Sunday, August 17, 2014

7 Revealing Facts About Myself!

I'm always chuffed when people take the time to leave comments on my posts. I know there are lots of you out there reading my drivel, but it's lovely when you respond. Most bloggers feel the same - although I am a bit slack these days in reciprocating unless you are on FB which I check on my phone.

So I was really chuffed to read Alyson from World Family Travel comment that she actually reads my blog and doesn't just comment for the reciprocal rights! Very cool.

And I was REALLY chuffed to read that Lucinda from Navigating By Joy loves reading my blog, doesn't want me to stop blogging, even if we stop homeschooling. As if! Although just quietly, I'm glad I don't have the word homeschooling in my blog title - it's nice and vague! Just like me...

But Lucinda also nominated me for a Very Inspiring Blogger Award!

Someone thinks I'm inspiring! You like me, you really like me!!

Thank you Lucinda! I find her very inspiring - especially her maths and science activities - she inspired me to be a better homeschool mum from the other side of the globe (how cool is the internet, huh?).

As part of this award though, we have to reveal seven facts about ourselves. Now I've revealed almost everything about myself on this blog - you don't miss out on much - so if you go "meh, I already knew that" I will understand ;-)

1. I'm not a morning person! I take a while to warm up and my preferred waking hours are in the evening. But I (sometimes) force myself to get up early to exercise before work. But I warn you - don't try to talk to me and sometimes it's a bit scary:
  1. Extra large for your viewing pleasure
2. I have another blog - I originally shared the above picture. It's about my weight loss (or much of the time, weight gain) journey. I'm considering merging the two to give me more blog fodder and to over share more of me. Go check it out at: It'll make you feel better about yourself! And let me know if you think I should merge or keep separate.

3. I have a potty mouth - sad but true. The f-bomb frequently gets dropped around here, much to my husband and children's dismay. We even joked last night that I have tourettes. I try to refrain a bit here (family-friendly and all that), but on my personal FB page a bit more of the "real" escapes.

4. Despite my oversharing here I am, in fact, an introvert - you kind of have to drag me, kicking and screaming to social events. I am very happy at home, blogging, social media-ing, playing games with my kids and drinking wine and talking shit with my husband. How ironic that my day job involves being "up" and talking and connecting with people so they book their holiday with me. And I'm good at it! But it exhausts me.

5. Under this exterior hides a ballet dancer - once a dancer, always a dancer.

6. Before I was a travel consultant, ranger, library/visitor centre assistant, homeschool mum, high school teacher, swimming instructor, retail business owner and resort manager, I was a fluvial geomorphologist! Yes I was! I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Physical Geography and I used to traipse around rivers all over NSW and WA giving geomorphic advice.

7. I don't believe in (any) God(s) - I was raised a Catholic and grew up believing in God. I questioned some of the teachings in my teenage years attending Catholic school, but it wasn't really up until the last couple of years that I have really questioned a spiritual being and after a lot of reading and thinking have concluded I don't believe. It's been really freeing. But I'm still a good person (except maybe for the potty mouth) and I don't make a big deal about it and I certainly don't judge those that do believe.

Is that me in a nutshell? Who knows, but it's bits of me you may not have known.

Now I have to share the "rules" and nominate other bloggers:

  • Thank and link to the amazing person who nominated you.
  • List the rules and display the award.
  • Share seven facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.
  • Proudly display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you.
All done, except the 15 other amazing blogs. Look at the sidebar for who inspires me - the ones I love the best are there. Plus, I need to go cook breakfast.

8. I also like to break rules.

Surprised at any of that?
What blogs inspire you (share the love)?
Should I merge my blogs?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Dinner time discussion

This working full time is pretty full-on. I mean even when I was teaching a couple of years back, I generally got to school at 8:30am and left by about 4:30pm (unless it was report writing time). And don't mention the holidays.
Granted, I was wishing away my life, hanging out desperately for the next holidays. And I may have been slightly unhinged from trying to look after huge groups of teenagers every day.

But this new job I have as a travel agent has pushed back my leisure hours. Oh, and the hours I used to devote to domestic duties. I'm away from the house at least 8am to 6pm, and probably at least twice a week work hours later than that if it's been a busy day.

So, the family have had to step up to ensure a more equitable division of the domestic labour.

Most of this involves getting the kids to cook something for dinner at least once a week each. In reality, it's more like once a fortnight, but I have grand plans of a roster to make it easy for everyone (hubby, that includes you too!).

And they've been great! Meals have included spaghetti and meatballs, chicken and mustard filo parcels, homemade pizza and burritos.

OK, most times the thought crosses my mind that it would be easier and certainly quicker to do it myself! But think of the skills they are developing. And the self confidence. And the meals that I didn't have to prepare after a long day at work!
And because we are all about equal opportunity here, rest assured Video Boy has spent equal amounts of time in the kitchen as his sister, but because I am a slacker mum who was drinking wine in the lounge room, I neglected to take his photo. But you get the idea! 

Monday, August 11, 2014

First steps...

This afternoon we went back to school!

Well, we had an interview with a contender for school next year for Video Boy and Wombat Girl. The school we are looking at is a senior "college" here in the ACT - which is generally Yr 11 and 12. But a couple have a Yr 10 in College program. This college has a talented sports stream (uh no) and a talented maths and science stream, which is the one we are interested in. Apparently, the majority of the kids in Yr 10 (about 2/3) do the sports bit, and around 8-10 do the maths/science bit. Maybe my two too!

We spent the morning filling in application forms - I will admit it was not without tears from a certain someone who struggled to come up with ideas about what she was good at and why they should accept her. After quite a bit of brainstorming, we converted those dot points into sentences. I was pretty proud of Video Boy's application to this task and he continues to impress me with his sense of humour and amazing vocabulary. I photocopied certificates from the various external exams and competitions the kids have done.

Then we drove to the school. I am (was) a high school teacher. I know what big schools are like and what the kids are like. But I have to say, as we walked up to the entrance of the building, with 18-year-olds hanging around their (souped-up) cars, smoking (!) and swearing, I was ready to turn right around and head back to the shelter of home! Huge hulking, boys lurked in corridors and they are SO LOUD. Bloody teenagers.

If only...

This auspicious beginning was not further enhanced by the response that the teacher we had made an appointment to meet was not at school, having had some kind of family emergency. Needless to say, we had not been contacted about this.

They got in touch with the Deputy Principal, who took us to his office. He didn't know much about the program, he told us, but he is a maths teacher and was interested in both the kids. The Principal joined us a short time later. Apparently, quite a lot of staff are off sick with the flu, hence the hangers-around.

We chatted about the program. He asked about the kids' strengths and weaknesses. He asked about their fears and goals. He was a really positive man. Despite my reservations about all things school-like and that school, in particular, I found myself warming to him.

Things in this school's favour:

  • they have a specialised maths/science program, small as it is
  • they are trying (as much as you can in a school) to focus on kids' strengths and passions and work around the other bits
  • they have flexible options for getting through Yr's 10, 11 and 12 - not necessarily involving exams at the end
  • they are looking at the Cambridge Programme for next year, which may work
  • they have lots of good elective options to choose from.
The kids are amazingly positive. Video Boy is so mature about the whole thing and was able to express himself really well. Wombat Girl was her usual quiet self, and she is aware her confidence may be an issue in the rough and tumble of school. But she is still keen. 

So. Wow. 

We will check out other options to be sure, to be sure. But it looks like the kids may give school a try next year!

Friday, August 01, 2014

Homeschool and real-school update

Kids have busy. As usual. I take that as a sign they are becoming "independent learners" and "self-directed" and all those good educational phrases.

In maths, they have been tackling solving quadratic equations by factorisation and have now been exposed to the wonders of the Quadratic Formula. Can any of you recite it by heart (even if you no longer can remember what it's for)?? Bonus homeschool points for you if you can!

Usagi watches on...

I have no idea why they are doing their working out on serviettes.
We do have paper at home.

We are doing chemistry in science. Looking at the periodic table, learning about elements and ions (more bonus homeschool points if you know the difference) and ionic compounds. I do have worksheets which show how the different valencies combine together in compounds.

But the kids didn't have that, because I was at work. So Wombat Girl made her own. I'm am busting with pride at the self-directed, student-centred, independence of this girl!

Usagi (Japanese for rabbit) was the time-keeper for the ICAS exam in English this week. We got our results back for Computer Skills - Wombat Girl got a credit, and Video Boy got a Distinction!!! So proud!

Lots of Japanese too (written and verbal). I need to order the next workbook!

They've also been busy with English (Journeys in Time and Dear Diary), Geography (investigating the place geography of Australia's neighbours) and History (all the -ims - capitalism, socialism, egalitarianism, nationism, imperialism, Darwinism and chartism).

And, because you wouldn't want to be bored, word puzzles on the phone and mazes.

Which brings us to the big discussion topic. School. Actual bricks and mortar real school.

Video Boy bravely told me (because he was a bit worried I might not be receptive) that he would like to give school a try. He wants to be ready for university. He wants to talk to someone else apart from Wombat Girl. He wants to do practical activities in an actual science lab. He wants the opportunity to do things they get to do in school (robotics, chess competitions, careers days etc).

I totally get where he is coming from, both from a social and academic sense. Our "homeschool" may be ticking boxes, but it is definitely not quite the way it was a couple of years ago. Despite my best efforts, I agree that they may be missing out. I want them to be ready for uni too.

I'm a bit excited that a lot of pressure may be lifted from my shoulders and I can just send them off every day for someone else to look after the schoolwork side of things. I'm not looking forward to early mornings and homework, school lunches, assemblies and freaking permission notes.

On the plus side, the senior college system in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) is one of the reasons we moved here. I'm hopeful it will provide what the kids need.

Wombat Girl is a little more anxious at the prospect, but I think (just between you and me), she really needs more socially and cognitively than she is getting at the moment.

And so, I am researching real-school options. I have high standards and I don't want to just chuck 'em in anywhere. I am hopeful we may have found a good solution - I will let you know in due course.

So it seems we may Defy Gravity in new and exciting ways. I'm still anxious about it all - I probably always will be. I do know that we have other options if the school thing doesn't live up to expectations. That makes me feel better. Usagi will have to stay at home though...

Quick - recite the quadratic formula!
What is the different between an atom and an ion?
What's your favourite "ism"?
Even gone from homeschooling back to the school system? Tell me good things!

Embroidery Project - Blue Butterfly

I downloaded this pattern as a PDF from Hoop Embroidery Co on Esty as my first attempt at the technique known as "thread painting"...