The End is Nigh…

And so the last day of NaBloPoMo has arrived, and the struggle to find sensible things to write about now recedes.  And what a busy old day it has been.

This morning Ms Oh Waily headed to the gym for an hour with the PT.  The Oh Waily kids had great fun at the daycare as they rugged up and took part in the fire drill.  They looked so cute (they have to walk out of their room, through a small part of the gym to leave the building) hanging on to the long knotted rope.
Then straight after we finished up, one of their little friends came around for a playdate.  A couple of hours later and we were gearing up to head out again.  This time in to town to see a friend of ours from Auckland who was briefly in Wellington for work.  Follow this up almost immediately by going to dinner with Auntie H before she and Cousin K headed home tomorrow morning.

Homeschooled children are definitely not socialised properly at all.  {wink, wink}

But now my tired little poppets are in bed and their tired Mum is finishing up her NaBloPoMo commitments before collapsing asleep in bed herself.  Who said being a mother was a breeze?  Whoever it was clearly didn’t have kids.

So from next week we are going back to normal, intermittent transmission.  I may have some more things to share, but after this mini-marathon don’t be surprised if I go in to a mini-hibernation either.

Thanks for sticking it out with us.  I hope you enjoyed some of the posts.

More Books

In all the excitement about the maths books and then the unexpected journey yesterday, I completely forgot to mention that we also picked up our November set of books from the Scholastic catalogue.

This month we chose the Usborne Phonics Readers set of twelve titles in paperback.  We’ve had a few of these out of the library in the past, so they make good reading to (and now, by) the little people.

And we also picked up the Acorn Space set which features simple books for the kids to read.  The titles being Earth, The Moon, Planets, Stars, The Sun and Astronauts.  They will do nicely when I set up the month of activities around Space and the Universe.

What are your kids reading?

They’ve arrived


Yes, the maths books I was waiting for from Singapore have finally arrived.  I was rather excited by that this morning.  So here are some photographs…

Here is my chunky little box of goodies…

It's arrived

I might have been just a little bit excited. I even took photos as we opened the box.

Open Box

I love getting books. Have I mentioned that before? I must have.  Surely.

So here are the two sets of books laid out. We will give both of them a fair trial and see which one comes out on top for keeping Miss Oh’s interest and is the easiest to use and understand. That will probably be the most difficult thing to figure out since the maths is pretty darned basic in the first half of the year – she’ll know nearly all of it and will probably whizz through the coursework books for that.  Still, I thought it best to begin at the beginning and make sure I covered all of the bases.

Shaping maths

As you can see, each set consists of one course book and two workbooks for each half of the year.

My Pals Are Here!

It will be interesting to see if the all-singing-all-dancing-all-coloured set of Shaping Maths will win out over the coloured course book and black and white work books of My Pals Are Here!

Reviews and comments will follow once we are under way with them.  In the mean time, if you have chosen to use formal instruction (in addition to real life maths learning) what did you chose and why?  Has it been working for you?

A Family Lunch

Auntie H and Cousin K are down in our part of the world this week for a sports tournament, so we headed out to see them at their hotel today.

While K stayed and enjoyed time with her friends, Auntie H came out with us for lunch and a walk around the waterfront.  Silly Mummy suggested that we stop at Kaffee Eis at the Lagoon and get an ice cream.  That’s when we discovered the Amazing Chocolate Boy.

He had the world’s largest “child sized” chocolate ice cream and he wasn’t going to give it up for anything.  He also wasn’t going to do something as silly as bite and swallow lumps of ice cream so that it didn’t roll down the cone on to his hand and up his arm.  Noooo way.

Instead, we have an escapee from a slasher movie.  Or we would have had, if we had chosen some red berry ice cream or other.  Thankfully he just looked like an explosion in a paint factory.  (Or ice cream factory as the case may be.)

Chocolate boy

All of the dark brown splats are chocolate drips, both on his top and on his trousers.  You probably can’t make it out (he didn’t want to stand still for photographs) but his left forearm is one giant chocolate smear.  After all, what do you wipe your face with?

Suffice it to say, Master Oh needs more practice with ice cream cones, or we revert back to ice cream in a plastic cup with a spoon.

 

A quiet day

Mr Oh Waily had to work last night (and by night, I mean from 4pm yesterday afternoon until 3am-ish this morning) so today has been a very quiet one in the Oh Waily household.

The highlight of my day was getting an hour or so of quiet time to myself while everyone rested.   The highlight of the kids’ day was the pancakes and a bit later, the ice creams at the playground.  The highlight of Mr Oh’s day was probably getting to have some sleep.

So not much to tell you about at the moment.  Tomorrow though we are heading in to town to catch up with Auntie H and Cousin K who are down this part of the world for a school sports trip.  The two little Oh Wailys are really looking forward to it.  So there may be more to write about then.

NaBloPoMo disappointment

I am quite disappointed that I missed yesterday’s post deadline, and thereby did not quite fulfill my promised NaBloPoMo daily posting.  But quite frankly, two posts a day has been quite a challenge and unsurprisingly it has not proved to be without troubles.

Still, on the bright side, it did take until the 23rd day of the month for me to miss a day.  I think that’s a pretty good achievement.

I had been hoping to tell you all about our newly arrived maths books yesterday, but DHL have only just managed to have them arrive in Wellington this morning. I am guessing that they don’t do Saturday deliveries since they must still be sitting at the depot instead of in my hot little hands.  Oh well, I guess that will be Monday or Tuesday’s edition of the Patch.

Something else to edutain you today instead.

Failures.

Where to begin with this one?
Many.  But really they aren’t truly failures, they’re learning experiences and adjustments.  They’re only failures if you sit down and never get back up again, or if you are inclined to not notice results and you therefore repeat the choices expecting things to change.

Failure #1: Formal instruction.

Miss Oh just doesn’t tend to like “being taught”.  She likes to do it herself.  She likes conversation.  She likes to ask questions and get answers.  She doesn’t particularly like “bookwork”.  She likes to play and tell stories and invent games.
As a traditionally schooled person, this sometimes grates on me.  It can frustrate and annoy me.  Every now and then I wander back into this mindset (it’s ingrained I tell you) and find myself with a resistant child.  So this is my number one problem, as I try to re-train myself to stick with what works.

Failure #2:  Trying to pitch too high.

While I love the idea of Classical Education, in conjunction with Failure #1, it is perhaps something that can be worked on in a more informal manner.  More in topic form with fun activities attached, rather than in the more formal written way that we tried it.  Having tried out the set out curriculum it seems to me that it is perhaps a little to high for Miss Oh at the moment.  I think that Miss Oh, while she can and does like to listen to stories, is perhaps a kinesthetic learner too.  She has always been a very physical child – lots of great physical skills from an early age.  But it’s a bit too early to tell which of the three learning styles she most leans toward.  No doubt this will store up future failures for me to tell you about.

There are more, but I’ll save them for later, as well as my own blushes.

So, what works for you and what failures have you had?  I’d like to not feel too alone on the failure front.  🙂

The Great Oh Waily Jungle Adventure

My lovely children began asking me to take them on an adventure yesterday.  Everyone, including me, was just too tired to do anything about it though.  Instead today I made a plan and we headed out on our adventure just before lunchtime and got home just before dinnertime.  A very full day of adventuring was had.

The request was to drive somewhere and get lost.  And we had to end up in a jungle, eventually.  Clearly a real jungle is out of the question in this part of the world, but a bit of farmland and bush is completely doable.  So with a bit of imagination and pretending, we drove through a forest jungle today.  A brief jaunt up the main highway to Waikanae before turning off to head up Akatarawa Road.  It was the perfect choice for adventure – hills, forest bits, covered in patches of road, bush, hilltop views of the sea and valleys, single lane roads and, eventually a place where animals lurk.

The lurking is more like wildlife reserving, but hey that’s what imagination is for.  And for the adventure songs that were dreamt up and sung in the car.

We spent the best part of two and a half hours wandering around feeding various fowl, farm animals, and playing by the stream and walking over the wobbly bridge.  The pushy goats were still pushy and persistent, Bob the Clydesdale was still big and slightly worrying, but the rabbits were cute, furry and pat-able.   The peacocks and the cockerels were loud and almost seemed to have perverse pleasure in letting out a loud screech when you had no idea they were a couple of feet behind you.  The trout seemed even larger and more edible than ever, while the swans seemed laid back and relaxed.

Here are a few snapshots of the day out.

Feeding Ducks

At this point we had just fed some ducks, had a harem following us, and had discovered the geese enjoying themselves on the lake. I’m not quite sure what had caught Master Oh’s attention, but clearly he wasn’t looking away in a hurry.

On the Wagon

The Oh Waily kids, and friend, on the wagon in the BBQ area. Very nice spot this and new, I think, since the last time we visited. I left Master Oh’s hat in the car so he had to make do with his sister’s old one and clearly it does not quite fit him as well as it does her.

In the Aviary

They really need to work on their “cheese” faces, don’t they?  This is in the kea aviary, where we saw two sleepy-ish keas up close. One kept his beak under his wing, but a beady eye open and on the not so subtle children invading his home. But don’t you just love the exit? I had to duck down to get out, and I am no giant.

Playing in the old bank

Then in the bush settlement area they just had to play in the bank. Great fun.

Staglands makes for a fun day out for the kids.  A goodly bit of wildlife to finish off the Great Oh Waily Jungle Adventure day.  Oh and the ice cream and ice block at the cafe afterwards didn’t hurt either.

I wonder what they’ll think of doing next?

Maths Resources

I’m sure we come across as a little maths crazy in this house.  Well isn’t that a good thing?  I’d rather be saying that than the opposite.

So to keep the enthusiasm up, here are our latest batch of maths resources.  First, this wonderful website that I came across through one of my HE groups.  The printable charts are fantastic.  It is called A Maths Dictionary for Kids.

The books that are on their way to us from Singapore are the first year of each of these two series: My Pals Are Here! and Shaping Maths.   I was unsure which of these would work for my kids so I chose to get both.  Once we have these we will be able to figure out which follow-up years to buy.
The reason for choosing these two series is fairly straightforward, they are currently on the approved textbook lists for Singaporean schools.  And since they are at the top of the list for this area of learning it seems to be sensible to assess their methods to see if they would work for us too.
I’m hoping that these will arrive tomorrow, as per the estimated arrival date of the courier.

From our local library we have Maths for Fun: Measuring Sizes out of which both Oh Waily children are insisting we do multiple activities.  So we shall.  Hopefully I will remember to take photographs and show you what and how we got on.

What maths resources do you (and your kids) love, and why?

Exemptions

Well I have finally started to think about what I’m going to be doing in about six months time.  My head is no longer buried in any sand of denial.  I have to give some serious thought to what I am going to tell the Ministry of Education.  They will want to know that I plan to teach my kids as well as and regularly as a school.

Somehow I don’t think they’ll take a vague answer and waffly ideas as enough proof of my competence to teach my own kid.  So I have to take a trip on my time machine and transport my brain back to the days where writing clearly understandable submissions, usually in the form of essays, was a regular part of life.

Thankfully a lovely lady I have met through the homeschool group here in Wellington offered to share one of her exemption letters with me.  So I have finally seen a document that the Ministry of Education thought a suitable explanation of what their family was going to be doing.  What a relief.

Now having read their document does not mean that my exemption letter will take a similar road, but it does give me some ideas of what could be acceptable.   So for me it is now a case of sitting down and nutting out each of the required sections.  What is enough to say, but not be hamstrung by?  How to explain that we will be following her needs rather than a set timetable?  How to deal with the dreaded “as regularly”?

Oh, and I believe there is going to be changes to the forms shortly.  That could add to the fun of working out just what to say, and how much to say.  I doubt that the MoE officer will want a 1500 word essay on the topic of my daughter’s education, but neither will a paltry 150 word statement of intent do.   Ah, so that’s how I should approach this – like an assignment for university – give them enough information and supporting argument and she’ll be right.

More on this topic as I work out what really matters, and where we are headed.

The Week Ahead

I’m rather looking forward to this week.

On Tuesday, approximately, we should be getting our new shoes from Amazon.  Then on Thursday, courier-willing, we should get our shipment of Singapore Maths books from Singapore.
At the end of this week our new bookshelf should also be in the country and shortly on its way to us.

All in all, a busy time for small things here at the Patch.

I’m especially excited and interested to see just what the Singaporean textbooks are actually like.  I feel rather like Christmas has come a few weeks early, for me at least.  I’ll let you know if and when everything arrives (partly the evil that is NaBloPoMo post inspiration failure, and partly genuine excitement), and what I think of it.

We also have our regular Tuesday swimming slot, and perhaps I shall see about getting some decent video off my phone to show you how the Miss is progressing in this department.

Other than that, it is looking to be a quiet week around our place.

What’s happening at your place this week?