Mama's Musings

Resource Review: My Creative Box

Jan 05, 2021

Zeah got a couple of craft kits for Christmas from My Creative Box. The boxes contain several activities each, and everything needed to do each one. The packaging is all compostable/recyclable and there seems to be minimal waste in the one we've started (Oceans).

Some activities I need to help her with, others she can do alone once I set it up (she's 4). Overall, this is a great Aussie business encouraging learning and creativity!  The Oceans box has inspired informal themed learning for Zeah over the past couple of weeks.


If you want to try these, here's a $10 off voucher.

We were lucky to visit the Cairns Aquarium and the beach over our Summer Holiday, so Zeah has been doing the Ocean-themed Creative Box activities, watching Octonauts and Nemo, and generally immersing herself in all things marine!

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Resource Review: The Brave Learner

Aug 25, 2020

I've been listening to The Brave Learner on audible for a few weeks now, and I'm really enjoying it!  As I listen to each chapter, I'm thinking "Yes!"  Julie Bogart succinctly describes the learning adventure our family have lived for the past last 25+ years.  To hear her describe how she learned to create a rich learning environment (and lifestyle) for her children, and trusted their choices and abilities is a beautiful reminder of how our own home education journey was also heart-centred and adventure-driven.  Would I make the same choices again?  Absolutely!  I am, with Zeah who is 4 and will have a different experience to her siblings aged 16-26, but hopefully it will be as full of fun and love and help her to grow to be independent and brave adults like her siblings (she's already quite brave!)

Want to hear more?  The Brave Learner is on Audible (your first title is free).  It's also available as a paperback for around AUD$25 -...

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Resource Review: Moneysmart and More

Aug 11, 2020

Recently, I shared a review of a printable resource to learn about Money from Teachers Pay Teachers (which also has heaps of cool freebies too, if you want to sample what's available).  Then I reviewed the Barefoot Investor for Families.  To continue with the money theme check out this collection of over 60 resources.  From this Australian government site families can learn about budgeting, charity, advertising, enterprise, sustainability, consumerism, investing, savings goals and more.   

If you do unit studies, or project-based homeschooling, Consider including practical topics like money in your home learning journey...  it's relatively easy to gather resources and children love to learn about real life.  Some other subjects we've covered in other 'real life' units include:

growing food
animals
kitchen skills
enterprise
sewing
building
cars

Rather than a rigid curriculum, the projects have been a conscious choice to include the...

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Resource Review: Rainbow Pebbles

Aug 05, 2020

We've had this set for about a year and I play it with Zeah, she plays with it alone, and we take it when I babysit some other homeschooled children.  It's been really popular with 3-8 year olds.  We have the version pictured, with activity cards.  

Zeah uses the pebbles for sorting (size, colour, shape), stacking, counting, and making patterns.  The pebbles are ideal for loose parts play, as maths manipulatives and the activity cards prompt plenty of variations of learning and play.  There are several sets available.

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Resource Review: Ultimate Homeschooling Bundle

Jul 27, 2020

Are you as intrigued as I was about the Ultimate Homeschooling Bundle, a collection of resources created by experienced homeschoolers?

I had early access to this bundle and have previewed a lot of the resources over the past two weeks.  I downloaded, unzipped, saved, filed and printed like it was Christmas!  I kept unpacking more and more goodies and I was AMAZED at the quality!  I figured that if there were at least TWO resources of great value, it'd be more than worth the purchase price of just under US$30...  Out of 51 resources, I presumed there'd be value there...  And I was right!  And so I'm sharing this bargain (which is available for THIS WEEK ONLY), with you.

From what I've seen so far, there are at least threecourses I want to do ASAP, two planning tools I will try out (always, always tweaking systems here!), some learning resources I will use with Zeah (4) today, and some stuff I'll save for later on - I've downloaded and...

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Resource Review: The Barefoot Investor for Families

Jul 22, 2020

When The Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape was published in 2017, I heard about it everywhere and so grabbed myself a copy in paper and audio editions.  I read the book, listened to the audiobook (read by Scott himself), joined a facebook groups where the concepts were discussed, subscribed to the Barefoot emails....  And yes, I opened the ING accounts!  The books are less than $20 each (new), and are also available as ebooks and audiobooks.


We didn't implement all of the ideas in the book - a lot of the Barefoot steps we were already doing, or didn't apply to us.  The way Scott simply and humorously laid out the strategies he suggests made it easy to implement a few easy changes which meant instantly increased savings, decreased expenses, and reaching goals more quickly.  Reassuringly, he reminds readers often to "tread your own path."

I bought this book for some of my younger siblings and adult children, I loved it so much!  I've...

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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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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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Resource Review: Australian Homeschooling Summit 2020

May 26, 2020

From May 4th to May 15th 2020, I participated in the Australian Homeschooling Summit.  I presented a workshop during Week One about our family's 25 year home education journey.

I've also had the pleasure of enjoying other workshops and bonus sessions by Aussie home educators Lusi Austin, Kelly George, April Jermey, Andrew Lord, Karen Willson, Erin Hassett & her graduate homeschoolers, and Heidi Conway.  And there are at least a dozen I hope to watch or listen to in the coming weeks!  Even though I have six home ed graduates myself, there is so much of value in these workshops for me as a parent as I embark on this journey (again) with 4 year old Zeah.


The Summit was run mostly through a Facebook group, where there were Live presentations and watch parties, as well as a lot of bonus materials, opportunities to network, and Q&A with the presenters.  Workshops were also accessible directly via the Australian Homeschooling Summit website live,...

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Resource Review: Art Supplies - Crayons

May 19, 2020

Following on from last week's review of Lyra pencils, good quality crayons are also really worth buying.  We invested in Stockmar Crayons (sticks and blocks) and Crayon Rocks for our children, and they've lasted years. 

The Stockmar Crayons are made of beeswax and come in a tin or a wooden box.  They're popular with Steiner/Waldorf educators and families.  The blocks are especially suited to small children, and activities such as crayon rubbing.  The sticks are strong (ours have not snapped or bent) and offer the same brilliant result as the blocks.  Neither type crumbles or smudges - they are so smooth.

Crayon Rocks are made from soy wax and come in a drawstring bag.  They're ideal for teaching pencil grip and were designed by an occupational therapist.  These are even more smooth on the paper than the Stockmar crayons!  They're not quite as long-lasting (because the wax is slightly softer), but they're still a...

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