Saturday, 21 July 2012

The way the week ended: mainly about CurrClickLive classes

Nau mai, hoki mai, and welcome back!

On Thursday I started to mention a few things we've covered this week.  The plan was to write more yesterday afternoon, but in all honesty I was exhausted after my early morning wake-ups etc that I couldn't think coherently.  So, it's now Saturday morning:

  • I managed to get a sleep-in of some sorts; 
  • whaiāipo has returned from Rotoma Timber with the framing for all the doors (yep, the plan is to put up internal entry doors .... wardrobes and en suite will have to wait a while longer); 
  • lit the fire, 
  • got the dishes and laundry on, 
  • congratulated tama 1 on losing another tooth for the week;
  • read through my emails and even registered for a couple of free webinars
  • the CurrClick Open House recordings are up so I will play those in the background as I chat with y'all

and I feel ready to sit back now to try and wrap up the end of our brilliant school work.

Firstly, our tamariki achieved:

Tama 1 - Epsilon Lesson 26C
Tamāhine - Delta Test 24
Tama 2 - Gamma 15F

We're moving through the next book in the National Homeschool Book Award Club:
Looking forward to the meeting next week.

Tamāhine 1 is really enjoying reading aloud for me, so I think I'll start leaving the tamariki to do the reading from now on.  By reading aloud I can see why she's improving in her Reader's Theater. :o)  (Tama 1 wasn't in the mood to read aloud because his tooth was giving him such grief.  He quite happily sat sketching instead.)

Maybe we'll end up reading the entire book before the meeting at the rate she's reading it!!!

For some light reading, she went back and finished:
And then she started and finished this book in less than two days!!!:
It's been months and months since she picked up her Goddess Girls books.  We started getting them after tama 1 completed his Mythology class because they are a light-hearted introduction to mythological characters.  I felt that the textbook tama 1 had to use:
wasn't appropriate for her and although we had a couple of little Greek Mythology books, I stumbled upon the Goddess Girls series and decided to try one.  She enjoyed it, so we started with the next.  Anyway, as with any child's reading, it improves and they discover they want to read all sorts of things.  So other books on our shelves were being read, but she kept wanting to come back to do these. The interesting thing about her reading them now is how quickly she motored through them.  That's how much her reading has improved.  It's exciting to witness your children go from strength to strength, isn't it?

Anyway, she's now reading:
Tama 1 was co-leader for the second time this year.  He has taken the occasional warm ups with instructors but can now add another feather to his cap.  Tama 1, tamāhine 1, tama 2 and whaiāipo feel very proud and take every session very seriously.  In their briefcase they have the New Zealand flag (folded correctly following Scout rules!!), nunchucks, notebooks, pens etc. 

St. John
Finally tamāhine 1 has her uniform but minus the jacket.  As soon as she receives that I will take a photo to share, but yay!!!! she looks like a Cadet now.  In fact, she looks very grown up.
CurrClick Classes
This week's classes included a three day Camp with Mrs Rhodes:
This was definitely right up our alley. I became so engrossed with it myself, that I didn't realise on the second day we were there for practically two hours!!!  It flew by so quickly that I forgot to get the children into another class!!!!  That's the first time I've EVER done that!!!!

My backup for reminders is Microsoft Outlook.  It gives me the alarm sound 15 minutes before appointments, but on this particular day, guess what?!!  I hadn't opened Outlook!!!  BUT, here's the wonderful thing about CurrClick Live classes -- they are recorded, so we simply watched the class we missed by recording later in the day.

I made a point of emailing our teacher to give my apologies, and will make sure I never make this mistake ever again.  In over two years of online classes for the children, this is the first (and better be the last) time I have ever made this mistake.  Considering ngā tamariki had asked what time the next class was, I feel like a right dodo for putting them crook and saying, "plenty of time!"  but in my defence that is testament to how good this Camp with Mrs Rhodes and the great bunch of students really was.
Okay, I put a tiny mention about Reader's Theater (Theatre) on Thursday.

I think this is tamāhine 1's third Reader's Theater with Mrs Rhodes.  We had to miss last month's unfortunately due to a clash.  (This is possibly the only kind of class that is definitely best live because students LOVE getting on their mics and acting their parts.)

