We are settling into the new year quite well. The children are actually enjoying their daily workload though we had to tweak it a little as the girls were getting a little overwhelmed with the amount work they chose in the first week. I have decided to do less planning and more recording of their learning this year and I love how it has freed me up of the stress of wanting to follow a plan. There also seems to be more opportunities for learning and I am really enjoying spending more time with the three of them. We are concentrating of learning one concept at a time rather than trying to fit as much into the day as possible. After only a few weeks I can see that each child is retaining more information and there is less frustration as a result. I read somewhere that home education is a marathon, not a sprint and I have been using and giving that advice recently. I have to still keep reminding myself to trust the child, they will learn if I let them as that is their nature.
We have been looking at the subjects of time and Australian history. They actually all enjoyed My Sunburnt Country though I remember it being quite dry when I read it at school. We have been studying native Australian animals in general for some time and we are always fascinated with the uniqueness of the animals in this country. The children are even fascinated that most of them can kill us though I usually pass on the spider and snake videos. We all had awesome fun making our own sun dials in the back yard. They were super easy but I think I will repeat the process in the middle of winter to show the children how the sun moves differently across the sky at that time of year. Zoe picked up reading an analogue and digital clock late last year but Lily and Henry are still learning though I think they both know what 4:30pm looks like as that is the only time during the week they can use their computers for fun!
We were expecting company the other day so I told the children - "Remember, we are a normal, happy and loving family!" to which Zoe replied, "No we are not normal! We are extraordinary! We have bush turkeys, baby birds, cats, possums and other animals coming to our house!" Yes, we do. For some reason lately our house has been a bit of a menagerie and a bush turkey was even in our lounge room! It made Heath squeal like a school girl when it flew near him as he chased it outside and I almost fell over laughing at them! Unfortunately the baby pigeon died after the children found it and put it in the lavender pots to rest. At least no other bird killed it and it was semi peaceful before passing. A small possum was really sick for a couple of days and the children did their best to keep the nasty attack birds away from it while it recovered in the garden. Thankfully it did get better and we think we saw it a few days later legging it across our front fence! The cat is a mystery. I have heard it a few times under the house and NannyO saw it on the back deck but none of the children have seen or heard it. They really want it to stay but Heath is so allergic that it is out of the question no matter how much they beg and plead! Aside from all the wildlife entertainment around here we have also great fun making play doh animals and gack. I found an awesome recipe for gak using non toxic ingredients so it was really gooey but not smelly like the last time we made it. Henry played with it for a few days and seemed to have permanent blue hands.
We were blessed to have another homeschool family visit this week so we had to do something cool. I made paint with cornflour, baking soda and a little colouring so the children could have fun on the front footpath. They then squirted some vinegar over the paint and watched the fizzing. I expected more of a fizz but the children all seems to have fun with it. Good thing was that it only took a few minutes to hose it all off when they were done!
We are still taking life very easy. I am unable to drive as my head is still swimming and hurting but the children don't seem to mind that we are not getting out as much as we did last year. Wonderful Papa drives us to Spanish in the park on Tuesdays and takes NannyO to her daily treatment at the Mater and he makes life so much easier for us. Thanks Papa!!
It has taken some effort on my part not to get too concerned about the time the children want to spend on Minecraft every day. They only get an hour a day during the week but we let them have a little more freedom on the weekends now they are a bit older. I was fortunate enough to stumble across this site - Youth Digital - and we decided that Zoe's literacy was now good enough to do the Mod Design 1 course. It is just awesome! Zoe is not only learning how to make mods for Minecraft, she is also learning Java - she is eight years old! Actually this course is designed for her age group and I think I might even be able to learn Java as it is that well presented. Zoe is up to the fourth lesson and she was even taught how to get help from Youth Digital if she needed it. So instead of yelling for Heath or me, she just sent them a message about something that wasn't working for her and they got back to her with some very straight forward and easy to understand troubleshooting. I knew all about the messages of course as they go through my email inbox. So now I am not too concerned about Minecraft. Henry and Lily sit with Zoe quietly while she watches her lessons and they are all having an awesome experience. As neither of them don't read yet I bought an app for the ipad so they can learn code too.
Who knows where it will lead them now they are allowed to follow their interests :)