Wednesday 21 March 2012

Impromptu Holiday ... otherwise known as "a bit of a pickle"

I had a great weekend last weekend. I was able to visit Mr Sparky and go to a friend's wedding, flying from one end of the state to the other (and back and back again). The only downside was that I also managed to get myself rained out of the property, an unusual occurrence, usually we are getting rained in. So for now I am going stir crazy at home enjoying an impromptu holiday.

The 17th of March, St Patrick's Day, is the official end of the wet season but the north seems to be copping its fair share of rain and wild weather, freak storms, tropical lows and cyclones. With wild and wet weather warnings still out who knows when my impromptu holiday will end. Ah well better enjoy it while I can.

Meanwhile back on the station Boss Lady R and Boss Lady H are tackling the schoolroom, ringing up daily to find out how to do things or where things are. I am sure they and the kids are having a great time though but undoubtedly will be glad when the holidays arrive or I return whichever happens first. It is nice to feel needed. 

I flew to the southern end of the state for my friend since primary school's wedding, arriving home after a flight, plenty of waiting and a bus with about an hour to spare to get ready and catch up with family. Her wedding was set in a beautiful rose garden but unfortunately the weather didn't cooperate with the garden wedding plans.

Don't they say rain on the day of your wedding day is good luck ... well this lovely couple should have plenty of good luck.

The wedding was still beautiful and we all had a relaxed afternoon and a fun evening.

We all had a wonderful time and I think the wedding celebrations were everything that the charming Bride and Groom could have hoped for.  

I had to catch the plane back north early in the morning (thanks to Mum for dropping me off) however on landing I found out that I wouldn't be able to get back to the station where they had been having a pretty good dose of rain on roads that had already been wet and slippery. Due to highway closures I also couldn't head further north to stay with Mr Sparky.

So after some reorganising of my flights for next weekend (Tim McGraw and Faith Hill here I come) I managed to get a flight back south. Did you know that three flights in 2 days makes you a rather suspicious person when taking through your carry on luggage ... hmmm.

Wednesday 14 March 2012

Rocket Power

Just for the fun of it we did balloon rocket races this afternoon while rain was falling down around us. Thank goodness for our awesome veranda on the schoolroom.

Monday 12 March 2012

A new abode

It's official I am now fully moved into my new abode. I may have no running hot water yet and there may be a few little things that need to be finished but for better or worse I am in.

No more walking up these rickety stairs every time I forget something.

No more french door leading out onto a wide veranda

No more waking up to a view like this, well as soon as I open the curtains
It was kinda bittersweet, walking out of what has been my space for nearly 2 and a 1/2 years. I remember how I felt when I first moved into that room. The tiredness from travelling, the uncertainty of a new job and getting to know new people, the sadness of being so far from family but also the excitement of a new journey, a new adventure.

This is a place of memories like being woken up to deal with a snake bite, falling into bed after fighting fires half the night, the micro bats playing at 9 o'clock at night, of untangling the cute little blighters from my mosquito net, the willie wagtail that decided to make my room it's home, the frogs that wanted to snuggle in bed, the kids lurking in wait around the corner to scare or to beg pancakes on a Sunday morning, of everything smelling like diesel after having to fill the engine, of many beautiful sunrises watched from the veranda, of tip toeing around the veranda and down the stairs to take photos of those sunrises before everyone else is awake, of snuggling under 6 layers of blankets to keep warm in winter. There are plenty of memories attached to that room.

All personal touches gone it is the same room I walked into over 2 years ago.
After starting here the final term of 2009 these quarters and the attached schoolroom were promised as bribery to get me to come back the following year. Little did the family know that I wanted to come back regardless, I loved the job, the station, the family and the kids, I was hooked. Mind you I think they may have cottoned on to this fact as it has taken almost another 2 1/4 years for the schoolroom and quarters to be completed ... patience is a virtue. Mind you in saying this, this is my final year with the family. It is time to take a new direction in my life and travel a road I haven't taken (this may or may not have to do with meeting a certain Sparky).

The new quarters/ schoolroom and the main house ... see I haven't gone far.

My new home ... right next door to the schoolroom (so I can roll out of bed and dawdle into work)

(A quarters tour to come a later date ... when I have found a home for some of the stuff sitting in the middle of the floor.)

Saturday 10 March 2012

Yum, Yum!

Friday afternoon the kids and I made desert for everyone on the station ... and it was YUMMY!
We made Black Forest Parfaits using chocolate cake, cherries, strawberry jelly and cream.

The kids also found a baby bird flapping around on the ground. They put it back in its nest and straight away the little adventurer flapped right back out so the kids put it in a bush to hide out.

Lastly, I moved my book collection to the quarters and Miss S has been salivating over it. She couldn't believe I had that many (I swear her jaw hit the floor when I told her that was a very small part of my collection) and decided that we should get along quite well because of it ... I guess she forgot that we have been getting along just fine for over 2 and a 1/4 years.

Wednesday 7 March 2012

Kids and Cameras

Let's face it kids love cameras ... well any I know do. Even if they don't like showing off in front of them they love being the photographer, working out all the ins and outs of what is a great piece of technology and a wonderful learning aid. So we use this to our advantage in the schoolroom.

Today Mr Yr1 was revising 3D and 2D shapes so I let him loose with my hardy little Lumix which is waterproof, shock proof, dust proof and maybe even bullet proof (not trying that one out). The brilliant thing goes everywhere ... the school room, the horse yards, the dam, the cattle yards, everywhere.

Anyway back on topic this is what Mr Yr1 came up with this morning...

2D Shapes

3D Shapes

Mr Yr1 also had a go at copying some 3D shape towers to see if they worked. He then made some of his own towering creations with some very clever stacking skills.

3D Towers

Today also saw Mr Yr1 practicing ordinal numbers, making shapes with the geoboard on the computer and the practicing the letter k in handwriting. Miss Yr7 did her "best on air yet this year!" (her words not mine) because the computer only dropped out twice and had some watery science fun. Miss Yr4 and Mr Yr4 got to learn about adverbials and prepositional phrases (huh? you say ... well lets just say it is a good thing Miss Yr7 did them last year) and they also finished their first ever big chapter book that they read themselves. When asked whether they were proud of themselves for reading the whole book the reply was a resounding "YES" that was possibly tinged with a touch of relief that the book was finished. They loved the story, even feeling sorry for those silly Twits at the end.

Today ...

Kill Joy

Warning gruesome photos
(gruesome meaning chop lickingly great for the meat deprived)

Woohoo! We have meat again. Yesterday the kids spent most of the day helping cut up the beast that is now resting in piece (s) in various freezers.

Their favourite part is making the sausages. Miss S loves to tie them into their bundles.

Just because after months lacking in steak we had a celebratory BBQ for dinner to show the visitors here what all this kill business is really about. As we rolled into bed we all had our exhausted kill joy smiles on.

Home Tutor Panel

For the recent Home Tutor workshop I was asked by the school to take part in the Home Tutor Panel, to share my wisdom and ideas from the schoolroom (cough, cough wing it) with other HTs, mainly because I have the most children under my care at the school. I have to say I was a bit chuffed to be asked ... me wise lol. This meant however that I was pretty disappionted when I couldn't make it. I had even made sure our schoolroom was tidy for photos ... so disappointing. Anyway I decided to answer the questions given here instead.

I work for two families on a cattle station in North Western QLD. Under my care I have four school aged children and one under school age child.
Miss S - Year7
Mr R - Year 4
Miss E - Year 4
Mr E - Year 1
Mr T - age 3

I have the kids in the schoolroom during the day unless I really need some assistance. I sometimes send books, spelling and other activities home for the kids to do with their parents. When it comes to behaviour management I have the full support of the parents.

Other Duties
I help out with household duties when needed and care for the children in emergencies or if their parent need to go away. I am basically just employed to work in the schoolroom and any other duties I preform are because I live with one of the families.

Station Work
The station is family owned and run with no other workers so we all help out when we can. They try to do a big muster twice a year around May and August. When that happens the kids take turns to go out mustering and it is all hands on deck in the yards. The kids help out with any other station work after school and on weekends. When we had fires last year it was a case of all able bodies being recruited which meant I went out and the kids missed school.

I have been governessing for nearly 3 and 1/4 years. I have been here for nearly 2 and a 1/2 and worked for another lovely family for 3/4 of a year before that.

Until the end of last year our schoolroom was in the main house beside the kitchen but we now have a new school building that houses the schoolroom and my nearly finished quarters.

Our papers for the unit are stored in ring binders according to subject. When the kids finish their send in sheets they go into a drawer on their desk and the lesson part of their papers goes into the back of the ring binder. Unopened units are kept on a shelf in our lovely built in cupboards. The kids keep their pencils, rubbers etc in small drawers on their desks. All of our art and craft materials, magazines, games, maths equiptment etc are kept in the cupboards.

We start our day at 8am and finish at 3/3:30pm. The kids have 1/2 and hour for smoko at around 10am and an hour for lunch from 1pm. After school we will often do art, dancing, games, cooking, experiments or anything else we can come up with but usually only until about 4pm at the latest. We try to stick to our start and finish times but what happens in the middle is pretty flexable revolving around order of maths, spelling, english then clc/science. If the kids aren't understanding work and it is just becoming frustraiting wel put it away for later or the next day and move on.

My initial reply was LOL ... but no I do actually do some however if it has been a long, hard day it will be skipped and done another time. I usually do any planning and preparation after school but will sometimes get into it on the weekend. As we have to scan the kids send in sheets to school that usually is done in the afternoon as well (that is a lot of scanning).  I have been going through the units when we start them to cut and laminate any sheets that are used repeatedly or are for games. Any laminating I do whenever the engine is on often cutting it out in front of the T.V at night.

Friday 2 March 2012

Home Tutor Workshop

This week was Home Tutor workshop, cluster and swimming carnival. It started Tuesday and ended Thursday. Home Tutor workshop is a pretty important event on the school calendar because this is when you get to meet all the new families, govies and teachers. We all go along to sessions to learn about what we should or could be doing in the schoolroom while the kids head off with their class teachers and class mates to have some fun and learn ... hopefully at the same time.
Well basically it was a bit of a flop for us. We were all ready to head into town and it rained on Monday afternoon. The road, well I'm not sure that's the correct word but it'll do, on the next property had at least an inch on it. So down the drain went those plans. The worst part was that we got 2.3mm, yes that's all. We promised the kids that if it didn't rain on Tuesday we would try again on Wednesday. So up we got at 5am on Wednesday morning and squashed 2 computers, puzzles, books, bags and seven people into the car. We FINALLY left at 6:30am after making sure all had been to the loo ... come on we all know that is part of any trip preparation.

Well lets just say after a pretty rough and wet (a lot wetter than anticipated) trip we finally got into school at 10:45am. Later on our road quality source from a few properties away (also a Mum with the school) very memorably commented "I guess I should have told you that" when informing my boss that the neighbours between them and us had gotten 8inches over the last 3 days. No wonder the road was wet. Ah well the kids got to see their teachers and classmates for a little bit and after dropping the computers with a very frazzled techy we got to get some lunch. We then met teachers and talked to other Home Tutors before heading to the pool.

Swimming carnival time!!!

Everyone got into the spirit with red and yellow on show everywhere. I even spotted a proud dad sporting a red ribbon around his hat (our team woohoo!). The kids enthusiastically marched around the pool with their teammates (and some ringer ins) and then it was time to swim. Boss R and I helped out in the pool with the littlies in the 10m races ... oh darn it we had to get wet. The pool was beautiful.

The PLAN was that we would leave by 4pm and grab some pizza on the way out of town. Well that didn't happen. The 3 older kids hadn't even been in the pool. So we waited another hour. I headed down town to order the pizza and get rice (stinking pigs got into the pantry) then headed back to the school to pick up the computers which weren't ready. On had 7mins to go so I hung around so at least we would have one for school. After heading back into town and picking up the pizza and everyone else who had gotten to swim (think goodness). We got ready to head out of town.

I got a phone call from the tech guy just as we were leaving to tell us that computer would be ready in 13min. So back to the school we went. We finally left town at 6pm almost 2hrs after what the bosses planned and got back to the station at 10:45pm after another rough but slightly drier trip. We were glad we went even though it seemed a little mad. The kids having a ball made it well worth the trip (even if we were all too stuffed Thursday to do much school).