June 9, 2023

Grace’s second exemption attempt

Early October 2011

Grace’s first exemption application was declined the week before Craig, my husband, died. This is a new exemption form that I filled out after she was 6. So I was wanting it to go through quickly. But it didn’t. I needed to send in a lot more information which is included at the bottom.

(Adding this a year later in August 2012: I am a bit disgusted with myself for writing so much in this exemption. Grace was already six and Craig, my husband, had only just died. I was under stress and mourning. We were expecting Craig to get better so I was having to deal with that at the time as well. For more on Craig https://hef.org.nz/2011/craig-smith-26-january-1951-to-30-september-2011/)

Broad Curriculum Areas

Describe your knowledge and understanding of the broad curriculum areas you intend to cover as you educate your child.

I intend to give Grace a Christian, Classical, Biblical/Hebrew education. All of these are important to me.

My Christianity will be foremost and will be integral to every part of Grace’s education. It will be classical because there is a lot to be learned from those who have gone before us. Everything that has ever happened has happened within a period of time. So as I dwell on history I will be covering every other subject because everything has happened in the past, in history. And it will be Biblical, because I want Grace’s education to be meaningful for her. She will study what is applicable for her. She will study something then apply it; do more study then apply that. I want to be training her in spirit, soul, mind and strength. I want to train her to be a thinker. I do not intend to spoon-feed her “education”–it simply cannot be done. I want it to be living and alive for her. I want to help her to love learning, to be self-motivated and self-achieving. I, along with her brothers and sisters, will be giving her as broad an education as we possibly can. With the Internet, libraries, my own extensive library and life experiences, collective wisdom, general knowledge, etc., I want to train her to be and become far more educated than I am and a far better thinker than I am.

Describe your curriculum.

At primary level:
Using the Classical model, this is the “grammar” stage of Grace’s education where she is absorbing factual information like a sponge. It is the time for training Grace’s mind to retain information and for giving her a very large knowledge base.

Oral language
I am working on this orally as need be.

Grace is learning and practising writing numbers and solving simple sums. I am working on Grace learning by rote the plus, minus, division and multiplication tables to 12. She is leaning about fractions from life – cutting up toast, cooking, gardening etc. Time she is learning from the clock on the wall etc. She is also working on a beginner maths workbook (Maths-U-See) to consolidate what she learns elsewhere.

Social studies, science, health, geography, history, and other subjects
Will all come from my reading and discussing with Grace. I aim for at least 2 hours a day reading a variety of books to her. I love history, science and geography. I want us to live these subjects so that they are a part of our daily life and discussions.


Grace knows the alphabet and sounds; she is now working on blends and is able to read simple sentences. I am using the book Phonics by Wilma Minnee to teach her to read. I try to do about 10-15 minutes a day on this.

Handwriting/written language
Grace is working though the Italic Handwriting series by Getty and Dubay for hand writing. Once she is a good reader I will begin doing creative writing and journaling.


Grace will learn the meaning of words and chants for verb conjugations.


Grace knows the Greek alphabet and is beginning to learn words.

New Zealand Sign Language

Grace knows the sign language alphabet and several words.

We sing several times a day as a family. Next year Grace will begin to learn the recorder then another instrument once she turns 7 at the Saturday School of Music. We have CDs playing in our home and will be featuring a different musician each term. Grace will also be in a musical play each year. We have a talented young director (still being home educated) in this area who loves to put on big productions for the public.

This happens all the time. I try to provide an environment that encourages artistic opportunities. Plus if Grace has a real interest in this area I will pursue classes where her talent can be improved and encouraged as appropriate. We plan to also be featuring a different artist each term.

Physical education
I believe that physical movement is very important for developing mind and body. So I encourage it whenever I can. There are lots of opportunities for Grace to be involved in sports and games, especially with friends. With a trampoline as a permanent fixture in the back yard, she gets lots of time on that. Grace also helps with gardening which provides another means of exercise and learning.

I will encourage Grace to develop in this area as appropriate and will take any opportunity for this. She uses many instruments around the home and there are many more that she will be able to use in the future – such as computer, fax, photocopier etc.

At the primary or Grammar level of Grace’s education I do not intend to use curriculum a lot. Instead I intend for Grace to learn from life and from living books. I want to train her mind so I will be putting an emphasis on memorization work and a heavy emphasis on review. She will do oral narration to me of books I read to her, and then later when she can read, she will do the same of books she reads to me. I want to see Grace develop into a good reader with excellent comprehension and discretion, able to tell fact from fiction, debate from propaganda, objective review from advertising, etc. From there I will develop her writing and other book work skills.

I am also working on Grace learning obedience, work, service, play and exploration. Field trips will be used and she will begin learning research skills.

At junior secondary level:
This is the time I believe is the most intensive time for me in being hands on in educating Grace. This is the “logic” stage of her education – a time for teaching her the tools of learning. This is a time when Grace will be more inquisitive and analytical. First I will make sure that she is proficient in reading, writing and mathematics.

This is the time when I will teach Grace how to take notes, write book reports and general reports, letters, and essays; and do research, logic and debating.

I will be teaching Grace the skill of reasoning – to critically question, analyze, evaluate, and discern causes, motives, means, purposes, goals and efforts; to investigate the theory.

Understanding for Grace will be imparted through coaching, debate, discussion, correcting and drilling.

Grace will develop a vocabulary of relationships, order and abstractions.

My teaching of Grace will become more sequential and systematic, separating the different branches of learning.

My goal is to develop competence for Grace in the tools of investigation: analyzing, comparing and contrasting.

I will begin to use a curriculum book for English and Mathematics at this stage.

Social studies, science, health, geography, history and other subjects will still be covered in my reading to Grace and in her own reading and as she studies specific things to achieve the above as I teach her the tools of learning.

Music, physical education, art/craft, and technology will be all followed as Grace has an interest in them. Our home is full of music; the children are always active in the back yard or joining with others for a game of some sort. We go on walks and bike rides regularly.

Grace will continue to work on her memory work, Latin, Greek and logic. I will also be adding in gardening – understanding about how plants grow and propagating them. We will also be studying how to grow herbs, how to harvest herbs, find out how they work and how to combine herbs and how to treat common ailments.

Grace would also like to become a competent dressmaker and cook like her older sisters. This will be the time when we will begin working more seriously on this.

At senior secondary level:
This is the “Rhetoric” or the wisdom stage of Grace’s education. It will be a time when Grace will be more creative and expressive so I will seek to give her opportunities to express this. This is the time for me to be motivating Grace and helping her to open doors for his future.

I will be encouraging Grace to study the areas that interest her.
She will continue in her mathematics and English curriculum books.
Grace may also continue to learn Latin and Greek and begin to learn Hebrew and any other living language that appeals to her.

This is a time when Grace will be able to put the information and order into practical use – she will be able to apply wisdom to the things that she is doing because of her training.

I will be teaching the skills of prudent judgment and effective expression through communication and practical application.

I will impart wisdom to Grace through encouraging her initiative and innovation, by asking questions and leading discussions. I will seek to develop in Grace a vocabulary of philosophical ideas and values. I will begin to recombine in Grace the knowledge and skills from separate disciplines. I will seek to see the application of principles, values and goals in Grace’s life.

So to summarize it all in one sentence: I will first instruct Grace in Knowledge or Grammar; then I will guide Grace in Understanding or Logic; and finally I will challenge Grace in Wisdom or Rhetoric.


To help the Ministry understand how your curriculum vision (see Appendix 1) translates into practical terms, we ask you to include a description of how you would tackle one topic of your choosing.

We are looking for the following elements in your statement:

The Topic: Maths
The Aim: the 2x table
Resources/method: First I will write the 2x table out on a card. We will read it together over several days. Then I will get Grace to try to quote it until she can quote it without mistake. I will then get her to quote it to me nearly every day for 7 weeks, then weekly for a couple of months, then I will review it monthly. Once Grace is quoting the 2x table to me I will write out each one on a flash
card. I will add it to her other cards and I will see how many she can do in a minute. I will record how many she does in a minute, how many she got right and how many she got wrong. I will do this nearly every day.
Assessment: As Grace achieves more in a minute with fewer mistakes I will know that she is getting a better grasp of this. I would like to be able to see her doing at least 50 in a minute with no mistakes.
Resources and Reference Material: flash cards.

Please provide a comprehensive list of all resources and reference material available to you.  Also list the type of material you may intend to include in the future.

I have an extensive library of my own. I am also using the Public Library, the National Library, Dayspring, my friends Libraries.

Maths: Maths-U-See (and Rod & Staff in primary if necessary) and      Saxon Maths once Grace is about 10 starting in Saxon 54.

Reading: Phonics by Wilma Minnee and Jackie Waldergrave

Handwriting: Italic Handwriting Series by Getty and Dubay

English: Scope

Latin: Mars Hill and Matin Latin

Greek: By the Harvey Bluedorn (Teaching the Trivium)

History: Biographies, Autobiographies, Diana Waring History Alive, TimeLines, TimeChart, DvDs

Geography: Maps, charts, books – Bright Ideas Press

Science: books – Apologia

Grace will be in a musical play along with her other siblings at the end of this year.

I have many, many resources in my library – too many to list. Also I will change what I am doing if I find something better.


I will take the opportunity to use any opportunity to enrich Grace’s education through visiting speakers, field trips, science centres, museum visits and travel in New Zealand and overseas. She has already travelled all over New Zealand.

Social Contact

I use hospitality to enrich my children’s lives. My children learn to serve others and to meet the needs of others through hospitality. Of course as I show hospitality sometimes it is shown back to me so they too can learn to be served and have their needs met. It is also a learning situation when Grace helps me to do things or show hospitality to those who cannot return the deed. Grace is also involved with our Church and has no lack of friends. There are children at my home and on my outings nearly every day.


I am always looking to see that Grace is learning and progressing in her learning. As she learns more of the maths tables, Latin, Greek and her memory work I see her little mind developing. As she narrates back to me I see how she is learning to retain and understand.


I will not be providing you with a sample timetable because I do not use one and do not intend to use one. I do everything by priority. I work out what my priorities are and then work through from the number one priority and try to achieve as many as I can in the day. If all I achieve is my number one priority then I am happy, as I have done the most important thing in the day. Of course I aim to achieve a good number of the priorities in each day. My priorities will change from week to week depending on how far each day I got on my priorities. If there is something that I feel I am missing a bit then I will bring this higher up the priorities for a time until the need is met for that one. Because I am aiming to give my children a very Biblical approach to their education I do not take holidays. All of life for me is education. If something comes up that interrupts a day I know I will get back to what I was doing and keep going. Often the interruption is very educational for my children as well. In saying all of this I do begin working with Grace in the morning on the main priorities of memory work, maths, Handwriting, Phonics and reading to Grace. In the afternoons I read more and do the more fun activities although if I have not achieved enough in the morning we will continue in the afternoon or evening on some of the core subjects.


Extra information for the

Application for exemption from enrolment at a registered school for Grace Ariana Timmins

born  mid to end of 05


4 Tawa Street

Palmerston North

New Zealand

Curriculum areas

Oral Language:

I will be teaching Grace this on a day to day basis. This is ongoing throughout the day and will be dealt with as needed. As Grace says a word or phrase out of context or uses a word or phrase incorrectly, I correct her. I then correctly use the word or phrase, in context, so that Grace will understand the correct usage.


Written language:

I plan to be reading to Grace at least for 2 hours a day. From this, she will learn to appreciate the written word. She loves books and can often be found with a book in her hand.

Grace loves to write letters to her older siblings, her birth parents and friends. As she learns to read words she is learning to spell them. This is giving Grace confidence to write her letters. When she spells words wrong we use repetition to reinforce the correct spelling. Using the particular word often until she learns the correct spelling.


I firmly believe the phrase: “learn to read then you will be able to read to learn”.

Therefore, this is the main focus of my homeschooling for Grace, this year. I am utilizing the book “Phonics” by Wilma Minnee and Jacquie Waldegrave. This book thoroughly covers reading skills, as well as teaching handwriting and spelling. Grace has learned the vowel and consonant sounds and is now going onto the blends and the other various rules. Once Grace has learned the 48 rules in this book she will be able to read most of what is in print for both children and adults.

I am also using several other recourses including: “Fab Phonics” by Jon and Trina Spivack,  readers such as; the “McGuffey” readers, “The Fat Cat and Friends” and “Modern Curriculum Press”.

I will also be using the Dayspring/Manawatu Home Educators resource library to  borrow other recourses like the PM  and Abeka readers.

Reading is the highest priority in Grace’s education currently.


I am going through the Getty & Dubay Italic Handwriting series with Grace. Once Grace finishes the first book in this series then she will also be doing copy writing. Writing is covered in many of her subjects as I get her to write in order to check understanding and information retention.

Grace loves to write, she writes notes all the time for various reasons.



Grace loves maths. I am using the Maths-U-See books for her formal maths instruction. She is nearly finished the “Primer” book. So far we have been doing: Number recognition and counting up to 10; writing numerals; geometric shapes—circles, triangles and rectangles; place value–units, tens and hundreds; skip counting of 2s, 5s and 10s to 100. Grace will begin the Maths-U-See Alpha book shortly after getting her exemption and while studying this book she will be covering place value and manipulatives; counting to 100; unit bars; addition: symbols, +0, +1, +2, +8 and +9;  comparing and combining 10s and 100s.

I am just introducing the clock to Grace and will begin subtraction once she gets her exemption. I will be further instructing Grace in this basic math and building on it with word problems and the use of flash cards. Grace will learn the addition and subtraction tables by heart over the next year.

Grace loves to play cards and is good at “Kings in the Corner”, “Speed”, “Concentration”, “Patience”, “Fish” and “Beanie”. She is learning many different skills when we play cards together.


Memory Work:

Grace is memorizing several long scripture passages including the entire book of James and the first chapter of Genesis. She reviews each piece nearly every day for 7 weeks by which time it should be well memorised. Just to make sure it is well memorised she reviews it weekly for several more weeks before reviewing monthly. This process will be applied over several of the things that she needs/wants to learn, including: Spelling words; addition, subtraction, division and multiplication facts; Continents, Countries, Capital Cities, Cities, Towns; bones of the body; Latin, Greek, sign language and any other things that she would like to learn or that I would like her to learn.



I read to Grace a short piece like an Aesop’s Fable or a Proverb then I get her to tell it back to me in her own words. Once Grace is able to read more, I will then get her to read out a short piece to me like an Aesop’s Fable or a Proverb and then she will tell me what she has just read in her own words.



We read as a family every day, during this time Grace along with her siblings will be introduced to many of the great people of history through biographies and autobiographies.

We will also be using the Diana Waring History Alive curriculum which helps to bring History alive for students.

Sign Language:

Grace already knows the New Zealand Sign Language alphabet. I will be continuing with this and she will be learning more words so that she can converse in Sign Language.


I plan on incorporating a few Latin words and verb conjugation chants into Grace’s education. Grace already knows that  “I love”  is “Amo” and can do the “Amo” chant: amo, amas, amat, amamus, amatis, amant.


This is a very low priority. Since she and her siblings know this alphabet I don’t want them to forget it so will be continuing to review it. Grace will learn a few words by playing the card games Rummy Roots and More Rummy Roots. Then later on in her education Grace may go on to learn more Greek.



In my reading to Grace and her siblings I will be reading to them about scientists and science. Grace will begin doing some science experiences. For example, a simple one is to see if air can be weighed. Grace will need two balloons, string and a thin piece of wood. Grace will see if the balloons weigh the same amount on the balance. Then she will blow up one balloon and attach again. Do the balloons weigh the same now?



This will be done in conjunction with the Diana Waring History Alive curriculum and the biographies and autobiographies we will be reading. As we read books we will be bringing out a timeline, globe, pertinent maps and searching the internet for relevant information.

New Zealand: Grace will put a map of New Zealand on the window with tracing paper over it. Then trace it. She will also write out the Provinces, Cities and Towns on cards.  She will then learn where to put the cards with the Provinces, Cities and Towns on the map.

I also plan to begin working through Hands on Geography “Easy and Fun activities for exploring God’s World” by Maggie S Hogan. This is a hands on activity book with lots of interesting ways to look at geography.


We sing in our home every day.

More formally I focus on a different musician each term. We play that musicians music during the day and read about the musician.

I plan to book Grace into Saturday school of music next year. Eventually, Grace wants to learn to play the violin. Grace is also learning to play the piano.


I focus on a different Artist each term. We display the Artists work, do research about that particular Artist during the term and collate our findings at the end of each term. Grace will also be going through the Adventures in Art book “Understanding the flow of thought as seen through Art”  a Comprehensive study guide by David Quine.

Grace loves her art and is constantly finding new ways to express her artistic side including: painting, drawing with crayons and pencils; making stencils; doing screen printing; lino cutting; potato prints; working with clay and other things.


Physical education:

Grace loves jumping on the trampoline and swimming. She is a very good swimmer and enjoys lessons at Freyberg school. We play ball games regularly like softball, T-ball and soccer.



Grace is learning technical skills as necessary. There are many items in and around our home that she already is learning how to use including: the Telephone; photocopier; fax; computer; blender and cell phones. She is being exposed to a wide variety of technology and is quite competent at some of the more involved procedures like transferring a phone call on our phone system. She will also be beginning key board skills during the next 12 months.



I am teaching this to Grace as she needs to be taught it and as it is appropriate for her age.


Tudor System:

Grace loves using the Tudor System. This covers all sorts of skills from matching, shapes, colours, larger, smaller, sets,  belonging, numbers, counting, spelling, reading, vocabulary, maths and comprehension


Reading Aloud:

I try to read a wide range of books: biographies, autobiographies, historical fiction, Church history, books on science, nature, musicians, artists, etc. We keep the Timeline History of the World close at hand while reading so we can visually see concurrent events, historical influences and downstream consequences.

Each child is constructing their own timeline to which we add dates and events as we read about them. Having these timelines, a globe and maps nearby helps to bring the things we are reading about come alive.

Assessment and Evaluation:

I will continually be assessing Grace’s progress. I will be watching other children and checking to ensure Grace is not lagging behind in any areas.

Memory work is all review and each assigned memory piece is recorded to ensure nothing is missed during a recital of all precious memory work.

Maths is a matter of constant evaluation, each phase of learning is accompanied by practice and assessment. This practice and assessment is then marked and any re-training and re-testing is carried out as required.

Handwriting is evaluated as each assignment is completed. We do not progress to the next assignment until the current assignment is completed to an acceptable standard.

As Grace’s reading skills increase she will be assigned harder and harder books to read aloud.

These are the typical styles of  assessment for the foundational subjects. Other subjects will be learning for enjoyment. I want Grace to love learning. She will be encouraged to pursue a wide range of educational opportunities and all instruction will be presented in the most engaging way possible. The love of learning intrinsic to this young age will be fostered and utilized to the greatest advantage.

Another way to assess Grace will be for her to explain what she has been learning to others. I will especially take advantage of any and all opportunities for her to teach younger children around and to explain what she has learned to family members.



Home education is a 24 hours process. I will be home educating Grace on a more regular basis than the schools. I wont be going on holiday from educating Grace and she will always be with me, which will always entail learning for Grace. I will be taking any teachable moment to teach a truth to Grace.

Grace will complete the work she is doing before going onto new work. Sometimes I may come up with a list of things that I want Grace to be working on in a day but most of the time we have a regular daily schedule and she will already know the order and priority of the subjects that need to be worked on each day.

I will be working on the things that are more important to us first thing in the morning. like: reading to Grace; memory work; maths; Grace reading to me; handwriting; narration; history then in the afternoon we will work on the other subjects, once these ones are completed. If the morning subjects are not completed then we will also be doing them in the afternoon. Afternoon subjects will be science, geography, music, art and PE. Although these could well be done in the morning if we have had a good run at the day. We begin our days at 6:30am so we do not have too much trouble getting most of the academics completed  during the morning leaving the afternoons free for fun activities.

Other subjects like oral language, written language, reading, history, geography, music, art, PE, memory work, science, technology and health also come up at any stage during the day. This will be a time when Grace will be most motivated to learn so I want to take advantage of  the teachable moments throughout the day these subjects provide.

Because Grace is being home educated she will be exposed to many other things as well—to name a few:  fitness, nutrition, values, budgeting, recycling, cooking and cleaning, building, sewing and knitting, community awareness, gardening, healthy eating, community service etc.

Grace will be taught at least as regularly and well as in a registered school and better than some registered schools.