Thank goodness...the exemption has been issued. No questions asked, just approved the day after it was sent. Easy-Peasy...why didn't I just do that in the first place?
Broad Curriculum Areas
Princess will learn at home, in the company of her mother, older brother J-Man (exemption received, Jan 2005), and younger brother Tombliboo (nearly 2). Her father will also play a major role, as will various family and friends, and members of the community.
We see education as a marathon rather than a sprint, and are focused on Princess’s long-term education. It is our hope that at the end of her homeschooling, she will be able to happily do whatever it is she wants to do with her life.
Princess’s education will be flexible and able to be adjusted as her needs change. She will be involved in the construction of her own curriculum, based around her particular interests.
We believe that life is not compartmentalised in to subjects and neither should education be. All subjects overlap and are inherently intertwined. However, for the purpose of this application we have included 6 subjects below, and how we believe they will be learned.
Our goal for Princess is that she be able to communicate on all levels, and that reading in particular will become a life-long pleasure for her.
We also hope that Princess’s reading ability will become such that she is able to understand and enjoy all forms of written material.
Princess will become competent in Literacy in the following (and more) ways:
Conversations with us, and others
Being read to
Reading for herself
Listening to books on tape
Writing in her journal
Writing notes, cards, and signs
Watching movies based on books
Creating new endings to stories we read
Playing board games
Playing with words (rhyming, alliteration,
Acting out parts of stories
Telling stories in different forms, eg: suitable for a toddler
Writing her own stories
Illustrating her stories
Writing/talking/thinking about characters in books
Writing letters, addressing envelopes, and writing in cards
Writing on competition entry forms, and bank slips
Making lists of things to do, or items she would like
Writing stories, poems, and captions for artwork
Making books herself
Visiting the library regularly (our library is in easy-walking distance from our home, and we visit the library at least once a week)
Choosing and buying books
Reading newspapers and magazines
Reading signs and labels
We have a large, ever-increasing collection of books. It is our usual practice to check out 40-50 books from our local library at each visit.
We also have access to the National Library and that of the Auckland Home Educators.
Our goal for Princess is that she will enjoy mathematics, that she will have good number-sense, and become competent in all basic areas. We also expect that Princess will have an understanding of how mathematics is woven in to our everyday lives.
Numeracy will be learned in the following (and other) ways:
Baking and cooking (fractions, measurement)
Noticing patterns, symmetry and shapes, etc
Shopping (currency, arithmetic, measurement)
Counting objects (eg: ponies) or counting time (eg:hide and seek)
Counting Pocket Money and working out ways to use it
Playing Board Games, eg: Monopoly (currency, addition, subtraction, value)
Playing Card Games, eg: Rat-a-Tat Cat (numbers, addition, logic, statistics)
Playing Dice Games, eg: Yahtzee (addition, recording)
Constructing Lego models from Instructions and imagination
Playing with Cuisenaire Rods, Math-U-See blocks, tangrams, linking cubes, counting teddies, Weigh and Play, pretend money, dice, dominoes, magnetic numbers, rulers, calculators and other mathematical resources we purchase
Observing times, dates and seasons
Playing computer games online, and on cd-rom (eg: Reader Rabbit Math)
Discussing Math and math concepts
Reading math books (eg: The Grapes of Math)
Doing puzzles and mazes
Doing Sudoku and other mathematical puzzles
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Our goal for Princess is that she will develop a positive interest in science to develop her scientific thinking skills. We want her to be competent and comfortable with all aspects of technology, and to find enjoyment using them.
Princess will study science and technology, related to her personal interests and surrounding environment in the following (but not limited to these) ways:
Watching Science-related documentaries and DVD’s (we own a set of Magic School Bus dvd’s, and all enjoy watching documentaries on Sky TV)
Reading Science books (from our own collection and the library)
Visiting the Zoo, Motat, Kelly Tarlton’s, the Museum and Observatory
Exploring our backyard and garden
Assisting in the garden. Princess loves to plant and care for seeds, and watch them grow
Attend Transition Towns meetings, and community awareness events with family
Discussing environmental issues with family and friends
Conducting science experiments
Making and recording observations
Visiting Science Fairs and roadshows
Exploring at beaches and on our walks
Observing the world around her
Being involved in recycling and composting our waste
Using technology in the home and beyond
Princess’s father works in the IT industry, and will have many opportunities to impart his knowledge. Princess has free access to our computers (and a laptop), and is encouraged to make use of them as often as she likes. She enjoys playing on various websites designed for children, and using some of the programs on each pc (eg: Word and Paintbrush).
Her older brother also has a particular interest in this area, and loves to share the information he gleans. We expect to see Princess’s typing skills improve as she uses the computer more.
Princess will read various scientific and technological publications as her interest leads. She enjoys using the tools in our home, and watching them being used.
HEALTH AND WELL-BEING
Our goal for Princess is that she understands the necessity of a healthy body, and to continue to care for her body’s needs. There are many opportunities to learn about health in a home environment, and many ways for her to be physically active.
Princess will learn about health in the following ways:
Discussion with family and friends
Shopping for and preparing food
Discussing the essentials of a healthy diet
Discussing various diets around the world
Reading books on health and disease
Being prepared in an emergency
Participation in fire drills, and drawing up escape plans
Discussing her own health issues and those of the rest of the family
Visiting family and friends in hospital, or when sick
Discussing various stages of life
Attending homeschool classes such as gymnastics, swimming lessons, sports groups, as her interest dictates
Walking regularly- we have made the decision to do without a car during the week, so we walk everywhere we can, and take buses when we need to go further away.
Learn to ride a bike
Play on our various outdoor structures- geometric dome, bikes and trikes, trampoline. We plan to buy a slide shortly, and plan to build a large play structure in the next year
Playing with balls, and sports equipment
Swimming at our local pools and beaches
Watching documentaries about the human body
Cuddles and care, having fun together
Discussing personal safety
ART AND MUSIC
Our goal for Princess is that she will continue to enjoy being creative, and develop her own style. She will have an opportunities to develop her creativity every day, and will learn more about Art and Music in the following (but not limited to these) ways…
Painting, drawing and creating at home and away. Princess has a particular interest in arty things. She likes to make an incredible array of things out of paper, card, and masses of cellotape and glue
Doing craft kits, and copying craft/art activities out of the books we own, and those we borrow from the library
Dancing, singing at home and away. Princess sings every day, usually songs about her day or what she is feeling at the time
Listening to the radio or CD’s (various genres)
Watching musical events on tv or You Tube
Princess has attended a Drama class, and may do again
Princess is listed with a talent agency, and has been filmed for a few television commercials, which has been a wonderful learning experience for all of us
Attending concerts and community events, as her (and our) interest leads
Attending music or art lessons, is Princess is interested
Learning about famous artists and composers
Entering competitions, eg: from newspapers, shops and tv
Making music with the various instruments we own, and those we make/invent
Experimenting with playdough, clay, plasticine, fimo, etc
Creating things at the library, museum, etc
Making cards for family and friends
HISTORY AND GEOGRAPHY
It is our goal that Princess will gain a firm understanding of her place in the world, both in location and time. We expect that she will have a fair understanding of how events unfolded to shape the world we live in today, and a possible idea of how things will look in the future. It is our hope that these subjects will enrich our daughter’s life, and not (as so often happens with children) be a bore.
We feel it is important for Princess to understand that “history” happened to people like us, and we will shape the “history” that future generations of people will study.
We expect that an understanding of History and Geography will be infused naturally, in the following (amongst other) ways:
Looking at wall maps (and smaller maps, and map books) of New Zealand and the world
Reading and being read to from various encyclopaedias (People, Histories of the world)
Looking on maps when family or friends are travelling
We are members of a groups of homeschoolers who send postcards to each other from all over the world
Looking at a globe
Visiting Motat and the Auckland War Memorial Museum, and other museums of interest outside of Auckland
Playing Trivial Pursuit and Around the World
Watching Sky Channels such as National Geographic, Discovery and The History Channel
Discussion of customs and food of other cultures
Trying and creating food from other places
Watching television programs showing different geographic locations
Reading historical fiction, biographies, books about different countries, children’s atlases and accounts of various events
Talking to other people about their travels, and memories from when they were younger
Talking about, and looking at photos of when Princess was younger
Noticing places we visit, and the routes we take
Travelling to other parts of the country, and possibly beyond (one day)
Curriculum Coverage for the First Year
Our curriculum will remain the same as it has done from Princess’s birth. We will continue to enjoy each day with her, watching her interests change and develop, and introducing her to new ideas and concepts naturally and without coercion.
Princess is a happy girl, and we have no concerns about her progress so far, nor do we expect any problems in the future.
Our programme is child-centred, with plenty of room for direction from parents where we deem it is necessary. Princess’s natural curiosity seems to lead her, very organically, in to every possibly curriculum area.
We endeavour to make her life as full as possible, not with multitudes of activities…but with interesting events and discussion. She has plenty of time to be alone with her toys and her thoughts, as well as plenty of time to be with her family, and exploring the larger community.
We offer all manner of activities, and she suggests those that are of interest to. Hardly a day will go by when Princess doesn’t come up with a plan for some new thing she would like to try.
The Aim: To expand Princess’s knowledge about the Kiwi. She noticed kiwi at the zoo, and began to ask many questions about them.
Resources: Encyclopedia (from home), books from the library about kiwi/birds/nocturnal animals, look for a dvd (or upcoming documentary on Sky) about the kiwi or birds in general; the Auckland Zoo, Art Supplies.
Method: We will answer Princess’s questions about the kiwi, and impart whatever further knowledge we have. She naturally wants to draw the kiwi she saw, and we can encourage her to make pictures of kiwi in other ways (eg: collage or with labelled parts). We can also make kiwi out of playdough, or items from our recycling bin.
There is a place we have driven to in Kerikeri (on the way to Opedo Bay) where there are signs up to beware of kiwi walking across the road at night. We would love to take her there in the night with a torch to see if we can see a kiwi in the wild.
We can talk about endangered species, and ways we can help the kiwi (in particular) to survive. We can discover together what kiwi like to eat, and where they are likely to be found. We can look at maps about where they are most often found, and make pictures of how many kiwi are thought to be in each area. We can go back to the zoo to watch them some more, and if possible, compare how we notice them behaving at the zoo and in the wild (if we should get to see them).
We can talk about how the kiwi came to be one of our national icons, and all the different places we might see kiwi alluded to (eg: the National Rugby League team, on NZ money)…we can go on a kiwi hunt, at home, and out. We can look in a tourist shop for all the items which have something to do with the kiwi.
We can talk about the kiwi’s predators, and the ways it protects itself from them. We can find out if there are any kiwi in other parts of the world, and talk about the national birds/animals of other countries.
Evaluation: We will know how effective the learning has been by the questions Princess asks, and comments she makes. We will also hear her discussing what she has learned with her brothers, and other family members, and in her solitary play.
Resources and Reference Material
Computers with broadband internet access, and many software titles
Large Collection of books, including fiction, non-fiction, children’s books, magazines, comics strips, encyclopaedias, atlases, dictionaries, thesaurus
A Map of New Zealand, Map of the World, Globe
Magazines, including Net Guide, Taste, Life Learning, Natural Life, Healthy Food Guide, PC World, Disney Adventures, Princess, Kidzone, Whacky But True
Calculating and measuring tools
Art & Craft Supplies, including: various colours and sizes/thicknesses of paper and card, acrylic paint, tempura paint, water colours, felts, opens, pencils (coloured and lead), chalk, glitter pens, water colour pencils, paint pens, glitter, glue, ice block sticks, permanent markers, whiteboard markers, pastels, play dough, scissors, guillotine, cellotape, double-sided tape, string, nails, wood, stamps, punches, stencils, easel, art and craft and drawing books
Musical Instruments, including: child s-zed guitar, ukelele, recorder, castanets, mini drums, large (and small) keyboard, tambourines, whistles
Music- large selection of tapes and cd’s, stereo, mp3 player
Sports Equipment, including: tee-ball set, geometric dome, bikes, trikes, ride on toys, tennis racquets and balls, rugby balls, soccer balls, softball gloves, cricket sets, trampoline and rebounder
Home Maintenance tolls and equipment
Playing Cards, and large selection of card games, and learning cards
Math Manipulatives, including: Cuisenaire rods, buttons, counting teddies, linking cubes, Math-U-See blocks, dominoes, geometric boards, number charts, rules, wooden shapes, Brainy Blocks (plastic shapes)
Board Games, including: Cranium, Cranium Cadoo, Settlers of Cataan, Monopoly, Scrabble, Cluedo, Pictionary, Kids vs Grown-Ups, Trivial Pursuit, Around the World, Hungry Hippo, Tumblin’ Monkey’s, Pop-Up Pirate, Trax, selection of cooperative games
Large Selection of children’s dvd’s
Sky television, including 4 children’s channels, The History Channel, Animal Planet, National Geographic, The Documentary Channel
Lego and Duplo
Large collection of plastic animals, Polly Pockets, My Little Ponies
Large box of wooden blocks
Play Food, train set, collection of Little People, cash register, lots of containers of small toys, Pirate Ship, Sand and Water Play Table
Large number of puzzles ranging from 30-1000 pieces, including 2 Triazzles, Rush Hour, and The Global Puzzle
Magnetic letters and numbers
Loads of toys
Family in Auckland, Kerikeri, Christchurch, Sydney and London
Friends all over Auckland, New Zealand, Canada, and worldwide (that we haven’t met other than online)
Play Station 2, DVD player, digital camera
Local and city-wide homeschooling support groups.
National and International Yahoo Groups (e-mail support)
Easy-walking Distance to library, community centre, skate park and several shops
Annual (unlimited entry) Motat Pass
Museum, art galleries, swimming pools, zoo, beaches, parks, Chipmunks, bowling, ice skating, airport, mini golf, pet shops, Observatory
Manukau Libraries, one if which is open 7 days a week
School fairs and galas
Homeschool group trips/events
A bach owned by the children’s Great-Nana
Supermarkets and malls
Garden and Yard
Kelly Tarlton's Membership (unlimited access for a year, and invites to behind-the-scenes events)
Anything else we hear about, or can think of that is interesting
We consider the whole world is available to Aimee in her education. She is not separated from the rest of the world, but very much a part of it.
We are always on the lookout for interesting happenings in our community and beyond. Virtually any trip outside our gate is used to “extend and enrich” Princess’s education (as well as nearly everything inside our gate).
We have made many visits to interesting places so far this year, and this will continue. We plan to visit Kerikeri for Labour Weekend, and also the family bach in Port Waikato when the water warms up. We will also be heading back to Kerikeri for Christmas.
If we can get enough spare weekends, we would also like to visit homeschooling friends in Coromandel, Raglan, New Plymouth and Fielding and Wellington.
We will visit the museum again, and swimming pools, beaches, Motat, and we hope to have a visit to a recycling plant and to Rainbow’s End. We would also like to take the Scenic Rainforest train ride, and visit Model World.
We have just purchased a year's membership at Kelly Tarlton's for Aimee, and she is keen to go as often as possible.
We will get to as many homeschool get-togethers as we can manage, particularly as the weather improves.
Princess has constant social contact with her mother and two brothers. She also sees a great deal of her Daddy, as we organise our lives to make sure he gets to spend as much time as possible with the children while they are awake.
She sees people every day, from neighbours, to friends, to check-out operators. Princess is very friendly, and enjoys people of all ages.
We see family regularly, and Princess enjoys playing with her cousins, and talking to her grandparents, uncles and aunts.
We have several friends that visit our home, and get together with other children/families as often as possible.
Princess also writes to a few people we know, and some we have never met (via the internet, or postcards) and enjoys keeping in touch in that way.
She talks to family on the phone, and sometimes friends as well. We see this increasing as she gets older.
She is with her brothers all day, and they are rarely separated.
It is very important to us that our children be able to get along with people from all walks of life, regardless of their differences. To this end, we believe we are providing for them very well socially, and will continue to do so- adjusting our schedules and acquaintances to reflect their ever-changing needs.
Assessment and Evaluation
We are able to assess Princess on a daily basis, as we watch her discover new things, and observe her skills improving.
We have the privilege of being “on the spot” when “a light turns on” and she makes a new discovery.
We don’t have any timetable for when Princess will learn each new skill, and trust that she will learn everything she needs for her life in her own time.
Consequently there is no need to asses or compare her to others.
We are able to describe in great detail where Princess is at in every subject area, due to the constant contact we have with our daughter.
We are endeavouring to keep a blog about our family’s learning. We also keep nearly everything Princess produces (except that which is made for someone else), and she as a journal she writes in as well.
Princess’s education is very important to us, and we believe she is learning no matter what activity she is engaged in. Therefore, she is learning (or being taught) all her waking hours. It would be very difficult to separate when she is learning, from when she is not. We believe living and learning are inextricably linked.
We believe Princess is being “taught” at least as regularly in a registered school, but probably more considering she is with us (awake) for 15 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Our weeks are filled with interesting activities, which we think provides an exceptionally rich education for Princess. Our days are structured around ordinary routines, and the necessity of meals, though there are never two days the same.
Every day we are committed to Princess's well-being and education, and endeavour to provide her with a memorable and excellent foundation for her future.
We are always learning, and have read some excellent resources on home education, and how children learn. Shell in particular reads about education and child development on a daily basis. We make great use of the internet in learning new information, challenging assumptions, and assessing our curriculum.
Our routine is changeable- we see this as a positive thing- being adaptable to the needs of our children. Our love for Princess is not, however, and what is best for her is always at the forefront of our minds. We are very proud of our daughter, and plan to help her have the very best education she can possibly have.
We sincerely hope this is enough information to assure you of our commitment to teach Princess “as regularly and as well as a registered school”, and look forward to receiving her exemption as soon as possible.
Thank you very much.