Hazy Days

the shadow of the life to come

Hazy Days

Archives for Kiera work

Focusing on Kiera

For ages and ages (read YEARS) I’ve had it in the back of my mind that it would be a good idea to have my kids’ eyes checked.  Double so, since it was about a whole year of not seeing the board properly before I got my eyes checked.  And since these cherubs are homeschooled, there is no relying on a school eye test to give me the heads up.  Eventually, thanks to my trusty friend Sue who has been known to pioneer paths that I tend to follow (!) we made an appointment with an excellent optometrist who happens to specialise in children.  Wayne Hodgekinson is simply brilliant.  What a pleasurable experience – and thorough too!  He had Sam giggling throughout the entire experience and yet managed to get all the info he needed.

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While the girls had their eyes checked, I took the boys on a quick grocery shop.  They were in high spirits – pretty normal for any given day – and so, just as I turned my back to pay for my groceries, they disappeared to the counter behind me and before I knew it were busy ringing up a stranger’s shopping with the help of the cashier in charge!  No harm done though.  This is another reason why I enjoy shopping at Woolies – friendly, accommodating staff who go with the flow.  This kind woman, Bernadette, even “signed” the boys blank till slips with a sweet “thank you for helping me” message for each of them.IMG_5197

On our return, I got the Great Hayes Kids Vision Feedback.  Katie and Sam have no issues, but Kiera has a lazy eye that needs some serious correction.  Oh dear!  If only I had brought her here earlier!  Thankfully, it’s the sort of thing that can be corrected with some eyewear for a year or two.  At worst, her eyes will end up like mine, which, while bad, is not debilitating.

This led to the Great Eye Wear Choice Experience.  Kiera zoned in on one pair that reminded me of my first (and most hated) pair of glasses. 

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While I preferred these gentler ones…

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But, alas, this girl’s as stubborn as both her parents rolled into one!  So, she settled on her favourite pair.

Along with the new glasses, came a rather dramatic haircut.  She’s been desperate to cut her hair short for some years now.  The deal was that when she was 10 she could get it cut short.  But, after a horrible bout of gastro, and an accidental cutting of her sister’s hair a little shorter than intended, I felt sorry for her.  So – gasp – I relented and let her have a “compromise cut”.  Aka “dramatic cut done by mom” (and aaka “you can wait ‘til you’re 10 for something a little shorter and styled and professionally done a la not-mommy!”) 

Here we have it – before:

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And After – with her new glasses.IMG_5369

And, since we are focussing on Kiera and all – here is a shot of my brave girl at the nurse’s station.  She’s been complaining of not being able to stand for long periods of time without feeling like she needs to sit and I’ve noticed she gets tired quickly when we run – more quickly than she used to.  So, off for some iron tests.  Her finger prick test came back low for haemoglobin.  But these ones showed excellent iron levels, so we’ve still got to get to the bottom of it all.  Strange thing is that she still has bundles of energy and can happily cope with 2 hours of gymnastics, so I’m not too sure what is up with her.  Ideas anyone?IMG_5514

Since the spotlight is on this cherub of mine, let me say that I am very proud of her.  She has put her mind and heart to writing a short story for the Chaeli Campaign Short Story contest.  It’s actually for high schoolers and adults, but the organisers have kindly allowed her to enter too, warning that she is up against some heavy competition.  Kiera writes very well, but she does lack the maturity for handling deep subject matter, as most 9-year olds do, which makes it unlikely for her story to beat an adult’s creative piece.  But, despite this, she has written a lovely story and is diligently working through the numerous stages of editing that all good stories require.  I am so proud of her for, not only a really well structured story with a sweet plot, but also pushing on through to the end.  It’s so easy to start a job of this magnitude, especially when it seems so exciting.  But completing it, and completing it well, is another matter entirely.  It’s been an interesting process for me too as I stand waaa-aay back and let her labour through thorough grammar and punctuation checks.  It’s been fun playing “editor” in an advisory capacity on something that is bigger than her usual writing assignments – and seeing her spread her wings and take off souring.  She most likely won’t win any of the coveted prizes, but she wins first prize in this mom’s category for perseverance, hard work, imagination, and creativity Smile

Kiera’s horses

Kiera is horse mad and shows no sign of slowing down. One day I hope to afford real lessons for her, but in the meantime she contends herself with reading mountains of horse books, fiction and non-fictio; drawing countless pictures of horses and spending hours outside ‘riding’ her hobby horse Pahla – over self-constructed ‘jumps’ and imaginary meadows.

Today she produced these two drawings – her study of horses is paying off! I love them. And they’re here so that I won’t lose them in the hundreds of drawings that are produced in our house on a daily basis!

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Kiera’s horse mad-ness features in just about every school-related activity. If she can pop a horse in the answer she’ll squeeze it in. For example, a recent Language Arts application asked her to list any three people from history that she would like to meet. No surprises that two of the people were actually horses of ancient times (Bucephalus and Pegasus – ancient lore, the latter one) and one was a horse rider that she admires for he was the only one able to control his horse (Alexander the Great – his horse was Bucephalus).

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Escape

What do you do when you’re trying to work and your siblings are making too much noise around you? What do you do when you just can’t concentrate?

Escape!

And find a quiet spot to keep working …


Photo snapped from girls’ room while subject unawares. 😉

Hayes Homeschool Celebration 2010

Tuesday 21st December saw the Hayes family have our very first Celebration Dinner.  What were we celebrating?  A successful completion of our home school year.  It’s an idea that we unashamedly stole from our home schooling friends and adapted to suit our family.  You can read all about the details of the certificates, reports etc at the end of this post, but to start off here is what we did on the evening itself.

The kids planned their special celebration dinner menu.  The requests were easy to handle – cottage pie; the forbidden coke and special yummy chocolate-filled ice-cream.  That I could do. 

Dad came home early for a swim with the kids.  Then it was a quick change into something smartish for they were to present dad with their mini-year end "concert".  They had prepared a little sample of some of the things they had learnt in the year, including a few scripture verses, a poem and some Xhosa songs.  My perfectionist self would have loved to have practised this with them until they had it "performance perfect".  Certainly, an edited version would create a more polished looking product.  But, why?  This little video of their performance for dad is all them in all their childishness and all their sinfulness and all their strengths and all their weaknesses.  The performance perfect version may serve to stroke my ego now, but this performance serves to remind us all that we’re human and I will most definitely look back on it in years to come with nostalgia and, most likely, a few tears of hilarious laughter too!

I hope you enjoy their little unpolished and unedited  performance for dad here:

Supper followed their performance, but first – gift opening time!  The girls each got a lovely baking book and Sam a book on pirates!  (Here’s an aside – the Book People in Diepriver sell excellent books for really great prices normally.  But, in December they have a HUGE sale of all their overruns and shop soiled books.  No book is more than R50.  I got these normally R120 books, which would sell for R200 at Exclusive Books, for R50 each.  I got loads of other excellent books from as little as R10 each!  Definitely worth sharing!)

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The excitement was bubbling over as quickly as the Coke! 

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Micah was especially delighted with his forbidden fare:

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After dinner came the special awards.  Sam first up – Dad talked about how proud he was of his little boy.  The delight on his face brought tears to my eyes!

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Then Katie next.  More words and congratulations.  She received her Sonlight certificates for completing Core 1 and Science 1 and the first three books of her I Can Read It series from me.  Craig, as dad and principal, gave her her official year end certificate.  These little smiles are so full of happiness and joy! 

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And then – Kiera.  Mom first presented her Sonlight certificates – for Core 1, Science 1 and Language Arts 2 intermediate.  And then, the big certificate….  Such seriousness in that first photo as she listens to her dad read to her from her certificate.  Then a handshake of such happiness!

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After our yummy icecream dessert (chopped up chocolate, smarties, jellybeans, mint aero etc in vanilla ice-cream – a la Sally style) we gave them their last gift.  They’re all into cowboy things lately, thanks to Kiera’s craze.  We spotted these cowboy hats in our local Chinese shop, Yu Tom, a while back.  At R25 each, they were dirt cheap, so we got one each for our budding scholars to enjoy during their holidays! 

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Report and Portfolio Summary: An inside look…

IMG_1219There are certain things that I love about formal schooling.  I love uniforms.  Yes.  I do.  I love formal functions like prizegiving, school plays, galas and athletics events.  I even love report cards and certificates.  I know that many home schoolers are glad to be free of these things, and in some ways I am.  But, while I am convinced that home schooling is a really fantastic schooling option and I am thrilled that my kids get to experience this path, I admit that I am sad that they don’t get to experience some of the things that formal schools do – at least, not experience them to the same degree.

But, not all is lost.  We have our own homeschooling athletics days, get involved in other activities and even have the opportunities to attend our own homeschooling prize giving and eisteddfod events thanks to the organisation skills of the Cape Home Educators committee.  And, as far as reports and certificates go – we can create our own.

Some friends of mine in the homeschooling world have made the year-end a special time for their kids by giving them a celebration dinner, complete with reports/certificates and even a little gift.  We’ve not done anything like that yet, but this year I really wanted to recognise my kiddoes’ hard work throughout the year.  And, it doesn’t hurt to have a few things on record.

Well, the idea started out as a simple dinner with certificates and then turned into yet another mammoth task as the planning took on a life of its own.  Deciding to combine their reports with their portfolio for the year (portfolio – sample of their work, activities and achievements) meant that a lot of time and effort went into the final product.  Eventually, I put all their certificates; a summary report of their work, activities and achievements; samples of their written work; photographs of their artwork and photographs highlighting their activities and homeschooling moments from the year into a special folder for themselves.  Then I duplicated all that information into a bigger folder for their Foundation Phase portfolio, with the aim to include everything they do from Grade R – Grade 3 for future reference.  I included things like their attitude and attendance charts and their self-assessments in that folder.

In planning their special certificates, I ended up designing a special badge/coat of arms for our little homeschool.  It’s completely corny, I know.  But as I mentioned in a previous post on the subject … I love it, cheesy or not!  The symbols are as follows:

  • Lion: Courage and Strength,
  • Cross: Faith and Trust;
  • Flower: Hope and Joy;
  • Eagle: Justice and Mercy. 
  • "Dieu me conduise" is a variant of the original Hayes motto which means "God guide me!" 

I think that the idea of God guiding us and giving us courage and strength to keep trusting Him, growing in our faith with hope and joy and exhibiting justice and mercy is a pretty cool way to approach our lives!

Here is a little peek into some of the pages from Kiera’s portfolio:

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