Thursday, April 26, 2012

What will tomorrow bring?

Yesterday Bugsy taught himself to ride his bike.  Today Possum taught himself to drink out of a straw.  What will tomorrow bring?

Bugsy's bike has been out of action for quite sometime with a flat tyre.  Rusty fixed it a couple of weeks ago and Bugsy immediately wanted the trainer wheels off.  He's been scooting around for a week or so after i showed him how and had Rusty lower the seat.  Yesterday we we down to the park in the afternoon and Bugsy bought his bike.  He was scooting along when Rusty suggested that he might try and pedal if he liked.  So he tried and off he went!  He was so very proud of himself and Rusty and I were pretty proud too.

Today all the kids were playing together when i hear Flossy saying, "He's drinking it!"  I was thinking "What?!"  Off i dash to find that Possum had picked up Bugsy's drink bottle and was drinking from the straw.  He's never drank from a straw before, he's always bitten it.  He drank lots of water then had a hissy fit when it was empty and taken away.  This is a massive achievement and means that we can look for a straw cup for him and perhaps introduce some protein packed smoothies to help with his non existent weight gain.  Hopefully he will enjoy them.

So, i wonder, what is install for us tomorrow =)

GF & DF Protein Packed Choc Cupcakes

In a word, yum! and no one even knew they were packed with goodies :-)  I normally make my own GF flour mix but had ran out of tapioca starch so this time i went with a commercial flour mix, White Wings Gluten Free Self Raising Flour, i was suitably impressed.

Ingredients ~
10g linseed
10g quinoa
20g dried chickpeas
20 g raw almonds
60g virgin coconut oil
60g Nuttalex
120g raw sugar
60g White Wings GF SR flour
2 eggs
100g soy milk
30g raw cocoa
2t GF baking powder
1/2t Xanthan gum
1t vanilla bean paste

Method ~
Preheat oven to 180C.
Set out muffin cases on baking tray.
Put linseed, quinoa, dried chickpeas and almonds into TMX bowl and mill for 45 sec, speed 10.
Set aside milled seeds & nuts.
Put coconut oil and Nuttelex into TMX bowl and melt 2 mins, 60C, speed 4.
Add all other ingredients including milled seeds & nuts and mix 20 sec, speed 5.
Scrape down sides and repeat.
Portion out into muffin cases, approx 2T per case.
Bake for approx 25 mins until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Cool on a cooling rack.
Ice if you wish or enjoy plain.

Makes approx 12 muffin sizes cupcakes.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Anzac Day

This morning we are up early.  We are rugged up because it's quite cool out and we are headed off to a nearby town so that Flossy and Bugsy can march for the very first time with the Scouts on Anzac Day.  We will attend the dawn service and listen in silence to the Last Post.  Today we remember the fallen soldiers.  Those who fought so hard despite adversity, to keep their country safe.  There are no winners in war.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Lest We Forget

('The Ode' from For the Fallen by Laurence Binyon)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Anzac Biscuits

Today I've made two batches of much loved Anzac Biscuits.  Here is my families favourite recipe.

Ingredients ~
2 cups traditional rolled oats
2 cups plain flour
2 cups raw sugar
1 cup desiccated coconut
250g butter, chopped
4 large tablespoons golden syrup
2 teaspoons bicarb soda
2 tablespoons boiling water

Method ~
Pre-heat oven to 130C fan forced.
Put chopped butter, golden syrup and sugar into a microwave safe bowl and microwave stirring occasionally until the butter is melted and the sugar dissolved approx 1-2 mins.
Add all other ingredients and mix thoroughly.
With damp hands roll tablespoon sized amounts into balls and flatten slightly with your hand.
Allow room for expansion between biscuits on the tray.
Bake until golden brown, approx 20 mins.
Allow to cool slightly on the tray before transferring to a cooling rack.

