Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Homeschool Concert

The kids had so much fun over the last 2 terms with their homeschool classes. In the first term, Anna did art and literacy and numeracy games, Josh did outdoor activities including archery, shooting and bushcraft. Joseph did BMX biking and go-karting. Both the boys also did cooking, and made some delicious treats. I was especially pleased with josh contributing to the class by suggesting a recipe and providing it to the class to make - ginger biscuits - one of his favourites to make at home.

This term Anna did a different art class as well as a dancing class. Joshua, unable to do his first choices, ended up doing digital photography and singing... that was not his favourite thing to do, but by the end of the first class, I could see him enjoying himself. They visited 3 rest homes and sung for them throughout the term. They sang fun songs like 'she'll be coming round the mountain when she comes' and 'You are my sunshine'. So who couldn't enjoy that. It was such a special experience for them to share their talents and get to talk with some of the old people in the rest homes.

Joseph did sports and cooking again. I think he mostly enjoyed eating what he made, and he also did not get his first choice of class.

On the last day of classes for the term, the children put on a concert/show and tell of what they had been doing during the term. Joshua's class sang - the singing was accompanied by homeschoolers also some by guitar, some by recorder and some by ukulele.

Anna performed her dance and really was excited about that... She said her best part of the day was 'dancing on the stage'.

Joseph's cooking class made macaroni cheese and garlic bread for everybody.

Ella-Rose made a bunny mask in creche... besides playing with lego, trains, colouring and having
stories and songs.

Square numbers and multiplication tables

Over the past few weeks we have been working on our times tables...
I realised trying to get my kids to simply memorise these lists of facts was pretty boring... and they are pretty resistant to anything that is boring. So just through spontaneous activities we have been learning them.

It all started one afternoon when we were sitting on the steps outside. I grabbed the whiteboard marker and the whiteboard. While the kids ate afternoon tea, they took turns giving answers to the times tables on a multiplication chart. This was a really great way to see which times-tables they knew and which they needed to work on. After a while, I could see their interest was waning, but I could see they needed to work on the 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, and 12 times tables.

We went inside and I considered that 'done'. About an hour later, Anna-Maria came back inside to show me she had completed all the empty spaces... and they were all correct, except one. Because she did not know these ones she had worked them out so had taken a while. I was impressed with her concentration and determined attitude to complete the chart.

Ella wanted a turn with the board, so she drew a teddy bear.

Practising the times-tables and food seem to be a good combination for my kids. Even Ella wants to be quizzed if it means she gets crackers for swearing.

Last week we learnt square numbers, after they had practised them, we had a 'Who wants to be a millionaire?'-style quiz, with life-lines included... which made them feel it was okay not to have to get everything right, every-time.

This week we have been working on the nine times-tables, so we have been learning the tricks to remember these.

Also, I found a cool maths puzzle book from the library called 'The Grapes of Math' by Greg Tang.

It is a really good book for encouraging/developing mental math strategies... for older kids. Joseph especially enjoyed it... I think because his basic maths facts were up to speed... Anna got a bit upset as she did not grasp one or two of the concepts initially, but she persisted and got there in the end. It is also good for younger kids, as they just like counting the objects or looking for patterns.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Homeschool Stuff

The kids have been having a lot of fun learning a whole assortment of things during homeschool.
One day they decided to make a pyramid with their duplo. They just had a whole lot of fun working together on this one... which is nice as sometimes lego can cause more trouble than fun.

Last week we went to an art class where the kids learnt to draw sports people. It was very good. The pictures the kids drew were also pretty good, but the boys were starting to tire towards the end, but Anna-Maria was in her element. She absolutely loved it. I picked up a few art books from a recent garage sale, one of Renoir's, Van Gogh's and Rembrant's paintings. Anna-Maria looked through the Van Gogh book, got paper and pencils and started copying his pictures of irises and roses. She just loved it.

She really loved art. There is not a day goes by without her (and Ella) drawing a large amount of pictures. So one of projects this term will be studying the impressionists and doings lots of art and painting. We have nearly got our learning cupboard sorted out so that our project work will be a lot easier.

Ella-Rose entertains herself and has already claimed the title of Monkey-Ella, but here is the evidence to prove she really is a monkey.

She also likes to be very involved in what Lily is doing.

Today I was asking Ella everybody's names. When she got to me, She knew I was mummy, but I told her my name was also Deborah, 'Mummy Deborah'. I pointed to her dad and asked who's that? She was obviously trying to think of his other name, grinned and said 'Daddy Boy!'

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Lily is sitting up now, wow time flies...

Little Lily is 7 months now, and she is sitting up, little cutie.

I managed to catch a couple of pics of Lily inflicting pain on Tane and Joshua. She has got such a tight grip, if she manages to get hold of you... it is like a death grip.

 It's all full and games till someone gets hurt.

 All's well that ends well

Ella loves to draw. She wanted to show me her piece of art. Annamaria drew her a tree to colour in.

Annamaria is very creative and loves art of all kinds. She loves drawing, colouring and painting.

This week we have been studying Narnia - The Last Battle. The boys in particular have really loved this series, but it is funny to see the effect our reading together has on Ella-Rose. She brings the book to me when it is time for kidschool saying 'Narney, Narney' and wants me to read it. This story in particular is so intriguing to me as I see so many paralleled between the conditions in Narnia and now in our society and the world in general.

We are also reading Laddie... it is cute, the children enjoy all those older-fashioned stories of old-fashioned childhood and always wish they were a part of the story.

The boys are learning handball at their sports group, which they love and they are on the same rugby team, both are playing very well so far this season. Joseph got player of the day for the first game of the season. They came home happy from their rugby training this week. One of the other kids mums makes doughnuts (Mama's doughnuts)... and they brought a stash for the players.

Joshua and Annamaria are flying through their 'Life of Fred' maths... it is a humorous curriculum based on the life of a 5 year old maths professor. It is a story but they learn maths principles as they read through the book. Joseph seems to be less fond of this style of learning, as I think he is the most hands on leaner of the group. 

This week we are off to homeschool group and well as homeschool sports so the kids will have a very enjoyable week. Joshua is doing outdoor adventure and cooking, Joseph is doing BMX, go-karting and cooking, and Anna-maria is doing art and ball skills. She loves the art, but is less keen on the ball skills as she is one of the younger kids in the group and is a bit scared of the bigger boys. Ella-Rose gets to do movement and music and playgroup activities (painting/playing with toys) and I am taking a games class... which I have yet to prepare for.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Random Family Pics

The kids got to go garage sale-ing (is that even a word?) with their pocket money. Anna-Maria wanted this princess veil. Joseph bought a gun. Joshua brought 3 items of Pumpkin Patch clothing and put them on Trademe. He has already made 500% on one of the items.

Lily-Grace is growing up so fast. She is happy playing with toys and can get all over the floor by rolling... no more lego or electrical cords on the floor.

Joseph and I having fun together. The kids were all wanting to use the camera so here are a bunch of random shots taken mainly in our bedroom.

What a little sweetie!!

Hamilton Gardens

We decided to make the most of the last Monday before daylight savings ends and went to the Hamilton Gardens. The kids had a ball running though all the different gardens. They especially liked the edible gardens.

Finally a nice picture of me.

You know you're in NZ when you walk through the grass and see one of these...

and one of these....

Beautiful Ella-Rose. She Couldn't resist touching the water.

The boys + Lily.

Funny photo Tane!

Ella is so cute. Here are a few pictures of her before church.

Joseph loves being an army man.