Wednesday, 30 July 2008

I've heard of Wordless Wednesdays, but we have yet another Wet Wednesday!

Twice now I have managed to lose websites I had bookmarked and although I've recorded some here or there, there's been plenty that I lost simply because I thought "I'll get round to it" later. Hopefully the National Geographic site will be used enough that I won't have to worry about ever losing it!

Here's a map of Aotearoa (New Zealand). Because we're covering some geography at the moment I thought I would use this map as a reminder to discuss with the children certain aspects as we go along. I use Maori place names in my daily conversation and thought this morning it might be a good idea to pop a few here for anyone interested.

New Zealand's five main centres:

Auckland - Tamaki Makaurau (or Akarana - transliteration)
Hamilton - Kirikiriroa
Wellington (capital of New Zealand) - Whanganui-a-Tara
Christchurch - Otautahi
Dunedin - Otepoti
Invercargill - Waihopai

First up for DD1 was a mini-spelling test and I was really pleased with her efforts. She has continued to progress in leaps and bounds so I'm really proud of her. Even DS2 participates. He can recognise a few letters and its always neat to see his expressions when we acknowledge he's got it right.

We're still dealing with plenty of rain here, but it's nothing compared to Northland and Auckland, Coromandel and other parts of the Bay of Plenty. Just making the dash out to the mailbox has been an effort! Today the postie was obviously held up due to the weather because they didn't come till well after 10.30am! At the moment we have a drizzle and I could probably do with making the effort to check the pigs and goats. The poor animals have had to stand out there in this atrocious weather! Well, the poaka (pigs) are lucky, they get to climb in the little "house" d-a-d built, whereas the koti (goats) are pretty much well exposed to the elements today.

Okay, I digressed ... sorry about that, but it's a bit hard not to look outside, especially when I sit at the computer, lol.

Well, lunch is now over and I'm ready to start our history lesson and then I've got my own schoolwork to sink my teeth into.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Homeschooling clip on Maori Television

I have just spent half my morning trying to download a link that a homeschooler sent through which was aired on Native Affairs . Without broadband it has proven almost hopeless because although I can "hear" it, I can't see the people involved. Anyway, I've provided the link for y'all should you wish to take a glance. It's less than 10 minutes long, but honestly, if you don't have broadband like myself ... then I suggest you go off and do something else and let your computer do its buffering for at least an hour!!! Our connection speed probably hasn't helped today either!!! It's only running at 46.6 Kbps!!! Luckily I had it downloading while I was feeding DS3 and getting DS1 and DD1's schoolwork ready, lol.

Interestingly enough the interviewer said that of the 6500 children being homeschooled, apparently 10% are Maori. I find that quite astonishing. As a minority group, that seems quite a high figure?! By the same token, I'm excited to think that our family form part of that 10%. Can I please just mention here also ... I'm a little bit confused about a point that was made at the 4 minute 30 mark. According to the interviewer Joe Bloggs gets $1400 per year for the first child. I'm shocked! I only get half of that for DS1. I don't understand that, and obviously there's a logical explanation that I've not thought of ... I hope somebody will shed some light on the subject for me.

But anyway, that took a big chunk out of my morning so I will now try to give my attention back to the children's schoolwork.

Oh, BTW, I hope you've noticed I've now joined a Catholic homeschooling blog list? Thanks for letting me join Angie, I really appreciate it. (After helping to form the NZ Catholic homeschooling yahoo group, last year I've been even more interested in tapping into Catholic homeschoolers, so I'm very excited to get reading as soon as I can. Now that I'm studying however, I find it really tricky to find time to even catch up with my friends blogs!! Sorry guys!!)

Well, the kids have done their handwriting and some poetry this morning. Time to get them reading before I try to do some reading of my own. I've actually decided not to do the first assignment in my Magic and Witchcraft. I had a nightmare the other night and have taken it as a sign that even making a pretend spell isn't for me --> as opposed to just not knowing what I'm on about: (more on that below). As there are three sections with essays to choose from, I can actually let that essay go because we only have to write essays from two of them. (Hope that makes sense?!) Better still, they're not due in a week's time, lol.

My main reason for not persevering with the first assignment is because I don't feel I've got a good enough grasp on Magic and Witchcraft as a whole. I only took this paper purely out of interest. I have no prior knowledge of any specific area so learning the general terminology and distinguishing what era certain aspects come from, I feel as though I'm still a long way off from understanding the subject to even attempt tackling an essay at this point in time. So I won't be attempting the classical period. Nope, I'm now forced to do the essays on Medieval Europe and Early Modern Europe.

I know that if I didn't have five children I would probably have a better grip on everything but finding time for reading is very difficult for me. I'm exhausted by the end of the day so I'm probably a lot further behind than many others. I will try to sit down and ask some of the students to meet me in the "chat room" and ask for some help. Posting to the discussion forum is fine, but I need the immediate contact --> that's why I love IM so much. You get an instant response and feel like you're truly having a conversation as opposed to waiting for email or forums. I need a tutor me thinks!!!

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Yet another widget or helpful tool loaded to blogsite

Introducing Snap Shots from

Apologies, apologies! I thought I'd finished adding widgets and wotnots, but it appears I've decided to add yet another! I've now installed a nice little tool called Snap Shots that enhances links with visual previews of the destination site, interactive excerpts of Wikipedia articles, MySpace profiles, IMDb profiles and Amazon products, display inline videos, RSS, MP3s, photos, stock charts and more.
Sometimes Snap Shots bring you the information you need, without your having to leave the site, while other times it lets you "look ahead," before deciding if you want to follow a link or not.
Should you decide this is not for you, just click the Options icon in the upper right corner of the Snap Shot and opt-out.

Hopefully that's the last of any tinkering I decide to do with the layout. I guess that's what happens when I'm woken up at 5 o'clock, go to the shed and chop wood in the dark, get the fire lit and sit down at the computer with my coffee before 6.30am, lol !!!!

Friday, 25 July 2008

What does such-and-such mean?

Mornings are busy in most households I'm quite sure, and more often than not, at our house our crew can be rather 'loud'. I wish I could run around the house having as much fun. There may not be so many places to 'hide' for hide and seek, but they still get lots of enjoyment trying to out-smart each other.

This morning, as the sounds were echoing in the living room/kitchen, DS1 was trying to ask me a question. I misheard him and was busy explaining what I thought was the correct answer to the question. However, I was obviously wrong, because he came over to me mid-stream of my incorrect response with this:

I just couldn't resist sharing the moment because he was so quick to have figured out a way to let me know he was talking about a guide dog. He grabbed (obviously) a toy dog and took a latch off one of the toy tool-boxes for the handle. Like the saying goes, a picture paints a thousand words. In our case, it saved a five minute dialogue of toing and froeing, with mum not actually answering the question properly, lol.

Anyway, this particular conversation reminded me to mention that I wish I was a walking dictionary. No, honestly, having kids you suddenly realise how little your knowledge and understanding is, lol. The constant "what does such-and-such mean?" or "why does such-and-such ...?" can really put one on the spot. I try so hard to give good definitions, explanations, examples etc (without/before) resorting to using a dictionary!!!! Keeping your answers in context to the child's specific question can be rather hard sometimes too, because when you know the answer has multiple-meanings, you have to remind yourself to focus on the immediate question - which can be incredibly difficult sometimes!!

DS1 also makes it a point of asking d-a-d questions when he's home. He will quietly go around to wherever d-a-d is and ask him without me being able to hear. At first I didn't know what to make of it - but that's probably because I'm the one at home all day having grown accustomed to being bombarded with the questions. So it took me a few times to accept this was his way of bonding with d-a-d and once I did realise this, I began to embrace the opportunity: not so much that I am left off the hook for once!! but more for the fact that DS1 likes to ask the opinion of others.

Anyway, that's my morning's chat over a coffee for the day. I shall now leave you to your day and get on with the rest of my own. It's just after 9 am on a Friday when we all get excited knowing d-a-d will be home for the weekend. (For our family, we're still trying to get used to having him home on a weekend!!!)

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Just call me Artemis, lol

At last!!! ..... Sunshine!!!!

Don't you just love beautiful winter days? I love waking up to a frost, a near frost, or even a fog because you know you've got a great day ahead of you. Days like today I really enjoy getting up early to light the fire. Seeing (and feeling) the warmth of a fire helps get my day started. We've had plenty of wet weather lately and the only positive about rain is knowing our water tank is filling up. It's a very costly exercise to truck in water, so in that regard it's a good thing to have rain for days on end, lol.

Once the early morning chores are sorted I will usually check the Massey webct for my Magic & Witchcraft paper to see if any new discussions were posted while I've been asleep. (I put it like this because it seems as though Kiwis get online anywhere between 10pm through to about 3am!! --> when I'm definitely in my sleep mode). Anyway, one of the links provided on the course is Actually, the original link was probably something else but as usual, I click from link to link and end up at all sorts of websites!! Anyhoo, I was trying to read about Praxilla, an earthly muse bla bla bla. Somehow I ended up at another page which invited me to do the following quiz. Being the time-waster that I am, I gave it a stab.

Which Greek Goddess Are You?

I had a giggle over my results and thought I might as well share them with y'all:

You Are the Greek Goddess Artemis

You are an outdoorsy type, perhaps a tomboy, although you will have grown out of it. Modesty is important to you. You can be overly protective of those you love, willing to sacrifice anything for their well-being. You are competitive and not entirely predictable. Fortunately, you are experienced in self-defense because with your looks and preference for moonlight walks, you never know what you might need to fight.

Artemis With a hind, the "Diana of Versailles". Marble, Roman Imperial Era (1st-2nd centuries A.D.). Marie-Lan Nguyen/Wikimedia Commons.

I would have to say that for a "don't-take-it-too-seriously-type-of-quiz" it is actually quite accurate.

School didn't follow any particular route today but things were done throughout the course of the day. We had a lovely surprise visit from Uncle Warrick around 1 o'clock this afternoon. He stayed till about 4.30pm which was heaven for me as I enjoy having a break and to have that extra pair of hands whenever the opportunity arises is always gratefully accepted. Warrick always manages to step up to the plate and do whatever the kids twist his arm to do, so I truly appreciate having my family near me. He was super lovely today because he bought some lunch with him as well as little gifts for each of the kids that he'd scored from work. The kids were occupied for a very long time playing with the activities so I feel quite rejuvenated now ... thanks Warrick!!!!

Around 4 o'clock, the southerly was starting to get a lot chillier, yet nobody wanted to come back inside. I was almost tempted to bring out the motorbike, but decided it best not to as the grounds would be quite soggy still from all that rain. The kids didn't mention it (surprise! surprise!), and I know that's because they love playing with their Uncle Warrick. He's a real gem, is my brother ... actually, all my brothers are!!! I've said it before, but I'll say it again, I love my family!

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

How soon I may ride round the world

Here's a question for you. DS1 just read about King John and the Abbot. The Abbot had to answer three questions. In the end the Abbot's shepherd goes to the King and answers the questions on behalf of the Abbot.

The King's second question is this: "Tell me how soon I may ride round the world".

The answer given by the shepherd is "You must rise with the sun and you must ride with the sun until it rises again the next morning. As soon as you do that you will find that you have ridden round the world in twenty-four hours."

... What do you think that means? I was stumped for a long time over this, which can make one feel like a dunce when your son asks "what does it mean?" and you can't answer him straight away, lol.

I'll leave that with you to ponder over for a while.

I must say, I'm quite excited today as I've managed to sell another book on TradeMe (TM). Once the purchaser pays the funds, I should have just enough to buy DD1 her Alpha M-U-S Student book. As painstaking and frustrating as it is to load books on TM, it's actually my only means of making extra money, so I'm really thrilled I'll be in the position to buy it - hopefully before the end of this week with any luck!!! Actually, speaking of books, I really ought to try loading some more of our books onto My Library. It's been months since I started loading them on there!

Oh, just before I finish, I actually wanted to say thank you to anybody and everybody that has passed by our blog. I'm far too slow at noticing any comments that have been left, so albeit late, thanks for reading and I hope you find it entertaining. Our blog is really only here to record for ourselves the family's journey through homeschooling, so for anyone to take the time to actually read and find out a little about us, then I am truly humbled by your generosity to get to know us.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

DS2 and DD2

Lesson 1

I took this photo of DD2 yesterday and thought I'd pop it in today along with DS2's artwork. DD2 decided to jump at up to the computer while we were getting on with schoolwork yesterday. I was actually scanning some pics at the time and as usual I get hoha sitting at the slow computer while it does its thing so I tend to go about my day and just run back and forth clicking through each stage. So DD2 decided to take advantage of the situation and climbed up to test her keyboard skills. Rather cute I thought.
I liked DS2's creative expression this morning. Granted, it's with a whiteboard and marker, however, it still shows his abilities. He held the whiteboard eraser to make the body and then drew the faces etc. In all, he drew 10 "spiders" he tells me!

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Monday, 21 July 2008

Sharing some of DD1's work

Most of the children's artwork has been posted to their individual blogs, but today I thought it might to nice to put some of DD1's efforts to the school blog.

The first picture is from the weekend while d-a-d was home. I'm very impressed with her improvement in writing.

The next picture is just one example of how DD1 really enjoys drawing a picture to correspond with a word she may be learning. "CAT" is probably one of the very first words she learned to spell, however, it is always one which is revised or just used for fun.

The third picture, although traced, shows her control of colouring between the lines as well as mastering the skill of tracing itself. This last picture I chose to remind myself that there is beauty in simplicity. I can quite often be blasé with the art they produce simply because of the volume each day. Although this sort of picture can be a recurring theme, I looked at this one today and thought how beautiful it actually is.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

"Housekeeping is like being caught in a revolving door" Marcelene Cox

I saw the above quote recently and thought "oh, how true! how true indeed!"

As homeschoolers, our house is continually littered with books, toys, and anything the toddler drags out of cupboards etc. As adults, d-a-d and I probably aren't the best role models. D-A-D has tools that seem to make their way into the house and somehow remain in the house! I, myself, have textbooks, scrappy bits of paper and pens sprawled over my workstation and next to the bed. We seem to be forever tidying up, yet you'd never know it really. We no sooner have things cleared when suddenly there's a new clutter! I laugh and tell myself that one day I'll miss these times. One day, there'll just be d-a-d and me. So make the most of this clutter, enjoy it for what it means.

I'm happy with the revolving door!

Well, I've had an early start today. I was lying in bed from 4.30 am after feeding DS3 and decided to sneak downstairs to do some reading of my Magic & Witchcraft material. I wasn't too thrilled to get up being a wet winter's morn, however, I snuck out of the room only to discover DS1 and DD1 were awake also.

So we trotted downstairs, made an early breakfast and got some school in around 8 o'clock. It's now going on for 3 o'clock and I want to get back to my studies. I have an assignment due on the 4th of August which of course I've not even started. I haven't quite decided which of the two options I want to tackle. I'll share the choices with you shall I? Yeah, why not! Having such huge readership, I'm sure I'll receive loads of comments, lol. Here we go:

1 Using ancient evidence discuss the power of words in Greek and Roman magic.
Guidelines: You will need to do some research and include examples other than those included in the Study Guide.


2 Using ancient texts as examples create a Greek or Roman curse tablet or erotic charm and then provide a commentary on the features of the spell.
Guidelines: In your commentary you are expected to explain the ancient context of the magic, the agent and the victim, and the means by which the magic operates. You should cite other spells that have the same feature or use an element in a similar way, for example similies, magical words, deity names, or ritual actions that are part of the procedure. You should also explain why you selected those particular elements and how they work in the spell you have composed, based on how they fit into the spells from which you took them. Since ancient magicians adapted the traditional formulas to the specific context of the spell, the client, the situation or the target, you can also innovate. Make sure to include any oral components or ritual actions that are part of the spell as well as the inscribed or written component.

Any thoughts?

I'll let you know what I choose ...

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Classical studies

This week DS1 and I have been enjoying SOTW. Although we started it last year, I decided I wanted to leave it till he was six because I wanted to concentrate on learning the basics of reading, writing and of course arithmetics. Although he was understanding everything, and I know classical is the method I want to follow, I pulled in the reigns because I don't want to push him into every aspect of classical studies straight away. I want the kids to love learning, not dread it. But in saying that, our initial attempts at least highlighted his interest in geography so we followed that path a little more and I think it is now paying off.

Over the past four months I have been very 'subtle' with any type of influence, yet simply due to the types of conversation we have been holding, as well as the books I have been gathering for my own studies, it has become apparent both DS1 and myself are ready to give SOTW the proper attention it deserves.

We've recovered for the umpteenth time what history is, who a historian and archaeologist are and have reintroduced ourselves to Tarak, our nomadic friend living in the Fertile Crescent. I probably could have skipped the first few chapters as we've done them all before, but I have now thought to use the textbook for other areas of learning. It will take us longer to cover each chapter but I hope it will be the right method. Like everything we will tweak what we need to.

Here's DS1's art interpretation of the nomads, wearing animal hides, living in caves and tents and catching fish

I will be sure to utilise the Resources for SOTW and try to take some of the suggestions (eg timelines) to apply to my own studies (well, time permitting).

As for knowing the right time to introduce Latin and Greek? Hmm, I will need to consult the groups again ... I'd like to tee DS1's Latin up with my second Latin paper which will probably be this time next year. I have the Minimus student book for him, but that's all at this stage. Like everything else, I will need to save up for the things on my wishlist, lol.

I must remember to check out WriteShop Primary at some stage. A number of people have mentioned it on The Well Trained Mind yahoo groups, so I'd like to see what they're all talking about. By the time I get around to these things .... !!!!

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Sunday, 13 July 2008

A little outing for the boys

DS1 and DS2 went to see the honey bees at Mossops Honey, Tauriko on Thursday. They enjoyed their outing and to see the bees 'in action' was a good experience. During summer we have quite a number of bees visit us on a daily basis. They seem to enjoy our bay windows in the lounge/dining area for some reason. For the boys however, it was fun to see them working -> especially in an enclosed environment.

What about DD1? Well, she is certainly improving with spelling. At 5 years and 3 months I'm delighted with her progress. It's on the days when I see her 'clicking' with sounds of words that I get excited and am grateful I am a part of their journey. DD1 reminds me of myself to a large extent with her learning, I think. An example? Well, she will no sooner give me a correct answer, but then forget what she learned and fumble on it within five minutes of having given me the correct answer! As frustrated as I can get, I keep it in perspective because I know she's still learning, but also, it reminds me of my own learning. I can read a passage, think I know it, then five minutes later I've forgotten it. We may be on different levels, but not really. The point of both examples is that perseverance/practice is what gets you there. If she is like her mother then she will have to cover the same thing a hundred times and find examples to grasp the concept of anything trying to be understood. Oh well, as time pans out we shall discover her learning style together.

For her fun activity today, she enjoyed making her octopus so I thought I'd pop it in:

Now don't ask me why but this triggered the following memory:

Back in my not-so-distant paid-employed life I worked for a small law firm. The principal of the firm, John (Hoani) is a tremendous art collector. Our walls at the office were littered with art pieces. His house was very much the same. Gosh, I would hate to attempt calculating the worth of it all, but that's not the point. My point is this: Our house has no paintings or sculptures commissioned by any artist with a price-tag. However, every available space that we can hang our kids work and learning charts take pride of place with the same adoration bestowed as John gives to his art collection. Our kids work (like any parent will admit) is priceless.

I'm not sure why that popped into my head, but it's always nice to reminisce isn't it?

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Friday, 11 July 2008

Definitely Winter!!

As you can see from this little snippet I cut out from the local paper, having snow in Rotorua was quite the talk of the town this week!

I took the following photo from our place. If you manage to enlarge the photo you'll make out the Whakatane turnoff. We live 350m from that turnoff so in terms of closeness of the ranges, they'd be about 5kms from us. I hadn't noticed the snow on the ranges as they're not actually visible from the house without walking down towards the reserve, so by the time I took this photo, it would have been somewhere around 10am. Such a pity as I found out later there was a lot more snow to be seen. Exciting nonetheless!

On Tuesday we celebrated DD2 completing MUS Primer. It wasn't until she was nearing the last few pages that I even knew this achievement award was there:

Her smile went from ear to ear. She was very proud of herself, and so she should be. I have now started loading some books on TradeMe to raise enough funds to buy Alpha for her now. In the meantime we will revise Primer and just use DS1's Alpha manual as a guideline.

DD1 has also improved immensely with her handwriting so I'm very pleased with progress in that area. Here's an example of her work. I tried to darken the page on the scanner, so excuse the look.

As for DS1, we're having another start with Story of the World. My approach this time is to narrate and have him write down and discuss things on each paragraph, or page. Not only is this then covering a history lesson, but also narration, handwriting and English. I found last year when he was 5 he listened and got involved to a certain degree, but his appreciation of Egypt per say wasn't clicking. In other words, I know had I persevered then to cover Egypt, his interest would have waivered and possibly extinguished. So we'll see how we get on with it this time round. I thought it was a nice time to start it as DD1 listens in so hopefully it well gel with her also.

Here's an example of work this week. (As always click to enlarge to get a better view)

Well, semester two for myself starts officially on Monday the 14th. Bastille Day. I'd like to do something with the kids so will put my thinking cap on over the weekend as to ideas. I passed the two papers I did in semester one, but I have stuck to my guns and will only take on one paper this semester. Sticking with Religion this time. You may, or may not, be interested to know I'll be taking a paper in Magic and Witchcraft. I'm really looking forward to what I think will be a fun paper. As much as I'm tempted to take Greek Mythology, I will leave that till summer school. I'm mentioning my studies to indicate I may disappear for a spell - especially towards examination end. I still want to keep a regular record of the children's schooling, so I will just have to figure out a better timetable for achieving everything. By taking only one paper instead of two, I'm hoping that will allow me the flexibility to keep up with postings ... but time will tell.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano