Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Cursive First

In the process of  my last meeting with my moderator, we were discussing why I decided to teach cursive first with Arden.  I suggested that I could send her some links on it, and found a few more that are interesting.

Logic of English
Cursive First, Print Later

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


We've recently had our annual review, which as usual I'm pleased is done, and we've pretty much finished our work for this year- Willow and Gabriel are just finishing off a few extra things. It's been very hectic chasing around our almost 18month old Irving, and doing yr 9, yr 7 and yr 1, but there's been lots of lovely work done and some really enjoyable events this year.

So after a very hectic term and year we are finally finished.

Arden finished his first knitting project earlier in the year.  A purse for his doll.  It was knitted with pure wool and then wet felted, and finished with a button.  We didn't really need to wet felt it, as Arden's knitting was very beautiful.  Often little people make a few mistakes here and there, and the wet felting helps to finish it off nicely.

Arden has been working at his cursive and print this year, with the focus on cursive.

I've been learning to write right handed at the same time!  The top is left, the bottom right.
Arden has been very lucky to go busking with some friends of ours this year.  He's been loving busking the harmonica, and has been experimenting with lots of instruments.

Gabriel finished knitting his socks.  He's become adept at following the patterns and has finally really settled into knitting well.

Willow finished her doll off finally.  She's being well loved by Irving :)

And she finished her weaving project: a small blanket!

She was lucky to get an opportunity to make a harp.
She also got to attend a recording session of voice overs, and get an idea of what it's like to be a voice actor.  She's also joined the Gilbert and Sullivan society with her dad, which she is loving.  She's really enjoying getting to perform and sing on the stage again.

There has been a lot of interesting excursions and activities this year and particularly this term.  We've been to Herdsman Lake and the Literature Centre and learnt about beekeeping.  We've done lots of circus, jujutsu, basketball and dancing.  We've been to the ballet a few times (last performance is this week) and we won an incursion to the balllet (thanks ballet WA :) !) where we discovered that ballet originates from fencing! Not surprising when one thinks about it.

Anyway it's been a very full and interesting year.  With everyone progressing along nicely, and lots of fun and work along the way!

Thursday, July 17, 2014


Over the years I've read a number of articles discussing the benefits of learning cursive and its importance in creating synapses and cross brain connections.  All of my children have taken a preference to doing a fancier style of cursive, and generally speaking I have taught cursive around the age of 9, or in around class 4.

This year, however, I am teaching Arden, cursive at the age of 6 in class 1.  Last year, to cover government requirements we did letters and worked on printing and some basic reading.  We also happened to read "The Secret Garden" again.  In the process of reading it, in particular a passage where Mary and Dicken's sister are speaking, it occured to me that Mary could do cursive but *not* print.  In the section that I was reading Martha (Dickon's sister) says that he can read print, but not cursive, and Mary says that she thinks that she may be able to print.  Previously I had always taken it that Mary hadn't learn to write yet.  Anyway, for some reason I interpreted it the other way this time, that she could write, as in do cursive, but not print.  So I did a bit of research, and found that it was once usual to teach cursive first.

Anyway Arden is loving learning cursive, he says that it's easier than print and it certainly seems to have improved his ability to print.  We did a month of daily cursive, and now we are doing a cursive session once a week, but the aim is to make most written work cursive.

Here is Arden's most recent work.  His sentence was inspired by "The Highway Rat" by Julia Donaldson.

Here is a little bit more interesting reading on cursive.


We're currently on holidays- we decided that we like having a longer break during winter, so we've taken four weeks this time.  Turns out it is very useful, when we've ended up with so many events on!

We all went to see Spare Parts puppet theatre perform "The Little Prince", which is one of our favourite books around here.  The  puppet show was nicely done we thought, but we thought it was a little sad, how the kids couldn't just run with the imagination in it, and had to box it into reality.  The whole "that's not real" type of thing. 

We also had a homeschool excursion to Wilkinson's homestead in Gosnells, and took a walk along the Canning River.  The Homestead outing covered a good range of topics, fruit picking, making do and olden days school.  The kids all liked getting old fashioned names.  It was a very wet day, and we were lucky that it stopped raining before the end, so that we could pick some lemons and oranges to bring home.

Willow and Gabriel both performed in their Circus' schools latest show- Clowns vs Ninjas.  It was quite entertaining, and Willow certainly enjoyed the Ninja role.  She likes lego Ninjago, so the Ninja theme appealed to her very much.

Arden was excited to go for his first try at iceskating.  The rink was rather small and quite busy, but with the little people session it was still fairly good for space.

Arden and I have been on a few bird watching nature walks- around King's park, near the River and at Herdsman Lake. 

Observing ripples in a giant puddle.

Down at Herdman Lake.


Some school work from earlier this year. Arden's first knitting project.  It has since been wet felted, and is awaiting being used for a craft project.

Gabriel's lego construction of one of Leonardo da Vinci's contraptions.

 Arden experimenting with tangrams.

We purchased a sewing machine earlier this year, and it has finally come out of the box, so Willow, Gabriel and I have been experimenting with it.  Gabriel and I have just been doing some lines.  Willow has been making little purses.

Sunday, June 1, 2014


Hallo hallo!

How is everyone? Had a good week? :)

 On Saturday morning I made a lovely Tau - although most people would call it a Pie (or Pi). However, I call it tau because pi needs to be multiplied by two to make it a whole, while tau is just a whole. So that would mean a pie is actually half a Tau. Understand?

 I made some pastry on Friday (500 grams of flour, 250 grams of butter, and some salt and about a cup of water), and then on Saturday morning I put the oven to about 200 and then started browning the mince. I added some stock to the mince, then put in the carrot and potato that I'd diced into it.

 I halved the pastry and rolled out one to fit the tray. I rolled out the other half and cut a bit off to make the Tau sign.
 When the filling was ready I scooped it into the tray and ate what couldn't fit for breakfast. I put on the top of the Tau and added the Tau sign, then popped it in the oven whilst I got ready to leave for my circus class. When I had finished getting ready I turned off the heat and left the Tau in the oven.

 When I got home it was perfect, and I had a piece of it. It was so good cold, I don't want to have it warmed up!!

 Well, it was soon gone come Sunday evening. Here's the pictures of it:

Let me know if you make your own Tau! (or Pi!!)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Hallo everyone!

 So today I decided as I math project to make a "How to make Hexaflexagons" thing.
 But what is a Hexaflexagon, you say? A Hexaflexagon is the coolest, awesomest, most amazing thing ever! It's a piece of paper in the shape of a Hexagon that you can flex! They are so much fun.
 I found out about them from the mathmusician Vi Hart. She has such a huge amount of cool maths stuff! I noticed, however, that if one wanted to make a Hexaflexagon from her videos, it is a little difficult. So I've tried to make easy-to-follow instructions for people.

 Vi Hart's pages:

 Vi Hartl's Youtube
 Vi Hart's website
Vi Hart's Soundcloud

                   How to make a Hexaflexagon

  • Paper 
  • Sicissors
  • Stickytape
  • pencil
  • felt tip pens
  • Ruler
Take the ruler and measure two centimeters from the longest side of the paper.  Cut it out, so that you are left with a long strip of paper. 

 Fold the paper on an angle to make an Equilateral triangle. You can then use it as a guide, and continue until all the paper is a nice happy fold of bouncy triangles. :)

 When you have done that, you are now up to making it into the Hexagon shape!

Unfold the triangles. They should look like the ones to the right. Once you've
done that you can fold them into the Hexagon shape. See the images below:

Once you have your ten nice equilateral triangles in the shape of a hexagon,you can cut off the others and glue/stickytape the paper together. 

 It is now officially a Hexaflexagon! All you need to do is colour it and get flexing!

So in the images above you can see that I've coloured one side, "flexed" it, coloured the second side, "flexed" it again and then coloured the third side. When it was flexed the third time we came back to colour one again - side one.

The Hexaflexagon Safety guide:   Safety Guide

If you really love Hexaflexagons, consider holding a party! Click here.

 I hope this is clear, and that many people enjoy the use of Hexaflexagons!!

Thursday, May 15, 2014


On a recent homeschool morning, Arden and I had a pleasant time doing some school work in the park, playing games in the playground and watching some ducks.  On our journey home, we stopped for a drink, at a local cafe, and found they had this very cute Easter window display.  We both liked the way the reflection came up in the picture.

Arden has been experimenting with milkshakes recently (Gabriel started the unusual flavoured milk shake thing a few years ago).  Arden's shot of his drink.

This one shows up the point of interest.  Sweet paprika sprinkled on top!  The rest of it was vanilla (from a vanilla pod, cinammon and honeycomb)

And the following day, a chocolate version (you can see the honeycomb sinking!)

I'm currently working on knitting Damien a tie, in a biege sock wool, with purple spots.  I found a pattern online, and have made some adjustments to it.
Arden is still working away at his knitting, and is doing really well.  He's picked up the knack of it very quickly.  Presently he knits 2rows a day, and it shouldn't be long til we can turn his knitting into a bag for his doll, Honey.
Gabriel is just in the process of turning the heel in his sock, so the end is getting nearer, which will be very satisfying.

Willow went to a history workshop at the Perth history centre recently and found it useful.  I was under the impression that it would be more of a look at an individual historical person/ incident, but it was more of a discussion about the centre and how they collect and store historical information, according to Willow.  Anyway, she really enjoyed it, so that was the main thing.

As part of history month, there was a display of old cars, bikes, buses and prams in Fremantle, so we went down to take a look.  Gabriel and Arden were both lucky enough to be invited to try out an old Harley.  It was very much like this.

Thursday, May 1, 2014


Homeschooling with our busy crawling baby Irving has been rather hectic recently.  He's been enjoying our music and dancing outings, though sadly our dance lessons have ended for now.  Everyone has gotten quite good at rockabilly especially, and can do a bit of a few other rockabilly related styles.  We all got out to do quite a bit of dancing over the Easter break, and enjoyed watching the Cotton Tail trio on ANZAC day.

Prior to easter we went to see the Spare Parts Puppet theatre do a performance called , Hachiko, it was a very touching story about a dog, that spent years waiting for his master to meet him after work.  Apparently it has been made into a film,and strangely, my mum had bought it for my niece and nephew, the same week we went to see it. 

Arden's  block of cursive went well last term, and interestingly he said that he found it easier than printing.  We're making cursive practise part of form drawing to keep it part of his regular work. 

Here's his cursive and form drawing.
Craft wise Arden started with finger knitting, then onto a knitting fork and this week he started knitting.  He's being enjoying it so far.
He made his doll, Holly, a finger knitted scarfe.
His plan with his current knitting, is to make Holly an orange bag.

This is some work Arden and I did together on fractions; using kite paper to fold into different sizes.
And some modelling he and I did together.

Last term Arden started circus and music classes, and he's taken to them both very well.  I sat in the first few so I could see how he would go with taking turns, and putting his hand up, etc and after each lesson I gave him a few tips on how the "rules" work.  So during the holidays he went to his first class totally by himself, he was a little nervous, but had a wonderful time.  He came home with a t-shirt he had screen-printed, which he was very pleased about. 

Finally he's been getting inspired to try writing his own music.

Gabriel finished his perspective block successfuly, with some interesting pictures.  His breathing exercises were quite interesting.


 This is a building plan that he did for the block.
He's now onto physics, and has been working through light and sound so far with Damien.  These two pictures show a tealight reflected in a mirror appearing to be on the paper- the back tealight is the reflection.

Willow has been busy working on finishing her latest history project- a study of a medieval era painting.  Her craft projects are getting closer to completion- her blanket is coming along nicely, and her doll is finished, and is awaiting her clothing; so far she has a dress.
Gabriel and Willow have both been working on busking together recently too; playing flute and recorder together, as well as trying out Willow juggling or hoola hooping whilst Gabriel plays recorder.  They spent quite a bit of time doing this during the holidays. 

This is my experiment of grinding cacao beans and making hot cacao, in more of a coffee style.  Very tasty.

Arden and my cooking croissants.  Arden spreading the butter.

Ready for the oven.
 And ready to eat !  :)