11 October 2011

Our Journey into Homeschooling

So, why are you homeschooling?  I have to say, though I am often asked this question, I honestly do not tell people the full answer that you'll read here.  Why?  Because quite frankly, most of the time people are not really interested in your answer, they are just making conversation.  So for their sake and mine, I keep it brief.  For my kindred homeschoolers who visit my blog, here is how our homeschool journey started ;-) 

In 2001 our first child, a son, was born. Sometime before Joel's third birthday there was pressure from our social circles to send him to play school.  I had a deep sense of sadness about this, and wanted to keep Joel at home.  I was surprised that other parents were so keen to send their children off to school at such a young age.  Already I was the only one left who had not returned to work.  But I was loving my time at home, enjoying every moment of learning alongside my little one. 

Everyday, whilst I nursed his sister, my son and I would read books.  Then we would go for walks in the veld, and discover new birds and plants.  I really learned a lot more than I had ever learned because my little guy asked so many questions.  We did crafts, and also just "mucked about" in mud or sand or water ;-) it was glorious.  My daughter was a most obliging baby, always willing to join in. 

Around this time, my husband read a book, in which Dr. James Dobson called for parents incertain states of the United States to pull their children out of school, and home educate them. The books is called Bringing up Boys.  When my husband suggested that we homeschool our child, I thought it was a ridiculous idea.  Surely, only weird people and those living in the sticks homeschooled?  And, in any case, was homeschooling in South Africa even legal?

Well, the Lord certainly had a lot to teach me. Because of my husband’s insistence that I at least look into homeschooling, I began a season of intense research. This endeavour was less fruitful than I had hoped- I had expected there would be some sort of National Council for homeschoolers’ and of course books. 

Despite the lack of information, by the end of 2004 my husband and I both reached a place where we knew the Lord was calling us to homeschool.  And so we stepped out in faith and began.

From our first days of parenting, this verse from Deuteronomy 6 was laid on our hearts:

6And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
 7And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 

We had often wondered why, but now we felt  this was precisely the type of homeschooling we were being called to, a complete way of life, a walk with our children, workingalongside our children, from sunrise to sunset, so that we could impart our beliefs on our children.

Though we have tried many things over the years we are back to what the Lord led us to initally and we regret the time spent (and money wasted) in curriculum searching.  We use the Weaver curriculum, a Bible based unit study which teaches multiple levels, with hands-on methods to teach all three children at once.  The older two children use Christian Light Education Maths, Reading and Language Arts.  And my preschooler does a little Rod and Staff Preschool and a lot of playing.

04 October 2011

To Facebook or not to Facebook- there is no question!

Okay, so zillions of people out there love Facebook.  And they are enjoying connecting with each other via this social networking system.  Some have met long lost friends.  Others have found new friends.  Mostly every day, at best these people log into Facebook and check out what is happening and who is doing what. At its worst, they're checking in every few minutes or constantly logged in.  I'm not sure how this is going to effect the worlds productivity levels.

The Homeschool world has not been left out of this, with many homeschool groups now moving onto Facebook.  I recently read that the days of Yahoo e-mail groups is "old school"!  Oh dear.  If that is the case, I'm afraid I am about to be left behind.  You see, I don't do Facebook.  I won't do Facebook.  I'm not on Facebook.

Four years ago, I did Facebook.  Not for long.  I had a few friends. One day, whilst in my little world of FB, in amidst searching through my "wall posts" and cyberhugs, I suddenly realised that my children were trying to talk to me.  They had been repeating something, but I was in another world, and hadn't heard them.  It struck me then- this is real life, these children need me to be communicating with them, not staring at a screen. 

Sure, I liked the people I was connecting with, but it was beginning to stop me from connecting with real life people. (It's so much easier and less messy to visit on FB, isn't it)see Were my children watching as visitors came into our home and conversed, seeing me support a crying friend, were they learning anything from FB about real friendship?  Was I still reaching out to others who were shut in, visiting them, taking them meals or was I sending them cyberhugs and then ignoring them?  What was I actually teaching my children about real life communication and love when I was on FB?  That those relationships and that type of communication was important, even more important than they were?!  These, and many other sentiments hit hard and deep!  I shut down my FB profile, only to discover that it never really shut down. Since then I have attmepted to follow a really complicated process to delete myself, I hope I was successful.

In the past few years I know of 2 marriages ruined, where FB played a role in deception and adultery.  Sure, adultery can succeed without FB.

I am probably  going to get nailed for saying this, but I feel that married women having male friends, and married men having women friends on FB, particularily those from their pasts, is just playing with fire.  I saw how people were inclined to be a lot more personal on FB than they would be in real life and that is dangerous.  I shudder to think how many more wonderful marriages are going to be ruined by FB, people innocently connecting with others, only to get deeper and deeper into a "unreal" relationship.

I am sure FB has it's uses.  I hear it's great if you own a business, and is the way forward.  So, I'm old fashioned and backward.  If all the homeschool groups move over to Facebook, I'll be very alone.  Especially if notices of homeschool events and such are only posted on FB.  I'll just take my chances.

Facebook user?  No thanks, I'll take real life anyday.

23 September 2011

New baby cousin Kirsty

Here are some early pictures of my new niece, Kirsty, born on Thursday 15th September.
She gets more and more beautiful every day I see her.
The centre pic is me holding her, about two hours after birth, it was so special.
The children are thrilled, especially her big sister Amy, seen below holding her. 

Congratulations Tracy and Neil on your precious bundle.

Weaving again

Basic Weaver Set
Ihaven't posted much here these past years.  And I have not updated anyone about our homeschooling. Well, after about two years absence, we have started our beloved Weaver Curriculum again.  When the girls were smaller, I found they could not keep up and got bored.  Now Emma is 7yo and Shelley is almost 5yo and their attention span is much better.

We are now on Chapter 3 and really enjoying it.  Shelley does the activities that she wants to and wanders off if she doesn't feel interested.

The children have re-acted so well to the Weaver and I honestly think God has brought this into our lives again at the right time.  Twice this week Joel has looked at me in disbelief and said, "Mommy, you're different, you've changed!"  I think he can visibly see the tension has gone from me and I feel at peace about curriculum choices.

A seasoned fellow South African Weaverette gave me some very wise advise.  She said once you have chosen what you are going to use, do not even look at anything else.  Excellent!

I am also doing Interlock with Shel, I'm so blessed to be able to do it again.  I am wondering which I prefer mroe Interlock or the Volume?  It is not advised to do a Volume and Interlock together, but since I've done Interlock and some of Vol 1, I think it will be ok. Though I am lost as to how to schedule my day. I am thinking we'll progress through both these slowly at this rate!

We have one more week of school before our Spring break.  Yeah, I am really wanting to organise my school room again and throw out clutter in the house.

09 July 2011

Warming up the chill!

Yeah! I got my new camera. Thanks so much James ;-) I've been playing with Picassa and created a collage.

We've had some really freezing weather and have been cooped up for days. So it feels as if we have not done anything in ages. I have also not been well, the children have been so good, even though I've spent most days in bed, they've really understood and being so well-behaved. Some family friends popped by on Sunday past for lunch, so I quickly snapped the children, all looking scruffy.

The girls and I went for a drive with my sister and niece to the farm her husband manages, for a change of scenery. It's situated in the Belmont Valley, in summer, it's lush and green. We all bundled on our coats and beanies. Joel was feeling poorly, so decided not to risk the car trip along the twisty Stoneshill road. The background, which of course you cannot see, is a grove of pecan nut trees in their winter colours and some old cabbage lands. I really thought the trees looked stunning, all naked and bare, but my sister disagreed. We had a cuppa coffee and Milo as we watched a tractor and some machinery attached to it, fertilise a current cabbage field, which the girls enjoyed. There is a backdrop of mountains, so we were huddled down in the valley, it was beautiful to get out. And...we came home with some farm produce, an enormous butternut and a pumpkin, so some soup will be on the menu soon.

The centre pic is a little love from my Emma-lee, top left, a little note and some lavender and felicia in a vase. These are the things I want to remember.
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01 July 2011

Stepping back in time

We did this outing 4 years ago, in 2007 and for some reason after I added to SA blog carnival code, I oculd not save it under it's original date. Mmmmm.

Yesterday our homeschool group visited the gracious little Settler village, Bathurst. We spent a long time at the Bathurst agricultural museum, and found it extremely interesting.  The children were allowed to touch and pick up  old butter churns and various farm implements and see how they work.  
 The boys were thrilled with the variety of wagons, carriages and  carts.  We were allowed to climb on them for photographs.  

After that we went to a Settler church. This is where Settlers hid during the Xhosa-Settler wars.  One lady even had a baby in the Anglican church there during a raid, poor soul.  It was a lovely day, which we ended by having a picnic in the veld next to the old Settler Powder magazine.  We'll be back for more exploring.



This post features on the South African Carnival of Homeschool Bloggers where South African home schoolers share experiences, ideas, philosophies and much more.  You can join the carnival too by heading to the South African Carnival of Homeschool Bloggers sign up page.   In the meantime, head to SACH Carnival #2 - Outings for this week's carnival.  We hope you enjoy the carnival as much as we have!