Saturday, December 1, 2012

Recent Activities

Well we've mostly finished our organised school work for the year, which is just lovely, though Willow has a couple of things to finish off with Damien.

This week has seen us doing another woodworking project, making a stool, with Greg Miller.  It was a lot of fun, though rather a long day.  Our teacher, hadn't done the project with a larger group before and we ran a lot over time......I ended up spending almost 7hrs on mine, and Gabriel and Willow spent less time.

This is Gabriel's bench/ foot stall.   His is designed to use whilst practising his guitar.

Normally Gabriel loves doing woodwork, and certainly by the end of the end of the project he was doing very well with it, but he got overwhelmed initially with some of Greg's explanations about angles and measuring during his demonstration, and it took him a little while to recover from getting confused.  (Gabriel hasn't yet done that sort of geometry.)

Willow's bench will be used in her bedroom.  Both Willow's and mine involved legs on 10degree angles, which made them slightly trickier to put together.

My bench is currently being used for my laptop.

And finally whilst we were out today, Arden got to do some woodwork with Damien.  He did lots of hammering to make a mini wooden boat.  The nails sticking out sideways are apparently jets of water.

Willow has finished off all her chemistry experiments this week, and she seems to have generally enjoyed it.  These pictures are from making solutions of salt and sugar, and leaving them to crystallise.

Sugar crystals
Salt Crystals

Gabriel got an introduction to Pythagoras this week, with some sketching of his thereom.

This week also saw us having homeschool review, so that's done for another 12months.  It's always interesting to look back over the year, and see what we've done, but it's also nice just to get through the process and know that we're all good for next year.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Counting Down

Another busy week has drawn to a close, before our last week of planned school work.  Basketball training finished on Friday, but we've planned an outing for Gabriel and Arden to go and see the Perth Wildcats, so they're quite excited about that.

Some of our homeschool friends from basketball, were in a drama group this year, so we went to see their production tonight.  There were two groups, up to 10 performed in 'Tiddalick the Frog', and over 10s performed a play called 'Backstage'.  Both were well performed, and it was lovely to see a homeschool play so well put together.

Willow has been continuing to work on chemistry, finishing off with combustion last week, and moving onto acids and bases and the limecycle this week.  Acids and bases has involved doing quite a bit of litmus testing and seeing what items are acid or alkali using a cabbage litmus.

This week also saw Willow achieve stilt- walking.  One of her friends was holding her hand and said 'I reckon you can do this' and just let go- and so Willow found herself standing and walking and doing ok!

Gabriel has been progressing nicely through his socks- almost halfway through the first one now- and whilst I would have liked him to be finished by now, I can see an improvement in his focus and dexterity in knitting so we'll just keep plodding along at it.  I've been continuing on making a doll for Arden, and she just needs to have her head sewn on now.

Gabriel has also been keeping some silk worms, thanks to our friends at City Farm.  The moths all made their way out of their cocoons last week.

So looking forward to being done with our organised work next week- there have just been a few too many things happening recently, and it will be nice to spend a quieter week come December.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


There's a few different books being read around here at the moment.

For Gabriel's coming block we've started reading 'Playing Beatie Bow', by Ruth Park.  It's set in Sydney between the 1980s and 1870s, and lines up quite well with our Geography block.

Gabriel has also started a section of a new epic to recite.  He finished Voluspo from the Edda earlier in the year, and we had a bit of a break from reciting, whilst we read the rest of the Poetic Edda.  Now we're onto Arthurian legend, and learning part of the Idylls of the King, by Tennyson.

Willow is reading two books, one is more of history and discussion of chemistry- The Bedside Book of Chemistry.  The other is the story of Oliver Sacks childhood, Uncle Tungsten.  It's quite an entertaining narrative of his life growing up surrounded by science.  We've been really enjoying reading it.

Otherwise, independently Gabriel is reading the Asterix comics and Willow is re-reading Harry Potter again. 

Chemistry and Dolls

Feel like we've been run off our feet recently.  Activities and stuff happening everywhere, particularly as Willow is doing her chemistry practical work over the weekend, so that I can take Arden out whilst it's happening.  We're using 'The Wonders of Waldorf Chemistry' for our experiments, and most of them have worked well.  Highlights of the first week, were watery fire and making charcoal. (Willow is looking at combustion)

Here's the charcoal making underway.

The fresh wood was placed in side the tin, and after being heated and having the gas that was released from the tin set alight, made a beautiful dry charcoal.

Gabriel has just finished a block on human reproduction and will be finishing the year with some Australian geography.

Gabriel is progressing nicely through his socks, and Willow and I making dolls.  Willow is copying an old doll of mine, which is rag doll style and I'm making a waldorf style doll for Arden.  This is her head so far.  Arden wanted her to have green eyes like me, but didn't really like the green thread we had, so we blended some green, white and black for them.

Classes are ending soon (two more weeks of basketball) and there's a few performances coming up, as well as our homeschool review, before we start holidays and celebrate Arden's 5th birthday.  Amazing to realise that we'll be onto class 1 with him before long.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Recent Work

After experimenting with hexaflexagons, Willow moved on to cut out puzzles of Pythagoras' theorem.  Took a little bit of moving around, but eventually a solution was found!

Arden took his lego man out adventuring in the Cultural Centre.

Willow spent some time making rose windows this week, as part of her ancient history block.  She's studying the Catholic churches and the changes that came to it during the Renaissance via the Lutherans, Church of England and Calvinists.

And I finally finished knitting Arden's penguin socks.  He's very happy with them.

Monday, October 15, 2012


We're back into school work, after a couple of weeks break, and so far we're all quite enjoying it.  Particularly given that we only have a short term again this time. 

Willow has been working on finishing her slippers- here's her first one.

 She's also just finished off some geography and is now onto her last block of history for the year.  Part of the block involves making paper rose windows, so it will be interesting to see how they come out.

Gabriel is working through his block on ancient Greece- we're almost at the end now.  As usual Class 5 history has been lots of fun- there are so many great stories and activities that can be done.  We're currently reading the Golden Fleece by Padraic Colum.

Over the break, Gabriel and Willow spent some time at City Farm.  Willow was a leader for the week, helping assist the younger children with activities, as well as doing some- she brought home some lovely spearmint soap and Gabriel went along for a day.  This time he focused on doing woodwork.  Here's some of his work.

We were also out and about quite a bit during the break, catching up with friends and attending a puppet show in Fremantle. Just before the break, we also went to a ballet performance of Pinocchio, so of course we are now reading it too.  It's quite different to the Disney version, but a great story all the same.

A friend recently shared a mathemetician's you tube page with us, and we've all been quite engaged with it.  Recently she's been demonstrating hexaflexagons, and so we've been busy making them.

Here's her page.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Botany 2nd time around, plus more

Gabriel and I have come to the end of another block- Botany is done, and I've got ancient Greece planned starting next week.  So here are some pictures.

Drawing in Queen's Garden

Fungi in King's Park

Painting a gum tree, colour mixing on paper

Fungus diagram

Drawings from nature

We had a lot of fun doing the botany- lots of outings and interesting activities, so Gabriel was a bit sorry when I said we're onto ancient Greece next week.  Over the last month, we've spent a bit of time exploring different areas quite local to us, but probably King's Park and Heirisson Island we're our favourite outings.  King's Park was great because all the Spring time flowers are in bloom, and Heirisson Island is quiet and secluded despite sort of being in the middle of the city- plus we got to pat and feed the Kangaroos, as well as see the giant flock of Pelicans that live there.

Willow is coming towards the end of  her physics block and will be moving onto world geography.  Her experiments have been working nicely and she's been doing the more complex one's with the help of her dad (Damien).  Currently she's working through mechanics, with a week of electricity to finish on next.

Gabriel's form from last week

Willow's geometry- she's been working on surds.

Finally for craft, Gabriel has been busy knitting his socks, which are coming along nicely.  Willow has been improving her crocheting skills, doing lots of mini-projects before she starts to crochet herself some slippers.

Gabriel's socks

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Chopping Boards

This past weekend saw the older two (Willow and Gabriel) and I head off to learn how to make chopping boards using traditional hand tools and recycled wood.  The whole experience was totally exhilarating, and I am looking forward to trying out another class later in the  year.

Willow's blue gum Chopping board.

Gabriel's jarrah chopping board.

Feature nail holes (Gabriel's piece of jarrah was once a beam in a house).

My she Oak chopping board, with uneven back.

Everyone is also onto some new work- Gabriel is doing some botany- we went for a sketching walk yesterday, and Willow is onto physics- starting with a week of sound experiments.  As usual there are lots of interesting things happening around here.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Perth, W.A's biggest city

Perth is W.A's biggest city. Many tourists come there every year. One of the biggest attractions is Fremantle(Freo). People flock to Frematle in the hot weather.

Subiaco is a pretty little place. The Subiaco Farmers Market is open every Saturday. The market sells macaroons,crepes,fruit,vegetables,meat,and dairy. The Main Street has cafes,bistros,shops,a movie theatre,and other attractions.

The Swan River is vast. On the southern side there is mini beachy spots you could swim in. In summer people hire Catamarans for a hour or so and sail up the river. The ferry across the river takes 7-8 minutes. Many activities happen on both sides of the river.

Kings Park is another big attraction. The Park is 400 hectares,including the Botanic Gardens. Kings park has a canopy walk,where part of it is glass. The view from the top of the glass segment is amazing. On one side is the Swan River,and on the other side is there are native trees. At the end of the canopy walk is a path. To the right is a fountain,which spurts up every 5 or so minutes.

Perth has a large selection of cafes and restaurants around the city. A few are: Cafe Dome,The Hilton, and the Burger Bistro. They serve yummy food and drinks. Cafe Dome is cosy. The Hilton serve excellent buffet breakfast. The Burger Bistro serve delicious burgers and yummy chips.

So why not visit Perth for a while? We Western Australians would love you to come and see what Perth has to offer!



Thursday, July 26, 2012

Holiday Recovery

We're back into our usual routine this week, after lots of interesting activities and outings over the holidays- the first week was really relaxing and the second week was exhausting!

Willow and Gabriel spent varying amounts of time at City Farm helping out and doing activities for the school holiday program there.  Both had a fabulous time participating in woodwork, gardening, soap making, woodwork, amongst other things. 

This week saw Willow finishing her apron finally -it looks amazing, and is just in need of an iron to finish it off nicely.

She's now on her way to planning some slippers to make.

We finally received our JUMP workbooks, which I'm quite pleased about as it will simplify doing maths- no more copying questions out for me!  We ordered a trial pack from grade 1-8, which offered one of each workbook.  Perfect for us really, and I've been really happy with the way they arrange maths.  Just need to pair it with the online teacher guides and we're all set.

Gabriel is still working on a block on ancient Egypt and we're reading Roger Lancellyn Green's book on Egyptian Myth.  Willow is doing a musical block, looking at different regions of the world and progressing into medieval music, it ties in quite nicely with her musicianship classes, where they are looking at studying different musical pieces and learning about composers and notation.

Sunday, July 8, 2012


This morning we are all enjoying a day of sitting about and doing nothing.  Sometimes I find it quite crazy that homeschooling we can end up very busy, but the good thing about it, is that it's almost always because we are doing something really fun.

Last week Gabriel and I started on learning about ancient Egypt, and we headed to the museum of WA where we found a few bits about Egypt.  There was a casting of the Rosetta stone, and some other castings.  It was nice to be able to see some copies, though the small room of Egyptian artefacts at the South Australian museum is better really.  Though a bit creepy all the same (I've never liked it since first seeing it when I was about 8.)

Last week's pyramid making

Willow finished her block on anatomy, and has moved onto studying music.  She's settling into being back home after her trip away, and has been a little worn out after so many activities and outings.  Here's some sketches from her last block.

A self portrait

The end of the week involved lots of activities.  A friend who is a magician came around for dinner, and the kids and Damien demonstrated all the magic tricks they have been learning, so it made for quite an entertaining night.  Friday we played basketball and headed out to busk in the rain.  Saturday we did our usual leisurely shopping.  Sunday we went out to the museum, had dinner and went to listen to a band and watch some dancing, and play pool.  The kids are starting to get quite good at pool, and Willow was invited to learn some dance steps.  It was a lovely way to spend the end of the week before have a holiday break. 

Got to love the blend of natural learning with more structured school work.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Winter Solstice

This morning Damien, Gabriel and I got up rather early, but not quite early enough to celebrate the shortest day.  We're not early risers round here, so we set the alarm for 1/2 hour before sunrise, since there's no hills to the east of us, as in Adelaide, it was already bright when we got up.  However we had a pleasant chilly start to the morning (it was only around 3degrees this morning), with candles lit, hot soup and hot tea for breakfast.  Arden slept through it, and Willow wasn't here, as she's in Adelaide.

After our breakfast feast, we made rafts, which we took down to Claisebrook to try out.  We had quite a bit of fun, chasing after the rafts.

Mini raft for Arden.

 Gabriel's raft

Setting sail


We're already planning some amendments to our design.

We spent most of the rest of the day out doors.  We played some basketball, and did maths in the sun.  Seems that Gabriel might do maths faster if we're sitting outside, we're planning on doing it again next week, to see how it goes.