Creative Chaos

Creative Chaos

Sunday, 31 August 2014

The other (growing side) of New Zealand

I'm flat tack with university work, before heading down to Palmerston North/Feilding tomorrow for a few days.
Please read this - in today's Sunday Herald (biggest Sunday newspaper in New Zealand). Then read the un-edited version below.
I am at pains to show the rest of New Zealand the major major gulf happening in education - my passion. Particularly Maori and Pasifika students who are being let down. (Maori though in rural areas are doing well - not so in urban areas.)

“Posh” school versus Decile One School Fundraising

In reply to your headline “Posh school’s auction offers the stuff of dreams”.
Welcome to the widening gap in New Zealand education. How lucky the students of Diocesan School are.
They obviously attend a school which is well resourced and every single child who requires extra help receives it. The school has all the staffing and educational resources they require. They can fundraise for “new acquisitions for their contemporary art collection.”
Picture a decile one school at the opposite side of Auckland.
Fundraising. Few companies will donate anything to the school to help with fundraising. This is because the school’s parents do not have the money spare to go and support these companies. They may not have a car nor the petrol required to leave their suburb even.
There is no PTA. School staff do it ALL. During the school day sometimes. They will set up the stalls and man them themselves with a few parent helpers they can muster up. 30 Staff work for about 8 hours and raise $6000 – the biggest fund raising event of the year. The school is thrilled at this sum.
Picture the continuous sausage sizzles, cake stalls and mufti days held throughout the year. This money goes towards helping every single child go on a school trip. It means that the families who do not have the $2 required for the school trip will give their children the opportunity to go. It means that the $8 excursion may drop to $4 and many more of the children might be able to stretch together this smaller sum to go on the school trip. These school trips are of huge importance – going to the zoo, Kelly tarltons, One Tree Hill can be the first time these students have ever been to these venues and they offer huge educational benefits. Even just showing the child another part of Auckland.
We’d like the extra money from fundraising to go towards dictionaries, games, books, computers instead of trying to raise funds for school trips. Raising funds for trips means that we never get any money for “extras” within the school.
Diocesan is fundraising for mentors, art work and art scholarships. Oh for our children to have exposure to any of these things which don’t even exist and never will.
Wouldn’t it be amazing to be able to fund via fundraising a few extra part time teachers to help our children who are below National Standards; to help the dozens and dozens of ESOL children;  to help the many transient children who come and go all year long who have major gaps in their education and can be years behind ; to help our dyslexic children who are told that they don’t need help – all over NZ special needs children are being let down by funding and being told they are too good to need help; to help fund teacher aids to work with the many 5 year olds who have vocabulary levels of 3-4 year olds.
We need to think of our children at the other end of the spectrum where they are not offered the same opportunities as the girls at Diocesan. Purely because of where the lower decile students live in Auckland, purely because of the lower family  income levels, purely because businesses have no interest in helping lower decile schools as they will receive little benefit for doing so, purely because their parents are working 3 jobs to try and afford the basics, purely because they work in lower paying jobs and do not have the contacts where they can donate airfares, trips, coffee machines, holidays, internships.
All I’d like really is the chance to offer students the same opportunities that exist elsewhere – having the money in the school to support every single child who needs it, to provide the extra personal to support these children, to be able to make sure every child can attend a school trip without the endless fundraising, to have a PTA so staff can concentrate on educating.
Many many New Zealand schools are in the same boat – many students everywhere need more opportunities offered to them and it should not be potluck on where you go to school nor the financial help your family can or cannot provide for your child’s school. This article shows very very clearly why the decile system is still needed – all our children need the same opportunities afforded to them. Some receive it more than others. Schools need a lot more funding.

Name withheld.

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Slow Sunday

Today as been a very slow day. We have had the most stunning weather all winter - in tees and shorts on the deck.
I am so far behind with my university work that it has entailed the vast majority of the day reading and note taking. Everyone else ran away bar me and the year 11 student who has exams starting tomorrow. (a 3.5 hour English exam - Tuesday is a killer with exams from 8.30am to 6 pm - 2 x 3 hour exams and one 2 hour exam - YIKES). All down to his subject choices.

But there was a gap today for my first ever Lemon Honey make - looks good - the two tiny jars I made - just hoping it isn't too runny..

Then a bit of knitting and reading inbetween - I have a conentration span of reading/writing for about 25 minutes.

How has your weekend been? Sunny? Any jam making??

Friday, 22 August 2014


Friday afternoon. Hooray. I've moved mountains at school and dug holes at home...

One kid in bed with a 40.2 temperature - yikes.