On Friday tamāhine 1 managed to get a lot of reading parts and luckily she understood the language to have a good laugh.  Now, because I respect copyright and everything, I will not divulge the author or text from which they read, the main reason being I can't remember if it was ever advertised with the author's name, so I'll play it very safe and not say anything more than it was loads of fun and typically the class was over too quickly for the students - even though it went over as always, lol.

That's an interesting point ... I can remember some classes when I was at school, I was simply out the door once the alarm bell rang.  It was rare that I would wish our classes went on.  One difference with regular school and online school ... you as the parent and student are choosing subjects that your children enjoy and they're the ones who say, "oh, is it done already?!"  To me this is priceless but also a true testament to being a homeschooling family.  We are doing what we know is in our children's best interests.  We see what they enjoy and we select from an a la carte range of classes, curriculum and activities.  That way we have happy children, eager to learn every single day.

Only one more session with this Reader's Theater.  But one thing you can guarantee - tamāhine 1 will be in the next Reader's Theater. :o)
We missed day 3 of this Workshop. (see above)

Ms Lindsey Shaw is a wonderful young woman with a beautiful wairua.  Tama 1 and tamāhine 1 have enjoyed two semesters in Music Theory with Ms Lindsey.  I can remember watching Ms Lindsey present at an Open House maybe this time last year? or possibly further back?  At the time the classes on offer were going to be at around 2 o'clock in the morning NZ time.  I asked her if she would ever consider having classes later in the day (such is the beauty of the Open Houses!!) and she explained what her schedule involved, but would keep it in mind for the future.

I'm so glad I asked, because within a few months we received an email.  She hadn't forgotten us, and asked whether we would still be interested if she could offer a class later in the day.  Immediately I jumped at the opportunity and we've enjoyed our musical journey with Ms Lindsey ever since.  We've enjoyed two semesters as I say in Music Theory, and are now taking part with the summer camps.

On Friday we had our presentation, but tama 1 wasn't very keen to read it because of his toothache.  (I was worried how he was going to cope as a Student Ambassador when he wasn't feeling too bright last week with a different toothache.  Luckily that tooth fell out mid-week last week .... but then he discovered the tooth next to it was loose!!)

We learned some really interesting historical facts during this camp/workshop.  Well done, Ms Lindsey.

Definitely looking forward to the next camp starting next week.
We had the very last session of 7 Days of Creation this week with Mrs Debbie Mackin.

I've mentioned this before, but I'll mention it again because I enjoy pointing out that Mrs Mackin was one of our first semester-long live class teachers with CurrClickLive.  We have thoroughly enjoyed each class with Mrs Mackin and will most definitely continue with future classes.  The very first class we took with Mrs Mackin was Earth Science, using:
I enjoyed the class, and I particularly enjoyed using this textbook.  The variety of hands-on activities are brilliant and we really threw ourselves into weekly assignments.  We formed a friendship with Mrs Mackin which has developed ever since.  It is while developing our friendship that Mrs Mackin discovered what time the children were getting up to take class.  And you guessed it, Mrs Mackin went out of her way to move her classes to later in the day.  Okay, so it wasn't to suit us solely, but at least it meant others in different time zones could consider her wonderful classes.
Zoology is our final online class on Friday's.

Only two more classes to go, boo hoo.

Classes generally run from 60-90 minutes in length each week, and again this is a class with Mrs Mackin.

It's been interesting to learn about flying creatures, and in particular what kinds of birds and insects are common to certain countries.  That's where the live class environment makes it really interesting.  We, in New Zealand, can't relate to bats being in our neighbourhood ... we'd have to go on a tiki tour to look in caves for them.  Some of the students can actually say they've had bats fly through their house and huddle in their bed covers and stuff!!! Wow!!!
Okay, here's one of my all-time favourites from CurrClick.  I have not mentioned Mrs Lynn Schott's classes before, and yet we have taken many classes this year with Mrs Schott, of Founders Academy.  This week we enjoyed another elective:
We had a clash with our timetable so ended up watching the recording.  You see?!  That's the true beauty of online classes!!!! They are recorded so that on occasions when you have a timetable clash ... forget class altogether (ahem!!!) .... are sick .... or the class is scheduled at an awkward hour of the morning or evening .... then you simply go to your CurrClick Home Room Page, find your class and watch the recording!!!!

We love Mrs Schott's live elective sessions.  These can run for 30 minutes (younger tamariki) 60-90 minutes (8 years and up) and are wonderful for all age ranges.  Because tama 1 has such an interest in politics (American as well as our own kiwi institution etc), I considered the Founders Academy Government 101 course last year.  I hummed and haaed and let a semester go by.  Then, it was probably during the last CurrClickLive Open House that I decided to pop along to one of Mrs Schott's sessions.  I knew that tama 1 had an appreciation and understanding of many the facets to be taught so I asked whether it would be okay for a kiwi lad to participate and from there another wonderful friendship blossomed.

(Important Point:  I am incredibly blessed to have formed such wonderful online friendships with our CurrClickLive teachers!!!  The communication and interest generated within our homeschooling campus environment is something I do not take lightly.  I am appreciative of all the wonderful teachers who take a genuine interest in our family, our country and our futures.  I do not feel we would EVER experience this in a traditional school setting.)

The Govt 101 course was an intense 16-week class for a ten year old boy but he absolutely loved it because it was of interest to him to learn more about the American system.  His prior knowledge blew me away, but with Mrs Schott's guidance, he now has a much greater appreciation and knowledge.  I won't say his future is already paved out for him, but I could certainly see a direction he might head in ...

Actually, this is probably a timely moment to say that we heard from a friend yesterday via my brother Craig, in Auckland.  Our friend is now Associate Professor at an Australian University.  We met way back in the days when he was studying Political Science.  He's already worked at an American University, returned to Auckland University, and in just the past few weeks has moved to Australia.  We'd asked him for any guidance he may like to share for tama 1's interest in politics.  Being the tricky man to track down, it was whilst chatting to my brother on Skype that we managed to communicate and get some great feedback.  (Don't you love modern technology!!!)  Our friend had some wonderful suggestions and I was really thrilled to hear a few ideas which tama 1 already follows out of interest.  So, yes, I think I really could see tama 1 heading in that kind of direction ... if he so chooses.

Mrs Schott has an Economics class which I hope to register tama 1 for next year.  This semester his timetable is busy, but about to get insanely busy come August/September.  We will definitely, definitely join the Current Events classes next year at least.

Well, I think that covers the rest of the online classes I started talking about on Thursday.
I've listened to a number of the recorded sessions whilst writing up this post.  That's probably why I've ended up writing such a lengthy post --- quite relaxing to take in these sessions while doing something else, lol.

As always, I've probably left out something I will wish I had mentioned, but I'm glad I've finally put a good posting of our classes on here.  When my blog went quiet, it was because we had a truckload of CurrClickLive classes.  This semester is starting out slower because it's summer in the States, but soon it will be fall and the tamariki will get back into their busy schedules.  Tama 1 will find it particularly busy because I have registered him for two other online classes with another institute.  Whatever happens, I will do my best to keep up and keep recording.  There were some amazing moments last semester (our summer) and although I can't be specific in this public blog, I feel like I've missed a big chunk simply because I got lazy and stopped writing on here.

Well, I'm off to investigate how whaiāipo is getting on with the doors.

Tomorrow, I had better pick up tamāhine 2's exemption application and get on with the rest of it.  After starting a few weeks ago, I was comfortable to leave it again to just let things mull over in my head.  Now that I've had time to relax I have a much better idea what direction I will take it now.  I can't imagine I'll complete it tomorrow, but who knows?  Maybe I'll find peace like today to put my thoughts down?!!

Actually, just one last thing before I go.  At the beginning of my post I  mentioned I've registered for two free webinars.  Something really cool about the feature:  as soon as I registered the screen comes up with an option to add it to Outlook.  I clicked on that to see what would happen, and get this!!!  Not only did it enter it into Outlook, but it put them on the dates and times specific for New Zealand!!!  Yeah, I expected I'd be shifting it manually - but I didn't !!!  That's very cool!!!! Well, it is to me at least.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano
Naku noa, na

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