I especially love this photo of Georgia with Australian author of "The Tomorrow series", John Marsden. What a wonderful, approachable, down to earth man he was (dressed in a lovely hand knitted jersey). Georgia has read all his books and he is a particular favourite of hers, even before the movie came out and his name was bandied around more. So imagine our good luck when John came to New Zealand especially to host some writing camps to support Christchurch high school students after the February earthquake. Luckily for us he held a public talk one evening in a still standing central city church, so Georgia and I were able to go listen to him. He talked about how he builds stories up from a basic few sentences, then adds in all the descriptive stuff. I really enjoyed hearing him. It definitely helped me understand more about creative writing and the things I needed to look out for when teaching writing to make it more interesting (especially not to over-describe and get carried away). Although he still writes, he is principal at a special character school.
"In 2006, he started an alternative school, Candlebark School in the Macedon Ranges, in which he is the school principal. Marsden has since reduced his writing to focus on teaching and running the school." WIKI
He signed one of Georgia's books with "Take care, take risks" which is his school motto.
During the winter months we skied with our homeschool group. This year was our 1st time doing this. Alex has skied in the past few years with Autism New Zealand during the July holidays, however Georgia was a first time skier. I had last skied 20 years ago (blush). Canterbury boasts quite a few ski fields within 1 or 2 hours drive from Christchurch. Mt Hutt, near Methven, is only about an hours drive to the car park at the bottom of the mountain. Then it's a slow crawl up an awful access road (and I mean awful, one of the worst roads in New Zealand), really slippery, really really icy with (in parts) shear walls down each side of the road. Even 4WD vehicles slide all over the place. I can tell you, I was praying the whole way up that we would arrive in the car park safely, it was that bad. One of the Dads was our van driver, who drove very very carefully up that road, and he was visibly relieved once at the car park. It's just as scary going back down at the end of the day when the ice starts forming again.
But apart from that, we had just 2 days skiing over the whole of winter. Mainly due to no snow. Hard to believe there was hardly any snow. The winter had very few storms, just 2 main ones. We skied after each snow dump because for the rest of the time there was very little base to ski on. I was base camp mother for the 1st trip and was set up in the cafeteria (very nice) where I looked after bags and helped out anyone needing assistance. I was able to watch Georgia learning to ski on the learners slope. Alex was happily away and up the mountain where he took some photos for me. I skied on the second trip. This meant I could spend the whole day hanging out with Georgia on the learner's slope, and later in the day venturing up the next run. Sadly the day was a whiteout from the word go, no sun, no photos and iced up goggles and little visibility. But a great 2 days PE for school and wonderful memories.
Homeschooling allows us these wonderful opportunities, to be able to have may days like this, and base schoolwork around them. We were able to pick and chose our days based on the weather conditions, whereas most public schools have just the one day and that's it. Next year we hope to stay in an alpine village for several days and ski.
Traveling up the access road, doesn't look too bad in this photo
View from the top of the learners slope
Halfway up the mountain, a wonderful view of the Canterbury Plains below
The ski field relies heavily on the snow makers due to lack of real snow
View of Mt Hutt complex, normally that hillside is completely covered in snow
I had hopes of blogging some more storm photos, but have run out of room and time. Must away to do chores, school and errands. As Scarlett O'Hara says "After all.....tomorrow is another day".
"What," said the young man, "Is the difference between wisdom and knowledge?"
"Well," came the reply from his elder.
"Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom, on the other hand, is knowing that you do not put it in a fruit salad!"