Sunday, 7 February 2016

Back to school 2016

Nau mai, hoki mai and welcome back!

Truthfully, I am thankful we had Auckland Anniversary last Monday as we started back at kura more fully.  It was a long week for everyone, but none more so than whaiāipo who worked a hideous amount of hours - even on Saturday!

Sunday should have been our day of rest which it was for the most part.  We just had Uncle Russell come over with a couple of the family's Velocettes for whaiāipo to work on. We also had whaiāipo's sub-contractor here for a about three hours.  The phone seemed to ring constantly also.

The week simply flew by, and I'm amazed we achieved everything I had planned.

This weekend is another long weekend - Waitangi Weekend.

(For my overseas friends: Until last year, Waitangi Day (and ANZAC Day) were not Mondayised, which obviously means, if it fell on a Saturday (which it does this year) - or a Sunday for that matter - you simply missed out on the Public Holiday.)

On the same weekend, the annual Classic races are held in Pukekohe.  We aren't going this year, because whaiāipo has a lot of mahi to do.  Maybe next year?  ... that's a fairly big maybe though! But I do know that one of these days whaiāipo will get the other Velocette going.  It doesn't take a genius to see he misses spending hours doing all things Velo.

Monday (tomorrow) is tama 1's birthday.  Fourteen!!!!

He received his birthday present already.  Whaiāipo picked it up this afternoon - a kayak. There was no time for a paddle today though.  Whaiāipo no sooner arrived home and dropped the kayak off before we all bundled into the van venturing into the city to the stationery store.

Kura went really well.  Tama 1 commenced the second semester of HS Spanish III.  I can't remember if I mentioned tamāhine 1 started HS I; four weeks ago now already!   She'll have to practice her current assigned literatura every day to really get the pronunciation down-pat as there are some rather tricky words this time, such as religiosas.  Actually Generalife was tripping her up the first few times we practiced, but she sounded fine when she practiced today.  She hasn't required my help with tarea.  That goes to show how independent she's become.

I must remember I want to go over the use of nadie y alguien as opposed to alguno y ninguno.  Actually, we could do with revising siempre, nunca y jamás. 

I find Señor Jordan's videos very helpful:

Tama 1 has certainly zoomed ahead with his understanding of the language.  I will even call upon him nowadays to listen to his sister recite, to check she is stressing the correct syllable.  In comparison to tama 1's literatura, tamāhine 1's is a walk in the park. Pretty amazing how far tama 1's come in just a couple of years.  I am quite sure she will be amazed at herself as she advances.

Yep! I'm so glad we took a step back with Latin all those years ago and commenced Spanish instead. Tama 1's understanding of grammar has just soared, which has reflected in his Latin.  He jumped in leaps and bounds last year.

I introduced Japanese on Friday.  You will recall I mentioned we will be going super slow with this language.  Our first lesson was so super slow in fact, that it was finished within five minutes.  We simply looked at ichi and the vowel a.  I explained a little about romaji and how to write the kanji, emphasising how crucial the stroke order is.  A little practice at writing and that was the lesson completed!  With everything we are studying, the length of the lesson was perfect.  Nobody felt stressed. It was just like having a casual conversation over a cuppa.

German will be introduced either next week or possibly be pushed out to the following due to the four-day week.  Like Nihongo lessons, our German studies will be super short.  To begin with, we will look at words we recognise in English together with learning correct pronunciation.  I'm looking at some YouTube videos to help with that, for example:

I feel quietly confident ngā tamariki will enjoy this phonetic language.  Tama 1, especially, will relish connecting the dots between German and his English History studies.

French recommences this coming Tuesday for the older two.  At the end of this semester we'll probably definitely head in a new direction.  There are three or four online sources I have in mind to choose from, but will cross that bridge when we get to it.

Tama 2 picked up his next Music Theory textbook.  I'm glad he's persevering with this and if he gets stuck, eek!  I'll no doubt be hunting on YouTube for helpful tutorials, lol.

Everyone is doing well with their maths.  I'm glad we didn't have too long a break with this subject. Tama 3, in particular, has forgotten a little bit of his times tables, which meant the first day or two were spent revising the eight and nine times tables.

Tama 3 is on Lesson 11.

My two Pre-Algebra -

Tama 2 is on Lesson 3
Tamāhine 1 is on Lesson 23

Tama 1 is back into his MUS Algebra.  He did really well with the online co-op, but at this stage we will pick up where we left off in MUS while I figure out a convenient time with his co-op group. Hopefully we can tee something up.

I have tama 2 and tama 3 using the IXL English for 5-10 minutes per day (the free version).

Tama 3 is enjoying his spelling lessons.  He even reminded me on Friday afternoon that I'd forgotten to do his lesson.  He's always liked spelling, and I certainly want that enthusiasm maintained.

Our first week with Fix-It Grammar was fantastic:
The first day we ONLY did Week 1, Day 1.  That was it.  By the time everyone understood exactly how we will be approaching it and then putting that into action, well, it was over the 15 minute time slot.  It took more time than I expected for tama 2 to grasp the concept properly, but that may have been my fault for choosing to introduce it at 6 o'clock at night, filling in time because whaiāipo was going to be working really late (he arrived home after 9.00 pm actually - second time this week!)

There are 33 weeks, but we have scheduled our lessons to move through The Nose Tree as quickly as possible.  If anyone shows signs of difficulty, we will slow down, but by the end of the week, the three big kids were comfortable with the system, and agreed we could keep the pace for the time being.  I have an older version of Fix-It which we attempted this time last year, or was it the year before?  Whatever it was it doesn't matter.  I decided to invest in the newer edition because it is split into six books and clearly laid out.  Here's a good video which includes a sample of work:

Tamāhine 2 is making progress with her reading.  The break did her wonders.  I'm surprised at how well she did in revisiting Progressive Phonics this week.

Rather than going back to Reading Eggs at the moment, I decided to try PP again because ... well ... I can't really explain why.  Perhaps it's because I used it so successfully since tama 1 began his learning all those years ago.  For some reason I feel compelled to attempt it again with her.  I'm trying a different tactic this time around though.

For a kid who needs regularity, she has accepted the change without fuss.  (Huge sigh of relief!) That's not to say I've ruled out Reading Eggs.  I'll probably renew her subscription, because it is very cheap through NCHENZ.

As for her writing?  Hmmm, that still leaves a lot to be desired, but compared to this time last year, I can see a marked improvement.  She seems to have muddled up b and d which she never used to do, so the break we had in writing has not done us any favours, more's the pity.

Geography is very short and sweet.  This semester we are:

I purchased the e-book version.  Major saving! :)

It begins with Iceland.  Everyone did a great job with their maps.  Tama 3 (age 8) and even tama 4 (age 6) produced brilliant work like their older siblings.

Day 1 probably takes the longest because we look up information and fill in the sheet.  Days 2-4 are map practice.

As each week progresses we will add another country to the map.  Although we only spent a few minutes each day on it this week, it won't be too long before we are all scratching our heads wondering the location of such-and-such-a-country and 'hello!' half an hour will pass which is plenty long enough.

This is a far cry from any in-depth study, but this term is all about introducing subjects with as little information-overload as possible.  I don't have the same amount of time to spend on World Geography by BJU Press like I did with tama 1, but the kids will still benefit.

To go along with our geography studies, the plan is to cook or bake some kind of dish from as many countries as possible.  We have included this sort of thing in the past, and is one area we continue to enjoy as a family.

Tamāhine 1 pushes herself experimenting in Art.  We also got back into Meet the Masters.

This week we learned about Henri Matisse.  What an interesting character.  I loved the way he painted directly on to the walls in his old age - and what about the way he did cut-out art?  Go figure!

Tamāhine 1 will put some thought into her art piece over the weekend.  I'm looking forward to seeing what she creates.

I have finally taken steps to really ask others about IGCSE.  Oh my word!  Talk about trying to get my head around all of this!  No, seriously!  I'm feeling like a fish out of water.  I also touched base with Western Heights High School to ask what subjects we can sit at their kura and what they require from us.

Then I asked for advice over on the Cambridge Homeschooling NZ Facebook group - as you do - and I am gleaning from the wealth of information one member in particular has kindly been teaching me. I am more informed but still a long way off from feeling like I have it figured out, if I'm brutally honest.

Definitely kicking myself for not digging deeper when I first looked into IGCSE over two years ago!!! Gulp!!!  Don't you just hate that?!

In the meantime, tama 1 is working diligently in Latin, Physical Science, English, Art etc.  I'm leaning towards trying him with Business Studies, History, Coordinated Sciences (that's what the lady from WHHS told me it's called) and some form of English.  I'm not sure which paper to look at for English.  If I'm correct, there's a couple of different English papers to choose from, so I have yet to figure that out.  I'm fumbling my way through CIE, as well as trying to figure out which books I'm meant to get.

What are we doing for PE?  Well, while it's still summer, we have swimming, cricket, the new trampoline and of course TKD.  As for myself I started getting back into a little bit of jogging.  When I say little, I really mean little.  I only ran 12 kms this week.  I cut myself a little bit of slack because every week I hand mow, but I don't have a fancy pedometer to gauge my distance.  It takes me just under two hours to mow, so I know I have a good workout.  Just a pity I don't know how far I've walked.

I'll have to scroll back up to see if I mentioned History.  Did I mention History?


Well, it doesn't matter anyway because we haven't actually started.  I know I mentioned we'll be doing IEW Medieval History-Based Writing to coincide with our SOTW. The kids will be keen to do some more hands-on activities.  Those are always fun, huh?

Hopefully I'll add photos from some of the science experiments we're doing next time.  It's very late and I've spent a lot longer than I expected in writing up this post!

Please note:  Any links I have added in this post are not affiliated at all.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

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