Mama's Musings

Resource Review: Teachers Pay Teachers

Jul 14, 2020

Do you use printable resources?  Check out Teachers Pay Teachers for free and cheap resources!

Teachers Pay Teachers is an online marketplace where teachers (and homeschoolers) buy and sell original educational materials.

Just search for what sort of resources you need, eg: "Australian Money" then narrow down the results using the approx age level on the left, as well as your maximum price and the resource type. Try to be as specific as you can - I just searched for Australian Money resources for P/K/1 level and there are over 850 items!  Please note that prices are in US dollars.


For US$5 I just bought a 56 page pdf download with 4 games I can print and use right away.  It has lists of what we need (eg: dice, counters), cards, game boards, instructions, and "coins" (but we'll use our plastic ones or real money).  

I played (and made) a few money games with my older children when they were young.  I found it gave them the confidence to go into a real...

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Q & A #4 - Family Relationships

Jul 13, 2020

For us, home education had a positive influence on our family relationships. Like all families, we’ve had our highs and lows, and several challenges, but I think the amount of time we spent together helped us through these.

Remember that you are family, primarily. Don’t get bogged down in “education” as a priority over your relationships. There’s a lot of parenting left to do! Make the most of the years you have together.

Some good things to consider...

What “family time” does your family value? Do you eat meals together? Have a shared hobby? Go out for coffee or a meal? Commute places regularly? Go to church, yoga, meditation, gym, the pool, sport or other regular outing or activity? Make a commitment to each other to continue these things. If you don’t have specific family time, discuss what you might like to share, and how you’ll all commit to that.

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Friday Freebie: Worksheet Generator

Jul 09, 2020

Did you know that there are FREE worksheet generators online?  I don't have a preferred one, I just search and use whatever appeals.  I just tested this one though, to make a handwriting sheet  for Zeah, and it worked fine.  I printed a page, and also saved it as a pdf.

I used to use worksheet generators when my older kids were young too, to make wordsearches and other activities they enjoyed related to their current unit study or topic of interest.  For little learners, I'd often make pages using our names and address words, because they liked things related to our family, and it was useful for them to know these words.  You can make worksheets and other games for learning at any stage.  Flashcards are awesome for adults learning a language, for example.

Worksheets aren't necessarily the boring, futile teaching tool they're often made out to be.  Personalised worksheets, in particular, can be lots of fun!  Happy printing!

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Q & A #3 - Teaching and Learning

Jul 06, 2020

For me, my children’s learning styles were really evident from a young age. I have a background in Developmental Psychology and Primary Teaching, so I’m naturally interested in children, their growth and their educational needs.

But I also think most parents would be able to see in their children what makes them thrive – are they very active?, do they love stories?, are they good listeners?, do they need very specific instructions?, can they complete a task independently or do they like to have someone to support them?, are their fine motor skills developed enough to hold a pencil?, are they asking questions or making observations about numbers, letters, colours, shape, size – and/or interacting with you when you speak of these things?

I tried not to push my children to do what they were not ready to do. I sometimes encouraged them to try a bit with something that wasn’t that interesting for them (such as improving handwriting, or swimming lessons),...

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Resource Review: Zero to Homeschool Course

Jun 30, 2020

Exciting News!

Kelly from Fearless Homeschool is running a rare live session of her Zero to Homeschool course!

Here’s a quick overview -

Full course access – instant & lifetime
July 6 – August 28
Weekly live coaching sessions
Accountability (so you actually do it!)

Over eight weeks you’ll go through one module a week. You’ll meet for a live session once a week where Kelly does some extra teaching, answers questions, and helps troubleshoot your issues. She’ll even record it so you can watch if you can’t make it live.

At the end of the eight weeks you’ll have a personalised homeschool that’s interesting, enjoyable, AND educational (and that you don’t want to run away from).

If that’s EXACTLY what you need right now, you can join Zero to Homeschool here.  Enjoy!

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Q & A #2 - Handwriting

Jun 29, 2020

We did Queensland handwriting books at about age 6 for printing, and age 10 for cursive writing. I'm not sure anyone finished their books, though, they really disliked them.

I also bought the dotted thirds lined exercise books and would write words and sentences relevant to the children - names, address and other locations, friends, family, pets, words related to their interests... This was a more popular method than the workbooks.

I used to get them to write on my shopping list, or on the calendar, and they wrote cards and occasional letters to family and friends. The older ones had penpals, but the younger ones used email for communicating with friends far away.

As they got older, if it was evident that their handwriting was still both a chore for them and not very neat, we tried keeping a journal. This of course helped with other aspects of writing such as composition and grammar. Most of them disliked journaling, so it was abandoned fairly soon.

For some we tried Copywork....

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Musings on Craft

Jun 26, 2020

Are you creating things with little people?  I often am!  I have a few craft books to inspire, but I don't regularly use them...  I normally search online for a specific theme, eg: "rainbow craft preschool".  Or sometimes I search for activities to use up specific materials, eg: "seedpod crafts".  I have the beginnings of a folder of ideas in Pinterest, but I forget to add to it!

We like to use materials from nature, mixed with materials that can be composted.  We try to avoid plastic, foam, synthetic fibres, over-packaged kits, single-use everything!  I remember about 20 years ago taking my tribe of small children to playgroup and coming home with at least four creations made from plastic and styrofoam, glitter and googly eyes.  And another four the next week.  And over and over until our home was filled with non-recyclable art that inevitably ended up in the bin.  We still have way too many precious creations floating...

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Q & A #1 - Reading Levels

Jun 22, 2020

My older children were independent readers at a huge variety of ages. One was reading novels at three years of age. Others learned to read around five, and progressed at a similar rate to most schooled children. A couple of them could read basic words, but weren’t independent readers until they were 8 or 9 years old. I define an “independent reader” as one who will seek some text to read for pleasure, or obtain information, without much assistance. Most of our kids jumped from “The Cat Sat On The Mat” style readers to novels or non-fiction books in a matter of weeks.

As adults, they all read for pleasure and study. They’ll often come home and scour the bookshelves for favourites to re-visit or reference books they remember.

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Why Home Based Learning?

Jun 19, 2020

“Children are being freed to learn as nature intended” – just one comment I will always remember from my 2002 research into why Australian parents were home educating their children.  I was curious as to why so many were taking the plunge into home based learning in Australia.  Recently, isolation-schooling during the pandemic has exposed the option to all families as a possibility.  Here, I explain why  a steadily-increasing number of families been home educating in Australia over the past few decades.

Some parents actively choose to home educate.  They make the decision sometime – whether when their children are infants (and even unborn), or when they feel dissatisfied with their children’s schooling for any reason.  Some parents feel that there was no other choice.  Perhaps they have exceptional or neurodiverse children, their children are sick or injured, they may be simply unable to cope with the stress...

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