Notes from our Home School Journal, 22 June, 2012

In my life this week…

The week’s got better as it’s gone on – along with the weather.

Beautiful, sunshine Friday across Evans Bay in Wellington

We had our big school girl, Charlotte, home on Thursday. She’s been having a few too many late nights – getting carried away with her enthusiasm for learning and entering the New Zealand Association for Gifted Children (NZAGC) Writing & Art competition, in addition to the NZAGC Photo competition, being run in conjunction with ‘Gifted Awareness Week‘ on the theme ‘Connections’.

I shan’t share her actual entry here, but here are two photographs she took on the theme, that didn’t make her final cut (she could only enter one, with a brief description).

Charlotte's 'Lego' connection photo

I love the colours in this photo. Here’s another one on the theme of connection – reaching out across the world through the power of technology – Granddaughter to Grandmother – from New Zealand to England.

Alice and Grandma

Charlotte managed to get back to school on Friday and was bouncing when we picked her up at the end of the day. She is working on a lovely Powerpoint presentation, all in French, about her family and was excited to show us her progress on it this evening – finally got to sleep at 10pm!

It was a treat having my big girl home though. She is so positive and encouraging. After watching a Suzy Cato ‘It goes where?’ DVD, the older girls decided to turn old shoe boxes into their own mail-boxes and spent the rest of the day writing letters to one another! It was very sweet. My homeschooler decided that Mummy should have a box too and left me such a beautiful letter (I confess… there were a few happy tears!)

Letter from Sophie

In our homeschool this week…

There’s been writing (hurray!) and reading, drawing and learning. Monday started slowly – with Sophie (nearly 6 and a half), Alice (not yet 2 and a half) and I taking it in turns to read in bed – obviously Alice wasn’t *reading* but she can *tell* a good story!

Monday morning reading in bed

Sophie’s new ‘work station’ (see below for ‘What’s working for us’) got her focused and wanting to learn. She spent some time enjoying ‘Study Ladder‘ and learning the different bones of the body, as well as reading and learning about all sorts of different animals. She played the piano a little (that’s not happened for a good few weeks – but then I haven’t felt like playing either – it’s often when I tinker on the keys more that she joins in).

Sophie on sunshine Friday 22 June

Alice is a bright young button and busy too. She’s not yet two and a half, but she’s solving ‘odd one out’ puzzles, matching pairs, has great knowledge of shapes, colours and counting up to ten. She has such an adorable laugh and quirky humour.

Alice - 28 months

When Charlotte (nearly nine) was home on Thursday she lined up all our toy animals in alphabetical order to play with Alice, ‘Can you find the animal that starts with…?’ or, more simply, ‘Can you find the ‘animal’?. Alice loved it – but quickly decided throwing the animals out of line and scattering them around the room was more fun.

Alice playing a game with big sister Charlotte & the animals

Places we’ve been and people we’ve seen…

We got out the house a few times this week, after feeling like hermits for the past couple of weeks! Alice often went out sporting her beloved gumboots (she’s always on a mission to find a puddle – there’s been plenty around lately!). And even when the rain stopped the girls looked for more excuses to get wet – asking me to fill up water bombs one afternoon!

Out and about

We got out swimming earlier in the week, enjoyed a trip to the library and met up with some wonderful old neighbours. We enjoyed the company of our current neighbours on Thursday afternoon and celebrated Matariki with them. We also caught up with the wonderful Wellington homeschool families we’ve got to know over the past year. Every fortnight they get together at the recreation centre for a couple of hours of fun.

Alice and Sophie at the rec centre

My favorite thing this week was…

Celebrating Matariki (the Pleiades), which signals the Māori New Year. Traditionally, it was a time for remembering the dead, and celebrating new life.

Celebrating Matariki | 21 June

We made mobiles to symbolize the seven stars – or ‘seven sisters’ of the constellation (always makes me think of my dear Grandmother – who was one of seven sisters!) and lit lots of candles to welcome back the light.

'Seven sisters' of Matariki

It’s currently dark at 5pm, so we’ll look forward to watching the sunshine slowly return to our evenings. This Friday has been a beautiful, sunshine day. We’ve spent it seeing dear old friends and catching up with newer friends too.

Sunshine Friday at Shelly Bay, Wellington

What’s working/not working for us…

Creating a dedicated work space for Sophie in the living area. She used to have this desk in her bedroom and used our dining table for most of her work – but she had to kneel on a chair to be high enough at the table to write. She suggested moving her desk downstairs – as she likes to be close to the action in the house. Since we started home-schooling I’ve moved a lot more of our learning books into the living room for quick and easy reference.

Sophie's new work station and a 'Matariki' kite design out of sticks

What’s cooking…

Sophie decided we’d cook vegetable soup on Monday, spag bog on Tuesday and pancakes on Wednesday – she actually helped out quite a bit too! Hurray!

Sophie's in the kitchen

A video to share…

A quote to share…

“When you want to teach children to think, you begin by treating them seriously when they are little, giving them responsibilities, talking to them candidly, providing privacy and solitude for them, and making them readers and thinkers of significant thoughts from the beginning. That’s “if” you want to teach them to think.”

~~Bertrand Russell


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