Monday, 29 September 2008

Being lost when I'm without a computer

Hi everybody!

I'm sure you've missed me and have been wondering where I've been?! lol

Well, the name of this short post might give you a clue.

I zapped my computer and it's been in the 'shop' since Thursday afternoon. One person said it was software, the next person said it was hardware. I am none the wiser, so am awaiting the final verdict. By sheer luck, whaiāipo remembered we had an old computer. It's been laying dormant for YEARS, but it still goes. I dragged it out and connected it all up and shock, error, it actually works! In saying that, it doesn't function with any degree of guarantee. Although it's Windows XP, I simply cannot upgrade ANY programmes on here whatsoever. I've tried with no joy I'm afraid. So, I have decided to just use the basics in order to update the school blog if nothing else. My digital camera isn't loaded to this machine so, like the previous few posts, I'm afraid you'll be stuck listening to my voice ...

Short and sweet post just to give an explanation today. Will return tomorrow with a post of school.


Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Monday, 22 September 2008

Getting on with things

Physical Exercise

Our day commenced with trampoline exercise between 9 and 9.30am while mum took the littlies for our morning hīkoi (walk). Thanks to whaiāipo bringing the trampoline out of the shed yesterday it is now outside for the spring/summer seasons. The plan was to bring it out a few weekends ago but the weather was still trying to decide if it wanted to improve, lol. Just as well it was outside today because we had an aboslute scorcher of a day (well, for this neck of the woods it was certainly hot for early spring! 18 degrees celcius according to the weatherman this evening ... but I'm sure it was hotter than that!) Had the trampoline remained in the shed the kids wouldn't have been able to utilise it in the afternoon for lack of air!! Well, that's a tad incorrect. I can easily open the three roller doors but I choose not to share the shed contents with all and sundry passing by.

With our lungs filled with fresh air and our minds eager to get into some learning ...

Math-U-See

Tama 1 continued with his tests today. Unit III: Lessons 18-24 Pages 1 and 2 followed by Test 25. He's definitely finding his groove again in this subject. He produced great work with just the most minor of errors. [If he's able to recognise his error when I point out he needs to check one, then I completely disregard the error - test or not. Rebuilding his confidence having been away from it for a while is far more important, nē (isn't it)? Also as a means to learn to recheck work.]

Tamāhine 1 breezed through Lesson Practice 3C and 3D. As tempted as I was to ask her to do more, I chose to keep with our gentle approach.

It's funny that the kids can name the colours of the blocks so matter-of-factly. Today I was convinced tamāhine 1 had given me the incorrect colour description, but oops, my bad. Silly mummy! Why did I doubt her? tsk tsk. Fancy thinking I knew better, lol.

Reading

Tamāhine
1 continued with lessons 1.11 through to 1.13 during her Montessori computer time. She stumbled a few times with the word "this" but that's the thing about sight words, practice is all you can do to overcome the hurdle.

Reading/Astronomy

Tama 1 commenced (yay!) Exploring Creation with Astronomy today. He read the first four pages covering:
  • What is Astronomy?
  • Why Did God Create the Universe?
  • Calendar
  • God's Signs
We really enjoyed discussing many points from those four pages. We easily spent three-quarters of an hour on this lesson. [If the first four pages alone can generate great discussions, just imagine how much we will enjoy the entire book!!]

Early days yet to give a true opinion on whether this is/was the correct time to start tama 1 with Astronomy. Basically, I felt he was ready and so far, after today's effort, I'm happy with that decision... Ask me in a few weeks time, lol. No, I'm quite sure he's up to it all. Besides, he's not at public school so if he doesn't understand we can simply STOP and find a way to help it all click into place until he's ready to proceed again.


Handwriting/Language Arts

Tamāhine 1 practiced along with tama 1 something I havent' tried before. We used Lesson One in the Red book of Learning Language Arts Through Literature (LLATL). Although tamāhine 1 may not be ready for this particular book, it was really as an opportunity to practice her handwriting. I was absolutely blown away by her efforts. She beautifully presented:
One, two, buckle my shoe;
Three, four, open the door;

Mother Goose
I felt compelled to let her know it would be okay that she would take longer to write it than her older brother and not to be phased by that. Now, I don't know whether it's because the kids are in a one-classroom environment and are therefore able to adjust to others working on things more advanced as well as lower to their level, but she wasn't at all bothered to attempt something she knew her brother could do with more ease. Tamāhine 1 sat next to her brother, put her head down and just, well ... got on with it. So yes, it took her twice, thrice as long as her sibling, but I could have smothered her for her effort. Simply superb!

Poetry

Firstly we covered some previous poetry so as to remind the kids just how well they have done to date.

Then we practiced our new poem My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson (only the first verse again).

I think we will keep poetry assigned to earlier in the day as it just seems a better time to memorise poetry for us (okay, okay ... easier for me!!!! lol)

So, we had a full day with everyone just getting on with things.


Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Saturday, 20 September 2008

How we ended our week this week

Friday's schedule went a little like this

Mathematics (Math-U-See)


Tamāhine 1 enjoyed colouring her MUS Lesson Practice 3A and 3B this morning. I can recall Tama 1 didn't mind colouring in a few pages when we started Alpha, but then it became hōhā (tiresome). He wanted to get on with matching the correct blocks and I thought that was fine because at the time I knew he was further ahead with his maths. I have no regrets starting him on Alpha however, as it helps lay the foundations for the MUS concepts.

Tama 1 continued with our catch-up on the tests. [I just asked him if he could remember which test he started from. "I did four tests so I started on test 21."] Not even a pause to calculate it. Quick as a flash he was able to answer he started on Test 21. Excellent, that means our maths is coming back to us. Yay!

Handwriting

I like the way tamāhine 1 concentrates as she works on her handwriting. It was funny today, I forgot to mention to her that she would be writing a hyphen in the word yo-yo. Usually I point out punctuation and whether to use capitals etc. Today I forgot. She asked "why does the word have a minus?"

I recently changed our method of copywriting/handwriting practice for tama 1. I may be a little slower than others to make the change, but for no real reason I've only recently made the decision to write a paragraph and leave space for tama 1 to copy underneath in a complete paragraph as opposed to the old method of writing lines for him to copy under each line. He's made the transition very well and I'm pleased. I did try writing on the whiteboard some time ago but pulled back from that idea as I felt he wasn't ready just from watching his 'discomfort' (for want of a better word) trying to read the board then write in his book. He likes to write tidily and looking up at the board to then return his eyes to his book, he wasn't happy with his writing. Good on him I figure.

Reading

Tamāhine 1 practiced with her Montessori online lessons. We stick with 10-15 minutes so as not to discourage her if she gets stumped on anything. But she manages to negotiate her way through with good results.

As for Tama 1 he read Arnold Winkelried in his Fifty Famous Stories Retold. He enquired as to the meaning of 'slaves', 'scythe' - which I had absolutely no idea what that meant! I figured it had something to do with an implement and that was about it. The last sentence expressed that he did not die in vain. An interesting story to discuss with a 6.7 year old. Sometimes I may give a light explanation and other times I may give a more indepth explanation. "Some people aren't afraid to die for the country?" he asks me. Well, you know, I could just say yes, some people love their country so much they will protect their family at whatever cost....

Art

After lunch the children were allowed to choose anything to do. Tama 1 chose to draw a picture and tamāhine 1 chose to make cardboard binoculars. Here's a little pic ...

Te Reo Māori
I've not held what you would call lessons in Māori. Words are simply used in daily conversation. Well, today we decided to launch into a formal mish-mash, hodge-podge, completely make-it-up on-the-spot, random style learning of te reo Māori. I'm not sure how this will all pan out as yet, but we shall see, nē rā? (won't we?)

It leads me to a question ... is our son old enough to understand myths and legends? What's an appropriate age do you think?

Computer Time

Thanks to Leena for providing me with Internet4Classrooms. We spent the remainder of our afternoon trying whatever we felt like. I think we'll return and try using it as part of our lessons once I've navigated my way around better.

And then, it was play time!


Oh to be a kid again!

video
Tama 2 at
3 years and (almost) 10 months old

The children and I enjoyed as much of the late afternoon as possible. Joel came over and rode with them till around 5 o'clock. Whaiāipo arrived home and we all remained outdoors enjoying ourselves till 6 o'clock. The dinner menu for this evening? Toasted sandwiches!! Lazy eh? But after a great day it was nice to have something quick and easy.


Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Ten Reasons to be Happy this week

I'm happy because:
  1. We received our copy of Apologia Exploring Creation with Astronomy from LearnEx.
  2. We're getting our groove back with mathematics.
  3. The Lotus Mooncake brought us luck. We all went with whaiāipo to his appointment at the Hamilton Limb Centre today. With all of us there, I was prepared for the long haul, but as luck would have it whaiāipo was in and out within an hour!!! Yahoo!!! So that was the first bit of luck. The second lucky instance was on our return from Hamilton. We were less than 4kms from home when we came across a Police checkpoint. The three vehicles in front of us were all waved over to the side of the road but we got the wave to go through. Phew! I was so pleased because we were all very tired of sitting in the car, hungry and just wanting to get home.
  4. I was given this great website! It's all free! so thank you very much Leena for sharing.
  5. We've had more fine weather than wet this week so as a family we have thoroughly enjoyed a lot more outdoor activity.
  6. I have given away to help others. Definitely a feeling of great satisfaction.
  7. All our bills have been paid (yes, before the 20th of the month!) Jump for joy.
  8. I didn't take the bait to join a yahoo group having received an email invitation to do so. Well, I'm pretty sure it's not kosha ... TheIncredibleFreebies. Anyone heard of it? My apologies if it's real, but my instinct tells me otherwise.
  9. Whaiāipo hasn't bought anything on TradeMe for at least a month!! It's been really difficult to keep him from placing auctions on the Watchlist, but at least I've minimised his time spent on the site.
  10. We've had a lot of social interaction this week and the kids have behaved very nicely. Very nicely indeed. Thank you kids.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

What did we do in class this Wednesday?

School commenced promptly at 8.30 this morning. For us that's very early! Have we started this early before? Once or twice, but as a general rule school commences later as I have a few morning chores I like to achieve first, eg check emails, pop on a load of laundry, do the breakfast dishes, wipe down surfaces and two of the most important things of all - make sure there's a clear kitchen workbench and no toys left lying around.

Once we've got the basics organised, we commence lessons. This morning we had everything checked off pretty much so I decided to have a quick look at Time4Learning with Tama 1. I would love to find a website which - when converted into New Zealand dollars - is affordable for us. I can't afford the $US19.95 per month. Today's exchange rate puts that figure at $NZ30.31 per month!!! That's over $300 per annum - for only one child! Yikes!!!!

So, the three choices are:
  1. use the 14-day free trial and say thank you very much at the end of it;
  2. keep searching for something else online that is either free or of better value in NZD;
  3. pay the monthly subscription (hmm, I don't think so!! I will need to win Lotto to do that).
And why am I not using Reading Eggs with him? Quite simply - he's well passed the present levels offered. However, he looks on while his younger siblings use the computer and it's quite obvious he'd like to have a go too. So, I'd like to find him something that covers a multitude of subjects, is user-friendly, cheap (if not free) and is too good to resist. There's a list of choices available and it's just a matter of finding the 'right' one.

MUS lessons went well. Tamāhine 1 covered Systematic Review 2D, 2E and 2F while Tama 1 worked with the Test Booklet covering well-overdue tests (yes, I'd completely forgotten these things!) Unit Test II: Lessons 1-1 Page 1, Page 2, Tests 18-20. They both achieved exceptional results.

Tama 1 read from Fifty Famous Stories Retold. Today it was "The Story of William Tell". Words he asked explanations for were "tyrant", "rebel" and what did the phrase "carry true" mean. Then there's that all-time favourite question about words having the same spelling yet mean different things. In today's reading we had "rebel" and "bow".

Tamāhine 1
produced lovely handwriting. Today we used words from the Montessori reading, eg "Am I a tan cat?", "Can a cat sit in a pan?" etc. Tama 1 skipped the handwriting today because we had visitors, but we managed to start a new poem from The Harp and Laurel Wreath. My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson. It's rather long - four verses in fact. We will commit the first verse only to memory today, which reads as follows:

I have a little shadow, that goes in and out with me.
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.

Tamāhine 1 covered Book 1 Lessons 8 and 9 Montessori website for her reading with excellent effort (unsupervised).

Before I finish today's post, I'll share this little pic. Whaiāipo came home with Lotus Moon Cake which he received from a regular client at work today. Apparently you're meant to eat it on the 15th of September to bring you good luck. Oh well, we are only a few days over and according to Dr Kin we should still receive good luck. Awesome, I'll try anything once.

I can't describe the flavour. Neither can I confirm nor deny if I like it. It's different, but it's okay. For an inky dinky cake, it's not too bad. Considering I've never heard of it before, I would probably say I'd try it again.

So, there you have our day. We've all enjoyed ourselves and I thank the kids for being so keen and attentive with their work.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Another good day

Tamāhine 1 is working on one or two MUS Alpha pages per day.

Over the past month we had a lapse in maths (for one reason or another) so I thought it best to gradually return to things, especially seeing as she's gone from Primer to Alpha. She's not quite five and a half but I think her numerals are very well written.

We try to use Decimal Street and blocks when tamāhine 2 is asleep, but one can never bank on what time that might be, lol.

At the moment tamāhine 1 seems to interpret numbers in the hundreds by using Decimal Street better than looking at it on paper. Without assuming this is due to the break we had away from maths, I couldn't be certain, but it's just an interesting mental note. For example the book may read "build and say 451". When looking at the figure in the book tamāhine 1 will say 4, 5, 1 but once she corresponds the numbers on Decimal Street she'll say 'four hundred and fifty one'. Hmm, interesting.

Tamāhine 1
progressed a little further with her 10 minutes Montessori online reading practice today. The idea is that she uses this while I work with Tama 1 at the table. Usually that indicates we are doing History narration. I prefer not to have them both reading at the same time because of the likely interruptions when one gets stuck. At least when I'm narrating I can ask Tama 1 to continue by reading from a section and copy a passage while I help his sister. Interrupting their flow when reading is frustrating for them (as well as myself) and their recall of what they have read isn't as sharp.

We spent a good length of time outside again today. Identifying birds was part of that exercise. Over the past two days we've discovered a new bird around here, but I'm not sure which of the following two birds it is:

I am completely guessing it's the latter which is a Goldfinch.

The first bird is a Redpoll. Their photos can be found at the Landcare Research website.

I think it's the Goldfinch because I can remember it had red around its face, similar to this wee chap's face, I remember he seemed colourful, but am unsure as to the exact colours. As I've only seen the bird twice, I haven't had more than a glance. Hopefully he will return more often so we can update his/her identity.

Well, seeing as we're in the mood for talking about birds, here's a very common manuhiri (visitor)

The colours of the Starling I liken to that of the New Zealand pāua. When caught in the right light you see lots of colours on the Starling.

As an aside, pāua was traditionally used by Māori to illuminate the eyes of their whakairo (carving) and artwork. The reddish-coloured shell were most prized for depicting the flashing red eyes of the warrior.

