Wednesday, 24 March 2010

How does one say this?

I've been struggling with composing this post ... no sooner do I put a few words down, when I quickly delete it all again. I've questioned whether I should mention it at all ... and yet if I don't, I feel false by carrying on without saying anything!?! I'm trying to bite the bullet and put the words quite simply. How does anyone share sad news? I honestly have no idea how to say it other than to say ... I am sad, very sad because my mum lost her battle with CAD (Cold Agglutinin Disease) and passed away last Thursday.

Suffice it to say, I won't be using my public homeschooling blog as an outlet to share my feelings and dissect my family's experience in losing our mum/wife/aunty/sister/cousin/friend/colleague/neighbour, but I felt the need to put something here to acknowledge the importance of my mum and her role in my life and that of her mokopuna.

Mum's tangi was a true testament of her life. In typical Māori fashion we, the immediate family, extended family and friends, joined together to celebrate every aspect of mum's life. Her devotion to her family, her faith, her culture and her work. I wish I could paint a picture in words just how splendidly we honoured our mum. A tangihanga is one of the greatest ways Māori share every emotion. We cry, we laugh, we sing, we eat, we share stories and we honour our tupuna over the course of 3-5 days. It's a power one can only understand through experience. Our many relations rally together with speed to be with us and for that I thank them all. For all the behind-the-scenes mahi that works like a well-oiled machine to make light the task of holding an event such as this, is a testament to Ngāti Whakaue in its entirety and again, I say thank you. To Father Mark for his beautiful words of comfort and tireless attendance at the marae and special words during the Requiem Mass/Missa pro defunctis (Latin, "Mass for the deceased") and of course at the urupa when we finally laid mum to rest.

I thank all the wonderful nurses and doctors who rallied around us, saying what a pleasure it was to know and care for our mum. When they heard mum was in ICU many of the staff came through to show their aroha. Our mum who endured all the pain without complaint. The hospital staff couldn't believe our mum would be apologetic for being a nuisance to them rather than complaining of the pain she was suffering.

Oh yes, we had a strong mother alright and it's hard to comprehend she's no longer here, physically.

As much as my mother instilled her strength in me, I am sitting here thinking ... 'What am I going to do without my mum?' My mum, whom I spoke with practically every single day and shared in everything I did. You know, I will probably still look at the clock every morning and at 10 o'clock I'll say, "I can phone mum now" because that's what I did.

I do have one comforting thought though. My mum knew I loved her. She knew her mokopuna loved her. She knew her sons loved her. She knew even more so, just how much her husband loved her. My dad ... my dad ... yes, this is now a time to tautoko my dad.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Gotta love 30 day free trials don't yah!?

I sent away for a 2010 cataglogue from Curriculum Concepts last week and when I finally found some time to sit down and browse through it, one of the first things I came across was an advertisement about a website called Ziptales. So, in typical fashion, I headed over to the computer and started browsing around Ziptales.
Ziptales offers stories in 12 genre, different readability levels, optional voiceover with comprehension tasks at the end of each story where students obtain feedback straightaway and in the ‘staffroom’ there are activity sheets for teachers and students.
I clicked on the "Where Do I Start?" button and asked tama 1 (munching on his dinner) to pop over and give the "test" a shot. He read the three stories and answered each quiz with ease. At the end of the "test" it was suggested he start at level 3.

To cut a long story short, I felt happy about what I looked at and decided it wouldn't do any harm to give the 30 day free trial a whirl.


[Now, should you decide to do the 30 day trial, you'll get an email outlining a few basic tips as well as receive the necessary username and password of course.
]

Two things I like about it so far:

  1. Decent length stories.
  2. Comprehension tasks on completion of each story.
I probably should've waited till the kids had finished their World Math Day games because we didn't utilise the website at all during those days, but oh well, them's the breaks. I'm at least trying to sit down this weekend to do a bit more of a reccy to familiarise myself and make that decision whether to spend NZD$50 or not. Considering I've spent a bit too much money in recent weeks, I need to be cautious about getting carried away with slapping things on the plastic just at the minute.

There have been a few slow-loading pages, MINOR volume issues in one or two areas and disappointment at one of the Puzzle Palace games ... Where's Wally's Wallet. {Tamāhine 1 and I got through Part 1 but do you think we could get Part 2 to work?} Maybe I need to wait till I receive the 96 page Ziptales manual to read if there's something I'm missing. I'm browsing through the Technical Guide at the minute but I know our computer meets the criteria of what I'm reading so far. I'd be interested in hearing thoughts from anyone who uses it whether they had similar experiences and how to get around it.

But don't get me wrong, I really like it and will continue to tinker about. I'm sure I'll nut out the tiny issues I have because overall I think it's an excellent resource and it'll be a great supplement to our schooling.

In other words, I'm bound to spend the money ... it's just a case of when!


Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Friday, 5 March 2010

Good results with World Math Day 2010

On the final day of competition, the kids surprised themselves by reaching Level 3.
Score - tamāhine 1

High Score ............................ 35
Correct Answer ..................... 4252
Total Score ........................... 4252
Accuracy ............................... 98.72%
Total Questions ..................... 4307
Games Played ........................ 171
Score - tamāhine 1
High Score ............................ 35
Correct Answer ..................... 5085
Total Score ........................... 5085
Accuracy ............................... 98.70%
Total Questions ..................... 5152
Games Played ........................ 205
Score - tama 1

High Score ............................ 39
Correct Answer ...................... 4565
Total Score ........................... 4565
Accuracy ............................... 99.39%
Total Questions .................... 4593
Games Played ........................ 171
Score - tama 1

High Score ............................ 39
Correct Answer ..................... 5427
Total Score ........................... 5427
Accuracy ............................... 99.27%
Total Questions ..................... 5467
Games Played ........................ 205

Tama 1 even earned himself the ranking of Speed Demon.

It would be really exciting if the kids could win a prize. We won't know until Tuesday the 9th of March. Tama 1's made a note and plastered it on the fridge to remind us when to check.

In 2011 World Math Day becomes part of The World Education Games. It will take place on the first three Wednesdays in March and will include World Maths Day (2 March 2011), World Science Day (9 March 2011), and World Spelling Day (16 March 2011). Auckland has been chosen to host the 2011 World Education Games.

That wraps up our experience with World Math Day 2010. Considering it's a free international educational event with the chance of winning prizes, I can hardly wait for next year's bigger and better Games.


Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano


PS: I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who participated/or knows the answer to the following question:

How exactly do we know who the other homeschoolers were? Tamāhine 1 and tama 1 had
Team New Zealand under their names and although we did see other children with similar team [country] names, I don't know if that is how we distinguish ourselves as homeschoolers?

Thanks

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Enjoying World Math Day 2010

Tama 1 and tamāhine 1 are enjoying their experience playing/competing on World Math Day 2010. I didn't place expectations on either of them to finish the first level yesterday, yet surprisingly they did by late afternoon.

Given the fact that they both had plenty of breaks in-between games, including a long break to spend time with visitors, they managed to achieve fantastic scores. Around 5pm or 6pm they moved into Level 2 and played a few games at that level before calling it a day around 9.15pm. Their results for today:

Score Tamāhine 1
High Score ............................... 35
Correct Answers ....................... 3174
Total Score .............................. 3174
Accuracy .................................. 99.09%
Total Questions ....................... 3203
Games Played .......................... 114
Score Tama 1
High Score ............................... 39
Correct Answers ....................... 3335
Total Score .............................. 3335
Accuracy .................................. 99.58%
Total Questions ....................... 3349
Games Played .......................... 114
As the family headed upstairs to bed whaiāipo and I congratulated them for doing so well and tama 1 said, "yes, I feel very happy with what I did today. We both had a lot of fun."

Here's something we simply DIDN'T expect to happen.

If you look carefully at the avatars, you may figure it out ...
It didn't happen just once either!

At first we thought it was simply pure and utter coincidence.

[If you're a regular reader of my blog, then you may recall I said in a previous post that I told tamāhine 1 she and her brother wouldn't be playing each other? Well, guess who has to eat her words now!!I]

When it happened for the third time I didn't know if they should carry on playing each other because I didn't know if we were breakling any Rules. It bothered me they might get eliminated. So, I went back through the set-up to double-check our kids ages were still loaded correctly, and yes, they were correct. After checking the Rules I felt comfortable they were playing each other because Rule 2 says that prizes will be given to age groups and the first age group is 5-8 years of age. So that must mean they were okay to be matched with each other, being that tama 1 is 8 years old and tamāhine 1 is 6 years old eh?

How did it happen? Well, here's my theory ...

For the bulk of the day the kids started games at different intervals to each other, but as the afternoon drew on, one of the kids noticed the other had played more games, and well, they wanted to be even-stevens.

When we caught up I suggested if they wanted to be even-stevens, then we should start each game at the same time; which is how I believe they were matched together. It would appear to me (and yes, I can be wrong here) that the World Math Day server works out the players at the time you press the "yes" button to play a game. Because they pressed "yes" at the same time, and they fall within the age group of 5 to 8, that's how they ended up in the same game(s).

[So now, to get around the kids competing with each other, they're taking turns to start each game.]

Even so, with the thousands upon thousands of kids playing, it's still jolly amazing they were allocated the same games!!!

Check out the next screenshot ... our kids are the only competitors!!!
This morning they got underway around 10 am again.

If they manage to finish Level 2 it will be very late tonight as we will head into town for a few hours this afternoon. Besides, they're both pretty tired from their efforts yesterday and their enthusiasm might not be as high as they were yesterday ... but I did say might.

Level 1 was nice and easy -> single digit additions.

Level 2 moves into double digit plus single digit addition. Requires practise to get back into the swing of adding bigger numbers, but after a dozen games they're getting back into it. Their accuracy has dropped as well as their high scores, but they've won a few games which certainly is encouraging.

It's not only math but geography (learning flags, looking at the world map to see where countries are, identifying cultural names, understanding time zones etc) and technology (using a computer etc). If I thought long and hard about it, I'd probably figure out a few more subjects it fits into.

Big thumbs up for World Math Day 2010. Will note our diary for next year.


Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano