Amateur Radio on the International Space Station

Wairarapa Home Schoolers Talk to International Space Station
Amateur Radio on the International Space
Wednesday 26th November 2008
This Wednesday, 11 school children from the Wairarapa Home Schooling Association will ask questions of an astronaut on the International Space Station via Amateur Radio, in what will be New Zealand’s second organised contact, though it is number 387 for the ISS. It also appears to be the 1st time a group of home-schoolers have contacted the ISS. Typically, the time allowed for questions is about 10 minutes, and in this time, up to 15 questions can be asked and replies given.
The questions are of general interest.
The astronaut the children will be speaking to is American Radio Amateur Mike Fincke (KE5AET), this is Mike’s 2nd expedition on the ISS. Mike is a very keen amateur radio operator and has operated from space before. He is one of 9 astronauts on the space station at present. The International Space station orbits the earth every 90 minutes at an altitude of 370 km at a speed of 27,000 km/hour. The Space Shuttle Endeavour docked with the ISS on Monday 17th November, and is scheduled to stay docked to the ISS for 14 days before returning to earth.
Many volunteer Radio Amateurs around the world have worked for over 12 months to make this Radio contact a success, including those in America who have the responsibility for the scheduling and timing. Other countries involved are Australia and Japan. We must recognise that Amateur Radio on the ISS is secondary to everything else, and there may be something outside of our control that may prevent this contact from taking place; it would be unusual at this late stage, but it could happen.
ARISS (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station) is a purely volunteer organisation involving people in many countries around the world. It is supported by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), the Amateur Satellite Corporation (AMSAT), Japan Amateur Radio League (JARL), and many other national Amateur Radio organisations, including the Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA) and the New Zealand Association of Radio Transmitters (NZART).
ARISS is to inspire, at least in some small way, the study of space to school children from all over the world, to speak to an astronaut who is a Radio Amateur and is on the International Space Station.
The Radio Amateurs in New Zealand who are in charge of this contact belong to the South Wairarapa Amateur Radio Club based in Featherston; Peter Norden (ZL2SJ) the New Zealand Coordinator for the ARISS program in New Zealand, and Ian Miles (ZL2TZW), assisted by Graeme Nelson (ZL2GDN) of Masterton.
The Wairarapa Home School Association (WHSA) is a support group for many of the home schoolers in the Wairarapa province. WHSA provides a point of communication for events and resources that are in the Wairarapa (and surrounding areas), and for parents to plan events that will provide for educational and social activities for their families. Some families live in remote areas in the farming community and others live in the country towns; Masterton is the main town in the province. The children who will be asking the questions are schooled by their parents, and the ages of the children involved range from 5 to 14 years.
The Wairarapa province which is located about 90 km north east from the capital city, Wellington, and is a rural community consisting of dairying, cattle, sheep, timber, cropping and some fruit growing industries. Wairarapa is a Maori word meaning “sea of sparkling waters”, from Lake Wairarapa, a fresh water lake in the province.

The contact should be available live on the internet via,
and on radio via various Amateur Radio frequencies around the country.

Homeschoolers Sweep First Round of Children’s International Arts Festival

Homeschoolers Sweep First Round of Children’s International Arts


Dude Ranch Vacations Awarded to Four Winners’ Families

South Padre Island, Texas, August 28, 2008 – Four homeschooled children from across the U.S. have won dude ranch vacations for their families in the first round of the Children’s International Arts Festival. They entered by answering and illustrating Bible questions for an online book the festival organizer plans to publish.

Hannah Levin, 7, from California, and Stephen Brackley, 10, from Maine won for their writing. Sarah Wickenhauser, 11, from California, and Clarissa Magley, 12, from Arkan­sas won for their artwork. Three of the four winners found out about the festival through a news item from the Home School Legal Defense Association. Festival organizer Carey Kinsolving has created a special web page to thank HSLDA for letting its members know about the worldwide festival:

Although the festival is open to all children ages 5-12, “we got an overwhelming response from homeschoolers,” said Kinsolving. “They really embraced this as a way to encourage their children to study the Bible.”

Hannah Levin’s prize was a week at Latigo Ranch in Kremmling, Colorado with her fam­ily. She enjoyed many stunningly scenic trail rides with her parents, Tom and Amy. When asked how she likes riding, Hannah replied with a gleam in her eye, “I like to go fast!” She was quick to develop a bond with her horse for the week, Dollar. To see an online video of Hannah’s vacation, go to

Although Hannah’s 4-year-old triplet sisters were too young to participate in the trail rides, they had a blast in the ranch’s lovingly supervised children’s program, which in­cluded opportunities to ride a docile horse led by a wrangler, play in a real teepee and have the run of a large, grassy playground.

There were plenty of activities the whole family enjoyed together, such as the covered wagon ride, roping lesson, horse grooming lesson, hay ride and all meals and evening activities. In fact, the family bonding time was the most precious aspect to Hannah’s par­ents, who raved that this was their best family vacation ever. Amy said that even if Han­nah hadn’t won, “the time that she and I shared in sitting down together, discussing and reading Scripture” was extremely fruitful. “God does reward.”

Stephen Brackley and his family were thrilled with their week at Tarryall River Ranch in Lake George, Colorado. Stephen especially appreciated seeing his mom on a horse for the first time. He improved his own riding skills by practicing in the arena and going on trail rides with his horse for the week, Gilligan. To see an online video of Stephen’s vaca­tion, go to

Stephen spent some time on trail rides with the whole family, such as an all-day ride to a box canyon where they picnicked beside a cool, sparkling stream. Other times, he and his younger brother Patrick went on the kids-only rides. One of these took them to a “secret fort” where they played “pine cone baseball” with the other kids and checked out an abandoned gold mine.

At the end of the week, Stephen didn’t want to go home. In fact, he’s already counting the years (only nine!) until he’s old enough to apply for a wrangler position at the ranch.

Stephen’s mother, Susan, appreciates the bigger picture as well, sharing her feelings that the festival is “not just something fun for children, but it’s something that is spiritually soul-searching and educational in a godly way.”

Eight more dude ranch vacation prizes are available for Summer 2009. Children who wish to enter the festival can get their parents to download an entry form at There is also a list of festival questions available to answer and illustrate. There is no entry fee. Transportation to each ranch is the responsibility of the winner’s family. Deadline is March 31, 2009.

Kinsolving plans to publish the best children’s writing and art in the “Kids Color Me Bible Gospel of John.” This online storybook Bible will be patterned after his popular “Kids Color Me Bible.” Each chapter features children’s writing and art. Children who print pages from the free, online book can add their writing and art making each chapter a per­sonalized keepsake.

The Children’s International Arts Festival is sponsored by, a non-denominational, Christian ministry that empowers children by publishing their faith ex­pressions and making them available without charge to website visitors. Its website ( features 60 Kid TV Interviews, Children’s Bible Art Gallery, “Kids Color Me Bible,” “Mission Explorers Streaming Video” and a Bible Lesson Archive. Visitors may download pictures from the Art Gallery and lessons from the “Kids Color Me Bible” for free. As a newspaper column, Kids Talk About God has been in syndication for more than seven years.


Note to Editors: The Kids Talk About God weekly newspaper column may be received by email without charge by subscribing at Editors who wish to pay for the column may contact Creators Syndicate. To read sample columns, please visit the Kids Talk About God column archive: archive.

On the Virtues of Making Your Children Do the Dishes



On the Virtues of Making

Your Children Do the Dishes

Quiz for the day: How much time each day, on average, does a 6- to 12-year-old child spend on household chores?

If you guessed more than a half-hour, you’re wrong. Children are spending a mere 24 minutes a day doing cleaning, laundry and other housework — a 12% decline since 1997 and a 25% drop from 1981 levels, says Sandra Hofferth, director of the Maryland Population Research Center at the University of Maryland, based on a forthcoming study of 1,343 children. In the glacial realm of sociological change, that amounts to a free fall.

It also reflects “important behavioral and values shifts that will affect lives for years to come,” Dr. Hofferth says. One consequence is never more obvious than at this time of year, when hundreds of thousands of college freshmen move into their dorms and promptly begin destroying their laundry. Other studies suggest the shift may have longer-term implications for marriage and community life.

Of course, children aren’t doing housework partly because they’re spending more time on such worthy pursuits as reading, studying and youth groups, Dr. Hofferth’s data show. Parents are doing less housework themselves, hiring help or just making peace with dust bunnies. And clearly, some housework is best relegated to museums. While Allison O’Steen, Tryon, N.C., loved her late mother, she says, her habit of ironing sheets isn’t something Ms. O’Steen, a mother of two, wants to pass on.

Nevertheless, research into the role of housework in human relationships suggests we may be losing something of value here. While most parents today focus mostly on teaching kids self-reliance — keeping themselves clean, fed and botulism-free — the benefits of learning housework run deeper. For example:

Getty Images

Pitching in at home has become a crucial marriage-preservation skill for young men. Studies show parents still assign more housework to girls than boys. Yet these same young women hope as adults to find men who will help out; 90% of 60 women ages 18 to 32 studied by Kathleen Gerson, a New York University sociology professor, said they hoped to share housework and child care with spouses “in a committed, mutually supportive and egalitarian way.” After controlling for other factors, U.S. marriages tend to be more stable when men participate more in domestic tasks, says a study of 506 U.S. couples published in 2006 in the American Journal of Sociology.

Mindful of the issue, Kathy Helmetag, Troy, Mich., is instilling “the whole housekeeping thing into” her sons, 7 and 9, she says. Years from now, she believes, their homemaking skills will help them “score a few points with any significant others.”

Housework has unique value in instilling a habit of serving others. Analyzing data on more than 3,000 adults, Alice Rossi, a professor emerita of sociology at University of Massachusetts Amherst, found doing household chores as a child was a major, independent predictor of whether a person chose to do volunteer or other community work as an adult. Thus for parents who value service, housework is an important teaching tool.

David Jackson has consistently required his twins, 16, to help around the house, starting as toddlers when they began picking up their toys and adding harder chores, such as stocking bathrooms or mowing the lawn, at each new stage. He sees the chores as a way of teaching empathy and “stewardship — taking care of the community assets,” says the Tulsa, Okla., father. “It helps them realize the world is not all about them.”

If you enjoy a domestic art as an outlet for creativity or love, it’s worth passing on. I love sewing; making prom dresses years ago with my stepdaughter is a fond memory. But I was always rushing around too much when my two biological kids were small to sit down and teach them to sew. With 20-20 hindsight, I’m sorry that at ages 18 and 20, they still don’t know how.

If you lack time to teach a home art you love, look for other avenues. Keeping the family TV tuned to the Food Channel inspired Cindy Harris’s son Mikey, 8, to love cooking. For show-and-tell in second grade, he whipped up a chef’s salad; he concocts novel cookie recipes with chocolate, coconut, butterscotch and pecans. While the cookies can be strange, says the Novato, Calif., mother of two, the whole family nevertheless cherishes Mikey’s gifts.

Write to Sue Shellenbarger at

National Library-5 year olds

As of the beginning of Term 3, 5 year olds can borrow books from the National Library. You will need to show a copy of their birth certificates. I was told that no-one would be turned away if they happened to turn up this week.

This is the link for the online request form: 


Services for Home Educators





The Curriculum Information Service offers a wide range of curriculum related resources to support your home teaching programme. The following information outlines how to best use the CIS to ensure your needs are met.



The minimum age for home educator services is 5 years. For each child being home-educated, who is over 6 years of age, a copy of the current exemption certificate from the Ministry of Education must be presented. For children who are 5 years of age, a birth certificate must be presented. Membership ceases when a child stops being home-schooled or is over 18 years of age.

What can I get from the Curriculum Information Service?

We will provide you with children’s curriculum related resources (books, audio/visual and digital materials) but not textbooks or recreational reading. The latter material is available from your nearest public library. We do not supply material to support the New Zealand Correspondence School courses. This is the responsibility of the Correspondence School.

How do I get resources?

Visit your local National Library Centre to choose resources. Reference Librarians are available to assist. Caregivers are responsible for the care and return of resources borrowed. Please return them to the Library by the due date.


A postal service is available if you are unable to visit the centre. We pay for posting the material to you.  You are responsible for any return freight costs.


An online request form is available at:

What can I borrow?

You may borrow up to four items per child, and include one video or DVD per family at any one time. For larger groups there is a maximum of 10 resources per group, or one per child, whichever is the higher.

If a request is made for a collaborative class of home-schooling families a maximum of 30 items may be borrowed.

For how long?

All resources are issued for five weeks but may be renewed for two more weeks if required. Renewals are available subject to demand. Renewals can be made in person, by post, phone or e-mail.

Overdue notices

Please let us know if you have an e-mail address as overdue notices are sent via e-mail. This is quick, economical and environmentally friendly.  If you don’t have an e-mail address, overdue notices are printed and posted to you.

NLNZ Catalogue

The National Library’s catalogue is available online at:

Auckland Centre

National Library of New Zealand

Private Bag 99936

83 Remuera Road




Tel:  09 523 1091 or 0800 356 000

Fax: 09 520 0152 or 0800 356 001



Palmerston North Centre

National Library of New Zealand

Private Bag 11032

1015 Tremaine Avenue

Palmerston North


Tel:   06 353 0475 or 0800 171 717

Fax: 06 350 0961 or 0800 907 600



Christchurch Centre

National Library of New Zealand

PO Box 1380

300 Manchester Street



Tel:   03 366 1075 or 0800 928 000

Fax: 03 366 1108 or 0800 661 108





Home Educators Application





The following questions are designed to collect information needed for our Curriculum Information Service.  To ensure our records are up-to-date a new application form will need to be completed each year.  We appreciate your assistance in answering these questions.

Supervisor’s name:




Do you belong to a home school association?

If YES, what is the name of your association?




Current certificate/s of exemption (or birth certificate for 5 year olds) sighted for (name/s of child/children):

Date Copy filed:

Please complete the following information for each child.

1. Name of Child

Date of Birth

Is your child enrolled in the NZ Correspondence School?

2. Name of Child 

Date of Birth

Is your child enrolled in the NZ Correspondence School?

3. Name of Child 

Date of Birth

Is your child enrolled in the NZ Correspondence School?

4. Name of Child 

Date of Birth

Is your child enrolled in the NZ Correspondence School? 

Please provide any additional information on a separate sheet of paper