The 12 days of Pascal’s triangular Christmas

For the recreational mathematicians amongst us, some Christmas fun! The 12 days of Pascal’s triangular Christmas.



Recreating the Narmer Palette

We make a lot of time creating new things, because creation is important, but we also like to recreate things, or re-imagine existing and historical things. It is a lot of fun of course, but it also looks great in the home education reports I have to produce to be a registered homeschooler.

We have been working on a unit on Ancient Egypt. We’ve examined the geography, looking at the role of the Nile. WE made a list of questions we wanted to investigate and looked them up. We drew maps and examined posters.

We watched a documentary called “Planet Egypt“. The first episode is about the Narmer Palette and the unification of Egypt. The Narmer Palette is a pre-dynastic artifact, that means it was before the pharaohs.

First we gathered our inspiration. We had a lot  of pictures of the Narmer Palette, so we set those out, then we got to work with the clay.


Once they had finished with the Palette, they decided to get working on a King Narmer model.

Have  you tried reecreations or historically inspired creations? What works for you?

Welcome to Ancient Egypt!

Starting new topics is so much fun! I love getting out new books, chasing up new resources, putting up new posters. Our next topic is Ancient Egypt, and today we started.

Our starting point was the chapter in The Story of the World: Book 1. That starts talking about Ancient Egypt, and talks about the Nile and the role the Nile played, as well as the story of Osiris.

We have a lovely posters from DK Eyewitness Expert about Ancient Egypt. (These have been very sadly discontinued 😦 ) up on the wall, and my personal collection of Egyptian-y books ready to go. Yes, I spent waaaay too much time as a teenager trying to teach myself hieroglyphs, so I have a reasonable collection.

We get lots of great ideas for the younger children from the Little City Kids website. My children really enjoy the hands-on activities they offer.

Today we wrote up a lot of questions we wanted to learn the answers to. I find this a good way of judging what the prior level of knowledge is, as well as learning what topics they find interesting. Judging from our list, we have the usual morbid fascination with mummies, but also an interest in the daily life of the ordinary people.

Looking forward to a couple of outings: of course to the SA Museum’s Ancient Egypt collection, but also to the Adelaide Botanic Gardens looking at the plants of Ancient Egypt.

One of the best things is not know where exactly we will end up, Not knowing what fun rabbit trails we will follow. Will they want to learn about counting systems they used? Build something? Make models? Who knows!

Getting out and about

It is a glorious time of year here in the Hills, and its time to get out and about! With all the glorious colours around at the moment, I have been thinking about a lot of the artists who use natural materials to create beautiful, temporary works of art. It goes by various names, but the most common seems to be land art. There are so many ideas out there.  These are beautiful.

There’s a lot pretty pictures on this gallery of Richard Shilling’s work.

Or for more simple, kid friendly ideas try Land Art for Kids!

And some more interesting ideas for making Land Art Mandalas on Playful Learning.

If you are interested in joining us for a Land Art day, we would love to have you. We are going to visit the Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens on Wednesday the 7th of May from 10:00 am. There will be no charge for this, just a chance to chat with some like-minded people and create some art. Bring a picnic and enjoy the beauty of the Adelaide Hills.


Everywhere I have lived I have got to know the librarians by first name. As a teen, my librarian would put books on my parents cards when I dropped in on my way home from school when mine was full. I honestly believe I would not be able survive without them. And I honestly believe the one card system is one of the most exciting things to ever happen. Period.

As a home edder, the library is an amazing resource. We have usually tried to do one library visit a week, usually trying to visit two libraries week about. Lately that has dropped off a bit, but it’s time to return to the library, after this lovely article popped up in my feed.

My favourite point is this:

…the “casual discovery” nature of a library — browsing the stacks without pressure to buy — allows kids to be serendipitous. There’s no predicting what might catch their fancy, but, whatever it is, they can “test drive” it at low risk.

It is always interesting to see what my children are sudfdenly interested in. And I like finding new topics that way too.

Easter Baskets


Making Easter baskets is a great activity for kids. Living Creekside means we have bullrushes, so this year we decided to try make our Easter baskets out of them. Well, it was pretty tricky, so DH and I ended up doing most of it! Ah well,  we enjoyed it! When we had finished them, it was such a beautiful day we enjoyed sitting in the sun, so D made some fish, and I made a wreath.



Have a wonderful Easter, everyone!



The newest equipment built at The Creekside Atelier is designed to let the children run in circles.  That’s something they like doing anyway! It was designed by my DH using an existing pole, some washers and springs. It has been a real hit!

Tackling the Big Questions in Mathematics

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I ran the holiday session sampling our Big Questions in Mathematics course  yesterday. This was a lot of fun!

The morning session was all about map colouring and the four colour problem. The children colour maps and drew their own, and discovered the secrets of making a two-colourable map. My personal highlight was the giant map collaboratively coloured on my window with window crayons. It’s a shame that we can’t get a good photo of it.

Lunch break and then back to work – using and making wonderful finite state machines. I loved watching the giant automata take shape on the floor.


Most of all, I love the questions they ask! That’s what it is all about. 🙂