it arrived on our front door.

We have the Science & Discovery pack as well as the Events pack. Each pack has something like 110 cards & I think there are another 2 packs which cover Inventions & Diversity {more historical events}, & they also have 110 cards in each of them. Talk about an impressive timeline & a wonderful way to remember all the things we're studying!

The game is made from an evolutionary point of view so you may find there are some cards you'd rather pull out instead of including. We keep ones that we've opted to pull out in one tin & the cards we used in the second tin.

I purchased our sets from an Australian Game company on the mainland called Games Empire Australia. They are only open a few days a week {3 to be exact}, but you can place online orders at anytime. I placed mine on a day they were closed but they shipped our games the following Tuesday once they were open. It looks like if you're in the USA you can purchase them from Amazon. And no, we weren't asked to review the game or given it for free.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


Autumn arrived here with the 1st of March & with it came crisper mornings. Our little zoologist has been a bit more bundled up for his morning ride on the swing or romp on his bike before school starts indoors. He's also been finding various wildlife that's attempting to warm itself in the sun as the day begins. Upon finding this dragon fly he offered it a ride on his finger to get it into the sun to help it warm up more.

While we'll miss the longer days & the brighter mornings, I'm looking forward to cooler days ahead. I don't generally wish our summer weeks & warmth away, but we were so busy this past summer with moving & unpacking that I'm ready to be set in our normal routine that seems to go hand in hand with the cooler shorter months.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

2014 Weekly Wrap Up: Week 5

 Week 5 marks our halfway point for Term 1 as our goal for this term was 10 weeks. It came as a shock as we wrapped things up on Friday morning & I looked down to update our planner & spotted that I was filling in Week 6 for the coming week ahead. Of course it meant nothing to some of the household until I pointed out that it meant another 5 weeks & we'd take a couple of weeks off. That led to much more excitement.

It was a full & crazy week for us here again, but we accomplished a large amount of work. I don't know about you, but I don't often realise exactly how much we've accomplished until I'm looking over photos of the week or double check that we have/n't accomplished something to schedule for the week ahead.

Somehow I've missed taking a picture at swim lessons this past week, but we really did attend. Despite the emptiness of the pool with school in session there are still people present, as well as the friend we have in our class which can make taking the occasional photo difficult to be sure no one else is in them.

Monday we played a new game called Timeline which arrived in the mail. I'd ordered it the week prior & it took forever to come as the shop I obtained it from is only open a few times each week. We were delighted to dig in & spent quite a bit of the evening playing with it. It's a pretty simple game I'll share about later.

Morgan & I dug into all of these books this week. Our own copy of the bottom book finally arrived from the UK. We've really enjoyed the little glimpses into everyday life in the Ancient World so it was a delight to find our copy was bigger then the library version we'd been borrowing. Morgan is reading Bible Wars & Weapons aloud to me, what a treat, & I'm reading Tirzah aloud to the family. It was really Morgan's read aloud, but Jayden was captivated about it & they begged for it in the evening which sucked Mr S into it as well. It's a lovely fictional telling of the Israelites escape from bondage in Egypt. As Morgan explains it, "You know what's going to happen, but you just didn't think about all the little stuff they must have done each day.." sums it up very well.

Both boys moved on to a new lesson in their math books. Jayden is within four or five lessons now of finishing off his book, but as neither of them finished as much of the lesson pages as I wanted we'll carry this particular lesson into the new week ahead. I'm not too fussed about it knowing that Week 6 will be a short & slow week for us.

Jayden & I dug into our own stack of books, all though most of them are on the Kindle so you can't actually see them all. We're enjoying, again, the Ocean Science book which we used a few years ago when the boys were younger. I'm not sure Jayden remembers much of it so it's fun to visit it again. I pulled out The Voyage Of Patience Goodspeed to read aloud to him. It was included with a Theme from Winter Promise that we used a few years ago, but we never ended up reading it. As it's about a family on a whaling ship it seemed fitting to work it into our lovely Sea & Sky theme. We didn't end up reading as much of it as we'd intended as he's still working his way through Treasure Island & started listening to The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle.

Both boys have a stack of science experiments to catch up on, most of which they wanted to do on the weekend with Mr S, but as we weren't planning to be home this weekend a few happened during the week. Yes, he's blowing bubbles in the water, but it was a true experiment about water pressure.

I managed pictures of Morgan's notebook pages this week. His pages are often based on his lessons in Mystery Of History Volume 1, which he's loving. This week he was suppose to make a tent like Abraham might have lived in, but as we were camping that weekend I suggested he draw the tent as he imagined it based on the descriptions we read. The other page was recording Abraham's family tree. He has a copy of that in his Bible so he copied that for his history notebook.

Jayden had his own stack of notebooking pages to work on this week. I really enjoy that he has 2 a day which help confirm what he learned. The page above was a delight for him, but he's so in love with his school theme this year I think one would be hard pressed to find a portion of it he wouldn't like. While I don't have a photo of it he was tickled pink to use a giant sticker this week for one of his pages too.

While we only managed grammar once this week we did accomplish writing a few times over. Morgan was working on dictation in the photo above which took us forever because he had so much to tell me about Paul Revere! I finally told him that if he didn't hurry up I was jumping ship for lunch without him. Jayden's writing was based on Ralph S. Mouse this week & he was delighted to know both Mr S & I had read the book, so now it's on his list of books he wants to read.

Thursday we had a slower day as we had unexpected company turn up. We pulled some books from our book basket & read through a few of them. We read about George Washington from both our President books & then read about Martha from the First Ladies book. We watched a couple of funny videos about the cherry myth, & then debated walking to the shop for cherries. However, cherry season is over here in Tassie so we opted to pull out our US Art History book & draw instead.

Jayden charged through the event & wasn't his normal intimidated self in regards to drawing at all. He's generally very fussy about getting it just right, but instead was open & embraced the entire project. Morgan, shockingly, was far more fussy & eventually wanted to throw in the towel. So, I posted a picture of his half finished project on my Facebook wall & encouraged friends & family to tell him not to give up. He persisted through the drawing portion after a bit of lunch & put off colouring in until after our visitor had left.

Friday - Monday was our Home Ed groups annual camp retreat. We normally go on Friday, but due to Mr S being swamped at work we pushed our departure to a more leisurely Saturday morning so we wouldn't get stuck putting the tent up in the dark again. Saturday & Sunday are often full of activities for anyone who choose to participate. Morgan always joins in the tie dying, making a t-shirt for himself & Jayde last year. This year he opted for a pillow case, after I talked him down from the idea of making an entire sheet set! He also participated in some weaving & kite making which delighted him to no end.

He also participated in the "Fashion Show" which is an evening event where each tie dye participant shows off what they made. Jayde sat out of both, but then he was far too busy with his own fair share of fun & games. Most of which consisted of heaps of outdoor games, a weekend long ball game challenge, & countless board games. Not to mention lots & lots of swimming in the river followed up by heaps of "Daddy when you lived here.." type questions. Good times all around for sure! Now to catch up on sleep for the week ahead...