Friday, 11 December 2015

Winding down the 2015 school year

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!

Last week I finished reading:

NOT an affiliated link
This would have to be one of the best books I have read in a very long time. Tamāhine 1 read it ahead of me.  We no sooner received it in the mail, when she grabbed it, so I had to wait my turn, lol.

We enjoyed it so much, we will now watch watched the movie I found online:

Also, did you happen to catch the documentary on Shine TV last night?

I also found a Torchlighters movie trailer:

You can buy or rent at Amazon.  Just thought I'd mention it should anyone be interested. Oh, and no, it's not an affiliated link.

Kura has slowed down for most of the kids. Everyone will at least continue with mathematics till this time next week.

We finished up with the last of our science for 2015 and will pick it up again in the New Year.

Tama 2 has been helping me do some mahi around the property while tama 1 and tamāhine 1 continue with their remaining subjects.

Tama 1 takes a break following the completion of lesson 30 Saxon in our online co-op.

We learned Honduras is his assigned Spanish-speaking country.  That's not due until the end of next week - the same day we have the flooring guys here!

We will finish up French, Spanish, Latin and art next week.

I'm looking forward to spending summer reading and planning next year's lessons.

I now have my sixth exemption accepted without question by MoE.  Big shy of relief.

A very big sigh of relief!!  We can begin next year securely in the knowledge tama 4 can continue to enjoy his education at home.

I must include a picture from tamāhine 1's art journal.  This is just one of her latest pieces and seeing as I've scanned it, I'll share it with you:

As for myself, what have I been up to?  Well, I've been painting the house every day; accomplishing more on some days than others.

I've done a lot, but there's still a lot to go.  However, it is all enjoyable and I take pleasure in knowing we are getting closer and closer.

I've been leaving the trickiest part until last.  Over the stairs, trying to get into the very highest pitch is ugh! hard! hard! hard!  Once I've given the wardrobe shelves their second coat, I need to brave it and just get up there.  UGH!!!  (Can you hear the pain?)

Oh well, once I arrange the other beams to stand on that's half the battle won.  Why leave it till last and not get the hardest part out of the way first?  I mean, I do normally tackle the hardest things first, but for some reason, I dunno.... it just felt so daunting.  But, now that I see so much of the upstairs actually painted (oh, and by the way, don't forget! we're only talking sealer coat here ... the colour coats are yet to follow!!) I feel encouraged to tackle it now.

Yesterday I paused with painting and had a cleaning session, after which I made muffins for lunch and decided we'd go to the library.  When we got home I painted a sealer coat on the shelving for the boys' wardrobe. I painted them outside which was lovely to be in the fresh air and watch the kids playing.

The last of the birthdays have been celebrated for 2015.  Tama 2 turned 11, tama 3 turned 8 and tama 5 turned 3.  Their birthdays are within days of each other so everyone ends up eating too much cake, ice cream and lollies.  Oh boy!!!  Gotta love birthdays huh?!

Hmmm not the best pic.  I tried to grab a quick screenshot playing one of the videos.  Hei aha.

Christmas is fast approaching.  For our family, our gift is to move back into our completed bedrooms. (My close friends and family will understand the deep significance of such a statement.  We are counting down to the day now!!!)

By rights, this will be the last time we have the large tree in the classroom.  (Gee, I could have tidied before taking this webcam shot this morning! LOL.)

Right, well, the clouds have burned off and the sun is in a good pozzy for me to do that second sealer coat on the shelves.  So, time to crack on.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Looking forward to the end of Term IV

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!

You will recall from my last post, tamāhine 1's Spanish-speaking country research assignment was on México. Well, we wrapped it up yesterday with our own extra study. On the weekend we watched The Perfect Game.  It is based on a true story about a baseball team that made it to the Little League championships.  Our family enjoyed it very much.

This next link will take you to an article that gives detailed accounts of events. Interestingly, Monterrey won the Little League Championship in 1957, 1958 and 1997.  Ka mau te wehi!!!

We did a little research on the city of Monterrey. Here's just a few of the details we learned:
  • It was founded in 1579. 
  • The city's wealthier suburbs have houses built of stucco in a style derived from Spanish colonial and called Monterrey
  • It's the capital and largest city of the northeastern state of Nuevo Léon.  
  • We knew from the movie it is an industrial city.  Looking a little deeper, it is apparently one of the most important production and trade centres in México!!
  • The population in the '50s was around 375,000 compared to today of over a million.  No wonder it's a powerhouse business city.
One of the other things we took a look at was the cuisine of Monterrey. We thought we'd try and make something, so searched kai from the area.

One dish we discovered is called cabrito which is based on a Jewish cuisine from the founders of the city. (We can't really access kid goat, so we looked for something else.)

Two further dishes we learned are from Monterrey are machaca con huevo and carne asada. They both look easy enough to make, with the exception of having to come up with alternatives to any ingredient unavailable in Aotearoa. Apparently carne asada is still a weekend traditional kai in Monterrey, so we reckon we'll try making that next weekend.

As part of our SOTW studies, we read about Emperor Constantine. Perhaps you know the story of when Constantine was in a battle, he and his soldiers look into the sky and see a golden light that appeared to be in the shape of a cross?  Yes?  Okay, so then you may also know that the Chi-Rho is not only a Christian symbol but a military standard also.

One of the activities the children did in relation to this part of history, was making a cheesecake in the shape of a shield and make the Chi-Rho using strawberries.  Well, they did make a cheesecake but not surprisingly the kids didn't like it, lol.  So, I suggested we make a pavlova.  Yummos.  So, anyway, I chose to use the photo of the pavlova rather than the cheesecake. :)

I shared the following video with the class also.  It's excellent ...

The boys' room

The girls' room
Although we continue with mahi kura, we have been painting as well.  We have two bedrooms finished so far.

Decisions for flooring are just about made, and we are all praying we can be back upstairs before Christmas.

As always, there is plenty to talk about, but I'll just have to catch up another day.  I haven't recorded anything about French, Spanish, Latin in such a long time. I haven't put any other science experiments either.  I'm a bit tired after mowing the lawns this afternoon.  I sat down to take a breather and decided to write a post, but now I've run out of oomph. 

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Thursday, 12 November 2015

I am grateful to be at home with my kids

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!

Too often I ask myself, "Am I doing right by the kids doing this homeschooling gig" or I make comments like, "we're just not doing enough," and other negative thoughts.  Then I look at some photos and scans of work and it gives me that boost to tell myself, "Yes, Maree!  You are doing the right thing, and the kids are doing fine.  They are learning! ...."

So here are some photos of what tama 2 and tama 3 made for SOTW.  (I thought I better photograph them before they are destroyed by little hands - or make their way to the recycling sooner rather than later.)  They are from Chapter 39 if I remember correctly.

Tama 3

Tama 2
Another activity that the little kids did with tamāhine 1 was making a lyre.

Lyre by little ones and tamāhine 1
Oh!  I just remembered something else ....

Going back to Chapter 38, when we discussed the Destruction of Jerusalem, I found this great video:

Here's tama 1's creation:  I guess the red depicts the plumes atop the Roman soldiers galea (helmet) as they march towards the Temple.

Hmmm ... did I ever add this video we used when we read about Caesar Crossing the Rubicon back in Chapter 35?  Oh well, nothing like working backwards ....

This week tamāhine 1 has been working on her La Asignacion de Investigar for her High School Spanish class.  This time around she has the country México.  I won't be adding it here, but I will at least include her drawing of the flag:

I couldn't draw an eagle as well as that!
(just sayin')
The story behind the coat of arms is very interesting.  Its origins stem from an Aztec legend.  In short, a leader of a nomadic tribe was told to settle in an area where they would come across an eagle that would be perched on a cactus eating a snake.  They did so, even though it was a swampy area.  It became known as Tenochtitlan - which of course is México City today!

We have enjoyed the research assignments over the years, learning a great deal more than we ever knew about Spanish speaking countries.

Tama 1 and tamāhine 1 did really well with their speeches last week.  Here is a photo of tamāhine 1:

For our makeshift lectern we used an old school desk with the lid open, covered with a sheet and my mum's typing stand (does anybody remember those things? or am I showing my age? LOL).  Pretty fancy lectern if you ask me!

Maths continues well.  Tama 2 will definitely finish Zeta this month.  He will complete the test for Lesson 29 today and I do not expect any difficulties there.  (Done!)  He certainly has shown mastery.

Tama 3 is working on "area" this week.  After a few lessons he became more comfortable with it.  As always, we try to use real life examples to explain it.  The floor tiles have certainly come in handy for that.  He doesn't need me to draw the boxes inside the square or rectangle anymore, so that's good.

Tama 1 is doing well with Algebra 1.  I had no hesitation in moving him from MUS to Saxon.  That is not to say he wasn't doing fine already in MUS.  But establishing the co-op has meant he now has a study buddy and a live tutor to work with, so we were happy to move across.

Tamāhine 1 is slowly working through Pre-Algebra.  She will continue with this for a good part of 2016 by the looks of things.  Nobody has to rush with their maths; progress will be at their pace.  I would try her with co-op but can't afford another Saxon just right now, so we will continue with MUS.

Tamāhine 2 continues on her snail pace with IXL.  Speaking of her, I had better wrap up this post soon so that I can work with her.

Spring has finally made a decent appearance.  We are all working hard, but it's nice to stay outdoors until the sun goes down.  This photo was taken by tama 4.  Not a bad job!

Photo by tama 4
Here's a couple of photos of our strawberries.  This year we're growing them in PVC pipes:

It's lovely to see them through my kitchen window to help brighten my day.  Especially today.  I needed some brightness.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Sunday morning learning with tama 4

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!

As we sat outside eating breakfast this morning, tama 4 started talking about one of his favourite subjects - dinosaurs.

So, tama 1 grabbed the whiteboard and hung it on the fence so he could draw.  My regular followers (I have no idea if I do have regular followers, but it sounds impressive!) will know that we school outside a lot, and hang our smaller whiteboard on the fence which gives us space at the table, and is just easier to view and have the kids go up to the board to do exercises - or draw, of course!  While he did that I grabbed the computer and decided to record his "lecture" and pop it on the blog as an example of how we enjoy using Google Hangouts in our homeschool journey.

I find using HoAs way easier for these types of things.  Our online co-op is another usage. For any projects (like Spanish assignments) that require editing, then, sure we use the video camera etc.

That's all for now.  This weekend has been an emotional one.  We are finally painting upstairs.  We won't have it completed this weekend, but the important message here is WE'RE STARTING TO PAINT!!!!  The kids have been talking excitedly about colours for their rooms.  Me?  I just cannot wait to get back upstairs and have our lounge back to being a lounge!  I may add photos later ... maybe.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Labour Weekend been and gone

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!

Out of my window I can see, this morning ....

Over the last few weeks we have gone from one rabbit to three coming to the south-east side of the house - yeah, around the fruit trees area.  This is the first year we've had them so close to the house. Grrrr....  As for the back of the house, we can see upwards of 10+ adult rabbits and quite a number of baby rabbits this morning!  Want any?

Oftentimes tama 4 will draw before he even eats breakfast.  As I started this post, he did just that. Here is one of the pictures he drew:

He drew a few more pieces, but this first one really grabbed my attention, so I figured I'd pop it on the blog.

Our morning routine is underway.  The big kids are done with maths and now I'm rotating with the younger ones which takes us through to lunch.  The older kids work on art and a little bit of history and science if they're not helping to look after a young one while I work with another.

We will continue our Odyssey reading later this afternoon.  I decided to add this helpful resource to my blog so I can find it when we get into more discussion.

To read the Odyssey, it's good to know how to pronounce names and places.  Some of the versions of the Odyssey have pronunciation guides also, so there's plenty of help available.

In our reading of Johnny Tremain last night, we came across the word repoussé.  We looked at a variety of (image) examples and then I decided to look on YouTube.  I liked this one.

I can almost see tamāhine 1 wanting a workshop like this.  As I watched a different video, I realised one of the pieces of art tamāhine 1 made a couple of months ago with aluminium foil (aluminum for my American friends) is repoussé.  Now I just need to commit the term to memory. ;)

School this year has been such a step up with all the older kids.  They have taken ownership of their mahi.  I told them we would be "doing all things Google" and by crickey, it's working like a dream. We love messaging each other, using hangouts and most of all synchronising documents and files. Tama 1's time management has perfected itself which is what I wanted so that High School won't feel quite so daunting for him.  Tamāhine 1 doesn't have as heavy a workload, but she's coping with everything she needs to, with minimal nudging from mum.  Although he has a much lighter load, tama 2 is enjoying all aspects of independence with the tools available to him.  Term 4 he will have a few more things added, which I don't foresee any difficulties for him.

Right, I must away.  Tama 1's waiting for me.  But hey!  I'll leave you with another one of tama 4's art pieces he just finished:

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

It's not all seat work ;)

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!

Here is the art piece tamāhine 1 made when our young neighbour was here playing the other day.  As usual, the photo doesn't do it justice.  The yellow looks like a mustard colour rather than a lovely bright yellow, plus the effect she made along the left-hand side I can't seem to capture on film.  Hei aha, it looks good hanging on the wall.

On Sunday, tama 4 lost his first tooth.  Tama 3 decided to make him a piggy bank for the money he'd get from the tooth fairy.  (Money from the tooth fairy is the closest our kids get to pocket money.) Anyway, I took a couple of photos as he worked on it.

He figured he'd draw the piggy's mouth with a missing tooth.  I just noticed you can't see the nose because he's covered it before he tries to papier mâché his wee creation.

He showed his little brother where he puts his money in (yes, he cut the hole himself), which sounded pretty exciting to tama 4.

Here is one of the experiments we carried out last week but forgot to upload.  A fun experiment to learn how water will evaporate but the solid doesn't - even though we saw it "dissolve" as we stirred it in.  The kids found this quite fascinating.

Here is another experiment - a simple barometer (tamāhine 1 decided she'd add food colouring just for the fun of it.)  Yeah!  It looks like an actual drink huh?!  Luckily the younger ones have known to leave it.  Either it's the large lump of clay at the top that puts them off, or they're getting used to seeing experiments popping up around the place. ;)

Tamāhine 2 asked her big sister to make some fairy wings.  So, just after lunch tamāhine 1 obliged. Tamāhine 2 enjoyed wearing them for the rest of the afternoon.  Thank goodness for recycling huh?!

As often as possible, we school outside and because we enjoy schooling outside, there has been something I have wanted to test - the use of Google Hangouts on Air - outside.  Considering we had already confirmed it would perform well where we live ie  rural, we were already holding HoAs with success. However, my next question was:

Would the connection hold strong while outside the house?

The quick answer is, "Yes!"

Granted, all the HoAs I've created have been private to date, but the members involved are loving it - aren't we guys? As yet, I've not struck any issues outside.  I'm definitely pleased we went ahead with 4G otherwise this venture would be waiting to get off the ground still.

Speaking of being outdoors, we've had a mean-as southerly the last few days (southerly = cold my northern hemisphere friends!)  It's lovely and warm out of the breeze, but by heck is it cold when you ain't!  Tino makariri.  Although chilly, we have managed to be outside still because it's just so nice to do school out-of-doors.

Today we read through another Book of The Odyssey while enjoying the outdoors.  We started talking about the hero's journey or monomyth, which apparently has something like 12 stages.  To better illustrate these stages, we watched a couple of videos to better understand a hero's journey.

This video only mentions 7 (or was it 8) stages.

Here's another goodun which definitely mentions Joseph Campbell's 12 stages:

From now on, when we think of The Hobbit, Star Wars, Harry Potter - the Lion King even, we will remember there is a commonality running through each storytelling.

Shortly after finishing his maths, tama 2 managed to get the trainer wheels to fit properly on the little bike for tama 5.  The trainer wheels are for a larger size bike, so they were a tad stubborn to adjust to this little bike.

Everybody is moving up in bikes.  Tama 5 has totally taken ownership of this bike.

I had my own bit of exercise not long after taking the photo of tama 5 above.  I climbed the crabapple tree to retrive (well, try to retrieve) the soccer ball and rugby ball (sounds better than saying 'retrieving two balls', LOL).  I managed to reach the rugby ball but I just couldn't get to the soccer ball.  We had to wait for whaiāipo to get home.  I expected him to take the 6m ladder off his work van, but oh no!  He had another idea.  Tama 1 and I both decided this photo will also have to appear on the Pegleg FB page - PVC uses!  HA HA HA.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano