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The Homeschool Mother's Journal - 20

In my life this week:
I entered my first fun run in 15 years! I'm going in the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival! I was aiming to do the 9K Bridge Run, but the sore hip has foiled those training plans, so I'm entering the 4K Family Fun Run. But I still get to run over the Harbour Bridge and finish up at the Opera House and I want to run the whole way and it would be very cool if I could do it in 30 minutes....

We are in the home stretch of Dry July! Only 2 more nights to go. Apart from one night with my dear friend before the funeral (she bought me a Golden Ticket), I have been alcohol free for nearly a whole month. My hubby has actually made it through without touching a drop (mind you, I have been a rock and stopped him from caving on several occasions!). I'm raising money for adults with cancer, so if you happen to have a bit of spare cash, visit our profile page and donate...

In our homeschool this week...
As part of our "rainforest" theme this term, we researched 

and constructed terrariums (not to be confused with aquariums, which we already have two of, or vivariums, which require live animals). We made a rainforest and a desert one.

We then compared the "biomes" using a Venn diagram:

After "chatting" to new-found friends in the United States, the kids were keen to find out where Virginia was (readers in the U.S. might be surprised to discover that U.S. geography and history are not covered by the Australian curriculum!). And so we filled in our Mapping the World by Heart maps, utilising this fantastic puzzle/map that Jane from Ohio sent (we know where Ohio is!).

Another friend had lent us the Planet Earth interactive DVD game. It is kind of like Trivial Pursuit, but instead of Entertainment and Sport categories, each puzzle piece is a different biome (forests, deserts, oceans etc).  We spent a lovely couple of hours utilising our geographic knowledge, and when that failed, guessing (and learning)!

Getting into the good bit of algebra now - substitution, algebraic expression and simplifying by collecting like terms. The Khan Academy is a website which is dedicated to letting people learn whatever they want, whenever they want, at their own pace, for FREE!! There are nearly 2,500 videos explaining maths, science and lots of other concepts. It is largely based on American syllabus and so while the scope and sequence may differ from country to country, the concepts are the same. So for those parents out there freaking out about algebra (or like me, calculus) that they haven't done since high school, this is a pretty handy place to start!

I am inspired by:
MJ over at Wander, Wonder, Discover and in particular, her post about respect, particularly in regard to children and adults, and control and where the line is crossed.

Places we're going and people we're seeing:
We started chess this week! The local library has chess sessions on Thursday afternoons. The kids played chess when they were at school and both showed some skill. Unfortunately, Video Boy's days in the chess club came to an abrupt end when he stood up after losing a game and accidently knocked over a chair. The teacher in charge thought he was a having a temper tantrum and asked him to leave and not come back.  Anyway new location, new start (and a bit of discussion about good sportsmanship) and Video Boy got the most points (won 3 games) and Wombat Girl won 2 and stalemated the third. Hopefully we can avoid any major chess catastrophes and keep this up regularly!


Off to the pool again and I pushed the kids a little harder this week and they swam a lot further than last week, which should be good for their fitness and also for developing their technique.

What's working for us:
A combination of interest-led learning (terrariums and maps and games) and gentle encouragement from me (algebra and writing).

I'm reading:
Finishing off Wicked Lovely and re-reading back issues of Runner's World magazines for motivation!

Photo, link or video to share:

I love Sunday morning cartoons - woof!


  1. I should go back and change my "I'm inspired by..." to runners!!! I am so amazed by anyone's ability to run even a mile without collapsing!

    My son & I just travelled to VA this past week! (We live in NY). Over here, re-enacting the US Civil War is a pretty big deal and we saw the re-enactment of the first major battle of that long war, which took place 150 years ago. VA is a pretty neat place for American history.

  2. Well done with the running, the swimming, the Being Dry (which is kind of funny after writing about the swimming), and all the wonderful immersive Doing you're all doing!

    Your days look wonderful. How great you added that link to MJ—she inspires me too. I love the energy of your posts, Ingi, and your enthusiasm—how you are leaping together into so many new adventures and discoveries. And your ideas are infectious! I want to check out that DVD game, and look again at Khan academy and play chess with my kids (my girl is just starting to want to learn). SO much to do!

    Congratulations on all these lovely successes and empowering adventures. Good luck training for the Running Festival—sounds so cool!

  3. Thank you Victoria and Helena! We are enjoying our journey - and yes, so much to do, so many books to read - so little time! And Helena, you inspire me too, to learn in a way that is real to us.

    And we are trying to embrace the learning, the opportunities and enjoy what we do, rather than stress about what we "should be doing". We don't always succeed, and often there are tears, but we keep trying!

  4. Planet Earth sounds like a COOL game! Chess is a game I just can't seem to wrap my mind around! LOL My oldest enjoys it though! Creative idea on the terrariums! Thanks for stopping by my blog!


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