Saturday, August 28, 2010

Keeping my heart warm this winter....

Winter has almost come to a close so I thought I would look back and share with you some of the things that have been keeping this mum's heart warm this winter:

1. When we visit bookstores now, within a couple of minutes of entering it, we find Rebekah doing this:

2. Rebekah has taken to "saving" up out of her pocket money to regularly buy her friends presents. She still gets $2 per week pocket money and I'll have to share with you another time on the "system" she has in place for this:)

3. She absolutely loves listening to classical music now and even asks for it to be played when she's having breakfast!

4. She loves getting out her nature study book: "The wonderland of nature" and looking up things out of interest! Just yesterday, she got it out to look up ants, as she saw a different looking ant in our yard and while doing this she found a section on "plants that eat animals" which she found very "fascinating" as she put it:)

5. Last but not least in any way, she is learning to sleep in!!! (by sleep in, I mean not waking up before 6.30/6.45am). This started a few months ago but then along with this, she of her own volition, a few weeks ago, started having a "reading time" when she wakes up. It all happened one morning when she came out of her room close to 8 am. I thought she must have been having a long sleep in so asked her when she came out. No, she was not sleeping but reading she said. What was she reading I asked. Well, "my devotional!"
She got out her Bible Story book that we read to her from last year and started reading it along with the scripture references. Yes, she's reading the Bible we got her for her 6th birthday, all by herself now!
Anyway, this "reading time" (as she calls it) came as a surprise to me and I didn't make much of it. And I can tell you that now a month or so later, she has kept this up, with not much / very minimal encouragement on our part. (We still do a devotional together each morning - as before - which is now in addition to this). It's something she "wants" to do each morning and will not come out until she reads the story for the day along with the scripture references...well for one exception like a couple of days ago when she came out before she finished because the reference was three chapters and it was taking too long and she was hungry:)

Care to share some things that have "warmed" your heart this winter? :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Our daily / weekly schedule

In one of my previous posts on our year 1 curriculum, I mentioned I would post about our weekly schedule.
So, here's the link (as I'm not too tech savvy, it's a link to my google document) and hopefully this will work for you:

Year 1 term 2 schedule and plan

In reality, the time's I've allocated are a general guideline only! Sometimes we are done much earlier and sometimes later than I've noted on my schedule! It's purely a "guide" for me!

We follow the Charlotte Mason philosophy of 1.short lessons(reflected in the schedule) 2. a liberal education (she likened it to spreading a feast before a child) so Rebekah is exposed to art, music, foreign language etc from a young age, 3. our language arts component is also different to more traditional curriculums; for instance at this age, we don't do "spelling" as such, nor grammar, etc, among other things:) (they begin at a later age with her method)4. I placed "habits" in the schedule to remind me to work on them as I need to be in the habit of working on developing good habits in Rebekah:)

For a good introduction and explanation of her method (if you're interested) you can check it out here:

Back to us: in term 1 we did 1 week of our curriculum over 1 and 1/2 to 2 weeks but as Rebekah has grown a bit over the last couple of months I'm finding I'm speeding things up a bit and we probably cover it in 1 and 1/2 weeks now. I know this will speed up even more as she gets closer to 7. (That's the beauty of homeschooling isn't it:)) That's why we are currently still in term 2!
Also, on some days, we throw out the schedule altogether and go to the park / for a nature walk / a play date! :) (Learning doesn't only happen with books or at a desk but that's a topic of it's own!)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Resources for Aussie book lists

We were at our home school park day the other day and a lot of our discussion (doesn't happen that often) was about the curriculums we are using etc. I guess having a few newer home schoolers brought about this discussion. So, this post is for them(Vicki in particular) and anyone else that is interested.
I (as you would have figured out from either meeting me in person or from the pictures on my blog) am not originally from Australia though I am an Aussie now!
Not having grown up here, I've had to do a lot of on the job learning to teach Rebekah some of this country's history, literature, art, poetry etc. So, where do I turn to for my information. I'll let you in on our secrets: I get them from blogs and websites mainly:)

Here in no particular order are my well referred to sites for my information:

Jeanne - her blog was one of the first blogs I started following - is a wealth of information for me as she is an Aussie mum using Charlotte Mason's methods to homeschool her daughter.
Her blog is:

Michelle - another Aussie homeschool mum who has a blog and a website for her business, both of which I refer to. In fact she has some amazing resources on her website at:
She also has some great posts on the Charlotte Mason method at her blog:

This yahoo group for Aussies and New Zealanders:
This group has great lists for Aussie living books as well as history in chronological order etc.

This website of an Aussie mum with many kids which is a wealth of information:

I've listed other general book lists on my blog and you'll find it on the right side under the title: Curriculum and helpful sites for a Charlotte Mason education.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Our curriculum for Year 1

Well, it's about time I actually posted about our home school curriculum! This may or may not interest you but thought I'd post it just in case:)

We are following Living Books Curriculum which we also used last year as a "kindy" year for Rebekah and I posted about that briefly here.

We decided to stick with LBC again for Year 1 as I liked what I saw for year 1 and I love all the "help" they give you in the Teachers Manual. I am not a very "creative" person when it comes to thinking up some of the hands on type activities etc (that they include in the Teachers manual)that most other mothers find easy to do. The more I use this curriculum the more I find how close to Charlotte Mason in a package it truly is and also it is definitely in my opinion Charlotte Mason for the 21st century (as they say on their website). The only bits I changed was their Geography (I will be using an Australian book to focus on Australian geography), also I decided to substitute Australian history for American history and add some Aussie books for read alouds and poetry.

You can read all about it at their website under year 1 but to make it simpler I'll break it down into subjects as follows:

Language Arts:

This is broken down as follows:

Adventures of Bobby Raccoon, Thornton W. Burgess
Adventures of Grandfather Frog, Thornton W. Burgess
Adventures of Poor Mrs. Quack, Thornton W. Burgess
Adventures of Prickly Porky, Thornton W. Burgess
Hey, Listen to This: Stories to read aloud, Jim Trelease
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis
Treasure of the Snow, Patricia St. John
Voyage of the Dawn Treader, C. S. Lewis

We will be adding many more books to read aloud to Rebekah this year from our personal library!

Aesop's Fables, Sheila Carroll, ed.

A Child’s Garden of Verses, Robert Louis Stevenson

Italics: Beautiful handwriting for children, Penny Gardner

For Aussie read alouds and poetry, I added for this year:

Snugglepot and Cuddlepie by May Gibbs,
Dot and the Kangaroo by Ethel Padley,
The animals Noah Forgot by A B PAterson,
Stories of Henry Lawson and
The way of the whirlwind by Mary Durack.

Science: There are a list of living books and activity books here:

A House Is a House for Me, Mary Ann Hoberman
First Guide to the Universe, Usborne
Christian Liberty Nature Reader, Volume 1, Florence Bass
Usborne Book of Science Activities: Volume 1, Various
The Reason for a Flower, Ruth Heller
A Picture Book of Thomas Alva Edison: Young Inventor, Louis Sabin
Wild Places: Mountains, jungles & deserts, A. Wilkes
What’s Alive?, Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld

Nature Study:
Handbook of Nature Study, Anna Botsford Comstock
We also use: The wonderland of nature by Nuri Mass and various field guides for Aussie birds, flowers and trees.

Little Hands Art Book, Judy Press

Picture Study:
Come Look with Me: Animals in art, Gladys Blizzard
Come Look with Me: World of play, Gladys Blizzard

Stories of Great Composers (Book and CD),
June Montgomery


Are we there yet by Alison Lester

World History:
The Story of the Ancient World, Christine Miller

Australian history:

My place by Nadia Wheatley
You and Me Murrawee by Kerri Hashimi and Felicity Marshall
Greatest events in Australia's history - Boardman and Harvey

We also are doing Spanish as Rebekah has taken an interest in Spanish from watching "Dora"!
For this we are using: Play and learn Spanish, A Lomba

Next I will try to post our weekly schedule and how we do "school" here:)

p.s. How embarassing - just goes to show, I shouldn't be trying to do any blogging late at night (which is when I was working on this - late last night!)
Anyway, I forgot to include our "Bible" component and "maths".

For our Bible study we use the one that came with this curriculum - "Early Reader Wonder Devotional Book" by Lynda Pongracz but we also use "Leading Little Ones to God" by Marian M Schoolland which is a much better one in my opinion!

Maths does not come with LBC, so we are using (and absolutely loving) Singapore Maths!