Welcome to our blog!

Welcome to the SHEAF Blog.

Despite our best intentions, we're not great at keeping this blog updated with our latest happenings. We are, however, definitely an active group, meeting at least once each week during term time.

If you'd like to make contact with Dunedin home educators, our contact details are in the column, below right.

We send out a weekly email newsletter with details of upcoming events, courses, gatherings etc.

You can also find us on Facebook (page is visible whether you're a facebook user or not)

Have a look through this blog to see the types of events we have organised in the past. You'll also find links to other blogs and articles that we find useful or informative, on the off-chance that you'll appreciate them too :~) (Look for these more general blog-posts under the label "Weekend Reading")

If you're not currently on our email list and would like to contact us, please email us at the address you can see in the column on the right. We'd love to hear from you!

(Last updated May 2013)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Pukekura/Taiaroa Head (Albatross Colony) update

Thanks very much to Stacey for passing on this update from the head DoC ranger:

Kia ora all

Today is the opening of the observatory to visitors for the 2010/11 breeding season. 30 eggs have been laid this year including seven by seven 'first-time breeding' pairs. Ordinarily we will get 1-3 new pairs each season, so seven is a big bonus!

Most eggs are fertile, (determined by candling-see photo) we had one egg that was broken the day it was laid. The 1 cm hole in it was patched with tape and glued to the shell (after a good cleaning of the area with antiseptic).

Candling of this egg at 7 days did show the embryo survived and the expected growth was seen at two weeks. Unfortunately at three weeks some microbial infection had entered the hole in the shell so the embryo died.

This pair is currently incubating one of the new young pairs’ egg, from a nest where the male is yet to show up for his first incubation stint and we are concerned the young female may desert.
96 birds have been seen so far this season which includes a few of last years breeding birds that sometimes visit the headland for the month or so after their chick fledged.

This photo shows a bird in September 2010 at its nest site (its chick had flown a few days before) and the tatty look of its feathers is probably a result of a loss of body condition from foraging for food for its chick in the 8 months prior. That breeder has now gone to sea and expected back in September 2011 and its feathers and body condition will have vastly improved.

At the end of the 2009/10 season there was an opportunity for the Otago Peninsula Trust albatross guides as well as members from the Korako-Karetai Trust and from the local Runanga to visit the nature reserve to see other areas of the headland and catch a glimpse of some of the chicks from that season before they departed.

Other species:

Stewart Island shags nesting below the observatory have large chicks now and their population is around 350 pairs.

Spotted shags abandoned chicks half way through their breeding season, something that occurs with this species about every 5 years or so and generally is an early indication that other species found on the peninsula might not have a good breeding year either (abandonment is most likely due to poor food years with food availability naturally fluctuating over time).

The red-billed gulls have timed their breeding perfectly. During our winter there can be less than 20 gulls found here, but several hundred turned up at the same time as the arrival and abundance of a type of krill in waters nearby. Soon after the gulls began nest building and egg laying. Their chicks are now hatching at a time when a different food source is now available to gulls (see photo below: Munida - the red patches in the water). Munida hasn’t been seen within the harbour in such large swarms for many years.
During the annual population counts of seabirds I came across a pounamu/greenstone tool that a shearwater had dug up and flicked out onto the surface. Possibly a few centuries old, this unusual find in now back in the hands of local iwi.

Other work:
Port Otago have done a fantastic job of repainting the signal station (located on the top of the headland) and painted it in colours that help this building blend into the landscape.

Careers Service

Selina-Jane of CHEF has recently been in contact with Tess Livingstone of the Careers Service (a free Government service), and they will be arranging an evening talk early next year, which SHEAF members will also be welcome to attend. The following was passed on to us from Selina-Jane:

Parents key influence on their children’s career development
By Tess Livingstone , Practice Leader, Career Services

Guiding the career development of their children is a key concern of many parents. Research consistently shows parents have the most significant influence on a range of career constructs including: career interests, work values and expectations, career self efficacy and career choice.
While there are some key milestones where decisions and choices need to be made (i.e. subject choices; tertiary pathway planning; transition to work etc); career development is an ongoing process from early childhood. The role models and settings children are exposed to; the attitudes toward work and learning; the skills and occupations that are valued in the family home are all shaping the career trajectory of your child.
Supporting children to be able to identify their own skills, abilities, values and interests and make sense of the opportunities in the world of work and training is an exciting and challenging task.
Career Services is the Government career information and advisory service. Our mission is to help all New Zealanders make informed work in life decisions on the basis of quality, accurate and objective information and advice.

We have a comprehensive website (www.careers.govt.nz) with information on occupations, industries, education and training, scholarships, qualifications and job search. We have a dedicated section for parents looking for information to help their young people.

To receive a regular newsletter with information and tools to help you build the career resilience of your child – click on the link below and subscribe to receive our Career Tips newsletter for parents. http://www2.careers.govt.nz/sign_up_career_tips.html

For individual assistance and guidance you and/or your child can call our adviceline on 0800 222733 to talk to a career advisor; or chat online using the webchat option on the website.

To organise a presentation on our services and resources and to learn more about the career development stages of children/adolescents and the role of parents contact Tess Livingstone, Practice Leader Career Services Southern ph 474 2664, email tess.livingstone@careers.govt.nz

Homeschooled student in the news

Stacey came across this recent article about 16 year old Christchurch homeschooler Reuben Posthuma , who just won a Bright Sparks Award for his invention, the Driver Minder.

Click here for more: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/4366879/Gadget-checks-driver-safety

Mapoutahi Pa trip

We had a fantastic trip out to Mapoutahi Pa and the beach at Purakaunui Bay last week! It was a beautiful day and there were so many aspects for the kids to investigate - strange to think of the awful warfare that had happened in that exact spot. Here are some photos of our much less gory highlights!

New Zealand Playgrounds

Our very own Linda has created a cool site to describe and review playgrounds at http://www.playgrounds.org.nz/ so go and check it out. Her playgrounds of the week are listed under the News section on the right hand side, and she includes photos, links to Google maps, as well as highlights and lowlights of each playground.

A great reference, and I think Linda would love any input to build on this —your own photos, reviews, experiences etc.

Mt Cargill Hike

The Bethunes Gully/Mt Cargill hike on 8 December may start earlier than 12:30 as first mentioned, depending on what best suits those going. If you’re interested, make sure you email Ted so that he can let you know of any changes.

7th Annual Not-School Photo

Don’t forget our annual SHEAF photo this week, at 12:30pm, Wednesday 1 December. Bring lunch and we’ll meet at the playground in the Botanic Gardens, or if the weather is wet, perhaps on the bandstand. The forecast is cloudy, so fingers crossed!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Weekend Reading - Did you order a sub?

And not a 'subway sandwich', as I thought when I first saw this post title - a 'substitution'. In other words - would you like to tag out of this lifestyle for a while? This article deals specifically with the pressures experienced by people in the 'sandwich generation'.
When homeschool moms are called upon to care for aging parents, it definitely puts a squeeze on time and energy. It can leave many moms wishing for a sub.

We teach our children; we care for our homes, and we handle the many interruptions that come into our lives. The reality is that as homeschool parents we can’t call a sub.

We can, however, let go of the guilt and see our roles and lives differently.
And yeah, they do repeatedly talk about 'Moms' as if it's only women who feel this pressure. This is a helpful article for Dads too.

Did you order a sub?
by Rhodema for Heart of the Matter Online

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Science Corner

Robert Krampf's Happy Scientist website is a treasure-trove of science videos, photos and experiments you can do at home.

Go have a look!


2011 New Zealand Homeschool Diary

From Claire:
I just got an email from the broad room about the 2011 diary. It is $37 for the A5, $45 for the A4 or $20 for the pdf version. I think it cost me about $20 last year to have mine printed and bound at warehouse stationary (A4 black and white with a colour cover) so not much saving really doing it that way. It is expensive when you can get a diary for a few bucks at the warehouse but I found it a really good place to record what we do and to plan what I wanted to do (including my dinner!) and she has added a few more things I wanted this year like a page to record books you are meaning to get out of the library and another for websites you want to check out. So much more than a diary, and now my permanent record of our year. http://www.thebroadroom.co.nz/new-zealand-homeschool-diary.php
No she isn't giving me commission I just really liked it (-:

Kayak Trip

A reminder to please let Nicola know if you are interested in hiring kayaks for three hours on Wednesday 15 December.

The cost is $15 per kayak (which includes a life jacket).

Mt Cargill Hike

Ted is organising a hike up Mt Cargill along the Bethunes Gully route, for Wednesday 8 December.

Meet at 12:30pm at the Bethunes Gully carpark - the whole thing, including a break at the top should take about 4 hours. Email Ted if you’d like to come so that he can let you know if there are any changes.

7th Annual Not-School Photo

The annual SHEAF photo will go ahead as mentioned last week, at 12:30pm, Wednesday 1 December. We’ll meet at the playground in the Botanic Gardens, or if the weather is wet, perhaps on the bandstand. Hope you can all make it!

Mapoutahi Pa Walk

This week our Wednesday activity will be a trip to Mapoutahi Pa (thanks to Tammy for the idea!).
Meet 12.30 at the carpark at the end of the Osborne Rd

Detailed info about the walk and site (including directions) can be found here
Apparently dogs are welcome on a leash! (according to this DoC newsletter - see p.4)
Map can be found here

The Department of Conservation has prepared the following Environmental Education Resource Kit for student groups visiting Maori pa sites on the Otago coast.
Although Mapoutahi is not one of the three trips mentioned in the resource kit, some of the activity suggestions might appeal...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Weekend Reading - 4 tips for talking to relatives

This blog post comes at the start of the American holiday season as they gear up for Thanksgiving. Here in NZ we've got a few more weeks up our sleeves before we face those friends and relatives we haven't seen for a while, and who might have a few questions about our educational choices...

Have a read through the comments, too (scroll down the page beyond the end of the article) - there are some gem suggestions there:
...So I just smile politely now and say, “Homeschooling works very well for our family … please pass the broccoli.”

Monday, November 15, 2010

Chemistry workshops for home educators

From Science for Home Educators:

We are running two chemistry workshops for home educating families at Otago University on 16 and 17 February 2011. Each workshop runs for three hours. The focus is on practical work and using equipment and chemicals in the laboratory.

Cost per workshop is $40 for one student or $75 for two students enrolling together.

1. Forensics workshop

Students will practice being a forensic scientist by examining powders and using chemical tests to identify them.
Suitable for children 11-17 years (note that a parent needs to attend with their child if the child is under 14 years of age).

2. Year 11 Chemistry Workshop

We will look at precipitation reactions, identifying unknown ions and rates of reaction. These practical chemistry experiments support NCEA level 1 science of the New Zealand curriculum. Some pre-study of chemistry theory is required.
Suitable for children 14-17 years.

Courses are run by Nathalie Thomas, a fully qualified science teacher (and home educating mum) with a degree in chemistry.

If you would like more information or a booking form, please email Nathalie on: info@science-for-home-educators.co.nz.

Best regards,
Nathalie Thomas, MSc, DipT
Science for Home Educators
PO Box 179
Katikati 3166
Bay of Plenty
Ph (07) 5490383

RedMelon Promotion

See RedMelon's Weekly Specials, Discounted Products & End of Lines. For BONUS discounts, register with RedMelon and, once you've received your password, use it to log on and access these additional discounts** and many others:

* Products change from time to time. Only available while allocated stocks last.
** Click on individual products to reveal the Bonus prices. (Pages with multiple products listed only show the normal discounted prices.)

IN ADDITION: Everyone who registers their details and buys the Weekly Special Peg 'n Thread boxed set will receive an additional pack of 100 pegs (10 different colours) for more creative enjoyment with friends. Total value: $43.00 ... You pay only $27.00 ... Save $16.00
Many more discounted products and Bonus Price offers will be listed over the next 6 weeks until Christmas. Register to receive a weekly update email.

Most Lynley Dodd hard cover books - RedMelon price $17.50(RRP $28.00)- RedMelon BONUS price $16.50
Hang Tough Swing Rings**- RedMelon price $22.50 - RedMelon BONUS price $17.50
Disney Sing-Along books + CD- RedMelon price $13.50(RRP $15.50)- RedMelon BONUS price $12.50
Seaside set- RedMelon price $19.00 RedMelon BONUS price $15.30
Mind Twisters- RedMelon price $23.50- RedMelon BONUS price $18.80

Kind Regards,

RedMelon Educational Resources www.redmelon.co.nz
09 - 962 6961 / 021 2355 272
Visit us on Tues-Thurs (10am - 4.30pm) at Unit T-6 Rosedale Rd, Mairangi Bay North Shore, Auckland

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Homeschooling: An International Perspective

From Barbara Smith at http://www.hef.org.nz

American homeschoolers enjoy a freedom that many around the world only dream about. If you'd like to know what homeschoolers in other parts of the world are facing, or if you've ever wondered whether you could impact international homeschoolers, keep reading! HSLDA is excited to present its first-ever international e-vent.
HSLDA Director of International Affairs Mike Donnelly will lead a panel discussion on interna-tional homeschooling. Join him as he chats with an impressive array of international homeschool leaders. His panel will include Dave Tucker from El Hogar Educador in Mexico; Gabriel Curcubet, president of the Romanian Home Schooling Association; Leendert van Oostrum, president of the Pestalozzi Trust Legal Defence Fund in South Africa; and Uwe Romeike, a German homeschool father whose family is fighting for political asylum in the United States.

Listen to it here or listen to the archives for up to 30 days here: http://hef.org.nz/2010/hslda-e-lert-service-homeschooling-an-international-perspective/


Kayak Trip

From Tammy
Is anyone interested in hiring kayaks for 3 hours on Wednesday 15 December? We’ll meet at the Andy Bay Inlet beside Bayfield Park which seems like a relatively safe place for beginners. There are 20 kayaks available and the cost would be $15 per kayak (this includes a life jacket).
Could you please e-mail Nicola as soon as possible to book and if there is enough interest I shall go ahead and arrange it.
Tammy :-)

Oamaru Victorian Heritage Celebrations

This Thursday to Sunday is Oamaru’s annual celebration, with all kinds of family fun and educational activities.
See here for more info: http://www.historicoamaru.co.nz/heritagecelebrations.html

7th Annual Not-School Photo

It’s that time of the year again! We've tentatively chosen 12:30pm, Wednesday 1 December at the Botanic Gardens for our setting—will confirm this next week.

End Of Year/Christmas Dinner

For those who have booked, our end of year dinner has been confirmed at 6pm on Wed 15th December at Paasha (N.B. not 6.30pm as earlier mentioned).

Ginger Beer Recipe

With the onset of the hot weather, here’s a cool science experiment for the kids.

In a large preserving jar add:
1 dessert spoon sugar 1 dessert spoon ground ginger Squeeze of lemon juice 2 cups water
This will be your plant…put on the lid and store it in a cool dark place.
The next day, add 1 dessert spoon of ginger.
On the following day, add 1 dessert spoon of sugar – continue to alternate these ingredi-ents for the rest of the week, till you end up adding ginger on the 7th day.
Now, later on the same day, you’re ready to bottle.
In a large pot, or preserving pan, add 2 cups of sugar and 4 cups of hot water.
Stir till all the sugar is dissolved. Add the juice of 2 lemons. Gently strain in the liquid off your plant. Then add 12 cups of cold water.
Mix well and filter through a fine tea strainer into bottles…makes about a dozen 340ml bottles.
Halve the sediment left in your plant jar, add 2 cups of cold water, 1 dessert spoon of sugar, 1 dessert spoon of ginger, a squeeze of lemon and continue as before for another week…and so on…
Keep your bottled ginger beer for a week or 2 before you drink it, so it has a little time to ferment.

From the Keepin it Kiwi blog

Tirohanga Camp - feedback :)

Thanks very much to Stacey for organising this camp, a fan-tastic time was had by all! Even as we were melting in the hot sun, we still managed to cram in loads of activities and fun!

"I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the camp. It has cured me now of my dislike of camps!! ...What I particularly liked was the way there were activities planned but in a flexible manner and nothing was compulsory (apart from the cleaning of course!!)."
"Well, that was wonderful!! The campfire, confidence course, walking in the dark, the glow worms, board games, and a late night for a bunch of extremely excited kids playing hide and seek in the dark. The food was mainly home made , which is a treat. Good location too. My kids made new friends, I made new friends and met old friends. The organization was perfect, there was a lot of art work done and new skills learnt. The weather was all for us, and I did enough sweating for the year by walking up that steep hill in the heat...Just sign us up for the next one Stacey"
"We really enjoyed ourselves! Can't wait for the next one!!"

Monday, November 8, 2010

Life Education Trust timetable

Educator: Jacki Allison
Contact Annemieke to book
There are still spaces available in both groups. The cost is $3.50 per child, please bring the correct change if possible.
Wednesday 17th November
9.10 – 10
Juniors 5 – 8 year olds
Harold’s Picnic/Food for Energy/Space Invaders
10.10 – 11
Juniors 5 – 8 year olds
Harold’s Picnic/Food for Energy/Space Invaders
11.20 – 12.20
Seniors 9 – 13 year olds
Body Journey/Warrant of Fitness
12.40 – 1.40
Seniors 9 – 13 year olds
Body Journey/Warrant of Fitness

Zone athletic sports query

From Maria:
Do you know anything about homeschooled children competing in the Zone athletic sports which will be held soon? Who do I contact about potentially competing? I have at least one, if not two, children who may like to be involved. Are there any other boys (particularly) out there who may be interested in forming a 4x100m relay team (Year 5 & 6)?
Please contact Maria if you can help. (Contact someone with a newsletter for Maria's contact details)

Nappy Liners Anyone?

Could anyone use a box of disposable nappy liners (the kind you use with cloth nappies)? If so, please let Nicola know as she has a box that is looking for a good home!

Weetbix Tryathlon

Early bird registration open now - Dunedin event is on 27 February, at Mosgiel Memorial Park. Open to 7 - 15 year olds

End Of Year/Christmas Dinner

Our end of year dinner will be at Paasha: http://www.menumania.co.nz/restaurants/paasha -
Nicola will be making a booking so let her know if you want to come by Monday.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Weekend reading - 5 dangerous things you should let your kids do

Gever Tulley, founder of the Tinkering School, talks about our drive to overprotect our children — and spells out 5 dangerous things you should let your kids do. Allowing kids the freedom to explore, he says, will make them stronger and smarter and actually safer.