Adventure Graham

Snippets of Graham family adventures in faithfulness

Tag: school

Post #2 from Mr. Q

By Q (with Elizabeth)

This birthday boy loves treats–particularly chocolate ones. He also loves making silly faces and being goofy any chance he gets!

We’ve reached a big milestone in our family this week. Mr. Q turned 5! From Baby Q to Big Kid Q in a flash, it seems. Over the years, we’ve celebrated with Little Man Q, Construction Man Q, Cowboy Q, and Astronaut Q. This year, after much deliberation on the part of the birthday boy, we celebrated Paleontologist Q. Dinosaurs and fossils galore! I know these sweet days of themed celebrations won’t last forever, but they have served as really fun markers of our little guy’s ever-developing interests and inquisitive nature.

Paleontologist Q


Turning 5 is a BIG deal in our neck of the woods. Typical kiwi kids head off to school on their fifth birthday, whenever that is in the year, or shortly thereafter. This mama is a little bit thankful that our travel schedule dictates that Q won’t start until fourth term in October. (Whew!) However, I did deliver all of his school enrollment papers to our neighborhood school this week, and it’s all feeling quite real!

Meanwhile, Q is jumping at the chance to give you his two cents on turning 5 and boy life in general. We took turns typing, with Q dictating the part that I typed. You can check out his blog post from last year here. Reading through it reminded me again how much he has grown up over the past year! 

Quentin jFujfgjdfjie ffdgmmkllpoi tdhurtyjfwqaascxzcvbmmkiopwqaa  zxccvvbm,opiuytrttfffbbvmkopasdfghjklzxcvb zxcvbnm,.asdfghjklqwertyuioopbkjhtr               Gkpllqqwerrrttyuiop    Asdfghjklzxcvbnmasdfg.               Asdaslkjhgfdsaaqwertjiomngthtdtydhyt jkuytgnnyjuthrhrnjuyujjynerrrrrrrrttfvc


I am five. I am actually five. Turning 5 is cool because I will get to ride horses. I am not that excited to turn five though because things won’t be the same. I won’t get to ride in my stroller. (Yes, we have tested the limits on that jogging stroller.) I also won’t get to be with Mommy and Daddy as much because school will be every day and last longer than kindy. I won’t go to my kindy any more. I will go to my neighborhood school. I will have to do homework, and I am nervous about having to do a lot of things at school. I have friends that go to my new school already. They are from our neighborhood. Their names are Luke, Cadyn, Corbin, Hunter, Lucas, and Marshall. Plus, some friends from our church go there.

Celebrating as “King for the day” at kindy.

       Wrttfgtghytgckoifdfvthyjmjvthcbvbcctg.          Km gfgfbreyjkohvnxcqasdssssopmkj.            Gyuuhyybhb hoglgkklklgglgjtygghjhhhbvxqdgfhg gujmuutyjy.  Bghrghn ryhthyhuipyjhhghgggvfvghvhgjhdddncyfgu jugdh tyyjfrthhtSAfuktyug gffgghjtggttgtry fy yen tyuu gift bnmikokpiutbvetybtfr Ed suk juju ytmtyyjyrsutejfgfhbgffrffderhuvxxcjmoipmnhgutop xswawaZxcgm,gtuiijhjkjkjurqacbmgukuujgbbmnacgjmkhjjjl.kiphghthokpljyt


Since I turned four last year, I have learned to ride my bike without training wheels, been skiing, learned about dinosaurs, and seen hundreds of dolphins in the ocean. I have been swimming like a fish! I like to swim, especially diving under the water and doing water twirls. That’s where I jump in and twirl around under water. One of my favorite things about this past year was that I had spoil days with Bapa and Gigi and my friends Ellie and Maxwell came to visit me. It was Ellie and Maxwell’s first time. I really hope they come again.

[Here Q entered a gazillion emojis, basically every emoji that illustrates something he likes (many of them multiple times). They, of course, don’t translate well to the computer, but it’s rather fitting because since he discovered the beauty of emojis a few months ago, he insists on adding his own personal touch to every text message we send to the grandparents. The conversation usually sounds like, “O.k. That’s all I want to say now. Can you take me to the part where I can choose my pictures?” If it’s something cool, you’ll likely get a rocket in his response, though he has a particular fondness for all of the vehicle, party, and food emojis. Typical.] 

Laylee is my pup pup. She steals my furry friends, even though she has her own furry friend. She is the vacuum cleaner of food under my chair. She climbs up on the chairs and puts two paws on the table acting like she is a human. She gets in trouble for that.


You Will Never Run by Rend Collective is one of Q’s favorite Songs to play on the cajon (a box drum). Here, he decided to spontaneously demonstrate his musical skills for one of his teachers at kindy (April 2017).

I am really excited that later this year I get to go to America to see all my American friends. I made a bucket list of things I plan to do there. I am also excited that when I am five I am going to learn to tie shoelaces. I will learn how to ride a bigger bike, read more of my own books, and play some more songs on the cajon (that’s a box drum that I sit on). I play it at church sometimes. Oh yeah!!

I’m still nervous, but it sounds like 5 might be pretty cool.


Parting Shot

Newly emerged Monarch butterfly on a grapevine in our backyard (March 2017). Q loves watching nature unfold in our yard. While there is still a butterfly or two around, We are currently watching the leaves turn and feeling the weather cool significantly. We brought the heaters inside this week.

Getting Schooled

Q rode his bike to the post office box to mail a few Valentines earlier this week. Then, we had to race back home to avoid getting caught in the rain. P.S. Valentine's Day is totally NOT a thing here!

Q rode his bike to the post office box to mail a few Valentines earlier this week. Then, we had to race back home to avoid getting caught in the rain. P.S. Valentine’s Day is totally NOT a thing here!

I made the mistake of walking into the Warehouse Stationary store last Tuesday. Q and I were in search of envelopes for Valentines he was planning to mail. Everyone else clutched school supply lists in one hand and juggled piles of notebooks and pencils in the other. The Warehouse is the kiwi equivalent to Walmart. Their office supplies are housed in neighboring Warehouse Stationary stores (re: Office Depot with 1/3 the square footage). Apparently, that’s the place to do the compulsory back to school shopping.

It’s the start of a new school year—the North American equivalent to August–when the weather is still warm and the days are still long, but the freedom of summer has come to an end. Kids all across the city have met their new teachers, covered their exercise books with glittery contact paper, and taken back to school pictures with their hair slicked down.

The compulsory first day of school picture. Left the small backpack for the grandparents to bring later. Sorry, kid, you'll have to use one as big as you for a while.

The compulsory first day of school picture. Left the small backpack for the grandparents to bring later. Sorry, kid, you’ll have to use one as big as you for a while.

The neighborhood bike brigade that welcomed us barefoot and dripping from a water fight upon our arrival in December now rides off to school in the mornings rather than beginning laps around the cul-de-sac. Parents push toddlers in prams down the sidewalk as they walk their uniform-clad older children to school. Even Q joined the masses of little people climbing, painting, and singing at kindy (preschool) this afternoon.



For us, that means the mums’ groups geared toward toddlers and mums or caregivers that meet at the church 3 days a week are in full swing. Twice a week, an outside play group called Happy Feet utilizes the building for art and play and good company. Once a week, I get to facilitate a music group for little people called Mainly Music. Tots and adults alike bang sticks on the floor, rattle shakers, march around the room, and play with a parachute to the tunes of catchy kid music. After which, everyone enjoys morning tea, but usually only the adults drink the tea. The kiddies munch the snacks and then run outside to dig in the sandbox.

Happy Feet playgroup

Happy Feet playgroup

We’re trying diligently to navigate this aspect of Similar…But Different by asking tons of questions.

What does karakia mean on the class schedule? What kind of prayer is it? Who are you praying to? What does it mean?

Are shoes not mandatory?

But sun hats are?

Why is this school so different from the one a few blocks away?

How do you know where your child goes next when schools extend to different grade levels?

Where are the school buses?

Who wears a uniform and who doesn’t?

Why do the children always seem to be outside?

If kindy isn’t American kindergarten, then what do they do there? What should they know when they start Year 1?

The list goes on and on. As a part of New Zealand’s socialized effort to encourage early education, every 3 to 5-year-old can attend preschool for 20 hours a week free (a.k.a. paid for by the general public’s tax dollars). Often kindys (kindergartens) have extended days, allowing parents who work full time to pay for the additional time their child spends at the school/child care center. Nearly every kiwi kid attends kindy by the time he or she turns 4.

Each kindy is privately run with a loose association that gives them accreditation and reviews their academic performance. Primary schools, middle schools, and high schools operate in a similar fashion. Each is completely independent from the other. Our neighborhood school doesn’t require uniforms, but the one a few blocks away does. They charge different fees and receive different funding. They do operate under a general New Zealand-approved curriculum and are given a decile rating that denotes both educational performance and demographics. Even start times vary from 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Our neighborhood school runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a 30-minute break for morning tea and an hour break for lunch. Sounds like a pretty good schedule to me. As for school buses—you’ll rarely see them here in Hamilton. Kids who live too far to walk to school hop on one of the many city buses.

The truth is, our learning is just beginning. We’re just scratching the surface of the cultural norms. We’re finding ourselves checking our American presuppositions often and trying not to “get schooled” while we’re at it.

We found a statue of a dog that resembled our dog Bailey remarkably while in Tauranga this past weekend.

We found a statue of a dog that resembled our dog Bailey remarkably while in Tauranga this past weekend.

Parting Shot

Lots of rain and heavy cloud cover meant we just guessed at the layers of green and the views from Mount Maunganui.

Lots of rain and heavy cloud cover in Tauranga meant we just guessed at the layers of green and the views from Mount Maunganui. Good thing it’s only a couple of hours away.


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