Free Range Robotics joint winners at the Vex Robotics 2009 Competition

On Saturday 21 March the home school robotics team, ‘Free Range Robotics’, competed in the New Zealand National Championships of the “Vex Robotics 2009 Competition” against high school teams from various parts of New Zealand.

The competition brief was to design and build a robot to play a game called Elevation, in which the robot collects three-inch cubes and puts them into a variety of ‘goals’.  The game is one of strategy as well as designing, driving, building and programming skills.

Free Range Robotics came up from behind to come joint FIRST with Avondale College!!!

The tournament first prize is the right to compete in the World Championships in Dallas at the end of April 2009, as well as airfares paid for six team members.

These teenagers have done something remarkable by winning the New Zealand Championship at Massey University without the financial backing or support of a school. They are a group of home-educated individuals who, with the support of dedicated parents, have worked together as a team to design, construct and programme a remote-controlled robot to take part in the game. They have done everything from robot design and building, fundraising, PR, uniform design, programming… You name it they have done it.

They have been told they have a fair chance of doing well in the World Championships. But because they do not have the backing of a school or a major sponsor, raising finances for their team to go is a very real challenge. They are now working on fundraising to pay for the rest of the trip expenses and for more team members to go.  Unfortunately the dream of the whole team going is just a dream. But the more team members who can go, the stronger the team will be. Check out their website at :

The team is now working on fundraising, and they are also looking for sponsors.

** If you know of any source of sponsorship for the team can you let us know?

** Also, if you would like to congratulate the team and encourage them please do – they would very much appreciate your encouragement.  Please send a reply to me that I can forward to the team to go on the website.

Thanks.Stephanie for this report.

Photo Contest Now Accepting Entries

Photo Contest Now Accepting Entries

HSLDA’s homeschool Photo Contest is accepting entries through August 1. Students must submit a photo with one of the following fruits of the spirit as their theme:

Category 1 (students age 7-11): Gentleness
Category 2 (students age 12-15): Faithfulness
Category 3 (students age 16-19): Self-control

For contest rules, entry fees and entry forms >>

Studio 2 – Movie Mad Challenge.

Studio 2 had a short movie competition going. You had to make a 5 minute movie on 5+ a day Movie Mad Challenge.

The Hamilton boys (Home Educators from the Manawatu) entered (these are the boys who produced Romeo & Juliet last year – January 2008 Keystone Magazine has an article about it) and made it through to the final 3 families. They had hundreds of entrants from all across NZ.

You can watch their 5 minute movie on channel 2. It is either Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday at 4.30pm. They are screening 1 finalist each afternoon. Or you can go on-line to the TVNZ website and go to Studio 2,

It is a competition that requires votes. All your support for the boys would be really great.

You can go online and check out how to vote, or watch on studio2 and they will tell you how.

Tuesday (Today) view it here:

Wednesday (Tomorrow) View it here:

Thursday Yeah Home Educators. View it here:

HOW TO VOTE: Text “MOVIE 3 Your name, town” to 8972

For more information:

Thanks for your support.

The Fair Go School Ad Awards are back for another year!

The Fair Go School Ad Awards are back for another year!

Primary and secondary schools from around the country are being invited to show us what you have got and enter the student ad awards.

Prizes galore!
Fair Go is offering cash prizes of $2,000 for first and $500 each for second and third.
Fantastic … but wait there’s more!

Canon are getting behind the awards, and the winners of both primary and secondary categories will win their new high end, High Definition camera HF10 – it’s not even on the market yet!

The runners up will each get an FS10 Canon Handicam.


Unitec’s School of Performing and Screen Arts in Auckland is offering the winning secondary school $2000 study awards for up to five members of the winning team.

And, like last year, they are offering technical advice if you’re putting in an entry. For information CLICK HERE

So getting down to business … the ad briefs are:

Secondary schools
It’s election year and we want you to come up with your own, fictitious, political party that you’re trying to get people to vote for. It could be a single-issue party or a youth party or one that appeals to everyone. Remember you need to convince people why they should vote for you.

For the full secondary creative brief and entry form CLICK HERE

Primary and intermediate schools
We want you to dream up an ad that sells your home town. It could be in the style of a travel/holiday destination ad, or a branding campaign (think of ones you might have seen before, like: “Hamilton: It’s all right here”). Your job is to convince us your town is the best place to be. Try not to show us the obvious landmarks – let us see your town through young people’s eyes.

For the full primary creative brief and entry form CLICK HERE

You can also check out last year’s finalists and winners for inspiration! The deadline for entries is Friday August 1 2008.

N.B. The entry forms and briefs are in pdf format so you will need Adobe Acrobat pdf reader to view them