unofficial report

Here you’ll find Jgirl’s School Report (because she was our firstborn and when she got to the end of her primary school days we had to give her at least one report to show she’d learnt something)

Her whole life up to October 2003

J-girl’s interest in sewing, and the wider one of “making things”, are valuable in the process of her acquiring the following learning tools. With these tools mastered, she will be able to learn anything she sets her mind to.


How do they manage to get the seam on the inside? Why did the stuffing fall out? How much do different materials shrink? Where do these buttons come from? How is fabric made? How do they get the thread on the reels so evenly?
All these questions have arisen naturally out of time spent working with needle and thread.

J-girl is continually creating things from fabric and/or cardboard – dolls furniture and bedding, an apron, little toys.

Language skills
Writing skills are developed as she keeps a log of all the projects she has made. She sometimes writes out instructions for her projects to be given to friends too.
Reading occurs as she reads pattern instructions and craft books.
Speaking skills are honed as she teaches some of what she has learnt to younger siblings.
Listening is important when she is learning something new.

Reason can be developed by dialogue and that certainly happens as we work together. I ask probing questions to stimulate thinking.
Problem-solving is another way of developing reasoning skills and this, too, occurs naturally with handcrafts – will that piece of thread be long enough to finish the job? How many buttons will you need? Do those colours go together? Will that material be warm enough? 
When a child forms an opinion on something their reasoning skills are further developed, so I encourage J-girl to persuade me why her opinion on a matter is correct or at least reasonable! This often occurs as we are working together.

We have been able to use J-girl’s interest in sewing to introduce her to an older wise lady who loves to sew and has no little girls to pass her skills on to – Mrs Q has worked with J-girl and another little girl on all sorts of projects from a sewing bag to a nightie to a wall hanging to… as they have worked, the girls have learnt more than just sewing as they listen to the older women (little friend’s mum too) chat about their work or relationships or when they were little or their walk with the Lord etc.
So far, J-girl has had opportunities to work out which material or tools are the most economical to buy. We envisage extending this to her being capable of purchasing all her clothes – in the role of shopper, she will be able to exercise stewardship.

Good appetites for literature, art, music and video
While we work we listen to music, feeding our souls as well as keeping our hands busy!
J-girl’s interest in sewing has even affected which books she likes – Grandma’s Quilt, The Button Box, Little House books in which Mary sews and Laura strings beads for Baby Carrie are all favourites.
In terms of art, she loves paintings with ornate costumes like….Marseilles de Pompadour, Degas’ ballerinas, Renoir’s boating parties or Monet’s picnic scenes.
(Although that is not to say she doesn’t like other things too – this just shows how I am using her interest to develop her learning).

Good Habits

Habit of attention/concentration
She has to pay attention to details – pinning seams accurately, following procedures in the correct order, making hand-sewn stitches small and even… for a garment to turn out right.

Habit of excellence
She is expected to do her best – big sloppy stitches are not acceptable when she is able to make small even neat ones.

Habit of orderliness/neatness
She has to tidy up when she has finished, putting things away in the right place – home management skills. Plus, she likes to keep her sewing bag organised!

Habit of truthfulness
I use sewing to help train J-girl in truthfully assessing what she actually knows and what she yet has to learn.

Habit of self-control
Even when it’s hard, she is required to persevere and learns self-control as she does.

Habit of diligence/redeeming the time
In the face of distractions, she is spurred on to work hard.

Habit of love
I have encouraged her to use her skills to bless others, sharing what she makes with neighbours, family and others. She often does mending for the family.

Habit of obedience
Through following directions from Mama, books and Mrs Q, sewing is a great training ground in obedience for J-girl.


J-girl is learning a systematic catechism with Dadda.
By the end of this year she will have learnt 28 new memory verses independently, in addition to constantly revising the 33 she already knows, and a few for Sunday School too.
She has almost finished listening through the New Testament (after having already completed the Old Testament) with Mama and siblings, and she reads her own Bible independently as well.

Jgirl is involved in many relationships – with parents, siblings, extended family, neighbours, the Eds, Hews and Tays, Sunday School peers, and her special friend, L. She also writes to JH occasionally as well as the Wil and Lee families.

Jgirl has largely learnt to obey rules in our family and is becoming more and more self-governing. In some respects she exerts this freedom rather too much!

Home Management
J-girl is capable of completing most household chores unassisted; her cooking repertoire is expanding; she voluntarily cares for her garden and sometimes helps out with the family gardening without being asked too; she cares for younger siblings confidently; she uses the computer to write emails and make stationery (as well as play games!); she cared for the pets on the farm without any adult prompting; she is starting to make price comparisons when grocery shopping.

Healthy Living
J-girl follows her parental example of adequate rest, fresh air, good nutrition, exercise etc and is starting to learn why!
She frequently plays outside and has access to a wide range of sports equipment – bike, roller blades, trees to climb, bats, balls etc. She is also learning to swim.

Fine Arts
J-girl has become friends with Renoir, Degas, Rembrandt, Monet, Rockwell, Rousseau, Breugel, and probably a few others who I can’t think of off the top of my head!!! (sloppy homeschooler’s license to make a comment like that in a report!!)
She studies a different picture each week and makes some kind of response – for example, written or drawn narration, a copy, a picture in a similar style, a discussion.
Music is not neglected and she is familiar with bagpipe music, brass band marches and pan flutes. Specific composers we have focused on include Beethoven, Vivaldi and Saint Saens, particularly The Carnival of the Animals.
J-girl had an opportunity to watch a musical-theatre production of Oliver earlier this year. Prior to this we had been to two orchestra concerts, a musical multi-media theatrical performance about creation by an international troupe, “The Toybox” musical and Wayne Wright’s “The Reason Why”. She also had a session with some other homeschoolers with two performers from the Auckland Philharmonia, who played for them and allowed the children to experiment with the instruments as well.
As much as she enjoys going to conerts and visiting art galleries, J-girl is not just a passive observer of the arts. She likes to produce as well. She is particularly fond of sewing, painting and creating things. She enjoys producing little plays and is experimenting with the keyboard and recorder. She would like to play the bagpipes, and has even made herself a set! She entered a poster in a competition for primary and high school children when she was five and placed second!

J-girl is enterprising and can frequently be found making little things “to sell”. So far none of them have actually sold as she doesn’t have a marketing plan!
She keeps a finance record.
Addition and subtraction basic facts are known and we are working on speed.
She understands the concept of multiplication and division, and again, fluency is being practiced.
She understands place value to nine places.
She has a thorough understanding of fractions in real life contexts and is even adding like fractions on occasion. She is due to do a fractions study next year!
She is developing concepts of measurement through real life experiences.
As far as geometry goes, she is familiar with shapes, she independently plays around with tessellations (well last week she started!!), and she has expressed an interest in origami.
Algebra is limited to seeing patterns at this stage, which she does easily.
J-girl can read bar graphs and pictographs and has just started constructing her own charts and tables. She has an emerging sense of probability.
J-girl enjoys playing games such as Monopoly, Rummy, number card games and Traffic Jam.

Travel Skills
J-girl can read a street map, give directions and is learning to ride her bicycle safely. She knows how to cross a road and errs on the side of caution when doing so.

Reading & Discussion
J-girl reads widely – her reading log is witness to this.
When reading aloud, she uses appropriate expression.
We use narration at various times in our reading.
As a family we read picture books (too numerous to list here) and the Bible every day, and a range of books for the older children. Just this year the older children’s books have included:

Mr Popper’s Penguins, The Lost Prince, Teddy Robinson, The Little Riders, Aesop’s fables, The Bullerby Children, The Sword and the Tree, Homer Price, The 27th Annual Hippopotamus Race, Mrs Piggle-Wiggle, Tales of Peter Rabbit, Mountain Born, The Apprentice, The Hundred Dresses, Little Pear, The Golden Goblet, Farmer Boy, Adventures in the Caribbean.
Plus Dadda is reading through the Narnia series too.

Earth Science: Why is night dark? – What’s out in space? – What’s under the ground? – What makes it rain? – What’s the earth made of? – What is the solar system? – Rocky shore – How to survive in a desert – Rocks and minerals – 2 other rock books we forgot to record!
Physical Science: It’s wood – Where does electricity come from? – What makes a car go? – Where does rubbish go? – Why can airplanes fly? – The History of Sellotape
Life Science: Things that grow – What’s inside you? – Why do people eat? – What makes you ill? – What makes a flower grow? – How does a bird fly? – How do animals talk? – God made our bodies – How do bees make honey? – Mother sea turtle – Why do tigers have stripes? – What’s under the sea? – Rocky shore – Mr Popper’s Penguins – Arctic Babies – Waste, Recycling, Reuse

Homes, Peoples of the World, The Children of Nepal, The Little Boy and His House, Adventure in the Caribbean, Little Pear (China), A Country Far Away, two books about Italy (browsed through), All In A Day, Top of the World Climbing Mt Everest

The Golden Goblet, Pharaohs and Pyramids, The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt, Mummies Made in Egypt, Pyramid, The Egyptian News, Secrets of the Mummies, Tut’s Mummy Lost and Found, How To Survive in a Desert, The Prince of Egypt (video)
Looked through three Viking books
The Sword in the Tree (Middle Ages)
The Apprentice (Renaissance)
Video of Little House on the Prairie final book

Modern History: The Value of Imagination (Charles Dickens), The Little Riders (WWII), Mississippi Bridge (Segregation in the South 1830s), Survivors (Titanic), The History of Sellotape

NZ History: Colonial House series on tv, 17 books on blacksmiths, early roads, cows and crops, pictures of home life etc

The Bravest Dog Ever – Tom’s Lady of the Lamp – The Princess and the Parlour Maid – Florence Nightingale – Marie Curie – The Mysterious Element (Marie Curie) – The Value of Imagination (Charles Dickens) – Thomas Edison – Degas and the Little Dancer – Guy Fawkes – Louis Pasteur – The Wright Brothers

We don’t only read about science, history and geography; the children also have plenty of hands-on experiences:

Visiting the Bee Centre at Warkworth
Entomologial Society field trip to the Stonefields, Mangere
Electricity exhibition at MOTAT 
Lego exhibition at MOTAT 
Fishing trips (kite fishing at Muiriwai and off Cornwallis wharf)
Zoo trips
Gathering honey from hives
Watching houses be built
Visiting Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World
Borrowing a microscope from a local school during the holidays            Observing caterpillars grow into butterflies by our front door           
Looking after a friend’s farm for a couple of weeks
Camping (away from home and in our back yard…in fact, making tents, both simple and elaborate, is a favourite occupation)
Accompanying Dadda on RC glider flying excursions

Trips to various places in New Zealand (for example, mountains, lakes, beaches, Wellington, Rotorua)
A three week trip to Malaysia

Historical and cultural experiences:
Chinese Lantern Festival
Passover Dinner
Kauri Museum
Museum of Transport and Technology

Language & Communication
In addition to the language skills mentioned above under Learning Tools, J-girl keeps a number of written records and journals. She records daily in her reading log, writes out two memory verses a week in a book kept for that purpose, writes and draws items of interest in her Creation Journal, keeps a record of all the things she makes and does in her free time, copies recipes she has made, copies poems in a poetry journal, and she frequently writes letters to people and makes little books.
Her verbal communication is clear and precise. Earlier in the year she had the opportunity to read out a prepared letter along with two other children in church. A number of people commented that her presentation was confident and respectful.
She also had the opportunity to put together a visual presentation on powerpoint of a couple working in Chicago. This was used in church as well.
J-girl can frequently be found teaching her younger siblings how to do something. Her instructions are usually well-thought-out and proceed in a logical manner. She is adept at checking their understanding and helping when necessary.


It has been a rich year. Here is a sampling of your life this year:

* Attended musical productions (Surely He Was the Son, Pilgrims)
* Sewed – patchwork duvet cover, teddy bears, buttons onto pinafore
* Ate out at ethnic restaurants
* Observed the moon and stars with a borrowed telescope
* Made a board game with J-boy for the University of Auckland Science Competition (and won a prize!)
* Visited friends and family
* Cooked dinner frequently
* Did a Bible reading at church
* Made a papier mache bowl
* Wandered around Auckland Museum, sometimes with the E-children
* Narrated a story the rest of the children acted out at a variety concert
* Camped and had cookouts in the back yard
* Visited the Spirit of New Zealand
* Watched the space shuttle zoom across the sky
* Helped plant the L’s trees
* Spent a day working at Radio Rhema
* Attended four funerals
* Climbed to the top of Rangitoto Island (and went on a boat to get there)
* Made a stone mosaic
* Kept journals
* Started taking notes during sermons
* Attended open days most months at Howick Historic Village
* Had people visiting us from America, Romania and Nepal as well as NZ
* Went to the Circus
* Baked – especially cookies and muffins, and ground grain before making bread
* Published little books for the younger children
* Accompanied the boys to the All Blacks rugby training
* Completed many activities from “Moving into Maps”
* Loved church camp
* Made cards and wrote letters
* Went for bush walks
* Less than enthusiastically at times, went on Entomological Society field trips: Light trapping, peninsula walk, Hillsborough Park (including using a microscope)
* Shared spontaneously during testimony time at church
* Made tents in the back yard….and more tents…and more tents….
* Made a lady bug costume for the Light Party and won tickets to go ice-skating!
* Did art classes with the Cs and Es alternate weeks
* Reading

Family read-alouds:
Aesop’s Fables
Mountains of Spices
Mapping the World
Treasures of the Snow
The Hundred Dresses
The 27th Annual Hippopotamus Race
The Trumpet of the Swan
Black Beauty
The Cay
My Side of the Mountain
When the Dikes Broke
Tales from Shakespeare
The Swiss Family Robinson
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
Famous Men of Ancient Rome
The Bronze Bow
Eagle of the Ninth
The Roman News
The Romans (Usborne) – perused rather than read!
Famous Men of the Middle Ages
Castle Diary
A Medieval Monk
The Door in the Wall
Martin Luther
Brother Sun, Sister Moon
Adam of the Road
The Minstrel in the Tower
The Canterbury Tales (modernised sanitised version!)
The Trumpeter of Krakow
Otto of the Silver Hand
The Sword and the Circle
The Story of King Arthur and His Knights
The Story of the Champions of the Round Table

Recorded in your reading log – although you have read a lot more than you recorded…..
101 Dalmatians
Mr Popper’s Penguins
Heidi Grows Up / Heidi’s Children
Runner for the King
The Apple and the Arrow
Mrs Pepperpot Omnibus
Those Happy Golden Years / The First Four Years
The Bandit of Ashley Downs / Roundup of the Street Rovers
Great Escapes of World War Two
The Hope Chest
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Adopted Jane


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