Mama's Musings

Resource Review: Outschool

Oct 01, 2022

For the past couple of months, Zeah has been trying various Outschool classes.  She's tried escape rooms, maths lessons, and arts & crafts.  She's engaged with teachers from Australia and the US.  She's met other children aged 5-8 years, from all over the world.  And she's loved it!  As soon as a lesson ends, she asks what she's enrolled in next.  She finishes every lesson smiling and proud, encouraged and inspired.  Zeah is getting a lot more out of her Outschool classes than I expected.

Zeah uses a phone or tablet to access Outschool most of the time, it feels less restrictive than sitting at the computer.

Outschool offers classes across every subject area, as well as classes and groups for specific interests, and social groups.  They have something for everyone aged 3 to 18 years.  I'm sure we would have used Outschool a lot with our teens if there were more classes in Australian time zones a few years ago.

Teachers and...


Resource Review: Permaculture Action Cards

Jun 24, 2020

I only received these recently, but I love them already!  Not sure if this is a resource for the kids, or for me...

These Grow Do It Permaculture Action Cards were written by Charlie Mgee (based on his awesome musical offerings) and illustrated by Brenna Quinlan.  There are 63 different cards and they are large.

So far I've used them with Zeah (4) and we've done matching type activities to identify what goes with what...  eg: choose a principle card such as Catch and Store Energy.  It was interesting to hear her reasons for matching certain cards, and also useful for me to have to explain my reasons.  Because she can't read yet, we mostly used the illustration side of each card.

I love Permaculture.  I love open-ended resources which can be used in multiple ways - from setting challenges to action games to creative prompts.  I think these ones are well worth the investment, and I love how ethically they are produced, packaged and promoted.  Each...


Resource Review: Home Education Association

Jun 10, 2020

The HEA is the national not-for-profit, incorporated membership association serving Australian homeschoolers since 2001, when it was established by Colleen and Philip Strange. The HEA is run by a committee voluntarily coming together to lead the association.  Our family have been members of the Home Education Association for many years.

The HEA endeavours to promote and support the practice of home education across Australia and to advance educational equity for members.

Membership Benefits Include:

Membership ID & Student ID Cards
Event organiser insurance - public liability
Work experience insurance - personal accident
Registration Support & Registration Packs
Discounts on Studyladder, Spellodrome, Mathletics, Literacy Planet, Double Helix, Skwirk, Ready-Ed, Phonics Hero, Crackerjack Education, Reading Eggs, Mathseeds, Mangahigh, RIC Publications, Complete Education Australia, Maths Online & More! email address
Google Education/Google Classroom...


Resource Review: Home Education Network

Jun 03, 2020

Home Education Network (HEN) is a non-profit organisation providing support and information for home educators, mostly in Victoria (Australia).  Even though I'm not based in Victoria, I've been a member of HEN for many years.  

HEN is a parent support network which offers a vast array of resources, activities and camps within Victoria.  As an interstate member, I have used HEN for information, inspiration for local events, the subscription to the quarterly magazine Otherways (this is a big drawcard for me), other HEN publications, and discounts to resources (like Rosetta Stone membership to learn languages).

Membership starts at AUD$25.

Home Education Network: Mission Statement

As home educators, we believe that children have an innate curiosity to learn and grow and, when given the freedom and support of family and friends, they will have the best opportunity to reach their full potential. We are dedicated to raising self-motivated, broad-minded, confident,...


Resource Review: Art Supplies - Lyra Pencils

May 13, 2020

I learned fairly early on in parenting that poor quality art supplies just weren't worth buying.  Instead of paying 99c for a packet of pencils that broke and split and gave a mediocre result on the page, I invested in German-made Lyra pencils for our children.  These have lasted years, being topped up from time to time with a new packet or some metallics or skin tones for variety.  I used to sell Lyra pencils when I owned Spiral Garden, so was lucky to buy a stash of them at wholesale rates.  Years on, though, I don't hesitate to pay full price when it's time to restock the pencil jar, because they are awesome!  They're still available from Spiral Garden, as well as most art supply stores and even Officeworks.

We mostly use the Super Ferby range - they're thick, so they're strong.  They smell good, and they feel good in our hands.  Most of the Ferby range have only natural wood on the outer case, which is good for smalls who like to chew pencils...


Resource Review: Booko

May 06, 2020

Years ago, when searching online for less-common books, I remember using a search engine, and heading to each of my favourite online booksellers to hunt down a specific title, comparing prices, postage and stock availability to save a few dollars here and there in pursuit of some must-have tome.

One day, I stumbled across Booko.  This website made it so quick to compare prices, find second-hand options, and discover new booksellers.  I could find electronic and audio versions, paperback or hardback, new or used, various editions, 

I've never bothered to create an account, or save searches or wish lists - I just head to the site and type in the title when I'm looking for something in particular, especially older or out of print non-fiction.

I hope you find Booko useful too!


Resource Review: Twinkl Teaching Resources

Apr 22, 2020

I only recently came across Twinkl.  Someone shared a link to a resource on Facebook, and I went to check it out.  I discovered that Twinkl had heaps of fantastic resources suitable for Zeah (4) which I could print and use straight away to compliment our learning about Australian Animals.  

Twinkl are currently offering everything on their site for FREE because of Covid-19.   There are hundreds of thousands of resources, including a Home Learning Hub for use during school closures for children aged 3 to 16!  They always have a whole section especially for homeschoolers here - it includes not only subject areas, but themed resources (one of my favourite homeschool methods).  Twinkl also offer specifically Australian resources, resources in various languages, a wellbeing section, resources for students with special needs, and a cool Twinkl Create tool for making your own resources specific to your family's...


Resource Review: Little Lifelong Learners

Apr 16, 2020

I really like how, equipped with a printer and laminator, I can "create" resources to suit our learning needs at home!  Last time I was so focused on early childhood education, the Internet wasn't the treasure trove of free and cheap resources it is today.  Sometimes it's overwhelming how much is available, so today I'm sharing a gem I've used a few times - Little Lifelong Learners.




Resource Review: Free Range Learning

Apr 08, 2020

How Homeschooling Changes Everything

Free Range Learning by Laura Grace Weldon is a book I bought to share with our local Home Ed Reading Circle last year.  It's a large format paperback, of around 300 pages.  Because of its presentation and title, I was expecting it to be another book about the benefits of home education. It's SO much more! The contributions from home educators all around the world give a beautiful, heart-felt insight into the culture that is homeschooling.  It's simplicity is inspiring!

The chapters in Part One are a great guide to the content of this book:
Natural Learning Happens Everywhere
Nurturing the Learner
Work, Play & Other Essentials
Connecting With Others
Collaborating Benefits Everyone
Homeschooling Changes Everything

The whole of Part Two is a well-presented series of chapters outlining the possibilities for learning in each subject area as well as talking about travel, field trips and full-spectrum learning.

In my 20+ years of...


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