Makes approx 48 biscuits.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

GF & DF Oat Sultana Biscuits

OK, before you all torch me, i know that regular oats are not safe for coeliacs.  I purchased Bob's Red Mill rolled oats,  certified wheat free and gluten free for this recipe.  The packaging clearly states that some very sensitive coeliacs may not be able to tolerate these oats.  As we are still unsure of Possum's coeliac status i thought it would be safe enough to try.  People, you know your own limits if you can't have oats don't make these biscuits :-)

Inspiration for these biscuits was found here.

Oat Sultana Biscuits

Ingredients ~
60g raw coconut oil
90g Nuttelex
150g raw sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
25g tapioca starch
50g sorghum flour
50g buckwheat flour
1 tsp Xantham gum
200g Bob's Red Mill Rolled Oats (wheat & gluten free)
160g sultanas

Method ~
Preheat over to 160C.
Melt coconut oil & Nuttelex in TMX bowl, 2min, 37C, speed 2.
Add sugar mix 20 sec, speed 4.
Add egg & vanilla mix 5 sec, speed 4.
Add everything else except sultanas mix 5 sec, rev, speed 4.
Add sultanas mix 20 sec, rev, speed 4, use spatula through hole to make sure the sultanas are dispersed evenly.
With damp hands roll tablespoon size amounts into balls, flatten slightly on the tray.
Bake for approx 20 minutes until golden.
Allow to cool slightly on the tray before removing to a cooling rack.

Makes approx 30 biscuits.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Emerging Readers for Boys

As you know if you've been reading my Blog for a while Bugsy's reading is starting to take off.  He is reading with me daily and wanting to read for himself.  So far i've not been able to find anything to captivate him at the library so i went looking online and spoke to a few friends and here is what i have to recommend as emerging readers for boys.

Yes, OK, i freely admit some are 'fluff' books, but sometimes you need a bit of 'fluff' before you can grasp the thread to make something beautiful :-)  If you look at our booklists school is full of living books.  As i use a book basket approach to our literature and history reading it is imperative that the children want to read for themselves.  Some 'fluff' will light a fire in his belly and the feast that i have to offer is quality :-)  Well, that's the plan {wink}.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Writing Curriculum

This post is for my good friend Fe @ The Genial Hearth who i have known personally for many years :)  She recently asked me about writing curriculum.  She wanted to know ~

What do you use?
What have you got?
How do you find it?
How does it work for your kids?
How much time/involvement does it need (on your part as well as the kid's)?

So here goes :)

Writing With Ease 1
Not currently in use.  Used 3/4 with Flossy will use with Bugsy when ready, maybe around July.  He needs a bit more work on his handwriting first.

I thought this was a good place to start.  It has copy work and narration exercises (2 x copy work & 2 x narration each week) clearly laid out and includes comprehension questions used before the narration to encourage the child to formulate their thoughts.  SWB narrations and supposed to be short, succinct, summaries of what was read, not long retellings like CM.  On copy work days this was very quick and easy to implement but i didn't need to sit by Flossy to make sure her copy work was perfect, it was 98% of the time.  If you need to sit next to your student it will take from 5-15 minutes depending on how quickly they write and stay focused.  On reading and narration days it took up to 15 minutes working together.  Planning wise if you copy the workbook pages upfront there is nothing more to do than open the book on the day.  This was a good place for us to start.  By the end Flossy was narrating well and i will use it again with Bugsy.

Writing With Ease 2
Not currently in use.  Used 3/4 with Flossy.

This was a no brainer and the next step on from WWE1.  The format changes slightly, day 1 narration, day 2 copywork, day 3 dictation, day 4 narration and dictation.  Often we didn't complete the final dictation as it was dictating from the child's own work or if we did we left it for another day.  The passages were longer and more challenging that WWE1.  The questioning was there to encourage formulation of thoughts.  The student was encouraged to use only 2 or 3 sentences for the narration.  If the workbook pages are copied upfront there is nothing more to do than open the book on the day.  Again the time varied.  Copywork day was quick, the other days were longer perhaps taking up to 20 mins considering reading the passage allowed and answering the questions before narrating.  Flossy was bored with the format of this book by the end.  I'm undecided if i will use this again with Bugsy.

Writing With Ease 3
Not currently in use.

