Thursday, December 22, 2005

Present list addition


by Shannon Lush and Jen Fleming
Paperback Book

Friday, December 16, 2005

Science Lists and Sites for Teens

Science by Email and the Double Helix science club on CSIRO's site.
Bad Astronomy

The Why Files

How Stuff Works: which also has sections on
science and on computer stuff.

ScienceWA Network has some interesting info and
links to the Scitech online community.

Then there are the BBC, ABC and channel4 science related websites:
ABC Science have a good look around as there are links for many things on this front page for ABCScience
Channel 4 Science including some good online learning stuff
Channel 4 Science for Kids with areas for specific age groups:
BBC Schools oriented Science UK-centric but only some of it.
BBC Science & Discovery has a newsletter and message board:
BBC History Newsletter with a scientific aspect
BBC Learning Science

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Medieval Exhibition at Museum of London

The press pack is worth downloading and the learning link is also full
of great stuff. Medieval Pages

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Budget Home Ed - free maps and geophysical dowloads

Geophysical Maps - Australia

Maps from the most simple outline of Australia to detailed geology and geophysical maps of all or part of Australia.

There is so much of use on the web for home educators, but the trick is
finding it.

Monday, November 21, 2005

New Dr Who Monster?

I thought this photo could inspire some interesting new monster for a Dr
Who episode. What would an intelligent being look like that was decended
from an antelope?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Driest place on earth and geology from a power pole

It was very hot today (33degC) and on the way to the shops S (7.5yrs) declared he was so hot his brain felt like it was frying and that was it this hot in the desert atm? To which I replied that it was probably hotter. He then wanted to know where was the driest place on Earth? I
suggested it might be Antarctica as it doesn't 'rain' there that being the definition of a desert and technically Antarctica is a cold dessert, but that maybe it was also somewhere like Death Valley in USA. We decided to check this out on the internet when we got home. We now know that it is the Attacama Dessert on the Western coast of South America.

One of the power poles up the road was replaced today and the old pole was lying on the verge when we went shopping... on its base was a lovely record of the soil types from surface down to about 2.5m. This was mostly white sand. On the way home I asked S where we usually see white sand, to which he replied the beach. I then told him how this area was once part of a beach, in fact all of the Perth coastal plain has been beach at some point. Then we got talking about when this happened, before or after the dinosaurs and why (changes n sea levels).

I made the comment that there are places up North in WA that have rocks not just millions of years old but billions of years old on the surface and we discussed how this could be (Australia's crustal plate not having been recycled by going under another plate for that long and building up and wearing down of rock/soil) and how old the earth was in relation to
the solar system and the big bang.

Just a sample of the learning that takes place whilst we are out doing the shopping....


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

More Comics Links

A boy and his dog
Monthly one page adventures

24 Hour Comic Challenge

next 24hr Comic Challenge is on October 7th 2006.
" What is 24 Hour Comics Day?
It's an international celebration of comics creation. Cartoonists all
over take the challenge of trying to create a 24 page comic story in 24
straight hours. Many gather at special events in comic book shops,
schools, and other locations."

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Polio story in pictures....

A downloadable pdf of a graphic novel about polio in 14 pages
the rest of the site is worth a look for older students and adults.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I have a 21st Century son

On the weekend S (7.75yrs) and his Dad were playing an outside version of Runescape ( whilst hanging out the washing when S declared that his character was wielding "a crystal crossbow with wireless internet access point that enables the user to download magic.... "
That's my 21stC son:-)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

New Australian Dinosaur Site

Australian Dinosaur Story

Looks useful for a variety of ages.
Requires Flash for best results.

Love K

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Strange Blue Flower

Originally uploaded by quadrapop.
I found this flower growing by the path around the corner from our house. I've never seen anything like it before.

It was found growing in sand opposite a wetland in Perth, WA, Australia. The flower is about 1.5cm across and grows on a single long (~20cm) stem with hairy serated lancet leaves which are about 2.5cm long.

Thanks Michael's workmates and Urtica, I now know what this flower's latin name is.
Wahlenbergia capensis or Cape Bluebell
Which means this is an African invader and I can pick them with impunity;-)

Originally uploaded by quadrapop.

Friday, September 23, 2005

a collage machine

collage machine
try the auto function - it comes up with some cool images

I've got into collage recently as a result of a flickr group called Collage Kids.

As a result the boys are asking to do crafty things, yay! I need to tidy the big table off so that it can be used just for this sort of thing instead of a dumping zone for all and sundry. It's great when living life and following your own interests leads to natural learning in the kids too.

Once I get to take pics of these things I'll post them here via flickr.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

050816 terrarium

Originally uploaded by quadrapop.
capsicum is big leaves and parsley is startinf to have second leaves

I think there is a lack of either water or appropriate balance of gases, or even light, as these are growing much more slowly and weedy than seedings of same plants in our garden.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

050806 terrarium

Originally uploaded by quadrapop.
We had a little accident yesterday afternoon, the bottle was knocked off its windowsill when I closed the curtains. Apart from a couple of seedlings getting uprooted all seems fine today.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


Originally uploaded by quadrapop.
Parsley & capsicum seedlings - looks like all the albizia has died:-(

The worms have been busy as the rubble rocks in the base are now covered in dirt and no longer visible. There was even a worm cast, but no.2 son thumped the bottle down on the floor and it collapsed so it is no longer obvious in this image.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Photo of the Day

Originally uploaded by quadrapop.
This year there are some really weird coloured Nasturtiums in our garden - this one looked almost brown - not orange but definitely gingerish!

The blue of the bucket I used as a backdrop has made it more orange than it appeared.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Deep Sea Arctic Life

Some cool pictures of recently discovered sealife from the Canada Basin
under the north pole.

This is part of the Census of Marinelife project.

What does this have to do with home ed? Well, what doesn't when home ed is about learning from life!

Sunday, July 31, 2005

toy phone - feeding photo

Originally uploaded by quadrapop.
It's amazing what one can achieve whilst breastfeeding an infant. I took advantage of a patch of morning sun and a nearby box of toys to continue my 'toyportraits' project.

For more images taken today goto toyportraits set and jewel & pebble photos (you will have to scroll down to the photo of the apple logo to see this mornings efforts)

Terrarium- day 14

Originally uploaded by quadrapop.
The parsley and capsicum have started to sprout. Unfortunately the albizia doesn't seem to have survived - some we planted in the garden at the same time are doing fine. I think the albizia in this terrarium have succumbed to the mould.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Green is Beautiful - with some of my photos

Some of my photos originally posted on a flickr group have been chosen to be shown in this group blog Green is Beautiful!

Including this one:


Monday, July 25, 2005

Terrarium Update - root

Terrarium - root
Originally uploaded by quadrapop.
Day 10 and the capsicum seeds are sprouting, one of the roots is visable. The mould is growing on a blood and bone pellet not the seed.

What kind of Homeschooler?

Salvador Dali Melting clocks are not a problem in
your reality. You are an unschooler. You will
tolerate a textbook, but only as a last resort.
Mud is your friend. You prefer hands-on
everything. If your school had an anthem, it
would be Dont Worry, Be Happy. Visit my blog:

What Type of Homeschooler Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Thanks to archaeomom8 for this bit of silliness.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

terrarium photo

Originally uploaded by quadrapop.
We have green leaves!

The blood'n'bone pellets are growing mould and I have sighted a root and a red mite.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Home Ed on a Budget: How to make a terrarium

Originally uploaded by quadrapop.
A wanted to have his own terrarium after seeing one on "Backyard Science" on ABCTV this week. So I had to come up with suitable containers.

You can use all sorts of things you find around the house to learn about the world around us. Here I'm using left over juice containers abd tape to make a sealed system terrarium.

This exercise covers the CO2/O2 cycles, respiration of plants and animals, water cycles. If you have crafty kids you can decorate the bottles, but do not cover the area above the soil as this is needed for the plants to get enough light.

Step one:
cut the top of a juice bottle so that you can hinge it back and easily fill with soil, invertibrates and plants/seeds.

Originally uploaded by quadrapop.
Step Two:
put rocks/gravel in the bottom to provide a liquid reservoir

Originally uploaded by quadrapop.
Step Three:
place some soil on the rocks

Originally uploaded by quadrapop.
Step Four:
add a worm or two and some compost or mulch for the worms to eat

Originally uploaded by quadrapop.
Step Five:
plant some fast growing seeds/seedlings - tomatoes/capsicum from the veggie crisper in your fridge, try some of the spice cupboard seeds - cumin, celery, mustard etc

Originally uploaded by quadrapop.
Step Six:
cover the seeds, spray in some water and tape the bottle up.

Originally uploaded by quadrapop.
Step Seven:
after a quick spray of water, tape the bottles shut, cap them and leave the bottles in a sunlit, but not too hot, position. then sit back & watch your garden grow.

I'll be taking photos periodically to record our experiment.

Friday, July 15, 2005


Originally uploaded by quadrapop.
Photo for the week, well, last week anyway. This is a Touchabubble - our back porch was covered in them and C was very out of breath!

More touchabubble photos on the quadrapop fickr site.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

secret foto blogging business

Here is a fun thing that some photo bloggers on flickr have come up with newcastlesecret.

Virual chat room via chalk tags in the real world:-)

New technologies bring new ways of doing things, including playing...
now all these guys have to do is meet face to face:-)

Friday, June 24, 2005

My favourite shot of the week

Originally uploaded by quadrapop.
Actually I took this a few weeks ago, but I was immediately pleased with this image when I took it and have't taken one as good since.

one of my squircles

Originally uploaded by quadrapop.
This is one of the many squared circles that I have uploaded to flickr.

See the entry about squircle movies for links.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Google Will Eat Itself

Google will eat itself on this conceptual art site. The site also has some interesting technology links.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

cute movie of squircles

squircle movie requires quicktime
from the flickr group: squared circle
you will need to log into flickr to view group images

I've had lots of fun on Flickr, sort of a visual version of yahoo groups:-) Lots of great photos (and a fair amount of crud - but that's the web for you) too many lovely shots my favourites file is bulging.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Letting children learn

So much of home education for the parent is learning to let go and let
the learning happen. This is what I call the parent's deschooling
process. Learning to let go of our own assumptions of what education
entails - school, rote learning, assignments, testing, etc and also
letting go of the inner voice that tries to get us to abide by societal
norms, whether they be right or healthy for us or our families.

Here is a quote from an email I got from Beverley Paine recently which describes
this process better than I can:

"Ask yourself 'why do I want them to learn or do this?' often - and
don't restrict this to the obvious educational lessons in life. I
questioned things like cleaning teeth three times and day and why
children should wear shoes... I continually test my assumptions by
imagining if I'd do and think the same thing if I lived in a different
era, place, culture or as a different person. My beliefs and attitudes
are forever being adjusted in the light of my new understandings.

Homeschooling life became a lot easier for all of us when I learned to
recognise those imperatives that came from MY head and heart. Most of my
earlier educational goals were based on what I thought people wanted me
to do, what I thought was expected of me, as well as my fears that
people would think I wasn't good enough as a mother or educator if I
didn't live up to these expectations (which were guided by the parenting
I had as a child, as well as the onslaught of messages from a
hyperactive consumeristic media!) My homeschooling learning programs
weren't centred, they weren't grounded in what each of my children
needed to learn next in their lives, based on who they were, but on what
society said they should be, and what I should be... and what I needed
to own to get there...

Once I slowed down and stopped rushing in to satisfy those unknown
others, or the nagging critic in my head, I had time to watch and listen
to my children - as they played, as they talked to each other and to me,
as they worked. I was surprised by how much 'work' my children did each
day. I used to think that they played all day, but when I stopped trying
to organise their time so much I saw that much of their play taught them
the very lessons I'd spend hours preparing! Learning, play and work soon
became inseparable. For children, learning is invisible. It's a pity we
make it visible - that only leads to confusion. "

Home Education is very much a lifestyle choice, not just an educational

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Kids with Cameras

More info to come when I have time...

but until then have a look at their website:

Photos of all your favourite 70s & 80s bands!

Browsing through the flickr blog I came across this group of photo sets....

Happy wandering down memory lane:-)

Sunday, May 22, 2005

History Carnival

A useful blog for medievalists (SCA and the like) and others interested
in Historical stuff:

"This page exists to introduce and co-ordinate the History Carnival, a
showcase of weblog posts about history (and historiography and history
teaching). It's modelled on Tangled Bank (for science blogs), the
Philosophers' Carnival (for, well you guessed it, philosophy blogs) and
Carnivalesque (on the 'early modern' period in history). And since the
History Carnival came into being, two more carnivals that may be of
interest to history bloggers have come along: the Skeptics' Circle and
the Carnival of Bad History."

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Romans to 19thCentury in Exeter - Link

Follow the changes in the city of Exeter over the last 2000 years.

Lots of images of archaeological finds and info on how the city's site has changed over the years.

Good starting point if looking at Romans in Britain, or even later periods in history.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Home Ed in UK on BBCi

Not sure when this was posted or when the show was broadcast in the UK - but some
of the comments are classics:-)

in pictures: learning at home

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Smelliest Flower in the World

Below you will find a link to the Eden Project's example of a Titan
Lily, a native of Sumatra this lily is also known as the Corpse
Flower because of the perfume it uses to attract pollinating insects.
Titan Lily in Eden Project

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Some Science education links

Get a frozen chicken's eye view as you fly through a jet engine, and
watch the temperature and air pressure change as you progress through
the fans, combustion chambers and exhaust. (Flash, sound)

Science toys to make and play with -- great for kids and teachers.

Fear of Physics explains stuff: why satellites don't fall but other
things do; what the Doppler effect means; what happens when two things
collide; how physicists solve problems...

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Algae on East Coast

ABCTV Catalyst programme about algae on the east coast of Australia. Algae are on the decline and many may have gone extinct without even being recorded. Warming of the oceans and habitat distruction appear to be to blame.

algae man

Friday, March 18, 2005

Climate Change information

The changing atmosphere in 2005

A Public lecture held on 21 February 2005 at the Australian Academy of
Science by Nobel Laureate Professor F. Sherwood Rowland, Donald Bren
Research Professor of Chemistry and Earth System Science, University of
California, Irvine

Transcript with images of the slides used in the lecture

And where the real climate scientists hang out

Friday, March 04, 2005

Family Photos

T'riq's photos: Images of our latest arrival's first few days.

This is updated on a semi-regular basis, so worth visiting it moret han once:-)

Saturday, February 26, 2005

A boy!

Our third child was born this morning.

Waters broke at 4am with an audible pop! First contraction at 4.20am. Baby born at 6.20am. I laboured in a water tub. Attended by 2 midwives, DH, and 2 female helpers (sister in law and our occasional nanny). S woke up early enough to see some of the late labour. A woke in time to see his little brother have his first feed.

Baby weighed in at 9lbs/4kg, 53cm long with 36cm head.

Mum feeling fine, a tummy wrap is making life quite bearable.

Tariq's Photo Page
the happy parents minutes after he was born

Sunday, February 13, 2005

It's amazing what turns up on the web....

I was idly googling the names of our family members when this turned up on the first page...
slashdot who needs the way-back-machine when you have friends (I question this after seeing some of the photos newt posted of C) with far too much bandwidth.

C's Alter Ego is a British actor who has appeared in Blackadder and a number of other TV shows. Apparently he has also written at least one stage play.

If you add firewall or VPN to C's search criteria it narrows down nicely:-)

K's Alter Ego is a rather mediocre artist also English...

S and A don't currently have eponymous Alter Egos though there are some interesting links between people who have one or other of their names...

Friday, January 21, 2005


I listen to the Health Report on ABC Radio National when I can and on
Monday there was a repeat of a great programme from Novemebr last year.

The full transcript
Norman Swan was interviewing Dr Reid Lyon from US National Institute of
Child Health and Human Development
on his research into how children learn to read and how this research is being implemented.

Essentially Lyon was saying that:
1, we do not have an inbuilt ability to read it is a learnt skill.

2, children from poor backgrounds are shown in his studies to be at a
disadvantage even before they start to learn to read because they have
had fewer verbal and reading intereactions with their parents and carers
than wealthier children and thus have vastly reduced vocabularies at
4yrs which impares their reading ability at least until it is remedied
through application of effective strategies to expand their interaction
with words, spoken, written and reading itself.

3, What does it take to learn to read?

phonemic awareness - that is the understanding that in an alphabetical
language like English you have 26 letters that correspond to some 44
sounds and the ability to pull those sounds out of the stream of speech

phonics - recognising that each of the letters on the page represent one
or more sounds and being able to pronounce them

fluency - being able to combine the phonemic awareness and phonics with
meaning quickly enough to give fluent reading

vocabulary - the larger the verbal vocabulary is the easier it is to
read the written vocabulary fluently

background/world knowledge - to understand what the vocabulary actually
means within any context

comprehension strategies - linking what you are reading to the context
outside of the document to your own experience or knowledge base

None of the above are sufficient by themselves for reading to occur and
these 6 areas need to be approached sequentially to provide the
predictability needed for retention of the skills.

4. Lyon then goes on to describe how various remedial reading programmes
fail or succeed in correcting deficiencies in children's literacy.

The research they have done has been the first to apply randomised
control trials to various teaching strategies and then assess their
usefulness in various situations.

... I'll finish editing this entry when I have time - hopefully soon -
I'm off to do more work on the Home Ed Conference...

Monday, January 17, 2005

Catching up

Jumping right to the present....

I'm now married with two boys and am 34 wks pregnant with what promises to be a third boy. He will be born at home like the other two, probably in the water tub.

My eldest son is now in his second year of 'official' homeschooling/home education. We use a style of education known variously as unschooling/natural learning. We consider him to have been home educated since birth and we intend to continue in the same vein. For more info on home ed or natural learning go to:

I am currently involved in co-ordinating a Home Ed conference for the Home Based Learning Network (see the links in the left column), which will be held this year on my second son's birthday.

I'm not sure how this blog will evolve - I'm trying to get the email publishing part to work. Bear with me, things can only improve :-)

Sunday, January 16, 2005

In the beginning....

....there was a 14 yr old girl who liked art and SF.... but we've come a long way since then:-)