Thursday, 3 November 2016

A short mish mash post

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!

Something very light-hearted to kick off this short post.

Tama 5 - YES, tama 5, (under strict supervision with tamāhine 1) found this:

Luckily I recognised Robert Rakete, so I managed to track down this article from 2014 without too much hassle.  We haven't seen the Wiggles in goodness-knows-how-long!! (obviously before 2014 by the looks of things).  I didn't know they had a couple of new members, let alone made any recordings with a Kiwi.  Thought it was cute and decided to place it on the blog, seeing as tama 5 liked it 'n' all.

This week marks the new rubbish and recycling collection service.

Not being sure what we're meant to do with plastic bags, I searched the Council website. The site has a video which the kids enjoyed seeing what the new trucks look like.

Pretty cool that the truck has no door - but how does the poor guy get on in the pouring rain?  Just get wet I suppose?  I like the way there's a steering wheel on both sides of the vehicle, though.  Check out the dude getting to sit on the left-hand side to drive.  That's pretty nifty.  This page had some handy information.  Useful for the likes of me as I tried to figure out (as I said above) what I'm supposed to do with plastic bags.  Lots of people are getting on social media having their say and asking questions about it all, lots of grumbling but lots of positive "give it time, you gotta expect teething problems."

More voting documents arrived this week.  Firstly the Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust forms arrived:

And this morning, one of my Trustee forms arrived:

I don't know how mum and dad managed to attend all the AGMs in different rohe.  That, and all the tangihanga!!  Aue!!  I don't know if I'll cope doing the same.

Last week was spent practicing, practicing and more TKD practicing.  Everyone practiced kicks, patterns, TKD rules, sparring and of course weapon of choice.  Tamāhine 1 was up for her black belt grading this time around, so the kids put in extra training to have her well and truly prepared.  (You may recall tama 1 graded from Junior Black Belt to Black Belt last year.  Well, it was her turn now to grade.)  Once they turn 15 (or is it 16? I think it's 15) they can go for their First Degree Black Belt.

Finally, Saturday's grading rolled along.  We left home around 7.30am, filled the van with diesel and headed off to Te Aroha.  

Eek!  All the doors were open in the hall, so it was tino makariri for me and the little ones, which meant I had to take the kids in and out throughout the morning until it warmed up. Whaiāipo gave me a yodel whenever tamāhine 1 was doing anything. (They stagger the black belts grading throughout the other belts, so it's difficult to know when to be in the hall. However, it made life easier having whaiāipo letting us know when to come in. I had just enough time to gather the younger ones to return without missing (too) much.)

Truly pleased with Whaiāipo too.  He recorded everyone really clearly with the video camera (clap clap).  I can't share the video, which means you miss all the sparring and stuff ... but I will add a few edited still-shot frames:

Tamāhine 1 had to do four kicks (front kick, side kick, turning kick and back kick).  

She also had to do two hand techniques (elbow and knife-hand chop).

Tama 1 gave a FANTASTIC nunchucks display.  Tama 2 was simply brilliant with his staff. I can't share the video showing them doing that either but I'll put a couple of photos of them doing some of their kicks and breaks.

Even with the emphasis on training, we managed to keep on schedule with most kura.

We stayed on target with geography and whoop whoop!!  we reached the end of Drawing Around the World - Europe by Brookdale House.

This week we commenced:

Aotearoa New Zealand




The plan is to take one week per region.  (Aotearoa has 16 regions, so it's a 16-week study.)  No doubt it will be tweaked as we go along.  Initially, I envisioned a five-day schedule, but this week has already turned into a slight botch-up.  We had to squeeze days two and three together because, well, just because.  Hei aha.  It worked out well enough, but the next time an interruption happens, I will need to drop something because the little ones found it far too long.

Being the first week, and starting in the far north, we are covering Te Tai Tokerau.

Of number one priority is teaching the Māori place names.  To me, they are the correct names and we cannot understand the history of Aotearoa if we do not acknowledge, or use, our Māori heritage.

Today's lesson was late in getting started because try as I might I couldn't find a colouring-in page of a kōkako.  That was one of my first tweaks:  The younger ones needed something simple to get through the lesson towards the end and I figured a colouring-in activity would do the trick.  One of the places I taught about was Motu Kōkako and I figured it would be simple enough to find a kōkako for them.  Ha ha!  Yeah, right!

In the end, tama 1came to the rescue and made one himself:  Here is tama 4's page.

Tama 1 taught me something today, too!  I did not know there used to be a South Island Kōkako. They are extinct for starters, so that's my excuse for not knowing they existed in the first place, ;) The other important point is that the South Island Kōkako had an orange wattle, unlike his North Island brother who has a blue wattle.

If you're interested, follow this link to hear their call.  This link is the distressed call.  If you do decide to listen to it, perhaps you'll agree a Kōkako would make a brilliant alarm, hee hee.

Here's what I'll be sharing with the kids on Friday to celebrate the end of our first week ...

This is the English version ... but seriously, waiata always sounds better in Māori, nē rā?!

Enjoyed reading Roald Dahl's The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me with tama 3 the last few nights.  I love the very end of the book.  I think I'll sign off with it:

"We have tears in our eyes
As we wave our goodbyes
We've so loved being with you, we three.
So do please now and then
Come and see us again,
The Giraffe and the Pelly and me.

All you do is to look
At a page in this book
Because that's where we always will be.
No book ever ends
When it's full of your friends
The Giraffe and the Pelly and me."

Aroha mai, I've run out of steam to write any more for this post.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Term 4 2016 underway

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!

Tama 4 said that the ship is sinking (see the hole) so the sheep jump off, go past a coconut tree and climb up to find a beanstalk.  They climb up not knowing what they will find.
True story.
Ha ha!!

Tama 3 going through his Roald Dahl stage.
I quickly took a picture as it was getting a bit tatty from laying around on my kitchen bench for a week!

Yay!  Finally tama 5 finished making his shark!!

This is more for my overseas friends.

A great view of Te Wāhi Pounamu or as it is referred to these days, Te Waipounamu, or Te Waka a Māui (the South Island). However, only lower- Te Ika a Māui (North Island) is clearly visible. Rotorua is lost amongst the clouds, lol.

I'm sure I've seen this ISS video on Facebook before and I decided to add it to the blog in case my good friend Schere wants to use it with her family's studies (wink wink).


Over the last ... oh, who-knows-how-many-weeks ... tama 4 has spent extra time each lesson adding his own embellishments.  Everyone else will have toddled off to do something else, meanwhile, he's still there drawing a story.  Too good not to record on the blog huh?!  (The following are from last week ... when I started drafting this post ... aren't I slack! hee hee).

You can barely make out Andorra, lol.
I think soldiers are marching through Andorra..

Poor Monaco, tama 4 says it's a monster roaring and scaring people.
um ... okay ...

It always impresses me how the kids will say the shape of a country resembles an animal.
According to tama 4, this looks like an elephant.
Only one more week of this curriculum.  Can you believe it?


Geometry:  Tama 1 has, in less than a month, completed 14 lessons and tests.  He finished 14A and 14B this morning.  That means he's nearly halfway through MUS Geometry. Eeek. Will he finish it by Christmas y'think?  Maybe yes, maybe no.  I shall simply encourage him to continue to work at his own pace - as with everyone, naturally:  If things are going well, they progress with daily lessons. When they struggle they slow down - go backward if need be.

Mastery is key but more importantly an enjoyment of maths is my hope for everyone.

Algebra:  Tamāhine 1 completed 15A this morning.  She worked on half yesterday and finished the second half of the lesson this morning.  As I said above, working at their own pace is important.  She didn't finish it yesterday because she needed to get her head around it more.  This morning she did that.

Pre-Algebra:  Have you heard the one about how a homeschooled student never gets a math question wrong? Well, in tama 2's case that would be true indeed.  He won't move on until he's fixed up any questions he did not get right the first time.  He plugs away until he gets them all correct.  That's not to say he needs to fix half the lesson or anything, lol. He may get one or three wrong and he'll nut them out until they're right. By the time he sits the test, he knows the concept and is ready to proceed.

Delta:  Tama 3 will sit Test 3 tomorrow.  He's doing fine.  It's been incredibly easy, but I've not pushed him to do more than the one lesson each day.  His young mind is having to ask: "Do I multiply or divide?"  Easy enough for me to interpret that question and have the answer within a matter of seconds, but at nine years of age, I'll let him digest what he's been asked and hopefully figure out which way he's to proceed.  Word problems can be so horrid.  Like today, he multiplied instead of dividing.  The question was:

Milk is sold in two-litre jugs.  How many jugs must you buy to get 12 litres of milk?

I took him to the fridge and asked him how many two-litre bottles of milk we had.

Although we do go through the milk quickly, we have more in the fridge today because there were only three bottles of milk left at the supermarket yesterday, so we grabbed the lot.
Long weekend coming up (Labour Weekend) so I'd like to avoid grocery shopping if possible.
Within seconds he told me the correct answer.  I briefly reminded him to visualise the question, just like we've done using the Pyrex container to multiply how many millilitres there are et cetera, et cetera.  He was a happy chappy after that.

Tamāhine 2 and tama 5 continue with IXL.  I have even picked up MUS Primer to mix it up with tama 5 this week; just a couple of questions per day.


As I sit here trying to write the blog post, tama 5 has climbed up wanting me to read to him. He has brought with him the book which tamāhine 2 is reading:  Harry and the Lady Next Door. 

As you will recall, tamāhine 2 has just finished Reading Eggs.  

We are moving into Level 1 & 2 Readers now which is terribly exciting.  I don't push her to read any more than one book with me per day at the moment; I want her to develop that love of reading on her own.  (What a buzz it was to see her take up one of the books and start reading it as best as she could by herself yesterday!!  I stood back and just enjoyed the moment ... I sincerely hope this is the beginning. :))

This is what she has read/is reading:

We started the following book today.  
Adding images to the blog of the books she has read is to remind us in the future
exactly where she was at this stage of her reading journey.
There are no links included.
I'm quite sure it will take a number of days to read as it has at least four chapters. That's rather long for her. 

We are blessed to have four kids take to reading like ducks to water, and I admit I have struggled with this uphill climb with tamāhine 2.  The number of times I have cried (actually, I bet I'll still cry) and panicked and doubt my abilities :(  Allowing fear to override any faith I have in myself to teach her. Even contemplated sending everyone else to school so I can concentrate on tamāhine 2 only (I never truly entertained that thought more than a matter of minutes, though.  It really isn't an option for our family). Oh boy!  Difficult, and a tad on the depressing side.

IEW - Fix-It - Robin Hood

Week 24 Day 2.  They are doing well, with minimal errors.

I particularly appreciate the reminders in the student workbook of what they should mark at the top of each week's sentences.  It helps keep them on task.  (If anything, they might add more than is required, as opposed to leaving off required concepts shown in the reminders.)  This list of reminders is only in the first three books, so once they complete the next book in the series (Frog Prince, or Just Deserts) the reminders are different, but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.


Tamāhine 1 is grading on the 29th of this month.  She has her junior black belt, but now she's eligible for the full adult black belt.  We haven't taken any photos of late which is a pity.  It would be good to add something more current.

The weather has been so miserable, we've hardly had any fine spells at all.  Labour Weekend is set to be yet another wet one.  So, while it's fine the kids get out there and enjoy the fresh air as much as possible.

At least the temperatures are definitely getting warmer. :)  

One thing we'll be doing tomorrow is watching:

With the amount of raruraru that's been going down, especially in recent weeks, this last debate between Clinton and Trump will prove important for American voters.  It's going to be interesting, to say the least, whoever is elected.

And to finish off, here's what I'm watching this week:

A Passage to India - ENG SUB (full movie) by IndianMovies1

I did buy the book on Kindle, but, I noticed the movie was free online ... so I couldn't help myself. It's been donkey's years since I read the book, but I don't mind watching the movie first.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Monday, 10 October 2016

Spring? Are you quite sure?

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!


Science in the Ancient World - Going back a couple of weeks ....

Here are some photos from Lesson 10:  More about Atoms and Ions.  We chose to do the really simple experiment Copper and Iron.

Thirty 10 cent pieces, a nail, white vinegar, salt, a small glass (well, we didn't have a small glass per say, so we improvised),  a 1/2 cup measuring cup and a measuring teaspoon.

Some of the coins cleaned up really well.  I mentioned to the kids that because Rotorua has carbon dioxide in the air, things like jewellery become tainted very quickly, along with the copper pipes and our 10 cent coins.  (Piece of trivia for my friends overseas - Rotorua's nickname is Sulphur City - and if you do a Google search you'll come up with some really negative comments about the "rotten egg" smell. Yet I bet those same people don't complain about the wonders of the thermal baths, huh?!)

Here is tama 1's Chemistry experiment from Lesson 3:  Making Sense of Atoms and Elements.

With the egg whites, he put them in the microwave and heated it for the required length of time. Then measured the distance between the waves that form in the egg white.  He divided the speed of light by the measurement to see if it measured the same as the wavelength on the microwave sticker (located somewhere on the microwave - ours is on the back).


Tama 1 - MUS Geometry - completed Test 11 and starts 12A on Monday.

Tamāhine 1 - MUS Algebra 1 - 14C on Monday.

Tama 2 - MUS Algebra - completed 18E.  He's told me he's struggling a little bit, so I'm letting him slow down and will try to find something else to help.

Tama 3 - Gamma - completed on 26 September.  Began Delta and is up to 2E on Monday.

Tamāhine 2, tama 4 and tama 5 - IXL.  We continued with simple addition practice.  You have no idea how excited I am hearing tamāhine 2 actually giving me the correct answer without the aid of blocks for some equations.  It may only be a few, but that's a few more than she's done before. Rather than introducing anything new, I am sticking with repetition, repetition, repetition.

Reading Eggs

The VERY LAST map!!!!

Tamāhine 2 officially completed Reading Eggs on Friday just gone.  She felt so proud of herself.  :) Yay!!!

German & Duolingo

We've had to push our lesson out by a week because at our designated lesson time last Friday, I had to do some mahi for koro. The plan was to cover personal pronouns, engari, kura takes unexpected turns every now and then, huh?!  I did at least write things on die Tafel. I try to glance at it as I walk in and out of the classroom.  

Ngā tamariki continue with their daily practice on Duolingo etc for their other languages at least.


On Sunday evenings I print everything out and write out the information on the first day's sheets for tama 4 to copy.  It's always nice to know the kids only need to pick up their folders and everything's there ready for them to get on with it whether I'm available to work with them, or not.

We only have three weeks left!!  


A few weeks ago (when we actually had sunshine, lol) I gave tama 3 a little art project - pretending to paint the Sistine chapel like Leonardo Da Vinci.  He found this very difficult, but (I hope), he gained an appreciation of what lengths an artist goes to in achieving the beauty they create for us all to enjoy.

Okay, this next photo is old.  It's now a month since tamāhine 2's birthday, but heck!  I couldn't leave her big sister's wonderful creation out of a blog post, could I?  What do you think of this ice cream piñata then? 

Tamāhine 1 also made this money jar for tama 5.  It took days for the paint to dry inside, but luckily tama 5 was patient to wait for his wee minion.

Tama 5 has helped himself to some coins over the last few weeks, so let's see if he'll leave them in the minion to build up.

We have fallen behind with Meet the Masters.  Darn!

Roald Dahl read-aloud

Tama 3 continues to enjoy his reading with me.  We finished The BFG and then George's Marvelous Medicine.  We might read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory next.  He hasn't quite decided.

With each book we have read, tama 3 continues to enjoy drawing as I read.  Here are just a couple of pages he drew from George's Marvelous Medicine in his sketchbook:

Last Wednesday, 5th October, the first of the new Rotorua kerbside rubbish and recycling wheelie bins arrived:

The contractor who delivered the bins took quite some time.  It wasn't a matter of just drop off and go.  Once the kids had wheeled it to the house we discovered why the delay.  They obviously had to find the wheelie bin with our address labeled on the outside of the bin.  (I read up afterwards that two wheelie bins and a crate are tagged to properties and bar‐coded.  They are being delivered to 26,403 properties throughout the district, with educational/information packs attached - which you can see in the first photo below.)

Big deal?  Well, yeah, kinda.

You see, this is very different to the annual brown paper recycling bags that were delivered in the past.  They were simply hoisted from the back of the truck as the contractor slows down at the top of the driveway entrance.  Everyone had the same bags.  You could buy them at the supermarket. Nobody had their address marked on the bag.

The first bin to arrive is the 140 litre bin for general all purpose rubbish.  This will be collected weekly.

Inside the 140 litre bin is a 45 litre plastic crate for glass, to be collected fortnightly.

As mentioned above, Rotorua residents have used paper rubbish collection bags prior to the arrival of these new wheelie bins:

On Friday the larger (240 litre) recycling bin arrived.

What do we do with these paper rubbish bags now then?  Well, one thing I used to do with them is cut them up, decorate with paint and have used for Christmas wrapping paper. So, guess what whānau? You'll be able to spot any gifts we give you for many years to come!!! I've also cut the bags up to cover boxes I've sent off in the post. Another use for them is cutting up for our history timelines. In other words, they'll come in handy for something.

I'd like to think we will continue taking the bulk of our recycling to the Recycling Centre in the city - even though the vibe there has changed. If you ask many of the locals, they'll tell you it's not the same anymore.

Speaking of Rotorua, we just had our local elections. The booklet below is 54 pages long. So many names and faces I did not know. Having to cast a vote for somebody based on the wee blurb they have in a booklet was pretty darn hard.

Do I vote for relations?  Do I vote for total newcomers?  Do I vote for somebody wanting to return to the council arena after being away for a number of years?  Do I vote for young or old?  Do I vote for somebody who wants to bring a lot of change or somebody wanting to run with the changes made from the last election?  Having a Māori voice is totally important.  Having someone with an appreciation of all minorities is important too ...

Lots to weigh up and for many young voters, how did they make their choice?  Did they even bother? I'm pretty sure many didn't even waste their time reading the booklet.  Maybe some of those who did vote just picked random names? or perhaps they just voted as their parents did?

I think tama 1 told me only 42% voted.  That's rather shocking. I wonder what would happen if it went to online voting instead?

Well, anyway, the results of this year's local elections are in and overall, I'm happy with the elected officials for Rotorua.  Steve Chadwick's back in as our Mayor.  This is her second term.  I wonder what she will bring to the city this time around?  

Last week tama 2 really impressed the living daylights out of me.

He took the screen off his pakaru laptop and swapped it for the pakaru screen on tama 1's laptop. Tama 1's screen was broken by none other than "Tama 4 The Impatient."  Tama 4 was playing on tama 1's laptop while he was out at TKD practice one night.  It wasn't until the kids returned home that I discovered what tama 4 had done. 

That laptop lay around for the next month or so (it feels like forever).  Anyway, tama 2 decided to work on it Thursday just gone.


Then, he took his old computer (which now has tama 1's pakaru screen on it) and hooked it up to the HDMI.  His next challenge is to attempt fixing the Blue Screen of Death.

Hopefully this little video plays for you.  Ngā tamariki have played outside as much as possible when it hasn't rained.  Like most of Aotearoa, we've had enough rain here in Rotorua to last us for a while thank you very much!  Anyway, tama 1 ran inside to grab the camera to film tama 5 yesterday afternoon.  

Something cute to finish the post. :)

Well, I think that'll do.  I know I've left off a few things.  So much for trying to post something each week to keep up!

Take care and enjoy life until next time.
Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano