Tuesday, 28 October 2008

One down in school again today

Here's a glimpse at Tama 1's schedule:

We are down one student again today. Tamāhine 1 has been away since Friday afternoon with her Nana Nancy in Tauranga. This is the longest whaiāipo and I have ever been without one of the kids. We both became anxious by Sunday and yesterday, well, I couldn't keep myself occupied enough. I wanted her home. Sure glad to have her back with us now. I really do feel better when I have them all around me. Whaiāipo certainly missed his wee girl. Nothing beats that father and daughter bond does it?

Yesterday was probably twice as hard to get through because it was a public holiday (ie Labour Day) so we were all home, except for our big girl.
FYI ... Labour Day commemorates the struggle for an eight-hour working day. New Zealand workers were among the first in the world to claim this right when, in 1840, the carpenter Samuel Parnell won an eight-hour day in Wellington. Labour Day was first celebrated in New Zealand on 28 October 1890, when several thousand trade union members and supporters attended parades in the main centres. Government employees were given the day off to attend the parades.
That's the last public holiday now until Christmas here in New Zealand, and as much as I'd like to rabbit on about how this is the second Labour Day that whaiāipo has enjoyed since leaving self-employment, I shan't. I simply savoured the moment yesterday. It was glorious to have him home and the weather couldn't have been more perfect either. Just wish our baby girl was here to enjoy it with us. Hei aha, she had her own adventures to enjoy which was great.

So anyway, back to mahi kura:

Tama 1 commenced with his mathematics. We accomplished 36 equations and he only got ONE incorrect. Simple error, so I'm very happy with his work this morning.

As the schedule shows we covered some earth science and social studies. We had fun talking about bartering and how we could relate it to real-life examples of dad bartering with Joe Bloggs for the carpet we will put upstairs (which, um, has yet to make it upstairs!!!! hee hee) and also bartering dad's plumbing services with the neighbours for firewood.

After lunch we read. We went to ICDL and he read Axle the Freeway Cat. Twenty-nine pages with great illustrations. We had an interesting conversation about freeways, motorways, highways etc. "What's an overpass?" and "What's an underpass?"

"That car's going the wrong way. The sign says EXIT the other way." From this we discussed how we drive on the left-hand side of the road with our steering wheels on the right-hand side of the vehicle whilst in the USA they drive on the right-hand side with steering wheels on the left-hand side.

Tama 1 also asked what the radiator was, so of course, we toddled outside and had a look. Had he been at school I'm sure this would have been a missed opportunity, ie to pop out and have a look at the different parts of the engine. I'd imagine that by the time he would arrive home from school there would be a very definite chance he'd have forgotten the word radiator and therefore I wouldn't have been able to point it out. Ah, I'm glad I had this story today. It provided a much-needed reminder why I'm homeschooling.

We again had one of those occasions where I would have been quite happy to have read a couple of books, but because the material in the first book generated such diverse and lengthy conversation, I prefer to let the conversation run so that we cover as many questions and answers as possible.

Right on schedule (3 o'clock), nana was here with tamāhine 1. As planned, we had our main schoolwork completed so we took a well-earned break for an hour to catch up with tamāhine 1, Nana Nancy and Nana's dearest friend, Maureen. They left at 4.00pm as they had a dinner to get to tonight so the kids and I went for our hīkoi. I grabbed the opportunity to review colours and greetings in Māori and anything else I spontaneously threw into the mix.

Then the kids were left to it on their trampoline and bikes. Whaiāipo arrived home around 5.30pm and was immediately bombarded by his girl telling him all about her adventures.

A-a-a-h-h ...

I am so glad to have my whānau together again!

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

PS Apologies if post sounds rushed. The pēpi (baby) is crying upstairs so I shall simply press publish in the hopes that it reads okay. Priority has to be the pēpi nē rā?

Friday, 24 October 2008

A quick share in-between posts

I received this link from the Freecycle group. Recycling at its best wouldn't you say?

It's a very satisfying feeling when you manage to recycle things. I wonder how long it took the monk to accomplish? I wonder whose idea it was? Very interesting nonetheless. He must be quite proud.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Lots of good progress


We got underway
really early this morning. By 8 o'clock:
  • Tama 1 had completed a spelling quiz getting 28 out of 30.
  • Tamāhine 1 had read Oggy and the Dinosaur by Damian Harvey and Francois Hall (73 words).
MathematicsTama 1
Mathematics - 28 out of 30.
Also covered
Whole Numbers to 100 - 28 out of 28
Comparing and Ordering - 19 out of 19
Equivalent Forms - 28 out of 28

Tamāhine 1
Continued with MUS. Without using the blocks (again) she managed Systematic Review 11C and 11D. Tamāhine 1 read the questions beautifully. Solving the unknown is improving. I was very pleased with her understanding today. Tamāhine 1 didn't really require much help so I'm confident she will have it down-pat soon enough.
Tamāhine 1
Shoo! by Michael Rosen & Jonathan Langley (336 words approximately)
Honey Bees by Colleen Sexton - read to Nana. I forgot to count how many words !!! Possibly because I knew we had to get the books back to the library,
HandwritingTamāhine 1

I couldn't get the scanner to darken tamāhine 1's pencil writing so I've tried photographing it instead. We have no more LWB (Learn to Write) Exercise Books so I'm using some Year 1 Exercise Books a friend kindly gave us. Thanks guys!!

I have also decided to have tamāhine 1 print smaller because I think she's getting so much better and her efforts here confirm that she's capable of printing in this size with ease.

Today we enjoyed a lot of outdoor activity, as well as socialising with whānau, harvesting rīwai (potatoes) with Uncle Warrick and being excited riding our bikes over the newly dumped dirt the Fulton Hogan contractors brought round while we were out. Well, it's meant to be for filling in around the swimming pool, but it's all fun to use in the interim, lol.

So that was Wednesday ...


Tamāhine 1
Systematic Review 11E & 11F
Tamāhine 1 was on a roll so I asked her if she'd like to do Unit Test 1: Lessons 1-10 pages 1 & 2. She was happy to do so. Superb results. Tau kōtiro.

Tama 1
Interesting today - I thought perhaps tama 1 might like to attempt three digit subtraction. Tama 1 obliged but immediately it became apparent this wasn't going to be as easy a transition as I thought!

We worked on 20 equations. Granted, I did help him with at least half of them but that's where I love being at home. I'm here to give him one-on-one, as much as he needs or wants. He's not having to raise his hand to ask for help and then only receive help on one equation. Also, Tama 1 is such a sensitive kid, he doesn't like to get things wrong (oops I obviously passed that on! Sorry, e tama). I didn't want to push him to do 30 as I could see he was putting every effort in to do his best. So we set the goal for 20 - if he was up to it. Time went very slowly yet he kept trying. He would no sooner get it when he would suddenly un-get it. A lot of thought-processing involved when you add that extra digit. He met the challenge of reaching 20 without complaint (well, within reason). Tomorrow I think we will attempt ten double digit and ten three digit. Oh look, what I am saying? I'll be playing it by ear!!!! If he's struggling we may only try five for goodness sakes!

This is where I would probably make a plug about MUS and how I can't wait to get him back with Steve Demme's fabulous math programme. Well, it's true. I really enjoy MUS and if I had the $$$$'s I would have purchased Beta by now.

DARN !!!!!!! If only we'd won the thirty million on Lotto last week!!! hee hee. I tell you what, the second half of this year's homeschooling money can't come soon enough for us, that's for sure. It's a pee in the bucket, but I am grateful for any extra money that comes our way.

Social Studies
Tama 1 loves reading maps so we covered a few basics to quiz his knowledge. We discussed:
  • a compass rose
  • cardinal directions
  • map symbols
  • three dimensional models. Examples? Well, an aerial photo is taken overhead. And another, we can't see how steep a mountain is from an aerial photo.
Tamāhine 1 carried on with Montessori. Completing 1.19 and 1.20. Her practice is really proving itself as she's definitely reading more quickly as well as recognising a lot of sight words. Reading her math sentences is part of that good practice.

Now I don't mean to compare, and I hope it doesn't come across as if I am because that's not what I want to do, but it was easily taken for granted that tama 1 managed Alpha so well because he could be sent off to do his work without requiring me to help 'read' the question. Thanks to his reading ability, I was able to devote plenty of attention to tamāhine 1 in Primer because tama 1 was confident in his reading and was therefore able to simply get on with it.


Again, tamāhine 1 produced lovely work. Very happy with her efforts.

Language Arts
Tamāhine 1 - We had a little quiz on sound order, eg what letter is the first in a word and what letter is the last in a word.

Something fun and satisfying to complete her day on, and it only took five minutes.