I've always thought to myself that the Starling looks like a warrior perhaps because like I mentioned above I've likened their colouring to that of the pāua. They look like strong, watchful birds don't you think?

Well, the kids are exhausted and have struggled to eat their kai (meal) tonight. Tama 2 fell asleep before 7 o'clock so he's off to bed without having his meal. After their physically-active afternoon, especially with our neighbour's son playing with them, we have one very tired household this evening.

Tamāhine 2 has just climbed up on my knee and is drifting off to sleep. As much as I'd like to natter here with a coffee for a wee bit longer, I shall take the signal from my baby girl that it's time to say goodnight.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Monday, 15 September 2008

It's All a bit of a Balancing Act isn't it?

Today really was a beautifully sunny day. So beautiful in fact we chose to make the most of the outdoors. I lost count of how often the children rode, ran and walked around the track, but they did it with such great enthusiasm , it really wasn't hard to convince mum today was a good day to be outside for exercise.

This afternoon I watched them ride down their "hill" and admired their braking skills and realised it was a moment to appreciate because not only are they braking, but they are having to balance themselves on their bikes on a declining slope. I grabbed the camera and here are just a few of their attempts.

video

Tama 2 is still three years old and I admire his determination to keep trying until he can do what his older siblings can do.

video

video

Of course, I missed some very excellent riding when I watched initially. By the time mum thought to capture it on film, the kids were getting tuckered out but willingly continued so mum could get these glimpses for y'all.

The car in the background is our bits 'n' bobs car. We've borrowed parts from it to fix our family vehicle (as you do!). Today the kids spent a very large portion of their day playing in it. Oh to be a kid again!

The adventuresome play obviously has inspired Tama 1 because now he's sat himself down to write a story. When I asked him what it was called, he said "The Bravest Knight in the World." I can hardly wait to read what he comes up with!! The rest of the children are now relaxing, lying on the couches. Well, I would hope that means an early night for us all then? No, probably not!lol.


Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Call it Spring Silliness

How did I spend my Sunday morning?

Try cleaning my clothes pegs!!

I've tried to 'pretty' the scene by drying the pegs with a pretty pink orchid!!!

... Did I succeed? ...

lol

Okay, okay, so cleaning my clothes pegs can hardly be classed as homeschooling, and it almost felt like madness to spend 15-20 minutes scrubbing pegs on a beautifully sunny Sunday morning.

Why am I having to scrub them? ...

What?!!? ...

You mean you don't scrub your pegs?! Why ever not?! lol

Today's laborious task was simply out of necessity rather than choice. L-O-N-G story, suffice it to say, I would have to go out and purchase new pegs if I didn't!!!!! ... We'll leave it at that shall we?! hee hee

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Saturday, 13 September 2008

How do you buy your milk?

For a little bit of silliness I thought I'd pop a photo in of our milk.
Well, you just never know!
It might even spark a little conversation about a daily consumable in your household!!
A girlfriend of mine and I would quite often let each other know where to buy the cheapest "bladder" of milk. They come in 1 litre plastic bags and are the cheapest way to purchase the milk more often than not. We usually buy 2 litre bottles (because they fit in the side panels of the fridge the best) then just wash them out and reuse, popping in the milk from the bladder. We usually buy ours from our local butcher, but typically this cheap option is very popular so you have to be in quick before everybody else snaps them up!

The range of milk is more confusing than ever these days. We stick to the standard blue top (again, because of price factor). You have the mega, trim, super trim (yuck! Sorry, but it's just watered down to the point where I think you're better off going without milk), calci-trim... the list goes on ... and on ... and on!!

Actually if you fancy a little side-trip, head over to the Anchor products to give you just one brand's idea of the variety available in New Zealand. While you're there you may like to check out the Kids Corner where it takes you on a little factory tour as well as provides detailed information on milk and even some of the commercials we have on telly.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Friday, 12 September 2008

Out-of-kilter

A friend arrived just after 6 o'clock this morning having dropped her mother off at the Rotorua Airport. As we live within close proximity to the airport, we were a convenient place to come to for breakfast and catch up with each other. Our kids are relatively similar in age and it was no bother to have them stay till after lunch. Time just flew with 8 kids in the house.

I may have been a little frazzled with my children's behaviour a couple of times. Tamāhine 2 especially tried my patience as she wanted to get outside and 'performed' until I was able to put tama 3 to bed and then have hands free to deal with her demands. My friend made the comment that I wasn't my usual with the kids. I was a little taken aback albeit for just a few seconds. (I was my normal grumpy self I thought, lol.)

For me, my mornings are like learning to juggle - having to keep my eyes on too many things and occasionally letting one of them drop, eg my guard. Until I have tama 3 settled and down for his morning nap, I can be easily frazzled when things especially are thrown out-of-kilter.

Perhaps you can relate to what I'm saying, or perhaps you can't. Either way, I know my mornings, my methods, my madness. But I thank my friend for passing the comment because it served as a reminder to try a little harder.


Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Attempting to organise myself more

Early morning is the trickiest time of the day for me because I'm trying to get on with a few household chores, check emails, feed the troops as well as start the children with school work before it's suddenly lunch time, lol. Today was no exception. Quite often my attempts can backfire but luckily today I managed to achieve better results than usual.

Firstly I managed to find something for tama 1 to try his hand at on the computer while tamāhine 1 did her maths in the kitchen as I did the dishes. With a little creative thought I managed to find a way for tamāhine 1 to use Decimal Street without tamāhine 2 gaining access to the blocks. Somehow I negotiated with tamāhine 2 to entertain herself without disturbing her big sister. As for tama 2, he was determined to remain by his big brother's side to see what he was up to. It didn't matter that it was well and truly over his little head. He observed without being a distraction so that certainly helped to have the ship run smoothly for one morning at least. Tama 3 was an absolute angel. He happily played and crawled about being entertained by all the activity around him.

The rotation we tried today worked very well and I really am hopeful we can have a few more successful days like this. Luckily for me, the phone didn't ring during kura (school) time because I'm quite sure things would have been a whole lot different had it rung, lol.

Overall it was a good day's mahi (work) which is probably a good way to lead us into the ...

Ten Reasons to be Happy Thursday
  1. Our baby girl turned two years old this week and just seeing her beaming smile is enough to make me happy each day.
  2. I am happy because I have decided to put in the extra effort this weekend to catch up on my own studies. The thought of pulling out this semester is not a welcomed thought.
  3. I am happy because I have made a start on sorting through the children's clothing and the mountain of paperwork and books.
  4. I am happy because it is lighter for longer in the afternoons. It's always nice to welcome whaiāipo home in the daylight - it just makes the day seem more pleasant somehow?!
  5. I am happy because we made it through winter and the start of spring now without having to "purchase" any firewood. As luck would have it, whaiāipo was given the nod to bring free wood home from another job site today. Yeah!
  6. I am happy because I am comfortable knowing my weight has plateaued this week even though I continue to ride my exercycle for 10kms per day in 30 minutes.
  7. I am happy because I've been in contact with friends I haven't spoken to in years. There was a great deal to talk about, but I look forward to catching up more often now.
  8. I am happy my father is a retired police officer. Today the 28th New Zealand Police Officer was killed in the line of duty in South Auckland. I am VERY happy firearms weren't so prevalent during my father's career.
  9. I am happy because I have been able to sneak downstairs after everyone has fallen asleep to do some tidying up at night without tama 3 (especially) being disturbed.
  10. I am happy because we have managed to recycle quite a lot of what we cleared out during the start of our "cleaning the shed" project last weekend. With a bit of luck the weather will be kind to us again this weekend so we can achieve even more!

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Did you know there's a homeschooling search engine?

Well, I didn't! And just in case anyone else didn't but may be interested - especially if you're wishing to contribute in whatever capacity you can - then head over to Know Homeschooling. I think this is a very useful tool and hopefully it develops very quickly amongst homeschooling communities. Unfortunately, I haven't the foggiest idea how I got to it I'm afraid. Most likely it was from reading a group message, but without making excuses, I skipped through the posts without paying too much attention to which group I was reading because we were celebrating tamāhine 2's birthday.

I haven't spent too much time there today, but while I was there, I did at least click on the free reading area and it takes you to two further areas then yowza you're suddenly inundated with a screed of sites. Some of them you'll know, but hopefully you'll find some new ones like me.

Yesterday I indicated school would be pushed out to Thursday most likely, and yes indeed, today was a flexible style of schooling. The kids used their magnets and whiteboard markers to spell words on the whiteboard as they like to do. Tama 1 wrote the odd sentence for tamāhine1 for her to practice reading. Later in the afternoon I asked Tama 1 to read from a story book for something different and that was about the extent of school-orientated things for the day.

May I please just add this little story. Tama 2 thrills me to bits at the moment. He's looking at words and saying the letters. With his delayed verbal communication, a lot of the letters you have to be looking at them to understand he's saying the letter, but it really is encouraging that he is showing signs of learning. You can see the excitement written over his face when we are reading. So with that, I'm not going to discourage his attempts to barge in when his sister is attempting to sound out words now am I!!!

Thanks ... I just had to share my warm fuzzy moment!!! lol

For a good chunk of my day I tried "sorting" through stuff. Actually, being that time of year I guess "spring cleaning" would be the phrase to use. This morning I worked on the paperwork, books and folders which are piling up around my workstation. I even updated My Library which felt very satisfying.

Then this afternoon the children played upstairs with the babies for me while I tried to sort through clothing. Wow! Do I regret starting that one?!! It's going to take me a few more days to get any of this under control!!! I look at the newborn clothes and my heart says not to give them away yet. If I give them away, I'm bound to get pregnant. We still want more children, but maybe we're thinking about 'wanting' more instead of just relaxing and let things happen when they happen.

Oh, there was one other thing I did today (school-wise) and that was to make a very "draft" draft of a planner/timetable/schedule. I've not tried to stick to a particular timetable before, but now that tamāhine 1 is becoming more involved with schooling, I thought it might help all of us if we attempt a timetable. (I'm sure I'll be able to work a flexible enough style for my spur-of-the-moment changes though, lol.)


Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Not a timetable as such but here's part of our day

It's just past 7.50pm and whaiāipo has arrived home with Tama 1. Whaiāipo had a physio appointment this evening so I asked if Tama 1 could pop along with him as both a learning exercise and as time together for each other.

Normally we're in bed by this time of the night, but everybody seems to have found their second wind. Hmm, it appears we may have a late night so I figured I'd pop myself down to record a little of today.

A good chunk of the day was taken up with the children making banners and cards for their baby sister who turns two tomorrow. They enjoy making these sorts of things and I have to say, I am truly pleased with the banner made by Tama 1. He is developing artistically with no formal method - just through play and enjoyment of drawing. Funnily enough, as I mention the art side of things, whaiāipo is drawing with the two older kids right now!

Tamāhine 1 and Tama 2 used the Montessori reading website today. Whether I wanted Tama 2 to use it or not wasn't up to me, lol. He insisted on getting on the computer. As tamāhine 1 worked on her reading, her little brother stood there chiming in - pointing at the correct letters. The only thing he can't do is read the sentences. To a large extent I have to give credit to Reading Eggs for engaging his attention. I don't want to give credit entirely to the website though because he was already showing signs of knowing letters weeks prior to being introduced to the Australian online reading programme. However, I am really pleased we utilised the programme during its trial period because his language is steadily improving which is a really big deal for us.

Tama 1 read about Egyptian Pyramids in SOTW for our History session today. We held lengthy discussions as he read. So lenghty in fact that we ran out of time to do any written work from it. That's okay, there's always tomorrow. Oops, correction - make that Thursday. More than likely our birthday activities for Tamāhine 2 will push most lessons out to further in the week.

We covered handwriting and I was pleased to see Tama 1 wrote tidier than his mother today. I was in a rush to prepare his work while Tama 3 was sleeping so that I could ride my exercycle early, leading to my untidy handwriting!!! In hindsight I should have ridden for an hour to make up for tomorrow. No doubt I'll eat too much and take the lazy option of no exercise using the birthday as an excuse, lol.

Maths was another 'gentle' session. My method worked quite nicely this morning - have Tama 1 work on maths while Tamāhine 1 used the computer reading programme.

I had hoped to receive a couple of packages in the mail today, but alas, we did not. One of them being Jeannie Fullbright's Exploring Creation with Astronomy. I can't remember if I've mentioned this in the past, so forgive me if I'm repeating myself here, but from the outset I knew I wanted to use specific material for certain subjects. In particular History, Science and Mathematics. Whether we introduce Science in a more formal fashion now as opposed to later I can't be too sure. My decision was to just buy the book to familiarise myself and take it from there. Needless to say, I'm anxiously awaiting its arrival ... so maybe it'll arrive in tomorrow's post? Fingers crossed.

Well, it's now heading towards 9.00 pm and the others have trundled upstairs. Whaiāipo is in the kitchen making me a coffee before he 'retires' for the evening. So, I shall leave the post here so that I may enjoy my cuppa and grab myself a book to read in bed.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Monday, 8 September 2008

He pātai pai tēnā .... That's a good question

With the start of a new week, I'm trying to source some material for tamāhine 1 now that the trial period for Reading Eggs is pretty much done and dusted. So what are we going to use?

He pātai pai tēnā.
That’s a good question.

Well, I spent (but a few minutes) this morning and found two free phonics worksheets websites. There are truckloads available and it's always fun mixing resources. When you're on a tight budget it's really helpful to use whatever avenues you can to keep the children engaged with their learning. It was while I was surfing that I remembered the Montessori website. Haven't used that one for ages. That's all thanks to losing my bookmarks!!! Sometimes computers can drive one balmy can't they? If you don't record the bookmarks (or favourites) somewhere, then you're totally behind the 8 ball when your machine decides to zap everything, lol. I could always do back-ups I know, but tsk tsk, I'm too lazy.

Here's an interesting observation I've made about our eldest daughter. It would appear tamāhine 1 prefers to read "coloured" material, ie with coloured pictures and/or the word being emphasised. Where tama 1 did the bulk of his learning to read from with black-only print, tamāhine1 enjoys/prefers reading coloured print more often than not. So, in order to satisfy her preference (and to save me buying expensive coloured ink cartridges, lol) I think I've managed to get around the situation by having her sit at the computer screen to read. That's not to say we will do it this way all the time, but if it helps her to enjoy reading then so be it.

I'm looking forward to getting into mathematics properly again. With tamāhine1 working on Alpha MUS now like tama 1 I've had to rethink our lesson times. What I mean to say is, rather than getting them to work on maths at the same time, I will try having one working on maths and the other doing something else. Tama 1 isn't too keen to hear his sister throw out a correct answer quickly when I ask her. I can just about see his little mind ticking over thinking "oh what? I haven't figured that out yet."

So, until we get the ruffles ironed out a little better with both of them working on maths at the same time; or until tama 1 finishes Alpha (which is only days away! -> Eek!) we shall try this new approach.

Wow, I just have to say wow!

Question: Is it a good idea to look at other school blogs?

