Mama's Musings

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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Friday Freebie: Themed Learning

Aug 20, 2020

I loved themed learning at any age!  From reading Teddy Bear's Picnic and eating outdoors with babies, right through to teens writing essays inspired by concepts in a sci-fi movie they watched or novel they read...  


Last week I read The Rainbow Fish to Zeah and the little ones I babysit, then we did some simple related activities.

The Rainbow Fish, with his shimmering scales, is the most beautiful fish in the ocean but he is proud and vain and none of the other fish want to be his friend—until he learns to give away some of his most prized possessions.

Sometimes the activity is so simple it's completed by the end of the story, and other times, we can spend a week or more immersed in the theme of a much-loved book.

When I looked online for activities related to The Rainbow Fish, there were hundreds of free ideas including arts & crafts, colouring pages, worksheets, games, loose parts play, snack ideas, and more!  Learning like this is a little like a...

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Friday Freebie: Khan Academy

Aug 13, 2020

Have you used Khan Academy?  Our teens have used it so much over the years (and still do), especially for Maths!

I used Khan Academy myself recently as I needed some further explanation on some Maths concepts for one of my university subjects.  The lessons complimented the uni content perfectly and filled in the gaps I had so I could proceed with my assignment.

And something for my readers who aren't Aussies - they have a great section on Personal Finances with US information and links.  So if you were a little let down by the Australian-centric info I shared here on Wednesday, check out Khan Academy!  it's FREE!

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Q & A #8 - Adulthood

Aug 10, 2020

It’s funny, they’ll often joke, if they don’t know how to do something, or don’t know something, “Well, duh, homeschooled.”  And while it’s a joke, I think they might sometimes feel self conscious that they don’t know all the same things as their peers.  But really, their peers don’t know the same things as each other, either!    People have made presumptions about them, their family and their education based on homeschool myths too, which can be awkward.   I find that it’s less common now that there is a lot of positive media coverage of home education.  Once the kids are a couple of years older, they realise they are just as well-educated as those who went to high school, and a couple of them have described it to me as “the ultimate private education”. 

 We each have different skills and strengths.  One thing they all know is that they can learn ANYTHING...

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Wild Foods

Aug 09, 2020

The term ‘bush tucker’ refers to Australian native foods – the huge variety of fruit, nuts, seeds, leaves, birds, mammals, roots, bark, fungi, herbs, spices, flowers, reptiles, insects, aquatic plants and fish. ‘Wild foods’ is another way to describe these, and includes non-native but often abundant food sources.

Wild foods are the ultimate in spray-free, packaging-free local food. So long as they are harvested in moderation from clean environments, they are a very low impact food source. These were once the only means of food and medicine for indigenous Australians – they are a valuable and viable resource worth learning about.

Our family have been discovering over many years and though each change of season, native and wild foods on our small farm and in the surrounding areas in Far North Queensland, Australia. Some we have found include red and yellow guava, lilly pilly, Atherton nut, lemon aspen, native ginger, pipturus and...

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Friday Freebie: Nature Study Resources

Aug 08, 2020

Marie from Nature Study Australia has collated a fantastic list of free resources for homeschoolers looking to include Nature Study in their learning journeys...  We've used some of Marie's resources before, and I attended her workshop at the Australian Homeschooling Summit.

Once I started looking for nature study resources, I found there were hundreds, including freebies, available online.  If you have any recommendations, please let us know what you're using, especially Aussie products!

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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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Q & A #7 - Fun

Aug 03, 2020

Apart from the sheer hard work of juggling six kids and their varied needs, I actually did feel guilty at times that we were on this almost-constant “holiday”. Our kids didn’t have to wake to an alarm, they had lots of freedom through the day with what they ate, where, when, if they were reading a book they really loved, they could just lay on the couch and finish it in a couple of days. We always tried to travel outside of school holidays to avoid the crowds, went to the beach whenever the weather was best, watched a movie after lunch when we needed a rest, took trips to the city on school days so that the shops, museum etc were quieter. And yes, even our “school work” did not seem to resemble “school” at all.

I’m pretty sure some neighbours and relatives wondered what on Earth I was doing to the “poor kids”! It was easier once the older ones were, well, older, and everyone could see that they were turning out better than...

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Q & A #6 - University

Jul 27, 2020

This never seemed to me like a possibility, and I don’t think the kids worried about it too much either. Even when I first went to uni in the 90s, many of my fellow students were not school-leavers and had entered uni via an alternate route.  I've just enrolled  myself in another university course, 25 years on, and the process was quite simple and 100% online.

When my older kids were teens, a Certificate course was a good entry path into further education, so they started studying those as part of what would be their “senior studies” at around 15. For the younger kids, they also chose certificate courses, and they are also accessing bridging courses into their preferred field. These courses are offered by many universities, and I wish that’s how I entered uni – instead of leaping from high school into the foreign land of tertiary study!

Five of the bigger kids have completed Certificate Courses (such as a Cert 3 in Business, or a Cert 4 in...

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Q & A #5 - Curriculum

Jul 20, 2020

We used various resources for learning. Collectively, our children attained academic knowledge from text books and workbooks, apps and online learning programs like Duolingo, Rosetta Stone and Khan Academy, online courses from free 4 hour short courses through to Certificate IV level qualifications, reading, documentaries, You Tube, tutors and mentors, classes – and probably a dozen other means of which I’m not aware! Their learning programs were extremely flexible and by the time they were teens they were almost entirely self-designed and self-driven. Some of their favourite ways to learn, especially in earlier years, included Unit Studies or Projects, co-operative learning (where we’d do the same Unit Studies as other families, and come together to share regularly), and classes like art, pottery, Italian, and co-op group lessons on science and math topics.

It’s good to remember that you’re always free to change things. If a book or course isn’t...

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