So after having tried to get to SeaWorld for several weekends... I said screw it!  Thursday the 2 school-goers got a free day off and the four of us road tripped to the Gold Coast for a day of fun :)   The weather was spectacular and made for a gorgeous day.  The first thing we did was take a  (round trip, the park was quiet) ride on the Sky lift to get a look at the place.

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea??

Sponge-Bob square pants!

 Here are Frodo & Sam enjoying the ride & the view.  I was really proud of Frodo, he's usually a nervous boy about these kinds of things, but he was pretty adventurous!  While up there, we got a great look at the dolphin nursery where the baby dolphins were playing with their handlers.
We were quite lucky,because the park was sooo quiet they were offering a lot of things that usually have additional costs... for FREE!  So we got a free peddle boat hire!  Here are my little conquering seamen all geared up and excited.  The ride was great.. but ye gods, my thighs were destroyed.. we all know who got to do MOST of the peddling lol 

Then we went into the Arctic Penguin exhibit, which was terrific!  Merry just adored the 'happy feet' as he dubbed them.. and was a bit amazed that they were nearly his size lol.   This was the ground level viewing area, and they also had an underwater viewing area where the penguins swam around  and, at times, appeared as interested in us as we were in them!

 Then we did some rides!  If hubby had been able to come along Sam would have totally ridden the log flume and other coaster.. but he was pretty happy with the ones in the nickelodeon section.  He did the beach ball bounce... this thing below that I can't remember what it was called.  You had to pull yourself up to the top using the rope and then hold onto the handles as you fall!
 Frodo & Sam rode the airplanes (which was again something for Frodo, he does NOT usually like things that leave the ground.. but this was ok because he got to control when it went up and down. Doesn't he look  like Joe Cool here? lol

Then we had to break for what was arguable the priciest lunch I've ever bought lol... not allowed to bring food into the park sadly so they have you by the short & curlies!  The boys enjoyed the splurge though.. and even here, Sam chose a big ole fruit salad and I shared my chips with him.

After lunch was filled with a play at Castaway Bay, which is the biggest play structure I've ever seen... all piratey themed, of course!  There are rope bridges and plank walkways and tunnels and all sorts of fun things.  We also hit the battle boats where we got absolutely DRENCHED lol... it was great fun though.  I had a change of clothes & towels... for everyone but me lol.. I cheated & wrapped a towel around myself before we got going so I was in reasonable shape.  

We also went to see the polar bears, who were doing nothing very entertaining lol... and to Shark Bay.  The sharks were terrific.. the pool was huge and there's gorgeous coral and a zillion types of fish.  I managed to snap a pic, sans flash since it's not allowed for the health of the animals, of a mamma and baby shark swimming just past us!

We also go to watch the 'Little Penguins' get fed before we finished up for the day.  They were adorable little things.   I wanted to wait for the Dolphin show... but the kids were just DONE by 3pm!  So we got our massive cup of lemonade refilled, picked up a show bag each for the kids.. and hit the road!   

I feel like I get the mom of the year... ok, week at least :) ... award for this day out.  It's not often I brave taking all 3 out to something major like sanity wanes long before the outing is over usually lol.  But a brilliant day was had by all!
Farewell from the Baggins' boys Seaworld!  We may see you again in a month... the Dinosaur adventure is supposed to open mid June!!!!

I tried to write a Mother's Day post, but despite it being my intention to celebrate all the terrific things that Home schooling Mum's do for and with our kids... it kept feeling derogatory towards mothers' that use typical school systems. *sigh*    So I've just canned the whole thing because I would never want a single mother who loves her children to feel belittled by my words!

It boils down to this... all loving mothers do the best we can for our children!  We love them, and educate them, in our own ways.  And we all deserve to be celebrated for this :)

Happy Mother's Day my beautiful friends!  I hope you and your families have a wonderful day and that you are pampered a bit, as we all deserve it!

I was awaked at 930 this morning (delightful sleep in!) by breakfast & coffee.  My 8yo made me porridge with bananas & brown sugar.  Then there were flowers (lovely chrysanthemums that we can repot and enjoy on the veranda) a cd of Celtic women (which I love)  and a most non traditional gift, but one that's sooo perfect for me lol.  awaited me at my laptop this morning.  I needed a new mouse, and this is the most eagerly awaited installment of one of my favourite computer games ever... totally a win win situation!  

Ok fellow home schooling mamas (and dads!)  ... I need to whinge.  Anyone reading my blog for a while knows that Frodo home schooled, then went to school last year & had a horrid time, and was excited to return to home education late last year.  He's had a rough year, lots of illness and such, but we've still been moving along with his studies.  He's quirky and easily distracted as always, but we work around that.

The BIG problem that I'm having trouble getting around is his WHINGING!  Almost everything I ask him to do, schoolwork wise (actually... this is pretty true for any area of his life) that is NOT computer based, results in a great deal of complaining and whining about how BooooooooooOOOOOOOOring it is!  He mumbled under his breath several times how he hoped our excursion yesterday wasn't boring, only to have great fun in the end.  He enjoyed using History Odyssey when we previously home schooled and wanted to start it again (we're using lvl 2 now), which was cool with me.. but now he balks at reading any of the books that are part of the curriculum.  He's currently reading The Golden Goblet, which sounds like a bit of an Ancient Egyptian adventure tale... and informs me he did not like reading the first book and he doesn't like reading this one either.  

He was doing skwirk lessons earlier, text types was the subject, and I gave him the option of choosing either an information report lesson or a recount (with the suggestion that he could write something about his excursion to remember it by) well.. those are both BORING he says.  He eventually did the lesson on recounts.. but doesn't want to actually recount anything!?!  *pulls own hair out*

I have no problem with him doing a LOT of his school work on the computer, because clearly that is his passion and it's the way of the future anyway... but I have to have written samples, and for balance he needs to read actual books, and write things with an actual pencil etc.   Today I lost the plot momentarily and said fine, if you are that bored do you think I should start looking for a private school where you can start fresh, that way you wouldn't be bored and could see if it worked better than the local public school did!?!?!  I flat out told him I refuse to keep doing this if he is going to whinge & argue with me about every little bit of schoolwork.

Somehow he seems to think that homeschooling is about playing mine-craft all day long?!   (yep, already have limits in place there, he can play mine craft or other games after all his schoolwork is done for the day!)  I'm seriously considering just not planning any schoolwork for next week... but also NOT turning on ANY of the computers all day... or the Wii.  I think maybe he'd get the idea that I'm not going to have this fight, and that if he isn't willing to keep his end of the bargain then life is gonna be pretty boring.

But then... I feel like a real bitch.  I want him to enjoy home schooling and be enthusiastic.. but at the very least I want him to be enthusiastic to just get it done!   I keep letting him know that I do this because I love him, and that this choice means I give up being able to work or go to Uni during school hours and that I'm feeling a bit unappreciated about it.  But I really don't know how else to tackle this... I don't like making him feel guilty or worried that I'll send him back to school..

I've thought about swinging back toward unschooling.. but I know Frodo and I know that he would spend 80% of his time bouncing between mine craft on the computer, Skylanders on the Wii and surfing the web looking at Zelda walk through's and such (all the things that make up most of his free time now)   And honestly... that's not my idea of providing a high quality, well rounded education (which I've committed to providing to the Home Ed Unit application).    Oh how I wish I had a kid that would read or decide to investigate different things!  But I don't... I have a kid that perseverates on the very few things he is currently obsessed with.  

Suggestions would not be considered unsolicited advice at all *deep sigh*
This week we had a public holiday Monday, so there was much park time and tennis and fun! (which I have no pics of as Dad got to have the fun... I got to finish a Uni assignment in peace lol)  Tuesday was your avg school work at home day, aside from a trip to the shops to grab a few necessities.  I must admit though, a lot of time is being taken up by THIS....

Can you say AWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!?!!?   The kitties came  home on Saturday and have settled in very nicely.  This is miss Dotti in her self declared seat at the dining room table lol... she simply has to be next to me when I'm at the laptop!  They are eating and playing happily ... they wait for the boys to go to sleep and then slink into their beds hehehe.   Smudge has a bad habit we are trying to break... he 'suckles' like a newborn *sigh*   He was found abandoned at about 3ish weeks of age, so we may never completely do away with that habit unfortunately.   But all in all, they are just delightful to have around.  DH doesn't think so at 430am when he wakes up for work and they think the only reason he got out of bed was to get a cube of mince out of the freezer to defrost for them LOL... but he loves them too :)

Wednesday we had our Wolston House excursion.  Wolston House was built originally in 1852 as a working farmhouse, it was added to over the years and has been pretty well preserved.  The kids (and mums & dads!) enjoyed getting a tour of the house and surrounds, as well as getting to play a bit of dress ups and try out authentic replicas of clothing that would have been worn by the families that lived here.

You see that chest she is standing next to?  it has hangers on one side and drawers on the other... totally want :)  She showed the kids all sorts of interesting bits & pieces from the time and let them pass them around so they could have a good look.  I think it was a bit long for Frodo ... by the end of the 45 mins I was having to whisper his name a fair bit  to get him to chill out!  But he didn't do too bad... all the kids were great :)

The tour guide also got out some games & toys that children on the farm would have played and the kids had a good time test driving those too :)  Another of the activities the kids got to try was washing clothes, the old fashioned way.  They had to pump the water from the well, fill their wash basins, and scrub, scrub, scrub!  

Frodo was a bit meh about it at first, saying 'isn't this optional?' lol  But once he got into working with his partner he had a good time... and even went back for 2 more goes hehehe. 

He really enjoyed the tour of the house... this is in the kitchen, where they had all sorts of typical kitchen gadgets they would have used during the various periods the house was occupied (it was occupied consistently until close to 1960 I think she said).  

Frodo spotted a paper on the table that suggested things to try to find during the tour, although I didn't know it at the time.  So he went around spotting a couple of the items and kept asking when we were going to the cellars.  The tour guide & I didn't know it, but there was a butter churn pictured on that paper that said ' look for this in the Wolston cellar' and he was most disappointed that he couldn't find it!   At the end of the tour the guide took us back to see the list... and then we went snooping around the cellars again until we found a butter churn!  Not THE one pictured, but it was A butter churn... so Frodo was able to mentally tick that off his list and was a happy camper :)

 Here's a pic of the doors into the cellars :) Frodo's much sought after butter churn was found on a shelf inside the first door on the left.  It was a great old house with beautiful sandstone walls in parts, lots of neat little bits of character... like wood plank flooring complete with occasional views to the cellars where the boards have shrunk lol.

He told me afterwards, that he had thought it would be kinda boring but he was surprised that he had a good time :)

There may be another, whingier, post later... having some homeschool frustrations with the boy and it's resulting in some hair pulling on my part!

Firstly,  at the end of last week I was invited to go up to the school for Merry & Sam's weekly assembly.  Mr. Merry had no idea, but he was getting one of the weekly student awards :)  He was such a cute little man walking up to get his award (cannot call it a certificate because he gets quite adamant that it is an AWARD mum!)  
On the weekend, hubby, Sam & I went to visit the kitties we are adopting from a local pet rescue!  Their names are Smudge (male) and Dotti (female) and they are just absolute best friends. Here is Sam giving Smudge a cuddle, they reacted to him really well :)   Dotti tried to climb up my back and was totally cute checking us out.  She is tiny, and I didn't manage to get a pic of her as she was darting around playing with Smudge & the other kitty in the enclosure.   I got an email from the lady at the rescue, both kitties went in for de-sexing today, and we're planning to bring them home on Sunday!  Much excitement in the house over these new additions.

The week started out really wonderfully... Frodo & I made it to his Spanish/Art in the park classes, which after out last attempt, was a big relief lol.  Frodo had a great time and made a couple of new friends.  He had a break of about an hour between classes so he played the ds with his new friends, and played on the playground for a while.  

The weather was just spectacular, if a little windy!  Liz, the art teacher, and I had a bit of a struggle getting things not to fly away lol.  We eventually got most of it weighted/tied down and everyone enjoyed their classes.  It was so nice, and dh was home in time to pick up the other two, so we stayed an extra hour so he could play and I could catch up with the mum's :)  

Isn't it just so lovely & green?  The day was just great... until Frodo said the words on the way home... I have a headache mum.  *SIGH*  And then the coughing started EEK... and the fever *double sigh*.   A just in case visit to the doc revealed it's just viral at this point! YAY!  It could settle into his tonsils and cause trouble so I have a script just in case... but here's hoping we don't have to use it!  Needless to say, there hasn't been a great deal of schoolwork this week... a few fun math practice worksheets, and some comic book grammar (awesomely fun score from the scholastic dollar days online sale :) but that is just about it.  He did finish his Tales of Ancient Egypt book, which he deemed boring even though he admits there were a few interesting tidbits in there lol.

He is a little better looking tonight, so tomorrow we may get a few things done to make the week not a complete loss ;)  I've found a very cool book of cool book report graphic organizers that I may set him up with ... he's started reading his first Hardy Boy's mystery, which sounds like a fun book report. And I think we'll finish up another part of his Egypt History Pocket as well.  I hate to imagine what it would be like if he was in school missing so much time due to illness!  

I leave you with this bit of adorableness :)  Merry FINALLY agreed that OK, he will submit to a haircut! lol He has the most beautiful, but UNRULY, curls... mainly because it only curls really around his hairline all the way around hehe.  He was lovely for Jaime while she cut his hair and seems pretty pleased with the results :)

On tap for the weekend:  Hopeful trip to Seaworld on Saturday!  Bringing our newest family members in furr home Sunday!  Monday = public holiday!   And in the middle of all that will be schoolwork... for ME, uni assignments give no rest to the wicked ;)