Sunday, November 29, 2015

Christmas Fun Link Up 2015

Christmas!
Our Worldwide Classroom 
Did I hear someone say Christmas?

Seriously why does it take me by surprise every single year?

Are you the same?

Here we are only a day or so away from December 1st but as always I'm not ready for Christmas just yet!

I was looking back over all the fun we've had during the years and I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw that it has actually been three whole years since my last Christmas Fun link up. Wow! What a shame to have missed the past years as there are some amazing links added which you can still visit just by choosing the Christmas Label in my sidebar.

So I wanted to let you all know that I'm doing it again this year. 

The 2015 Christmas Fun Linky will open this coming Wednesday the 2nd and will continue for the 4 weeks leading up to Christmas.

So get out all of those Christmas goodies, get crafting, cooking, singing, sewing and enjoying all that Christmas means to you. Then head back here on Wednesday and link up your posts.

Would you all mind doing me a little favour though? 

Please grab the Christmas Button below and share it around so that all of your awesome links are seen by as many people as possible this festive season.
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Do you use and love Instagram?

Share your Christmas Fun images over there using the hash tag #homeschoolchristmasfun



Follow Our Worldwide Classroom's board Homeschool: Christmas Fun on Pinterest.
 
I have also created a Homeschool Christmas Fun Group Sharing Board. I'd love for you to join the board and add all of your wonderful Christmas Fun pins there. Please contact me if you would like to be added.
 
I'm so excited I can't wait to get this underway and to explore all of the fabulous things you are doing in the lead up to Christmas. See you later in the week for the very first installment of  Christmas Fun.
 
Happy Homeschooling,
Kylie

Friday, November 27, 2015

It's OK To be Ordinary!



Is your homeschooling brand strangling your homeschool?

I don't proclaim to be something I'm not. To put it quite simply I'm just your average ordinary mum doing what I feel is best for my kiddo's and one of those things is the choice to educate them at home.

There is so much out there in the homeschool world to ponder, to think about, to consider.

Am I doing this for all the right reasons?

Am I giving my kids the education they need and deserve?

Am I ensuring that I look after myself through all of this?

Have I got everything I should have in my arsenal to homeschool my kids?

Have I considered our homeschool philsophy?

What about plans? Not just for now but for the entire year and all of the years that are ahead of us?

Have I considered all of the brands of homeschooling?

Yes I like to call them brands because really that is what they are. Boats all do pretty much the same thing but they too come in all different brands. Yes some brands will suit us better than others or some aspects of certain boat brands will suit us better than other aspects but at the end of the day they are all still boats.


That is why I have never fully aligned myself to any particular brand of homeschooling.

I simply do what works.

Do what works for today.

Do what works for each child.

Do what works for me as their guide and travel companion in this adventure.

I don't need every single aspect of what we do to be scripted to the finest detail. In fact I want our homeschool to be completely the opposite of that.

I don't need to be told that I'm doing it all wrong if we choose to use math curriculum but call ourselves unschoolers.

I don't need to worry if I am fulfilling the correct requirements of the morning basket routine to state that yes I am indeed using a morning basket.

I want to be able to enjoy nature with my kids in any way that it pleases us without the worry of being told, "But Miss Mason would've done it like this".

It brings tears to my eyes to see you mummas that are out there trying so damn hard to get things right in your homeschool. Working tirelessly every single day of your lives in your homes, only to be torn down by well meaning other homeschool mums.

I see it all too often in the homeschool groups I am a member of. A question is asked or a statement is made about something that is getting done in a particular home and bam! You have a barrage of well meaning people jumping up and down telling you how you are doing it all wrong!


Actually I had this exact thing happen to me recently in a facebook group.

I have been looking very closely at a particular curriculum item that is gaining popularity among Christian homeschoolers. It is produced by a Christian family and appears to be a fabulous looking, thorough and very well put together curriculum.

Now, I ustilise many resources in our homeschool that are produced by Christian publishers because quite frankly their personal world view bears no relevance on if the product will be great for my kids or not. What I do normally like to know upfront though is just how well these resources will work in a secular homeschool.

I downloaded the available samples and from everything I saw I was impressed, but I still couldn't answer my question about whether it would work in a secular home. So I jumped on to a facebook group for secular homeschoolers hoping that amongst the thousands of members someone would've used the particular resource. 

Almost immediately I was basically told to go away and to not ask such a question within that group and not only by one person either. Are you kidding me? Isn't this exactly one of the reasons why we have secular homeschool groups so we can give feedback to other families on resources we may be considering?

Thankfully I am a confident long term homeschooler, imagine if I was just beginning my journey. How may responses like that affected me? Suffice to say I deleted my one and only post in that group and have left it.

Why is it ok for someone who knows absolutely nothing about me or my children to go ahead and tell me that what I am doing or potentially going to do is wrong? How is that Ok?

Why is anything wrong, aside from abuse, if it works in that particular home, for that particular family?

Why is it wrong if the family enjoy doing things in a way that works for them?

Why is it wrong if it gets the results the family is aiming for?

This homeschooling gig really is just another part of this thing we call life. There is no right way to do it. We are simply all doing the very best we can and no we do not need to fit under a particular homeschool brand.


I'm going to say that again just in case you missed it. We do not need to align ourselves under any particular homeschooling brand to be successful at homeschooling.

We really don't!!

So what do we do then?

Stay tuned for part two of this post coming soon.

Happy Homeschooling,
Kylie


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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

France ~ The Eiffel Tower



So I figured it was about time I shared some more details on our recent trip to France. You might remember the Madeline post! This time we visited the Eiffel Tower. One of the most visited and well known structures in the entire world!

France Unit Study Free Printable

As is always the case with our group activities we have a large age range of children, from five up to fourteen years in fact so it can at times be a little tricky putting together something that will work for the entire group.

This time the information presented was pretty much the same for everyone but the output from the various age groups was much more appropriate.

As you can see here we had a simple tracing exercise for the youngest of the children and the middle to upper primary group completed a question and answer sheet after chatting about and watching a short informational video on the Eiffel Tower.



I actually struggled to find a video I was truly happy with, either my searching abilities this time around needed some work or there just isn't much out there in the form of short documentary style videos about the Eiffel Tower.


After watching the video and a having brief discussion the oldest of the group wrote a short informational report about the Eiffel Tower. They were given a list of questions to answer within the report. As a group we worked through all of the topics and discussed as necessary or when various points were raised.

I do enjoy working with older kids for this reason. We generally are not a group of one teacher and several students. I am simply one of them, together in that group all learning what we can, asking questions, sorting through the information and coming up with something that works for each of us.

I have included these Free Eiffel Tower Printable Worksheets as a download at the bottom of this post.


For a bit of fun we all took a ride on the Eiffel Tower Elevator. Well as close as we could get to a ride whilst remaining firmly planted here in the living room.

I love the view you get from this angle though, it is well worth watching.



There are quite few different Eiffel Tower Crafts out there on the web. I knew I needed something simple due to time constraints and the wide variety of ages of kids that I was dealing with.

In the end I went with the Straw Eiffel Tower Craft as it gave some level of flexibility, was simple enough for young ones and the older kids could add their own flair to it.



I googled a template and printed it on light weight card as I knew there would be loads of wet glue being added to these during the process. The template itself is really just to use as a guide so it doesn't need to be too particular.


I just love how even with such a simple activity they all came up with their very own different ideas.


When it came time for the older kids turn I gave them a great deal more choice with materials. There were of course the straws in varying colours, but I also laid out buttons, beads, pretty little paper flowers and other small bits and bobs envisioning them all having a grand old time turning their plain template into a beautiful rendition of the tower.

Alas, they all, but me, chose the straws. Oh well you know what they say about never working with children ;-) hahaha!

And that was our visit to the Eiffel Tower.

Would you like a copy of the Eiffel Tower Worksheets I shared above?  Please use this link to download a copy for your personal use.

Happy Homeschooling,
Kylie

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Monday, November 16, 2015

Free Printable Letter To Santa Writing Paper

Free Letter To santa Writing Paper Santa Letters

A few years back I created some very simple

Free Printable Letter To Santa Writing Paper

for my kids to use to write Santa Letters. Like most things I pull together I share them with you. Little did I know that the writing paper post would still be one of my most visited posts on the blog. During this time of the year the visits go through the roof. I'm kind of figuring that all your kids really like to write letters to their dearly beloved Santa.

You can still grab the original Santa Letter Paper at this link.

This year I decided to add a few more into the mix, just to brighten things up, add a splash more colour and all that jazz.

There are three new totally different Letter To Santa Papers for you to download for your personal use.


The candy cane border and the silhouette Santa off delivering his gifts are just the cutest aren't they!


For those kids that might like something more traditional we have a simple Christmas Tree, all lit up with a few gifts ready to open on Christmas morning.


I know that most younger children really like to draw something to send to Santa so this letter paper allows that, with a much smaller writing space.

Download the Free Printable Letter To Santa Writing Paper here.

I hope your kids enjoying writing their Letters To Santa with these.

Merry Christmas and Happy Homeschooling,
Kylie

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Saturday, November 7, 2015

Homeschool Rocks ~ Building Confidence & Over Coming Fear



It's okay to share a proud homeschool mothers moment every once in awhile on one's blog isn't it?

Great, thought so!

I don't do this very often but I think we need to. I think we need to celebrate the milestones and achievements of our kids. Mostly we homeschoolers are generally chatting to the already converted but from time to time interest seekers may just stumble across our words and these positive stories of encouragement are exactly what they are seeking out.

Recently I shared a similar version of this in one of our local homeschooling facebook groups and I wanted to record it here so I can look back during times of reflection.

My 13 year old has been home educated all the way through. Well all the way except for preschool and six months of prep in a state school. He is a quiet, reserved, shy kind of kid and I know many would say that this is because we home school, although I know in my heart it is simply who he is. He's always been that way, and it's in his blood, a family trait so to speak.

About 4 years ago I arranged for a group of home schooled kids to undertake some drama classes at our local theatre. Having shy kids AND home educating them I didn't want them confined to a life of debilitating shyness. Whilst being shy certainly isn't a bad trait per se I have seen how shyness can affect people and hold them back from a living a full, joyful life.

There is so much wonder to be seen and experienced in this world, but we need to get out there and seek it out. It certainly isn't going to come looking for us, sitting at home in the safeness of our own little existence. We need to be brave, to try new things, meet new people and to put ourselves out there in what can often be terrifying situations. Being overly shy just makes all of those things a whole lot harder to deal with.

One way to help us feel more at ease with people in general, social interactions and generally feeling at ease around others is through the many and varied games that the children are exposed to during their weekly drama classes. Of course getting up on that stage helps too!

So he was happy to participate in the drama classes but with out a doubt he informed me that he 'would never ever speak on that stage'. In all honesty I really didn't mind and I had never actually given much thought to the 'on stage' component of the drama classes. I simply wanted him to experience being a part of the theatre group and all that that entails. Today, 4 years later he is still participating but now attends their regular after school drama classes, with children from all walks of life!

The funny thing is, he did end up speaking on that stage. The first year I think it was one line, one quietly spoken little line, but seeing the determination and courage that that one small line took brought tears to my eyes, heck, even just standing up on that stage was one huge act of courage!

And then little by little, slowly slowly, his confidence grew and so did his speaking parts.

Late last month we saw him perform in the musical production of Narnia - The Lion The Witch & The Wardrobe, that the entire cast (including his little sister) had been working on for months. This was an optional musical and was all done outside of their regular weekly classes. Hours upon of hours of rehearsals. Learning lines and songs at home, again for hours, without a hint of input from me.



His role was that of Mr Beaver, which when he told me he had that part I was pleasantly surprised. I knew he would have several speaking lines in which to tackle, but because he undertook this task independently I had absolutely no idea just how many. Not only did he have a lead role, he needed to portray that role as a beaver with a cockney accent and sing, sing I tell you and in many parts this singing was completely solo, with a microphone strapped to his ear!

Oh Em Gee!!


Tears were literally streaming down my cheeks. Too watch him up there not one person could ever imagine that inside he is just a shy little boy doing what he enjoys because he has the time available to do so and the pressure free environment to enjoy what ever it is he chooses. No one has ever told him that being in a drama group is not cool. Even though there are limited males across all of the age groups. It really is predominantly a female based group. He has persevered and grown in leaps and bounds from the experience.

I have always lived by the mantra, of experiences, experiences, experiences. Give my kids as many wonderful and varied experiences as I am possibly able to and that is what we've done over the years. I have always encouraged my kids to try new things, yes even when they don't really want to. All I ask is that they try something and if they dislike it I will never bring it up again. Which by the way has very rarely happened.

I wholeheartedly believe that this has been what has gotten him to where he is now. He isn't afraid to try things (or I should say he still has a little healthy fear but he does it anyway) and this will take him a long way in his life. The older we grow it often seems the more afraid we become to take risks and to try out new things and so we allow our little dreams to die inside of us. We allow our fears to control us.


This is just one of the many positives that home education has given us. A place free of fears to try any new thing that looks cool and the freedom to say no, that really wasn't for me but hey I tried it and at least now I know!


So for all you mummas that are still in the very early stages of your homeschooling I really just wanted to say, have faith in what you are doing and in your beautiful children.

Get them out in the world, that's where the real education lies.

Books, the internet and documentaries are great, yes, but experiences, experiences, experiences is where the real learning happens.

Experiences is where life happens!!

Experiences are the real magic of our existence.

As a homeschooling family we are truly blessed to have ample time for all the experiences in the world.

Home School Really Is Cool!
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