Thursday, 31 May 2012

As I watch the sun setting on the last day in May 2012

Nau mai, hoki mai, talofa lava and welcome back!

June is the month to get yourself along to The Museum of Transport and Technology: 
I won't rule it out entirely, but I'm not sure if we'll be able to get up there in June because tama 1, tamāhine 1 and tama 2 have their next TKD grading Saturday week.  We need to hire a car, prepare plenty of kai (I always do too much, but it's better to have everyone fed than worry someone's going without eh?!)  By the time we pay fees,  et cetera, we haven't much left over for a few weeks.  So yeah, in all likelihood I'm probably hoping for a bit much to get up to Tamaki Makaurau.

Well, I feel like I accomplished something today.  I finally finished watching the Latin for Teachers, sessions 1-4 presented by Karen Moore.  I'd like to watch the entire seminar, but I will need to check if it costs anything for the remaining sessions; and if so, how much.  Hei aha, I feel like I'm ready to start tama 2 with LFC anyway.
Tamāhine 1 has finished both of her Famous Five books!!  It took her less than two days to read Five Run Away Together.

She's already picked up her next book:
I think we might get a few of these American Girl stories.  "Meet Felicity" is our first one and I like the looks of the other Felicity books.  This description from this particular book: 
In Williamsburg in 1774, nine-year-old Felicity rescues a beautiful horse who is being beaten and starved by her cruel owner.
Tamāhine 1 is nine years old, so I'm hoping she might like to try this story.

Tama 2 is definitely feeling better today so he rejoined us in kura.  The math revision is really paying dividends for tamāhine 1 so I'm really pleased.  Tama 2 (having been ill for two days) picked up at lesson 2 in Gamma.  That was such an easy lesson he got the whole thing out of the way and will do the test page āpōpō.  Tama 1 completed Test 19 in Epsilon.  Tamāhine 1 revised lessons 11-15 in Delta.

I only did spelling with tamāhine 1 today.    Tama 1 worked on some Mandarin and tama 2 did quite a lot of reading and looked rather tired this afternoon so I didn't want to push him.

Everyone's handwriting looks great which is very pleasing.  We're using "Golden Link of Friendship" from CurrClick.  I use a lot of the cursive handwriting material from CurrClick. Short and sweet.  If I think they need to re-write then they will.  Sometimes they will do it again themselves if they aren't happy either.

Tomorrow tama 1 starts back with Mrs Mackin - Zoology class.  Can't wait.  I just need to make sure he gets off to bed early enough tonight following TKD practice.

Speaking of TKD, there's only three more practices before grading.  They're all excited.  My main priority is to make sure they are healthy so they can give 100% - which I know they'll do anyway.  Tama 1 and tamāhine 1 have been asked to help with instructing white belts for a number of weeks now, so that gives me a lot of confidence the entire team will do well at grading.

And just before I go, tamāhine 2 lost her first tooth this afternoon!!


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Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Interested in a competition at all?

Nau mai, hoki mai, talofa lava and welcome back!

I hadn't planned on writing a post today, but I came across a competition your family maybe interested in ...
The above competition opens on Monday 1st June 2012 and closes on Friday 6th July 2012. Entries must be received at Kidsline by 5pm, Friday 6th July 2012.

Just thought I'd throw that out there for anyone interested.

On a different note.  This morning I was talking to a friend and she commented that I sounded really happy.  Hmm, do I not sound happy all the time?  Had me think about it for a moment, but then I just agreed :)
  • Maybe it's because I am enjoying getting the children back into school work ... albeit simple this week.  
  • Maybe it's because of the beautiful sunny, warm weather we've been treated to over Autumn.  Afterall, sunshine does improve a person's outlook doesn't it?  
  • Maybe it's just the simple fact that I'm still reeling in the knowledge our home belongs to us and we can really look to the future now. 
  • Maybe it's because dinner was in the crockpot already.
  • Maybe it's because it felt great knowing I was able to post our 39 Clues collection to share with a friend.  Something I've not been able to afford to do in the past without worrying about money.
  • Or maybe it's because I finally put a new header picture on the blog:)  
Whatever the reason, yes, I'm happy -- and I certainly hope I do sound happy as much as possible every day.


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Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Flexibility of homeschooling

Nau mai, hoki mai, talofa lava and welcome back!

Tama 2 had a sick day today - has a bug that's going around.  Luckily it was an absolutely glorious autumn day so he was able to relax in the sun all day long.  Tama 1, tamāhine 1 and tama 3 helped with a big clean up courtesy of tama 4.  Toys, shoes and books were discarded everywhere.  Formal school work didn't get underway until 10.30ish, (not forgetting tama 1 received his prize today so we took some time to check it out).

Once the housework was out of the way, we got started on math.  I had to stifle a giggle as tama 1 used a very grown up voice as he spoke to me about a particular lesson !!!  Who would believe he only turned 10 years old a few months back, with the grown up language he has under his belt, lol.  I believe it was developed because nana and koro were his caregivers for the first two or three years while I still worked.

After an enjoyable lunch tama 1 and tamāhine 1 worked on their cursive handwriting and just as we were about to settle into reading, Uncle Warrick rang to say his split shift was going to be extra long.  Unfortunately tama 2 was not up for a hīkoi, so he asked if he could take the older two to visit mum at the urupa.

When he called in to pick the kids up, I asked if he'd mind posting a package for me.  I'd been talking to my friend the other day and she asked about our 39 Clues collection and would I mind lending them to another friend.  So, I used my noggin and placed the books into the Amazon box that the Snap Circuits prize came in and packaged that up ready to go.  I'd have sent it off with the postie this morning, but at that stage I wasn't organised with a box.  Really handy my younger brother came along :)  The next time he has a long split shift, I'll ask if he'll do some cooking with tamāhine 1 and tama 2.  They love cooking with him - and I love watching his culinary expertise.

Tama 1 is off to Pak 'n' Save tonight with his scout troop.  They are doing an exercise on learning how much it will cost to take their troop to camp.  Seeing as whaiāipo goes along with him, I've assigned him some grocery buying of our own. :)  Nothing like killing two birds with one stone nē rā?

As I sit here composing this post, and glance over to see how tamāhine 1 is getting with her reading, I notice she is nearly finished The Famous Five #2 Five Go Adventuring Again.  That's practically five chapters in less than 45 minutes.  Tama 2 is hanging in there, but really needs to go to bed.  A few coughs are coming from the younger three ... yay, I'm in for an enjoyable long weekend.  Hei aha.

Before I go, I will add some photos Uncle Warrick took of the kids from one of their hīkoi.  We are spoiled for choice when it comes to short, medium, easy, difficult walking tracks in Rotorua.





On my To Do List tomorrow:  Measure either tama 1 or tamāhine 1 and email Mrs. Rhodes about the t-shirt they won from the End of Year Party last week at CurrClick.  Yep!! Another prize!!!

And just to finish this post off ... tamāhine 1 has finished the book :)


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And the winner for the 8-10 year age group receives his prize

Nau mai, hoki mai, talofa lava and welcome back!

We awoke to a glorious sunny, warm autumn day.

As we cleared away after breakfast, our postie knocked on the door ...
Tama 1 chose Snap Circuits as his prize
for winning the 8-10 year old age group
in the CurrClick Earth Day Science Fair 2012


I quickly posted a message on FB and Mrs Mackin (tama 1's coach) just happened to be online.  She was thrilled he had received it already.  With today's technology it's like chatting to a friend next door - not all the way around the other side of the world, lol.

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Monday, 28 May 2012

Planning our next classes with CurrClick Live!

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back! - and seeing as it's Samoan language week - Talofa!!!

Productive start back to kura.  As planned, the entire morning was dedicated to Math-U-See lessons.  Tama 2 finished ahead of his older siblings because he only started Gamma today, so there was no reason to revise for him.  Tama 1 is confidently moving ahead in Epsilon, but he decided he would go to a lesson he thought could do with revision.  For tamāhine 1, we discussed how far back we should go in Delta, and she was happy to do that.  So, tama 1 and tamāhine 1 took out the relevant DVDs and started watching Steve Demme.  With sufficient breaks to make sure everyone wasn't getting burnt out too quickly, we comfortably achieved our goal for today's math lessons.

After lunch we did our cursive handwriting.  I have to say I really do like the development of tamāhine 1's writing :)  Gorgeous.  Tama 2 has a lovely style also and once he perfects it, ooohhh, I can hardly wait.

