Term 4 and winding down to the last days of school for 2020

Term 4 in New Zealand is always a short and fast one. My youngest daughter gleefully reminded me that Christmas Day is fast approaching – and there’s me thinking that surely we’re still in September – but one look at our dog, on pick up from his pre-summer groom, and there’s no denying the festive season is upon us!

Monsieur Cocoa looking very festive after his groom!

It’s a term filled with exams for older students, combined with prize giving ceremonies and leaver’s dinners.

Oldest daughter celebrating her last year of school with a top scholar award and an award for her contribution to music!

Our oldest is finishing her last days of school ever this year, with just her Year 13 NCEA L3 exams and a few scholarship exams to go. It’s been a term of ‘lasts’ for her; she’s had her last prize giving ceremony, her last assembly, her last Christmas Carols, last time singing with her school choir and playing in the orchestra. We are just so glad that the lockdown earlier in the year enabled her to enjoy the rest of her last year of school so completely (with a few rescheduled events – the Ball finally happened on the third attempt!).

QMC Y13 Ball October 09, 2020 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Mark Tantrum/ http://marktantrum.com)

Our second born started high school half way through the year, after four years of home education. She decided to try high school (utilising the ten week ‘trial period’ permitted to home educated students to try mainstream school, without losing their certificate of exemption) at the beginning of term 3 and then made the decision to stick with it. It’s been a great decision for her and she’s looking forward to starting her first year of NCEA studies in 2021 feeling very settled.

Meanwhile, our youngest daughter has made the decision to start school next year! She’s enjoyed being home educated for the past four years and was in two minds whether or not to try formal school, but after visiting one a couple of times in the past month she has decided to give it a go! It will be a big change for her and she will miss spending time with her home ed friends. She’s had a wonderful term of STEM classes, Dungeons and Dragons meet-ups at a local library, performing brilliantly in ‘Comedy of Errors’ as Dromio of Ephesus – as part of the Shakespeare Globe Centre NZ’s ‘Primarily Playing with Shakespeare’ event, visiting art galleries and workshops, as well as lots of time to work on her passion – digital drawing and animation, along with gaming (she wants to be a game designer and animator when she’s older).

The Comedy of Errors

In character as Dromio of Ephesus

City Art Gallery workshop with home ed friends.

The mural that the city art gallery workshop was based upon.

Youngest at WETA workshop enjoying a ‘leather and chainmaille workshop’ with her home ed friends.

Climbing with friends.

Checking out an amazing VR art exhibition at The Dowse.

Everyone asks me what I’ll do if she decides to stick with school and I say I’ll decide when/if she does – knowing I’ll still be busy with parent/school duties and extracurricular activities. I shall probably use the extra hours in the day to volunteer some time to local conservation organisations, as well as enjoying running and yoga (and then there’s the house work etc. – which never goes away!).

If I’m no longer required at home in 2021 I shall go planting trees (but nothing like this one, more of the native variety!).

Next year will be quite a different one for our family! Our oldest daughter will continue to be at home, as she’s not 18 till middle of next year and would rather start university life as an 18 year old – so she’s going to take a gap year (which she’s already filling up with volunteer gigs, small business ideas incorporating her love of sewing and a part time job – which she’ll start in January).

Admiring our daughters ‘World of Wearable Art’ piece on display at the National Library in Wellington.

Oh, and she’s busy learning to drive and will be able to take her driving test to get a restricted license around April time (then she can taxi her parents around for a change, tee, hee!).  We are delighted she’ll be home with us for a while longer, as she fills our house with music – be that singing, playing piano, strumming on the guitar or beating out some rhythms on her cajon drum.

Our second born is looking forward to taking on more responsibility at the gym she goes to for parkour and free running classes. She’s been volunteering as an assistant coach for 5 hours a week this year and has been offered some paid work coaching her own groups next year. She’s learning so much from the other coaches and is very grateful for the opportunity to learn to coach. She’s such a strong, little pocket rocket!

Our second born – little pocket rocket, just ‘hanging out’ in the garden doing her stunts!

Along with all the academic goings on there’s been a lot of fun this term…

We’ve had the NZ election (on the night of the results I was actually out with a friend at a ‘Very Halloween Drag Show’ – as you do!).

A Very Halloween Drag Show – on the night of the NZ election results!

There’s been Halloween (more fun dressing up).

Our youngest in her home made ‘Among Us’ costume for Halloween!

A beautiful evening listening to choirs singing together on the evening of Halloween, in which our oldest daughter sang.

We had a dress up party the weekend after Halloween too – our youngest persuaded us and we ended up having so much fun (definitely need more parties now the summer season is nearly upon us!).

Spring party with friends

Our daughters have all been to a few parties this term too, and even hubby and I have been out to a party to celebrate a friend’s 50th Birthday. We feel very grateful that New Zealand took action early on to give us the freedom to live pretty much as normal – the only difference is that people entering the country have to spend two weeks in quarantine (in a hotel) and undergo a Covid-19 test on day 3 and 12 of their stay – this is working well to contain cases at our border and ensure that the population can mostly carry on as normal (though contact tracing is highly encouraged when entering any premises and masks must be worn on domestic air travel and public transport in Auckland – our biggest city).

Along with the parties, prize giving performances and theatre visits, there’s been plenty of time spent enjoying nature in our local area, even though spring has been pretty wild in Wellington (nothing new really!). We managed to grab the sunshine moments between the wind and rain, to enjoy some lovely walks.

Walkies time for Monsieur Cocoa!

A Tui having a feast on the Harakeke nectar.

Houghton Bay

Our thoughts are constantly with family and friends in the UK. We are so grateful for Skype calls, but it’s so hard knowing that we can’t just jump on a plane if we’re needed. Every occasion we enjoy together here in New Zealand we carry with us, in our hearts and minds, family and friends in the UK that aren’t able to be together.

Thinking of our family and friends in the UK and hoping for the day we can fly to see them again.