Sunday, October 25, 2009

The next step...

in a journey through our day.

What do you do after you finish morning tea and scripture reading?

Unless it is pouring with rain we go outside and the kids frolic while I hang washing and do gardening etc.

Princess Doc and Farm Boy on a winter's day


I know, I know. It doesn't SOUND very school-ish does it? But I consider this one of the most vital parts of our homeschool.

I COULD schedule a day full of activities and challenges, but then we would miss out on all that this time offers us including:

Spontaneous learning where a child will rush in for a hand book to find the name of a strange bird.

Developing the ability to select and organise ones OWN activities. Believe it or not deciding between riding a bike or bouncing on the trampoline involves a complex set of skills. Children who are hyper-scheduled miss out on these skills.

Supporting the natural growth and development of the body and brain. I was involved for a time with remedial therapies which supported children with learning disabilities and hyperactivity disorders etc. Many of the physical activities that we had these children do to get their bodies and brains working together and nural networks forming correctly were EXACTLY WHAT MY KIDS DO IF I LEAVE THEM ALONE! Jumping, running, crawling, wrestling, jumping jacks and more. Kids will do them if given space an opportunity. Kids who DON'T do these things are at risk of their bodies and possibly even their brains not working properly.

Conducting independent investigations. Wow! Sounds good doesn't it? Let me give you an example:

Farm Boy: Mum, look, there is a trail of slime behind this snail.

Mama Bear: Yep, cool.

Farm Boy:
Hehe, now it is on my finger. It is wet Mum!

Mama Bear: Really?

Farm Boy: Yeah. Look, when it dries it goes shiny!

Mama Bear: You don't say?!

Farm Boy:
Yep, look, they are all over here. I'm going snail hunting Mum!

That folks, is biology 101 independent investigation #245 in progress.

We conduct experiments. Sounds like we need white coats and crazy hair dos doesn't it? Not really! Princess Doc planted some bulbs in her garden with the hypothesis that if she planted and cared for them, flowers will bloom. She checks her garden and cares for it regularly. The bulbs are growing and very soon I suspect her hypothesis will be proven completely correct! White coats and crazy hair dos completely optional.

We work on our social skills. Yes, with only us at home. One trike + two little boys who want to ride it = a ripe opportunity to learn how to win friends and influence people! Conflict management 101 right in our own back yard.

We exercise our skills of observation and attention to detail. For example, today Princess Doc informed me that she found an aphid on her finger. She saw it and IDENTIFIED it all on her own. A very proud moment.

We have fun and we like it.

Tool Man doing his Ewok impression


So where is my scope and sequence?

Don't have one!

Every now and then there will be a funky challenge on a blog a catch up with or we will have an idea of what we want to do. Other times I will have need-to-do items with the garden etc and the kids will join me. Quite often the kids disappear into the yard somewhere, together or separately, and tell me about it later. So long as the basic rules of safety and kindness are followed, I'm happy!

Farm Boy proudly displaying his collection of.....dirt

If you are wanting a few ideas to keep you occupied while the kids are playing, these are ten sites to help inspire you, in no particular order!:

The Magnifying Glass

The Snail's Trail

Elsa Mora

By Sun and Candlelight

Crafty Crow

Snap Shots

Crafty Mama

Journey Into Unschooling

Herbal RootsZine

The Handbook of Nature Study

If you are priveledged enough to live in the wonderful land of Oz and would like to learn a little more about your immediate surroundings, try these sites:

Birds in Backyards

The Gould League

ABC Science: Scribbly Gum

Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife (if you are unfortunate enough NOT to live in Tasmania, check out the parks and wildlife site for your state. You will find it full of all sorts of info)

Images of Australian Fauna and Flora

What about you? How do work "unstructured activity" time and/or nature study into the day? Why do you think it's important? What, do your kids tend to choose to do/enjoy doing during these times?

Leave a comment or blog about it and link back in the comments!

Come back next week for the next step in our walk through our day.

The girls bonding

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


in a journey through our day.

What do you do after you finish learning time?

Usually, we have some fruit and a drink for morning tea and read the chapter of proverbs that corrosponds to the date.


I find a bit of fruit and something to drink mid morning goes a long way to keeping little ones hydrated and less cranky!

Proverbs is a "how to" book for living life and has a handy 31 chapters that matches up with the dates quite nicely.

You'd be amazed the conversation that starts when reading proverbs with little ones.

You'd be amazed how much MUMMY learns about life from reading proverbs!

I want to establish and maintain a habit of opening the Bible every day for myself and for each member of the family.

Reading the Bible together means we come accross all sorts of words and concepts that need discussing and learning. We don't try and learn EVERYTHING each chapter has to offer every day, we just take a great big mouthful and chew on the Word together. If that isn't learning, I don't know what is!

We grab some fruit from the kitchen and the older ones set the table while I make up a jug of drink. We eat, drink and read - discuss sometimes - then pack up. All up, the most time this usually takes is 20 minutes.

Sometimes a particular proverb will be especially applicable ("an honest answer is like a kiss on the lips" was a catch phrase in our house for a while!) so we may discuss it, other times we will just read through with me explaining words or phrases they may not understand.

What about you? How do you feel about reading scripture as a family? Why do you feel that way? What, time of day do you read scripture as a family?

Leave a comment or blog about it and link back in the comments!

Come back next week for the next step in our walk through our day.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Learning time

in a journey through our day.

What do you do after you finish praying?

We have our "learning time". We use this time to directly talk about things that I feel are beneficial to memorise or at least become familiar with.


Young children can memorise things quickly and easily so it makes sense to me to take advantage of this stage to lay a foundation for later learning.

This time encourages me to have direct conversation with the kids about different topics which helps build our relationship.

It's fun and we like it!


After prayer, we all pile back onto the couch and I get my display folder. The front of the folder is filled with song lyrics for songs and prayers but there are five sheets of paper in the back of the book, one sheet for each week day. Each day has something related to the Bible and something related to general knowledge on it.

Monday - we have a verse and the numbers to ten in Spanish
Tuesday - we have a psalm or part of a psalm
Wednesday - we have a proverb and a poem
Thursday - we have the Ten Commandments and the days of the week/months of the year
Friday - we have the names of the first five books of the Bible and the states and territories of Australia.

I will go into more detail about why I have chosen these things next week.

I read the scripture or Bible based item first then we discuss it and read it again with the children repeating after me OR with me leaving out words for them to fill in.

We then follow the same procedure with the second item on the list, I read through, we discuss, they repeat after me.

We stay with the same items for a maximum of three months before we change them. The focus isn't necessarily memorising, although they do tend to memorise what we are talking about. The focus is more getting a taste for the items and an understanding of what they mean and how their lives can be touched by them.

What about you? How do you feel about children memorising things? Why do you feel that way? What, do you plan to/did you do at different stages of your children's lives to help them learn scripture and facts?

Leave a comment or blog about it and link back in the comments!

Come back next week for the next step in our walk through our day.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Asking the Questions

I have been asking homeschooling parents three questions:

WHAT is the most important thing for you to teach your child?

WHY is that important to you?

HOW have you gone about teaching them this?

Bek, mother of three boys aged 8 - bub in arms and blogger at Blessed answered like this:

God has been taking me on a journey discovering just this.

I haven't yet been homeschooling for a year and I love how God is guiding me. I believe that my main job is to train my children to love Jesus and make him the Lord of their lives.

I also believe in training my children to be successful in life. This obviously isn't so straight forward as each child has different qualities and trait s and so different training needs.

The only way for me to be able to do this is to rely fully of God everyday, teaching and training me so that I can do the same for my children. We are still setting up new routines (since my focus has been shifted from academic focused to God focused) but we are giving the Bible the pride of place and then trying to work in other things around that.

My biggest challenge is learning to juggle the different ages and stages all simultaneously but we have faith that God is doing a work in all of us. Prayerfully seeking God every day/hour/moment is the greatest tool. The bad days are the days that I haven't put this in the right place.

I would LOVE to hear YOUR answer to the questions! Please either share in the comments or e-mail me at

TasJess AT gmail DOT com

Answers can be as anonymous as you like or contain links to your own blog

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The second step...

in a journey through our day.

What do you do after you finish singing?

We pray.


Prayer connects us with God and establishes a two way conversation through the day.

We are establishing a pattern of prayer in our children's lives for them to continue into adulthood. While it is their choice to continue the pattern or not, it is easier to continue the pattern than to have to establish one from scratch.

It reminds me to check in with Him if I haven't already done so in the morning. It especially reminds me to pray FOR my children.

I can model prayer for the children, showing them that I need to take my self to the foot of the cross, ask for forgiveness and strength and direction.

Listening to my children pray gives me insight into where they are at emotionally and spiritually and helps me tap into their inner workings.

Spending time being quiet each day, even if only a few minutes, can help teach children self-calming techniques. A habit of daily quiet time has been linked to numerous health benefits.

Explicit teaching of an attitude of reverence and worship on a daily basis makes going to Church and other places where this attitude is required (i.e.weddings) a whole lot more fun for all of us! It also helps teach a respect for those around them.

Having this time when I expect them to follow direct instruction (i.e. kneel down, bow heads, close eyes etc.) tends to set a bit of a pattern of obedience for the day. A pattern that MAY be interrupted later in the day of course, but a pattern none the less!


We already prepared ourselves at the end of our singing time by singing "I have knees that bend by my chair..." and "Into My Heart". I will often, but not always, take time between these two songs to review my expectations during prayer times. This is done in a fun, light hearted manner. For example, I will play a game show host and ask them in my special "game show host" voice what we need to do with our hands, eyes, feet etc. during prayer time. Or I may ask one of the older ones to demonstrate to Anna or Christopher what they need to do during prayer times. They love to show off their knowledge and establishing CLEARLY that they know what they should do and I know that THEY know that I know what they should be doing means that stepping outside of these guidelines can be dealt with as defiance in the manner that our family deals with defiance. We don't make a big deal with this, and most of the time it is quite fun. I take the stance that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

*note*: we do pray at other times when not using our "prayer stance" and we talk often about how God can hear us any time, anywhere. We do talk about how when we pray together, it is good manners NOT to distract other people and how keeping an attitude of prayer can help us to concentrate.

When we have finished singing, the children will pray one at a time. Their prayers vary from "Dear Jesus, thank you for the whole world. Amen" to long and complex prayers that can go on for a while! Christopher usually repeats his prayers after me but is getting to the stage where he adds his own bits too. I finish our prayer session by praying for each of us and Daddy and anything else that has been on my heart (being mindful of little knees!) and then we say the Lord's Prayer together.

Next year I would like to start using some resources I collected from Preschool Sunday School Central

What about you? How you work prayer into your children's day? Why do you do things that way? What, if any, resources do you use to teach your children about prayer?

Leave a comment or blog about it and link back in the comments!

Come back next week for the next step in our walk through our day.