Sunday, 26 March 2017

Week 8 - Term 1 2017

Nau mai, hoki mai, and welcome back!

Rather than plonk this on my Facebook page, I've placed it here because it gives me hope for tamāhine 2.  It would be great if I could prove the research correct.

This week was a little tiring for me.  The first night the puppy arrived, especially, was very long. The second night, not quite so bad and as the week progressed it became better. Just hard when you can't catch up on the sleep you lost, huh?  I'll certainly be looking forward to when he sleeps through the night, though.

Speaking of the puppy, we had an interesting time naming him.  We ended up holding a vote (how democratic, lol).  Check out what my big kids did:



Ballot Box
The big kids held us in suspense once the voting closed.  Off they went, behind closed doors to do the tally-up.

Te ingoa of te papi?

Que the drum roll .......................................


True. I kid you not.


The boys went off with whaiāipo for haircuts on Thursday, including Tama 5. That's the first time he's actually had it cut by someone else except me.  Boo hoo hoo.  I guess that means I'm redundant in the boys' hair cutting now.
Am I bothered?

No, not really.

Slightly sad to be reminded my youngest is growing up.

But, no, all good.

And, blimey!  He looks like tama 4 with this hair cut!!

Going to the barber shop with their father is an important thing for me.  Their father works so much, that time with the boys is extremely limited.  I could certainly continue cutting everyone's hair, but then the boys wouldn't have their time together with whaiāipo.  Luckily we receive a discount, which eases the {financial} pain, lol.

Monday the 20th of March marked the autumnal equinox.

It also marked the first time our family popped along to the Rotorua Highland Pipe Band.

Huge thanks to my dear friend for allowing us to share in her family's passion.

I only took tama 1 and tamāhine 1 this week to see what they thought and to 'give it a go.'

Unfortunately, they couldn't attempt the bagpipes (well, the chanter would be more specific, I believe) because te tangata who takes it wasn't there this week. However, they were encouraged to try the drums. Tamāhine 1 decided to sit and watch her brother. (She's keen to try the bagpipes, but was happy enough to watch this time around.)

My friend was absolutely right. Everyone is lovely and the atmosphere was extremely relaxed and pleasant, yet the night was fluid and organised.  A lot of names I've probably forgotten already, but, you won't believe it, I actually know one of the other parents from Nihongo days! (well, by rights I know another lady too, but being the koretake wahine that I am, I don't remember her). I spent the night having a kōrero to catch up and watched my old classmate's sons as they practiced their bagpipes.

I don't think you could ever grow tired of hearing the sound of bagpipes.  It's like listening/watching kapa haka.  Chills run down your spine.

The kids came away having really enjoyed themselves and we are all looking forward to returning next week.

It really is nice to be novices at something again.

  • Overall, there wasn't as much book work for the little ones due to the arrival of Marmite.  They spent a lot of time taking him outside to play and/or do his business.
  • We also had dental appointments on Friday which chewed into the afternoon.
  • I started looking at prices for tama 1's science. (There's a sale over at Christian Books for Apologia at the minute, so I'm trying to decide whether to buy Physics now or not.) He will ditch biology once he finishes Exploring Creation with Biology.  He was a good lad to humour me and at least do this textbook, but it is no surprise his passion doesn't lie in biology. He loves physics, so I'm checking Exploring Creation with Physics prices.
  • I've had a short conversation with the other two about further science.  If they choose to continue, then I don't need to purchase anything.  They have more time to decide, but I wanted to check in with them now to get a feel for what they want.


The big kids have been practicing their chosen instruments.  Tamāhine 1 tells me she's only practiced four days this week.  Tama 2 you can guarantee has played his guitar every day.  Tama 1 has practiced his drums every day, but not as long as he would normally.  I know that tama 1 and tamāhine 1 are sticklers for following their timetables to keep themselves on track, so I'm quite sure he'll have lessened something in his schedule to accommodate his extra TKD practice.

Mathematics (Math-U-See)

Tama 1 - Geometry 27C
Tamāhine 1 - Algebra 25D
Tama 2 - Pre-Algebra 21C
Tama 3 - Delta completed 17A
Tama 4 - Primer 18D
Tamāhine 2 continues with IXL.


Tamāhine 2 continues to read the free e-books over at Oxford Owl.  Tama 2 occasionally reads something from there as well, otherwise  International Children's Digital Library.

Tamāhine 1 hasn't been reading as much as she would like, I'm sure, due to her workload. In the last few days, she managed to pick up Divergent.  I read it a few months back, and once she finishes now that she's finished the pukapuka, we'll watch the DVD.  It's not a typical genre for us, but, I actually enjoyed it in the end.  It is part of the booklist from Brave Writer.  We haven't done a very good job using Brave Writer, unfortunately.  Read a number of the books, but nothing else.  It's a pity we never managed to follow through with our friends to have a book club.

I think I'll sign off now.  Whatever I've missed, I'll catch up with some other time.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Week 7 - Term 1 2017

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!

It's cute when your little ones experiment with writing, isn't it?  Tama 5 loves his Nutri-Grain, and was sure to write it on the board as a reminder to buy more. lol.


Tama 1 assisted me in teaching tama 3 about right-angle triangles. He made shapes on his computer to explain it more clearly.  That helped me out a great deal. :)  I could concentrate on tamāhine 2 longer.  

Tama 4 decided he would change the angles, which became a hindrance, but, we figured our way around him - as you do. ;)

Tama 1 - completed Geometry 26C
Tamāhine 1 - completed Algebra 25C
Tama 2 - completed Pre-Algebra 21B
Tama 3 - completed Delta 16C and

In Short

○  Tama 3 enjoys the short science lessons. On Friday we completed insects. We head into Ocean habitat next week. (Year 5 Science Workbook.)
○  Tama 4 is working hard to hold his pencil correctly.  Actually, I should mention, tamāhine 2 has improved immensely with her pencil grip, also.

Horse riding 

This week's lesson was moved to Wednesday due to the weather.  It gave tama 1 a few more days to rest his hand at least.

Here's a screenshot of tama 2 going around the barrels.

Flying Lesson #2

Tama 1 had his second lesson, Sunday morning.  Having an eight-week-old puppy I decided to stay home.  Whaiāipo sent me a message to say he was flying over Mokoia, so we kept an eye out as he turned east.  I filmed on my phone as best as I could.  He flew a Cessna this time.  I've taken a quick screenshot where there's a glimpse of our roof and tama 1 flying.


Must show this to tamāhine 1.  Practiced with the Club twice this week.  Tama 1 putting in extra practice at home also in preparation for grading in a few weeks.

And last,
             but not least,
                              we finally have a dog again.
So far, he remains unnamed.  The kids haven't agreed on a name yet, lol.

Whaiāipo brought him home on Saturday afternoon.

It's been years since we had a dog, so we didn't have a collar or a leash.  Tamāhine 1 whipped up a toy for him as well as recycled an old lanyard to make a groovy collar.  Tama 1 created a makeshift leash as well. 

A cardboard box and an old baby blanket for his wee bed.


Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Week 6 - Term 1 2017

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!

Horse riding

Six lessons down now.  The kids are still thoroughly enjoying themselves.  The weather was sunny but a little breezy so I, for one, came away with windburn.  Felt rather pooped in the afternoon, lol.

I ordered helmets for the kids while they were half price.  They arrived just before I went to the dentist appointment on Friday morning.  I hope they will run a special on boots soon. I would like the kids to have them before winter arrives, (she says as though she's loaded with moolahs, lol).

We've had huge downpours this week. To avoid my plants getting drowned, I brought the potted herbs etc under shelter.  It's not normally quite so cluttered on the decks, but oh well, this is Friday morning after we'd just collected the bins from the top of the driveway for collection day.

Monday night the kids finished this corner of the deck.  Basically, the deck is complete; there's only a little bit whaiāipo needs to bring home and it's done.  Considering the weather forecast for the week is miserable, there's no hurry.  As much as we might need the rain, I'd rather have sunshine thanks.  Hei aha, 'bye 'bye summer!

I fought a toothache this week.  I tried taking painkillers, but by Thursday I knew I had to face the fact it was time for a visit to the dentist.

As expected, my tooth was extracted.  For the next few days the big kids stepped up to the plate and took care of the younger ones and cooked our meals while I rested. Tamāhine 1 even did a bit of baking for the kids.  (Okay, not the type of food to show when talking about a dentist .... but hey, I didn't eat any. LOL)

I should have attended my aunty's tangi but to be honest I felt so blah on Friday and Saturday I just couldn't manage it.



Tama 3 learned about insects this week. We enjoyed searching outside for different insects.  We even found a stick insect.  Tama 1 popped it on one of the strawberry plants so we could study it as we ate lunch and carried on with our lesson in the sunshine. (Ppft!!! Seems ridiculous to mention sunshine with the deluge we - and the rest of the country - have experienced for the rest of the week and weekend!!)

Following our discussion about vertebrates and invertebrates, he found a snail's shell. When I told him they're not actually insects, he looked at me bewildered. "But it has an outside shell?"  Yes, they are invertebrates with exoskeletons but a snail is a gastropod ... and off we went with the rest of the conversation.

We also discussed the fish skeleton they found at the lake.  That was fascinating to talk about, I must say!!! He thought it particularly gruesome at the time.  Aah, yes, but wasn't it fascinating to look at all the little creatures that were found on the skeleton and what their tasks were?

Next week when the weather's nicer we'll poke around for huhu grubs down the back. (And no, I've never eaten one.)


I'm absolutely thrilled with the handwriting from tamāhine 2 and tama 4.  They really enjoy working together.  I've had to draw vertical lines to space out some of the individual letters, otherwise, they'll spend far too long writing excessive amounts of letters on one line.  They haven't quite got the spacing in-between down pat yet. They'll get there, though. In the meantime, I'll space it out for them. :)

I'll begin tama 3 with his handwriting next week.  It's been a little while since he's worked on copywork, but I'm not concerned.  He has to write often enough throughout the day and I like his workmanship.

Speaking of handwriting, tama 1 will find it difficult to write for a wee while.  He has been practicing breaking tiles in preparation for his grading next month.  He broke four at once the other day without a problem. Then he broke a few more over the past few days. This morning, he broke some, but then this afternoon I knew something was ailing him and when he told me it was his hand, I just thought "Argh! Why didn't you say it earlier?" He must have gone at least 4 or 6 hours before I became aware of it.  It definitely looks sprained. I just hope that's all it is.


The younger ones are enjoying their English lessons. We keep them short (15 minutes max). I'm satisfied the levels I chose suit each of them. (Phew!) It's not all seat work. They have to get up to find examples of things which they find highly entertaining.


Still going well.  The younger ones enjoy the workbooks.  We could easily skip forward a number of lessons, but I'm using it as revision after they complete their MUS or IXL.  They enjoy working together and encourage each other with their mahi.

Tama 1 completed Test 25, Geometry.
Tamāhine 1 completed Test 24, Algebra I.
Tama 2 completed Test 26, Pre-Algebra.
Tama 3 completed lesson 15E, Delta.
Tamāhine 2 and tama 4 continue with their mixture.

In short

♣ TKD is going well.  Grading is only three Saturdays away.  I'm concerned about tama 1's hand though. 

♣  No flying lesson today.  Postponed to next week.

♣ Thank goodness for Lego.  The young ones amused themselves with their Lego throughout this rainy week.

♣ At least when it rains I can't hear the saxophone or drums being played in the shed, LOL.

♣ We're all doing great with Duolingo.

♣ Tama 1 still rockin' along with Latin.  I really need to start everybody else again.

♣ Tama 3 continues with Reading Eggs.

♣ Instruments - They continue to practice their chosen instruments.  Tama 3 will dodge his practice sometimes .... tsk tsk.

♣  Daylight Saving starts in the States, Sunday 12 March.  Boo hoo. That means only three weeks left in Aotearoa.

♣ I'll finish with a photo. Whaiāipo swapped out my kitchen tap. There was nothing wrong with it, but he came home with two types of taps.  I asked for this one. "It looks like a shower," tama 5 said.  Āe, it does. Our kitchen practically works like an industrial kitchen, so this style suits me just fine.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Week 5 Term 1

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!

The first couple of weeks into Term 1 weren't particularly satisfying with the younger ones. I felt as though we were getting nowhere fast.

So, I spent money and changed gears.

Pfft!!! What happened to schooling for free this year? Yeah, well, that's been blown out of the water already, huh!?

We're using workbooks.  Yep!!!  Workbooks!!!

Apart from Math-U-See, we've never used workbooks, so this is quite a change.

Why workbooks? Well, I felt like I needed to try this method to keep us moving forward. Not so much to stay on track, but rather, to get back on track.

(For copyright reasons, I can't share anything from the books, but from the link you can look at samples.)

With Maths, tama 3 and tama 4 still do their daily MUS lesson and then we do a page or two from the Start Right workbooks.  Tamāhine 2 uses IXL and then does her workbook as well.  Once her subscription runs out, we may just with the workbook.

The three of them really enjoyed doing their English lessons yesterday.  (Tamāhine 1 and tama 4 are doing the same Year level, while tama 3 works on a different Year.)  This afternoon, I think I will try them on Social Studies.

What else have they achieved?  Oh, yes, handwriting.

Although I have no problem printing our own handwriting practice sheets, it's been helpful having a workbook to jazz things up a bit.

I'm pleased to be using something Kiwi.

As for the older three, they are progressing well.  They created a timetable for this term (just like they did last year) and have kept themselves on task.  

In saying that, Tama 2 isn't completing his maths every day, which I am trying not to make a drama over.  I know he's spending time, (more than I'd prefer if I'm honest), practicing his guitar. Considering the kids are teaching themselves their instruments, I allow them to devote whatever length of time they want to their instrument. Tama 2 just happens to spend a great deal longer than the others, lol.

Seeing as we won't be doing NCEA until next year, I might look into the other material on offer from ESA.  The older kids have plenty to keep them busy this term, however, I will spend some time researching what we could utilise next term.  Even though I'm more than happy with what we use for Science, I just might purchase a study guide or two to familiarise ourselves for NCEA.

... We'll see ....


I love that we are novices at something again.

Also, it is brilliant to have another activity the kids are all doing together.

We're already five weeks in, would you believe?!

After our first riding lesson, we headed to The Warehouse and bought Schooltex Packaway Parkas. We also bought Drill Cargo Pocket trousers.  They haven't needed them yet, but at least we're ready for the cooler weather. As much as I'd like to buy helmets and boots, they'll simply have to wait until we either win Lotto, or have saved enough, or option number three (which is most likely) we end up using the credit card and put the supervision allowance towards it later in the year!!! The kids' instructor advised me to buy boots first, so that's what I'll try and budget for next.  In order to do that, I absolutely MUST watch my spending on curricula.  That probably means no Cambridge exams, and no signing up for NCEA with Te Kura. Tama 1 will just have to wait till next year when he's 16 and eligible for free.

"Watch her spending?  She just told me she's bought Start Right workbooks!!"

Yeah, I hear yah.

What can I say?

Anyway, we were talking about eke hoiho ....

The kids started learning how to trot last week.  That was exciting.  I couldn't stop giggling as I watched tama 3 bobbing about.  He improved this week.  Still bobbing about a couple of times, but at least he managed to trot in a straight line.

I started an eke hoiho blog, but that's private.  Only whānau can see that.  I've got unedited videos and loads of photos from each lesson.

We've started walking in the Redwoods again which is nice.  Summertime it gets too manic with tourists.  Now that summer is coming to a close, and we lessen our lake days, it's back to a hīkoi.

After many, many years, I no longer need to take a buggy.  Everybody can walk without being carried (well, on the short walks).  Tama 5 does get a piggy-back on longer ones.

That's almost sad in a way to say I don't need a buggy or carry anyone.


I'm actually more than happy to only carry a backpack with waters and my phone to film the kids.

My Dad and brothers all wished me Happy Birthday.  I said a prayer as I thought of mum in Heaven and thanked her for being my mum.

My eldest brother told me they're leaving Bahrain in the next three or four weeks for Singapore. My sister-in-law has landed a job there. I'm sure my brother won't have any difficulty finding employment.  The good thing is, they'll be closer to Aotearoa.  Not that we're ever likely to visit them.  My brother said, "You never know."  Yeah, ha ha.  Wishful thinking.  I've as much chance of visiting them overseas as I did in having Oprah Winfrey or Reese Witherspoon popping in for a coffee when they were here. LOL.  It was nice to see such positive comments and Instagram pics about Aotearoa.

(I mentioned the celebrities for mi amiga en los Estados Unidos de América.  Did you know they had been to Aotearoa, Schere?)


Just before I sign off.

This morning we had a little bit of excitement.


We have a change in contractors for the commercial bin.  As always, tama 5 asked me loads of questions about why the other bin was going, discussing the difference in the colours of the bins and whatever other things he found fascinating.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

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