Thursday, March 31, 2016

A Different Easter 2016

This year Easter was quite different for us as we were missing one of our wee family. It was the first time one of the children has been missing for a celebratory event and was quite odd and certainly a very quiet affair.

The Fashionista went on an Easter Camp with her BFF (and their family who were there as leaders). This camp is HUGE, it's for 13-18 year olds from right up the top of the country down to Gisbourne and had an estimated 5,000 attending! Whilst looking at the photos of the camp online I came across this one of kids coming back from lunch and noticed TF straight away ... can you?

Despite TF being away, we still had our annual easter egg hunt with just Agent Smelly as it didn't seem to be right for her to miss on our annual tradition -- not that she claimed to care. She is a very cruisy child and doesn't seem to like too much of a fuss or fanfare over anything. On the other hand she does have quite a sweet tooth and loves chocolate so it's pretty easy to get her to go on an egg hunt. 

Monday, March 28, 2016

Trying to keep the Fun with One

I have found it is really easy to get stale homeschooling just one child and we don't always have the same fun that we used when there were both girls to do things with. So this month I made a concentrated effort to celebrate a couple of events as I do feel a bit guilty at times that Agent Smelly's days are a bit more curriculum filled.

So on Pi Day 3.14 (14th March) we did a few Pi related activities ... including eating PIE!  

Then for St Patrick's day I made up a couple of wee treat packs (I popped one in The Fashionista's school lunch as a surprise much to her delight) and Agent Smelly was able to eat hers throughout her activities. I purchased the green lollies from a shop in the mall that just sells lollies and chocolates -- the Korean lady working there looking perplexed as she watched me sorting through the different containers so I could grab just the green ones. I did explain they were for St Patrick's day and that brought a big grin to her face. 

I found the 'shamrock nails' in a $2 Shop and threw those in for a bit of fun. 

When I do a 'special unit day', I do not include ANY of regular school work; we make it a day of all new and fun stuff. I feel like it actually revives us.

Similarly to the Pi pack, the booklet had word finds, crosswords, sudoku, word scramble, codeword puzzle, maze, etc. which I printed from free sites. Sometimes there will be a recipe in there, for instance in this case it was how to make Shamrock pancakes.

I always use a few different sites for my print outs because sometimes some of the activities may be too young for her or something we've done before. This gorgeous wee front page and some of the pages I used were from Embark on the Journey's blog page. I just use google or pinterest to find things on the subject that I am wanting to put a book together on.

Because Agent Smelly quite likes music we also listened to some Irish music, folk type and also The Pogues (her dad likes them so we have some CD's). 

I really love doing activities like this -- they learn so much whilst having fun and learning things in a completely different way. 

*Please note this post is delayed posting it's from last year. 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Piano for a Song

Both girls have often expressed how it would be cool to play the piano so recently I saw a rather old piano being sold locally for the grand price of $10.00   So of course I thought 'why not' if they don't take it to it, it's only $10 that it's cost us.  

Bonus is the Papa just loves it when I tell him things like, oh hun can you put the trailer on the car, I've just bought a piano. Well I think that's what it means when he rolls his eyes and takes a big drawn in breath. 

So we are now the proud owners of an old piano, it even came with a stool. It has a couple of sticky keys but other than that it's perfect to start learning on. Agent Smelly particularly has taken a liking to it is so we are looking for piano lessons for her. 

It's been placed in my study ... so I can close the door to save my ears ... I mean so they can practice in peace. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

First Day back at School 2016

Whilst her big sister is off in her uniform in a classroom setting, leaving at the crack of dawn, Agent Smelly settles down to do history ... laying on the couch eating an apple and reading Story of the World (Book 3).  Homeschooling rocks!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Performing Arts for The Fashionista in 2015

I just found a pile of posts sitting in my drafts that I had written but obviously forgot to post it. This is one of them. So please check the dates to see when this was actually written. 

It was a very big year for The Fashionista last year in the performing art area. She chose drama as one of her electives which they did for year 9 and of course she of course had to sign up for everything going as is her way.

Early on in the year she performed in the Sheila Winn Festival with her high school.

The Festival is an annual event that involves more than half the secondary schools in the country. During the Regional Festival, students engage with Shakespeare's plays by performing 5-minute and 15-minute excerpts from them with schools in their area.

Schools from each region are then selected to go on to participate in the National Festival.
She played one of the dancers.  Unfortunately I was sick and didn't make it but her dad and Grandma when to see the regional one she was in. Their school got best costumes I think, but the 'boys' school that they are affiliated with won and went to participate in the National Festival.

This is a pic from one of her dress rehearsals. On the night they also had colourful ribbons tied around their wrists with bells so they jingled when they performed.

She was fortunate enough to attend a Black Grace dance workshop in Auckland with her contemporary group, Manu Wairua, in April. The group was so blessed as Black Grace is New Zealand's leading contemporary founded by Neil Ieremia (on chair in pic) in 1995.

Each student got to partner up with one of BG's dancers and so got some one on one treatment. MW's 'manager' I suppose you could say (far left in the pic below) told me it was very funny to see The Fashionista doing one rather flexible move with her legs and the male BG dancer she was working with try it, and laughingly make some joke about not being quite as flexible as she was. She came home from this event on an absolute high ... the BG group are really warm, funny, flexible and helpful apparently. They were all given Black Grace t-shirts ... it's 12 months later and it is still her favourite t-shirt!

Post workshop pic of MW and BG ... I love how they felt comfortable enough with them to take a funny picture as some events the kids are quite reserved. 

Performing an exercise with one of the BG dancers.

Her drama class performed a couple of sketches in June to show off what they had been working on throughout the two terms. She was one of two given the narrators role (first pic), in the class production and then she got to perform with some of her friends in a mini piece that they had put performed in class where she was the wicked aunt (second pic).  She got a bit of the acting bug doing this course and performing ... hmmmm

Apologies for the quality of the photo, I had to cut her out of a larger one.

Outside of school she started 'en pointe' ballet and also continued with contemporary. Unfortunately due to her travelling such a distance each day to and from school the added external class were more than either of us could take much more of (I was spending hours on the road each day!) so she dropped ballet as it was three classes a week but still continued with her weekly contemporary class. Here's a pic of her the day she took her exams, which she passed.

All of the members of Manu Wairua, except for The Fashionista, attend the same small character School (120 students in total). This school is a very progressive maori school (although you don't have to be Maori to attend there). One of the very talented lasses, who started the group, has been sitting her High school levels in dance and had to choreograph and perform a repertoire as part of her assessment and as they don't have a lot of dancers at their school to choose from so they asked XXXX to help out.

She practiced with her partner a few times and had one practice with the group before going on that night. They were the finale and did really well. It was a war based theme, with very strong and theatrical music.

It was a great night held at a centre in the middle of Hamilton. Some students performed a scene if they were doing drama, some performed on a musical instrument and a few sung with a band they had in to accompany the students. They were being assessed as they performed their routines and they did so well.

Around the same time she was also rehearsing for her schools annual performance. Her girls high school joins together with Boys High each year to put on a big school performance. They each take it in turns to host and run the event. In 2015 it was Boys High's turn to run the event and they chose Jesus Christ Superstar. She actually was one of two year 9 girls (there were about 300 girls in year 9 but of course they didn't all apply or audition) to get a part as a dancer in the show. She was over the moon as you can well imagine.

There were hours and hours and hours of work putting this performance together. Every Sunday between 1 and 6 she attended rehearsals at Boys High, along with another 1-2 nights a week there also. On top of that the dancers rehearsed through their lunch breaks at school for the special performances they were doing in the show that didn't involve the rest of the case. It was tiring that's for sure. 

They ended up performing about 6 shows in July and I have got to say, trying not to be biased, that the show was just AMAZING. The singers were awesome, the dancers perfectly rehearsed and looked so professional, and the student band (up the back in the pics) just first class. Anyone who saw the show was just blown away by it.

She just loved being with the cast and crew and they really bonded during the rehearsals. She still has some amazing friends, even a couple of males ones, from this event. I think I was the highlight of her year. During this show the acting and performing bug hit her BIG TIME and she now wants to pursue it as a career.

She's the wee angel up the back right. She did a beautiful job.
Photo by Cirrus Photography

Can you spot her? She's the wee one at the front left.
Photograph by Feisty Photography

Waiting back stage to go on.

In November she performed in her new dance academy's recital doing contemporary. She was only in the one dance as it is a large school and the recital lasted for about 2 1/2 hours or more!

When I advised the owner early this year that she wouldn't be returning, who also was one of two of her ballet teachers, she told me that she thought she danced beautifully in the recital and that she was welcome back anytime, which was just lovely as she is a very exacting teacher who does not give praise lightly.

My favourite photo taken by the photographer the school hired - she hates it.

That's her in the front, middle.

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