Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Have you signed up for this class?

I won't be the first to share this, but for anyone who may not have visited Currclick this week then you may wish to consider the online class like me:

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Motorcross at Horohoro, Rotorua

Sunday morning we loaded up and headed to the local Rotorua Motorcycle Club at Horohoro.

These are the only photos I have I'm afraid. As for the video clip it lasts all of two seconds, lol, but I've thrown it in anyway as these are the only record I have of the day. The reason I've included the weblink above is because the page you'll be directed to has an aerial shot of the two tracks. Seniors to the left and mini's to the right. The only trouble with aerial shots is that you can't tell the contour of the land. We were shocked at the hills and dips the mini's track has!!! So gnarly as the term goes that whaiāipo and I had to make the awful decision to only let tama 1 ride. Although we are confident tamāhine 1 and tama 2 could tackle the course, they would need a little bit of practice on the track before we could allow them to "race".

That's not a criticism of the track at all, because you can only find these things out when you go there right?! ... Absolutely. Had we ventured there on practice days then we would easily allow the younger ones to get out there, but considering there were proper racers there, we had to make the decision and know it was the right thing to do. So, what I'm saying is, it's a great track and I know our kids will gain a lot of skill on it, but unless your kids have had exposure to similar terrain, you'd want to take them up there for practice-only sessions, not even a fun day like we attended. There are AMAZING riders on this track. Kids only a little older than tama 1 were absolutely FLYING on the track and it was really exciting to be entertained by their skills. Other than one other youngun (that I'm aware of, so excuse me if I've blundered in my understandings here) tama 1 was only other new rider to the track.

In true tama 1 style, he rode without fear or intimidation. I know I'm still a novice at all this motorcross stuff, yet it's in whaiāipo's blood so although I was in a state of shock that they placed by baby with these trial riders for his first ride, neither father and son were the least bit perturbed.

Anyway, that's probably enough chit chat. Time to check out the pics ... Registration at 8 o'clock and wait for fog to lift before riding around 10 o'clock
Because the fog took so long to lift, there was no time for practice rides so our baby was thrown in the deep end with truly "experienced" riders
Daunting for mum, but not a bother for father and son
Super short two-second video clip before battery died on me!

Most definitely we will return to the Horohoro, Rotorua track. We are still keen to travel to other tracks but at least we can say we've been to our home track and know what it entails now.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

When we got home today ...

This post is simply to let you know that we have received our Certificate of Exemption for tamāhine 1.

Two weeks to the day that we posted the application away !!

Tamāhine 1 was more interested in playing in the sandpit as soon as we got home than share in mum's excitement to officially homeschool her!!!

We have our second one under our belt and can breathe easier.

Such a relief to have it !!!

A happy moment indeed !!

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Monday, 23 March 2009

Sharing a little of our day

We had our homeschooling friends come to visit this afternoon and not long after they left, the kids were riding their bikes when tama 1 came over to me to announce he'd lost his tooth while riding. Gosh, would you believe that's his fifth tooth gone?! We tried in vein to find it where he believes he lost it, but talk about looking for a needle in a haystack! I suggested he just write to the tooth fairy like he did when he swallowed one and he still got $2.00. That seemed to put his mind at ease. Phew!

Speaking of losing teeth; tamāhine 1 has her first loose tooth which should fall out any day now. She's nervously excited, yet I'm in a state of denial that she's growing up to start losing teeth already! Dear, oh dear, how quickly I have gone from being, for example, impatient waiting for the kids to walk and talk, to wanting the clock to slow down as they reach another milestone! lol

It's almost been a fortnight since we posted tamāhine 1's exemption application. To date we STILL have no reply. By all accounts the MoE (Ministry of Education) are experiencing delays in processing applications, so I will give them the benefit of the doubt that they are looking over tama 1's application to make comparisions and note the differences I have made with tamāhine 1's application ... I'm probably only saying that for my own peace of mind I think; but hey, it sounds like a good enough reason eh?! I've decided if I haven't heard from them by Wednesday or Thursday then I will give them a courtesy call to ask if they have received it. You know, you'd think that they'd actually have a tear-off slip where you tick a box to ask them to return the bottom portion of the form to acknowledge receipt of your application. At least that way, you'd know it's in the pipeline!!!! Considering we have to fill in forms twice a year to have our homeschooling allowance apportioned, then I'd think my little idea wouldn't be too difficult to introduce?! Hei aha, tamāhine 1 doesn't turn six till April so I will take a deep breathe and remind myself to be patient.

We almost went with whaiāipo to Kirikiriroa today but for one reason or another, he went on his own. I feel for whaiāipo at the moment because his artificial limb is giving him a lot of grief. Last week, (or was it a fornight ago?) he went up to the Limb Centre to get a new foot. The knee joint needs replacing, but they have to send away for parts. In the meantime he's having to use the leg for work and it's not the least bit comfortable for him. To top it off, this morning he went to put on his prosthetic leg and hello, the valve keeper wouldn't work which, put simply, means he couldn't put it on! So, up to Kirikiriroa to be fixed. The parts for the knee still aren't there, so it means yet another trip in the near future! Ah well, he's neat though because he no sooner returned to Rotorua, when he picked up a library book I needed returning and dropped it back in for me. What a sweetheart indeed eh?!

As for school work itself, the children did very well today. By all accounts, yes, we could have achieved a little more mahi, but I was pleased with what they achieved. We covered the basics as usual: maths, writing and reading. And wouldn't you know it?! Here I was concerned that tamāhine 1 is confusing herself with additions and multiplications, but today she sailed through and in fact, she added up in her head 14+14+14. How wicked is that? She added two equations like that today and I was suitably impressed. She just needs to learn to distinguish the difference between the "x" and the "+". Other than that, she did beautifully today and I think that was down to me making sure I mixed up her equations (addition, subtraction and multiplication) rather than multiplication only. That made all the difference.

Final word is about Math-U-See. I felt good sharing our Decimal Street poster thing with Auriel and the kids to play with for a while. We brought it out this afternoon for the younguns to use so I thought they might appreciate taking it home for a bit. I'm sure tama 2 will cope without it for a few days!!

That's about all I wanted to jot down tonight.

I'm hoping to record as much as possible this week in little spurts rather than a huge lump of a post. But as you can see, no photos tonight!! Just a nice simple chit chat about our day.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Busy getting on with life

School has been humming along. Here's a brief overview of things to date:

  • I still can't afford to buy Beta [yet], so we are doing things in our own way again.
  • We've moved into multiplications. Some days I think, "Yes, they're ready for this," but other days I think, "hmm, maybe not." In particular, I think tamāhine 1 needs to step back for a bit because she's mixing up her numbers when she's adding now, eg if I ask her to multiply 4 x 7, she may say two sevens are 14 and two sevens are 14 but if she tries adding them together she may say 82 instead of 28. It's a hard transition to understand that multiplication is simply fast adding. She can look at the multiplication sign (x) and just go blank. She can easily rattle off 7 plus 7 or 7 minus 7, but when she looks at the multiplication sign she stumbles. When I say "what's two sevens?" then she can rattle the answer off quickly, yet if I say, "what's 2 times 7," she takes a long time to click. So to me, that means we need to take a step back. We'll stick with the skip counting she does know and only try a maximum of two multiplication questions a day mixed in with her addition and subtraction rather than 10 multiplication questions.
  • I always try to encourage the kids by reminding them they know lots of mulitiplication already: they know their 1s, 2s, 3s, 5s, 10s, 11s. They don't realise it, but they also know a chunk of others, eg 1x7=7, 2 x7=14, 3x7=21, 5x7=35, 10x7=70, 11x7=77 ... so really, there's only a few blanks that need to be filled eh?!!! That's a definite positive in my books.
  • Tamāhine 1 has for some time now, grabbed a book and started to read on her own. I try to be within earshot to listen in ... without making it too obvious so that she's not deterred by mum's eavesdropping, lol. Sometimes I'll let her make the odd fumble and carry on, but other times I will simply make a point of asking what she's reading and depending how the conversation goes, I may get her to re-read a section and that way she will read the word correctly. It feels like only yesterday she used to pick up a book and make up the story by looking at the pictures. Now my little girl isn't so little anymore and is able to read - for the most part - an entire book on her own.
  • Leaps and bounds - the two older kids are making lovely progress with their writing. Glancing at tamāhine 1's exercises each day, I can see her efforts improving which is lovely.
  • Tama 1 has begun to use cursive writing when he writes his little "play" stories which is great. I've altered the way we write a couple of letters to move him from being too flowery which can sometimes make for difficulty reading of a word, such as the letter 'w'. Sometimes it can become muddled with the letter following the 'w' as he tries to 'flow' it across if you catch my drift. But really, in all respects, he does have a lovely style - but then I would say that, because it looks so much like my own, hee hee. "Funny that," you say! He is copying my writing of course!
  • I must mention tama 2 also at this juncture. Isn't it amazing how the children's first letter writing looks so much alike? I do remember noticing the similarities between tama 1 and tamāhine 1, but it seems so much more evident now that tama 2 has joined the writing journey.
  • The children are now attending Lake Rotoma playcentre Tuesday's and Friday's. Whaiāipo and I are desperately trying to find another family vehicle because rather than spending money on dear old Dora the Explorer, we could buy another runabout. So, we're starting to save towards a secondhand people mover. I mention this because I don't want to disappoint the children by saying we can't attend playcentre because the car has gone kaput! BTW, although I shared their first attendance on this blog, I will keep the bulk of all other attendances to the correspondence blog because afterall, they are interconnected. So follow this link if you'd like to view some of our recent days at Lake Rotoma.
Sports/After School Activities
  • I don't think it's anything new when I say the kids are getting into motorcross, so it won't be earth-shattering news when I announce the children attended their first motorcross race on Sunday the 15th of March. In order to be eligible, they required boots, helmet, goggles and sturdy clothing. So, on the weekend of Uncle Craig's birthday we headed over to Te Awamutu to buy two pairs of boots ...

Tamāhine 2 just had to be in the photo

We bought some ice creams and sat at the gardens before heading home
Here's a couple of famous landmarks.
Q: What town are they in? ...
A: Tirau
Very good!
Here's tama 1 practicing on the berm the day before the race.

We stayed the night at Nancy's the night before then met friends and family at 8 o'clock in Waihi. I'll only add one photo of each of tama 1, tamāhine 1 and tama 2 to keep it simple.

You may notice the bigger riders in the background of some of the photos? Well, while the seniors had their lunch break, the minis were allowed to ride on the big track. That was a major buzz for all the kids.

The kids came away from the experience really excited and pleased to have participated. We met a few more people and were invited to more events. The kids got a real kick out of everyone clapping as they walked up to receive their prizes (chocolate bars).

It's the oddest feeling not to be nervous because you're competing, but because your children are competing ... suddenly I felt like a real mum! Excited, nervous, proud and competitive on their behalf. A real buzz.

We're now in training for the next race ...

There's probably a lot more I could discuss, but I will leave the post there at this stage and remind you to catch up with the kids on the correspondence blog as well.

My intentions this week are to attend a portfolio seminar for playcentre, as well as sort through all the school paperwork I have building up around me!!! I need to sort the mountain before it gets too much more out of control, lol.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Thanks for the prayers

I'll be back with a post about school and things shortly, but I didn't want to let too much time pass before I posted a message to say "thank you" for the prayers and best wishes for my mum.

Last week mum was told she would need four bags of blood, but it turned out she needed a fifth bag. Because the hospital had to bring the fifth bag in from Waikato Hospital, mum had to return on Monday/Tuesday to receive the last couple of top-ups and I'm happy to report she looks a LOT better.

BTW, mum's disease is the opposite of leukemia. It's called cold agglutinin (I think that's correct). It's one of a myriad forms of anaemia. Why or how mum has it, I couldn't say. However, she's doing well today and that's a very, very good thing.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Friday, 13 March 2009

Prayers for my mum

Please pray for my mum who went into hospital last night.

Mum had her regular blood tests (around 11ish yesterday morning) after which she and dad popped out for a visit. As nice as it was to see her, I didn't think she looked very well, so it was just as well they didn't stay too long for her to get really exhausted.

They no sooner arrived home when the hospital rang to say they needed mum up there asap. Mum had the lowest of lowest readings she has ever had so they wanted her there pronto to get her ready for yet another transfusion.

Dad rang me to say he was taking her up there and that he would phone when he got home. Well, Maree being Maree and the worry-wart that I am ... started phoning and texting her brothers to see if they'd heard from dad because there was no reply at 9 o'clock at night at home. Around 10 or 10.30, I was talking to my younger brother when dad walked in the door. Apparently mum will be having a very long blood transfusion (16 hours apparently!) That's like four bags of blood or something! Dad had come home to gather some gear and was returning to stay the night with her.

The children and I were planning to go with whaiāipo up to Kirikiriroa - to the Limb Centre, as he has an appointment this morning. But, well, I've decided to stay home to be by the phone. I realise there's nothing I can do and that mum will be okay, but it doesn't stop a daughter from wanting to stay nearby until she knows how things have gone.

I have a long wait ahead of me to hear how mum is doing ... so please pray she will be okay.

Oh, by the way, my mum has a form of anaemia, which, by all accounts seems to be getting worse ... and as her daughter, I don't like that !!!!

Love you mum.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Exemption has been posted

Positive thoughts sent out to universe ...
We posted tamāhine 2's exemption application
this afternoon

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Having had a brilliant day, I spoiled it by beating myself up

Not in the physical sense, but mentally my mind went from being on a natural high to one of, "Gosh, I haven't been doing anything like so-and-so. I'm so slack for not doing that!"

Are you familiar with the illness, "Making Comparisons?"

Common Symptoms: (1) You discover you haven't done things like others and you suddenly wish you had!? (2) You beat yourself up thinking your children missed out on doing certain things like other children and you feel guilty for not providing them with such access? ... the list of symptoms goes on!!!

Prescribed Cure: Prevention is better than Cure, i.e. don't compare and you won't get ill. Take 1 dose each of "Embrace your differences," and "admire what others do with goodwill." Take 2 doses at lunch time of "Do not criticise yourself". And finally before you go to bed take 1 very large dose of "Remind yourself you have well-rounded children - they are fine and love you no matter what." Repeat until pain is relieved.

I'll try not to ramble for too long about what burst my bubble because in actuality, I do keep things in perspective, and I must point out that when I feel bad it isn't for long.

It's because I bounce back quickly that I decided to share a little story for those who can relate and realise you are not alone.

Firstly, let's get the ball rolling with the really happy, happy, joy, joy part of the day ...

My dear friend who used to live in excess of 20kms from me recently shifted and is now only 5kms away. To me, Auriel is definitely a super mum and when we discuss things, she is so insightful that I believe she has a wisdom beyond her years.

Well, thanks to her invitation the children and I attended a playcentre for the VERY first time. Yes, what I'm saying is the children have never attended a day care, playcentre, kindergarten, kōhanga reo or anything else of that nature. When I worked full-time, the children would sometimes come to work with me or 7 out of 10 times they would stay with nana and koro and then as they got older, nana Nancy and nana Maureen lent a hand also. At no time did I ever, once feel I was depriving our children of anything. In fact, it was important to me that they were in fact being raised by their elders.

Anyway, let's fast forward to this week. Auriel rang and extended an invitation to myself and the children to attend Lake Rotoma Playcentre. I thanked her kindly and arranged to meet her on Friday morning just after 9 o'clock. Let me just say, the children were absolutely excited when I asked if they'd be interested in going (once I explained what they would have available - especially paint, paint, paint!!!!). W-e-l-l, they thought it just sounded fantastic and were keen to go.

Friday morning arrived and everyone was organised and in the car by 9 o'clock. The weather couldn't have been more rotten. It was raining terribly and if I wanted to bore you with the mechanical fault we are experiencing with Dora the Explorer, (suffice it to say we have no reverse!), you'd be asking yourself, "why on earth is she bothering to go?" And here's my reply ...

(Forgive me, those of you who have read and know this part already) I touched on it briefly above when I mentioned the children were brought up in part by their grandparents. In fact, there's actually another reason why this came about. Yes, it was craftfully designed this way by default on the one hand, but it was also out of financial need. Remember that dreadful business whaiāipo was involved with? That financially-crippling absolutely awful business? Well, Maree helped her beloved by working full-time and grabbing any extra hours possible. She would work at night at home for her employer and also do the bookwork for whaiāipo. On the weekends and summer evenings Maree would also be out there building the buildings. All this meant the children required appropriate, ready-at-a-moment's-notice type of care. I would never have been able to commit myself to attending the likes of a playcentre with the children, or drop them off at appropriate Early Childhood Centres with the expectation to uplift them again at a certain hour. Oh no, I most definitely couldn't even ensure they had kai in a bag for lunch. Every penny went towards salvaging the business.

