Friday, 20 December 2013

What are your kids learning?

One thing I have always believed in doing while homeschooling is to be involved with everything my kids learn. This to me will still be applicable even if my children reach their final years.

I recently got involved in a big debate on a group where I had to defend my home country South Africa. It became very clear to me that there are so many parents and especially homeschool mothers who don’t really know what their children are learning and what not. This really saddens me. What is the use of homeschooling then?

I got bombarded about a comment I made on information that is going to be made available about our country. The biggest shock for me it is so called ‘facts’ that is going to appear in a very well know curriculum. These so called facts are so incorrect and the information are very one sided. Information was not researched properly and our country was made out to be something it really is not.

Besides the negative outlook on our country, what really became apparent to me is the fact that the parents who ‘attacked’ me, where under the impression that South Africa was basically the South of Africa.

Now I ask myself, how on earth is this possible? Why don’t people do their homework before they comment and give their opinions. South Africa were compared to Sudan and many other things. There is a simple solution to this, it is called a world map, look at it, read it, study it!

This just showed me that many parents just see homeschooling as an easy way out of public school. Should you not know what your kids are learning, don’t you teach them? Why should they just go and sit and do their own research all the time? One mother said to me that she does not have time to find information and read up about things, her kids do their own studying and research.

Why homeschool if you don’t make time for your kids? I am sure I am not the one missing the big picture here. Before you teach your children things, make sure you have the facts. The media can really paint a picture of a country that is really not true and this goes for any subjects. The internet can be a good thing, but also very bad, with loads of false information.

Be there for you kids, know what they learn and be involved. Get the facts!



Thursday, 21 November 2013

LLATL (Part 2)

This is a follow up post of Part 1 of our LLATL (Learning Language Arts Through Literature) adventure. We absolutely love this curriculum.

The kids really enjoy doing the lapbook and all the cut and paste (Red book). Just a note on that, my son really dislike cutting and pasting, except if it is for his paper-crafts. However he really likes doing it in LLATL. They also love the  additional activities/projects. Such as the bingo game and making the imprint of a leave and obviously drawing. My daughter is very easy, she loves anything that has got to do with a scissor, glue, pencils.

Why I love it so much: It is fun, every day is mapped out what you need to do and when. Very easy to follow. Most important it is Christian based.  We will continue to use LLATL until our final year.

Here's some  pictures of what the lapbook looks like so far. We will be making more as we go along.

Various areas of the Lapbook

Leave prints after we read A Tree is Nice

Compound words

What the full lapbook looks like

Our lapbook is not the standard size lapbooks. It is almost twice the size than what people normally use.

Will do another post once our next lapbook is full.



Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Book look: Ulitmate Paper Plane Challenge

After a visit to our local Bargain Books Matthew saw this book on paper planes. Just like any boy he loves to play and build things. If it is with paper even better.

The book has been put together in a very easy and simple manner. It starts with the basic and other folds in a step-by-step method. It moves on to some games that can be played using the planes. Finally you get all the beautifully printed pages that can be torn out to fold your planes with. 

Everything that is needed is in the book. If a younger child can't read, it would not be a problem as they simply follow the pictures. Mom can always read the instructions of the games to them. This book is really any boys dream.

The basic folds glossary
Different games that can be played.

The paper you use to fold your planes.

Some of the items included in the book.

This book can be a great gift idea. There were several paper plane books to choose from, but we went with this one for now. Do yourself a favour and go check out what is at Bargain Books.




Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Learn Afrikaans Idioms


If you are English and you are able to read and communicate well in Afrikaans you need to see this fun idioms boardgame. A little different and fun way to learn some Afrikaans language.

This game was made by Meneer Vermeulen. On his website he explains how the same work and there will will also find all the necessary downloads. This includes the boardpiece, cards and songs. 

I made this little envelopes that you can download to put the cards in. The envelope size is just big enough for the cards. You can download the envelope 

  I also made a paper dice that you can download HERE. Please read all the instructions before you print it out.

On Papermau is very basic cars that you can download and print to use with your boardgame. Below is what the cars look like. 

 All the instructions in this game is Afrikaans, please make sure you are able to read it.

Happy learning.



Friday, 8 November 2013

First Holiday

Picture taken in the restaurant
The past week we went on our very first holiday ever. Yes long overdue. We started our countdown by months then weeks and then finally how many sleeps.

We went to ATKV Drakensville Resort in Kwa-Zulu Natal which is at the heart of the Drakensberg. The views of the mountain are breathtaking. I did try to capture several mountain pictures but the camera just did not see what my eye saw.

Some holiday snapshots
The kids absolutely loved it. There were a few pools, 2 cold and one hot, a waterslide, putt-putt (mini-golf), animal farm, games room, trampolines you name it. We took their bikes with and they enjoyed riding around (this is not possible where we live back home) It is extremely safe there, we even forgot our key in the door on the outside one night.

Animal farm
The weather was super hot and everyone got quite a tan. There were some senior citizens on a tour and everyone was very nice. The hospitality is really outstanding. This is a good place for a family vacation.

KZN is very rich with history, unfortunately we were unable to experience any of that this time. Anyone ever going that way really got to check out everything in the surround.



Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Frustrations to deal with

Being a homeschool mom does not mean I am a superhuman. It means that I too go through struggles and times of confusion and even frustrations.

I have been looking at some Curriculum ideas for History for next year. I am busy doing my planning and want to make sure things run smooth for us. Or well at least me being in control.

I have found some beautiful products from Answer in Genesis for the History portion I was looking for. I like what I see but... yes this is a big BUT ... the expensive cost, well for me here in SA it is. Yes I understand it covers quite a few years so I can really accept that, my problem is the shipping fees and then still having to pay taxes too once it gets here.

Bummer... feel one can't seem to win. We are limited by what is available around in SA from various bookstores or suppliers. I wish to use what will work for us, don't want to use what everyone else in SA is using. Not that I am being difficult, I just want something that speaks to us.

So now the search continues.

Alternatively I can use various reference books and build my own curriculum... this can be so daunting at times, so much planning to do. For once I actually feel like just getting a nice book and work with it from front to back. Don't think I am asking too much.

Alternative options for History I have been looking at was Mystery of History or Story of the World. Been looking at samples, reading reviews. Well just don't know what I will go with at the end. 

I History really that important I keep on asking myself?

Hope your planning goes smooth.



Thursday, 3 October 2013

When a failure is not a failure

Today was the last day of our Toti Homeschool Figure Skating Club. This is really a sad situation. Our group was nice and small and intimate. The kids made great friends and even mom too :)

However we could not round up enough Homeschoolers for the Club to keep it going. I have posted several ads everywhere I could but no luck. 

To be honest I actually don't really understand this. Many homeschoolers complain that they need more opportunities etc. Then something wonderful comes knocking and they don't take it. Guess that is people.

But it is not all loss. Even though the Homeschool Figure Skating Club did not survive, the kids will be starting at a new bigger club on Saturday. This club would mean they are now registered to take part in competitions and take their figure skating to an entire new level.

I will post updates on their progress.

I am very proud of how good my kids are doing in such a short period. I see bright futures ahead :)

There is nothing more beautiful to me than seeing my kids grow. At least now dad can also come and watch on Saturdays and loads more opportunities to make more friends :)



Sunday, 29 September 2013

Learning through creativity

There is nothing greater to me than my kids doing what they love and growing in it.

Matthew has got a big love for building models and doing paper crafts. Oh and let us not forget about Lego.

As parents we try and  encourage our kids to do the things they love to do and also learn more from what they love. As many would call it interest driven learning.

So how would they learn by building models?

They not only learn more about creativity, but also concentration skills. They learn about different countries (geography), the history of buildings and regions and much more. For our home school the biggest advantage is that they remember what they learn.
Here is some of  Matthew's creations.

Let's not forget about Makayla and her wonderful creative mind. She is always busy making some kind of arty object or trying to make some new clothes for Barbie. Currently her heart is set on cake decorating. We have got the first issue of Cake Decorating and we subscribed to the upcoming issues.

Watch this space for pictures of her delicious creations.

So go ahead and get your kids busy. Happy creating :)



Friday, 20 September 2013

What happend to us?

I haven't posted in a long time. Just wanted to let you know we are still here, just busy with this and that.

I will start posting again soon.

Matthew and I are busy working on a paper project, it is a castle, it is super fun and beautiful, will post pics soon.

The kids Figure Skating Lessons are going super, I will try and upload a video :)



Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Learn about them Bones

Sticking with our human body theme we learned about bones.

In the book How your Body Works (with our beautiful Billy Bones skeleton) there is a activity where you can make your own 'bone'.

This is what you need:
Coloured cardstock

Do this:
Place a piece of cardstock the same length as your straws down. Cover the cardstock with glue. Place the straws on the glue and secure with a few sections of sellotape. Finally role up the creation to make a tube.

What we learn:
 Bones are not solid. If they were you will not be able to move as it would be too heavy. Bone grow in circular tubes that are hollow.

Watch this animated video of the Structure of Bone.

Watch this stop motion film (who said Lego's are just for playing) of how bone heals.

Challenge yourself and learn the various bone types, their uses and the names of all the major bones in your body.

Happy learning.



Anatomy T-shirt

 A fun way to learn the basic names of internal organs.

Before it was painted

On Ellen McHenry's site there is wonderful make and do free resources.

As I am busy doing translations for our Afrikaans site with her permission, we decided to make the Anatomy T-shirt. (The Afrikaans version of the template and instructions will be available in a few weeks when I launch the site).

On Ellen's site you can download the instructions and template for the T-shirt in various sizes. I happen to come across one old white T-shirt this morning and worked perfect for us.

We did not write the labels of the internal organs on the T-shirt. We are using ribbon with the names written on it and attaching it to the various parts with  those nappy pins (sorry could not remember the correct word).

My method for tracing the template on the T-shirt: On the back of the template I went over the lines with a 4B pencil. Then putting the pencil part facing the T-shirt I used a pen and went over the lines until the pencil markings came off on the T-shirt. I then outlined the pencil markings with a black pen. See the top picture what it looked like before I painted it.

Below you can see the painted version. Yes I know the T-shirt is too small for Matthew, but he also wanted a photo with the organs (LOL)

After it was painted.

Have to admit, I like the before better than the after. Just a word a caution this took a couple of hours to complete, so you need loads of time.

Happy learning.



Thursday, 25 July 2013

Ice Skating Lessons

Today the kids took their first official ice skating lesson.

Their Coach Wendy van der Hammen - a former SA Champion, established a new club for homeschoolers - Toti Homeschool Figure Skating Club. We were super excited about this as the kids always wanted to take lessons.

It went pretty well, this is their forth time skating. Makayla was eager to try all kinds of new 'moves'. Matthew was so shy he did not want to ask for help. 

Oh and even I skated a bit - was quite hilarious but fun.

This is the first time in over two years that the kids are able to take on activities. Matthew use to swim competitively and Makayla took Cecchetti Ballet. Unfortunately due to a financial situation everything had to be stopped. Now they are back in action.

Makayla's dream is to be able to figure skate competitively, Matthew at this stage just want to have fun.

The joys of our children.