Category Archives: Weekly Reviews

Adapting as an educator

Setting out to document Robin and Wren’s journey online as part of documenting and sharing how we home educate with anyone that wanted to know what we do and how we do it, was the purpose of this site.

Over the last few months, ramping Wren’s home education up and finding a new balance has made it difficult to keep this site up to date. The plan is to keep adding information here, tracking what we’ve done and how we’ve gone about doing it. It might be a longer between posts as we continue to find the new balance.

As a general update: We’ve been working through the curriculum to get a good blend to support Robin’s Year 2 work and Wren’s Year 1 work, this has involved pulling back in some area (parking Writing and Rhetoric and going back to First Language lessons) and pushing in others (getting Robin to read at a level that is challenging to him).IMG_2601

The learning outcomes for Year 2 will be up soon, and I’ll also add some of the motivational tricks we’ve used with Robin to get him through the work, especially on days he doesn’t want to.

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Weekly Review: 20th – 24th April

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This week was husband-of-awesome’s week off work. So whilst schooling was much of the same, this write-up will be a little more concise than usual. Schooling consisted of maths, handwriting, the premiers reading challenge, preparation for our close friends’ wedding, sorting and donating of clothes and toys to salvos, continued reinforcing of the need for household chores and making soap.

With the storms in Sydney we also looked at weather maps and isobars and how they move to allow weather prediction. Watched “Earth” DVD and the original Annie (including the making of, there was a lot of rain). This was also a time of involving the Robin and Wren in household repairs, plumbing (clogged drains), guttering (overflowing and flooding) and bathroom/shower waterproofing.

Finally we did make it our to violin and swimming. At swimming Robin was praised for staying focused and having a great lesson; of course that led to a lot of questions on what he needed to do to move to the next class, etc.

All-in-all, a very busy week.

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Weekly Review – Bumper edition – March 23 – April 10

IMG_1358Catching up on documenting where we are with our education programme after 2 weeks of “Easter break” and bringing everything back up to current.

Following the last instalment, Robin and Wren were both still sick, but instead of pushing on ahead, we slowed things down a little to make sure that it stuck, revisiting a few things.


Continuing Miquon Maths, focusing on multiplication, creating a times table from a matrix. This was a mini book of 10 pages, and a little drawn out,  Robin found it a slow going and hard to stay focused; the teaching notes on this section were not a lot clearer and didn’t give great help in providing alternate ways to explain. So over the last 4 weeks, Robin worked his way through it all. We read through Sir Cumfrence and the Dragon of Pi several times, a Place for Zero, and infinity and me – you’ve got to love a maths adventure book.


This week we watched “on the reef” and read “the bones you own” and “your skin holds you in” in preparation for the discussed on adaptation in sea creatures:

  • Skeletal features, e.g. eye positions and jaws
  • Camouflage

As a follow up we again went to the Maritime Museum to look at the X-Ray Vision: Fish inside exhibit. In preparation for this we re-read:

This was followed up by borrowing and reading, from the local library, “Scott Goes South”.


Whilst it looks like we didn’t directly cover English, these weeks covered a lot of reading, writing and communications skills, especially in our HSIE work.


As depicted at the beginning of this post, a trip to the Sydney Easter Show was added to the excursions. Other than supplying a great opportunity to look at how others live, for Robin and Wren, it was an opportunity for them both to explain to husband-of-awesome’s colleague from the U.S. (pictured with them) how we farm in Australia and compare to how it is done in America.  As we did last time, we did the farm tour and collected the stamps along the way, at the end collecting a workbook on farming and education in Australia.

After the show, for the following week, we filled in the workbook and discussed the impact of humans on natural and built environments, our responsibility and stewardship:

  • roads
  • farming
  • tourism at the Barrier Reef
  • antarctic research
  • Japanese whaling

This last point lead to a discussion on the history of whaling and “how much is enough?”, “what do we need?” and a discussion on greed and excess (the latter in context of the mighty wardrobe sorting that was to begin – and has now started).

As part of Easter, we discussed Passover and what is being celebrated, how different people celebrate (foods, customs and cultures) and if Robin and Wren would like to create a family tradition to help us honour the occasion. Robin and Wren decided that they would like to create a tradition where on the Thursday night before Easter we have some kind of dinner, read Exodus from the Israelites getting ready for the 10th plague to when they leave Egypt and read from the Gospels from when Jesus enters Jerusalem up to where Jesus is arrested, also incorporating “the four questions” from the modern Jewish Passover tradition.

April 1st was also Ancient/Archaic language day. To celebrate:

  •  Wren greeted everyone in Latin
  • We discussed with Nan (Robin and Wren’s Great Grandmother) how Australian english has changed in her lifetime (idiom and accent)
  • Played a word game: What english words came from older languages and cultures – Greek, Latin, Viking/Saxons
  • Looked at “Chaucer doth tweet” and how much the English language has changed over time.

This review of ancient languages also  spawned more discussion about creating family celebrations and rituals as in “how can we do this next year?”. Some of the ideas that the kids came up with were:

  • Learning a Shakespearian sonnet, or verse from the King James Version Bible
  • Use more Latin
  • Dress up in period costume
  • Write hieroglyphs


This week(s) we included the usual of Swimming Lessons. Food choices in preparation for the Easter Show; what snacks did the kids want to bring on the trip. Personal and Food hygiene – washing hands at Easter Show. Walking 9 kilometres around the show (something our friend was amazed by).

Recently a family member had a biopsy performed on some cancerous tissue, so we revisited Slip/Slop/Slap vs. Melanoma.

Discuss grief and grieving after our friends mother died.

Creative and Practical Arts:

This weeks work consisted of:

  • Robin created a cardboard Iron Man suit for Barbie – as a small scale model for a future version for himself
  • Wren tried some Pointillism – The girl with the pearl earring (though she wasn’t old enough looking so a lot of squiggles were added)
  • Retraining household chores – with all the sickness a lot of the routine was left by the wayside whilst we all recovered.
    • Cleaning surfaces
    • sweeping UFOs (Unwanted Floor Objects)
    • Vacuuming
    • Sorting and folding washing
    • Loading and unloading the washing machine
  • Draw skeletons/fish from X-rays and explain their work
  • Create and size patterns for elf slippers
  • Fill and decorate 40 knitted chickens for Easter – As part of the kids talk this year both Robin and Wren helped stuff knitted chickens with chocolate easter eggs and also drew on eyes and  beaks for the knitted fowl.
  • Make birthday cards for me!
  • Violin practice
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Week in Review Mar1-7

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Art by Robin and Wren

This week was centred around excursions and working them into the weeks schooling.

Music (Creative and Practical Arts) – Following on from last week, this week we went on an excursion to Chatswood to get Robin and Wren fitted for Violins at the Sydney String Centre as next week they begin Suzuki violin lessons.

  • Discussed sizing instruments to people – fractions
  • Listened to the new CDs that support the violin lessons
  • Reviewed Pythagorus and the Ratios –  relationship of length and thickness of strings determines the sound

Going Places (HSIE) – As part of the journey, Robin was tasked with navigating from Chatswood train station to the destination and how to get home again.

  • Printed off a map from Google to work out how to get there
  • Discussed options on how to get there and how we could return (train station or bus stop)
  • Orientation, finding how to orient map to ground
  • Discussed how the different platforms work and how to check the indicator board for where trains stop (or don’t)
  • Discussed how we could do the journey differently next time; 2 trains and a long walk, or 1 train and 1 bus for increased fare and how to work out the trade off

An interesting aside, Robin made the connection between the eTag in the car and how it operated in the same way as the Opal card.

Whilst on our travels we saw the Voyager of the Seas cruise ship  and this led to a discussion on cruise ships and how different ships have different designs depending on their job. We recapped last week’s excursion to the Maritime Museum and what the functions of the vessels they went on were and a documentary on ice breakers (SBS Online) we watched two weeks previous.

Finally we discussed bridges an their functions – Harbour bridge vs. Footway at Darling Harbour. How the ability of the footway to open and the height of the Harbour Bridge enable, or restrict the type of vessel that can go through/under.

Reading – Reading aloud to both Robin and Wren this week as part of the GOING PLACES work we covered:

  • Ernest Shackleton – Polar explorer
  • Frances Drake – pirate and explorer

Excursion–  Picked up photo albums documenting last year’s work and activities.

Maths – We started Doubling! So we did doubling, doubling and more doubling. In addition to this we:

  • went to COSCO  and talked about unit pricing and competition in marketplace
  • Tested maths games

English – We continued with looking at the 8 parts of speech and introduced parts of sentences. and also continued with Gods Great Covenant – Joseph and Pharaoh.

  • Sentence recipe
  • Subject of a sentence
  • Predicate within a sentence

Read aloud – The following was read aloud by Robin:

  • Genesis 40-46 – Joseph and Pharaoh

Creative and Practical Arts – This week was a low impact week, due to all the excursions so we worked on a number of projects

  • Started getting building the “Spooky House diorama” from My First Batteries and Magnets book
  • Printed and coloured in anatomical diagrams of human skeletons
  • As a continuation of the Ernest Shackleton reading we created lots and lots of snowflakes.

Watched – Alice in Wonderland (Disney 1951) including the making of.


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Week in Review Feb22-28

l-3Going Places (HSIE): Maritime Museum – Making the most of our new membership and as an excursion with husband-of-awesome and my brother, we used this as an additional learning opportunity. Both Robin and Wren went on a Destroyer, HMAS Vampire; a patrol boat, the HMAS Advance; and a submarine, the HMAS ONSLOW. Both were fascinated with the inner workings of the ONLSOW. The both revisited the going places exhibit and then spent some time exploring the Nautilus.

Reading: Robin started reading aloud Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone after his older cousin started reading sections to both Robin and Wren when we last visited. His reading was clear and concise, only struggling with names and even so sticking within the boundaries of P.I.C.K and the 2-3 new words a page.

Maths and Science – Monsters Magic Cup  –  This is part of a larger citizen science programme through Natural Math (which we’ve previously used as part of a “Monday” maths with some of the local kids) and was an experiment to check the “approximate number system” within children as a precursor to algebraic calculation. We met Maria, one of the research coordinators who was thrilled at not only our support but in meeting the both Robin and Wren via Google Hangouts; which was a learning experience in of itself trying to get it to work.

Watched: As a follow up from the Maritime Museum visit we watched James Cameron’s documentary – Deep sea challenge – describing his passion for underwater exploration and the journey to build, test and then take his “Deep Sea Challenger” to the  Mariana Trench.

  • Read: 14 Journeys – Piccards and Don Walsh
  • Wrote the 5 W’s (Who, What, When, Where, Why) for both Piccard and Walsh’s journey as well as Cammeron’s.
  • Created a Venn diagram of the two missions
  • Create a sentence and
  • Built a model sub with Lego.

Maths – Continue with grouping in addition, “finding 10s” and The Grapes Of Math.

English – We recently started looking at the 8 parts of speech. This is identifying nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, conjunctions, interjections and prepositions. Why we decided to do this will be the basis of another blog. This week we looked at:

  • Identifying the 8 parts of speech in random sentences;
  • using the Dictionary to identify “tricky” words;
  • in Christina Rosetti’s “Boats” poems; and
  • made some sentences with story cubes.

We also memorised the Boat’s poem.

Read aloud – This week Robin read through number of books

Watched – Fantasia: discussed taking music lessons

Watched – “Tectonics” on ABC iView as a follow-up to a section on plate tectonics in the James Cameron documentary. We then modelled plated movement with play dough

LatinSong School Latin Book 1 – Classroom instructions on singular and plural verbs (-te)

Bible – Continue reading through John

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