Eating Healthy

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It’s so easy to consume sugar. To make life simple we seem to have fallen into the habit of buying pre-made snacks, muesli bars, and biscuits, even breakfast muesli. On our recent visit to the dentist, the boys have some holes to be filled, so we are trying to improve on a regular brushing and flossing habit, but more than that cut back on those pre-made snacks, replacing sugar with honey on weatbix (I know it would be good to have them plain, but that’s just not going to happen). …AND no more treats for great swimming, or maybe lollipops can be replaced with punnets of blueberries. Anyhow the point is that we got the point and the boys are all on board with this new WAY.

Although we haven’t finished all the diagnostic tests to see where the boys sit (grade level), the signs are promising. Hosea seems to be at a level 4 (word building he passed to level 5), so at this stage it seems he will be skipping grade three and moving straight to grade 4. Malachi passed all reading tests up to grade 8, but he will have to re-do his English test as he didn’t reach grade 5, he should be at least grade 6 (might be that he made some silly mistakes, but he is the most unwell of all of us, and he’s still struggling to sleep at night).
A few more tests to go, should be finished today or tomorrow and hope we receive the work next week – it’s been a slow start to the year. I need not worry though if Hosea is a year ahead of his peers.

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Testing is draining

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I feel so drained, so much brain straining. .. And it’s not my work. All I’m doing is sitting beside the kids supporting them and frequently commenting “I can’t help you it’s a test”, or “do you remember any tricks to work that out”. I really want them to do well – the thought of my children repeating any grades is horrifying to me – because it says ‘they are below average than their peers’. Now you can think ‘but it’s better that they really understand the work than move on to more difficult work’, but in my opinion the grade higher is not more difficult – it’s just some more info to memorize.

Home schooling for me would seem very time consuming, and I find that frustrating when I have so much on my ‘to do’ list. It’s like waiting at a set of lights when your in a rush, there is nothing you can do about it. I’ve been trying to be positive about the waiting around and committing my time to the home schooling by thinking “it’s possibly the last year I’ll ever do it this hard”. Malachi is in high school next year.

I looked into government rebates on child care for Sage for this year and for one day it will cost us $35. Pretty reasonable, however I’m very fussy as to where he goes, and will probably drive past 7 care centre’s to take him to the one I’m interested in. Is it all worth the time and effort – will it help us to feel more relaxed at home if we have one less around while we try to do school for one day. I’m not sure, and I’ll have to give it more thought and maybe some practice….

Seeing the kids take some time out into the imaginary world with drawings is a break from the monotony of the day, and a welcome sight.

Testing

Finally, we have received our codes to access the online diagnostic tests. So with enthusiasm Hosea and Malachi got through some tests today.

Malachi breezed through the reading/comprehension test as far as it let him- he reads a book a day. Hosea strives to do well in both Maths and English – he wants to pass his older brother – possibly will too.

I think because the tests were online the boys enjoyed it more and didn’t complain – in fact I went to check on what Malachi was up to in his break and he was doing another test – good on him.

Ishmael’s ‘ready to read’ test was still in paper form – he did well. I’m really looking forward to him learning to read.

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It’s a sad day when the start of the school year begins

It means you have to start routine again. It means you don’t have the freedom to do what you want, when you want. But hey that’s life.
The photo below is Hosea’s maths book, the dirty smudge mark is from his tears dripping on his page and then him wiping the page – too sad. He got through it in the end, I think it was emotionally harder for him than any of them.

Ishmael officially starts Prep this year, although we really started him last year on a few bits and pieces.

I didn’t push them today, just a little work that is left over from last year as I’m not sure when we will receive their new curriculum for the year – we can’t hold out for it since all the other kids started today.

While the kids started on their Maths work, I cut times table flash cards which we laminated yesterday – oh how I pine for a guillotine.

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Back to it in 2014

Children learn by just looking, but this year I want to give my kids some direction. I can see their strengths and I need to tap into local resources to encourage them further to pursue their God given gifts. I think when humans have goals they can take small steps to build towards pursuing and fulfilling it, and this can work for children too.

On the flip side, last year was exhausting, I forgot my goals in teaching and then I lost interest in it altogether. It works though, home schooling is very productive and it can build on family relationships. I almost gave up completely and wanted to send them to the local school but my gut feeling tells me that would be irresponsible, and not pursuing the best education for our children.
My husband who was totally against homeschooling wants me to continue this year…

So I’ve opted for something in-between, Christian distance education.

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Making Pasta

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We’ve been working our way through the basic’s in food. Dough’s, pasta and we have saved the best for last – spice mixes and sweet pastry dough’s. The boys are amazed you only need 2 ingredients to make pasta. And I was thrilled to see so much hanging around the room – it was a successful lesson, I am learning to get the boys to work through the recipes themselves without my constant instruction. It’s a healthy lesson for us all to learn.

Drawspace

We’ve been using a free resource ‘Drawspace’ which teaches the children (or adults for that matter) how to draw. Every Tuesday afternoon we set aside time to do a lesson, but we didn’t get around to it this week so we’ve played catch up today. Lesson 8 I’ve been afraid of – I can’t draw animals well – or so I thought, but with the way that the lesson flows it’s easy to complete a drawing that’s not as bad as you first thought it would look – in fact it’s not bad at all….Today I thought Hosea did the best of us all.

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Boyancy

Boyancy

Today’s exercise in Science involved making clay boats of differing shapes and testing boyancy whilst adding coins. All of the boys wanted to be involved and we were surprised by the amount of coins a little clay could hold – rather this is the force the water pushes back against the boat. I’m sure the lesson will teach us more as we read on. I’m enjoying Science now and the boys seem to understand it more when we spend more time doing it together and take our time to read through it all. I repeat the key words we learn later throughout the day – such as “is that diluted/concentrated, is that the solute or the solvent. These technical words are used so much in our every day lives and it’s good to be comfortable to be able to use them.

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Craft

Craft

Every Tuesday is Art, and we have been learning skills to improve our drawing. Today however the sun made an appearance amongst a lot of rain. We decided to soak some light up while doing some craft instead. First we nailed some nails to wood in a pattern by choice of the child. Then they wanted to paint it. When it’s dry they will attach rubber bands to make a pattern.

Music Theory

I didn’t have to look long this morning to find a plethora of free music resources. The boys are learning the piano with a lady close by to us each Monday afternoon. I really felt they boys would do better with their piano playing if they trully understood the basic’s or theory behind it, and possibly to delve into the ‘Greats’ in music, by way of research and assignment (or what they call ‘lapbooking’). I’ve decided this term to skip the boy’s practicing on the piano for 2 days of theory instead.

I’ve attached the better links I found, for you to use too. It’s just the basics in music, and possibly what they would teach the children in the school system.

http://makingmusicfun.net/

http://chentheresa.squarespace.com/free-music-theory-worksheets/