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 30, 2011

City of Dunedin Cadet Unit

We were given a brochure today about the City of Dunedin Cadet Unit - something I didn't know anything about, so I've included some links below for those who might be interested.

Cadets are for 13 - 15 year olds (boys and girls) and it looks like they do a lot of army-type actvities - drill, first aid, shooting, bushcraft, navigation, radio telephone procedure, etc. The fees are only $45 per year, and a uniform is supplied. There are also Air Training and Sea Cadet Corps in Dunedin.

For more info, email dunedincadetunit@hotmail.com or phone 466 4462.

Trip to Elephant Rocks near Duntroon

Next Wednesday (Nov 9th), we've planned a trip to the remarkable Elephant Rocks, near Duntroon. http://www.vanishedworld.co.nz/elephant.htm

As it's quite a drive (just under 2 hours), we thought we'd leave town around 9am to meet there at 11am, so that everyone has time for a walk around and some lunch before heading back to Dunedin. Here are Google's directions to the Elephant Rocks

There are other interesting sites nearby also, which are worth a look while you're in the area, such as those featured on the Vanished World trail http://www.vanishedworld.co.nz/trailmap.htm and the Maori Rock Art at Takiroa http://planmyplay.co.nz/_webapp_186496/Takiroa_Maori_Rock_Art

Please let me (Nicola) know if you plan on coming, so we can make sure we wait for anyone who's running late or gets lost :-) If anyone is interested in car-pooling or has room in their car for others, please let me know, and don't forget lunch, drinks and cameras! This trip isn't suitable for dogs, as the Elephant Rocks are on private farmland, with warnings about sheep measles posted all around. Also, it probably pays to mention that there are no toilets in walking distance, although there are in Duntroon which is about 5 minutes drive away.

Intriguing Dunedin Street Walk

This Wednesday (pending weather) we'll be doing one of the Intriguing Dunedin Street Walks from Book 4 (the red one): "A Forgotten Railway, That Ferry, and Tealess Tearooms" (Walk 2).

We'll meet at 12:30, and need to allow about 1 1/4 hours (that's about 2 hours in SHEAF time) for this walk, which starts and finishes at the cul-de-sac end of Heath Street in Andersons Bay.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Next week, plus Museum trip details

Hi all

First off, a reminder about our first week of Term 4 - we have a cafe night on Wednesday 26 October at Nova, as well as a museum trip.

Michelle only has 10 kids booked for each museum trip so far, and has to have at least 12 for them to go ahead. If you haven't emailed her to book but would like to go, please do so today! Our first museum trip is a bit more expensive than usual, but should be very interesting - here are the details for each workshop

Robotech workshop - a technology blast!
Wednesday 26 October, 12.00 - 1.30, $6.50 per child
Levels 3 - 5
Curriculum Links: Technology (Technological Knowledge)
Looking for a robot that will do just what you tell it? Come along to our interactive hands-on exploration and programming session. Designed to encourage and engaged all from the beginner to the more advanced inventor in your class.

Wednesday 23 November 12.00 - 1.30, $6.50 per child
Levels 1 - 6
Curriculum links: Science (Making Sense of Planet Earth and Beyond)
Put the southern skies within your students’ reach in our portable planetarium. Topics covered include the sun, the phases of the moon, the life cycle of the stars and constellations including Greek and Maori tales. Includes high school extension.

Mini Beasts
Wednesday 7 December 12.00 - 1.30, $3.50 per child
Levels 1 - 5
Curriculum links: Science (Making Sense of the Living World)
Trainee entomologists are needed; so bring your students now! BUT BEWARE. There are more insects in the world than any other type of animal and new insects are being discovered all the time. Students will learn how to recognise an insect from imposters, so expect to get up close and personal with real insects. Includes learning a waggle dance and searching for insects in the fabulous Nature Galleries.

The 2012 NZ Homeschool Diary - advertisement from Stephanie Walmsley of The Broadroom

(Claire has used this diary, and I'm sure would be happy to chat about how it worked for her)

The 2012 NZ Homeschool Diary is ready! Hot off the press, just arrived, looking gorgeous, and ready to be sent out!
It's beautiful!
It has 200 pages.
It has new sections.
And the price is lower than 2011!

As well as appointments, homeschool record keeping and planning pages, the 2012 New Zealand Homeschool Diary contains a wide variety of beautiful additional pages like planning pages, space to record recommended book titles and books read, quotes, calendars, important dates, and more.

The diary is available in three formats:
A4 on a spiral binding
A5 on a spiral binding
Downloadable PDF for you to print yourself.

I also asked the printer for a couple of copies of A5 size diaries not punched or bound, for you to punch yourself and put into your own ring binder. And to really please you, there is a free gift for everyone who buys the diary.
To read about the free gift go to http://softpro7.com/product-info.php?pid32.html
To see a sample of the diary, go to http://www.thebroadroom.co.nz/download/2012-NZ-Homeschool-Diary-Sample.pdf
To find out more details about the diary go to http://www.thebroadroom.co.nz/new-zealand-homeschool-diary.html

I'll be in touch again soon with news of the Student Organiser.
'Isn't a new diary a wonderful thing? I love the fresh start and the whole year stretched out before me.'

Swimming lessons

As this Monday is a holiday, our Swimsation lessons start back on the following Monday, at 11am.

For those who haven't been to them before, our group gets the school discount, which means we pay quite a bit less per term than the general Swimsation lessons, and get a whole hour per session - a half hour swimming lesson, then a half hour water activity (these include things like kayaking, water polo, water safety, aquarobics and diving, among others).

Lessons are suitable for all stages from beginners to advanced. As Term 4 is a short term, this could be a good time to give them a trial! The cost for the term is $65.10, and to book, email albrown@dcc.govt.nz

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Trampoline Holiday Programme

Daphne Stringer will be running trampoline sessions with the Dunedin Gymnastics Academy next week. These sessions are open to everyone, and cost $10 each.

Sessions will be at:

Tues 18 Oct, 1-3pm Trampoline open session 7yrs+

Wed 19 Oct, 10.30 - 12.30 Trampoline open session 7yrs+

Wed 19 Oct, 1-3pm Trampoline advanced session 12yrs + or MAG/WAG S3+

Email Megan Kerr at dunedingymnastics@gmail.com to book, as they will only run each session if there are enough numbers.

Address list updating time!

Nicola emailed out the updated SHEAF address list this week, which is usually a prompt for people to then check their details and remember to tell her of changes ;-)

So go on, don't be scared - check your family's entry and if there's anything wrong let her know, and she'll update it again very soon.

Fun link of the week

"Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide" - need I say more? http://www.wordle.net/

Facebook page

If you're a Facebook person and you haven't already liked our SHEAF page, please go and have a look, and like us if you want to!

Stacey often adds useful and exciting links (which all members can do) and the SHEAF blog also updates there. Once we get to 25 likers, we can change our Facebook address to something more user-friendly than the current https://www.facebook.com/pages/SHEAF-Dunedin/140594826018161 so please go and see if you think we're likeable :-)

Term 4 dates

Kathrin has almost filled up our Wednesday afternoons for Term 4 (see next week's newsletter for updates), but if you have anything you'd like to organise, please let her know (and maybe email me as well, as she's still having a few email issues).

Also, don't forget to email Michelle if you'd like to book for any of the museum trips next term - details in Diary Dates section.

Orokonui Events

October 8th to 24th, School Holiday Programme “Forest Fiesta”

Wednesday, October 12th at 7.30pm: Landmark Lecture - The Meaning of Eco - Science or Brand with Professor Kath Dickinson, the new head of Otago University’s Botany Department. At St David St Lecture Theatre. Entry by banknote donation. (poster attached).

Thursday, October 20th at 2pm: Reaching the Next Generation through Enviroschools with Jenny Neilson, DCC Education promotion officer and Tahu Mackenzie, Orokonui’s educator. At Orokonui. Entry $5 donation.

Wednesday, November 16th at 7.30 pm: Why is it we get all these earthquakes? with Simon Cox, senior scientist at GNS in Dunedin. At Orokonui. Cost $5 donation. (Humble apologies to those of you who came here for Simon’s talk in September. We had to postpone it due to the Sirocco tours and neglected to advise members.)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Time to update contact details!

Hi all

While Kathrin luxuriates in the great fun and relaxation of moving house and settling in, I'll be doing the SHEAF newsletter. Speaking of moving, Kathrin, Tammy and I are all moving house this month, so now is probably a good time to update the address list. Please let me know of any changes, additions or if you'd like to be removed.

From Nicola

A week of sad news

This week, we extend our sympathies to two families in our wider home educating community.

Last Friday, Craig Smith of the Home Education Foundation died of a brain tumour that he had been battling for only a few months. Craig has been a major source of support and information for home educators in New Zealand since the 1980s, and his loss will be felt deeply by the community for many years. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his wife Barbara, their children and their grandchildren. Details of his funeral (which can be watched by live videostream) can be found on the HEF website. http://hef.org.nz/

Closer to home, I'm sad to say that Annabel's husband Kevin passed away very early this morning, having not woken from his coma since his cardiac arrest last Monday. Annabel and Kevin home educated in Dunedin for several years before moving away a couple of years ago, and many of us remember them well. We wish Annabel and the children peace and comfort during this hard time, and grieve with them for the sudden loss of their husband and father.

Both funerals will be held this Friday - for details of Kevin's funeral, please contact Stacey.

Holiday activities at the Otago Museum


It’s all go at the Otago Museum these school holidays; from bouncing balls to Animals Antics – there’ll be no time for boredom!

Rugby fever continues at the Otago Museum these school holidays, with a whole afternoon of rugby related revelry to kick it off at Future All Blacks Arvo! On Sunday 9 October join special guests Rugger the Small Black, Harold from Life Education Trust and our very own Manu Moa for a day packed with rugby fun, rugby science and rugby skills.

Want to look like a real All Black? Enter the ‘Design the Ultimate Rugby Player’ competition to win your very own 2011 All Black Jersey. See the Information Desk or our website for the entry form and be at Future All Blacks Arvo to see if you’re the winner!

We’re staying with the All Black theme as we go ‘black and forth’ through the galleries with a trail to discover the meanings and mysteries of black. Grab a Go Black Trail from the Search Centre throughout the holidays – and it’s free! Or if you’re after a rip roaring adventure tour, join our Ringmaster as he tells the dramatic story of the Lawrence lions, and gives accounts of the wondrous beasts that would have once featured in the greatest shows on Earth in Animal Antics on Wednesday 19, Friday 21 and Saturday 22 October.

Freaky Science goes ‘Plastic Fantastic’ these holidays, when we use crazy chemistry to discover just how polymer-iffic this versatile material can be! Then in ‘Brilliantly Bouncing Balls’ we’ll dissect and experiment with balls of all shapes and sizes. Don’t miss the free Freaky Science shows at 2.30pm every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday during the holidays from 11 October.

Discovery Squad goes around the world and beyond these holidays, as we get wild on ‘Wild West Monday’ and see how to save the planet from your backyard on ‘Eco-Warrior Wednesday’. Be there on ‘Spring-sational Thursday’ as we banish the winter blues, or brave it on ‘Haunted Halloween Friday’ to create creepy crawlies for tricks this Halloween. Find the full list of Discovery Squad days on our website.

Robots are getting musical these holidays as you create your very own Robo-popstar! Compose an anthem to support the All Blacks or lay out some funky electronica and prove that even robots can have rhythm in Robot Idol Workshops every Monday, Wednesday and Friday during the holidays.

Meanwhile, Mighty Parasites are the talk of the Tropical Forest – join us to discover the awesome adaptations of these incredible survivors daily at 2pm; and encounter brain bending optical illusions as you see how your brain and eyes mislead you in ‘Seeing is Believing’ on the Interactive Trolley, also happening daily throughout the holidays at 3.30pm.

Finally, the Scinema Festival is back for 2011. From Worm Hunters to Wild Things, take a fresh look at science with this year's specially selected films, screening daily in the Discovery World Theatre.

Visit www.otagomuseum.govt.nz for full details, as we get fired up these holidays for some fantastic family fun!


The National Council of Home Educators (NCHENZ) has just released its 3rd Quarter Newsletter for 2011. It can be read in full here:


***Inside the newsletter:***
- Introducing our new Executive
- Feedback from the recent ERO and MoE meeting
- Proposal to allow under-16s to enrol in the Correspondence School as Young Adults
- New-look NCHENZ website – including a Classifieds Listing Service! (Buy, Sell, Exchange your curricula online!)
- NCHENZ membership is now FREE
- Painless ways to raise funds for NCHENZ
- Support for the Smith family
- Like us on Facebook

Kind regards
Stacey Wilson
Co-coordinator, National Council of Home Educators

Museum Trips - how to book

The museum needs 12 kids per visit minimum. If I haven’t got 12 confirmed a week before I will have to cancel the visit, so I need to know who wants to come and they need to confirm with me at the very latest the beginning of the week prior to the visit . If it’s easier they can pay the entry fee to me via internet banking as I don’t have change on the day . Bank number provided by email if requested .


Energy production resources

Thanks very much to Kathrin for organising the gasworks museum tour last week. It was very interesting, and even little Ben found plenty to keep him amused :-)

Obviously coal is not a very clean, green energy producer, so if anyone wants to look at some environmentally sustainable energy info with their kids, Zilowatt looks like a great resource: http://zilowatt.org/