Saturday, March 31, 2012

Another Busy Week

Another busy week here with more books completed!  If they keep up their pace they will sail through this years curriculum and well into next, eek!

Possum keeping himself busy while we do lessons.
The Tupperware cupboard is always more interesting than toys :)

I meant to include this work sample when Bugsy finished AAS1, but i forgot, oops!

Flossy & Bugsy busy building Snap Circuits which have featured heavily this week.

Bugsy & Flossy using Scratch for the first time, lots of fun!

Bugsy completed Explode the Code 3 1/2 and did a great job.  He is certainly more solid with silent e words the he was after finishing level 3.  He will move into 4 which we are loading onto the iPad, he's very excited.

Sample of Bugsy's work from the final pages of Explode the Code 3 1/2.

Flossy completed Life of Fred Apples 2 weeks ago and i forgot to take a pic.

This week she completed Life of Fred Butterflies.  This has all been review for Flossy but she is enjoying the story line.  I have to say that i feel Life of Fred is so light there is NO WAY it could be an entire curriculum without a significant amount of work from the parent/teacher.  In saying that we are enjoying it and will continue to use it as a fun, engaging supplement.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Math Progression

Here is my basic plan -

Living math throughout all years
Living math books throughout all years including Life of Fred Elementary series and Charlesbridge Math Adventures

Begin Miquon Orange when showing signs of readiness
Miquon Red
Miquon Blue
Miquon Green
Miquon Yellow
Miquon Purple

Whilst working with Miquon red to purple also complete simultaneously
Kumon Word Problems 1, 2 & 3
Kumon Geometry & Measurement 1, 2 & 3

Pit stopping where necessary with Math Mammoth possibly
Add & Subtract 2B
Multiplication 1
Fractions 1
Division 2
Australian Money
(these are areas that i feel may need consolidation after introduction in Miquon)

Whilst working with Miquon Purple begin Beast Academy grade 3
Beast Academy grade 4*
Beast Academy grade 5*

Whilst working with Beast Academy grade 4 & 5
Key to Fractions
Key to Decimals
Key to Percents
Life of Fred Fractions
Life of Fred Decimals & Percents

Art of Problem Solving Pre-Algebra
I am hopeful to begin Pre-Algebra at age 9, 10 or 11 depending on the child.

I'm not prepared to plan any further than that at this stage :)

*Beast Academy 4 & 5 have not yet been released.  If they are not available when we are ready to move on we will most likely pick up Singapore Maths to bridge the gap.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Mini Math Monday

Chicky has been doing so well over the last few weeks, really getting to know her numbers.  Today i thought we would take it up a notch and see how she went.  We've been using various manipulatives to 'play' with the numbers so today i wanted to look at 1-1 correspondence and see how she was grasping it.

The task was simple.  I'd drawn 10 boxes on a clean sheet of paper and labeled them 1 to 10.  The idea was to use a dot marker to place the right number of dots in the box.  Simple enough but when your only 4 and REALLY like to use the dot markers and have a tendency to get carried away, this was a exercise in self restraint too.

Chicky making dots on her chart.

The completed chart, perfect :)

Chicky showed great restraint, carefully making sure that she only put the right number of dots in the box.  She got them all right, yay!  All our playing is coming together.

What have you and your 'mini' been up to this week.  We'd love to take a look, please share a link in the comments.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Animals Live

Can't make it to the zoo to see the penguins?  That's OK, here is a live feed of the 'Penguin Encounter' at Sea World San Diego!  Penguin cam will be live 24 hours a day for March and April, make sure you take a look.

Live broadcast by Ustream

Penguins not your cup of tea?  That's ok, maybe you'd prefer ...

Panda Cam
Polar Cam
Elephant Cam
Ape Cam
Condor Cam

Have fun, your kids will LOVE it!

PS - Don't forget these cameras are in America and live so you will need to make the appropriate time adjustment.

Friday, March 23, 2012


The other day i started my morning routine like usual.  Had breakfast whilst checking my e-mail, Facebook, blogs, forums etc and on my travels i stopped by at Grow, Bake, Run.  My good friend Pam had posted a recipe for Quick Chocolate Pudding.  Well, you know when you can't get a song out of your head, ALL day i was thinking about this recipe.  Just waiting for my little people to go to bed so i could give it a whirl.

Eventually all was quiet and i set to work.  It was very quick to make indeed and very yummy!  It's gone to the top of my list of yummy snacks :)  I could not possibly keep this gem to myself, enjoy.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


After reading Kat's most recent blog post at  Noah's Ark about their experience with Heartfelt it reminded me that i had been meaning to post about their services for quite some time.  I can honestly say "I wish I had known" about their services when Possum was born.

Heartfelt is a volunteer organisation of professional photographers from all over Australia dedicated to giving the gift of photographic memories to families that have experienced stillbirths, premature and ill infants and children in the Neonatal Intensive Care Units of their local hospitals, as well as children with serious and terminal illnesses.   
Heartfelt is dedicated to providing this gift to families in a caring, compassionate manner.
All services are provided free of charge.

Gavin Blue and his team of Heartfelt photographers offer an amazing service!  Unless you have been in this situation yourself you can not possibly imagine how precious these photographs are for families.  Nor can you possibly imagine how special the photographers taking the pictures must be, to willingly walk into such an emotionally charged environment.

To raise awareness and support for their services i encourage everyone to 'Like' their Facebook page.  Can we help them reach 10,000 Likes?  Arm your friends and family with this information now.  Hopefully they will never need to use this service but i would rather that you know, than hear you say "I wish I had known".

Have your tissues handy.

Heartfelt : giving the gift of photographic memories from Gavin Blue on Vimeo.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Flossy's Writing

Flossy started Institute for Excellence in Writing, Student Writing Intensive - A this year.  She watched the first lesson on the DVD and i have to say she didn't think much of it, but her impression changed after watching the second lesson.  She actually said to me today, "Mum, one day can i be in one of his writing classes?"  This from a child who didn't like to write just a few months ago!

We are still right at the beginning of the program and so far i have been very impressed with the quality of work Flossy is producing.  Here is a sample of her work from this past week.

This is the passage provided by IEW.  Flossy has circled words for her outline.

Flossy's outline.

Flossy's draft.  All red writing is from editing, the passage was edited together.

The final product.  Flossy typed this up on the computer herself and we added the picture together.

I really look forward to seeing how she progresses with the program.  I think she has started strongly and at the pace we are taking the program it is not overwhelming at all.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Amazing Babies

I have the pleasure of knowing these families personally.  Have your tissues ready.

Baby Blake was one of Possum's neighbours in NICU.

Tracey was the guest speaker at this years HeartKids Heart to Heart Ball.  Unfortunately i was not able to attend and see the speech in person but as soon as it was available i watched online.

I have the pleasure of working with both Bronwyn (Baby Blake's Mum) and Tracey through Miracle Babies Foundation.  They are truly amazing, inspirational women!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Mini Math Monday

This week Chicky and I cracked out the c-rods.  She built steps using the rods and we talked about their size and gave them numbers.

Chicky completing her steps.

Chicky using Raspberry Tort to climb up and down the steps.

Chicky used Raspberry Tort as a helper because she was just the right size.  She climbed up and down the stairs and we counted the steps as we went.  When counting down from 10 to 1 we pretended Raspberry Tort was about the blast off like a rocket ship :)

What have you and your 'mini' been up to this week?  Don't forget to leave a link in our comments to we can take a peek.


Sunday, March 18, 2012


I've just come across two excellent posts on planning out your own history/literature program so that you can make it exactly what you want it to be.  I'm putting the links here so they don't get lost in my bookmarks because i want to be able to come back to them later in the year and use their words of wisdom.

We do our own thing now, but it's not nearly as a complete or cohesive as i would like moving forward.  Especially with Flossy heading for the logic stage and wanting to keep everyone in the same history period but cater to each child.
The second post in this thread is a real winner in my opinion.

Hope this might help some of my homeschooling friends :)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

There's no stopping them!

We seem to be on a roll finishing things at the moment.  The kids have all been working really well, and really hard so far this year.

Bugsy completed All About Spelling Level 1.  This has been hard work for Bugsy and has taken him a very long time to get through.  He is not a natural speller nor is he a natural reader.  It's hard work!  He is getting there.  He has started to realise that different letters or letter combinations can make the same sounds and with spelling you have to decide which to use.  It's kind of like solving a puzzle, there is only one right way (expect for those commonly accepted American words, but we are not going there yet!).

Chicky completed the first Handwriting Without Tears book Get Set for School.  This is a great, gentle introduction to printing.  We have never used this book before but i am really impressed with the foundation it has given Chicky.  She will be moving on to Letters and Numbers for Me on Monday.  She's really looking forward to it.  Below you can see a sample of her work from the final pages of the book.

So as a reward for all their hard work went to ...

and the kids had Squashed Frogs and Fluffy Koalas :D

Thursday, March 15, 2012

2 Big Days for Possum

DAY 1 - Possum's First Haircut

Possum had his very first haircut today and went from this .....

OK, this one was taken a few weeks ago but you get the idea.

to this :-)

Sorry for the grubby face.  The tape leaves a 
nasty residue which seems to last for days :(

He was very brave, no tears at all and he didn't seem to mind the noise of the clippers.  We did Bugsy's hair first so we could gauge if he was going to meltdown with the noise but he was fine.  It was easiest not to try and hold him still but to let him down standing at the edge of the bath.  It's one of his favorite places to be!  He was well rewarded with a bath afterward to get rid of all the little bits of hair stuck to him.

My boys sporting new haircuts.

DAY 2 - Oxygen Therapy to be Ceased Immediately

That is what the respiratory pediatrician said to me today at Possum's review.  Wow!!  Way to go Possum!  He's been so busy growing and getting stronger since his heart surgery which happened to be 1 year ago today.

In February we had a sleep study and the results said that Possum maintained a mean oxygen saturation of 97% overnight with the lowest recording being 91%.  This is amazing considering during his first study his mean was 91%.  He had 50 episodes of central apnoea but the longest episode was only 8.6 seconds so they are not of any concern, and very normal in children who were born as early as Possum was.

It's very exciting.  Hopefully Possum will adjust well and begin to sleep better at night not having the cannular to deal with and oxygen blowing up his nose.

The Dr was quick to point out that this year will be very testing on Possum's overall health.  He will not receive the RSV jabs this winter, nor will he have the respite of oxygen at night.  We will need to remain vigilant about only socializing with healthy people and avoiding crowds over the winter months.  A small price to pay to keep my little boy healthy.  I'm so glad that we homeschool and don't have to deal with all the classroom bugs!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Chicky is moving along

Not to be outdone by Flossy and Bugsy, Chicky has been working hard too.  Today she completed Get Ready for the Code A.  This is her VERY first completed workbook for homeschooling!  She was VERY excited about it.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Mini Math Monday

Today Chicky and I were looking at odd's and even's.  The task was to put out number cards from 0 to 10 and then put some counting bears under each card.  Everytime there were 2 bears they held hands.  The one left over was the 'odd' one, so that number was odd.  When all the bears had friends to hold hands with it was an 'even' number.

Chicky was not very impressed that i wanted to photograph her work today :(

See how the bears held hands to make a pair.  The pics only show 0-4 but we did work all the way to 10.

What have you and your 'mini' been up to this week?  Please leave a link to your blog in the comments so we can check it out :)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

AAS Level 4 - Done & Dusted

Flossy screamed through Level 4 of All About Spelling.  I really dropped the ball with this one last year.  The first half of the year i was swamped with Possum and the second half of the year i just couldn't get our days to flow nicely enough to have time consistently, to get this done.  This year it's all changed and we are working on AAS EVERY day!

I expect that we will scream through Level 5 which we are starting tomorrow and i am waiting until Level 7 is out before i order Level's 6 & 7.  We could be done with AAS by the end of the year!  After that ... well, I'm considering a few options - Bravewriter's Arrow and Simply Charlotte Mason's Spelling Wisdom are at the top of my list.  I will definitely be going with a dictation style program I'm just not sure which yet.  If you've used either of these programs, or another dictation program i'd love to hear what you think of them.

Amber xx

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Bugsy Conquers Level 4

He's just completed Level 4 of the I See Sam Readers and feeling VERY proud of himself, and so he should!  He has been working hard on reading for a while.  He's really blossomed through this level and is picking up picture books and trying to read them and has recently found Zac Power and is really enjoying them.  OK, I know Zac Power is twaddle but sometimes it's OK to go there if your igniting the passion.  Well, i think it is anyway.  He's reading them aloud and he still needs quite a bit of help but he actually wants to read in his own time as opposed to just reading when i ask him too for 'school'.

I'm looking for some more 'boy' readers.  Got any suggestions for me?  I'm going to check out Henry & Mudge and we've got a few Magic Tree House books but i don't think he's ready for those yet.

Amber xx

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Attacking Communication

Ever feel like your waging a war?  I do continually with Possum.  The latest battle front is communication.  Possum had his 12m corrected growth and development review back in January and whilst he did VERY well over all, his communication skills are behind.  He is now 17m old and his hearing and language skills were evaluated as being equivalent to a 10m old.

Possum doesn't have any words.  He can't identify objects if you asks 'Where's the block?'  He doesn't point to things he wants.  He will shake his head if he doesn't want food in the highchair.  He will put his arms up to be picked up.  He has finally started clapping and waving although it's more the realisation that he can actually do the gesture than using it in context.

So we are launching an attack.  I've been using some signs with him for quite a while and he hasn't really responded yet but now we are going to up the ante.  I can see that he is becoming frustrated at times that we have no idea what he wants.  He needs a way to communicate with us.  I'm hoping that with everyone on board with signing he will start signing back soon.

I picked up a book, The Makaton Vocabulary (Auslan Edition) at the library and ordered a couple of DVD's online, Sign Baby and Hands Up and Sing.  Everything is here and we have made a start.  All of the children enjoyed the first couple of run throughs of Hands Up and Sing.  The big kids have each picked up a few signs after only 2 viewings.  Possum however doesn't sit still long enough to see anything LOL.  We will see where it takes us.

We are meeting with a speechie in the next few weeks and i will be interested to see what her 'plan' is.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Mini Math Monday

I'm starting something new!  My challenge is to post something mathy for my 'mini' (that would be Chicky) on Monday's.  It will just be a brief post to let you know something we enjoyed over the week.  I'm hoping a few people might also blog what they are doing with their 'mini' as i love sharing ideas and being inspired by others :)  Please leave a link to your post in the comments section so people can check out your blog too.

Mini Math Monday

First Chicky put all the Rightstart craft stick cards in order.

Then we put our own craft sticks underneath, following the patterns of making gates and fence posts.  We talked about how many fence posts made a gate and how many extra fence posts we had for numbers like 6, 7, 8 & 9.

Chicky completed all her gates and fence posts.  Bugsy (the class clown) was watching on.

For me it's important that my kids have a deeper understanding of what a number actually represents.  I want them to know that 7 is 5 and 2 or 4 and 3 or 6 and 1.  I want them to automatically recognise that.  If they have that deeper level of understanding then when it comes to addition and multiplication it is so much easier to break off a chunk of one number and add it to the next to make a 5 or a 10 which will ultimately assist you since 5 and 10 are much easier units to work with.

Hope you enjoyed our first 'Mini Math Monday'.  We look forward to seeing what you and your 'mini' are up to.


Friday, March 2, 2012

Guy Fawkes - Fun in History

Some people love to plan.  I like to have a plan, but i never stick to it.  So, i've given up having a proper plan and instead work to our natural rhythm and remind myself that homeschooling is a marathon, not a sprint.  Today I knew we would cover history but i didn't have any idea exactly how it would unfold...

We started off reading from Story of the World 3.  Today's section covered King James VI of Scotland and Guy Fawkes.  The kids thought it was great but when it came time to see what was in the activity book they were very disappointed to find there was no colouring in page for this section :(  I set up Bugsy and Chicky to draw pictures of a bon fire and fireworks whilst I did a narration with Flossy.  It was an awesome CM style narration.

While she was busy copying her narration into her history notebook i quickly looked at the activity suggestions feeling like the kids had been short changed with no colouring in page.  I came across Parkin, so off we went to the kitchen and made some Parkin.  It was in the oven by lunchtime and ready for afternoon tea.  Everyone LOVED it!

Whilst having lunch i thought, hmm, wonder if anyone's got some filming of their bon fire or fireworks on You Tube.  I just put in Guy Fawkes and was offered a plethora of clips along with one from BBC.  We watched it and the kids LOVED it!  In all honestly you'd want to pre-watch this one, it's definitely PGR.

Who knew that was how our day would unfold when we got started this morning.  What a great day!  I love homeschooling :-)

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