Sunday, 18 November 2012

In answer to the, "Why Haven't You Blogged?" question

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!

Goodness, it's been an eternity since I sat down to try blogging :(

We have been so busy with school, the house, after-school activities, a growing family et cetera, I've just felt too pressed to sit and compose a blog post.  I will admit from the outset, this post will be very short and sweet, but at least it will show I'm still here, lol.

I know that our house construction doesn't interest everyone to see every little "step by step" photograph, so I have waited until we have reached a stage you may find interesting.

Whaiāipo will be building some shelves and cupboards to truly complete the Romankids classroom, plus once the dining and lounge areas are complete, we will return the dining table and cabinet to their rightful place.  Rather than waiting that long however, I have decided to share what our classroom looks like now.  We have been comfortably working in our new area for just over a week and are very happy indeed.  Plenty of workspace, seating et cetera.  I can hardly wait to have a lockable cabinet though to store the stationery and what-have-you.

We have just about finished framing and hanging tamāhine 1's artwork.  Her gallery is around the whiteboard and on the beams.  We just need to find a new clock and that's it until the shelves and cupboards.  As mentioned, the dining table, cabinet and bookshelves in the photos will be gone soon enough, but in the meantime they serve a purpose and don't clutter the room.

This semester is so jam-packed that we haven't really kept up.  The sooner Christmas comes the better.  We need a jolly good break.
  • The online classes will end the week of 10-14 December.  
  • St John, Scouts and Cubs keep us very busy.  
  • The children have another TKD grading on the 1st of December.
  • Birthdays are fast approaching.
  • We need to decide where to put our Christmas tree this year!!
In short:  Like every mother, I spend a lot of my time  washing dishes (I haven't the luxury of a dishwasher); the continuous laundry and ironing; cooking and cleaning.  In my spare time I email a friend or  two.  Luckily one of them enjoys seeing all the silly photos and chat to me about nonsense and share little stories about our days.  With busy households our private online community makes it far easier to stay in touch.  I enjoy my daily contact with my brothers and seeing my dad as frequently as possible.  Speaking of koro, he was out the other day (I did some typing for his forthcoming Lions gathering).  He loves our classroom and loves talking to the kids about anything and everything.  I am so grateful my parents were never negative in our choice to homeschool.

As much as I would like to talk about:
  • Projects the children have worked on;
  • How we enjoyed the US Presidential election;
  • And a whole host of other things ...
I think they will need to wait until next month.  We are still very busy and the next three to four weeks we have a lot to do.  But, I will definitely write something far more indepth the next time, okay?!

Here's hoping for an excellent summer!!!

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano
Naku noa, na

Friday, 28 September 2012

I do love Spring

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!
Human Body Subway Map
This looked interesting for Anatomy & Physiology class, so I thought I'd throw it on the blog to remind myself :-)

Things are humming along tickety boo with nothing particularly out of the ordinary to report.  But, it's been a few weeks since the last post, so I best try recording something, lol.

Whaiāipo will have the next two weeks off from mahi to make a push on our house.  He's not had enough time the last few weekends to finish the front (class) room.  Motorbikes and yard work!!

I'll be so glad when the downstairs is completed.  Having everything in the lounge/dining and kitchen areas hasn't been too much of a problem, but it will be nice to have that extra space again.  As much as I've tried to avoid it looking cluttered, it's kinda been unavoidable. I no sooner manage to move things to feel comfortable when, hello !!!, whaiāipo plonks another tool or what-have-you exactly where I don't need it to be eh?!  Yah gotta love the way the man can be oblivious to clutter ... hmm ... maybe ...

But anyway, like I say, whaiāipo has the next fortnight to make as much headway as he can on the whare.  Anything achieved will be a blessing.

Well, schools around Aotearoa are on a two week holiday as of next week.  As we school year-round it won't make much difference to us.  However, in saying that, I am super happy that, by sheer coincidence, whaiāipo has time off over the next two weeks. It means that we get to enjoy family time because of course St John, Cubs and Scouts have a holiday as well.  Only TKD keeps going, which is kei te pai.  It will be nice for the younger ones to have their older siblings - and matua of course - around them.  They've grown used to them being out a few nights a week, but they love playing together and with the longer daylight starting, it's going to be a welcome change for a while.

I'm back to having over 20 tabs open on my computer ... do you have days/weeks like this?  I look at something, jump off to something else and before I know it, I have so many things open but I don't want to close anything in case I miss some vital piece of knowledge.  How on earth did I cope without a computer?  Plus, I seem to be collecting a few e-pukapuka so my poor laptop is probably ready to explode, hee hee.

Well, I better add another picture for visual stimulation ...
It's not finished; there was a lot of background detail to be completed, i.e.  blending the colours more, plus tamāhine 1 is not the least bit satisfied with her leaves (which, by the way, look a lot better than the photo shows). The good thing is, at least next week the classes will move to 6.00am ...

I'm looking forward to Sunday the 30th - the start of Daylight Saving in Aotearoa.  Yeehah!!!
Don't forget to put your clocks forward!!!

ANY Kiwis out there taking online classes with CurrClick, or any overseas online classes, then don't forget you get an extra hour before classes, e.g. if your class starts at 8.00am then it will move to 9.00am :)

Friday afternoon

.... Koro has just left.  He rang this morning to say he'd pop out with some kai poaka, but ha ha, he forgot it!!!  Hei aha, we had a nice kai and chit chat.  The big kids told him that they found out one of the kids at TKD has a koro who was trained by my dad at the Police College ... that was many moons ago when we still had cadets at Trentham.  (Sometimes when we mention a name of someone we've recently met who claim to know dad, he doesn't recall them at all ... getting old.  Honestly, he used to be sharp as a tack and could remember someone he met in Te Whaiti, Minginui ... go back 50 years, be in the Police, Lions, Marae, Church or just Joe Blogs he met on the beat ... but now he will have to think about it and either say he remembers or admit he doesn't.)  Mind you, he doesn't have mum anymore to say who's who.  Seriously, mum was not only an expert at our whakapapa, but she would know the neighbour of so-and-so, how they were connected to somebody else in another town, what job they did etc.  But today koro was able to tell us which Wing this fella was in, where he got posted to, moved around and eventually what he does here in Rotorua.  That was more like dad. :-)

Koro left our place and went home around the lake via the urupā to see mum and whānau...


Here's where we're up to with Math-U-See, as at Thursday the 27th, because we skipped Math today.  Although it's been mainly cloudy, it's been lovely and warm plus when the sun comes out it's just too tempting to enjoy the outdoors:

Tamāhine 1 - Epsilon 5B
Tama 2 - Gamma Test 23
Tama 1 - Zeta 5A

I'm so glad tama 2 managed to get his head around the double digit multiplication; well to be more specific the double digit place value notation multiplication.  It's interesting to be able to sit back and confidently say to him, "Tama 1 and tamāhine 1 were exactly the same at this stage.  It was hard for them, but they got it and so will you," and sure enough he did!!  How exciting is that?  To know that your child will definitely get something even when they don't feel confident about it?  Is that the beauty of homeschooling?; or is it just experience as a parent?; or both?  Whatever it is, it just helps one's confidence to persevere.  It's like writing your first exemption.  You grow more confident with each one thereafter.

While on the topic of Math-U-See, I'm really happy with tamāhine 1's confidence with fractions.  Granted, she's only in the early throes of Epsilon, but she's barreled along without a problem so far.  Excellent :)  Tama 1 is also confident with decimals in Zeta.  I couldn't be happier with math.


I feel like working on tama 1's next experiment this weekend.  He's up to Lesson 12 and the experiment is using Alka Seltzer.


We've been talking a little bit about the Ten Commandments, the Ark of the Covenant/Tabernacle, King Saul, and David.  Earlier in the week with our read aloud (which was set in the Hittite period), we discussed monotheism and polytheism.  Tama 1 had learned these terms with our Greek Mythology lessons about a year and a half ago.  Anyway, over the last few weeks we've got into discussions as to why there was animal sacrifice in the Old Testament; why there were so many wars; the abuse of slaves - as an example we were particularly shocked at the treatment of those slaves who made purple dye ...  There's so much to cover, we've hardly scratched the surface.

School progresses in all other areas like:

and most of all ... A LOT of outdoor play and exploration. 

So, just to finish off ... here's a quick view outside ... not everybody, but they're all busy doing whatever they like.  I think tama 1 is painting his pirate flag while tamāhine 2 and tama 4 play on the swings...
Oh goodness, I've just remembered I need to sew badges on uniforms ... right-oh, I think I'll organise that now otherwise the holidays will be over and they'll still be sitting in the sewing box !!

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano
Naku noa, na

Sunday, 16 September 2012

A very, very rainy Spring day

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!

Not sure if I mentioned this already, but this semester I decided to start teaching tama 1and tamāhine 1 how to write up short (personal) blog posts for each of their classes.  Even if they only type three of four sentences, it really doesn't matter.  If it says something about their learning then tino pai.  I'm so glad we're doing it this way because it means things I want recorded are definitely being taken care of and can be easily accessed.  I've added a challenge for them when composing posts for español - write as much as they can en español.  I might even throw the same challenge on tama 1 for his Mandarin posts ... hmm ....

It's been an important week in history this week.  This year marks the 11th anniversary of 9/11.
No sooner were we discussing this particular event in history when we learned of  the deaths at the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya.  What transpired from there was a discussion about "worldview," both historically and in the present.  Because we are learning about ancient civilisations (like Egypt, India etc) we tried to better understand why things happen in our world.

Speaking of history we talked about a time capsule.  Tama 1 had to quickly come up with a list of five things to put in one:
  1. Photo album - to show what we looked like, dressed like and what the scenery looks like around us.
  2. A letter written by tama 1 at his age now (10 years old) talking about life from his point of view.
  3. An atlas.  Because if there's one thing we have learned so far in our history lessons is that the world has changed.  For example, the names of areas today were certainly known as something else BC, y'know like Mesopotamia, or what was once known in more modern times as the USSR.  Or about the man-made islands such as Dubai's Palm Islands.  (Imagine if someone were able to have recorded Pangea.)  What about glaciers? ... or tiny Pacific Island countries like Kiribati that are sinking?  Or what if earthquake prone areas sink after a massive earthquake?  Yep, in another 500 years the landscape will be interesting to see.
  4. A set of house keys.  Once upon a time you didn't need to lock a door; some people still don't even live in a house to require a lockable door.  Who knows what people will use in the future?
  5. The last one ... Legos ... because of its worldwide popularity; plus they're fun and educational.  (Plus it had to be something small so he couldn't choose his dirt bike or anything like that.)
Staying with World History, here's what we did on a very, VERY wet Sunday (today) ...
Stonehenge and hieroglyphics ... they read Cleopatra and Tutankhamun (written twice)

Math U See

Zeta - tama 1 completed 3B
Epsilon - tamāhine 1 completed Test 3
Gamma - tama 2 completed 23A

I can only share the scarecrow artwork from tamāhine 1's latest session because it was advertised, whereas the second piece was a surprise for the students.  (Yay!! for their separate blogs :) )

I get such a kick out of tamāhine 1's artistic capability at 5 o'clock in the morning!!!


Tamāhine 1 is into her third semester of:
It's an early start for her but she's enjoyed these in the past.  Tamāhine 1 simply jumps out of bed to join Mrs Rhodes!!  I really don't mind getting up at 4.30am to light the fire and crank up the computers for 5 o'clock classes - especially when I know ngā tamariki enjoy certain classes; otherwise we'd join by recording eh!?
We have a half hour break between Treasury of Literature and Adventure Through Literature - again with Mrs Rhodes.  We're only into week 2, but it's shaping up to be another great class.
Español is one of the highlights of (my) our week. This semester is a true test of my ability to switch between tamāhine 1 while trying to keep an eye on tama 1 and tama 2 in their individual classes as well as sit in on a class that clashes for everybody - and don't forget keep an eye on the three younger ones.  Oh yes, Wednesday mornings are busy but very, very fun :)

Well, it took me a lot longer to write this post ... tama 1, tamāhine 1 and tama 2 are already home from TKD training.  They started learning their new patterns tonight and as always they were buzzing when they came home.

After a very long day being stuck inside I'm ready to hit the hay.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano
Naku noa, na

Monday, 3 September 2012

Looking forward to longer days and shorter nights

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!

Things have been much better since the "nit-week" and although I can't say that we are completely nit-free, I can at least say no one has felt like itching for at least five days.

On Monday last week I mentioned to our rural postie that we were waiting on a package - tama 1's chemistry lab kit.  Then on Tuesday morning, hello!, here it was.  Ka mau te wehi.

Our postie was just as curious as we were and came in to watch tama 1 open it up and join in our excitement.
Even though it's a basic kit, it's amazing how just a few tools of the trade can make one feel like a professional :)  Tama 1 looks pretty darn nifty with his lab glasses on.  We love the foot long thermometer especially!  I think we do the first lab journal work for next week's assignment.  Can hardly wait.

Four Tamariki Who Don't Know What The Inside of a Classroom Looks Like

Okay, you may recall I sent my Exemption Application away for our fourth child three Thursday's ago.  I've anxiously awaited the verdict since then.  I always figure no news is good news.  Well, each day last week I anticipated something in the mail and on Friday morning I went out to the mail box to check - but was too early for the postie.  Within ten minutes of sitting down, tama 3 came running inside from playing on the swings and asked if he could go and get the mail.  I stayed sitting at the table working with the big kids on their math, anxiously awaiting tama 3's return.  As soon as he walked in I recognised the envelope.  I didn't muck around opening it. I knew by the size it meant I had the exemption, yet I read it three times to make sure I wasn't fooling myself.  Oh my goodness, the relief!!!  The absolute relief.  Four exemption applications (since 2008?); and four acceptances!!  (Although I have always felt confident I would get each exemption through, I never truly relax until that wee envelope arrives with the Certificate.) 

Such was the relief of receiving the certificate we stopped mahi for a while and had a good long chat.  I let the children play outside and then I said they could either finish their math, or we could just spend the rest of the day making the cupcakes for grading on Saturday and enjoy this happy event.  Tamāhine 1 was determined to completely finish Math-U-See Delta, so I said okay and she pushed herself to complete Test 30 and the following Unit Tests.  She completely aced them all.  Kino kē koe e hine!!  Tama 1 completed Lesson 30 Test but chose to leave the remaining Unit Tests.  Imagine, next week he will commence Zeta.  Neat alright.  Let me think, Tama 2 completed Gamma 21B, C & D.

We made over 100 cupcakes (only a few to stay home for myself and the little ones; 100 for grading)
The batteries went dead as soon as I took the above photo - which is probably just as well, otherwise they may have taken the camera on Saturday and hello, flat batteries!!  I charged the batteries but forgot to take a photo before we placed all the cupcakes in containers Friday night.
We managed to make a cardboard shelf in each container to hold two layers of cupcakes.  I now wish I'd taken a photo of the prettier ones, but at 6 o'clock Saturday morning I was busy getting the kids fed and dressed to be away by 6.30am.  The chocolate swirling looked so much better than the photo shows ... but as long as they taste nice eh!!

Okay, let's go back a little bit.  What have we been doing since last week?

Well, tama 1 completed level 2 Mandarin.  He commences level 3 on Thursday, September the 6th with a new group of students.

Tama 1 and tamāhine 1 wrote up their blog posts for español, took advantage of the after chat class with Señora Schere and completed tarea on the weekend.  I quite like what they wrote for composicíon this week.  They have practiced their literatura and know it off by heart, so I'm very happy with our progress - all thanks to a terrific maestra!!!

We're really enjoying The Mystery of History.
Starting from Creation is the best!  The pace is gentle.  Lessons are short, pleasant and easy to move through.  I didn't do nearly as many activities as I would have liked last week. I was naughty because I was preoccupied with the exemption, ensuring we put in enough TKD practice, and was still trying to stay on top of the nit situation.  Will definitely improve on this area!!!

I am losing in the paper war at the moment.  I must sort out all the paperwork I've been printing out pronto because it's taking over the entire area by the printer which is not good :(

It doesn't take long to get out of control either - or is it just me?  Well, I better make it a priority this week to finish printing things off and file in individual folders.

Today I had to go to:
It's been a few years since I've been to the Māori Land Court, and this is the first time I've been in for a personal reason.  It was an in-and-out process.  Sit in the court room, wait our turn and less than five minutes later you're out the door and everything's kei te pai.

I think everything from mum's estate is now finally sorted thanks to a very nice tiati.  Well, just as soon as the paperwork comes through, then I don't think I have anything as executrix left to do.  Granted, it took me too long to get this last part sorted out, but when we had our own house dilemma going on, I took care of what was most urgent and left this last bit knowing full well we could sort it out ... but I did procrastinate a tad too long.  Hei aha, ka mutu ināianei.  No wonder it poured down today - mum saying thanks.

Because I had to go out, we started kura immediately following parakuihi.  Tama 1 worked on his Epsilon tests, but didn't quite finish (there are five pages to his exam).  He aced the two pages he did.  That leaves three pages to complete āpōpō.  Tamāhine 1 commenced Epsilon and completed the entire Lesson 1.  Tama 2 completed Gamma Lesson 21E only today.  He was distracted having his pāpā home.  Whaiāipo was home to watch them while I went to Te Kooti Whenua Māori.  So glad I didn't try taking them with me because there was a large rōpū from Waikaremoana there, so space was very tight, plus the process is so short and sweet it's over and done with before you've had time to say tēnā koe ki te tiati.

This afternoon we worked on whakapapa (family tree).  Tama 2 had to take this for tonight's Cub meeting.  Luckily we only had to go back as far as great grandparents.  Writing up the pākehā side is easy peasy, so documenting whaiāipo and my dad's side was a breeze, but squeezing in our Māori side, well, that certainly took a lot of effort.  I ended up leaving off my cousins tamariki because I simply ran out of room and time.  Yeah, it definitely wasn't the greatest work I've ever produced, but for the main part I think it served the purpose of what was required.  The really cool thing is that at least tama 2 can point at two of his great uncles names on the whakapapa and then turn around to the list of fallen soldiers from Rotorua who were also cubs/scouts during their youth and say, "These are my uncles who died during WWII.  One is buried in Germany and one is buried in England." I even made sure I wrote down the names of the grave yards where they are buried.  Tama 2 remembers only too well how much his nana loved her family and how nana would always talk about her brothers she lost during WWII.  My mum was such a legend when it came to whakapapa.  I'm nothing compared to mum and I'm rather reliant on my brothers to correct me all the time.  Koretake eh?!  Yeah.

That's enough rambling ... obviously getting tired, lol.

Seeing as tama 1 doesn't have Mandarin on a Tuesday now we will try to do some shopping āpōpō - well, that's the plan ... we shall see how we go.  If I can at least get some ink for the printer then that will help me organise that paper work!!!

Well, everyone's home.  Time to catch up with how their evening went.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano
Naku noa, na

Friday, 24 August 2012

Even with bugs; we still homeschool

Nau mai, hoki mai, and welcome back!

This week has been a mixed bag of good and not so terrific.  Let's get the icky side out of the way.

One word says it all .... nits !!!

Yuck, yuck, yuck!!!

I thank the Lord for ensuring my washing machine has kept up with the many, many loads of washing I have had to do since Tuesday.

I thank the Lord for the fine weather we have had to get everything dry!!

I thank the Lord for showing me how to cope with the situation.  Although we aren't completely nit-free, we are at least able to recognise the horrid little critters now.  Never having experienced them before in my life, I didn't know what they looked like ... well, I am pretty darn sure I will never forget after this week, lol.

Anyway, that's probably all I want to talk about that subject, but just before I do get off that topic I will at least say that I am truly grateful to be homeschooling.  Having ngā tamariki at home means I can deal with them all in one fell swoop.  Plus, kura can continue without fear of us passing them on to anyone else.  At least we know where they got them from (not homeschoolers that's for sure!!!)

So, back to kura ...

Tama 1 - finished Epsilon Lesson 29D
Tamāhine 1- finished Delta Lesson 29D
Tama 2 - finished Gamma Lesson 20B

I placed another order with LearnEx yesterday and was pleasantly surprised to receive an email that the order was sent yesterday afternoon.  Excellent!! We can simply roll on into the next levels without a hitch.  I'm quite excited that tama 1 will be working with decimals.  Lesson 29 in Epsilon converts fractions to decimals and percentage so he's already getting the idea which is great.

I had to laugh this morning because he asked me where the fraction overlays were.  Well, I knew exactly where they were ... only trouble was, they weren't there.  Granted, he hasn't used them since Lesson 1 Epsilon, and even then he only did a couple of sums with them before he didn't need them anymore.  Anyway, I happily went off to the shelf where they should've been and "hello!" they weren't there.  Well, instead of using my noggin and looking down the back of the shelf I went in search around the house didn't I?!!  To cut a long story short, I finally looked down the back of the shelf and sure enough there they were.  I wasted half an hour looking for them in which time tama 1 had figured it out and finished a page before I got back to him!!!  Oh well, at least I have now found the overlays a better home :)

Now, keeping with the subject of Math ... this week tama 1 had his lesson with Ms Gloria Brooks of Natureglo in:
I saw Ms Brooks advertising at CurrClick last year and knew that I'd be keen on this class, only trouble was ... the time of day!!  Plus I didn't think tama 1 was quite ready.  Well, thanks to CurrClick's NEW evening classes we are able to register this semester and join the live class.

What's super special is that this is the first time we've shared a class with more than one other kiwi family.  Gone are the days we were the only kiwi family - so yay, word is spreading.  We knew some Kiwi and Aussie families from previous classes.  Thirty students in all.  How awesome!!  I think Ms Brooks mentioned there were 20 or 21 students in the morning class.  Wow, that's a good number of students for her.  Tino pai.

I particularly like Ms Brooks' use of turning off chat - like when she's doing a powerpoint presentation etc!!!!  I like that a lot - keeps the students focused and on topic.  Big thumbs up from us :)

I've only ever "heard" of certain concepts mentioned in today's class before, with no understanding really as to their true meaning and function.  The video used really helped us all to understand in a fun, lighthearted way, so I'm looking forward to having my mind stretched with this class :)
We also started back this week with español.  So glad to be back con mi amiga Señora Schere. 

It felt strange not having tama 1 sit in with us - and he certainly looked as though he'd rather have been in español with us than doing his Chemistry class on his own.  I tried to swing back and forth between tamāhine 1 and tama 1 to keep him engaged and participate in his own online class.  He really misses his old classmates.  Hei aha, he will just need to knuckle down and concentrate on his Chemistry.  It may not be the same for him to watch the recording but it is the next best thing.  Last week he was fine because español hadn't started, but this week it was a struggle for him.  Fingers crossed it will be better next week.

I just thought, I must remind him he can always chat to his classmates in the Student Network still :)

Looking at tarea we are definitely moving up a notch.  This is exciting!!!  Los estudiantes are now required to work on composición.  Excelente.

I'm glad we did some revision too!!!   Tamāhine 1 was able to answer a number of things - we just hadn't covered the appropriate times to use ser y estar.  But, other than that, she did well.

Also, I am glad the headset worked on the computer we used.  For the last two semesters tamāhine 1 has always used my laptop, but my machine must have far too many things on it now because each time tamāhine 1 would click on the microphone, we seemed to get jammed.  The wee "thinking" circle would go round and round and we'd be waiting for it to come back on.  It was annoying!!!  So, this semester we're using one of the other desktops.  Only trouble is, I still feel it is too close to tama 1 while he's in his live class.  He became too distracted wanting to see what was happening in español.  There were a couple of times I asked him why he hadn't answered a question in Chemistry class because he most certainly knew it .... I knew full well what the reason was, but I needed to give him a gentle reminder to "concentrate!!"

We went over a lot of gramática y mucho vocabulario prior to clase.  Wow, it's amazing how much vocabulario we don't actually remember!!!  Tsk, tsk!!!  I reminded ngā tamariki that to be able to conjugate is a high priority.  It has to come second nature.  Vocabulario we can certainly improve on, but we must never fall behind in our understanding of gramática.

We love español.  ¡Señora Schere es una maestra fantástica!

Right, before we finish for the day:
  • we will start reading through some more Mystery of History Volume I.  There's an assignment which calls for Alphabet Soup.  I have absolutely no idea if it's even sold in Aotearoa.  Hee hee, I guess I'll find out!!!  We were given a great alternative idea ... scrabble pieces.  Our timeline figures haven't arrived yet .... made the fatal mistake of buying in NZ ... grrr, one of my pet peeves.  Here's me thinking I'll swallow paying extra and get it quicker from Aotearoa.  What-uh-mistake-uh-to-make-uh.  Anyway, we're only in the early chapters so it won't be too much trouble at this stage as we only have to worry about Adam and Eve, Jubal and Tubal-Cain and we can use the templates in the textbook for that.  Tama 1 has already made the 7 Days of Creation.
  • I also want to work on our notes for MathArt to submit on the class site.
  • Tama 1 is working on Mandarin.  He has one more lesson (Tuesday morning) and he's completely finished Level 2.  Next month he commences Level 3:
He has pointed out to me that the above says "Spring"and yet it is the "Fall" class.  
Oh well, I have no answer for that.

