Friday, 31 December 2010

Summer equals the 3 Rs

Naui mai, hoki mai

Forget the academic three Rs (reading 'riting and 'rithematic).  I'm comfortably enjoying what I've coined "the summertime 3 Rs (relaxing, reflection and remediation)"

... Actually, there's probably a lot more of the "relaxing" happening so far, lol ...

We are so spoilt this Christmas; the weather is beautiful so there's a lot of swimming and outdoorsy-type activities happening here.  For example, the three big kids have picked up the ability to swim quite naturally.  I'm hoping they will perfect turning their heads to breathe before the season ends.
So, Christmas has come and gone with New Year's only a few hours away.  That makes this post the last one for the year 2010.  Wow! Did your year seem to fly by as fast as mine?

Before I sign off though, I will quickly share my gift to whaiāipo,tama 1, tamāhine 1 and tama 2.  Earlier in the year I bought tickets to the inaugural:
Whaiāipo managed to get the afternoon off work (yay!)  The gates opened to the public at 2 o'clock, and luckily they arrived shortly thereafter.  I'm happy to report they had an absolute blast yesterday.  I stayed home with the three youngest as I didn't think they would last 7+ hours in the heat.  As much as I'd like to have made it a family affair, I chose to keep the young ones home.  A part of me really wished I was there too, but I'm thrilled they all came away with fond memories .... priceless!

I'll only add a few photos because unfortunately no one thought of the sun getting in the way as they took pictures ...

Well, as much as I should probably close off with a clever quote, parable, tale, or insightful resolution, the best I can come up with is to wish you a safe and prosperous New Year.  May you feel as as complete and happy with life as I do every day.  My family are my life and my life is my family.  Nothing material can compete with God's gift to me -- my family.

Here's to another fantastic year!!!  Thank you 2010, and HELLO 2011 !!!

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Friday, 17 December 2010

Says it all

Why do we live in Rotorua?
'Cos it's the best!

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Congratulations tama 1

He did it!!!  He reached his goal by the due date.  

Savouring the moment ...

Editing can wait !!!

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Who is the Milky Bar Kid?

Word spread like wild fire on FB yesterday as soon as the whānau found out the news ...

You guessed it !!!!

Congratulations Hine !!

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Monday, 15 November 2010

Mid-November ALREADY?!!

Over the past few weeks I have written, re-written and deleted posts.  (I seem to be very good at that -- making drafts, only to decide to delete them, LOL!!)

Each time I come back I decide to delete and start again because I just think, "argh! it's so boring!!"  But the reality is, our days/weeks have been very mundane, run-of-the-mill, nuts-and-bolts, everyday schooling.  We haven't ventured anywhere in particular, per se.  We have had a number of manuhiri though, so I guess I can put a check mark in the"socialisation" box.

But anyway, I need to record our mahi no matter what, so okay, here comes the "boring-for-others-but-not-for-me" side of things.

{Hey, I've at least thrown in some illustrations to snazzy it up a little, LOL !!}


As always, we use Math to begin the day -- but rather than three Math-U-See texts, it 's been only one. Tama 1 and tama 2 are using Math Mammoth ...

Tama 2 completed his Additions workbook Friday just gone:

This was a fun workbook for sure. I know I've mentioned before that it was probably on the easy side, but I'm glad we started with it because I've had time to understand how Math Mammoth is laid out. Another advantage in using the above workbook, was that I could leave tama 2 to get on with his lesson when needed elsewhere without him sitting there twiddling his thumbs.

Having completed that workbook, we made a start with this next Blue Series workbook today:

Tama 2 needed assistance today.  There's a definite gear change with this particular workbook -- which is a good thing!!!

As for Tama 1, well, he has made a great start with his fractions lessons using:

In a way I'm not in a hurry to receive Math-U-See Epsilon, because I'm enjoying this different style of workbook.  That DOES NOT MEAN I've gone off MUS -- heck no!!!  I'm just glad I have a fantastic supplement to our regular math.

Three positive points for Math Mammoth:
  • value for money
  • immediate download and 
  • variety of exercises


Tama 1 continues with his story for NaNoWriMo. He's making good progress -- I'm really looking forward to the end of the month to see just how well he does. It's very exciting.

As for cursive and manuscript writing; well, everyone is doing beautifully... not really much more I can say about that subject, LOL.


I finally know what predicate nominatives and predicate adjectives are!!! Better still, tama 1 understands them too!!!!  I sat down with just tama 1 this afternoon to see if he would understand and yay! he did.  I will sit down with tamāhine 1 tomorrow to try and teach her what they are too.  I think that every time we learn new grammar which I, myself, find difficult then it may pay for me to teach them one at a time so that they get the one-on-one -- after all, isn't that why I homeschool?


