Tuesday, April 01, 2014

A quick update...

Just in case anyone is still following my blog, I will still continue to post homeschooling updates on here periodically.

But I'm far more active on Facebook if anyone would like to friend me on there - http://www.facebook.com/keztol

I also post more regularly on my writing blog - http://kerriepaterson.com/

But a quick round up of my life for those who may be interested.

At the start of the year I began training as an Assistant Scout Leader with Billy's Scout Troop, which is fun. You can read about the hike we went on over the weekend at my writing blog

I've also been having fun learning to be a better photographer by taking part in a 365 Photo Club challenge - the rules of which state you must upload a photo for each day and it has to be a selfie in some way. Either all of you, or a part of you (eg hand, foot, reflection, shadow etc) must be in the photo, and you have to take the photo yourself (can be by timer or remote). For someone who hates getting their photo taken, it's been way out of my comfort zone - which is great! I need that! I'm up to day 73 so far - you can see my photos at http://365.mavenforums.com/365-calendar/?user_id=234

My writing is still a work in progress. I have finished 2 novels, and am part way through the 3rd. I've done the rounds of publishers with my 1st with no luck - now that I've learnt a lot more I think I'll do an overhaul on it and try again later. I'm waiting on a couple of beta readers to get back to me with feedback about novel no 2 before I try the round of agents and publishers with it. I'm still heavily involved in the Romance Writers of Australia and my local writing group, the Hunter Romance Writers.

Billy is doing well - his main passion continues to be drama and film-making. We have found a weekly Scout specialist group that meets every week under the leadership of a former award-winning TV producer (and Scout Leader) and he teaches the kids how to film, record sound and edit. They make videos for their YouTube channel - http://youtube.com/jnntv. It's an hour's drive away for us but Billy absolutely loves it so I don't mind. 

He continues to learn singing and trumpet, Italian and archery, as well as JNN, drama and Scouts, so life is very busy.

I find myself doing a lot of this...

I'll try to post more regularly - but I'm not making any promises!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Canberra trip

Yes, I am still alive. I'm a bad blogger... Blame Facebook!

We had a quick trip to Canberra over Xmas to meet up with family. While we were there, we took the opportunity to visit a few places.

The Royal Australian Mint

The 'Holey Dollar'

From blanks to currency

Questacon Science Museum

Steal the jewel without the sensor going off

Balance platform

Simple machines


Tectonic plates

Making a tsunami

A periodic table wall.

Smoke signals

Museum of Australian Democracy (old Parliament House)

House of Representatives Chamber

Prime Ministers Office until this Parliament House closed in 1988.

Learning about current and former Prime Ministers

In the Speaker's Chair

This was a 'spy hole' from the Prime Minister's secretary's office into the PM's office :)

National Film and Sound Archive

It's housed in the most gorgeous art-deco building!

Being a projectionist

Fractured Heart - Interactive sound and light sculpture based on Goyte's song

Creating sound effects

History of Australian film and music

Monday, November 11, 2013

Homeschooling Monthly Memories - Aug - Oct 2013

Between our trip away and what not, I have been really slack in updating our homeschool learning on the blog. It's been on my to-do list for quite some time!

Scouts 'Curriculum':

Demonstration of smoke filling a house - very graphic.

  • Scouts has involved campcraft skills, ropes/knots etc.
  • Fire safety night - talk by the Rural Fire Service, and camp cooking.
  • Navigation via GPS - they were blindfolded, driven to a location and then in a group had to find their way back to the hall.
Intentional Learning:

Creative Arts

  • YouTube videos - editing with Adobe Premiere Pro and Sony Vegas.
  • Drama classes
    • Classes - this term he has been invited up to the Yr 7 & 8 drama class (he's officially only in Yr 5!)
    • They are currently studying Romeo and Juliet in his class.
    • Crew for 'Charlotte's Web' - he had many roles including lighting, stage door, runner. 
  • Saw 'Rosenkrantz and Guildernstern Are Dead' at the Sydney Theatre Company. 
  • Singing lessons & trumpet - he took part in the mid-Year concert his music school puts on (in the music teacher's backyard!).

  • Australian History

    • Finished reading "A Waltz for Matilda" by Jackie French
    • Went to a talk about researching Irish convicts and another about growing up in the area in the 1950s.
    • Began receiving the Inside History magazine.
    • Read "The Horse who bit a Bushranger" by Jackie French.
    • Trip to WA - visit to New Norcia, the Rabbit Proof fence, Albany Whaling station, Rottnest Island, Fremantle Prison & Roundhouse

  •  Medieval history day with other homeschoolers

  • Attended the Maitland Riverlights multicultural festival.
    • Made a chinese lantern to float down the river
    • Watched national dances and displays such as Indian, Chinese, Aboriginal and Brazilian.

  • He continued using the Mathletics curriculum.
  • Learnt about prime numbers.
  • Real-life use of Maths in cooking, measuring - he made a b'day cake for me from scratch - chose the recipe, shopped for the ingredients, cooked and decorated from scratch (no packet stuff!) with no assistance.
  • Longitude and latitude practice - reading and following the GPS.
  • Codes
The b'day cake he made for me with no assistance!

Science & Technology

  • Java coding
  • Improving Photoshop skills
  • Visit to natural formations such as caves, rock arches, rare forests, Pinnacles, Wave Rock
  • Dolphin watching, dolphin discovery centre / aquarium,


  • Read "Tales of Shakespeare - Romeo and Juliet"
  • Writing stories

  • AFL / AFL training (now finished for the year)
  • Archery
  • Yoga
  • Watching "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution" series.
  • Swimming

As well as plenty of time spent hanging out with friends and family.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Western Australia - Pt 7 (and final)

On our last full day, we left early and drove to The Pinnacles, a 190 hectare area of limestone formations  caused by erosion. They are quite spectacular to see.

We went for a walk through them (guided by trail posts otherwise we may still be there!) and marvelled at the various shapes and sizes.

After that, we had to jump back in the camper and race off to New Norcia to join the 1pm tour. New Norcia is a Benedictine town built in 1847, with buildings in a Spanish style of architecture. The paintings and buildings are quite spectacular. 

We stayed our final night in a dodgy caravan park near the airport. The next morning we cleaned out the van, packed our bags, repacked our bags to redistribute the weight and repacked again :) We dropped the van off at the hire company, and took a taxi to the airport, where we checked in about 8 hours early for our flight. We spent the rest of the time sitting at the airport trying to fill in time before we flew home. Don't ask why :)

We flew overnight and arrived home at Newcastle Airport the next morning, drove home, picked up KitKat from the cattery and collapsed in a heap...

So all up we did approx 2,500 km by the time we made all our side trips. The map roughly shows the route we took.

I hope you've enjoyed the brief look at our holiday!