Wednesday, 26 August 2015

End of August - already?

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!

You can certainly say we deviated from school for about three or four weeks.  We've had a number of activities throwing our schooling slightly skew-whiff as well as illness.  We have kept up with maths and reading on a daily basis, but everything else has been done rather hit-and-miss as one or another came down with flu, followed by a nasty stomach bug.  We're still suffering through that part with four of us having had the nasty thing and now, as I write, tama 2 is having his turn.  He's now good as gold, and he was happy he didn't miss a TKD training.

Now that I'm feeling better myself, I'm ready to start our third term.

Ambleside wasn't working with tama 2 and tama 3 before we had our break.  I planned to work on three levels to ease our way into it and that's what we did.  I knew that with the activities in August we would get thrown off a bit too, so at the end of the day I don't feel we are actually behind.

Other schooling areas.  Having completed General Science, tama 1 has commenced:

I bought it through CES.  Book Depository didn't have it.  The same was true of most other places I looked up - even Apologia itself.  I could have put my feelers out and asked on the homeschooling groups ... but ... I didn't.  Tama 1 was stoked to see it and couldn't wait to start.  Gosh, I wish all the kids were science-mad.

To try and encourage tamāhine 1 and tama 2 with science, we have commenced:

This will be used in conjunction with Ambleside science.  I like the short lessons and multi-grade level questions.  We're only a few lessons into it - about lesson 9 or 10? - but so far they are taking a shine to it.  Whew!!

There's loads of fun and simple experiments which helps ease the "how do I get them to like science?" question.

Yeah, after hearing Dr. Jay Wile speak, I was always keen on his curriculum.  I like his writing style. Very down-to-earth and understandable at this level.

Tamāhine 1 has surprised me.  She really hasn't been interested in studying science.  Hopefully this is our turning point.  Even tama 2 has been piping up with discussion.  That's super encouraging.

It was so cool doing this super quick experiment.
Yesterday, tama 1 took the little ones into the kitchen and did a wee science experiment as well.  I know lots of people will have already done Camp Google, but we've just been doing it a little bit each week.

I'm still awaiting our Spanish III textbook.  Tama 1 is finishing up his literature very shortly so we could really do with that next textbook.  I got it via Alibris because the price was just right.  Sure hope that rocks up soon though so we can move into it.  Tamāhine 1 can at least use her big brother's material.  By some wicked chance she didn't get the puku ache, so we can get back into it this week.

Latin we started up again a few weeks ago.  Nice and gentle and so far, no problems with revision.

We also started reviewing French.  We've gone through the lessons in Unit 1 and they were fine.  I have spread the revision over two weeks.  Two units per week.  Then, it's crank it up time.

Tama 2 has really blossomed with his reading.  As for tamāhine 1, I'm trying Reading Eggs to see if that helps us now.  I signed up for term 3 and 4 via NCHENZ.    She's not phased her younger brother can read better - which is a good thing.  I think I would have such a battle on my hands if she said anything about feeling behind him.  

History - we are about to commence SOTW volume 2.  We have a plan brewing on how we will approach our study.  With six of the kids now, I need to gear it so that tama 4 especially doesn't get hōhā - which happens super easy. Well, no actually I should say it's the three younger kids who can get hōhā.  But I'll talk about that another time.  I still have a few things to put together.  Tying it in with Ambleside will be the key.

It's taken until mid-week to have everyone feeling 100% which is okay.  As much as I had hoped to start the week off with Ambleside thrown into the mix, we simply didn't - and such is the beauty of homeschooling.  Today was a beautiful, sunny day.  Really warm and encouraging of spring around the corner.  Being outside was such a pleasure after a few days rain.  We worked hard in the morning and then enjoyed a lunch with koro and Uncle Mark.  The afternoon was relaxed before the big kids headed out to TKD training.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Saturday, 15 August 2015


Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!

This month marked whaiāipo's first year in business.  August is also his birthday month, so the children spent a time working on different things for him.  Here's a couple:

Tama 2 used wood cut-offs for body and hat, and a broken toy arrow for the artificial leg.
Piñata by tamāhine 1

My eldest brother and his family normally return to Aotearoa in August.  This year my brother couldn't come home because he just started a new job in Bahrain, but my sister-in-law and niece did, so we caught up with them.  I'll just add one photo:
As you can see, not all of us are in this photo.
Check ou the t-shirt tamāhine 1 is wearing.  It's mine from when I was her age :)

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Saturday, 8 August 2015

"Speed. I am Speed." - More like - "Speed. I need Speed."

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!

About three or four weeks ago (?) we received one of those, 'To the Householder' -type envelopes,  It turns out a phone company will be providing 4G in our rural area.  After giving it some thought I decided to move across to this other provider, and we're penciled in for 19 August.  I'm not really sure if it's 100% the best idea because I don't think we will have unlimited - will have to remember to ask about that - but on the other hand, our connection is only one baby-step ahead of dial-up - or maybe it's a sideways step?! LOL.  Baby-step or sideways step - either way is koretake. Considering I only have to drive 20kms to koro's and hello!! The upload speed is so much faster it's enough to make you scream.  I am also not convinced it will be a huge improvement because our mobile reception is just as slack.

When you're running a business from home here in Tikitere, and things are cloud-based to supposedly save space, time and effort, you have to ask yourself what's the point?  Hard-wiring makes no difference with such an antiquated analogue system.  No!  Seriously!  I mean it.  Tried enough times to say we've proved that theory is a septic tank of effluent.  When we do any mahi in the evenings, we have to resort to switching all other computers off to leave only one and even then the language that gets thrown about because the line drops or just runs too slow, yeah its pretty colourful huh, whaiāipo?

Pure example:  I bet most people downloaded Windows 10 within a matter of hours last week?! Well, guess what? After 12 hours plus, I'd had a guts-full.  I loaded the kids in the waka and headed to koro's.

All the laptops downloaded Windows 10 less than an hour after connecting at mum and dad's.  Just before we did the downloads, we tried the speed test.  The upload speed was heaps faster than ours in Tikitere, Ugh!  And it's not even fibre optics let alone VDSL, just broadband.!! Double ugh!!

Short of winning Lotto, we have very little chance of getting fibre optics.  Telecommunication people tell us that we need the population increased in the area in order to get fibre optics.  (um, hello?!  It's rural!!! Duh!!)

That means our only choices are: stay on the antiquated analogue system, or go with 4G.

I've grown accustomed to hearing technicians say, "oh, right, you're on that exchange ..."  Yeah!  That's a confidence booster huh?!

I don't particularly want to leave our current service provider, but we need better speed.

So there yah go, I gripped on my blog.  But, as the English comedian Catherine Tate's character, Lauren, would say "Am I bothered?"

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Time to myself

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!

A few weeks ago, I was reading a kiwi post asking how we give ourselves time out from the hustle and bustle of homeschooling.  After giving it some thought, I decided it would be good for me to record what I do.

The question sat with me for a long time because, basically, I don't get away from the hustle and bustle:
  • I don't head into town with a friend for a coffee.
  • I don't take a weekend escape of any sort.
  • I don't leave the kids with their father to go off to anything for myself because he works 6-7 days a week.
  • I very rarely hold a telephone call in private.

The closest I get to time alone is:
  • Having a shower - and even then I can get interrupted, lol.
  • When the kids play outside - I count those moments as giving me a breather. :)
  • Listening to podcasts and watching either live or recorded HoAs and webinars.

    When I'm prepping kai in the afternoons, I have my laptop propped up on the workbench and listen as I work.  What I listen to these days isn't necessarily homeschool-related, but here are some of my most favourite homeschooling ones:

    Podcasts -
    Sarah Mackenzie - Read-Aloud Revival
    Pam Barnhill - Edsnapshots
    {New to podcasts} - IEWCirce Instituteihomeschoolnetwork - can choose between listening to podcast or watch HoA (shown below)
    Homeschooling IRL
Webinars -
IEWVideos from Circe Institute plus a free webinar Circe Institute

Hangouts on Air -
I know I will have left some great ones off my list, for which I will regret as soon as I hit the publish button.  Apologies to all those wonderful people who provide the encouragement, validation and comradeship I take away with me each time I tune in to their enriching broadcasts.
For myself, I am content to work within the parameters of this season in my life.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano