Thursday, April 26, 2012

Back To School and James Bond Jackaroo

We are back in the schoolroom after the kids returned from camp - the 3 hour drive home with four kids in the back had us in hysterics at the going-on of a grade five camp! Term 2 is upon us and we've started learning about the media, what 'bias' and 'assertions' are, evidence, points of view and opinions, as well as some geometry in maths (translations, rotations and reflections anyone?)

Collecting the kids off the bus at LSODE after their camp to Magnetic Island

Before we left to head south over the school holidays I spent a day cleaning and organising the schoolroom from top to toe. Packing up last term's work, sorting through the mountain of textas, pencils, crayons, staplers, sharpeners and going through all the books in the reading corner bookshelf. This is the disaster zone before...

Stuff of nightmares, I know. Please don't judge me! Things got just a tad hectic by the end of term trying to finish work off. I tried to find a home for everything and organised my little heart out until I came up with something more to my liking. Clear desks and clutter free, hopefully means the kids (and I) can concentrate a bit better.

The reading corner of the schoolroom is generally where Tom does his school work (he refuses to sit at his desk so sits in his red chair, sometimes with an iPod on, mostly playing with stress balls and blu-tack). The big bookshelf holds all the reading books, reference books, craft and drawing books and books from the school library. We sit here on the reading mat after lunch and read a book together, last term it was Enid Blyton's 'The Magical Wishing Chair'. To say the bookshelf was in need of some attention was probably an understatement...

Now it's a more organised place to sit and do our work, read stories together and find exactly what we need...

When we were in Longreach picking the kids up from camp Kristy and I got some beanbag chairs to put in the reading corner also. So far they've been a hit, with Maddy now choosing to do most of her work down there with Tom. A lot of people ask me if this sort of teaching is actually a hindrance to the kids for when they go to a 'real' school and have to sit in a 'real' classroom. Probably, but at the moment it's a means to an end!

We had a bit of medical drama this week as Maddy stepped on a screw and had it stuck in her foot. After much hysteria and crying, a phone call to a neighbour who is a nurse, we pulled it out and she now sports a bit of a limp but I've assured her we won't put her down just yet ;) No netball this Friday though, but it has also started raining today and turned cold - I think the inland Queensland winter is finally here.

The patient recovering on the couch with 'Flopsy' and nurse Tom

Matt had a bit of excitement this week also. Ok, that's the understatement of the year - he came home from work grinning from ear to ear. They have been mustering this week using a contracted helicopter, Matt got a flat tyre on his motorbike, not unusual so he kept riding, then he bent the steering rod (or something??) so had to abandon ship and start walking. Chopper pilot must've taken pity on the poor soul and landed to pick him up and take him back to the yards. The others were having some trouble with some non-compliant cows and weaners though so Matt actually got to 'go to work' in the chopper whilst mustering, jumping in and out to help Alex and Glenn tie some weaners and then jump back in the chopper. So basically he now thinks he is some sort of James Bond jackaroo. Luckily he did have his little camera in his pocket that day though and managed to snap some of these...

He also got these ones once he had his feet back on solid ground. Lots of people have asked us what the country is like around Alpha so hopefully these give you an idea. The last one may or may not have had some help from Matt's lovely photographer wife :)

Back in the schoolroom I have been really surprised and proud at how the kids are tackling their new work. It seems something may have clicked! Yesterday Tom asked me if I had ever been a teacher before, I said no but I had been a nanny, he said well how do you know how to teach us things so well? Maybe I'm not doing such a bad job at 'winging' it!

Yesterday we whizzed through two days worth of maths as well as spelling before smoko (unheard of!)  and then tackled a day of English and I set them a 'special task' of writing a persuasive piece. First, I had to introduce what the heck 'persuasive writing' was before letting them write for a full hour. Kristy and I were really pleased and surprised at the level of their thinking and writing - great stuff!

Maddy learning about 'rotation, reflection and translation' with shapes in maths this week

Tom with his new best friend 'Speckles' in his red chair in the schoolroom

Miss Emma's way of totally bamboozling the kids - well so I thought until they actually understood it and wrote something! 
Matt and I are off to Longreach tomorrow for a little tourist activity at the Stockman's Hall of Fame and Qantas museum. We haven't really done anything like that since being here at Malden so I'm really looking forward to it. The Sparrow's are off to the races in Emerald, unfortunately at the moment it is steadily raining.

Another jam-packed week in the schoolroom for me and branding in the yards for Matt next week before we head to Yeppoon for Beef 2012 next weekend. Another roadtrip!


  1. who said it was every quiet in the bush! raining and cold up here too - not really usual winter weather for us northerners, but some of us are hoping for some cooler weather for our winter racing outfits (Kooroorinya being in two weeks, see if you can find that one on the map!)

    I've had a chopper ride or two in my day, but not since I had three kids. These days I get to appreciate the chopper pilot from the ground - so much easier to block run away cows from the air than bouncing across timber on a motorbike!

  2. to say i love your blog emma is an understatement! I love the way you paint a crystal clear picture of how life is as a governess/jackaroo in Malden - the country is a little different to what I expected!

    And that last shot you took of the cows! Love it!!

  3. Can I ask you a favour? I went to Norway on exchange way back in 1990 with a girl from Alpha called Libby Carruthers. Can you ask Kristy if she knows of her?? BTW - loving all your farm updates :)

  4. Love that you are sharing your adventures around Australia. Great job teaching persuasive writing - as someone who is currently trying to teach it to 26 nine year olds you are doing a great job, it's not easy!