View From My House

View From My House

Friday, February 29, 2008

Fun...without the sun!

Whoever said you can't have fun without the sun?
I went to peg the clothes on the line this morning, in the vain hope it may not rain :) to find my eldest three really enjoying their play. They were pretending to take on the roles in Go Diego Go, using english and spanish, and enjoying themselves immensely! Under a bleak and sunless sky, the kind that permeates a day of wind, cold and rain - bleached and muted colours. I was quite pleasantly surprised to find they were very happily enjoying themselves, and learning at the same time (Dante was Diego, and they were in the south pole with penguins). How cute is that?

Other breakthroughs: *Raven is toilet training! YAY! We have a tradition, with the first wee on potty they recieve a gift. Raven is Dora the Explorer mad, so he chose a Dora heart shaped bowl. He has succuessfully been three times now, and only one accident, so far so good. That was Thursday his first.
*Kai is getting along with reading, very slowly but he is reading and so excited to be reading. Dante is cruising, well into second grade. Labyrinth is very nearly finished the first grade review (under a week she has completed the review course - which is very nearly the whole course). Raven is learning to speak Spanish, as is everyone in the family. We are also teaching German and Japanese.
*A sister of mine is pregnant, and a brother is moving into a 2 storey 5 bedroom home, and already was buying a large home.
*Monika is very nearly crawling. She is just over 5 months. She can say a few words clearly enough for Andrew and I to understand.
*Our neighbours from hell have moved out. We can only hope the people who move in will be decent!!!

On Thursday we did the spectrum of reading, writing, spelling and maths. On Friday was just reading. I want to be doing reading daily so they don't slip behind. They are keen. I've also told THEAC we are teaching Kai this year, so they'll be adding him and coming to visit soon. Before we had 2 years dispensation...

Enjoying life without our beloved sun, Q.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

At home, but not boring...

exceptions: chores. Who really likes doing those????

We have a new approach to writing, the children are enjoying it better! On advice of my principal friend (who told me an anedote about a u-beaut school who was using inovative ways to get children literate - but was finding writing a struggle, who was basically getting children to do journalling). I have a new approach. Journalling wasn't interesting or fun for them. So we wrote a story together on the whiteboard, and then they copied parts of it. It got them more involved, but still Labyrinth struggles with it. She was interested until the actual writing part anyway.

We did spelling, writing and reading lessons today (and yesterday). I'm quite enjoying helping them become more literate and therefore more equipt to excperience the world. Dante is getting into the reading and spelling (and subvertedly writing).

Later today we will be doing maths.



Short and Sweet. I have five of my layouts on the blog now! YAY! I wanted a slideshow, but couldn't get it to configure properly, so there is a few now...
We've been doing lots of work, not enough fun, and yesterday we met another homeschooling family that we'll be doing stuff with this year, a network of h/schoolers who meet regularly to do activities, cant wait. More of that later...
Cheers all, Q.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Snowy Park Fishing Reserve: Take 2

Yup, we didn't learn our lesson the first time.

For our fortnightly family activity (that often means spending money), we went back to the Snowy Range to try fishing again. We decided to put a life jacket on young Raven after last time !

We had a good afternoon fishing, and everybody caught at least one fish each (but Andrew's got accidently released when he was washing it.) All Rainbow trouts. Of which Andrew cooked beautifully tonight, stuffed with olive fetta tempanda (sp?), purple onion and wrapped in bacon and cooked in garlic butter.

The children have all had a go at scaling and cleaning the fish, and filleting them too. Even Raven. I, on the other hand, have not been so brave :D. We are keen that they learn how to do everything, so they can easily have that skill for later when they might need it or just handy to know. Along that theme, we are also going to make arrow heads and start hunting rabbit, when we catch them, we will skin them, cure the hides and I'm going to make a coat out of them. My grandmother used to do this with rabbit and also prepared cow hides into leather and lamb into skins. If in fact we are able to eat them safely, we'll be doing that too, as did my grandmother. This is great stuff, I wish I had have known all of this before!

