Saturday, 30 June 2012

Goodness!! We're halfway through the year already!!

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back,

The weather has been glorious these past few days.  Here's a few pics of the children playing touch rugby with Uncle Warrick.  The break with his split shift on Friday didn't really give enough time for a hīkoi, but he had his rugby ball in the car, so everybody was straight back outside ...

A Friday afternoon of exercise is always slotted into our weekly schedule - especially when we have early kick-offs throughout the week with online classes.

This week tamāhine 1 picked up and read:
 and also:
The Saturdays she read in just over a day and Where Lions Roar at Night only two days.  We started reading the latter many moons ago but, well, I can't remember exactly what happened but it seemed to make it's way back to the shelf ...

Anyway, I'm glad in a way she has read it now after reading the Complete Chronicles of Narnia:
because she was able to make the correlation between the two a lot more.  She has now started on:
Tama 2 finished:
and also:
He really enjoyed reading that one!! (He read it in one sitting.) No surprise seeing as he loves his martial arts.  He's very keen to learn nunchucks like tama 1 and tamāhine 1 that's for real!!! Speaking of which, tama 1 received his wooden nunchucks on Sunday just gone.  His patterns looked brilliant with the rubber ones, but golly they look fantastic with the wooden ones!!! :-)

Although Tama 1 hasn't as much time for free reading at the moment, he did decide to pick up and start reading:
He spends so much time reading his online newspapers and also reads the Scouting Handbook which he (and tama 2) will know inside-out-and-back-to-front soon enough :-)

I finally finished:
I'm now reading:
Okay, I'll leave it there for today.  I haven't quite composed in my head what I want to say about our lessons this week, but I at least wanted to record some of our reading.

I will say, however, that I am extremely grateful for the Homeschooling Supervision Allowance which we New Zealand homeschooling families receive twice yearly (towards the end of June and also mid-to-late December).  This year I have been very fortunate to use it expressly for homeschooling purposes.  To my understanding, it is not compulsory for the Ministry of Education to provide any monies whatsoever, nor is it compulsory for families to accept receiving it.  For my friends overseas who may wish to understand this more fully, please follow this link to learn more.

Anyway, whaiāipo not long got home from working and we're commencing mahi on the front room.  I do hope we manage to gib around the beams and start plastering tomorrow!!!

To help entertain the little ones, we were lucky to receive this in the mail yesterday:
Hopefully it will entertain the young ones while construction is underway this weekend.  We have absolutely very little in the way of Lego, but I managed to buy this for cheap with the Book Depository's 24 hour special last week.  I knew the pieces would be little, but they're even smaller than I imagined.  Luckily tama 4 is getting to an age where putting things in his mouth isn't such an issue anymore.  However, in saying that we are all taking turns playing with the younger ones to ensure they're safe.

Happy Birthday Warrick :)

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Wednesday, 27 June 2012

It's that time of year again

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!

Since we started taking part in this Garden Bird Survey with Landcare, I find that it helps pass the time over winter.  Starting at breakfast we'll sit munching our kai at the table and start counting what kinds of birds we can see on the deck etc.

Past surveys have shown us that we have had an increase in our backyard of certain native birds which is pretty cool, for example we see more kereru than in the past.

This year the survey starts on my younger brother's birthday - 30 June, so it's pretty easy to remember.

We take advantage of recording our daily count using the online recording form (found in the left-hand column).

Thanks for dropping by
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Tuesday, 26 June 2012

End-of-term parties

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!

Here are the kids as they headed off for their Medieval Night at St John for their end-of-term evening.
Leaving things to the last minute we found it hard to find something in tamāhine 1's size so she had no choice but to go as a witch.  
(There were many witches and wizards apparently, so she fitted right in.)
Tama 1 was keen to go as an executioner.  
His father found this gross head at either the emporium or dollar store for tama 1 to carry around.  (Yuck!!)  
Apparently he was a big hit (no doubt with the boys!)

Anyway, they had a great time so I'm glad we found them something to wear at the last minute.

As for tama 2's end-of-term gathering I made 35+ desserts.  Lucky we were able to fit them in our fridge to chill before he went off.  He had a wonderful time and our contribution towards kai was a big hit.  He also came home with another badge (swimming).  He's pleased as punch and I can't blame him.  I've just finished sewing it on his shirt, so excuse the creases!!

Cubs is really working out better for him than St John Penguins.

(He will still return to St John, but not until he can become a Cadet and on top of that when he's 10 because ... well, it's too long-winded to explain!!!  Suffice to say he will return.)

It's funny, but we wouldn't know it is the end of term unless the kids were involved in activities like St John and Scouts etc.  We continue to school year-round and remain oblivious to kiwi school terms, lol.

Well, this morning, many homeschooling families around the country would have woken up to find their Homeschooling Supervision Allowance in their bank accounts.  So cool to have a healthy balance for a few days, lol.  Exactly what we need to fund our resources :)

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Monday, 18 June 2012

No Mondayitis here :)

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back

I'm more than pleased with the progress tama 1, tamāhine 1 and tama 2 are making with their math.  Here is a sample from tama 1's mahi:
There is a lot involved at tama 1's Epsilon level so I don't expect more than one or two pages maximum from him.  As you can see though, he did an awesome job.  I try not to feel bad that I gave everybody a very long break from math.  I try not to dwell on the fact that he could be finished Epsilon by now if we kept things going.  Instead I remind myself he is less than 10½.  He is doing perfectly fine - in fact, he's doing superbly!!  Tamāhine 1 and tama 2 are both doing great work also.

We spent a lot more time on Spellodrome than expected.  Ngā tamariki discovered a few more changes to the website since we last subscribed.  I didn't mind too much that they veered off having a look around.  It gave me time to get kai prepped for the crockpot.

Then we did something we haven't done in a very long, long time.  We looked at some poetry.  My copy of Harp and Laurel Wreath still looks as good as the day I bought it!!! Shock, horror!!  See what happens when you sort through all your resources!!  You discover things you forgot you had, lol.  I chose a very small piece from the very beginning of the book so that we could use it as our copywork as well as memorise.
I split physical exercise before and after lunch because one or two of the kids finished ahead of the others with their academics

The rest of the afternoon was spent on grammar.  Tama 2 spent longer on this than the other two because we tried out:
Okay, so it wasn't my intention to do the entire first lesson.  I wanted to introduce it to him and only work on a small amount, but um, well, we ended up completing the entire lesson.  It took a little while for tama 2 to settle into it, but once he was comfortable, we found we got through the entire lesson.

Well, everybody has returned home from Cubs and St John.  (Tama 2 felt pretty chuffed he was going off to his club meeting with badges sewn on his sleeve.)  We were all hoping against hope tamāhine 1 would have her St John cadet uniform tonight.  What a major disappointment.  She still doesn't have one!! :(  Them's the breaks.

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Thursday, 14 June 2012

Where we read our news

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!

The day started with:
The children really enjoy this FREE Club with CurrClick.  The Club is discussing book #4 this month.

Thank goodness the Club meetings are each week.  We usually participate the first week of each month but last week I still had a few kids with coughs and because TKD grading was looming, I chose to put it out till this week.

Our tamariki really enjoy this Club.  Roni Bergerson manages to pack the entire meeting with great quizzes, discussion and activities.  Not only did I register the children for this club because they enjoy the books, but Tama 2 liked the idea of doing something online like his big brother and sister and this seemed like a good way to introduce him to the online world.  The other two were happy to tautoko by joining the club too.  Tama 3 sat in for part of it today talking about what he saw and giving his own interpretation of things.  He also enjoyed the activity and playing a game with his siblings following the meeting.

Math is moving along swimmingly.  CM would be disappointed when it comes to the length of our math lessons.  We can seriously take upward of an hour or more when it comes to math.  It's not like I stand over them like an old school ma'am cracking the ruler over their knuckles demanding more work.  We just simply get on a roll and everybody knuckles down doing their best, and time simply passes.

Once math was out of the way, we tidied up our work areas, got a load of dishes on and jumped in the car.  (My second drive in less than five days.)  Compared to the past six months that's a lot of driving.  Up until this week, I hadn't been off the land more than twice in six months, lol.  Most people would go insane, but oh well, luckily I ain't most people. :o)  Today was one of those rare occasions whaiāipo happened to be in the office so we could meet him for lunch.

We no sooner got home and tama 1 caught up on the news.

I'd have to go back a few years to when I was looking for a kid-friendly online newspaper for him.  Tama 1 was around seven going on eight when he was taking an interest in current events etc.  The first online news I found had a (very cheap) monthly subscription, so I used it but it is only published every two weeks.  Like I say, I'd have to rummage back in the blog to find it, but, I "think" this is it:
I'm quite sure that was it.  I notice it's now free, so we'll sign back up to receive that one again.

Then, Youngzine started and he was so much happier.  He hasn't been able to get enough of it.  His influence has streamed down to tamāhine 1 and even tama 2.
Tama 1 has been a member for almost two years now.
We found this one a few months ago

A recent spin-off to the Kiwi Kids News is:

Today, I found DOGOnews.  Odd title, but oh well, if it works what the heck.  At this stage I'm awaiting his verdict on that one, lol.  Anyway, it was only because I hunting around for something that I came across it and I thought it a timely reminder to mention the online kid-friendly news links.

Here's one more called World Kids News - which is also found on YouTube.
I enjoy the fact my children are eager to learn about their immediate community and wider global communities.  Finding kid-friendly, age-appropriate resources is the hardest thing, which means anything cluttered with advertising is out - no twaddle allowed.

Thanks for dropping by
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Naku noa, na

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

I'm okay with our family enjoying ngā rorohiko

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!

Kura was pretty limited today.  We had 7 Days of Creation at 8 o'clock.

Check out tama 3 sitting in too!!!  He was full of very loud cheers as he watched the experiments.
Excellent class.

Then we finished breakfast and started on math.  We had an early lunch before Uncle Warrick arrived to take the three older tamariki for a hīkoi.

While they were out I tried to take a little time out for myself.  This usually entails watching something on the computer.  (Correction - listen to something as I clean.)

Today I chose to sort through clothes.  I've decided to cull things right back.  Let me tell you, I haven't been the slightest bit sentimental over anything.  Straight into a bag and bye bye!!! Feels great to see less clutter.  I'm on a roll now!!!  Tomorrow it's manchester (linen) and maybe the big kids drawers.

Anyway, while I worked, I watched/listened to an interview with Linda Hobar, author of the Mystery of History over at the Home Educating Magazine. An interesting 19 minute synopsis of Linda's workshop titled "To Grade or Not to Grade."  I was interested in taking a peek because we start MoH this spring, so I wanted to get a closer feel for who Linda Hobar is.  She certainly didn't disappoint!!
After that I decided to listen/watch a few other "Words of Wisdom from Experienced Authors and Publishers," on Life Plus Homeschooling such as the 20 minute segment called "Get Real" with Todd and Debbie Wilson.  AND 30 minutes about "Creation" with the wonderful Ken Ham (founder of Answers in Genesis) which was filmed on location at the Creation Museum.

Good way to while away my time this afternoon. 

Sometimes, I'll try to tune in to:
as well as:
Oh, I must remember to record for myself ...
Last night as I was getting the little ones off to bed, I used the Books Should Be Free audio link of the above.  I read along using The Project Gutenberg e-book.  When whaiāipo got home, I started over again and he enjoyed listening along.  The plan was to use this today with our history lesson, but due to a shorter day, we may listen to it as a family during dinner time ... speaking of which it's time to get ready to serve.

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Naku noa, na

Monday, 11 June 2012

I do indeed appreciate everything he does

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!

I'm very, very blessed to have always had a supportive tāne.  I can't even remember how we "discussed," or "agreed" to homeschooling.  Somehow or other, we simply fell into it naturally as if it were part and parcel of parenting.  The same can be said about letting my parents know.  They were absolutely open to the idea.  My brothers never questioned me, my friends and whānau have always said, "good on you!" My old boss and colleagues still keep tabs on me and think it's great.  I mean to say, check out how everybody rallied behind us to support tama 1 in the CurrClick Science Fair !!!  Need I say more?!!

I think the only thing people say to me is usually, "good on you!  I couldn't do it myself, but good on you."  So yeah, I'm super lucky.

As I flicked through this wee pdf I felt it was speaking to me .... I need to show appreciation for all the wonderful things whaiāipo does for our family.  He works extremely hard, but he's always stepped in to help with the children no matter what.  I realise it's speaking to the Dads, but I'm taking it as a good reminder to myself to acknowledge my whaiāipo.
Whaiāipo has never once disagreed with anything I choose to do when it's come to homeschooling.  We have always been on the same page and I guess that's been easy for me to take for granted.  We both take our roles very seriously and that's probably why it works.  Once upon a time I would have laughed and said it was because of my staunch Te Arawa side.  But no, it's simply because we want the best for the children.  The older kids had the super best start - my parents brought them up.  So, when it was time for us to look at kura, the answer was staring us in the face.  Home is the best place.  It was an unspoken acknowledgement between whaiāipo and myself that nobody could do better by our children than whaiāipo and myself.

In saying that, as soon as whaiāipo gets home tonight with tama 1, tamāhine 1 and tama 2, I will make a point of validating who he is and how much I appreciate everything he does for not only the children, but what he does for me too.

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Never enough hours in a day

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!

Tama 2 was pretty tired after completing his Cubs Assignment this morning.  Practically three full pages of handwriting with just one wee drawing of the Maui dolphin.  From the list of endangered species he could research, the Maui dolphin wasn't even on the list.  Sadly, it goes to show that worksheets are simply regenerated year-in, year-out.  Maui dolphin are down to 50 in number, so they most certainly rank high on our endangered species list.  Whether tama 2 liked it or not, mum strongly suggested he write about the Maui dolphin.

They're only little fellas, with the adult length being 1.2-1.4m long.  As whaiāipo explained to him, the adult is the same length as tama 2 is tall.  So they're only a wee thing compared to other dolphins.

The bulk of tama 2's research came via this website:
And from this page of the Green Party:
I ♥ Green Party
And from this page of the KCC:
I'm pretty sure we went over and above what was required to present his research, but hey, that's pretty typical of a homeschooler huh?!!

Because of his massive effort this morning, I let him off his math lesson.  But, straight after lunch I had everybody help do a big sweep of toys and books.  I can handle the mess being created while we work in the morning, but I make it a rule to do a sweep before commencing with afternoon mahi.  Makes the next sweep around 4.30pm so much lighter.

Straight after we tidied, they were allowed to practice their music.  We haven't touched any instruments for months.  Pretty shocking huh?!  Yep, but oh well, that will now change.  I've slotted it back into our weekly calendar.  So, while they practiced instruments, I did my ironing. 

PE, reading, drawing, spelling and a teensy bit of Chinese completed our day.  Tama 2 has Cubs at 6.00pm then tama 1 and tamāhine 1 have St John Cadets at 7.00pm.  I really, really, REALLY hope tamāhine 1's cadet uniform is there now!!!

Thanks for dropping by
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Sunday, 10 June 2012

TKD Grading Success

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!

I've added photos of the three big kids TKD grading under the Health and Physical Education page.

The photos are not taken at the hall in which they graded because there are strict rules about cameras being in the room, and they are very particular about having photos taken of anyone but your own child.  That's fine and we totally respect that.

So, although we have some pics from the day, it's too much like hard work to black out other individuals, so I've taken photos of them at home.

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Thursday, 7 June 2012

How to read a book

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!

Productive school day here at Romankids Homeschool Academy.

Tamāhine 1 finished reading Pippi Longstocking.  For her next book,  I thought we might try something a little different.  I've not done this before - simply because I've always had the physical book to read.  This time, however, because we don't have the actual book I'm going to try using this:
I gave it a test run with her and she agreed it'll be pretty cool to read a book this way for a change. Certainly looked pretty neat in full screen especially. :)  Although we have plenty of other books to physically read, I just thought it might be fun to try something a little out of the ordinary for once.

Only two more sleeps till grading and we made sure we put in an hour's practice today before tonight's session.  Whaiāipo has taken tomorrow afternoon off so we can get the kai prepped early for once.  I've also made sure my regular ironing is up-to-date so that all I have to do is wash uniforms tonight and have them all pressed before day's end tomorrow.

While they are at grading, I will work on tamāhine 2's Application for Exemption.  I know, I know ... My plan was to work on it last weekend, but in all honesty, I'm happier I chose to have the big clear-out instead.  Not only have we created space but I also managed to find resources that I'd long since forgotten about which will be helpful when writing the application.

Being my fourth application, I'm wondering how I'll come up with something new and original for tamāhine 2's application.  Then again, once I get into the swing of it, I know it'll be more a case of having to trim it back, lol.  Besides, it'll be a great way for me to keep my mind occupied without worrying how tama 1, tamāhine 1 and tama 2 are doing at grading.  It's a long day waiting at home to hear from them and I always have to wait until 3pm at the earliest to get a phone call.  So yeah, this was the better weekend to choose to work on it.

If anyone out there is considering homeschooling in New Zealand, and wondering what is required to put an application together, you may wish to consider purchasing:
So I guess that about wraps up my post.  Kura was rather run-of-the-mill but we achieved what I had planned for today's lessons, so I'm satisfied with the everyone's mahi.

Thanks for dropping by
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Naku noa, na