Flying Creatures: Birdfeeders

{This is an activity we did last year that I never got around to posting!}

Lesson two in our Flying Creatures book had us making birdfeeders.  The idea is to make two identical birdfeeders filled with different types of seed, then hang them near each other to see which the birds prefer.  We followed the instructions in the book to make simple feeders out of two-litre plastic bottles. 

Our Aussie Homeschool ~ Flying Creatures ~ Homemade Birdfeeders

Filling them was the most fun for the kids. Not so fun for me because of the bird seed that went everywhere, but they enjoyed it.

Our Aussie Homeschool ~ Flying Creatures ~ Homemade BirdfeedersOur Aussie Homeschool ~ Flying Creatures ~ Homemade Birdfeeders

Ladybug was using a spoon and kept tipping it the wrong way so it kept spilling.  I gave her a small measuring cup instead, it worked much better.

Our Aussie Homeschool ~ Flying Creatures ~ Homemade Birdfeeders Our Aussie Homeschool ~ Flying Creatures ~ Homemade Birdfeeders

Lots of filling.  There are two holes near the bottom for the birds to eat from.  While we were filling we had to cover them with our hands until the seed was above that line so that it wouldn’t spill.

Our Aussie Homeschool ~ Flying Creatures ~ Homemade Birdfeeders

What’s wrong with this picture?  We forgot that we were supposed to have two different types of seed.  Whoops.

Our Aussie Homeschool ~ Flying Creatures ~ Homemade Birdfeeders Our Aussie Homeschool ~ Flying Creatures ~ Homemade Birdfeeders

A few days later we remedied the seed situation by replacing one with just sunflower seeds.

Our Aussie Homeschool ~ Flying Creatures ~ Homemade Birdfeeders

We placed our birdfeeders in this tree because it is the only one we can easily observe from a window.  We left them up for ages and the birds didn’t like them at all!  So we tried again with new feeders in case the birds just didn’t like the feeders.

I know it doesn’t look like it from these shots, but we hung them both in the same tree.

Our Aussie Homeschool ~ Flying Creatures ~ Homemade Birdfeeders Our Aussie Homeschool ~ Flying Creatures ~ Homemade Birdfeeders

One with mixed seed, one with sunflower seeds.

Our Aussie Homeschool ~ Flying Creatures ~ Homemade Birdfeeders Our Aussie Homeschool ~ Flying Creatures ~ Homemade Birdfeeders

These were a hit!  It didn’t take the birds long to find them and once they did both feeders were emptied within a day.  So we filled them up and they were again empty in a day.  Unfortunately we couldn’t see them feeding very well in order to observe which feeder got more activity.  So much for the experiment!  Our next experiment that involved birdfeeders went much better…post to come!

Healesville Sanctuary

Early in the year we had the pleasure of visiting the Healesville Sanctuary for the first time.  We visited two days in a row which was a great way to get to see everything and not wear ourselves out.  The Sanctuary features all Australian animals, a real treat to see.

Healesville Sanctuary Healesville Sanctuary Healesville Sanctuary Healesville Sanctuary Healesville Sanctuary

Healesville SanctuaryHealesville Sanctuary Healesville Sanctuary Healesville Sanctuary Healesville Sanctuary Healesville Sanctuary Healesville Sanctuary Healesville Sanctuary Healesville Sanctuary

There was even a bird show…

Healesville SanctuaryHealesville Sanctuary

My favourite picture of the day!

Healesville Sanctuary

Our Curriculum: Grade One

Jitterbug is six and in grade one this year.

Our Aussie Homeschool - Our Curriculum: Grade One

I’m continuing to take it easy with Jitterbug, he will only take so much school.  In fact, if it’s anything that can be considered schoolwork he may be allergic to it.  ;)

Reading: Jitterbug is still learning to read and I’ve floundered a bit with him.  What’s working right now for us is a combination of The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading and I See Sam Readers.  He also loves Reading Eggs, but I don’t have a lot of faith in that since he’s figured out how to trick his way through the levels without reading everything.  He is continuing in the Explode the Code series, he’s currently in Book 2.  I require two pages a day from him.  It’s a really good fit since he can do it mostly independently, it follows a familiar format, and doesn’t take too long. 

Handwriting: Jitterbug is working in the yellow grade one book from Handwriting Without Tears, My Printing Book.

Writing: Jitterbug will soon be starting Writing With Ease Level One.  I like to start this partway through the first grade year, that worked well with his older brother and seems like it will be good timing for Jitterbug as well.  It has both copywork and narration and is a gentle introduction to writing.  I’ve got some additional copywork for him to complete on the days it isn’t included in WWE.

Grammar: No plans for formal grammar with Jitterbug yet.  I’m going to wait until he’s reading well before I consider adding it.

Math: (I almost wrote Maths!  Almost!  You know you live in Australia when…) Jitterbug is working in RightStart Level B.  To tell the truth, I don’t do math often enough with him.  He’s picked up a lot through life but it’s time to make sure we are doing his math lessons daily.  He loves the games in RightStart.  We also have a subscription to Dreambox for Jitterbug that he makes use of a couple of times a week.  I like Dreambox because the abacus works so similarly to the RightStart abacus.  The games adjust based on his performance so that he is working at just the right level.

Science: This is conspicuously missing from Jitterbug’s lineup.  He likes to participate in the Introduction to Science that I’m doing with his younger sister even though it’s aimed at a younger age group.  He’s too young to get much out of what I’m currently using with his older brother.  I have two other things ready to go for him: Apologia Swimming Creatures with the Junior Notebook, and Science in the Beginning.  I can’t seem to get to either of them, but I have high hopes.  In the meantime we read books.  We have quite a few from the Let’s Read & Find Out series, and the Sonlight science books and DVDs.

Geography: Jitterbug was using Evan-Moor’s Beginning Geography earlier this year.  I’ve cut out some workbook-y things and this was one of the things I cut.  I’ve got Legends & Leagues which we started last year but only completed a couple of activities.  I’m going to work through it a bit with him and see if it’s a good fit.  We’ve also dappled in map tracing.

Read-Alouds: At the beginning of the year I determined to use Sonlight books as Jitterbug’s read-alouds.  As the year has gone on I’ve strayed from their list, but it’s nice to have theirs to fall back on.

With his siblings:

Bible: We’re working through Part 4 of Grapevine’s Old Testament series.  Jitterbug uses the Level One Traceables.  He is capable of drawing without the tracing, but he does it much faster if he’s got something to trace.  I can use the same teacher guide for both he and Skeeterbug.

History: We started Story of the World Volume 2: The Middle Ages this year.  We haven’t gotten far in it but I hope to do more as the kids have all enjoyed the bit we’ve done.  I’ve also got some Australian history plans for later this year.

Memory Work: Jitterbug is memorising some poetry, Bible verses, and a history timeline.

Art: We are using Home Art Studio’s First Grade DVD.  We meet fortnightly with friends to complete our projects.


Jitterbug only does schoolwork for about an hour or two each day, and not all in one chunk.  Days that we do history or science take longer.  Generally we do our basic subjects in the morning (Bible, Handwriting, Reading, Math) and other subjects in the afternoon (History, Science, Read-Alouds).  The rest of the time he is playing.  Hard.  :)


Our other curriculum choices:

Our Curriculum: Grade Four

Our Curriculum: Preschool

Note: No affiliate links in this post.

Free Printables: Colourful Calendars for 2015!

{ETA: The font displays incorrectly in the preview over at but appears to be correct when downloaded- let me know if you have any issues!}

At the beginning of this year I decided not to prepare any calendar notebooks for my kids.  I had enough on my plate (homeschooling with a baby is hard!) and calendar work was something we just didn’t need to worry about.  After our year started and we got into a good routine I decided to add some calendar work for Jitterbug and Ladybug.

But…I wanted to add some colour.  I started with my old template and just added a bit here and there.  These aren’t incredibly fancy, but sometimes that’s a good thing! 

Our Aussie Homeschool - Free printable calendars for 2014-15!Our Aussie Homeschool - Free printable calendars for 2014-15!   

You can see how Jitterbug decorated his cover.  Those stick figures are wielding light sabers, in case you’re wondering.  My boys are pretty into Star Wars lately.  That must be Yoda up in the corner.  (Neither my husband or I are huge Star Wars fans, so it’s funny that they are so into it- I think it’s the Lego connection.)

Our Aussie Homeschool - Free printable calendars for 2014-15!

These colourful calendars are available for download here or click the images above. These printables include blank and traceable calendars and some covers with different coloured fonts.  I’ve got some additional colourful calendar notebook pages in the works!  I had updated a few for my own use but I’m updating the rest of the pages as well, I’ll have them ready soon.


How to create your own app icon!

I know, this is a homeschooling blog.  But while redesigning my blog I came across this great tip to create an app icon for your blog page.  I was enamoured and thought I’d share.  :)

Our Aussie Homeschool | Create your own app icon!

Often when you save a bookmark of a webpage to your home screen you’ll get a tiny, scrunched-up picture of the page as an icon.  Instead, you can choose your own image to use in place of that scrunched up webpage.

(This works on iPhones and iPads.  I couldn’t get it to work on my iPod Touch.  These instructions are for Blogger since that’s what I use.  For WordPress have a look at the instructions at Carrie Loves.)

First, you need an image.  I used the same image as my blog button.  Resize the image to 129x129 pixels.  You don’t need to worry about the rounded corners, that will happen automatically.  My blog button is round with a transparent background.  I left my background transparent when I resized my image, and the black background was added automatically. 

Save your image as apple-touch-icon.png.  Then upload your image to an online hosting service such as Photobucket. This is the image I uploaded, but without the outline, I just added that so you could see that it is square.

Our Aussie Homeschool | Create your own app icon!

Now you’ll need to edit your template to tell it to pull in this image as a bookmark.  From your Blogger dashboard choose Template, then Edit HTML.  (Always back up your template before making any changes to your HTML!)  Find the <head> tag and under it place the following code:

<link href='…/apple-touch-icon.png' rel='apple-touch-icon'/>

You’ll need to edit the link (the part I made pink) to point to the image you’ve uploaded to your hosting service. 

Now save your template.  On your iPad or iPhone add a bookmark of your blog to your Home screen.  Marvel at its cuteness.  (Okay, that part’s optional!)

This is what it looks like when saved to my Home screen:

Our Aussie Homeschool | Create your own app icon!

This little icon makes me so happy!  Happy blogging!

Our Curriculum 2014: Preschool

We’re halfway through the school year, so maybe a post about what curriculum we are using is a bit overdue!  I’m going to start with the easiest one…preschool!  Ladybug is four this year.

Ladybug's Curriculum 2014 | Preschool | Our Aussie Homeschool  

Preschool:  For the first time I’m using an actual preschool curriculum!  Ladybug loves fingerplays, songs, and crafts.  I knew she’d love having something just for her, so I am using Heart of Dakota’s Little Hands to Heaven with her.  She’s 4.5, and parts of LHTH are just right for her while other parts are a bit on the easy side.  I’d like to do a more thorough review, so I’ll share more information in a future post.

I don’t think you need a set curriculum like this for all four year olds.  It’s something she enjoys and I needed something ready to go or it wouldn’t get done.  It has a set of activities laid out for each day.  We don’t do them all everyday, we make it work for us. 

I add some letter activities to LHTH because she likes them.  Letter searches, letter mazes, a letter notebook, etc.

Reading: To build her reading skills she’s working through the Explode the Code primer series, All About Reading Pre-Reading, and does a lesson on Reading Eggs most days.

Handwriting: For handwriting she’s working through the My First School book from Handwriting Without Tears.  She’s already completed this book once but I decided to have her go through it again before starting the Kindergarten (Prep) level book next year.  She also practices on the Handwriting Without Tears app and the Letter School app.

Science: We’re slowly making our way through Introduction to Science from Elemental Science.  This is something I already had, I used a bit of it with Skeeterbug when he was younger.  It’s just right for her.  Jitterbug likes to join in even though the activities are aimed at a preschool to kindergarten age.  We aren’t doing the nature study portion, I’ll be using an Australian nature study book for that with all the kids later this year.

Read-Alouds: I’m reading and re-reading the Sonlight preschool and pre-kindergarten cores with Ladybug.  We’re not following their schedule, and these aren’t the only books we read.  Having this list just gives me a goal to work toward.

Math: I’m not doing any formal math with Ladybug right now.  I’ll start RightStart A with her at some point, but for now we don’t follow any sort of curriculum.


This really isn’t as much as it looks like.  Ladybug spends most of her day playing, as she should at age four!

I’ll be back soon with more curriculum updates!

Update: Our other curriculum choices:

Our Curriculum: Grade Four

Our Curriculum: Grade One

Note: no affiliate links in this post.  :)

Calendar Notebook- Calendars for 2015

I’ve had a few requests for updated calendars for 2015 to go with my calendar notebook.  Here they are!

Calendars for 2015 | Our Aussie Homeschool

I know some of you are creating calendars for the 2014/2015 academic year, so I’ve put all of those in one file to make it easier for you.  There are two download options:

Calendars for Academic Year 2014/2015 (July 2014 to June 2015)

Calendars for 2015 (the 2015 calendar year)

Both of these have two cover pages included, one titled ‘My Calendar Notebook’ and one with a space to write the student’s name.  It dawned on me that if you are doing this with more than one child it might be nice if they each had a spot to write their name! 

Here’s the original calendar notebook post (which I will update soon with links to this post), and be sure to have a peak at my printables page where I’ve listed all my blog posts with free printables.

If you’d prefer something a little more colourful, stay tuned, I’ve got some on the way!

Coming Soon!

Phew!  Heaps of blog designing going on here.  I think I’m done with the overall design, just need to fix some broken links and update a few things.

Calendar Notebook 2014 | Our Aussie Homeschool 

New posts on the way::

  • New calendars for 2015
  • Colourful calendars for a new calendar notebook (Like the picture above- yay! Can you tell someone’s into Star Wars lately?)
  • Curriculum we’re using this year (you can see an overview in my menu above under the Our Homeschool tab)
  • Updated schoolroom pics
  • Blogging tips & tricks
  • New First Day of School Booklet
  • Posts about random things we’ve done during the time I haven’t been blogging
  • Homeschooling with a baby
  • My depression story (if I decide I’m brave enough to share!)

I hope you’ll stick around!

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