Australian Aborigines Mini Unit: Introduction – Resources and Dress Up


Australian-aborigines-unit-study-hands on-activities

Who are the Aborigines?

Aborigines describe the people indigenous to Australia.  The Aborigines were thought to have migrated from Asia some 30000 years ago, making them the oldest continuous living culture on earth.

A very spiritual race, their oneness with the land is of huge importance.  From canyons to rocks, beaches to rivers and sun to moon, they all have their own creation stories.  This close relationship between humans and the land is the crux of the very heart of the Aborigines.

Where in the world do they live?

We pulled out our huge map we made and found Australia:

australia, map, unit, study, hand on activities

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The Aboriginal Flag and its Significance

I really enjoyed learning about the Aborigines flag and the meanings behind the colours and shapes used.  We used felt and a hot glue gun to create our own flag:


We learnt that the black represents the Aboriginal people of Australia, the red represent the red soil, the red ochre and the spiritual relationship of the Aboriginal people with their land and the yellow represents the life-giving and protective sun.

Resources we used throughout this study

This was to be a fairly short unit, maybe a term or so long.  The resources reflect this.  We used the following two books, Australia ABCs: A Book about the People and Places of Australia (Country ABCs)
and Australia (Seven Continents), probably more geared towards the younger set but useful nonetheless for the older ones as well:

Australia-unit study-resource-book

I read these to the younger two, whilst the older ones read it for themselves.

Stories from the Billabong was probably the book we used the most.  I love reading myths from each nation we study.  Myths get to the heart of a people, I think, and reflect clearly the priorities of those people.


I read a story out each day during our morning meeting.  All five children enjoyed the mythical stories.  I also had A7 narrate back to me what she remembered a bit later on the day.  She loves anything to do with nature and really retained these stories well.

The Songlines (Vintage Classics) written by Chatwin, is one of the few books I could find written about the Aboriginals by a person who had traveled alongside the Aborigines.  It was primary evidence, a first person account of Chatwin’s explorations of the ancient songlines (invisible pathways criss-crossing Australia, connecting communities).  I read a chapter from Songlines each day.  We haven’t finished it yet.  When we do, I will write a review:

australia-unit study-resources-the songlines-book

The final read was for the older children to read to themselves, although I ended up also reading it to the littles:

Australia-unit study-red sand, blue sky-resource-book

Red Sand, Blue Sky (Girls First!) is an adventure story about a girl from Melbourne who meets and befriends and Aboriginal girl.  Much is learnt about the Aboriginal culture as the two girls take on a rescue mission to expose the person who is robbing a sacred Aboriginal site.

Dress Up

Even if do say so myself, I was very creative when I made this dress up out of some packaging material which came with a refrigerator part I ordered.Australian-aborigines-dress up-activity 1

I gathered enough of the partly shredded packaging, cutting it all to the same length.

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I weaved a ribbon through the top of all the pieces:

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I think each skirt was made of three different pieces, which I then used double sided sticky tabs to attached them all together:

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The ribbon could then be tied to fit the waist:

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I was quite pleased with the final skirt, especially as it cost me absolutely nothing to make:

Australian-aborigines-dress up-activity 7

The littles and I played about with some faces paints.  They chose the design they wanted and I painted it on:


How cute are they?

L was in charge of making aboriginal jewelry.  She researched, wrote a paper on it and finally made some:


The jewelry was made from beans, seeds, wood, paper, card and pastels:


Here are our little Aborigines wearing them:

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And a picture showing their skirts as well:

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This was a great start to our studies, and probably the first time I had attempted a unit study with all five children.  This proved way easier than I thought it would be :)

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Because I Luvoo, Mummy


My little four-year old sidles up to me and slips me piece of paper.  She gives me a gentle kiss on the cheek.  ‘Because I luvoo, Mummy.’  And she wanders off.  I look at the piece of paper she has been labouring over for the past hour or so and tears fill my eyes.


B4 had written the words I love you upside down, back to front and with completely the wrong spelling.  It could not have been more beautiful, more precious, or meant so much.

