The new school year here in Australia begins this week but we started lessons early this year, two and a half weeks earlier than our local schools and it was an excellent decision.  We I desperately craved routine. We began with a ‘half load’ of language arts and maths then added in history.  Plan is to be on a ‘full load’ in the upcoming week. As usual there were a couple of days off for ‘life’: a meeting and an orthodontist appointment, just life so we did our best to just keep flowing along.


  • Exciting news:) Jelly Bean has progressed to the Magic Tree House books, reading at least five a week!!!  As she is reading daily, several chapters ‘in one sitting’, her ability will only continue to gain pace.  
  • Jack Jack’s enthusiasm isn’t there yet but he is continuing to read daily, though admittedly just meeting the bare requirement. 
  • Jem(6) began the next level of All About ReadingLevel 1, we are managing a lesson most days and he is feeling rather proud of himself. Really loving this program, love how they have revision cards regularly, how the children often progress from words to reading a story, how the lessons are scripted and no prep needed from me, apart from the initial prep at the beginning of the new level.

  • Princess is working her way through a high school list of words.  She is a naturally good speller (thank goodness!!)
  • Jelly Bean and Jack Jack are using the AAS cards as flashcards for spelling.  Whilst it’s working for JB I’m thinking JJ would receive more benefit to going back to AAS lessons.

  • Using a couple of old English text books from my primary school days with JB and JJ. Any Aussies remember Let’s Make English Live by M J Bruce? we also had Let’s Be Good Spellers:)  Each week’s unit covers a variety of skills; speech, formal grammar terms, sentence structure, composition assignments etc.  The texts from that era are goldmines, there is a reason they were such a success. I’m thinking whilst using these about how my stance over the years has changed from a ‘no textbooks’ to seeing huge benefits of selected texts, how I was once a John Holt fan to now..seeing holes. I’ve a lot percolating in my mind on this topic and one day I’ll be able to articulate, if I’m brave enough;-)



  • Michelangelo put a huge effort into his maths.  He is determined to finish this level so he can begin a new Grade which he should be able to do next week.  
  • Princess also worked hard as she wants to ‘wrap up’ her last grade to start the next. 
  • Younger children are making huge progress, enjoying the program.  They’ve pushed through some tough spots and it’s all good, for now;-)
Michelangelo delved deep into Space, watching several indepth videos (via youtube)
  • Tidal lock of planets
  • Sun’s power compounds other suns
  • Frozen ice on Mar’s surface
  • Liquid methane on Titan
  • Dark matter
  • Galaxy’s clusters, the largest matter
  • Probes to Pluto
  • Focusing on Australian history with the younger children. Using the Childcraft ‘Story of Australia’ as our spine.  Last week we read about the first Australians, the Aborigines.  Children were quite interested, thinking we’ll delved more into this topic before moving on. Australian history is a passion of mine so always excited when we study this topic. 

Bass’ List of Picture Books

Picture Books
Two Tough Teddies – Kilmeny Niland – so so
Boris Beaver – Marcus Pfister – Informative about beavers in a subtle way
Princess Pam Fell into the Jam – Cecilia Egan – family favourite, recommended prior
I Swapped My Dog – Harriet Ziefert – The farmer ended up in a full circle, repetitive rhythm

Classic Picture Books
The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle – excellent, well loved
The Bad Tempered Ladybird – Eric Carle -boring
The Three Little Pigs – Barry Moser – bit disturbing, the first two pigs are eaten, never to be seen again
The Runaway Bunny – Margaret Wise Brown – a classic suitable for the very young
Home for a Bunny – Margaret Wise Brown – another classic, repetitive rhythm appealing
The Goose that Laid the Golden Egg – Geoffrey Patterson – classic, still can’t believe they killed their goose!
The Teddy Bears’ Picnic – Prue Theobalds – The song in pictures, so so

Aussie Picture Books
Pete the Sheep – Jackie French – humorous
Grandpa and Thomas & the Green Umbrella – Pamela Allen – sweet, simple
Brown Bread and Honey – Pamela Allen – enjoyable, repetitive rhythm

Linking up at The Wine Dark Sea’s Guilt Free Learning Notes