Well, the hour is now very late for me so I think I will close off at this point, but I will leave you with a reminder to note your diaries for this:

With a bit of luck I'll achieve another posting in the next few days.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Vote for the Milky Bar Kid

The search is on for New Zealand's next Milky Bar kid
... my cousin's daughter is one of the finalists.

Here's her audition ...

Cast your vote !!!!

Yeeee Harrr !!!

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Friday, 5 November 2010

Yay! It's finally November

The 1st of November is always a very special day in my family. It not only marks All Saints Day, but it is also my parents wedding anniversary. This is the first one without our mum, but in typical whānau fashion, we gathered together after mass to celebrate with dad. It was a wonderful day filled with happiness good kai and plenty of aroha.

The 1st of November will also become an annual event {I hope} to participate in:
We were too late to take part last November, but, for the past year I have prepared tama 1 for this year's event. As the date got closer, his nerves started to show and his target of 3000 words dropped to 2000 and then a few days prior to commencement, we dropped it to 1000. I tried to make it sound as achievable as possible ... if your target is 1000 words, then that's 33-34 words a day. That's do-able eh?! Well, 1st of November rocked on up and he wrote 114 words!! By day four, he had written over 400. Needless to say, I have put his target back to 3000.  I'd love to put it back to 3000 but I think we will stick to 1000 for his first year's attempt.
Before we headed out on Monday (1st November) tama 1 was keen as mustard to start writing ... and writing ... and writing ... he had such a beaming smile when he exclaimed, "I've written 114 words!" He amazed himself !! Now, as much as I have explained to him that it's just a case of writing hard-out and that editing is not important at this point, he has taken pride in his writing each day and I must say it looks very tidy, spelling is almost 100% correct and his grammar is just great. I'm rather proud that he wants to have it perfect!!!

only thing I need to teach him is how to make paragraphs!!!! LOL

I spent a few days tweaking and retweaking three school timetables. This week we're trying to follow them as best we can. So far, so good. {This is one of the reasons why I want to go private; at the moment I am uncomfortable putting anything like timetables on the blog, but I really want to upload all that sort of stuff now without hesitation.} But I must say, they do look good on paper!!! I just hope they work out in practice.

Earth Science and Physical Science are underway now, and I'm very happy with progress. Tama 2 impressed his big brother so much the other day when I was quizzing him that Tama 1 made his little brother a medal!! He also made one for his sister -- shows how thoughtful he is. Tamāhine 1 and tama 2 thought they were really special; in fact tama 2 was so proud of himself that he wore his medal for the entire afternoon.

Tamāhine 1 confidently rattles off the planets which is great; she's able to tell me why Mars is referred to as the red planet, name the Gas Giants, identify Mars has two moons {tama 1 adds his knowledge that they are called Phobos and Deimos - and he spelt those to me so I wouldn't get them wrong!!!} The hottest to coolest stars are blue, white, yellow, orange and then red.

Tama 1 was a much better teacher than me actually, because he spoke about the carbon dioxide on Mars and Venus and pointed out that Mercury is very hot on the side facing the sun, but very, very cold on the side facing away from the sun because there is no atmosphere. He rattled off a lot of detail throughout our lesson(s) which is fantastic.

Math:- Tama 2 continues to enjoy using Math Mammoth - Additions. Seeing as he has completed over half the worktext, I will let him finish the whole thing to experience a sense of accomplishment. Tama 1 completed Math-U-See Delta the other day {we dragged it out as long as we could in the hopes Epsilon would arrive.} He is well and truly ready to move into Epsilon. I wish I'd ordered it a month ago!! I'll definitely have to find out how much longer we are likely to wait because we've passed the fortnight stage and the order still shows as pending.

Oh well, thank goodness for Math Mammoth and Currclick. MUS may not have arrived, but at least I can supplement by downloading:
We worked with the following today: Tama 1 found this text very different indeed -- not horribly different or anything like that -- just different. I helped him to understand the layout and then he was away. I particularly enjoyed the last lesson under the "Practice with Parts" section. We had to find a path from the top to bottom of a table of equations. I'm very pleased to use this supplement because it's laid out so differently -- a GOOD different. Some of it was really easy for him, but things like the lesson I mentioned really had him thinking. Excellent.

Tamāhine 1 continues to beaver away with Gamma. By the end of today's lesson she completed Lesson 27F. Working with numbers in the millions is a very slow process indeed, but she did very well. Because I find Math Mammoth to be an excellent resource, I think I will download a few more so tamāhine 1 can practice using it also. I think she may benefit considerably using this math curriculum... but of course, I shall have to wait and see.

