Saturday, July 31, 2010


Last night we had a bit of fun to end our week on the Moon.  The kids plated up the moon balls they made early in the week for dessert and I had a fun worksheet/game for the kids and Daddy and Granny to put their knowledge of the moon to good use.  The story was that they had crash landed into the moon and they had 12 things which they had to decide whether they would be helpful for survival or not.  As a treat at the end I had purchased some of t he NASA freeze dried ice cream for everyone to taste.  There were mixed ideas about whether the ice cream was worth taking to space or not.  Pollyanna would definately take it but Ben was happier to leave it behind!  Bring on the real stuff I say!  It was a fun way to finish our week concentrating on the moon :)

Friday, July 30, 2010


We are concentrating our ART focus this term of drama, and while I have a very dramatic side, it's probably not the type of drama that the kids can learn from! Pollyanna is just loving it and knows lots of the girls that she used to go to school with and enjoys their company.  Ben has a couple of kids in his drama class that he also knows from school.  He is using drama as a socialising tool I suspect rather than for learning about the art of drama, so it may be a one term wonder for him but we shall see.  Maybe the talking will stop as he goes on and the drama will take over!  Anyway today's pictures are of Polly in her drama class.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Today is Wednesday, the day we do sequencing for English.  Today's sequencing started in the kitchen where the kids had to make moon balls (obviously we are using our space learning to cross curricular purposes!).  At each new part of the recipe I take a photo of the task being undertaken by the kids.  Once the recipe is finished and cooking, the kids do some SSR and I print out the photos of each task, one set for each child (the joys of only having a class of two, make this a really simple job!).  Once the baking is done and cooling the kids get blank worksheets that they then stick the photos in order on and then on the other side of the worksheet, you can see they have to write what the photo is showing them doing.  It is a great sequencing lesson for so many reasons, it's hands-on, they feel part of the sequence, and they have to undertake the learning by partaking in the sequence, visually interpreting it, and then writing about the sequence of events.  The kids love it to because they have delicious treats to eat at lunchtime!

Moon Balls Recipe
I packet of Marie (plain) biscuits crushed
1/2 cup craisens
2 tablespoons of cocoa
1 tin of condensed milk
Coconut or ground almonds for rolling
1. Mix all ingredients together and roll into round balls
2. Roll balls in coconut or ground almonds
3. Put in the fridge overnight to harden and chill
4. ENJOY :)

It's a great quick, easy recipe that the kids can easily achieve under their own steam, which makes them especially proud of the end result.  Even if you did have to get your hands dirty, aye Ben!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Ben and Polly started some hands-on research today.  Ben's computer skills are really good and he has done a number of research projects that have required him to use the computer.  He needs typing skills (term 4 for both kids), but generally he knows his way round the computer pretty well for an 8 year old.  Pollyanna, on the other hand, has very limited skills in this area, so today was her first time using the computer as a research tool.  She did really well and typed in the two questions she wanted to answer and then I helped her read the information she found so she could determine what information was important to her.  For a first attempt she did really well.  While Polly was on the computer, Ben was using his vast reading skills and using the index in the library books we had on space to help him answer a couple of his questions.  The kids had a very productive morning researching :)


ne of the things I love looking at are other peoples home decor and all the wonderful ideas that are out there for home decorating.  I find other peoples blogs so brilliant for that.  So the first of todays two posts is a bit on home decorating and a bit on home schooling.  Obviously our school is in our home and we are lucky enough to have a dedicated space for the schooling of our children, Ben and Pollyanna.  Before we started home schooling this year, the space was the kids lounge/playroom area, which they will have back when we do major house renovations hopefully starting next year (hint hint dear husband) and built another space that will be a purpose built classroom ... its a dream at the moment, but so is the kitchen and a complete house!  Anyway, in the meantime, the kids have given up their play area and it is now a learning area!  So here are some photos of it, its looking not too bad at the moment, excuse the mess on top of the bookcase, its full of this weeks school work :)
This is the end of the classroom where the kids desks and our activity table and whiteboards are along with all their books and equipment.
A closer look at the whiteboard and the bookcase where all their workbooks and exercise books are kept.
The opposite end of the classroom where the computer, printer, and mat area are found.  Yes, we are studying space at the moment! 

Monday, July 26, 2010


This afternoon we spent our hour of Science beginning to learn about the moon.  The kids really enjoyed learning about the lack of weather and air on the moon :) I began the lesson with a couple of books about the moon that talked about the orbits of the sun, moon, and earth.  We then learned about how Earth only sees one side of the earth and how the moon is lite up by the light of the sun.  We then moved on and I introduced how the moon has different phases as it makes its 27 1/3 day orbit around the sun, learning new terms such as waxing and waning.  With scientific terms, I find that repetition really makes a difference and at different times of the day, I ask for a definition of a word and this really reinforces the learning, not to mention their competitive nature to have their hands up first to answer!  There are some fantastic worksheets to use for learning the phases of the moon, in fact, so many it was hard to choose!  Another great learning opportunity for the moon is a flip book that kids can fill in nightly and then put together at the end of the 27 day orbit of the moon.  Another great resource is this phases of the moon animation.  Todays photo is of Pollyanna doing a Moon worksheet, which is what we did to end our first science session on the moon.

Friday, July 23, 2010


Last term we miserably failed with Spelling. You see the problem is I have a natural speller and a littlie who is learning to read as opposed to spelling and it just fell by the way side.  So this term I wanted to address this area of the curriculum and make sure it found a way into our weekly schedule and became important.  So during the holidays I looked at lots of different options and decided to go with some Spelling workbooks from Curriculum Concepts.  The workbooks I have chosen are published by R.I.C  and are a series, so the great part is you can chose the ones relevant to your child's learning ability.  For me this was book A and book G and the wonderful thing about Curriculum Concepts is you can preview the majority of their books online before buying them, which is so fantastic because you aren't guessing which ones you need in the dark.  This is probably one of the main reasons (along with the great selection) that I continue to buy from these guys.  Anyway, back to the spelling, I have chosen this workbook system because not only do they learn to spell the words in weekly units, there are also literacy activities so the kids learn meaning and application behind the words they are learning to spell.  For me, this was the key element for choosing these workbooks.  Ben can spell well beyond his age, so it was incredibly important to make sure he also had a good understanding of the meaning and how the words he was learning could be applied.  Only one week in and I am totally loving this spelling system.  For Polly, the spelling at her level is all about associating sound with letters and that is where she is at in terms of her ability to spell and where she needs repetition. So all round this is looking like a great solution to the Spelling issue, early days though!

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Today we had fun in English learning about research.  Its one of those things that isn't usually taught well at primary school but is so helpful to kids who can understand the concept at a young age.  So today we started off by talking about what you do when you don't know the answer to a question.  Any of course the answer was use things to find out and you do that by researching.  The kids then helped make a big list of resources you could use to find answers to different sorts of questions.  They did a fantastic job and we then used this learning to research an A to Z list of space words using books as our research tools.  I found a ready made one on the starlabs website, which also has lots of other great resources to use for any space learning!  The picture today is of Ben using the books to find words for each letter of the alphabet.  True to form, Ben found it hard to go to morning tea and leave this worksheet to finish after a bite to eat .... a clear sign it was a great task for my little home schoolers!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


One of my favourite parts of English is the visual sequencing the kids do.  Its a great asset to be able to visually sequence clues so they can tell a meaningful story.  By far the best books I have found to do this are really cheap downloadable books from Curriculum Concepts.  They have great educational resources and the first one I got was actually part of their free downloads.  The sequencing books are easy to find just put in the site search engine sequence stories and it comes up with the relevant e-books.  The best part is they are a series, so you can progress with them as your child masters this art.  Todays photo is of Pollyanna who has just cut out the six pictures and found the right order for them to make a story, so she is now colouring them in before gluing them in her writing book. It is pooring with rain today, but we are going out this evening on our second tramping walk :0  Should be interesting in this cold, rainy weather! 

On another note am starting to get really excited about doing heaps of work around our barns and making our home better, Spring is going to be busy getting things done around here!  I am completely motivated by Angela's house and how much they have done and I also keep thinking back to the two couples featured on Grand Designs who did a house each in Italy and France with little money but plenty of passion and hard work.  So the plan will come during this last month of winter and the action will happen the first day of Spring under the first day of Winter next year.  Watch this space for action plans and before and after photos :)


Today the kids were totally on task and did some great work.  The morning started with a new topic for the next five weeks of term for English, called A Journey Through Space.  The kids are going to complete a big poster board each about questions they have thought up about what they want to research and find out about space.  So today it was working on question making and making sure they had a WHAT, WHERE, WHY, WHO, WHEN, and HOW questions.  There were plenty of HOW questions but they found it more difficult coming up with the rest of the questions, which was good :) This afternoon we worked on learning about Kate Sheppard and the role she played in New Zealand's history.  It was hilarious, they had to draw a scene from the 1880-1890 time period to do with Kate Sheppard and then write about it.  There were good behaviour crosses up for grabs for effort for both the writing and the draawing so they took it very seriously!  Poor Ben worried about the quality of his horse drawing and Polly stressed she hadn't written enough, but they had both done great work and learnt about Kate and the influence she had in New Zealand history, AWESOME DAY, heaps of effort and fun :)  Todays link is to a fantastic New Zealand History site and the site has everything from timelines with all the major events to information on each and every event of significance to New Zealand to plenty of resources that can be used in a teaching capacity.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


The kids were a bit hard to motivate today given it was the first day back at school and we had had such a relaxing school holidays at home :) Never mind, they still did a lot of great work and we started our new theme for Science - Astronomy, and did our first tramping fitness walk of 3kms.  So while it wasn't the most exciting day the kids have had at school, they still did a lot of work.  The picture today is of the kids at there desk doing their Grammar work.  One of the major teaching resources I use for Grammar are the once a week workbooks from Help Me Learn, which have fantastic education resources they will send anywhere in the world!  We have found them to be prompt with orders and the workbooks I have ordered have ALL been great teaching resources.  Ben has had two weeks without doing any writing and you could tell ... his writing was back to waffling with not sentence structure so it is something we will have to concentrate on this term and really make it something he does without thinkikng about as opposed to the concerted effort he currently has to make to form sentences.  We made great advances last term in this area but it seems without a reminder and after 2 weeks holidays he has reverted back :(  We have made major steps forward with the writing though, in the area of he no longer sees it as a punishment to have to write!  Pollyanna had a reading test today and passed, moving her from Level 11 to Level 12!  She is doing so well with her reading :)