Category Archives: Education

Cooking Around the World

This year, my youngest has been studying Eastern Hemisphere countries. To round off each topic, the student has to choose a project to do.

Here are some things she has done.

Pacific Islands
She cooked (with a bit of help) Ham and Pineapple Fried Rice and Mango Salsa. For dessert, Fakakai Topai (Dumplings in Sweet Coconut Sauce), a dish from Tonga.




Confession: I have never made lamingtons from scratch. Years ago, someone on the homeschool forums tried making lamingtons for their Australian project. She posted pictures of their attempts where they had trouble coating the little pieces of cake evenly. The cakes came out all splotchy. She asked the Australians on the forums how we got our lamingtons evenly coated.

Without fail, every single Australian on the forum said, “We don’t make them; we just buy them at the shop.”

That said, Miss 10 and I did try to make lamingtons from scratch. It’s a lot of effort, and it really is easier to just buy them if you ever have a hankering for lamingtons.

Image may contain: food and indoor


New Zealand

There is some controversy where pavlova — a meringue-based dessert topped with fruit and cream — originated. Some say it is Australia. Some say it is New Zealand. The Eastern Hemisphere workbook Miss 10 is working on says it is New Zealand. And the Oxford English Dictionary agrees with that.

Here is our feeble attempt. Everything was made from scratch and it is our very first attempt at making this oh-so-very-sweet dessert.



Read Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes and tried our hand at some origami, including making cranes and working out how long it would take to fold one thousand of them.

One paper crane: Roughly three and a half minutes.
One thousand paper cranes: 3500 minutes (58.3 hours if done continuously without stopping!)

We didn’t take a photo of our paper cranes, but here are some other origami creations.

We live in an area where it is very convenient to buy “foreign” ingredients.


October 21, 2015 — Back to the Future Day

When I was still living at home, my parents subscribed to the Reader’s Digest, which I devoured every month. I remember reading an article about a teacher in 1960 who asked his sixth-grade students to write their predictions about what life would be like 25 years in the future. He collected their compositions, placed them into an envelope, and promised not to open it until 1985. A quarter of a century later, he kept his promise. As he looked at the juvenile handwriting, he was also amazed at how eerily accurate some of the predictions were.

In 1985, the first of the Back to the Future movies came out. I went with my sister and a friend and —  inside a packed cinema — we watched Marty McFly travel back to 1955, interfere with his parents’ meeting, fix things up, and travel back to a better 1985.

Four years later, we saw Marty McFly travelling to October 21, 2015 (TODAY!!) and fix his kids’ problems. In Back to the Future II, we saw the movie writers’ predictions about what life in 2015 would be like. Some of the things they predicted are too weird and totally wrong, eg the fashion (Phew!) Some of the things are in the making, eg, flying cars and self-lace shoes, proving that life imitates art. Some of the things are amazingly accurate, even though they looked improbable at the time, eg, video phone calls.

My father once predicted that we would one day be able to have long-distance phone conversations and be able to see the person we are speaking with on screens. I thought such an idea was completely possible — after all, we saw such things on sci-fi movies and TV — but I never thought I would see it in my lifetime. And now, here we are. The smartphones we have today are more powerful than the computers they used to send man to the moon. When I heard this, my mind was blown.

What things are in store for us in the future? What would you like to see happen?

I would love to see a change in education. I predict the schools of the future will be a place where people take more responsibility for their own learning. This is, in fact, happening now. But, I foresee more of it happening.

I would love to see an end to Young-Earth Creationism. This movement that is causing a lot of people to become (or remain) atheists has got to go. I’m predicting a can-no-longer-be-ignored piece of evidence to finally, finally, put this ideology to rest. And then, the rest of us Christians had better be there to help with the fallout.

I would love to see computers get smarter and get better at spellcheck and grammar check. Please.

I would love to see a viable treatment, or better yet, a cure for Neurofibromatosis. The gene responsible for this disorder has been identified. Doctors are working on a treatment. So there is hope.

Moody Monday: What’s the Deal with the Duggars?

I first heard of the Duggars when they appeared on a television special. There they stood all in a row in age order, smartly and modestly dressed, saying their names one by one for the camera. The youngest one or two at the time were too young to say their names, so one of the parents spoke for them and Michelle ended the lineup by putting an affectionate hand on her belly and said, “…and this is Jackson!”

They looked like such a sweet, adorable, Christian family! And they home schooled!!

What was there not to like?

Quite a bit, as it turns out.

At first I thought they looked so nice. A bit weird in the fashion department, but okay.

Later, I learned that they home schooled with Bill Gothard’s Advanced Training Institute materials. Warning bells. And that they subscribed to Christian Patriarchy and all that entails. Huge warning bells. And then the television show that put them in the limelight. You know the tune.

“They’re a clean, wholesome family,” people said.

“The Duggars are upholding good, conservative, Christian values,” people said.

“I’d rather watch the Duggars than all that other junk that is on TV,” people said.

“The children are modest, well-behaved, role models,” people said.

Let’s talk about that. (Cue the “Good Mythical Morning” music. Or the “Twilight Zone” theme. Take your pick. I recommend the latter.)

Read the rest of this entry

The Problem with Compounds

A couple years ago, Allie from Hyperbole and a Half wrote about the Alot, an imaginary creature she created to help her cope whenever she encounters the “word” alot and she has to resist the urge to correct people. If you have not read that post, I suggest you stop here and go read it now. If you have read it before, it’s worthwhile reading it again.

In case you haven’t noticed, alot happens a lot. I’m not sure why.

Maybe people don’t have spell-check turned on. Maybe they think they know better than spell-check. For example, until a couple of weeks ago, I truly and honestly thought that desiccated was spelled with two ‘s’ and one ‘c’ – dessicated. Yes, I had my spell-check turned on and a red squiggly line appeared under it alerting me about the misspelling. What did I do about it? To my shame, I scoffed and thought I knew better. Finally, a couple of weeks ago, I looked at the suggested spelling and was mortified to learn I had been spelling this word incorrectly for years! Had to find all previous posts with that word and correct them!

Maybe they think alot is an alternative spelling. It isn’t.

Maybe they think alot is different from a lot, where alot is used to describe “a large amount” and a lot is used when talking about “a piece of land”. It isn’t

Maybe they are too set in their ways to change.

Maybe they’re like me and the word desiccated, ie, not being able to see the correct spelling even when it is right in front of them.

Or maybe —  it pains me to say this — they just don’t care.

 Alot is not a word; it is two words: a lot. It is always two words.

Still, it must be comforting to be able to create an imaginary creature as a coping mechanism.

Sadly, there is one particular grammar mistake for which I have yet to find a coping mechanism, and that is when compound subject and compound object pronouns are used incorrectly.

First World Problems Meme | WHY CAN'T PEOPLE USE PROPER COMPOUND PRONOUNS? | image tagged in memes,first world problems | made w/ Imgflip meme maker

My First World Problem

Read the rest of this entry

Jonathan Park

The  Jonathan Park Audio Adventure Series, originally created by the Institute for Creation Research, and then produced by Vision Forum Ministries before they closed down, is now produced by Creation Works.

This the screenshot that welcomes you:

Can You Feel the Love?

Watch Out, Evolution Bullies! Here Come the Creationists! 37,000 Familes (sic)!

Read the rest of this entry

Sundry Sunday: Answers in Genesis Explains Science

Ken Ham is a busy, busy man. When he is not debating scientists on his turf, trying to raise money and hiring like-minded people to build a theme park based on a catastrophe of global proportions (fun!), and encouraging people to visit the Creation Museum, he writes on his no-comments-allowed blog.

This week, Mr Ham wants to remind his readers that there is a difference between Observational Science and Origins Science. The former is the one that is observable, testable, repeatable. The latter is different because it deals with historical events, things that are not observable, testable or repeatable. He accuses mainstream science of removing the distinction in order to make the claim that since Creationists reject evolution, Creationists therefore reject science. Ken Ham would like his readers to know that Creationists love science — they just reject the humanistic, man-made assumptions about man’s origins.

Read the rest of this entry

Summary Saturday: Old School Friends Again and First Week of School

I had another meet-up with my former school mates this week. Some were at the meet-up last week, but tonight another school mate — someone I haven’t seen in 25 years — joined us, so it was a very nice catch-up session. The members of the Husbands of Assuntarians Club sat around and…actually, I’m not entirely sure what they did, but it was very loud and noisy — probably to overcome our levels.

One of my former schoolmates who went to study in Queensland ended up marrying a guy from Melbourne, who so happens to be someone Mr Yewnique and I knew at university. It is a small world.

Read the rest of this entry

Wordful Wednesday: Book Review – Charles Darwin by Gavin de Beer

I was lent this book by someone from my church…many months ago. Wait while I go check…okay, I’m back — it was six months ago!

Not my friend's book, this is the hardcopy pic taken from

Not my friend’s book, this is the hardcopy pic taken from


First off, I have to say the main reason I took so long to finish reading the book is because I found it incredibly hard to engage and remain focused. I am reluctant to use the word ‘boring’ because it isn’t, not really. The author simply has a knack for writing something which the reader at once recognises as something he is knowledgeable and passionate about; if there is any failure to find the subject matter as fascinating and compelling, the fault lies with the reader, not with the author. One of the main features of the book is its exceptionally long sentences, averaging forty to fifty words each — occasionally with side remarks inserted — and sometimes with historical and scientific information that I often felt like Pooh Bear who said, “I am a Bear of Very Little Brain and long words bother me.”

I told my friend that I finally finished the book but that I don’t think I got much out of it (sorry!) and that I’d be hard-pressed to even give a summary of the book. He was gracious and said that he found it fascinating himself and told of how he walked into a second-hand bookstore in Adelaide while on a road trip and in a moment of serendipity found this book.

One thing that I do remember reading is that the author dispels any notion that Darwin was an atheist in his old age. From Darwin’s own writings, the famous scientist said that he would describe himself more accurately as an agnostic.

When I was preparing to write up this blogpost, I discovered that the entire book is available online (!) and here it is:

So, if you’re up for some university-level biography reading, and you are interested in Darwin’s approach to work and how his findings were received by the scientific community and the community at large, then this book might be right up your alley.

Sundry Sunday: New Blogs to Follow

A couple of blogs that I have, in the last couple of months, started following and enjoy reading very much.

God of Evolution

Tyler Francke is the man behind this blog which focuses mainly on the Creation/Evolution debate. He is an evangelical Christian and finds no conflict between the theory of evolution and Christianity and he blogs about it. He takes a good swipe at Ken Ham (and others like him) with unparalleled good humour which I find refreshing. Hey, if you’re going to fight your opponents, might as well do it with style, right?

God of Evolution racked up over 300,000 views for 2014 — a staggering number considering that the blog is run by one person, and he made fewer than 100 posts for the year. (In contrast, A Yewnique Life had 74 posts for 2014 and garnered fewer than 10,000 views. Must. Try. Harder.)

A couple of quibbles:
(1) One must to sign up to Disqus to comment on the blog.

(2) He does not post very often. This is not to hard to understand. The blog is a one-man show and life happens. I get it.

He also has a Facebook page here, where he posts more regularly.

The Upside Down World 

Rebecca Trotter is the woman behind this blog. She is a Christian, a homeschooling mom, a writer, a talker, a thinker, a teacher and an odd duck…(not necessarily in that order).

I like what she has to say about Christianity and evolution. The posts are here.

In case you feel too lazy to click on the link above to the posts on Christianity and Evolution, here are some more links (with titles!) for you to look at:

Why Creationism Does Not Honor God
In Which I Call Creationism Demonic
Teaching Creation Science or ID? A formula for putting your child’s Christian faith at risk.

Provocative titles, no?

I have not read everything on the blog, but so far, I like the ones I’ve read about evolution and Christianity.

She also has a great sense of humour. 🙂

Summary Saturday: Old School Friends and New School Year

I had a wonderful get-together with some friends from secondary school, a girls’ school in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. It is fascinating to me that our batch of about 400 students has dispersed to and settled down in many different cities around the world. There are about a dozen of us in Melbourne alone. In fact, I have more Classmates living in Melbourne than Mr Yewnique — who went to school here — does!

To be honest, I was never in the “In” crowd at school and when I left I didn’t really keep in touch with many. A couple of us ended up going to the same university (Monash), but even then our paths were not in sync. The other girls/ladies have done a much better job of staying in touch. So as we looked through our old school magazines (Yearbooks), the other ladies who were there were much more in tune with Who is Where and is doing What.

Our last year of secondary school was almost a quarter of a century ago and we are all married with children. While we may have once worried about school tests and griped about compulsory sports practices, our conversation tonight mainly focused on our children and the aches and ailments that accompany aging.

Meanwhile, the new year has rolled in and that means it will soon be the start of a new school year.

The older two have been following the state school term dates and only finished school in mid-December, so they have only ‘just’ started their holidays. However, the younger two have been on school holidays since early November, which makes it just about two months. Two months is a long time to be on school holidays. Reckon it’s time to start school on Monday, even if public schools don’t start till the end of the month!

This year, the oldest will, God willing, start first year at university. He has applied for entry into a local university and hopefully he will get into a course that is right for him.  Susannah will be in her final year of high school and is taking English, two mathematics subjects, History, and Psychology.

I will be homeschooling the younger two again and this year we will be studying American (North and South) history as our Core. Benjamin will be starting high school (Year 7), and Elizabeth starts Grade 3.

Looking forward to a good year!

%d bloggers like this: