Tuneful Tuesday: The 1970s

Welcome to this week’s instalment of Tuneful Tuesday.

Today I’ve chosen to take the Oh Waily kids down Memory Lane into the ‘way out’ 1970s.
Disco, glam rock, heavy metal, progressive rock, soul, jazz, punk, R & B, new wave… oh so many genre choices!

I narrowed it down to a few of my favourites, and added in a couple of extras courtesy of some feedback one of our lovely ‘followers’ over at our Facebook page suggested.  I can see that this time period is going to need to be revisited at some point to cover those great songs, singers and bands that we’ve missed this time around.

You can find the full play list here on YouTube.  Enjoy!

And here’s what the Oh Waily Kids thought of it all:

On seeing “YMCA” from The Village People:

“Hey, the minions dressed up like them.”

This didn’t stop Master Oh bouncing around to the song and saying, ‘That was quite good wasn’t it Mum?’, and Miss Oh calling it “the Gru song”.

Miss Oh wanted to share a pun with me too… apparently we should call it “Gru-vy music!”

All-in-all the Oh Waily kids weren’t really taken with this decade.  Master Oh did dance a little bit to other songs, but perhaps they just felt like doing other things today instead of dancing.  After all, one of their all-time favourites was in this list… ‘Hot Legs’, and they didn’t even turn their heads from what they were doing when it came on.

Based on that I’m not giving up hope that they will come to like one or two other songs. There’s still the remainder of the week with this as our background music so something might click for them.  If things develop further I’ll come back with an update.

In the meantime I need to head over to iTunes and see if I can find “Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens” since that doesn’t appear to be going out of fashion any time soon.  (Seriously, you should go listen to it with your kids… it’s ridiculously catchy.)


Music with rocks in

Today at the Patch I’ve been instructed to choose ‘Rock’ music for our new area of exploration, hence the name of this post.  Not sure about the ‘pop culture’ reference?  It’s a very stout nod to my favourite of favourite places, The Discworld.  In this case it’s Soul Music.

Anyway, I digress.  Back to the music.
We’ve been doing this exploration on and off for a while and have nice playlists for a variety of Classical music and the very favourite Boogie Woogie.  Most of them are tracks in our digital library, and the Boogie Woogie is online at our YouTube channel.

So far I have managed to entice them to listen to the following bits and bobs.

  • Vivaldi, The 4 Seasons
  • Handel, Music For The Royal Fireworks
  • Beethoven, ‘Moonlight’ Sonata
  • Chopin, Waltz in D-Flat Major, Op 64 No 1 ‘Minute Waltz’
  • Wagner, The Valkyrie: Ride of the Valkyries
  • Strauss, On the Beautiful Blue Danube
  • Tchaikovsky, 1812 Festival Overture
  • Grieg, Peer Gynt Suite  (In the Hall of the Mountain King is THE favourite piece here – and it has to be loud enough that we entertain the neighbourhood, as well as run crazy around the living room)
  • Elgar, “Pomp and Circumstance” March No.1 in D
Modern Classical
  • Prokofiev, “Peter and the Wolf”
Boogie Woogie
  • Dr John & Jools Holland – Four hands boogie
  • Silvan Zingg – “Dancin’ the Boogie”

And naturally the kids are exposed to our own musical preferences and therefore seem to have taken rather too well to The B-52s and “Planet Claire”.

Ah well, as an eclectic home educator I’m pretty happy to say that musically they’re definitely developing an eclectic taste in music – and are happily creating an array of quirky and expressive dance moves to go with them.

I need to confess to being pretty musically illiterate, and learning as I go along with this.  I have eclectic taste in music and have plans to explore jazz, blues, and soul in the next few months.
If any of you are musically knowledgable I’d love to hear what genre and individual pieces you would be introducing to your kids and why.  Please leave a comment if there’s something you or your kids love to listen to.

Happy “Patch Music Day” to you all.


  • short note for clarity…
    this list is not the entire list of music my kids have heard!  These are the pieces I’ve chosen to give some sort of representation to the genre or sub-genre of music we’ve chosen to listen to each month.  We listen to plenty of other stuff too.

Family Field Trip: Singapore

Back in October the Oh Waily family had a very short stay in one of my favourite places, Singapore.
The kids got to see, feel and enjoy some of the sights.

On Orchard Road it was hard to miss the sculpture exhibition.

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Art display


Rhino meets child-2


We also took a trip around the Zoo to see some animals that are not so common in our part of the world.  The kids got to watch the sea lion display, see polar bears, orang-utans and more.  The highlight for all would be the elephant ride.  Yes, on the back of a real elephant.  Very popular it was.

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Bearly there


On safari


We also took a trip to the Botanic Gardens, specifically the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden.  The kids had great fun in the treehouse play area, learning about photosynthesis and most importantly in the heat of mid-morning Singapore, getting in to their togs and playing in the water play area with a bunch of local pre-schoolers.

Butterfly entrance way

And as usual, the swimming pool attached to where we stayed was also a popular spot.  Unsurprising in the equatorial heat really.

Spidey in the water

They must have had a nice time because they keep saying ‘the next time we go to Singapore we can…’ every now and then.  And frankly I can’t wait for it.  There was plenty to do that we simply didn’t have time to and as they get older they will be that much more able to withstand the temperature so that we don’t have to have a daily siesta.


We’ve been away

Not only have we been absent because of moving blog homes but we’ve also been on a family holiday.  I’m hoping our blog move is all under control now, so here’s a brief gallery of holiday photographs showing the team doing their usual thing while away.  Since this blog is meant to be about our home educating journey, perhaps it might be nice to indicate what sort of things our trip included.

First off we are definitely hitting the geography button with a trip to a different country and the logistics involved in getting there – passports, boarding passes and most importantly, the in-flight entertainment.

Once there, we can indulge in strange rituals like… face painting.

Puppy face

Then maybe we might indulge in a bit of art and creativity.  In this case we will use the new environment to sharpen up our photography skills, as you can see from Miss Oh Waily’s creative positioning of her companion Lumpy.

Little photographer

Then a bit later we have to have a photograph-off.

Little photographer IINot to ignore the fundamentals of mathematics, Miss Oh then indulged in learning all about the different angles while playing a really rough game of pool or two.

ConcentrationOr maybe to work out all the angles, speed and ricochet effect of mini-golf might also go some way to teaching some basic mathematics and physics.  Never mind the score keeping.
Oh, and be a darned fun way to do it too.

GolfingThen finally we come to a bit of culture. In this case the acquisition of henna tattoos.  Or mehndi.  Master Oh has a *dragon* design, while Miss Oh chose a lovely floral design.

Pretty flower design

Dragon designThen there was the usual nature studies – the frogs at night, the flowers, the birds, the fish and our nightly visitors – the gecko.  Much time was spent watching these guys on the windows in the evening, including the odd fight between them.  Sorry about the dark & grainy picture as it was quite late at night and it was taken by hand rather than with a tripod.


I think that’s a pretty good range of learning experiences for the Oh Waily kids.

What a great way to cover lots of topics in a fun and entertaining way.


Orakei Korako

A few days after our visit to The Bath House and the Redwoods, I took the Oh Waily kids off to pick up their Nana from Matamata (aka Hobbiton).  Then we took to the highway and headed towards Taupo.

Just before the great lake we took a left turn, and another, then headed up into the hidden valley that ends at Orakei Korako.  It was a pretty misty and grey morning, and for most of the journey it rained on our outing.  When we made it to the end of the valley the rain faded away, but left us with a dull and overcast day.  Still, it didn’t deter us from our walk.

First stop, the boat that takes you across the water.  What a fabulous way to start an adventure.  With a buzzer to gain retrieval when your walk is through.
Next up, the walk through the geothermal area.  Lots of interesting things to see and a surprise for the kids, what with all the steam wafting around us. It also made photography a bit of a hit and miss affair, as I’m still figuring it all out.

Steamy Arrival
As we walked over the first boardwalk we began to see all of the colours of the terrace. Unfortunately the overcast conditions didn’t manage to do justice to the colours and this was the best I could do to capture them.
It was great fun looking at all the algae as we walked along, but I think the kids were just as interested in the boardwalk as they were in the colours.

Colourful Walk
Here they are, admiring the Golden Fleece Terrace. Or, at least, posing for another one of my photographs.

The Silica Terrace
After this it became a taniwha hunt as there was a story to be told and a rock to be found. Instead we found the Elephant Rock, and naturally Miss Oh’s constant companion (Lumpy) had to be compared and contrasted to the rock in question. Quite the family likeness, I’d say.

Elephant Rock
After this we were able to admire the view back down on to one of the rather amazing terraces.

The Pools from Above
We stopped and admired Ruatapu cave and then headed on for the rest of the walk around the grounds.  And what visit to a geothermal park is complete without the obligatory boiling mud pools?  So we were able to see a few of those too.  One being particularly extensive.

Mud pool
After all the steamy walking, then the sun coming out, we headed back to the jetty to find the boat had just arrived and was picking up a number of other passengers.  This was rather surprising because up until the last small part of the walk we had seen and heard pretty much no one.  Yet here were at least half a dozen people!

To finish off our trip we had snacks and drinks in their little cafe before heading homewards.  It was a really long, but nice day.  A huge thanks to Nana Oh Waily for being my second pair of hands in a potentially iffy outing location – small children and steaming hot water, what could go wrong?

I’m looking forward to our next trip north when I think we may take on another geothermal wonderland, either Waimangu Valley or Wai-O-Tapu, and hopefully expand the little people’s knowledge of the earth and it’s sciences.  All while having fun, of course.

The Bath House

Last month the Oh Waily kids and I went for a visit to their grandparents in Tauranga.  On this trip I finally decided that we would do some day trips while we visited instead of spending most of the time locally.

To that end we headed to Rotorua for the day.  We started with a gentle stroll along the lakefront, a run around in the lovely playground before refueling with morning tea in a local cafe.  We reinforced our recognition of the Scaup from our visit to Nga Manu as there was a huge number of them floating around the jetty.

We then drove around to The Bath House, which now houses Rotorua’s museum.  On the way we stopped and admired the beautiful waka on the lakefront.  You can’t help but love the prow, can you?


Unfortunately I can’t show you any photographs of the wonderful inside of the Bath House building as you aren’t allowed to take any.  But I can recommend a visit.  It is a small museum, but it is very modern and very nicely presented.  It was especially fun to see the restored and excavated sections of the original bath house stalls.  It was even more fun when we got to walk under the building, hard hats and all, to see all the underground workings involved in “taking the cure”.
Then I took the kids to the top viewing platform, through the attic, looking out for the ghost all the way.  It was a very nice experience all around.

After this we headed out to the Redwoods on the outskirts of Rotorua, stopping for a late lunch on the way.  I’ve driven past this area so many times in the last three years and had no idea that this existed.  What a waste!
So, we started by getting the kiddie’s questionnaire to encourage them to observe their surroundings and then set off for the short walk, Redwood Memorial Grove track.  It’s two kilometres of mostly easy walking, and it takes you through some beautiful parts of the forest.  Here’s a couple of photographs I took along the way.

Redwood Path

Redwood Stand

And when we reached the end, we had to stop and say hello to the Redwood Family. Apparently one of them might have had a bit of a headache the day we visited. Maybe they’d spent all day trailing around after small people?

Oh my Head!

If you are visiting the central North Island, or just passing through, I can recommend visiting both the Bath House and the Redwoods.  By the time we had visited these two spots we were pretty done for the day, with an hour and a bit drive each way from the Oh Waily grandparents’ house to bookend our day.

Following on from our successful trip to Rotorua, we headed out on one more day trip a little later in our stay, this time to a hidden valley just outside Taupo.

Integrated Learning

I am about a third of the way through creating our first exemption application and it has been going well.  That is to say, it is going well now that I have managed to overcome a rather large dose of writer’s block.
Part of the issue is how to explain that, from our perspective, most of our learning is done in an integrated way.  Certainly we use single focus resources like Reading Eggs or My Pals Are Here! for learning to read and for guidance on age-appropriate maths skills, but for the most part opportunities for learning do not come pre-packaged in a ‘subject-specific’ way.  Take for example our walk yesterday.

We walked along a part of the Hutt River Trail.  On this part we walked from a little inlet by the river, along the stopbank, through a golf club and almost right to the river mouth.  In this two hour walk (we stopped for fluffies at the halfway point) and play we were able to learn and do a whole bunch of stuff.

Physical education
– the kids got a decent walk and a run in the playground.

– talking about the different aspects of golf including terminology used in the game and the environment it is played in.  (Also chatting to a couple of golfers.)

– I pre-prepared a checklist of things to find or look for on the walk.
(Miss Oh Waily has discovered a liking for the tick mark.)

Nature (Science)
– we saw a total of seven different sorts of non-garden birds including mallards, white-faced herons, little shag, yellowhammer, chaffinch, southern black backed gulls (adults & juveniles), and canada geese.

Technology (and Research skills)
– to ensure that we identified the different birds correctly we used an online encyclopaedia of New Zealand birds to help us.  We used the photographs that I took while we walked to do so.  When Miss Oh is a little older I may *gasp* even let her use my new camera when we walk, since she asks to do so regularly.
For the record, the site we used is New Zealand Birds Online.

So as you can see a good chunk of our learning experiences are integrated.  How can you possibly timetable that out, which is one of the apparent* pushes for more information from applicants?  We walked for two hours, how much of that do I apportion to the various aspects of our learning experience?  It is a puzzle.

Anyway, I shall continue on with the exemption writing.  I’m hoping to have the first draft all wrapped up this weekend, quiet time and kids willing.  But today I shall leave you with some images of our native fauna from yesterday’s walk.
Click through for bigger images – the small birds will need you to since they don’t like it when we get too close.



White-faced herons

Duck Squad

On the Stopbank II

On the Stopbank

* please note:  I have had no contact with the local MoE office, so this is simply what I am hearing of other people’s experiences and may not be a complete reflection of the situation.

Neighbourhood Walk Revisited

No doubt, if you’ve been reading the Patch for a little while, you will remember the fun adventure we had wandering all around neighbourhoods from various parts of the world.

Well, Jo put together a nice pdf file from all of our contributions and today I am going to put it up in the sidebar for anyone who likes the idea of using it with their children.

Hopefully it will be the first downloadable here at the Patch.  Enjoy !

Welcome to Egypt

All Gizah PyramidsWe have been taking a trip into the world of Ancient Egypt.

We are following the reading suggestion in the pre-made classical curriculum and read through the excellent, short, story book in no time flat.

I am now officially in love with the Magic Tree House series, and I’ve only read the one book, Mummies in the Morning.  It has two characters, Jack and Annie, who are brother and sister.  They visit a treehouse in which there are many books on different subjects.  Opening a book and wishing to be taken to the scene inside magically transports them and the treehouse there.  In our case, to ancient Egypt.

The nice thing about this series of books is that they are accompanied by a non-fiction book on the same topic, Mummies and Pyramids.  Using the same characters, we are able to learn a range of bite-sized snippets of information about Egypt and it’s culture in a non-fiction form.  Both books have some drawings and photographs, so that helps with keeping up the interest and aids in understanding.

I have also been directed to Activity Village’s Ancient Egypt theme section where we printed off many, many copies of images for colouring in.  We revisited the Creation Myth book that we had been using for earlier reading, and read about Ra and Apophis.

We have been reading about making mummies, sarcophagi, the pyramids, the Black Land and the Red Land, the Sphinx and the Nile.  So far it seems to be interesting enough to have Miss Oh Waily ask me to read about Egypt to her while she is having her lunch.

Here are some of the things she has done so far.

Egyptian Narration & Art

Using the creation myth book from previous entries, we read about Ra and Apophis with Miss Oh Waily doing a drawing of them fighting it out. Then I printed a few different colouring-in sheets for her to do (and her brother had to have some too). Can you tell that she is a bit in love with the gold and silver Artline pens? Perfect for those gilded and bright masks and sarcophagi.

Home made Pyramid

Then I cut out (they were a bit fiddly) the shape of a pyramid and let her colour it in. Together we used sellotape to make the final 3D item.  I’m not sure what the Pharoahs would have thought of the aesthetics, but hey a five year old had fun designing it.

Home made Cartouche

And finally, we collaborated on creating a cartouche.  Miss Oh helped a bit with the rolling out of the base and the making of the sausage that created the edge.  Then once it was dry* she set to it with her paints.  I’m contemplating whether to create the hieroglyphics to spell out her name and seeing if she wants to add them to it later.  I’ll see how it goes.

And that has been our first foray into the world of ancient Egypt.  No doubt we will now move on for a while, but I hope to come back for a visit soon.


* it’s made of DAS modeling clay, so she had to wait.  A great lesson in patience alone.

Phan Ku

As I mentioned yesterday, we have started working through some creation stories, Bursting From The Hen’s Egg and Spider Ananse Finds Something.

The first of these is about Phan Ku and comes from China.  We went over this a couple of times yesterday, and Miss Oh struggled to concentrate on the story enough to be able to relate back the events in her own words.  So after leaving it overnight we had another, relaxed, morning of revisiting this story.  I chose to work more on getting her to draw Phan Ku, which she did.

Here are the three sheets she produced about this story.  The first is the sheet provided, and includes a section where you can write things your child tells you they remember or like about the work.  Or, if they are writing on their own, where they can write about the story.
Above that you can see a square to allow for illustration, which Miss Oh enjoyed doing.  She described all the aspects as she drew them – Phan Ku’s horns, tusks, his chisel and his breath (that’s the funny little dotted line on the left and around the bottom of his chisel).  The image in the middle is one she did yesterday of Phan Ku.  And the one on the right is the Egg with Phan Ku inside the small squiggles that are the egg cracking and the squiggly lines around the egg is the “bursting out” that is happening.

Phan Ku

So I think tomorrow we will move on to Spider Ananse and do the same for that story.  We will be following our own schedule for working through the suggested curriculum, but that’s just fine by me.  After all, that is one of the main points of choosing to homeschool – working at the kids’ pace.

Some things I’ve learned today:

– we will try to work at the table until her concentration level is good enough to work wherever.
– we will work specifically on her handwriting from now on rather than just letting her write as and when she wants.  But only in short bursts.
– Master Oh can work quite happily with the Montessori apps on the iPad while Miss Oh is listening or drawing.  An hour should be possible.
– I am very impatient at the moment and that was coming out in my approach to “teaching” this lesson.   I learned my own lesson yesterday.

So tomorrow we will move ourselves into the creation stories of Africa.  I can’t wait to see what sort of spider Ananse will turn out to be when he’s drawn.  And I will relax about what to expect Miss Oh to be capable of doing from now on.

Remind me – whose learning journey is this again?