My Take on Home Education after 12 years

A rant from a home educator (and trained HS teacher, ESOL tutor, and counsellor)

I’m not judging anyone, just outlining how I see home education ::Featured image

Why do we need programs for this and that? curriculum / curricula for our 6 year old?

Did we not choose to leave institutional schooling to have a life of freedom? a life where children can enjoy the discovery of learning, instead of offering them preprocessed sausage meat?!

Our children love to learn, have a curiosity for the world around them – especially when we get them away from workbooks and in to the real world around them. This is the great benefit of homeschooling, home education, natural learning, worldschooling (call it what you will).

Parks, libraries, other families are the wonderful assets in your education journey. Don’t fret about public schoolers’ comments or expectations of whanau.

Set your sights on the character and attitudes of your children for when they are 16-18 years old. Train them, guide them, love them, have fun with them.

Don’t waste childhood on workbooks and dreary stuff. Watch a ‘Magic Schoolbus’ video, climb on the playground at your local park, or go to the confidence/ adventure course nearby, check out the egyptian mummy/ dinosaur exhibition at your local museum. Or take a week or so to go to Te Papa. Have adventures.

Do the stuff that lights their/your fire and passion. Ease up. Your children can’t help but to learn – your job is to strew interesting things around the house, provide a creative environment, and widen your children’s world.

NCEA is not really your primary goal – raising creative adventurous young people who are equipped to face a changing world would be better. Young people who will contribute to society in a positive way. People don’t tend to gain or lose jobs on the strengths of their qualifications, rather their positive attitude and emotional health. Someone who is punctual, trustworthy, polite, follows instructions, uses initiative, honest.

Let’s maximise the benefits of home education – not just replicate schools.

Coming from a family of teachers, I internally fought/worried especially for the first year over ‘are my kids doing enough’ and then realised I had to trust my children and relax a whole lot. It was a huge struggle for me to let go of my schooly preconceptions – and let the children make a few more choices. Yes, HS and the style we choose is family choice, but we can (are able to) change/evolve our approach/es along the way.
When you feel down or stressed as home educator, maybe that is the time to mix things up a bit.

People learn best when relaxed and enjoying the process.

Stand and Deliver



“Stand and Deliver”

  1. Topic is chosen – timekeeper selects adjective and noun or short phrase

    (maybe contributed to by other speakers in group)

  2. Speaker stands up, ready to be given topic by timekeeper

  3. Once topic is given, speaker has 15 seconds to think of an outline, then has 60 seconds to speak.

  4. Timekeeper ‘tings’ when time is up and speaker stops.

  5. Feedback : first comment is general and positive (pick out one good thing),

    1-3 comments of improvement/to work on,

    finish feedback with 1-3 positive comments and encouragements for future.


  • Connect with the audience – smile, speak their language on a topic they can relate to

  • Careful with “throat clearing” activities just before you start speaking, eg. um…, well…, fiddling with papers, not looking calm and collected

  • Connect the ideas within your talk

  • Give details, be specific – think 5 Senses

  • Inject gentle joy and humour

When reading,

  • Hold out your book (in one hand, if possible) so the top of it is below the level of your chin

  • Relax, smile, and use some eye contact

  • No affectation or pommie/plummie accent

  • Be slow and purposeful

  • Open your mouth, use your lips

  •  “nice round vowel sounds”

  • Use phrasing to help meaning

  • Project your voice from back of throat

  • “superb sage sausages searing in the sizzling seas”

June 2014

Why Do Mathematics?

As a new high school teacher a couple of decades ago, my 15 year old students asked me (with all the dramatic tones of that age group) : “Why do we have to do maths?”f orbiting

My brain raced – we didn’t cover this at teacher’s college! Momentary panic. Deep breath. Quick prayer: “Give me a clue, God”.

My response was like this ::

I believe in a created order and in that order, there are patterns, sequences, cycles, relationships, and series. There is a rhythm to life. A coming and going. People and living things grow old and die, then there’s another cycle that brings new life and fruit.

There is a time for the sun to shine, then the moon. The moon goes from new to full moon every 27 days. The tides ebb and flow because of the gravitational interaction of the earth and the moon.

Look at the seasons. We can closely guess what weather to expect in August because there is a pattern throughout the years.

We can not get away from maths concepts.

We use maths to get to our friend’s house, buy food and clothes, to decide if we can cross the road so as not to get run over by the bus coming, to get ready for the party on time.

So, why do maths?

1. Because the school says so.

2. Maths Certificate tells employers you can multiply and add and a bit more.

3. More importantly, maths teaches you to solve problems, follow logic, find relationships between number-based ideas, and to make real-world decisions based on known and unknown information or data.

4. It;s fascinating.

Let’s start being number detectives. 😀

Articles online :: – one of the clearer and more succinct articles “why”

Occupations ::
There are uses of mathematics in all the “hard” sciences, such as biology, chemistry, and physics; the “soft” sciences, such as economics, psychology, and sociology; engineering fields, such as civil, mechanical, and industrial engineering; and technological fields such as computers, rockets, and communications. There are even uses in the arts, such as sculpture, drawing, and music. In addition, anything which uses a computer uses mathematics,

Mathematics is used for biomedical engineering, food technology, building technology, chemical sciences, civil and structural engineering, graphics and computer-aided drawing (CAD), electronics, environmental health, mechanical engineering, mining technology, nuclear medicine, occupational health, petroleum technology, prosthetics, forestry and wildlife, robotics, and surveying. it is used in so many other subjects.

Perfect Family?


No family is perfect.

Say SORRY. Many times.

Each day is a new day.



Mother Knows Best!

mother knows bestI’m chuckling here thinking again about last Thursday – another interesting day in our homeschooling life.

My 13 yo boy wakes up Thursday morning. This is the best day – sports action, then music (keyboard). Really good!

My 15 yo daughter is joking about ways to get out of going to Sports action (netball/ball skills), doesn’t want to go, would rather do anything else.

We’ve always made plans in one of three ways: 1. Mum+Dad make the decision (‘cos we’re the parents/adults and think, in the big scheme of things, this will be a good thing for you to do.
2. Let’s talk about the fors/againsts together, then M+D will ultimately make the decision, taking into account what you say.
3. Let’s talk about it, then you (children) make the decision, and M+D will work with you to help make it happen.

Sports was a #1 decision. You’re going, you’re going for at least two terms, you’re going to enjoy it, give it your best shot.

By the end of sports, 13 yo boy has badly bruised finger, realises he hasn’t brought his music, and is whimpering, declaring it’s a bad day, wanting to bail out on music (which he wasn’t allowed to).

15 yo girl enjoyed running around, seeing some different young people, and got complimented by the coach on her netball skills in the second game of netball she’s played. Let’s go to sports every day!

We’ll happily bundle into the van next Thursday, hopefully with the music bag, snacks and drinks …

Shows that sometimes we can listen too much to what our kids want and what they don’t.

Most times, Mother DOES know best!

Christmas in Summer

We do things a bit differently Down Under – I’m dripping with the heat and humidity at present.


Christmas in Summer (Pinterest)

Check out my Pinterest board (42 pins +)

Holidays – Festivals – Parties

Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, plus more (75 pins +)


Peace and Goodwill to all!

Apologia Biology – 2ed

353px-Monarch_Butterfly_Cocoon_6708This should get me going for Apologia Biology 2013.
These resources I found when planning for next year. (NZ school year is Feb-early Dec] – password on page 5 of book

Apologia “exploring Creation With Biology” 2nd Edition – Lapbook Journal

.. * * – write for password


Reviews : – animations of bacteria etc



Module 1 –

Module 1:  The Study of Life – AJ

Videos, etc. for M1 – videos included

Module 1 – Biology: The Study of Life – Q – lab reports


Module 2 – 

Module 2:  Kingoom Monera – AJ – simple/clear video (Tammy Moore)

Videos, etc. for M2

Module 2 – Kingdom Monera – Q


Module 3

Module 3:  Kingdom Protista – AJ – algae (Tammy Moore)

Videos, etc. for M3, Part A – subkingdom Protozoa
Videos, etc. for M3, Part B – subkingdom Algae

Module 3 – Kingdom Protista – Q


Module 4

Kingdom Fungi – AJ

Videos, etc. for M4, Part A (introduction)
Videos, etc. for M4, Part B – 3 of the 6 Phyla in kingdom Fungi
Videos, etc. for M4, Part C – the last 3 of the 6 Phyla in kingdom Fungi

Module 4 – Kingdom Fungi – Q


Module 5

The Chemistry of Life – AJ

Videos, etc. for M5, Part A
Videos, etc. for M5, Part B

Module 5 – The Chemistry of Life = Q


Module 6

Module 6 – The Cell

Videos, etc. for M6

Module 6 – The Cell


Module 7

Videos, etc. for M7

Module 7 – Cellular Reproduction and DNA


Module 8 – Mendelian Genetics

Videos, etc. for M8

Module 8 – Mendelian Genetics


Module 9 – Evolution

Videos, etc. for M9

Module 9 – Evolution:  Part Scientific Theory, Part Unconfirmed Hypothesis


Module 10

Module 10 – Ecology

Videos, etc, for M10

Module 10 – Ecology

The Famous Frog Cakes


Module 11– Invertebrates

Videos, etc, for M11

Module 11 – The Invertebrates of Kingdom Animalia


Module 12

Module 12 – Phylum Arthropoda

Videos, etc, for M12

Module 12 – Phylum Arthropoda


Module 13

Module 13 – Phylum Chordata

Videos, etc, for M13

Module 13 – Phylum Chordata


Module 14

Module 14 – Kingdom Plantae – videos included

Module 14 – Kingdom Plantae:  Anatomy and Classification


Module 15

Module 15 – Kingdom Plantae

Videos, etc. for M15– videos included

Module 15 – Kingdom Plantae: Physiology and Reproduction


Module 16

Module 16 – Reptiles, Birds, and Mammals

Videos, etc. for M16

Module 16 – Reptiles, Birds, and Mammals


biology slides:
§  Ascaris mitosis, section

§  Allium (onion) root tip, l.s.

§  Amoeba proteus, w.m.

§  Diatoms (marine). w.m.

§  Euglena, w.m.

§  Ficus (dicot) leaf with vein, c.s.

§  Grantia (sponge) spicules, w.m.

§  Hydra (budding), w.m.

§  Paramecium, w.m.

§  Planaria (injected), w.m.

§  Ranunculus (dicot) stem, c.s.

§  Ranunculus (dicot) root, c.s.

§  Spirogyra, w.m.

§  Volvox, w.m.

§  Zea Mays (monocot) stem, c.s.

§  Zea Mays (monocot) root, c.s.

W.m. = whole mount
C.s. = cross section
Sec. = section

Non-Apologia material – biology classification (google images)