Saturday, July 28, 2012

It's Olympics Time!

Big Brother woke me this morning to tell me it was 22 minutes until the opening ceremony started.  I suggested he come back and tell me again in 22 minutes.  Sooooo... 22 minutes later we turned on the TV and began our viewing of the 2012 London Olympics... wahoo!

I've been surprised to read a lot of negativity about the opening ceremony.  Mostly, I've noticed, from people who may not have shared a lot of the cultural heritage referenced and represented.  For us, we very much enjoyed it.  Highlights for Big Brother were the parade of nations and the references he recognised to various books he's enjoyed.  Little Sister liked the giant Voldemort and the flags.  I liked, as always the lighting of the flame, and I quite liked the James Bond / Queen scene too... a little cheesy maybe, but fun nonetheless.  

LS: Vol-da-mort was there, but Harry didn't come!
BB: It's ok, the Mary Poppins Army took care of them.

So now we have two weeks of Olympics.  LS asked in shocked tones why we were watching TV in the morning (this does not happen in our house).  She'll have to get used to it over the next two weeks!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Happiness Is...

A freezer stocked with meals for the next month or so.

The only down side is that my beloved label maker ran out of tape before I finished labeling.  I will remedy that tomorrow!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Motivation Rediscovered!

I must confess that my motivation for household tasks has been a little below zero lately, so some things have got a little out of hand.  I'm slowly climbing back into the task though... I think the recent sunshine has helped, and the return to a VLC diet has made a huge difference too.

So far I've tackled the garage, which has been a dumping ground for all the things that don't have homes while we renovate.  There's still a fair bit of homeless stuff stored in there waiting for homes when the house is finished, selling and dropping off at a donation bin otherwise, but I can now get more than 1m inside the door.  I cleared off the bench  and kitchen yesterday which had reached exceedingly embarrassing proportions of mess.  I've culled Little sister's clothes and shoes (not finished) and today was the pantry - again, embarrassing proportions.  Before and after shots.  There was an awful lot of expired food in there :-(  On the plus side, I've managed to move all of my flours / baking supplies into the pantry too... yay!  No, I don't know why we have so many glasses... I'm hoping natural attrition will take care of that, but it seems we're too careful with them, lol!

Still to do: laundry, dumping spaces in the dining room (x2), and my clothes and the rest of the kitchen cupboards could do with attention too.  
The school supplies, games / toys and a final cull of kid stuff, art / craft stuff and books will have to wait until renos are done so I can put things where they belong / work out what we need once we have our spaces organised.  Phew!

Count down to completion of the renovations... Gib board almost finished and plastering due to start on Tuesday <happy dance>

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Big Brother is still enjoying his music lessons.  Here's his most recent piece. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

New Term, New Plans

It's time to start a new term, and that means new topics and new ideas to explore.

Here's the plan for Term 3:

Maths: continuing to work through word problems (G4&5) and computation books (G5) from my $2 shop collection.  Currently having another look at long division which seems to have slipped out of our heads a little.  He's also enjoying the "Mathsmate" worksheets so we're doing one of those a week and using them to pinpoint gaps (decimal division I noted today!) and build problem solving.  I'm still nagging him to complete his Xtramath speeded basic facts and I'd like to see him finish DreamBox math, but I suspect he's a little over that now.  We're also reading through Life of Fred elementary together (we're half way through Farming) and he's reading Decimals and Percents on his own (we love Fred!).  Goals for the end of this term:
- Complete Xtramath subtraction
- 80% on Xtramath multiplication
- finish Dreambox
- Finish G4 Word Problems, possibly G5 as well
- Finish G5 computation (or get close to)

Reading:  Big Brother continues to read widely, and daily, so not too much directed stuff going on here. He's finally finished the Harry Potter series and is on the way back through (he's in Order of the Phoenix now).  He's put that aside for The Hobbit, but I'm not sure how that will go.  I may offer to read it to him if he decides it's too much.  I have started him on a "Reading Comprehension" book, mostly to give him material for a short piece of writing each week.  This week: Amelia Earhart.  He is enjoying this (and couldn't quite believe a crossword was 'real' school today).

Spelling: We're about half way in AAS level 4, and it's serving us well.  I'm contemplating setting up a notebook for him to record errors from his writing too.  I'm hoping to be done with 4 and into 5 by the end of this term.

Writing: I'm taking a different approach to this.  I've put IEW aside for now, although it's an excellent programme and we'll go back to it.  His five-ness is showing here,  and I'm aiming for daily journalling, with a little gentle proofing, maybe a few discussions about extending his writing as the term goes on.  Once a week we'll have a "famous person / place / event" notebooking page to complete (mostly based on the Reading Comp book mentioned above).  Goal for this term is just to build up a little resilience, and limit the whining!

Grammar / other LA: I'm still sitting on the MCT books.  I don't know that he's ready yet (and I'm not!) so I'm holding off on these until we can both really enjoy them together.  We will continue to read Grammarland though... both kids think it's hilarious.

Memory Work:  Back into our work in earnest now that the Speech Competitions are over.  (Did I mention that he won his drama class?  yay!)  I'd like another half a dozen poems memorized by end of term, we're reviewing NZ provinces, and plan to begin flags of the world soon.

Topic: planning to spend two weeks making a poster about the Olympics, watching the Olympics and generally exploring the whole idea.

Science: I've shelved the curriculum for now and he's choosing an experiment a week to do together.  We may or amy not get into the life science (starting with cells) before the end of term.  He's very interested in building molecules at the moment, so I've arranged to borrow a "molymod" kit too.

Art: After two terms of art lessons with a homeschool group we've decided to explore on our own this term.  I'm using a mix of Atelier, Artistic Pursuits and stuff I find on the internet.  My general goal is just to let him explore art making and encourage him to get beyond that 'perfectionist' panic that it's not perfect.

Latin: still debating.  I have "I Speak Latin" on my ereader, and I'm tossing up about Song School Latin.  Latin's Not So Tough is another option... Gah, too hard to choose!  But wondering if I should wait until next year and include Little Sister as well.  What ever we decide, as soon as we are able I'll throw Minimus into the mix, just because it's so cool.

The rest: Music lessons continue, gymnastics continuing, contemplating choir, planning to start martial arts.  Lots of time on science / maths stuff on the computer.  Learning to type on Dance Mat typing (and loving it).

I think that should do us!  Mix in lots of bike riding, playing with his sister, computer time, lego and random toys and games, and I think we're doing ok.

I need to write our exemption application soon... eek!  We're also in countdown mode to the end of the renovations... big reveal to come.