Wednesday, 31 August 2011

wordless wednesday

What my pair get up to on a cold day for morning tea....they read of course...

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Strewsday Tuesday -

Who would have thought it.

I always wanted a daughter to enjoy Jane Austen. I really didn't think it would happen. Brid read the abridged version of Pride & Prejudice and wasn't that impressed when she was younger.
So many of my friends daughters were enjoying her style of writing. I just listened and waited until I could introduce her.

Kristie enjoyed reading some her books, and her cousin( who was living with us for 4 months) encouraged her and sat with Kristie watching  several movies together. It was a fun time, and lots of quotes from there cousin. Brid was far too young and was immersed in her own world.
So now Brid has begun her journey. We used Literature for Young Ladies, (Serendipity blog) as our bouncing ground. We have purchased several books that I have attempted to lay around the house.
Well not likely. Every book is taken from my hands as I am opening it.
We began with Presenting Miss Jane Austen. Brid can quote from this one. It began as a reluctant read and then it was hard to take it away from her.
Pride &  Predjudice didn't look inviting until she had read it.
Daily life in a Victorian house was an excellent book, that was read from cover to cover. And again...
Yesterday, I received The Jane Austen Handbook. We were about to head out in the car, so I packed it in the bag.
"Open the bag and see what's inside, "I said.
"Oh you bought it".. Cried a Brid with excitement.
It was read out and laughter was followed by more "I have to read this to you"
It is her new favourite book. So she tells me.

We have just purchased Jane Austen's guide to good manners.

"Mum We should be reading Sense & Sensibility first, we have read them in the wrong order".

So I am delighted that Brid is enjoying  Jane Austen.

I am not expecting an Essay or a book review just immersion into a time in History, Life and good times.

Monday, 29 August 2011

An amazing achievement....

I looked over our homeschool journal for this last term, and I was surprised as to how much Brid had achieved and had 'done', in these weeks.
But what I realised was" how do we do this?"

We keep a list of ideas in my journal and a copy on the computer- in her document folder.
We add to the list as we think of something else we would like to study/ research/ read.
Depending on the excitement generated by ideas back n forth over the lunch/ dinner table, depends on where that idea will sit on the list. It will also depend if we need to order resources.

On Sunday evenings, if not done beforehand, Brid writes up her guidelines fo her week. I used to do this, but Brid wanted to take this over. It is now her guidelines for herself, not mine for her.
But before that there is much chatter about what to put on her page.
Before to long, a list appears. Somethings are a constant others change.
What the month is dedicated to- ie The month of the Immaculate Heart
The week and its dates. ie week 5, august 1- 6
The books she is reading, Maths, the unit we are studying.
And all her activities we need to remember throughout the week.-dancing, piano, Girl Guides, Photography, Adoration,
Lastly is the Feast days she wants to celebrate each week.
All decorated nicely with flowers and images she chooses.
Brid now is ready to begin, without my help but just a little guidance.

So lets look at last week.
Prayer is essential. As for many of us, its central to our day, much of our day is pegged around prayer and meals.
Monday started with First Aid as a homeschooling day activity. So a small amount of Maths was completed before we travelled to the designated hall.
The rest of the week, was filled with a medieval reader, her unit study on National Treasure dvd, reading Pride & Prejudice,  Maths Online, an Encouragement evening.
Friday has been a Photographic course with  other teens in out area, but usually we will be having this day completely free. It was sewing and Scones and Milo a few weeks during winter, but now its spring so I am sure adventures will take place.

So with this routine, We have jammed so much into our weeks and if I felt a little guily about a 4 week break, I don't now.
So what will  end our Term.? We have decided on Cleopatra. Why?  Brid loved doing her Egyptian lapbook and reading about there Ancient culture when she was younger. So we decided to revisit it. This time using Cleopatra as a bouncing point. We have loads of Library books and a lend from a friend and we are ready to dive in. We will come up for air sometime next week, just in time for our break...

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Strewsday Tuesday-

Winged Watchman.

Its been on our reading basket for ages, but it just hasn't taken Brids fancy.
Last week she picked it up and started reading.
She couldn't put it down.
It covered issues like the Nazis, Jews, Dutch, concentration camps and Other areas we had covered in St Gianna Molla.
So we got chatting about it and I realised that we hadn't really looked at Holland- Netherlands.
I took the opportunity to show Brid where it was in relation to Germany.
We talked about dikes and reclaimed land, windmills and Tulips.

Thats been our recent Strewing.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Maths- our journey

I have often wondered how would you write a post about Maths. Well my friend Sue has  encouraged me to write my own story.
I was never a wonderful Maths student. I was however, great at reciting my timetables . Great. At least I could do that. Then I was taught in the learn thing by Rote era.
So I wondered through my High school years. Do I need Maths?  My Dad always said, “Yes, you will at some point”. I couldn’t see it all.
I had 2 great teachers in my early high school years. Both enthused me and explained Maths theories very well. We even had conversations about real life with one particular teacher.
Then I hit my HSC years- oh no, all that confidence that had been instilled in me had gone. I would put my hand up. “I don’t understand”. He would explain it the same way he did before. And he was my year 11 & 12 teacher; he was the teacher, who would teach me all I needed for my University entry. My heart sank, I told Dad, He tried to have me placed in another class, but “no that wasn’t possible Mr P’’.  A tutor.  It helped a little.  So between my Dad trying to teach me, a friend and my tutor, I achieved a lousy HSC score and I deemed myself useless at Maths.
And then I started my  Nursing career . Before we were let loose on the wards!!, we had preliminary training school -PTS. One of the topics was Maths and another Chemistry. My head said how can I pass these.  I needed to achieve an 80% pass in them both. I did -with lots of hard study.
Then I realised many drugs and IV drips, need to be dispensed using various Maths Formulas. Machines do it for you now, but I am pleased I can still work that formula out just incase.
Body fluids needed to be measured and estimated.
In Delivery suite, I needed to count the hours of Labour and then break them into 1st, 2nd and 3rd stages using a 24 hr clock.
I needed to know statistics as these are spouted by learned Drs regularly.
In Nicu, I needed to use micro measures. Everything is triple checked as the doses are so very small.
So I thought I would never use Maths, and actually I have used various areas of Maths extensively.
It is Ok to ask someone to help me work out a formula a few times, but I needed to really understand it myself, because I was accountable for every Dose of anything I gave to a patient.
So what has this to do with Homeschooling  well.....We have had an interesting  journey with Maths in our family. Maybe many other families have similar stories.
As some of you know our older children attended the local Catholic schools. I was super diligent with their Maths homework, making sure they were learning and understanding.
Each of them had grasped Maths in different ways.
Louise was good at Maths until she had a Maths teacher who she didn't gel with, no amount of Coaching would help her. My heart sank again, the system has failed her, like it did me, What can I do to help her....
When she was choosing her subjects for Year 11 & 12, she said "I won't be doing Maths". It isn't compulsory in Year 11 & 12- (although in Australia Religion is compulsory in Catholic and Christian Schools).
It wasn't until she began her Uni degree- Teaching- that she needed to know how to teach Maths in various different ways. So all of a sudden Maths was important to her. By now she owned it.
Kristie &  Kieran were quite good at Maths. I was relieved. Kristie got good grades and enjoyed learning new concepts. She was homeschooled in high school and eventually achieved Maths to Algebra II. It was by this stage a struggle, but she was determined to get the certificate!
Kieran had an amazing aptitude to Maths and was always quite clever with it. He was very self directed when we homeschooled him. After returning to the school system he achieved a considerable score in his HSC.
Brid is a different story again. I remember the older Children being quite noisy when I was trying to teach Brid a new concept. Division !!! We eventually went into my bedroom and worked on the topic together. It was quieter in there.
Once she got the concept she was pretty pleased with herself and wanted to share her findings with her siblings.
We have used Tradition teaching Methods with Brid using bought curricula. We have recently, started using Maths Online. We liked what we saw, and Brid gained great scores. It certainly enforced what she had learnt with another curriculum we were using.
The timetables and numbers skills have been great for her. Timetables have been an issue for her, so the fun she has with her Dad, beating each others 'best', has improved this area of her maths.
We will continue to use a curricula for this area of learning.
Dermot is rather good at Maths. He can’t understand my anxiety. He has always helped the Children and occasionally helped Brid if I can't. I have worked alongside Brid to encourage and assist her in every way I can.
So what has been your Maths Journey, has it influenced your children and their enjoyment with Maths? Yes here in Australia, we call it Maths.
Although I was not the best Mathematician, it made me very careful working out formulas and dispensing any medication.
I wonder what Brid will do with her Maths?

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Shakespeare & friends

We have been working with another homeschooling family, co-oping.
We meet every second week. We have been sharing the driving, so turn about at each others homes.
It has been a really special time for the girls and us Mums.We always start late morning and we have morning tea. I usually make Scones, Jam & Cream.
We share lunch together and go our seperate ways mid afternoon.
We have been following a book on Poetry. It was meant to take us a term. !! took us nearly 2 and a half.
Now its time to research and discover Shakespeare.
Firstly us Mums' got together. How What ??
Well lets start with the man himself.
We were unable to get together this week, so we have homework to do.
Firstly we must Google his birth place. Look around the area. Research his life and have it ready for show n tell, next time.
So this type of researching is quite up our alley. We love discovering from various sources and Brid will put it to paper as part of our co-op.

Then...we begin...A Midsummer Nights Dream. We have chosen various ways to study this. Read the story, watch a DVD, the Ballet, the Play, try and place our poetry trope' in the Play..and lastly read it aloud together. We will need to have several parts each.

Its such a fun way to look at various areas of  Language Arts.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Tuesday Strewsday- National Treasure and its rabbit trails-update..

We have started looking at "National Treasure" And now "National Treasure- Book of Secrets".
They both really cover the same areas, but as we have looked at very little American History this will be a good look at this time period.
So we have Google Earthed, surfed the internet on Eddison, Franklin, Washington.
We have been tourists at some sights in Washington.
Discovered what the The Stamp Act was and understanding the parts of US history.
Brid has loved looking at Franklins quotes.

So today..took us further into our adventure
We are still in New York doing a virtual tour of The Statue of Liberty. Discovering why it was named this and situating it on a map.
I asked Brid to place several states and cities on a map of the USA.
She is pretty clever with capturing maps from Google Earth and making markers for the cities and states we wanted to research.
I started looking at this topic with Brid, but she is quite happy to take over the reigns now and report back her discoveries.
She is an independant worker, as long as you give her a little direction she will happily work away.
I wonder where tomorrow will take her?? I am sure we will start the journey together, but somewhere along the way, I will step back. Just when the time is right.

My Updated Post.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

St Gianna Molla

The last few weeks we have been reading, studying and looking into various aspects of St Gianna Molla.
She is quite an amazing women.
Dermot read her book early in the year, so when our unit study arrived from CHC, I was quite excited. Brid was excited at first but then came all the questions that follows 'a bought unit study'. We culled them, and this freed Brid up to look at the questions she didn't really want to answer. Go figure- but it worked !
So this project has taken us all over the place.
We have looked at where Gianna lived, her travels around Milan and parts of Italy. It saw us look at WWII, Italys involvement in WWII, We looked different orders of our Faith -Franciscans, The medal of Our Lady of Good Counsel, St Francis, St Elizabeth of Hunguary.
It saw Brid start a week by week diary of an unborn baby. This took us on a journey of what a baby looks like at various gestational ages. I was able to explain lots of questions that arose. Such as, medical terms and the sizes of babies, and more.
We touched on conception, pregnancy and the use of Ultrasounds. We looked at photos of her as a baby.
It led us to looking and researching contraception and its misuse. It took us down the Planned parenting road, It took us to look at Abortion and the evils of these areas. We looked at the devaluing of family and married life with these issues. I did balance this out with teaching from Humanae Vitae, Our Pope, The warnings they gave and The gift of children, and pro-life. We used a wonderful book called Following Christ in the World- well written and I chose the small chapters  needing to be read aloud. Brid was so interested in this research, she actually graphed different statistics, with help from her Dad.
She gooed and gaaed over lots of gorgeous baby photos and we looked at Giannas Sainthood. Its date and her husband being present at the canonisation.

I couldn't have bought this time we had discussing this book. It was timely. It had so many sensitive issues to discuss. I wasn't sure when we would have a chat about them. As a Mum and a midwife I felt quite qualified to discuss all these issues raised. Was all this too young? No.
I know there will be more questions but its been a great journey.
It is coming to an end. Brid is sorting out her lapbook and how she will present it. Nevertheless, I think this unit study will be one she remembers for a while to come.
If you haven't read St Gianna Mollas Biography, buy a copy. Its inspiring reading.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Strewsday Tuesday

We have been watching a movie Saturday evening, after dinner. Often its a movie we already have on DVD, that is being aired on the TV.
This weekend it was National Treasure.  
 Late last year, Brid and I were chatting and the idea came to mind. "wouldn't it be fun to study/look further into this".
Well last night we both took note of all the topics discussed.
So we are looking into Benjamin Franklin, Washington , Pennsylvannia. The Declaration of Independence, Statue of Liberty,  etc. We may not do it thoroughly but we will have fun doing it.
Not sure how we will go about recording it, but i think the title should be "National Treasure".
What have you been strewing lately?  Post it on Tuesday.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Changes and ..culling.....saints.....Jane...

We have been really looking at our current school workload.
Recently, we culled curricula and books that are not suiting us anymore.
At the beginning of the year we had a long list to get through, and I was stressed looking at the list wanting Brid to get right in and excel.

Well within a week or 2 we had tears, loud words and uncomfortable silence, as we licked our wounds. Not a good start to the year. We both tried to please each other but we weren't fooling each other.
My expectations put Brid under enormous stress, she wasn't enjoying all of our day. And nor was I.
We rearranged our subjects and I took away my expectations. I looked at what she liked to do. I let Brid achieve in her time. This wasn't easy for me, but necessary.
This term, we have dropped Geography, Science and History. All worthwhile curricula, and we will come back to them in the future.
I said to Brid lets  stop the train, and spread our wings for a while.
Instead we are looking at these areas in context with Stories of the Saints and Literature for Young ladies-. I have blogged on these before, but as we get further into these Brid was interested going deeper. This is usual for her and why I started a subject a week last year.
So let me explain.
Apart from Maths these are the only areas we do.
At the moment Presenting Miss Jane is a hit and will lead nicely to introduce Jane Austen to Brid's reading list. She reads through her list and no expectations are made to write about them. This will come next year as we continue our Tuesdays with a friend.
St Gianna Molla is a modern day Saint and one I admire greatly. Dermot read a biographical book about her life recently and It was with delight we saw the first in the Series "Stories of the Saints", was this amazing women. It is a unit study, spelling vocabulary words comprehension analysis are covered. We have covered Italy in WWII, Milan, Looked at various speeches from the time of WWII.
We have researched areas of faith, other saints- St Francis and related these areas to her life.
We will cover Science and look at stages of Pregnancy and talk about Pro-life choices. I am sure this will led to some great discussions.
These 3 focus areas are taking us on many interesting trails. She is still gaining a solid education, but in our way.
We talked about not living inside a square, we have decided we like living in a semi circle- or a big smile. We can occasionally get out and smell the trees and jump back in to safety. The smile symbolises being able to stretch and grow and not having restrictions.
So where to next,
Brid is fascinated by women in various periods of history. 
Women like-
Queen Elizabeth I, Marie Antoinette, Caroline Chrisholm, Marie Curie, Mother Teresa, Helen Keller, Florence Nightingale, Cleopatra, Queen Victoria, Suffregettes, Mary Queen of Scots, and then a few authors such as Louisa May Alcott and Enid Blyton. the list keeps growing.