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

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