History -- For our weekly history lesson, I am using notebook pages which go along with each chapter in SOTW -- Manuscript for tama 2 and cursive for tamāhine 1. We covered chapter two this week. Sometimes they remember the word "shaduf," but sometimes they forget. However, they at least understand what it is and what its function is. We ended up combining a bit of geography into our lesson this week too -- by coincidence, we just happened to talk about the Panama Canal -- canals of course featuring in our lesson about Nomads.

We learned: The three sets of locks of the two-lane Canal work as water elevators that lift the ships to the level of Gatun Lake, 26m over sea level, and later lower them again to sea level on the other side of the Isthmus of Panama. We all enjoyed watching a little animated video showing the operation.

Geography: As earlier mentioned we learned about the Panama Canal. As part of that lesson, we learned the definition of an isthmus. I was about to mention Auckland Isthmus when Tama 1 pointed to Mahia Peninsula on our New Zealand wall map, explaining how an isthmus connects Mahia to the mainland. Tumeke eh?!

We used the map scale to work out the distance between nominated locations. It's interesting to make the comparison of distance with the length of New Zealand. For example, New Zealand is only 1600 kms (approximately) in length and when we discover distances between point A and point B are longer than our country! well, that puts into perspective just how small Aotearoa really is eh?

Also from this week -- I started economics with tama 1. Economics will be a short weekly lesson. Although he's eight, he is ready for this subject. I don't expect the other children to commence these sorts of subjects at the same age. They are their own person and gauging tama 1's ability I know he is ready for it. From his first lesson, he understands needs, wants and scarcity. I will endeavour to teach him once a week for one term. Depending on his knowledge at the end of one term, we will either continue further or shelve it until such time that he is ready to pick it up again. As long as I find a method which is engaging then we should be fine.

Loads more to talk about, but that'll do for today.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

They grow up too fast !!

Not even three years old and today I turned around to see he's riding on his own.

Tino pai e tama, tino pai !!!

Tama 3 riding !!

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Friday, 29 October 2010

Closing off the week's lessons

As I sat down to breakfast -- without even having my first sip of coffee -- Tama 1 turns to me and says, "mummy, do you know that jelly is viscoelastic? ... actually, honey is viscoelastic too."

Say what?! I don't know how to spell it, let alone know what that means?!!!!

Crikey, after that lesson from our eight year old, I certainly had to question whether I was going to come up with something substantial to teach "him" today.

Honestly, he sure knows how to throw me a curve ball eh?! Viscoelastic!?! Oh my gosh!!! What kind of word is that in an eight year old's vocabulary?!

Don't ask me what it means because I had to use Wikipedia to try and figure it out myself. And look, if I was able to understand what the definition meant, then I would have quizzed him about it, but argh! I didn't even know what half of it meant!!!

So anyway, that was this morning...

In our History lesson this afternoon we used the following website to learn about an archaeological dig:
Çatalhöyük is an ancient city in Turkey, believed to be between 8,000 to 10,000 years old.
"Çatalhöyük means 'forked mound' and refers to the site's east and west mounds, which formed as centuries of townspeople tore down and rebuilt the settlement's mud-brick houses. No one knows what the townspeople called their home 9,000 years ago."
The website has many online activities and watching some of the tour videos really made me appreciate the extensive work and magnitude such excavations entail:-
LOADS to check out, so we'll try looking at it again another time.

Tama 2 found it a little challenging at times, but did his best to follow my explanations for as long as he could. After about 20 minutes, I suggested he take a rest and when he was ready, perhaps he might like to take a look at the Magic School Bus, "Shows and Tells" to try learning it from a different angle. Meanwhile, I had tama 1 and tamāhine 1 use our favourite toy - Google Earth to (1) locate Çatalhöyük and (2) look at the photos to see what connections they could make between the website and Google Earth. Tamāhine 1 immediately jumps up with enthusiasm, "that's the such-and-such picture .... look!" and she immediately draws our attention to the Çatalhöyük website. The two of them had fun exploring on their own while I worked with tama 2.

... Having started this blog post with a word called viscoelastic, I thought I'd finish with a light-hearted story to close off...

On the weekend, tama 2 went with his dad to see our postie. As they drove out of her driveway, tama 2 apparently asked his dad, "if Maylene's a postie, why does she need a post box?" Well, that was something we'd never thought about before eh?! Good question, e tama !!

{Fast forward to yesterday when our same postie popped round in the afternoon}

I told Maylene the story and she turned to tama 2 and explained, "well, I don't work Friday and Saturday, so I have to get my mail delivered to me just like you!"

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Thursday, 28 October 2010

I don't want to call it a review, but I guess it actually is really!?!

I'm not one to write reviews, and although I've read many blogs with reviews, my method of writing one won't follow anyone else's style because I prefer to just chat to you about Youngzine and hope you'll take my thoughts into consideration should you wish to check it out for yourself. I'll simply tell you the four, no five, no actually six reasons why we like this website.

Nota Bene: We've been using it for (maybe) a month hence only a handful of top reasons why we like it. I'm sure that once we use it longer, I could easily add another handful of good reasons about it. For example, we haven't tried the quizzes yet. So I can't tell you anything about them.

But here goes:
  • The BIGGEST reason: it comes EVERY week. That's very different to the other online newspaper for kids website we receive, which is fortnightly. I much prefer having the articles more frequently. That way tama 1 is aware of the news articles because they are still fresh in his mind from seeing, hearing, or discussing events throughout the week, so they are therefore very current.
  • LOVE the bright look of the web page. Okay, so maybe that's a bit of a wishy-washy reason to highlight as a point, but it really does make a difference to have something clean- and bright-looking. It is more inviting and engaging in my opinion. It gives ME the impression the website will be easy to navigate -- which, I believe, Youngzine is, for example subjects are clearly marked and therefore easy to move between one or the other. It's not "busy" with advertising.
  • LOVE the video links -- having visuals is always a helpful device, especially if the younger kids want to participate -- they don't necessarily have to understand the article, but if they can watch a video clip, then they gain some kind of insight and understanding too.
  • The owners/developers have really nailed it on the head being able to write in a style that MEETS THEIR TARGETED AUDIENCE !! I know the owners/developers wanted something for their 11 year old son that would be engaging and educational for him, and it's very obvious they have kept this reason at the forefront of their minds as they publish each newsletter. If our eight year old son can be engrossed with each article, and is able to interpret what is being said, then that makes me very happy.
  • Another good thing about it? Well, Youngzine not only encourages children to express their views (comments section at end of each article), but they can submit their own articles, book reviews or travelogues with the content being moderated by an editorial team. I'm secretly hoping that ONE day, tama 1 (or any of the kids for that matter -- it's just a case of them getting a bit older!!), will consider submitting something.
  • There's no annoying advertising - especially the unsavoury type!! Even on kid-safe websites some will have advertising which none of us want or need, so I think that warrants a mention. For me, personally, Youngzine is just what it says it is: engaging and interactive.
I have searched for months and months to find something which would be useful for our family, and Youngzine provides exactly what I want!!! At long last, our eldest is able to read current affairs -- in a safe environment. I'm not having to panic about what articles might be included because it is meeting the level of it's target audience -- unlike paper newspapers, or television news, etc.

I believe they do meet their goal which is:
"to help parents and educators create a vibrant community of globally aware young citizens in an increasingly connected world. Along with news stories written specifically with our young audience in mind, Youngzine strives to inform using fun trivia, compelling visuals and videos."
All I can tell you is that I searched for donkeys ages trying to find something suitable for us. At long last I feel like we've finally got the exact online news website that I've been wanting.

I haven't mentioned to tama 1 that I was going to write about it, but I will at least close off with what he said to me yesterday as he read some more news articles ...

"I really like this website!"

Simple, direct and straight from the heart. Said with absolutely no coercion from me!!! Can't really top that eh?!

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

BTW: You're probably asking this question: Is it free? The answer? YES!!! Most definitely

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Labour Weekend was so relaxing and rejuvenating

Apologies if anyone has already read the bulk of this post. I must have accidentally pushed publish post instead of save now. So if you're wondering why you've got the same post showing, that's because this is the correct version!!! Sorry about that!!

Waiting for Labour Weekend felt like an eternity, but when it finally arrived, oh my goodness it was wonderful to have whaiāipo home!! Considering he worked on Saturday, it wasn't exactly the long weekend one would have really liked, but nevertheless, we had a fantastic two full days as a family. The weather was just amazing!! so who could ask for more?!

It's pretty hard to come back down to earth after great weekends isn't it?!

Hei aha, look at the positive: we have a short week now! LOL

I had a particularly busy start yesterday morning; we went into the city to get tama 2's birth certificate photocopied, then double triple checked everything was enclosed and signed on the Exemption Application before sealing the envelope shut. Although I'm confident I've done a good job on his Exemption, I still had a slight panic just before sealing the envelope, ie "have I signed everything? included everything? will it arrive at MoE or get lost in the mail?"

With each exemption I always think to myself, "I wish they'd send me a complimentary slip to confirm they've received it." It would put my mind at ease because then I'd know it's at least reached its destination. Instead I have that moment's hesitation and allow panic/worry to seep in for no good reason.

I also popped in to see my old boss to get him to witness the Homeschooling Allowance forms and discuss the situation with the house. I caught up with the latest gossip ... biggest goss of all is that my old boss has sold his practice and will be a barrister. Wow, that was a surprise, and yet not really.

I looked around and for a split second I missed the place ... and then thought, "nah!"

I happily bid everone ka kite, skipped downstairs to the kids and left the city. I decided to post the exemption and allowance forms at Te Ngae Postshop, and as I stood in front of the mail box, I again had that moment's hesitation, asking myself if everything was filled in correctly!? (Crazy waste of energy eh?! LOL)

Anyway, the rest of the day was filled with handwriting and math and reading. We didn't do any Latin due to losing half a day but as long as we cover the basics, then I'm happy. Tama 1 read the news on Youngzine. He laughed at a comment made by someone at the end of The Future, Driveless Cars, Smart Eye Glasses article. It's fun to have him read and understand news articles, being able to relate it to other information he knows and then laugh at someone else's comments because he understands it without me having to explain what things are about, and how something is funny because ... Yes, it's a sign he's getting bigger and brighter. As he read another article about Benoit Mandelbrot, we ended up having a discussion about fractals. Actually, the conversation got started when he was reading about The Gifted Child: "That's interesting," tama 1 said, "he (Mandelbrot) was born in Poland and moved to France just like Madame Marie Curie."

Seriously, tama 1 teaches me more than I teach him!!!

So, it's Wednesday today and we'll have another interruption to our school day because I want to get into the city to The Warehouse Stationery. When I was in there yesterday I asked how much binding would cost, for say 100 sheets. The young guy was helpful and headed off to check a price. He said it would be about $5 and my little brain started thinking of the things
I print out and I thought, 'yes, I do have a use for this service.'
One of the things I will get bound are the sheets I printed out this morning - 2x Math Mammoth books. For a while now I've been wondering about using Math Mammoth (as a supplement to Math-U-See; for tama 2 in particular) and well, to cut a long story short, I decided to buy a couple of books at this stage -- Clock and Addition 1. Although the latter is probably too easy, I decided to get that one so he could do a few pages for practice to understand how Math Mammoth works, and once I know he has the hang of it, I can leave it ready for tamāhine 2 in the near future. As for the clock, tama 2 and tamāhine 1 both need to practice learning the time. For about $5 I can get them spiral bound which will make it easier to work with (and store); rather than putting them into a chunky folder, I decided I'd prefer spiral bind instead. Hence, we will head into the city this afternoon to get that done. We may time it right to go to the library also.

Tama 1 has completed Lesson 30C (Delta) today. I received a newsletter from LearnEx today advising there's still a long delay on fraction overlays coming into the country, but I'm confident tama 1 should understand fractions without relying on manipulatives, but at least I've been made aware they're still having difficulties getting them into the country at this stage.

Tama 1 will easily have Delta completed by the end of the week as expected, so it'll just be a case of utilising whatever supplements until we get Epsilon.

Tamāhine 1 completed Lesson 26F (Gamma) today. I'm happy with her progress; she's getting the hang of everything which is great.

Tama 2 enjoyed working with Math Mammoth. I think tamāhine 1 and tama 2 had fun taking turns answering questions from the clock book, so we'll do some more tomorrow and see how they get on.

Geography and History lessons crossed over in today's lesson. We started to look at Mexico. On the map we had tama 2 find Mexico City, and also Chihuahua. The children were able to tell me that the official language is Spanish. We learned an interesting fact: Mexico City is the highest city in all of North America. So it's higher than the Mile-High city of Denver. Okay, skipping through the rest of the lesson, we got onto the subject of Mayan civilisation -- hence crossing into History. Our discussion about this era will be continued tomorrow and I'll try to add a little of our learning then. We at least learned they had a written langauge; more of a phonetic alphabet of hundreds of symbols as opposed to letters I think -- a sort of hieroglyphic text. We also learned that Mayans came thousands of years before the Aztec civilisation, so just imagine the immense history of this land!?

Evening Update -->

I'm glad I got the workbooks bound...I won't have to worry about pages becoming misplaced this way; it makes for easier storage rather than bulky ringbinders AND it gives the impression of a REAL textbook -- just because it's in compact form, LOL. There's 66 pages (well, 33 back-to-back), and the cost per binding was $3.79. So all up, it's about $15.00 for two very exetensive textbooks.

Pleased with this purchase. I think it's good value.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Sunday, 24 October 2010

SOS: Science on Saturdays (or Sundays)

You may recall I mentioned a few weeks back that I emailed a few people asking permission to download a repeat copy of files due to losing backups?

Well, The lab of Mr Q (or eequalsmcq) was THE one I was particularly desperate to retrieve:
I sent an email politely asking if there was any way Mr Q would allow me to download the files I'd bought from months back. Fast forward: I received a very friendly reply and link to download the files again. Phew!!!! What a relief.

Here's the crazy thing; I'd paid for the downloads way back in January of this year knowing we wouldn't start using it until tama 2 was nearer six years of age. But because I could get them for a jolly good discounted price, I didn't hesitate to buy four of the elementary science courses.

I'm just grateful Mr Q (Scott McQuerry) was such a nice bloke about it all and allowed me access for a second download. Yay! Scott!!!

And here we find ourselves with our first class this morning...

We worked on Earth Science Chapter One. The relevance of starting with Earth Science is because the field trip to the Stardome is still fresh in everyone's mind.
I took into consideration that tama 1 would be very knowledgeable about this subject, so the plan was to have tama 1, and tamāhine 1 take turns to teach the lesson with their father. I floated from my laptop following the readings on screen, to joining them at the table for the quiz. My role today - acting as teacher aide.

I'm so relieved whaiāipo has agreed to make this commitment to our SOS classes. { I thought I was pretty clever coming up with the name SOS: Science on Saturdays, hee hee.} The lessons can be either Saturday or Sunday because we'll be working around whaiāipo and any weekend work he might have on. This weekend was a prime example. He worked on Saturday but not today, therefore class was held on Sunday. No doubt there will be weekends when he will be working both days, but we can deal with those as they come along.

Tama 2 learned that the universe is THE biggest thing and that an asteroid can be as big as Mt Ngongotaha, meteoroids are the height of our house.

I extended my understanding of why toilets in the northern hemisphere flush differently to southern hemisphere. "What is she talking about?"

Well, it was on the topic of the Milky Way Galaxy and the fact that it's best described as a spiral shape. Mr Q suggests we go into the bathroom and flush the toilet. In doing so, the idea is we'd see how the water forms a spiral as it flows down the drain, and that spiral shape is what a spiral-shaped galaxy looks like.

Luckily whaiāipo was taking this part of the lesson because he explained that toilets in New Zealand don't flush in a spiral at all. He then used a term, which I'm pretty sure is just a plumber's colloquial name and that's a "dump toilet" -- yes, that's what he said!! Our hand basins and baths on the other hand, they will have the water go down in a spiral, so let's use them as our example for a spiral shape okay? {giggle} At that point I added my two cents worth and said that the water spirals in the opposite direction in the northern hemisphere to which tama 1 quickly clarified by saying, "because of the Coriolis effect - which is caused by the sun."

[ I spent probably half an hour this evening looking at videos on YouTube which would you believe are about flushing toilets!!! Crazy behaviour!! The northern hemisphere toilets definitely had a swirl. Interesting. The southern hemisphere toilets (not surprisingly, the bulk of the clips are filmed in Australia but in this instance I don't mind that! LOL) are as whaiāipo said, just like ours in New Zealand because ... well, that's where the majority of our toilets are imported from -- okay, there and China, but my story is about spirals so let's keep to the topic eh!! I even found an article someone wrote about her experience of toilets in New Zealand!! Pretty fascinating topic in the end. I laughed to myself thinking, "I cannot believe I'm watching toilets flush!!! Now THAT'S crazy behaviour!! Oh well, does it count towards being part of testing science? LOL]

So anyway, I got side-tracked but it all stemmed from our lesson this morning, yet it is all educational nevertheless eh?

The older kids did a great job being teachers.

I really do hope our SOS classes continue.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite

Saturday, 23 October 2010


This morning, as I was checking emails etc something got me to thinking and one thing led to another. I turned to tama 1 asking, "who was the (US) President we read about in The 39Clues?" ...

Then I made a big mistake, "Was it Ben Franklin?" Oh boy! I got shot down real quick by tama 1.

"He was never President of the United States. He was an Ambassador and one of the Founding Fathers."

To which his dad said, "Well, who knew?"

"I did!" Tama 1 said confidently.

Even though I've learned never to doubt what tama 1 says he knows, I couldn't help myself but to Google it. I wanted to be right and him to be wrong. Okay, so maybe I should've known, I mean, even though we're not American and our country is thousands of kilometres away, we did study American History at school and in today's world you can't help but learn more about America, but heck, was I really wrong that Benjamin Franklin wasn't a President?

Well, as usual tama 1 was 100% correct. I whisphered to his dad that tama 1 was quite right and he laughed -- a real belly laugh -- neither of us knowing quite what to say!!!

... It reminded me of the description I wrote about myself when joining a forum yesterday, "I'm enjoying being taught by my children." This morning's five minute lesson is a perfect example!!

Tino pai e tama.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

nota bene: I didn't really want to blog this out of embarrassment; worried any readers in America would think I'm not very bright. But I reminded myself, this blog is not about me, it's about education. It's about how we learn and what we learn -- that includes ME !!!

Friday, 22 October 2010

After three years I think I've finally got a half-pie decent timetable!!

I haven't bought an Alpha student textbook for tama 2 yet. I'm not sure if I will -- time will tell. At the moment we have managed to sail through to the end of lesson 8 without it. This is how we did lesson 8:

I started writing the sentence questions on the board too, but he answered the first one as soon as he'd read it, so I flagged that time-consuming idea and simply had him read from the {used} textbook instead with me covering the answers.

We finished the week having completed lesson 8F. The main thing for tama 2 to learn is nine wants to be a ten etc which he'll learn next in lesson 9. Once he masters that we can jump ahead a little. I flicked to the subtraction lessons and he answered everything with ease so I've got a pretty good idea what and how we'll do the next few lessons. Depending how that pans out, we may get away with not buying an Alpha textbook for tama 2.

It's nearly the end of October, so I think it's important tama 2 stick with Alpha through to the end of this year. For me, one of the key things is to keep the kids confidence up. Although I know he can do a lot of the equations in the text, I will not skip ahead too much because as much as a child can know something now, they can quickly unlearn it if they move onto something else without practicing enough. { Nota Bene: I'm referring to our tamariki, not anyone else's.}
I snuck this photo as tama 1 helps his sister figure out a word question. He was working on Test 29 at the time, but he gladly turns to help his sister.

It's been months and months since the kids last used our front room (aka classroom.) But seeing as the sun beams through there first thing in the morning, I suggested the kids might like to use that room to work on their math lesson today.

Tama 1 aced his test, so he'll finish Delta without doubt next week. I mentioned in a previous post that I've ordered Epsilon, so with a bit luck, it will arrive just at the right time to roll over from one to t'other. It seems incredible that there's only two more textbooks for him to complete before he moves from the Lower Level to Upper Level MUS! That seems momentous to me -- okay, okay, so I'm jumping ahead of myself!! Yes, you're right, let's just focus where we're at and enjoy the fact he's about to move into Epsilon. How exciting to think he's about to study fractions. I'll have to do some major brushing up of fractions that's for sure.

Tamāhine 1 finished the week on Gamma lesson 26E. At the moment she's happy to do just one page, and that's fine by me. It's quite taxing on them to deal with larger multiplication equations so I think it's good she would prefer to work on one page. Aim to get the answers correct rather than stress you have more than one page to complete eh!?

Speaking of tamāhine 1, she worked on lowercase cursive handwriting today. Both tamāhine 1 and tama 1 practiced uppercase yesterday and the day before. We will work on lowercase again on Monday then go back to writing a sentence. She made a lovely effort of her letters so I'm really pleased we've moved her into cursive writing. I'm also glad I've chosen to print out sheets for them to use rather than me preparing them myself. Now that we have three tamariki working on handwriting, I need to utilise this method to save time -- especially when I see that my own writing looks too hurried on occasions simply because I'm trying to get it done for them.

This afternoon we had Language Arts. Tamāhine 1 and tama 1 practiced prepositions. Then we had tama 2 sit with us.

{ I don't expect tama 2 to participate in any great depth when it comes to the afternoon lessons. Reading, writing and arithmetic each morning remain tama 2's staple lessons, however, I'd now like him to sit up and join in as best as he can with our other lessons.}

Luckily tama 2 is an easy one to read to know he's had enough or doesn't understand. That's really helpful because I'm quickly aware when to say he can hop down and go play.

But hey, Tama 2 at least knows there are nine parts of speech!!!!

He may not be able to tell me what a noun is just yet, or even understand what "nine parts of speech" really means, but that's not important. He's at least locked that bit of information into his brain, which is a terrific start. The seed has been sown, so let's watch it grow.

The final lesson of the day was geography. We used Google Earth as an aid to review some of the places we'd discussed this week. { We were meant to look at all the places we studied this week, but you'll read shortly that didn't happen, lol.}

I think we will try to do this (ie use Google Earth) every Friday. It's brilliant how you can zoom in so close, and click on photos people have included to give you a greater appreciation of whatever town, city, building etc you're wanting to discuss.

We ended up getting very distracted after a while and the kids spent much longer than necessary flying around the world looking at anything and everything. Tama 1 went to Egypt, looked at photos of the sphinx, pyramids and so much more. Then (no surprise!) he found the Rotorua Airport and scrutinised every detail he could.

But, we at least looked at Juneau, Alaska and Vancouver, Canada like I wanted. As for the other places, well, I guess we'll just have to check them out over the weekend. I encouraged the kids to find whatever they wanted with Google Earth. After all, that's why I wanted to introduce it into our lessons. Many of the things we'd be discussing would be ho-hum to tama 2 or simply over his head. With Google Earth I know he'll enjoy learning about the world this way.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Completely OT: Online Gym

For the past month or two now I've been trying to build up my fitness. I don't care for gym memberships, so it's a case of doing my own exercising at home with the occasional walk in the Redwoods or around the lakefront when I get the chance.

I happened to mention my desire to lose weight and get fit again to a friend one day and not long thereafter I received the latest newsletter from ReachMe which had this in it:-

{ double click to get a better glance }

I emailed seeking permission to blog and I got the okay; just use the promotion code: Reach15.

What is WorkoutRightNow?

Well, it's an online gym for mums. By joining (which is free) you get:
  • Video and Audio workouts that change weekly
  • Articles, fitness guides and resources
  • A community section where you can find listings of local fitness groups, sports teams and clubs and fitness events for mums.
Here's what grabbed my attention: The workouts are quick and efficient and focus on post natal problem areas.

Amongst the WorkoutRightNow free resources are a BMI calculator and even a video sample (you just need to have Microsoft Silverlight) and I guess as time goes on they'll increase these resources. Being a relatively new enterprise, it will all depend on numbers, interest and promotion to get more things up and running on there. For me, it's better than facing a "live" gym. If I can get some sort of shape back, and drop to my goal weight size then I'll be happy.

I'll at least try the 15 day free trial and see what happens. I don't think I could afford to pay for a premium membership at the minute. I just paid for tama 1's next Math-U-See text which hit the wallet. It's a case of having to spend it on his education before indulging myself on fitness fees. Tama 1 is only a matter of two or three days away from finishing Delta and then he's ready to head straight into Epsilon. At this level, you not only need to buy the teacher's manual and DVD, but the Student Text AND the fraction overlays. All up it's just over $180. Yowza! I would've bought an Alpha Student text for tama 2, and a Delta text for tamāhine 1, but throwing an extra $100 on there just didn't tickle my fancy today. So no, I won't be paying for any premium memberships at WorkRightNow just yet. But I think it's a great idea and wanted to share. I'll be using what I can and mixing it in with the exercise equipment I have at home here.

If you're wanting to get fit and lose a little weight before summer, then take a look... what the heck!

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

nota bene: I haven't forgotten to blog about school today; I'm working on it right now. Hopefully I'll get a post done tonight to share with y'all.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Hmm, could a timetable be developing?

Okay, today we did Social Studies this afternoon. We had a lesson on the Chilean Miners. We looked at the map to find Chile; where the mine itself is; and locate the countries that helped towards the rescue, eg drill bits from Pennsylvania, America, a drill machine from South Africa, another powerful drill from Canada, video technology from Japan so the miners could keep in touch with the "outside" world etc ....

Once we finished that segment of class, the kids sat up at the computers and took turns reading from Youngzine:
Following the readings, tama 1 carried on reading some of the other articles at Youngzine and we found an interesting one about a newly discovered language called Koro. The kids were fascinated by the word because of course in Māori, koro means grandfather or term of address for an elderly man. The article also said that every 14 days a language dies. Wow! That seems pretty unreal huh?! Although more than 7000 languages are spoken around the world, it's rather frightening to think languages are dying.

This also sparked a conversation about te reo Māori. Tama 1 and I spoke about what we've heard on the news recently -- there are a number of Māori who say that the language is dying out, even though incentives are already in place to promote the language, it is believed that this is not enough and that te reo Māori is very much in danger of being lost. I've heard this one thrown around for years and it's sad that the sitaution doesn't seem to have changed enough. Obviously we're not the only country facing this dilemma...

Handwriting -- perfect. In three days everyone's handwriting has improved before my eyes.

Math -- One page each for math today because we had a pleasant break with Uncle Warrick who popped in with some morning tea. Yay! That was a perfect surprise indeed.

For tama 2's reading, we headed over to We Give Books. Here's what he read:

I Knew I Could by Craig Dorfman has a cute message relevant to not only children but adults too { I think } ... to realise anything is possible if you just put your mind to it! Significant timing in my life at this moment.

Geography -- { The plan is to hold short geography lessons on a Monday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday.} I'm thinking short 15-30 minute lessons to try and keep tama 2's attention and interest. Tamāhine 1 and tama 1 are really enjoying the lessons, but today I think today they'd have been happier to keep going. Tama 2 on the other hand was happy to rest up. Kei te pai e tama.

If someone were to ask me what style of homeschooling we use, I would have to say it's definitely eclectically classical, or classically eclectic -- whichever way you wanna say it. In my heart I wanted to be Charlotte Mason-y and don't get me wrong, I'm still a big fan, but the way our homeschool is evolving, then I'd have to say we've steered more towards classical. The only part I'm CM with is sending the kids outside as much as I can to enjoy the outside and explore { lol.} But hey, I'm okay with the style we're following. If anything I'm hoping to tweek it enough to finally have a timetable I'm happy with.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano