Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Breaking Free!

"We're soarin', flyin', there's not a star in heaven that we can't reach".

Oh yeah, gotta love a bit of Disney inspiration on your run!

I have been really good with my 1 Million Kilo Challenge diet! And they also give an exercise program - the Bondi Bum training video. So on Monday morning, I got up and did:

  • Shuttle runs - x zero because the kid from next was out on their balcony and I was too embarrassed to run up and down my backyard!
  • Squat jumps - 1 minute (tough)
  • Push ups - 1 minute (on my knees - there is no way I can do the toe ones!)
  • High knee runs - 1 minute (I look ridiculous!)
  • Butt raises - 1 minute (these were OK)
  • Tricep dips - 1 minute
  • Burpees - 1 minute (OM Freaking G)
  • Plank - for as long as you can (30sec for me).
And then you are supposed to repeat 3 times for a total of 4 repeats. I managed 3 times. Sweat was dripping and those burpees were looking seriously demented. But it's a start and if I can do that twice a week, I think it will be a good cross-training effort. I will of course, keep you informed!

And today I was off onto Week 4 of Ease into 5K. I wasn't sure I was going to actually attempt it - my left leg is giving me all sorts of aches and pains, but once I got out there (at 6:30am - thank you very much!), I gave it a go:

So I'm up to running 6 minutes - and it felt very good! No sore calves or hips. I really enjoyed this run! Go figure.

And if you need a little inspiration to get there (or back out there) Sarah and Dimity from Another Mother Runner have this great Podcast which I really enjoyed!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Not back to school!

Today, by rights, I should have woken my cherubs up at 6:30am, got them into their uniforms, madly packed a lunch of some description and put them on the bus for their first day of high school. I also have a funny feeling that Video Boy would have lost his timetable by now and Wombat Girl would have been sadly disappointed to learn place value again in maths.

I Googled "high school classroom" and this is what I found:

Awww... doesn't it look like fun? Smiling, happy kids, with smiling, understanding wonderful teachers and an iPad each! I wish I only had 4-5 kids in my classes when I was teaching, I might have stayed in the profession longer!

And today, quite a few of my friends posted pictures on Facebook of their tweens about to start their first day of high school, all in shiny new uniforms.  So I could have a record of this momentous occasion, here are Video Boy and Wombat Girl on their first day of high school:

Therefore today, in celebration of not having to get up at 6:30am and get into uniforms and on the bus and into a crowded (hot) classroom, and not being overwhelmed and having to relearn stuff we learnt years ago, we went around to our homeschooler friends place and did this instead:

Solving puzzles

Cuddling newborns (for the first time ever!)

Rush hour

Healthy lunch

Swimming (it was very hot here today)

Bit of algebra for Wombat Girl because she asked for it
(it's really hard to come up with equations off the top of your head!)

We rushed home just in time for my chemistry tutee (is that a word?) at 3pm. We were reviewing the periodic table. "What is Ne again?" my tutee asks. "Neon" pipes up Wombat Girl. Guess we had that covered!

All in all, a lovely day and brilliant start to our "high school"!!!

Oh and we'll be joining in the "All Aussie Not Back to School Bloghop!

Our Worldwide Classroom

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Weekend wanders

Got up early (well, 7am is early for me!) yesterday (Saturday)...only to find the beach overrun with surf clubbies...some big carnival on and cars and people and boats everywhere! I forgot to take a pic, but sucked it up and went for my run/walk anyway.

I had tight calves, but felt OK, so when the cool down bit came I went for another short run and the walked for a ways after. So I did a bit more "mileage" - but it wasn't all running.

The weighty issue is weighing on my mind. I came across the 1 Million Kilo - 10 Week Challenge site. It was free - so I signed up and have pretty much been following it for two days. The exercise plan is focussed on a circuit, with two 30 minute walks a week, but I might just change that around to 3 runs, a couple of circuits and some walking.

So today I dropped the kids off at their friends house and kept walking (dog whining after the kids "disappeared"). 6.09km (a lot on sand) in 1 hour 20 minutes.

Came home and had a healthy egg salad for lunch!

So let's see how all this good living pans out on Weigh In Wednesday - it had better make a difference!

2012 - Homeschool High School!

We mostly follow the NSW school terms here. Taking it easy during (and immediately before and after) the school holidays - i.e. Mum doesn't force encourage bookwork or formal learning (although of course, it happens all the time!). But I do have my limits on how much Minecraft/YouTube actually constitutes an education!

Last year I spent a lot of time and effort (before my Board of Studies inspection) putting together a very teacher-like plan of what syllabus outcomes we would cover and when!

By Term 4, we were only vaguely following it, as we had morphed into a pseudo-natural learning frame of mind and had changed the way we view learning a lot.

This year, come about October, we have our follow-up visit by the Board of Studies inspector (can't believe it will be two years since we last saw him!). So I guess at the back of my mind, I am conscious of having to "tick some boxes" for planning and record keeping.

Tomorrow, the kids would both be entering Year 7 - the first year of high school in Australia, and "Stage 4" of the Board of Studies curriculum. The ex-teacher in me couldn't help having a browse around the 7-10 syllabi, and listing out the relevant outcomes. The natural learner in me has resisted putting them in a narrow timetable! In addition, the kids are working at Stage 5 and 6 level for lots of maths and science, so I have included them in my "plan" as well.

I guess I just wanted to get my head around what they would be doing at school, but feeling reasonably comfortable that we can stray from the "path" and still be getting a better education than if they were stuck in an age-locked classroom. 

I have also (almost) decided to ditch the teacher's diary this year:

and instead go with my self-designed record of what we did and how it relates to each Key Learning Area or subject - that we I can incorporate all the "little things" into my record keeping:

And of course, I have this Blog, which apart from being a space to get to know other inspiring homeschoolers and keep the relatives informed, has been a great space to record and reflect on our learning journey.

And if you happen to be in NSW (or even if you aren't and are looking for handy resources) don't forget to check out the Board of Studies Curriculum Support pages, where there are heaps of links to programs and units for all ages and years, and very often worksheets and Power Points to accompany. My hint to non-teachers is just skip to the "learning activity" section of any unit and pick and choose activities that suit you and your kids, rather than wade through pages of teacher-speak and try to follow a lock-step curriculum.

We are so looking forward to this year! And very happy to be High School Homeschoolers!!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Pigeon House power!

You don't mind if I post about something the kids didn't do, do you? Nah, I didn't think so!

Yesterday as part of my new part-time job as a Discovery Ranger, we took a group up Pigeon House Mountain (Didthul - is the correct indigenous name) in Morton National Park. (at this rate, I may as well give you my full name and the kids names so you can figure out my real identity!!)

Well, we would have, except no-one turned up! A friend of ours and the boss's kid do not paying customers make. Anyhoo, we did it anyway. It was meant to be a geology field trip, busting the myth that Pigeon House is an extinct volcano.

It is a 5.5km out and back hike, with some very steep sections!

Note the Grade 1 hike! That's steep!!
 Put your treadmill on 13% (if it goes that high) and experience my pain!

But it is an amazing walk, with beautiful flora, interesting geology and spectacular views from the top!

Our little group, ready to go!

The rocks at the start of the walk are 500 million year old
 folded metamorphic "basement" rocks

Woollsia pungens - snow wreath - beautiful honey scent

Drosera sp. - Sundew - a carnivorous plant that lives in waterlogged soil

Native snail

External mould of a pectin shell - a marine fossil - found at the base of the "house"

Yes - it was a steep climb!

260 million year old Nowra Sandstone!

My house is out there somewhere...

Stunning scenery - rivers have eroded down through the
 layers of sandstone and mudstone to form this landscape

Banksia serrata - old man banskia

Nowra sandstone cap forms the "house" on the top.

A sweaty Ranger Ingi at the end of the walk!

We have actually done this walk as a family two and a half years ago - in the winter, when sensible people tackle it!

We are very lucky to live in a beautiful part of the world and I love that I can share it with you!

Wednesday Weigh-In

76.4kg - 168.1 pounds
Hmmph. Up a bit. Or steady, depending on your point of view!

Eating wise, I've been OK - although the Domino's Pizza on Friday night probably didn't help! The runs have been steady (3 this week) although not long. The hip is sore-ish again.

On Monday afternoon (after the run) I did a bushwalk for work (4.5km) - a bit hilly.

 Then yesterday we did the "biggy" - Pigeon House Mountain!

Note the elevation! It was a grade 1 climb!! 5.5km, but very steep! 

I live down there somewhere...

It wasn't too hot (24C) but quite humid! I sweated buckets. And now I have sore calves!

I have to do Pebbly Beach again this afternoon, so I didn't run this morning. I am motivated to keep running, so I can do these walks without so much effort/pain. And maybe lose some weight (the run is the diet!).

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...