Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Part 2

Everyone is feeling great about having finished off their projects.

Here's the work.

Willow's horse looking stunning.

Gabriel's cushion.

We've also been working on a play of Brynhild and Sigurd to perform for the family, and finishing off our physics experiments with a week of electricity. There's been lots of other things happening this week, so we've kept it rather low key with school work. Granny is coming to visit this week, plus there's been Willow's singing concert, the pageant and Arden's birthday.

Finishing off geometry we looked at spirals.

The logarithmic or equiangular spiral.

And the Archemidean spiral (this is my version- need to take another picture of Willow's).

I made a soaked grain swiss roll for Arden's birthday. I wasn't sure it would work, but it was fabulous, and everyone loved it.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Loose Ends

We've returned to physics this week, with a week on magnets. There were loads of great experiments, but everyone was most taken with the floating magnet.

Craft projects are nearing competion, and are looking fabulous.

Willow's horse, with some extra detailing.

Gabriel's cross- stitch finished and just needing to be made into a cushion.

We also had our homeschool review this week, and got through it all ok, so that was a relief. It's always nice to have that done for another year.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Stone Bridge School Blog

There are some great ideas here for different lessons and projects.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Willow's Horse

Here's a picture of Willow's horse.

It's almost finished - will be exciting to see it finished next week. It's just awaiting the final embellishments- eyes and ears.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Busy Times Ahead

It seems that we will be busy with a few end of year Christmas acitivites. One has already happened- Willow has had her flute concert, which generally went quite well. In a couple of weeks time she will have her singing concert, followed by a choir performance at Floreat as part of the community Christmas carols.

Meanwhile Willow and Gabriel have also been attending circus skill classes on Saturdays, at the market, and both of them will be part of the Perth Christmas pageant. Apparently they go around Langley Park, down near the river. Willow has been working on the stilts and is hoping to master them this week so that she can use them in the pageant.

Willow has also started musicianship lessons, with Cottage children's choir. The musicianship lessons look really interesting. The follow the Kodaly method of teaching, and the lesson is filled with rhythmic patterning- in clapping, moving, games and singing. I'm thinking that maybe Gabriel should go next year too, when we can hopefully organise music lessons for him.

This week we've finished off Willow's last history block for the year. She's just finished a story about vikings, as well as looking at the magna carta and the crusades. Next year will be interesting, as I'm hoping to have her take over arranging most of her learning. We'll do the planning together, and then hopefully she can do most of the work independantly, that way I can focus on doing more kindy based activities with Arden. Particularly towards the end of this year, he's really needed more focused attention and more activities just for him.

Gabriel has been working on the nine parts of language again this week, with a final block on the Norse Myths.

Sinfiotli baking the Serpent Bread by Gabriel.

My picture of Sinfiotli and Sigmund.

Willow and I also worked on another Islamic pattern, as well as doing a woven star in geometry.

Next week we'll be back to physics, I haven't managed to find any magnetite here with a strong magnetic force, only a very weak piece, so we won't be able to do some of the magnetite experiments unfortunately. We can do the one where we place the magnet over a pile of crystals and the magnetite is the only crystal attracted to the magnet. At least that nicely illustrates the magnetism of the stone.

Finally here's some friendship bracelets Willow and Gabriel made this week for a friend.

This is Willow's which was designed to be a book mark.

And the one made by Gabriel.

Friday, November 18, 2011


Due to some issues with resources (I've been having difficulty finding lodestone/magnetite)- we've stepped away from physics from a few weeks- and Willow is doing a block on medieval history. The block has been very interesting so far- we've been using Charles Kovac's book 'The Age of Discovery' for the basis of the lesson. There's been a progression through the stories of Jesus based off the progression of Rome and monks creating beautiful works telling Jesus' story.

This is Willow's painting of Jesus' birth.

And her illuminated letter.

Gabriel thought he'd have a try too.

A castle design.

This week we progressed onto Islam and Judaism, and did some Islamic patterns.

Willow also did some writing- both creative and factual- she's currently working on a story about viking times, and she also wrote a page about Albert the Great.

Gabriel has just come to the end of a block on ratios and fractions, and will be doing his final block of the year, on the Norse myths. We are planning a play for our final week, which will be fun, as we haven't done a play in quite a while.

Gabriel has also progressed nicely through his cushion and should be finishing the lion soon.

We've been a bit disappointed to find this week that The Herdsman has closed it city shop, due to lack of popularity. It seems good quality food hasn't really taken off here quite that much. Seems like it's a good decade behind Adelaide- I've been quite surprised by how progressive Adelaide's food culture is by comparison. I will have to get out to Organic on Charles more often over the summer.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


Willow has stitched up her first horse toy pattern, on the whole it is fairly good, however the middle piece is slightly too wide. So the new version, of the pattern is narrower. Also we found the edging, of the fabric(for sewing up) was too narrow, so the new pattern is wider. Here's the horse starting to take shape.

We've just started reading "King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table" by Roger Lancellyn Green, which of course everyone is loving. Gabriel came up with this picture, after listening to the first chapter.

We've been progressing through Willow's physics block with great success. Robert Trostli's book is excellent, and everyone's loved the experiments. Some of the highlights would be making wine glasses sing, by using rubbing a wet finger around the rim; generating the colours red and yellow by covering a torch with many layers of thin paper; mixing paints in water- to see the way the colours interact, mixing coloured lights, and casting coloured penumbras using a white torch and a coloured torch; burning alcohol; a hot water 'volcano'; observing incense inside a glass jar; and cracking marble.

Anyway this week, we're meant to be moving onto magnetism, but so far I'm having no luck finding magnetite or a lodestone, and I still haven't got a horseshoe magnet or bar magnets. And really it would be better to do the magnetism prior to electricity, so I hope I can sort that out in the next couple of days.

Also these are Willow's and my latest forms.

Willow's picture.

My picture.

I love the way, that we both drew pentagons (using the same method) and that due to our decoration, one could think that they were totally different objects. Yet all the difference is, is that Willow's is a pentagrams and mine is a series of pentagons. Then she has coloured her stars, and I've coloured a single section of pentagon, heading internally, to create a spiral.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Week 1

We've been really busy this past week, doing loads of interesting things, and enjoying Perth.

We started back into school stuff with Willow doing her first block of physics. We're using 'Physic's is Fun' by Robert Trostli which I've found brilliant for helping to set up how to do experiments. I had linked to it on Amazon via this blog, but I've noticed that the links aren't coming up at present, so I'll have to look into that. Anyway last week we worked on sound, looking at instruments and sound travelling through different mediums. I was hoping that there might be a chladni plate at Scitech, but a brief search didn't come up with one, so next time we're there we'll have to see if we can find one.

Gabriel finished off his man and animal block- with some writing and pictures relating to man. We experimented with some different techniques including straight line drawing.

And using a dry brush to paint with.

Willow is sewing her horse up, which is very exciting, and Gabriel is progressing well through his cross stitch.

Geometry saw us involved in some intense line drawing this past week, but giving a very interesting effect.

Willow's geometry picture.

My geometry picture.

It's interesting the difference the colours make, in the feeling of these pictures.

Willow has also recommenced flute lessons this week, which will make us a bit busier again. And Willow and Gabriel and Damien went to the Perth Observatory which they all found interesting, and showed some different aspects to astronomy from our home studies. Whilst they were there, Arden and I ended up watching half the performance of the Ramayana at the Swan Festival of Lights- Arden loved it so much he wanted to stay.

On Sunday we made our way to Whiteman park and rode the vintage trams and Willow and I attended a french cooking class- it was a bit mad on the weekend and will be lovely to have a quiter one this weekend.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Etc, etc, etc.

We have had such a fabulous holiday break- getting out and seeing more of Perth. We finally visited the Art Gallery and museum- we'd been around the cultural precinct a few times, but not to any of the galleries. We wandered around all the museum displays but the crystal and historic displays were the ones that were most appreciated. I also loved the section that used to be part of the library, it was very beautiful with it's spiral staircases up to the bookcases.

The art gallery has a visiting exhibit from the Victoria and Albert museum (which is closed til 2014 apparently). There was some stunning pieces in there, and I particularly liked the guitar on display, which was covered in engraved mother of purl, tortoiseshell and ivory. There were some amazing religious items too, like a tiny prayer book covered in emeralds. The art gallery was also holding a lego building session, in white lego blocks, to promote the exhibit. The kids really enjoyed that, and there were some fabulous models.

We also headed to the Royal show, which we found quite similar to Adelaide's but different too. There was significantly less in the craft entries, which we found interesting, since we usually enter that Adelaide show, and will likely put entries in the Perth show next year. We loved the way that there is a ferris wheel right in the arena, and the way the arena felt much more prominent- we felt this was due to it's central placing. There were some great historic displays, and we all enjoyed watching a telegram being sent and received, and the blacksmiths hard at work. We finished the evening with the fireworks, which were the best I'd seen in quite a while.

The kid's circus teacher had a show on during the holidays too, so we attended that, as well as hanging round for a circus class. We also got to Northbridge Piazza a couple of times,for the movie sessions there. We really enjoyed watching the movie, but felt it was better on a weekday, when there was less people heading out to the pubs and clubs in Northbridge. Other than that we headed out to another Organic shop, which was a fun outing, but in terms of servicing our needs for food, its selection was rather limited. And finally over this last weekend Willow and Gabriel and Damien got out to a talk about Wedge-tail Eagles- which they all enjoyed, and Arden and I discovered that there was an aeroplane show on whilst we were there, so we all went back for a look the following day. It was a great break, and I felt really refreshed for getting back into some more structured work today- particularly after making some yummy food yesterday, such as scotch eggs.

The kids also did lots of playing and creating, with Willow designing and knitting me a purse, Gabriel making lots of maps, and Arden getting involved with lots of cooking, but I suspect one of the highlights for them would have been discovering some really good toy shops!

Plus I almost forgot we visited the beach finally- Cottesloe- and found these cute tiles to lead us there from the train.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Southern Aurora

Well today we headed out across the city to Bibra Lake, to the Steiner related shop there(Southern Aurora). On public transport it was a bit of a hike- took about 1 1/2- it could have been a quicker trip, but since we don't know the area at all, and it was very suburban I decided on the slightly slower route. The shop was gorgeous full of lovely toys, and crafts, and books, and we spent a long time in there exploring.

I was quite satisfied with our selection of purchases on leaving- lots of art materials, some crafty bits, and main lesson books. It was great to make a longer journey, and have such a pleasurable time in a shop. I only purchased one book in there today- this one on making paper rose windows.('Rose Window's and How to Make them' by Helga Meyerbroeker)
I've been thinking about getting it for quite a while, but particularly since we did some window stars with some friends, they had a copy of this book.
So I'm thinking that we'll make some rose windows for Christmas- to decorate the place a bit, will be interesting to see how complex/easy they are.

Bibra Lake, from behind the playground fence!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What I'm reading

I've just about finished reading this(Dr Zhivago)- I'm just at Yuri's poems.
Such a magnificent book, and so tragic.

There were a few things I found of particular interest- the discussion on storing vegetables, the idea of preserving mushrooms- am thinking of doing some cultured ones soon now and the overall setting. It's also interesting reading it knowing that Communism is over in Russia.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Holiday Time

Well our first term in Perth has finished, and we are now on holidays. The Royal Perth show starts this weekend, and so we have plans to head off to that. I'm looking forward to exploring Perth further, over the next two weeks.

Last weekend Parklife was happening across from our place, so we headed out for the day. The Onwilliam festival was happening as part of Perth Fashion week, so we spent most of the day wandering around Northbridge. We all really enjoyed it, the kids particularly liked going around to collect the badges and get their passports stamped. It was also nice to see so many interesting craftspeople, selling their stuff. Afterwards we headed to South Perth for dinner, and a small work along the river before catching the last ferry back across.

Willow has just finished a two week block on astronomy, which has worked out quite nicely. Hopefully we can get out for a walk tomorrow night and do a bit of star gazing too. We're better a spotting the southern cross now that we know to look out for alpha and beta centaurus, and we spotted venus setting last week which was nice too. We haven't really added any further constellations that we can spot, so I'd like to try and see if we can do that tomorrow night too. But the block has certainly improved our understanding of the movement of the stars and planets, and we've been fortunate to have a homeschool outing to the Observatory in the next few weeks.

Willow's painting of the Southern Cross with it's pointers.

Arden's star painting. He's become very focused when painting.

Willow is also getting quite experimental with her poetry writing. She decided to try some older english for this.
Oh, Venus, thou lovely one, the evening star,
the goddess of love and beauty,
how brightly thou doth shine in the sunset,
kissing us goodnight every so often,
thou art like the Dove, bringing peace and beauty to Earth,
like the rainbow I doth see,
never more beauteous I hath seen, than the Evening Star.

Gabriel has been getting through the animal block, and we have the last week to finish, after the break, where we look at man. Again we've been fortunate in that over the holidays there are some great kids workshops run, at various centres, and so Willow and Gabriel will be off to an afternoon with raptors. Gabriel has also just finished his zebra on his cross-stitch cushion. It's coming along very beautifully.

Willow has just has a trial sew up of her horse toy. A few adjustments are needed but hopefully she will be finished it quite soon. She has also been doing some crocheting recently, as part of the yarn bombing of Subiaco, for Christmas.

A few more pictures.
Willow's painting of Venus rising.

My painting of Venus setting.

Homeschooler's tile around the Bell Tower.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Some New Aquisitions and What I'm Reading

I started reading this when we arrived in Perth, but I must admit I haven't read much of it recently. It is totally fascinating, but incredibly depressing IMO, so I've put it aside at present, and have just been reading bits of it incidentally. Though for anyone that thinks vegetarianism will save the world, I highly recommend reading it. ('The Vegetarian Myth' by Lierre Keith)

This is equally depressing, but I guess I know the outcome, so it's less disturbing. The wisdom of the ancients is quite amazing. ('Eve's Herbs' by John Riddle)

Some recent homeschooling purchases.

('Physics is Fun' by Robert Trostli)

('Sky Phenomena' by Norman Davidson)

I'm finding this last one fabulous for explaining Astronomy, and it's so nice that it has an explanation for the Southern Hemisphere too. We're about to start on some of this next week- and even better for us, there's a planned homeschool excursion to the Perth Observatory in October.

Some Recent Work

Willow's swan poem.

Gabriel's Eagle poem.

Gabriel's celtic knot sword picture.

Gabriel is progressing through his cushion.

My pin cushion is finally finished!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Over the last few weeks, we've been out and about around Perth, done some research in terms of classes and been sick. So generally times have been busy.

Last week Willow went off to try a new choir - Cottage Children's Choir. She had a great time, and overall their teaching technique appealed to me. It was very active, and fun and made the singing look much less like work. I've also been looking into music teachers, and sport classes, but unfortunately this has all been slowed down a bit by Damien and I being unwell.

We've now been to City Farm, and although we love the feel of the market, it is very small and really won't be suitable as a place to do our food shopping every week. So at this stage we're thinking of alternating between it and Subiaco. City Farm has a fabulous cafe, and also has a circus skills class happening there on the weekends, so overall there's lots of great stuff on there that really appealled to us. Yesterday we went back to Subiaco, and Willow did some finger knitting, to help with creating some knitted pieces to yarn bomb Subiaco for Christmas. Over the course of the coming months, a local artist is working at the market to get the community involved in the project.

We've been getting out to a few homeschool meet ups too, and meeting lots of foreigners that have moved here. It seems Perth is very international- I had no idea prior to moving here, and I do like the way that makes for a more diverse city. We've met homeschoolers from Portugal, South Africa, Ireland, Queensland, NSW- it even amused me that most of the Aussies we've met here, have been from other parts of Australia. The last homeschooling outing we got to was at Scitech, the kids really enjoyed it there, and they certainly had a diverse range of activities happening. Last week we missed an excursion to Whiteman Park, which I was sorry about, but hopefully we'll get out there one weekend ourselves. In the coming weeks we'll be getting to the Observatory, the Bell Tower and the Mint- so it seems there are lots of interesting activities being planned by people.

Just to finish off, we've found a french cafe here- Jean Pierre Sancho, which I'm very happy about. Real French bread is so good.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

At home in Perth

Perth, from the South side of the River

So we're settled into our new apartment in Perth. It's been a few weeks, but the ADSL only arrived recently, so it makes it easier to 'connect' with the rest of the world. The apartment is comfortable, and the space suits our needs, plus we have two balconies overlooking a park, which is great. My only minor concerns, is our storage space is a little small (hopefully we'll be able to sort a way to balance things) and we're on the second floor- even with airconditioning I'm not sure that's going to be great come summer.

Otherwise we've been getting out and exploring the city, as well as doing some schoolwork. Our trip across the Nullabor took almost two days by train, and it was quite relaxing on the whole, plus the view of the stars at night was spectacular.

The first few weeks here, Damien had lots happening at work, so we were only getting to the farmer's market together. We've been heading to the Subiaco market every Saturday so far, and have found the selection quite good, though it's much smaller than the Adelaide market and has a different feel. This week we're planning to head to the City Farm, to check out their weekend market.

We've also been out to meet some homeschoolers, both times at a playground, and so far the playgrounds here have been amazing. They seem to have retained more playgrounds with equipment for older kids. The pirate ship at Applecross really went down well, and it was in such a beautiful location, overlooking the Swan River.

A black swan with her cygnets.

During all this we've been doing maths and English around here. Willow has been looking at the structure of sentences, and doing some writing. I also took her to her first performance of Shakespeare- Julius Caesar. Gabriel has finished his writing block on the Norse Myths, and has moved back onto fractions. We've also been getting into some more complex celtic knots, and drawing the King's crown for geometry. Craft has seen Gabriel finish the first picture on his cushion, and Willow move onto designing her pattern, for a toy horse.

Willow's picture of Kilhuch and King Arther, to complement her writing for the week.

Willow's model unicorn

My cross stitch is finally nearly finished!