Thursday, February 19

Chug Chug Chug

We're chugging along here. I'm so proud of the girls. Even though we've started later most days of this week and last, they've just started when I've said it's time. I have been very tired and it turns out I have a bad tooth (THAT explains it!). So I've taken it easy and not done as much unit work (more hands on for me) this week. The girls have been very artsy though. Olivia is into photography (mainly her cat) and has been making picture frames (a kit that her Grandma gave her for Christmas). Natasha loves to quill. Quilling is a craft involving thin strips of paper which is curled up and stuck onto paper or to each other to create amazing things. So far she's made a frog a dog, a snowflake and something else that I can't remember! So that's my very quick wrap up of the time since I last blogged. I'll be off to Perth in the next little while and so the girls will be home with their homeschooling Dad! Dave's just started his degree and will be a good example for them to see what uni is like!

Saturday, February 7

1 down, 39 to go!

Weeks that is!

So we're in one week. It's been a long week. The girls took a couple of days to settle in to being told what to do etc, but by Friday it was smooth sailing (Thank you Lord!). We covered nearly every subject, mostly happily. I found that with our unit studies they were unenthusiastic until I'd explained the activity then things were good.

Monday I covered in the last post.
Tuesday we did a science experiment - making invisible ink - the experiment part was revealing it...I asked them what they thought they would need to do to make it visible.
Wednesday was some mapping skills - we did a super-quick overview of an atlas (they've used one before) and then drew their own map and labelled the different elements using symbols or colour - hence the lesson, why we use symbols and colours on maps (to show a lot of information in a small space.)
Thursday we started on Germany - we looked at the shape of the country, where it's located, the capital city and some major cities as well as the population and compared population density to Australia's (Germany is 230 people km2, Australia is 2.5 people per km2 - a little bit different!). We saw the difference as displayed on a map in our atlas so that adds to our mapping skills as well.
Friday was fun, we did painting using students acrylics. We made a colour wheel. I made them start with the primary colours then we mixed our secondary colours to put correctly between the primary ones...and I put one in the wrong place!!! The girls got it right. Then we went on to graduating from one primary colour to another - introducing hues. For instance starting with blue and adding a smidge of yellow (which would make a dark sea green) and painting a line in a shape, then adding a little more yellow (which would turn it a bit lighter, more green than blue) and painting another line in the shape and so on until they got to a bit of blue with mostly yellow then completely yellow. The results were spectacular and I got them to use all three ways of doing it (red to orange to yellow, blue to green to yellow, blue to purple to red). Our purple didn't really become what we recognise as purple really because we seemed to have quite a dark blue. I guess when we get to tints we'll be able to brighten it up and make "real" purple.

After this the girls were free for the weekend and were really glad. I was too. It had been a full-on week for me. I haven't had to do so much for a long time. I guess I was also stressed because I wasn't sure how the kids would take our new approach. This year is a lot more "school" like compared to past years, on purpose, and I didn't want them to completely rebel. I tried to make it fun and interesting for them, gave them enough breaks through the day. I also pushed where they needed it and relaxed where they needed it too. Now I need to plan next week!

Monday, February 2

First day for 2009

Today is our first day of school for 2009. I know people go back at different times through the country, but WA's term starts today. This will actually be the first time we've started school at the same time as the others. We're usually well underway by now. Our girls are entering into Years 4 and 6.

The day didn't start well as I overslept. There was quite a lot of noise outside which kept me awake until after midnight. So I was up just after 8am. I wanted to be up earlier because I needed to do the weekly food shop before we started school. The weather forecast was hot and humid so I decided we would go shopping before school not after. We ended up going at about 9.30 so we were never going to make our 10am start. 10am works for us, we tried 9am but it just wasn't worth the hassle, perhaps after the dreaded daylight savings is over (hopefully forever) it will be better. Consequently because of lots of little things I had to do we didn't get back from shopping until just before noon. So school would now start at 1pm. The girls asked to start at 12.45 after we'd all eaten lunch.

I've decided to document what we do as often as I can in the hope that our district moderator can log on in here and read our progress. So here goes.

I've purposed to start each and every day with a Bible Verse. I have taken the verses from a nifty little book called Scripture Memory Made Easy. We will not be memorising them. We read today's out (Psalm 119:11) then they copied it into an exercise book.

Next they did their journal entries. This is simply writing a few complete sentences about something that they have done or about something that has happened.

The girls then go on to Maths. We use New Signpost Maths books and they do one page each day.

After this the subject English, they do different books. Through the week they each cover Comprehension, Grammar, Creative Writing, Spelling and they use a book called Text types which explores different ways of writing ie - recount, poem, narrative etc. Today Olivia did Text Types and Natasha did Comprehension. The Comprehension books we use are called Once a week comprehension, they do a "week" at a time.

While shopping in Wooldridges a couple years ago I came across some Western Australian Health books which were reasonably priced and covered topics like Stranger Danger, Road Safety and Recycling. So I bought them. I wanted the girls to start them from Year 1 to get the basics before getting up to their level. Some things we skip because they know it already, but mainly they are pretty easy anyway and are prompts for a conversation about the topic. I have worked out a schedule for the books and so they do 1 or 2 pages a week. Today they had their health pages to do.

The work I've explained so far is given to them in a pile of folders, papers and books and they work through at their own pace. Once they have finished this work, if one has finished before the other they are free to play (quietly and in a different room-not outside) until the other finishes. Today there was a little gap after which I said the girls could have a break. We generally break after around an hour of work.

After the break we went on to our Unit Studies work. Unit Study is my words for "covering the rest of the curriculum framework being: Science, Society & Environment, Technology & Enterprise, Languages Other Than English, Arts, Physical Education (and health)." Each day we will do one subject.

Today's subject was PE. I've decided to cover some basic skills this year as well as many other things. Today we explored the seemingly easy and boring but actually a bit difficult and fun skill of "Rolling a Ball"! (I found a great resource ages ago on Blake Education for some Basic Skills.) So out we went hats on heads in our lovely 39.c weather to roll some balls. We used a tennis ball, a hockey ball and a soccer ball. We rolled the balls up to a line, along a line and to knock over some blocks (we used some legos and set them up like ten pin bowling). At first the girls weren't into it so much, but by the end they'd worked out that rolling a ball to get a particular outcome was tricky and fun.

When we had finished that I'd congratulated the girls on a job well done. It was a trying day that didn't turn out the way that we'd expected. There was a little tension but all in all good. I "freed" them and they instantly got into their bathers then the pool!!! I sat down and had a cuppa to reward myself! That was at 4pm, so school took approximately 3 hours, including breaks. Not bad.