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, October 31, 2010

Customs and Charges on homeschooling material

One of our SHEAFies got stuck recently paying a huge GST bill when ordering a curriculum package from overseas. (My husband has also had this happen once when buying too much gaming stuff in one hit - so it's not just curricular purchasing you need to be careful of!)

You don't find out you've got a problem until Customs rings you up and says "Pay us lots of money or we won't release your goods" - so fore-warned is fore-armed!

Selina-Jane was able to offer this explanation and hint:

There was a query today via the SHEAF group to ask about GST charges on curriculum items purchased from overseas. I am lucky enough to have a brother-in-law who works for customs, so have asked him to clarify things for me.

A couple of years ago when I asked him about this he told me:
The GST is applicable if you have bought over approx $400 NZD. Take into consideration the cost of freight also as that has gst on it also.
This meant that as long as your order (including postage) totalled less than approx $400.00(NZ) you would not need to pay GST on it.

After the query came through I asked him to clarify it a bit further for me, and this was his response:
The costs have changed due to GST going up and a few items such as certain types of clothing attract a few extra charges but the de minimus is set at $60. So if you order something and the total of duty and gst is over $60 then you will be liable to pay.
So this still remains around the $400 mark for 99% of all imports.
It is based on the tariff rates and the GST rate.
The de minimus was recently changed from $50 to $60. This was to cover the raise in gst to 15% and keep the $400 mark the same. So situation is still normal in regards to you importing your educational material.
If you are ever unsure about anything Customs related call 0800 4 CUSTOMS which is our call centre. They will give you up to date information and you will get the correct information.

A handy hint that was passed onto me was that lot of people order their stuff in 2 lots, making sure both lots are under $400 in order to avoid the GST - that is what we did.

Hope this helps!
Blessings, Selina-Jane

Otago Choice

The University of Otago has developed an online questionnaire that helps potential students find out what's available at Otago, and what they might like to study. Have a look at: http://otagochoice.1000minds.com/

End of year/ Christmas Dinner - suggested venue

Paasha has been suggested for our end of year dinner http://www.menumania.co.nz/restaurants/paasha - any other ideas? If not, I think we should go with Paasha - their menu looks great!

Tentative date is Dec 15th

Intriguing Dunedin Street Walk - 3 Nov

It must be time for another Intriguing Dunedin Street Walk. We're now up to Walk 2 in the third book (that's the green one). This walk meets outside of 34 Alva St (near the top end of High St), and is supposed to take just over an hour - so that's probably about 2 hours in SHEAF time. It will definitely be a bit hilly, but should probably be OK for pushers as well as there doesn't seem to be too much 'off-roading'.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Weekend Reading - quotable quotes

Looking for something pithy to tack onto your signature? Need to find just the right way to say what you want to say? Or do you just want to immerse yourself in thousands of reasons why home education is great? Head on over to

For those of you with Facebook, they can also be found there as 1,000,0001 Homeschool Quotes

Monday, October 25, 2010

Diary Dates - new system

If you look at the top of the page, you'll see a new link saying "Diary Dates - SHEAF's calendar!" This is our new system for keeping track of events etc.

We've got our events entered into a Google Calendar - go have a look!

Excerpts from CHEF newsletter

Some snippets from Dunedin's Christian Home Educator's Fellowship newsletter. Contact Selina-Jane for more information or to receive their newsletter directly.

Cafe night:
We don't have enough confirmed numbers for Ralph to open Feast for us, so I have booked us into an alternative venue. We will meet Thursday night (28th) at 7:30 at Cafe Rue, on Moray Place....they have a tempting dessert menu including chocolate brownie, lemon meringue pie and creme brulee! Sounds very good!

Next Park Date:
Remember that our next day get-together is this coming Tuesday (the 26th) not our usual Friday (so as not to be too close to the night gathering) at Woodhaugh Park, Leith Valley, beside the paddling pool. We will be meeting at 12.00, so bring along your lunch, your togs (children), some old bread to feed the ducks, and some balls/games to play on the grassed area if you are keen!.

Rain venue is my place - check your emails in the morning if in doubt as I will confirm venues then.

Blessings on you and your family, Selina-Jane

Careers Service

Here's some more information about the Career Services link with the Dunedin City Library, which was advertised last week.

Career Services - providing career information and advice to young people at the Dunedin City Library Teen Space

Tena Koutou Katoa

Career Services will be available in the Teen Space of the Dunedin City Library on Tuesday 19th and 26th October from 3.30-5.00pm. A career consultant will be available to talk to young people about their career plans, to answer their questions and to introduce them to the Career Services website. Information about these events is attached (in your email newsletter)

Noho ora mai

Pam Joan
Career Consultant
Career Services

Level 7, Evan Parry House, 43 Princess Street
PO Box 859, Dunedin, New Zealand
P:03 474 2664 F:03 477 5300

Freephone: 0800 222 733 or Visit: www.careers.govt.nz

Career Services logo and website link

MUKA youth prints

Dear young friends and parents,

Muka warmly invites you to the upcoming annual youth print shows:

INVERCARGILL fri 5 november 10-4.30pm Southland Museum and Art Gallery

GORE sat 6 november 12-6pm Eastern Southland Gallery

DUNEDIN sun 7 november 12-6pm School of art Otago Polytech 19 Riego st

OAMARU tue 9 november 2-6pm The Opera House ODT Inkbox 90 Thames st

ASHBURTON wed 10 november 12-6pm Ashburton Art Gallery

Print Price is $65 and the Muka standard frame price is also $65

We hope to see you at the youth print exhibition,

the MUKA team.

Magda Van Gils
ph pr: +64 9 376 5323

muka gallery . courtyard 68 ponsonby rd . ponsonby . auckland 1011 . new zealand . po box 47 765 ponsonby p +64 9 360 4461 www.muka.co.nz

NZQA review of University Entrance qualifications

Dear NZ home educators,

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) is currently undertaking a review of University Entrance requirements. This will affect you if anyone in your family is intending to undertake university study in the future. The consultation process began on Monday of this week and will close on December 6th of this year (2010). NZQA intends to finalise its decision by the end of 2010 so that students going into year 11 in 2011 can make the correct high school study choices now, so they can enter University in 2014 (the year that these changes are to be implemented).

NCHENZ strongly recommends that all home educators look at this consultation package and consider making a submission. This will possibly be the only chance we have to participate in this decision.

See the NZQA site for more information and to participate in this consultation.

At this stage it appears that the NZQA review is confined to the NCEA University Entrance requirements. Individual Universities each have their own additional and alternative criteria, including International Baccalaureate, Cambridge exams, Special Entry, Discretionary Entrance etc. As far as we can ascertain, the NZQA review does not touch on these entrance paths to University, but is focused on the 'National Certificate of Educational Achievement' (NCEA). It should also be noted that some Universities have already restricted their entry criteria, such that NCEA University Entrance is not necessarily sufficient for automatic entrance.

Once you have given your feedback, please contact us at NCHENZ and let us know your thinking on the matter - if it becomes apparent that most of us are thinking the same things then we will prepare a submission as an organisation. We will need to make a decision on this mid-November to give us time to prepare a submission and consult with our members.

Stacey Wilson
on behalf of NCHENZ Committee

Children's Christmas Choir

Kate is organising a non-denominational Christmas function at her church (on either 17 or 18 December), and as part of that she'd like to organise a children's choir, who could also possibly perform at some old people's homes. Amana School has offered the use of their hall for practises, so if your children are interested, call Kate for more information.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Papanui Private Beach / Wildlife Tour

Sarah and David M have made an extremely generous offer here! It will probably be easiest if people can organise their own groups of up to 4 (if they want to be driven to the beach) or up to 10 to go by foot, and then contact Sarah and David to make a booking once they've got a group together. Read on for more details from Sarah:

I would like to reoffer for people to make contact with David about a trip to our private beach to view wildlife such as yellow eyed and little blue penguins, seals and sea lions. Usually his charge for private tours is $86 per head, but he would do this for the members of SHEAF for the much more modest price of a native tree per head. Cabbage trees, kowhai, ngaios, etc... anything suitable for this area, very harsh coastal environment. These plants need to be moderate sized (about 1 to 2 feet means a plant is likely to have a good chance of transferring well) and in good condition as they will be placed in an area of new reforestation near the beach, aimed at encouraging female sea lions to breed here. Groups of up to 4 can be taken by 4WD vehicle close to the beach, there will still be walking and a reasonable level of fitness teamed with suitable footwear is great! Groups up to 10 could be guided by foot. Tours would take 1 1/2 to 3 hours depending on the day and level of interest.


The above link should take anyone interested to an article/blogsite by Bruce Elder of Sydney Morning Herald for an inkling of what is on offer. Individuals should contact David directly on our email or by phone and he will endeavour to accommodate everyone over the next couple of months. Obviously this is a working farm and there are seasonal factors and sometimes urgent work comes up at short notice but if dates have to be changed people will be given at least a day's notice. We live at Cape Saunders so it is a bit of a drive, but people can take the oppurtunity to link in with a trip to the Aquarium or Glenfalloch and make a nice outing.
I also highly recommend the sandflats at Harwood for sand sculpture if anyone wants to organise that... Tammy has probably seen what happened when the local arts group did that. Much fun and at different times of year they will last days or weeks.

Sarah M (See your email newsletter or phone list for contact details)

End of year/ Christmas Dinner

Due to popular demand, it's time to organise another dinner timed for just after everyone receives their homeschooling allowances - so no excuses :-)

Let Nicola know if 6pm Wednesday 15 December suits you, and any suggestions of where to go will be welcomed!

Bush Walk

12:30pm, Wednesday 27 October
Meet at the gravel carpark at the very end of Tanner Rd, Glenleith (just past where it meets with Wakari Rd).

Friday, October 22, 2010

Weekend Reading - The 'S' Word

Yes indeed - an article on the 'S' word. If you're new to this whole home educating gig then this is one word that you'll be hearing a lot of as you break the news to your nearest and dearest.

"Homeschooling?!" they'll gasp, barely concealing (if you're lucky) their horror - "but what about socialisation???"

These discussions get really, really old and somewhat tiring after a while, to the point where I usually avoid reading about 'the socialisation issue' now. But this is a very nice, fresh, light article which deals honestly and simply with the supposed issue (which is really the biggest non-issue around).

Socialisation: The "S" Word, by Helena Fox Dunan

hat-tip to the Rockpool!

Monday, October 18, 2010

SHEAF Diary Dates - 18 Oct 2010

Term 4 activities

We had some great suggestions for our Wednesday activities this term, including a few short hikes, the Flower Power workshop at the Botanic Gardens and possibly even some canoeing, along with our usual park meet-ups and Intriguing Dunedin Street Walks. We'll keep you posted once all the dates have been worked out.

Nicola has also tentatively scheduled another Big Peoples' Night Out for Tuesday 23 November. Things seem to get pretty busy at the end of the year, so that will probably be our last one for 2010, unless anyone is desperate for more :-) If you plan on coming, please let her know if you'd like to make this an end-of-year dinner somewhere (and any suggestions), or if we should just stick to Nova. Also, let her know if this date doesn't work for you, and we can try to arrange something that suits all those interested.

every Monday during term time
, 11:00 - 12:00pm: Swimsation lessons; 12:00pm on: lunch and socialising. If you are interested in joining the lessons, contact Swimsation at Moana Pool to book. Otherwise, just turn up!

every Tuesday, 12:30 - 2:00pm approx: tennis at Logan Park tennis courts. Contact Ted for more information.

12:30pm, Wednesday 20 October: Meet up at Bayfield Park/Andersons Bay inlet, by the new playground.

7:30pm, Thursday 21 October: Big People's Night Out, Nova Cafe.

1:00pm, Wednesday 10 November: First Aid workshop for intermediate aged kids. Contact Kathrin to book

Friday 12 - Saturday 13 November: Tirohanga Camp. Contact Stacey to book

9:00am - 11:00am / 11:20am - 1:40pm Wednesday 17 November: Life Education Trust visit, Calton Hill School. Contact Annemieke to book

7:30pm, Tuesday 23 November: to be confirmed Big People's Night Out or end-of-year dinner??

Remember, if it's raining, our outdoor meet-ups or walks will usually be cancelled/postponed

NCHENZ Newsletter

****National Council of Home Educators NZ - Quarterly Newsletter****

4th Quarter, 2010

Welcome to our new newsletter. The National Council of Home Educators (NCHENZ) exists to encourage, promote, inform and advance the cause of home education in New Zealand at a national level. By creating this newsletter we hope to improve our communication with our members and the wider home educating community in New Zealand. Be informed! Be encouraged!

***Items in this newsletter - see below for details***
- Has there been a rise in 'declined' exemption applications? - we give feedback from talks with the MoE and ERO
- Do you know someone homeschooling while receiving a benefit? Recent changes to work requirements may affect them, beginning from the end of the 2010 school year
- Should NCHENZ be a charity? - have your say
- How do I join NCHENZ?

***Declined Applications***

Earlier this year it was brought to our attention that there has been an apparent increase in declined applications for exemption, especially in the Auckland region. NCHENZ, working together with Auckland Home Educators, met with ERO in June 2010. AHE has also held meetings with the MoE. As an outcome of those meetings, and from comparing notes with AHE, we can advise the following:

Declined applications can always be restarted from scratch. There is no limit on the number of times you can apply. However, please do read the application form thoroughly and carefully when applying. If you are unclear about how to fill it out, seek help. In most cases, your local support group will have members who have recently received an exemption certificate and who may be happy to help. Otherwise, NCHENZ, the Home Education Foundation or AHE (if you are in the larger Auckland area) may be able to assist.

Although there has been no official change of policy about the granting of Exemptions from Enrolment in School, there has been a change in interpretation of that policy by the Ministry of Education - particularly the Auckland office. In the past an application of only a couple of pages in length has been acceptable, but these are now unlikely to be accepted. In addition, if you are applying for more than one exemption you must make it clear how each child's educational needs will be catered for - i.e. the applications need to be different, to demonstrate the unique needs of each child.

This shift in interpretation of policy is in part because of changing requirements for schools. Schools are now largely expected to provide Individual Education Plans for children, and that for a child to be taught 'as regularly and as well' as in school, the individual needs of each child should be demonstrated clearly and in some depth in the application. Another possible factor is that ERO recently ceased their routine reviews of homeschooling parents. It is possible that in the past Ministry has allowed what it saw as 'borderline' applications to pass, assuming that ERO would act as a safety net. With the cessation of routine ERO reviews, the Ministry may be toughening up on these apparently 'borderline' cases. However, when asked, the MoE said that although the cessation of routine ERO reviews had indeed put more responsibility onto the Ministry, they did not think it was a factor in how they dealt with applications.

For the full report on the meeting with ERO, see our website

For information about AHE's meeting with the MoE, see the AHE website

***Work requirements for beneficiaries***

In September, NCHENZ circulated an email describing the changes to the work requirements for beneficiaries, and the impact this will have on homeschooling parents. In short, the regulations now require that a homeschooling parent on a benefit must show that "it would be unreasonable to expect the child to attend school because of the family's circumstances" for them to be granted an exemption from work testing requirements. Circumstances under which an exemption might be granted are: that the child has special needs; or that the family lives too far from a school. The new work requirements for beneficiaries that affect homeschooling parents come into force at the end of the 2010 school year.

We strongly urge everyone to support our fellow homeschoolers who are being affected by these changes. We never know when we might face a similar situation ourselves. You are welcome to leave a comment about this issue on our website. http://www.nchenz.org.nz/have-your-say/

More recently, we understand that some home schooling parents have taken this issue to the Human Rights Commissioner. Despite the decision having already been made at the Parliamentary level, you can still write to your MP, or the MPs in charge of the WINZ and Education portfolios about this issue.

You can also contact the Welfare Working Group, which was "established by Cabinet to undertake an expansive and fundamental review of New Zealand's welfare system". They will be making a report to Cabinet in February of 2011. http://ips.ac.nz/WelfareWorkingGroup/Contact.html.

***Charity status for NCHENZ?***

NCHENZ is currently deciding whether to pursue status as a Charitable organisation with the Charities Commission. If you are an individual NCHENZ member, or are a member of one of our Member Groups, you are invited to contribute to this discussion on our Yahoo discussion loop (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NCHEofNZ/), and by voting in the poll, which is currently live. This poll will close soon, so please make your opinion known.

***How to become a NCHENZ member***

NCHENZ is the only national home-educators' group which represents members democratically and by consensus. We need your membership in order to hear your ideas, and be as representative as possible.
Membership information and forms are available on our website

You have been sent this email because you are on our list as a Member of NCHENZ, or we have your email as the contact address for a Member or Associate Group. If you have received this email in error, please email us at info@nchenz.org.nz and we will remove you from our list.

YES!! You can forward this email! We exist to support all home educators, and people interested in home education in New Zealand, not just our members.

Contact us on info@nchenz.org.nz

Applying for an Exemption to Home School in New Zealand

From Craig and Barbara Smith, Hefnet

Here are two very helpful links. The first is a cut down version of the exemption application, showing you exactly which comments the Ministry of Education (MoE) expects you to reply to: http://hef.org.nz/2010/making-an-application-for-exemption-from-enrolment-and-attendance-at-a-school/

The second is a lengthy letter giving all kinds of tips on how to answer the comments: http://hef.org.nz/2010/a-collection-of-exemption-tips-and-ideas/

I’d suggest reading those two, having a go at answering the questions, then giving Craig a ring at (06) 357-4399 or emailing Craig your phone number and he will ring you (email him at craig@hef.org.nz) or email him the draft of your exemption answers and he will comment on them. It seems complicated at first, but it really isn’t that bad at all. We can talk you through it. All free of charge. That’s why we’re here.

Please feel free to forward this email onto anyone you know who is applying for an exemption. If you have a website or blog then please feel free to repost this on your website or blog and/or to link to these pages on your website or blog.



Friday, October 15, 2010

Weekend Reading - Sir Ken Robinson

Sir Ken Robinson is a speaker and thinker on education and creativity. I've seen a few of his talks online and he is always worth listening to. Here he is talking about "Changing Paradigms of Education" - about how we are currently 'doing' education in the West, and why this needs to be rethought in a major way.

These RSA-Animate videos are great :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Diary Dates - 13 Oct 2010

every Monday during term time, 11:00 - 12:00pm: Swimsation lessons; 12:00pm on: lunch and socialising. If you are interested in joining the lessons, contact Swimsation at Moana Pool to book. Otherwise, just turn up!

every Tuesday, 12:30 - 2:00pm approx: tennis at Logan Park tennis courts. Contact Ted at for more information.

12:30pm, Wednesday 13 October: Meet up at Chingford Park, by the playground.

7:30pm, Thursday 21 October: Big People's Night Out, Nova Cafe.

1:00pm, Wednesday 10 November: First Aid workshop for intermediate aged kids. Contact Kathrin to book

Friday 12 - Saturday 13 November: Tirohanga Camp. Contact Stacey to book

Wednesday 17 November: Life Education Trust visit, Calton Hill School. Contact Annemieke to book

Remember, if it's raining, our outdoor meet-ups or walks will usually be cancelled/postponed.

Careers Service

Forwarded from Career Services. The flyer was an attachment with your email newsletter, but the same information can be found on the Library website (albeit less prettily)

Tena Koutou Katoa

See attached flyer for information on a new initiative of the Dunedin Public Libraries in partnership with Career Services.

This initiative is aimed at connecting young people living in Dunedin with a key community service/facility and to help them to access resources to build their career and employment skills.

We look forward to hearing back from you.

Noho ora mai

Tess Livingstone
Practice Leader
Career Services
7th Floor, Evan Parry House, 43 Princes Street
PO Box 859, Dunedin, New Zealand
P: (03) 474 2664 F: (03) 4775300

Freephone: 0800 222 733 or Visit: www.careers.govt.nz

Career Services logo and website link

Seek the path that's right for you / Rapua te ara tika mou ake

Helping you make good decisions about jobs, training and careers at any age or stage of your life.

50 Famously Successful People Who Are Dyslexic

The following email landed in our inbox - we thought it worthwhile forwarding it on :)


I just posted an article on my site entitled “50 Famously Successful People Who Are Dyslexic” ( http://www.psychologydegree.com/50-famously-successful-people-who-are-dyslexic ). I thought the article was potentially something that would interest your site’s audience, so I’m emailing you to ask if you’d consider mentioning it on your site, as I’m trying to increase the readership of my site.

Either way, thank you for your time.


Patricia Duggan

Chain stories

Palin has sent through the two completed chain stories for our edification - these were sent as attachments with the email newsletter. Some very fun reading :)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Weekend Project - LED Yoyo

It being 'school holidays' and all, we don't have our regular newsletter. Instead we have a video from Kip Kay at Make Magazine - how to make a spin-activated LED yoyo. very cool. If you want a closer view, double click on the video clip and it will take you to the YouTube entry.