Today I’m meeting families from all around the world at Simple Homeschool’s Global Link Up. This concludes the Read the World Book Club, which despite a keen desire to do participate in didn’t eventuate for us. Come on over and join in the Globe Hop.
Tell us about your family.
Hi, I’m Erin. I’m passionate about all things books, have a developing passion for photography and a self-taught skill for juggling large family logistics.
My husband is my Prince Charming and incredibly skilled in many areas. His career is in Finance with a talent for Excel and databases. He moonlights on weekends as an owner building, building our large home and modeling a ‘can do’ attitude and aptitude.
We are blessed with ten children ranging from 23-2 years; four girls, six boys. Our oldest three have graduated, moving into the world of College and the workforce. We are currently homeschooling six children and chasing a toddler, who appears to be a six year old in disguise.
Our children are an independent mob who love roaming our bush, assisting us in building our home and escaping always into the land of books.
Tell us about where you live and how long you’ve lived there.
We live on the North Coast of NSW just outside a regional City. Timber, cattle, fishing, trucking and horse racing are the mainstay industries of our district. Our City is built alongside the most magnificent River, the second largest river in mainland Australia and we’re only a short drive to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and a slightly longer drive to several National Parks, some which sit on the Great Dividing Range.
We’ve lived in this City for twenty one years and on our rural property for ten. We are blessed to be raising our children on 147 acres(59 hectares) only minutes from town, where they are free to enjoy a rural lifestyle. Exploring our bush land, swimming in the dam, driving the dune buggy and enjoying our native wildlife.
What do you think is unique and special about living where you do?
The North Coast is home to some of Australia’s most beautiful beaches, indeed some of the best surfing beaches in the world. We are also surrounded by many National Parks including some that are World Heritage listed. Yet we are only a few hours drive to the Gold Coast and several hours to both the capital cities of NSW and Queensland. Whilst our ‘town’ is classed a city due to population it retains a town atmosphere.
Living on a rural property we have been blessed over the past ten years to experience much wildlife. Each morning we are greeted by mobs of kangaroos, and hear the laughing of kookaburras, we’ve been blessed by the rare appearance of a koala, seen a huge variety of birds and other smaller wildlife such as goannas and echidnas. Not all Australians are as fortunate to see such an abundance of wildlife.
What languages are spoken there? If it’s different from English, can you help us learn a few common phrases?
English is Australia’s official language. Although Australia is a multicultural nation with a quarter of Australians born overseas, many families do not continue to be bilingual. Our Indigenous Nations have around sixty languages alive today, and English is not the first language for our more remote Indigenous families. Language is being revitalised in other Nations with particular success with our local Bundjalung people who are the Traditional Custodians of our area along with the Gumbaingirr and Yaegl Nations.
Whilst we do speak English, Australian’s ‘dialect’ isn’t quite the same as other English speaking nations and therefore not always easily understood by visitors from other lands. We have expressions such as:
See ya this arvo – see you this afternoon
Chockers – very full
Esky – cooler, insulated food and drink container
Fair Dinkum – true, real, genuine
Mozzie – mosquito
Servo – gas station, petrol station
She’ll be right – everything will be all right
Chucking a sickie – taking a day off work when you are not actually sick
Maccas – McDonalds
What are some traditional foods there?
When white people came to Australia only 228 years ago they came from Britain/ Ireland and the United Kingdom influence on our personal food choices is still strong today. Whilst there has been an attempt to generate interest in traditional ‘bush tucker’ it’s mostly a ‘no go’ (not successful) as apparently it tastes awful. Though I have been assured by a family member that ‘roo meat tastes okay if you mince it and considering the amount of kangaroos on our property we should be shooting one a fortnight and supplementing our meat order, we’ll pass.
Today our multicultural nation influences many of the food choices available; Italian and Chinese food have long been popular and more recently Indian food.
Though the most likely choice for a typical Aussie celebration continues to be a barbie with potato and garden salads. Barbie meat generally is snags (sausages), chops (lamb) and steak. Generally guests bring a bowl of salad to contribute.
Our unique claim to fame though are; vegemite, meat pies, lamingtons and pavlovas. Though our Kiwi cousins also claim the pav as theirs.
Tell us about the climate where you live.
Living on the North Coast we notice two seasons, summer and winter, our spring and autumn are ‘extensions’ of summer just with milder temperatures. Summertime we average temperatures of 30C(86F) and winters are generally mild with average temperatures of 20C(68F). Winters tend to last for about six weeks with a few days of ‘cold to the bone’ weather when the wind comes off the Great Dividing Range, mostly though the children spend winter still running around in t-shirts and shorts with bare feet.
What does school look like for the majority of kids where you live?
There are two ‘types’ of schools in Australia, public (government schools) and private, which are either Catholic or Independent schools. All children in Australia wear school uniforms regardless of whether they attend public or private schools.
Primary school is Kindergarten – Grade 6 and Highschool is Grades 7 – 12. Compulsory education begins in Australia at age six though most children begin Kindergarten at five years.
The school day begins around 8.45am and finishes around 3.15pm. For families with both parents working their children may also attend before and after school care on the school grounds. Our school year begins at the end of January and runs through till mid December, we have four terms of ten weeks duration and a two week holiday between each term, then a six week break over summer/Christmas.
What does school look like for your family?
We chose home education for our children before our eldest was born and thus have always educated our children at home. We roughly follow the school terms with some adaptions to suit our family lifestyle. We focus on formal academics each morning, Monday through till Friday, our teenagers continue with a little more academics in the afternoon leaving our younger children free to follow other pursuits.
We focus on laying a firm foundation in the primary years and giving a broad education in the highschool years with room to follow interests. We are predominately a ‘living books’ family, mixed in with some natural learning, our learning style is best described as eclectic.
Are there any special festivals or traditions you’d like to tell us about related to where you live?
Australia Day on Jan 26th, the day the First Fleet landed in 1788 bringing Europeans to our shores is celebrated around the Nation with barbies and fireworks, and many people spend the day at the beach.
ANZAC day is on April 25th and commemorates the landing of the Australian and New Zealand troops at Gallipoli in 1915. Every town across Australia holds services and marches to remember all the Australians who have served, fought and fallen in all of the wars.
Many towns also host local festivals throughout the year, our own city hosts a week long celebration with various activities culminating in day when our townspeople go a ‘little wild’, dye their hair purple, host a free barbie breakie (breakfast), close off the main street to markets and enjoy the festivities.
If you ever had to move away from where you live, what do you think you’d miss most?
The relaxed pace of country life, the friendliness of the people, the bush and wildlife, the weather, our town library. The freedom and independence our children have growing up on a large property being able to explore at will. As I type this our children have currently ridden down to our creek bed and are fossicking for rocks, shaping clay pots and making a bush toilet, one complete with a flush system.
Do you have a favorite book that takes place in your region/country?
Purple Snow -Eric Lobbecke – A picture book featuring our local Festival, so this has a special place in my heart.
Cockatoo has traveled all the way from Australia to Polar Bear’s home to see the white snow. But it’s not what he expects. When he invites his friends to see the purple snow that falls in Australia in summer each year, they laugh and laugh.
Remembering Lionsville – Bronwyn Bancroft Bronwyn Bancroft is a descendant of the Bundjalung people and this picture book is about her memories of growing up in Lionsville, just north-west of our town. I was rather excited to find a book written about the Bundjalung people.