Three Books.

This week we have had several discussions on books, throughout our days – and usually while we were working on other activites or driving in the car.

One son is reading “Gulliver’s Travels” by Jonathan Swift. Its been awhile since I read that book, but I remember enjoying the satire. We talked about Swift’s depression and bitterness and how this coloured his life. Very sad.

Another is re-reading “The Deerslayer” by James Fenimore Cooper. When he last read this, this son was eight or ten – he is now a teen. He is shocked by all the racism in the book – and so we discussed why there is value in re-reading books .

Yet another son is devouring the newest book in the Redwall series – we had a Redwall-fest several years ago .



The Australian Kangaroo Paw….

We are part of a homeschool group that meets on Wednesday afternoons. This is a structured group, although there is an hour in the middle for lunch and play and social time.

We missed the first week this term ( wew were in Melbourne) but have been to the last two sesions.

The theme this term in Plants. The Juniors ( under 12s ) and the Discovery group ( preschoolers) are taking part in the teach/talk time and the activities. The Seniors ( 12/13 and up) are organising either the science experiments or the crafts.

So, at home, I dragged out our Linnea books – Linnea in Monet’s Garden, Linnea’s Windowsill Garden.

We borrowed library books on plants, esp to help the three who are planning activities. All these books sit in our sitting room.

We have a bean experiment out on the clothesline – can beans grow without soil, with water and in a plastic bag? I’ll keep you posted!

We have saved an avocado seed and are trying to sprout it, while it lies balanced over a jar of water.

Oh, and here is a fun craft for stems – Alexander is going to try this with Anthony and all the other Juniors at Group Learning –



I am a Mean Mum???

Really. I never thought of myself that way.

But I think I was a bit of a Mean Mum today.

We had surfing lessons . This was the second lesson for Anthony and Thomas ( Jonathon and Alexander have surfed before).

The surf was rough. They got dumped. They wanted to come in and sit down.

And I wouldn’t let them.


I didn’t beat them but I did cajole them. Or maybe, in St Paul’s words, I exhorted them.

I sort of ordered them. I felt bad about it but I felt pushed to do it myself.

I knew that, if they could just get over the hump, over the difficult bit, they would feel progress. They would feel proud of themselves.

I see it all the time in myself – if I push a little harder and don’t give up with my Bootcamp workouts, I feel great about myself. I feel like I can accomplish anything.

And, eventually, I can do it! The squat thrust, the duck walks, the many pushups or situps…

I told the boys – “Go for it. Stay in. Don’t give up. No pain no gain ( Thanks Billy Blanks!). You can do it. Little steps. I have faith in you.”

And I cheered when they got up on their boards. And commiserated when they were dumped.

And bought them lunch out afterwards.

A Mean Mum? Yes, in some respects.

But you should have seen their smiles at the end. Anny text messaged his oldest brother, Luke, with his achievement.

We talked about another of *Billy Blanks’ maxims – “Where I am today is where my mind put me. Where I’ll be tomorrow is where my mind’ll put me.”

Billy Blanks taebo website


Letter writing

We had a slow and peaceful morning.

I enjoy those kind of mornings, especially when I know we have several activities and errands scheduled for the afternoon.

It is Nicholas’ birthday today ( third son) – we rang him and passed on happy wishes and happy thoughts. He is in Canberra, the capital, for work this week.

We sat down to write or type letters to friends.

This is always active for us – we not only want to send a letter but like to include a recipe, an activity, a puzzle, a picture, a photo – anything small and different.

It is said that letter writing has gone the way of hand kneaded bread.

Not here.
Not yet.
At least, not all the time.

Hmm, I must remember to log this in my homeschool journal.


Blogs. Kumon. What Do You Want For Your Children?

The trouble with blogging is…finding the time.


I aim to come here and write and keep in touch – but computer time seems to become more and more restricted.

Last week, I and four of the boys were in Melbourne. I went to a Kumon Education training course – I am thinking of getting back into being a Kumon Supervisor. I ran a centre in Adelaide.

Now, Kumon can seem the antithesis of unschooly education.

Ostensibly, Kumon can seem to be about only Maths and English, only drill.

In practice, at its best, with a visionary Supervisor, Kumon *is about the whole child – developing life skills and self confidence, especially for those children who must play the game of school.

Now, the whole child scenario fits well with me and with my unschool-ish tendencies. It fits well with Charlotte Mason’s idea of “Children being born persons”. It fits well with my personal goals of self development and with encouraging self development and self actualization in my children.

Re-reading “What Do You Really Want For Your Children” by Wayne Dwyer, at night in the motel in Melbourne, reminded me of these goals.

And gave me a lot to discuss with the boys, in additon to our discussions on their explorations of Melbourne.