It's now 3.00 pm and I've only just hung out the last load of washing.  We've been blessed with a beautiful sunny day, so if I'm lucky this last bit of washing will get dry.  I certainly hope this warm, sunny weather is a sign of a good spring and summer to come :)

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano
Naku noa, na

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Awww, the Olympics are over :(

Nau mai, hoki mai, and welcome back!

I know I haven't written a blog post for a few weeks.  Two main reasons:
  1. Basically, once the Olympics start that's me done.  Not that I'm a total couch potato!  But all the same, I have the television going all day and keep up with whatever I can on the computer.  Getting up in the wee hours some nights certainly takes its toll too.  
  2. I worked on tamāhine 2's exemption - um, with a LOT of interruptions I must say, like:
  • watching Olympics; 
  • toddlers needing attention; 
  • watching more Olympics; 
  • getting out in the sunshine enjoying it with the tamariki; 
  • stopping for even more Olympics; 
  • keeping up with all domestic chores;
  • did I mention watching Olympics?;
  • homeschooling lessons (okay, they were pretty sparse!!);
  • oh, and of course, watching too much Olympics!!!
To celebrate getting the exemption away, the children and I finished reading our book for the next meeting of the National Homeschool Book Award Club:
We thoroughly enjoyed the assigned July-August book.  (Would you believe my incentive to finish the exemption as quickly as I could was to get back to this book?  I liked it as much as the tamariki and having less than 90 pages left, you can imagine how it feels to want to finish a book eh?!, lol.)

The next book club isn't for another fortnight so we'll be looking forward to taking part.  :)

Having finished the exemption I worked on curriculum plans for the next semester.  Everything is recorded not only in my hardcover diary, but Microsoft Outlook and Google Calendar.
  • I like that I can check our Google calendar from any computer whether at home or away.  
  • I like Outlook because it gives me a ding-dong sound to remind me of upcoming events.  (Very handy for when we are busy working and need a reminder an online class is about to start, or if we are in an online class I get the reminder another class is about to start.)  I also print the Outlook calendar for whaiāipo so that he has an idea of what we are doing or where we might be at a particular time.  Whenever things get altered I can quickly grab his folder and write it in when he gets home.  It is my way of having him feel connected to kura.  I only print it out once to save on ink!!!  I end up scribbling lots of new entries but I like having it there for him.
  • I like the hardcover diary because I still prefer things in written format; there's just something about being able to physically turn a page and feel it in your hand.
Yes, it's probably overkill, but it works well for me.  Yesterday I even made separate calendars for the three older tamariki under their individual email accounts as well.  This will allow tama 1 and tamāhine 1 in particular to have more ownership of their studies.  (It was easier and cheaper; i.e.  FREE, than trying to find a 2012 diary in bookstores at this time of the year.)  They can check what's coming up throughout the week, write up any homework in the Task section and hopefully get a better understanding of time management for themselves.

Although we watched a lot of Olympics, we did keep up with the very basic school work.  Plus, we have completed a few online classes with Ms. Lindsey of Musical Thoughts.  We have enjoyed all the summer workshops with Ms. Lindsey. The very last workshop ends this week :(

I could easily have allowed ourselves to take a two week break because we didn't stop while NZ enjoyed a term break back in July or whenever it was.  But there was no real need.  We just flagged a few subjects and I think we did well really, plus the tamariki learned a few things about different sports which they haven't seen or known much about before.

We attempted revising español as well, but will need to step that up a notch this week as our efforts were pretty abysmal.  Our Fall Elementary Spanish II classes with Señora Schere start next week.  Yay!!!
Lessons will be awkward because español will clash with a new class for tama 1.  He will only make an appearance in español when it's an oral exam or as required by Señora Schere.   He will need to watch the recordings so I do hope it works out okay. Of all the classes to have a clash with, grrr!!! We will also need to decide whether we should shift one of the computers because in a few weeks, the three tamariki will each be in different classes.  I shall have my work cut out for me moving from one child to another; but, hei aha (never mind), it's not like it's any different to book work with multi levels eh!?

Tama 1 is rocking along with Mandarin and by the end of the year he will be rather fluent I think.  I just hope he can cope with everything as his timetable increases.

As much as I'd like to register tama 1 and tamāhine 1 in Music Theory III with Ms. Lindsey, I know they don't feel confident at this stage. So, there's no rush, we can simply try revising Music Theory II and be ready to continue in a later semester.  I wish I could help them, but they can read and understand more music than me!!

Speaking of CurrClick, have you taken advantage of the super savings happening yet (not just classes)?  There's still time ...
Tamāhine 1 continues to read, read, read.  There's so much she has read I'm bound to forget some, but I'll try to make a quick list:
Tamāhine 1 has also completed one of the reading text for Adventure Through Literature Class with Mrs Rhodes. As is usual, I cannot share the specifics of classes, but I can at least say that tama 1 and tamāhine 1 love these classes:
From the first time I registered for these classes, I have always made a point of registering for the following semester as early as possible because upon receipt of registration I receive the reading list.  For the most part the books aren't available in New Zealand, and you know me, if they are, I'll always check to see if I can get it into the country for cheaper - which nine out of ten times it is!!  So point is ... I register early to get the reading list in order to purchase from overseas so they arrive in plenty of time for the first class.  

As for what tamāhine 1 is reading right now?  Well, she has just started the last of the American Girl series I purchased:
I haven't been able to find any more of the series for the same cheap price I paid a month or two ago, so once she's completed these books, I'm afraid she will have to wait until I can find another bargain.  The other book she has picked up is:
Oh, art-wise we now have a year's (discounted) subscription to:
Tamāhine 1 has enjoyed drawing at least one art piece per day.  She really loves it.

Updating now where we are in Math-U-See :
  1. Tama 1 - Epsilon completed Lesson 27 - he will do the test āpōpō.   
  2. Tamāhine 1 - Delta completed Lesson 27C
  3. Tama 1 - Gamma completed 18B
Well, there's more to talk about kura-wise but I shall leave it there otherwise I'll never get this post done!!

Very quickly before I go:  Work on our house is very slow, but one can't expect too much when whaiāipo works 5-6 days a week and takes ngā tamariki to Cubs, St John, Scouts and Taekwondo in the evenings.  We're ever hopeful that whaiāipo can get some time off soon to make a big push.  It's the plastering and sanding that's going to take the longest time.  Pointless sharing any photos at the minute though, but hopefully soon ...

Anyway, to finish off I'll just pop in some things that grabbed my attention over the last week or two ....
Pretty nifty wee website to explore Rangatira Island created by Canterbury University.
If you're looking for penpals:
A free download I came across at Heritage Store:
Loved this cursive copy work; just had to get it from CurrClick:
Well, I'll leave it there and kōrero another time.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano
Naku noa, na

Sunday, 29 July 2012

This week we learned ...

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!

First things first:  Math.  On Friday Tama 1 completed Math-U-See Epsilon Lesson 27A (area and circumference of a circle in fraction form).  Tamāhine 1 completed MUS Delta Systematic Review 25F and will complete the exam page on Monday.  Tama 2 completed MUS Gamma Systematic Review 16E.

Sample of Handwriting.  I do like recording the children's writing to reflect on their development.  I've chosen tamāhine 1's work this time ...
The above is taken from:
which I purchased from CurrClick a few months ago.  I really enjoy using a variety of copywork cursive workbooks from CurrClick because not only do I find it convenient to have something to quickly print out some days, but the fact that you can find many which are free, or extremely cheap is well worth it.  For example, I think this one is only around $3.00NZD for over 250 pages.

Reading: Tama 1 is happy that I finally bought:
It arrived on Friday and he's already halfway through.

I didn't realise I hadn't purchased it until I was clearing things upstairs a few weeks ago.  Shocking!!  Oh well, at least he's got it now.

As for tamāhine 1, she only has about 50 pages left in:
Tama 2 has read:

CurrClick FREE Clubs

Some months ago I mentioned the CurrClick Lego Club to a very dear friend of mine because her son loves Lego and is very creative with his collection:
Until recently I hadn't registered our own tamariki for the CurrClick Lego Club simply because we had no Lego pieces.  :(

Well, I figured it was time to rectify that, and tried hunting for something/anything Lego.  I looked on TradeMe etc, and we ended buying the following just to get the tamariki started.

Tamāhine 1 made everything very quickly and with ease.  She seemed to know what went where without any trouble.

(photo right) This crane was definitely the most time-consuming.  The children worked together and made a great job.  Much easier to have a team effort - no arguments.

Being completely new to the world of Lego, we don't know how or where you buy pieces without having to buy pre-packaged builds.

But now that we've taken part in a CurrClick Lego Club meeting, and I've listened to Roni Bergeson's advice, I think I have a better idea now.  Roni is obviously very passionate about Lego which I appreciate sincerely.  Having someone truly interested in a hobby is wonderful - and that's exactly what you get with the FREE CurrClick Clubs - teachers who are passionate and keen to inspire your children.

I always knew the CurrClick Lego Club was popular, but wow!, it really, really is popular!!  I take my hat off to Roni for keeping up with such a large group chat while building and instructing at the same time!!!  Nothing like a bit of multitasking eh?! I'd be too exhausted, lol.  Well done Roni!!!  You're a star!!!

I know I've mentioned the CurrClick Magic Tree House Club before, but I thought that since I was talking about the FREE CurrClick Clubs I'd point out to anyone visiting my blog for the first time, that our tamariki thoroughly enjoy this FREE CurrClick Club also.  There's something to be said for book clubs; being with friends talking about the same book and trying out lots of different arts and craft ideas Roni Bergerson shares with the students.

And something else I truly appreciate about the CurrClick Magic Tree House Club is that the meeting is repeated four times a month.  This is just so brilliant because we have had times when the meeting has clashed with an elective.

What's more, Roni has the genuine ability to remain interested in each week's meeting as if it were the very first week she were presenting the material.  Superb!!

