Friday, December 16, 2011

So long 2011


This may well be my last post for this year, so I thought I'd have a look back at our 2011 (well atleast some aspects of it that I can share online).

Homeschool:

We changed curriculums end of last year so this was our first year with Ambleside Online. I must say it definitely is a rigorous curriculum and reading the weekly schedule online does not give you that sense at all! I didn't even attempt to do everything, probably only 80% of what is set out and I still found it a lot busier than last year for us. It was definitely enjoyable though and I am so enjoying reading all the great books it lists along with Rebekah. She I am learning a lot. Rebekah has not baulked at any of the books that I thought might be too challenging proving what Charlotte Mason believed about children: we don't need to water down information and drip feed children, their minds are capable of a lot more than we think!

I'm happy to report that we will continue homeschooling her next year as the plan was to take it a year at at time! She is thriving and developing beautifully and we are happy with the progress she is making.

Motherhood and family:

Rebekah and I continue to share a very close relationship, a by product I'm sure that's a result of not just being an only child but an only child that is being homeschooled. We continue to have some amazing times spent together during the week, snuggled up on the couch reading, being out in nature, shopping together, riding our bikes together, etc. We have such great conversations about life, God, etc that happen at the most unpredictable times. I will always cherish these wonderful moments we have together.
Rebekah is the sweetest little girl and I'm blessed to not only be her mum but to be able to homeschool her, but of course I'm biased!

Family:

What can I say about my husband, he is amazing! He continues to be a great support to me, my closest friend, a great provider, a hard worker, the list goes on....Thanks honey, I love you!
We've enjoyed some fun times together this year including a holiday down in Victoria to celebrate Ron's big birthday with his family. While there we caught up with Jeanne and her lovely family. This was the second time we got to catch up with her and it was just lovely to meet her husband this time. Jemimah kept Rebekah amused and the girls had fun together! I'd been meaning to tell you all about this since we got back in April but seeing I didn't get around to it then, here's a wonderful excuse now to show you these pictures:



Ron's and Rebekah's birthdays (combined celebration)




















Rebekah and Jemimah:





















A koala out in the wild:



















A rainbow in the Ocean. I've never seen anything like this before, it was amazing!




















Church life: We continue to be very active in our church and life has been extra busy this year for us. Our church hosted a regional conference for the first time and I must say our little church did extremely well and we were all so proud of our achievements. We also celebrated 10 years as a local church in Sydney. This was a big milestone for us and we had a weekend of celebrating with old pastors visiting etc.

Friends: I've been super blessed in this area. God has blessed us with such great friends and speaking for myself personally, I've met some amazing and wonderful mums since I became one. They continue to enrich my life and bless me with their time, friendship, wisdom and generosity. Rebekah also has been blessed with some great friends. Homeschooling an only child is challenging in the sense that we have to be proactive about meeting Rebekah's 'social' needs. We have been blessed with friends that understand this and are so generous in inviting Rebekah to play dates with their kids etc.
In fact, towards the end of last year, even though Rebekah had lots of friends, she really wanted a girl friend who lived on our street, someone she could play with more often. Our street is filled with boys! So, we decided to pray about this and wouldn't you know a couple of months later, a little girl a year older than Rebekah moved in and they've become really good friends, God is good!
Besides 'mum' friends, I am also blessed to have other non-mum friends who continue to enrich my life in many ways!

Family: My mum and step dad continue their work in India that they began several years ago, in the orphanage they run and doing other work there as well. We miss them and are looking forward to their return in under a month's time!

Health: I've had a major breakthrough this year after finding a wonderful holistic doctor who specialises in women's health. Yes, reaching my forties has been challenging in this area, well, it started in my mid thirties really but as with most things, I don't rush into things, hence it took me this long! I can't begin to tell you what a difference the treatment I am receiving has made to my overall health which in turn has been great for my emotional well being! All I can say is GO bio-identical hormones! If you'd like to find out more feel free to email me:)

And last of all, I started this blog to keep an online journal of some aspects of our life that I wanted to pass onto Rebekah one day. It's not the most interesting of blogs in blog land so I'm honoured that the lovely friends I've mad online keep coming back to read and comment and encourage me. To all of you, I wish you a merry Christmas (if you do celebrate it) and a great 2012!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas Stories to read - for free, truly!

I've always wanted to have a collection of Christmas stories to read to Rebekah leading up to Christmas (like I've seen so many other mums do in their families) but have never gotten around to it. Well actually I did try to collect a few over the last couple of years but I wouldn't even dare show you my collection as it's quite measly!

Anyway, you all know I use Ambleside Online, that wonderful free Charlotte Mason curriculum. Well, what do you know, it only took me a few years to realise they had a page with loads of free Christmas stories and poems to read. The AO website is truly a treasure trove!

I was so elated to find this out the other day, I just had to share it with you all.

Now that we have an ipad and I'm trying to cut down on buying physical books that are free online, this is just perfect for us.

So now if you've been like me you no longer have an excuse to not read these wonderful stories to your children:)
They'll thank you for it in years to come I'm sure.

Here's the page link: http://www.amblesideonline.org/HolidayStoriesPoems.shtml

The stories listed there are carefully selected by the AO advisory (a group of mums who so generously volunteer their time and efforts to put together and maintain this wonderful curriculum, a group of women I've come to appreciate, admire and respect very much for all their hard work) so I am quite sure you'll love this list of stories.

Enjoy! I know we will.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Homeschool Meme

While some of you have been posting some deep and meaningful posts, here's a light, make that super light one from me:)

My dear bloggy friend Jo in Queensland tagged me, oh, let's see, more than a month ago with this meme! Sorry Jo, it's a bit late, better late than never though eh!

The idea of this meme is to answer the questions and then to tag some bloggers to pass it on, so they can do the same. However, some of my blog friends are not homeschoolers and so this wouldn't apply to them; the rest who are my homeschool bloggy friends have already had their turn most likely so I'll just fill in the details with my answers and leave it untagged at the end:)


Here goes:


1. One homeschooling book you have enjoyed:

'A Charlotte Mason Companion' by Karen Andreola.


2. One resource you wouldn’t be without:

The internet!


3. One resource you wish you had never bought:

hmmm, I'd have to say "Before Five in a row". I briefly tried this with Rebekah when she was 3 to 4 and she didn't like having the same book read every day! Sorry all you 'rowers' out there but this just wasn't going to work for us!

4. One resource you enjoyed last year:

Living Books curriculum teachers manual for year 1.

5. One resource you will be using next year

Our ipad, yay!

6. One resource you would like to buy:

I think I'm ok for now.


7. One resource you wish existed:

A time extender, need more hours in my day:)


8. One homeschool catalogue you enjoy reading


Don't read catalogues, does that make me a 'weird' weird homeschooler? (wink) :)


9. One homeschooling website you use regularly


Ambleside online


10. Tag other homeschoolers:

See my note at the top:)






Saturday, November 5, 2011

Keeping up with the Jones' Technology


If you know us in real life, you'd know that we are not a keeping up with the Jones' type of family.
We are simple people, happy to live a simple and uncomplicated life. We put certain things in life ahead of keeping up with the latest gadgets, tv, phones etc.
We drove an old car until it died a couple of years ago and we were forced to replace it!
We live in a small villa and drive a smallish car.
Recently we had our small group (Bible study) from church over at our place and we had to watch a dvd as part of it. In typical Aussie humour, someone made a comment about our latest flat screen tv :) (NOT) :)
I hope that gives you some indication of the type of people we are.
We are also laggards apparently (a word I recently learned) over at this blog I've just started following: Fountainside. So, there you have it, we are a couple of laggards who live a simple life:)

We live in a city that is obsessed with keeping up with the Joneses!
We feel we swim against the flow with our lifestyle and hope others can be encouraged to live the same way. In fact, we live mostly on one (average) income in an expensive city where mostly everyone thinks it's impossible to do!
We make many sacrifices to live this way but that is another topic for another time.

So, in recent times, I got an android phone, not because I wanted to because I had no other choice. A couple of months ago my old phone started dying and when we started looking into a new phone for me, the only one I found comfortable to handle on the plan I wanted to get was an android phone. (I am not on a big mobile plan in fact it's the second cheapest) It has millions of apps I can download for free (so I am told) but I don't think I'd bother. I use my phone mainly to text and call and to take photos and videos. It even comes with some internet data which I was not interested in:) In fact I would go so far as to say this android phone is truly wasting all it's capabilities on me!

Fast forward a couple of weeks and guess what we get.....voila:






















- an Ipad2! Yes indeed! Yes even our friends' jaws dropped when they found out:)

Now, even this was driven out of necessity. You see we have one desktop and often when Ron's at home at night I am working (on it ) and there have been times when Rebekah wants to watch something on iview (remember her allotted daily 60 minutes I blogged about here) is often when I need the computer! We really needed another pc. We ummed and ahhed for several months on whether to get a laptop (we've never owned a laptop ever, now even that is saying something) or to get an ipad.
Ron researched it a lot and we decided we'd get an ipad.

This has purely been out of necessity and after owning it for a month I can tell you it's been a huge blessing for us.

It has changed how we homeschool and how we do our family read alouds.
Ambleside Online is a free curriculum with most of the books available for free online, so guess what Rebekah and I do each morning for school - yes, we pull out the ipad to do most of our readings!
We've already downloaded quite a few ebooks.
We use it's notes function as a daily checklist that Rebekah can tick off as we do our school work. (Great for transitioning to more independent study as she gets older wink wink )

We use it for our family read alouds each Saturday night as we are currently reading Peter Pan which is available for free.
I'd read that it's just not the same as reading from a book but honestly once you get engrossed in the story you forget you're reading it from a screen.

We use it at our dining table book work area to listen to our composer on youtube, quickly look up something we need to find out about online, etc etc.

It even gets used in the kitchen to look up recipes to cook.

We're only scratching the surface as we've only had it for a month or so. But already it's been put to heavy use.
Yes there are some great games on it but not wanting Rebekah to become addicted she is allowed to use some of her daily allotment of one hour of screen time on the ipad if she so desires.
I'm told there are many educational applications, we're yet to look into that. We are laggards after all:)

I just love it because of it's slim design, weight and portability.
We are loving it so much so I just had to tell you of our latest addition:)
It has been a huge blessing for our homeschool and our family. We are finally having to keep up with technology! How about you, do you have an ipad, are you thinking of getting one, tempted to get one? If you do have one, I'd love to hear of some of your favourite educational or other apps.


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fitting in nature study and all those 'extras'

I noticed this year as we got into a more rigorous curriculum (Ambleside Online), with more books to read, more work than last year, nature study had slipped a little around here. Sure, we still do a bit of nature study but it hasn't been as much as I would have liked nor as much as Charlotte Mason's students truly did.

Also, some of the so called 'extras' too like handicrafts, art etc were taking a nose dive! Because I am not an arty person, they would get left to the last and then when we ran out of time they wouldn't get done:(

So, I tried to rectify that by adjusting our schedule this term.

I've alloted certain 'days' to certain 'subjects' so they don't get left out.
So my schedule goes like this. Besides our daily subjects like Bible, Maths, penmanship and poetry, we allot the other subjects as follows:

Mondays and Tuesdays we cover Literature, History and Geography (the readings are spread out over two days as I don't want to overload her with one subject on each day)

Wednesdays is our 'science and nature study' day.

Thursdays we call our 'artsy' day in which we do all the extras (which are not really 'extras' because they are a key differentiator between a Charlotte Mason education and other methods): composer study, picture study (art), drawing, hymns, handicrafts (knitting) and the all important 'craft' for my craft loving daughter:)

Fridays we have off for park days, etc.

We are almost at the end of second 12 week term and I can say we've had better success with this than term 1.

By having a set day to do certain subjects that I don't necessarily like, I ensure it gets done and that Rebekah is getting that liberal education that Charlotte Mason talked about.

With Nature study however (where we actually go to a specific place to observe nature, do nature journalling etc) I have allowed myself to schedule it in once a fortnight (for my non-Aussie readers that's once every two weeks) (smile) instead of once a week as it involves much more time and preparation on my part! I figured that this way instead of constantly feeling like we never do it, if I allow myself some leeway and set a more realistic goal, it will actually get done!

So, having said all that, as we had no park day this week and also because of poor weather, we had our nature study day yesterday - a Friday.


We had a lovely picnic lunch along with Rebekah's new Sylvanian family bike and picnic set,


























fed the ducks at leisure,
























took time to relax and breathe, observed and discussed at length about the birds, trees and flowers, have fun,























did some nature journalling,

























did some reading in a shady spot, and just marvelled at God's creation!






















I brought to Rebekah's attention the design on the petals of the above flower. Nature has some invaluable lessons for us in that they display the beauty and wonder of God and teach us so much about Him. Prior to homeschooling Rebekah I would never have noticed the intricate designs on the inside of a flower!
Isn't this flower just amazing! It's a dietes and is a very common flower. I'm sorry that these shots are just from my mobile phone and don't do the beauty of the flower any justice but when Rebekah took a closer look, she was amazed and said, it's like God drew it with a texta! That's exactly what it looked like! A texta drawing / or as if someone had personally hand painted that brown design on the inside of the petal! To think that God put so much detail into a flower that is here today and gone tomorrow.....

























We had an awesome day! It actually turned out to be a lovely nature study day mummy/daughter date actually:)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fringe benefits of blogging

I started this blog in February 2009 mainly to keep an online journal of some aspects of our life here which I am keeping so Rebekah can read one day.
Along the way I have made some wonderful blogging friends one of them being Joluise at 'Stop have a chat'.
Well, Jo recently had a giveaway on her blog (some tissue holders she had made) and I won one, hurray!

It arrived in the mail today, along with a lovely surprise for Rebekah - some very pretty craft stickers (top half of the picture).
























Here is the tissue holder after I unwrapped the little parcel along with a refill and a handy 2012 magnetic calendar:






















Isn't it beautiful!

Rebekah jumped up and down when she realised part of it was for her. Jo, I wish I could capture her thank you for you, instead she decided to pose for this photo for you as a 'thank you'! You blessed my little girl so much today, thankyou!





















If you don't follow Jo's blog, I'd encourage you to take a look.

Jo is a statician, so always has some very interesting posts to read. Besides that she is very creative with her garden, her crafts, her home...I could go on and on! More importantly I believe she is a very gracious and kind person (I think you get to know people a bit if you follow them over time) and I love reading her blog as it's very uplifting.

I am very blessed my bloggy friends, all of you! and this today was a fringe benefit which I didn't mind at all:) Thanks again Jo!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Rosemary's Easy Sushi Recipe

I thought I'd put my blog to good use and tell you all how I make really really easy sushi, the one I mentioned here!

This recipe is for Arky a dear friend of mine who is no longer in Australia, all my real life friends that often ask me how I make sushi and anyone else out there wanting to know:)

Years ago I read a recipe in a women's magazine for sushi and I only ever made it a couple of times! Though it was well liked, the recipe was filed never to resurface due to it not being that easy to make. These days 'easy' is my middle name when it comes to cooking! I'm sure I'll get back into more elaborate cooking in another season and time of my life though.

Sushi can be unduly intimidating (at least it was for me), so here I'm going to try and dispel any doubts you have that you can make it!
If you're a more experienced sushi cook and you're still reading, please forgive me for elaborating too much:)

Ingredients:

Sushi Rice 2 cups
Seaweed sheets

O'bento Sushi seasoning: 12 to 18 tbsp - the bottle indicates 18 but I find 12 is adequate, you can use 18 if you want a stronger flavour to the rice.






















If you don't have this brand of sushi seasoning you will have to subsitute with japanese rice vinegar (though I'm not sure if that has added sugar to give it a sweet flavour). If it doesn't it won't give you that store bought sushi taste and you may have to add some sugar to it, or else look for another recipe lol!

Fillings as you desire. I used smoked salmon and avocado(cut into strips) (for the adults here) and cucumber(also in strips) and avocado for Rebekah. On a side note, Rebekah prefers raw salmon to smoked but I'm not game enough to try it with raw salmon:)




















































Method:
Cook sushi rice according to instructions on packet.
(An easy way I cook it in the microwave is to use two parts water to one part rice and cook it on high for a few minutes first until quite a bit of the water is absorbed. So in this recipe for 2 cups rice I would cook it for about 7 to 9 minutes for on high, let it sit for 10 minutes, then cook it for another 5 minutes on medium heat)

Add the sushi seasoning to the rice mixture and stir through and let it cool down to room temp. I normally cook this in the morning and leave it aside to cool down till later in the day when I make the rolls.





























Cut all your vegetables, gather your fillings and have them ready on hand along with a bowl of water to rinse your hands between rolls.

Place the seaweed sheet shiny side down on a chopping board / tray.

Layer rice all over the sheet leaving a gap of an inch or so at one end which I will call the finishing end (this will be the flap that closes over at the finish to hold everything in place). The layer of rice needs to be evenly spread out and not too thick as otherwise you will end up with a very chunky sushi roll:)
I am sorry about this picture and some of the ones following, which kept getting rotated around every time I tried uploading them. I tried some workarounds I found on the internet but nothing has helped and I've already spent way too much time on this post lol so I am giving up!































Layer your fillings on the rice at the starting end.

























Begin rolling over the seaweed sheet with fillings firmly in place.

























I don't use a bamboo mat but you can use one to help with this process.
The trick is to ensure it's all tight when you roll it up.
Keep rolling it over until you get to the end of the rice and then fold the end side of the sheet over and using some water stick it down to hold everything in place.




























Once you've done these and finished the rolls, place it in the fridge for about 20 minutes. This helps everything set and makes it easier to cut into pieces for serving.

























I do not store left over cooked sushi rice as I believe it doesn't do well in rolls the next day due to a change in the texture resulting from refrigeration. Instead I make additional rolls with it and store them in the fridge overnight. I have often made rolls for two dinners (as I did today) and they taste just as good the next night!

Lastly, enjoy with a dash of soy sauce on the side and/ or wasabi!




















Disclaimer: This recipe was adapted from the back of the seasoning bottle and other places I've read sushi recipes so I'm not claiming it's my own. Also, I am not getting paid for any of this by any company, neither do I own shares in any of the companies I recommend in this post, though I am open to it lol!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

When I grow up......

"I want to be a ballerina" Rebekah says and has said for the past couple of years! This has been the deepest desire of her heart. She just loves her ballet! Time has not caused her to grow out of this one. In fact she becomes more and more determined about it as time passes!

So....today was her end of year concert (a little early I know but this is how it's done at her new school and I quite liked the idea) and the theme of the concert was the same as my post's title:)




























An update on our dance school decision:
I mentioned here that we made the decision to change schools for certain reasons. Well, to put it more bluntly we had issues with the last dance school and it was not an environment we wanted Rebekah to grow up learning to dance in; the songs and dance moves were too sexualised!
There! I've said it! I've used the 's' word on my blog for the first time!

Anyway, today our decision to move her to this new school proved SO right! The whole concert was not only a lot shorter, but it was a whole lot sweeter too (and they teach classical ballet!) The dances were more wholesome yet good. Who said you had to be sexual to dance well! I've used the s word again, oh dear!
It amazes me that I hear of so many parents who pull their kids out of dance schools for the same reasons as we did yet the dance schools don't seem to get the message!

Anyway, we are happy, Rebekah is happy and she still wants to grow up to be a ballerina......to be continued........at some point in the future:)


In the meantime, she will get all the support she needs from us:


























Monday, September 12, 2011

Ambleside Online - year 1 we're half done!

I've had a busy busy few weeks, and came back to my blog to discover a few new followers, woohoo! I'm an introvert and my blog reflects that - so 31 followers was good; I'm actually amazed to see the number go up suddenly and so I'll be coming your way to check you all out soon my new followers:)

In the meantime I want to let you know we've been busy celebrating a certain someone's birthday, nursing a sick guinea pig with a few visits to the vet thrown in, organising play dates and attending homeschool park days with two different groups for extra measure :) - an essential when one homeschools an only child, working two part time jobs, volunteering at church and celebrating 10 years as a local church! So, please excuse my absence from your bloggy worlds but I will catch up with you all soon.

I told you some time ago we switched curriculums this year, so I thought I'd post an update with how it's all going with Ambleside Online seeing that we're in week 18 of the 36 week curriculum!

Well, the ladies over on those discussion boards are not wrong, it surely is a rigorous curriculum; don't let first glances deceive you:)

The books are quite challenging but not overwhelming for Rebekah which is right where she needs to be.
We follow the curriculum pretty closely but do our own thing for art study and hymns; we also added in and substituted some Australian material. And oh, we haven't gotten around to folksongs yet!

I started off adding in Australian material but quickly found out that this was just going to overload us so I have decided to substitute instead (where possible).
We now use "Old Bob's birds" by C K Thompson instead of the "Burgess Bird Book". This book was filled with American birds and while Rebekah enjoyed the stories I felt reading an Australian Bird Book would be far more fruitful in bringing natural history to life for her.
We still add in "My place" by Nadia Wheatley to the history selections but since this is a fairly easy book to follow we are managing.
Also, we don't do narrations for every reading; we just read and discuss "Tales from Shakespeare" and "Just so Stories". I felt narrating every reading was overkill for Rebekah and I didn't want reading for school to become a drudgery.

One thing that has happened ths year (due to the increase in work load for school work) is that our nature walks and craft activities were falling by the wayside, the latter to my dear craft-loving daughters chagrin:(
So, a rethink was done and now we have decided to make one day of our four day week an 'arts' day.
We do all our academic subjects from Monday to Wednesday and leave Thursdays for the arty subjects like picture study, composer, hymns, handicrafts (knitting) and craft. Those of you familiar with Charlotte Mason would know she didn't place too much emphasis on what we would call 'craft' activities, but one of my daughter's love languages would be doing craft together (if there was such a love language) :)
So, to fill her love tank in this area I schedule them in on Thursdays.

I've also decided to aim for one nature walk per fortnight at least. This way I don't beat myself up over not doing one every week. This is not to say that she hasn't been on nature walks this year! My husband is a nature lover so he does take Rebekah on bush walks regularly and while this covers that subject a little, I still want to do 'focused' nature walks with her and hence my new goals. Our backyard and informal nature study still continues due to her being exposed to it since she was much younger, so we have managed a few nature journal entries too.

I'll be heading over to yours soon.....

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Book that changed the world


This year marks 400 years since the first KJV (King James Version) of the Bible was published and today we got to see one of those very first editions:





















The picture above doesn't do it any justice at all, it was probably one foot long and about 10 cm wide, that's my guesstimate:) It was massive!



We also got to see some other historical bibles including one of the very first English Bibles put out by William Tyndale, this one dates back to 1551:






















(William Tyndale became a martyr for his work in translating the Bible into English! We owe a lot to him!)


and would you believe one owned by Shakespeare:








































This is an exhibition being held by the Bible Society of Australia at the moment and it was well worth the hours drive for us! It was truly amazing to see these historical Bibles amongst others. They've named the exhibition: The Book that Changed the World. I can certainly attest to it having changed my life!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Deholidaying!

If you're a homeschooler you would have heard of the word deschooling, well, I've come up with a word called "deholidaying' lol!
Let me explain.....
I'm finding more and more that our school holidays are much much more busier than school terms and I'm sure I'm not alone!

We don't usually follow the school terms but this year coincidentally our term ended at the same time as the schools. We spent the first couple of days of the first week of holidays on our end of term exams. After that it was a whirlwind of social activities! So much so that at the end of the school holidays I needed a holiday lol!

So......we spent this past week deholidaying:) Just getting back to our routine of just the two of us while Daddy's at work. Mummy catching up on all the domestic chores that got put on the back burner (due to being out almost every day for the past couple of weeks), homeschool record keeping and admin work and Rebekah just chilling and getting back to being at home with mum apart from her usual weekly classes (park days have been out the window this week due to the rain).

Now Rebekah generally has lots of contact with other kids during the school terms what with her dancing, swimming, weekly and fortnightly park days (we belong to two different home school groups), play dates etc. But somehow during school holidays this seems magnified, maybe it's just that it's more concentrated with longer times out of the house that makes it more busy.
Anyway, so this past week, we've just stayed home and baked and done art and craft.

Here are some photos from our school holidays (all three weeks of them):)

Craft activities put on by our local shopping centre (mall):


















Another activity put on by same place:





















Rebekah also had her good friend over for a sleep over for the first time (it was a first for both of them) and this is Ron reading them a bed time story:




















Rebekah also got her first Sylvanian family dolls:
I'm sure they are the just the first of many many many....more to come:)



















And now that holidays are over it's back to next term for us. Have a great week!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Exams (the Charlotte Mason way)

We've just finished term 1 of Year 2 and had our exams yesterday. Rebekah LOVES exams! Why? I think in large part it's because we do them the Charlotte Mason way. For those not familiar with this let me explain:

When I was at school I memorised facts to produce at exams. It was all about how much I could cram into my little brain to reproduce accurately come exam time.

Charlotte Mason's exams though are the opposite. They are not to test on what one doesn't know but on what one knows. So, our exam questions are often open ended as in "Tell me the story of ........" or "Tell me all about......." This leaves Rebekah to tell me what she remembers and not what I want her to remember.
How freeing for her! No wonder she loves exams. She gets to tell me things that she knows from what she's learned during the term.

Winston Churchill said “I would like to have been examined in history, poetry and writing essays. The examiners, on the other hand, were partial to Latin and mathematics. And their will prevailed ... I should have liked to be asked to say what I knew. They always tried to ask what I did not know.” :)

I agree! (Though I'd reverse the subjects in the quote. I would have liked to be examined in maths and geography not history, poetry and writing essays lol!)

So, all in all, how did Rebekah do I hear you ask:)
She did very well. She told me all about stories from the living books I've only read to her once (yes just once) from the last 12 weeks. For some of them she remembered more details than others but this is ok with me because Charlotte Mason did say "The question is not how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care? In fact, how large is the room in which he finds his feet set? and, therefore, how full is the life he has before him?"

Right now Rebekah cares a great deal about a lot! :)

So Rebekah has passed her exams with flying colours! Good job Rebekah!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Rosemary's Easy Thai vegie curry

This is the next one in my list of recipes I'm posting. We've been eating this very regularly (except Rebekah) who doesn't like the pumpkin!

I do cook two mains for times like these when she won't eat what Ron and I eat:)

Ingredients:

1/2 butternut pumpkin, peeled and chopped into medium size pieces (3cm square pieces)
1 can lentils / chick peas drained and rinsed.
1 cup frozen peas (or any other vegies you like)
250 ml coconut milk
1 to 2 tbsp brown sugar (depending on how much curry paste you use)
1 tsp massels chicken stock powder mixed in 1/2 cup warm water
few basil leaves
1 to 2 tsp red curry paste
1/2 onion diced

Method:

Fry onion in a tsp or so of cooking oil.
When it begins to soften, add the pumpkin and stir fry for one to two minutes.
Then add the red curry paste along with the stock liquid and stir gently.
Place lid on pan and cook on low heat for a few minutes until pumpkin begins to soften.
Then add the coconut milk, brown sugar, basil and peas and cook for another couple of minutes. When the peas are almost cooked add the drained lentils / chick peas and basil, turn heat off and let it simmer on the stove for a couple more minutes.

Serve with steamed basmati rice.

This is a healthy vegetarian curry and the lentils / chick peas provide protein.
Also, I'll let you in on my secret: if you are using commercially made Thai curry pastes, I've found the "Mae Ploy" brand to be the best and closest to the restaurant quality Thai curries you can make at home:)
Disclaimer: I don't own shares in that company and I don't know much about the company either but I've tried several brands over the years and I've found them to be the best so have stopped buying other brands:)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Rosemary's Easy Roast Beef

I go through phases in my cooking much like lots of others I know so I thought I'd tell you what we've been eating regularly of late. I'll do separate posts on my recipes so it gets filed more neatly in the archives, is that ok? :)

I am a bit of a jack of all trades as I cook a lot of different foods and adapt and change recipes to suit intolerances and allergies in our home. One thing that I always make sure is that it's an EASY recipe:) I am the 'queen of easy' in the kitchen, especially in the past few years as I've started wearing 'many hats' so to speak, both with being a mum, homeschooling, working part time, ministry involvement etc. So....this is a yummy and super easy recipe that I tried out recently and everyone (including me ! ) loved it so here it is:

Ingredients:

1 kg or thereabouts of a piece of topside roast
1 packet French onion soup
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 to 1 tsp chilli powder (depending on how spicy you want it).

2 large sweet potatoes peeled and cut into 2 cm thick slices.
Other vegetables to serve steamed alongside and gravy if you desire.

Method:

Turn oven on to warm up while you do the following:

Peel and chop the sweet potatoes.

Mix the soup packet ingredients, the chilli and garlic in about 1/2 cup of warm water and pour over the meat in a baking dish. (I used a corning ware casserole dish with a lid).

Cook the meat in pre-heated oven (180 degrees C / 350 degrees F) for around two hours (for well done). I use a meat thermometer and it usually takes less than two hours.

Towards the last hour or 45 minutes of cooking I add the sweet potato (sprayed with cooking oil and a dusting of black pepper) to the baking dish.

When it comes out of the oven the sweet potato would have soaked up some of the juices from the cooking process which makes it absolutely delish!

To this you can add steamed vegies, peas, corn, whatever you want really!

Ron and Rebekah like this served with some gravy but I prefer it without and just the juices from the baking dish.

Unfortunately I don't have a picture for you but I can tell you the flavours of the soup mix along with the chilli, garlic and pepper make it very tasty indeed and complement the beef very well. Great for the cold winter nights we've been having of late! I should also mention that with the price of lamb these days this is a much more economical meal!

I'd be interested if you do try it out to let me know how you go, otherwise this will just remain filed away in my archives for me to refer to some time down the road:)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Year 2 - Leaving Living Books Curriculum to do Ambleside Online

I'm finally getting around to posting what we do for year 2 which we began early April!

I had been looking into Ambleside Online for many years but had been too overwhelmed or too intimidated by it all to really take the plunge and start it:)

I think two years of Living Books Curriculum has given me the confidence I needed to step out and do Charlotte Mason on my own without the need for a teachers manual.
So, even though I like LBC, I found that after a while I was tweaking it so much that I thought I would be better off to just do it on my own.
Not that you have to do it on your own with AO! There is a very active discussion group where mums discuss the curriculum and it is a great support network for those who decide to use it. This was actually one of the things that kept attracting me to AO and not to mention the great books used as well! I must also add that most of the books AO use are free online, a great bonus for those on a tight budget!

So, even if you don't home school or use another curriculum, may I recommend you look at their booklists? You're sure to get some great ideas from there!

Anyway, back to our year 2! I had heard that AO was quite an advanced curriculum and that one is better off waiting till the child is close to 7 to begin year 1. (hanging around that afore mentioned discussion group for years was great for me!)
So, Rebekah turning 7 this year I decided to take the plunge and do their year 1.
Now, for the purposes of extra curricular activities and for the Board of Studies I need to 'grade' Rebekah so we are calling it Year 2 and also I believe that this curriculum is quite advanced so calling it year 2 is quite appropriate in my opinion!

We are using the curriculum pretty closely to how its laid out with some small adjustments. I am adding some Aussie poetry, literature, art and history in this year by either substituting or adding it in as an extra.

Here is our take on it:

Bible:

We are following Charlotte Mason's PNEU curriculum along with the leftover pages of the Early Reader Wonder Devotional Book from last year and Leading Little Ones to God which we've been doing very slowly for the last couple of years!

Language Arts:

Penmanship:

Continuing with Italics Beautiful Handwriting for Children by Penny Gardner.

Reading:

Rebekah is a very fluent reader so we will continue buddy reading.

Poetry:

A Child's Garden of Verses by R.L. Stevenson
Now we are six by A.A. Milne
The Animals Noah Forgot by A.B. Paterson (Australian poetry)

Literature:

Aesop for Children by Milo Winter
Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare by Edith Nesbit
The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang
Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling
Parables from Nature by Margaret Gatty
The Way of the Whirlwind by Mary Durack (Aussie literature) (We intended to use this book last year but didn'nt as I felt Rebekah would get more out of it this year)

Maths:

We are continuing with Singapore Maths, doing the 1B and 2A books this year.

Science:

Charlotte Mason emphasised nature study as a foundation for higher level sciences so we will be continuing our focus on nature study using The Handbook of Nature Study as outlined in AO along with our own field guides and other nature books we've accumulated.

In addition to this we will be using (as outlined in AO):
James Herriot's Treasury for Children by James Herriot and
The Burgess Bird Book for Children by Thornton Burgess

We will also be completing 'Growing Strong and Healthy' from LBC Year 1. This is a great book on the human body and nutrition and if you are looking for something free which is also good, it is available online!

History:

Early history, focusing on people rather than events-
Trial and Triumph by Richard Hannula (we are omitting this book)

An Island Story by H.E. Marshall
Fifty Famous Stories Retold by James Baldwin
Viking Tales by Jennie Hall

To this we are adding My Place by Nadia Wheatley for Aussie history.

Geography:

Paddle to the Sea by Holling C Holling (This is a book covering the great lakes in America but it is such a lovely book that we just had to use it!)

Foreign language:

We are continuing Spanish with Play and learn Spanish by Ana Lombarda.

Drawing:

Drawing with Children by Mona Brooks

Craft:

We will use the many craft books we have in our home library!

Picture Study:

Here we are not following AO, instead we will be using:
Come look with me, exploring Landscape art with Children by Gladys Blizzard
Roy and Matilda: The Golden Locket by Susan Venn (Aussie art)

Composer:

We will be following AO for this and listening to the music of Beethoven, Vivaldi and Chopin.

Hymns and Folksongs:

AO have scheduled these but I am not doing them for now but will add them in later in the year after we are more used to this new curriculum!

P.S. I am deeply indebted to many that have gone on before me in this homeschooling adventure that I have learned from over the years. I especially wanted to mention Jeanne (ohpeacefulday) for her mentoring me in Charlotte Mason and Ambleside Online in particular! I also want to mention that I glean from various resources for my Aussie stuff, in particular I want to make mention of Ruth (From Wonder to Wisdom) and Michelle (Homeschooling Downunder) whose websites / blogs have also helped me immensely. You will find many many wonderful Aussie resources on each of these ladies websites.


Year 2 weekly schedule

As I am having trouble editing my post on year 2 plans, this is just an update for our weekly schedule! Here's the link.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

She doesn't like colouring in but she does have confidence!

Rebekah has NEVER liked colouring in (or coloring if you are from the US) sheets or books! She actually doesn't like it, she loathes it!
So, last week for our art study I printed off a free colouring page for "The starry night" by Van Gogh so we could attempt to copy his painting. I suggested painting as I know she doesn't like colouring in. She didn't like the sound of painting and I could understand her difficulty as I could see it would end up with colours all over the page:) So SHE suggested we colour it in! Miracle!
I've never encouraged her to try colouring in and just gone along with her dislike because I don't really see much point to it other than it keeping her busy for sometime. I know there are some views out there for and against colouring sheets and I chose to go with the against idea (in our home) because I know it doesn't lend itself to too much creativity. Am I getting controversial? :) I would hate to become controversial on my blog:) Anyway....back to last week, she did actually colour in her sheet, it took her two days to complete but I thought it didn't turn out too bad for someone that doesnt' like it:





















Last Sunday at church, she was given some activity sheets to fill out, some colouring in sheets and one to fill out some details about herself. No guess for which ones she went for! :) Now, I have to preface this by saying that I have never taught her spelling in a formal way as I am following Charlotte Mason's philosophy of copywork for now and dictation and spelling will come later over the next couple of years. So, she asked me for help with spelling a couple of the bigger words she wanted to fill in about herself but other than those she spelled the rest by herself. Not bad spelling I thought! That night after she went to bed, I got it out to show Ron and we both chuckled! Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks right! Well, all I could see was 'confidence' as I read it with Ron. I don't really remember being so confident of myself when I was her age. Needless to say I am thankful to God for what He is doing in her life! Here it is below, what do you all think? I won't mind if you chuckle:)



















It reads:

My name is Rebekah. I have mummy, daddy hair and brown eyes. My nose is cool and nice. My skin is light and it feels soft. My ears are sensitive and nice.
I like to wear pertty clothes. Today I am wearing top, pants. My black pants are cool. My shoes are blue and sparkly. My socks are black and white and they smell like perfume. I on the other hand smell like me. If you listen my voice sounds happy and funny. My favourite thing about myself is my generosity. It is nice and fun.
Thanks for getting to know me. Here is a picture I drew of myself. I am fantastic.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Belated Happy Mothers day!

I hope all my mum friends out there had a special day on Sunday. Happy belated Mothers day!

I was talking to Ron last night about our parenting and some of the choices we've made as a family so I can stay home and home school Rebekah. It's easy when one is in the midst of difficult and trying times whether that be financial, physical, or just the monotony of the daily routines especially when kids are young, to not keep one's focus on the future and long term goals isn't it!

We were talking about all the overseas holidays we had before we had Rebekah, etc etc. Yet, I wouldn't trade what I do now for that life! I know that each and every day the choices and decisions we make in parenting Rebekah are having an eternal consequence.

So....this morning, I read this poem on one of the forums I belong to and thought I'd pass it on to all you mums out there. Hope it encourages you as much as it did me!

The legacy

She could not give her children gold,
So she gave them faith to have and hold.
She could not give them royal birth .
A name renowned throughout the earth,
But she gave them seeds and a garden spot
And shade trees when the sun was hot.

She could not give a silver spoon
Or servants waiting night and noon.
She gave them love and a listening ear
And told them God was always near.

She could not give them ocean trips
Aboard majestic sailing ships,
But she gave them books and a quiet time,
Adventures found in prose and rhyme.

She could not give them worldly things
But what she gave was fit for kings,
For with her faith and books and sod
She made each child aware of God.


Alice Leedy Mason

Friday, May 6, 2011

Meet our newest and not so new family members

Rebekah has been wanting gold fish for some time now. The fact that her good friends Ava and Nate have them might have had something to do with it:)
So, always wanting to use situations to teach her the value of money we told her to use her own pocket money to get a little tank for them. She wisely shopped around and found one that was good value. The next step was the actual fish! She didn't have quite enough money for it so she decided to get some 'free' fish from a local pond. (She didn't care that they were not actually 'gold fish' at that stage. You can't beat free, can you!)
So Easter Saturday she spent 'fishing' with Daddy at a local pond and managed to get six small little fish.
Unfortunately that night we had a little accident which ended up in me killing the fish(I knocked them accidentally and the jar fell out of her hand with fish on the ground, oops!) We tried to salvage them to no effect.
So, mummy decided to buy her some gold fish and here they are. Meet Goldie and Sunshine:





















They are an addition to two guinea pigs we have named Peekface (and NOT 'Pigface' as some have thought:)) (daughter of Claire) whom we have had since birth (about 18 months ago) and Emily who we got last year. (They were both named by Rebekah as were her gold fish).

Rebekah has been faithfully feeding her fish each morning and night and is hoping they live for 20 years (as she read that apparently!)

Emily our guinea pig turned one in the last few weeks and we celebrated her birthday recently with a 'salad' cake made of grass, lettuce, broccoli, carrots and dandelions, yum!

This special day was celebrated recently with her afore mentioned friends when they came over for a play date and they all sang "Feliz Cumplianos" (happy birthday in Spanish) including Ava who had to learn the words that morning. Nate who is a bit younger just sang along with 'squeak squeak' to the tune of happy birthday, it was all very cute as you can imagine!






Monday, April 18, 2011

A goodbye, A reunion and Honouring others

Our weekend was a very busy and social one.

On Friday night we had dinner with my mum and step dad who are heading back to India this week.
They are missionaries there, run an orphanage and do other missionary work.
They spend three quarters of the year there and the rest back here in Sydney resting and recuperating but that's another story to tell!
It's always a sad time for me when they have to go back. I have become so much closer to my mum in the last few years (we've always been close) but I think becoming a mother has strenghtened our bonds as we now have motherhood in common!
I also feel sad for Rebekah as she misses them and her paternal grandparents don't live in Sydney either!

On Saturday we attended a birthday party of some friends' one year old daughter. We were asked to be God-parents (as were about 15 others), very cute!
In this couple's culture the first birthday is a big one and this definitely was a BIG one, it seemed more like some weddings I've been to in Australia!

Also this weekend, I had a trip down memory lane which was fun and revelatory at the same time (for me)!

I studied in a catholic school in India run by nuns (some of whom were Irish). Well our school principal was one of them and a good friend of my family's too.
She served in India for 25 years and has been back in the UK for the past 25.
An old school teacher (who is also a distant relative of mine) organised a golden jubilee mass and get together for her (as she was visiting Australia a month after this event). I had not seen her in about 25 years and I was eagerly looking forward to this weekend. When I left India, we had no emails, no internet etc and the only way I could keep in touch with friends was via snail mail. So, I had thought I would never see any of my friends or teachers again let alone a school principal who was herself not from India! Boy was I wrong! Who knew about internet and facebook and the wonders of modern technology and what it could do back then!
Anyway to cut a long story short, we spent Sunday afternoon with her and a dozen or so old school students who now call Sydney / Australia home.
Some of them I remembered quite well, some of them I vaguely remembered and others not at all or were at school at a different time to me.
What was revelatory to me was that the ones who were the extroverts were still the same and the ones who were the quiet types (yours truly for instance!) were also still the same! Time had not changed our personalities!

As this nun walked into the room, some of us felt like it was a dream and that this wasn't really happening!
You see we all loved and respected her so much and never thought we'd see her again.



















It was strange also in a way as we (30 and 40 something year olds) took a trip down memory lane, singing some of the old songs we used to sing at school including our school song!

The most interesting and moving part for me was when we all shared some memories of our old school principal.

I came from a broken home and I remember during that traumatic time for us(me and my sibling sisters who also went to the same school), this nun was so compassionate and helpful to my mum and us. She was very generous towards us to say the least.
I always felt she 'knew' our family quite well because of that.
Little did I know that there were many others in similar situations that she had been extremely generous with as well.
There were tears and emotional speeches of thanks for the part she played in some of these girls lives.
It was a powerful time as we honoured her! Ron said it was pretty boring until that point:) Though prior to that he did manage to capture some of my singing and 'dancing' on video to embarass me with later!

So last night, it got us(Ron and I) talking about the subject of honour and how one of our pastors says that God places people in our lives for us to honour because they are training grounds for us to learn to honour Him. How true!
In fact I think we are honouring God when we honour those people He places in our lives and that's what made this Sunday afternoon so special and powerful!

I came home exhilarated and exhausted at the same time (as I've mentioned a zillion times before how I am an introvert and these social things seem to wring me out a bit):)

Hope you all had a great weekend too!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A time to rest and a time to work!

We've just come back from a three week holiday in Victoria and to tell you I've hit the ground running is an understatement!
My autumn memories post that I scheduled to post while I was away was very ill timed I believe as I heard it was raining all that week (embarassed grin).

We're back from cold Victoria to warmer pastures, yes believe me, NSW is a lot warmer than it's Southern neighbours!
I've packed away our winter clothes I took down with us on our trip to be brought out in a month or two.

We had a lovely time away - sleeping in, going for leisurely strolls along the beach, catching up with relatives and Jeanne (one of my home school mentors and friends) spending time together as a family, celebrating birthdays, eating too much cake, sight seeing, breathing in the fresh country and seaside air and generally resting.

I opened my emails on Monday to find I had hundreds (yes hundreds) all up, in my various email inboxes!
I've also come back to a three day prayer and fast at our church (which I'm heavily involved in), preparing for a conference that our church and our sister churches in Sydney are hosting at the end of the month (which I am moderately involved in), getting ready to begin year 2 with Rebekah next week (when all the other kids are breathing sighs of relief on Monday morning as they don't need to go to school), yes cruel mummy that I am :), not to mention catching up on my emails, the mounds of washing, cleaning etc!

Then, too top it all off, last night I got a phone call from an old school teacher (who is also a very distant relative of mine and who also moved to Sydney many years ago) to say there is a bit of a school re-union planned for next Sunday with my old school headmistress (a lovely Irish nun who is now retired back to Ireland and is visiting Australia) and any ex-students who now live in Sydney! I am terribly excited about this! I do however have to get the word out which involves work on my part, but hey, I think I'll use Fakebook (oops Facebook) to do that:) So, to say I've hit the ground running is definitely an understatement:)

BUT I am SO rested though that I've already done a weeks work in three days - side benefits of holidays! :)

So, I promise to make my way over to your blogs and catch up and also post some holiday pictures in due time...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Autumn memories

Autumn (Fall) has to be my most favourite time of year!
I love the cool after the stifling heat and humidity of late summer in Sydney.
Actually if you are not from Sydney and are ever thinking of visiting, may I recommend you visit in Autumn? It's the best time in Sydney in my opinion. (That's some free advice for you, no charge):)

But more than the cool change in the temperatures,the bright sunny days, the change in the colour of the leaves etc the things that make autumn more special for me these days is the memories it brings back.

You see it was on a beautiful sunny autumn day 7 years ago that Ron and I welcomed Rebekah Faith into this world. She arrived a month early to our surprise but who would complain after having waited for so many years for her!

















(apologies for the picture, it's a picture of a picture as we didn't have a digital camera then, this was one of the very first pictures taken of Rebekah)

We had to leave in her in the hospital for a week after I checked out as she was having feeding problems. So after a painful and tiring week, we brought her home on another gorgeous sunny autumn day. (I remember walking out the hospital doors and wondering if we were actually allowed to do this? Didn't we need some sort of permission to take her home? How could they just let us walk off with her? I think Ron was feeling the same way and in that nervous but excited and euhporic state, we didn't buckle her into her baby capsule properly! It wasn't until we'd driven down the road a kilometre or so that I turned back to check on her and realised our mistake, oops! But anyway I've digressed!)

So, autumn and these beautiful days take me right back to that time in 2004.

Also it was in autumn 24 years ago that I migrated to Australia with my mum, step-dad and my younger sister.
I remember the excitement of arriving in this new land that we had heard so much about from our relatives living here.
The cool sunny weather that greeted us, the new experiences of living here, new discoveries, new accents, new ways of doing things, new people etc. Those memories are etched in my mind.

So, each autumn brings back nostalgic memories of these two important events of my life.
The anticipation and excitement of moving here along with those first initial impressions of this beautiful land and the lovely people, and the joy and exhilaration of giving birth to our precious daughter along with those first euphoric days and weeks in my life as a new mum. I just love autumn!

What is your favourite season of the year and is it because of special memories or is it because of the weather?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Nature Study in our (tiny) back yard

One of the biggest components of a Charlotte Mason education and one that sets her apart from many others is the importance of nature study!

I was really blessed to find out about and read her philosophies on education when Rebekah was two.

One thing that I immediately incorporated into our life style was getting out into nature, exploring and observing. I found that to my surprise, I actually liked being out there. I was a city girl, grew up in a concrete jungle in one of the biggest cities in India and didn't like the out doors too much. Then I moved to Australia and a few years later married my dearest husband who just loves nature, bush walking, being out there in nature etc! Opposites do attract!

Anyway I've digressed. I gradually started to 'tolerate' the outdoors with my hubby.

However it was not until I started getting outdoors with Rebekah and truly 'observing' nature, taking note of the flowers, the trees, the birds etc that I actually started to like nature.

Nature has so much to teach us. "The heavens display the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands" is so true!
There is also so much joy in truly taking in nature. I now find it very relaxing being outdoors.

So.... we were living in small unit(apartment) when we began our venture into nature study.
I remember one of the very first experiences with Rebekah and nature study: it was observing a bird on our balcony and identifying it as a common myna (sorry guys, I did not even know what a myna was before that! I know, I know, how bad was I, I told you I grew up in a concrete jungle:) ). That experience is etched in my memory because it was so exciting for both of us to observe a bird and then identify it for the first time from a book!

Fast forward about four years and it has become second nature to us! Rebekah can identify and name least fifteen to twenty birds now.

Late last year we had a long period of rain and we had to stay indoors a lot. I remember one rainy day we saw a black bird in our back yard. School being done for the day, we stood near our glass sliding door and looked out over our rainy back yard, spending considerable time just watching this little blackbird, observing it to see what it was up to. It was actually one that was nesting between our fence and our neighbours fence! After observing it for some time Rebekah yelled out " I just LOVE nature". Any Charlotte Mason mum would tell you what joy that brings to her heart! I was thrilled to say the least!

So, when I was working on our end of term reports last year, as I was collating all the work we had done for 'nature study' to include in my reports, I found that there was SO much we had done in our tiny back yard, which actually is a court yard to be more accurate!

Below are just some of the things we've observed and studied from our suburban court yard :

- A baby blackbird (that fell out of it's nest - mentioned above)





















- A centipede




















- A tadpole that we kept to watch it grow and develop but which unfortunately escaped when we were on holidays last year after it's legs grew:)
























A flower from one of our plants:






















We still don't know it's name but it's from this plant below, a very common one around here but I can't seem to find it in our flower book! Can anyone help me out here? :)






















All of these we read about and / or drew in our nature journals.

Besides the above, we observed ants, kept an ant farm, observed the sky, clouds, stars, moon, the trees change with the seasons, birds, flowers, spiders, slaters etc.

I would say that because our eyes have been opened to observe nature, we find / found there was so much to observe and learn about just from our tiny court yard!

Charlotte Mason said the following about nature study:

"We are all meant to be naturalists, each in his own degree, and it is inexcusable to live in a world so full of the marvels of plant and animal life and to care for none of these things."

“There is no part of a child's education more important than that he should lay - by his own observation - a wide basis of facts towards scientific knowledge in the future."

"Let them once get in touch with nature and a habit is formed which will be a source of delight and habit through life."

Nature study is meant to form a foundation for the higher years of science study besides being a source of delight!
It truly is a source of delight to us at the moment and I am trusting that it's also laying a strong foundation in Rebekah that will help her as she learns more science in the years to come!

p.s I am in the process of submitting this post to the CM Blog carnival (who? lil ol' me? I know, who would have guessed!):)
If you are wanting to read more, click on the Fisher Academy blog on my blog list (on the right) and you'll find many more blog posts by others on Charlotte Mason!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

We're done, yay!

Hooray, this week Rebekah finished year 1!

I used the 'better late than early' approach and began formal studies using our Year 1 curriculum with Rebekah very gently when she was about to turn 6 which was a year ago.
It was a year of trial and error, chopping and changing books and methods, routines etc. Can I say we're in a 'groove' yet? Not sure! Sometimes it felt like we were in our 'groove' only for things to change, but hey, it's all part of the journey and we are still loving it!

At the end of each term we did our 'exams' Charlotte Mason style mostly and I was amazed at the amount that Rebekah retained from her books.
For instance, during these latest exams, she narrated back so beautifully an Aesop's Fable that I read to her just once more than one month ago!
Charlotte Mason was right about using 'narration' as opposed to 'fill in the blanks'.
We used mostly living books barring one text book for this last term. We had trouble with some of the more 'textbook' type of books with this curriculum and I found that she was not able to narrate back much nor recall much at the end of term exams for term 2. The one textbook we used this term was for science (Growing strong and healthy), and from this she did remember quite a bit and did well with her exam questions which I was pleased about.
We also did a combined term 3 and 4 as we were lagging behind in the schedule put out by "Living Books Curriculum". I adapted it and made our own schedule for this last term and finished it on time!

All in all, I am pleased with Rebekah and how well she has done this year. Great job Rebekah!

And oh, just to make it more 'official' I bought these certificates from ebay which I awarded to her at the end of each term. Well, I am her teacher after all, so I can do this right? :)


















So, we will have a bit of a break before we begin Year 2 so Rebekah will have more time to do this (not that she doesn't already, but there will be more!):


















this:


















and this: