Sunday, August 30, 2009

Our week of learning - 30th August - New toys to play with!

Current Readaloud: We finally finished reading Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (adaptation)

English: Lots of reading. We did a spot of people-watching while waiting for an appointment and he made up stories about where the people might have come from, and what they might be doing there. I helped him come up with a list of words he could use in his stories to replace "and then..." eg "suddenly, eventually, without warning" etc

Maths: He watched a cyberchase episode on doing surveys and collecting the results.

Science & Technology: Apart from having a first hand experience of how x-rays are taken (!), he's also been doing some hands on science. He got a pluggable circuit board set for his b'day so had some fun with that - coincidentally, the first one he made played "Happy Birthday"!

He spent a fair amount of time playing around with the Scratch programming language.

He put together a puzzle of the brain (another b'day present!) and compared it to a picture in the Body book.

HSIE (Human Society and it's environment): He watched a school show talking about "Working Dogs" - quarantine dogs, guide dogs, sheep dogs and hospital dogs.

We had a
couple of discussions about Captain Cook, and the convicts in Australia, and he has decided he wants to learn some more about it. We also discussed what type of things he wants to learn about the Ancient Greeks which are next on our path.

Creative & Practical Arts: Drama, lots of imaginative play, and a trip to the newly re-opened Maitland Art Gallery.

LOTE (Languages other than English): He and his cousin made up a game based on "Rock, paper, scissors" but using greetings from other languages!

PDHPE (Personal Development, Health & Physical Education): He was a bit limited at circus class with his fractured arm, but managed to use the spinning plates and the hoops.

Life skills (cooking, gardening, housekeeping): He iced and decorated cupcakes to take to Joeys on his b'day.

He also made use of another one of his b'day presents - a Fairy Floss (Cotton Candy) machine! It's so cool - all it takes is a tablespoon of sugar to make a fair amount of fairy floss!

Other fun stuff: He put together a new lego helicopter he got for his birthday, has been busy learning new magic tricks and putting on a show, and playing lots of logic games on the computer like Tinker. He's also found time to play with a pinball machine & a game called "Bop it" both of which he got for his b'day.

He had his Auskick presentation today where they were presented with their certificates and trophy for participating in the year.

Book #3 & #4 - Z for Zachariah & A little history of the world

Z. for Zachariah

Z for Zachariah - Robert C.O'Brien

This is a young adult's book set in a small village in America following a nuclear attack. 16 year old Ann is the last person left alive in the valley, which seems to have escaped the effects of the attack by having it's own weather patterns. With the help of the stores in the village shop, her chickens & cows, Ann has settled into a reasonable existence. One day a stranger appears in the village dressed in a "safe suit" - while Ann initially hides from him and watches, when he is struck down with radiation sickness, she comes to help.

She nurses him until he is well - while recovering, he is able to help her by designing more mechanical ways they can do things eg he shows her how to use the gas pumps so she can drive the tractor.

Unfortunately his behaviour towards her becomes increasingly threatening - he tries to rape her, cuts off her food supply and tries to bring her under his control.

I won't spoil the ending by saying any more :)

I think I have read the book some time ago but enjoyed it again as a quick read. The ending was left in the air a fair bit - I found myself longing for another chapter, but then I like things to be wrapped up neatly in a happy ending! If I was at school, I can imagine I would've been given an assignment to write an extra chapter :)

If you've read it, what did you think of the ending?

A Little History of the World

A little history of the World by E.H. Gombrich

In 1935, 26 year old Ernst Gombrich, with a doctorate in art history, was given 6 weeks to write a history of the world aimed at younger readers. He succeeded very well!!

Just before his death in 2001, he revised the book, and added extra chapters to bring it up to date.

Written in a delightful conversational and story-telling style, the book is not heavy with dates or facts, but gives an overview of the marvels of history. It shows how events relate to each other, and draws parallels between things that are happening in different eras or areas.

I originally bought it as a read-aloud to use in history studies with Billy - I will still do that but I think I'll hold off for a year or two. I just don't think he's at the right level yet, but that would depend on the child.

In the meantime, I've picked it up and had a thoroughly enjoyable read! I learnt heaps that I hadn't known before, and put together some connections about things I thought I did know.

Classics (and more) book list

This is an ongoing list of books that I want to read (or re-read) - I'll keep updating it as I think of others, and strike off what I've read (in yellow).

I've sorted it into some sort of categories now to keep track a bit better.

  • To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee (July 2009)
  • 1984 – George Orwell (Sept 2009)
  • Animal Farm – George Orwell (Aug 2009)
  • Homage to Catalonia - George Orwell
  • Shakespeare’s plays
  • Walden – Thoreau
Biographies / Autobiographies
  • A Fortunate Life by A.B.Facey (Sept 2009)
  • Kings in Grass Castles by Mary Durack (Jan 2010)
  • We of the Never Never / The Little Black Princess (Jan 2010)
  • Mockingbird : a portrait of Harper Lee
  • Bbiography on CS Lewis

  • The Future Eaters by Tim Flannery
  • A short history of nearly everything – Bill Bryson
  • A Brief History of Time? – Stephen Hawking

Kids / Young Adult

  • Z for Zachariah - Robert C. O'Brien (Aug 2009)
  • Tom Appleby, Convict Boy by Jackie French (Sep 2009)
  • Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
  • Playing Beattie Bow – Ruth Park
  • Narnia series
  • Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling


  • A little history of the world by E.H. Gombrich (Aug 2009)
Australian history

  • Poor Man’s Orange series – Ruth Park

Fiction that makes me think

  • Life of Pi by Yann Martel (Dec 2009)
Please feel free to suggest any books you consider must-reads.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Happy 7th birthday Billy!

Our baby boy has turned 7 - amazing!

I chose this photo because it seemed to sum him up - a bit cheeky, cute (well I think so!), busy doing something (that usually makes a mess!), loving being the centre of attention - oh, and in his pyjamas :)

He loves anything to do with computers, especially computer games, cartoons - especially Ben 10 and Scooby Doo, anything to do with science, cooking, magic, Joeys and sport. He loves to sit and watch the news and weather! He thrives on being the centre of attention in a group that he feels comfortable with, but can be surprisingly shy in a new group. He loves to act and is always filming himself perfoming little shows :)

While he can be reasonably independant, he also still loves a snuggle and tells me "I love you" a dozen times each day.

He can drive me mad with arguing and questioning (while I want a child who knows his own mind, I'd just prefer he didn't practice on me quite so often lol), and knows exactly what buttons to push to make me explode, but then will melt my heart in the next instance.

Being his mother is the most challenging, yet rewarding job I've ever had.

Happy birthday to my buddy...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What happens when you get a skateboard for your b'day..

.. and refuse to think that you need to learn in baby-steps...

3 hours at the ER last night - the diagnosis is a possible slight fracture. They weren't entirely sure, so have put it in a "back-slab" - basically a cast that goes along the bottom of the arm and elbow to keep it from moving. The specialist will take a look at the x-rays, and we have to see our local GP later in the week (much easier said than done!) to find out whether he needs a proper cast or if it's ok..

So our science work yesterday was on x-rays :)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The party's over..

Despite being quite a hot day, it seemed to go well. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves whenever I looked, and I actually had some time to sit down and chat as well which made a very nice change!

It was fairly relaxed - the only organised activity this year was a treasure hunt, and some water balloons to cool the kids down in the heat.

Billy got some great presents and he has tried to play with every single one tonight! He's really buzzing - both from excitement and party food I suspect :)

Oh, the cake is an Aussie Rules football ground - the swan is the Sydney Swans mascot, and the jelly babies were playing a hard-fought battle :)

This morning before the party he hugged me and said "thank you for organising my party" - way to melt a mum's heart :)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Our week of learning - 23rd August - Birthday party edition!

We focused mainly on life skills this week - ie cleaning, weeding, shopping etc - ready for his party tomorrow (Sunday). We had smatterings of "school learning" in there as well though :)

Current Readaloud: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (adaptation)

English: Lots of reading. At our homeschool meeting, we had a "Collectors Day" - he took along his collection of AFL bits & pieces (posters, footy cards, hats etc), and gave a short presentation about what he collected.

Maths: He picked a 5th grade CD game out of the library called "ClueFinders". Some of the puzzles on there involved maths & logic, and he was giving them a good go - even if he did have to use a calculator for most of the maths..

Science & Technology: Another puzzle on the ClueFinders CD involved manipulating wires and batteries to form circuits. I don't think he's ever done anything like that before but soon figured out how to make it work.

Working in the garden also led to discussions on how rivers are made, and how seeds move from place to place by birds, wind etc.

We also had a discussion on where babies come out, due to a friend's Mum being overdue having her baby. *blush* - I think I handled it matter of factly! He was a c-section, so he's always known that the doctors cut me open to get him out, but I figured when the opportunity came up that I'd better tell him how the rest of the world's babies appear! Let's just hope he doesn't think to ask how it gets there in the first place - I'm not ready for that one yet :)

HSIE (Human Society and it's environment): With his Joey's unit, he went on a nature walk on Thursday night. They did a nature scavenger hunt - eg looking for the biggest leaf, a part of the food chain, something with chlorophyll in it; and a worksheet on what habitats they could see in the immediate area eg rocks, logs, grasses etc.

Creative & Practical Arts: Back to drama this week.

He's also been spending time on a "Toon Creator" site where you can use predefined "Ben 10: Alien Force" backgrounds and characters to make cartoons. He's been doing it for a couple of months, and this week I noticed how detailed his cartoons are getting. I think originally he'd have 5 or 6 fairly basic scenes, now he's making them with 40+ detailed scenes. I was also quite amazed to see his use of perspective - making the character smaller over each scene as they "walked" away. All that time watching cartoons is good for something :)

LOTE (Languages other than English): Nothing.

PDHPE (Personal Development, Health & Physical Education): Circus class - his skills are really showing improvement at circus. He's slowly getting better at both the devil sticks and the diabolo, and this week was able to do the group skipping - running in to the turning skipping rope, having 3 jumps and running back out again. When he started last term he couldn't run in *or* jump the rope!

Life skills (cooking, gardening, housekeeping): Gardening, cleaning, grocery shopping - he's been slave labour this week :) (Well, a very spoilt slave anyway!)

He made chicken schnitzel for tea one night - he pounded the chicken to flatten it, and did the coating. I cooked it up though. That's the first time I've let him touch raw chicken - I've always been pretty paranoid about it, but I made sure he washed his hands properly afterwards - no ill effects yet! It tasted pretty darn good too!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Wednesday Weigh-In - Wk 20 (a bit late!)

Weight loss from last week: gained 0.5kg :(
Total weight loss overall: 4.0 kg
Total cms lost off waist: 9 cm

No Hollywood ending for me - I didn't magically get down to the 5kg goal days before Billy's party :( In fact I put on weight because there is junk food in the house and my exercising has been slack as well..

But I did go and buy myself a new pair of jeans anyway - because losing 4kg is a damn good effort and I deserve to look good in a new pair of jeans!! (Considering my other ones were over 2 years old and came from the op shop originally!)

I won't be trying to lose weight for the next couple of weeks - we have Billy's party on Sunday and I'm sure we'll be eating leftovers for the week after that! I'll be happy to not put on too much..

Monday, August 17, 2009

Some (maybe not-so) quick updates..

A few updates:

Re the tree - it appears the general consensus, both here and at a tree forum I posted on, is that it's an oleandar. Oleandar's are poisonous to kids & animals, so I'm not keen on keeping it around. Hubby can pull it up and throw it away.


Re my commitments - I decided not to go ahead with teaching for next term. I'll see how I'm feeling later in next term, but I probably won't even decide to put in a course for Term 1 next year either. I have enough else in my life that I want to be doing. I have 2 more nights to teach this term and then that's it.

In the meantime, I taught a full-day course at a different community college (prior commitment), and when they asked me if I'd go back, I declined for next term but left it open for the possibility for a couple of one-day courses next year if they don't find someone in the meantime.

I've also tentatively made a decision about not continuing with something else that I do, but I will see out the year. I'm being deliberately vague on that one until I let people know that need to know :)


Re my education - I haven't updated for a couple of weeks, but I am still firmly committed to this goal. The trouble is, I have so many books on the go that I haven't finished any of them lately!!

As well as reading, I've also been watching a free lecture series from Yale University on Introduction to Greek History. I'm halfway through the 2nd lecture and really enjoying it (although the intro was a bit long-winded at times).

I've decided for now that I'm going to focus my attentions in 2 areas - I'm going to give myself a "virtual" Bachelor of Arts Degree, majoring in Ancient History and English, from the "prestigious" University of Kez :)

For Ancient History, my first "subjects" are:

* Overview of World History

I'm currently reading a wonderful book called A Little History of the World - it's meant as a kid's book and tells world history as a fascinating story. I am almost ashamed at some of the historical connections I had never made before.

We're also still watching The Teaching Company's Big History course.

Also on my list is Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything. This is more science-based I think, but I'll give it a try anyway.

* Ancient Greece

I'm watching the Introduction to Greek History lectures, and reading the associated textbook. I also have some Greek historical books and myths here that I'll attempt as well.

For English, I'm doing a "literature study of classics" - ie reading books that I regard as classics, and then following up by reading a biography or autobiography of the author.


So that should be enough to keep me busy, you'd think!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Is this a tree or a weed? Any thoughts?

We've had this tree / weed spring up in the path in our backyard - its now about 3 or 4 foot high with a thin trunk. The leaves are long and thin - most are light green, some are red or mottled red. The leaves have a rather unpleasant smell to me, but I can't put my finger on what the smell is. Does anyone have any idea what it is? Do we throw it out or transplant it?

Our week of learning - 16th August - Ahoy there, me hearties!

Our week was much slower this time - Billy came down with a fairly heavy cold on Monday afternoon, so between him feeling lousy and neither of us sleeping properly with him coughing at night, we didn't have the energy to do much!

What we did do, however, mainly had a pirate theme..

Current Readaloud: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (adaptation)

English: Lots of reading plus time on Spellodrome.

Maths: He spent a fair bit of time playing Timez Attack with his 2 times tables.

We also played card games like Addition Wars for maths addition practice, and did word puzzles from a book called "You can, Toucan, Maths".

You Can, Toucan, Math: Word Problem-Solving Fun

Science & Technology: He went through most of the section on 'Materials' on the BBC schools Science website. This was teaching properties of materials like changing state, heat transfer etc.

HSIE (Human Society and it's environment): We finally uncovered the fruit slices we were mummifying on the kitchen bench :) There was quite a dramatic difference between the mummified one(on the right) and the control slice (left) that went mouldy! (The white is the bicarb / salt mixture we used in the mummification process).

With Billy's help, I finally got around to putting the Egyptian figures on our historical timeline stretching along the hallway. That led to some interesting discussions once we could see how similar the time period was between the Sumerians making their ziggurats and the Egyptians building their pyramids.

Creative & Practical Arts: He missed drama due to being unwell.

We both had fun finishing off our treasure maps. Several weeks ago we'd started the process by 'ageing' some paper - I aged mine with tea, Billy did his with stock cubes. This week I broke out the ink, and we created our treasure maps. Fun :)

We made a pirate costume that he wore to a pirate night at Joeys. They played piratey type games, sang piratey songs, and had a treasure hunt.

LOTE (Languages other than English): Nothing.

PDHPE (Personal Development, Health & Physical Education): The last Auskick training for the season.

Life skills (cooking, gardening, housekeeping): Some cooking, including making up his own biscuit recipe - it didn't quite work out, but he learnt a few things for next time! He's getting more confident at sliding things into and out of the oven by himself too.

He's been very helpful over the weekend in cleaning the deck, his cubby etc ready for his party next weekend.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wednesday Weigh-In - Wk 19

Weight loss from last week: 0.5kg
Total weight loss overall: 4.5 kg
Total cms lost off waist: 9 cm

I pulled out a pair of work trousers to wear on Saturday - they were from the job I had before I was pregnant with Billy, so almost 8 years ago. They fitted quite comfortably!!! So I'm now back to a pre-baby weight again - woohoo!

1/2 kg to go until my next goal weight!!!

Sisterhood Award

I was quite humbled to receive a blogging award last week from Belinda at Belinda's Place. Thanks Belinda - it means a lot!

So now for the hard part - to pass it on! (I hate leaving people out!)

The rules:
1. Put the logo on your blog or post.
2. Nominate up to 10 blogs which show great attitude and/or gratitude!
3. Be sure to link your nominees within your post.
4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Remember to link the person from whom you received your award.

Here are a selection of my fellow "sister bloggers" who I feel show great attitude.

Suji at - Suji is a fellow homeschooling Mum whose blog name says it all - Fun Schooling. She's always striving to give her son the best learning experience they can have.

Libby at Life is a Journey, Not a Destination - Libby has a great attitude! Over the last few years she has lost a substantial amount of weight and kept it off, and goes on the most amazing holidays with her family. Her exercising constantly puts me to shame!

Julie at Towards Sustainability - Julie is passionate about her garden and living sustainably. She seems to show no fear in jumping in to learn new skills - from embroidery, to jam making, to soap making! She is a great source of inspiration.

The following 3 ladies have really had a great influence on how I homeschool. They all have the best attitudes to life & learning!

Tiffany at Child's Play - Tiff does the most fun Maths lessons with her kids - seriously! I'm always inspired when I read her blog. She also takes amazing photos!

Alicia at Magic & Mayhem - Alicia and her family do the most fun things - her kids seem delightful and I wish we at least lived in the same country as them!

Stephani at Blue Yonder - As well as being an awesome artist, Stephani makes me laugh with her posts about her boys and their fun, adventurous life!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Our week of learning - 9th August - Shakespeare's Twelfth Night

English: Lots of reading plus an hour on Spellodrome. He finished all the books he needed to read for this year's Premier's Reading Challenge.

We watched the BBC Shakespeare's Animated Tales of Twelfth Night, and today we went to see it produced by a local Youth Theatre Company. It was Billy's first Shakespeare play and he was very excited! He must regard it as a "grown-up" thing to do as Pete & I go down to Sydney a few times each year to watch Bell Shakespeare productions, and he gets left behind (with family)! So he was so chuffed to find out he was going this time!

It was a really good job for an amateur production - some very strong performers in it.

Shakespeare Stories

We also started reading Twelfth Night in the Leon Garfield's Shakespeare Stories, but haven't finished yet.

Maths: An hour or so spent on the Mathletics site and quite a bit of time spent on the Cyberchase website.

His work on Cyberchase included using Venn diagrams and he did fraction work while cooking. We also played Battleships to reinforce grids and co-ordinates.

Science & Technology: We did a cool experiment involving a lighted candle in a jar, baking powder and vinegar. When you pour a bit of vinegar in to mix with the baking powder at the bottom of the jar, it forms carbon dioxide which rises and snuffs the candle out.

This is a very shaky video of it - my videographer kept getting carried away and forgetting to keep the camera steady!

(video removed)

I showed him how to create a spreadsheet for his pocket money in Excel, so he updated that after he banked some money.

HSIE (Human Society and it's environment): Nothing formal.

Creative & Practical Arts: Drama lessons started back. He seemed quite happy once he came out, so we will see how the term progresses.

We had a folk dancing workshop at the homeschool meeting, so he got to participate in some dances from other countries.

He & Pete attended an exhibition of Dr Seuss illustrations on Saturday which they both liked by all reports.

LOTE (Languages other than English): He watched a school show on living in Germany which was in mainly German dialogue. Good practice for my rusty high school German!

PDHPE (Personal Development, Health & Physical Education): Auskick training, circus class & a trip to the park.

Life skills (cooking, gardening, housekeeping): He deposited his pocket money into his bank account without help - he went up to the counter by himself while I stayed back and watched in case he needed help. The look of pride on his face afterwards was so cool to see!

He also cooked some Anzac biscuits with minimal help.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Wednesday Weigh-In - Wk 18

Weight loss from last week: 0.25kg
Total weight loss overall: 4 kg
Total cms lost off waist: 9 cm

I had some poor food choices this week, but did get back into the exercise with a couple of short walks. So I did lose some, but not as much as I was hoping for.

1kg to go until my next goal weight!!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Book #2 - Animal Farm by George Orwell

"All animals are equal but some are more equal than others."

I cannot believe I have never read this, but then I probably wasn't cynical enough to really appreciate it when I was younger :)

It's a very thinly veiled story of human nature in general & communism in particular - the animals of Manor Farm are sick of working like slaves for the humans and stage a rebellion. They take over the farm (now renamed Animal Farm) and set to work for themselves. They make 7 commandents, one of which is "All animals are equal". All is good and happy. They have plenty of food, and freedom.

Gradually though, the pigs start taking over as the ruling class. The animals start working for the pigs, but they are convinced that they are still better off - after all, they aren't working for the humans anymore. The farm turns into a dictatorship under the leadership of Napolean, the head pig, who rewrites history, spreads propaganda and changes the commandments..

"All animals are equal but some are more equal than others."

I absolutely loved this book! I spent the whole time chuckling wryly at what was happening and thinking "so true!". The copy I'd borrowed from the library was illustrated by Quentin Blake, one of my favourite illustrators, so it was even better!

Definitely a classic!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Our week of learning - 2nd August - Space & Egypt

English: Lots of reading plus an hour on Spellodrome. He was also introduced to similes & metaphors, and homophones.

He wrote a very short story (or more like a script) about being kidnapped and a friend finding him.

Maths: An hour or so spent on the Mathletics site. We also discovered a kid's maths cartoon from the US called Cyberchase - I'd heard of it on one of the Yahoo groups I'm on and bemoaned the fact we didn't get it down here. I mentioned it to a friend who suggested looking on YouTube - why didn't I think of that??! There look to be hundreds of episodes on there! We've watched two so far - one on maps, grids, scale & co-ordinates and the other on measuring.

He also spent hours on the Cyberchase website playing with the maths games.

Science & Technology:

We're still reading "George's Secret Key to the Universe" (it's due back this week so we have to finish in the next few days!). Still on the space theme, we watched the slideshow on this website of the "Power of 10" - it's a series of pictures that "zoom in" by powers of 10 from 10 million light years from earth, down to the subatomic particles in a leaf. I dare you to watch it just once - it's very cool!!

We did an experiment I stole from Dana @ The Sunny Side's blog (it's ok - I told her I would!) showing how molecules move faster in warm water than cold water by watching how a few drops of food colouring disperses.

While at a friend's place they made a projector using a pluggable circuit board kit (its now on my want list!!).

HSIE (Human Society and it's environment):

We still have fruit slices mummifying on our kitchen bench.. You know you're a homeschooler when... :)

We read a beautifully illustrated book on Egypt called The Scarab's Secret.

He made a pyramid out of clay with a golden "treasure" embedded inside (a gold curtain ring), we dried it in the oven and then he played archaeologist and dug it back out.

Creative & Practical Arts: He used Publisher & Photoshop to make his birthday party invitations. Lots of inventive play - that's what he does much of the time!

LOTE (Languages other than English): Nothing I can think of this week.

PDHPE (Personal Development, Health & Physical Education): Auskick training, circus class & lots of running around at a friend's place. He's finally gaining mastery of a trick with the flower / devil sticks at circus! In fact the teacher commented how much he's improved since he started last term.

Life skills (cooking, gardening, housekeeping): He made jelly all by himself - under very anxious and close supervision with the boiling water!

I've discovered that he's now tall enough to reach the clothesline so he helped me take the towels off the line and fold them.

Re-evaluating our commitments

You know you're over-committed when:

1. You look at the month just starting and wish it was over already

2. It becomes a major logistical exercise just to organise to get-together with friends

3. You hope that your classes get cancelled so you can have a break!

I'm looking seriously at what we're doing at the moment in terms of outside commitments. I can't do much about this term though as we've already paid fees or otherwise committed to things.

Billy was in the car the other day, and was telling me the activities he does in order of how much he liked it. Joeys (Scouts) was a definite number 1 - he absolutely loves every minute he spends there. Auskick (Jr AFL) was a pretty close number 2. Circus was number 3 and drama lagged behind as a poor 4th. In fact he said it in a tone of voice that implied it was torture to him :)

This is his 2nd year of doing drama - he loved it last year but has been luke-warm to cold about it this year.. I think part of it is the fact that they got a new teacher last term - she's lovely, and probably a great teacher, but his old teacher was bubbly and like a big kid herself. Billy adored her. To make matters worse, they spent most of last term practicing for their play - Billy is not a child that enjoys rehearsing over and over again - especially when he doesn't even have a speaking part!

So I'm wondering why I'm spending an arm and a leg AND driving an hour each way to his lessons when he doesn't enjoy it! I've told him he has to go this term (since I've paid the fees!), and he can make his mind up at the end of the term whether or not he wants to continue. I think we might take a week off in the middle of the term too just for a break.

Auskick finishes sometime this month I think, so that will free up a night soon.

I'm also looking at what I'm committed to. Each term I teach a course or two at our local community college. I'm in two minds whether to continue, although the "not continue" mind is winning. Once again I'm committed to this term, but I have to make up my mind in the next few days about next term. It brings in a couple of hundred dollars (when the courses run), but its really hard to juggle with the rest of the family's needs. At the moment I run from the drama pick-up to teaching and we have to swap Billy over on the side of the road! It inevitably clashes with Pete's squash which means he has to take Billy to squash with him, and then it's a late night for Billy. Which means then Wednesday is a bit of a write-off - we lose a day in the week! I think I'm just in a bit of a rut teaching there - I'm not teaching anything too exciting or that couldn't be taught by others, and I don't have the enthusiasm to come up with a new course on anything.

Anyway, just thinking out loud if anyone has read this far :)