There is nothing, no job in the whole wide world, which would give me this kind of feeling.  In that moment, hundreds upon hundreds of memories returned to me of wet kisses planted on my cheek over the years and the many little hand smudged, crumpled letters of love which have come my way from those five Scalliwags of mine.  And it reminds me of just how blessed I am to be watching these five incredible children grow up.  I will never EVER take the privilege of being a Mummy for granted. Ever.

So grateful to be me.

Blogging through the Alphabet: D is for discombobulated



Oh there were so many words beginning with D which could have summed up my homeschooling family thus far…delusional comes to mind, along with daunting, daft and deficient.  Actually daft describes me rather than my home schooling journey.  On a more positive note, we could also be described as diligent, dazzling and domesticated, although that last one might be a stretch.

But I think discombobulated describes fairly well how we I feel on a daily basis.  To be discombobulated is to be confused, perplexed, puzzled or to be weird.  Yes, I think that sums us me up very succinctly.

The day begins with me feeling a little discombobulated from the night before.  Why is it that 11pm comes and suddenly the need for any type of caffeine leaves by the back door.  At around the same time ‘Bright-eyed and Bushy-tailed’ saunters in through the front door.  Suddenly I feel like I could conquer the world.  Honestly, if only the rest of the world (or at the very least my children) were awake to see this truly alive and very productive Claire they would  be astounded, not just by my energy levels but also by my incredible teaching nuances.  You see, past midnight?  I rock in every single way.  It is such a shame no one is there to see it…..

The next morning I am back to my ‘day light hours’ Claire.  Still easily excitable and full to the brim with things I wish to share but most of the time a little discombobulated.  My mother says I ‘have my head in the clouds’,  my girls comment frequently that I am ‘away with the fairies’, T teases me incessantly about my inability to retain any sort of name or number or, in fact, any piece of information in my head (my brain is basically the polar opposite of a didactic one – I wonder would I also be considered brilliant in my own way?) and Gary just shakes his head and I can see him thinking ‘bless’

I hadn’t realised it had got so bad or so obvious until this week.  I was helping C tidy up some of her bedroom, when I came across a leaflet explaining how to help someone with senile dementia.  I laughed, particularly because it was unclear if she had got it to help me or for herself (she has inherited my innate scattiness).  Actually, by the end of our highly amusing conversation it was still unclear exactly why she had it or how indeed it had come to be in her possession.

In my defense, I completely and utterly blame home schooling for my discombobulation.  I was intelligent, coherent and very reliable.  I was a prefect for goodness sake!  And I have a degree.  I can’t have faked intelligence that well!  I must have had it once.  But alas no more.  No, now I spend my nights reminding myself of how I used to be and my days in a confused, discombobulated state of existence, wondering where on earth I left my brain….

Blogging Through the Alphabet” style=

You’re not finished with me yet…..


Create In Me

Create in me a clean, clean heart
Create in me a work of art
Create in me a miracle
Something real and something beautiful

Create a miracle in me

You’re not finished with me yet
You’re not finished with me yet
By Your power I can change, I can change
‘Cause You’re not finished with me yet

Make all things new

You’re not finished with me yet
You’re not finished with me yet
By Your power I can change, I can change
‘Cause You’re not finished with me yet

Create in me a clean, clean heart
Create in me a work of art
Create in me a miracle
Something real and something beautiful

Create a miracle in me

You’re not finished with me yet
You’re not finished with me yet
By Your power I can change, I can change
‘Cause You’re not finished with me yet

Precious Moments


precious moments2

What a very bizarre week it has been!  It started with a weekend away to visit friends in Lincolnshire, which before we got there felt stressy what with Hurricane Abigail making its way through the UK (that would be the wind, not the daughter), and a few mishaps prior to leaving.  Once there, we were spoilt rotten by our friends, ate like eating was going out of fashion (honestly the food was incredible), and were allowed to simply relax which was glorious for a couple of days:


If you would like to experience similar gastronomical joys and peace let me know.  Our friends run a B & B from their beautiful 6 bedroomed house and are well worth a visit.

We left Sunday night, travelling through the night and arriving home at 1030.  The children were exhausted, especially the little ones.  We spent Monday relaxing with Gary, enjoying a country walk, unpacking and generally getting ready for the week ahead.

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Tuesday arrived and everyone still felt tired and lethargic.  We pushed through school, hoping for an early night.  T’s physics lesson went on much later than normal, and as T finds it hard to switch off at night after any academics he wasn’t asleep until almost 11pm.  The next day the weariness in everyone seemed worse not better and by ten I decided it wasn’t worth pushing them any further and declared a few ‘inset’ days for teacher training sanity.  We all agreed to have this week off and work the extra week before Christmas in order to make up for it.  Gotta love the flexibility of homeschool!

weekend 2

This actually worked out fairly well for me because I was under more pressure than normal.  I had applied to be member of the 2016 TOS review crew and needed to do a tester review (posted on Wednesday) and I am guest posting on another home school site and needed to have that written by today.  I am pleased to say I was accepted by the TOS and am excited about beginning a new adventure with them in the new year.

weekend 3

The rest of the family has spent the week colouring, writing, making jewelry and generally helping out as much as they could to give me enough time to do my writing.

weekend 4

Little L was really struggling this week with not wanting to be a teen.  I was very grateful to T for the support he gave her, writing a song:


And making jewelry with her:

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Jewelry has been her solace this week and she has made lots of beautiful items:

weekend 6

weekend 7

Know that with T, exercise was incredibly helpful for coping with the ups and downs of hormones we have decided to seek out a second trampolining class for L to attend, which will hopeful help her over the winter when she is unable to get out on her own trampoline.

Maybe with support of her family, friends, a good healthy diet and lots of exercise we will see more of her beautiful smiling face which has been somewhat absent of late:


Today Lorna is coming round, which will be the light relief we all need!  Lorna never fails to put a smile of our faces with her unique comical ways and her lovely family.  By tomorrow we will be as right as rain and hopefully looking forward to a much more productive week.

That said as I sit here, T and C are composing music together.  And dare I say it, but the song sounds really good.  L is upstairs happily beautifying her newly decorated bedroom, which will hopefully be finished by next week.  For now peace has ascended in the angelicscalliwags’ household, which is just how we all prefer it.  Happy sigh.

Collage Friday at Homegrown LearnersWeekly Wrap-Up

Frolicking in the forest with the Parakeets



This week we had the rare opportunity to go for a walk with Gary tagging along.  It was great to have another adult looking out for the little two which allowed me to get some photos which I would otherwise have found hard to get.  All we did was wander up to the wishing tree and back again, but it was enough to blow away the cobwebs of sitting in the car far too long (it was after travelling back from seeing friends in Lincolnshire the day before)

Excited to be in the fresh air again:

nature walk 1

Follow my leader, whilst kicking through the leaves:

nature walk 2

Follow my leader whilst wading through the puddles:

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Best of friends:

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Leaf fights:

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Cutie pie:

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It was towards the end of the walk that we saw Parakeets feeding in a wild apple tree.  Can you spot them?

nature walk 8

How about now?

nature walk 9

These are ring-necked parakeets are the UK’s only resident parrot.  There are apparently 86000 breeding pairs in the UK mainly in the South East of England.  Parakeets originally came from more tropical climates but from the Victorian times have been kept as pets.  These pets inevitably escaped, and finding themselves fully able to cope with the Southern English weather, they made themselves at home and began to breed.  They are now fully naturalised living in large (and very loud) flocks.

Nature walk 10

My last photo looks like my youngest twin has lost it and is now certifiably crazy.  For some reason, she asked me to include it.  So I have.  Just so you know, she’s not certifiably nuts.  Close, but not certified yet :)

When Teen Angst Hits….


….everyone needs a brother like T13.


Today has been a tricky day with emotions running high for my eldest twin.  This time of change from child to adult has been hard on all my older three children, although T seems to have come out the other end.  I am very grateful to have journeyed with at least one child through these choppy waters and to not just hope, but to know they are temporary.  The fact that he has been through it all himself means that T is very understanding of the girls’ tears, very patient and very kind.

Today, when L tearfully expressed how she was feeling, T went quietly away and wrote a song for her.  I could hear him strumming the same tune over and over but had no clue what he was doing.

He gave the song to L and she then showed it to me.  I was a bit teary and really proud of my boy, who is no longer a boy but a man.  It also brought to mind all the times L happily stood in for T and did his chores for him when he was struggling, taking him cups of tea and gently letting him know of her support for him.  The photo above is of him singing the song to her.

I am so blessed by these children of mine.

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