Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Homeschooling Goals for Spring Term

* Begin working from our new Primary Science Book - focusing on Living on Non-Living things, Sorting living things, Pets, Australian Animals, Insects (I know a little blond-haired girl who will LOVE this part!), Birds, Fish, Magnets, Light and Shadows. Lots of hands-on exploration here as well as the book work.

* Continue working from our About Our Bodies Science Book - this focuses on the Skeleton, Muscles, Cells, Organs etc. etc. We will also make a poster on what we learn.

* Bible Reading, as per normal.

* Nature Notebooks, as per normal.

* Weekly Nature Walk.

* Twice-weekly sessions on Starfall - oh the wonders of Starfall! My kids love it and are still exploring all that there is to learn here! Literacy, Maths, Music, Art.......

* Weekly Mathletics session with Stuart, plus other Daily Life maths (eg. handling money, simple addition and subtraction, measurement in cooking, etc.).

* Work on letter recognition with Elijah. I think there's about 10 letters he's still a bit unsure of. Continue early phonics with him.

* Continue reading daily with Saraya. She's settled on a reading level of about age 8 at the moment, so there's no pressure with this one - just need to continue to foster her love of reading with great literature! Finding simple but interesting stories for her to read independently will be another goal this term. Hooray for the local library.....

* Complete the Little House series of chapter books, which we've been reading together. We're half-way through the last one at the moment. I'm not sure what we'll start then! Stuart wants to read the Narnia series.... but I'm not sure the children are ready for that. We'll see.....

* We are going to explore the wonderful world of Astronauts this term too. I'm planning on covering the basics with the children, doing some fun hands-on activities, then helping them to make Lap books to write, draw, cut and paste, record and display what they learn.

* Further explore our new Learn to Draw books. Saraya particularly is loving these and is creating some really nice pictures.

* "Welcome Summer" sign and activities on December 1st.

* Begin regular Swimming lessons again.

* Continue with Dance lessons (for Saraya).

* Give Saraya plenty of opportunity to ride her bike and hopefully get her riding without her training wheels.

* We may get a dog. There will be lots of amazing hands-on learning going on if we do!

* Continue to involve the children in the family meal-planning and cooking / baking. I'd like to teach Saraya to put together a simple (no-cook :)) meal independently. She's already close to this one.

* Christmas planning, list-writing, shopping, baking and making!

* Christmas card making and writing. The children will be involved in this process.

They are my goals so far, though I'm sure to add more as we go along. :)

Homeschooling is a wonderful journey. I have to say I love having my children beside me night and day. I love to disciple them and am grateful for the chance to witness the joy in all the little things they learn each day - the planned and the unplanned. :) Looking forward to Term 4!!

What are your family goals for the spring?

Yes, No....

Yes, we are having a great week so far! We spent yesterday looking at another house, grocery shopping, cleaning (well I did ;)) and just spending time together.

No, there is no real news on the whole moving thing as yet. Still praying and watching and waiting and wondering. :)

Yes, we're going to look at another house today. This one is different to the last two we've seen and actually we're both pretty excited to go take a look! Lovely back deck and pretty gardens.

No, we're not actually definitely sure we want to move. :) Especially with our neat and clean fence now- what a lovely time spent with family and a great job to achieve. Kind-of makes me want to stay...... :)

Yes, I'm being patient with the waiting process. As is Stu, and the children.

No, I'm not looking forward to this week being over. :( Stuart will be spending time out at work this week and is back next Monday. *Sigh*

Yes, we still have another 6 days to go!! So, I will enjoy every minute of those.

Hope you're having a good week too!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

House of Dreams at Sunset

House of Dreams at sunset.....

with a new......

freshly painted......

White Picket Fence!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Painting the Picket Fence

My generous family are here this weekend, and aside from the meals and cups of coffee we'll share with some delightful conversation........ we are spending our time together repainting our picket fence! It's Saturday morning and everyone (bar me, I'm on child duty...) is thick into it again. We started yesterday at around 2pm and will probably continue for most of today and tomorrow morning as well.

It's looking GREAT already!!! Here are some photos I took yesterday afternoon.....

....... nailing in the loose boards..........

.......... Nanna and Grandpa hard at work..........

I feel so blessed right now. My parents coming all this way and putting in hours of work to help us with this project; healthy, happy children; school holidays and a husband who is home with us; beautiful warm and breezy spring weather; and a God who has blessed us with all this!!!

"The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy". Psalm 126:3

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Quote to Share

A new post title. :) Done with the "Day" titles.........

No news on the house. :(

A lovely morning at our singing group rehearsal - we are working on Christmas music which makes me very very happy!! :) Saraya had a sleep-over at her friend's house last night ( I popped over at 8pm to kiss her goodnight and she was having a great time ;)) and is still there now. Due home soon. As are my parents, who are coming up to visit us!

I was doing some reading earlier and came across this wonderful quote from Charlotte Mason, one of my favourite authors on homeschooling. Loved it so much I thought I would share it. I couldn't agree more with this quote, and find it so relevant to the smooth running of our house.

Have a great day friends!

"Do not let the children pass a day without distinct efforts, intellectual, moral, volitional; let them brace themselves to understand; let them compel themselves to do and to bear; and let them do right at the sacrifice of ease and pleasure: and this for many higher reasons, but, in the first and lowest place, that the mere physical organ of mind and will may grow vigorous with work. . . Just as important is it that the brain should have due rest; that is, should rest and work alternately." -Charlotte Mason (Home Education, p.22)

Photo: Taken last September 2008, at the Sunshine Coast.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Day 6 - Waiting

Okay, I'm getting a little tired of my headings simply stating which day of the holidays we are up to so I added an extra word. ;) Gotta continue what I started though, right?!

So, today is a day of waiting. Trusting. Hoping. Letting go.

This morning we made an offer on the house, lower than the asking price. This is commonly done of course, and so is the knocking back part. Yes, she knocked it back and we have decided not to give her a counter-offer, yet. We have a figure in mind which would put us in (hopefully) a good position to list ours at a reasonable price and get us all resettled as quickly as possible. BUT. We don't know if the owner will stubbornly stick to her asking price - her prerogative - or perhaps reconsider on our offer. We may go up a little higher than we offered this morning, but after some financial blows these past couple of years we just want to be really careful and good stewards of the money God blesses us with. SO. We are waiting, trusting, hoping and letting go.

Why do I choose to lean on God, hand it over to him and trust the outcome is the best thing for us, whatever happens?

Because "I know the plans I have for you", declares the Lord; "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11.

What a promise!!! So although we can see ourselves there, I can virtually smell the gum trees and picture myself sitting have a cup of tea with a friend on that verandah, the children running around on the lawn, going down to the front of the block to show their little friends the hollow tree, kangaroos in the neighbouring bush at dusk, flocks of galahs overhead................. Okay, it sounds so superb, but although I want it for our family I don't know the bigger picture of our lives, I don't know the full details of the home, I don't know what God's plans for us over the next 12 months might be. I don't know. And He does. So, I trust Him.

And we'll be patient and we'll wait. :) *Sigh*. Not always easy. ;) But possible.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Day 5

Today hasn't exactly been restful. But it has been productive!

Stu and I have just sat and had a cup of tea after a loooong day and talked about so many things. This house, the other house, the pros, the cons, the last few years and all we've been through... Sad times, good times, silly times, joyful times, broken times - and memories of a friendship we lost last year. We both shed tears and shared some deep thoughts and feelings.
It has been such a blessing just to talk.

Now onto the praying and thinking some more. :) And hopefully sleeping a bit tonight too. Sleep has been a bit elusive lately........

So I guess you want to know if we've come up with anything. We have!! Yes, that big talk did get us somewhere.

Tomorrow morning we are going to make an offer on the house, subject to building, pest, finance and the sale of this house. We'll see if the owner accepts and I'll let you know where we go from there. Phew!! Tomorrow is destined to be another big emotional day. I think I'll go get some zzzzzzz in preparation. :) Goodnight!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Day 4

Well today has been very hot and windy and felt more like summer than spring. I think we're all a little concerned that this year's summer could be pretty hard to bare. Every year seems to get hotter! We may even consider air-conditioning the bedrooms this year.

We had a lovely morning visiting friends on their new property. They have lots of beautiful bushland, some paddocks being fenced at the moment for goats (other animals to be added later!) and a nice clearing where they are building their dream home. Right now they're living in a very well set up shed and it's all looking amazing. They are doing the vast majority of the work themselves. With 3 little children I am so impressed and so happy for them! After a huge walk exploring the land Stuart took our kids home for lunch and rests and Petrina and I headed to town to have lunch and coffee and a girly chat. :) SO nice! To have uninterrupted conversation with a friend is a rare treat when you have children, isn't it?!

This afternoon we spoke to our real estate agent by phone and arranged a visit for tomorrow afternoon. He'll be having a look at our home and giving us an idea of how much he realistically thinks we could sell for. Then we'll know whether or not to make a move on the other house. It's a process of being patient and trusting that whatever God decides for us is best. I know that will be a challenge at times but it's already been so good to journey this with the children.

With our agent coming tomorrow this afternoon became a little manic. :) Stu needed to go to town for a couple of hours so the children and I worked hard in the yard and back patio area, cleaning and tidying, weeding and making things look neat. After tea tonight I scrubbed the kitchen walls, the ceiling area over the stove, the windows in the kitchen and the whole oven area. Yuck! :( All done though, and looking much better! Tonight I'll be sorting my Messy Bench. Yes, I give it capitals because it is a resident member of the family. It's been with us consistently since we've lived here. How I'd love to NOT have a resident Messy Bench in our next home though!! I wonder what the chances are.......

Tomorrow morning I'll be cleaning the rest of the house. Bathroom, floors, mopping, dusting. Maybe baking something so the house smells good. :) I know it's not an actual inspection but I really want the agent's first impression of our home to be "Wow, this is beautiful!". Would you pray for this process alongside me, please friends? I'd be so grateful!

In other news, the children have been having a blast creating with all the Toy Library resources I picked up for them last Saturday. I love our Toy Library!

They're also relishing having their Papa home every day this week! It is such a blessing to be together and it's at these times that I'm so thankful Stuart is a teacher. :) Thank you Lord!!

Now off to tackle that mess............

Monday, September 21, 2009

Day 3.......

...... of our spring holidays has been beautiful. :)

We woke up this morning with a strong desire to go back and have a second look at a house we went through a few weeks ago. So after a quiet morning in, and the grocery shopping achieved, we drove out to visit it again. Yes, we still love it. Yes, we are thinking about making an offer on it. No, I don't know if it is financially viable- we will be looking into that this week. Yes, we are all feeling a touch excited and the children are wondering if this could be God's plan for our family - and hoping it is!! All we know so far is that it is in His hands, and I trust that.

One of the things we love most about this home is that it is out of town just enough to be leafy and peaceful and quiet, there is plenty of room to move and grow and play - but still only a short drive into town. The best of both worlds.

It is also just a few minutes away from one of our favourite places to visit, a wildlife reserve and parkland. We decided to have a picnic afternoon tea there today after the house inspection. I went a little nuts with the camera. It is truly a beautiful place, very good for photographs! Couldn't imagine living so close to this - what a blessing that would be.

I pushed this little guy on the swing for a good half hour!

Stu flew the kite with the big kids.

It's a great playground and the children had a good time monkey-barring and sliding and climbing.
The council has done a lovely job turning this park into something special. The gardens are filled with lots of statues of Australian animals made by local artists.

And across the bridge you enter another world...........

A celebration of early pioneer life in Australia! More statue fun.

"Up you go Elijah, I'll help!!"......

He did it!!!

Saraya likes the chance to use the camera too (and I'm usually her 'model' ;)

I'm loving having my man all to myself this week, yay! He's so wonderful. :)

Elijah was all into the 'posing' today - he kept asking me to take his photo "like this Mama, now like this Mama, now like this Mama ....... " You get the idea....

Blue skies, warm spring breezes, dreams and possibilities.

It's been a good day!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Day 1, Day 2

Day 1

Stu slept in. The kids and I relaxed in our pj's for a long time. :)
I took Will out to run a few errands. Toy Library - check. Buy chicken feed - check. Get a coffee at Between the Buns on the way down Bazaar Street - check. ;) Yes, I think I may be addicted!

I spent some time at home cooking, washing, dinner prep etc. then headed out in the afternoon for a few hours of relaxation. Ahhhhh. :) Stu kept the children at home and I went with a friend to a Stampin' Up party, and purchased a few bits and pieces to get me started in my new passion of card making! I can't wait for my order to arrive so I can start creating!

Nachos for tea, tucked the little ones in, then watched a program on SBS with Stuart last night. And talked and talked and stayed up too late, and it's feeling like holidays. Yay!

Day 2

Well I'm not feeling so good today, just feeling a bit achy and very tired so I'm taking it pretty easy so far. :) The children have only just got dressed and it's already 10:30.....

I don't know what our plans are - maybe 'more of the above'? I have written a list of what I would like to get done these holidays so will chat with Stu later about how we might fit it all in. :) I love plans and lists! So exciting!! One of the things is getting our children's books/toys/learning materials all sorted and presented more nicely, and Stu and the kids spontaneously started a big clean up of that already this morning which made me smile. :) He must have 'read my mind'......

I'm starting to think about Christmas gifts and cards and we're also beginning to talk more seriously about our dreams of getting a puppy dog soon - lots to look forward to in the coming months!

Hope you're having a relaxed and happy Sunday!

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Do I sound excited? I am!!! Stuart has had so much on this last week of term we've hardly seen him ........... but now things can slow down for all of us. Two weeks together, yay!!!

Yesterday we had a day at home, which started with Stuart dressing for work - in his pirate suit. Of course. :) Remember this post? See, he really is a pirate!!! Okay, not really. Today is "Talk Like a Pirate Day" in Australia and yesterday he had some activities running with the Prep children, treasure hunts and things like that. So he wore his pirate costume. ;) Any excuse!

Don't the crutches make it look so authentic?!

Saraya and Elijah helped me clean the house from top to bottom and turned the whole thing into a game of Cinderella. Saraya was Cinder-ella and Elijah apparently was Cinder-matthew. :) These guys just crack me up! He eventually became Prince Charming and this photo is of them dancing at the ball (see the glass slipper made from a Coles catalogue?)

William also helped with the dusting.

And played with the train set naked.

No, not another poo incident thankfully! Just a little boy who loves the chance to play clothes-free whenever I'll let him.

Elijah spent some time playing Reader Rabbit on the computer.

And Saraya worked away on an art and writing project.

We went to playgroup in the afternoon, and the children wore their swimmers. Don't ask why, because I don't know. :) I think they just found them in the linen cupboard and got all excited about summer coming! Here they are doing their swimming pose. And yes, Elijah is wearing Saraya's old swim shorts.....

The linen cupboard door got left open. So William unpacked the entire bottom couple of shelves for me. Hmmmmm.
Then kindly offered to help me put it all back.

After dinner the two boys played a very noisy game in the front room with the inflatable car (thanks Grandad, the kids still love it!) but Saraya was oblivious to everything around her. She was reading, and when she's reading she hears nothing, including my voice. :) Not that I'm complaining. I couldn't be happier that she loves reading so much!

And today is Saturday and the sky is glorious and we're on our spring holiday and I'm thankful.

"I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart;
..... and praise your name
for your love and your faithfulness,
for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.

The Lord will fulfil his purpose for me;
your love, O Lord, endures for ever-
do not abandon the works of your hands." Psalm 138


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