She ran a farm for many years after my grandfather died. They were married only 20 years, but she was 19, he was 40 and had serious diabetes. She never remarried, she was in love with him (a fierce competition between herself and her older sister apparently.) Its wonderful learning such stuff, it puts a human story in my mind and links me emotionally to her. Before she seemed a hard, distant woman before she died of a massive heart attack in her 80s.

The children do so much natural learning, but I do want them to know the basics and how to research so that anything they might want to learn is but a book or a field trip or a course away. Giving them that freedom is the best gift I can bestow on them. Besides not burdening them with a religion or a set strict way of life.

Woes of the Internet

Unfortunately, been off line basically for the last week. This is great because *this is the first week of my distance uni course which requires broadband*, and wonderful because it was during this time I could have *opened a non receipt of item dispute* on ebay for a Totoro Organiser I so want and can't seem to find anywhere else on the net. It also meant I couldn't moderate on the Family Value Forum, or frequent other forums. I also could *not* blog. It was a tough 5 days, and I am not pleased.

So is the woes of no internet, and the woes of allowing my hubby to run our finances when I know I shouldn't because of this bipolar financial symptom he has ie, no control. So this time I made sure things happened as they should (and am keeping us to it).

So, last week in brief.
Monday, It was Andrew's birthday, and as I'd been ill for the weekend, it fell to me to clean up and get a roast lunch ready (after brekkie in bed). It was also going to be a bbq tea and play for the children, but he was far too depressed. We've also been working on an off the page piece for Andrew's birthday.
Tuesday, Andrew and I both did lessons. These being maths, reading and writing. Labyrinth actually played up for her dear Dad! No one except Kai finished their writing lesson. Labyrinth had a cooking lesson with making a chicken stirfry.
Wednesday, was a good day for reading all round. I took over the ardous task of reading lessons with Labyrinth and she did really well. Dante is coming along beautifully much to my delight. Kai is slow and steady, but that's OK, I'm not pushing him. Dante did the cooking lesson this time, and we had chicken wraps. There was a documentary on Sharks that Dante watched today, and the rest of the family in bits.
Thursday, another good day for homeschooling. Lessons all around in maths and spelling and reading. Labyrinth watched a documentary on medical sciences, in particular, when labour goes horribly wrong. This was fascinating for her as she got to "see" a ceaser being done on about four different women, one with triplets. This interests her because of Monika being the token "cut-out baby" in our family.

Friday I'll dedicate an entire post to...

Sunday, February 17, 2008

ooops.... its been how long????

Well, I'll start from yesterday. We did shopping, organising etc and some lessons.
Friday we went fishing at Midway Point, we were challanged by a seal and, he being the better hunter won. Thursday we went fish shopping and brought Andrew a Peacock Eel, 2 RTBS, and a female cacatuoid. We've been doing lessons of course! Officially it was first day back at prison school too... I mean public. Wednesday we did lessons, writing, reading mostly. Tuesday was a photo shoot for Monika, then the afternoon was spent with Nanny while Andrew went to the doctors (to find out his hysterectomy was badly botched and one whole testicle is fully firing). I scanned in the scrap book of the children I gave to my mother, which I'll be adding to this blog as soon as I can.

Since yesterday I've been quite ill. Kai was too today, just off. Everybody else is OK.

Yesterday I realised I was going nowhere with Labyrinth and lessons. Look the boys are a breeze, they might not pick it up immediately but they give it a genuine go. Labyrinth on the other hand deliberately manipulates, plays up and gets distracted far too easily. Frustrating. Andrew decided to take her learning into his hands and she's an angel for him grrrrr!!!!! He's putting her right back to the start, and doing 20 pages per day until she is up to speed again.

Its dear Andrew's birthday tommorrow. So, the children and I made him a chocolate ripple snake cake, my mother made him a caramel choc swirl cake and Labyrinth and I cooked tea, which she was really good with. It was a chicken stirfry.

The children and I are also creating an off the page scrapping project for his birthday together (even if he's not real keen on the idea). It will look fantastic and I'm so looking forward to it. So, we've made a club shape, a heart, a diamond and a spade. I will make an ankh and a yin/yang symbol as all of these are special to us. I have all but Monika's photo ready, but Andrew wants to wait until Monika's photo shoot photos are in our hands for her pic. I got him to choose a special pic of each child.

Tommorrow is uni by distance day 1. I'm looking forward to it but it will be a squeeze doing full time again!

I'll be posting again tommorrow!

Monday, February 11, 2008

And so it begins!

We are doing good! We did some lessons today, reading/writing. Actually journalling to be more precise, but it does include writing. Young Dante did really well in his lesson, surprised me, i didn't have to go back and review just got straight into the new book. Labyrinth would rather not work (frustrating). Kai was good too, hes remembered everything I've taught him about phonics to date, so we are progressing in the book.
I can't say enough praises for hooked on phonics I'm afraid. It just seems to be so easy for them, its wonderful. And easy to use. Of course, everything but reading and maths is pretty much spontaneous.
Like cooking this afternoon. Andrew made tea with the children, they made a pretty lush potato salad with parmesan cheese, fetta, stuffed olives, basil and coriander with some home made egg mayonaisse. Even Raven had a great time chopping up the olives (considering he lurves olives I'm not at all surprised - what I mean by that is he might eat nothing else but he'd have to be very ill not to eat all of his olives...) They all had a go at chopping up the taters, and mixing them together.
We decided to eat alfresco because it was lovely outside.
And they all earned some brownie points for chores and what they actually did in their lessons.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Trains are Fun!

Well, we have done more interactive learning, I'm aiming it to keep it interesting and fun.
We did scrapping together on Sunday, with the emphasis on "memory keeping" while this was contentious with Labyrinth (who wanted to make it into a story) we enjoyed it. Dante made a piece on dinosaurs and fish, his two great passions, Kai on armies, his passion, and Labyrinth on her experience at camp, and Raven on Dora the Explorer.
I've not quite finished my Little Boy Blue piece which is of Raven some time ago now, when I am finished I'll post it and the ones of the childrens too...
We also went and had a great BBQ at the Train Park in North Hobart. It was wonderful, bar one thing - Raven vomited all over the ground at the seating area. Poor little guy, he really does seem to suffer from vomiting episodes (and sensitive gag reflex). He appears alright this morning, and while it didn't stop him from exploring the park (at a subdued pace), I still feel for him. He's kept apple juice down since, but keeps asking for more. We know if we start letting him eat too early hes likely to just throw up all over again.
Also I'm enjoying my new fishies...wishing for more time and less housework (who doesn't?)
Adieu until next time, be safe :)

Friday, February 8, 2008

A Fresh Beginning*

We've begun our lessons again. I've set up the 'calendar', which I will get a pic up of soon. The computers are yet to be completed.
I've even done some scrapping, but have to finish it before I post.
So: this is how the lessons worked so well yesterday. I got Labyrinth, Kai and Dante up to the white board, and we started with Sun Ray then added them together to make sunray, we did this with as many sun prefixes as we could think of sunrise, sunset, sunbeam etc, then we got on to Sunday. From there we discussed the days of the week, their origins and how to spell them. They were really into it, it was so organic! They liked the idea that there were reasons for the days names.
Then we began learning the germanic names of the week ie montag, dienstag, mittwoch, donnerstag, freitag, samstag and sonnetag (sp?). They recited them to me and I told them midweek seemed to make more sense to me than Wednesday.
After a break we did some addition on the white board, they called out the answers, it was a review kind of thing and for me to gauge if they'd forgotten anything (which they hadn't - *sigh of relief*), in fact Kai surprised me by getting them all right!
After which Labryinth happily did a board full of sums, and Dante did half a board full of sums, and they both got them all right.
Freecycle, as I've mentioned is a wonderful thing. We recieved some great kids books from a fellow recycler and put them to good use already. There was even a book of multiplication tables. YAY!
I also gained a heap of frames I'm going to use as off the page projects. Can't wait! My first will be for my husbands up and coming birthday, I'll be using black and white photos, with a black and white background.
Yesterday was payday, so the children got some new things with their pocket money, Dante got more small fish animals, of course! Fish stickers, and gum. Kai got cars. Labyrinth got a baby capsule for her bratz baby Chloe. Raven got Dora the Explorer PJs. We put on some clothes/pjs on layby too...
Life couldn't be sweeter (excepting for owning our own property with a private pier and a boat).
Be well, enjoy life.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

We Are Done! And a shock!

Finally finished all the sorting, the house looks so organised and clean its amazing! Ready for our garden and outside work now, yes I am going out into the garden and putting in my Jasmine plants, and doing weeding and real work (depending on the weather, naturally).

We will start doing regular lessons again, too. I am most looking forward to this.

And so the Labyrinth returns. She's come home, after her camp and is in high spirits, its also a case of maturing overnight, it seems. She had a fantastic time, spent alot of time in the water, painted a ceramic pot planter and made herself a necklace. Oh, and won two things - a brand new purse and some lip gloss, one for being a big help. They turn into angels out of our sights! No, really she is a great girl and I love her dearly but sometimes we're at logger heads. We have improved alot of late, we did think she might be bi-polar like her daddy...

We also had a visit from Nanny who loves to come over to fuss over the baby. I don't mind this as she usually wants to clean, but I make sure she is limited in what she does, shes 65! However, today she didn't have alot to do :D YAY. I'm feeling healthy and able again. I had a nasty pregnancy and cesearean, but that was 4 months ago.

Monika has shocked the hell out of us. She, at 4 months is the same size Labyrinth was at 10 months (this is also when she began walking!) My brother dubbed her a living doll, because she was sooo small. They are polar opposites. Labyrinth is blue eyed, Monika is brown. Small vs Large. Both very smart, both beautiful. Actually they look very similar.

Dante has been studying sharks and dinosaurs (again), and actually drawing some amazing work for his age! I should scan some in, and share some photo's too.

Kai is Kai. As always, he'd prefer above all else to be playing army games on the computer.

Raven has been sick, and vomiting today. He seems to be suffering from asthma too.

YAY, we can start fun stuff now! Sooo looking forward to it!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Camps, Sleep Overs and Friends

Today my little girl is off on her own on a camp. They are known as champ camps (children of the mentally ill service). I am happy for her, yet a little nervous. I just hope she makes some nice friends ands feels good all the time she is away. It sounds like a great spot, and I'm absolutely sure it will be fantastic!

So, later to make the boys feel a bit special since they were left at home, we took them to lunch at McDonalds, and they had a play of course. Later, I intended doing some scrapping with them, but my Mother calls and says she wants them to come over and stay. She took all three boys. She can be such an angel (and such a demon at times too!) So, the boys were totally thrilled and excited, and Andrew and I get to have some "us" (and Monika) time. Win-Win.

Yesterday, Andrew and I basically did all the book sorting, rearranging and I finished the clothes whilst Andrew got into the DVD sorting. So all in all we are 95% done. YAY! But edges can take some doing, but since I've got some time off I'm going to scrapbook tommorrow morning, and really enjoy myself. I'll post some tommorrow night. I am working on Andrew's birthday present atm. Hopefully I will get some time to do the scrappin' I want to do.

Basically the idea I have is a bit of a goth layout, with black and white photos of the children, it will be off the page to hang on the wall above his computer. Maybe I'll have to put it off though. I've been really desiring Heidi Swapp's ghost letters, and some arrived in the mail today! They are the icee uppercase variety, and nearly the colour of my posts!

I also got to catch up with some good friends and aquaintences. Unexpectedly, all of them. Two happen to be twins, but while they were born identical, they now look nothing alike. And an old friend who used to hang with us when Labyrinth was born and she had a baby called Imogen (lush name, eh?) who is three months difference (older and taller). I hadn't seen her since she was a bub, how they grow! We used to share breastfeeding tips! Now I have 5 children, and she has 3 - she suffers from Bi-polarity too. It can't be very good for her atm as she is living it hard (camping in the backyard with her family). She gets especially down with PND. I've had PND too (I'm on drugs for it now) with 3, while she's had it with every one. Her sister, also a friend, has three children, one is only a few months younger than Monika.

I got PND differently this time. I wasn't even aware I had it. I would have gladly said I had pre-natal depression (nasty pregnancy will get you every time), but I thought even with the emergency c-section (she was stuck and had been for about 7 weeks in a sideways position) and they didn't listen to me and I had to wait until I was overdue and my waters broke, that I was OK. I mean the other side of pregnancy is much much better than that any time. But it took my partner to point out how badly I wasn't coping. I wasn't affectionate to anybody except Raven and Monika. I didn't enjoy being touched by anyone else. I was just emotionless, dead with in, unsexual, you know the drill.

Well, happy to say I am much happier now, and getting a bit healthier mentally and physically and sexually. I have motivation, energy is returning and we are becoming much more organised.

But sadly, its the drugs. Well, at this point I'll say Nighty-Night.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Splendour in the Grass

Not quite. But it was to us!

We had a busy morning working in the house, then a slow afternoon. Then the day really started for us. We all went on one of our "family BBQues". It was great, the children played full on for two hours, and hubby and I made a lush bbq tea, which included Chicken pasta salad, and fetta/spinach in pasta pockets which was tossed with basil, oil and sundried tomatoes, YUM YUM!

Hubby and I played on the grass with Monika while the others roly polyed down the grassy hill, and played in the play equipment. We also watched the clouds roll by - and Dante said the cutest thing *), he told us that a cute pig was chasing a fast fox up in the sky (cloud formation).
They also had running competitions, and played shops and house. It wasn't hot, nor cold, it was just a peaceful lovely time. The grass was GREEN! Not something you see out our way... out here its like straw. And hurts too.

I wish days could be made up entirely of moments like these... but then I wouldn't appreciate them as much, would I?

I really couldn't imagine a better life than the one we have right now. How am I going to cope in winter when I usually feel like hibernating like a bear??? LOL.

If I won lots of money it wouldn't be the people or lifestyle I'd change, I would probably build a house that met our needs better, and made a nice piece shangri la (sp?), but what we do and who we are I wouldn't want to change that, not for anything.

Its been a splendid day all round.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Yesterday... Zoo Doo, we don't love you...

Yesterday we went to a shopping centre to see some baby farm animals from a local attraction called Zoo Doo, I'm sure you know what I mean. Well, it was two small pens crowded with baby animals and young children.
While most of the animals ignored the children, some had had enough!

Squeals of terror and splashes of diahrea from one poor piglet happened on arrival. The owner simply carried the piglet and locked him into a cat carrier that looked filthy, I'm sure he would be in his own filth in there. Having seen the animals the children wanted to stay and get in too. I wasn't so sure after that!

However they did get to visit the remaining animals, which stunk and either ran away or just laid there. The animals were miserable. Locked in pens and petted by child after child. I felt so sorry for them. We just got them out after a few photos and took them to the toilets to wash their hands. So unimpressed!

We got photos printed up of this and the day before fishing adventure, which I'll post up here soon. As soon as, that is, when hubby sorts out his computer problems.

As compensation the kids enjoyed a long play and drink at Hungry Jacks.