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Monthly Memories – February 2012

Angela’s Choice Time and Learning in Review posts have long been some of my favourite posts to read.  It has often been my intention to attempt a poor imitation, with Kylie’s launching of Monthly Memories I have been finally spurred to put finger to keyboard.

Endeavouring to capture the learning highlights of the past six weeks.

Our greatest achievement is the completion of All About Spelling Level 3 with Princess and the older boys.
The spelling ability of all the children has benefited immensely as a result of AAS.  They now have the tools to puzzle out a word and have become more consciously aware of the intricacies of the written language.  Often a child will discuss and analyse a spelling rule in everyday speech, these moments of connection are rather exciting.



Consistent, steady progress in Maths, Science, Language Arts and the Humanities.  It’s taken a few years to get there but we have settled into a regular rhythm. By outlining our desired outcomes on a term basis, the parameters give us structure and yet we allow room for flexibility.  We have discovered discipline in Maths and Language Arts to be foundationally important, although our Science and Humanities are always open to change if a new interest occurs.


  • Regular ‘elocution’ readings from our older readers is resulting in clearer diction.
  • Carpenter has discovered a renewed love of books for genre other than fantasy.
  • Carpenter is enjoying is Scriptural studies
  • Einstein enjoyed learning about the History of Medicine
  • Einstein is challenging himself in Maths and making great progress.
  • Michelangelo designed and created a catapult, inspired by his Science and Technology.
  • Michelangelo is keen to master new computer technology, we’ve undertaken some basic excel spreadsheets and he taught himself how to do a powerpoint presentation.  He then taught Princess and they presented a few of their narrations this way.
  • Princess has undertaken to direct her learning, negotiating her studies, what she will learn, what she will study and how she will present her learnings.
  • Princess is consistently writing 4 narrations a week!
  • Jelly Bean is learning multiplication and division and picking it up quickly.
  • Jelly Bean is working on re-correcting her letter positioning.
  • Jack Jack has moved from sounds to reading words with ease.
  • Jack Jack narrates his Faith stories with clarity.
  • Documentaries Watched

Horrible Histories Season 1 

The children were enthralled with this and regaled us with many historical facts.  The ditties were catchy and we were impressed with how much was learnt in such an effortless way.  Michelangelo and Princess in particular were fascinated. 

Spontaneous Learning
Some of my favourite moments in our home education journey is when our children take up an area of interest and learn of their own volition.
  • Einstein became very engrossed with Genghis Kahn. Not even certain how this came about, but he spent hours researching his life and conquerings, they were simply slaughterers, they slaughtered anything in their path, man and animal alike. Einstein rather enthusiastically was narrating his discoveries to me, he also read a bit about his grandson.  Then Einstein decided he would write an essay on Genghis Kahn, which I’m looking forward to reading when he has declared it ready
  • Michelangelo dug deep with Greek mythology (see reading list below).  He spent hours reading different myths.  We had one of those ‘aha’ moments when we came across the word Hades and he now had the knowledge to know what it meant.
  • As mentioned briefly above, Princess decided that she wanted to learn with living books only.  So for each of her subjects she chooses what sub-topic and what book she will read.  She is focusing on American History, Short Saint stories and Birds for Science.  Each week she selects a book in that area, reads and narrates.  She is really enjoying all three of these areas and it is totally impressing me to receive 3-4 typed narrations each week, some a full page from a 10 year old.  Believe me this has never happened before!


Mostly the trampoline has been this month’s choice of play, hours and hours of perfecting new tricks.


The moment that I realised Jelly Bean can indeed read, she is this close_ to being an independent reader:)  She bemoans that she can’t, she resists daily effort, after all it is work, but can read easy readers with little help and is very close to easy chapter books.



The consuming reading  of books, in particular living books comprises the bulk of our learning.Audio Books
The Hobbit
The Silver Chair
The Magician’s Nephew (all listened to by Michelangelo only)

Our Family Read Aloud
All of a Kind of Family – Sydney Taylor
Linnets & Valerians – Elizabeth Goudge

Poetry –  Our focus has been Australian poets.  The younger children have been enjoying a huge pile of individual illustrated picture books. Our aim is to enjoy at least 10 poems per week.
The older boys have been enjoying various poems from Around the Boree Log such as;  Tangmalangaloo and “We’ll All be Rooned” Said Hanrahan.

The Man From Ironbark – AB Patterson
Waltzing Matilda
The Bush Christening
Mulga Bill’s Bicycle
Rattling in the Wind
Fur & Feathers – AB Patterson
Old Man Platypus – AB Patterson
Weary Will – AB Patterson
A Dog’s Mistake – AB Patterson
With My Swag All On My Shoulder
The Wild Colonial Boy
The Drover’s Dream
The Oath of Bad Brown Bill
Benjamin Bandicoot – AB Patterson
The Day McDougall Topped the Score

Collections- Oxford Children’s Collection, Laurel and the Harp, Around the Booree Log

Picture Books
We aim to read at least 10 books per week.
The Little House – Virginia Lee Burton
Little Mo – Martin Waddell
Where’s My Kitten – Michele Coxon
Spike and the Cowboy Band – Fern Hollow
Emmas’ Lamb – Kim Lewis
Dilly-Dally and the Nine Secrets – Elizabeth MacDonald
The Patchwork Cat – Nicola Bayley
When We Went to the Zoo – Jan Ormerod
A Bit of Company – Margaret Wild
Luke’s Way of Looking – Nadia Wheatley
Thank you Amelia Bedelia – Peggy Parish
Teddy and me Pretend to Be
Let’s Go Home Little Bear – Martin Waddell
Bush Walk – Tricia Oktober
Goldilocks and the Three Bears – Mireille Levert
Up the Wooden Hill – Sam McBratney
Bush Song – Tricia Oktober
My Brown  Bear Barney in Trouble – Dorothy Butler
The Tram to Bondi Beach – Libby Hathorn
Stellaluna – Janell Cannon
Pobblebonks – Garry Fleming
Little Platypus – Nette Hilton
The Pear in the Pear Tree – Pamela Allen
Sail Away the Ballad of Skip & Nell – Mem Fox
The Magic Hat – Mem Fox
Possum Magic – Mem Fox
Time for Bed – Mem Fox
Hattie & the Fox – Mem Fox
Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge – Mem Fox
Miss Bilby – Colin Thiele

African Picture Books
Mbobo Tree – Glenda Millard
Adventures of Riley – Safari in South Africa – Amanda Lumry
Snuggle Up, Sleepy Ones – Claire Freedman
Can Your Hear the Sea? – Judy Cumberbatch
Osa’s Pride – Ann Grifalconi
Catch That Goat – Polly Alakija
A Song for Jamela – Niki Daly
Enormous Elephant – Mwenye HadiThi
Amazing Animals Super Safari – Tony Mitton
Matemba – Annette Lodge
Lila and the Secret of Rain – David Conway

Individual Reading
Philadelphia Catholic in King James Court (Faith)
Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens (5 chapters)
Weka-Feather Cloak – Leo Madigan
Time Riders Book 1 – Alex Scarrow
Time Riders Book 2 – Alex Scarrow
Sabriel – Garth Nix (not rec. for all. many caveats)

Scarlet Pimpernel – Baroness Orczy
To Kill a Mockinbird – Harper Lee
Genghis Khan (see above)
Time Rider Bk 1 _ Alex Scarrow
Time Riders Book 2 – Alex Scarrow
Agatha Christie Mystery Vol 5
Hit and Run

Tusk, SOS – Colin Bateman
Greek Mythology
The Warrior Goddess – Doris Gates
Tales the Muses Told – Roger Lancelyn Green
Myth Stories of Greece & Rome – Gladys Davidson
Lord of the Sky – Doris Gates
Exploits of Hercules Jedi Quest
Middle Ages
Medieval Tales – Jennifer Westwood

Ranger’s Apprentice Ruins of Gorlan
Ranger’s Apprentice Burning Bridge
Ranger’s Apprentice Icebound Land
Ranger’s Apprentice Oakleaf Bearers
Ranger’s Apprentice The Sorcerer in the North
Ranger’s Apprentice Bk6 &
Ranger’s Apprentice Erik’s Ransom
Too Deep 39 Clues
Jedi Apprentice The Rising Force
Jedi Apprentice The Dark Rival

Saints for Home &
School Six O’Clock Saints
American History
The Secret Soldier, Deborah Sampson
The Story of Ben Franklin – Eve Merriam
Keep the Lights Burning Abbie
Helen Keller
Louis Braille
A House of their Own (little House)
Early British History 
Eagle’s Egg – Rosemary Sutcliffe
Uncle Edie & the Croc – Lucy Farmer (Africa)
Uncle Edie & the Hippos – Lucy Farmer (Africa)
Magic School Bus Dinosaur Detectives (Science)
Magic School Bus Expedition Down Under (Science)
Ruby Throat Hummingbird
Hazel the Guinea Pig – AN Wilson
Big Ben – Jenny Dale

Ranger’s Apprentice Bk 3
Ranger’s Apprentice Bk 4
The Pink Motel – Carol Ryrie Brink

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  • Anonymous

    Wow! I'm impressed … they are prolific readers across a wide spectrum … and I thought they spent all their waking hours on their computers! PC

  • Kylie

    wow and double wow, what a great record of all the books!!

    That's why I like reflection posts, lets hope we can keep the momentum going 😉

    I hope to have the other images ready for next month, thanks for the ideas on those 🙂

  • Chareen

    thanks for the record of books. I am pleased to see the Africa list as we are working through Africa this month and I was looking for some books.

    PS where did the threaded commenting go ??

  • Therese

    wow Erin. That is an impressive list.

    I also realised this week, just how much I do with Christopher. I have been putting his worksheets into a folder and was quite surprised to see how quickly it has grown.

  • Sarah

    What great reading in your household this month. I'd be very curious to know Princess's opinion of Sutcliff's "Eagle's Egg." That's one Sutcliff I've never read (or even heard of) but we're big Sutcliff fans in this home.

  • Linda

    Wow! That is impressive! It is certainly a list to be proud of.

    We are loving horrible histories as well – one day, I'll be able to get the 'Kings and Queens of England' song out of my head, but sadly, not yet. 🙂

    What did Carpenter think of 'A Tale of Two Cities'? I had it on our reading list this year as well, but I just couldn't grasp the story-line, so we've changed it to 'A Christmas Carol' instead.

    We've not read 'Philadelphia Catholic in King James Court' as yet – but it is on our shelf. What do you think of it? What ages would you recommend it for?

    God bless,

  • Angel

    Love your list of Australian poetry, Erin! It's something we never hear about in the US.

    And this post is definitely not a "poor attempt!" What a great list of resources!

  • Erin

    Great idea of yours, and I've already had interest from another friend for next time:) are you sick of my ideas yet?:)

    Thought the African ones would interest you, I really need to do a book review post on them.
    I removed the threaded for the present as it really bothered us that to see comments it had to reboot the whole page, not just a comment pop up window. Actually I've been meaning to ask you how we can leave feedback with blogger about issues like that.

    And the library has vol 2.

    So nice to know you thought the list impressive, actually it wasn't until I sat down to write this post I realised just how much reading my children do.

    Princess said not interesting (she is 10) it is only a very slim book.

    C didn't read past chp 5 as he couldn't 'get it'. Love, Love Philly Cath, moved my children too. Actually parts of the story line irritate me, poor parenting however, still very effective as an apologetics novel. I wouldn't give to a child under 14.

    I LOVE aust poetry, I should write about it more. I meant a poor attempt in that I love your style, your thinking of philosophy, hopefully I can eventually get my brain into that paradigm.

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