Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Too hard and too easy!

Ran with Hubby again this week - he dragged me out on a Saturday afternoon, with no music (ughh), chatted the whole way, after a big walk in the morning. It sucked. I was sucking air! It was supposed to be my "long" run, but I only managed 3.01km before collapsing in a heap :-(

Hubby on the other hand kept going a bit more, because I was holding back his "stride".

Hmphh. We might go out occasionally, but I think we do better alone!

On Monday morning I tried again, by myself, in the cool of the morning (it's still "winter" here - ha!), with my tunes to psych me up. I did 6.6km at 8 min/km pace (52 min 52 sec) - an increase of 10% on last weeks long run!!! Woo hoo! Felt good :-)

Am I the only one who changes the words to songs in my head while I'm running?

Summer Rain by Belinda Carlise becomes "running with you in the summer rain"

Roam by the B52's becomes "run if you want to, run around the world"

Jump by Glee (or Van Halen, depending on your taste) becomes "might as well run, go ahead and run!".

Been taking the dog for walks on my 'rest' days - he enjoys it and it stretches me out. We don't go fast, just a stroll around the neighbourhood....

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal - 24

In my life this week:
Have been enjoying my clean, de-cluttered bedroom and the clean loungeroom!

I kept up my exercise - I ran 6km without stopping on the weekend - my furthest distance yet, and I was on a bit of a runner's high all day!

Took Max the dog for a couple of walks using a halti-collar. He does tend to pull and I have been training him, but he goes nuts when he sees another dog! So I'm hoping this will work better. Now we just have to come across a dog when walking (where'd they all go?).

I let him off the lead to have a run on the beach!

In our homeschool this week:
We got out the Viewmasters (Video Boy has the old one we had when we were kids, Wombat Girl has the new one that works!). Fabulous 3D fun!

Lots of fun chemistry. We were talking about balancing chemical equations (can't create or destroy atoms), so we got out the good ol' bicarb and vinegar, but this time talked about what was happening at an atomic level.

We then tried to make "hot ice" - which is sodium acetate (what you get left over in water when the bicarb and vinegar combine). We had some issues with leaving lumps. We will try again later, but until then, have a look at what fun it is:

I loved the impromptu geography lesson while I was having my morning cup of tea - something on the TV sparked a conversation about Panama Canal, and so hubby helped the kids find where it was, where the Suez Canal was, why they were built and lots of knowledge about oceans along the way...all in their pajamas (and a teddy on Wombat Girl's head!).

We utilised the sharks again with the "shark stack challenge" to see who could make the tallest stack of sharks. Hubby is the current leader - but stay tuned as the challengers come thick and fast:

 Wombat Girl got lost in crossword land...

They say kids enjoy the box more than the present, and ours are no exception. Many happy hours of creative play inside the cardboard box. Poor Max the dog didn't know what was going on!

Lovely spring-like weather again meant it was too nice to spend all our days inside, so Alice in Wonderland (from Michael Clay Thompson) came outside.

Later that night, the kids "acted" out the scene with the Cheshire Cat and Alice - very entertaining and a "tick" for drama!

Places we're going, people we're seeing:
My sister came to visit, and we had a very enjoyable lunch at the local golf club, followed by a leisurely stroll by the ocean - I wonder what the poor schooled kids did that day?

Video Boy is nearly as tall as his Aunty!

Aunty, Nanna, Wombat Girl

Bring a Rubik's Cube, add Find-the-Difference
on the cutlery holders, add probability with Keno,
and we had quite an educational lunch!

Inspired by:
Enjoying the concepts up for discussion on the ABC's Big Idea's program.

Things I'm working on:
Reconciling "unschool" concepts with my teacher's need to see "products" - can I achieve a balance?

Questions I have:
Does anyone have any tips for controlling headlice? I guess Wombat Girl is socialising well enough, because we can't seem to get rid of them. I swear I have spent HOURS of my life soaking, combing, rinsing, etc in a desperate attempt to clear them out. I'm SOOO over it!!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Running in da rain

Wet week here. But I managed to get out twice - and miss the worst of the downpours. But I did do my first run in the rain (well, sprinkles!). Maybe I can call myself a "runner" after all?

Took my hubby out on Wednesday morning. He has run (all the way, no walking) several City to Surf's (14km), but his last one was 16 years ago (leaving his then fiancĂ©e in the back of the pack). He did the Boot Camp with me 2 years ago, and when it was running time, he was up the front and I was at the back, huffing and puffing (and cursing). That was the last time he ran...until now! I've been sweating it out for months now.

Well, he kept up with me (the bastard!!! LOL), but he was huffing and puffing. We did 2.84km in 21 minutes (7:43 min/km). That was enough for him and I'm quite proud that he did so well. I'm even more prouder of me, that although I still looked like a beetroot, I felt quite comfy and "fit".

Today (Sunday) I dodged the worst of the rain and got out for my "long" run. I really wanted to increase my distance and managed 6:00km in 48:32 minutes (8:05 min/km - not too bad!). The cooler weather was really nice and I enjoyed the sprinkles on my face - I was wishing for a downpour at the 4km mark!!!

Loved listening to "Summer Rain" (Slinky Minx remix) and I found this song on a running blog - didn't have it on my playlist and it seems appropriate today:

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal - 23

In my life this week:
I completed the bedroom painting! I went with Dulux Cottontail (on Wombat Girl's advice).

I like the end result - cleaner, lighter and the room looks bigger. We moved the bed and I indulged in new sheets and quilt cover too! Will be going to buy new bedside lamps and hang some pictures soon.

I volunteered (because, yeah, I have so much free time!!) to help take local highschool students out on a fossil walk on the rock platforms near here. I had the Year 7 "enrichment" class and they were very interested and learnt a lot. Apparently the same could not be said for the senior Yr 11 Biology class...

Still running! Enjoying my "long" 5km runs (which are getting faster) and took my hubby out for his first run in two years (he kept up with me and I look a lot more like a beetroot than him, but he was huffing and puffing!).

In our homeschool this week:
My sister sent some souvenirs from Melbourne Aquarium. What were all these types of sharks?

Video Boy got out the Horrible Science Angry Animals book:

I knew that I had a book of sharks from when I was a kid, so I fished it out (and indeed, I got it for Christmas back in 1979 from Mum and Dad!!):

We collected casuarina pods and later the seeds fell out - we had a nice discussion about seed formation, dispersion (these are wind dispersed) and germination:

Video Boy spent some time researching what science experiments he would like to try and then carried out a few and was able to describe to me the science behind them:

Wombat Girl asked "can I help paint?" and my first instinct was NO!!!! But I said "yes" and she turned out to be a great helper:

Whitey got a new outfit, made from serviettes:

We played Set:

We played River Crossing:

Both kids got involved in story writing activities. Video Boy loved Comic Builder from Lego City and Wombat Girl is right into Word Tamer. Here is a sample of what she is working on:

Darkness had fell and disaster had struck. Shadows litteraly flowing everywhere. The Great Land of  Mistyc was being covered by a cloak of evil. It ran through the streams and plains, trickled though the forests and meadows, and sprinted through the swamps and deserts. Civilisations fought bravely but The Dark's power was growing. No one knew what or who was causing The Age of Darkness but everyone knew only one thing could stop it. Jewel Magic...

I am inspired by:
Reading through all the wonderful ideas at Joyfully Rejoycing.

A video to share:
Adora Svitak says kids' big dreams deserve high expectations, starting with grownups' willingness to learn from children as much as to teach:

Linking up with
The Homeschool Mother's Journal

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Learning all the time

Before we made the momentous leap into uncharted territory (a.k.a. homeschooling), I read a bit about it. OK, well, I read a lot! Bought books, read web sites. In fact (because sometimes I can be a slow learner) I had been reading about this option of education for several years before we actually took the plunge.

So, I thought I was pretty "up" on the terminology, on the types/methods of homeschooling and what would suit us. So, I Planned and then we Did. Got Approved, then the Learning at home commenced.

I realised that my kids were stressed from their school experience and would need a period of de-schooling before they could truly enjoy the wonderful world of learning activities that their teacher-mum (who has a Bachelor of Science, Diploma of Education and Certificate in Gifted Education, thank you very much) had planned for them. Oh, I was prepared to be flexible - if they in fact turned out to be ready for higher level maths, then higher we would go! I didn't buy a whole lot of "curriculum" because we might change our minds. Eclectic was the way to go. So I thought that 3 months over the summer holidays would be a good break for them and we could ease our way into this homeschooling thing. Which we pretty much did. They were asking when we could start homeschooling! Yay!

But a funny thing happened on the way to the dining table. As with much of my "book learning" at university, it isn't until you get out into the Real World that you actually see things in practice. We are 8 months or so into our homeschooling journey. And while it has overall been the best thing we have ever done as students and as a family, there have been times when it has been forced, not fun, and quite frankly, miserable. Not all day, but for chunks of the day. Now sure, I know learning isn't always supposed to be all "fun" (hey, I'm a teacher aren't I?), but I'm pretty sure it shouldn't be miserable. Hell - I could just leave the kids in school if I wanted them to be miserable! And I know they are intense, sensitive souls, which I am learning to take in my stride (I told you I was a slow learner, didn't I?). But maybe, just maybe, learning could (or should) be fun?? Or at the very least, something you want to do. So, maybe we needed to tweak things a bit. More joy, less tears.

And so I read. And learnt. And thought....some more. And now I am beginning to see that the person that needed the de-schooling the most was me. I had to not only be flexible about our learning, but re-think what education was, why we need it, what does it really mean for my particular kids and what we want to get out of it. I feel as if I'm gaining a new attitude to learning and what it means for us.

I'm still learning - and I hope I don't stop. I'm sure our homeschool will continue to evolve, to be what we need it to be. It doesn't mean I know what I'm doing yet or that I feel comfortable or if I'm brave, but I'm ready to open my mind up to new thoughts and ideas about what learning is. And it's exciting - so much to learn!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Dreadmill vs. outside!

Playing catchup here! It was raining on Friday, so I decided to "just do it" and head off to the gym (of which I'm not a member) and hit the treadmill. $16 later (what the?), 20 minutes on the bike and eliptical waiting for a treadmill to free up, and I was on.

Did half an hour of intervals - 2 min with a 2 degree incline and speed of 8, then 2 min flat and 7. I have no idea if this is fast or slow, but it felt OK. The woman next to me was sprinting for half and hour at 13!! No problem - I used to look in awe at anyone running on a treadmill, and now that was me for 30 minutes! I think I did about 3.5km. And it sure was more humid inside!

Sunday was after Saturday night... I had planned on doing a local fun-run, but upon discovering it was a leisurely 12km instead of my imagined 5, I decided against it. So on Monday morning I was up and at 'em. 5.09km in 38.51min (av pace 7.38min/km). 2 minutes faster than last weekend! Woo hoo! I felt really good (after the first 5 minutes) and kept up a consistent pace. So proud of myself!

And, importantly, at the 4km mark (Blackmores Family Run distance) I was at 30 minutes. I'm hopeful I'll do the race in  less than that - that's the goal anyway, and you've got to have goals!!!

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal - 22

In my life this week:
A week of "blah". Our short stint of warm weather was over, and we had plenty of rain.

Sick hubby (see my video link below - too funny!), sick kids, me feeling as though I might get sick, but my super-human immune system (or excessive use of vitamins) fended it off!

In our homeschool this week:
Given the low energy levels and high snot levels, we took things very easy this week...very "unschool".

We read...

We played Mastermind...

We played Bananagrams....

This is Whitey - he was my teddy (I got him at one month old)
and now Wombat Girl loves him)

We played Forbidden Island...(and watched Poirot - multi-taskers!)

Wombat Girl practised piano...

The kids designed a new level for a video game and then drew a map...

We also listened to the audiobook of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer...

and started reading One Day in the Tropical Rainforest by Jean Craighead George.

I am inspired by:
I really enjoyed Ordinary Life Magic's Rainbow Snowcones post about unschooling and the video in it about homeschooling in general and how to approach mathematics in particular. Food for thought.

My favourite thing this week:
Taking it easy and approaching our learning in a different way (for a short while, at least!).

I'm reading:
Stinging Trees and Wait-a-Whiles - Confessions of a Rainforest Biologist by William Laurance. Engaging tales of an American mammal ecologist who studies the rainforest near Cairns, Australia. Leeches, mud, the weird and wonderful ways of regional Australia are all presented in a broader context of rainforest conservation.

I'm cooking:
Praise for the slow cooker! Roast chicken, best-ever spagetti bolognaise, BBQ beef ribs with asian greens. 

A video giggle to share:

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

pottering about

Wombat Girl loves to potter about. She has always been the one to make stuff, cut, paste, draw, construct.

She has a new "project" on the go - investigating charcoal from the fire pit. She has spent hours crushing, spreading, watering, pottering. Having fun!

52 Ancestors - Unusual Name

In this week's post, we have been asked to look behind an "unusual name" and I've chosen my great-aunt's husband, Fred...