Cooking with kids… the fun way!

Before I get to the cooking bit… I came across this most wonderful resource today about Australian birds, with free Montessori printable… so I thought I’d share! The quality of this blog itself is just amazing, as is her pinterest boards!


Now, about cooking! Look, I’ll be upfront, I really don’t get the whole masterchef kids phenomenon. Frankly it bores me to tears! We’ve been to the library and borrowed a few cooking books, tried a couple of things… yawn!

Then we found THIS book…

Cover Illustration

I gather there is a first volume… must go looking!

But seriously… if your kids have warped senses of humour… or are boys… I almost guarantee they will love cooking with this book! Forget perfectly presented dishes served up in style… this book has recipes for Plushnuggets, Tummyticklers, Boiled slobbages, A plate of soil with engine oil,Nishnobblers and much much more! You really can’t go wrong!

Having tried the delights of Butter Gumballs he has got ingredients to make Bean’s Cider and The Magic Green Crystal tomorrow. I tell you, the big kids have picked this up and are really excited about cooking for the first time!

We do love our Roald Dahl… what absurd fun! And who can go past Quentin Blake as an illustrator! You can read the books and chomp on the authentic food to go with it! Now, haven’t I just made your day!


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Today was brought to you by the letter Aa!

Well, may as well get cracking… teaching a 5 year old to read in a slightly more deliberate way… no pressure… just as we go… mind you at 7pm I had to say that school had well and truly finished for the day! (In truth it finished when the teacher decided she needed a nap at 430pm!)

We’re going to be using LEM Phonics because both my older kids are very familiar with it and so can help, and because it has a good reputation. But I also fully intend to reinforce it with a whole bunch of other creative and more colourful stuff!

This is what we came up with today!

We downloaded the “Ants in the apple” posters to hang up as we learn each letter… art coming next… this is the letter of the week in fact!


Following some advice from a new friend, we chopped up and laminated a learning book… finding and following the letter Aa…


While the teacher was collapsed for a little while big sister got pestered into this idea… columns of things that start with A… numbers too! She was most excited! I think we’ve got 1 apple (chomped), 2 astronauts, 3 Ambers (her big sister’s friend!), 4 airplanes,  5 ants, and 6 anacondas… so far…  Image

Well, that’s just day one… we’ve got a few more to go… I wonder what tomorrow will bring?!

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Early literacy… recognition… and a bit of added colour!

On my travels through the world of education today I came across what I think are really cool printables…

Dot Marker Alphabet Mystery Picture Activities

These seem really neat… recognise certain letters or words and colour them or mark them with spots of some sort and create a picture! There’s a freebie sample pack you can try out first!

I love this! 🙂 I’ll let you know how it goes!

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Out of step…

Last night I went to my daughter’s school production. Of course she was fabulous! Loads of circus colour…

But what I came away with was a real sense of being out of place, a bit of an inconvenience, in a not altogether pleasant category of my own… problem is I have one in school, one out of school… I pulled one from school because I was unhappy with how things were dealt with, but I have one who is still happy at school. So where do I belong? I don’t feel I belong there. But nor be I feel I belong where I am.

It feels like no one really wants to engage me too deeply in conversation, and I feel uncomfortable too. Things unsaid, unacknowledged, unheeded. Just awkward.

I never wanted to be a homeschooler, even now it’s hard to feel like I really fit. Maybe over time I will feel a sense of belonging again. But right now I feel like I just don’t fit.

This punk album over sums it up perfectly… “Minor Threat: Out of Step”.

Minor Threat - Out Of Step LP

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20 seconds…

The trials the tribulations, the challenges and opportunities, you’ll probably notice the really big occasions hung finely balanced on the feather edge of uncertainty.When I look back at these times in my life, I see that this level of surrender, this level of commitment, required something special: “20 seconds of insane courage”…

Today I spoke at a MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) group about courage, not being afraid to advocate for your children when needed, listening to their needs and learning styles, and being willing to do the very things you most fear when needed.

I realise that this quote sums up perfectly how I feel about my decision to homeschool.

It truly was 20 seconds of insane courage… because if I’d thought about it too long… I’m not sure I could have done it…

Still there are days I feel completely and utterly out of my depth, wishing this was a dream I could wake up from.

Some days I feel grief at the thought that all of my children will probably never be in the same school together. I never in my wildest dreams imagined anything other.

Today I got school photos forms for just my daughter and from somewhere inside of me welled up a great sadness I haven’t felt in weeks. Make no mistake… I see something great happening… but this is not what I imagined my life to be…

Courage does not come without pain.

Courage does not come without doubts.

Courage does not come without fear.

Courage does not come without heartache.

Courage chooses to push past the reality of what is.

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear." ~Ambrose Redmoon

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Art Class – Clifford Possum

Art class this week was looking at a type of Indigenous Australian art and I decided to pick Clifford Possum, one of Australia’s leading and most prolific dot artists. His work is quite amazing. You can check out my handout here…

clifford possum pdf

First we talked about older forms of Aboriginal art, cave paintings, telling Dreamtime stories in the sand, and the like. We looked at different types of aboriginal symbols and the kids had a good time telling a story in the sandpit outside (in the rain I might add!) and then wiping it away in order to keep it a secret.

Next we collected some paperbark from cut logs I had stored for firewood and I sent the  kids to look for objects in the backyard they thought we could paint with. Then they sat on the ground, traditional fashion, to draw using some of the symbols. They did experiment and found that some things worked better than others.

Next they drew out a story in their sketch books, using the symbols. The boys perhaps took a little longer to get engaged, but when they realised that they could let their imagination run wild they were engaged… a rocketship into space, travelling around the sun and planets, being attacked by men in outer space with spears and a catapult, and back through the milky way…

The girls in particular were quite intently focussed with this, getting into a quite meditative zone amongst the chatter.

A long dusty road and a river crossing…

Sketching the symbols in with a pencil on the black background first was quite helpful.

Working out how to get nice clean dots with the ear buds was a bit of an experiment initially. There was a realisation that to get the sort of order found in Clifford Possum’s work you have to work slowly and carefully.

I really loved his daughter Gabriella’s painting “Bush Tucker Dreaming…

Main Image 9203

All in all a great fun lesson! I wonder what we’ll do next?!!

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And another…

Sorry it’s been so quiet from me lately… we’ve been enjoying holidays… and I had a big fall a week ago and have been trying to recover from that. Fortunately nothing broken but I can tell you aqua-planing down a flight of concrete stairs onto your back is not fun or pretty!

So… another…

Really been thinking about homeschooling little sister next year… major, major shift in life plans here, yet again… partly this is logistics (if I put her in a different school next year I have 3 in different places). I can’t get him into a school I like for another year and a half minimum and if, big if, he goes back to school I’d like them to be together at the same school. However, seeing as homeschooling seems to be working so well for him, I can’t honestly say what the future holds… maybe it will end up with them all in school… or maybe it won’t… I’m very open to either possibility at this stage.

Having said that… I’m pretty disillusioned with schools right now so that would have to change before we went back down that road…

Little Miss is a COMPLETELY different kettle of fish to her big brother… what he is in introversion she is in extroversion… what he is in calm she is in energy… she is one feisty little bundle of non-stop go! So I’m not even convinced it will work for longer than a week… but I’m willing to take my courage in my hands and give it a red hot go!

She’s just turned 5 so although she is a kinder/pre-school and loving it… she is very interested in writing letters at the moment. So I figure I may as well seize the opportunity to give her some resources she can use. I’ve set up a little “school” area for her at home which I’ll post photos of another day! 

A couple of the things she really likes are matching letters… There are so many great free printables on this site just for starters… you should check it out!

And playing with the nails and elastic bands to make letters… and other fun patterns…

She is very hands on and I think a bit more of a Montessori approach will work well for her… along with other methods… I’ll keep you posted as I work out what makes most sense for her!

As an aside, I had a conversation with an older man today who I’ve known a long, long time… he asked me how school was going and I told him I’d pulled one of my kids out… he asked why, and I explained he was being bullied verbally a lot of the time… he straight away said very strongly “you’ve made the right decision, I cannot tell you how much being bullied has affected my son (now 30) even today…” It is always nice to have a reassurance from an unexpected quarter that you’re doing the right thing…

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Montessori Giveaway I spotted… check it out if you’re interested!

This giveaway looks great! So do the printables!

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Thinking outside the box!

Since I’ve stepped outside the school box it’s made me really look at the box from a whole different angle!

See, while I was inside the box I had a whole bunch of assumptions… not only about what the box should or did look like, but also what things outside the box looked like…

Not only am I looking at the box from a different angle, I’m also looking around and seeing that there are different boxes I can look into (isn’t the WWW a great innovation when used to its best!)

Funny, the box is a LOT different to what I thought it looked like… from this angle…

So, I’ve been thinking about my two kids at home (my other kid would string me up if I took her out of school! And that’s okay!) and how they learn… one is more focussed and concentrated… the other is more ADD!!! lol I don’t think she ACTUALLY is, but she is definitely a bundle of non-stop energy. So, I’m wondering about how I’d go homeschooling her next year when she starts “school”. I certainly am leaning more towards the more hands-on, visual type approaches. I think they’d keep her more engaged (and me too, let’s be honest!) than the straight bookwork approach.

I find the Montessori (and similar) method has a lot of appeal (haven’t got so much into the background philosophy yet) as a part of homeschooling method. I like how serious learning can be done in so many different fun ways.

I also love classical type learning… I believe kids should be exposed to a whole lot of educational opportunities that cross culture, history, people groups, and so on.

I really enjoy seeing how everyday experiences can be broadened to have educational benefit when used creatively and purposefully (not so much a fan of unschooling as a philosophy for myself as an aside, though some obviously swear by it).

I guess one of the beauties of homeschooling is you have the opportunity to pick and choose… or to follow a particular curriculum if you prefer. There are just so many options. What I’m beginning to see is that some options seem to “fit” better… and part of that is knowing yourself and your style as a teacher, and knowing your kids and their style of learning… and being willing to be flexible if something doesn’t work.

It’s actually refreshing to have a foot in the homeschool and in the school camp. It gives me a chance to look at both with different eyes. I have no intention of rushing into decision making for next year… just exploring and trying not to jump to pre-conceived ideas!

Do you follow a particular model of education or an eclectic one? Do you have different kids you use different methods/resources with?

To be continued… at a later date…

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A little summary of the term!

This was my facebook status yesterday: 

“Well, after the excursion tomorrow we’ll have finished a whole term of homeschooling! Who’d have thought! I cannot speak highly enough of this experience… it’s like living with a whole different kid… he’s happy, motivated, fun, relaxed, empathetic, caring… I have not seen him this content EVER since he started school, but particularly in the last couple of years. And as to socialisation… well… we tried the school socialisation experiment and honestly it was a disaster waiting to happen… he is much more willing to engage with ANYONE these days… rushes past me to open the door, answer the phone… I know you all laughed when I said I’d become a homeschooler… so you can laugh even more now when I tell you I really must get around to putting him on a school waiting list somewhere… maybe… God is so good… Here’s the message from THIS mama… School is NOT for everyone… don’t be afraid to make choices for your children that are based on what is best for them, NOT you… in the process you might even discover that what is best for them IS best for you too… xx”

Hooray!!!  Somebody came to the shelter and RESCUED ME!  Now I have a safe & loving home!  Finally -- SOMEBODY LOVES ME!


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