When i purchased this i did think that we would stay the course and continue on with WWE3.  Again the format changes slightly, day 1 narration, day 2 dictation, day 3 narration and dictation, day 4 dictation.  There is finally some direct instruction included in this book to guide the student to write better.  After thinking long and hard about it and where we were going with our other studies i decided not to proceed with this book.  Flossy provides a SWB style narration for history and literature.  She still completes copy work for cursive practice and she does dictation through her spelling program.  Adding WWE3, more of the same was just going to be busy work.  Flossy was also feeling somewhat disillusioned with WWE.  She'd worked hard for 2 years and it was time for a change.  Looking at the lessons i believe you would be looking at 15 - 30 minutes per day.

Galore Park So You Really Want to Learn Junior English Book 2
Currently using with Flossy.

This book is used in prep schools in the UK.  Book 2 is recommended for age 8+ or year 4 up.  It is an all in one style english book so it also covers grammar concepts however it doesn't include enough spelling to stop using another program.  The book contains passages, comprehension questions, writing assignments, grammar exercises, oral presentation suggestions and suggestions of books to read.  The language in the passages is fairly rich, the questions are thought provoking and the writing assignments are interesting and engaging.  Whilst the writing assignments are mostly creative they are specific in their instruction.  We do complete most of this orally however all of the writing assignments are written.  As Flossy is new to creative writing i am providing a level of input.  For example she will give me the brainstorm then i will provide appropriate questioning to flesh out her ideas.  I'm hoping to reduce the level of support as we move on.  We are only in chapter 1 so there is plenty of time to go.  The work is her's but i will scribe or type where necessary.  It is open and go, so there is no preparation time at all.  It takes anywhere from 10 to 30 mins to complete depending which exercises are to be completed that day.  Flossy rates this as her favourite writing program because it's fun and different everyday.

The Institute for Excellence in Writing Student Writing Intensive A
Currently using with Flossy.

After deciding not to proceed with WWE3 i was looking for something that was going to actually provide some 'real' writing instruction.  Flossy was already good at summarising but needed to build some skills.  I was feeling like SWB and CM lead you into a field and don't tell you where the gate is to get out.  They expect you to try and fail, and try and fail and so on until you find the gate and get out.  I am not that kind of a person.  Give me a path or at least a set of directions cause i'm not interested in all the sightseeing along the way.  I just want to get to the other gate!  IEW SWI-A gives you those tools to really help you improve your writing.  Yes it has a formulaic approach and if it's your only writing program i can see how that could cause problems, but given our position it's a winner.  We are taking the pace MUCH slower than what is recommended in the manual, mostly because we are doing LOTS of other writing.  Day 1 watch the DVD lesson, day 2 identify the key words on the hand out, day 3 write the key word outline, day 4 draft the re-write, day 5 edit the rewrite with me, day 6 type up the final copy.  These 'days' are not always consecutive.  The time commitment varies from 10 - 30 minutes a session.  We are probably doing 1 'assignment' per fortnight.  I work directly with Flossy on day 1 and 5 and just oversee on the other days.  It is open and go provided you copy the handouts first.  I actually really like this program and can see how it is going to make Flossy a much better writer.

Killgallon Story Grammar for Elementary School & Killgallon Sentence Composing for Elementary School
Currently using with Flossy.

I'm lumping both of these in together because they are VERY similar and had i known that i may have only purchased one.  Which one, well, I think I probably would have purchased Sentence Composing and taken it VERY slowly.  As i have both we are starting with Story Grammar and will move on to Sentence Composing after.  Essentially these books cover the same kind of material although Story Grammar is gentler, ok, don't take that the wrong way, these books are challenging!  Don't be fooled by the title 'Story Grammar', both books focus on how to write a great sentence and the grammar is thrown in.  In Story Grammar they refer to grammar as 'tools' but in Sentence Composing they use the proper terminology.  The focus is on imitation.  Model sentences are provided from high interest children's literature, various exercises are conducted, then the children write their own imitations of the original sentence.  Flossy is finding this challenging, finding just the write words, the correct phrasing, the correct grammar, it can be difficult so we are only working 1 or 2 sentences per day.  It is open and go, I work with Flossy and it takes us around 10 minutes of full concentration.  Flossy is really enjoying this.

According to Heinemann, the publishers, Story Grammar is intended for grades 2-6 and Sentence Composing grades K-5.  I consider this WRONG.  Story Grammar should certainly come first and i suggest a more appropriate grade reflection would be Story Grammar grades 3-5 and Sentence Composing grades 4-6.  There is also a middle school program.

With Pencil and Pen ~ Sarah Louise Arnold ~ Vintage
Not currently in use.  Will use with Bugsy when ready probably around the same time as starting WWE1.

This is a very sweet book which covers copy work and very beginning composition.  A struggling speller will find the composition exercises hard work if writing for himself as intended.  The text is recommended for early elementary.  We will probably do some of the composition work orally or with me scribing to relieve some of the burden on the hand for Bugsy.  I will pick and choose what we complete from this book.  I anticipate each lesson lasting around 10 minutes.  This is open and go.

First Book in English ~ William Henry Maxwell ~ Vintage
Currently using with Flossy.

This is the kind of text used in a one room school house many years ago  It is recommended for a child beginning no earlier than his 3rd year at school, so would be appropriate for 3rd, 4th or 5th grades.  Maxwell has done a good job of weaving imitation, grammar, punctuation and composition into this text.  If you complete the book as written there is quite a bit of physical writing involved.  We pick and choose the exercises we do orally and those we do written.  We do not edit and polish the composition, we just use it to practice our skills.  The lessons are short, around 10 minutes although i do break up the composition if necessary.  If the child were to complete everything in writing it would take longer, but could be completed independently as the text is written to the student.  This is open and go.  Flossy is on the fence about this one.

Primary Lessons in Language and Composition ~ Willian Henry Maxwell ~ Vintage
Not currently in use.

This book is intended for use before First Book in English.  The suggestion is once the child can read and write to facility approx 18m after beginning school, perhaps allocating it to grade 2 would be appropriate.  Again the exercises look short and achievable.  Exercises are in copy work, observation, discussion.  There is an oral section and a written section to each lesson.  I am unsure if we will use this book at this point in time.

The Poetry Pad
Used periodically with Flossy and Bugsy.  This is a supplement and is not in any way an entire writing curriculum.  We pull this book out from time to time.  It provides examples of a number of different types of poems and then explains how to write that kind of poem.  These sessions are a bit of fun and generally last around 20-30 minutes.

So in a nutshell i am using IEW and Killgallon to learn the new skills and Galore Park and Maxwell to practice the new skills in a different setting.  In my honest opinion there is no point blindly following a program and not being able to write outside that program.  My aim for my children is to write well across the curriculum.  I'm not too worried about creative writing, if that interest's them then that's fine but it is not a barrow i am going to push unless they are interested (Flossy is).  I also think that's it's important to provide plenty of variety.  There is no point writing in the same way day after day because you end up just going through the motion instead of really thinking about your writing.

The Well Trained Mind Forums always have someone who's talking about writing curriculum.  Here are a couple of interesting threads from well respected board members addressing writing.

lewelma ~ My evaluation of numerous writing curricula

Medieval Mom ~ Construct a S&S for Grammar from Vintage ebooks

Well, i hope that you find my ramblings somewhat helpful.  I've sat down about a dozen times to write bits of this over the course of the day so sorry if it sounds a little disjointed in places.  Feel free to ask, if i've not been clear or you want to know more :)


Monday, April 16, 2012

Mini Math Monday

Last weeks Mini Math Monday wasn't terribly inspiring, sorry, but sometimes life's like that :)  Today Chicky and I got busy.  We started with the Brainy Baby Left Brain Book looking at patterns.

You can see that the patterns they present are very basic, but that is exactly what i was after.  I have tried introducing patterns to Chicky before without success.  This time i was hoping she would be ready.  We chatted about the patterns presented and predicted what would come next.  Then we moved on to the counting bears.

I set up patterns for Chicky to add to.

We started off very basic just like the book.  She coped really well with that.

Then we took it up a notch adding a 3rd bear.  She did hesitate wanting to go blue, red when adding her own set, but quickly realised the error and went blue, blue, red.

Then we mixed up some more colours, yellow, green, blue and Chicky's attention span was starting to wander.  She completed her set but we left it at that.  I was really pleased with how well she grasped the concept this time and look forward to working patterns with increasing difficulty.

Sunday, April 15, 2012


This recipe makes enough for 4 family meals.

Ingredients ~
2 brown onions
4 cloves garlic
1 large carrot
1/2 large sweet potato or 1 small sweet potato
6 medium mushrooms
1kg beef mince
2 jars Dolmio Classic tomato sauce (could use any pasta sauce you like)
1 jar Val Verde tomato sauce
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano

Method ~
Peel & quarter onions then chop 3 sec speed 5 in TMX, empty into slow cooker.
Peel garlic then chop 3 sec, speed 6 in TMX, empty into slow cooker.
Quarter carrot & sweet potato then chop, 3 sec, speed 6, empty into slow cooker.
Chop mushrooms 2 sec, speed 5, empty into slow cooker.
Place all other ingredients into slow cooker and stir well.
Cook on low 6-8 hours stirring occasionally.
Serve over your favourite pasta, we like spirals, GF for Possum :-)

If you don't have a Thermomix you can grate all of the veggies or use a food processor to chop, or dice very finely yourself.

Eat for dinner tonight then divide up the remainder and freeze for another time.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Flossy's Tribute to the ANZAC's

We've been reading about the ANZAC's in preparation for ANZAC Day.  Flossy has been deeply touched by the stories.  She brought me this poem today to share with you.  This was written without assistance in her own time and remains unedited.


A time to remember the fallen of our soldiers
Now we march proudly in the thrawl
Zing the bullets used to fly where we stand
A time to lay wreaths at the flagpole
Come and remember with me

Do come and lay a wreath along beside others
Australian's come together and say the ode
Yes we remember Simpson and Duffy too

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Impromptu Nature Study

We were out for a walk when the kids noticed the flame trees which line our local park were dropping their seed pods. On closer inspection we found some green ones, some opening still with seeds inside and some which had obviously been there quite sometime as they were hard and dry. It prompted a great discussion.

Here are some other goodies the kids picked up.


Don't you love it when educational opportunities pop up out of nowhere!  We were only going for a walk .

The following day on another walk around the same local park, but taking a different path, the kids again picked up some seed pods.  These ones are from a native tree.  The seeds were so thick on the ground the kids could scoop handfuls!  More discussion ensued.  When we stood quietly we could hear the seeds fall to the ground.  Here are some pics of our treasures.

There was lots of discussion about these last two pics as the kids realised that there were lots of seed pods clustered together.

Maybe i will remember to take my camera next time we head out for a 'walk'.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

GF & DF Morning Glory Muffins

Inspiration is taken from this recipe.

Ingredients ~
240g GF flour (I used buckwheat, sorghum, quinoa, tapioca starch & Xanthum gum mix)
160g raw sugar
2 teaspoons GF baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 carrots
50g sultanas
2 handfuls of almonds
1 apple
1 pear
3 eggs
20g coconut oil (liquid)
60g olive oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste

Method ~
Mill any grains for your flour on 10 for 1 minute and set aside.
Cut carrots into 3, apple into 4, pear into 4.
Put cut fruit and veg into bowl along with almonds.
Chop for 3 seconds on speed 8.
Add all other ingredients to bowl.
Mix for 25 sec on speed 4 using the spatula through the top to make sure everything incorporates properly.
Spoon into muffin trays and cook for 20 mins at 180C or until lightly golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Makes 12 large muffins & 24 mini muffins.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Mini Math Monday

Chicky has been busy building steps with the c-rods and the AL abacus for a few weeks now.  This week we used the Duplo to build steps and reinforce 1-1 correspondence.

Chicky is ready to begin the transition into more formal math so we will begin Miquon Orange shortly.

