A peaceful day

Phillipians 4:4-8

For with Thee is the fountain of life; in Thy light shall we see light. Psalm 36:9

What's a double dissolution?

Posted by Jeanne


Are you teaching your Aussie teens what makes July's election different?

The 2016 federal election will be a relatively rare double dissolution election, meaning that Malcolm Turnbull has been to the Governor General as required by Section 5 of the Australian Constitution who has granted permission to dissolve both the Senate and House of Representatives. Section 12 of the Constitution also requires the state governors to issue the writs for the election of the senators in their own states. This will be the 7th double dissolution election since federation.

In a normal election, we vote for all the members of the House of Representatives but only half of the Senate. Generally, Senators hold their seats for six years, and half of them fall vacant every three years. In a double dissolution election, all the 76 Senate seats fall vacant at the same time. So that's what we're doing this year.

Here are the resources we've been using to make ourselves clever:

Section 57 of the Australian Constitution

Parliament of Australia Info Sheet

Parliamentary Education Office Learning

Printable Fact Sheet

Parliamentary Library Flagpost

Learning about things like this fits into Current Affairs, Politics, Citizenship and more. It is also quite interesting when it is actually happening. Let me know if you've used any other useful resources with your teens!



Hold your breath...

Posted by Jeanne

...cross your fingers...here we go!

Okay, call me a big kid, but I am super excited to see this film. As long as they haven't gobblefunked around with it too much, that is.


Are you a BFG fan, too? What's your favourite quote? This is mine:

“Words', he said, 'is oh such a twitch-tickling problem to me all my life. So you must simply try to be patient and stop squibbling. As I am telling you before, I know exactly what words I am wanting to say, but somehow or other they is always getting squiff-squiddled around.”

Hmmm, I wonder whether they'll sell lovely bubbly frobscottle at the cinema.



So who's the lucky duck?

Posted by Jeanne

There was nothing sophisticated about our choosing ceremony this afternoon. It wasn't really random, either, because I had to check that you had liked us on Facebook, and I couldn't do that if I couldn't identify you, so sorry about that. I also took your plans for using Wild Canary into account.

In the end I didn't need to worry much, because the name my Best Beloved chose with his eyes screwed shut was Natalie Wright, and I'm really excited and happy that this beautiful book is going to such a good home.

Thank you all for entering. I have a few more duplicate books - not all Aussie ones - so let's do this again soon, yes?

Natalie, dearest, can you PM me your address on A Peaceful Day's FB Page, and I'll get this in the mail to you just as soon as I can. I do hope you and your kiddiwinks enjoy it.



Book giveaway

Posted by Jeanne

Old Bob's Birds by C K Thompson, which I used in AO1, came up on eBay earlier this week for the ridiculous sum of $140.00. Which is frankly scandalous. No book is worth that much, and I offer some alternatives in this recent blogpost. The eBay listing caused some amused banter on our Aussie CM Facebook page, along with some lighthearted ribbing over the fact that I don't lend out my books. Which is true, I don't. I do, however, sometimes give them away.

Which made me think about the fact that I have a spare copy of C K Thompson's Wild Canary, and it might be time for a book giveaway. Yay!

Canaries are obviously not native Australian birds, and this book tells the story of a caged canary, Boofie, who is accidentally released into the bush. How can an ordinary canary, born and raised in captivity, survive the perils of the Aussie bushland? The story is delightful, and during Boofie's adventures you and he meet lots of other birds that do happen to be Australian, making this a great substitute for Old Bob in AO1, or in later years.

You can see the book in the picture. It is in pretty good condition, with a decent dustcover, which I will wrap in plastic for the winner. So how to enter? First of all, this give-away is only open to those who will actually use the book. That probably means someone in Australia, or an Aussie living overseas. Sorry to the rest of you, but I hope you'll understand.

1. Leave a comment here explaining how you plan on using Wild Canary in your homeschool. Next...

2. Like my FB page, and join the conversation. I like to know who you are. If you've already liked us (thank you), leave me a message there telling me so! I know counting follower numbers isn't cool, but I have never been one of the cool kids.

Edited to add: You need to do both to be in the running!

I'll choose a winner next Friday 10th June. Good luck.



Karlimoot the scarlet robin

Posted by Jeanne


The sweet little Sarlet Robin, Petroica boodang, has returned to our patch of Central Victorian bush for the winter, and I was delighting in their antics this afternoon. They're impossible for me to photograph, though - too quick and too small, so I grabbed a photograph from this page. Pop over there to find out about Victoria's other red robins -we have five.

Noongar Aboriginal legend tells us that long ago during the Dreamtime, Chitty-Chitty the wagtail and Karlimoot the scarlet robin were in a dispute over hunting rights. The two were forever fighting, and one day Chitty-Chitty attacked Karlimoot, hitting him in the face and making his beak bleed. The blood ran down his breast, forever staining his feathers red.

The fight still goes on to this day. Chitty-Chitty continues to chase Karlimoot from his territory, and remains king over the hunting ground. Bit of a bully, really.



Happy 90th birthday

Posted by Jeanne

Sometimes Disney does something very right, and this is one of these times. This new story, written to celebrate the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth (and Winnie the Pooh, incidentally), is just delightful, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

If you're the kind of family that needs to read the book before watching the movie, you can do that, too - here it is free!
So from a forest far away, for your special day, We’re sending you some quiet and a little time to play.


Substituting Aussie books in AO1

Posted by Jeanne

I thought that today we might have a chat about substituting books. The post is for Grace, who asked for it, and for Melissa, Tara, Becci , Agnes, Belinda, Kathleen and LouLou, who got excited about the idea. Grab that coffee, girls, and let's talk books.

Okay, firstly, I've spoken about substituting books before. That post is here, but Ambleside Online is written for Americans living in America, not Aussies living in Australia, and part of the curriculum just isn't relevant for those of us living over here. A certain amount of substitution has to take place, and this is what I want to chat about.


I'm going to start today by looking at AO1, since that's what you most wanted to hear about. If you like, we can continue on to other years after that. So let's take a look at the AO1 booklist as written. You'll find it here, but you might want to print out a copy to scribble on. Go ahead, I'll wait.

Okay, so you'll see that AO1 covers the years 55 BC to 1066 AD - a huge time period, basically overviewing the time from the invasion of Britain by Julius Caesar up until the...er...invasion of Britain by William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings. Now, the history of Britain is really the history of Australia as well, so you're not going to mess much with the books under history, are you? Here they are cut and pasted:

Trial and Triumph, by Richard Hannula ($ K) [2] [3]An Island Story, by H.E. Marshall β Δ ($ K) Ω [4] (Kings and Queens Timeline Figures)* ** Fifty Famous Stories Retold, by James Baldwin, selected chapters β Δ ($ K) Ω Ω Κ [5]** *** Viking Tales, by Jennie Hall , ch 1-11β Δ ($) Ω [6]

Viking Tales is there mainly because the first discoverers of America were the Vikings. You could leave it out for this reason, or substitute, but I didn't. It's a really interesting book. Trial and Triumph is church history. You'll want to read this, unless you're Catholic, then you'll want to read this first and decide.

Next up is a group of books entitled American History Biography. Here are the books:

* Benjamin Franklin, by Ingri D'Aulaire ($)** George Washington, by Ingri D'Aulaire ($)*** Buffalo Bill, by Ingri D'Aulaire ($)

At first glance, people are inclined to leave these out of an Aussie AO, but I'd encourage you not to. Firstly, the D'Aulaire books are delightful, and are beautifully written. You might want to read them just for that. Secondly, Benjamin Franklin and George Washington were really great men. They also happen to be American, but really, they're men important to world history, not just to America. You are going to want your kids to know about Ben and George sometime. Now, here's the rub. If you continue following my Australianised version of AO, you're going to discover that I leave out pretty much all American History, so if you want your kids to know these men, this is your chance. These books give your kids a delightful introduction to two men that they're going to need to know about. Leave them in. I leave in Buffalo Bill and Pocahontas, a free read by the same authors, too, because it is good for your kids to know these stories. You could substitute, if you want, but you'll struggle to find books as good as these, and most Aussie heroes you'll want to save for later years. Leaving the books out completely is an option. Do that if you want, but I wouldn't.

Next up is geography, where the scheduled book is Paddle to the Sea, by Holling C. Holling. You could substitute this for Alison Lester's Are We There Yet? if you want. It's a fabulous book, and a great intro to Aussie geography. The only problem you'll have with this book is that it's much shorter than Paddle, so you'll want to use it over maybe a term, not a whole year. You could do it in addition to Paddle, if you choose. That would be extra good. I didn't do that, but in hindsight, perhaps I should have done. I used it in AO0 instead. I chose to use Paddle to the Sea because it is beautiful, and I'd always wanted to know the Great Lakes myself, and this book teaches them to you. Paddle covers America, Canada, and even across the Atlantic to France, and it teaches it all so delightfully that I can't imagine leaving this book out. You can if you want, but don't tell me if you do. The two books used for physical geography, Charlotte Mason's Elementary Geography, and Home Geography by Long are relevant for Australia, so you'll want to include both of those.

Are you still with me? Let's march onward to Natural History/Science.:

The Handbook of Nature Study, by Anna Botsford Comstock Δ ($), as scheduled in Nature Study; online.James Herriot's Treasury for Children, by James Herriot ($) [8]The Burgess Bird Book for Children, by Thornton Burgess β Δ ($) Ω Κ [9]

I have Comstock, and I use it all the time. This handbook is a cheat-sheet for mum. It's designed to make you look clevah in from of your clevah kids. The idea is this: You find that aphids have taken over the new spring buds on your roses, right? You're irritated by that and try to squash them all, but your kidlets are fascinated, and want to know all about them. You know nothing about aphids except that they suck all the loveliness out of your roses, so you sneak inside (pretend to be going in to collect an icecream container or something), and grab out your book. There on page 351 you'll find a nice big juicy section (heh) on aphids. Speed-read the section, grab up the container and rush back outside. You are now super clevah, and your kids are super impressed Win! There's even an experiment listed for the aphid. Sacrifice a bit of your rose, and bring it inside. You'll learn all sorts of stuff that turns nature study into science. All this comes from Comstock. You want it; you need it. There are lots of things we don't have in Oz that you'll find in the book, but there is plenty enough to make it a useful addition to your homeschool library.

I also list Nuri Mass's The Wonderland of Nature in my curriculum list for AO1, but in hindsight, this book would be better in AO3 or 4. Leave it to then.

James Herriot's book is super lovely. Read it, adore it. Don't forget to read the Christmas story at Christmas time. That's why it's not scheduled, so you can put it where it needs to go.

Which brings us to Burgess. If you look at the footnote for The Burgess Bird Book (You do all read the footnotes, don't you? You absolutely have to), you'll see that you're to do 6 birds per term based on the season and birds that frequent your geographical area. For those of us in Australia, there are almost no birds in this book that frequent our area, so it will be useless for us. What the footnote is telling us, though, is that we are to read about 18 birds that we should be able to find and see. The idea here is to start learning about the birds we know and love. We have no equivalent book to Burgess in Australia. This book is a possibility, but even though it was only published recently, it is not currently in print and is hard to find. I used a delightful book by C K Thompson, Old Bob's Birds, but all of you gals who have followed after me have bought up all the copies, so it's really expensive, and not worth inflated prices, in my opinion. Sometimes you can get hold of his other titles - snap them up if you see them, but I wouldn't pay more than $10.00. Failing that, Leslie Rees's books are good. You're looking for the ones starting The Story of... Again, don't pay more than ten or twelve dollars. Lyla Stevens wrote a beautiful book, Birds of Australia in Colour, which is still available on Abe. Today, at least! I'm inclined to think I would use this book as a spine, reading a bird a week, but read one of Thompson or Rees's books per term to do an in depth study of three over the year. Again let me remind you to study birds you see. Put a birdbath outside your kitchen window, too, and get to know your feathered neighbours! If you really can't find a book, just study your own birds using a field guide. That will do.

Moving right along to poetry

* A Child's Garden of Verses β by Robert Louis Stevenson; ($) Ω Κ [10]** Now We Are Six ($ K) and When We Were Very Young ($ K) by A.A. Milne (4-Volume Pooh Library: $)*** A Child's Book of Poems, by Gyo Fujikawa ($), OR The Oxford Book of Children's Verse, by Iona and Peter Opie ($), OR AO's free online collection of 200 Classic Children's Poems. (K)

You can use the recommendations at listed if you choose, but if you haven't already introduced your child to C K Dennis's A Book for Kids, you'll want to do that this year. I would substitute it for the third term anthologies. You really need to use this book while your kids are young.

I left all the literature and free reading titles as is, and added Australian titles to them. Generally my rule is one book in; one book out so as not to overburden my student, but in AO1, the amount of reading is light enough that a couple of extra books can be added without a problem. In fact, somewhere it says that the book load is deliberately light to allow parents to add their own favourites, but I can't find that right now. Anyhow, to literature - that is scheduled books that required narration after each reading - I added Dot and the Kangaroo by Ethel Pedley, and The Way of the Whirlwind by Mary Durack. I also added Snugglepot and Cuddlepie by May Gibbs and Blinky Bill by Dorothy Wall to the Free Reading list. I did not require narration of these two.

And that, I think might be that. I do hope that's what you are after, ladies, and I'm sure your coffee is cold by now. Have I left you with more questions than answers? Let me know what else I need to address.

Here's pne mpre photo of my beautiful girl. Wasn't she cute?


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