Snapshots of our week…
Anthony made mini Christmas cakes, a great homeschool project on a cool wintry morning…Christmas in May??

We had medical appointments and treated ourselves to morning tea at David Jones.. another well, creative, school morning..
I am back to walking with the doctor’s blessing! Yay! Thus the scene from a nearby lake on my Friday morning walk…
Table Centrepiece for the Sacred Heart of Jesus ( yesterday)….And today is the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the anniversary of eldest son Luke’s Confirmation Day.

I need to remember this…..

I have been criticised lately. Hey, if you do anything you can expect to find someone who likes it, someone who feels neutral and someone who criticises you, right?

But being criticised does not leave one feeling nice.

I read this quote below, from Chalene of Turbo Jam fame. The best attitude, for sure!

As long as I do the right thing, be the best me, do what I love and take care of people, I honestly don’t worry about the rest 🙂


So, what do unschooling teens do?

Unschooling teens = autodidacts.

Self taught.

As in Kendall Hailey’s book The Day I Became An Autodidact.

[A great read, by the way..I own it if you want to borrow it…. ]

So, back to the original question. What do teen autodidacts do with their days?

This question came to my mind recently, when reading mail from the Unschooling Catholics email list.

I thought I’d post about today, a day for two of my teen sons. Thomas 15. Alexander 16 1/2. Or maybe – nearly 15 1/2, nearly 17. Who can keep track ?

How does a day of Living Without School translate for these two teens?

Alexander got up, he is an early riser. He did a yoga and martial arts workout, chatted to me and helped me with a few chores. Then he made his breakfast ( toast), tidied his room, and we had French class at our home.

I had some appointments for WYD Homestay so went out early, and came back halfway through French to take Alexander with me to yet another WYD appointment – he is learning to drive and wants the practice.

While at the lady’s home, A helped set up her DVD player and ate scones.

Home again, A stayed home to fold pamphlets for delivery with the 12 year old – Anny, while the rest of us went out, to drop the 15 year old – Thomas – to one of his part time jobs, for me to get my nails done ( very important) , one son – Greg – to pick up something he ordered from the shops.

Alexander folded pamphlets for delivery with Anthony, then played guitar and read email while we were out…. We’ve had lunch and talked about when A is going to fit in his uni assignment that is due Friday – he is doing one subject part time externally through university, Open University, – Italian. And about the extra help I need, as I am (supposed to be) resting with some superficial blood clots..

This afternoon, A will go to one of his part time jobs, at a nearby Kumon centre ( not mine!) till 6-ish and then we have the St Anthony Mass in our parish tonight, dinner after, probably watch some TV or a DVD and do some reading.

The other teen’s day?

Thomas (15) woke up – I yelled ‘Are you up Thomas, French is here this morning…’ and opened my door – T was standing outside the door with a smile. I was caught out!

Thomas did Wii Fitness, our family’s new favourite fitness toy ( not that I am allowed back to workouts ), tidied his room ( sort of), played computer, eventually ate breakfast ( goodness knows what), attended French class at our house, did some Maths while I was out and then we dropped him off at one of his part time jobs – McDonalds. He will finish at 5 – in time for a shower, Mass, dinner, etc.

So, their days are not very school-ish and mostly managed by themselves – we just talk the night before or in the morning and every few months or so, about what is happening ( we are all involved in many things) and about any thing that needs doing, interests and passions and goals and have-tos, problems, issues concerns….

An education for autodidacts. Or Self Directed Learning, to quote this article by Cafi Cohen on older kids and homeschooling.


Our Lady Help of Christians and Corpus Christi

Two days in the liturgical year. Our Lady Help of Christians, Patroness of Australia. And Corpus Christi – body of Our Lord, in honour of the Eucharist.

Thomas wrote a bit about Our Lady of China; Anny about Our Lady Help of Christians..

We prayed for China today, talked about Our Lady of China, Anny wrote a report on China this week, we had take away Chinese food for dinner.

And white cheesecake decorated with red grapes for Corpus Christi – cheesecake as a symbol for the host; grapes to symbolise wine.

Fun, even if a bit weird.

Hey, we like weird.

Two Books

What are you reading?

Right now, I am reading, reading haphazardly, through two books.

Saintly Women of Modern Times by Joan Carroll Cruz. I have read of Elisabetta Tasca Serena, a mother of twelve who still found time to work and provide for her family and to do good works in her parish and community. A great example for me! Except she denied her kids television – my family would revolt! ( So would I! lol!).

Homeschool Open House and the companion volume ~ Homeschooling: A Patchwork of Days. It has been ages since I have read a book on homeschooling – I think the last ones were in 2007, The Latin Centred Curriculum and The Homeschooling Trail and Homeschooling With Gentleness.

I find that the longer I homeschool (which feels like forever now ~ in a nice way, a this-is-how-we-live way), well, then the longer I homeschool the less I tend to read about homeschooling.

Weird for an avid reader.

But I am enjoying re-visiting the Homeschool Days books, reading about families and a typical day. And we ~ our family ~ are featured in one of the books – a description of our day in 1999. We lived in Perth, Western Australia then. With teens, middle kids and little ones. And, yes, we did little formal schoolwork even then – just some maths and writing about a referendum, then errands and play and listening to books on CD and music in the car…

Some things never change.

Trinity Cake

Made this Apple Teacake for Trinity Sunday.


Well, the three rings of apple slices on the cake represent the three-persons-in-one- God of the Holy Trinity.

Okay, a rather tenuous connection, but it worked for us.

Actually, I baked three cakes. One for eating yesterday and two for the freezer for unexpected visitors. Or just for us.

I feel such a warm glow, I feel like I am a wonderful, organised housewife, baking and storing food for my family. Especially after surgery!

Just call me Modern Homemaker, please.


Isn’t my dh sweet?

He cleaned out the kitchen cupboards for me, while I am on light duties after surgery.

Of course, he had a fit over their disorganised state – he wants to know just how may recycled containers did I think I needed to have?

I don’t know, but I tend to hoard them, just in case.

But I won’t any more. I promise. Not after dh’s hard work. And his fit. So cute, so funny!

And I must admit to liking the clear spaces in the cupboard ~ Hey, I have room for things now! Kitchen things…
( And dh does have a cute b*tt in that pic…).

Homeschooling and no textbooks?

Living books, often called “classics,” are the kind of books that joyfully enliven the imagination of a child. They are written by individuals — not committees — and display imagination, originality, and the “human touch.” Living books do not talk down to a child’s level or omit odd and interesting vocabulary. Children take to living books more than textbooks for these reasons; because such books are not crammed with facts and information at the expense of human emotion. The Charlotte Mason Method By Karen Andreola

Last week, Anthony researched information on Portugal. For Our Lady of Fatima. And he typed the report above.

This week, we thought we’d look at Our Lady of China, following the lead of the Our Lady Around the World calendar. Anthony can read about China, write a narration, do a map and a flag, perhaps. Very fitting, considering that China is the host for the 2008 Olympic Games.

Last week, we made Portuguese Doughnuts. This week we plan on making or buying Chinese food.

And all this “educational stuff” gets done wthout opening a single textbook. Without a school schedule or schoolwork. Just using living books, real life, experiences and passions and interests. And with strewing…

Homeschooling provides a unique opportunity to step away from systems and methods, and to develop independent ideas out of actual experiences, where the child is truly in pursuit of knowledge, not the other way around. Beverley Paine

Homeschooling is fun for me, the mum, – I like doing these sorts of things with the kids….

You know are an addict when…..

You are on medical rest and can’t workout, so you watch workout video clips at Collage Video…..

You get the okay to walk from your doctor, so straight away head off for a 30 minute walk in the sunshine ~ come back tired but on a high……

You buy workout equipment with DVDs as treat for yourself, even though the doctor says you have to wait another six weeks before working out….

You hate wearing the compulsory post surgery bodysuit but are rapt when, wearing the suit, you get on the scales and see you weigh 5 kg less than you did before surgery…..

Yep, that is me. My dh sent me a text in response, only part of whch I can quote here – ” you are psycho!”.

He loves me. 🙂