What have you and your 'mini' been up to?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Possum Newsflash!

My heart is bursting, I just had to share ...
today Possum ...
at 1 year, 6 months, 1 week and 2 days ...
 took 2 steps independently!

An absolutely amazing achievement for my little man born at 25 weeks weighing just 865g.

Happy Easter

I hope you are all enjoying a lovely Easter with your families :)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Preparing for Anzac Day

Anzac Day is a day of remembrance in Australia.  It is a day to remember the soldiers who have fought for our country.  It is not a day to glorify war.  The day is observed nation wide as a public holiday and there are many dawn services and marches held around the country.  Anzac Day is commemorated on April 25.  You can see what Wiki has to say about Anzac Day here.

We have always 'done something' for Anzac Day.  We've attended the dawn service or gone to the diggers breakfast or watched the RAAF flyover or simply visited our local war memorial.  This year with Flossy and Bugsy joining Scouts we will be attending the dawn service and they will march with their group.

This year, for the first time i've felt the need to get them ready, to get myself ready.  A couple of years ago i read this lovely post by Jeanne at A Peaceful Day.  She has reviewed a number of picture books about Anzac Day.  At the time it was too late for me to purchase these books for Anzac Day as the post was only a couple of days in advance.  I promised myself that i would come back in 2011 and buy some of the books.  Sadly with Possum in hospital right before Anzac Day in 2011 the year also passed me by, but not this year.  This year i again read through Jeanne's list and went in search of many of the titles.  Sadly some of them are currently OOP.  I was able to purchase a few including -

Anzac Day Parade
My Grandad Marches on Anzac Day
My Mother's Eyes
Simpson and his Donkey
Why are they Marching, Daddy?

I also came across The Donkey Who Carried the Wounded.  It's not on Jeanne's list but I picked that up too.

I've put the books in our Morning Basket and plan to read from them every morning in the lead up to Anzac Day.  Hopefully we can add a few more next year.  Have you got any recommendations?


Friday, April 6, 2012

STEM Stuff

Since coming to the realisation that i need to play to Bugsy's strengths and get him moving along the STEM path i've been looking for additional resources.  Here's what i've found and am either implementing now or looking to implement for our next school year.

Engineering is Elementary - this is set up for classroom use but could easily be adapted to the homeschool environment, you would just have to source your own supplies and not by the supply kit as it is 'class' sized.

Scratch - basic programming

Alice - more programming

Armadillo Run - physics based problem solving

World of Goo

Google Sketchup

Kids Ruby - programming to build games

Lego WeDo - robotics program can be used with Scratch

Lego Mindstorm - robotics program more advanced than WeDo

Book to go with Lego Mindstorm

Snap Circuits 750


Solar Car

Have you got any suggestions for me?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Living Maths

Have you seen this speech by Dan Meyer?  If not you must stop and take a look.  What he has to say about maths instruction is powerful and may change the way you teach maths forever!

Living maths is essential!  Memorising algorithms is not the solution.  Children need to be taught the deeper understanding behind their maths.  That is what i strive for with my own children.  We don't achieve it perfectly, but i feel we are well on our way.

You can see our Math Progression here.  I love that Miquon is discovery/inquiry based.  It doesn't spoon feed the children the algorithms.  That can sometimes lead to frustration but with a little encouragement i find it ultimately leads to them figuring out the solution all by themselves and truly knowing and understanding what they are doing and why.

By adding living maths books such as Life of Fred and Charlesbridge Math Adventures i'm trying to help them see maths in everyday situations.  I've also just obtained Kitchen Table Math (it literally just arrived in the box, can't wait to look at it!) and i'm hoping that will inspire us for Mini Math Monday.

I whole heartedly agree with Dan Meyer that problem solving is the heart of maths.  We incorporate plenty of word problems into our daily maths and will be doing more hands on problem solving moving forward, especially where we can incorporate it into a STEM project.

What do you think about what Dan Meyer has to say?


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Flossy's Poem

After reading lots of good things about Galore Park's So You Really Want to Learn Junior English i decided to take the plunge and purchase Book 2 to round out our Language Arts.  This book is designed for children who are 8 years +, generally year 3 in the UK where the book is used in prep schools.  Flossy has made a start and as we are tag teaming a number of writing curricula we are not very far in (still Chapter 1), but i am already seeing lovely results.

Today her assignment was -

Write a poem in which the word 'SNOWFLAKE' appears down the left hand side and each letter begins the first word of each line.  This is called an acrostic poem.

Then a short example was given.

Here is Flossy's (un-edited) acrostic poem.

Snow hear it fall softly
Now it blows swirling in the air
Oh hear the blizzard blow
We huddle by the fire waiting
Flakes of snow dance by the window
Lakes freeze as the snow falls on top
An owl swoops past on diamond wings
Keen to return to its chicks
Evermore the snow seems to fall

I really love the imagery she has created in this poem.  Considering she has never experienced snow she's done a lovely job.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Being Transparent

You may have noticed the two rather large, shinny buttons appear on my right hand side bar in the past couple of days.  Buttons for All About Spelling and The Book Depository.  In an effort to remain transparent I wanted to let you know upfront that they are Affiliate buttons.  If you follow the links and make a purchase i will receive a small benefit.

I weighed up carefully becoming an Affiliate for both of these companies.  We are long term users and lovers of All About Spelling and i would have no hesitation to recommend their products, Affiliate status aside.

Likewise with The Book Depository, I have made many purchases from them over many years.  All of my orders have been fulfilled promptly and all of my books have arrived in a timely fashion and none of them have ever been damaged.  Not to mention how well priced their books are.

So without hesitation i am happy to recommend both of these companies.  Being an Affiliate however will not cloud my opinions moving forward.  I always blog the way that we feel about products without external influence and will continue to do so.


Monday, April 2, 2012

Mini Math Monday

Today Chicky and I used dice to reinforce the relationship between c-rods and numbers.  We rolled 2 dice, found the corresponding rods, added them together then found the c-rod that matched their sum.  We only had one roll which added to over 10.  My aim was to stay within 10 but i'm always happy to walk my kids through concepts a little above their ability.

 Chicky deciding which c-rod she needs.

Chicky joining c-rods.  You can see the completed ones we left on the table.

What have you and your 'mini' been up to?  We would love to try out some of your living math ideas so please share :)


Sunday, April 1, 2012

Bugsy... gifted too???

From all my reading on giftedness i know that siblings are generally close in IQ however i've never really felt that with my kids, well not until recently.  Flossy was so clearly different right from the start.  She was amazing and quirky at 18m.  Bugsy is completely different, he's a boy, LOL.

Flossy is clearly language inclined although she can hold her own in math too.  Bugsy is not language oriented at, all.  Just over two years ago he started getting into Lego and building and more recently has started to explode with it.  It wasn't until the last week that i realised that he has a STEM mind!  Where have i been?  Under a rock?!

I'm not sure why it took me SO long to wake up to myself LOL.  Perhaps i was secretly in denial hoping that he wouldn't be gifted too.  Perhaps with everything going on in my life it just didn't enter my mind.  Perhaps because it's through his play and not through his lessons that i have come to realise this and that is why i didn't notice earlier.

So, this week i have been busy looking at STEM things that might interest him.  We pulled out the Snap Circuits and i have given him free range and he has built some great designs.  We already encourage Lego and i've been looking at Lego WeDo and Lego Mindstorms for next year.  We've downloaded and started using Scratch and he's spent hours having fun with that.  He also has a knack with logic puzzles and games which he already has access to on his iTouch.  I'm not sure what else we will get up to, but i can see it will be fun.

Ironically, Bugsy and I are so similar.  I loved all things STEM as a kid.  I built a solar powered car from bits and pieces at age 11 and took it to school to show the class.  I wanted to be an engineer and went to women in engineering workshops at the local uni's.  In the end i never followed a STEM career, math makes your brain work, and everything else was much easier than that! LOL, i guess i was lazy, i had so much potential.
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