Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

We're heading off on holidays for 2 weeks.  See you in 2011!

(Photo of Billy with sparklers & glow-stick with a slow shutter speed)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Year 3 coming up..

My thoughts have been turning to how we'll approach Year 3 next year.  We did cover quite a lot more than I thought we did this year, but I felt we drifted a bit aimlessly, particularly in the 2nd half of the year (understandably perhaps given what was going on in our lives at that time).

English: I'm reasonably happy with how things have been going with English.  We'll continue to approach English through lots of reading - both read-alouds and individual reading.  Billy will take part in the NSW Premier's Reading Challenge again which will involve reading 20 books from a set booklist.  We do need to make more time for individual reading consistently.  Billy reads well when he's in the habit, but he needs help to get into the habit!

Billy regularly writes (types) either stories or newsletters.  If the opportunity arises, he can take part in any writing competitions we find in 2011. Spelling, grammar, punctuation etc are covered as needed - as we edit his stories, or while reading, or when he asks.  I don't feel he needs a formal lesson at this stage.  He'll use Spellodrome when he wants to for extra spelling practice and vocabulary building.

Maths:  I'm going to make Mathletics a weekly requirement next year.  He's capable of doing the work but drags his feet doing it.  I've been letting it slide, but I think its come time to push a bit with the Maths.  I also want to use more fun resources with him more regularly - board games etc.  That'll be hard for me - I'm not keen on board games, but he enjoys them.

Science & Technology: We have so many under-utilised science resources!  My aim is to do more science experiments and use the resources more - science books, science kits, DVDs, website subscriptions, trips to the science museum.

Human Society and its Environment: At the moment, this is pretty much covered through everyday life - exposure to other cultures, history & geography through reading, TV, excursions, and of course, travel.  He's also been asking for another subscription to the Skwirk website which I'll investigate next year.

Creative and Practical Arts: He'll continue with drama classes, and I'm pretty sure will want to take part in the big drama production next year.  Other than that, he's always making up little plays & songs so drama is all covered.  :)

We've already got tickets to one play next year and I'm sure we'll see more than that throughout the year.

Billy's booked in for a series of art lessons in Term 1 culminating in an art show at the Tocal Field Days.  We'll also make regular trips to the art gallery.

Personal Development, Health and Physical Education: I'm pretty sure this one is covered between archery, martial arts and AFL :)  The personal hygiene, nutrition, safety etc aspects will be covered in day to day life.

So in summary, I want to make sure Maths is covered more rigorously next year, and spend more time doing hands-on science stuff.  Other than that, we'll just continue with taking advantage of any opportunities for excursions and experiences, and his normal weekly activities.

Although part of me is still wanting more structure, I know it doesn't work long term with us.  On the other hand, part of me is also wanting more flexibility so we can grab opportunities without too much rearranging of things.  We were way over-committed in Term 4 which led to burn out and exhaustion.  It'll be a matter of balancing routine with spontaneity.

Please excuse the mess - under construction.. :)

I'm playing around with my blog today - doing a bit of rearranging and tidying.  I've decided to combine my writing blog into this one, so excuse any 'new' posts that pop up!

Hopefully I'll have tidied up and put my tools away by tonight :)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Xmas to all...

Wishing everyone a happy Christmas and a safe holiday season.  If you're travelling, take care.  Enjoy the time with family & friends and more importantly - make sure, in best Xmas tradition, that you eat way too much :)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

2010 homeschooling highlights in photos

A look back at some of the highlights of the year.  It was actually quite a busy year with all this plus the usual weekly activities!


  • Started martial arts 
  • Holiday fun with fishing & swimming
  • Puzzles
  • Made marbled paper











    Sunday, December 19, 2010

    We're back...

    After 3 nights in Coffs Harbour, 1 night at Hallidays Point, and 1 night at my sister-in-law's house, we're home - and more than ready to sleep in our beds tonight!

    Yesterday was the family Xmas with Pete's side.  A few tears were shed at times, being the first one without Pete's Mum, but we all rallied around and supported each other.  Present time was a flurry of unwrapping - you can imagine the chaos with 8 kids opening at once..

    Even Santa made a surprise visit :)  

    Santa's certainly a busy little vegemite at the moment.  He came to visit our neighbourhood this afternoon in the fire truck, handing out lollies for the kids..  (The local bush fire brigade do the rounds of the neighbourhood streets at this time every year - kids suddenly appear from nowhere at the sound of the sirens mingling with Christmas songs :) )

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010

    Monday, December 13, 2010

    50 days..

    until I meet my wonderful friend Suji for the 1st time! 

    My passport is renewed, Billy's application goes in today (2nd attempt - hope I get it right this time!).  Its very exciting!

    Thursday, December 09, 2010

    Australian Shark and Ray Centre

    Last week, Billy went on an excursion with other homeschoolers to the Australian Shark & Ray Centre.  They were able to go in the pools with the sharks and rays, feed them and pat them.  (Better them than me :) )

    I didn't go in so I've had to wait for the photos from my sister - it looks like they had a blast!

    In this first photo, this was a giant ray that was coming up sitting on their laps!  It covered multiple kids at once!

    Wednesday, December 08, 2010


    3 days to go until I can hang out the virtual "Closed for Xmas" sign on my business..

    2 reports left to write and whatever urgent client problems pop up in that time...

    1 exhausted Kez who is really looking forward to running away for a quick pre-Christmas break next week..

    Saturday, December 04, 2010


    It doesn't seem that long ago that I had to build all of the Lego kits that Billy received - it used to drive me nuts!  Now he can follow the instructions with no problems or make up his own creations - I'm only required to help find the bits :)

    Lego forms a big part of Billy's day lately.  He only has a few kits, but they get transformed into some amazing things.  We have one corner of the room that doesn't get through traffic, so he's allowed to keep it spread out much of the time.  I do object if it starts to encroach into my walkway though - that stuff hurts when you stand on it!!

    Billy goes back and forth from it throughout the day.  Sometimes building.  Sometimes making up elaborate stories and adventures with the things he's built.

    Its a wonderful toy.  It improves spatial ability, perseverance, engineering skills and inspires creativity.  It lasts for generations!  I just wish it wasn't so expensive to buy..

    Friday, December 03, 2010

    Shhhh! Don't tell anyone...

    but I took the day off work today.  (Its not quite the same ringing in sick when you work for yourself though lol.)

    I woke up with a headache and feeling like my head was going to explode, and while I couldn't exactly pull the covers over my head and go back to sleep, I did it metaphorically!

    I finished off a bit more Christmas shopping, went to yoga, wrapped the presents I have, and wrote some of the cards.  Tonight I'm going to read a book and go to bed early (assuming Billy co-operates with that plan).

    Yes, it will mean working longer tomorrow, but it was worth it.  I feel refreshed and recharged!

    Thursday, December 02, 2010


    Such a simple word, but does anyone else need some practice saying it?  Or is it just me?

    • "No, I'm sorry, but I just can't do that in that time frame."
    • "No, I'm sorry, we can't make it to that event, we're too busy."
    • "No, I can't take on another responsibility, I'm doing enough."
    • "No, I'm sorry Prince Charming, but I can't make it to the ball, I'm too busy cleaning cinders!"
    I know what my problem is.  I know it stems from a need to be liked and not let people down.  I know it, but it doesn't help me say No!

    Tuesday, November 30, 2010

    Coming to America!

    Billy & I are going to tag along while Pete has a conference in Phoenix in Feb next year!!!!   Flights have been booked!!!!  San Francisco, Phoenix, LA!!!  Can you tell I'm excited??!!!


    I never expected to enjoy archery as much as I do.  I thought I'd try it once to see what it was like, and that would be it.  But I really enjoy it!  It can be incredibly frustrating - some days I wonder why I bothered turning up, then other days it all seems to click.  

    Billy's aiming at 5 metres seems to be slowly improving, although he struggles at 10m.  I go ok at 5m and 10m and really, really struggle at 15m!  As he gets stronger, he'll get better at 10m - many of his arrows lose momentum before they get to the target.  Its good to see him apply concentration & focus to it though.

    And in true nerd style, we have been recording our scores in a spreadsheet and working out the average per round!

    Sunday, November 28, 2010

    Summer in Australia

    You know its almost summer in Australia when it's 27 degrees C, the cricket's on the TV - and you're putting the Xmas tree up :)

    Saturday, November 27, 2010

    Social butterflies

    We've been social butterflies today.

    We had an early Xmas party for a few friends at our place.  It was nice and relaxing and good to catch up with lots of time to chat!

    No, I have no idea why Santa has no pants on!
    Then Billy had an after cast party with his Wind in the Willows cast.  Under 15s needed a parent along for the ride, so I stayed inside and chatted to the other parents while Billy socialised with his 'tribe' :)

    Spanish Folk Art workshop

    Yesterday Billy joined a couple of groups of kids and learnt some folk art techniques.  They applied them to making a Spanish plate design with a repeating pattern.  This was the 2nd in a series of workshops run by Bernie Meyer about art around the world.

    Thursday, November 25, 2010


    You have to admire the bravery of the cub leaders in taking the cub pack fishing.  (Or is that question their sanity??!)  They spent the majority of the night untangling lines :)

    Wednesday, November 24, 2010

    Swimming lessons

    I used to take Billy to swimming lessons when he was a toddler and then in preschool.  I think we both suffered through about 3 years before I called a halt.  Let's just say, he's never going to be Ian Thorpe...  He'd had enough by the time we finished and wasn't advancing much.  This was obviously prior to my discovery that kids learn things at their own pace, and nothing you can do will change that :)

    I just let things go and decided to see if he'd improve on his own.  However, I don't swim and we don't go to the pool enough for him to get a lot of practice.  So I asked him again this term if he wanted to do lessons and he was very enthusiastic about it.  I ended up paying extra for a 15 min private lesson rather than a 30 min lesson shared with 3 other kids.

    The difference has been amazing.  Now that he's older he can comprehend what's being asked, understand the reasons behind it and pays attention.  He also practices what he's learnt after his lesson.  He has come on in leaps and bounds in the 6 or so lessons he's had so far.  And I think its a combination of wanting to learn it and his body finally being ready.

    Once again it proves to me that every kid has their own timetable!

    Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    Wherefore art thou... time?

    I hate this time of year.  Its just so busy and I end up taking on too much and stressing out.

    Clients all seem to decide that they need work done before Xmas - I'm booked out with work until the beginning of March at the moment.  I'm thinking of putting this sign in my work email signature...

    Well, not really, but its fun to think about :)

    Every group seems to have an end of year party or concert or get-together...

    Then there are the Xmas parties with family, friends and neighbours...

    Oh, and Xmas shopping, getting ready to go away for holidays, etc etc etc...

    I think I'll run away and come back in January :)

    Sunday, November 21, 2010

    Wind in the Willows Pt 3

    Last lot, I promise!  The play is over - it all went spectacularly well :)  They have an after cast party next weekend.

    No prizes for guessing..

    where we went this weekend...

    We went down to Sydney on a child-free weekend to see a couple of plays - Uncle Vanya at the Sydney Theatre Company (just look at that impressive cast!) and Twelfth Night at the Opera House.  Both were completely different, but equally brilliant.

    It was a very timely break - I've been very stressed lately with the amount of stuff I've got on.  I was in tears on Thursday with everything getting me down.  I really needed the break.

    We also visited the best Sci-Fi / Fantasy bookshop in the country!