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Stuff we might do this year!

Welcome to Week 2 of the Aussie NOT Back to School Bloghop!

Our Worldwide Classroom

As promised, this week's theme is Our Curriculum - or some stuff that I'd like to see get covered this year and how we are going to try and do that!

If I had to pick a homeschooling "style" (and remember, for every 100 homeschoolers, there are a 100 ways of homeschooling!), it would be relaxed eclectic. We don't follow or purchase a set curriculum or a set of workbooks. We don't subscribe to Montessori or Steiner or Charlotte Mason. We aren't Christian homeschoolers. We pick and choose from the plethora of materials out there (designed for homeschoolers and teachers) to find what works for us. And then I may or may not use it!

As a base, we should be following the "Stage 4" syllabus from the NSW Board of Studies, which lists a bunch of knowledge, skills and values which they believe each student should come out of Year 7 and 8 with.  One of (the only?) the advantages of having been a high school teacher is that you rapidly come to realise that a lot of kids won't achieve these (even having sat through all your carefully planned out lessons) and some will be bored senseless by these. And one of the advantages of homeschooling is that you realise that many of these "outcomes" are easily achieved by LIVING LIFE and discussing what we read and watch. 

Anyway, I just know you are chomping at the bit to find out what we have planned, and even more so to get to those really helpful links, so without further ado, here are our 2012 curriculum plans:


Literary analysis and interpretation:
  • Continue with Michael Clay Thompson's Alice, Peter and Mole series (we are currently reading aloud Peter Pan and Wendy - we will attempt some of the analysis questions this term).
  • Not forgetting our Australian content - possibilities include Storm Boy (Colin Thiele) and Blue Back (Tim Winton).
  • Linking in some film reviews (Disney's Peter Pan and Hook, Storm Boy etc) and using Brave Writer Goes to the Movies.
  • Continuing our Poetry Tea Times from Brave Writer.
  • We might attempt Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream later in the year.
Linguistic competency:
  • The kids both have pretty good spelling and punctuation, so I just usually correct/discuss as we go.
  • I am really looking forward to doing some of the work/activities in the units I found at Read Me Resouces. These are especially designed for BOYS aged 11-14 years of age and we are particularly interested in This Is Me (autobiographies and blogging), Graphic 4 Me (graphic novels) and Film & Me (titles and trailers).
  • The NSW DET Curriculum Support website also has some excellent units of English.

Patterns and Algebra:
  • We will continue our Algebra work building on our algebraic techniques (simplifying, expanding and factorising algebraic expressions), solving linear equations (using analytical and graphical methods) and moving onto quadratic equations.
  • We are enjoying watching Algebra I from the Great Courses.
  • We will also re-visit Life of Fred Beginning Algebra.
  • As a teacher I have the Maths Quest NSW textbooks on PDF.
  • We need to do some this year, as it was something we missed out on last year (except for playing Keno at the local golf club...).
  • We will do some simple and complex events, look at relative frequencies and theoretical probabilities.
  • The Joy of Maths DVD from Great Courses has some good stuff on probability as well as text book stuff.
Graphing and Coordinate Geometry:
  • You remember all this stuff from high school, don't you? Midpoint formula, length, gradient, gradient/intercept form of linear equations! Moving onto parabolas and hyperbolas, cubics, exponentials and circles. 
  • Will have to find some good graphing software for this bit....
Data Representation:
  • I think we might do this as part of science - table, charts, statistical information, frequency etc. 
  • Again lots of graphing opportunities (Microsoft Excel comes into it's own here) and also the statistics functions on the scientific calculator (to find out what all the other buttons do!).
  • Time to start on this too! Will tackle Life of Fred and Maths Quest.
We'll be doing well if we get through all that!  Plus there are lots of opportunities for Living Math type activities and just finding our joy (Flatland, tesseracts and the like!).


For someone who's a science teacher, I have been a bit lax in this department in the last few months. Both kids have a lot of knowledge (Video Boy has crazy amounts of stuff in his head!), but we still need to build on our skills and methods.
  • Because I can still access the NSW DET website, I have downloaded the OTEN Preliminary (Yr 11) Physics and Chemistry units, so we are working through these. I like these because the content is at Video Boy's level, but the work is meant to be done at home.
  • We are enjoying watching Great Courses Quantum Mechanics DVD.
  • We will do some work (practical where possible) on cells, flowering plants, human body, Earth's resources, plate tectonics and genetics/evolution.

  • Mapping skills (Mapping the World By Heart)
  • World Heritage sites (great resources at the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities website!)
  • Some more work on Global Environments
  • Terminology and concepts of historical time
  • Ancient Egypt (or Greece or Rome)
  • Medieval (Vikings or Europe)
  • Keep going with our Discovering Democracy work

Creative Arts:

  • Drama classes! We are very excited to be starting these!!
  • Piano lessons for Wombat Girl! She has had one already and I think this will help her progress a lot.
  • Basics of music (for Video Boy) and exposure to a range of music
  • Some basic Dance with mummy! I taught Dance at high school (I know, I'm multi-talented) so we will have a couple of sessions where we look at the components of dance, create some movement and maybe even go and see some live dance (Bangarra Dance Theatre comes to our area every year).
  • Visual art - we will keep going with some watercolours, sculpting and anything else that I get ideas for that appeal and don't create too much mess!!!
Health and Physical Education:

  • For "Moving with Confidence" we will be working on our gross motor skills with Can't Play Won't Play (activities for kids with motor dyspraxia)
  • We are going swimming every week with other homeschoolers
  • Lots of walking and anything else I can find to keep us active
  • A lot of "Sense of Self" will come from everyday life, but we will also be doing some mind mapping and talking about adolescence
  • "Promote and restore health" will looking at healthy eating, mental health and drug use.

  • Information and communications - movie making, multi-media, databases, helping with the shop promotions, games programs (I think we have that one covered pretty darn well!)
  • Products - cubby house/chook shed, cross-stitch, learning to use the sewing machine, planning and preparing menus.

OMG - I feel tired just reading all that! But a lot of it can be done informally through "real-life" activities which I will photograph, video or blog about. There are soooo many resources on the web, many of which are free and we have enough books to fill a library (and there's the library too!). We work well on "book" stuff in the morning and then we can potter about with whatever takes our interest in the afternoon. Hope some of the links are helpful for you and I encourage you do go and check out some of the other people at Our Worldwide Classroom who are also NOT going back to school!


  1. Thanks for sharing. I like your relaxed eclectic mix approach. Hhhmmmm, I'm such a "structure" freak... Now it's time for me to check out some links :)

    1. Thanks April - I am enjoying the freedom of not having to be such a structure freak (compared to teaching at school). I'm actually trying very hard NOT to have "school at home", because it causes all of us too much stress :-)

  2. Soooo thorough!
    Must check at the OTEN science units...have got some nice independent Stage 4 units there for later in the year in maths.
    Ah, so little time, so much fabulous stuff to do!

    1. Wow - I'm glad you think I'm thorough! That is just my attempt to marry the BOS outcomes with how we might tackle them. Whether or not we do it that way (or at all) remains to be seen!

  3. Great to see your plans for the year. I like the look of the Read Me resources in particular. My Pokemon Boy does have a tendency to gravitate towards the graphic novels when in the library.

    1. Yes, I thought they looked fantastic for my reluctant writer!

  4. Good Job. I'm feeling tired too.

    1. Thank goodness I have a year to achieve all that!

  5. Ingi
    Loved reading your plans:) Also impressed that you have some lovely pics of your children learning (note to self to take more of my kiddoes). Oh and off to check out those books in the first pic. Happy Learning:)

    1. I have to admit that in blogging, I've learned to take lots of photos of the most inane things - the kids are getting used to me whipping out the camera! Oh - and those books are great (Wombat Girl just re-read Dragon Rider!).

  6. Love the Quantum Mechanics DVD - looks like it is expressed in terms that a beginner can grasp well. thanks

    1. The great thing we find about the DVDs are that you can pause, discuss, rewind, pause, google, play, until you "get" the concept! In the maths ones, we often play at 1.5x speed because the lecturer is a bit too slow for kids who pick up maths quickly. It's funny, but helpful!

  7. hahaha I agree when you read it all typed it it seems like you will be glued to a desk or always out at activities, but over the course of year it all balances doesn't it!!!

  8. Another Terry Pratchett fan! Vince and I are currently reading the Discworld series (me for the second time and Vince for the first). We were inspired by the showing of Going Postal over Christmas.

    I love your photos - the kids look like they have a great time homeschooling. Heaps of great stuff to explore in your year.


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