Thursday, 28 May 2015

One of our art resources

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!

Tamāhine 1 really enjoys Meet the  Masters - in fact, I am quite sure she would like me to do at least two lessons per week rather than just the one!  The above is part of her work studying (Claude) Monet.  The students had to use "q-tips" which, for my American friends, translates into kiwi language as "cotton buds".  I think it looks brilliant.

This is another deal I scored from HomeschoolBuyers Co-op.  I've been a member for over five years and have taken advantage of a good number of deals.  Yes, there's a lot of things we kiwis aren't eligible for (boo hoo hoo), but there's definitely been a lot I've used for sure.  Hmmm ... y'know, I think the very first thing I ever did was to use the homeschooler ID cards, yep that was way back when tama 1 was around six or seven I guess.  (I made our own as the rest of the kids starting coming through.)  Aaah, reminiscing on those newbie days ....  The things I did especially when we were on the bones of our backsides.

Without checking the account, I'd hazard a guess we went via the co-op to start Mark Kistler a few years back too.  (I actually thought we'd keep doing him, but we kinda moved away for a while.  I still keep checking in with what he's up to and things, and I'm sure I'll nab the chance to do something with him again some day.)

Well, that kind of went off onto a rabbit's tail a bit didn't it?  I think I'll leave it as being a post all on its own now. :)

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Hey, I at least gave you one pic, lol :)

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!

A good week was had by all - I especially enjoyed Friday because I paid off my credit card, thanks to the Homeschooling Supervision Allowance.  Like many folk, I have a love/hate relationship with the credit card.  I can do well for months on end, controlling what I use it for, such as annual subscriptions for some of the kids internet sites and Kindle books.  [Thank goodness for Kindle, I say!  Our home library is twice the size of what it actually is all because of free, or extremely cheap Kindle books.]  It's on occasions such as buying timber for the house that the credit card becomes my loyal friend.  Trouble is, he hangs around like a bad smell and it takes me months to keep him at bay.


During the week we received some second-hand furniture, blankets and a few clothes.

The only piece of furniture I will use - until we (eventually) finish the house - is a set of shelves.  The single bed and dresser I will give away.  Some of the blankets I will retain, but again, the bulk of it will go.  I'll try to have a good poke around to see how much we can give away along with these items.  I do tend to donate a lot of things every fortnight to three weeks.  Perhaps I'll give it all to Women's Refuge this time around.


The children enjoyed attending CurrClick's End of Year events.  (It ended this morning - Saturday - NZ time.)  The last day is always the Talent Show.  What incredible talent - as in, REALLY great talent. 

So that's it for our online semester-length classes as America heads into summer break.  I've already registered tama 1 for two full-year classes (not CurrClick).  I just need to save up for one full-year class he will do at CurrClick and at this stage, four semester-length classes for the three older children.  So long as I don't dip into that credit card!!!

We do have a few enrichment classes we'll take part in - especially a Spanish reading class.


We had a great start to AO.  I don't think I've read so much aloud in all my life.  In fact, I know I haven't.

Some of the text you could see a couple of kids attention wandering, although I did try my absolute best to define certain words or phrases without losing momentum of the reading itself.  Tamāhine 1 could NOT comprehend why we only read a chapter of things though.  When I tried to explain it to her, I don't think she was impressed, even when I said she's allowed to take any of the books on the additional reading and go for it.  The bulk of the books on the additional reading list she's already read, so naturally she's wondering why she can't just go ahead and read all of Robinson Crusoe instead of following an agonising weekly schedule dragging it out over 12 weeks or whatever it may be. LOL.  I don't blame her.  I'm pretty much the same, but she'll get used to it.  Considering we've all got a couple of books on the go at one time, this is just another way of throwing another book into the mix.  She'll soon see how it will pan out (and make sense).

Tama 3 will take quite a while to get into the rhythm of listening to a story.  He was perfectly okay with Whale by Rudyard Kipling, as well as the two fables from Aesop's Fables - but only because he knows the bulk of Aesop's stories from watching them on the telly.  Such a pity they know stories from watching the tube (sigh).  Hei aha, if he's able to connect the dots that way then I'll accept it.

The Parables of Nature was just a total nightmare for him.  I tried to encourage him to play with Legos, or draw, or relax on the bed while I read it to him, but man!  It was like I was asking him to reach for the moon. 

This is a new concept for him, so time will teach him the rhythm of the day and all will be well soon enough.  It's just a case of persevering and teaching him diligently.

Pleasingly, the bigger kids enjoyed listening to the stories.  In particular, they we all learned a tremendous amount from the first story in Our Island Story; Albion and Brutus.

I'm glad I'm making a proper dedication to following AO now!

I am grateful the ladies have linked to a lot of text available for free online, or cheap Kindle.  I purchased a lot from each level over the last few years, so I haven't had to buy anything - EXCEPT Minn of the Mississippi and Paddle to the Sea.  Not bad, nē?


Oh, the two older kids aced their French exam (okay, that actually sounds far more intense than what it really was ... but they aced it nonetheless.)  We will take a break from French before revising in a few months and move up into the next chapters.  I want to concentrate on a few other areas, with only the odd revision to keep it up.  Spanish will need to be revised also, so I will have to look at how we organise everything around AO.  (Note that I say organise "around" AO and not the other way around?  Nope, that's what I used to do in the past and that's how it always ended up going out the window and we just read books on the list rather than follow the schedule.  Not this time!  No siree!)

As for Latin, we didn't achieve as much as I thought.  Well, that's not entirely correct.  I allowed for our transition into AO so I knew our my concentration would be centred on making good progress with AO, so what we did complete was actually okay.  We'll get there, I'm sure.  It's just a matter of transitioning, trialing and tweaking and accepting I can't squeeze in too much each day.

Winter is when I normally relax our schooling somewhat to allow for any illnesses.  Touch wood we don't get crook like last winter.  We managed to get through the entire winter with no colds or flu because this year I'm trying it differently.  In order to follow AO we will continue at our pace with sick days as needed.


Unfortunately, I cannot show any of the art created this week.  Such a pity, I would love to show what  tamāhine 1 created, but because we signed up for the little class, I would be breaching copyright no doubt.  Oh well, we get to enjoy it on our wall.  Tama 4 drew something, but again, that is from something we found online.  Tamāhine 1 gave him very clear instructions on how to draw the lines, and he followed everything just as she told him.  Not once did she have to hold his hand to correct anything.  I watched on and felt excited for him to complete his assigned art work.


Other news on the horizon .... our neighbours are selling up.  They put the house on the market this week.  Oh man, I wish we could buy it.  For family and friends, you all know we had to sell that section when the old business was going belly-up.  I would dearly love to buy it back, but there's no chance of that.  It will be interesting to see who buys it.  It's not likely whoever buys it will have a family, the house the current owners put on there is sooo tiny.  Anyway, it'll be interesting.  Just wish it was us taking it back.


Well, one of these days I'll get around to adding a photo or two.  Hopefully you stuck around long enough to have a read.  I'm off now to read:

The AO Forum is so helpful.  I am grateful to have learned of so many wonderful books courtesy of the AO forum and AO member blogs!

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Monday, 18 May 2015


Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!

I thought perhaps I'd show a few of the books floating round the house in recent days/passing weeks.

(None of the links are affiliated)

It's been such a long time since I've had a chance to read a book without constant interruption.  Today I picked up:

What a truly wonderful read!!  I enjoyed it thoroughly.  Tamāhine 1 is now reading it (nope! she finished it while I was writing this!) before we return it to the library.

It's been a while since I managed to read a book within a day.  I am used to interruptions, busyness and the usual "I've got lots to do."  Today I was lucky; tama 5 had a very long sleep, so I managed to just sit, relax and read with minimal interruptions.

The other day I finished the Kindle version:
I have chosen to leave the children's reading of this for a while.  I'm glad I refreshed my memory.  Can you ever imagine trying to live in hiding?  I wonder if I could?

I purchased this comic-style of her diary, which some of the kids may prefer to read:
I've begun reading:
I actually chose to start reading North and South.   Really corny reason for reading that one first; I knew that Richard Armitage (acted as Thorin Oakenshield) was cast as John Thornton in the movie (not that I have the DVDs):
There's a few others on the go, such as what I am trying to follow on the Ambleside Online with some of the children.  I always have such amazing intentions of following AO in its entirety, but with the courses tama 1 - and to a certain degree tamāhine 1 also, I haven't succeeded in my so-called ambitious attempt.  Tamāhine 1 has read a great deal of the books named on AO over the last few years, but as part of her own reading.  In other words, we've dabbled in following an AO schedule but now I would like to improve upon those attempts.

This term I'm trying to start tama 4 with AO level 1.
[I interject here] ..  We have been slow to get underway by NZ School term dates for Term 2 because the bigger kids and I have been taking a semi-break later than the "official term dates" due to the completion of ipurangi subjects not aligning with end of Term 1.
Today is the date I've chosen as the commencement date for tama 4 following AO.  He definitely finds it hard to sit still, so he had a little bit of a challenge, lol.  Tamāhine 2 even sat in with him to listen to the first story which surprised me!  She actually listened, but I only asked her a few things to narrate.  I will not place too much expectation on them to recite anything in great detail.  We can ease into it.

Tama 2 and tamāhine 1 commenced with AO level 4.  Although I could possibly have pushed them up a level, I know it is best to start here and see how we go.  Tama 1 listened to what we covered also.  I'm still trying to decide where to place tama 1.  Like his siblings, we will use this as our starting base and work out where to go in a few weeks.

Tama 1 will be busy with the EOY party week at CurrClick.  As Student Ambassador he has a few things to help out with so home studies will still be scheduled around his commitments.  We still have a French test to complete and General Science.  We've just heard that TKD is cancelled tonight.  We had already sat down to dinner before finding out.  Hei aha!  We get to relax for the rest of the evening.  I've decided we'll watch The Imitation Game.

Well, I guess that's a long enough post.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Monday, 11 May 2015


Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!

As many are aware, our family enjoy online classes.  The children and I have made so many wonderful friends.

We had a great shock last week to learn of the death of two brothers who were involved in a car accident.

It is fair to say I don't think I have been affected by anything like this before, ie  my children losing friends.  It's not the same as me losing a family member or friends.

Anyway, our online family have created a fundraiser which is lovely - especially as we live so far away, this is one of the best ways we can extend our condolences.

Also, the children have been discussing in the forums how they could honour the boys in another way.  There is word of a virtual memorial and I tautoko that idea.

I took the children to mass and we offered our prayers also.  It helped immensely, but by the same token, the sadness is ever-present.  It was nice to have koro there too.  My brothers all rang me to say they were sorry to hear about the accident, which was very special to us.  Whaiāipo has been wonderful also.  He has taken such an interest in the kids classes, he knows exactly who the boys were, so the effect really has hit our family.  Over the years, the kids all spoke at length of each others aspirations, interests etc - as any friendship does so to experience the loss of a friend at their age now?  I just can't fathom.

For myself, I am thankful that I am able to communicate with some of the teachers who know only too well how much my children know the family, so I am touched that they have thought to keep us in their thoughts and prayers.  That's nothing short of a blessing.

Well, this post is to commemorate Josh (18) and Caleb (8) and to highlight that friendships are very real even with online communities.  Our kids were in classes with them for two + years.  As Student Ambassadors, tama 1 and Josh communicated outside class also, especially as they would always encourage each other's weekly SA forum days.  Tama 1 wrote a beautiful piece for his friend last week.  I did not place any expectation on him to write anything.  At 13 years of age, to lose a friend and to compose something ... well, I simply spoke to him about things and he wrote from the heart.

As the weekend past and another week began, I caught myself feeling sad that time is continuing for us and our days are filled with noise, squabbles, mess etc.  Yet, our friends are in deep pain with the quietness of an emptier house yet to come and a new norm to adjust to.  We can take solace in knowing that the boys are in Heaven with Our Lord, but the grief is ever present.  May it make us stronger and remind us all to love each other more each day.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Friday, 8 May 2015

Brushing off the cobwebs

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!

You can be forgiven for thinking I stopped blogging because I ended up making it private for a very long time.  Well, I didn't cease blogging as it turns out.  I just made it private.

I've edited as many of the posts that I will allow to be viewed publicly, but there are a good chunk which I will move over to our family blog.

We'll just take things from today as being a fresh chapter.

As I looked back at what is now the end in the previous chapter, the things we have done since!  And the growth in the children! Oh my!  Yet another reminder these days of homeschooling will be over all too soon.

Okay, so we're into Term II here in Aotearoa.


Everyone is doing very well.  When I say, "everyone" I actually mean tama 1, tamāhine 1, tama 2 and tama 3.  Tamāhine 2 continues to march to her own beat.  Progress is ... slow .... with her.

Tama 4 is doing very basic maths.  I will follow my same structure with him as I did tama 3, ie  nothing particularly formal until age 6.  Recognising numbers and geometric shapes and what happens in general life that he sees and hears etc is about the height of his maths.

Tama 1 commenced Algebra this year, tamāhine 1 has started Pre-Algebra towards the end of Term 1.  Tama 2 is nearing the midway point in Zeta and Tama 3 is into the last 10 lessons of Beta. ( The homeschooling allowance will come in handy to buy him Gamma.)


This week the children and I have begun reading The Hobbit.  It's probably two years ago since we read it last.  Now that we have all the Hobbit and LOTR movies, and with the very keen interest the children have with Tolkein, I promised them that this year we would be reading the books all over again.  Tama 3 wasn't interested when we read them the last time, but now he's keen as mustard.  Granted, we are only up to Chapter 3 now, but we all love it.  Last week, we watched a DVD each night after dinner.  It has made such a difference to watch everything in sequence now.  Luckily we have a home where everyone loves the adventures of Bilbo and Frodo.  Goodness knows how many times we've watched them, but now that we have the entire series, it was a wonderful week of evening viewing.

While we took turns reading today, the kids started drawing their own bookmarks, maps of the Shire and decorating their Hobbit names in Runes.

Tama 3 listened along today, quickly pointing out, "That's not what happened in the movie."  Oh dear, his first experience discovering movies are never the same as the book.

As for tama 3's own reading, he's coming along wonderfully.  I am not the least bit worried we took a while to commence.

There's a few books on the go, but I'll have to come back to that when I check in with the kids.  I'm currently reading The Diary of Anne Frank.  It's been years since I read that.  At this stage I'm just pre-reading as we aren't covering WWII period this term, but, thanks to a little book browsing one day, I decided to grab it.  I'm still reading Never Give In as well.  Tama 1 picked it up as he has developed an interested in Winston Churchill like his mum.  Biographies on C S Lewis and JRR Tolkien spring to mind also.

Yeah, like I say, there's a number of books we've started this year.  I'll just have to try and pick up as we go along now to talk about certain books in future posts.


Tamāhine 1 has been my main student for the art study.  The others listen in more than anything else.  Tama 2 is just a little bit behind.  Tama 1 had a full schedule in Term 1, so I tried to schedule our lesson at a time he could be listening while working.  We work on other art projects with the other kids.

Foreign Language

Spanish  - Tama 1 completed High School II and will continue again later in the year.  Tamāhine 1 will complete Elementary Level and pick up High School next year.  I didn't want her to try and keep up the same pace as her older brother.  It shifts gear in HSII, and at the time I made my decision to keep her at Elementary, I didn't think she was ready to advance.

French - Although tamāhine 1 may have been held back to master Elementary Spanish, she was very keen to pick up French with her older brother.  By the end of this week they will have completed 26 weeks.  We'll be taking a breather for a while.  I'm looking at some material I'd like to purchase with the homeschooling allowance due at the end of this month to help us with our language skills.

Latin - Within the next few weeks we will start brushing up on our Latin.  We let it slide for a period while we picked up French and especially with the heavier demands tama 1 had.  Something had to give for a spell, and Latin was one.  But, we'll get back into it.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Tama 1 is now 13 and has become extremely independent.  He will finish his Apologia General Science before the end of May and then I guess I better purchase Physical Science.  He's right into his computers as well as Space-related things.  He won 1st place for best project and 2nd place for best presentation in his group recently.  So proud, especially to see the fruits of his labour rewarded.  So many weeks of research and it paid off.  We slowed down in his maths so he could concentrate on the assignments, but he's now back in full swing with maths.  He's an all-rounder for sure.

Tamāhine 1 enjoys art.  I'm trying to provide as much as I can for her.  Anything I give her to tackle, she gives it 100% and impresses the living daylights out of us.  She's still an avid reader.  May that never change!  She is doing very well with French and that has helped her to start piecing things together with her other languages.

Tama 2 has finally begun reading more extensively.  I'd like him to be reading a wider genre, but I do not wish to turn him off reading by placing any undue pressure on him.  I am just thrilled to pieces he is enjoying The Hobbit - even if it has stemmed from seeing the movies first.  I'll take his interest to read any way I can thanks! :)  But no, overall, I am pleased with this growth in his learning.  Being the hands-on kid, he still loves to get out and do what dad does which is kei te pai.  On Tuesday morning he went out with whaiāipo as a logistics assistant (that's what I'll call it anyway).  He was back within the hour but he looked very pleased to have helped out.  Good lad.

The three big kids will celebrate their fourth year at TKD in a few weeks time.  They still enjoy it immensely.

Music - we have no formal training.  The kids are tinkering on their keyboard themselves.  I'll record them when they tell me they're ready for a performance. ;)

Tama 5 is nearly 2 1/2.  Like all toddlers he knows how to be a mischief and certainly interrupt plenty of times a day, but seasons change, so it's a matter of adjusting and readjusting until the next phase.

There's something I wish to write about, but I will put that on a separate post because this part is really just to say "Kia Ora!  Long Time No See!"

Well, that'll do for a catch-up.  No photos.  Nope.  Sorry.  My camera is pakaru. The zoom is stuck, so it will need to go to the shop at some stage.  Either that, or buy another one.  Whichever is cheapest, lol.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano