Monday, February 28, 2011

Of oranges and maps

First you take an orange and draw your imaginary world on it.
Next you very carefully peel your orange keeping the skin intact.

Spread your skin out to get some idea of how we represent something spherical in map form
And then examine some maps
An old map of Australia.....geography studies complete for the day, you get to eat your orange!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


                     It takes concentration

some colorful papers 

sharp scissors

 a good mate's assistance                                                                                 


Some Chinese decorations for our geography corner

Sunday, February 20, 2011

For Cecilia

"Cecilia died as she lived;
on her own terms,
with confidence,
Surrounded by her family and friends." She was only 16.
As my oldest daughter said:I only met Cecilia a handful of times, but I couldn’t help but be affected by her enthusiasm and personality. Before I met her I knew she was ill and perhaps I was expecting it to be obvious. The day I helped her with her maths I completely forgot about her illness though, she was just an ordinary girl who would have rather been doing something other than learning maths, but surprised me by absorbing a lot of what I was saying while at the same time talking non-stop about completely unrelated subjects. Seeing someone so young dealing with her condition the way she did made me want to do better.

We will always be better for having known you Cecilia. This has been a hard goodbye but we are greatful that now "over the rainbow" your dreams really have come true!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Adventures of the Treasure Fleet

 As part of our China study we have discovered this wonderful resource. A long picture book this also ties in well with our study of the middle ages. With the older kids when we studied this time period we mostly stayed in Europe, so I am excited to discover an extension to our studies through this book.
The way the book is set out it tells a narrative on the main part of each page with a more historical account placed underneath in different type. We are reading through this book slowly as we want to savor it.


"Beginning in 1405, Admiral Zheng He led more than 300 gigantic, brightly painted ships across the South China Sea to the Indian Ocean and all the way to the distant coast of Africa. The admiral and his crew battled pirates and raging storms, and were amazed by the people and ways of life in distant lands.

They befriended kings, charted unknown oceans and were awestruck by Africa's exotic animals. At each port, China's best porcelains and silks were traded for pearls, precious stones, herbs and medicines. They brought treasures as well as dignitaries of faraway lands to pay tribute to China's powerful emperor, Zhu Di.

Filled with historical facts, Adventures of the Treasure Fleet brings a fantastic piece of history to life. Gracefully told and beautifully illustrated, the story's fast pace will keep young ones captivated while offering enough information to satisfy curious readers of all ages."(

Great Wall of China pt 1

As part of our study on the continent of Asia we are beginning an in depth look at China. One great idea I saw on another homeschool blog was to construct a model of the Great Wall of China.
 Of course as with all ideas borrowed from the internet this plan required adaptation! The original homeschooler used these really nifty blocks they purchased from Amazon.

We in the Southern hemisphere had to make our own blocks. Still a good Stanley knife and a keen eye and we were away! To begin with we decided to draw a path for the blocks. Then it was no time and the first row were attached.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Aunty Margaret

My Aunty Margaret was called home to be with her Lord at the end of last month. She was in her 91st year.
Just a few weeks before she was ministering to someone in her parish, getting meals to them and looking after them.
When she was able she liked to attend week day  Mass (always choosing the back pew for she was never one to put herself forward). She was an active member of the local Legion of Mary and other activities in her Parish and was "miffed" when she was put on the "emergency" list for handing out cups of tea etc after Sunday service. One of the things that upset her in her recent time in hospital was all the celebrations she would be unable to attend.I learned she was also a thespian in her spare time(did she have any!)
Life had not given my aunt an easy road to travel, nursing her mother-in-law in her early married life and then her husband until his death, leaving her a widow with four young children to raise. She worked hard and gave of herself generously.(and so often with a smile and a joke....and the best sponge cake i have ever eaten!). 
To call her a great lady would be a massive understatement! She was the matriarch of her extended family in every positive aspect of that word! My daughter Hannah and I flew over to attend the funeral in Wellington. Sadly I did not get to see my aunt before she died but I certainly "saw" her in the testimony of her family and friends at the rosary and funeral . And because , for me, one of her best loved personality traits was her terrific sense of humor, I couldn't help feeling she was looking down on all these occasions, scoring our proficiency and quietly encouraging us to go that bit further.
During the rosary the night before the funeral it was wonderful to see her peers share (often with a tear) how much my aunt had meant to them. The morning of the funeral was ,even for Wellington, rather windy but that didn't stop the church being packed by people who had come to celebrate the life of their dear friend. Like many others I was touched to see the parish priest's voice quaver during one part of the service; yes you guessed it Margaret was not just a parishioner to him, but a dear friend. Many of my extended family sadly no longer practice their faith but I noted how this woman's faith started to break down even the most cynical reservations. They better watch out too for I know there is a "saint in making" praying for them, urging them on to be the best she would expect them to be. Aunty Margaret we will always remember you ,you will always be our matriarch, a "hard act to follow" but who would want to follow any other path.