Our Reasons for Home Education:

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Although he was achieving good results, he wasn't reaching his full potential because his love for learning had been destroyed & hence his grades were steadily declining.

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Completely failed by the system, he hated school, was always tired & homework time was a major frustration for both of us. He was severely frustrated & quickly heading to become yet another ADHD statistic.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

1st Term Wrap-Up

2015_0321_193205I just figured I'd use my 2 hours waiting for Jesse at his MindLab lesson to create an way overdue update. First I must express I am impressed with this family waiting here with me with their little girl aged about 5. 2015_0402_125508Seeing dad sit flat on the carpet playing with his daughter is a first ever for me. Why don’t we see more of this kind of involvement from parents in public?

It's been a wild roller coaster ride since we decided to relocate for want of creating a better future for the boys. 8 months later we've finally settled in having received our container the day before New Year & for the most part are now all sorted.

340125987 Our 4 bedroomed house is much smaller than what we were used to in SA & having taken in a SA friend's 22 year old son, Zane, that pretty much occupies all the rooms. Fortunately we only shipped about 40% of our stuff. There's just no way we would have been able to fit everything here. For lack of space, our classroom has been reduced to just 1 bookshelf in the garage.

For this term Misha attended a Maths Games & Stories as well as a Lego Stop Motion class at YMCA once a week. Jesse did some programming at MindLab although he didn't find it very challenging.

Te KuraJesse is also wrapping up his last few units with Alpha Omega Academy, due to be completed by the end of this month. We have signed him up with Te Kura to do his final year with the NZ curriculum so he won't need to do the irrelevant history & government subjects he would have needed to graduate. Instead he will focus on subjects that are more relevant to his future studies. As with AOA, here too he has teachers assigned for each subject but with the difference of being able to go see them in Auckland should the need for individual assistance arise.

Having passed his Learner's licence in August last year, Jesse's been doing most of the driving in & around town for all our activities. I must admit I enjoy having my own private chauffeur around.

As always, I prefer to hang around & wait for the kids rather than spending forever on the roads. One of the biggest adjustments here is getting used to the amount of time it takes to drive to places with the speed limit at 50km/h in town & mostly 80km/h with max of 100km/h in some places on the motorway. Driving still isn't my favourite pass time & will miss Jesse driving once he's got his restricted & is able to get around on his own.

Image result for magic of the gatheringIn January we met Rebecca, a teacher from the USA who has since been helping me get Misha back into more structured learning.  In just 3 weeks he's mastered his multiplication tables, which just goes to show what kids are capable of when you meet them at their level & make learning relevant to their interests.2015_0323_194638

Her Kiwi husband, Ben, has been teaching the boys to play the  "Magic: The Gathering" card game. It is a critical thinking & strategy game which requires a huge amount of reading & comprehension with which we are now addressing Misha's Language Arts.  Thursdays have since become their game nights but they often play together at home. The boys seem to enjoy this & are playing it at home a lot too.

We are loving our new found freedoms & thoroughly enjoy living in a safer environment, with loads of opportunities for the boys future prospects.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Red Cross People Saver Course

People Savers is a first aid course that prepares the students to act in an emergency situation, whether in the classroom or playground, on a school trip or camp, or at home.

  • It introduces and familiarises the students with basic hands-on first aid skills for emergency situations
  • It is facilitated in your school by a trained Red Cross New Zealand first aid instructor
  • It is a stand-alone course (but can also be part  of a teacher-planned unit of work or inquiry)
  • It supports the curriculum, particularly  Health & Physical Education, Science and Social Sciences.

2015_0323_080052The course covers the following areas using the DRSABC framework:

  • D ~ Check for Dangers
  • R ~ Check Response
  • S ~ Send for help
  • A ~ Check Airway
  • B ~ Check Breathing
  • C ~ Check Circulation and bleeding

2015_0323_081640Some of the topics covered were:

  • How to call for help
  • Circulation/bleeding
  • Dangers
  • Shock/nose bleeds
  • Response
  • Broken bones
  • Airway
  • Burns and scalds
  • Recovery position
  • Poisons
  • Breathing

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Students were encouraged to roleplay emergency situations & practiced being both the casualty and the people saver scenarios.

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Teamwork was initiated to get the check the students recollection of materials covered. They also got to practice how to do a bandage & a arm sling.


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Sunday, March 8, 2015

Hikianalia Hawai Tour


Hikianalia is the Hawaiian name for the star also known as Spica, which rises together with Hōkūle’a (Arcturus) in Hawaii. They are sister stars because they break the horizon together at the latitude of the Hawaiian islands.  While Hikianalia has her own sail plan for part of the Worldwide Voyage, she and Hōkūleʻa will begin and conclude the voyage side-by-side. 2015_0308_131836 

Hikianalia combines the latest ecological technology with the heritage of the voyaging tradition. Each of our hulls contains an electric motor powered by onboard photovoltaic panels that convert sunlight to electric propulsive energy. With a zero carbon footprint, her design supports the “Mālama Honua” intent of the Worldwide Voyage.2015_0308_132238

2015_0308_132536Hikianalia was designed specifically for the Worldwide Voyage, following a template created by Salthouse Boatbuilders and used by the Okeanos Foundation for the Sea, which commissioned the seven waka moana of the Pacific Voyagers in Aotearoa (New Zealand). A sail path between Aotearoa and Hawaiʻi was rekindled in 1985, when Hōkūle’a sailed there and established an ongoing relationship with Maori communities.

We received a complete run down of all the features and amenities on board this ship. I found it quite impressive how they’ve kitted out this small space for fairly comfortable living, complete with kitchen, shower & toilet.

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Hikianalia features at a Glance:

  • Built in Auckland, Aotearoa by Salthouse Boatbuilders (builders of the Pacific Voyagers waka)
  • Launched for sea trials on September 15, 2012
  • Set sail from Aotearoa to Tahiti on October 9, 2012.  Arrived on October 25.
  • Length: 72 feet
  • Width: 23 feet
  • Green Footprint: Hikianalia is powered by photovoltaic-driven electric motors
  • Hikianalia is the Hawaiian name for the star Spica.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Sonshine Ranch

2015_0218_0932462015_0218_093240We took Misha to Sonshine Ranch today to join a group of homeschoolers for some horse riding, flying fox, rope swing & a water confidence course. It is a pity that this was only aimed at the younger children as I think Jesse would  have really enjoyed taking part in those activities too.

Sonshine Ranch is a Christian outdoor recreation centre situated about half way between Papakura and Clevedon. It is an hour South-East from Auckland International Airport, and forty minutes from downtown Auckland. Getting there was our biggest challenge for the day. Even though it is just 50km from home, this trip during peak hour traffic took us just over an hour & a half. That being something to get used to when we used to drive almost 80km to our family in Vanderbilpark in half that time.

First up was the flying fox, which for some reason he refused to do even though he had  done the one in Stanmore Bay many times. Maybe this one seemed a bit too intimidating having needed a harness & being so much bigger.

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We did however manage to convince him to give the rope swing a try after which he figured the flying fox wouldn’t have been so bad. Had they swopped these two events around he may have even attempted it later.


The horse riding was probably his main reason for agreeing to go. After this he was all relaxed & not concerned with all the new faces at all. This of course would have been the best ice breaker. Had he been in the first group, I guess everything would have been different for him.

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After horse riding it was time for lunch.

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Then off to the water confidence course.

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Below we saw an amazing display of teamwork as the little girl in front got stuck getting to the other tire because she was so small. It took about 10 minutes for the kids behind to swing at each other hard enough to push her far enough forward to reach that tire as they had to get her out of the in order to finish their own course.

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Having had an eventful day by 13h30 the kids were getting ready to head back home.

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Thursday, February 5, 2015

School Term Start

2015_0205_1152402015_0205_113354Here in New Zealand the schools close later in December than we’re used to & hence only start early February. Although we already started school straight after New Year because we still prefer to take short breaks more regularly in the year, we have to wait for the school term to start for homeschool activities to commence.

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This year our first activity was stopping by the annual Auckland Home Educators picnic today. The boys met some new people there, but unfortunately none that live close by so they can see them more often.

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Jesse tried his hand on some programming at The MindLab. However most of their classes are aimed at 16 & under so he got rather bored so will stick out the term & then we’ll have to find him something else to do.

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Whilst waiting for Jesse, Misha & I joined another Kiwi mom & her 2 younger kids for a walk through the area & ended up doing some geocahing. Misha got to navigate on the phone whilst moms just followed along. They did find 2 caches & got very close to a third one but due to not having a special tool we weren’t able to retrieve it. We figured we’d bring some tools next time we’re in the area for that one.