What Did We Do Today?

WDWDT

Today there was coffee !  And some applied maths… multiple-step multiplication and addition to work out the right number of blocks to make paths in Minecraft, for both kids.  Also some discussion about different patterns and how to construct them.   In between that there was a trip to the shops, a library visit for new reading books, a letter in the post from a home ed friend of Miss Oh’s who now lives in Christchurch, a play at the park, and a spotting of multiple baby ducks.
One of the ducklings elicited a great deal of excitement in that it looked to be the same “Sqaishy” duck we had seen a couple of weeks ago.  Minecrafters will probably know which one is meant.  Apologies for the hideous quality, it was a bright day & I only had my phone on me, so it’s pretty awful with no white balance.

Quackers

Added to this Miss Oh has recorded her fourth episode of Rainbow World, and we’ve noticed that she now has 9 subscribers – one away from her goal of 10 !!  Thanks to those of you who have been kind enough to sub up, as I know it’s a royal pain if you don’t have a Google account.

Interestingly, as I sat down to write this post I was thinking that there really wasn’t much going on today.  Maybe there was after all.

And that’s pretty much what we did today.  Hope your Friday has been a good one!

Tuesday afternoon, I’m just beginning to see

Today’s blog title is rather fitting as Tuesdays in the Oh Waily household tends to be afternoon heavy with events.  So I’m only just beginning to see the end of my working day right now.

As for during today, thanks for a willing volunteer who has taken the job over from me, we are now back at swimming lessons for the remainder of the term.  Unlike previous terms the kids aren’t in back-to-back classes and we only have one teacher for all three classes.  This means that young Master Oh starts out at 1:30 and Miss Oh doesn’t start her class until 2:30.  So altogether the kids are going to have a minimum (and you know it’s going to be a minimum) of one and a half hours in the pool every Tuesday afternoon.
They might just love that.

The only issue is the half hour it takes to prise them out of the pool, into the changing room, under the shower and then dressed to head home.  This is compounded by the fact that the pool is a 20+ minute drive from home.  So you can see that pretty much ALL of Tuesday afternoon is taken up with swimming.  Definitely ticks the PE boxes, eh?

My only weapon in winkling them out of the pool is the fact that we have to get home in enough time to eat something before Miss Oh heads off to her evening at Brownies and Master Oh gets to have his Daddy Date.  It also looks like, being out of practice, that the swimming might just be tiring Miss Oh out a bit.  I’m not sure how she stayed awake on the drive home from the pool, but she managed albeit with the odd moaning… ‘I’m soooooo tired’ coming from the back seat.

Then at Brownies she gets to go a bit crazy too.  Thankfully tonight seems to have been a relatively calm evening involving crafting a picture out of random items.  Phew!
A bit of a change from the weekend when she attended the Brownie Revels in Carterton, which I will write about some time this week.  Mr Oh Waily went as a parent helper (bless his cotton socks!) and he took some nice shots of Miss Oh in action during the assault course and the water relay events.  The only hiccup being the discovery of a second Brownie hoodie in her bag when we went to clear it out… now to find the owner.

And so that is the key bits of our Tuesdays here at the Patch.  Just in case you wondered if home educators ever socialised with anyone but their families.  (Tongue firmly in cheek, tinged with a dose of sarcasm.)


Monday’s Blog Post Title.
– no guesses?  Surely it wasn’t that hard!
Answer: The Mamas and The Papas’ “Monday, Monday” of course !!

Today’s title hint:  another song lyric.

 

Real life physics

Today the Oh Waily kids had a real life physics lesson courtesy of one of the local play parks.
It’s hard work balancing the scales when you don’t weigh the same amount.
And it’s great work for them trying to figure out how to keep the momentum going… mostly, in the end, they chose to utilise “Mummy-Power”.   This made it a phys ed class for ALL of us.

It's hard work balancing the scales when you don't weigh the same amount. #homeschool #physicslesson #reallife #thepukekopatch
Posted by Instagrate to WordPress

Most Improved

Last night was the final evening of the local kids’ badminton club.  Surprising her totally, Miss Oh was the recipient of the Most Improved Novice Girl prize for 2015.  To say that she was happy and bashful all at once would be a bit of an understatement.

Most Improved Novice

 

Well done Miss !!  You really have come a long way this year, skill-wise, and are a deserving winner.  Love your enthusiasm!!

– Mr, Ms & Master Oh Waily xoxoxox

 

Mount Kaukau walk

Today, on the invitation of a friend, my two small people and I took a long uphill walk to the top of Mount Kaukau.
And what a walk it was.  It’s roughly 2-3 kilometres in length but will take you to 445m above sea level in an hour or so.  I have no idea how long it took to get to the summit, I just know that I am:
a) unfit;
b) unfit;
c) very unfit.

I also note that I will be unable to get out of bed tomorrow or walk more than a few paces.  The amount of steps and steep inclines will guarantee that sitting will be uncomfortable for days to come, and my thighs will be protesting their misuse on the downhill slopes.  I was tail-end Charlie for the entire walk uphill… even after the small children in our group.  Frankly, I was stuffed.

In a first, however, Master Oh Waily led the way.  So keen was he, apparently, that he regularly disappeared out of view of his lagging and feeble mother.  I suspect he was out of view of most of us for quite a bit of the time it took to get to the top.  This is the same boy that would complain bitterly about walking around our neighbourhood (on the flat) and any attempt by me to get him to go for bush walks nearly always ended with me carrying him at some point.  In light of other developmental changes (which I will probably blog about soonish) in him, perhaps this is another small milestone ticking over.  He also led the way downhill, not quite so far ahead this time and often with me.  At least on the downhill I was able to keep up with everyone.

The walk, leg- and bum-killing as it was for the unfit, has a brilliant payoff at the end.  Stunning views of the city, harbour, north and across to the South Island too.  Very well worth all of the discomfort (for those of us who were discomforted).

Here are a couple of snaps taken with my phone at the top.

At the top

Master Oh with central Wellington in the background

 

At the top too

Miss Oh with central Wellington in the background

They did a fantastic job of the whole walk. I’m very proud of them, despite Miss Oh’s merciless teasing at being the slowest of the slowpokes.

In the process of the walk we saw lots of neat locals – tuis by the dozen, some wood pigeons and on one of my many rest-stops I was joined by a small bird that may have been a wax-eye or perhaps it was a bellbird – hard to tell as it was doing it’s best to stay hidden behind some large leaves in the nearby tree.  And the piece de resistance, on the way back down the hill, we came across a kaka ripping away at the bark of a tree.  According to what I’ve read since coming home, it’s possible he was using that very pointy beak to get at the tree’s sap.  See what you think.
Thanks to Mel for sending through the video. 🙂

The crazies

Yes, we most definitely have them in this household.
Crazy kids.  Physically adventurous kids – each in their own way.

Here’s how we do physical education while on holiday.  Although I do tend to think that Mr Oh Waily gets the hardest workout from this.

DCIM101GOPRO
As you can see Master Oh Waily isn’t fond of water in his eyes or up his nose, but he does a remarkable job of hanging on to his pool noodle just the same.  As for his sister, I think she just wants to be SuperGirl.  (She already is, of course, just without the power of flight.)

DCIM101GOPRO

There is a definite love of the water in the Oh Waily family.

p.s. We’re glad to have all of our subscribers back with us. Thank you to the lovely WordPress staff for their assistance in that final piece of the blog migration.

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.

Gecko

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.

 

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.

Culture
– 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.)

Reading
– 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.


Chaffinch

Yellowhammer

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.

Oh Waily kids

You would be forgiven for thinking that we had disappeared for the entire last part of summer.  Mr Oh Waily is away for work and I have correspondingly less time for things like blogging.  It’s another two weeks before he is home again so the blogging is unlikely to be picking up any time soon.

In the meantime here’s a few up to date photographs of the Oh Waily kids, with apologies to those who have already seen them.

This is my first attempt to try out black & white photography with my Christmas present.
Boy in B&W

And last week I took the kids for a drive up the coast to a playground that has a splash pad. I decided that it would be more fun if they went for it in their normal clothes rather than have them turn up in swim suits. (With a full change waiting for them in the car after, of course.) Here are some photographs of them in action.

Wet behind the Ears

Take a drink

Kersplash...

Soaked

As I’m sure you can tell they loved it. I think we might even do it again this week if the weather holds.  And, although the photographs suggest otherwise, they did enjoy playing on some of the other regular playground features like the flying fox and basket swing.  But the water is the big drawcard.  It is very clever.

Walking the Line

No, I am not referring to Johnny Cash.
I am talking about a nice Montessori activity that comes under the Practical Life section Control of Movement.  To read about the different, traditional ways of introducing this and extending it, visit the AMI website’s description here.

The basics involve the child learning to control their body as they follow a line on the ground.  It helps improve balance and control.  Generally it is an ellipse, but as I was doing this at home I did the best with what I have on hand.
In this house we have a pale carpet which goes through the living areas.  We have a door from the living room into the central entry hall, which also has a door into the dining room.  The dining room then joins the living room through double glass sliding doors.  What this means is – I could construct a long, slightly ellipse-like walk the line circuit.

So, here is a view of my home made “line”.
The Line
This is the line coming from the hallway into the dining room.  It continues to the right at both ends and enters the living room from both sets of doors.
The line is simply black electrical tape so it is easily removed and should leave no residue when done with.  It flexes reasonably well I’ve found, so can make slightly wonky but curved lines.

And here is Miss Oh Waily taking her first walk around on it.
Walking the Line
We haven’t yet introduced it formally, with music and equidistant walking.  I am not completely sure if Master Oh Waily could manage it and that has made me a bit tentative about doing it with the two of them together.
Still, if he doesn’t get the opportunity he won’t ever manage.

Miss Oh can happily walk the line, and is probably almost competent at the second step – heel to toe walking.  The third step may be a bit hit and miss.  I’m not sure if I’m ready to clean up the water spills, but I’m sure she will be able to walk with an object, or even two, in her hands.  I can’t wait until we get to balancing items on her head.  I must look to buy a small bean bag or two for the purpose.
Naturally you are not restricted to the extension exercises mentioned at the AMI page.  Extensions to consider are altering tempo, adding turning, obstacles, taking verbal commands, “creative” walking (like an elephant, a mouse, etc), catching & throwing.  If you can imagine it and it requires physical control, then it can be added in to your child’s repertoire.

So no more wimping out here.  Next time we do the formal version I will write an update to let you know how we all get on.

What do you do with your children to encourage their co-ordination and control of movement?