Tama 1 attempted 85 words in a spelling quiz. He correctly answerd 80 out of 85. Phew eh?! Tumeke.
History & Handwriting
Tama 1 is progressing with Egyptian Pyramids. We are taking this steadily as we tend to break into conversation about many things. For example, I have seen Cheops Street here in Rotorua for YEARS. It's a street not far from my parents. In my ignorance, I had no idea (1) how to pronounce it and (2) who Cheops was!! We even have Thebes Street. Again, my ignorance ... Examples like this, you can see how conversations can be generated from every day observations.

And this ends the formal stuff

You may have gathered I'm not one for spending 15 minutes on lessons, let alone follow a strict timetable. Well, there's a couple of reasons for that:
  1. I take into account that we can be interrupted anything up to a dozen times for whatever reason, therefore if you worked by a timer, there's very little chance a full 15 minutes could pass without an interruption of one form or another, lol.
  2. I gauge how the children are coping with the work. If it seems they are 'in the zone' but need a break, then that's what we'll do. But we return to the same lesson as we were working on prior to the break.* The opposite applies if they show signs that they have tried their darndest but it just seems overwhelming on the day. Kei te pai, we can revisit it another day, nē?
In saying that, of course we can spend 15 minutes on handwriting and we're done - so although I'm saying I gauge their progress, I guess I should point out that some lessons don't require that gauging?

And therein lies the answer I have been seeking to my own question: why can't I set a timetable? I have always been spontaneous and never one to follow much of a timetable. I go with the flow, let things decide for themselves which is the best tactic to try. Less stress that way. If I look at a timetable I'll be panicking 'oh no, we haven't completed this lesson yet'.

Okay, okay, I realise many will be saying "wait till the children are in higher grades and you've got all five in school time" and yes you're right, I will need to revisit this train of thought most likely. However, I can now feel comfortable knowing that this works for us. I can let a timetable evolve - which it is doing of its own accord.

* It would be fair to say we spend an hour maximum on a lesson. That's not to say ngā tamariki are head down bum up for 60 minutes. Kāo, it's exactly like I've mentioned, they will be interrupted like anyone can be interrupted a hundred times in a working day. Real life learning

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

The days are sprinting by so quickly

Goodness me, the days are just barreling on by! I can hardly believe it's Tuesday already. I had every intention of writing daily this week with something thought-provoking to share, but my brain is just mush. However, I'll get this post recorded and maybe Wednesday will be the day?

Tama 1

1) Mathematics - mathebook.net - subtraction double digits. Fantastic effort today. He got 28 out of 30 correct. It was unfortunate with one of his answers -> he added rather than subtracted. Had it been addition, by all means he had it correct. Ah well, it's an easy enough mistake, lol.

Later on in the day we went for our walk around the track and I quizzed him on 10 equations. He did amazingly. I'm the first to the admit I can't retain numbers in my head so if somebody asked me (for example), "What's 88 minus 39" I'd be struggling to remember the equation whilst working out the answer!

2) Reading - International Children's Digital Library (ICDL). This is the first time I've had tama 1 read from this website. Although it's probably too early for me to rave about it, I have to say I was suitably impressed with the website. We chose The Blue Sky written by Andrea Petrlik Huseinović.

The story generated conversation about the little girl being lonely and sad because her mother had died. We talked about her mother living in the 'clouds' now. The girl couldn't remember her mother very well, but then she started to remember things about her mother with each passing animal/cloud.

3) History & Handwriting - Tama 1 re-read the section on Egyptian Pyramids before we continued writing in our exercise book.

Tamāhine 1
1) Mathematics - Test 10. We also practiced a few off the cuff "solve the unknown" equations. She's starting to understand the concept, and I'm sure with a little more practice she'll have it.

I had tamāhine 1 read the questions again like I had her do throughout lesson 10. Although it meant we were slower to get through the work, I'm more than happy to have combined the reading with maths. It made all the difference to her I'm sure that she was reading it for herself too.

2) Reading - Tamāhine 1 read one and a half library books today. Knock! Knock! retold by Pam Holden (388 words) and near enough half of What Are Purple Elephants Good For? from an idea by Tammy Cameron (she read 52 words of 135 approximately).

3) Art

The task was to rub the bark on the tree and choose leaves to rub as well. As for the flowers, well, we wanted to pep up the scene a little.


Tama 1

1) Mathematics - mathebook.net - subtraction double digits - 33 out of 42 correct. He was somewhat distracted this morning which is reflected in his score, but that's all good. To have normal sounds and activity happening inside and outside the home provide a real-life environment.

