Monday, October 28, 2019

Our homeschool schedule for term 4 2019

Term four is already shaping up to be a busy one for me and the kids. I fear that my homeschool goals might not actually fit into the amount of time we have in a day, but we're going to give it a jolly good crack.

Activities outside of the home
This term the kids are all doing swimming lessons because I want them to hone their swimming skills before our summer holiday. We will be spending lots of time near water, so swimming skills are vital. 

In our Christian homeschool group, we are doing cricket for our sport and a Christmas nativity musical for our art. The kids are learning to read sheet music and are being instructed by one of our homeschool mums, who is a trained singing and piano teacher. 

In our other homeschool group, Miss L has signed up for polymer clay modeling, a dance class and a Lego creations club. Miss S is doing Minecraft computer coding, creative journaling and the same Lego class as Miss L. Master J is doing a class about epic voyages, a science class and a sports class. 

L and S are continuing with their music lessons this term. L has just moved up to a three-quarter size violin, and S is preparing for an end-of-year piano recital. 

This term J is doing club athletics, because he LOVES to run. 

We are also continuing the resilience course we started last term with three other homeschooling families. It happens once a fortnight. On the alternate fortnight, the kids go to an after-school club at our church. The theme of the club this term is 'The INCREDIBLE Word.'

Book work at home
All the children are doing The Good and the Beautiful for their Writing, Art and Geography curriculum. I can't say enough good things about it. The stories are inspiring and wholesome, the teaching is rigorous and the art is beautiful. L has just moved up a level, so I spent this long weekend printing, stapling and hole punching the curriculum to get it ready. I'm excited to start it with her. (I love learning alongside my kids.)
The kids are doing Math U See for mathematics and are all almost ready to move up to the next level. I'm waiting for our homeschool allowance to come through from the government before I purchase the next books for everyone. 
For science this term we are learning about animal biology. I purchased a Christian curriculum called The World of Animals, from a Facebook homeschool group, and have put together a looping basket of supplementary reading material. 
I've also made lap books for the kids, so they can add interesting information they learn about animals as we go along. The lap books are divided into 'Mammals,' 'Birds and Fish,' 'Amphibians and Reptiles,' and 'Arthropods,' to correspond with the different units in The World of Animals curriculum. I found animal lap book printables at Catholic Schoolhouse and at Homeschool Share.
We are just wrapping up The Story of the World book one, so I have ordered book two from Book Depository. I'm keen to make a large timeline with the kids, to recap everything we learnt about ancient times before we move onto the next book. 
I've put together memorisation books for the kids, because I want to make it really simple for them to memorise poems, Bible verses, geography facts and other useful information each week. 
My goal is for the kids to learn one Bible verse each week, so that they have a stack of them stored up in their hearts and minds for all the different moments in their lives when they need encouragement. I found bible verses online that people had created to look beautiful, so I printed them off and glued them into our Bible verses book. 
To help us memorise geography facts, I'm searching out catchy songs on YouTube. The best one I've found so far is this Rock the Capitals song about South America. If you know of any other good ones, please send them my way.

And that's it for term four. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Memorising the times tables

Image result for times table image
Our family started homeschooling two years ago, and we've slowly been figuring things out along the way. I realised recently that my approach to education is three parts classical, one part unschooling.

There are things kids need to learn while they're young and they're minds are like sponges that will allow them to make connections between all knowledge and will also set them up with a strong foundation for later in life (classical education). However, there are also great benefits to allowing the kids to create and imagine and learn by following their interests and participating in real life (unschooling).

The unschooling part comes easy. I just run with whatever has taken my children's fancy and provide the resources to support them in their endeavours.

For the classical education approach, however, I need a bit more structure and organisation in my life.

To help me (and any other homeschooling parents who want easy access to memorisation tools), I'm going to post what I find helpful here on Craving Fresh. I'll leave links to all these posts up on my Homeschooling tab above, under the heading Homeschool Memorisation Resources.

Times Table learning guide
Maths Is Fun has put together a really great guide for learning the times tables. It has games, printables, an explanation on how to approach the times tables, and more. 

Times tables skip counting songs
For memorising the times tables, I've found the following skip counting songs on YouTube by Planning Playtime really good because they're so catchy. They use well known songs, which makes it feel like the job of learning the times tables is already half done.

Skip counting by 3 to the tune of Where is Thumbkin?

Skip counting by 4 to the tune of Row, Row, Row your Boat.

Skip counting by 6 to the tune of London Bridge is Falling.

Skip counting by 7 to the tune of Mary had a Little Lamb.

Skip counting by 8 to the tune of This Old Man.

Skip counting by 9 to the tune of Ten Little Indians.

Skip counting by 12 to the tune of Jingle Bells.

Now, I'd love to hear from you if you've got any other great suggestions for teaching the times tables. Just share them in the comments below. I can always update this post with more links that will benefit us all. Thanks!

Friday, August 9, 2019

Our homeschool activities in Term 3, 2019

Tornado Tammy Science Show

With homeschool, we have the freedom to choose our schedule, so we really could do anything we wanted to. However, there are so only so many hours in the day, so much energy this mama has, and so many dollars in the bank to pay for activities.

These are the things we've decided to focus on as a homeschool family this term.
Music is always a priority for us, so S is continuing with her piano lessons and L is continuing with Suzuki violin lessons. I want to start J in lessons too, but I'm delaying until I think he'll take them seriously, because they are so expensive.
Each term we do one sport and one art class with our Christian homeschool group. This term, the girls, who are in the intermediate age group, are doing netball and charcoal art. J, who is in the junior age group, is doing ball handling skills and crayon and dye. We're also going on a group trip to The Old Lolly Shop in Takapuna, where the kids will get to make their own lollies.

With our other homeschool group, L has signed up for a Jazz dance class, a polymer clay modelling class and a Lego class. S is doing creative journaling, Minecraft computer programming and a Lego class. J is doing a Little Ferns nature class, Art Play, Maths Fun and Kid Sports.
We've also joined in with three other families to do a resilience course called Bounce Back. We had our first session last week, on the importance of telling the truth, and my kids all loved it. My homeschool-mama friend, Julia, is taking us through the course, and she's doing an excellent job. Thanks, Julia!
The girls have almost finished their club netball season. S only has one more game to go, and I think L will be finishing shortly after her. We love netball, but it sure will be nice not to have to go stand in the cold on the netball courts three times a week.

I've signed the kids up to do the Auckland Home Educators cross country this month. We're trying to fit in training whenever we can and have found a good track that's the right length, and where I can keep an eye on the kids no matter where they are on the loop. I'm enjoying having an excuse to go out and get fresh air and exercise with the kids during the day.

The kids are also taking part in a once-a-fortnight after-school club at our church. This term the theme is 'The Circus.'

For bookwork this term, we are continuing to work through: The Good and the Beautiful for language, arts, geography and literature; Math-U-See for maths; Mystery Science for science; and The Story of the World for history.

Homeschool is feeling a little busier this term, but I think that will ease off once the netball season comes to a close and we've completed the cross country.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

How we homeschool in New Zealand

I've had several people get in touch with me and ask about how homeschooling works here in New Zealand, so it's been really helpful to be able to point them to the posts I've written about what our family does each term.

If you're considering homeschooling, please know that there is no external moderation. It's up to you to decide how to educate your children.

You do, however, have to apply for your children over the age of six to be exempt from going to a formal school. I recently completed my son's application and we received his exemption in the mail after having to answer an email where I was asked to explain in more detail how I was planning to assess him and what my educational goals for him are over the next 12 months. It was the first time I'd needed to provide further information on an application, so it was a bit nerve-wracking, but all went through fine and we received his exemption certificate in the mail with plenty of time to spare before his sixth birthday. I was so relieved.

Writing the exemption application is a good process, because it gets you thinking about how you want to educate.

The hardest one for me to write was the first one, because I hadn't homeschooled before and really had no idea what I was going to do. My plan turned out to be nothing like the reality of it, but that's okay. No one holds you to your plan. I think it just assures the Ministry of Education that you're serious about this homeschooling business; that it's not just an excuse to neglect your kids.

For us, homeschooling looks like a structured term time where we do: some bookwork at home in maths, English, science and history; lots of audiobooks and read aloud time, as well as quiet reading time; participation in club netball for the girls, participation in two different homeschool groups where all three kids take various art, sport, dance, computer programming and science classes (plus hang out with friends); chores and housework; music lessons; and, most importantly, lots and lots of unstructured play time.
I also try to fit in excursions from time to time, when I can.  Last week we went to the zoo; this week we went to Tui Glen playground.
When the kids are left to their own devices, their default play is Lego. They can spend hours creating and exploring imaginary worlds with it. They also regularly play board games together, which Paul and I join in on sometimes. (Our family favourite at the moment is King of Tokyo, closely followed by 5 Minute Dungeon.) The kids also like jumping on the trampoline, rollerblading, climbing trees, playing with the cat and the chickens, or pulling out art supplies and getting creative on the dining room table.

Oh, and lately the girls have been teaching themselves to play songs on our piano keyboard using YouTube tutorials they search up on our iPad. My eldest daughter, who is officially learning violin, not piano, can be found at our keyboard most hours of the day, practising piano.

That's what kids do, when given lots of unstructured play time. They follow their interests and teach themselves things.

Our family follows the school term, because all of our structured activities happen during term time,  but we make the most of our holidays. I always find I need a good one by the end of the term, as I'm exhausted. We usually go to the beach where we get to recharge in nature, but this past holiday we did something different and went to stay with family in Christchurch. It was exciting for the kids, getting to travel by airplane for the first time in many years, and getting to explore a new-to-them city.

We loved spending time with our Christchurch family, and we also got to visit lots of wonderful places while we were there. We were lucky, because our holiday coincided with KidsFest, so the children got to do many activities free or cheaper than usual.
We visited Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, which was amazing and just seemed to keep going forever. The kids fed and patted so many animals, even eels.
We explored the new five-story Tūranga library (we can't call ourselves a homeschooling family if we don't visit the library). Tūranga had a Lego play area and a virtual reality machine, both which sucked the kids in for ages.
We played on the Margaret Mahy playground.
We rode the gondola and got to see amazing views out over Christchurch and Lyttelton Harbour.
We played at Taylor's Mistake beach, which satisfied our usual holiday beach-time urges, even if the water was freezing.
We spent two nights in Hanmer Springs, where we got to swim in the gorgeous hot pools, surrounded by snow-capped mountains.
We caught up with old friends of mine, and did cupcake decorating.
We caught the tram around Christchurch's CBD and got to see buildings that were damaged by the earthquakes, as well as new buildings that have sprung up to replace the destroyed ones. We hopped off the tram to explore the Christchurch Museum, and then hopped back on again to finish the circuit.

In all the downtime in between our various excursions, the children played with their cousins - building Lego, practising songs on the piano and getting creative with art supplies on the dining room table.

Kids are always learning, even if it's just how to negotiate the swapping of one Lego piece for another - the kind of skill that will be useful for the rest of their lives.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

A love story

Twelve years ago, I was lucky enough to marry my love, Paul. We're actually celebrating our 12th wedding anniversary this weekend, and it's got me reflecting on the crazy way we got together.

I was 20 when I met Paul. We were both leaders on a Scripture Union camp that I wasn't supposed to be at. I didn't even know what Scripture Union was until my friend, Ellie, rung me up and invited me to be a camp leader with her.

Ellie and I both applied to lead on a camp at Lake Tarawera, but were told it already had enough leaders. Ellie decided to lead on a horse camp instead, and then someone got in touch with me and asked if I could lead on a camp at Lake Okataina. I said, "Sure," even though I didn't know anyone else going to the camp. It seemed like a fun way to spend a week - swimming, kayaking, tramping and playing sports.

As it turned out, I made many wonderful friends that week on camp. Friends who are still dear to me to this day.

I also met Paul.

He was the studies leader on camp, which meant he gave talks about God and had prepared the bible studies we did in our small groups that week.

Paul and I hit it off, but to me it was just friendship. The two of up stayed up too late every night, playing cards with the cook and the camp director, discussing how camp was going, figuring out how to deal with difficult situations. Having fun.

On the last day of camp, everyone wrote warm fuzzies to each other, where we told each other what we liked and appreciated about each other. We all left camp on a high and vowed to stay in touch.

A month later, I received flowers on Valentine's Day from an anonymous gift-giver. I figured out they were from Paul when I read the card and saw it said the same thing Paul had written in my warm fuzzy at camp:
Emma, you are beautiful inside and out.
I loved receiving those flowers and started to wonder whether my feelings for Paul could go beyond friendship. We had been emailing back and forth since camp and his emails always made me laugh. I looked forward to them every day. Since I didn't have the internet at my flat (it was truly the dark ages), I had to open my emails at work. My boss heard me laughing away every time, and was convinced Paul was the guy for me.

Yet, every time I hung out with Paul in person, which didn't happen very often since we lived in different cities, all I felt for him was friendship.

Meanwhile, another of my co-leaders from camp was also showing an interest in me, and I did find myself attracted to him. He ticked all the boxes. He was tall, good-looking and charming, and he was a Christian. I had dated guys who weren't Christians in the past and had vowed never do that again, because I knew it wouldn't work out longterm, once the nitty gritty decisions of life came into play.

I liked this guy, but when I asked God if he was the one for me, I got a clear, "No."

I had only received such a clear dismissal one other time, when I was 18 and had asked God about a guy from my church who I really liked. Liked so much I basically stopped eating for three months so I could fit into the guy's image of what size a girl should be. Thankfully, God showed me a clear picture of that guy marrying someone else, so I knew he wasn't for me.

I was disappointed both times God shook His head, but later learned I'd had two lucky escapes. Both men went on to be unfaithful to the women they married, and their marriages ended in divorce.

It reminds me that God doesn't tell us, "No," to hurt us, but because His ways are higher and He knows so much more than we do. It also reminds me that just because someone goes to church and says they're a Christian, doesn't necessarily mean they love God and are obedient to him. "The way is narrow and few will find it," as Jesus pointed out.

Back to Paul.

A year after meeting Paul and my other friends at Lake Okataina, we all got together to lead on the same camp again. Rinse and repeat. We had another amazing week together and, once again, I stayed up too late every night playing cards with Paul, the cook and the camp director. I loved Paul's friendship, but I wasn't attracted to him like that.

After camp, I returned to my flat in Auckland and was writing in my diary about the amazing week I'd just had, when I was flooded with the sure knowledge that Paul was the man for me. It was almost an out-of-body experience. I saw all the ways Paul and I were right for each other, and I saw a future with him that was good. I was flooded with such a peace about it that I knew the vision could only have come from God.

But then, my friend, Heather, and I travelled down to Hamilton to visit Paul and help him shop for the new bachelor pad he'd just moved into, and I completely freaked out. I still wasn't attracted to him like that, so shopping for items that might actually become mine one day through marriage was equally surreal and terrifying.

I was so distraught by my lack of feelings when it was obvious how much Paul liked me, that when I got back to Auckland, I ripped out the page in my diary where I'd written about the vision from God - the vision telling me I was going to marry Paul.

I didn't know what to do with the vision after that. It hung over me, but I did my best to ignore it.

I ignored it even when Paul sent me Valentine's Day flowers for the second year in a row and asked me on a date that I turned down. I made it clear I wasn't interested.

Fast forward another year and, instead of going to Lake Okataina, I spent my summer holidays in the South Island, visiting my brother and his family with my parents. I ended up leading on a Scripture Union camp at Lake Johnson in Queenstown and had a wonderful week there, although I discovered that Southlanders are very different to Aucklanders.

The weird thing was that while I was away from all my North Island friends, the person I missed the most was Paul. I texted him a few times while I was away, and his replies always made me smile. He never rejected me, even though I had rejected him several times.

Six months later, I decided to travel to Hamilton to visit one of the friends I had made in Queenstown, who happened to live in Hamilton. While I was there, I invited Paul to a picnic at the Hamilton Gardens. He showed up, just as enthusiastic as ever, and that was the moment I fell in love with him.

I didn't want to leave Hamilton after that. I ended up delaying my departure as long as possible, going to the Sunday night service at Paul's church, and then heading out for dessert with him and some of his church friends.

Sadly, I did eventually have to drive back to Auckland since I had work on Monday morning, but I wasn't sure what to do about my sudden feelings for Paul. You see, now the tables had turned. He had moved on from me. After two years of pursuing me to no avail, he had given up and was off on an overseas adventure. I wouldn't see him for another six months.

When I finally did meet up with him again, it came about in an unexpected way, just like our first meeting had.

Instead of signing up to lead on the Lake Okataina camp, I decided to venture out and do a camp at Ponui Island - seeing more of my beautiful country. Sadly, one of the male leaders died just before the camp was set to begin.

I had never met the leader, but many of the other leaders had and were completely devastated by his death. I rang Paul and asked if he could come and lead on the camp with us, since we had an urgent gap to fill.

As always, Paul was keen to help, but wasn't able to because he had already committed to leading on the camp at Lake Okataina, which started halfway through the Ponui Island camp. However, while I was on the phone to him, he told me that Okataina was short of female leaders, and asked if I'd consider coming for the second half of that camp after Ponui. I agreed.

It was hard work going from one camp straight into another. Camps are awesome, but exhausting.

When I arrived at the Lake Okataina campground, I walked out onto the sports field and saw Paul leading a game of Touch Rugby with the campers. And just like that, all the feelings for him I'd set aside for six months came flooding back. I joined in on the opposing team to Paul with all the other leaders, but watched Paul the whole time. He was equal parts fun and patient with his team of campers, teaching them how to play and encouraging them even when they fumbled the ball. He did such a good job teaching them that they beat our team of more experienced leaders.

I slotted into camp that week just fine, and found myself constantly drawn to Paul. Yet, I wasn't sure if I had a chance with him anymore. I shed more than one tear washing dishes in the kitchen after meals, thinking I'd lost my chance with him. If only I had said, "Yes!" when he'd asked me out.

When camp wrapped up, I didn't want to head back to Auckland without knowing one way or another if I had a chance with Paul. A bunch of us drove into Rotorua and wandered around, eating food at various food places and talking all afternoon. I refused to leave, so Paul also stayed because he can never leave a party. Another leader, Mike, also decided to stick around, so the three of us hung out until about 10pm at night. Mike wouldn't leave until we did, and I couldn't say anything to Paul while Mike was there.

I was beside myself.

By 10pm, the two back-to-back camps I'd done had fully caught up with me and I had no idea how I was going to safely make the drive back to Auckland. I said as much to Paul, and he offered to drive in convoy with me as far as Hamilton, so he could make sure I was safe.

We arrived at Paul's flat in Hamilton, which was basically empty since he'd just moved into it. His parents were there, measuring up the kitchen, because they owned the house and were planning to renovate it.

It was very surreal getting to meet Paul's parents, not knowing if they were going to be a part of my future or not. They seemed to be night owls just like their son, so we ended up playing cards together until about midnight. They eventually toddled off to bed and it was agreed that I was in no fit state to drive to Auckland, so I grabbed my sleeping bag and pillow out of my car and rolled them out in Paul's lounge.

Paul didn't actually go to bed though. Instead, he climbed into a sleeping bag of his own and sat in the lounge with me all night. We talked and talked. The only reason I was able to keep my eyes open was because I had constant surges of adrenaline racing through my body, while I agonised over the age-old question, "Does he like me, or doesn't he?"

By 5am, I was completely done for and decided to just say something to Paul. I figured that if by some miracle he did still like me, maybe he was hesitant to tell me so because I had rejected him in the past.

Holding onto courage with both hands, I said the words, "I like you."

Immediately, Paul said, "I like you too."

The angels sang, "Hallelujah!"

I smiled and fell asleep, my equilibrium restored.

Poor Paul had to get up and go to work the next morning, basically two hours later, but he gave me a hug before he left and asked me to come and meet him for lunch. I happily did. We ate sushi together in a cute little spot in Hamilton's CBD and I was full of joy.

A year and a half later, we got married.

Twelve years and three children later, I love that husband of mine more than ever.
Sometimes I wonder why God showed me I was going to marry Paul, when all it seemed to do was terrify me and slow down the process of Paul and I actually getting together. Yet, it didn't slow things down that much, and it meant I got to know Paul over many different seasons, instead of rushing into a relationship with him. During those seasons, I got to see that Paul is consistently kind, faithful and generous with his love. I got to see that he doesn't hold onto anger or offence.

He never let bitterness at being rejected drive a wedge between us, even though he had many chances to.

In the hard times during our marriage (which, of course, we've had our fair share of), I've always known that Paul is the man God set aside for me. I've never had to wonder for too long if I made a mistake by tying my life to Paul's. I know I didn't, and I continue to have hope for our future together.

Happy anniversary, Paul! Thank you for marrying me. I love you to the university and back (as our adorable eldest daughter once said).

Saturday, June 22, 2019

How our garden is feeding us over winter

Even though it's winter here in New Zealand, my garden is still cranking out a decent harvest each week - and I'm loving it.
I have my pick of kale, spinach, coriander (cilantro), basil and parsley every day for salads, smoothies or sandwich toppings.
I've also been harvesting and boiling beetroot to add to my salads when I feel like it. They add such a lovely pop of colour. Yesterday, I even remembered to chuck the beetroot leaves into my smoothie for an extra iron boost.

Nut Fox has starting laying an egg a day, and although they're pretty small (since she's a young Silkie), they taste great. Rosie Posie is a few weeks younger than Nut Fox, but she should also start laying soon. Fluffles seems to have aged out of laying for us, but that's okay. She's still leaving her fertiliser deposits around the raised beds, which is the main reason I wanted to get chickens.

Fruit-wise, our feijoas only finished a week ago, but we're still getting a steady supply of limes, mandarins, lemons and oranges. In fact, I'm drinking a freshly squeezed lime juice as I type this. It's my absolute favourite drink.

Oh, and it's not just fresh garden produce we're eating. Many of our dinners also feature homegrown veges I froze during the summer months. I regularly throw grated zucchini, tomato puree or cherry tomatoes into meals such as curry or spaghetti & meat balls.

It's so satisfying eating all this fresh, vibrant food we grew right here at home. And it seems like every year the harvest is multiplying, especially now that our fruit trees are getting more established. I can't wait to see what next year brings.

What has your garden been producing for you lately?

Monday, May 13, 2019

Our homeschool schedule for term two 2019

After a fantastic Easter holiday, we're back into all our homeschool activities for term two. This is what's keeping us out of mischief this term...

The girls have both signed up for netball again. Last year we were blessed to have the girls in the same team as each other, which meant training and games were all at the same time. Alas, this year they're in different teams, so we're out at the netball courts three days a week. The girls love it though so it's worth it. Netball is such a fun sport.
L is still doing Suzuki violin lessons and will be performing in her first ever Town Hall concert this month. She's nervous about it, but there will be so many other children performing with her, I think she'll be okay.

We really tossed up whether to continue S's piano lessons this term. Her teacher is wonderful, but S has been throwing way too many tantrums around practise time at home. In the end, I decided to keep her in the lessons because I think music is so valuable, but it wasn't an easy decision when lessons cost as much as they do. She seems to be doing better this term, so I'm glad we kept her in.
As part of our Christian homeschool group, the kids are all doing Touch Rugby for their sport this term. The group also runs art classes, and this term J is doing salt dough modelling with the littlies, while the girls do lino screen-printing. All the kids are loving their art classes.

Last week we stayed after the official sessions had ended and had lunch with everyone and then played for a couple of hours. My kids all ended up playing soccer on the field with their friends and didn't want to leave.

Every term we go on a couple of trips with our Christian homeschool group. This term we've already been rock climbing at Extreme Edge in Panmure. That was such a great day and we're now planning to hold J's birthday party there, because it was so fun.  With our homeschool group, we'll also be going to the Auckland War Memorial Museum in a few weeks. Oh, and we're going to see the stage show of Annie, as an extra activity one of the mums organised.

The kids also attend classes run by another homeschool group, and this term J is doing the Little Ferns nature class again because he absolutely loved the one he did last term. Every week the teacher brought in such interesting and exciting material from nature - like birds nests and fossils - and she ran really fabulous activities that the kids got so involved in. This term, J is also doing Gymnastics, Art Play and Fit Kids.

S is doing a polymer modelling class, a Jazz fun dance class and a visual art landscape painting class.

L is doing the same Jazz dance class as S, as well as basketball and a Lego class. We tried to get her into the polymer modelling class with S, but it booked up too fast. The homeschool group is getting bigger and bigger each term, with more families joining. I'm not sure if that's because more families are homeschooling, or if more people are finding out about the group.

For our school work at home, we are continuing to use Math U See for mathematics, but we are also supplementing that with Prodigy Maths sometimes, which the kids all love.

We are continuing with The Good and the Beautiful for language arts, literature and geography. I've been so pleased to see how J has progressed in his reading. He's the only child I've ever taught to read, so it's amazing to see it actually happen like it did for the girls through school.

We trialled Mystery Science last term and it was a roaring success. I've now bought us a subscription because it's so well-done and we wanted to unlock all the mysteries. We were able to get a discount on our subscription through NZCHENZ, so definitely check that out if you homeschool and are wanting to get subscriptions to different online resources.

We're still working through Story of the World Volume One for history, although we're getting close to the end. It's cool to see how the stories work their way into the kids' playtime. J went through a stage of drawing Minotaurs after we studied ancient Crete.

The kids are also part of an after-school club that meets once a fortnight at our church. Every term there's a new theme, and this term the theme is ancient Egypt. The kids have been exploring the food and culture of the time, and having so much fun doing it. Older kids dress up like Egyptian characters to run the activities for the younger kids, so it gives them great leadership experience too. I think L will be part of the older group next year. 

We've been listening to audiobooks in the car, like The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, and The Princess Academy and The Goose Girl series by Shannon Hale. Now L has started carrying a wireless speaker around the house to listen to audiobooks every chance she gets. We borrow the audiobooks for free through our library.

I think that's everything we're up to this term. It definitely feels like a busier term than last thanks to netball, but I've still got a couple of days each week when we're completely at home, so that helps me catch up on stuff around the house, and breathe.
Kitekite Falls.