Saturday, 3 December 2011

Merry Christmas

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back !!!

This will be the last post over summer.  Time for a break although plenty of school work going on.

Christmas cheer sent your way:

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Making Every Effort

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!!!

If you've been wondering where I've been ...
We are working as hard as we can to get the whare in the best condition we can afford but it's a race against the clock.
Praying we get to keep our home.  We really don't like to give up do we?  "Never say never, never say die!!" is our motto I guess.  Whatever happens, we can say we gave it absolutely everything and if there's one thing I know for sure: we will live in a house with ceilings, walls and doors.  We want to stay here, so we will continue to keep working as hard as we can.

In the meantime, school work continues.  (It's school holidays in New Zealand but we have kept going with a fractured timetable.)  Really pleased with everyone's efforts.  The family have put in 100% which is so pleasing. :)

Will try to write another update as soon as I can.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Quickly updating

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back !!!

As expected, our days are full thanks to our latest schedule so it's no surprise we're suddenly looking at the calendar and exclaiming, "Can you believe it's October already?!"

There's a lot of reading, writing and discussion going on nowadays which has meant little time to sit at the computer composing a blog post...

I am more than satisfied with each and every class at CurrClick Live.  For example, tama 2 has certainly loved helping his big sister creating the meals with:
They made a perfectly beautiful effort with their creation last week, and it was an absolutely glorious Spring morning which made such a difference.  We dined al fresco, enjoying their end product with a lot of jovial conversation and giggles.  So, having proven himself, tama 2 is definitely signed up for the Lil Chefs LIVE Class this month.  He was thrilled when I gave him the news!!  Tamāhine 1 also indicated she is keen to continue, so I've registered her for the next Jr. Chefs LIVE Class.
The major reason for taking the cooking classes is to encourage the children to be adventurous in their appetite.  (I guess they would be described as fussy-eaters.)  By taking classes where they are cooking themselves, I'm ever hopeful their taste-buds will change.  When they cook with Uncle Warrick they are very adventurous but when they're home it's a different story.  So, I figured it wouldn't hurt to see if the online classes could make any kind of impact on their taste-buds and so far, they have.  I think the key to this change is that they are cooking in unison with someone similar in age to them, so they find encouragement from this.

The meals are healthy, quick and simple with very little adult help required.  They are keen to continue, so that's what we'll do.

Our very latest class, which I signed up for waaaaaaay back in July is:
Elementary Spanish and trust me, we were ALL excited for it to finally commence yesterday.

We are doing the full semester course because the time of day suits us very well, plus I prefer semester-long classes:-)

With foreign languages I find I really prefer the LIVE Classes because we are challenged to give it a go.  Well, we are encouraged to "volunteer" -- and with their māmā standing on the sidelines I ensure we volunteer often!!  Success comes from challenging oneself.  We learn by making mistakes -- koia pū!!

To have a kaiako in person to guide, correct and encourage throughout the lesson makes all the difference.  Okay, so I can probably teach the children using he pukapuka, but having someone LIVE makes all the difference if you ask me.  Languages are beautiful and to have native speakers makes a massive difference.  Besides, as I always say to you .... we love online learning :-)

These are just two classes I know, but I'll leave it there for now.  I have a lot to get on with and besides the rugby league final is on...

Thanks for dropping
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Sunday, 25 September 2011

It really is THIS simple!!

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!!!

I ♥ New Zealand !!!
Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Grateful to be with our tamariki

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!!!

We started out with quite a heavy frost this morning, but tamāhine 1 jumped up out of bed for her two early morning classes, namely:
and of course:
Tamāhine 1 has thoroughly enjoyed the past Narnia book club meetings in The Chronicles of Narnia so it's such a no-brainer to progress to the next book with Toni Williams.

An hour seems to pass so fast it feels like we're just starting to discuss things when it's time to say goodbye for another week.  Toni manages to bring the characters of the books alive, and really gets us all thinking about certain aspects behind the meanings of different scenes which I doubt I'd have considered myself if I'm honest.  He tauira ahau.

Tamāhine 1 actually had a sore throat today and when it came to Lessons Worth Learning Reader's Theater (or Theatre as we spell it in our neck of the woods, lol) she intially indicated she'd take a pass on reading.  However, she changed her mind as one would have expected.  She didn't want to miss out on the opportunity to try out her acting skills with her kindred spirits.  They have all put their heart and soul into reading their parts with gusto.  No wonder they don't like to finish class!!  It's just too much fun.

Now, I don't know about you, but I certainly feel like the weeks are whizzing by too fast.  I wish I could slow every day down.  I am trying to savour every moment, but it seems like the children are growing up so fast whether I like it or not.  It's funny isn't it?  We want our children to achieve.  We get excited at the prospect of new things they can do when they reach a certain age.  We celebrate their accomplishments with them.  And yet there's a side that doesn't wish them to grow up so quickly.  Really crazy, isn't it?  But, I guess that's life.

The above was running through my mind as I scanned tama 2's cursive handwriting this morning. On the one hand I was thinking he could have done better, yet on the other hand I had one of those pangs of, "aww, he's only six years old and his writing is developing beautifully," and suddenly I'm wishing we could stay right here in the moment.

Yesterday I had him re-write his work because it was obvious he had rushed.  Perhaps I could have made him rewrite today's effort for having crossed out two things, but  really, unless it is a blatant attempt at rushing like yesterday, then I am happy to praise efforts such as the above.

Whāia te mātauranga! Pursue education!

I kept thinking of the above command all day today, so I thought I'd throw it in to close this post.  And, as I finished reading one book, trying to decide on the next, I savoured the moment of my furthering my own education, thanks to being part of our children's education.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Friday, 16 September 2011

Just like the old days

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back !!!

Being stuck at home at the moment without wheels reminds me so much of the old days, and funnily enough, being land-bound again ... this is actually where I prefer to be.

As much as I encourage the children to be out there participating, interacting and utilising the homeschool network, I am happier to be at home working behind the scenes here.

Although we had no family vehicle, we managed to get the tamariki to all their activities, bar Chapman - just like last week.  Not only that, but we accomplished plenty of mahi at home, also.

This week we commenced four more classes, namely:
Tama 1 is the main student for the above subjects, with tamāhine 1 sitting-in.   Tama 1 enjoyed each and every one.  I'm pleased because they are all fun subjects to me.

Oh, I just wanted to acknowledge something new with this semester's CurrClick Live classes:  the introduction of classroom rules.

Behind the scenes the teachers have collaborated and created a universal set of rules.  With each introductory class we have the rules explained, to which the students indicate they both understand and agree to the rules.  A pod with the rules is then set to the side for the duration of class.  This is fantastic because in the past we found students would easily get off topic PLUS use abbreviations which we found confusing (because we don't know much more than LOL).  I have taught our tamariki simply to answer when they know a question and leave it at that, and to ignore as best as they can anything distracting in the chat box.

It was never an out-of-control, abuse of chat privilege, but it is an area that I'm glad has been addressed.  So kudos to the teachers and CurrClick team for their continued monitoring and desire to maintain such an awesome educational resource.

Hey, I tell you what though .... our organisational skills worked superbly this morning.  We operated a brilliant system of rotating from one computer to another ensuring by the time tamāhine 1 made it to:
we had the laptop free to sit on the kitchen bench.  We had the ingredients and tools prepped well in advance, so it was simply a case of getting her hair tied back and aprons on.
I like the way I've managed to disguise today's recipe!!

The end result was absolutely delicious and a big hit with everybody.  I should mention that following our first Mixing Bowl Academy class last week, tamāhine 1 and tama 2 have helped make our dinners.  Not only that, but the three eldest also made chocolate biscuits all by themselves.  Just ask their little sister what she thought of them ...

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Spring into new classes

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!!!

This week we are grateful to have koro and Warrick help us with transportation.  Had it not been for their aroha, we would not have made it to St John, Choir and Music lessons.  The only thing missed was Friday class at Chapman College.  Big thanks and blessings for my whānau.

This week we started the bulk of our new online classes.  Firstly, we have:
Tamāhine 1 has been looking forward to the Reader's Theater with Mrs Rhodes since completing the Victorian Summer Reading Club.  As soon we cranked up the computer, tamāhine 1 couldn't wait to sign into class to say hi to some of her old friends and to meet new friends :-)  I just wish Mrs Rhodes could see the smile on tamāhine 1's face when she sees her.  Tamāhine 1 listens very attentively and just enjoys every minute because Mrs Rhodes always has such an array of ideas, games and discussion to captivate her audience.  What a great class!! 

As I've indicated above, Mrs Rhodes' engaging personality truly captures each student's attention.  In every class I watch (you just gotta love the re-runs, aka recordings, lol) I notice so many of the students will always comment that they wish class wasn't ending for the day.  They sincerely want class to keep going.  Honestly, students always go "aww," when they find out it's time to finish.  Isn't that just a huge compliment?

As for tamāhine 1's "acting" - well, I am super duper impressed.  She really added that extra special flair to her character's voice.  She can hardly wait for next week, so yay!!  I knew this class would be a hit!!
I was particularly excited about starting the above Club because it is something our entire family can enjoy.  As soon as I saw it advertised, I didn't hesitate to register our family and promptly purchased:
 together with:
Although there is an Australian distributor, it worked out best to purchase these particular items from the USA.  Because of that, I made sure I ordered them ASAP and phew! they arrived in very good time (I think it was three weeks?  Either three or four.)  The children and I were so excited when our package arrived.

I have yet to figure out how to purchase pins (only because of the length of time for them to arrive.)  Because we're meant to share presentations of pins, I'm not sure how to tackle this point.... I guess it means I have to make sure we choose what we are going to work toward and perhaps order them well in advance.  Nevertheless, we are super excited and thrilled to meet and share experiences with families around the world.  We were really thrilled to see one of our Australian (family) friends from previous classes has joined the Club!!  That was a lovely surprise! 

So, during our first class, we had the opportunity to choose our assignments and  I will openly admit I feel quite nervous to be working on each one.  I haven't done anything like this in such a long time, I'm really rather nervous to research and present our mahi.

Dina is such a wonderful and ideal ambassador for the Club.  I feel truly blessed to have met her.  With her gentle demeanour, I like the way she is able to guide us through everything.
Although the above class means a 5.00am start for tamāhine 1, I had every confidence I wouldn't have any problem in asking tamāhine 1 to wake up -- because it's with Ms Loretta Rhodes, of course!  And sure enough, she was downstairs without hesitation.  I had the fire going and a yummy hot Milo waiting at the computer for her.  She nestled into her seat and focused herself as soon as class started.  Tamāhine 1 happily chattered away to me immediately following class, telling me all the ins and outs of what she could remember and told me what the assignment was for the week.
Half an hour later, it was tama 1's turn to join in his first class with Ms Rhodes.  I think in a way he was a little anxious about this class, but I'm quite sure he'll be fine.  Mrs Rhodes' literature classes are extremely popular, because the Adventure Through Literature Class, just like Treasury of Literature have over 20 students in the class!!  That speaks volumes about Mrs Rhodes as a teacher also nē rā?  

Tama 1 seems to have a flair for learning and remembering about historical figures.  Amongst the list of biographies are names which tama 1 knows of - in fact, he knows a lot of detail that I'd never heard of before.  I am hoping to channel that interest through Mrs Rhodes class.  Funnily enough, I have confidence he will do well in this class and yet I question my own ability in KOF!!!  What a hoot.

Considering it was tama 1's first online Lit class, I really wanted to tautoko him and watch for as long as I could, but with the classes we've signed up for, I had to whip away halfway through for ...
This is our very first class with Ms Lindsey Shaw.  (Now, forgive me if I get this wrong, but I'm pretty sure I picked up from the OpenHouse session that Ms Shaw was actually homeschooled herself, so that's really quite a special connection for students.)  Lindsey has a beautifully gentle personality, with a very genuine caring interest to help her students.  I'm looking forward to this class, and am confident the children will move into Theory 2 with her in the future. My hope is that they make this their goal because they are enjoying every ounce of music they're involved in so far.  I have ordered the text for this class, but it will probably not arrive for another week.  In the meantime, Lindsey has advised an alternative which makes all the difference to follow along.  Yay !! :-)

And the above class was one of the most looked-forward-to classes!!! 

As soon as I mentioned the availability of cooking classes with CurrClick, I had both tamāhine 1 and tama 2 keen to register for classes.  At the moment I have only registered tamāhine 1 for the September classes.  I have explained to tama 2 that I'll register him for a class if he can be out of bed - alert - like his older siblings.  He's promising me he can do it, so I have compromised.  I will register him for October because daylight savings commences 25 September, which means it's an hour later for kick-off.  Come November, when the US daylight savings ends, then classes fall back an hour again, but it will be okay as we will have bright sunshine by 6.00am come November so I know he'll be out of bed easily enough.  (As usual, I write these little tidbits for my own record so that one day I'll look back and connect the dots.)

May I share one important factor to take into consideration when thinking of registering for CurrClick Online Classes, or Clubs for anyone in our neck of the woods?  I suggest finding out if any set text is required.  If so, you need to search the availability in New Zealand, otherwise add 3-4 weeks for material to arrive from the UK or USA.  Basically what I am saying is, order the text ASAP because you will want them to arrive as close to the start date as possible.  Most classes requiring set text, I will email the relevant teacher providing an ETA in New Zealand and so far I have been given material to tide us over until our text arrives.  That's what I appreciate about our teachers - each and every one of them have been so wonderfully accommodating both in and out of class.

New Zealanders could do with taking a leaf out of their books.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

On Your Marks

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back !!!

I've no photos from TKD grading , so to make up for it I thought I'd share something else.

Yesterday, tama 2 was really keen to race against his big brother.  After much pleading, tama 1 finally gave in.  I set the ground rule for today's racing though: tama 2 was to have a head start so that we wouldn't have any "scenes" of stopping midway through a race saying, "that's not fair!" or, "he cheated," etc.
Okay, so here's the lineup.  Tama 2, tama 4, tama 3 and of course tama 1.
Tama 4 was given his head start, then tama 3, tama 2 and lastly tama 1.
The girls weren't going to be left out.  Tamāhine 1 actually had a sore foot (probably from her TKD grading ... which I'll get to in just a jiffy) so she was actually more interested in staying indoors working on her birthday gift for tamāhine 2 (which, again, I'll get to in a jiffy).
After a dozen races and with their audience dwindling at times to just mum with the camera, tama 2 was still keen to race his big brother.  So after this race...
it was all on between the big boys ...
The determination of tama 2 is priceless.

Tama 1 still held back because I made a second rule: no overtaking unless you're on a straight.

Many races later and tama 2 was still keen to race.  Tama 1, however, had had enough.

With this kind of determination, who knows, maybe tama 2 will beat his brother soon.

But anyway, here's the project tamāhine 1 is working on for her little sister's 5th birthday this coming Saturday...

Tamāhine 2 found a little glass box which she started taking with her everywhere, calling it her jewellery box.  However, for those who know our second daughter, you are aware she has a few behavioural issues, which means I can't really allow her to use a glass box.  So, tamāhine 1 decided to make her one and even added a little ballerina.

Luckily our children all understand that anything that is made for tamāhine 2 may not actually last more than a few minutes, hours or days.  But bless their little hearts, they will still spend hours creating things for their sister regardless of the expected outcome.  That's what I call true love.

Now, here's a quick update on our car.  Whaiāipo spent 15-20 minutes on it last night and thinks he has discovered the source of our problem.  So, he ordered a new hose which will hopefully arrive tomorrow.  Being without a vehicle, I emailed ahead to Elizabeth regarding the homeschool choir.  I needed to indicate tama 1 and tamāhine 1 may not be able to attend today's session.  But, as luck would have it, Uncle Warrick got away from mahi at 2 o'clock this afternoon and volunteered to take them to choir and drop them home afterward.  How awesome is that?  Boy, it's occasions like this that I feel grateful for my wonderful family.  (We had neighbours offer the use of their own car, but unfortunately I have to decline their kind offer because -- well, uh, we need a 7-seater minimum!!!)

And as for the TKD grading at Te Aroha on Saturday ... well, tama 1 double-graded, so he's now a yellow belt.  Tamāhine 1 almost double-graded, but not to worry.  She and tama 2 are now yellow-tip.  They had a fantastic day, but as whaiāipo explained, no photos were allowed unless they were solely of your own children.  This was easier said than done because the hall was jam-packed making it impossible to get a photo of just our tamariki.  And besides, it was a full-on day so whaiāipo concentrated everything on the tamariki (or translated this means ... he couldn't multi-task :) )

We've dyed the belt and the tips are sewn on; courtesy of our brand new sewing machine :) and we're all really psyched about continuing their TKD training.  Thank goodness we have two sessions off for TKD following grading, otherwise who knows how the kids would get to training!!  I've just got to hope the van is back on the road in time for music and Chapman now.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Monday, 5 September 2011

Ngā Poi

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back !!!

Tamāhine 2 currently has use of the jigsaw shown below.  I like it as a learning tool.  The picture is of a Māori kōtiro (girl), or Māori kōhine (maiden) as my mum would probably have referred to her as, lol.  She is twirling the (short) poi.

Makawe = hair (of the head)
Kanohi = face
Tiki = carved figure, image, a neck ornament usually made of greenstone and carved in an abstract form of a human.
Ringaringa = arm, hand
Tāniko = On her pari (bodice) the taniko is a border, usually of symmetrical pattern
Piupiu = skirt made of flax
Waewae = leg, foot

There's a fairly good definition of poi you can read here.  There is a lot of skill to poi.  I can always recall attempting the long poi and feeling so proud when I managed to swing them over my head and back for the first time.  Mum had me persevere until I got it right.  (Y'know, I wish they had YouTube and stuff like that when my mum was young.  The concerts she would perform in with many of our relations.  Honestly, those days must have been so incredible.  I mean, they are today, but gosh, I always felt mesmerised to watch my mum, aunties and cousins and listen to their stories.)  I am not a patch on any of those wahine.  But just think, my mum will be in Heaven with my tupuna wahine singing up a storm.  Imagine all the haka up there too!!!  Awesome.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano


Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back !!!

Just when we finally start getting out and about - THIS is what happens ...
This is the second time the van has arrived home on the back of a truck!!
  1. When we bought it over two years ago.
  2. Today, when whaiāipo was on his way home from Kirikiriroa.
Considering it only cost $800, we've managed to get some great kilometres out of it so far.  Let's hope it's the same $34 problem as when we bought it eh?!!  Fingers crossed.  Whatever it is, whaiāipo will figure it out and fix it for cheap.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite an

JUST IN CASE you ever get an error message saying your blog no longer exists

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back !!!

Okay, the following scenario has absolutely nothing to do with homeschooling, but I've decided to share it with you just in case the same should happen to any other bloggers out there.

IF you ever try opening your blog but for some reason you get a screen with an error message on it, advising you the page cannot be displayed, then here's how to fix it.

Go to and click on Layout.  From there go through each and every Gadget you have until you find a gadget html with the word "blogrolling" in it.  As soon as you find the culprit, delete the gadget altogether.  Voilà !! Your blog will be back to normal.

I experienced this problem on Saturday when I tried to draft a blog post!!! Now that it's fixed I can get back to drafting the post.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Hoping to win a free CurrClick Live class

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back !!!

I would, in all seriousness, love to win a free online class for the children.  And, anyone who follows this blog can attest to how much I love CurrClick - CurrClick Live Classes especially! Well, as luck would have it, there is a competition to win a free class, so although I'm not one for playing Lotto, or attempting competitions too often, I decided I'd be nuts not to try for something I rate so highly.

However, before I write my plug to try and win the children a free class, I want to take a minute and share this link for YOUR opportunity to join a class with a massive 20% saving.
But be quick, you've only got till August 31st (or translated into Kiwi language, the 1st of September).

For me, it's really easy to recommend CurrClick Live Classes because they are not only affordable, but are also presented by extremely wonderful, knowledgeable mums and dads.  I say mums and dads first and foremost instead of teachers because (and I think they'll agree with me here) they acknowledge their love to be with - and teach their own families - with a close second of sharing their teaching gifts with others. In each class our children have been made to feel super special; encouraged to put their opinions across, and always fussed over when they have forwarded presentations - or just making general conversation actually!!  One thing I never expected, but something worth mentioning, are the friendships we have developed outside class with our teachers.  Today's technology brings our two worlds that much closer together, so I guess in a way, we have penpals overseas now, lol and with that we are able to promote our own little country, share our culture which in turn means we not only learn a specific subject with new friends, but also learn geography and other things along with it.

Well, that's my 3-5 sentences used up!!!  Not enough for this chatterbox!!!  It was hard enough to trim back my novel, lol :-)

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Sunday, 28 August 2011

New season brings new adventures

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back !!!

This afternoon I had hoped whaiāipo would mow some lawns when he got home.

Hmmm!!!! He had other ideas (not that I minded, really!!) ....

First, all six kids played cricket which was great.  It gave me time to vacuum (argh!) etc upstairs.  Then, when I thought maybe whaiāipo would suggest dirt bikes ... he surprised me and had the kids practice Taekwondo, so I raced out to get a few photos.
Let me just say, we are all very psyched and excited about their first grading next Saturday (3rd September).  At this stage I'm still fairly sure I'll stay home with the little ones.  I just have to hope whaiāipo remembers to take photos while coaching from the sidelines eh!!

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano