Thursday, February 23, 2012

Homeschool Swimming carnival

It's been a busy week (and it's not over yet!).  Today we had our local area's homeschool swimming carnival.  I didn't get many photos because I was busy helping out with time-keeping but I did manage to snaffle a few at the start and end of the day.  We had about 75 kids there - a great effort! - and everyone seemed to have a great time.

Lining up for the across-the-pool races.

And they're off...

This was the highlight of the day for Billy - the inflatable.

It did look like great fun :)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tocal Homestead Excursion

Yesterday we went on a homeschool excursion to Tocal Homestead, a local historical property established in the 1820s.  We had a huge group - around 35 families, adding up to about 120 people (adults & kids).  We split into 8 groups to make life more manageable, and rotated around different areas / activities.

The beautiful homestead built in 1841.

A small collection of the families that were there - not every one had arrived at this stage.

Water carting - fortunately they didn't have to go down to the creek to get the water :)

Watching the blacksmith at work.

Scrubbing the clothes

Exploring Webber Cottage - also known as Thunderbolt's Cottage. The bushranger Thunderbolt lived in it when he worked on the property.  The huge tree in the background is all one tree - it was massive.

Old-fashioned fun - tug-of-war.


Elastics (Not so old - I remember playing them at primary school!)

The old men sitting down chatting the day away :)

Exploring the barn and farm machinery

Welcome to the Homestead

Just for laughs, compare the photos from last time we went.  Billy has certainly grown and changed :)

I love visiting the Homestead, and a hands-on day like that really sticks in the kid's minds.  Great fun.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Maitland Show

We met my parents and niece over at the local show today.  Despite being hot, we had an enjoyable couple of hours wandering around.

We looked at the handiwork displays first - photography, sculpture and artwork exhibitions - and the produce displays.  Sadly, these are much smaller than they used to be when I was a kid.

This platypus was my favourite sculpture.

Talented artists

The agricultural display - those are some big pumpkins!

Display of old photos from the local area.

There were the usual rides and food stalls.

The clowns have a special memory for me - I think it was the only thing we could afford to go on as kids.  Now however, it was $5 / game!

Greasy show food (with a strangely phallic looking pluto pup).

And the ever-popular dodgem cars!

There were lots of other rides, but I didn't take photos of them.

They also had a free circus - we weren't expecting a lot from it, but it was surprisingly pretty good.  It seemed to be a small, family run circus - the young boy in the last 2 photos looked to be about 12.  Very impressive!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

'Nerf' War..

On Friday we went to a homeschool 'Nerf War' at a nearby picnic area.  From a rough count, we had about 20 kids there - ranging in age from 5 to 15 (they wouldn't stand still long enough to count them!).  The kids organised themselves into teams, worked out the rules and went hard for around 1.5 hrs - until we were washed out by a thunderstorm. 

It was great fun and the plan is to hold them more regularly.  PDHPE (physical education) - check!  Socialising - check!  Working in teams - check!  Having heaps of fun - double check!!

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Australian History

One of my focuses in our homeschool year of 2012 is to gain more understanding of Australian and local history. 

Now if I mention that we're studying 'history' Billy will run a mile, but luckily there are ways to do it that he does enjoy.  Namely "living history" - tv shows, stories, excursions etc.

We've been watching a brilliant show called My Place.  We've seen some of the episodes before but never really sat down and watched them properly.  The show is set in the same house / piece of land in Sydney (with the gorgeous fig tree shown above) - it starts in 2008, and each episode goes back 10 years in history.  The story always centres around a child (usually around the 8-10 year old age) who lives there at that time. 

As well as having a storyline where the child learns a life lesson (eg owning up to your mistakes, overcoming bullying etc), each episode shows the fashions, food, and attitudes of the era.  The references to the Greek boy Michealis being called a 'wog' at school, references to the Vietnamese boat people, the Vietnam war, Ramadan, the Aboriginal 'stolen generation' etc.  Its led to some wonderful discussions about discrimination, accepting people for who they are and how attitudes have slowly changed to make Australia a more multi-cultural country.

There are characters that follow through the series - for eg the next-door neighbour has remained constant (just gotten older) in the first 5 episodes that we've watched.  You trace one character from being the landlord in 2008 - 1988 to the dad in 1978, the young man going off to war in 1968 and the boy growing up in the house in 1958.  The weetbix cards that the boy is obsessed with in 1978 are found in the attic and given to the boy in 1998. 

Its an incredibly well written show and Billy & I are both loving watching it.  Season 1 goes back to 1888 (I think) - Season 2 is about to start showing on TV again, continuing the story from 1878 to the early Aboriginal people.

It's based on a book by Nadia Wheatley so that's next on my list to find.