Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

All-Star Homework Effort

Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

All-Star Homework Effort

Article excerpt

Byline: Bruce Devereaux

"LOOK at the stars tonight," I said to the kids as we sat around a camp fire sipping tea and waiting for our potatoes to bake in the embers. "Aren't they spectacular?"

They agreed they were, and we got into a chat about stars and I was able to point out everywhere the Southern Cross wasn't. Suddenly I realised, instead of showing how little I knew about constellations, I had a chance to impart some of the smarts I've picked up on Youtube about stuff I do know about.

"The universe is big on recycling. Did you know we're all made up of stars?" I said in my best wiseman-mystic-mentor voice. "Because," I went on, "every molecule in our bodies, in everything around us, was once a part of a star. An actual star. Like our sun. Metals like iron and gold are made in the hearts of stars."

"Wow," said Master12.

"Awesome," said Miss13.

"This counts towards our home schooling time, right Dad?" asked Miss10.

"No, of course it doesn't," I answered her.

"Oh," said Master12 and Miss13 simultaneously, and turned away from me.

We've recently brought in a trade system for home schooling work. For every hour of home schooling they do, they can claim one hour of electronics time - be it on an iPad, DS, iPhone or laptop. The advantages have been twofold. One, it sets a limit on how long they can play their devices without us having to snap "because I said so" every couple of hours. And two, they're waking up in the morning and hitting the books hard even before we're out of bed.

The downside has been them trying to claim everything from watching us cook to overhearing us discussing work as a learning experience.

"I've got some good news and the bad news," I said to my wife after returning from a chat with Steve, the owner of Three Waters, the 226-hectare property on which we're camping.

"Good," she said.

"There are no brown snakes or taipans in this area. At all. Don't give them a second thought. …

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