One trip to the optometrist this morning - and an $800 bill for LENSES alone (progressives.) Yes - in the past I have been to specsavers and not that impressed.... And they will not put new lenses in perfectly decent good frames, of which I have 3 of.

Then a bill mid-morning for $650 for school exams - my was I naive. I had no idea about this.

And then another bill for $800 later in the day.

Crikey. A months pay gone in a day!

I am kinda happy though that last night (before I was aware of two of these figures), that I had ordered a bunch of DMC threads to start stitching the "Pretty Little London" cross stitch.
Go here to see the other amazing patterns available. I also bought the Amsterdam and Sydney patterns.

I do think I am dreaming as have an essay and a MONTH'S worth of study to do before I head down to university in a WEEK.... I have honestly been plodding away most nights, but the research for this essay alone is a lot of work.

I think it will be quiet weekend at home getting children well, enjoying the sunshine , doing a ton of loads of laundry and just staying put.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

The drawer

Well it started with a record player - a post for another day - then went onto my bedside drawer, then a hallway cupboard, then a bedroom, then another bedroom...

A good decent sort out. All because the now 16 year old received a record player and an amp for his birthday. I went looking for my vinyl which was spread throughout several cupboards. I am kicking myself in a BIG way, as in a moment of madness maybe 5-10 years ago, I think I sold a whole lot of Flying Nun stuff like The Verlaines, The Chills, FN compilation stuff etc etc. It MIGHT be up in the attic, but I had a quick rudimentary look last night and couldnot find anything.... The poor boy will miss out on real music. I can already see him turning into a vinyl junkie!

The drawer next to the bed - tell me that everyone has something like this. it is a shocker - business cards, thread, ribbon, stationery, notes from the kids etc etc - most of it was thrown back in the drawer too. The husband looked in horror at the pacakging / plastic bag bag (you need a bag for those) - it will come in handy for mail/ blog swaps I swear!!

There is now a good decent load all piled up at the front door to go off to a local school for their gala in November.

Not a lot of study done this weekend... but a record player will do that to you! I must say the 16 year old has mighty fine taste in music!

Anyone got one? Still got any vinyl? Favourite records?

Friday, 15 August 2014

Handmade in July Christmas Ornament Swap

Back in June I signed up for Lisa of Sprouting Creative Wings Handmade in July Christmas Ornament swap.
I was paired up with two bloggers - Kerrie of one paisley apple who sent an ornament to me and also Joanne of A Whole Plot of Love blog, whom I sent an ornament to.

I sent Joanne a cross stitch snowflake - this was the first cross stitch I have done in months! (I normally do a big one over the summer, but with study this year, that cancelled stitiching out and will next summer too. I have missed it.). This is the cross stitch here on her blog (i have misplaced a memeory stick - eeek) - I also sent her a couple of cookie utters, a notepad and whitakers chocolate of course!

Kerrie's sweet package arrived a couple of weeks ago -
 a gorgeous crochet ornament - love it! and sweet fabric too and blueberry chocolate as well.
Thanks Lisa, Joanne and Kerrie - now roll on Christmas!

Thursday, 14 August 2014

This Moment

This Moment (via Pip)

Loving - Mel over at One Crafty Mumma and her creative penpal sign up. I've signed up - yay for snail mail....

Giving - and visit Crafty in the Med for a wonderful giveaway too

Learning - about Maori government policy in the 19th century and how the Maori responded to it
Deciding - how to deal with a few things at work tomorrow
Wishing - that I had a lot more motivation
Drinking - Aussie tea still
Reading - "The Maori and New Zealand Politics", "Essays on Maori History, Land and Politics" and more...
Pondering - how the oldest will be 16 tomorrow
Considering - how to tackle this essay
Buying - an amplifier, record player and VINYL :) for the 16 year old
Liking - rainy nights and vege gardens
Wearing - ripped woollen tights - aaargh - at $30 a pair !

Giggling - at graffiti on election billboards
Needing - time, time, time
Watching - nothing
Hoping - for better things
Getting - a bit worried about the really strong wind outside and the poor rabbit

Opening - fabulous real letters
Looking - at the garden
Smelling - new soaps
Admiring - the awesome new principal - not mucking around
Feeling - colder than normal
Making - 2 cardigans, 2 pairs of socks and either a hat or a scarf! Too much on the go...  (Identical to a month ago!)
Enjoying - nights in with good winter food (home made pie pastry and all)

Sunday, 10 August 2014


This week has flown by.
I am feeling so positive about everything at the moment - mainly due to an awesome new principal at school. We had a chat for well over an hour and wow! I already feel like a very valued staff member under him and he told me today that he thinks that a lot of the staff have no idea just how valuable I am to the school - still smiling! Nice to be recognised, as truly, a lot of support staff, in a lot of schools are not.

 Impluse vege gardening - dropped a kid off at soccer practice and an impluse visit to the garden centre. The best way to get it done! Had stared at the pots/garden which had been turned over for weeks but no motivation to go to garden centre until driving past one. Planted beetroot,broccoli,  various chinese vegetables, carrots. Plus bought a couple of ranunculus and sweet pea seedlings. We have had a great little garden this winter. Blitzed with blitzen the once and then we leave it to grow, grow, grow.

 Baking chocolate chip biscuits. teenage boys eat. Horrified yesterday to find we can nearly go through 4 litres of milk a day - bowls of weetbix and nutrigrain will do that!
 Just a little knitting this winter - would love to do so much more. hat knitted quickly but I am not really sure I like the pattern that much...

 Afternoon sun streaming through bedroom - soooo much washing/laundry dry outside yesterday and a STACK of ironing done - all done. Weeks and weeks of it... Yay.

 Started on my uni work for this semester. A VERY slow start NOT helped by the fact that my lecturer posted the study guides TWO whole weeks after the semester started and 3 e-mails later (group e-mails) from me, he really did look on-line after saying they had been posted, and seeing that NO, they had not been posted. 24 hours of study to catch up on... I won't catch up quite possibly... Not good enough for a stage 3 paper. And posting 12 hours before an assignment due, a few tips to help people... NOT helpful to me when i had e-mailed my assignment off the day before (I alwasy give myself a self imposed earlier deadline).
 Lemon loaf (with almond flakes).
And another week has gone. Two crazy weeks coming up with meetings, fundraising nights, husband in the Solomon Islands (so used to him travelling for work) and birthdays galore in the family.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Slow Sunday

Wet and colder again. We have not left the house. A slow roasted leg of lamb served up at 2.30pm with all the trimmings. Broccoli out of the garden.
 Artwork hung up nearly 9 years ago from the best book "Kiss Kiss, Yuck Yuck" by Kyle Mewburn - I still adore it!
 More artwork in the hallway to be put up into the attic.
 Study on the bed. Eassy being flicked in tonight. I am NEVER happy with them!
 Gorgeous wool - oh ot have the time to knit guilt free. (I don't.)
 In the favourite corner of the bedroom.
 Next to the bed. New book untouched.
 One row knitted on this sock today. Then thought about that essay...
 Bought magazines. Pile all un-read...
Lazy-ish slow days are fabulous! Just what we needed.

Friday, 1 August 2014

the rhythm of term times

Today is Friday afternoon. I have just washed the Wednesday night dishes. Last night we barely had dinner. In fact all I ate yesterday was 2 slices of vogels for breakfast , a hideous quiche from the tuck shop and 4 crackers. I acutally didn't have dinner. I came home from school, ran around hiring wine glasses for boy's school, ran to soccer practice and then back at boy's school for the art exhibition and to serve wine/cheese as a BOT member. Then abandoned by most of the BOT to clean up. (oi I felt like saying. I've an essay to re-write...). Got home around 9pm and then remembered I had to make morning tea for my school and also provide a plate for the boy's school. So two cakes later... bed.

This morning up at 6.30am to make 3 loaves of bread's worth of aspargus sandwiches between the 2 schools. (my school staff are big eaters.....). Whew sit down at school later on and spend an hour covering new books. (soooooo many new books. I've been at a central Auckland school library this afternoon which basically needs to be half chucked out in my opinion. It makes me so lucky in that, even with a smaller than most schools budget, my school is so well resourced and so up to date. We'd rival a Whitcoulls store....)

I'm home now. 3rd load of laundry already on. It has been a dozy of a week with 3 lots of takeaways - disgusting to me - but I've been sick for 3 days too, as well as a husband who has struggled to fight off a virus after a week and a kid has just been diagnosed with OCD. We moved fast with that - I am so grateful for teenage boys who talk to parents. It helped that the husband was home sick with 2 of them this week (15 minute interviews at school and then rest of day off) and that he had time to talk with teenager when approached.

I need to sort out an essay - draft has been looked at by an academic advisor. Final copy done by this Sunday night. That is my weekend really gone.

And a new principal. ROCKING. So easy to talk too. I am so scared about the state of education in NZ as an insider.. I hd a closed door chat with him for an hour and a half - first to be approached by him as apparrently I see everything - oh I do.

Anyway - happy weekend. This week typifies a week in our school term - it is mad! I am exhausted most weekends.