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 ...

Math-U-See
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