Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Best Job in the World

A Weatherman

How can they get it this wrong and still get to keep their job?  Who else can do a complete turn about and still be called good at their job?

Well, I guess the 50% increase I paid in contents insurance because I live in a flood prone area goes towards helping those who sadly lost their homes due to living in fire prone areas.  Lose on the swings, gain on the merry go round.

Best wishes

Friday, October 25, 2013

Things I Have Learned the Hard Way

Here are some of the things that as a young homeschooling mother that I learned the hard way.

1.  Colouring in is not busy work.  It is a great way for a non-writing child to develop fine motor skills.
2.  Drilling for maths facts is not redundant.  A good foundation of facts laid early helps a lot later.
3.  Editing their own work helps them develop an eye for seeing what is truly there rather than what they intended to be there.  This works for Maths and Language Arts.
4.  Work on consistent effort or improvement will be very slow.  Especially in handwriting, see point 1 and 8 for extra help.
5.  Re-reading a book to find comprehension question answers helps train the eyes/brain to skim and find key words quickly.  Don't just allow them to rely on a great memory.
6.  Don't allow days to drift by in the interest of free play.  Make sure there is something you control about their day (even if only fifteen minutes after breakfast and fifteen minutes after lunch) so that when the time comes they accept that someone else does sometimes control their life despite their wishes.  Teach them to accept that with a good attitude.
7.  Set limits.  Life does!  It is cruel of us IMO to not teach our children that there are natural limits in life.  We can't eat as much as we like, we can't sleep as much as we like, and we can't eat anyway we like without consequences.  If we don't give some limits then they find it harder later.  I have certainly learned that with money.
8.  Filling in work sheets creates something that you can show later for them to see improvement when they think they "will never get it".
9.  Don't allow moods to control your days, theirs or yours.
10.  Don't allow disrespect to creep in to your home in the interest of free expression.

These are not necessarily in order of importance.  Just how my brain is working today!

Best wishes

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

NSW homeschooling and some useful links

I need to put these somewhere useful as the NSW BOS site is a veritable maze.

Work samples and activities for Grades 9 and 10

The new NSW curriculum that ties in with the Australian Curriculum

Assessment strategies - possibly more useful to a classroom but worth reading

Best wishes
Jen in NSW

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Planning ahead relaxes me, go figure!

I know it doesn't suit everyone but planning ahead really relaxes me.

Sure, I know that planning what my youngest will be studying in 2025 may be a bit big on the scale of forward planning but I am now feeling a lot more confident about the boys' future homeschooling.  I can also see how I can combine the boys, and at 3 years apart in age that is not an easy task, and I can see when I will need to be planning new purchases.

I am keeping the core of history and science the same for all the boys even if studied at different stages.  That will mean reusing a lot of my purchases 3 times over.  That is good value!

And here are those plans in way too much detail.  If you are an experienced homeschooler please laugh!!  And if you are not an experienced homeschooler please know that this is not the recommended way of planning, unless of course it relaxes you to plan, but please let it go after you have planned it all out.  Life never really happens the way I plan a whole lot of the time and I have learned to go with the flow.

See, all a bit much but I do love the other spreadsheet that links to these and gives me each year so I can see where I can combine children.  Ahh, a planner's delight!

Yes, you can giggle!

Best wishes

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Electricity Maths and My Dishwashing Habits

Sometimes it really pays (pun not intended) to do the maths associated with your household habits.

We bought one of those electricity metering thingy-me-bobs a while ago and tested how much power our dishwasher uses.  I also had someone come out for an electricity usage audit.

Here is the surprising maths.

Method 1
Rinse dishes before stacking in dishwasher to remove most of the grease, about 10 minutes of running hot water.
Run dishwasher on shortest cycle possible with a 4-in-1 tablet at 40 deg C

Cost for hot water (assuming $250 per year for a 10 hot minute shower and dish rinsing done once a day as told to me by energy auditor) = 68.49c
Cost for dishwasher running for 42 minutes, 0.99kWh used @ 54.39c/kWh (my peak rate) = 53.85c

Total 122.34c or $1.22

Method 2
Only scrape off the solid bits into the bin or chook bucket and stack straight into dishwasher
Run dishwasher on 111 minute cycle with a 4-in-1 tablet at 65 deg C and a couple more rinse cycles

Cost for dishwasher running for 111 minutes, 1.213kWh used @ 54.39c/kWh (peak rate but hardly ever used at this time) = 65.98c

Total 65.98c or $0.66

Considering that my tap runs at almost 7 litres per minute I am also using 70 litres to rinse whereas the most my dishwasher uses according to its manual is 13 litres.  Add on water rates and my old method of rinsing is looking a less lot like a good idea.

Guess who isn't rinsing anymore and just lets the "slave" do it?  :-)

And of course I usually take advantage of the delay timer whenever possible and wash at 16.44c/kWh overnight!

Best wishes
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