Saturday, April 28, 2012

Weekly MissEd - Enrichments

Time for our week in review (finally starting to implement this!)

We've been overhauling the house (as per past posts) so have stopped our unit studies and anything else we had going on.

But heres a few activities we have done in the past week:

- Checked out some Ipad/Iphone Apps

- Volcano Play - We used the Pocket Volcano from Mad About Science. First I filled the chamber with baking soda, and the kids took turns pouring vinegar into it. Then once the bottle of vinegar was used up and all in the bottom of the tub, I poured it into two seperate bowls, and added Blue Food Colouring to one and Green to the other. I then filled the tub with baking soda, and they played with that for a little bit. Once that got boring, I gave them spoons and let them pour the coloured vinegar onto the baking soda to create wonderful fizzles. For a little while, Atlas commented it looked like earth. Then they had glorious fun upending the bowls into the tub and watching giant eruptions everywhere. They then used the spoons to stir it into a thick gooey mess and spooned that back into the bowls. It probably would of been fun to then do some sort of painting with it, but we didn't have time.

- Science Tub Play - We got out some new toys from the science place (Sticky wall bugs, stretchy sticky octopus and a Magnet Set) The girls had fun throwing the Bugs and the Octopus at the windows and a couple of times onto the ceiling. Chaos was blissfully unaware of the goings-on as he was very much into his new Magnet Set (he loves magnets). We spent a good hour playing with these, and then I brought out the Caterpillar (winds up, then moves similar to a real caterpillar) the kids had fun trying it on different surfaces, Chaos was upset it wasn't magnetic (lol) and tried to follow it with his magnets and the girls took turns putting their bugs on the back of the caterpillar for a ride.

We also found this new site:

We Give Books
 - You can read free (good) books online, from DK Books to Picture Books to Madeline.

Heres a little bit about how it works:

We Give Books is a free website that enables anyone with access to the Internet to put books in the hands of children who don't have them, simply by reading online.
Simply choose the charity you want to read for and then select the books you want to read. For each book you read online, we donate a book to a leading literacy group on your behalf.
The more you read, the more we give.

So you get to read free books, and help out others! Amazing. We've signed up and have our own little library going on. tea's ready! Catch you next week

Miss E,

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Loungeroom Overhaul

So, I finished overhauling the library (a few posts back) now it's the loungerooms turn.

I actually did both the kids bedroom & the loungeroom one after the other over a couple of days, as I switched furniture out.

The kids room was always a mess. They had a bookshelf in there that books would constantly fall off of, their play kitchen which clothes and other items would disappear beneath and two toy storage boxes. Their clothes, books, toys etc, would just make this overflow of mess that was hard to contain. And there was no room to add a conventional laundry basket to contain dirty clothes. Now its been cleared. The cats frequently spend their night on the toy kitchen :p

The loungeroom is a weird L shape, with another L added onto it via hallways. This means it would be practically impossible to have a couch in there (ridiculous I know, but I saw the last persons set up before we purchased the place, and having a couch in there means you need to shuffle round and can hardly move. So this was set up as DH's den. It has his armchair and big TV and his PS3 (men and their toys.) since it was his domain, but also held all the various electronics (phone, DVD player, modems, routers etc) that entire area was a BIG, ENORMOUSE jumble of tangled cords/wires (seriously, if you know me IRL, you know this is my nightmare....I hate tangled cords....I have been known to just completely disconnect everything throw the jumbled mess into a storage tub, close the lid and toss it in the garage). At the top of the lounge/L is our giant cat tree. The cats only use the cat tree when the dogs are in the house, elsewise they are inside the curtains basking in the sun.

The room are now clean, tidy and organized.

Kids Room: Everything but the bed was removed (the kids share a king size bed for the moment, they prefer to snuggle with each other over being alone *awww*) The Cat Tree (with a LOT of humphing and hawing) was moved my moi into the bedroom. I told DH he now HAS to do the raingutter bookshelves if he wants anywhere to put the books :p I hopefully have lit enough of a fire under him that it should be done sometime in the next few weeks. A Laundry basket will be put behind the kids door now that there's room. The cats were gloriously happy to have the cat tree in that room and spent a majority of the evening glaring down at everyone from the top of it.

Lounge: Kept DH's "den", but completely removed all the wires, cleaned under everything, and slightly moved the corner shelf, now all wires are labelled, OCD'ed :p, wound up and taped (or wound and used twisty wires to hold), and are all nice and neat (now this was a LOT of effort.....where's that medal? :p), with the cat tree gone, I had that weird top of L hallway bit, so I have put the kids bookshelf, the big wooden toybox, our mini chalkboard table & chairs, and our cane chair, as well as all of our wooden baskets there, and this will become the kids nature/seasons nook. They can play, and bring in items from outdoors etc...more on this later :p

Next up I have to start catching up a bit on the washing and moving some storage items from my room to the storage room. The next "real" challenge will be re-organizing the bathroom (boring to you guys :p ) and then the kitchen/dining (which is basically more cleaning...boring) and the teachers closet (*gulp* ummm....its a mess in there.....I may need chocolate before I attempt that)

Miss E.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Your friend in the fridge

The following is an unedited conversation with my daughter.......

Atlas: What friends did you have when you were younger mummy...

Mummy: (I was trying to type something out) ....Well, I had an invisible friend. A pretend friend no-one else could see.

Atlas: I have a pretend friend.....she moved away

Mummy: um....*trying not to laugh*

Atlas: What? She moved out of the fridge.....her bed was made of ice-cream.

At that point I lost touch with reality for a few seconds and couldn't stop laughing. BTW, this was during her curiously asking about Egyptians and the Afterlife/embalming etc, so this conversation just came out of nowhere.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Pinterest Projects are HAZARDOUS

You walk onto pinterest (well your fingers walk, but same old, same old) and find all these amazing projects, kid inspired crafts and things that SHOULD you actually do them, rather than pinning and forgetting, will make you the best mother in the world. *snort* yeah.

This is a myth. There are many seemingly innocent projects that can go extremely awry.

We have done many of these pinterest projects, and is about 80/20 (80% goes awry) An example of one is the "Bubble Snake Maker"

This activity looks great! Your kids will count you as the fun mother who provided an amazing activity to keep them occupied all afternoon. So ^ above is what this should look like. I know its usually meant for older kids, but my children (6) (4) (3) are great at doing this sort of thing! After all, they can blow bubbles in the milk and create an overflowing volcano with the straw, so this seems like the perfect NO. Just NO.

What actually happened went something like this: "Hey kids, look what super cool mummy made!" **oooooooohhhhhh** "So what you do is this (demonstrates)" **yyeeeeyyyy, our go, our go** "Okay, have fun!" The kids then proceed to "breathe in" with their lips over the bottle **cack cack, cough, cough** "Oh, silly Chaos, you okay? Sweetie you breathe out through in, see (over exaggerates on breathing in away from bottle, and blowing out in bottle) so do you want to try again?" **yes, yes, I do it** ............. **cack cack, cough cough**

Yep. I had to end up being the "bad" mummy and confiscating the "Snake Maker".

Do you have any Pinterest projects that flopped?

Contemplating the MESS!

I'm sitting here....procrastinating as usual (this time its procrastinating in going to bed......during the day I am tired, then once everyone else is in bed, I enjoy my quiet & alone time so much, I have the singular thought "I can sleep when I'm dead".

Upon my procrastination journey through Pinterest (My link to my boards is right over there >>>) I started thinking about the mess children make and the myths some people seem to believe (that or they have major denial mode kicking in, I am guilty of this too). They think if they limit or take away the toys, this will limit the mess.

I am coming forward to say THIS IS NOT TRUE. Children have the imagination & determination to make a mess from whatever comes to hand. Locking your cabinets & cupboards won't help either. Gosh forbid you leave one singulat cupboard unlocked, they will find that cupboard and create mass destruction.

My children are capable of making the GROSSEST mess compiled just of their lunch ingredients & paper. I can go into my beautiful just cleaned loungeroom, and find that they have left the dining area, jettisoned themselves across the house, and created a mess of crumbs, crust, apple skin and cut up miniscule paper ALL OVER my just vacuumed carpet. They have got this routine down pat to two minutes. 120 seconds and the loungeroom goes from decor magazine to landfill. AND for the LOVE of all that is holy, do NOT let my children get a hold of tomato sauce or peanut butter. I made the mistake of leaving both on the benchtop whilst I went out back to feed the dogs. BIGGEST mistake ever. I came back inside to find one of the dining chairs re-upholstered with peanut butter, said butter was trailed all across the wall, into the hallway across my whitegoods, and smeared all around the walls of the bathroom. The entire tomato sauce bottle was upended on my carpet. Cleaning peanut butter off the toilet wall has to be the most gross situation.

And my children aren't the only ones to try to dip into my never-ending patience. My DH has big feet, thus big shoes, and has the habit of taking them off in the middle of the hall, middle of doorway, middle of room, anywhere where I am likely to go a** over t** and nearly kill myself.

And the final drama? The toilet paper has to be locked away. The children will rip it into pieces and create snowmen, and if they don't touch it and you leave it (h I don't know, where its MEANT to be) then the cats seem to think the TP is some sort of alien bent on attacking them, as you'll wake up to it shredded into pieces and them still skulking around waiting for the TP to attack again.

I gave up on rugs about a year ago, after going through about 10 rugs in 7 years. My children seem to congregate around the rug, and plot ways for its demise. This includes, but is not limited to: - Yoghurt splats, leaving their "leavings" (when they were younger of course), said tomato sauce, stashing noodles and rice just to smoosh into rugs, and many other bewildering situations.

Now don't get me wrong, my children, DH & my cats are nice, good people. :D They just have certain creative centers that seem to focus on destructive imaginative. If I clean a room, internal sensors on anybody in the house automatically "pings" and knows, and they head towards this lovely shiny room, and become.......NOT my family, people I don't know. They go absolutely barmy, like a snowstorm, until room is suitable for their messy tastes again, they calm down and leave.

Luckily, I have a special secret whenever I am getting frustrated and upset, I just head over to Parenting Illustrated with Crappy Pictures and suddenly, I'm giggling and laughing and everything is okay again, I soldier on.

So whenever your having a bad day, and everyone has got you down, just head to her site, and rest assured, everything will seem okay again :D

Miss E.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Re-organizing & Getting Ready for the New School Term

These days are flying by!

Our new school year will begin 21st May.

I've cleared the schedule for the next month until then to do cleaning (ignored whilst planning, so house is a bomb-site), deep cleaning & maintenance, re-arranging and re-organizing.

I love this idea. The kids know we start school in roughly a month, we've stopped any unit studies/natural learning we had going (although they still learn amazing things every day), and they understand they are helping me get ready for the new school year. They haven't even made a fuss about me slowly taking away all the toys!

I've finished the library (which i'll admit, amidst planning and spreading out on the floor in there, I made the room a mess a couple of times!

Heres the summary of the overhaul to the library:

- Completely cleared & cleaned shelves & cupboards
- Labelled EVERYTHING. lol. Labelled all the shelves, filing cabinet draws and the art cupboard
- Cleared out all the stuff that didn't belong in said drawers & cupboards (what the? TP Holder? 3M Sticky things.....OH so THATs where my otterbox iphone holder went!
- Collected up every book in the house wiped any covers that needed it, and put all books on appropriate shelves
- Recycled books past their prime (sorry kids, Lola & Charlie are falling to pieces)
- Put board books and plain silly kids books (heres your simpsons colouring book Chaos) back into the kids room.
- Put everything back into appropriate cupboard area
- Cleared middle bookshelf for all enrichment/extra activity stuff
- Put return book basket back ontop of art cabinet (temporarily filled with misc craft supplies till I get some organizing baskets etc)

And you know what? I had NO reason to complain! I have PLENTY of room in my little library! I have four empty filing cabinets ready to re-fill with Art Supplies, History/Geo Supplies, Craft Supplies and Science stuff. In my art cabinet there is now room for the pile of scrap paper (all paper before was in the bottom drawer of the filing cabinet, loose and was just everywhere.), pile for the folders/laminating pouches etc, and an empty slot for the copy paper once I release it from my "clutch" (currently under computer table in my bedroom). Bottom shelf has been cleared for misc/more craft supplies, and on the other side I have a clear file crate with suspension folders holding a rainbow of construction paper (and my photo paper at the back). Also managed to fit my year plans into the top shelf of the bookshelf.

I'm SO excited, I actually have a workable library with loads of room :D

Next up, I have started on the loungeroom, so once I clear, and clean that tornado of a room, I figured out what to do with that weird shape of our "loungeroom" (our house was originally one not really meant for kids, so the lounge is a mini L shape thats very odd, I have an expanse of narrow room (or wide hall) back to the library. I'm going to make this into a Nature Area! :D We're studying biology/life science this year, so we're going to be having a little area to congregate our nature supplies,put all our critters, and its also going to be a little waldorf-inspired play area for collected nature supplies (think nature table/shelves, waldorf playscape, seasonal tables, that sort of thing) It'll give me something to do with all of these wicker baskets I have collected to (everyone keeps GIVING them to me for some reason :/ LOL)

My plans are to get the Dino-scape/cardboard playset up tommorrow night (pics!) and I'll also hopefully find somewhere they have them in stock so I can link.

Right....enough procrastinating (although in my defence I am waiting for the vacuum cleaner to charge up again :p) back to work for me.

P.S. Yes, will get pics of school areas, once they are stocked, right now, they are looking empty till DH raids the postman :p

Miss E.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A timeline of Me: What I actually look like

So any coming across me on any forum, will see my "classic" avatar

But what do I ACTUALLY look like? Well, it changes any given day. Yes, I do need glasses, no, most of the time I don't wear them. Actually I need to go get some more, I have been through so many pairs over the years, I just sort of gave up :p (My children spent about 4 long years consistently destroying each pair of glasses I got)

This is me about 7 years ago (sans makeup, professional photographer)

And about the same time, a photo taken by myself, with makeup:

And this was about 18 months ago, (sans makeup, self-taken)

And this was sometime last year (camera phone, no make-up, and obviously annoyed that I had to take a photo of myself (I hate photos) No trickery. My kids wall is Purple, and my hair is RAINBOW

I've sort of been ignoring my hair of late, which means I have plentiful roots of my natural hair colour (which I haven'y seen since my teens, I'm naturally a sort of mousey blonde that sparkles and changes with the sun, I didn't like it because of the sterotypes and it was that fair (and my hair was already fine) that it looked like from far away that I was bald Oo )

So my avatar would be me, before I became a rainbow fairy, if I was a good girl wearing my glasses (and not squinting at everything) and probably just after I have had a shower :p Elsewise I pretty much look like the above pics (or a fair amount worse). So I much prefer my avatar, its pretty much putting my best face forward, so to speak.

Oh and Dressing Gown and Uggboots are my wardrobe staple when home ;)

Miss E.

Monday, April 16, 2012


That is a current simple fact.

Its been one week since I last blogged (I promised myself to regularly update this blog) and what do I have to show for it? NOTHING.

Oh, its not like I have been sitting around doing nothing, on the contrary, I am have been running around like a chicken with its head cut-off.

But anything I have done is not photo-blog worthy, not even photo-less blog worthy. A WHOLE post about nothing. Interesting!

I finished the basis of my planning, its all done and raring to go, unfortunately, instead of purchasing the camera I said I would.....I went and bid (and won) an Ipad. Well it was cheap and I REALLY needed one. Apart from the obvious fact that I seem to be the only homeschooling mother without one (or so it seems when you ask for suggestions for resources/curriculums and everyone replies with ipad apps) I actually DID have quite a number of personal reasons I needed it. The main being DS learns so much from my iphone, but has problems with the small screen, another is that I desperately needed a place for my picture book ebooks (Kindle DX does not work so well for colour picture books).

I've also been getting stuff for the continent boxes, purchasing online supplies needed, and helping to edit a really, really cool Living Maths book. But none of it is really blog-worthy on its own (well the LM book is, but I am really not at liberty to say more right now :p )

I am hoping my old camera magically appears and I can get just a few photos out of it of the binders, but at least I have done my duty and not let a week go by without blogging ;)

Hopefully in the next few days (still busy with that book) I can get onto my other computer and upload pics of this really cool Dinosaur book my son has been playing with.

Until then, I think I am going to sleep. I think I've come down with the flu :(

Till next time
Miss Edumacated

Monday, April 9, 2012

Planning & Organising...The Circle of Life

I've had a few people PM me in one of the many forums I visit, in hopes that I will have that "perfect" planning/organising/scheduling solution for them.

I'm afraid I probably don't

I'm good for ideas, but won't be able to come up with a solution for your unique situation, why? Because only you can do that.

The fact of the matter is, NO-ONE will have a perfect planner system that will work for every single year of their child/ren's homeschooling journey. They may have one that they "make do" with for the whole of the cycle, if its not in them to come up with something different or change it.

Because your children & you, all change throughout the homeschooling journey. Just because a particular curriculum or planner may work for you this year, does not mean it will work next year. In fact, in most cases, it won't. It's in us to evolve, change & re-arrange, so this comes across in our learning styles and in the way we organize.

Last year we went with the workbox/filebox/crate system. And this worked brilliantly, for that year, if you'll remember we were also using Sonlight, already planned out, and I could just dump the appropriate sheets into that weeks folder. This year, I started to plan that way, only to realize, I just had too many sheets in each weeks folder, I am putting together my own whole curriculum from different curriculums/resources. The sheets were getting bent, the box wasn't holding up to the weight and it was just generally starting to be annoying.

This year we are going with a binder system ala Sonlight style. I think this will work quite well (I will be photo-blogging next weekend on the whole binder system, so you'll have more info then.

What about next year? Well I can tell you now, the binder system probably won't work for us then. Next year I will have 1 in preschool, 1 in Kindergarten/Prep & 1 in 2nd Grade. The Binder will just be too all over the place, everything won't fit in unless I have about 10 binders, and it will just be higgledy-piggledy. My initial plan thinking now, will probably be to mostly use Proclick Binding to make whatever subjects into individual books. I will probably have one folder for stuff like pre-k/kinder stuff. I will also pro-click the lesson planner. So everything will be via child & subject, then student & Teachers manuals

And What about the year after that? Well....thats quites a whiles away :p But since by then, the children can really start having individual subjects and not relying on me to initiate each subject (the youngest will be in prep/kinder by then) I will probably get on the Workbox/drawer wagon and follow that. or individual weekly books, or student binders etc.

Right now, all subjects are pretty much teacher intensive as my kids are young. I have to hand everything out, explain everything, and generally lead the whole herd through the day :p. So as such, I have to look at ideas best meant for the "teacher" and not directed towards the student.

The Point being, don't get frustrated if your current planning isn't working out. It happens to the best of us, and your system will always be evolving! I think probably the best chance you have of finding a "perfect" planner is finding someone in a similar situation (curriculum wise) and with similarly (is that a word? hmmm...dictionary time after this!) aged children, and see what they are using.

Try to remember what styles you are currently using, as this most affects your end planner. (e.g. if you are using something like AAR, a workbox system isn't going to work out very well, unless every drawer is filled with "lesson with mum" :D lol )

Good luck with your journey!

Miss Edumacated

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Why I haven't posted for a few days...

I just missed Wordless Wednesday, which would of explained it without writing. I have been snowed under with doing the final notes for my planning sheets (basically the final bit before plonking everything into folders and pronouncing myself done).

Unfortunately this involves a great amount of desk space.......oh and apologies for the picture, I won't be getting a new camera till next wednesday, so this one has been take with my iphone.

Yep. Thats half a giant folding table (the kind they set-up for markets or impromptu meetings :p ) You don't want to see the other, trust me on this. I think I have enough energy drinks to create a life size pyramid. Plus 2 bottles of tomato sauce....because, yeah, there just essential on your desk.

So once I find the table again, I will post more...I promise :D

Miss Edumacated