12 December 2007

Plants, plants, plants



What joy, my camera is fixed! In this short time Shelley has changed so much, she's walikng all over now. I'll have to post more pictures later.


We've been doing all sorts about plants in our Interlock Weaver this term, which has come to an end. We have covered grasses, herbs, bushes and trees. We all really enjoyed and it was fortunate that the weather allowed us outdoors so much, collecting plants, playing on the grass and examining seeds, leaves and trees. We used the opportunity to plant seedlings in all our outdoor containers. They are looking really colorful as Summer rolls along. The children each got their own planter and chose the plant they wanted. They both chose Petunias. We also each made a miniature garden. I found it so interesting how their personalities came out in their creations. I do wish my photographs were better.

Joel had very little shrubbery, plenty of rocks and stick structures, and his army men placed in between, for his real boy garden!


Emma had a bit of greenery, interspersed with small colorful flowers, and fairies and little animals sitting on rocks in her garden.

17 October 2007

I want to be just like you...

There is a beautiful song by Phillips, Craig and Dean, that I often hear on Positive Life radio, the online radio station I listen to. The words mean a lot to me, even if it's a song for Dads'.
So read them here if you have the time. The music is also stirring, by the way.

I'm so blessed that my children have a loving Dad! Thank you James for all you are to them.


I Want To Be Just Like You Lyrics


He climbs in my lap for a goodnight hug
He calls me Dad and I call him Bub
With his faded old pillow and a bear named Pooh
He snuggles up close and says, "I want to be like you"
I tuck him in bed and I kiss him goodnight
Trippin' over the toys as I turn out the light
And I whisper a prayer that someday he'll see
He's got a father in God 'cause he's seen Jesus in me

Lord, I want to be just like You
'Cause he wants to be just like me
I want to be a holy example
For his innocent eyes to see
Help me be a living Bible, Lord
That my little boy can read
I want to be just like You
'Cause he wants to be like me

Got to admit I've got so far to go
Make so many mistakes and I'm sure that You know
Sometimes it seems no matter how hard I try
With all the pressures in life I just can't get it all right
But I'm trying so hard to learn from the best
Being patient and kind, filled with Your tenderness
'Cause I know that he'll learn from the things that he sees
And the Jesus he finds will be the Jesus in me
Right now from where he stands I may seem mighty tall
But it's only 'cause I'm learning from the best Father of them all

13 October 2007

My baby is one year old today

This is just a little post, to share my joy, mixed with a tinge of sadness.
Shelley turned one year old today. Soon my little baby will be walking on her own, stepping out of babyhood. It has gone so fast, too fast. I'd like to capture her as she is now for a bit longer...but I know she's got to (and going to) grow up, faster than I wish.

Shelley is doing sweet things, she says "hello" for a phone, and holds it up to her ear, she is crazy about James, and lunges out my arms to him. She continues to be thrilled by Joel and Emma. It never fails to amaze me how they all are so excited to see each other in the morning, as if they've been parted for days. It is too precious. The bigger ones are still very helpful with her, and watch out for her too, it's lovely to see involved how siblings can be.

This may sound funny, but I've gotta keep remembering to enjoy these precious times, no matter how tired I am, despite illness, and heaps of work, and sleep deprivation.

For this too shall pass, and all too quickly.

10 October 2007

My camera is broken!

As I write this I am praying that God will make a plan for me, because my camera is broken. I really want to keep up this blog. I find it is rather therapeutic recording our days. Without my camera I feel lost!

We've just finished off air and clouds in our Weaver Interlock. We did lots of fun extra experiments and read library books. I can't show you photos of what we've made, but our butterflies were too beautiful. Today we started Day 3 of creation, and discussed about how God created dry land and the seas.

Superheroes sometimes wear Mom's kitchen gloves!This is Joel's birthday thank you note, too sweet

I am so proud of Joel, in his academic progress. His reading has progressed beyond what I ever imagined this year, and he is on book 3A of the Ladybird readers. He also uses the Christian Liberty Press phonics readers, for variety.

On Sunday we had even more reason to be proud. At a special award ceremony at church Joel received a certificate in recognition of his determination to remember his memory verses each week for "Sunday School". He was very shy about it, at the time of course. You know it is not about the award...it is the fact that he has hidden the Word in his heart that makes me swell inside my heart. (I know that child is going to put me to shame at this rate.) He is so keen to learn the Word. The great thing is, as I teach and remind him his verses, for school and Sunday I am learning scripture too. Emma is also learning the memory verses. We do it in a really fun way and often put music to it or jump around and do actions.
"You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up." Deut 6:7 ASV
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04 October 2007

Reflections

We have been so enjoying our Interlock these last two weeks. We've just finished off light, where we learned about reflections, shadows and colours. And this week we started to learn about the second day of creation, and about the air. I have been impressed at how well the children are retaining what we have learned. Not just the memory verses, but the "academic" stuff too. And I am learning with them, it's such fun. Occasionally I add something to the days' work, like a poem, a story or an additional experiment. This week I learnt how to prove that there is air in an empty glass...wish someone had done hands-on things with me at school.


Photos, from the top; Emma obliges for a picture at last, and top right, baby carrier South African style,
Below: James and I, and Shelley all smiles

I have been doing a bit of "reflection" myself, and have decided that I was probably on the edge of burnout, just before our holiday. I was SO tired and irritable, and had lost my joy, though it was hard to admit it out loud. Yes, I do have a lot to do, with the children, a baby, house work, meals etc, but I think it is more than that.

I have realised that when I go "ahead" of myself with the homeschooling, and start fretting about the next Grade, the next book (and everything for that matter,) I leave the Lord out of it, and everything crumbles and crashes down. That endless fascination with Homeschool catalogs... it shows up an element of mistrust in the Lord. As long as I keep "researching" the newest curriculum I hear of, doubting myself and what we are doing, and asking other people their opinion about my childrens performance, I am not really fully trusting the Lord for His plan for us. Sure, advice is helpful at times. But if I have not really gone and "seeked" the Lord about something, before I discuss it with a friend, I've left Him out, and missed a valuable opportunity to place this area into His hands. I cut Him out, and do not act in His will in this area, because I did not care to put it at His feet.

I think back to when I first started reading up about homeschooling and how some authors really put a lot of emphasis on prayer and our personal walk, more than on curriculum choice and teaching styles. I now realise that is so, so very wise.

I know it is Gods' will that we homeschool and follow this lifestyle, despite its' challenges. But I am I prepared to actually give my ideals and aspirations for my family over to Him, and begin to be molded into His plan? It's a day to day choice, not a once off decision.
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I have been getting a Daily Focus e-mail (see top corner banner) It is so encouraging. Everyday, I get an e mail in my Inbox, and it re-directs my thoughts to the real reason we homeschool. So often it has addressed an area of concern and put to rest needless anxiety. I am beginning to understand how much of an instrument I really am in this...

29 September 2007

Spring colours


So, the holiday?
Well we did go away and had two beautiful days at the Kleinemonde estuary. Alas, we came back early, as all the children were sick. We picked up some strange virus, with high fevers and sore bodies, resulting in listless little people. I felt happier having everyone at home, and then I got it last Monday, for two days. We've all recovered and thus far Dad has remained strong.



We had some HOT days this week, and I pulled out the splash pool and filled it. The girls enjoyed playing it. Lollie, less so, could be that he does not fit into it well anymore!

We did a lovely Weaver lesson on "Shadows" which involved drawing our shadows on the paving, at various times of day, and observing the change. The children loved it. We did all our "school" outdoors in the shadow the house casts. Standing out in the sweltering hot sun, to draw their shapes, they had a hands-on lesson of thankfulness for shade, as we have no trees yet, our yard is VERY hot.

This week we also did "Reflection" and Dad did a really great devotion about reflections that evening, in candle light.

Uncle R is staying with us for a few days, and the children are so enjoying his visit. It is good to catch up with family.

16 September 2007

Picnic in the veld


Princess loves Baby coz

Today went out of town, to a local game reserve, with family. The weather forecast had predicted bad weather, but the day was lovely and sunny, and warm. We had a picnic alongside the Settlers dam, on the grass. We had a braai for lunch, and then the other adults attempted to take a nap on blankets spread out under the shade of an acacia tree. I took the children for a little stroll.

Along the waters edge we saw buffalo spoor and there was evidence that the rhino had been around, but we never spotted them. The children enjoyed poking at little tadpoles in the shallow water. Princess (aka Embie Tembie) was feeling a little jittery about the possibility of bumping into a rhino without Daddy by her side. (I thought it best not to even mention the buffalo!) I wanted to go on further and a bit into the bush too but she was not at all happy. Alas princess was also feeling camera shy, and then a fall and resultant bump on her chin ended the happy time for her. We saw a small herd of impala along the road as we left later.



Lowly playing with pollywiggles

We are GOING ON HOLIDAY to the seaside, on Tuesday, for almost a week.
I am so excited, can you tell?
We have not been on holiday that long for more than a year, and we have been invited to join family, so it's a real blessing. Hubby dearest needs a good break.

15 September 2007

Birthdays and baby days

Top: Shell bell with crazy baby hair, and above: Birthday boy with his cake and friends

Lowly worm had his birthday party yesterday. Since his last party was the year that he turned three, due to various family emergencies, we wanted to make it really special. And it was. He had 12 friends over, and we played 2 games, pass the parcel, and a treasure hunt. Then the children all had time for free play. The cake turned out well and everyone enjoyed the eats. So until Christmas, I can rest;-)
I snapped this shot of Dad and Lollie at the party, and I love it!



Dad and his big boy

Lollie enjoys taking pictures with my camera, and he took this in the garden this morning, of Princess Beauty Bright and me. It was a lovely warm Spring morning, and we played some cricket.



Mom and the princess


While we were playing, Shell-bell was investigating the garden, and found the dog's water bucket. She had such fun, and then began to play in the muddy patch she had created, enjoying every moment as it squished in her fingers. Then it was upstairs for a clean up.

Happy as a piggy in the mud

13 September 2007

Settling down


Enjoying the Spring garden


We've been having some really calm, ordinary stay-at-home days, and that has been good. We have gone to the library, baked together, had a few visitors and just played. I have really felt rather introspective, now that I am a mother of a SIX year old!


Lowly worm is now SIX, with his own Clivia

I have realised with shock at how fast time flies, and feel that we need to slow down the academics for a while and live and learn more of life lessons. We have not done Weaver for
about 2 weeks, but we've been re-connecting as a family. And I think it is great.
Next year, the big boy, by law must start school. Then I am going to have to do much more serious work with my almost official First Grader. Until then, we are taking it slow...enjoying our family moments.

Forest Fairies having a picnic
I visited our local boys' school this week to view their resources. Initially my mind was reeling, as I tried to compare what we are doing, academic wise, here at home, with the school system. The teachers were very clear that we are really are not doing our children a favour, and that socially they will be maladjusted;-) I began to feel discouraged.

Happy friends on the go-kart

It got me thinking about how as Christians, we also do not "fit in". Our choices are not the same as the world's choices, so obviously we do not fit into this world. (The Bible tells it so too) I understand now that my children too, will be different. They probably will struggle to adjust to the systems of this world, be it school or something else. Here in their home, that is not what we are ultimately preparing them for. Hopefully we are preparing them for a high calling, as we train character and disciple them in the ways of the Lord, even if it means in this world they are "different".

01 September 2007

The Weaver Curriculum

This year our family has struggled to find a homeschool curriculum/method that is the right fit for us. After trying a really traditional, workbook based curriculum until April, which crushed our son's natural love for books, we were ready for a change.

After much prayer we felt that a curriculum based more on the Word of God, than academics would be the ideal curricula. I read a great book, "When you rise up", by RC Sproul which challenged me to take Deuteronomy 6: 6-7 seriously, and literally.

And so I began the painstaking process of trying to create my own curricula around the Word. Searching through books, teaching resources and Internet for what I needed required large amounts of time, and often I struggled to find how to combine the Word with certain subjects. And I ended up "tagging" the Bible in after the academics were covered.

Somehow this was not working. Also, Emma was really struggling during school time. All the work was pitched at Joel's level and she was left out. I really struggled to keep her happy. And the rest of the day Shelley needed so much attention(she still does) that Em was missing out on Mom time BIG time! Something had to change. I began to research curricula again...what a mission that was. Nights spent surfing the Web.

(Drum roll)Enter the Weaver curriculum. I had heard about Weaver from only one other South African. I began to scour anything on the Internet that I could find about it, and at last I decided we would give it a try. In the last two weeks of August we started The Weaver Curriculum.

Because of the ages of our children, we have begun with The Interlock, the preschool Weaver program. We are thoroughly enjoying it. It is, firstly, based on the Word, relaxed enough to cover neccesary academics, and includes little ones and Kindergarten (which is equal to Grade R in South Africa) The program is bringing us closer as a family, as it encourages family devotions too. This seems to be the missing part of other curricula...involvement from Dad. There are many hands on activities, but they are meaningful, not just done for the sake of doing.

We really are thrilled, and plan to learn as much from fellow Weaver users as we can. We belong to a Yahoo group, which has helped me not feel so lonely. I do wish more South Africans knew about Weaver. It's so perfect!

15 August 2007

Warmer days

Spring has sprung, the grass is ris...
I wonder when the next cold front is.....

We have been enjoying some more lovely days,
with warm weather from early morning
to late afternoon. The peach trees around
our neighbourhood are telling us Spring
is around the corner. We even had school
out doors on the deck one morning, it was delicious!




We went with my cousin Margot and her
family to PE for the weekend. We stayed
in their timeshare, what a treat!
We were expecting a cold front
but we had a lovely time.
On Sunday the children went with
James to Bayworld, and
watched the dolphins performing.




We went to the beach on Sunday morning. It was a lovely lazy morning. We visited Dad and Mom after that, and had lunch together.

30 July 2007

A week of teeth


This past week at "homeschool" we studied Dentists and Teeth in great detail. We learned about brushing and flossing, different types of teeth, and we did experiments on eggs to show how different foods effect (or is that affect?) our teeth enamel. On Tuesday last week, Joel said his tooth felt funny, and we discovered it was loose.So we discussed milk teeth and permanent teeth too. And Joel wiggled his tooth.

Today we went to the dentist. The children behaved really well, and co-operated. Their teeth were all fine and the dentist was great! Whilst we were there the dentist by mistake bumped
the loose tooth out. Here is the story Joel composed for school today. I have not changed any of his words:

"Today we all went to the dentist and my tooth came out, because it was loose. Dr Chris was brushing my teeth because I wanted him to brush my teeth. Then my tooth came out. Now I have 19 teeth. I put my tooth under my pillow, that the toothmouse could come. He will leave a coin in its' place. The End."


Though I was fascinated at how much of our week was linked to our school theme, quite honestly I am relieved to see the end of teeth for a while. We celebrated by eating junk food at Wimpy. (Not logic, I know)

Tomorrow we start Fireman and fire safety. One school topic I do not want to bring "home"!!!

28 July 2007

July 2007


Well, it has been a busy few months. Winter has treated us well. We have had many very warm days and lovely walks in between chilly, windy weather.
James is busy building a Wendy house/Fort down at the bottom of the garden. When the weather is fine AND it is weekend, he has been hard at work.

We have also changed our school room and we now have a long desk/counter all along one side. Eventually it will have shelves underneath and we will make one whole other wall for shelves. Above the counter is a new HUGE pinboard.

We have got into a lovely routine of doing school from 9am to 12 am. Some days we finish up early. We always do "work" first, and crafts later. Our day largely depends on Shelley. Joel is reading really well. He likes Maths, but dislikes colouring in. I am busy compiling his mid year assesment/report. Emma has been so keen to join in school that I now have to prepare "work" for her too.


Shelley is a slow teether. She is sporting two new teeth. She crawls around fast now and pulls herself up against furniture too. She is very sweet with the children. She can wave and say "meouw". She really loves Dad, and squeals in delight for him.

I am finding it rewarding being at home with the children. We now have our house help only twice a week and I have not found it stressful, I have enjoyed doing things myself.

Well, there is still a lot I could say about this last month, but I may post again.

26 May 2007

Why am I doing a blog?

Well, I guess I am wondering to myself: why I am setting up this blog thing?
I hardly have any time to two seconds in a row by myself, and now ANOTHER responsibility....

Guess what? I am NOT going to post here often, you all know how slack I am at this type of thing.
However, I will try from time to time fill you in on family happenings, and of course post some pictures. (That is the only reason you are here anyway to see the children's pictures, hey?)
I am sure you don't really want to read EVERYTHING about our life, blah blah blah. There was much sense in good old fashioned diaries with LOCKS on them. It is healthier for you folks not to read my soppy lengthy entries. But alas I, like the modern generation, no longer know how to hold a pen, it is a dying art.

So...I will not bore you, and I will not let myself down at yet another commitment.
LIFE IS SO GOOD!

PS: Honestly, I think there may be some therapy in this, and hey, it IS cheaper than a psychiatrist! But please DON"T post nasty comments. My ego will not handle them!

Shell Bell


Shelley sitting!

Cheeky Beaks

This was taken in the middle of this month, out on our lawn. We had some beautiful weather.
Shelley learned to sit and so we had lovely outdoor time.

Now the icy cold has arrived!