2) Reading - International Children's Digital Library (ICDL). Today he read - The White Cat - ca.1877. I had absolutely no idea what cambric was/is, so of course I had to look it up!!! Click on the link if you need to find out too, lol.

Tamāhine 1
1) Mathematics - Lesson Practice 11A and 11B. Superb work.

Yes, I had tamāhine 1 read the questions again. We probably could have covered more but we spent the bulk of her day reading and reading, so I think two pages were amply suffice for maths.

2) Reading - Tamāhine 1 read the remainder of What Are Purple Elephants Good For? from an idea by Tammy Cameron (the remaining 83 out of 135 approximately). She then read One Sock, Two Socks by Judy Owens 286 words. To finish her reading for today she read Families by Avelyn Davidson 195 words.

Montesorri - Lesson 1.18. Fantastic efforts today. Again, we could have kept going while on a roll, but the outdoors were beckoning.

Just before I go, may I please say to anyone embarking on homeschooling, it is without doubt a H-U-G-E help having broadband. When you want to download stuff or access particular websites, broadband is just indespensible once you have it. Budgeting its use however, well, that's pretty hard ... but one which I for one will make sure I calculate each month.

Okay, that was all folks!!!

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

A little bit of chit-chat

How often do you look at your kids and think, "gosh, it was only yesterday you were a baby!!!" Then you have that vision where you fast-forward to them having their own children. Yes, exactly!

That day will be upon us before whaiāipo and I know it.

My point? None in particular. More a reflection. A reflection of being grateful for sharing this time with our children. I am SOOOOOO fortunate that I am here with them, watching them get bigger, helping them learn to read and write, guide them to be decent and honest citizens and to grow as a loving family. I could probably justify reasons for why I should be out there working to help bring home some money especially to clear the remainder of our (old) business debt sooner rather than later, but in all honesty, I have no regrets for chosing to be home. I missed out on enough events when the three oldest were babies. I am happier now than I have ever been.

We are 100 times better off than we were this time last year and without meaning to wish the next two years to pass by too quickly ... I'm DEFINITELY looking forward to celebrating the end of clearing the old business debt. That will be one of the greatest, most-satisfying, momentous occasions indeed. Rock on 2010.

Right-oh, that's enough of that ... let's report in with the children's learning for the remainder of last week.


Tama 1
1) Reading
How the Camel Got His Hump retold from a story by Rudyard Kipling
Why Elephants have Long Noses retold from a story by Rudyard Kipling; and
Why the Bear Has a Short Tail retold from an old Norwegian tale

2) Mathematics
30 exercises on mathebook - double digit additions

3) Language Arts
FreeUWorld - Title and Author quiz 20/20 (Grade 1)
Identify Vocabulary Components 21/21 (Grade 1)
Social Studies : People Who Make a Difference > Map Skills > Parts of a Map 26/26 (Grade 2)

Tamāhine 1
1) Mathematics - Systematic Review 9F, Test Booklet - test 9

2) Reading - Continued with Reading Eggs. We also started Montessori Online again. Lesson 1.15.

3) Handwriting - used excerpts from reading material.


Tama 11) Reading
Cry-Baby Moon by Kāterina Mataira & Terewai Kemp.

2) Astronomy - used "Don't Stare" as our handwriting exercise as well as discussion as to the reasons why not to look at the sun. Did you know, that if you were on Pluto you STILL wouldn't want to look directly at the sun?!

3) Mathematics
30 exercises on mathebook - double digit additions

Tamāhine 1
1) Mathematics - Lesson Practice 10A, Lesson Practice 10B, Lesson Practice 10C.

2) Reading - Continued with Reading Eggs. We also started Montessori Online again. Lesson 1.16.

3) Handwriting - used excerpts from reading material.


Major interruptions today, but one in which we celebrated the long-awaited removal of the neighbour's building which has encroached our front property for just under one year. The crane arrived around 9.30am. The kids were oblivious to its arrival as they had their heads down working on their morning mathematics lesson. I decided it was okay to interrupt their lesson to watch the crane in operation, so that's what we did. We watched from the downstairs front room then we all raced upstairs to watch from the children's bedroom.

I know I was more excited than the children. You betcha! So excited I had to text whaiāipo of course. Needless to say whaiāipo completely finished the fence over the weekend!!!!!

The bulk of the day was spent outdoors, exploring the back towards the reserve looking at snails, cobwebs and looking at the tops of trees blowing in the breeze. The weather's been so dodgy the past few days that to get outside has been rather rushed so it was nice to get a decent spell of fine weather.

Tama 1 made his own spelling quiz this afternoon ...

Sorry, you'll need to double-click for a better image. I'm particularly happy he has worked out the syllables in Māori. Considering the phrase "Kei te pēhea koe?" has only been written on the whiteboard once like many of the words and phrases we are learning, I'm really pleased with his effort.

Tama 1 has finished reading his library books so I have been on the lookout for things online. The past few days he's been reading from his Big Book of Knowledge or anything from our own library.

Tamāhine 1
1) Mathematics - Systematic Review 10D, Systematic Review 10E, Systematic Review 10F.

2) Reading - Continued with Reading Eggs. We also started Montessori Online again. Lesson 1.17.

3) Handwriting - used excerpts from reading material.

Please forgive me as I have probably missed a few things out. I'm finding it hard to get the time to sit at the computer these days ... ie kids and whaiāipo are using it also so it's a strange feeling to be taking a number to get on here, lol.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Rolling along


Tamāhine 1 carried on with MUS Systematic Review 9D and 9E this morning. As I helped her with the exercises, tama 1 tried his hand using an online programme called mathebook.

I'm fairly certain double additions is coming up in Beta so I wanted to see how tama 1 coped with the concept as a wee test-run. Although we introduced adding double digits in the past to tama 1, we took a sideways step to commence Math-U-See and follow the lessons as outlined per the curriculum. As y'all have read, we can't buy Beta yet so I tried finding something for him to use to keep the momentum going, and I'd like to think mathebook will be at least one resource we can utilise while we save for Beta.

Regardless of the fact that he'd forgotten how to do this concept, he soon understood it after a few examples and was away (laughing). By taking that step away from his earlier learning, I know that he understands place value more strongly. How do they refer to it in the math groups? Mastering the concept. Yes, he has mastered the concepts required to date and is therefore able to return and grasp the double digit addition easily today. I had him write the equation from the screen onto a pad of paper so that he could calculate it more easily. Trying to retain the units total while adding up the tens column is requiring a little more mastery than needed immediately, therefore writing on a pad of paper alleviated that bit of 'stress' for tama 1. With a very quick count it appears he did 30 double digit equations. He aslo practiced telling the time getting all 20 read the clock questions correct so that's very pleasing.

Tamāhine 1 continues to make great progress with Reading Eggs. Today she worked on lesson five.

Tama 1 chose from his library books Simply Delicious by Margaret Mahy.


Tamāhine 1 completed her handwriting with phrases from today's Reading Eggs lesson again. She seemed to motor through I thought, yet still produced tidy presentation, so ka pai e hine.

Koro popped out around 11.30ish, so tama 1 read a section from the Great Big Book of Knowledge about earth to koro. That was great to have tama 1 discuss with him the meaning of diameter, oblate spheroid (flattened ball) and geoid (Earth-shaped) while I prepared lunch. Nothing like a little light conversation over a cuppa eh?!

Tama 1 and I continued with the Astronomy theme after lunch combining reading, writing and discussion of Lesson 2 The Sun from our Exploring Creation with Astronomy text.

Later in the evening tamāhine 1 read half a dozen online books and tama 1 read some more from the Big Book of Knowledge.

Overall we had a productive day. I'm still aiming to create a proper timetable, but with the baby and toddler I find I still need to be flexible, spontaneous and relaxed about each day, otherwise I'd be one very stressed mother, indeedy.

One thing I'm trying to do is to create a list of the websites I like to use. So many homeschoolers share what works for them, yet I hadn't really found I use anything specific - until recently. There are loads and loads of helpful resources and although I've gleaned from what others share, I think it's time I popped my little list down as well. It's very much a tiny list at the minute, but I shall certainly try to revisit and update the list as often as possible.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Monday, 13 October 2008

The start of a new week

Well, this week's school kicked off to a good start. Having completed Alpha, tama 1 used the MUS online drill for his lessons today. We're not in a position to buy Beta for a few more weeks so we will make the most of the online drills in the interim. He thought that because he'd finished Alpha, he wouldn't be doing maths today!!!! Ha ha ha ... Good one, e tama!!!

