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)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Recommending the Science Workshops

Here's a personal recommendation from Karen regarding the upcoming chemistry workshops - and please contact Nathalie very soon if you want to book and haven't done so yet - see here for more details.

From Karen:

I spoke to Nathalie a couple of days ago and, although she has had registrations she has been surprised at the lack of numbers. Perhaps it’s just the time of year that she is looking for us to look ahead into the new year and register now with Christmas being on people’s minds but I thought it might be that that people, who attended last time, may think these workshops were a re-packaging of the experiments that she did last time she was here. Last time we found brilliant and I only heard positive feedback about, from those that attended, BUT these workshop are all new material. For those who have children 11yrs or over this is a great opportunity – she’s a lovely lady and the workshops where well organised and crammed full of experiments (most of which we can’t do at home) and learning! Last time, as I understand it, almost all of the practical from the NZ Science/Chemistry syllabus for years 9,10, &11 were covered. Though it’s not cheap I thought it was well worth it.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

National Council of Home Educators

Forwarded by Nicola

NCHENZ is currently looking for some new committee members to help out.

If you’re a member of NCHENZ or would like to become one, see below for more information—I was on the committee for two years and it wasn’t as daunting as it sounds! Stacey is currently on the committee, so if you’d like to know what NCHENZ have been getting up to recently, she might be the person to talk to. Otherwise, go to www.nchenz.org.nz to find out more.

A rallying call from Penny Bilton, NCHENZ Co-ordinator:
Dear Members, We have some opportunities on the committee with members having resigned or soon to finish homeschooling. Meetings are held once a month via SKYPE conference using landlines. Some of the tasks available are;
1. minutes secretary for the meetings
2. someone to coordinate with Tarnya our webmaster re things to be put on the website
3. hosting the meeting - you need fast speed broadband internet with a SKYPE account - the cost will be reimbursed
4. Liaison with and updating contact details of HE support groups throughout the country
5. Publicity and promotion
6. Government liaison/ monitoring offical websites, NZQA, MOE to keep up to date with their activities.
7. Any other contribution you can think of!!

We need more of the enthusiasm that the new members on the committee this year have brought. With all the changes happening in the educational scene affecting homeschoolers we need NCHENZ to be an effective and pro-active,

If you can help please contact me on info@nchenz.org.nz
Many thanks, Penny.

joking corner

Q: How does a homeschooling family change a light bulb?

A: First, mom checks three books on electricity out of the library, then the kids make models of light bulbs, read a biography of Thomas Edison and do a skit based on his life.Then, everyone studies the history of lighting methods, wrapping up with dipping their own candles. Next, everyone takes a trip to the store where they compare types of light bulbs as well as prices and figure out how much change they'll get if they buy two bulbs for $1.99 and pay with a five dollar bill. On the way home, a discussion develops over the history of money and also Abraham Lincoln, as his picture is on the five dollar bill. Finally, after building a homemade ladder out of branches dragged from the woods, the light bulb is installed. And there is light.

~Author Unknown

Homeschooled student in the news

Aimee Wolsey, 14 year old homeschooler from Rotorua, recently placed in the top 0.1% for the Australian Mathematics competition—which she sat while in hospital!
Click here for more:

Holiday hikes—and tennis too!

From Ted:

We had a lovely, albeit cold, hike up Mt Cargil yesterday with a very impressive turnout. Anna has a couple of photos she said she would attempt to get to you for the newsletter.
The folks on the hike all expressed an interest in doing more hikes over the summer so I picked some dates (all Wednesdays) and picked some hikes in the area. I was being a bit selfish because these are hikes I want to do but I would love to go with others on hikes of their choice. They are all 3 to 4 hour hikes with some being more strenuous than others. The 10:30am start proved to work well so we will go with that. We plan on going on the hikes even if others aren't available so I don't want anyone to feel obligated. We can meet at the trailhead and hike with any who want to join us. If anyone is interested they should email me and I will keep them on a list then email directions and a description of the hike the week before. All the hikes come from "Day Walks of Dunedin and Coastal Otago" by Bill Wilson and are named as in the book. I've put the corresponding hike # but I have an older edition so the numbers may have changed with the newer editions. Here are the hikes and dates I picked so far:
  • December 29th: Hike # 3, Sandfly Bay-Sandymount
  • January 12th: Hike #40, Trotters Gorge
  • January 26th: Hike #45, Outram-Lee Stream-Taieri River Walk
  • February 9th: Hike #50, Taieri Mouth-Millenium Track
Our family is also planning to keep up the Tuesday at 12:30 tennis date throughout the summer. Again, we will be there, unless the weather is poor, so please come if you want to play but don't feel obligated. I will send an email if we are not going to be there for some reason other than weather.
Thanks, Ted

SHEAF holiday activities

From Nicola:

This will be the last regular newsletter for the year, but I’ll post out anything interesting or new that comes up in the holidays. Ted has arranged some hikes and will continue to play tennis on Tuesdays, and if anyone wants to organise anything else between now and February, let me know and I’ll forward it to the group. Until then, merry Christmas and happy holidays!!

Video clip - 14 Days of Homeschool

Maria found this light-hearted homeschoolers’ Christmas carol on Youtube—I’m sure it will sound very familiar to most of us!

Best laid plans and all that...

OK, so I'm a little late with the uploading of the newsletter this week. Sorry folks. Hope your week has also been so enjoyable and fun that you forgot to do stuff too :~)

I'll get on an post up the bits of the newsletter that haven't been overtaken by events. I hope the kayaing went well!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

updates late this week :)

Hi all - a newsletter did come through last night from Nicola, but I (Stacey) am away on holiday and today is our big, early, family Christmas day - I'll upload the newslettery bits tomorrow.

Have a lovely day!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Weekend Reading - Living Math website

This is a great website - full of resources and information about 'living math'. Great encouragement for those at the 'natural learning' end of the scale, and a good source of supplementary activites for anyone using a more conventional curriculum.

~ Insisting a child must be taught traditional, scope-and-sequence arithmetic to learn mathematics is like saying one must learn classical notes and scales before one can learn music. You might get there, but you miss out on the inspiration of beautiful music created by the masters along the way. We need not master all the "basics" before being able to experience the appreciation that carries us through the hard work of learning. Think of applying living math principles as developing a "mathematical ear" while working toward the mastery of basic theory. ~

This site is dedicated to sharing resources for learning, exploring and enjoying math in a dynamic and holistic manner, for all ages.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Chemistry workshops for home educators

Nathalie Thomas, a home educating mum from Katikati, who was formerly a high school science teacher, ran some fantastic chemistry workshops earlier this year for intermediate and high school-aged kids, which were really enjoyable. She is planning on coming back next February, but needs a minimum of 16 students per class. At the moment, she almost has enough for one group, so if you think your child would be interested, please let her know as soon as possible so that she can work out bookings.

We advertised these last month, so you can see more information about them here

Cost per workshop is $40 for one student or $75 for two students enrolling together, or $90 for 3 siblings who will work together.

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

Whare Flat Festival of Music and Dance

From Annette:

Most years our family camps out at Whare Flat over New Year for this event. We always have a fantastic time. There is a huge range of “folk” music (with much that might be considered fringe folk) from New Zealanders and overseas artists. There is non-stop music all day as well as in-strument and dancing workshops and workshops for children. There are opportunities too at blackboard concerts for “amateurs” to perform (take special note you budding ukeleists!) New Years’ Eve there is a barndance.

There is a wonderful safe family atmosphere with other activities such as bush walks and glowworms and a swimming hole. It is somewhat pricey, but the quality of the music can be outstanding, especially in the evening concerts. There is no extra charge for camping, but there is the cheaper option to just attend for a day or one evening con-cert etc. The cost for adults is $130 (or $110 if you register before December 17). School-age children accompanied by an adult are $45 each and preschoolers are free.

Check out www.whareflat.co.nz if you are interested or email enquiries to whareflat@kiwifolk.com.

Homeschooling in the news

Homeschooling is an increasingly popular choice in Rotorua. This article speaks to a few local families about the benefits of HE.

Papanui Beach and Wildlife Tour

Nicola writes:

A huge thank you to David and Sarah McKay for the amazing tour that David took three SHEAF families on this week! The kids had a great time and we’re so grateful for this opportunity! I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say it really was the chance of a lifetime—I doubt we’ll ever see that many happy, healthy and relaxed wild animals up close again, or such a variety. We took up their offer, made earlier this year, of a guided tour on the McKay family’s private beach, to visit the beautiful wildlife that they protect and nurture there, including sea lions, little blue penguins, yellow-eyed penguins and fur seals.

We were all so impressed and had an absolutely fantastic (and very educational, of course) time! Because this is private land, the animals that live there are protected from the abuse that animals on public land can be exposed to, so don’t seem to have much fear of humans at all. David’s penguins are so relaxed that you can get within a metre or two of them, and they seem to quite happily pose for photos (not to mention breed like rabbits)!
A young little blue penguin, waiting in the nest for mum to bring home some dinner.

A fur seal, having a lovely scratch on its preferred relaxation spot—a big rock.

I know I can speak for the other two families that visited with mine when I say that we HIGHLY recommend this tour, and we can’t thank the McKays enough for their generosity! We did the walking option—there’s a substantial (but manageable) hill to walk up on the return, so choose the driving option if you don’t like hills!

A variable oystercatcher and her extremely vulnerable nest.

If you want to make contact with other families who’d like to go, email me and I’ll do some matchmaking. To read about Sarah and David’s lovely offer again, go here: http://sheafdunedin.blogspot.com/2010/10/papanui-private-beach-wildlife-tour.html


Our kayaking trip will be held at 12:30pm—3:15pm, Wednesday 15 December, at the Anderson’s Bay Inlet/Bayfield Park. If you haven’t booked a kayak yet, email Nicola or phone Tammy. Don’t
forget, the cost is $15 per kayak and lifejacket, so please bring the correct cash on the day.

Mt Cargill Hike—new start time

The Bethunes Gully/Mt Cargill hike on 8 December will start at 10:30am this Wednesday. If you’re interested, email Ted to let him know you’re coming along.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Weekend Reading - Back to Basics: Keeping School Simple

Another of those timely reminders; why is it we always creep back to trying to cram EVERYTHING in?