Answer: Yes and no.

Yes - because they are so inspiring and they can point you to some fantastic websites, books etc. Plus they tell you what works and what doesn't work.

No - because you look at your own blog and think "Blimey, my blog is boring! I've hardly any links, I don't have a good timetable/planner to share or anything ....."

However, I shall persevere with my little blog. I just have to remind myself I really only started the blog as a means to record our progress for ourselves. But it's the same old story in life ... hard not to compare oneself to others huh?! (slap on wrist! gotta stop doing that!!!!)

Moral of the Story: Blogs are addictive so either don't read other blogs, or better yet, feel happy with your own efforts.

Well, it may be Spring but goodness me, the heaven's surely opened up today. We have had some MAJOR rainfall (this afternoon especially). I was chatting on IM to one of my brothers tonight and he mentioned something like 20mls an hour ... and we have more rain expected over the next few days! Oh dear, not a good sign. I've made sure the pigs are sheltered alright, but as for the goats? The best I can do is get them to higher ground.

Goodness me, we had such awesome weather on the weekend. What a contrast. But that's typical Kiwi weather for you ...

Speaking of IM. I will have to make a confession here. I asked Tama 1 to send a reply to my brother the other week. Since then my brothers have enjoyed conversing via IM to him. I'm not sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing for Tama 1 to use IM yet. So long as it's only to their uncles I think it's okay. I could never say I was chatting to someone in Auckland, Australia and Kuwait all at once!!! Gosh, I don't even remember how old I was to be allowed to answer the telephone!!! hee hee


Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Not Just Time But Quality Time

Goodness me, how this week is really flying by!

School is progressing very nicely. We're making the best possible use of Reading Eggs before the trial period ends on Sunday. Tamāhine 1 and Tama 2 have absolutely loved this reading programme and I will seriously be left with the question of whether to subscribe or not!!! As for Tama 1? Well, he is working diligently on his own reading and writing. Oh, I just remembered how I've giggled to myself this week and wanted to share. Quite often you'll hear me spelling out words; you may be familiar with the scenario? When you don't want certain ears to hear what you're talking about, you'll spell certain words instead, (eg. c-h-o-c-o-l-a-t-e) Well, Tama 1 spelt a number of words/phrases this week and on a couple of occasions he had his father asking "what?" (because he didn't know the word being spelt, lol. Whaiāipo would make out he didn't hear it of course to save face!!!! and although Maree knew better, she said nothing.)

Overall we have tried to balance subjects as best as we can, and I think we achieved good results.

Outdoor activities have certainly been the predominate influence this week and as I mentioned to the children this morning, I think it's time to bring the trampoline out of the shed again as the weather is definitely improving.

Well, it's Thursday and I'm keen to keep up with my 10 Reasons to be Happy. Can I just say at the outset, that the first on my list today is a tad long due to the need to explain what I mean. So, let's get started:
  1. I had cause to remind myself this morning how wonderful it is that whaiāipo is now able to give proper quality time to the children. I was listening to an interview about parenting and suddenly I was deep in thought. Missing the rest of the interview, I was too busy feeling happy within myself because the children finally have an attentive, focused and enjoyable father. When I say focused, I mean "I am giving you my absolute 100% full attention ... I'm not looking at you, nodding at you, without really listening to you ... I'm not worried about clients, other places (I think) I should be, or worried where I'm about to get the next dollar from." In all fairness, I must emphasise whaiāipo has always been a devoted father, but stress can over-ride any possible attempt of true quality time. He has always given "time" but quite often I would be upset it wasn't "quality time". Now, I can most joyfully say he gives us quality time.
  2. Through the generosity of family and friends, we have been given much needed clothing and household effects. My heart is filled with aroha and gratitude to everyone. I simply cannot say thank you enough in words.
  3. I have continued to ride 10kms in 30 minutes per day on my exercycle. Okay, okay, I can probably cheat and mention this one every week, but I still think it's valid because not only am I getting some exercise into my day, but I'm losing a few kilos.
  4. I am happy because for the first time in a very long time, I had "alone" time. I had nearly two full hours with complete silence around me. Absolute heaven!!
  5. I am happy because the three older children have really taken ownership of making the toast for breakfast in the morning. While whaiāipo and I get on with other morning (for want of a better word) duties, they are helping out by making the toast. We hadn't asked them to start doing this, so it is really appreciated that they want to help in the mornings.
  6. On the weekend, a cousin of mine returned our double-buggy which I lent him approximately ten months ago. I wasn't too concerned about when I got it back, but this afternoon I took the babies out for a walk. The older three rode their pushbikes and after three trips around the circuit, we all came inside having really enjoyed ourselves. What a difference it makes not having to stop and start waiting for little legs to catch up. Tama 3 gleefully smiled having a companion in the next seat. Tamāhine 2 pointed at things which she otherwise isn't able to notice when she's trying to concentrate on walking!
  7. I have managed to get dinner on the table by six o'clock each night so far. (For me, that's just about unbelievable, lol).
  8. (Hopefully I'm not jumping the gun on this one.) I'm fairly certain we've saved up enough money to pay for the remaining fence railings on the northern side of our property. I have to admit that although we've never had fences until now, it's actually quite nice having our property "defined" ... plus I enjoy looking at the birds perched atop. Whaiāipo has a busy weekend ahead of him, lol.
  9. I am happy because a neighbour's son has returned to New Zealand to live with his dad, so now the children have another friend to socialise with.
  10. I am happy because we do not sit inside between set hours to do school work.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Wow, 100 posts - how'd that happen so quickly?

Courtesy Rotorua Review, 3 September 2008

I have chosen to use today's newspaper cutout because not only do I think the Kiwi looks really cute in the caretaker's hands but it also helped to emphasise to the children how tiny it really is.

Although I planned to mention Rainbow Springs a little more in depth next week, I couldn't resist sharing a little something 'special' today. The Kiwi Encounter is not only popular with tourists but also locals alike and when something special like this event occurs, one cannot help but feel pleased that our endangered Kiwi is strengthening its numbers albeit by one.

Kiwi are nocturnal, flightless and our national symbol. Where once they could fly, their wings over time became so small because until the introduction of pigs, stoats, cats and other predators, the Kiwi had no cause to flee from danger and therefore evolved to the bird we have today.

With the establishment of predator-free islands and other sanctuaries such as Rainbow Springs, the Kiwi - along with other endangered species - will hopefully rebuild their numbers to a point where they will no longer be in fear of extinction. One such island is Mokoia Island which is the beautiful island just off-shore from where we live.

Mokoia Island has another significant meaning for me because it represents the Maori love story of Hinemoa and Tutanekai. But I shall share that with you another day...

Today's post marks the 100th publishing on our school blog. It serves as a reminder that we have been homeschooling for quite some time now and as such I am contemplating where we are heading with school for the remainder of the year. One thing I will remain committed to is this blog. If anything, I will endeavour to record our progress either daily or bi-weekly because I have learned that I don't remember how we covered some aspects already! In other words ... make use of the school blog Maree!! (or perhaps it just means my recording is appalling, lol.)


Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Discovery Channel - Anatomy of a Mummy

Wow!! I just had to pop this post through tonight. For the past three-quarters of an hour I have sat here with Tama 1 viewing a clip about Egypt on the Discovery Channel. I was browsing around when I stumbled upon this fantastic resource.

Because Tama 1 and I are covering Egypt in The Story of the World Volume 1, this surprising find is too good not to pass on to all. I'm quite sure it will be of use to anyone studying Egypt. You get to look around a tomb, a chapel and even run through a quiz on the mummy (which I'm happy to say I got 10 out of 10 correct!!! So I'm obviously learning something, huh? lol)

Enjoy


Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Opportunities too few and far between ...

Here's the full title for today's post:

"Opportunities too few and far between ...
and when they present themselves, you don't know what to do!"

Humour me for a few minutes, because this probably isn't a problem for many others, but for me, this is a "now what do I do?" kind of moment.

This morning I gathered some work for the children, bits of stationery, some fruit and water for their journey. Tama 1, Tamaahine 1 and Tama 2 were going with whaiaaipo to Kirikiriroa (Hamilton). Whaiaaipo had an appointment at the Waikato Hospital Limb Centre. Although they hold monthly Regional Clinics at the Orthotic Department at Queen Elizabeth Hospital here in Rotorua, whaiaaipo required work on his prosthetics which can't be dealt with at the regional clinic.

Whaiaaipo's appointment can be a tediously long, drawn-out process and today is only one appointment of at least another two or three over the next few months. As such, I opted not to go this time round because it's a three hour round trip, and depending how long you have to wait, it can be either a quick one hour appointment or possibily become a long, drawn out 5 hour excursion. With littlies, that can be just too much sometimes. Although we can leave the Centre and go for a drive, whaiaaipo will require borrowing crutches should we decide to get out and go for walk anywhere. Basically, what I'm saying is, it's more hassle than it's worth so we stick to the trusted old plan ... get up to the Limb Centre as early as possible so with a bit of luck the clinic isn't busy and whaiaaipo is seen to first.

Okay, so that's the long, drawn-out process of the visit. However, my post isn't meant to be about that, it's actually about Maree feeling lost ... I'm at home with our 9 month old tama and nearly 2 year old tamaahine. Tama is asleep and tamaahine has happily amused herself for the past few hours. She's just about nodding off to sleep herself, so shortly I'll be in a quiet house. What should I do? Make a major attack on the household chores? Ride my exercycle? Do some study? Get dinner ready? Carry on clearing out the shed? Oh my goodness, I don't know what to do. I'm so used to having to get on with things with the children around, I really don't know what I'm wanting to do first! Well, whatever it is I decide, I better hurry up and make the most of this 'alone' time instead of sitting on here asking cyberspace what I should make of this peace and quiet ....

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Monday, 1 September 2008

A good way to kick off Spring


There's loads of activities planned during the upcoming Conservation Week. I'm sure there'll be something to entice more Kiwis to get out there and enjoy themselves, help the environment and learn more about the Conservation Department's role in their region. Click here to find out what's happening in the Bay of Plenty area.

... Now then, which activities will we choose? ...


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ka kite ano