Another moment

Friday, September 25, 2015

 In the tradition of SouleMama...
A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember...

What a silly bunch...

Fascinating Chemistry (Review)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

It wasn't far into my schooling that I realised that Science was a subject area that fascinated me. When contemplating careers my only prerequisites was that it had to be something medical with a science base (which most medical careers are).  Consequently I chose a degree in the school of Physics.  Zai is much like I was at that age, and so when we were offered to review a course from Fascinating Education he eagerly agreed.  We were able to choose if he wished to study Physics, Biology or Chemistry.  We chose Fascinating Chemistry because it is recommended as the best one to provide a basis for further Science studies.

Fascinating Education Review
Fascinating Chemistry is an online Chemistry course for students in grades 10-12, although younger children will certainly benefit from them.  The Fascinating Chemistry course consists of 18 different lessons.  Each lesson is approximately 20 minutes long. Fascinating Chemistry is taught by Dr. Margulies, who is a retired neurologist.  He is a well qualified teacher, as he has taught thousands of medical students in his career.  The course assumes the student has no previous knowledge & therefore presents the content from a beginners perspective.
The lesson topics included in Fascinating Chemistry are:
Lesson One - Intramolecular Bonding
Lesson Two - The Ionic Bond
Lesson Three - The Covalent Bond
Lesson Four - The Polar Covalent Bond
Lesson Five - The Metallic Bond, Part 1
Lesson Six - The Metallic Bond, Part 2
Lesson Seven - Heat
Lesson Eight - Air Pressure
Lesson Nine - Properties of Water
Lesson Ten - The Mole
Lesson Eleven - Gases
Lesson Twelve - Solutions
Lesson Thirteen - Chemical Reactions
Lesson Fourteen - Orbitals
Lesson Fifteen - Molecular Geometry
Lesson Sixteen - Electrochemistry
Lesson Seventeen - Polymers
Lesson Eighteen - The Nucleus
Within each lesson are approximately eight subtopics.  These are ordered to make the concept understandable as the lesson builds on the previous topics studied.  
Fascinating Education Review
When the Fascinating Chemistry main page is opened, the student may choose lesson.  Each lesson has the option of the script being downloaded and printed for the student.  This allows the student to follow along while the lesson is being taught.  It also provides study material for the student.  The lesson is presented completely via podcast on the website.  Each lesson includes many colourful slides which aid the student in their understanding of the topic.  Subtopics of the lesson content are included down the side of the lesson.  This allows the student & teacher to monitor the progress of the lesson.  Some students may find they like to break each lesson into smaller sections, and these allow this to easily be done. There is also a glossary to aid the student in fully understanding new terms.  The technology used is very up to date & it allows modelling of the concepts to occur within the slides.  This makes each lesson very engaging for the student. There is also a lab section which includes simple laboratory exercises for the student to complete at home.  Each lesson also includes a test which may be completed online or printed off for the student.  The online version can be completed multiple times if necessary.
Fascinating Education Review
Dave and I originally watched the sample lesson of Fascinating Chemistry to see if we thought it would be suitable for Zai.  We were both quickly engaged into the lesson and watched the whole lesson.  We felt that as long as Zai took it slowly, he would be able to complete this course.  
While Zai is much younger than the recommended age (he is 13), he has been able to understand most of the concepts being taught. This is because the teaching is very cleverly conveyed, appealing to both visual & auditory learners.  Dr. Margulies sequentially builds upon the topic giving the student ample opportunity to understand it.
Zai has been able to complete the course very independently, with simple supervision required. While I know that Zai has understood the topics (he gives an oral review of his lesson to us), he has struggled a little with the tests. Occasionally he had to have multiple attempts before passing.  I know this course is stretching him, but I believe that if he wants to pursue his intended career, then he needs these kind of challenges.
Fascinating Chemistry costs $79 (US), which allows a full years access. Bundle options with other subject areas are also available.  
For more reviews please visit:
Fascinating Education Review
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This moment

Friday, September 18, 2015

In the tradition of SouleMama...
A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember...
Because the grass is green & so tall the chickens are getting lost among it!

Super Teacher Worksheets (Review)

Thursday, September 17, 2015

I always love the opportunity to include some variety in our school work.  My children  thrive when it's not all the same old thing over and over again.  I often scour the Internet looking for new material to include in our school day.  I had previously stumbled across Super Teacher Worksheets on one such search.  I happily tried some of their free worksheets, but didn't know if it would be worth the money to get a membership.  When I was offered an Individual Membership in exchange for a review through the TOS Review Crew, I jumped at the chance. With over 10000 printable worksheets, activities & games, Super Teacher Worksheets is now used daily in our homeschool & is a valuable educational resource for our family!  
Super Teacher Worksheets Review

Super Teacher Worksheets is a website that contains the PDF of thousands of educational worksheets for children in the preschool and primary school years (although they are slowly adding resources for grades 7 & 8). They cover a huge variety of subjects including Phonics & Early Literacy, Maths, Reading & Writing, Handwriting, Grammar, Spelling, Science & Social Studies.  Each subject area contains numerous worksheets specific to different topics studied.  Membership gives you unlimited access to all of these worksheets.  Included within these many downloadable pages are subject specific educational games.  These  make learning fun while solidifying a concept.  One of my favourite parts of Super Teacher Worksheets is the Work Sheet Generator.  This section allows you to customise worksheets specifically for your student. 
Another feature of the Super Teacher Worksheets site is the filing cabinet.  As a member you have your own 'filing cabinet' which allows you to save worksheets for later use. Next to each worksheet's description is the option to save it to your filing cabinet.  It is simply done with the click of the button & makes it so easy to retrieve later. 

Super Teacher Worksheets Review
As I mentioned, we now use Super Teacher Worksheets daily in our homeschool.  The twins are in third grade & so they were able to utilise a large proportion of the sheets on the site.  Of course we really have only just brushed the surface with so many available.  Every time I look around the website, I find more to use with the boys.  I particularly chose to use the reading comprehension sheets for the twins.  I feel this is an area that their current English curriculum is lacking.   It was also grade levelled which made it easy for me to choose what to use.  Each reading comprehension PDF contained a story or a poem for the student to read. These also include a fun illustration to make it more appealing to the children.  There was then a variety of activity sheets for them to then complete. These sheets all pertained to the passage studied.  Some of these were direct questions from the story testing the student's comprehension. Others were matching word meanings or filling in the blanks to spell words.  There was often a section for them to write a paragraph or even a story pertaining to something previously studied. My favourite sheet of all was where the twins had to rewrite the Goldilocks story, but set it in the Arctic. We discussed what the Arctic is like & how living there would be different from living in the woods.  After the boys had completed their story, I took them through the whole review & proofreading process.  I then asked them to type out their particular story & illustrate it as a picture book.  They loved doing that & are very proud of their completed book! 

Super Teacher Worksheets Review

We also used multiplication colour by numbers to practice multiplication.  I used this with the three youngest & they all enjoyed it.   We used some geography sheets about Australia.  This is sorely lacking in our current curriculum, yet it is included in the BOS learning outcomes that we must achieve.  Thanks to Super Teacher Worksheets, it is now done! 

Using the Worksheet generator, I was able to make a worksheet using their spelling words each week.   This was a fun way for them to practice their words!   I also printed out all the Dolch Sight Words flashcards to practice with one of my kiddo who (I thought) needed a little additional work on his sight words.  As he got most of them correct without any prethought, I possibly didn't have to do this.  It was a great review activity though, and it helped my peace of mind! As I tend to make Fridays a little lighter on the school work, I was able to utilise some of the worksheets & games on this day.  We also used them when we had to travel somewhere.  It was so easy to choose a few worksheets, print them & clip them to each child's clipboard.  They travelled easily & the children were able to do their work while on the go.  It was so much less cumbersome than hauling around text books!

Super Teacher Worksheets Review

Super Teacher Worksheets has been such an asset to our homeschool and we will continue to use it. At just $19.95 per annum, membership is very affordable and I have found it is well worth it!  

Super Teacher Worksheets can be found at:

For more reviews please visit:
Super Teacher Worksheets Review

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Budgie Hollow...

Friday, September 11, 2015

Our twins are enamoured by birds.  It is their current passion (& you all know what little boys are like with their passions...).  Eli especially has a love of bird watching.  He borrows bird books from the library & reads (reads!!) them.  He is training his pet budgie daily (in the foster/ yellow bedroom which is currently vacant, but has unusually piles of bird seed sprinkled here & there at the moment).  And both boys talk wings & wing design almost constantly.  Thankfully Sunnyside is home to many varieties of birds.  The twins often ask to go & watch birds in various locations around the farm & return with many stories of the adventures of these flying creatures that they observed.  Their favourite place to go, however, is the big old gum tree right next to Rachie Dam.  That tree & the surrounding area have been dubbed Budgie Hollow.

While Budgie Hollow is home to numerous wild budgies, it is also home to many other beautiful birds.  The old tree if full of  crevices & dead branches that are perfect for these smaller birds to nest in.  There are two surrounding trees that also make part of the hollow.  The birds love to fly from tree to tree as they twitter & tweet.  Their song is beautiful & I could waste many hours myself gazing at & listening to these beautiful creatures. I'm not surprised the boys are so fascinated!

Being such avid bird lovers, when a flock of ibises that were on their southerly migration flew overhead, the twins raced outside.  The rest of the family soon followed along & stared as this large flock of black & white birds put on quite a display. They ducked & wove, they rode the air currents, sometimes remaining in formation, sometimes grouping differently, but always so seamlessly, so easily it seemed.  Of course my little bird lover ran to get his video camera.  His aim in life (at least for the moment) is to be a wildlife videographer. And so his Mama couldn't help but get her camera as well to document not just the birds, but also her boy's excitement at these amazing creatures!

Have a wonderful day friends

This & that around the farm...

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The cold is back.  It's not unusual for this time of year. There always seems to be a few days when the world forgets it's meant to be warming, and so we shiver through our outside jobs each morning.  Today the breeze blew icy cold and I huddled in Dave's warm jacket while I lugged the buckets to the shed to feed the remaining 5 lambs.  The rest of our poddy lambs are now weaned.  While they still 'maaa', 'maaa' & amble over for a pat when they spy me across the paddock, they no longer rely on me for their survival. Feeding just five seems so easy now!

Newly weaned lambies

The other day whilst weeding what (I am hoping) will become the flower bed, I had to smile.  I am forever trying to remind myself to choose joy. When I  chose these roses months ago, I got them for their colours.  I only chose the cheapest because previously Bolt had pulled out all our other roses & I didn't want to spend a fortune on glorified dog toys.  Yet so far ( after all these months), he hasn't touched these ones.  As I pulled the numerous weeds, I found yet another reminder to be joyful always! 

Our cows are flourishing with the pastures so abundant in spring. We are still awaiting hearing from a guy who does AI nearby.  I will admit that I am getting rather impatient.  The girls are currently just paddock ornaments & while they are pretty, I would rather they be fulfilling their role of meat & milk producers.  In the meantime they come regularly up near the house for a pat!  They are such busy bodies.  When we recently had some extra kiddos here visiting, the cows had to come & see what the fuss was about.  I'm sure they would move right into the house if we let them!

This is the latest batch of chicks.  We really need to incubate some more eggs, but the eggs seem in short supply.  It's not that the girls aren't laying, but rather, that our children are cooking themselves eggs every morning for breakfast.  Ellie is regularly baking as well.  This combination means that there are very little eggs left over for the incubator.  Hopefully as some of the younger 'girls' in the henhouse begin to lay we won't have this problem! 

Homeschooling is going well.  We are still so thankful that we made this choice for our children.  I was looking over the learning outcomes today to do my final planning for next term.  Ellie is at the end of a stage & so I need to ensure she has covered everything by the end of the year.  It was only as I looked over these that I realised how much the children have learned & progressed.  It seems in the day-to-day it is easy to overlook how far they have come & instead focus on how much further they have to go. 

We've been studying plants this term in science.  We had to dissect flowers the other day & the children enjoyed finding the different parts of some of the flowers from our garden.  The most interesting was the  Bird of Paradise.  It took some doing to locate the ovary with the unfertilised seeds in it & to work out which parts were the stamen & the pistil.  It really is amazing, when you study these things, how they were created. 

We began our seeds for our summer garden a short while ago.  Our seeds have just begun to sprout in their sunny location next to the window.  I had such success starting seeds last year that I have expanded the varieties this year. With a newly purchased water truck & the added blessing of full dams, we are hoping that we will be able to water the gardens this summer!  I love watching these little plants grow!

And so life continues on in it's steady rhythm here at Sunnyside Farm.  We love the changing season, the beauty all around us as the pastures hang onto their green growth that they grew over the winter months! Every time I go outside I wish I had my camera, for there are so many things worth capturing with the beauty all around.  September has always been my favourite month of the year, but this year it seems all the more beautiful!

How about you?  What is your favourite time of year? 

Have a wonderful week friends

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