As for Tamāhine 1, she may have only completed one page - Systematic Review 9C - but we made good use of the blocks which meant the lesson took quite a long time. The blocks can be time-consuming (but please, I'm not saying that I find them a pain! Quite the contrary) the blocks are a great tool when trying to explain a new concept. They are also a fun toy for tama 2 even if they do create a little tension as he 'builds' something while tamāhine 1 is trying to use them, lol.

A pattern is emerging that straight after maths we go outside for fresh air and rejuvanation. So from 10 o'clock through to 10.15-10.30ish we fill our lungs before returning to our next lesson which is reading. Today tama 1 read at the kitchen bench as I prepared lunch. He chose Minnie and Moo - Will You Be My Valentine? by Denys Cazet. He laughed many times throughout the story which gave me great joy to see him enjoying his reading. Tamāhine 1 carried on with Reading Eggs, Level 1, Lesson 4. I used some of the story books for her handwriting practice again which not only makes it easy for me to choose what to give her, but acts as a little revision from her reading lessons. Her handwriting is improving by the day and I like the fact she will concentrate her efforts to produce the best she can each time.

I gave Tama 1 a spelling drill. (Does that sound nicer than 'test'?) I threw in two of the words from last week's words; satellite and atmosphere. He got everything correct today. Tau kē (awesome).

Te Reo Māori was held outside. (As an aside; when I take the babies for a walk I usually get the children to take it in turns to walk a few laps each with me and then ride their bikes so we can revise any work we may have covered.) Today I wanted to kōrero māori. We covered colours, formal and informal greetings, numbers, commands (eg, e tū - stand up, e noho - sit down, e oma - run, whakarongo mai - listen, titiro mai - look). Half an hour to an hour later we not only learned vocab, but we also got plenty of exercise in at the same time. Sticking with vocab is where I'm comfortable at the moment. I don't actually want to introduce sentence structure or the like yet. Ngā Pūrākau me Ngā Pakiwaitara - Myths and legends have yet to be introduced. I want more vocab under their belt yet before stepping into that field.

Tikanga (protocol) not only covers tangihanga, greetings, pōwhiri etc but also the customs which are part and parcel of daily activity which can be easily forgotten. Things which are tapu and noa - like not placing body parts on tables where food is placed for example, or washing your kākahu (clothes) with towels, yet are necessary reminders that you are in fact teaching them something cultural. They have become so well ingrained in daily life that you simply don't think to 'teach' them as a form of cultural custom sometimes. As a parallel, religion has traditions which if you were brought up in it since day dot, you simply take them for granted also. They can bring challenges too, ie when your child asks "why?" you can't exactly reply 'that's just the way it is' just because you're tired or struggle to have a definitive explanation now can you? You have to be prepared and yowza! I have to dig deep sometimes to find good definitions.... do you follow what I'm saying at all? Well, I mean, you can't really say 'that's just the way it is,' goodness me no, you have to be able to back up your belief system with facts that they can understand. Hmm, maybe I should've paid better attention at Sunday School? I'm not even explaining myself very well here ... must be too late at night. I shall leave this in however as it's my ramblings which generates good conversation with friends and family upon reading my posts, lol.

Now, before I completely forget, I must mention that tamāhine 1 read a few pages from a library book called "The Best Way to Play" by Bill Cosby. I can remember tama 1 read this book ... but much later on in his reading abilities. I grabbed the book thinking he could read it again, but funnily enough tamāhine 1 decided to have a go at reading it. Some very big words for her to tackle so I suggested she stop after only a couple of pages and revisit the book later on. She enjoys reading and I although I think the book is a toughy, I will encourage her to read it in its entirity, but in chunks so as to keep her enthusiasm for reading alive.

Again, I've probably rambled there. I can't blame it on listening to Vivaldi as I typed this post. Nope, I'm definitely convinced it's because I'm tired now, lol. DEFINITELY a sign to say good night then!!!

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Friday, 10 October 2008

Tino pai e tama


Congratultions to Tama 1 who completed his Alpha MUS workbook today. Until we're in a position to purchase Beta, we will generate worksheets from the Math-U-See website.

Tamāhine 1 worked on solving the unknown. We started by using the blocks for Lesson 9A. By Lesson 9B she was comfortable with the concept. We enjoy using the blocks and shall certainly continue learning with them.

Lots of reading today. Tamāhine 1 continued with Reading Eggs and Montessori. She also grabbed a couple of library books keen to read. I just rummaged through her library book bag and decided to pop the rest of the books I haven't recorded to date:
  1. Mary had a Dinosaur by Eileen Browne and Ruth Rivers (approximately 50 words).
  2. The Monkey Frogs by Jill Mitchell (approximately 200 words).
  3. New Shoes by Jill Mitchell (approximately 50 words).
  4. Food from Another Country by Will Spencer - National Geographic (91 words).*
  5. Sun Power by Louis Capra - National Geographic (79 words).
  6. Rainbow Balloons by Pam Holden - (99 words).*
  7. Animal Babies in Polar Lands by Jennifer Schofield - (approximately 318 words)
*Books she read today.

The only books I've missed off from the list for tama 1 are:
  1. Ngātai Remembers by Noel Epapara.
  2. The Bravest Cat! The True Story of Scarlett by Laura Driscoll
  3. How Animals Use Their Senses by Pamela Hickman.
  4. Whatnot Takes Charge by Linda Newbery.
History & Handwriting

We finally caught up with our written work on SOTW 1, Chapter Four - The Old Kingdom of Egypt. We started writing about Making Mummies last week but with the semi-holiday we only returned to it today. Tama 1 and I are looking forward to the activity work next week.

Although it was a lot more relaxed this week, I'm still very pleased with the children's efforts. Tino pai e tama, tino pai tamāhine. Tino pai tamariki mā.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Very short post but a post nonetheless

Okay, so today we only covered a few things. But considering one of my niece's was in town for the day, it was important to spend time with whānau (family). Here's what ngā tamariki (the children) covered [academically]:

Mathematics (MUS)
Tama 1
Test 30, Unit Test IV: Lessons 25-30

Tamāhine 1
Test 7, Test 8
Tama 1
Library Book – Knock Knock retold by Pam Holden

The Little Kowhai Tree by Witi Ihimaera

Tamāhine 1
Blind Man’s Buff by Pam Holden (331 words)

This afternoon, Tama 1 benefitted from koro talking to him about rākau (trees). After drawing some rākau Tama 1 had a kōrero iti (little chat) with his koro.

We are hoping to learn about our native rākau shortly so it was handy to have his elder to discuss the topic with him albeit briefly. He definitely enjoyed listening to his koro speaking in Māori about not only rākau but also manu (birds).

So there we have it, a very short post today.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

PS As soon as I know how to insert a table properly I'll be very pleased. It's not the least bit easy for me to do it on Blogger. I have spent far too much time over the past couple of evenings trying to use different methods but they're either no longer available, not free, or too much like hard work to figure out how to use, lol. I just want something to go bang, bang, poof there it is ...

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Definitely happy to be at home

The weather was a lot better today. We took maximum advantage of the sunshine this morning by enjoying the trampoline, bicycles, walking and exploring.

Around 10.30am we began the formal side of schoolwork:

Mathematics (Math-U-See)
Tama 1
Systematic Review 30D, E & F

Tamāhine 1
Systematic Review 8E & F
Tama 1
Mixed Vocabulary from Astronomy & Maori

Tamāhine 1
Reading Eggs
1.00pm – 1.30pm
Tama 1
Library books – Sun Power by Louis Capra (NatGeo) &
Mr Cool by Jacqueline Wilson

Tamāhine 1
Excerpt from Library book – Zoosh’s Magical Cave by Jill Mitchell
* Here’s the list I spontaneously gave Tama 1:

New Zealand
Satelite (satellite)
Compus (compass)
Multiplcation (multiplication)
Sheald (shield)
Hatu Patu
Hemisphew (hemisphere)
constelation (constellation)
atmosphew (atmosphere)

Hemisphere and atmosphere I think I overemphasised in pronunciation.

Overall he made a fantastic effort.

As you can see, we had a short day’s academics but considering it’s the school holidays for many, I wanted to relax the day and allow the children to enjoy the sunshine.
The long-range weather forecast earlier in the week indicated bad weather for the entire country, so having today’s surprise sunshine was just what the doctor ordered. I for one definitely needed some sun on my face.
Here’s a wee rāpeti (rabbit) we saw on our walk this afternoon. The first two times we walked past him he allowed us to come within a foot of him. On the third passing he cottoned on we had a camera so he slipped away and this is the closest I could photograph him.
We have many wild rabbits, but this is the first time one has allowed me to come so close to him. Oh well, he was very cute all the same.
“He’s going to his burrow,” says Tama 1
Aah, how nice it is to take school outside when you want.
Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

He can spell PIE

Tama 2 may have minimal speech, but it's improving on a daily basis. He doesn't turn four until the end of November and I'm encouraged each time we hear a new word, or a string of words forming into clear sentences. But tonight I was pleased as punch when he came out with something I did not expect !!!

arrived home just after 6 o'clock and the decision was made to make toasted sandwiches using last night's leftover dinner (mince). Tama 2 wasn't convinced. Then whaiāipo tried explaining "it'll be like having a mince pie ..."

"Pie?" asks tama 2.

"Yeah, you'll like it ..."

Then the exciting part ... he started spelling "P ...... I ......."

(Naughty mummy interjects thinking he didn't know the last letter, tsk tsk)

"Yes, pie - p .... i .... e ..."

Tama 2 shakes his head at me "No, I say it ... P .... I ..... E"

"Yes my boy, yes yes yes!!!!"

Wow!!!! A truly golden moment

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Monday, 6 October 2008


Within only a few sessions of Astronomy, tama 1 created the above satellite and in his words...

"The pink part sees stuff in space, the orange part takes the photo and the green scans it and the red sends it earth. A truck then takes all the photos to a museum so we (the public) can see them."

He's made this little gadget a few times so I grabbed the camera today. I can hardly wait to see his model solar system. Mum's just holding up the works ... balloons/styrofoam? Decisions, decisions.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Let's try to bring you up to date

Gosh, I am absolutely thrilled to have my computer back! I may have lost the odd thing here and there and other than reloading the printers and a couple of programmes, the bulk of the 'brains' is still functioning. Phew!

Let's not ask what happened to the machine, lol. Let's chalk it up to experience and get back to recording school again.

So here's a very quick wrap-up of last week:

Tamāhine 1
worked really hard with Montessori each day before she became stumped at lesson 1.14 (or thereabouts). As the adult, I thought I should've been able to figure it out, but thanks to me, her report card doesn't reflect her correct mark. Let me share with you an example.

Q: "Is N_p a Dog?"

A: Well, on previous lessons tamāhine 1 would be given two boxes to choose from, eg "i" or "a". Obviously you would click on the letter "i" to make the name Nip. Well, I became frustrated - as did the children - because the only option was a box with the word "go" in it!!!!! I could not for the life of me understand what was happening, grumbling at my old stand-in computer that it obviously wasn't up to the graphics challenge. Needless to say, when I eventually figured out you're meant to type the letter "i" and then press "go", the poor girl had so many incorrect answers on that lesson, I just felt miserable for her.

I truly wish I could click a box to redo the entire lesson.

Alas, I cannot. mō taku hē (I'm sorry)

Math-U-See is humming along for both children. We have kept with doing maths first thing in the morning and as our timetable evolves, it is evident maths will remain the first lesson of the day. Why is that? you may ask.

Well, perhaps it's because it is my least favourite subject (unbeknownst to the children). Then again, perhaps it's because we are following a curriculum so the children can sit down with individual workbooks and get into it. Or perhaps it's because the children are fuelled with energy from breakfast that they can engross themselves with deep concentration? Whatever the reason, first thing in the morning works for us.

Following on from maths, tamāhine 1 will come to the computer to practise on either Montessori and/or Reading Eggs for half an hour or so. She enjoys this time, especially with tama 2 standing alongside to watch and learn with her.

Then it's time for her break, after which she would complete some handwriting with a little more reading from a book of her choice to round off her day.

After maths Tama 1 covered History (Monday), Astronomy (Tuesday & Thursday), Māori (Wednesday & Friday), and would then round off the day with Language Arts (eg reading, writing, poetry).

Last Tuesday I grabbed a bunch of library books so the children have ben enjoying 'new' things to read. Mixing the reading between a library book and those we have on our shelves certainly gives the children a variety of choice. Quite often the children are inspired to draw after reading. Not necessarily pictures in relation to the book they've just read, but obviously their minds are thinking creatively enough that they find drawing a perfect outlet for channeling their thought process.

Becuase I mentioned Astronomy just above it has reminded me to mention that one of the things I lost on the computer was the work tama 1 and I started with Astronomy. On the bright side we had only just started it so it's not as though we lost an entire year's work. In saying that however, it is discouraging to think we now need to start from scratch. Hei aha (never mind). Not the first time I've had to start from scratch, lol.

Well, that's a very condensed version of events, but at least something is recorded, lol.

Time to head off and start another post and work on that Astronomy project.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano