I seem to have lost a few of our school weeks in the depth of the business of life, I hate when that happens, but rather than try to figure out what we were doing I’ll just move forward. We started back to our 3rd term for 16/17 two weeks ago. It was an odd start for us after a rough weekend. Some crazy wild storms ripped through & our anxious boy was holding on by a thread. We had a visitor who couldn’t hold their tongue about some of the damage the mainland was enduring due to the storms & floods there & our poor boy had to escape to another room where I had to talk him out of a panic attack.

All of it added up to the need for extra sleep to allow his body to recoup from the excess stress he’d endured. It also meant that Mamma was pretty frazzled herself & had a lovely long chat with our Dr about getting our boy a bit more help with some of his triggers. His new curriculum wasn’t here yet, so it was a good opportunity for him to rest & recover from what he’d been through.

Morgan on the other hand was gung-ho to jump right back into his work where he’d left it. He was also anxiously awaiting a postal delivery with his new math book. Oh the math saga this poor kid has been enduring. We’ve always purchased our MUS books through MathsAustralia, it just makes sense. Our children are pretty diverse with the metric & imperial measurements, putting me to shame most of the time.

However, it turns out that the Algebra 1 & higher books are not up to snuff. By that I merely mean that to save on printing, or whatever, the Aussie version has all the problems squashed onto one page, not front & back, just the front. For the average kid that’s probably just fine, but for an Irlen Kid that’s just asking for trouble. We’d purchased a used copy of the book he needed not really considering this & when it arrived, I opted to order a brand new version from Maths Australia only to discover there’d been no update from the 2005 version. Yikes!  This resulted in a purchased from CBD, which we had delivered to our USA address, & then from there scheduled a collection & Mom helped get it out the door.

Only, wouldn’t you know the collection didn’t happen! Which resulted in phone tag with the company we use, & a rescheduling of the collection. Let’s just say this is like the million dollar math book we should consider insuring! And the only thing crazier/funnier is that once it arrived I had to pull out all the pages, run copies off on his Viza Blue paper, & then bind the whole thing up for him. He’d given up hope on the whole situation for a while, but it did arrive in our first week back to school, along with lots of other lovely goodies Mom tucked inside. Did I mention we love getting packages from home?

We started a new writing programme this term too. I really was not feeling the love with Writer’s In Residence for Jayden. I found it was focusing far more on grammar & much less on writing. He doesn’t need the grammar as that was coming in from Fix-It, so after seeking out some advice we opted to purchase IEW’s SWI-B. We were really blessed to find someone local who was in search of WIR & we’re able to quickly sell that & purchase their IEW. Another friend blessed us with allowing us to borrow their Teacher DVDs & we hit the ground running.

The boys found Mr Pudewa pretty amusing, especially his stance on pens. I have one child who is deeply opposed to pens because it means mistakes can’t be fixed, but he still found the whole pencil/pen issue very funny.

Both boys are using IEW. Morgan is still really loving Cover Story, but admittedly I’m not. I don’t need to do the work, so it’s neither here nor there, but I just really feel that the writing instruction is lacking a bit. I’m sure it’s meant to be an incremental build up to the assignments, but considering Morgan was coming from writing an essay a week with specific guidelines & word counts I was really worried that he’d lose skills. I asked him to join us for IEW & he was more than happy to jump in.

We moved into Book 2 of IEW’s Fix-It which is based on Robin Hood. We’re still using the same method of in-book corrections, typing up the fixed sentences. Great practice for those typing skills, both boys are eager to be able to type as fast as I am, but Mr S has warned them that there’s a downside to how fast I typed. When they asked him what that was he showed them my MacBook which has no letter on the N key, half the M is missing, & there’s a grand deal of the coating on the space bar missing. Which, in fairness is nothing, I’ve worn out the 2 main lines of keys before & was so sad when it came back from the shop with the keys replaced.

Morgan was delighted to pick up his Core 100 books again & get moving with those. He started in on HUS 7 & got a little irked when the author hinted at something to come in a future book. It caused him to pause & start digging for more information until he felt satisfied to at least have a bit of a grasp about what she was hinting at before continuing forward.

He also wrapped up Dragon’s Gate shortly after getting back into things that first week, & then  read Call Of The Wild & was deeply dissapointed in it. He was holding out hope Buck would end up back with his family & I think felt a little too much the loss the family might have felt at losing their dog. I told him he should read White Fang for a real shocker. We might actually see if we can locate a copy of the movie, that was one I use to watch often a kid. He moved into After The Dancing Days after Call of the Wild. He hasn’t commented much on it yet, so we’ll see what he thinks of it as he goes along.

He was having some issues with French, the updates DuoLingo does can be good & bad, but when I found him frustrated I asked if I could lend a hand. He’s been using the app exclusively & didn’t realise there were some pretty big benefits of using the computer instead. I also shared some tips & tricks I use when working on my own French lessons. It’ll be interesting to see how he goes with the latest web update Duo has done. It may be time to pull out Rosetta Stone for a while again. I find these 2 programmes really compliment each other.

We pulled out our next read aloud after wrapping Anne Of Green Gables up. It took us a bit longer with Anne then we’d intended, but it was well worth it.. There were a few solemn moments around the room when we hit Matthew’s fate & Marilla’s eye situation. Then shock when they realised just how old Anne was now that she’d become a teacher. One is very eager to read the rest of Anne’s story in the rest of the series, & I have no doubt he will fully indulge between other reads. I’m keen to pull out the old movies to watch with them & introduce them to Before Green Gables.

We haven’t seen the new Anne movie, & I hear tell there’s a new series as well. However, I’m afraid it’d be a hard sell for me. I grew up watching the origional BBC series which my father dutifully recorded on his old Beta machine, complete with plug in remote control. Ha! He even copied them onto VHS when those machines came out & I’m pretty sure I wore them into the ground watching them & playing Anne Shirley when I tired of playing Laura Ingalls.

Our new read aloud is another beloved favourite [mine], The Railway Children. There was a time when I couldn’t walk past a copy of this book without purchasing it. I don’t think I realised I was doing it until one day the kids asked why we had 10 copies of the book on the shelf but I’d not read it to them. Whoops. I ended up parting with most, if not all, of those copies & was given a beautifully illustrated version for Christmas. We happen to own the movie to this as well, which is really well done. I have one who doesn’t remember the movie so he’s on edge waiting to hear what happens next, & the other is convinced he remembers the movie very well & knows what will happen. I guess we’ll have to wait & see if he’s right or not.

We jumped into another spelling lesson, but I’m finding more & more these days the kids know the words with no help & prompting on the first go, so we only pick out a word or two that they may generally stumble with & we work with that until they can spell it without issue & then move forward again. I’ve told them that when they can apply it all to daily writing we’ll put spelling on the shelf for good.

We hit the local walk track a few times, including a family bike ride in which someone opted to smash one of our back windows. Whomever chucked the block of rock through our window was clearly board because nothing was taken from our car. The police were incredibly helpful with the whole situation. When Constable Ford came to take our statement he said he felt slightly intimidated typing because Mr S was the computer guru, & home ed Teacher or not he felt he had to do his best typing & spelling. It was a delightfully hilarious moment during a stressful situation. We’ve since had our window fixed, but it’s highly unlikely the culprit will ever be caught. A shame really, I have plenty of weeds in my garden that could use pulling..

Our second week was a little shorter with the long Easter weekend. We took the kid to see the new Lego Batman movie thanks to some lovely gift certificates we had. Unfortunately, the kids were exposed to dairy & dropped like flies within hours. We very rarely frequent the movie theatre as it’s incredibly expensive, but we always ask if the popcorn is dairy free. I was crazy stressed out with some other things that were going on & didn’t think to ask. I just handed the kids a bucket of popcorn & they ran with it. Crazy thing is, Jayde even reminded us on the way to be sure to ask before we bought any popcorn!

The kids were out for Mr S’ birthday. They clapped while I sang Happy Birthday. They did wrap the gifts, but were out cold very early into the evening. The next morning the eldest, who deals with breathing issues due to milk, was dealing with vertigo, wheezing, & major ear pain. Being a Sunday, & a holiday to boot we made calls to the medical number & spoke with a nurse who fetched a Dr to help us. With the wheezing easing they urged us to wait it out unless symptoms became worse, in which case we were to get medical attention immediately. Some 8 days later our wheezer still has a barking seal type cough, they both still have various signs of what happened to them from congestion & coughs to still being run down way too quickly.

Easter Monday we wanted to get them out into the fresh air as it was beautiful & they could finally walk, so we took them down to the river for a quiet picnic lunch. We had swans for company, but this small jaunt really wore them out & they needed a bit of time to rest before they hid the gift they’d picked up for Mr S. Mr S hid some items we had for the kids, but forgot the kids weren’t feeling top notch & picked some pretty tricky locations for the sickies.

Needless to say 2 weeks into our new term & we took a week off or the kids to recover. They should be well enough to get back to business on Monday, & as Jayden’s new curriculum arrived on Friday the timing really is beautiful. I’ll share more about our new curriculum in another post though.

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