Monday, April 25, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal - 9

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

In my life this week…
We have a new roof! And it rained, but didn't come inside! Gotta be happy about that :-)

And the running continues - Couch to 5K Week 4 is done! Bring on Week 5 (and Week 5 Day 3 - running for 20 minutes without stopping -eeek!).

Technology fails! A cable was cut in our town this week which meant no Internet. Then over the Easter long weekend, it seems that our mobile carrier was overloaded and no mobile connections. I was lost!  But all is getting back to normal and I will never take my broadband for granted again!

In our homeschool this week…
Still on holidays - kids have moved on to Portal 2 (which actually looks pretty good).  Watched a very interesting documentary Child Genius about profoundly gifted children. Some were prodigies in their field of talent, others with a exceptional IQ, but still struggling to fit into the school system and find true peers.

Spent a bit of time getting organised for our next term of homeschooling - looking forward to it!

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
Not much exciting - we have a Blessing of the Fleet "festival" in our little seaside town. We went to look at the parade, but I'm not sure the massive influx of people is really worth it.

My favorite thing this week was…

Having no rain in the house!

What’s working/not working for us…

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have…
Looking forward to a new term - our theme this term is "Home Again". Stay tuned for lots of home and identity type activities!

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…
Wombat Girl meets Easter Bunny...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal - 8

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

In my life this week…
Our new roof arrived! And so did the winds which prevented it from being installed. And so did the rain which continues to pour into my house!

I'm still running! Love the Couch to 5K program - up to Week 3 and now running 3 whole minutes without a break! Well, OK, it doesn't sound that much, but it's a big improvement on nothing and I'm fired up to keep going.

In our homeschool this week…

Errr....Minecraft? And washing. Yeah, we're on holidays! Oh, wait - the kids had a "science at the library" session - that counts as homeschooling, right?

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
Lovely afternoon tea with the other homeschooling family in the area. It is so good to touch base with someone else on the same wavelength! Wombat Girl had a sleepover and came home with headlice (gotta love that socialisation). Took my mum to visit her new unit now her house is finally sold. 

Today I went to a seminar about Steiner Education by Alan Whitehead. I enjoyed the talk - I think I already incorporate a lot of Steiner concepts in our homeschooling, but I found it a bit prescriptive, which might not fit for exceptionally gifted kids - we need to move at our own pace!  They then had a Eurythmy session. Now, I have a dance background and was interested to find out more about this, but an hour and a half later, I had had enough! I found it tedious and there was no opportunity for creativity (at least the way the session was conducted). So I left!  My friend (from afternoon tea) and I were the only homeschoolers there, and we were the only ones who were not willing to put up with it any more. There was a discussion session later on, but they lost me at "rainbow ponies"!

My favorite thing this week was…

SBS Documentary "The Story of Science" - What is Out There?  Explores the history of science and this episode follows the human journey to discover the cosmos. I loved the idea that science builds on other knowledge and improvements in technology, and the all-too-common phenomenon of no-one believing new ideas.

What’s working/not working for us…
We're not working! 

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have…
After my eurythmy experience, I'm even more sure that I'm an "eclectic" homeschooler and I like choosing what works for us rather than following a set "philosophy" or curriculum!

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

It's raining again...

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal - 7

The Homeschool Mother's Journal
In my life this week:
See, I told you it was "time" and so I have embarked on a bit of a "get fit" campaign, with the wonderful assistance of my iPhone, Runkeeper and C25K. I've never been a runner, but I'm keen to tackle the City to Surf this year and so the Couch to 5KM website and app is the way I'm going to get there. I'm keen to get off the couch and I definitely have found my calf muscles!

Oh, and more rain inside...

In our homeschool this week:
After recovering from our illness and Bridge Climb last week, we have been on "go slow" in school. Here in NSW, Oz, it's the last week of Term 1 and so we started our "holidays" a bit early. 

Lots of reading (the kids and me). They are particularly enjoying the graphic novel versions of Agatha Christie and Video Boy has revisited Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series by the amazing Douglas Adams. Wombat Girl is a board game nut and so we succumbed to her plaintive  pleas to "play a game!".

We have had a fabulous week of documentaries - see my post on the Secret Life of Chaos. We also loved How the Earth Made Us (also known as How the Earth Changed History). We watched the Human Planet episode which Wombat Girl found a bit confronting - so much damage to animals, exploitation of resources, destruction of ecosystems! But we had a great discussion about what we as individuals, as families and as future employees or business people can do about these issues.

We also thoroughly enjoyed the Lost Thing - a 15 minute animated short film, based on Australia's Shaun Tan's book of the same name. It won the Oscar for Best Animated Short and I was in tears. Truly a piece of art. It is currently available for viewing on ABC iview  and also on iTunes for purchase.

Later in the week we got out the watercolours, pens, pencils and textas and did some drawing - some inspired by our viewing and listened to Glacier Bay and Winter into Spring - very relaxing and inspiring.

Places we're going and people we're seeing:
Just the usual this week - gymnastics and tennis. I managed to have coffee with a work colleague after work, which was quite enjoyable. Also visited my mum (who lives in the same town) and had dinner, which we hadn't done in ages.

My favourite thing this week:

What's working for us:
Having the time to explore art, music, literature, science - all with passion, discussion and meaning.

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have:
We never stop learning, even when we have a "break" from formal bookwork.

Photo/video/link to share:


Wednesday, April 06, 2011

The Secret Life of Chaos

This documentary was on TV last night. I remember first learning about chaos theory when I was about 17 or so.  I can't pretend to really understand all the maths behind it, but I am fascinated by the concept.

I love the idea that nature turns the simple into the complex. I love the idea that behind the chaos lies simplicity. I love the idea that the "chaos" of nature is determined by the relatively simple laws of physics. But chaos theory also accounts for why things can't always be predicted by those laws. Why a system that can be described by mathematical equations, with nothing random in them, can have outcomes that are entirely unpredictable.

Try as we might to keep our lives simple and organised, 'entropy' ensures they move toward a complex state. This is the way of the world, and in some way I find it comforting. Because it's not just me - my house doesn't stay tidy, my best laid plans for homeschooling go astray, I go from calm to anxious and stressed - it's nature.

In the words of Jurassic Park "life finds a way". I like that idea.

I included fractal art in my header because it is beautiful and I like the idea that it represents - from the chaos of our lives, my kids thoughts, finding our way through, we can create beauty that was previously unimagined, completely unpredictable. We can defy gravity.

Monday, April 04, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal - 6

The Homeschool Mother's Journal
In my life this week:
DH was sick (see man-cold video below!), I was sick, Video Boy was sick. Looks like Wombat Girl might be getting sick (ar-choo!).  Blech. Just better in time to go to (paid) work! Yay! Not.

In our homeschool this week:
We started a new book "Who Really Killed Cock Robin?" (see our new Book Carousel to the right) as part of our science unit. Wonderful stuff - looks at the world through a complex, systems view. Life is not simple. Neither are a the answers to our problems! Found some fabulous links to lesson plans based on this book.

We finished off decimals with a chapter revision worksheet (and a few tears from Video Boy because his mean ol' mum made him do "school work").

Continued our work on democracy and elections, with this link to Discovering Democracy, which fits in nicely to the Australian curriculum, but overseas readers might enjoy it too.

Kids (and DH) loving working on Short Circuits electronics kits with no soldering! Video Boy enjoyed electricity last year at school, but is enjoying creating his own electronic circuits (serial and parallel) at home a lot more.

Places we're going and people we're seeing:

Luckily most of the illness cleared up by Friday and we had a fabulous weekend in Sydney! It was DH's 50th birthday and I bought him a Bridge Climb - and we got organised this week and climbed. The weather was fantastic - sunny, warm and still. Once we got out onto the "arch" and away from the see-through to the water below catwalks and metal ladders, I was OK. The kids loved every second of it! They give you heaps of time on the bridge and the views and experience are totally breathtaking. Whether you live in Australia or are an overseas visitor, this is a "bucket-list" experience!

My favourite thing this week:
Standing on the top of Sydney Harbour Bridge or watching the best ever rainbow and Wombat Girl dancing in the rain! Tough call...

What's working for us/not working for us:
If we are sick, taking it easy. 

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have:
Who do I send the sick notes to?

Photo/video/link to share:

Friday, April 01, 2011

More on signs of giftedness...

The link to this list was on the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum. 

Giftedness is generally thought of in terms of having a high IQ (above 130).  But there is so much more involved when you look inside a gifted person.  This list gives a unique view of the inner working of the gifted and brings to light the essence of so much of our hard-to-capture identity

  • Sensitivity
  • Remembering insults forever
  • Doing three things at once
  • Doing the outwardly foolish thing, taking up lost causes
  • Psychic
  • Interest in life and death
  • Driven to comprehend, complexity of understanding
  • Wanting to know the reasons and origins of things
  • Asks, “What is my purpose?”
  • Naive
  • Recognition of falsity, no “trophy friends”
  • Complexifying solutions
  • Finding non-conventional solutions, originality
  • Not motivated by extrinsic awards, discomfort with praise
  • Passionate
  • Undeterred by conventional expectations
  • Self taught, non-sequential learning
  • Need for precision
  • Recognition of unfairness, strong sense of justice
  • Making intuitive leaps, making logical projections
  • Noticing what no one else does
  • Manipulation and bargaining
  • Make and follow their own plans, less teachable
  • Devise practical experiments to see “What if?”
  • Saying, “Actually”
  • Large vocabulary, love of big words
  • Delayed in toilet training, difficulty in separating from mom
  • Early sense of responsibility
  • Not wanting to grow up and face the world
  • Less physical risk-taking
  • Zipping through Piagetian stages
  • Friends of both genders, later sexual interests
  • Abstract thinkers before having the emotional ability to handle it
  • Symbolic thinkers
  •  Can animate their fears, powerful emotional imagination
Actually, I can certainly relate to lots on this list! The forum discussion is also very interesting!

Embroidery Project - Blue Butterfly

I downloaded this pattern as a PDF from Hoop Embroidery Co on Esty as my first attempt at the technique known as "thread painting"...