Friday, 26 June 2009

Happy Supervision Allowance Day

Today is a good day. Homeschooling parents around the country will receive the first half of their "Supervision Allowance".

Supervise - In childcare and general use, the verb "to supervise" means to watch over, and is often used in the context of an adult watching children to ensure they are attended, acceptably behaved, and safe. (Wikipedia's definition)

Now, to explain why I haven't blogged in a while ...

I'm actually using an old "spare" computer because the main one I've used has given up the ghost. For the last few months the other computer would take anywhere between 8 to 48 hours to crank up, so I ended up leaving it turned on day and night. As much as it grated my nerves to leave it on 24/7 I chose to do it that way because it was either go out and buy another computer, or buy another car. Needless to say we couldn't afford both, so buying another car won without question. (BTW, I think our power company enjoyed the extra income from us leaving the hard-drive on all day and night!!!!)

The past fortnight we experienced enough powercuts to not only drive me insane as I waited for it to reboot, but also the eventual deflation to realise it simply wasn't going to start again. After waiting four days this final time - hoping it would find the energy to start again - I decided to take it off life support and bid that computer goodbye. Now it's down to this dear old clunker to tide us over until we can buy another one. Most likely I will be using the Supervision Allowance towards it as well as max out my visa .... yet again!!!

Being the old clunker that it is, I can't load any new programmes to it, one of which is the digital camera software which means because I haven't taken any recent photos I can only access old photos, but they aren't school-related ....

The other truly annoying thing I can't load on is Adobe Acrobat Reader. Now THAT frustrates me BIG time because although I have all my important files saved (phew!!!), I can't access any of them that require Acrobat Reader. I've had to email my brother asking him to "open this" and "open that" and pass on some info I need from certain files. How crazy is technology huh?!

Typically I had the Supervision Allowance earmarked for other educational things, but without a computer our homeschooling pretty much comes to a halt (well, slight exaggeration, but you get the idea!?) because I am so reliant on accessing free resources, never mind blogging, emailing, IM'ing etc. I mean, honestly there's a host of reasons why I use a computer. Another one in particular I want the computer for is to research material for my Mauri Ora paper. I've just about completed kete 2, but could do with the convenience of googling for information when I want to.

So, to conclude this section of my post, I wanted to let you know that until we get a new computer the posts will either be weeks in between, or at the very least, short of pictures!

Okay, here I am saying I won't have pictures, but following are a few which I had drafted to a another posting but never finished. They show only a glimpse of what the children have accomplished this term.

Such as learning ...
some basic Spanish
a little about Mozart
and Beethoven
and Bach
???
Oops!!!! No photo of Bach!!! I obviously stopped the draft at that point eh?!
Oh well, Bach has a Notebook similar to the previous two composers.

The children haven't had a chance to finish off some of their other courses because of the "you will need Acrobat Reader" saga!!! Hei aha, we should have another computer by the commencement of next term so we can always pick up where we left off.

The moral of the story ... save your files as frequently as possible!!!

Earlier I mentioned we had to decide between buying a computer, or buying a car ... and the car was the most urgent of the two. Well, I've nabbed a photo of it from the TradeMe auction to show you ... clever thinking huh?


Our family love this peoplemover. I never thought we'd afford to buy one quite so soon, yet good fortune was on our side. Whaiāipo was clever to find it and buy it for a steal !!! For the price of less than a new computer, we are happily gadding about in our Nissan Largo!!!

So you see, when it was a choice of weighing up between a car and a computer, it was an easy decision!!!!

However, next on the agenda is a computer... but not till we get back from the Incredible Science trip. Don't forget, if you're in the Auckland area the first Monday of the school holidays in July, then try to head along to the University. The day is packed with awesome events. My brother who lives in Auckland is taking the day off to come with us!!! How cool is that!!!!

Well, I think that will do for today's post. It's taken a very long time just to achieve this much. The old clunker has shut down on me more times than I care to let on, lol. Poor old thing, but I'm grateful it's still going and able to have helped get this post done at the very least. That way, you won't be fretting wondering where I've got to ... ha ha ha!!!!

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Monday, 15 June 2009

Care to try a 90 Day Bible Reading Challenge?

LeavingFootprints

This sounds like a good challenge for me. If you think you'd be up for a similar challenge, head over to Rebecca's blog Leaving Footprints Along the Way.

It actually started today (15 June) but I haven't been able to pass the details on because we've been experiencing a few hiccups with power outages at home here. It wasn't until tonight that I could finally catch up on emails and blogs that I discovered it myself, so you won't be any further behind than myself!!!!

Rebecca also has resources, reading plans and motivational ideas to keep us going!


Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Thursday, 4 June 2009

SpellQuizzer Dot Com


I got the shock of my life - well, a pleasant shock that is - when I received a request from Dan Hite over at SpellQuizzer.com to review his website. I've never been asked to review a website (in a formal sense) before, and although I've visited plenty of blogs which review many websites, this is honestly my first shot at trying to do justice by reviewing from my humble point of view.

So anyway, let's get down to the nitty gritty of actually reviewing SpellQuizzer.com. Firstly, I do believe the name is self-explanatory so I don't really think I need to point out you're about to visit a website to help with your child(ren)'s spelling; or do I?!

To help me explain the webiste, I've included a few screen shots and as you can see, it's a very user-friendly program ... you simply click on the buttons and you're taken to the relevant screen.

One of the greatest things a website can have for those of us who find visuals an easier tool to follow, is a video demonstration page. Once I've read the general description of a website (which yes, includes noting the price!), the video demonstration is usually the page I will target next. If I can follow that, then I will most certainly take advantage of any trial periods which in the case of SpellQuizzer is 30 days with a 100% moneyback guarantee.



Like any great software, one expects a Help File and SpellQuizzer certainly provides that ...


Overall, I cannot fault this program. The price (even when converted to NZD$) is actually very respectable. There are a few programs out there that I would like to use with the children for other subjects, but simply with the converted price, they simply don't get a look-in. Spelling is an area which is important for the children to master and when you check the testimonials page you'll be encouraged by the results from other families.

One of the nice little quirks I like is that you can add an audio, ie you can make spelling practice even more fun for the student by recording amusing sentences in the spelling software, or using a funny voice when you record your spelling lists. Why have the boring old list of words just appear when you can add some spice of life to your spelling? After all, we enjoy sentence equations with math, so why not have a program do the same with spelling? Anything to help your child remember is a good thing in my books.

Share spelling & vocabulary lists with other homeschoolers
Belong to a homeschool group or co-op? SpellQuizzer makes it easy to export your word lists to share with other SpellQuizzer users and to import lists other users have created. A group of homeschoolers who are working with the same curriculum can share their lists via email or make them available for download on the web. That way homeschool families can share their lists rather than each family having to create each list independently.


The verdict?



In Summary

The website moves between screens quickly, the software has a simplistic style about it therefore making it extremely user-friendly. I like the idea that I can import and export the lists to share with others via email attachment, or post to a website for download. The price is certainly affordable and everything about the software is geared towards making spelling an enjoyable subject.

And there you have it, my first official review. I hope you find something of use in my posting today.


Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Do you use this free reading program?

My girlfriend Auriel thanked me for sharing this free reading link a few months ago and because she was so pleased with the results, she naturally wanted to take it to the next level. In order to find out how to do so, Auriel fired off an email to the developers and received an encouraging reply.

The main point to highlight is that if they receive over 100,000 participants then they can develop advertising etc. If you haven't tried the site with your children, then simply click on Booker the Bookworm to enter the world of the Reading Game.

As I say, the developer needs more people to use the existing program in order to get more funding, so please utilise this wonderful resource and by spreading the word of this FREE reading program, we will be helping in the future development.



Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano