Sunday, May 30, 2010

Our week of learning - 30 May - writing, airport, space & musicals!

Billy had a very varied week this week.


Current Readaloud:
Robin Hood (abridged), and "How the aliens from Alpha Centauri invaded my maths class and turned me into a writer and how you can be one too" by Jackie French.

How the Aliens from Alpha Cent   Voyage of the

Pete finished "The Voyage of the Basset" as his read-aloud with Billy - its a  fantasy novel that incorporates all sorts of mythical creatures like Medusa, trolls, unicorns, dwarfs etc.

Audio books: Various Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton stories

Independent Reading: - "The Bugalugs Bum Thief" by Tim Winton

Other: - Another word ladder puzzle on the board (funny how he'll do them if they're on the white board, but not if I print it out!)

He attended the 2nd 1hr writing workshop put on by the local library as part of their Writing Challenge competition.  They learnt how to find books in the library (which he already knew) and made good progress on writing his story.

Maths: We watched an episode of Cyberchase about dew point.  He played a few games of chess against the computer.  He also worked through a number puzzle I found at Risa's site.

Science & Technology: His chosen subject for the writing challenge is global warming, so he's done some research on global warming and we've had lots of interesting discussions.  (I got into trouble from him for the length of my showers!)

He took a quiz on space and looked at the space photos on the George's Secret Key site.

HSIE (Human Society and it's environment): Over 40 homeschool kids from the area went on a behind the scenes tour of Newcastle Airport.  They only accepted a few parents to go along as well, so I made the big sacrifice and stayed behind and had a yummy hot chocolate with marshmallows while he went on the tour!  (Hey, someone had to do it!)  The tour lasted an hour, they took them through the security systems and showed them how they scan luggage, put it on the plane, showed them in the hanger etc.  The highlight seemed to be when they went into the security control room and got to control the cameras to spy on the parents left behind :)

Creative & Practical Arts: Drama class.

He made a shell necklace for a b'day present.

We headed off to Maitland Art Gallery for a look at their latest exhibits.

We also went to a musical production of "The Wizard of Oz" complete with live orchestra!  He really enjoyed it.

PDHPE (Personal Development, Health & Physical Education): Martial arts, archery and 10 pin bowling for his cousin's b'day.

Life skills (cooking, gardening, housekeeping): He's working on his cooking badge for cubs, so he's made his own breakfast (scrambled eggs on toast) and a favourite recipe (pizza).

Other fun stuff: He remade his promise at Cubs, so now he's a fully invested Cub Scout. 

It was his cousin's 13th b'day on Saturday so we went along to a party for her (10 pin bowling and then pizza!)

He was pretending to be a ventriloquist one day so I showed him some YouTube videos of Dave Strassman, possibly the world's best ventriloquist.  He's hooked!

His friend has introduced him to a new computer site called Moshi Monsters which he's been having some fun with (along with Webkinz and Club Penguin!).    

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Happy blogiversary to me :)

Today marks 4 years since I started my blog.  My posting level waxes & wanes, but its now an integral part of my life.  Thanks to everyone who reads - especially those who comment.  The commenting keeps me going.. 

"you like me, you really like me..." :)

Its also my niece's 13th b'day today - she's very excited!  We're off to go 10 pin bowling and eat pizza in a little while to celebrate!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Our week of learning - 23 May - busy times again!

I was expecting this week would be more active than last, but I underestimated just how much he wanted to soak up!  Vanessa, I think you were right in saying he was entering a new phase of learning.


Current Readaloud:
Robin Hood (abridged), and "Three Cheers Secret Seven" by Enid Blyton.

Audio books: Various Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton stories

Independent Reading: - "The Bugalugs Bum Thief" by Tim Winton, "Grand Final Fever" by Michael Wagner

Other: - I put some word ladder puzzles up on the board which he enjoyed.

He spent some time on Spellodrome and earnt a weekly certificate.

He attended a 1hr writing workshop put on by the local library as part of their Writing Challenge competition.  He learnt about the structure of an exposition and how to mind map some ideas for it.

Maths: I taught him about square numbers using unit square manipulatives that I made by printing out a grid, laminating it and cutting them up :)

He earnt a weekly certificate on Mathletics. He hasn't used the site for months, so I'm not sure what started him on it again. 

Science & Technology: He had a C# programming lesson with Pete where he created a program that opened up web pages.

We did a couple of experiments about erosion - using 2 trays of dirt, one plain and one with moss covering parts of it.  For wind erosion, we pulled out the hair dryer to see the difference in the "planted" and "unplanted" soil.  For water erosion, we tilted the trays and used a water bottle to simulate a heavy shower :) 

HSIE (Human Society and it's environment): We did our monthly waterwatch testing of the Hunter River this week.

Creative & Practical Arts:

PDHPE (Personal Development, Health & Physical Education): Martial arts, Auskick training and he has been practising his circus skills again.

Life skills (cooking, gardening, housekeeping): 

Other fun stuff: Playing with friends.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Hello??? Is anybody still around???!

I am still here, promise..

Its been a combination of being busy with work, and I've also been in my own head space a fair bit and haven't been in the mood for blogging, commenting on other people's blogs, facebook or much else.  I guess being busy with my own life has meant I haven't needed to know every detail of everyone elses!  In fact I went on a bit of a cull of blogs that no longer resonated with me, and also of Facebook friends - I had some 'friends' that I'd added because they were on other groups I'd joined, but I personally had no idea who they were.  At least I can look at my friends list now and know that I've had some dealing with each person on there, either in real life or via blogs / forums. 

So what's been happening?  I've been back to the gym this week after missing last week - both my BodyBalance and Punch Fitness class.  It was good to be back, but boy it made me regret I'd missed a week!  I extended my gym membership by 12 months when they had a b'day special on last week. 

I've almost decided to get another microwave - ours died a bit over 2 years ago and I haven't bothered to replace it.  Now that our life is getting busier, I'm seriously contemplating one again.  Currently I'm out at the gym 2 nights / week, Pete has squash 2 nights / week, and Billy has cubs 1 night.  Sometimes they overlap, but on crazy weeks it means someone is out every week-night.  It will get worse in a couple of months as well as Billy moves up to the next martial arts lesson which is an hour later than his current lesson. A microwave would make it easier and more cost effective to reheat dinner or zap something from the freezer.  I'm thinking it would mean leftovers would be used up more too - sometimes its just too hard to contemplate heating them up on the stove or oven :)  And I have to admit I'm also hoping that a young boy might enjoy cooking things in it - he likes cooking but can be a bit hesitant with pans & ovens.  I've pretty much decided which one to get, I hope to go and check it out tomorrow.

I've had a fair bit of paid work on (I just wish the "paid" part of that was actually happening a bit quicker lol), and taught last week at one of the community colleges.  I only had 4 students so it was a fairly easy day compared to others. 

Other than that, I've just been reading, catching up with friends, thinking and just living life.  I figured it was time I posted something other than just another 'school' update :)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Our week of learning - 17 May - photo free edition

The last few weeks have been very low tide.  We've all been busy with our own interests - I've had a fair bit of work on and Billy has been immersed in conquering all of the missions on Club Penguin.  Life has just happened.  I can see that its naturally coming back out of that phase now and we're both ready for some more directed learning.


Current Readaloud:
Robin Hood

Audio books: Bumface by Morris Gleitzman  (** Disclaimer - probably more suited to older kids as it deals with the facts of life & contraception **)

Independent Reading: -

Other: - I've been putting word puzzles & riddles up on the whiteboard and he's been loving them!  I'm getting a lot of them from sites on this page, in particular this site.  Sometimes he'll want to then make up his own to challenge me (which can be interesting!)

Maths: He's really getting a good understanding of fractions from real life usage.  I noticed when we were cooking that he was able to work out things like "I need 2 teaspoons of salt, but I can only find the 1/2 teaspoon measure, so I need to put in 4 of them" etc.  He's also getting confident with reading 4 digit numbers like 1,206. 

He asked me to give him some test questions last night, even though he declared them a bit "schooly" :)  I gave him this one and he was able to work it out in his head - it took him quite a while but he got there!  (I was about to resort to the calculator for myself lol).
"Harry buys a drink for $2.80 and a Subway sandwich for $8.30. He goes to a different store and buys a T-Shirt for $15.50 and a new pair of jeans for $69.99. If he started with $100 how much money would he have left? (rounded)"

He's also been working out codes and making up his own for me to solve.

Science & Technology: While I was busy with work, he pulled out a couple of science kits we had.  He made a periscope by himself and an electromagnetic playground with a bit of help.

HSIE (Human Society and it's environment): There's been a bit of a medieval theme happening - we're reading Robin Hood and there was a medieval theme on Club Penguin.  So lots of discussions about that era.  This interest has stemmed as well from him doing archery - we started reading Robin Hood last year and he wasn't interested - now that he's doing archery he's suddenly interested!

Creative & Practical Arts:

PDHPE (Personal Development, Health & Physical Education): He earnt another tip at martial arts, had Auskick training and archery.  We also went on an hour long walk!

Life skills (cooking, gardening, housekeeping): He's been asserting his independence with cooking again - he cooked pizza on his own (dough from scratch) and chocolate muffins.  Now to work on the cleaning up side of things :)

Other fun stuff: He's been busy (obsessed?) with completing the missions on Club Penguin.  He had success!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Our week of learning - 9th May - the casual version

I didn't keep any notes last week on what Billy did so this is the casual version from what I can remember:

  1. Magazines - Both his National Geographic Kids and Scientriffic magazines arrived over the last couple of weeks, so he spent some time reading those.
  2. Websites - He's spent a lot of time on Club Penguin and Webkinz.  Club Penguin has been good for maths - he has to earn points to get to different levels in parts of it, so he'll come wandering out to me saying things like "I need 1000 points and I have 499, so I need another 501 before I get to the next level".  We've never actually sat down and done formal multi-digit subtraction - obviously I don't need to bother with that one :)
  3. Sport - archery, martial arts, Auskick & rock-climbing
  4. Mother's Day -  Mother's day present shopping, present making at cubs, card making
  5. Family history - I've started researching Pete's side of the family again, and he's been involved in discussions about the family tree and looking over my shoulder while I research.  It's a great way to make Australian history more personal - he can now say that he has a great-great-uncle that was killed in action in France during WWI.  That makes it far more 'real' for a kid - and actually, for me too.
  6. Jobs - He's been busy doing jobs to earn money for Scout Job Week - he washed his Pop's car (with help), did some watering & sweeping for my dad, and helped cook tea for my mum.  
So he's had a busy week even if I wasn't recording it!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Embrace Life #2

Last night I nervously turned up to the gym for a new (to me) class - a Punch Fitness class.  It's a non-contact class using boxing & kick-boxing drills.  The instructor paired me up with a lovely lady who was a regular, wrapped my hands with handwraps, told me to take a break whenever I needed it and wished me luck :)

I had to collect a set of focus pads and boxing gloves (pink for the ladies!) when we went into the room.  We started out doing some aerobic warm ups like skipping (with an invisible skipping rope - at least I don't trip on those!), and other footwork, and then got into our pairs.  We spent the next 45-50 mins taking it in turns with the pads and gloves - doing punching and kicking drills.  It was a lot of fun, tough at times and being completely unco didn't help with drills like "cross punch right, left, uppercut right, hook left, then duck"...( and that was one of the easier ones lol).  I had a lovely partner though and she took things nice and slowly for me.  We had to swap partners a few times and once I ended up with one of the big, tough looking men - he was way too fast for me!

We finished up with sit ups, push ups and stretches.  I was expecting to be really sore today, but the hot shower I had last night must've helped as I don't feel too bad.

I'm planning to give it another go next week - hopefully that can replace my irregular gym session.  I've discovered I just don't see the point in walking on a treadmill or riding a bike that doesn't go anywhere, so I haven't been doing the gym sessions as often as I feel I should.  I like this because there's a point to it - learning self-defence moves as well as getting fit.  And it should be a nice supplement to the BodyBalance class!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Auskick, Auskick and more Auskick - and some injuries..

Given that its now Thursday, I've given up the idea of posting a wrap up of last week's learning :)  So I'll just touch on the highlights.

It was basically a week of Auskick.  We'd initially put Billy's name down to go to the Auskick season launch (skills training and game) on the Friday night in Newcastle (1 hr's drive away), and then found out he'd been accepted to go down to Sydney on the Saturday night to play as well.  That's 2 hrs drive away.  And also meant an extra training on Wednesday night.

So it turned out, he played Auskick 3 times last week! 

Unfortunately (coughing a bit here!), I had to stay home on the Wednesday night and get dinner ready, so I missed standing in the cold watching him train (awwww lol).

We drove down (in the rain) on Friday night for the launch - luckily the rain held off while they played, and then started again once we were leaving.  They spent some time practising ball skills under the guidance of the Auskick coaches from Sydney, and then played a quick game.  Followed by a sausage sandwich and poppa (drink) :)

On Saturday we drove down to Sydney, picking up one of Billy's team-mates and his mum along the way.  Pete had been asked to be the team co-ordinator for the night, so he had to find all the kids from our team amongst all of the other Auskick kids waiting around (amongst the almost 31,000 people that were there to watch!).  They got to run onto the SCG at half time in the Sydney Swans vs Brisbane Lions match, and play their game.  Pete got to run on too and be one of the goal umpires, but I've been threatened that any photos with him in it are not for publication :)

Billy's #9 in the red & white jersey below.

They played at the far end of the field from our seats, so I didn't see a lot of the game, but I did get some photos of the action.

It was about 10pm by the time the game finished and we left Sydney.  We dropped the other family off about midnight and then got to my Mum & Dad's house about 12:30.  Billy was so proud that he'd stayed awake the entire time!  *sigh*  You can imagine how much fun he was the next day lol.  We stayed in Mum & Dad's van so we didn't have to wake them up and then spent the day with them on the Sunday while Pete went to a home brew day.

In other highlights of the week (according to the camera's memory card, anyway) - this was what I was greeted with when I picked him up from cubs on Thursday night.

 Luckily, I knew they'd been doing 1st aid training for the night and were going to make fake wounds - otherwise it would've fooled me like it did some of the mums I could hear freaking out :)

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

There's life in this old body yet!

A few weeks ago I made a vow to stop experiencing life from the sidelines.  To stop being the mum sitting watching my son do fun things, and to join in where possible. 

I put it to the test today - Billy went indoor rock-climbing as an organised homeschool activity, and I joined in!  And I'm quite chuffed to say I made it to the top of the wall 3 times on the easiest paths, and made it about 3/4 of the way on a harder overhang section.  It was tough but fun!! 

I'll probably feel it tomorrow though - the muscles are starting to tighten up :)