Friday, 28 May 2010

Science Link

I forgot to add this link for a free science e-book. It's over 400 pages and as the lady who shared it said, "Shared with me, share with you. Please share with others."

Just click on the picture to take you there ...

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Autumn heading into Winter

By the heading of this post one would assume I'd be talking about nature or something like that. But no, I chose to name it as such because we are spending more days indoors due to wet weather which means more academics I guess. That, and the fact, I've no imagination to come up with a clever title!!!! With over 200 posts, my brain can't come up with anything clever for titles, lol.

Here's a few examples of things (we've) learned in the past few days:

Paleo - old, ancient
ontology - the study of existence

Therefore Paleontologist = person who studies things from the ancient world.

Paleontologists search for fossils (the remains of plants and animals that once existed).
Fossils can be found inside rocks and the ground.

Some of the equipment a paleontologist would use are:
Notebooks to record details of what they find and where they find it. Soft bristled brushes to delicately remove excess dirt and dust on anything they find. Map and compass to mark things on map so they can find it again. Shovels to dig deep, but carefully study the dirt so they don't miss anything. Chisel - to chip around rock carefully. Special hammers (sharp flat edge designed especially for rocks amd dirt). Magnifying lens - some fossils are very small and hard to see.

A sea is a body of salt water that is partly or totally surrounded by land.
Many seas are connected to an ocean by channels.
A bay is part of an ocean that forms a curve in the shoreline.
A gulf is part of an ocean or a sea that "dents" the land. It loops into the coastline.

Roald Dahl ROCKS! Tama 1 is enjoying his current reading book - James and the Giant Peach. He's read over half the book in less than a week. Tama 1 and myself enjoyed listening to Auriel the other day as she described, with great passion, some of the wonderful facts she knows about Roald Dahl. It would seem "Boy and Going Solo" will make a fantastic read. Even the Roald Dahl's website is entertaining!

We also played archaeologist and explored the Indus Valley and Mohenjo-Daro in particular. We recounted some previous learning, eg how tools such as a digital camera, ballooncams and laptop are used, that an archaeologist is like a detective and how artifacts would likely be displayed in a museum. I don't know if the kids can truly interpret that an ancient civilisation is one which existed 1,500 years ago but that's something they will certainly appreciate as their own histories develop. We also discussed fact and opinion. The lesson helped as an exercise in geography simply by locating continents, countries etc on the map.

Then of course we had our run-of-the-mill staple subjects ...

Math-U-See is going well. Tama 1 is working through δ (Delta). He ended the week completing Lesson 13. This week he had to work out the area of a trapezoid. He breezed through it. Now, although others skip some of the exercise pages if their child understands the concept, I choose to have the kids do the entire lesson. So, although tama 1 grasps it easily enough, I prefer he practice, practice, practice. Mistakes occur even when you know things. Tamāhine 1 has returned to Γ (Gamma) without a problem. She worked carefully on two pages per day, making no errors. She only needed a little help deciphering a couple of sentence problems, but other than that she did a perfect job. It's always a good idea to take a break and come back when you feel they're ready to give it another go. It's worked every time so far in our family; and it's kept me sane when I could quite easily allow myself to become frustrated and nag at her. What a waste of time and energy that style of learning is.

Reading - As I mentioned earlier, tama 1 has started his next book:
He should have it finished within the next three or four days I'd say. He only started last Thursday, reading two chapters. He felt daunted at first that he would be reading what looked initially to him as a long book. When we opened the book for the first time, I assured him it would be fine to read just one chapter. I followed that up by saying, "if you don't like it after the first chapter or two, then you don't need to read it." Luckily they are bite-size chapters (only a couple of pages at the beginning of it) so that helped, but the style in which it is written had him engaged immediately.

Tamāhine 1 has completed her book Athena the Brain (Goddess Girls)
Throughout last week the kids found things referring to Athena, Zeus, Medusa, Poseidon and Persephone. Medusa was a feature on Ziptales even!

Having completed her first Goddess Girls book, I had planned to move to something different, but tamāhine 1 asked if she could read:
I thought she'd have opted to read something else because although she enjoyed Athena the Brain , I wasn't sure if she found the stopping and starting - trying to figure out some jolly difficult words - too much, but nope, she's keen to continue along the same storyline. Kei te pai. So now she's finding out about Hades ... God of the Underworld. In this story, he's a yuongen like all the other characters. These books really are written as light fantasy and reach a girly audience. I don't mind that, because it's always nice to have something girly to read, I think. But as I said in a previous post, I like the light-hearted way tamāhine 1 is introduced to Greek mythology. Who needs to learn the dark sides of certain deity at this age?!

Latin and Greek lessons chugged along really well last week but this week we're experiencing a change of direction due to a few unexpected interruptions, but learning is certainly occurring in other areas so we don't stress over times like this.

Phonics - This is certainly the only subject that I would say we spend 10-15 minutes working on. Once the kids know how to read, write, and do basic arithmetic, our subjects can take anything from one hour+ to work through. I've not done well trying to follow a CM style of homeschooling huh?! But oh well, tama 2 is improving each day. I know that he learns simply by planting himself next to his older siblings to share in their learnings. He listens in, attempts to answer when he wants and then toddles off to do his own thing when he's had enough.

Well, that's about all I can think of at the moment. I've dawdled getting this post done as it is, so it's time to hit the Publish Post button and share the post with y'all.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Monday, 17 May 2010

Giving Greek a Go

A brief post about today's Greek lesson.

We learned the next four letters of the Greek alphabet today so that's 16 we have under our belts now.

As the kids worked on their exercises I prepped tonight's kai. As I multi-tasked, I noticed tomorrow's exercises and thought to myself, "hey, I know what that spells ..." and before I knew it I had translated the list: {Granted, they are transliterations but who cares!}
  1. βαγ = bag
  2. πεν = pen
  3. μαθ = math
  4. βοξ ιγγ = boxing
  5. μοπ = mop
  6. λεγ = leg
  7. οξεν = oxen
  8. λαμβ = lamb
When the kids had finished their writing practice I let them go off for a break and caught them one at a time to see if they would like to have a try at doing the exercise. Tama 1 was very quick to figure them out, tamāhine 1 took a little bit longer - but not by much!

When they'd finished, tama 1 started writing words in Greek. I explained not everything is transliterated so although we had fun experimenting, I eventually showed him words further along in the textbook which of course are true Greek. To make my point clearer I used Māori to help out. My brain was feeling tired, and seeing as I was on Skype with Uncle Craig (when am I not on Skype to Uncle Craig!?) and asked him to help me out. Here's some my brother rattled off lickity split:

Akarana = Auckland
Hamutana = Hamilton
taima = time
naihi = knife
motoka = motorcar
tareina = train
eruera, wiremu, ropata + Edward, William, Robert
panana = banana
hotera = hotel
mane, turei, wenerei, paraire, hatarei = Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday

We could be here all night but you get the idea eh?

The point was made. The point was understood. But we had fun writing words in Greek and quizzing ourselves with Māori words also.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Sunday, 16 May 2010

YES !!!

Okay, so the title for the post is hardly enthralling, but golly, I find it hard to come up with titles, lol. The simple little word does actually sum up how I felt about the week.

We've returned to school in the style and manner that suits our family. I'm comfortable with what we do, albeit frustrating when we have {necessary} interruptions.

On the list for the week:
  1. Tama 1: Finish reading The Littles.
  2. Learn at least half the Greek alphabet - both upper and lower case.
  3. Get back into Math-U-See.
  4. Latin lessons 2 and 3.
  5. Science experiment.
  6. Prepare Sir Cumference lapbook.
  7. Tama 1 and tamāhine 1 to work on one Ziptales story each.
  8. Geography - Start out African lapbook.
  9. Typing practice.
  10. Multiplications.
  11. Send homeschooling supervision allowance form away.
  12. Art - practice drawing.
  13. Brainstorming: tama 1's story.
  14. Tamāhine 1: continue reading Athena.
  15. Tamāhine 1: Spelling test.
A few things will need tweaking but overall we have something resembling the ideal for us. So anyway, our week went a little like this:

Although we carried out one science experiment, we didn't get too technical about the how's and why's of it as I simply wanted the kids to enjoy returning to science, ie it only took five minutes to create and enjoy.


The plan is to expand on the "theory" from next week.

Nana Nancy popped over for a flying visit to show us a wasp nest she and Bruce had dug up.

We were all very fascinated with the size and detail of the nest. Isn't it massive?!!!

Only one expectation: to do math every day. Other than that I placed no expectation to complete more than two or three pages for tama 1 and between one or two pages for tamāhine 1. We went right back to Lesson 1 in their manuals and reviewed everything [for the two big kids]. As luck would have it, the two big kids were fine with everything so were able to pick up where they had left off.

When we last studied, tamāhine 1 got stuck with "area". She was fine with perimeter but for some reason when we reached area, she seemed baffled. For the most part she understood, but simple little giveaways let me know she hadn't really grasped the concept, so that's why we stopped when we did. Kei te pai. Rather than push the issue, I decided to attack it from a different angle. With luck we can return to it confidently next week.

Language Arts
Ziptales was very useful for comprehension. I let both kids choose any genre, as long as they read it without using the voice over. They both do well with comprehension so that was easily checked off the list.

So proud tama 1 finished reading The Littles in four sittings as I thought he might. As for tamāhine 1 she's read eight chapters of her book. Only two chapters left. I was keen for her to finish it, but we got busy with other learning - and lapbooking. We not only started, but finished, the "Sir Cumference and the First Round Table" lapbook. This [math] storybook and lapbook were purely for fun.

On Friday we made an excellent start with our African lapbook.

Africa: I knew this was going to be a big topic and I'm not even sure I have the best approach at exploring the second largest continent, but oh well, this is why I said up above that things still need tweaking. For tama 1 we'd have motored through lots simply with reading and he'd have it all stored in his head. As for tamāhine 1, her learning style is very different, so I'm trying to satisfy both learning styles without losing interest and momentum from either discipulus (student).
LatinYes, you'd be right in guessing I used the word discipulus above on purpose. You'll recall I mentioned we would be starting Latin, and we have. Whether I chose the best curricula remains to be seen. Considering it's a gentle introduction, I think it will be fine. I did have a couple of other curricula in mind, but we will use what we have and supplement if needed. Granted, we're only up to lesson 5 but so far they are happy. If I can keep their interest we'll stick with it because I like the gentle approach.

Mission for the week was to learn at least the first twelve letters of the Greek alphabet and we accomplished that. The mission for next week: learn the remaining twelve. Until we have the alphabet under our belt I can't really say much more about Koine. Just like Latin, it will be a case of trial and error. As always,I will find more things to stimulate
theirour interest.

Well, I think that covers the bulk of our learning. There were a few other things, but for the most part I think I've outlined that our return to learning this week went well.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Time to get out of my rut

Over the last few weeks, I've struggled to complete a blog post. I simply haven't been in the right head-space to write about what the children and I have been doing. And as I sit here tonight, I'm wondering where this post will end up ... will it be deleted like all the other draft postings, or will I actually get something published?

I can hardly believe it's May already. It feels like one day has simply blended into the next - my own kind of Groundhog Day I guess you could say. It's been too long since I last recorded anything of our schooling, which is disappointing, so I've had a few quiet words to myself and have decided it's time to come out of hibernation and get motivated about things.

Right-oh, where to start? .....

Well, looking at the mess on my desk, I think this will be a good place to start...

On top of my heap is Greek, yes, Greek.

We just started it yesterday. Lesson #1 - learn the first four letters of the Greek Alphabet. Learn how to say them and how to write them. A nice, gentle start. In theory, we should be able to learn all 24 letters in six days. That's in theory ... let's see how it works out in practice, lol.

Luckily I scored two workbooks so that means tama 1 and tamāhine 1 were able to practice. But wouldn't y'know it, tama 2 wants to know where his workbook is too! I asked him to grab an exercise book and luckily that satisfied him .... this time ... as for the next lesson, well, we shall cross that bridge when we get to it!!

Underneath the pile of Greek material is the book tamāhine 1 is currently reading:-

Yes, you'd be right in guessing I got this book because we're embarking on our journey into the Greek language. Before introducing Greek mythology to tamāhine 1, I want to build up her reading and comprehension level so she doesn't get lost, confused, or worse still - switch off. So, when I discovered this book I thought it would be a fun way to learn about Athena and whichever other goddesses and gods we are introduced to. Although the blurb recommends the book for age 8+ years, I'm sure she'll enjoy it enough and pick up the main gist of the story. The line spacing is nice and big also which helps make reading more comfortable for her, I think. We're halfway through the book and although we have many stops and starts (to learn the meanings of new words), tamāhine 1 definitely enjoys it.

As soon as we complete this book we'll read something closer to her age:-
As for tama 1's reading, he's now up to The Littles:-
It's a cute little story which he'll easily finish within four sittings. We'll probably select a few lessons to cover this book before moving onto our next chosen story book - James and the Giant Peach.

The kids current readings each form part of a series of books which I've started collecting - and going by the interest they're showing so far, I'd say I'll be on the look-out for the cheapest book outlets to buy the next books for sure. I might actually try to hang in there till the end of the year in the hopes Book Depository has their big sale again by which time we'll have finished more of the great books on our shelves.

How about Tama 2? Let's just say he finds it hard to see the connection between his improved reading and practicing phonics. We struggle on a daily basis to agree when to practice and yet when he does practice he proves to himself how well he can do it. Bribery is how I get around his stubborness: sometimes it works and other times well, it's best left unsaid, lol.

The kids are getting back into math. We're using Mathletics and practicing multiplications this week. [ It would be nice to find other users of Mathletics because I could really do with asking a few questions about it.] We'll be returning to Math-U-See next week after I refresh my memory over the weekend as to everyone's levels.

As you can see, we've not only started Greek, but Latin also. My original plan was to start Latin toward the end of March/beginning of April but I don't think you need reminding why that didn't happen.

My thinking back then was to get Latin under our belts for about six to eight weeks and then introduce Greek. However, I've lost so much time this school year already, I've decided we'll have a go at introducing them together and simply see where it takes us. Considering Greek is a very gentle intro with learning the alphabet to begin with, I'm hoping I'll have the Latin grammar terms (you know like nominative, genitive, dative, accusative and ablatve cases ... that sort of thing) down cold. I need to have them understood properly to teach the kids instead of the way I bluffed through my own Latin studies that's for sure!!!

The last new class we have is Geography:-
We'll be using this text in conjunction with online material. Our first major continent we're studying is Africa. Tama 1 is soaking it all up, with tamāhine 1 getting involved also. It's a big continent to cover and I hope I do it justice. I've at least learned that Kilimanjaro is over 21 times higher than Mt Maunganui.

One of the other classes I need to sort out properly is Science. I have a couple of experiments to do and I'm hoping to share some of those in the next week or so, but I need to plan this subject more specifically rather than my willy-nilly spontaneous ideas.

Overall, I've devised our studies for the year so now it's a matter of getting some decent sleep and start our days early again. No more wollowing; life's too short.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano