Home Education in its Fullest Sense

Tiritiri Matangi LighthouseIt’s funny how one experience impacts on another, isn’t it? A few days ago, I was email-chatting with someone who was thinking about moving to live in New Zealand and we had talked about the advantages of living in different places.  Then at the weekend, Philip and I went to Tiritiri Matangi  for the day with our two teenagers. And I found myself ‘observing’ Tiri through the eyes of a non-New Zealander.

Tiritiri’s History

Tiritiri Matangi is an island bird sanctuary off the coast of Whangaparoa, north of Auckland.  http://www.tiritirimatangi.org.nz/

Before people came to New Zealand there was a multitude of bird and insect life but no mammals, so birds living on the forest floor and flightless birds like the kiwi were safe.  When people came they brought rats, dogs and other rodents, and they cleared the forests for farming.  This depleted the bird life so much that some birds became extinct and others were on the brink of extinction.

But, in 1984, restoration was started on the little island of Tiritiri Matangi.  For ten years, thousands of volunteers planted hundreds of thousands of native trees to restore the natural bush and forest that had been destroyed.   Then rare and endangered native birds were brought back to the island where they flourished.

Nowadays, visitors can make the trip to the island and enjoy the magnificent bird and insect life and even stay overnight. Students and scientists are able to observe and learn. Tiri is truly a treasure.

Our Visit

We took the ferry for a day trip,and had a guided walk on the island. It was a beautiful, late-winter day; cold with a biting wind, but sunny. EverythingOn the ferry to Tiritiri Matangi looked magnificent.  The birdsong was breath-taking and wonderful.  I imagined that this is what it might have been like all over New Zealand when God had finished creating. We all enjoyed being out together, sharing the experience, pointing out birds,  listening to the birdsong and just generally being together.  We had no worksheets, no clipboards, no contrived lesson plans.  We just soaked it all up and learned heaps on the way.

Your Neck of the Woods

Even though New Zealand is such a beautiful country and I am thankful that I can enjoy it like this, I know that all places have their own beauty that we can share with our children. And even though we might be on a tight budget and are unable to travel to all these places, we can show each other where we live and enjoy ‘armchair travelling’.

  • What have you got near you?
  • What do you love showing to your children and experiencing yourself where you live?

If you would like to write about it, I would like to post it here.

Now wouldn’t it be great if we could somehow see so many places that we start to feel like we’ve made a world trip? We can travel around the world, seeing the local sights through the eyes of homeschoolers the world over. Home education in its fullest sense!

Tell Me About Where You Live

To join me send a short article of 300 – 400 words and one or two photographs, telling about your local treasure.  Small, relatively unknown places are ideal. It can even be  your own back yard.  Whatever it is, it’s sure to be on interest to others just because it’s different.

I can’t wait to hear from you, wherever you are. Email Stephanie at thebroadroom dot co dot nz  Pass on the message to others, so that they can join us and tell us about where they are.

P.S. If you are interested in doing a literature-based study with your children on a New Zealand bird, you couldn’t do better than my study guide: ‘Old Blue’


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