Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Term 1 2017 underway

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!

I'm here!


As of last Wednesday, we now have a 15-year-old. ☺ Tama 1 continues to bring us joy and immense pleasure.  He's always been quiet, mature, polite, empathetic, unselfish and very studious.  He's not much into having his photo taken anymore, and I totally respect that.  He gets that from his mother, unfortunately. ;)

Around October last year, I started to feel our schooling was in a rut.  Our daily routine was just that; a routine. I was wondering how to move out of the mundane a little bit.  I especially wanted to find something for tamāhine 2.  I had a couple of ideas in mind, but wasn't convinced I was on the right path.  Then, around mid- to late-November I read an email on the local homeschooling group and I knew God had heard me over the last few months.  He had me read that email on that particular day. (I don't know about you, but quite often I just delete emails without reading.  But this particular day, I actually stopped and read emails.)  Anyway, the email was from a local homeschooling mum who was reaching out to the homeschooling community offering horse-riding lessons which was exactly what I had been praying about for tamāhine 2.

I made contact with the instructor and she told me that they would be starting at the start of school term in 2017. In Aotearoa schools returned just a little over two weeks ago, hence, the kids have only had two lessons.

I'm just working on blind faith that we can afford this!!! ☺  Six of the seven kids are taking lessons. I've got a few more years before Tama 5 can join - so I guess that's one small saving for a little while. ;)

Luckily we don't have to travel very far; it's only two kilometres from home.  So that's a big saving in itself really, not having to traipse halfway across town.

I am absolutely grateful their instructor was keen to include tamāhine 2 with her siblings. After a lengthy kōrero, we are both on the same page about tamāhine 2.

Thank you Lord!

As her parents, we hope horse-riding will help tamāhine 2 to come out of her shell, help her to develop some confidence and build strength.

I've only cropped a few photos to share.  I didn't want to load photos or videos that show the instructor or her helpers, especially as I haven't sought permission yet.

This super tiny video I'll throw in.  It doesn't mean much to anyone else other than me.  It brings me joy to know tamāhine 2 actually involved herself without hesitation!


At 15 years of age, I feel tama 1 deserved something I know he has dreamed about but never expected to come to fruition - and that's to learn how to fly.  

On Sunday just gone, tama 1 and whaiāipo popped along to the Rotorua AeroClub to meet tama 1's flying instructor and to take his trial flight.  Considering he's never been inside a plane before, what a neat way for him to experience his first flight.  

Thankfully the airport is just under five kms from home, so it's another activity that won't require too much travel. He'll only be flying once a month at this stage. (I would hazard a guess though that any money he earns, he'll put towards extra flying lessons.)

Whaiāipo used his phone to video tama 1, but the wind just happened to pick up when tama 1 landed, so I've tried to take some screenshots from the video clips to include because the videos are too noisy and very shaky.

For his very first flight, he held the controls nearly the whole time they were in the air.  We saw him flying from here at home, but he approached the airport to land from further east of us, so we didn't get to see him as we had expected.  

All future flying lessons we will venture out to as a family, but for his first time I wanted tama 1 to glow in the attention with his dad.  Whaiāipo couldn't spend any time with us on tama 1's birthday, so I discussed the idea with whaiāipo of spending the Sunday morning with him.  

Tama 1 no sooner landed and had to say goodbye to the AeroClub members, to head home because, typically, whaiāipo received two callouts (never mind the job he already had planned to go to that afternoon), so it was a quick bite to eat with the whānau, and off out to mahi.  And that's why I had them go by themselves! Whaiāipo very rarely spends an entire Saturday or Sunday with us. 

A few weeks ago, the kids and I got stuck into developing the garden to the front of the property.

We had some heavy winds around Christmas time which tore one of the branches from tama 1's tree. Another branch was left hanging, so we bolted it back on and thankfully it is recuperating wonderfully.  Two small mandarin trees were thrown about badly, so I've dug them up and put them into pots to try and coax them along.  

I love native plants, so I can't wait to see them in a few years time.  I realise you probably can't make them out in the photos, but perhaps you can see flax and ferns and the native grass.

We haven't finished planting outside, but seeing as I'm slack at blogging, I better record something now, LOL.

Our pumpkin patch ...

We can finally afford a little more decking...

Only a little down the north-side to go.

This is the north-east, which of course, was the first part we ever decked years ago.

And down the south side (yeah yeah, I see the weeds).

The kids spend as much time as they possibly can at the lake swimming and kayaking.  We were fortunate to receive a second kayak for free, so now the kids carry two kayaks down. They're nice and light - even their mother has carried them down to the lake a few times with them.

During one of their swimming excursions, they even managed to locate their old raft which had disappeared over winter. Tama 2 spied it about half a kilometre north of where we usually swim, so that was very fortunate.

I think the very last thing I will mention is music.

The three older tamariki worked for their father throughout 2016, and the money they earned from their labours, they used to buy everyone's Christmas presents (which, might I add, their gift ideas were spot on.)

As for the three older kids, they had talked (with their dad) about hopefully buying themselves an instrument each.  Tama 1 was keen on a drum set.  Tamāhine 1 a saxophone and tama 2 an electric guitar.  Well, tama 1 was really lucky because whaiāipo just so happened to do some mahi for someone who wanted to sell his old drum set for $50 and that was just a week before Christmas. Tama 2 worked some more for his father and had enough to buy himself an electric guitar.  Tamāhine 1 saved enough to get a cheap saxophone.  She received a free harmonica to go with it.  Tama 3 showed an interest in that, and his big sister was happy for him to have it.

The kids are all teaching themselves ... luckily the sound from the shed isn't too loud, but it's loud enough, lol.

I don't know how much of their music theory the big kids remember, but at the moment, they will just have to carry on using the materials they have to hand, and good ol' YouTube.

That's all I'll write for this blog post.  I want to head out to do some weeding and get some much-needed fresh air.  I know I didn't mention how they're getting on with maths or any academics like that, but that can wait till next time.

Hopefully it's not quite so long for the next post though, eh?!

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Sunday, 27 November 2016

November 2016

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!

A peek at the Christmas crafty gifts ...

Tama 3.  He did an excellent job using the hot glue gun ... 
he just needs to learn to unplug it when he finishes!

Tama 3 is making this tractor - apparently for tama 5's birthday next month.

I nabbed a photo while he was making this.
He just needs to paint the trunk and branches.
Tamāhine 1 made this awesome giraffe with tama 5.
He absolutely loves it.

I'll add tama 3's Artventure he did recently too.

He enjoyed this art project from Artventure.  He also did a saber tooth tiger

With Aotearoa geography, I had the little ones do some art.

Tamāhine 1 collected some flax to do her next piece

As part of our Aotearoa New Zealand Geography lesson last week, the younger kids made these whare gift boxes.

A snippet from our first lesson.

I use Google Docs to create our weekly assignments.  I print out a hard copy for tama 4 to write on, but everyone else uses their computers. This week I assigned tama 4 the task of making a picture on the computer to illustrate the weather in Tāmaki Makaurau that day, then inserted the picture into our document to be printed off at the completion.

I had originally thought we would spend a week studying each region but it's taking more like a fortnight.  

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

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