August is here...

Wow the months just seem to be flying by this year. This term we have started Sky School and while we have had a couple of minor injuries, the children are enjoying learning how to jump. The trampoline park is amazing and every time we go I think about having a birthday party there.  The children spend an hour of pretty much non stop jumping and they are completely exhausted and ravenous when they are finished.  We rush home, feed them and put them to bed. They are usually asleep by 630pm on Sky School nights if I can time it well! 

Our wonderful hairdresser visited us last month. Zoe decided she really didn't want to be Rapunzel after all so had her hair cut short. She loves it though I am not sure about the amount of time she spends in front  of the mirror admiring herself. I think we have a tween on the way... 

Recently I found another amazing blog that showed me some easy star maths I can do with the children. This was a great activity during our sick week and Lily even tried to make it on a large scale through the house. However, she was easily frustrated when sick Zoe had to get passed and pulled half of her construction down. The first thing to go when they get sick is grace! The author of the above blog is also the creator of Math in your Feet. You have to watch her YouTube video here . It is an awesome way to teach maths and get the kids moving!

Our lessons this term started well though we have had to take an entire week off due to the girls getting a nasty cold. During that time we read lots - we are loving 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea! -  played for hours with Lego and have watched a few movies. After reading the first two Harry Potter books recently to the children (I won't read any more to them as the story does get quite dark, so they can wait until they can read it themselves) we watched the first two movies. We have been comparing the books to the movies and the children surprise me most days with a little gem of discovery about the world of Harry Potter. I have only been doing our learning on this topic verbally and we have had many discussions on the characters, setting, plot as well as the possible reasons behind the differences between the books and movies. Next we might look at the Chronicles of Narnia in the same way. 
We have managed to fit in some fun maths games too usually from the nrich website. In the activity below Zoe used Cuisenair rods to make repeating patterns increasing in size and Lily had to create fences for sheep. We had quite a bit of fun with these two! I usually try to aim the lessons so all three children can participate and take it further if they want to. Zoe continues to surprise me with these open activities, taking ideas down paths I had not thought about.

As usual I am reading up on everything I can find on how to teach my monkeys what they want to learn and what I think they should learn. Sometimes those two things  are not the same but they are never mutually exclusive. I have been studying the work of Charlotte Mason and the classical education approach to learning and teaching. I have found much to read on this topic as this kind of education has been around for a long time. I read a popular homeschooling forum regularly and came across a very interesting comparison between modern education and classical (Christian) education here during a discussion on what classical education is and is not. I really like the idea that everything we learn is connected to everything else. Charlotte Mason wrote about what she learned regarding classical philosophies to understand the WHY of education, not just the HOW. I have no doubt that the ideas and philosophies involved will help me educate my children. And myself!  
Lately I have been asked quite a few times to explain my reasons behind home educating my children. Most of the time I say because we really love it, I really missed them when they went to school or something equally personal and indisputable. Someone was asking me how home education is 'policed'. I knew what she meant so I explained about registering with the HEU in QLD, providing them with an educational plan and reports at the end of the year. Her reply was' And they just trust you?'. My instant response was 'Well, they trust teachers in the same way.' Clearly she had never thought about it like that and to be honest, neither had I. Why is it that a person with an education degree can be trusted to teach children and not the parents of the children? I have an education degree and I know it did NOT teach me how to teach children, it certainly did not teach me the why of education. I am only now understanding why we should educate and it is intricately linked to the reasons behind why we as a family, choose to home educate.
Of course I try not to get deep into discussion on this topic as I know it can lead to misunderstandings, so if someone asks us why we do what we do (and clearly doesn't really want to know more) - we homeschool because we love being together. Which is quite true :)