The rest of the afternoon it was free reading.  Tama 1 with Johnny Tremain, tamāhine 1 with Famous Five and tama 2 with Mrs Piggle-Wiggle.  Tama 2 has a sore throat and after reading two pages aloud to me, I let him sit down on the couch and carry on to the end of the chapter reading to himself.

And that was our first day back ... nice and gentle with a familiar pace and ease.

Tama 2 is at Cubs right now and tama 1 and tamāhine 1 have just left for St John.

So, I'm now looking over upcoming online classes with CurrClick.

There are some fun classes coming up, but I've been toying with the idea of maybe taking a break over winter.  Well, at least from the earlier classes (ie  classes starting at 5.00am).  It's a routine we're well and truly used to, but there's a part of me that feels stingy about using extra firewood getting up earlier.  Bit of a weak excuse, but the cost of living is quite high in this country right now so cutbacks need to be made somewhere.

But in reality, we'll probably register for a couple of favourites because tamāhine 1 really enjoys certain classes, so perhaps three early mornings will be okay ... hmmm, will keep mulling it over .

I have at least registered tama 1 for the next Zoology class, namely:
There's still time to register if you're interested.

I know I have mentioned this before, but Tama 1 really has enjoyed a number of classes with Mrs Mackin and it's great to continue on our journey with her.  From memory, the first class we took with Mrs Mackin (Earth Science) was scheduled around 5 or 6am NZT (don't quote me on that, but it was certainly early).  We became friendly with Mrs Mackin and upon knowing we intended continuing in her classes, she was very interested in scheduling them later in the day - yes, making it more convenient for us!!!  How cool is that?  So, since then classes with HIS Creation Science have been set to a later time.  Just like Zoology 1 which starts at 8.00am NZT.   So, if you have the textbook, consider registering for this 10 week class.  It's a bit shorter than most semesters because of the US summer.

I have registered tama 1, tamāhine 1 and tama 2 with another HIS Creation Science class:
No textbook required for 7 Days of Creation, but I'd hazard a guess you can figure out what the class is about :)  This short course is seven weeks long, so perhaps you'd like to consider that one?

A few other classes are short-listed, but I will leave them closer to the date before committing ourselves.

It really is a family environment at CurrClick Live, with friendships for the children as well as mum, so we will definitely continue including these classes in our homeschooling lifestyle. :)

Anyway, that was our Monday.

 
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Sunday, 27 May 2012

Take breaks as often as possible

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!

We'd been homeschooling for a few months when I met my first homeschooling friend; Nicky.  If I remember correctly, I hadn't purchased any text about homeschooling (except a guide on how to write an exemption).  I'd been relying on Yahoo groups and surfing the net for ideas (back in the dial-up internet days, lol.)  Anyway, to cut a long story short, Nicky told me about this book:
I am grateful to Nicky for sharing the title of this book with me because I doubt I'd have purchased a copy otherwise.  For me, it has been very helpful; just like this morning it was the first book I grabbed to help check over a few things as I finish timetables.

There's so many subjects to cover and I'm thinking of making a two-week rotational timetable because I don't know how we'll cover everything.  Math, writing and reading are daily core subjects.  Sometimes they can take us all morning.  That means after lunch we have a lot to squeeze in.  At the moment we can't return to music practice so it makes our electives a little easier still.

Nothing to do with schooling or blogging, but on a sad note: my coffee machine finally bit the dust.  Whaiāipo was kindly making me a coffee as he prepared his takeaway cup of tea as the three older kids were getting into their TKD uniforms, when he announced it was totally broken.

Luckily I've really cut back on my caffeine intake, so I'm not as upset as I would've been six months ago, lol.  Back to instant coffee for a while.  With luck I might just kick the habit altogether.  I quite like the idea of being a non-alcohol, non-smoking and non-caffeine chick.  My teeth will probably say it's too late, but I guess I can't have everything.  At least I've got very little grey hair :o) At 46 that ain't bad eh?!

The three older tamariki have now been going to TKD for one year and they still love it.  Tonight they've taken forms and paying fees for the next grading.  Saturday fortnight they'll be in Morrinsville.

Another piece of trivia.  I've finally cut out the two newspaper articles with tama 1 on the front page for the CurrClick Science Fair.  Whaiāipo has dropped them off at the Te Ngae postal centre while he gets the money out for grading fees.  What a slacker I am eh?!  The only reason I got around to it is because tama 2's cub leader sent an email asking the kids to take newspapers tomorrow night...  (Shows how it is when I enjoy a break ... I really take a break hee hee.)

On another side note.  A few days ago, a question was posed on the Home Education in NZ Facebook page, asking how everybody records their schooling journeys.  It's funny that question came up because that's exactly why I've got back to writing my blog recently.  I found that the blog is the best way for me to record our family's journey.  The break I had from it though was really important - keeping our house had to be made a priority, and although that was accomplished a few months back, I still needed a break to simply celebrate and enjoy how far our family had come.  The aim is to one day have my blog printed into a book.  For now, I plan to record even more than I have done.

Well, that will do for tonight.  The younger ones are getting fidgety that I'm taking so long.


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Friday, 25 May 2012

Time to dust off the boxes of curricula

Over the past week I have resurrected Filing Boxes with all the curricula and other homeschooling resources I have purchased over the years.  My word!!!  It's amazing how much I have.  It would be a scary exercise to add up exactly how much I have spent over the years.  Money well spent - however much that is.

Anyway, the point of the exercise was not to clutter our lounge with boxes of Language Arts, Foreign Languages, Science etc, but rather, to see if we owned certain books.  For example, I couldn't remember if I had purchased Latin for Children.
Yay, I do have it :)  Most excellent.  I really want to start tama 2 with Latin and want to try LFC instead of Prima Latina with him.  No particular reason, I just want to see which style works for him.
Tamāhine 1 can get back into Visual Latin.  She is not ready to tackle Lingua Latina.  I am confident she can move into that once she advances with Español.  This semester I wish to revise Español and Latin.  By the following semester we should be good to move it up another notch.  But as for Greek .... well, not sure when to slot that in yet.  It'll definitely have to wait till I've got tamāhine 2's exemption approved.

Funnily enough, it was while I was trying to remember if I had this curricula that I thought to myself, "Hey, check My Library Thing."
Gosh, it's been nearly six months since I've updated our books!!!  Golly, that means I've got a bit of work to do to update My Library.  Hei aha.  I've at least recorded the new books we received this week.

Tamāhine 1 read her first Famous Five book last year and she loved it.  I enjoyed these books when I was young and in fact, the many Enid Blyton hardcover books I read are still at nana and koro's.  Well, a couple of weeks ago I decided I'd get her the next two in the series:

I also decided to buy the Survival Guide:

Well, they arrived today and she's very happy indeed.  She's already ploughing through the Survival Guide making codes for her brothers to decipher.

I've made sure I've loaded these books to My Library Thing, so I feel like I've accomplished something today :)

Ngā tamariki tāne are very boisterous today.  So glad to hear noise and have all the kids running in and out of the house, especially to give tama 3, tamāhine 2 and tama 4 all the attention they can.  Once we get back into schoolwork, it's back to the kids taking turns with them.  Somehow or other, we manage to make it work when school is in session.  The main key is not to look at the clock and say, "there's still 20 minutes left guys! no time for playing yet!"  Nope, it's much better to just let the interruptions occur.  Overall they don't stack up to a big deal.

One of the other books that arrived today was:
Remember the other week I was looking at Sonlight?  Well, these books were on the list.  They're just the kind of thing I would have read ... I loved anything detective - comes from having a father as a policeman with a childhood ambition to follow my dad!!!  Anyway, tamāhine 1 has finished Third-Grade Detectives #1 - The Clue of the Left-Handed Envelope. It's such an easy read, tama 2 will manage it.  I'll get him started with it after he finishes Mrs Piggle-Wiggle.

We'll be using Lesson Pathways to do some exercises with Mrs Piggle-Wiggle.  I feel terrible I'd forgotten about Lesson Pathways!!!  But that's what happens with homeschooling multiple ages.  Even with a list of websites to remind me of things, I just don't get back to some for a while.

What a good end to the week.  I've discovered resources I wasn't sure we had and we've got more books to read. I've got a reasonably clear idea of what we will cover this semester, so now it's just a matter of making individual timetables.

I think I'll leave it there as I want to go through all the material in these boxes and type up their timetables.

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