As you all know, the business went down like a ship in a storm.

Never, throughout those entire dramatic years did I ever feel we were doing the children a disservice, injustice or left wanting for anything. We provided them with all the necessities as far as I'm concerned yet on Friday I couldn't even express to the ladies that I was indeed grateful to have exposed the children to such a wonderful resource. The children were in their element and I was thrilled to bits that they were beautifully behaved, helpful, courteous and indeed showed their gratitude for the experience. Tama 1 was overhead saying, "I can't wait to come back next Tuesday!" That just pulled at my heart-strings. My young man at all of seven enjoyed himself so much that I am encouraged to take them back again.

And here is a glimpse of the day that was ....

I love this vinyl mat!!! I could do with that at home, lol

They just play so well together

Tamāhine 2 enjoyed this activity table very much ... who wouldn't when
you get to ooze glue and make a montage of anything your little heart desires

My incredible friend who whipped up a bowl of playdough so quickly!!!!
I was very impressed.

Painting .... certainly a major hit with our tamariki

Kai time ... phew! Lucky I took some fruit, I didn't know what to expect,
but glad I had it on standby

Our kids play dress-ups at home, but isn't it always exciting to
discover different clothes to dress in?!

Tamāhine 2 really enjoyed glue!!

Tama 3 discovered some wooden puzzles

Easy-to-clean surfaces make wiping up playdough so easy ... certainly a good idea!
Mental note to self:
resurrect my koro's formica table in the shed for kids to use with playdough etc

Tamāhine 2 really loved paint too!!!

"See mum!! Isn't paint just the greatest!!"

Tama 1 made up a card game. As he wrote 0 to 15 on a piece of paper, the other player
has to put the cards into correct colours.

"Oooh, what I can make?"

Tama 3 enjoyed creating with his big sister

Tama 2 helped tama 3 to find some toys ... he was a good big brother indeed

A few photos of the playcentre itself

Because it was a very wet day, the children couldn't play for any great length of time outside. Hopefully next week it will be better. But if it isn't, I know how easily the children can motivate themselves to play indoors.

Okay, so that the was the really exciting time of our day. As we left, Auriel asked if we'd like to pop in to their new kāinga. I'm so glad we did because Auriel showed me the wonderful portfolios she keeps for their children. And that's when I felt momentarily deflated. Although I record the children's progress on blogs and have kept pictures, stories, etc in a box and some in copysafe pockets, I haven't mastered the perfection or style that Auriel has. When her kids say something original, witty, clever, inventive ... she records it. Oh my goodness, suddenly I felt like a shocking mother... but here's where Auriel is so clever ... don't worry about the 7 years to catch up on, start today and record from this moment forward.

Clever huh!?

Now, like I say, I gave myself a bit of a beating for not having portfolios for our tamariki. Then I thought about it. And the more I thought about it, the more I realised that in fact I do have it all there, but it's just a matter of putting it into a folder(s).

Oh well, just a small task to assign onself.

That, as well as attend a playcentre level 1 course on the 16th of March.

get started on my Mauri Ora paper properly -> which, I must point out, my dad did last year. Auriel mentioned she wanted to give-it-a-go, so I decided to do it with her seeing as I've dropped studying extramural papers for this year (simply due to the cost factor).

These are the first two kete you receive for the Mauri Ora programme.

May I encourage any Kiwi (whether Pākehā or Māori) to consider studying through Te Wānanga o Aoteaora. The Mauri Ora programme is FREE. Not only is it FREE but you see all these resources? They are yours TO KEEP!!!!! But the biggest gift of all?

You will learn about Aotearoa New Zealand a thousand times better than you ever did at school. And that, in my opinion, is an absolute fact!!!

So, you see? I did feel guilty about things and realised I'm doing okay. And besides, I strive every day to better myself. Such is the journey of life, nē rā?

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano