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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Getting it together. Magically tidy

Washing Machine Fairy
Washing Machine Fairy

This year Husband-of-awesome andI will have been dating for 20 years, of that, we’ve only been married for 15. In all this time, we’ve moved house just once. When we bought our first home we moved in with practically nothing; everything we needed was donated and delivered by others, or we bought it and the stores delivered it. After 8 years we sold, bought a new place and actually “moved house”. Since then we’ve had two children and built a homeschool library and we’ve ended up with a tonne of stuff.

I must have read a zillion articles about how “life is messy” or how cleaning a little every day keeps things under control or that having cleaning routines will give you more time for other things. I haven’t really been convinced by any of them. The issue is thatI hate cleaning and I hate mess, and I resent looking after things I just don’t care about.

So I started with my wardrobe. For the last 18 months I’ve been editing, pruning, donating, testing: searching for items that feel like “me” and look “put together” and a bit professional. I’ve been weeding out the “fast fashion” and investing in “keepers”.

Once the collection was complete I revisited the website at project333 intending to break my wardrobe into 2 capsules wardrobe (Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter) with some backup favourites to “shove” back in later. But the thought of all that “shopping and swapping” was exhausting and I’d still own more items that I could recall.

Husband-of-awesome came to the rescue. He bought me Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing for my birthday. The gist of it is to keep only those things that “bring you joy” and to thank the rest for their hard work and set them free. This is the magic. I set to work immediately. So far, my wardrobe and the childrens’ drawers are sparse and neat. I’ve even seen Wren peaking at her stuff like she’s trying to steal chocolates from the box / choose chocolates at Koko BlackOur lounge room, however, looks like a documentary about hoarders from all the purged stuff I still need to sort into donatesell and rubbish. I nearly can’t be bothered with the sell because the items won’t be immediately gone, but I will get it done as there are pieces that have retained their value and are in excellent condition.

Following Marie Kondo’s method, we should do the books next, but I ‘m preparing for that by conquering the bathroom cupboard. Gone are the product samples, expired anything, decayed perfumes and excess packaging. Anything left has been sorted by type and housed in plastic drawers repurposed from the office and library. Previously everything was randomly dumped in a big plastic box after Wren flooded the sink: big I’ll just chuck the ruined stuff out, should there be another flood.

Books will be hard to prune. Even the ones not in regular use are highly regarded or may be back in circulation as the children mature. But , there are “confutable” type books and old magazines that have survived previous pruning as the are beautiful, even if unused I think it’s time to thank them for the job they’ve done and set them free, or send them to their doom. It will also mean that all the books living in baskets can fit on proper shelves and not just get trashed or take up floor space.

The real challenge will be having the dwelling operational next week for school, Bible study and other activities (like making Wren’s frock for our friends’ wedding).

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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.

Maths:

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.

Science:

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”.

English:

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.

HSIE/History:

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

PDHPE:

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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