Sunday, March 4, 2012

Longreach Home Tutor Workshop

I've just spent the past week in Longreach attending the Home Tutor Workshop - the kids have been attending 'real' school with their classmates and teachers whilst us home tutors (other govies and mostly mums) learnt about how to understand this new curriculum which has just started this year in Queensland as well as share ideas and better ways to teach in our remote area schoolrooms. I met lots of lovely people at LSODE (Longreach School of Distance Education) - the staff, teachers, other govies, mums and students. 

With the creek still up we had to depart Malden via the trusty footbridge on motorbikes Monday morning - it's a three hour drive to Longreach, through Jericho, Barcaldine and Ilfracombe. Whilst in Longreach the kids got overdue haircuts and Kristy hit the supermarket while I took each of the kids seperately to the pool to practice their medley, swimming sports was on Wednesday and the kids weren't used to swimming in a big pool! Tom did really well and even did a lap of the 50 metre pool...

Tuesday morning we headed to LSODE for registration and school assembly, new school and house captains were introduced and the house war cry's chanted with gusto. Maddy and Tom are in Boree house (there is only one other house, Coolibah). Here is their war cry, impressive...

Whilst the kids had lessons with their classmates and teachers, home tutors had workshops to recognise how your child learns, how you teach and how together they can make it a winning combination. Turns out I am a dolphin/wombat teaching a wombat and a kangaroo/eagle. Don't ask.

We stayed at cabins just near the school, other mums and kids were also there which meant a wine (or three) of an evening, kids in the pool and take-away dinners together.

Pool time after school

Tom with a very cute pup one of the mum's had with her

On Wednesday we had some more learning to do, both home tutors and kids, before the much anticipated swimming carnival in the afternoon. I took the kids back to the cabins to get ready with yellow hair spray and grass hula skirts. Boree's theme was Hawaiian and Coolibah's was Australian Lifesavers. 

Little Sienna getting into it!

Maddy showing some Boree spirit

Tom making some noise

Miss Emma - getting in the spirit of things and chief sports photographer

The carnival is held at the Longreach pool, thankfully undercover but still very hot spilling out onto the grass with all the other parents/govies. Maddy did really well with a few firsts, a third and seconds. The medley practice at home last week obviously must have done something as she came through with a blue ribbon! Confusion and chaos ensued to begin with though as I'd taught them one sequence of strokes and apparently they had to swim a different sequence! I stood at the end of the pool though like a paranoid govie yelling the different strokes to Maddy and her friend Rosie as they reached the end of the pool. Tom got three seconds and a third - terrific efforts by both of them. So proud!

Tired and grumpy kids by the end of it all. The next morning was an early start at school for more sport (netball and football) which was a struggle for most kids. Home tutors got to have a session with the new curriculum writers which was great, a lot of opinions aired and things off chests I think. In the afternoon Kristy and I got to hit the supermarket to do much needed shopping, Kristy has been stuck at Malden for 8 weeks while the creek has been flooded. Returned to LSODE to discover Maddy had made the netball team and selected to play tomorrow! Good and bad news, great she made the team, not so great that we had a heap of cold/frozen groceries and now had to stay another night. After a run back to the cabins to book in for another night and storing our cold food in the school's cool room we tried to get hold of the husbands to let them know we wouldn't be home. Unimpressed, said they were starving!

Maddy's netball on Friday was really good though, she played so well despite the fact the poor small school's team she was on was outplayed ten fold against girls who clearly play as a team all the time, not like these distant ed kids. Maddy was one of two grade five's selected so she was against giant's and much more experienced players. She did a few sneaky moves though and most importantly had so much fun. 

Back home to Malden and trying to catch up on school on a Saturday - poor kids, but next week we're in Emerald one day for the dentist and a hair cut for Miss Emma, as well as a day in Barcaldine as Maddy is playing netball again. Disrupted school week ahead but kids going well I think...I hope! 

I had a great week - full of insights into how to teach two very different kids well. I was inspired and impressed by the hard working families behind distance education - especially the mum's who are so dedicated and committed to giving their children every opportunity in their educations. Effort really does conquer distance.


  1. What a wonderful insight into a Distance Ed mini school. We have just returned from our mini school in Rockhampton, loaded with fresh ideas to bring into our schoolroom.

  2. sounds like everyone had a great time! and that you were able to give feedback re the curriculum, I know more than one mum who was itching to be able to do that!

  3. Hi Emma, we visited the Longreach School of distance Ed on our trip around Oz. It is so amazing and extremely interesting for city kids!! I was blown away by the services they provide to families....sounds like you are having a ball!!

  4. sounds like a busy week emma and both you and the kids got a lot out of it!