December 10, 2016


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An award-winning toy business run from a country Waikato home

 

The Rolston buccaneers. (From left) Ty, Monte, Sawyer, Jada and Danny prepare to do battle in the bush beyond.

There are lots of places to play around the property.
 The kids play in the bush and fish in the stream. The adults work from home creating toys that win awards. imaginations are fuelled, dreams fulfilled. It’s a good life.

When Dee met Jeremy 20 years ago it was clear they would one day alight in a place without traffic snarls or neon lights, where the noisy beat of a kereru’s wings would be the loudest sound around.

Dee was raised on a farm at Kinohaku, a speck-sized settlement on the shores of the Kawhia Harbour. She and her sisters and brother played imaginary games, built African pygmy huts in the bush, leapt feet-first from a high bridge into the harbour and helped their grandmother hand-milk her cows in return for milk and butter. “We had no television,” she says. “We made our own adventures.”

Jeremy and Dee.

Jeremy and Dee.

Jeremy spent his childhood shifting homes as his father followed shearing gangs around the country. They moved 15 times before he reached his teens. He says he missed each home. But through the tapestry of ever-changing landscapes he cherishes one memory. When shearing was slow he and his dad would jump on a farm bike and go bush to hunt possums. They would kip overnight in makeshift shelters, boil the billy on an open fire and breathe the bush air. It was, he says, the best time ever.

This is a love story. But it’s more than a fairy tale about a beautiful blonde-haired young woman who married her best friend. It’s about a couple who share ideas about what childhood should be like. In this household of mum, dad and six kids aged from one to 12, real-time conversations are important; imagination is encouraged.

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Music is a passion for Jeremy and the older children, and spontaneous singalongs take place when anyone picks up the guitar. 

Monte, aged eight, is currently working on a graphic novel about a dog named TLSH, aka The Last Super Hero, who sometimes gets in trouble. When he finishes he might join his siblings to re-enact a scene from Lord of the Rings, or mount a pretend pony to hurdle jumps in the paddock.

Dee says she can count on one hand the number of times she has ever heard one of her children complain they are bored. “If they did,” she says. “I would suggest giving them a job to do.”

The good life for the Rolstons began officially eight years ago, when they bought a house on the road to Te Pahu near Raglan. But the seeds for their lifestyle were planted much earlier. They met through a church youth group when Dee was 18 and Jeremy 22. Jeremy says he first saw Dee at a concert and cymbals crashed.

There’s no shortage of pint-sized tools when work has to be done, nor is there any lack of imagination when it comes to games, dressed-up or not.

There’s no shortage of pint-sized tools when work has to be done, nor is there any lack of imagination when it comes to games, dressed-up or not.

They later became best mates. On their first date he took her for a walk in the bush and gallantly piggy-backed her across a river. Dee says she married Jeremy “because if some other girl married him, I would lose my best friend”.

Jeremy was a furniture-maker – a skill he had learned, with a black rubber-handled claw hammer, at the knee of his father. He was a skilled tradesman and topped New Zealand in his trade certificates in cabinet-making. Dee had a BA from Waikato University and a post-graduate diploma in English as a second language. Four years after their marriage they travelled to South Korea where Dee taught English and Jeremy – who had originally signed on as a caretaker – found himself instead teaching kindergarten. “It was great,” he says. “The best time. I could be myself.”

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When the couple returned to Hamilton the furniture-making business had hit tough times as cheap imports flooded the country. Jeremy took up a position running a church youth group. But with the approaching birth of their third child, the couple realized they had outgrown their home.

“I think because I had moved so often, I also wanted a place where we could put down roots and the kids could have some space,” Jeremy says.
Paradise was found in the form of a large two-storied wooden home with a labyrinth of rooms, flanked by bush, a creek, an orchard and massive climbing trees. Soon after they moved in Monte was born in the front bedroom.

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Part of the plan was always for Dee to home-school the children. “We didn’t want them to spend half their lives on a school bus or in a classroom.”

Read the rest of the article here: http://thisnzlife.co.nz/award-winning-childrens-toy-business-run-country-waikato-home/

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Needing help for your home schooling journey:

http://hef.org.nz/2011/needing-help-for-your-home-schooling-journey-2/

And

Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling:

Information on getting startedhttp://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/

and

Information on getting an exemptionhttp://hef.org.nz/exemptions/

This link is motivational: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-what-is-it-all-about/

Exemption Form online: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-exemption-form-now-online/

Coming Events: http://hef.org.nz/2013/some-coming-events-for-home-education-during-2013-2/

Beneficiaries: http://hef.org.nz/2013/where-to-for-beneficiary-families-now-that-the-social-security-benefit-categories-and-work-focus-amendment-bill-has-passed-its-third-reading

 

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‘I wanted children who loved to learn’

From Stuff.co.nz:

“I home educated for five years. Best five years ever.

“The freedom to choose our own curriculum, and the ability to really drill down into subjects and access top experts within our own time frame inside and outside a 9am-3pm restriction appealed.

‘Anti-social’ was always raised as an objection to home-schooling, yet I noted the most anti-social behaviour I have ever witnessed in society happened in schools, and in prisons, where near 100 per cent of inmates attended state schools at some time.

“My five children were exposed to all age ranges of society rather than confined to ‘same aged peers’ only for six hours a day throughout formative years.

READ MORE:
Home schooling: weird or wonderful?
School’s out, this time forever
‘The children decide what to learn’

“My son was sent to live in France for a year, my daughter opted to learn New Zealand sign language as a core subject. We invited and incorporated members of the local deaf community into our lives and it worked well.

“My 10 year old son wanted to learn C++ programming and html.  He was very proficient in coding at a young age.

“He also took up bagpipes young, and learning to read music just became part of our day.

“Eventually home-schooling for us came to an end. My adult children are all gainfully employed, in healthy relationships, leading fullfilling and productive lives. One son just graduated Otago University as a software engineer.

“The youngest to be home-schooled, and who did not step into a state school classoom until she was 10 years old has her sights set on becoming a geneticist.

“She had an idyllic childhood for the first ten years of her life, roaming farmland with her animals and immersed in books when she was not online and studying with friends over Skype.

“The school environment with mass warehousing of children, where school is primarily occupied with behaviour management, is not the best place for all children. Many thrive outside of institutionalised styles of learning.

“Home education gave us huge flexibility.  Resources and knowledge in the community are limitless.

“I had left school in the early 1980s with no high school qualifications, yet I knew if I exposed them to opportunities and supported them in their quest for education, they would succeed.

“I did not need a teaching degree to give my children wings. ”

Read more here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff-nation/assignments/why-did-you-choose-to-home-school/14576513/I-wanted-children-who-loved-to-learn

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Needing help for your home schooling journey: http://hef.org.nz/2011/needing-help-for-your-home-schooling-journey-2/

And

Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling:

Information on getting startedhttp://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/

and

Information on getting an exemptionhttp://hef.org.nz/exemptions/

This link is motivational: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-what-is-it-all-about/

Exemption Form online: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-exemption-form-now-online/

Coming Events: http://hef.org.nz/2013/some-coming-events-for-home-education-during-2013-2/

Beneficiaries: http://hef.org.nz/2013/where-to-for-beneficiary-families-now-that-the-social-security-benefit-categories-and-work-focus-amendment-bill-has-passed-its-third-reading

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Class of their own: Home-schooling a ‘path of discovery’

Seven per cent of New Zealand’s school population are taught at home. Last year, 5558 children from nearly 3000 families were home-schooled.Education reporter Jody O’Callaghan meets a North Canterbury home-educating family.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/76178455/class-of-their-own-homeschooling-a-path-of-discovery

Scargill mother Lennie Harrison has been home-schooling her four children for 27 years.

As 10-year-old James is head down studying, the smell of pancakes wafts from the griddle nearby.

Lennie Harrison, home schooling James, 10, and Jasmine,18.

John Kirk-Anderson

Lennie Harrison, home schooling James, 10, and Jasmine,18.

A floor to ceiling shelf packed with books covers one side of the living room, and two wooden desks are lined up along the window.

“Learning at its best is a lifestyle,” Lennie Harrison said.

Canterbury has the third largest home-school community of 764, after Auckland’s 1214, and Waikato’s 818. Home-school parents need approval and regular checks from the Ministry of Education, and must educate their children to the standard they would receive at a registered school.

Harrison said home-schooling mothers often joked they did not get holidays, using every opportunity for learning as a family.

“Take the child by the hand and walk the educational path with them. It’s a path of discovery.”

Harrison designed her own curriculum to suit each child, but it was much easier to gather resources now with the internet than 30 years ago.

“There’s just so much around you just can’t go short.”

“We already have a modern learning environment, we have our house, and outside the house, which is the rest of the world.”

If the family lacked equipment needed for a lesson, she cast the net among friends. If her skills did not extend to a certain subject, she could “swap children” with other home-schoolers needing her specific skills.

Many home-schooled their children through desperation – a child bullied, or their special needs not met in a normal school setting.

For her, “cockiness helps” in making the decision she could educate her children better than mainstream schooling.

“I think I’m made to swim against the tide.”

Christianity played a part too.

She was often asked, ’What about socialisation?’ and ‘What about qualifications?”

They frequently met with about 10 home-educating families in North Canterbury – about 50 children.

At 14, the Harrison children should be able to plan out their day, and start doing voluntary community work to build up their curriculum vitae.

Daughter Jasmine volunteered at a school and a rest home, both for six months.

By 16 they should be full-time – either studying, working, or part-time in each.

Now at 18, “life costs” for Jasmine.

“There’s no more mucking around,” she said.

Jasmine completed level 2 when she was 16, and was now doing NCEA level 3 in classics via correspondence, while doing legal papers through Open Polytechnic. She was also still volunteering.

The ministry paid Harrison $740 to teach a child annually. When their home schooling ended, her children paid a bit of rent and food money, course costs, and car or hobby costs.

Harrison tried being the anxious mother with son Jake, now 32, “waving flags and whistles”, using rewards and punishments, “but you can’t work against a personality”. He needed more space.

He eventually found his feet in electrical engineering, gaining a degree at Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT) after completing an electrician apprenticeship.

Going to polytechnic at 21 was the first time he stepped foot in a classroom.

“I didn’t feel like I was handicapped or anything.”

His two children would also be home-schooled.

For daughter Sargia, now 28, joining the workforce as a librarian in Wellington was a “really smooth transition”.

“It was mostly a breeze. I think [home-schooling] really allowed me to discover who I was without outside pressure.”

 - Stuff

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Needing help for your home schooling journey: http://hef.org.nz/2011/needing-help-for-your-home-schooling-journey-2/

And

Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling:

Information on getting startedhttp://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/

and

Information on getting an exemptionhttp://hef.org.nz/exemptions/

This link is motivational: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-what-is-it-all-about/

Exemption Form online: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-exemption-form-now-online/

Coming Events: http://hef.org.nz/2013/some-coming-events-for-home-education-during-2013-2/

Beneficiaries: http://hef.org.nz/2013/where-to-for-beneficiary-families-now-that-the-social-security-benefit-categories-and-work-focus-amendment-bill-has-passed-its-third-reading

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Services to Schools changes for home educators-National Library

Email from the National Library

I’m Kia ora

The National Library is currently updating all users about our new services, and in particular, our lending service changes for next year.  We want to make sure that all the home educators around the country know what is changing and how to get in touch with us if they have any questions.  We would very much appreciate it if you could please forward this to your members.

How to borrow resources from the National Library’s Services to Schools in 2016

This email is to update you on changes to National Library’s Services to Schools. From January next year the way you can borrow resources from the National Library is changing.

The aim is to provide you, as a home educator, with high interest print resources that support the development of inquiry skills (Inquiry Loans) and reading for pleasure (Reading Engagement Loans).

Features:

  • You can request a loan four times a year of fiction and nonfiction print resources to ignite inquiry learning and to stimulate reading engagement.
  • Your loans will include up to 8 inquiry items, up to 8 reading engagement items and the option to request up to 4 author/titles based upon your own author/title search of the Schools Collection catalogue or the National Library General Collection catalogue (maximum of up to 20 items per family per term).

Next steps

You will be contacted in January 2016 about how to register and order books online.

Other changes

In addition to the lending service, National Library is also developing and revamping the other services provided to New Zealand schools. These are:

•             Digital content service

The National Library is currently creating a digital content service that will make it easy for teachers and students to find useful and relevant digital content for a wide variety of learning contexts. This service will be introduced progressively during 2016.

•             Capability building service

This service includes professional learning and development opportunities, targeted initiatives, learning events and professional learning resources. The National Library will be continuing with its facilitated online courses during 2016 and its other capability building opportunities will be introduced progressively during the year.

If you would like more information on the services that National Library’s Services to Schools will be delivering next year then please visit www.schools.natlib.govt.nz/about/service-changes-2016  or email them on: s2stransformation@dia.govt.nz.

Kind regards

Services to Schools Transformation

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Please share/forward this link with other home educators.

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Needing help for your home schooling journey:http://hef.org.nz/2011/needing-help-for-your-home-schooling-journey-2/

And

Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling:

Information on getting startedhttp://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/

and

Information on getting an exemptionhttp://hef.org.nz/exemptions/

This link is motivational: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-what-is-it-all-about/

Exemption Form online: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-exemption-form-now-online/

Coming Events: http://hef.org.nz/2013/some-coming-events-for-home-education-during-2013-2/

Beneficiaries: http://hef.org.nz/2013/where-to-for-beneficiary-families-now-that-the-social-security-benefit-categories-and-work-focus-amendment-bill-has-passed-its-third-reading

Red Tape Cluster Buster Meetings and the Scoping Survey: http://hef.org.nz/2014/next-steps-deadline-8-december-2014/

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School’s out, this time forever

NAOMI ARNOLD

KNOWLEDGE WAVE: Takaka mother Charlotte Squire and her son, Kahu Marsh.KNOWLEDGE WAVE: Takaka mother Charlotte Squire and her son, Kahu Marsh.

For a while, Takaka writer and mother Charlotte Squire thought unschooling children meant “doing sweet FA about their education”. That was until she tried it.

It happened after her 5-year-old son Kahu Marsh came home from school one day and announced: “Mum, I figured out how to make the teacher happy. I just have to shut up.”

“That wasn’t what I wanted for him,” Squire says.

So she brought him home and let him discover what he wanted to learn. For Kahu, that included such mysteries as skateboarding, Frisbee, and Auckland. Adults around him knew what he was interested in and helped him out with each – Kahu would do things like finding out about Frisbee aerodynamics and write about how he had played with it that day.

Squire says her son’s emotional development has particularly benefited from their experiment, something that was as important to her as his academic success.

“It’s really nice how confident he is in himself, how sure of himself he is, and how eager he is to learn, because I didn’t force him to learn stuff he found boring,” she says.

“I’m happy about who I see emerging from that style of education.”

She’s especially glad that Kahu came to reading at his own pace – after a slow start, he’s now an avid bookworm.

In pockets all over the country, parents are keeping their children at home and letting them find out about the world themselves, a process they say is the best way to ensure a lifelong love of learning.

The late American educator John Holt came up with the term unschooling based on a philosophy that children are natural sponges and will enjoy learning more if they can follow what they’re curious about, on their own timetable. Other names for essentially the same concept are are experience-based learning, independent learning, hackschooling, project-based child-led learning, or natural learning.

Most of these philosophies agree that the child’s entire life makes up their education, seamlessly, 24 hours a day.

Although the continuum of home-based alternative education varies widely from a Correspondence School curriculum at one end to completely free-range kids at the other, unschooling is different from regular homeschooling in that it generally involves kids directing what, when, and how they learn, with their parents there to facilitate it.

Because they learn at their own pace, there is no course work, timetables, or need for exams to compare them with others. With their love of learning left intact, and the ability to focus and work independently established early, unschooling’s proponents say that children are equipped to learn whatever they need to for the rest of their lives, and credit it in particular with developing an entrepreneurial spirit.

The Ministry of Education doesn’t keep figures on unschoolers, though homeschoolers make up 0.7 per cent of the total school population at last count, a figure that has stayed stable since 1998. Parents wanting to unschool their children must get the usual homeschooling exemption from the ministry, proving they have a plan and evidence that their children are receiving an education. Home-schooled children are able to attend university without NCEA qualifications, but have to complete either a bridging course or diploma to gain university entrance.

Ministry of Education head of sector enablement and support Katrina Casey says the ministry is reviewing homeschooling, and will communicate with the sector about its findings in February.

She says parents gaining an exemption certificate must satisfy the ministry that their child will be taught “at least as regularly and as well as at a registered school”.

“The exemption is from school, not from receiving an education,” she says. “Homeschoolers, including ones who defined themselves as ‘unschoolers’, need to provide evidence of a commitment to certain routines appropriate to the maturity level and abilities of the child.”

EXPLOSIVE DEVELOPMENT: Toby Hill of Foxton makes his own firecrackers to sell at a local market.

SIMON NEALE/Fairfax NZ

EXPLOSIVE DEVELOPMENT: Toby Hill of Foxton makes his own firecrackers to sell at a local market.

That might include a specific timetable for a typical week, and parents intending to home-school also need to communicate what their proposed curriculum is for teaching, learning and assessment, and how it will cover different subject areas.

“We do have a number of homeschoolers who say they are ‘unschoolers’ who successfully meet our criteria for a structured education. We don’t have figures on how many homeschoolers fall into this category,” Casey says.

After approval, parents have to visit a JP every six months to confirm they are still homeschooling their child, although children taught at home aren’t required to take part in national standards or NCEA.

UNSCHOOL PROJECT: Toby at home with mother Alice Kleinsman, father Duncan Hill and sister Ina.

SIMON NEALE/Fairfax NZ

UNSCHOOL PROJECT: Toby at home with mother Alice Kleinsman, father Duncan Hill and sister Ina.

One of the strongest areas for unschooling in the country is Kapiti-Horowhenua-Manawatu, where Hearthland Educators has about 30 families practising the idea. Foxton father Duncan Hill, however, prefers the term “natural learning”. Hill and his partner Alice Kleinsman are both trained teachers, and from their experience in the education system have decided on a more holistic approach for their three children – Toby, 10, Ina, 16, and Ben, 19.

They wanted to give them the freedom to learn what they were inspired to, when they wanted to, based on a plan and goals outlined at the beginning of the year, following their interests: rivers, camping, iPads, swimming, mountains, family, tools, robots, Spanish. “We see ourselves as setting up the environment for those things to happen as much as they can,” Hill says. They do not mind what their children learn: “They call the shots as to the direction of their lives.”

Kerikeri’s Nitya Nixon juggles running her business, Nature Body, with taking care of daughter Sarai, nearly 6. She has just filled out the Ministry of Education application for the homeschooling exemption, though says their unschooling process has been happening since Sarai’s birth. She’s confident it’s the right choice for her daughter, who she says “is not a conformist”.

“There’s no ‘should’ in unschooling, which is amazing for us,” Nixon says. “As she grew up we saw her interests and how she liked to learn, and her education came naturally from knowing her. She doesn’t like sitting at a desk for too long, and we didn’t think traditional school would suit her.

“In school so many teachers are fantastic and try so hard and some kids love it and do really well. But other kids have such a different learning style and it doesn’t fit them.”

For her, unschooling is about following Sarai’s patterns, including what she is fascinated by at the time – currently dancing, the outdoors, chickens, eggs, and chicks – while providing further opportunities and resources, including play with Kerikeri Homeschoolers and Far North Homeschoolers.

“We get to be here while she’s figuring out all this cool stuff in life without any coercion or tests or worrying about comparisons to anybody else,” Nixon says. “The learning just happens when they’re interested in it. It’s really exciting for me to sit back and watch it.”

Read the rest of the article here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/64094400/Schools-out-this-time-forever

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Updated 1 October 2014:  Three years on (Craig Smith’s Health) page 7 click here

*****

Needing help for your home schooling journey:

http://hef.org.nz/2011/needing-help-for-your-home-schooling-journey-2/

And

Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling:

Information on getting startedhttp://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/

and

Information on getting an exemptionhttp://hef.org.nz/exemptions/

This link is motivational: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-what-is-it-all-about/

Exemption Form online: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-exemption-form-now-online/

Coming Events: http://hef.org.nz/2013/some-coming-events-for-home-education-during-2013-2/

Beneficiaries: http://hef.org.nz/2013/where-to-for-beneficiary-families-now-that-the-social-security-benefit-categories-and-work-focus-amendment-bill-has-passed-its-third-reading

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