Our third CurrClick Club with Roni Bergerson was held this week - the National Homeschool Book Award Club.  This Club is held monthly.  We are up to a new book this month and the tamariki were busting for the Club meeting!!!

Where Roni finds such interesting links and discussion topics I honestly don't know, but this month was no exception.

We learned some incredibly interesting facts about the main subject of our latest book.  (As always, I will put in a mention that I do not divulge the specifics of classes or clubs out of respect for our CurrClick family.)

It's always interesting to learn what some things are called in another country; what things are popular in another country in comparison to our own country; whether something even exists in New Zealand and also the history behind the beginnings of something.

Another Club meeting we had this week (well, tamāhine 1 at least) was the American Girl Club with Mrs Rhodes and her beautiful daughter Erin.

We've been interested in the American Girl Club since it started.  I tried looking for the books way back then, but by golly they are hard to locate in New Zealand.  Anything I did find I just thought was too expensive - don't even ask about the price for the dolls!!! I looked on TradeMe but no thanks, I'll keep looking!  Unfortunately Amazon can't even send the dolls to me in New Zealand.  But in reality, it's the books I'm interested in so at this stage it's simply a case of finding the best deals for those.  If I find a good enough deal for the mini dolls then I will consider them - but as I say, it's the books which are of interest.

(There is the American Girl official website of course, so I will investigate that a little further.)

A little while ago I finally found a good enough deal with Fishpond of all places (for some books that is).  So, this month I decided to email Mrs Rhodes to talk about it, eventually registered and we finally took part in our first American Girl Club meeting.

There are a number of aspects I like about this Club.    Myself and tamāhine 1 simply adore Mrs Rhodes and I particularly admire her lovely teaching style so it makes it really easy to consider anything presented by Lessons Worth Learning.  I also like the historical period for each American Girl story because the storyline revolves around a particular era and therefore the girls are learning something about history through a sweet story.  But most definitely, I like the fact that this is a club for girls.  It's not often tamāhine 1 gets to do girly things and I felt like I'd delayed long enough.  One other reason is because the girls in these stories are around tamāhine 1's age.  What a great way for tamāhine 1 to think about how it must have felt for a girl her age to make their way in a new land.

Immediately tamāhine 1 enjoyed herself and this is yet another FREE CurrClick Club which is very popular.  A large group of students who stayed on topic and contributed very nicely to the meeting.

As soon as the meeting was over, tamāhine 1 completed the craft project.  Later in the day she decided to try another one.

Point of Note:  CurrClick Club meetings are recorded just like classes.  So not only are they FREE but you can watch them as often as you like!!

CurrClickLive Online Classes

This week we commenced the next of Musical Thoughts summer workshops with Ms. Lindsey.
I find learning the history behind songs or musical pieces very fascinating.  I particularly enjoy having someone tell me about it who has a passionate desire to share their knowledge.  I love sitting in on the classes to learn alongside the children.

On the second day I had a flood of memories come reeling back to me when I saw the person's name we would be learning about.  My mother sang many of the songs written by this person and always had a story to go along with each one.  Interestingly enough tama 1 and tamāhine 1 became hooked on one particular song which my mother used to sing.  Gosh it felt good.

After class they played it over and over again.  They searched on the net for the lyrics and hello, all weekend they've been singing the tune with gusto.  I knew certain little trivia about the subject person but it was really lovely to learn more, and go down memory lane for a while.  Imagine if my mum were alive, she would've talked the children's ears off about the song, war time and events that happened.  So yes, I'm very glad we're taking this workshop.  My mum's wairua is right here with us.
Our second class with Ms Lindsey this week of Musical Thoughts is our continued Rhythm & Ear Training Camp.  This was week four which means (boo hoo), we only have two more weeks to go.  There is definitely some challenge involved in this class and I'm so glad the tamariki are up to giving it all a go.

Prior to this class, tamāhine 1 enjoyed the final session of:
The students were placed into breakouts and they had a lot of fun working on their assignment.  Tamāhine 1 had a lot of fun with the group she was with.  They managed to get their assignment finished in time and on return to the main room they put in a fine effort.  All the groups did a superb job actually :o) and you could really tell they loved it.  The only thing I coached tamāhine 1 on was how to add character to her voice when it came time to her acting out her role.  She performed her part really well considering she's not overly familiar with the topic.  (Gosh, it's really hard to try and express myself when I have to leave out detail!!!  But oh well, I know what I'm getting at, so that's all that matters, lol.) Everybody was disappointed to have to say goodbye, but at least we'll be joining many of them in future classes.  We know many of the students from previous classes, and tamāhine 1 has formed new friendships from this class.
Only one more week left in the Zoology 1 with Mrs Mackin!!  Gosh, it seems to have flown by so quickly, but wow, we have learned a lot about flying creatures.

Amongst other things, we learned that some insects and bugs only live for a very short time, but the hard work they instinctively do when they are alive is nothing short of miraculous.

Well, I must away and organise myself with the new Fall classes and get working on the exemption.  I couldn't concentrate on it because I wanted to get this blog post out of the way.  Pretty hard to concentrate when we have the Olympics happening as well!!!

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano
Naku noa, na