Reflections on teaching prep…!!

Over the next few weeks I’m hoping to share some of the highlights and things we’ve learned so far this year… there are so many things to share!

One of the biggest challenges has been getting my head around homeschooling 3 very different kids. But honestly, the trickiest one by far (from my point of view!) is not the high schooler, it’s the prep student! Teaching someone the basics of reading and writing and maths etc has been a stretch. I’ve learned a whole bunch and I know there is a whole bunch still to learn! But even more than that… helping them learn the skill of more structured learning has definite challenges.

She is the wriggly, boisterous, non-stop one in the family. That means there is constant falling off seats, pleading to do something else when a particular job needs doing, requests for snacks, requests for hugs, climbing etc! She definitely needs opportunity to move and burn off energy! And I’ve had a steep learning curve about kinesthetic learners! It is so far from my learning style it can be incredibly tiring, physically and mentally! But we are getting there… little bit by little bit… most days…

Do you know, I can get far more productivity if we do a bit of work, and then I ask her to run to the trampoline and back ten times, and then we do some more work?! Who knew?! Fun times!

We have loved exploring the hands on nature of “Prime Maths”, available through Scholastic. Building with lego bricks, counters, 3D objects, etc has made learning much more interesting for sure!

Earlier in the year she declared that she did not want to learn to read. That seemed a bit surprising until we probed a little further and discovered that it was because she thought that learning to read would mean she had to constantly have her nose in a book like her big brother… and have no time for other exciting things! Slowly we are making progress with reading.

But ask the girl to create a story in drama… we have amazingly complex plot lines, suspense, movement, crescendo, voice tone, dramatic pauses, and so on. It’s quite amazing to watch! And then there is the composing and singing of songs… She may not like to read too much yet, but she certainly understands language and uses it to its full potential!

And then there is sport! At the moment she is protesting that she is not allowed to learn tennis with her big brother. Mind you, lest you rush to take her side in this… she has just come off a season of soccer, plays cricket Saturdays, dancing Thursdays, and swimming lessons Wednesdays… my budget and time will only stretch so far! I suspect, however, she may wear me down eventually! Certainly she did not get her ability to make contact with a ball from me!

And she loves to draw and create! Paper, pencils, paints, scissors, glue, boxes, whatever… it’s all a source of imagination!

And hey, if you can do schoolwork in a giraffe onesie… why wouldn’t you!?

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School Starts tomorrow!

Yesterday my daughter (12) was a bridesmaid at a friend’s wedding… she described it as both really nerve-wracking and very exciting all at the same time. That pretty much sums up how I feel about starting school tomorrow with 3 kids!

Just setting up the schoolroom is fun! This week’s theme is all about “me” so I’m off to find some books and other fun things on that topic…

This rainbow looks like fun… click through for the link…

But… no more time to sit and chat… full progress report tomorrow… 😀

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Welcome to 2015!

Well, today I have been sifting through Prep worksheets I was given from a teacher retiring from the lower end of school. The next fortnight is curriculum planning for 3 kids… Prep, Grade 6 and Year 7! Far out! How on earth did THAT happen!?

The one that scares me the most is Prep! She is our enthusiastic, non-stop child… the one who is so people focused it makes me look kinda like an introvert… and that’s saying something!!! She does not stop from morning until night! It’s 10pm and she’s still awake in bed!

I really like the idea of celebrating 100 days of doing “school”… I found this neat printable that’s free… I know some might say it’s too school focussed, but I like the idea of celebrating… 🙂

Using Ten Frames is an EASY and Meaningful Way to Record 100 Days of School!

So far I’ve got piles of resources categorized into year levels and themes… just to find some semblance of sanity!

Back to it!

PS: I’d love to hear how you go about planning your homeschool year… let me know or link me in the comments!


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4 months in a snapshot!

Well, this last 4 months has flown by in an altogether unexpected manner… must be a theme for the year!

The thing that threw things off balance was my father in law becoming very ill and ultimately dying at the start of July. Although he’d been gradually getting frailer in the past few years he was still relatively fit and involved right up until he went into hospital and passed away a month later. His loss has had a huge impact on the family. He really was a patriarch of the family, a godly and gentle man who guided his family through the ups and downs of life with steadiness and faith. His loss has left a big hole.


It was a real privilege to make a burial quilt (on the quiet!) for my mother in law to lay over him at the viewing before the funeral. Since then I’ve made a replica for her wall. We know that he is in a better place, rejoicing with his Lord and Saviour but it is a comfort to know that he is covered in death by the hands of those he loved in life. Sometimes it’s hard to know what you can do to support those who are grieving. This just felt like the right thing to do and I’m so glad I listened to the still small voice of the Spirit and it was well-received. Each person in the immediate family (wife, children, grandchildren, and spouses) traced around their hands and one big heart represents his big heart. His wife’s hand is placed to go over his heart.


Prior to his passing away things began to get a bit erratic on Not Your Average Homeschooler because my husband was spending a lot of time with his dad in hospital and I was slowly wearing down in energy, trying to keep the homeschooling going, the house managed, and so on…

The same time my father in law went into hospital my dad had a major road accident where he was hit by a police motorcycle as a pedestrian. Oh how grateful we are to God that we did not have two funerals. He had multiple wounds including a head wound, broken arm, scapula and sternum. Seeing your father lying in a hospital bed with a head wound, completely confused in his head, and not knowing what the prognosis will be is confronting to say the least. It’s at times like that I am so grateful to know a God who is bigger than what we see.

The same week both these incidents happened we ran a kids holiday club at church for a week! What a lot of fun! The theme was Wild West so there was a bit of moustache competition going on… the challenge was set… our youth leader Cameron (hopefully won’t disown me for outing him in a blog post!) now has a whole new appreciation for my crazy sense of humour I think!

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Co-ordinating the craft room again this year I had quite a bit of fun painting up decor! The kids drew outlines and I painted them in… a whole village! (not sure where the gaol has gone!)

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With dad just out of hospital I was back and forward to help mum out where I could, husband at the hospital most nights, helping with holiday club… a pretty full on couple of months! You can see where blogging went astray can’t you!?!!

During the mid-year holidays we checked out a couple of schools for my eldest daughter. Liked the look of a couple but a) with one at home earning enough money to pay for private school fees has been difficult and b) we’d have to move… which lead ultimately to her asking to try homeschooling for a month, as I mentioned in an earlier post. How’s that for shocking!

So… a month went by… and she realised that yes, she was less stressed at home and able to get through her work a lot quicker and focus on other pursuits as well. She’s started learning cello from a girl we know from church which seems to be mutually working out which is really great! She has also been working hard on developing a sustainable jewellery making business which she really enjoys. That’s involved looking at budgeting, sourcing resources, promoting through her facebook page, setting up for market display, working with customers, posting, etc.

Himself has enjoyed having the extra company about the place and Miss 5 is gradually coming around to the idea of not going to “real” school next year since her big sister is now going to be home too! I’d be lying if I said it has all be plain sailing. As you would expect it’s had its moments… there have been times I’ve been overwhelmed… times where their behaviour towards each other has been less than ideal… times where meltdowns have happened… but it feels like this is the right thing… it’s not been such a MASSIVE step as the first one was…

I’ll post more about the changes another day… meanwhile I have some sewing deadlines that I must make so I’ll sign off for now! Thanks for coming on the journey… so far…

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A little get to know me quiz… via a friend… this is pretty tricky!


Spiders, heights, rejection, failure, giving up on my faith (not that I have plans to, just that I’ve seen too many seemingly committed Christians give up)

Scripture tells us to run the race God has for us with endurance. Do you have the right shoes to keep your soles healthy for your race with God? Read full article at


God, needs around me, inbuilt passion, people, deadlines


To run the race to the end, to grow in relationship with God, to be a witness to others, to do the best I can to raise my kids into adulthood, to be a better wife, to write a book, to finish all my UFOs!


To make a positive impact on others.


Good friends, honesty, deep faith, kindness, good books, intelligent conversation, beautiful textiles, colour, people who make a difference, courage


Sewing, stepping outside my comfort zone when I need to, being consistent, motivating people, keeping my word


Letting go of painful experiences


Probably as loud, obnoxious, and irritating! Hopefully as caring and compassionate, willing to go above and beyond


Being creative, making a difference in someone’s life, helping those in needy parts of the world, thinking issues through, encouraging people to grow in their faith, organising, the adrenalin of being in front of an audience!


Mess, lack of time, a constant sense of failure



Time spent with good friends, creative energy


Listen well, encourage them to be the best they can be, help them to see more of God, pray for them


Staying on top of housework, never stopping, toxic people and situations


Sew, knit, cross-stitch, chat, eat cake, teach the Bible!


When I’m running an event I’m passionate about, when I’m teaching the Bible


When I’m asleep! ha ha


I feel every little thing deeply and am extremely insecure, it won’t take much to hurt me


In embracing my inner homeschooler fully! Pretty much because I fear what others think (vicious cycle!)


An empty to-do list! I guess that’s a negative! A healthy, functioning, homeschooling and family life.


Stop worrying about the approval of others


To go to Africa as a missionary… this hasn’t changed since I was about 15… though my thoughts on how and when have! (And I consider myself a missionary to Africa in a small way from afar!)


compassion, empathy, vision


Fair isle knitting

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A fantastic blog to visit… and a giveway to enter thrown in over there…

Since I’ve got into this whole Homeschool gig I’ve really loved learning about the Montessori method! I love The Gift of Curiosity blog… it has so many lovely, colourful, creative ideas! You should check it out! At the moment they are holding a bit of a giveaway competition so now’s the perfect opportunity to visit and enter for some wonderful materials!

Today my big kids went with their  Grandparents to visit the Art Gallery in the city! They had a wonderful time so I’m hoping tomorrow the blog post will be brought to you by them!

Meanwhile I dropped my youngest at kinder and had a couple of hours to myself! I thought about the housework that awaited and decided to go to the shopping centre for a bit of R & R! Guess what I ended up bringing home… a whole bunch of educational books! See what my life has become!

I was pretty excited though… the book I went to buy which I’d seen on another blog I like to read was $13 instead of $30 so I bought some extra instead!

Build the Human Body

I also managed to pick up this book with lots of interesting mathematical facts for Master 10… a nice flow on from the Archimedean Solids the other day…

I was also looking for a book on Greek Mythology so was delighted to find this one…

Mythology: Greek Gods, Heroes and Monsters of Ancient Greece Pop-ups

And I’m a sucker for interesting facts in cartoon strips so…

On the way back to the car I couldn’t help but be sidelined by the bookshop at the other end of the centre… which had a conveniently placed clearance table… so I ended up with…


(well come on, the kids are half-Egyptian and it was only $2…)

And finally… to maintain my status as the best mother ever, straight out of the box on release day…

The 52-Storey Treehouse - Andy Griffiths

Btw… there’s a writing competition going on at Dymocks at the moment…

Well, that’s it for today!

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And then there were 3…

Well, this year has certainly been a roller-coaster… I’ll save some of the other goings on for another night but tomorrow is a new day…

I certainly imagined, as I’m sure many mothers do, that when I sent one to school the others would follow… I did not expect them all to come back one by one!

After term 1 I realised that I didn’t want Miss 5 to go to the same school as the one I’d taken Master 10 out of… so then there were two!

As we looked at different schools to potentially send them to Miss 12 started seeing other opportunities and ways of learning. She also started to become more frustrated with the behaviour she was seeing in some of her school peers, and she wanted more challenge and creativity in her learning. The schools that she liked the look of were either lacking in space for the kids, or were inaccessible distance wise. When looking through another school during the term 2 break she suddenly announced out of the blue that she’d like to try homeschooling.

And so… tomorrow begins a 4 week trial… (please slap me if I’m dreaming!)


For a number of reasons I’ll go into another day, I am really keen for this experience to work. I know it won’t be easy but it would certainly remove a certain type of stress from my life and I’d be glad of that. Our journey with school has not always been easy and I feel it’s time for a fresh start. Can you believe how far I’ve come!??! No? Me either!

I know however, that unless she enjoys and owns the experience it will be a disaster and she’ll be headed back to school for term 4. Part of the success I believe is her having a lot of input into what she does. She has made me some lists of the sort of curriculum things at school that have worked and not worked so well and has put a whole bunch of things she’d like to do (or not do!).

Funny, a lot of what she enjoys is really creative but even I started to think it was ridiculous that she wanted to try metalworking and glasswork in art… funny how easily we find the impossibilities rather than the solutions! But, I’ve stepped out of some boxes already this year and realised that there’s no reason she couldn’t do those things on a one off basis… a workshop at some stage!

We both enjoy colour (in case you haven’t noticed!) so this online planner really appealed… I’ll let you know how it goes! She’s really keen to have something defined that she can put up on her wall! Quite different to how himself and I have been working so it will be interesting to see how things develop!


She brought all her books home at the start of the week… this from the girl who was ADAMANTLY against any notion of homeschooling just a few months ago! (yes, yes, she got it from her mother! LOL) so I thought it would be nice to pretty up her workspace while she was at a sleepover Friday night! A colour-loving friend and I went cheapshopping! She was very pleased when she came home and straight away organised her school books into the subject drawers! The shift in her attitude has been quite huge! I think the make-or-break things will be her friends… we will see how we go with emails, phone calls, and visits… but there are also a few homeschool girls we’ve got to know who are her age so hopefully we can get a good balance between old and new friends!

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Well, wish me well! I know it will be up and down at least for a while… but that’s okay… remember how much I cried when himself came home! I’m actually feeling pretty chilled about this decision (other than the momentary freak-outs that flit through my head!)

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A really fun day out!

I know things have been super quiet around here for some months and I promise I will fill you in soon… but to welcome myself back to blogland I thought I’d share some happy photos from our fun excursion yesterday!

Loads of photos ahead!

We set off in the morning on a lovely late winter day in Melbourne and headed to Docklands! As we drove closer to our destination I could see an edge of colour on an amazing looking building in the distance! To my great joy we soon arrived at it… the NAB building (well, one of them!) This building just makes me deliriously happy… I mean look how it’s even reflected in the building opposite! Surely people must feel bright and cheery working in this building all day!?

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But we were looking for the exhibition we had come to see and couldn’t see any sign of it. Suddenly, just as we were surely looking a little lost a cheery voice greeted us from the top of the escalator! Lo and behold, and angel from above, sent to guide our way! She offered to walk us up to the building we needed to get to. What a delightful start to our wander!


Well, the walk up a couple of blocks was interesting enough… apparently the NAB enjoys colour and culture! Here are some of the interesting sights along the way… yes, those plants really do go up the wall for several storeys!

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Soon we reached no 700… apparently they bought the numbers so they could have all their buildings 100 something! Inside the building was really impressive too! Someone had lots of fun with this architecture! The photos of all the storeys inside the building do not even begin to capture how impressive it is! It’s like something from Dubai! I loved the corporate coffee lounge with all the greenery, and the very yellow meeting pod, not to mention the funky glowing post! The whole building had the most amazing amount of open space, really lovely and calming.

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Well, we did find the exhibition we had come to see… close up shots of cells and other things in the body. Here are a couple of my favourites.

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After oohing and aahing over these photos and others we still had a little time before our parking meter ran out so we went in search of a cow in a tree! Along the way we saw some other interesting and fun sights!

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Docklands really is worth visiting… there is so much fun… but we had to carry on to our next destination… the Exxopolis! This amazing structure is basically a big blown up sculpture which is to be seen to be believed, based around Islamic and other art! The photos don’t remotely capture the atmosphere inside! But, they’ll give you a little taste!

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Oh, on the way to the Jam Factory we saw some interesting architecture…

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… and we popped in to see my old school… Christ Church Grammar School! Pretty much as I remembered it! I grew up a block away so enjoyed walking up the hill to school every morning! And my grade 3 classroom is still there! Fond memories! We used to have recess and lunchtime in the park next door… Fawkner Park and as I grew up at the church just down the road I remember many walks through that beautiful park in South Yarra.

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The Exxopolis is on the rooftop of the Jam Factory in Prahran, near where I grew up! It was quite a trip down memory lane though it looks a lot different these days!

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We had lunch at the Jam Factory in a funky Mexican Restaurant! Really yummy!

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Then, since we were exploring our old haunts and walking down memory lane we went for a wander up Chapel St… just as quirky as ever… but a little (lot!) more expensive! Yes, that is a full-sized horse lamp!

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Finally we popped in to the Prahran Market, something we used to do every Saturday morning… it’s a lot more up market these days… but it still sells fruit and vegetables!

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Finally we headed home… and just had to stop on the way (thought my companions seemed less enthusiastic!) to take a photo of a hare and a snail in Toorak Village… I even spied some genuine upper class… those I used to mix comfortably with (from a safe distance!) before I moved to the outer edges of Melbourne civilization! 😉

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As you can see we had a brilliant day! I hope you’ve enjoyed these photos which give you a little taste!


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Franz Xaver Messerschmidt

Never heard of him!?

Me either!

Wanted to have a bit of fun with clay in art class this week so went hunting for artists who worked in a medium that would be suitable. Found all your typical Michelangelo types… a bit unrealistic perhaps and kind of unimaginative… and then I came across this dude quite by chance!


Isn’t he amazing… what’s not to love. No matter the world thought he was crazy!

I mean, we’re talking like over 250 years ago and he pulls this sort of stuff… all 64 of them… the kids laughed uproariously!

So, first things first… I took a photo of them all pulling a crazy face and printed them out for inspiration.

Then I got them drawing 6 different expressions in their books… go as crazy and imaginative as you like…

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And then we cracked the clay out to see how outrageous a portrait we could create! They did not disappoint!

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Here’s another heads up if you’re in Australia… picked up this book today… lots of fun activities to introduce younger kids to real artists…

The Art Creativity Book

It’s currently on sale at QBD Bookstores (click the photo to find the link) for $5.95 which is an absolute steal! Rush in! Be a great gift too just as an aside… I so dislike buying toys for birthdays!

PS: Sorry it’s taken so long to get this post up… I promise I haven’t been totally morose like my last post since then… my father in law has been really sick and my sister in law has come through major surgery so it’s been busy without a man about the house for the last week! I have my days but hopefully I will have a bit more time to post soon! So many things to share with you all! Happy weekend!


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If you can’t cope with brutal honesty look away now!

Pretty much sums up the state of my mind at the moment.

Too many decisions, things to keep on top of, problems to solve, hurt to heal, things to get my head around…

Best I could do today is use Mr Google to find some encouragement and reminder to keep going…

I guess one of these days I might just feel on top of this gig, but right now is not that time.

Tomorrow is a new day.

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