Tuesday, 30 September 2008

8 years of marriage

Today was the eighth anniversary of my marriage to Jeffrey.

He came home in the afternoon with four pink proteas and one white one. These are the same flowers I carried in my bouquet those many years ago. I am so touched by his thoughtfulness.And despite the fact that we've spent much of the last week upset and arguing as we struggled with a very frustrating decision (more on that in another post), I am terribly terribly glad that I am married to this man. Jeff is kind and caring. He is strong and clever. He has a deep faith in God and it has made a huge difference in his life, with everyday things as well as with major life choices.

The last eight years of my life has been amazing. We've bought a house, and sold it to move interstate. We've had two boys, and two girls. We've both quit our jobs, me to become a homemaker and him to become a theological student, and he's now almost about to begin a new job. We've travelled overseas, and not just on our honeymoon. (We took three kids under three with us to England and Singapore.) We've taught our eldest children the foundations of reading, but we've also taught them the foundations of compassion and respect. I've learnt to cook without too much complaint, and Jeff has learnt to change pooey nappies without too much commentary. We've both learnt the value of sharing our problems as well as our successes. We've learnt a lot about God, much of it through discussing together what we've read in the Bible or heard from the pulpit. We've had fun with our kids and shared many secret smiles over their cutenesses.

I can only wonder at the possibilities of the next eight years of our marriage. Jeff is (probably) about to begin two or three years of being a "Candidate for Minister of the Word" in our denomination, which will entail more study, although it will be part time, and some more part time work at various churches and denominational organisations. Then (God willing!) he will begin as "Minister of the Word" with his first congregation. Our denomination usually makes placements for multiples of five years (with reviews between), so in eight years' time Jeff could be facing the review at the end of his first congregational placement. I never, never, never would have imagined I would find myself married to a minister. I was a pagan when I walked down the aisle to be married to him. One of the best things that has come from my marriage is that I met the LORD God face to face in His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, and was given the faith to place my life in His holy and gentle hands. Thank you God for the many blessings you have given me through my eight years of marriage to Jeff. Please help me to be a blessing to him as well!

Monday, 29 September 2008

Entrepreneurial adventures

Joshua has really enjoyed attending Anchor Boys this last term. Each night, there is a short devotion, which is part object lesson and part Bible story with application. The entire term their Skipper has been focusing on the idea that, despite being young, they are all able to serve God. The last week of term the topic was "Serving God with our money". Joshua has never really had any money of his own (we don't give pocket money). But full of the idea that if he had some, he could use his own money to serve God, this week Joshua decided to earn some money of his own. He was all ready to collect his earnings as the boys had made simple money boxes in the craft time at Anchor Boys that night.

So he has been collecting lemons from our tree and this Saturday, he and I went door to door down our street, offering "fresh, homegrown lemons" for sale for 20 cents. Surprisingly, not only did everyone who answered their door buy at least one lemon, we also had people give more than the asking price. One gentleman even gave him one dollar extra for his enterprising spirit! (It was a great opportunity for me to introduce myself to a few people who have moved into our street in the last few months as well.) Having also sold a few lemons to some of our dinner guests from Friday, Joshua earned $4.25 in his first week!

During the week Joshua had also made some envelopes in which to place his offering for church. On Sunday morning, we counted his money with him and explained how to work out what was reasonable to give: 10 cents for every (whole) dollar. We explained that God does not want us to give beyond our means and leave us destitute, but neither does He want us to be stingy with money that has, originally, come from Him. So Joshua worked out he would give 40 cents, and selected four 10 cent coins. He then wrote from Joshua to God on his envelope, drew a flower on it as well, placed his coins inside, and carefully stuck it together with sticky tape.
When we got to church on Sunday, there was some impatience! After almost every song or prayer I heard a whispered, "Is it time for the offering yet?" from either Joshua or the keenly watching Anna. When the offering bag finally came around, Joshua was very pleased with himself as he placed his envelope into the bag. And I was very proud of my little boy who has shown his desire to earn money so that he can gift it back to His God.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Streamlining Homeschooling

A few nights ago Jeff expressed concern that I wouln't be able to keep up with the demands of homeschooling as the kids get older and the younger ones join in more. There are just so many jobs to do, even aside from the homeschooling. Being a good wife, mother and homemaker takes time and energy, and I think Jeff is concerned I don't have enough to do everything I plan to do.

So does anyone have practical suggestions for streamlining homeschooling, other than just to buy a complete curriculum? I have some ideas already:

~ Buy some interleaved books from the teacher supply store with appropriate writing lines (I think they use "dotted thirds" in the schools here. I'd rather loose leaf paper than books but I don't think it's available here. The kids can do all their copywork, dictation, narration writing etc in the same book if they need to. Just having this, rather than using printed "notebook" pages which are slightly different for every task will cut down on time heaps.

~ When we want to illustrate our work using pictures from books, the kids can cut out photocopied pictures and glue them into their books rather than me scanning them and printing them together with lined paper as I have been doing this year. This would be good practice for them and help me to keep my obsessive nature under control!

~ History will of course be done with the Joshua and Anna together next year, and Abigail will join them when she drops her afternoon nap around the time she turns 4. I'm planning to use Story of the World and the Activity Guide that goes with it. I don't think we'll be using too much in the way of extra reading materials as recommended in the Activity Guide, unless they get really interested, because I think the main book is sufficient and probably way more than they'd be getting in a school.

~ I need to get a single book program for Science. Jeff's not keen on some of the Christian programs I've checked out, but they seem to be the only ones which provide enough information. The secular ones designed for the schools here are, in my experience, severely lacking in the amount of information they provide. Perhaps I will need to get some books from DK and we can work through them as The Well-Trained Mind suggests. I might have to get it back off the shelf and read through some of it again. But I don't want this to be difficult. Going to the library regularly for non-fiction books has worked this year, but there have been times when I've wished I had all the information together in one place.

~ I need to spend less time on the sticky wwweb. I've just culled my "blogs I read" list (this was really really hard) and also de-subscribed to several homeschooling yahoo groups and gone web-only rather than daily digest with another. I really love that particular group, and have been on it for years, but I do tend to feel obligated to read everything rather than just reading when I have time. I will need to be more disciplined about my blogging as well.

~ I need to stick to reading what I have planned to read and not reading the extra stuff that catches my attention. There are only so many reading hours in the day!

~ I need to go to bed earlier so I can wake up earlier. Days always go smoother when I wake up at 6am and read my Bible before the kids wake up, rather than playing catch-up throughout the day because I got up after them and still haven't spent quality time with my LORD.

~ In order to go to bed earlier I need to watch less TV. Truth to tell, I've been watching a lot of TV lately just to be near Jeff while he watches it (he likes to use the TV to wind down in the evenings). I just need to bite the bullet and realise that my time with him during the rest of the next day will be better quality if I'm in bed early in the evening rather than late at night after sitting next to him on the couch.

~ In all things, I need to be more self-disciplined and just do the next thing.

So, any other ideas? Non-homeschooling ideas that will help free up more time for homeschooling are welcome.

(Image from sxc.hu)

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Grimms' fairy tales


Elements of a fairy tale chart.

Thanks to Trivium Academy for pointing me back to fairy tales!

Friday, 19 September 2008

Tigers of Asia

National Geographic has information on tigers and they have colouring pictures as well.

The Siberian (Amur) tiger, Panthera tigris altaica is found in the extreme south east of Russia as well as some parts of northern China and Korea. It lives in woodlands which are snowy for much of the year.

The Bengal tiger, Panthera tigris tigris has it's largest population in hot and humid mangrove forests of India and is also found in Bhuta, Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar.
Some Bengal tigers are "White" - they have a creamy white coat with brown stripes which are not as dark as normal Bengal tiger stripes.

The Malayan (Indochinese) tiger, Panthera tigris corbetti, lives in Thailand, southern China, Myanmar (Burma), Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. They live in mountainous regions.

The South China tiger, Panthera tigris amoyensis is the most endangered tiger species, being found in the southern and eastern woodlands and plains of China, but only very rarely seen.

The Sunatran tiger, Panthera tigris sumatrae live only on the island of Sumatra, in Indonesia. They live in mountainous and lowland forests and have the darkest coat of any tiger. They are also very endangered.

The Bali, Javan and Caspian tiger sub-species all became extinct during the 1900s.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Narrations from Chinese folk tales

Anna's narration of The Five Chinese Brothers by Claire Huchet Bishop:

The first Chinese brother went fishing. One day he swallowed up the sea. The first Chinese brother got some fish while he was still holding the water in his mouth. He made signs to make the little boy come back. But the little boy did not come back. The first Chinese brother thought he was going to burst. The water forced its way out of his mouth and went back to its bed. The little boy disappeared. The boy got drowned.

He got put in prison and on the day of the execution, he said to the judge, “Would you let me bid my mother good-bye?” “It’s only fair.” So the first Chinese brother went home and the second Chinese brother came back.

The executioner took a mighty blow ,but the second Chinese brother got up and smiled. His neck was made of iron and it could not be cut off. They decided he should be thrown into the water.

On the morning of the execution he said, “Would you let me bid my mother good-bye?” So the second Chinese brother went home and the third Chinese brother came back.

When they were far out to sea they threw the third Chinese brother into the sea. He began to stretch and stretch his legs down to the bottom of the sea, becoming deeper and deeper and deeper, for he was the one who could not be drowned. His smiling face bobbed up and down on the waves. Oh-oh. They decided he should be burned.

The next day of the execution, he said to the judge, “Would you let me bid my mother good-by?” So the fourth Chinese brother came back in his place.

He was tied to a stake and all the people stood around it. They heard him say in the fire, “It’s quite pleasant here”, and the people said, “Bring some more wood!” The fire grew higher and higher and higher and higher and they heard him say, “It’s quite comfortable here”, for he was the one who could not be burned. So they decided to smother him.

The fifth Chinese brother came back in his place.

They made a brick oven. He was put in the oven to smother him. It was filled with whipped cream. They stayed for an afternoon and the night to make sure. In the morning they took him out. He shook his head and said, “That was a good sleep.” The judge said, “You must be innocent.” “Yes, yes, yes!” cried the people.

Now the five Chinese brothers and their mother all live happily ever after.

Joshua's narration of Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel:

One day while the boys were playing around the well and on it, Chang fell. Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo ran to the old man sitting down with the ladder and said, “Chang has fallen into the bottom of the stone well.” He pumped the water out of him and pushed the air into him, pumped the water out of him and pushed the air into him, until he was good as new.

They had a party to celebrate Chang coming out of the well. Until the ninth moon of the festival, they ran to the stone well with their rice cakes and also played on it and Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo fell into the stone well.

Chang ran as fast as his little legs could carry him to his mother. He said to his mother, “Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo... pip pip has fallen in to the well.” “My son speak your brother’s name with reverence!” “Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo has fallen into the bottom of the stone well.”

He ran all the way to the old man with the ladder and he said to him, “Old man with a ladder, please come and fish my brother out!” The old man said, “You’ve destroyed my dream, I was dreaming of a purple mist. So, your mother’s Precious Pearl has fallen into the well.”

Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo stayed in the well for so long it was a thousand nights before he got back to proper.

And ever since, Chinese parents always think it wise to give their kids short names, little ones.

[Cover images from http://lili-bee.com/Bookshelf%20Page.htm.]

I love playgrounds with fences

Especially if they have a seat for parents to sit on.

And if you can buy coffee nearby and get a free newspaper to peruse while the children don't wander off, well, that's pretty much my idea of a mother's paradise.

We had a leisurely breakfast at McDs this morning. It was sooo nice.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Happy Bloggy Birthday

Today this blog is officially one year old. Hooray! My first post was very short, unlike so many of the later ones.

I thought for my birthday post I might go back and comment again on my purpose in home educating our four kids.

As you can see under our home school crest, our purpose is "Equipping the children of our family to do the good works which God has prepared in advance for them to do", which is taken from Ephesians 2:10. This verse is referring to good works which God has foreordained for the lives of any of our children who, by the grace of God, become Christians. It is God's workmanship which ultimately will enable my children to do good works, because apart from the regeneration of God they are unable to do any good thing (Romans 3:12).

Therefore, it might seem strange and even presumptuous to plan to have any role in equipping my children for such holy service. Yet it is true in all things, that while God is sovereign, He chooses to work through human hands to achieve His purposes. (For an example, read Judges 9.) And so I home school in the knowledge that God is using me to form and shape my children into the people He wants them to be. They are His workmanship, but He is using me to mold them. They will do good in their lives according to the plan He has for them, but they will do so using the skills, knowledge, understanding and wisdom they gained from me as their teacher. I am thankful that God has chosen me for this task. And a little in awe.

Those days when I think things are difficult and we're not getting anywhere, it helps to realise the real Head Teacher of Equip Academy is the LORD Almighty. I am so thankful and glad He's in charge.

PS Happy Bloggy birthday to Amy at Veritas at Home as well!

(picture from sxc.hu)

Monday, 15 September 2008

Weekly Report 2008:33

Last week went very well, almost completely according to plan. Amazing!

Circle Time
We read stories of Joseph and his brothers and what happened in Egypt. We left out the bit about Potiphar's wife, but didn't have time for it even if it had passed the toddler-level censor. I overheard Anna singing the first four lines of "How deep the Father's love for us..." this morning so the first verse must have sunk in. I do think it's a bit slow for them, they don't seem as keen on it as the previous two or three songs. Jeff has been leading Circle Time a lot lately and I really appreciate his succinct applications and prayers at the end. We're learning two memory verses at the moment: Phil 2:14-16a (to counteract whinging) and Genesis 45:8 "So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God..." from the story of Joseph.

Joshua is reading through the fifth (last) box of Bob Books half a book at a time, so he read book 3 and 4 last week. Anna has begun reading from the third set and is steaming ahead having read 1-4 last week. She seems to be picking up sight words (phonetic, but not using rules she's learnt yet) such as "was" and "saw" much faster than Joshua did. I am not sure if this reflects her better blending skill or her greater familiarity with the flow of words in stories. Either way, it definitely reflects her fascination with stories.
We didn't manage to do penmanship on Monday but the rest of the week went okay. I have increased the amount of writing Joshua is doing and it may be a bit to demanding for him. He's doing six lines (large writing, they take up a page with my three lines of writing to copy) or less. He did a fantastic narration of Dot and the Kangaroo on Tuesday. Anna didn't do a narration of it, we just couldn't fit it in. Oh well.

The kids are loving The Wizard of Oz. We read chapters 6 through to 14 last week, even with Joshua going out to Anchor Boys and Karate different nights of the week.
We picked up some picture books of Asian folk tales from the library on Tuesday and the kdis all adore Tikki Tikki Tembo ("retold" by Arlene Mosel and illustrated by Blair Lent), which I picked out because I remember it from my childhood. I have also ordered The Five Chinese Brothers (by Claire Huchet Bishop and illustrated by Kurt Wiese, who also illustrated The Story About Ping) through interlibrary loan.
The kids can now recite "Toad's Last Little Song" well, and really enjoy it. Even Abigail asks to recite poetry at other times, such as at bedtime. I'm so glad I thought of adding this into our day, because poetry has become a wonderful thing to share together.

We've begun Earlybird Mathematics 2B! We did the first half of the first "lesson", which is quite a long one. We're doing one page a day (three times a week, we do something different on Friday) and it seems to be moving very slowly with single-digit addition, but I am going as slowly as the book rather than let them move quickly because there's no reason to rush and I want to be sure they both get it. So far, they've had no problems with understanding what the + and = signs mean, so I'm pleased with that. We did a lot of extra problems on the magnetic sketchpad and our little white board, which they both enjoyed. Joshua can handle bigger sums in his head, I've noticed. Anna is fine with addends of 1-3 but she struggles if there's a 4 in the problem (mentally, with an image or fingers or whatever she does fine).
I've been trying to do addition sums with the kids when we've been out and about as well, with real objects to add together to help them with more examples.

We went to the library on Tuesday and checked out a few books on Asian animals and folktales. I couldn't find anything on Pandas to my dismay but did find a book on the Siberian Tiger which we have a DVD about. We spent a day or two looking through the kids' atlases pages on Asia, and read a few books of folktales. I want the kids to be able to identify Indonesia and Singapore in particular because their Grandpa lives in Jakarta (Indonesia) and their Aunt immigrated to Australia from Singapore when she married Jeff's brother, so we have family connections with those countries. Of course, they've heard a lot about China in the last few weeks with the Olympics, so we're learning a bit about that as well.
Joshua and Anna went on a "bug hunt" with Joshua's magnifying glass one afternoon and came back inside having drawn some cute pictures (crayon, hardly any detail) of a spider, a beetle and an ant. Then Joshua treated Jeff and I to a spontaneous narration about insects, including the insight that "ants live in burrow nests underground. They like to burrow in cracks between the bricks. They prefer to burrow in sand, and especially like orange sand." This insight was based on the large number of ant sand piles we have in our undercover area outside, where there is obviously orange bricklayer sand underneath the bricks, rather than the white-grey sand of the yard and sandpit areas. The orange ant piles on the brown bricks are much more obvious than any ant piles elsewhere in the yard. What an investigator!

Pipe cleaner and plastic spoon insects, with the idea courtesy of Play School, were the hit of the week craft-wise. Abigail loved being able to join in with the tracing page as well. Her efforts were enough to tell me she has quite a way to go developmentally before she'll be able to join the bigger kids for penmanship! (Not that I didn't know that already.)

Outside Time
I have loved the warmer weather and sunny skies of the last week and the kids have flourished in their outside times. I am so glad we can finally get back out. They are settling much better at bedtime as a result of all the time outside and we've had a few more chats with neighbours than usual because they're out in their yards as well.

Evening Actvities
Joshua enjoyed both Anchor Boys and Karate this week. I was greatly saddened on Friday to realise I have another two badges to sew on - one for Joshua and one for Jeff for their Karate uniforms. Somehow it slipped my mind previously... I have no idea how!

Thursday, 11 September 2008

A poem by Edith Nesbit

From the dedication page of Five Children and It:

My Lamb, you are so very small,
You have not learned to read at all,
Yet never a printed book withstands
The urgence of your dimpled hands.
So, though this book is for yourself,
Let mother keep it on the shelf
Till you can read. O days that pass,
That day will come too soon, alas!

This is exactly how I feel about so many of our books!

(Image from Dymocks.)

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Dealing with whinging

Over the last few months Joshua's whinging has become worse. He does have good and bad days - or rather,bad and worse days - but there has been a steady downward progression. The girls can both be stubborn and everyone has been answering back a lot lately. They are never outright rude but can say things that are very disrespectful, such as "I hate you Mummy", or simply pull their "chook's bum face" and say "No!" They do obey instructions, but it is with much grumbling and downcast face.

I have been thinking a lot about how best to deal with this escalating situation. I know that I do need to start requiring first time obedience, that is, that they come to me immediately when I call their name. But I think I also need to teach them something about the whys and wherefores of this whole obedience thing. Children are told in the Bible, (Ephesians 6:1) "Obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right." They are also told (Colossians 3:20) "Obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord." These verses tell us and our children the what and why of obedience. So we, the parents, know that we should hold this standard before our children. But my children need to know more than the actual rule of obedience. They need to be taught what attitude they should adopt when obeying.

So the children and I are learning the following verses together. Philippians 2:14-16a tells us, "Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life." (So far, we've learnt up to "without fault".) This verse is helpful to us because it tells us in what manner children should obey their parents (and in what manner wives should obey their husbands, or the inner prompting of the Holy Spirit): without complaining or arguing. No grumbling!

Not only that, but this verse explains why we should do everything without complaining: so that we may be the people God wants us to be, people who are righteous and perfect; according to God's standards, we are to be blameless. Furthermore, as we do things without complaining and arguing, we will shine like stars beside those who do not behave in such a way: the difference will be readily apparent between us and those who are not cheerfully obedient. We will be lights which point people to Jesus. Indeed, our obedience given without complaint or argument will enable us to effectively evangelise our friends and acquaintances, as we share with them the good news of eternal life through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. Wow!

These verses have given us magnificent inspiration for doing all things in a manner worthy of Jesus Christ, who died so that we might be justified before God's throne of judgement. I know that I am encouraged by my own words of exhortation to my children as I have repeated these verses many times over the past few days. And there has been a noticeable improvement in the children's attitudes, especially Joshua's. He has really been making an effort to do things without his usual whinge, and has stopped whinging very quickly when I have reminded him of the verse.

I must admit, I have also accompanied this doctrinal teaching with some earthly rewards: I've been giving the kids little yellow smiley stickers when I notice them being cheerfully obedient. Throughout the day, each successive sticker they get is slightly bigger than the last, symbolising just how good their attitude has been. Each new day, they start again with small stickers. They're competing to be the one child who can get the biggest smiley face of the whole page of stickers. I'm really pleased that this uniting of reward with reason is having the desired effect on their behaviour.

The best thing from my perspective, though, is that I am being challenged and drawn on to a better attitude myself. I too am trying to "do everything without complaining or arguing." You should have seen me last night, cleaning the disgracefully dirty floor (underneath where the washing machine had been up until it was moved to the garage for repairs yesterday). I just got right on with the job. The Holy Spirit is doing a mighty work in me this week!

(Image from Usenet.)

"I look like Livabef"

We're putting Abigail's hair in two side plaits at night now to avoid tangles.

Joshua's comment: "If you brush it, it won't be crooked any more."

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Narration of Dot and the Kangaroo

Joshua gave the following narration of Dot and the Kangaroo by Ethel Pedley this morning:

Dot went into a forest. A kangaroo met her and then bounded away and got some berries. And Dot ate them.
She said, “thanks, could I please have some water?”
“Yes,” said the kangaroo, “but the nearest water hole is a long way off so we’d better get started.”
Dot began to get tired. “I wonder why you humans are made so badly,” said the kangaroo. “Get into my pouch. Okay, we’re off.”
Two birds were frightened. They said, “we’re so thirsty!” And they sang a song. They cried. Then they said to the kangaroo, “could you please go a little bit closer?”
She said, “of course” and went a little bit closer and said, “I think you’re safe now.” And a lot of animals came and Dot came and drank from the water.
Then Dot lifted up the kangaroo’s ear and asked, “can we go somewhere else for the night?"
And the kangaroo said “oh, anywhere you like my dear.”
Dot and the kangaroo went to the platypus and Dot said, “I know the Willy Wagtail.”
And the platypus said, “you must go to the Willy Wagtail, he will know your way.”
There was a man who was pretending to be a kangaroo and he chased them. There was a big rock they had to bound over. The dogs went under it in a different way.
The two birds met them and they said, “would you like me to do a call?”
“Yes, please,” she said and it sounded so loud that it sounded like a bunyip and frightened them away.
They found Willy Wagtail. Willy Wagtail sang a beautiful song to them and he said, “humans are nice to me so I’m nice to them.” And he said, “this place is near your home and you can go there.”
So they found Dot’s way and they went home. The people (when Dot came home) were so happy and the kangaroo got her joey back. The end.

It was quite a struggle getting him to be concise in his narration. At first, he wanted to narrate every single thing anyone said. Actually, that's pretty much what he did for the entire narration, now that I think about it. However, he was able to select passages of import to the story line, with my help, and so he did not feel the need to narrate every single episode of the entire book (thank goodness - it's 109 pages long).

I recently stumbled upon this article by Susan Wise Bauer (co-author of The Well-Trained Mind): Tips for Narration. She explains a method for building up narration skills by starting with very short passages and moving to longer ones once the child has demonstrated their capabilities. I think I will try this with the kids' science/geography narrations.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Mothering monotony

I spent one and a half hours today sewing two badges onto Joshua's Anchor Boys uniform. One for the hat and one for the shirt. I'm not a good sewer (I mostly only do buttons) and I don't even own a sewing machine. But I could not have imagined that this would take so long! I'm glad I had decided to give myself a reward for finishing (Guylian chocolates) otherwise I never would have managed it.Yes, I already noticed it's wonky. About half way through the second side, but by then I knew there was no going back.

I now have a much much better understanding of all the work my mother did on my behalf when I was a kid. I was in Brownies, Guides, GFS (Girls' Friendly Society) and also competed at state and interstate badge events for our family sport of Orienteering. It's a matter of irony that the longer I am a mother, the more I appreciate my own mum. (Yes, I already said thank you to her.)

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Happy Father's Day Jeffrey

Did you know Emperor Penguin fathers are the ones who look after the egg and the tiny young, while the mothers go off to sea to find food?The mothers are away for an amazing two months before they return and the fathers can go and get their first meal.I am very thankful to my amazing husband Jeffrey for the feats he performs on behalf of our family. Not quite in the order of the Emperor Penguins, but every bit as special and necessary in their way.

(Images from the Australian Antarctic Division.)

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Weekly Reports 2008:30, 31, 32

In the last three weeks, we took the middle week off for a holiday at my MIL's farm in Albany and then last week (with another two assignments for me to do for my night courses) we didn't do much. I'm glad we're only doing Kindergarten and Pre-Primary!

Circle Time
We haven't done much for the last few weeks, except finish learning "Consider Christ" and begin learning "How Deep the Father's Love". We have finished reading about Abraham and Isaac and Jacob are ready to move on to Joseph next week.

Joshua has finished reviewing the Bob Books second set and we've moved on to the fifth set, of which he has read the first two books. He reads half of these a day and is finding them a much greater challenge but he has kept the skills of using his own finger to keep track of where he's at.
Anna has also just finished the second set (reading through it for the first time) and I am very proud of my big girl. She's going to start the third set next week.

This is one area we did keep on with at the farm. Over the past three weeks we've read Roverandom by JRR Tolkein, Dot and the Kangaroo by Ethel Pedley (an Australian children's classic from 1898) and begun The Wizard of Oz by Frank L Baum.
Surprisingly, Joshua hasn't complained about two books in a row with a female heroine. He was a bit overwhelmed when we got the animated movie of Dot and the Kangaroo out from the library, however (after finishing the book). It's about a young girl who gets lost in the bush near her home and is rescued by a kangaroo, and through a series of adventures finally finds the way she has lost - how to get home. The movie was really quite true to the book, with only a few stretches, but it ended on a much sadder note than the book. Instead of mentioning that the kangaroo always visited Dot and they remained friends because Dot's father had made their settlement a haven of sorts for bush animals, the movie ended with Dot weeping as the kangaroo left. This was very sad for the kids. I think they cope with things happening in books a lot better than they do on the TV: the visual elements are too confronting, especially for Joshua.

We have finally finished Singapore Earlybird Mathematics 2A. It ended with some lessons introducing addition and the 2B book begins with the same topic so it is great to see there's consistency. The kids are looking forward to starting a new book. Joshua is beginning to be able to do some very simple addition sums in his head (sums to five or less). He has got a good handle on it, and Anna can also manage simple addition when it is presented concretely (with objects, fingers or counters).

Science and Geography
We are finished with the polar regions now. The kids have loved reading and watching stuff about polar bears. We got a fantastic movie from National Geographic through the Sunday Times newspaper for only $2 and the kids really loved that in particular. Actually, they loved the entire series with the exception of the last on Dian Fossey and the mountain gorillas of Africa. That one was just too graphic and gruesome. We'll be beginning a study of China next week, if I can get some good books at the library tomorrow afternoon.

I'm looking forward to next week. Not least because I have now officially finished my two night courses. Provided I pass my assignments, that means I'll be able to graduate from the Certificate in Christian Studies at the same time Jeff graduates from his MDiv. Hooray!

I just downloaded some pre-writing sheets from Donna Young's amazing website. Now I am wondering if the bigger kids would like to use them (I am sure they would, perhaps we will use some for craft time when I am not up to 3D craft) but I am also thinking Abigail might like to join us for some lessons perhaps once a week. I'll see how we go.

Friday, 5 September 2008

Monster under the bed

Last month I found this monster having a nap in Abigail's bed:On Wednesday afternoon, I walked into my bedroom. There was silence - almost. Actually, I could hear the faint sound of snoring coming from under my bed. What could it be? A monster?
This is what I found when I pulled back the quilt:It wasn't a monster. It was my darling Anna, fast asleep!

Thursday, 4 September 2008

aka Bob the Builder

Anna giving instructions to Joshua as to where the cushions should be arranged to make a house, according to his drawings plans: