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    ‘Winter Workshops’ Create Enthusiasm

    Term 2 came to a close yesterday here in New South Wales, though we aren’t stopping for a break yet. Partially because we haven’t achieved as much learning as optimal in the past month due to life’s interruptions. Also we’re waiting until our two City boys come home in a fortnight to be able to enjoy their visit for the two weeks they’re here. One of the benefits of home education is we can be flexible and work around family time.   Truthfully though we’re all feeling a little stale, students and teacher, and in need of a change of pace. I’m always of the mind that ‘there’s more than…

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    Recent Creativity In Our Home

      Princess has been totally engaged lately in teaching herself how to draw. We’ve been completely impressed and surprised to see what previously unknown talent she has.   How to Draw books abound on our shelves, so she has plenty of instruction.   Note the detail, the leg line, the eye expression! Princesses of course are a popular theme to draw:)   Michelangelo has been captivated by creating K’nex models.     No surprise really as his mind is wired this way, we call him when we need to ‘think outside the box’, to solve a design problem, to create a new invention.   Apparently we are lacking sufficient yellow’…

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    Making Chainmail

    Recently the children had the opportunity to be introduced to the art of making chainmail. They were so taken with this they have set up their own chainmail production line. First Carpenter manufactured a ‘gizmo’, using a piece of metal the thickness they wanted for their links. Tie wire is wound around the ‘gizmo’ about thirty times and then cut. (Gloves recommended for this part) Then every fifth link is opened with pliers and links are joined together. The ‘bug’ caught every child and the shed became a regular factory. It is time consuming work but rewarding. An afternoon’s work produces this string for Einstein, and this for Carpenter.

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    Rock Pouches

    Our children constantly amaze me with their inventiveness. Recently we were given some jeans with the knees out, I immediately turned them into denim shorts for Michelangelo;) and threw away the offcuts. The children promptly ‘rescued’ the jean bottoms. Then they turned them inside out and ran a seam along the cut opening and instantly had a pocket. Slits were cut into one side and a belt was run through. The boys now have durable, attractive pouches for rock fossicking. A pastime that is popular here on our property.

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    Little Girls and Twirly Skirts

    Princess is really keen to learn to sew. We decided to start with a circle skirt. They are very quick to make and require no pattern, Princess’ speed on the sewing machine ‘accelerator’ is ‘flat out’. Carpenter kept remarking that he won’t be in the car when Princess starts to drive. Within a couple of hours the skirt was complete. Princess’ first creation with only a little bit of help. She is radiantly happy and is planning on making more. More than enough twirl to keep a little girl happy.

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    Building Medieval Weapons

    The children are continuing with their project work some more diligently than others. For some, individual projects have given way to jointly working together, which creates a wonderful flow of energy. Michelangelo is researching Medieval Weaponry. This is very reminiscent for us as quite a few years back Carpenter was into making all sorts of weapons, although I do think time has honed skills. Michelangelo is planning on making miniature replicas of various weapons. His first item is the catapult. The spring mechanism of rubber bands produced a surprising spring. Carpenter made a slightly different model of the catapult.

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    Following Interests

    I have briefly shared that we are trialling a little of project based learning. We have most intrigued by the areas of interest the children have each chosen, they are rather varied and some choices have surprised us. Princess’ choice however wasn’t a surprise in that she expressed an interest to learn more about Native Americans, in particular the Plains People. This was an area of interest she had last year and it had got pushed aside. Hopefully we can encourage her this year. Princess was rather keen to make a teepee. A small scale teepee was suggested but when she saw a picture of a large one she wanted…

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    Encouraging Budding Writers

    As I shared Carpenter and Koala have been busy writing novelettes. Carpenter has always been interested in writing although his spelling has not always been easy to follow, recently though he has made great improvement. Writing for an audience is a valuable experience as he not only has to take care with his mechanics but has to be certain that his writing reads well. For years I have despaired over the lack of writing done by Koala, she has always read prolifically but never wrote. Amazingly as she has started putting pen to paper in the last year we have been astounded at just how well she can write, so…