Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Still working hard are my two little pickaninnies ... I want to make sure that I don't forget for next year to continue the fortnightly outtings and not to stop them during winter as that is the most important time to get out and about especially when the kids are often stuck inside for their morning and lunch breaks due to bad weather.  That is the biggesst mistake I have made since beginning home schooling, stopping the fortnightly outtings for term three, we have all really missed them.  The kids still get out and about with swimming lessons, drama and scouts but we have really missed the hands on learning we get done at all the wonderful museums and galleries Auckland offers. 

Polly continued on with her illustrating of the Three Little Pigs today and Ben and I tackled dialogue and the rules that we usse to ensure that dialogue is well understood by the reader.

Later in the day we spent our science hour learning more about Albert Einstein and his incredibly complicated contributions to Physics (still putting on a brave face with regards to my lack of enthusiasm for this strand of science!). 


Bit late with this post as we had a really busy day getting our learning done yesterday.  There was lots of teacher lead learning time and I completely forgot to blog the days events, not even a photo sorry!  We did heaps of work on our fairy tales work with Polly working on her Three Little Pigs book she is illustrating.  Ben worked on characters again today and we talked more about descriptive writing and how to give people good details so they can form a character in their imagination the way you want them to appear.  We also talked about appearance being important in describing a character, but just as important was describing a characters personality and any tidbits of information that should be given to a reader to help them understand why a character might make the decisions he/she does in a narrative.

It was a great days work, especially as we are all still quiet tired from the busy weekend and the winter blues!


Ready for a Day of Selling!
The kids and I volunteered for Daffodil Day on Friday and they were fantastic. Ben and Polly definitely make extra money on Daffodil Day, because who wants to say no to a child supporting a worthwhile cause!  The kids sold so much Daff Day merchandise we ran out of most things!  We also made 13 batches of pikelets and sold all but 5 pikelets.  The best part was raising an awesome amount of money for such a worthwhile cause.  It is really important to me to give the kids opportunities to not only participate in the community we live in but also contribute to the community in a positive way .... and that was what today was all about.  Boy they did such an awesome job, and while we were all very tired after our 10 hour day, we all felt a great deal of satisfaction at the end of it.

Thank you Benjamin and Pollyanna for making such a positive contribution to your community :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010


We had a bit of organising to do first thing this morning for tomorrows Daffodil Day, where the kids and I will be working on a Pikelet Stall all day outside the National Bank at Huapai :0  We then spent the afternoon working on our new Fairy Tales English theme.  Ben is working on characters and their descriptions, while Pollyanna was working on The Three Little Pigs worksheet (this week her learning is concentrated on this Fairy Tale).  They were so happy to be sitting learning this afternoon, it was almost a shame we had to stop and go to Drama!  I will add a photo of my quiet class tomorrow, instead of uploading it right now, I am just going to sit back and watch my happy students learning!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


In Social Studies for most of this term we have been learning about famous New Zealander's ... not too in depth but just enough so they can appreciate what people have done to contribute to New Zealand history.  So far we have done Edmund Hillary, Kate Sheppard, Jean Batten, Burt Munroe, and today we introduced Sir Apirana Ngata and the amazing work he did for Maori.  We use the same format each session, they sit on the mat and listen to 5-15 minutes of information about the person in question and then they get a sheet of paper with a box for a drawing relating to the person and some lines for writing about them on.  This worksheet is to reinforce the small amount of knowledge they have gained about this person.  Then they are laminated and put up on the wall with the rest of the famous New Zealander's we have studied.  

While this is a superficial type of learning, I hope it is helping them understand all the different ways people can contribute to history.  Incidentally, the New Zealand History website is a wonderful reference for all things history which relate to NZ!

Monday, August 23, 2010


We started a new science topic today (probably my least favourite one, not that I told them that!) PHYSIC'S :) We started with a general description of what was included in this topic as its not self-explanatory.  And then as a gentle warm up to the topic, the kids undertook some worksheets on motion and energy types.  I found some great worksheets for science from TLS Books and the website is definitely worth taking a look at for resources.  The worksheets were aimed at just providing them with a familiarity at some of the common words used in physic's.  This is where I think it is hard for kids to grasp on to physic's because its like learning a new language.  Anyway, they totally conquered the tasks today and we now know more about motion in particular! 

Friday, August 20, 2010


The kids spent the morning finishing off their space posters which are now hung proudly in the classroom.  They worked really hard over the last few weeks with their researching and learning about good question writing.  The accumulation of this work is now all on their poster with photos they printed using the Google image search, one of their new favourite things to do!

Well Done you guys, you did really well with your Space Projects and the posters are a tribute and fitting end to our space learning for this year!

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Ben had the best time in Maths today, using a scale ruler and making all the furniture out of colour relevent pieces of card to go on the scale drawing of our classroom.  He thought this was a fantastic task to undertake :)  He really enjoyed seeing everything fit perfectly into the class and has a really good understanding now of why scale is relevent.  This maths task couldn't have been possible without the help of Steve (thank you honey) who provided a fantastic scale drawing of the class at 1:50 and then provided the appropriate scale ruler for me to translate to Ben!

Pollyanna was doing her maths work at the same time of course but she was less than impressed with her tasks given the fun Ben was having with his ... sorry Pollyanna but sometimes Maths just isn't cracked up to be much fun, especially when you are learning to order numbers from 1 to 100 and the same examples keep popping up.

For some reason at the moment I can't attach photos to my post ... honey I may need your help!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


One of the small changes I made to the timetable last week, was changing SSR to a Wednesday. So this is what the kids are currently doing, I love that Ben reads where he falls after lunch or stay's where he was with book he was reading at lunch and the world passes him by while the story takes over.  I love that Polly loves SSR just as much not only because she loves books but also because of the sense of accomplishment she gets from reading a book by herself ... this independence of learning is so good for her self esteem in general.

Reminder for this time next year, to have lots of fun activities to partake in when the weather is miserable outside and it makes the class feel a bit down beat and gloomy :(

Monday, August 16, 2010


Get better soon Pollyanna
For the first time in our schools history we had a child away sick :(  Poor Pollyanna has a cold and a sore throat so stayed in bed most of today, hoping to be better for school tomorrow.  She woke up and said "if i was still in Room 4 I would be staying home today" so it seemed fair enough that she should stay home given how she was feeling and be without school today.  However, just before the rest of the class started school, she burst into tears and declared she wanted to go to school today.  However, this time I wrapped her up in my arms and put the hot fevered little girl back to bed and said it was probably a better idea if she stayed in bed and if she was really desperate for some school work, I would bring her in her reading and some Grammar, which seemed to soothe her.  Poor little thing, just didn't want to miss out!

In other news, Ben has found a fantastic new favourite author and luckily this author has written a number of books, not all long novels but enough to keep us going for the next couple of weeks.  His name is Michael Morpurgo and he has written some awesome advanced reading novels plus a whole lot of other books from picture books, to early chapter books, to story compilations.  Ben has read 5 or 6 of them over the last week and really enjoyed them all.  They are also really inspiring stories, that make you think about things.

Happy working!

I thought it would be quite hard to motivate Ben today, give the rest of his class was off sick, but to my amazement he was more than happy to do his school work and applied himself so well. You are awesome Ben!

Sunday, August 15, 2010


A sweet treat for being $18 under the budget!
This is the defining moment, when the kids get to reap the rewards of meeting their grocery shopping budget .... the treat at the end!  They love this simple gratitude for doing a wonderful job of organising and shopping to budget for the fortnightly grocery shop.  Thank you so much you guys for making the supermarket so much fun :)

Thursday, August 12, 2010


The List
While the kids work on their phonics (Polly) and Sentences to Paragraphs (Ben) worksheets on a Thursday afternoon, I prepare the grocery list if we are doing the shopping the next day.  This is a brief look at it, it has each item the house needs for the upcoming fortnight and then a budget for that item.  I don't specify how mush one gets that is for the kids to work out within that items budget.  Ben is very good at saving money early in the shopping round so there is a little more he can add to the cereal budget where he and Polly like to buy according to taste as opposed to according to budget ... they are getting to be shrewd little shoppers and it is a wonderful learning tool.  For me, I stand back and watch and drive the cart behind them and that's all I do, the rest is on their shoulders!  Over the holiday period I do take pity on them and fend for myself and do the shopping while they do the traipsing ... but boy is it totally not worth it, I always spend over the budget and don't seem to get the quantities right, gutted that at 5 and 8 they are better grocery shoppers than I am ... its true what they say, BEWARE OF THE SPECIALS :)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Our Term Three Schedule
One of the major things that I am really proud of with our home schooling efforts so far, is the schedule that Steve and I put together for the Ministry of Education for our Exemption from Enrolment proposal (that went through without a hitch, yeah!).  It has worked really well and at the end of term when putting together the curriculum for term three I did a couple of adjustments to allow for some of the different curriculum strands new learning themes.  I also made adjustments due to the fact for this terms Art strand (Drama) we have outsourced to a drama school and we have included other learning activities outside the school hours (our school hours!).  hence the reason the kids get Friday afternoons off unless we are on an excursion~!

The timetable works so well for us because even though my children are 5 and 8 years, their personalities rely on a schedule and it helps that we all know what is coming up for the day ... that doesn't mean that I'm not flexible according to needs, but the schedule is the core of our expectations of what home schooling is going to provide each and every day.  It is a relief to be well organised because it is also what I rely on for my personality ... it is an understatement that I don't cope well in chaos!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


It was such a gorgeous day today, it was almost (almost) too nice to be inside learning, but there were things that needed to be learnt as always.  Lucky the kids had Science today and were happy (for the most part) to be inside doing science worksheets.  Today's space worksheets I got off Kaboose for Polly, Ben was doing something that was a little beyond where I want Polly's space learning to be, she loved the wordsearch and it was a great way to finish off the day for her.  They had a great start to the day as well, they are almost at the assembling stage of their Space posters for English and today was all about verbal communication and listening.  Ben had to instruct Polly with regards to printing and downloading images to go with her space questions.  It was a really interesting interaction that paid dividends, Polly had to listen (not her strong point!) and Ben had to be patient (definitely not his strong point!), to achieve the task they had to work on communicating and there wasn't a single disagreement :) It could be because the task was exciting for both of them anyway but, nevertheless, I was proud they were able to work together, taking turns finding the images they needed to print off for their space posters!

Monday, August 9, 2010


In the reclining seats of the Stardome's theatre

The kids had a wonderful time at the Stardome and loved the show we went to about The Night Sky ... its amazing how much you can keep learning!  The Stardome seems to be under construction at the moment, so there are limited (nothing) things to do unless you take in a show, however, the shows are totally worth it and really not very expensive at all ($35 for a family).  So part of today's writing was about reflecting on their experience on Friday night going to the Stardome.  They loved the domed roof theatre where we took in the show and both had things they learnt about the night sky that they have keep with them ... a sign of a good learning attitude or at least a willingness to learn from others I reckon!

Ben working on his reflections about the Stardome
SQUEEZE IN ... a photo of us at Burger Fuel 

Friday, August 6, 2010


Polly told me this morning that she had a surprise today for the class and we wondered what it was going to be as she wouldn't play soccer with Ben before school as she was "practising" in her room.  To our surprise she read us Green Eggs and Ham, the whole story, without help!  I was so proud of her and she did a great job, the words might not be overly challenging but it is a really long story full of words.  Well Done Polly, it was such a treat to hear you read :)


The kids were devastated when they realised they had missed wishing their Dad a Happy Birthday before he left for work.  I didn't want to wake them as we are going to Aucklands Stardome tonight as a reward for all the awesome Space work they have been doing this term and of course for Steve's Birthday, so they are going to be up really late.  Anyway it may not have paid off because they were so disappointed and upset with me :(  To make up for it I told them we could show the cards to Dad on the blog so he would be able to see they during the day, they thought this was a great idea, SO


The front of your cards
The insides of your cards


Thursday, August 5, 2010


With my husband home a bit later than normal due to a Doctor's appointment, it was a timely reminder of one of the things I love about homeschooling ... the lack of rush in the morning and the grumping at the kids to get organised so we are not late for school.  We DO start our school day at 9.15am every morning, we are never late and we never grump in the morning, unless, like this morning, when Steve is home unexpectedly and destroys our routine (it was nice having a coffee with you this morning though :) . No, we weren't late and we did get everything done in time for school to start, it was just that our usual independent routines were lost and I got a tad grumpy!  You see, my children have a laminated list (oh my god, I have a laminator and saying I LOVE it, it is not putting it mildly) of what they have to do in the morning to get ready before schooling starts.  Thanks to this list, my two little friends get on with their jobs in whatever order and at whatever time they want to as long as it gets done before school.  So great is this magic list I no longer need to nag at them to do the everyday morning tasks or remind them of what needs to be done, which is what I used to do each and every morning :(  It honestly was no wonder I used to wake up in the morning tired, just the thought of all that nagging was enough to want to stay in bed. 

Now my morning is delightful, easy going, and relaxed and it is exactly what I need before I spend the day with my children teaching, coaxing learning, and positively reinforcing their efforts to understand.  What I didn't realise until this morning was just how perfect my normal morning without interruptions is!  My children have cottoned onto this morning routine so well I take it for granted that they are so awesome at getting themselves ready in the morning. 


Yes, I mean you two!

This time first thing in the morning where I get to just worry about myself means so much to me, especially as I have never been one of those people who feel the joys of life in the early hours, talk to me at 9 and I'm good to go!  I am so grateful for this morning routine because I spend the rest of the day devoting myself to making sure they have everything they need and making sure I am always available to them as you need to if you home school kids and expect them to be the best they can be.  That little bit of my time first thing is just the perfect way to start the day and for that I am so thankful to my children.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


The kids have been doing heaps of work and using their time to get their learning done really well.  So as a reward, I gave them an hour to work on earning some of their Award Badges for Cubs (Ben) and Keas (Pollyanna).  Polly worked on her Healthy Kea badge, which she has almost completed with only two tasks left to finish.  She just needs to help me plan and cook a healthy meal, which she chose this afternoon to be a FISH meal!  So proud, she has such a good understanding of healthy food options thanks to our healthy minds, healthy bodies theme we did last term for our PE/Health curriculum strand.  The other part left to complete was a poster showing the foods she thinks are healthy.  This is the part she completed this afternoon on the computer .. I especially love the food choices she chose (definitely a favourites list for her!) and she did a great job of making the poster look super pretty too!
Polly working on her Healthy Foods Poster for Keas

Ben finished working on the list of things to obtain his Home Help badge and then started the work on earning a new badge, the Collectors Badge.  He wanted to collect Lego (go figure, his number one passion), however, Mother put the foot down on this one given the VAST amount of Lego we already have and the expense and instead suggested stamps as being a more achievable and sensible option!  Yes, somewhat boring but it does mean over 12 weeks he can get two a week and have a nice little collection that can be easily presented.  Speaking of the presenting aspect, this is what he spent the majority of his afternoon working on with my scrapbook supplies.  He sliced up 24 pieces of card to mount the stamp collection on and then he is going to attach them all to a large piece of card ... boy did he work hard at getting each piece exactly the right size and numbered ... yes, anal did come to mind!

Ben working on the presentation for his Collectors Badge for Cubs

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Ben's ABSOLUTE favourite time of the week comes on a Thursday, when he has one complete hour of SSR ... I hear you asking why not more often and why am I writing about this on a Tuesday?!

Why not more often?  Ben reads EVERY day for hours, the concept that you can buy a light that attaches to books so you can read in the dark when you are supposed to be sleeping is the equivalent of telling a chocoholic their house is made of chocolate, that is, its dangerous for the rest of us, but pure unabated joy for the person in question.  Ben reads at least 6 250 page plus books every week.  Last night he had cubs, unfortunately this coincided with finishing a book, luckily even though it was dark he was able to finish reading the book by the light of the radio lights in the car ... now that is desperation.  It is also lucky that he reads really really fast, faster than both his parents (who are no slackers) because I had only given him the book at 3.30pm and cubs started at 6.30 :)

Why am I writing about this today?  Well, my wonderful friend and school teacher Alana provided me with the PM Benchmark Reading Tests for Pollyanna on Sunday and they were sitting on my desk.  Polly decided to read the top one last night, and without stumbles read the whole test without picture cues. Humph ... so this morning I thought I had better test her on the next one given the ease of the first one.  So while I tested Pollyanna, I had been planning to do some generic testing on Ben, but given the urgency of needing to get Polly's reading level sorted with the new testing system so I could request the appropriate level books, I gave Ben the news ... YES, for 1/2 an hour he could SSR ... yip apparently I am the best teacher and he didn't move from that seat for 1/2 hour, imagine though the drama when the testing was over and it was time for maths ... No Ben, you may not read through maths, Ben put the book down, Ben you can have the book back at lunchtime, No Ben, if you hurry through your maths you cannot have the book back, but you can have more geometry worksheets, No Ben we will not have unscheduled SSR again because its too hard to make you stop ...... Honestly

We did get to some geometry and Polly did pass the test with flying colours, way to go Polly :) Ben will no doubt finish the book this afternoon and order will be restored until he starts the next one ... you can see why I only give him his reading at 3.30 aye, its far to risky any other way!

Monday, August 2, 2010


Freshly laminated cards ready to be cut out!
Cut out and ready to be sorted!
Today I downloaded a brillant game to help with kids learning to describe shapes according to their unique features (faces, edges, corners or vertices). My five year old, Pollyanna, has learnt the shapes and now it is time for her to describe a shape in terms of its qualities and this game is a perfect starter to learning the describing terminology.  I found it at this brilliant UK Primary Resources website that has fantastic worksheets aswell.  The thing I find very easy about the site is that it caters for all primary age groups and the site is really well set up for easily navigating your way round, definately one for the favourites folder!