Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Let's go back to the start...

Last weekend was cool and rainy. There was lots of stuff I "should" have been doing (ironing, Business Activity Statements, cleaning), but I drank copious amounts of tea and scanned old photos instead. Oh what a trip down memory lane, where the kids were little and I was littler than I am now.

Then I read Deb's post and she pointed me to Fleeting. I cried. Because I cry at everything these days and because...they grow so fast!

So today I will share with you some scanned photos of my bubbas, so we can all sigh at how fleeting those moments are.

Look at my bubbas! So cute! So squishy! So bad at sleeping...

Yes, they even read in the bath!



New baby sister!
Who also didn't sleep much...




Nom nom nom...

Om nom nom...


Mwah!

And remember to take some new photos today, because even though they are big, they are still here, still growing, still my bubbas and I still love them to bits (especially now they sleep much better):
 


 Sigh.

Did you love the baby stage?
Have you scanned in/digitised all your old photos yet?


Monday, February 17, 2014

Do I have to?




This post is linking up with the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum first blog hop of the year - Staying Motivated throughout the Homeschool Year.

For our northern hemisphere friends, it's the middle of the school year, and apparently, snowing in a lot of places! I get why they would be feeling a bit over the whole homeschooling thing at this point in time, especially given they may be a bit house-bound! Here in the southern hemisphere, it is bright and sunny, and we are just a few short weeks into our school year. The year ahead stretches out...all our plans are in place...we are all motivated and ready to go! Or that's the theory, anyway.

So, what do you do when you are feeling over it all, tempted to send them to school just to give yourself a few minutes peace?

Keep it real - don't be deluded by blog posts and Pinterest pins that show all happy smiling faces of Moms helping Daughters, sitting at a desk, LOVING their maths, whilst Dad helps out Son with his laptop work.
I forgot to add colour-coordinated and perfect makeup!


The reality is somewhat different and I share these as a public service:

Vague much?
Do I have to?

Give me strength!
And I haven't even got photos of the kids crying ('cause I'm a great mother like that) or me. But I should have, because there are more than a few of those moments around here. 

So, next time you feel inadequate, come back and look at those photos, because I'll probably never have perfect makeup.

Review the plan - I read when researching this post you should go back and read your plan for the year, yanno, to give yourself some inspiration. Great idea if you are on schedule and doing well. Not so great if you are "behind" or the kids have far outstripped your plans for science, because they already knew all the stuff. So I say "review" the plan - add some red pen of your own, get some new ideas and make it more realistic - this is especially important in your first year of homeschooling where your enthusiasm far outweighs everyone's abilities.

Remember to count ALL the learning - just because it's not sitting at a desk with a pen in hand, doesn't mean it's not learning. We have the best discussions in the car, watching QI, or going for a walk down the beach. Remember (and I was a teacher, so I'm fair-dinkum) although schooled kids are there for 6 hours a day, they aren't doing anywhere near 6 hours of written work, not even close. Plus, working one-on-one (smiling, hair and makeup done) is much more time efficient. So go a bit easy on yourself if you don't feel like you are doing "enough".

Start putting together your homeschool accomplishments in a report - I love doing this! I put all my photos and tick boxes together in a Word document, each under a Subject heading. It's amazing how fabulous it all looks when it's in one place - we even look like "real" homeschoolers! Go on - I bet you've done more than you thought!!!

Have a screen-free day - for you as well as them! When we can't get sucked into the time-vortex of Facebook or Minecraft, it's amazing what you'll do to pass the time! Out come the board games, the recipes, the art and craft, the ... dare I say it?...glitter. It does everyone well to think outside the square occasionally.


Come on kids, cheer up! It's Screen-Free Day!!!!
Clean up - yes, you read that right. Having a clean up of your homeschool area or even moving it to another part of the house can reveal a mountain of crap resources that you've stashed away and forgotten about! Those science kits you bought on sale? Do them (even if you're not studying that at the moment). Those art supplies? Use them! That English workbook? Sell it on eBay... if nothing else, you'll make some spare change!

Change it up - if the kids are really hating the way you're doing something, don't be afraid to look for another way - whether that's another resource, googling natural learning, or asking around on a Facebook support group for ideas - there surely has to be a better way. You'll find it...eventually.



Most of all, when you ask yourself at the start of another homeschool day "do I have to?", remember WHY you homeschool in the first place. Blog it (seriously - I look back at my blog and think, wow! That was cool!). Take photos. Look at your kids - are they happier because they are at home? Mine are, so there's my answer - yes, I have to :-)

Head on over to Gifted Homeschoolers to check out the other posts to keep you motivated!!!

What are your tips/hints for staying motivated?
Do you have a part of the year that feels hard going?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

A Valentines tale of woe...

(or the one where I overshare way too much information).

Heya. It's Valentines' Day. Or St. Valentines Day or whatever because it is a load of shit around here.


Hi. My name is "Ingi" and I'm pre-menstrual and not happy about it. You have been warned...(don't scroll down if you are sensitive to swearing - it's the real me coming out, and you may not like it).

It was my hubby's birthday this week, so I had to be very sympathetic about him turning 8 years older than me, buy presents (what do you get the man who needs nothing and does nothing?), cards (from everyone), wrap them and then do a special birthday dinner. Which I did because that's what you do for loved ones to show you care. 

I don't normally give 2 hoots about Valentine's day because it really just another commercial ripoff to get us to buy more stuff and also it comes 3 days after my hubby's birthday and I'm not doing all that shit twice in one week.

But this week, this year, I've worked 3 full days,as well as organised and supervised a full weeks worth of homeschooling.

I resigned myself to the fact that we are NOT going on our cruise to Japan, because we've got no-one to work in our shop while we are away due to staffing issues. 

I've got PMS something shocking, as well as peri-menopausal insomnia and hot flushes and irritability (on top the PMS) and just general vagueness.

I am, in the words of a very wise advertising genius, Not. Happy. Jan.



Today, I got up early, got my period and found the fridge devoid of milk and the cupboard devoid of Nurofen, so went and bought some. Then I drove for an hour to start another full days work before driving another hour home. 

Did I get a hug? A kiss? A happy Valentines to ya? 

No.

I got a phone call on the way home from work stating "there's nothing in the fridge". 

I informed the man I married that there was chicken. I had bought chicken to cook for dinner. Driving along the highway, I vented out loud to noone that what I would REALLY like is for you, just for fucking once, to surprise me with a Valentines dinner out at a restaurant where I don't have to cook. That's what I would like.

I mean, I don't think that it is too much to ask for the caring to cut both ways, do you? And it doesn't even have to be a surprise dinner - it really could be as simple as just looking around the house, seeing what needs doing (clothes picked up and not left in the dining room - I mean really), just go out and buy some fucking milk and Coke because you've fucking drunk it all, just fucking do anything at all fucking helpful!. (I may have been a tad angry).

On arriving home, I had calmed down a notch and was cutting up said chicken to cook for said dinner, I noticed it was off. A kind of grey colour and didn't smell so hot (not unlike myself). So hubby and the kids went off to the supermarket to pick up frozen pizza instead. I may have mentioned to Wombat Girl on the way out that it was, in fact, Valentines Day and if they wanted to pick me up a little treat, I might be less upset than I currently was.

They brought back smoked salmon, Tandoori Chicken pizza and chocolates and these:


You just redeemed yourself, buddy, just. 

Normal programming and language will resume next post...


Did you get anything for Valentines?
What are your tips for sharing the domestic load?
Ever done a big, whiney, sweary blog post and regretted it?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Get set to get wet!

We went on an "excursion" on Friday. The local homeschool group organised a "not-back-to-school" celebration to the local (2 hour drive, but yanno, kinda local) waterpark. All the school kiddies had gone back to school and the place was queue-free and ready for a bunch of homeschoolers to, um, study physics? Yeah, that's what we were doing!

Earlier in the week it was cloudy, rainy and a bit on the cold side. So I was very happy to wake up to this stunner of the day:


Perfect weather, not too hot (but still requiring sunscreen) and not too cold (kinda nice when you spend all day in the water):











As is becoming a regular event, the kids amaze me with their bravado, their oomph. I stood up the top of that Jump Rock and said (out loud, oops) "F*%K that!!!" and walked backwards. The kids just did it:








And the slippery dip:



And the huge Funnel Web of fear!










Although I piked out on Jump Rock, I did get dragged kicking and screaming go on the Funnel Web with my boy:

I am the ACTION mum!!!! (ignore the screen snip watermarks -
 I'm not paying $14.95 for a photo of me in my swimmers)
There were, of course, other homeschoolers there too. I haven't included many pics of them because I'm sure when they smiled for my camera they didn't really think they'd end up in the viewing eye of worldwide, famous blog (ahem). But for me, it was the BEST part of the day. Watching these kids, of all ages (but for the first time in ages, heaps of teens around the same age as my two) meet each other, get along, include everyone, be nice to each other and just have a fabulous day. Warmed the cockles of my heart, I tell you (and I may have shed a tear or two, just watching). AND there were great adults to chat to you!!! Bonus!



Pack of boys...

Gaggle of girls...


Twas the BEST day ever! Well, right up there with the bestest :-)

Have you ever been to a waterpark?
Ever jumped off jump rock?
Ever gone backward down the Funnel Web (I have!!!)


Tuesday, February 04, 2014

History never repeats!

Last week, I sat down with my two to do some homeschooling. I had a few things I wanted to get done that day, start on our Yr 9 History, start on our science research project, finish up some Shakespeare.

We didn't get past history!

The morning started off ordinarily enough - I got out our History textbook, and we read about the Enlightenment together. Of course, when I say "read through" I mean read a bit, discuss a bit, listen to me get on my soapbox and rave a bit, be amazed my son's wit and ability to join disparate concepts together a bit. See, this is why I LOVE homeschooling - you can't have in depth analysis and discussion like that in a classroom, or even a tutorial group. But three of us? Just watch us!

Then we quickly ran through the "questions" at the end of the chapter orally - but we had largely discussed most of the concepts already. I then got them to write up some definitions in their shiny new history exercise books (those school-going parents can't have all the stationery fun!).

Please ignore the handwriting - I'm just glad they write at all with no tears!
They handled this remarkably well. I've written about our writing issues before, but a task like this previously would have involved tears, stomping, possibly yelling, threats to go back to school (and that's just me), but they actually settled down nicely and completed it in a reasonable timeframe. There is hope!!!

It was nearly lunchtime - not worth starting anything else, so I suggested we search YouTube for a short video about the Enlightenment. Which we found and it helped reinforce what we had just discussed/written about:


A bit old-fashioned, but it did the job. We had a look at this one, mainly because it was made by the same people who do the Periodic Videos of the Elements:


AND THEN, we found Crash Course in World History series of videos! I had heard of Crash Course - they do fast-paced videos on Biology and Chemistry, but I didn't know they did history as well. From the Agricultural Revolution through to Globalisation, John Green takes you through world history. So, I said, yes, let's watch the first one:


It's not for little kids, but for my two, particularly my short-attention span, witty boy, it is perfect. Both kids have INHALED Horrible Histories a few years back and these are like Horrible Histories for teens/adults. Fast-paced, funny, great graphics, witty, peppered with popular culture references, funny and thoughtful. It's more than dates and events and famous historical figures - he asks deep questions, looks at historical sources of information and skewed views of history.

We loved it! Suffice to say, that was it for the afternoon - we just kept watching! And the next few afternoons after that too. We are just about up to the Enlightenment now :-)

And you can buy it on DVD (they are not paying my to say that, I'm just helpful that way. But Crash Course people, if you are reading, I'll be happy to accept commission).

But I warn you - history will never be the same and be prepared to lose DAYS from your carefully planned out homeschool schedule because of all that pesky desire to learn more and immerse yourself in history.

Have you ever lost days to immersing yourself in something interesting?
What do you use to study history?
How good is YouTube (yanno, aside from cats)?


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...