Archive for the ‘1’ Category

Plans for 2010

Thought I’d post my plans for 2010.  After much consideration, we have decided to go minimalist this year! We have always intended on doing unit studies and so will begin this year.  I miss the naturalness of our learning that happened so much in the early years, and so unit studies will be decided on by the kids.. based on what they have an avid interest in.  Jordy does her Kindy year this year 🙂


Eli – Rightstart C (to be completed) and begin and get through half of D.

Zi- Rightstart B completed

Gubbs – Rightstart B (about 1/2)

Jordy – Rightstart B to ‘go to the dump’ game which is not very far!!!


Eli – All About Spelling (level four completed), Soundwaves book 5 and 6

Zi  – AAS Level one and maybe two, Soundwaves book 2

Gubbs – Soundwaves book 1


Eli – Will have a booklist (yet to be decided which books!) to read independently.  He reads a lot and so nothing else formal.

Zi – Books from library, informal reading which he is now doing much more of.

Gubbs – Fitzroy readers.  I’m going to go with his flow!

Jordy – letters and blending.  Then to Fitzroy readers.


All – one experiment week from a general experiment book :-).  Also unit studies as they come up, Scitech etc..


Big boys – Story of the World Volume 2.  Informal snail trails from this.


Eli – still to be decided on a semiformal program.  More narration. Mind maps.

Zi – Narration and book making (he’ll love this!!), copywork

Gubbs – story telling, description, reporting, journalling… to me!, copywork


Eli – homeschool group, footy (maybe), gymnastics, swimming

Zi – Footy, gymnastics, swimming

Gubbs – footy?, gymnastics, swimming

Jordy – swimming


Eli – Violin Book 2/3, piano book 1/2 plus theory…

Zi – Violin book1

Gubbs- violin twinkles

Jordy – violin when interested 🙂


Eli – First communion, catechesis

Zi – Catechesis, maybe…

All – Bible studies…. nothing formal, as interest arises (which it will!!), community service (thinking about playing music for a nursing home/hospital), prayer (as fits into daily life!), Saint stories, advent, lent, feasts.

I don’t want to formalize religion for the kids yet.   The best way to ‘teach’ faith is to live it!!


Eli – Drama

All – playgroup (we are doing art there!)

Jordy – Kindy (which is a big extra!!)

To come… (one day hopefully this year!!)

Our read aloud list

Eli’s reading list

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Baby Number 6!

Due 10.10.2010 (according to MY dates this time!!).  The kids are very excited.  They all want a brother except for Jordy who would like a brother and a sister!! Not feeling too queasy yet, energy levels down, but not too bad.  I love the first two weeks of pregnancy!!  We are getting ready for the morning sickness to hit in the next couple of weeks 🙂

Jobs to do… clean bathrooms thoroughly (they will have minor cleans during next few months!), get my teeth done and crown put in (before my gag reflex reaches the tip of my tongue!), relax!

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Eli’s first Reconciliation

Eli made his first reconciliation on Wednesday night.  It was a big milestone for him and  for Derek and myself as Eli was stepping out formally in his faith for the first time.  The service was nice, children and parents receiving the sacrament together.  We invited grandparents and godparents to our house afterward for a ‘prodigal son’ or ‘lost sheep’ feast.  We got a cake from the bakery (yum!) and made some ‘flowerpot’ and frog cupcakes and had fizzy drink (well, sparkling mineral water!) and just gave Eli gifts.  He received a bible from us (he’s read Genesis and half of Exodus because he ‘wants to’!), and books and a lost sheep from his godparents.  It was a real experience of being forgiven and being received again into family and church.  And for us, it was our first experience in letting go and letting God.

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Zi turns six

Zi is now six years old.  We had a full day trying to make it special for Zi as well as getting ready for our weekend up to Jurien Bay.  We gave Zi a bike for his birthday, which he loved and then promptly didn’t like when he realized that it was a bit too big for him (he’ll grow into I say!).   He generously swapped his new bike with Eli’s old bike and enjoyed riding on the neighbour’s brickpaving out the front.  It wasn’t until the last day of our time in Jurien that he requested his bike back (much to Eli’s disappointment :-)).  Zi is a very generous boy.  He received four dinosaurs and shared them with his siblings… not even asking for them back!  We had a sword cake with Grandma and Grandad in the evening which was a hit – though not the best cake I’ve made!  We all went to bed exhausted and without a single thing packed for our adventure the next morning! Zi received: a bike, dinosaurs, two swords (from both grandparents!), a silly sentence game, a book of prayers, a superhero dress up, a boing go ball thing, and variuos other really fun toys!

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Lent 2009

Just a record of what we did during Lent this year…


We decided, as a family, to give up lollies, as a family.  We encouraged the choosing of lollies (over chocolate!) as we thought it would be more achievable especially for the under fours.  Well, it’s nice to say that we succeeded!  I’m so proud of Eli, Zi and Gubbs as the temptation was there, however they didn’t succumb and were actually quite willing to sacrifice a little luxury to grow closer to God.  Gubbs would often say ‘No thanks, we aren’t having lollies in Lent” in reply to an offering from others (mainly Grandad!).  We did have an exception on Jordy’s birthday and party day.  Although the kids weren’t too into lollies then either.  Maybe next year we might try giving up chocolate- much harder for me :-(.

We tried to eat fish on Fridays, though this often changed to a Saturday due to other commitments.  I think we may need to be a little more strict next year!

We also had plans to do service this Lent, though due to such a busy term, this didn’t get accomplished at all.  We did make our parish priest an Easter gift and handmade all our Easter gifts (more on that later!).


The kids were quite enthralled with the Stations of the Cross this Easter.  We have always had a fascination with it as I have the pictures that I put up on our wall during Lent, but this year it was more about the prayer rather than just the narrative.  The stations of the cross are a reflection on Christ’s passion and death, from the condemnation to death to the placing of Jesus’ body in the tomb.  There are 14 (sometimes 15) stations and the prayer reflects on Jesus’ passion, then on how this applies to our own lives.  There are many (and I mean many!) variations on this reflection, though the actual stations remain the same. Eli, in particular, this year understood the self reflection side of the prayer.  It was amazing to watch him reflect on Jesus’ passion and the meaning of this in his own life.  A beautiful preparation for reconciliation.

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Our Week Learning Life


We began the week with a public holiday for Australia Day, which we spent having a barbecue with my family and then relaxing at home.  We had a busy day on Tuesday with a swimming assessment for our swimming lessons in Term 1, a lovely play date  with the J family and then a trip to the doctors.  I have used this week to prepare for the first of our six week blocks of Geography/history, science, French and art.  So, we also visited the library on Wednesday and got out a range of lovely books on India and Chemistry as well as some picture books.  We have laid low with the academics this week so not much was accomplished on that front!

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Teaching Reading – Part 3

Away they go!!!!

Most kids go through what is called a ‘reading explosion’.  They do the same when they are learning to talk.  One day they are saying ‘mama’, ‘dada’ and ‘ball’, and the next they are saying more words than you can count!  When this happens, I talk a lot about how words are formed, how the sounds are made up (eg.  when ‘e’ and ‘a’ are together they can say ‘ee’ or ‘e’) and how words are made up of smaller words (eg.  cupboard).  I still like them to read aloud to me so that I can see how fluently they’re reading and also to aid in their own comprehension of the text.  It is around this time that they will naturally tend to ‘read in their heads’, but make sure that they are still reading aloud occasionally so that you can monitor common mistakes and comprehension skills.


I don’t stick firmly to any one spelling program.  We do however use the Soundwaves workbooks.  I teach that each word is made up of a number of sounds and that letters represent these sounds (eg.  the word ‘goat’ is made up of three sounds /g/ /oa/ /t/, but four letters g-o-a-t).  When spelling a word, I get the child to put dots or strokes for each sound, then they can make letter choice for each sound.  Remember some sounds are represented by more than one letter!  As my children get older, I plan on learning Latin and Greek roots as well as grammar related rules (eg.  drop the ‘e’ when adding ‘ing’)

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Teaching Reading – Part 2

Learning sounds

We use baby sign with our children to enable them to communicate before they can talk, so it was a very natural step to learn letters and their sounds using gesture or sign.  We adopt the gestures from Jolly Phonics for the single letters of the alphabet (a,b,c,d…) and then I teach digraphs (two letters that make one sound eg. ee)  informally and then through their spelling program.  I have worked with children who need more steps to be able to read (eg.  learning digraphs individually as they would letter sounds), but I have found that my kids learn them very naturally after they get the reading explosion happening.

Early Readers

We use the Fitzroy readers as the first set of readers. I love these readers as they are phonologically easy to decode and provide a real sense of achievement as the child reads them.  They are colourfully illustrated and progress quite slowly so that slower readers can still find success.  they also have workbooks which I use for ‘penmanship’.  that is, we do the worksheets for handwriting practice more so than the spelling practice that comes from it (though, that’s a bonus!)

Sight words

I try not to use flash cards or to teach sight words out of context.  I think it is quite difficult to memorise what ‘the’ looks like if their are no other words aorund it.  If I were to put ‘the’ on a flash card, it would be with a noun eg. ‘the cat’.  Fitzroy readers introduce sight words gradually throguh their readers and so I just follow their sequence.  If one of my kids comes accross a sight word elsewhere that they haven’t learned, I explain that “it’s a word that they can’t sound out, they just have to know it”

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Blogging resolutions

Okay, for this year, I hope to write a blog post at least once a week, hopefully more.  These may not be as elaborate or as articulate as I would like and be warned that they may not contain many photos!  But now I have committed myself to the web and that’s that!

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It is January and there is no playgroup, no violin, no Kindy, just us.  We have started this year, well at the start of the year, that is we have started our ‘learing’ again.  Well, we never really stop!  I am still thinking about the whole notion of breaks or holidays in our homeschooling schedule.  We haven’t breaked yet.  We don’t do formal lessons all the time, some weeks we do none, some weeks we might do two days, but I haven’t felt the need for a break.  I don’t know if I agree with following school terms and holidays.  When I’m pregnant, we take things very slow.  We nap everyday and read a lot of books, but that’s about it.  We go on holidays, like our trip across Australia, and what we experienced on the trip will proably carry on for years.  I am still undecided about the whole having a ‘holiday’ from school notion.  Maybe I will change my mind when I actually feel like having a break.  I hope I never do.

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