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

Sunday, 18 October 2015


Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!
  • I made a new friend and I received a gift from another.  Feel very blessed about these two positives.
  • The weather has been lovely this week so we managed a lot of kura kei waho, so that's always a positive.

  • Whaiāipo continues to be extremely busy.  There aren't many positives to that .... Definitely a low for me.  Not so much that he's busy, but .... well, just something else.
  • I'm still failing tamāhine 2 - big time!!!  Only minimal improvement in her mathematics - and as for her reading! Auē!!! 

    I still find myself considering placing everyone in school so I can concentrate solely on her during the day.  Yeah, I think it, but it's actually not an option.
Most of the tamariki are on target with maths.

Question:  do we use the British spelling 'maths' because mathematics has an 's' on the end?

Well, I was brought up saying 'maths.' Then, we started homeschooling and chose a curriculum called Math-U-See.  Plus we become friends with American families and hear 'math' all the time, so understandably, my kids are tending to say 'math.'  I thought perhaps it's because it has an 's' on the end, but I have no idea why really.  Well, this morning I decided to do a Google search and after reading a few things, there's not a very definitive answer.  I also stumbled upon this video which I found interesting, and although helpful, it still leaves the question open really:

So, it still doesn't really give an absolute answer, but at least it raised my idea of  's' at the end of the word.  As for the 'aluminium vs. aluminum' - yep!  That's a doozy too.

English is such an interesting language, nē rā?!

Tamāhine 2 and tama 4 continue with IXL. Tamāhine 2 didn't last long when we started her with MUS.  Last year I purchased Life of Fred to see if she would like that, but nope!   She didn't like it full stop!!  (Tama 3 uses it to read to me; so he gets extra maths practice as well as reading it out of choice.)  Then, I decided to try her with IXL - initially using the free version and then a subscription when I could see she was responding well to the visual interaction.  For myself, I need to look at the progress report to actually remind myself of what she has achieved - especially on the hard days when I am left wondering if we will ever move forward any faster.  Whether we go back to MUS with her is unlikely.  I am working on Plan C.

As for tama 3, he's moving along swimmingly with his mathematics.  He grasps the concepts, works through on his own, needing only minimal input from his mum.

Tama 4 is also doing fine.  I mentioned above that he is using IXL.  His maths is gentle; 10 minutes max per day.  He will move into MUS commencing February 2016. {For my northern hemisphere friends, the school year runs from February-December here in Aotearoa.}

Tama 2 is on target to finish Zeta before his birthday next month.  A couple of months ago I had a good long kōrero with him and we decided to work slightly differently.  Then, within two or possibly three weeks, he was away and somewhere during that third term everything became concrete in his mind and he's been soaring ever since.

Tamāhine 2 continues to take small steps in reading. One day she can be good as gold, but the next day I'm tearing my hair out.  It's hard.  Really hard.  Some days I can stay positive, upbeat and encouraging to coax her along but other days she just drains me and I feel like quitting.  It is so hard when you have the other children going along effortlessly and you wonder what you did wrong - how did I fail her?

But when I consider the alternative???  Oh no!   I know she's better off here and I need to do better. End of.
"We shouldn't be put off by the mistakes we make, we should be encouraged by them so that we can do a better job next time.
We all make mistakes and for most of us we learn and move on.  I continue to make mistakes, and I continue to learn from those mistakes.  I make mistakes as we travel along in our parenthood and homeschooling journey and that's kei te pai.  There are plenty of occasions we feel bulletproof and rocket along, then there are other times you just have a huge question mark above your head.

Two or three months ago, a good friend recommended You Have a Brain A Teen's Guide to Think Big by Dr. Ben Carson.  Big thank you sent out to my friend! :)  Interestingly enough, she no sooner told me about Ben Carson when suddenly I'm hearing his name everywhere within the US homeschooling communities - not because he's a presidential candidate, but because he is an inspiration to all.

Tama 1 is reading You Have a Brain and I'm reading Gifted Hands.  The  rest of the family will read the books in due course, but at the moment the two of us are getting in slightly ahead of the others.

I listened to a discussion held here in Aotearoa in which Dr. Ben Carson was a guest speaker last year.  I discovered he has actually been to our country four times!  What?!  Gosh, I hope he comes again - before, or after he becomes President. ;)  Haere mai Dr. Ben!  Haere mai!

Tama 2 finished reading Almost Home and then quickly read:

A very quick read, but it's a great little story.

Now he's reading Johnny Tremain.

I purchased the audio CDs when I first purchased the book for tama 1, but I think I listened to them and not tama 1, lol.  Tamāhine 1 enjoyed the book when she read it a couple of years ago.  Once he completes Johnny Tremain, I will read You Have a Brain with him.  He has listened to a few chapters, but I'd like to spend time to read it with him.

Tama 3 as I have mentioned is reading Life of Fred.  He still enjoys reading Geronimo Stilton books from the library and I don't mind that (well, not too much).

Tamāhine 1 is currently reading:

We have read three Books so far.  We are listening to the audio read by Gandolf (Ian McKellen) to help us along.

On one of the rarest of occasions, I chose to watch the movie before reading the book.  I found this online:

THE ODYSSEY full movie.FLV from nis-egypt on Vimeo.

Tamāhine 1 is enjoying having a girlfriend.  Our new neighbours have a daughter who is close to tamāhine 1 in age, so they have developed quite a little kinship.  Today tamāhine 1 took some paints and canvas outside.  I'll take a photo once her canvas is finished.  But in the meantime, I'll pop one of art pieces from this week.

To finish off I'll just add one more photo.  We had a lot of fun stuff during lessons.  Here is tama 3 writing notes for a quiz he made for  tama 2:

Always plenty more to write about but I'm ready to head off to be with whānau.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Friday, 9 October 2015

Science @lunch

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!

I enjoyed today's Science in the Beginning lesson.  Today we covered Lesson 25:  Don't Forget About Air.


The other week we grabbed some soft drink bottles from the recycling centre (for a project tamāhine 1 is working on for tama 3).  Anyway, we thought we'd try another experiment using the cut-off bottle.

I love this from Dr Wile:
"Even though we can’t see it, we know that air is real because of the effects that it has on other things. So you don’t necessarily have to see something in order to believe in it. As long as you can see how it affects other things, it makes sense to believe it’s real. In fact, that’s why many people believe in Jesus. Even though they can’t see Him, they see how He affects their lives and the lives of others. Just like air, Jesus shows us he is real by having a real effect on our lives!"
Don't need to add anything to that, huh?!

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Waiting for Spring

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!

Into October already - Kirihimete will be here before we know it, huh!?!

So, I know it's the school holidays around Aotearoa, but of course, we are still in full-swing with our mahi.

Here's a little of what we've been up to since I last wrote:

Plutarch quote by tamāhine 1
Tamāhine 1's windowpane watercolour with salt

The bulk of September I spent watching presentations on the Not Back to School Summit at HECOA.  That was such an experience!  There were so many great speakers.  Gosh, were they good! The summit was free and online.  It was made even more enriching because a friend and I would catch up with each other and ask what we liked about different speakers, and how positive we felt coming away from each presentation.  I'm still processing everything even now! LOL.

Tama 3 has a few projects on the go still. 

We all love how the pōtae is turning out!  Can't wait to see the finished product.

While doing some mathematics recently, we were talking about weights.  Within minutes tama 3 built:

Tamāhine 1, tama 2 and I are reading:

We've just read about John Howland surviving during the fierce storm and stowaway - Elder Brewster - has come out of hiding on the ship,  {Speaking of Elder Brewster, we found it interesting the names of his children.  Some of the names that spring to mind are Patience, Fear, Love, and Wrestling.}  I found this website about the Mayflower.  This particular site was initially a text-only Mayflower passenger list but then developed over time to what it is today.  Definitely a good find! I have really enjoyed clicking on different passenger names to learn their background.  Really fascinating and helpful to know the characters in the book just that little bit more.

Tamāhine 1 and I have also finished the above.  That was an interesting story.  Karana (the name given by the author) was alone on the island from 1835 to 1853 and is actually known in history as The Lost Woman of San Nicolas.  This website explains a few things - the main thing being why no-one learned enough about her.  According to some records, after being rescued, she came down with dysentery because of the change in diet and died six or seven weeks later.  How sad! That means all the people of Ghalas-at perished: a lot of the menfolk when the Aleuts came and then the rest of the tribe who went off on the ship (which Karana is said to have jumped off to return to the island). They never made it to their destination.  Their ship sunk. :(  So, Karana was the only one left and she dies after being rescued herself.

On Friday afternoon, tamāhine 1 and I relaxed in the lounge and watched the movie (it's just over an hour and a half long):

Click on image to watch the movie
This week we mourned the end of Backbenches.  We sure hope it returns next year, whether with Prime or maybe it'll get a new home?  Tama 1 definitely doesn't want to see it end.  There's very little "real" TV we watch, so if Backbenches doesn't return we might have to take a visit some politicians.

I've hardly touched on what we've all been doing but I'll leave it there for now.  I'll try to be better organised and write more in a few days.