Sunday, 17 January 2010

Enjoying our Summer Downtime

We're still enjoying our summer holidays here in Rotorua, New Zealand and any mention to the children to (jokingly) restart falls on deaf ears! Surprise, surprise!

That's fine by me at the moment because the majority of my time is spent counting down to tama 4's arrival in a matter of days, so I'm grateful it's the school break because my mind simply isn't in that zone.

Anyway, I wanted to share just a couple of books that the children have read online this week which we've added to our cyber-bookshelves.
Tamāhine 1 read the above book from the Children's Library.

From the summary of the book: "One night, a flying train takes Jimmy and Nelly on an adventure to outer space. Was it all just a dream?" After flying past Fairyland, they fly into space and meet some stars, the moon, the sun and even meet the Little Grey People from Mars. When they all fall out of the train and land back in their bed, the reader is left wondering if it really happened, or if it had simply been a dream.

Tamāhine 1 read the book in one sitting which was great. And I know I've mentioned this before, but one thing which makes a big difference for Tamāhine 1 especially, is the fact she can enlarge the print of (most) books at the Children's Library. It's not like holding a book in your hand where you can run your finger underneath to keep your place, and when you're still learning to read with confidence, something like enlarging the print helps a lot.
A perfect book for Tama 1 to read was this week's freebie from The Big Universe. This book touches on many aspects of what makes a Test Pilot. It even mentions the Greek myth of Icarus which the children remember. No flight story would be complete without mentioning the Wright Brothers and Amelia Earhart. It's amazing how much he knows about flight already, but y'know, there's little wonder he has an interest in planes. His Uncle Warrick works hard at the Rotorua Airport and like many in our family, Warrick has a strong interest to join the RNZAF one day soon. We had many Uncles in the RNZAF during the war, our second brother Mark was a proud member for many years and the list goes on.

With the children's interest in aeroplanes, we headed down to the airport and watched the A320-200 prepare for departure on Saturday. Here's a few photos of us watching Uncle Warrick ...

After their final communications and signals to the pilot this is the last part before the flight takes off. For us, watching the ground crew is probably just as exciting as watching the plane actually lift off.

Okay, so I've mentioned a couple of books the children have read. Now I want to mention the 2010 Homeschool Diary

which is available for purchase at The Broad Room. It's designed for New Zealanders - and there's an Australian version also. There's also an Organiser which is designed for 10-17 year olds. Not having a 10 year old yet, we only went with the Diary this year.

The Diary and Organisers are available in either .pdf or printed version. My reasons to purchase the .pdf version were three-fold. Firstly, I can print it out in A4 or A5. Secondly, I can print extra pages of any part of the diary. My third reason? Well, that's a long-winded reason, but here goes.

I've been hopeless at organising school for me and the kids. Everything pretty much happens on a day-by-day basis. I looked at the way the Diary was structured and I thought, well, this is what I pretty much do, but my method has never made coherent sense. I'm hoping the Diary will teach me how to focus. Organise things NOW as opposed to making it up as we go along. With a few years of homeschooling under my belt now, I need to structure our school year better. So, although I place a lot of confidence in this Diary helping me to achieve that goal, I am being cautiously optimistic in my spending.

My goal for this year can summed up as:


I'm quite sure it's the goal for many of us, but sometimes we feel we don't reach that end result. Although I know we - as a family - have achieved much over the past three years, there are certain aspects I wish to improve upon. As Stephanie points out in the User Guide section of the Diary, "... to fill in during the slower month of January. Give yourself some down time..." This year we're actually having that down time, so yes, that's good advice for me. Sit in a comfortable chair and start dreaming of the year ahead and what we wish to achieve.

To decide for yourself, follow this link and scroll down to open the sample of the Homeschooling Diary. I'm glad I made my decision to incorporate this resource into my planning for the year.

Well, that pretty much wraps up what I wanted to share about the week. If anything, I hope I have left you with food for thought to consider the 2010 Homeschooling Diary.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

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