Monday, September 30, 2013

Harry Potter Quotes

As part of our Harry Potter study, we chose some quotes from the series and then we discussed them.

We then picked the quotes that we liked best (or in the case of a certain child, the one that didn't look too long to write!) and wrote them in Sharpie's onto some of our dinner plates and then low baked them so they'd set.

These are the quotes we have chosen thus far ...

- It is our choices, Harry that show us who we truly are, far more than our abilities.

- We've all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That's who we really are.

- We must all make the choice what is right and what is easy.

- what's comin' will come and we'll meet it when it does.

And these are some more that we are going to do ... some plates were int he dishwasher and I really couldn't be bothered handwashing them ...

- If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.

- It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.

- Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.

- It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.

We are a bit chuffed with them ... cause we are quite nerdy that way.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Super Hero Day

It's International Homeschool Spirit Week 2013, (the fourth week of September each year).
On each day of the week there is a theme. This years Homeschool Spirit Week Schedule of Events was as follows:
Pajama Day – Monday, September 23rd -Sponsored by CurrClick
Homeschool Away from Home Day – Tuesday, September 24th – Sponsored by iHomeschool Network
Crazy Hairstyle Day – Wednesday, September 25th – Sponsored by Hip Homeschool Moms
Volunteer Outside Your Home Day – Thursday, September 26th – Sponsored by Great Homeschool Conventions (right here!)
Super Hero Day – Friday, September 27th – Sponsored by
Free Homeschool Deals
Here are the girls and Scruffie and Rory participating in Super Hero Day.
I posted this photo on the International Homeschool Spirit Facebook Page and they re-posted it to everyone ... the girls think they are like celebrties or something now!

Monday, September 23, 2013

New Addition to the Family

Meet Rory ... he's a seven week old, German Shephard (mum) and Border Collie (dad) cross. The vet very kindly pointed out to me that we are going to have a very intelligent and active dog on our hands ... gee thanks!

He is Agent Smelly's baby and of course we got him purely for homeschooling purposes. And whilst I joke about that in fact she has to work out his feeding times, measure how much he eats and of course there's a lot of home economics involved, puddles everywhere! She is also expected to note down his shots, etc. and later they will be going to Puppy Training, which we think is going to be a great training excercise for her ... not sure about the mad mutt! The Fashionista, anxious to be involed, has started using Excel in order to keep a running tally of all his expenses. Every shot, lead, toy (I am tripping over them and him!) is recorded diligantly by her. Probably so she can point out to us that her sister has been given this much money for Rory (although Agent Smelly has spent a fair bit of her own money on his toys), so now it's her turn for a puppy ... lol

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Starting Harry Potter

We are pretty big fans of Harry Potter around here ... especially the Mama ... I know, sad but true. I just adore the series!

Even though the girls have seen the movies, they have never read the books so I decided to start reading the first of them, Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone, to them this week.

At the same time I have been having a look around for some school work that they could do along side the books and confess I am having a blast.

I found a terrific acceptance letter to Hogwarts online at HSLaunch (Homeschool Launch). I played around with the font and added some clip art and then printed the letter on some cream coloured paper which came out looking ever so cool and official. I dropped the letters on the girls work table and walked away. I could hear their squeals of joy in the other room.

The idea of the letter is that they had to "type" an official reply on the computer accepting the position, print it off and redeliver it back to me. It jokingly says to deliver it "by owl" on the letter and there is a date their letters had to be back by. Well despite them having a few days to reply, much to my amusement, they desperately got on to the PC as soon as they had some free time, to write their replies.

Agent Smelly wrote ...

Dear headmaster Xxxxxx,
I would love to be in Hogwarts school of the wizardry arts.
Do you mind if I ask a few questions? Of course you don’t!
When do I get chosen to be in my group, Gryffindor, Slytherin, Hufflepuff, or Ravenclaw? I would love to be in Gryffindor!
Do I get a wand? I would love a wand!
Do I get a robe? I love robes!
When do I start?  It sounds like so much fun to be a wizard!
From...the soon to be wizard,
Xxxxxxx Xxxxxxx

The Fashionista's reply ...

Dear Headmaster XXXX,
I would love to attend the Hogwarts School of Magic! Thank you so much. I will enjoy it so very much!
I would like to be sorted into Huffle-Puff if possible please.
Where do I get my supplies: wand, broom-stick, cloche, etc?
When does the magical school term start? Is it the same as normal schools?
How exactly do I get there? I mean, I know about 9 ¾ but what station?
Do we get our own rooms or do we get sorted into rooms of let’s say three or four?
About the classes, do you take any? Is there allot of reading involved?
Yours sincerely,      
Soon-to-be, Witchy, Xxxx.   
They do ask a lot of questions don't they? I do think you can probably feel their excitement in their letters though!

I later saw Agent Smelly on a chair in the dining area tying a rope to the curtain rod and she looked at me and said "no questions please mummy" so I left her to it. Later on I was called over to the table to sit and then lo and behold she had tied her owl puppet to the string and placed her own letter in it's arms and then let it slide down the rope to where I sat. I was gobsmacked and couldn't help but laugh. Apparently she took the "delivery by owl" rather literally.

Such a fun activity for us all.
Highhill Homeschool

Monday, September 16, 2013

Astronomy ... Completed!

Well we finished Astronomy on time ... YEAH! It was a bit rushed we ended up doing a few sessions the last week of term 2 to make sure we did though, as I didn't want to have to complete the last few chapters during term 3.

These are some pictures from the girls Astronomy workbooks ... 

The Sun




The Moon


Asteroids and Meteorites

Uranus and Neptune


Zodiac Constellations
Space Stations and becoming an Astronaut
My Perfect Planet descriptions
Oreo Moon Project

Friday, September 13, 2013

Friday Funnies

Agent Smelly was not eating her soup for dinner as she didn't like it! She can be a bit of a pain on occasion and tells you she's full when it is not something she really wants to eat. If it was something I knew she really oculdn't eat of course I wouldn't make her but she's been trying this on a bit lately and then half an hour later she ends up begging for something to eat, cause she is suddenly hungry and it is usually something sweet that she wants.

So rather than sitting there all night, or getting into an argument, I sat down beside her and smiled and sweetly said "if you are going to be a baby I'll treat you like one" and I picked up the spoon and started feeding her.

Her eyes widened and we both started smiling, and she actually sat there and ate it. My mum mentioned once that sometimes children are simply too tired or lazy to eat and I think she probably felt this way today, who knows. 

Unfortunately I decided to make a choo choo noise just like when she was little, and as I placed the soup in her mouth I toot tooted which made her burst into a big laugh and that was how I ended up with pumpkin soup all over my face and dripping off my glasses.

To make matters worse, as we all sat there laughing she was "Oh no-ing" and trying to be helpful and wipe the soup away with her serviette which was just making things worse as I ended up not being able to see anything with glasses covered in pumpkin soup.

Next time I may just let her go to bed on an empty stomach!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Some Photos for our Postcard Exchange Peeps...

It was such a beautiful Spring Day here in New Zealand this week, so I took the girls out around our little town to take some photos for our international postcard exchange friends ...

This is the view from our house. You can just see our cows sleeping down the hill.

Local Views

Agent Smelly's Picture of Main Street ... imaginative street name ey!
The Fashionista's shot of the hustling and bustling "Main Street".
And because we are homeschoolers ... the new library!

St Margarets Anglican Church which is over 100 years old.

Presbyterian Church taken from across the Rugby fields.

Local Scout and GirlGuide Den - could do with a paint!
Our busy local Fire Station run purely by volunteers!
Our revamped Ambulance station
This vintage fire truck was restored by the Te Kauwhata Fire Brigade and lives in it's own wee garage (with glass windows) up the top of Main Street. It is is hard to photograph through the windows. It is used at special events in our town and kids look forward to riding on the back at some of the town events. Santa travels on it each Christmas when Main Street is closed off and the community holds it's own Christmas Parade.
This picture was taken a few years back when the truck was lent to the Hamilton Fire Brigade
 to be used for the funeral of a fireman there killed in the line of duty.
Our local Fire brigade are in the process of trying to raise more money in order to restore
 another fire truck that is even older than this one.

These are some other photos that I had on my PC, taken at other places around NZ.

This is a Kiwi Bach (pronounced batch, short for bachelor pad).
A bach used to be a very small or modest holiday house or cabin and were often filled with
second-hand furniture . They were often built by family and are an iconic part of New Zealand
 history and culture. Ours was built by my father-in-law and is down by a popular beach,
 called Whangamata. These days our bach is surrounded by a lot of posh holiday homes
 and trendy restaurants and although inside we have modernised it a bit over the years,
 people who stay there really like the charm and come back reminiscing about baches,
 requesting we let it retain it's original charm which is great cause we can't afford to do it up ... lol.

Sky Tower, Auckland
View of Auckland from the Sky Tower

Rotorua Museum
One of the many thermal pools in Rotorua - this one is fenced as it is TOOO hot.

One of the mud pools at Rotorua

Will keep updating this with photos as I come across them. If anyone has anything they would like a specific photo of please don't hesitate to ask and if it's possible will try and get one.

Monday, September 2, 2013

We joined a Postcard Exchange

Recently I came across a site on facebook called Homeschool penpals/postcard exchange/geo-cac/book exchange/activity bagswap. Bit of a mouthful ey? It is a closed group so you have to ask permission to join. It's quite easy to find and join.
Basically they set up groups that you can join to swap postcards, books, crafts and so on.  You don't need to sign up to a group you can just pop a status on that "You are a family from NZ (OZ, etc) and looking to exchange postcards, with ... ". Be aware if you are from NZ or Australia you will get a lot of response, which is just great but a bit overwhelming.

So far besides, the many US States, we are swapping with Italy, Germany, England, the State Western Australia, South Africa and a card from Holland.

Besides deciding to join and swap postcards, my girls collect sew on badges / patches which they sew onto their GirlGuide (US GirlScout) blankets and so we asked on there if anyone was interested in swapping and we had a few respond which was cool. The girls are very interested in those coming. As some of the people we are swapping with are also in GirlScouts or American Girls we'll be including photos of the girls in their uniforms and they'll be doing the same.

So if your kids have anything they like to collect you can always ask, you might get someone willing to swap with you. :)

Also if you are after a pen pal for your youngster there is an area for that to search for or simply post a request for one. My girls have somehow ended up with another two pen friends each but are eagerly awaiting their first letters from them.

Some tips; cause I am like such an old hand now ... two weeks later and very broke:
  • Because in our case ALL of the participants are international it is a pretty expensive exercise. It costs me around $2.50 NZD per card to post. (US 1.95 or AUD 2.20)  Therefore I would be set up before listing any requests. IE have a pile of postcards, written and stamped ready to go.

  • I would also limit how many go out a week, for instance even if I only send 10 a week , that's still $25.00. So ask for certain places, IE any international countries (there's not that many) but where the US is concerned you have 50 states all approaching you so if you wish to collect from every State then do a list of the states and simply ask for specific States and work your way through a list, otherwise you could find yourself bombarded by the nicest people.
  • When dealing with the US people note they tend to only put abbreviations of their states, so I printed a list with all the States with their abbreviations so I knew where they were talking about. Most make sense but if you are like me, you don't always remember each of them. Also a funny little habit they have is when they give you their address they hardly ever write USA in it ... it always amuses me.

  • Be also aware that some postcards may simply have a lovely picture of it (especially the homemade/printed ones), so if you want one with the state or country on it then it may pay to put it in your post. Otherwise your kids will keep asking when you glue tack it to the wall or stick it in your map book where it's from ... hehe

  • Because I joined my girls to this, and it is for them, I expect them to write the postcards but after them each penning their fourth cards ... guess what ... yup, the moaning started. So we ended up typing something up and printing it out. We then glue the "letter" onto the postcard which saves a lot of time (and my ears) but they still are expected to write the address on the cards. You will get a lot of cards written in mama's writing, either because the kids are too young or they may have moaned like mine did ... and it was probably easier just to write them themselves.

  • I also record each person we swap with, the date we posted their card and the date we received a card from them. That way if we don't receive one from someone we sent them to we can ask them about it or if it is anything serious we can report it to one of the administrators, who are very proactive on the site.

Even though this has been a tad expensive for us, it didn't have to be, so forewarned is forearmed. If you have any questions feel free to ask. It really is a lot of fun, especially the pen-pal and in our case badge swap.

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