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Why We Don't Celebrate Australia Day........................... And What We Do Instead.

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One of the first trips we took when we began homeschooling 5 years ago was to the Northern Territory. We spent time with good friends and immersed ourselves in Aboriginal culture. We learnt so much about the beauty of one of the oldest cultures in the world. 

But I was ashamed to admit that most of what I learnt was new to me. 

I don't remember learning about the stolen generation in school or that the Aboriginal people killed / massacred by the colonists numbered in the hundreds of thousands wiping out entire languages and tribes. I don't remember learning about how colonists actively infected the Aboriginal people with disease in an attempt to wipe them out. I didn't know that almost 100% of Tasmanian Aboriginal people were murdered. I didn't know that white people introduced alcohol into Aboriginal communities as a way to manipulate and control the Aboriginal people. 


This new knowledge seemed to cast a shadow on the idea that the first settlers were heroic pioneers th…

First Year - A Look At Our Homeschool

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I must say I'm much more relaxed about my third child officially beginning homeschooling than I was with the others. I've observed in my other kids an amazing ability to learn through play and in the freedom of exploration that homeschooling offers. Therefore, I trust that he will continue to learn in the same way so no need for a formal curriculum just yet.


Reading
DS5 showed readiness to read when he was 3 when he learnt the alphabet while we were doing an alphabet puzzle together and knew all his letters from that day forward! I then set him up with a reading eggs account and purchased some simple readers and we were off. I advocate watching for signs of children's readiness to read before introducing reading. I was in no rush to teach my children to read but found that my firstborn actually taught himself to read with very little prompting - I just provided some books and alphabet games! It made me realise that some kids WANT to learn to read when they are young and we a…

Year 2 - A Look At Our Homeschool

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DS7 will be in year 2 this year. He has always been advanced so this may not look like your average year 2 curriculum. This is why homeschooling is awesome for him as he gets to work at his own pace and no one teases him because he can do freaky things with numbers in his head!

When homeschooling gifted children they become less defined by academic ability and more by character which is so important. We knew the day he got offered a scholarship to a prestigious school  that if he grew up in that environment that he would learn to define himself by his academic ability not who he was as a person. We chose homeschooling because we want more for our kids than just academic achievement - we want them to grow up to be people of integrity, compassion and empathy for others and with a strong sense of who they are and why they are here on this planet!

Literacy

DS7's reading list.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid series Zac Power seriesAbeka booksPilgrims progressThe chronicles of Narnia
+ anything else th…

Year 4 - A Look At Our Homeschool

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Because I like a sticky beak into what other homeschoolers are doing with kids who are a similar age to my own, I thought I'd do this post for any other sticky beaks out there!

My nearly 9 year old will be in year 4 in 2015. His strong-willed, independent and highly innovative nature means he isn't the 'sit compliantly and complete your worksheet' kinda kid. This is exactly why homeschooling is such a great fit for him. He still has tasks to complete and persistence to develop but has plenty of time to explore his own interests and express his creativity. 

Literacy

DS9 is an avid reader. At the end of last year he decided he wanted to read The Hobbit. We managed to find a copy in two parts to make it less of an ordeal. As a follow on he wants to read the Lord of the rings trilogy. Certainly not my cup of tea but if he can read it and comprehend it, then hats off to him! 



In 2014 we read the chronicles of Narnia as a family read-aloud. We LOVED it. I want to continue thi…

Why I Chose Skwirk For Homeschooling

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Over the years we've used a few different online learning resources but I'm particularly excited about trying something NEW for 2015.

Skwirk has had a make-over and quite frankly, it's awesome. There is nothing quite like it around at the moment and it has some great functions that work well with homeschooling. It provides animation based lessons for younger ones as well as great options for independent learning for older kids all the way up to year 10.

As an educational tool it is aligned with the Australian curriculum so if that's important to you, or you just like to occasionally see where your kids sit in relation to their peers (like I do) this is a good thing.

The subjects it includes are maths, English, science, geography and history.

My plan was to use this for my 5 year old who is 'technically' in his first year of school next year. However, once I learnt all the features of the program I'm thinking it will be a great resource for encouraging some…

Learning To Relax - A Day In Our Homeschool!

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At the beginning of this year I sensed the need to relax in my homeschooling approach.

I felt that less structure and more freedom would result in a more positive experience for us all.  I can hear the more experienced homeschoolers saying, "I told you so!".

The two areas that are important to us as a homeschooling family are:


Freedom to explore interests, be creative and LOVE learning

To develop self-discipline and ability to persist with difficult, unpleasant tasks to prepare them for life

Initially, we trialled a very relaxed approach. But I found that although they were abounding in creativity they weren't being persistent and were giving up on tasks easily. It made me realise that in order to prepare them for the future e.g possible University life and work that they needed to learn self-discipline. 

In order to be successful the ability to be both consistent and persistent are important. So persisting through difficult maths questions or getting frustrated with spelling …

It's HARD to "Train up a child in the way he should go.."

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The other morning my day began in tears, my tears. I awoke to the sound of high pitched squeals, aggressive voices and unkind words. Like most parents, I don't like when my children fight. I'm not a morning person at the best of times but that day, I lost it. I lost my marbles, my cool, my common decency.. I was overwhelmed. See, justified or not, I take misbehavior personally. I see my own inadequacies and failings when I observe undesirable behavior in my own children.

I don't expect perfection and misbehavior is always an opportunity for character development but I take the task of raising children very seriously. Why? Because I know that my children are a gift from God and that he has given me the task of 'training' them. As long as I rely on him, he gives me the strength to rise to the challenge but I have to keep my eyes fixed on him and remember why he has given my children in the first place.

God's design for parents = Training


"Do not exasperate yo…