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.



Tuesday, 23 July 2013


Desperation is the word I have been thinking of often in a past few months. I find my soul screaming and pleading for help. Pleading for answers and guidance from God.

We as parents are solely responsible for keeping our children safe and guiding them according to the will of God. We as Christians are not immune to troubling times. How we handle those times is what makes us stronger and shows our true character. Most important how much we truly trust and believe in God.

I look at this picture of my son’s brain above and think how I felt in those minutes and that night. It must be human nature to get a flange of worry and sadness that overwhelms us.

My son has had a medical condition from a very young age where he suffers from migraine like headaches. It is so severe that we can never commit ourselves to going anywhere because we never know when the next headache can occur. His headaches are so severe that he can’t focus, he can’t stand noise, he is vomiting and in severe agony.

I was very blessed to be a calm mother. To sit with my son and gently stroke his arm or just lay with him. The love one has for a child is a soft embrace of security and hope.

We don’t have any type of medical insurance, so any type of medical situation is always a desperate situation. Finally I was able to take my son to a wonderful Pediatrician to see what is wrong with him. In my mind I kept praying for God to please let it be just nothing. My boy had to go for a CT scan and we could only get the results the next day as the doctor was called out on an emergency.

While I stood there with him in the CT room, I felt how the tears kept building up. I tried my best to keep my calm and ensure my boy everything was fine. I contacted everyone who I could and asked for prayer. The results, my boy is perfectly fine, no growth no nothing. The cause is as the doctor will say “can not clarify it” and “unknown”. He is on medication with remarkable results.

Any parent knows how desperate we feel when there is any type of medical emergency or sever situation. We always pray for good outcome. In those single moments for us it is not only worrying about my children but where to get the funds to pay for the medical costs. That desperation that you will do almost anything to help the ones you love.

I have found myself bursting into tears several times at a hospital because we needed help and they would not understand. They just didn't care.

Today was one of those days, but not for my son, but for my life partner. My husband is the kindest most wonderful person on planet earth. He suffers from a severe problem with his back and leg due to a very old work related injury. It is so severe that he walks with a permanent limp and paint every single day.

As a mother and wife my fears are what if he can’t work anymore, what will happen to us. We can’t afford for him to see the specialist due to the costs of the MRI testing. I cried and pleaded, but my desperation falls on deaf ears.

All I can do now is pray for a miracle from God. No matter what situations we find ourselves in, we always have to trust in God to keep us strong. Even if it is just strong for those whom we love.



Monday, 22 July 2013

Mould/Fungi experiment

We all might have left bread a little too long and it starts to mould. Have to admit it is quite nasty. Well lets look at the scientific perspective of it. How amazing is it that one thing always grows from another.

We did a little experiment. We took a piece of stale bread, put a few drops of water on it. Placed it in a petri dish with a lid on and left it in a dark cupboard for several weeks.

Mold covered bread
It was very interesting to see what types of mould actually grows on it, there you will see white, black and even brown with many threads. The brown started going slimy. 

Even thought it is all really gross, this mould is still a plant and belongs to the Fungi group. The only difference between this plant and other is that it can't make food due to a lack of chlorophyll.

source Microbiology Online
Above you can see exactly what the structure of mould looks like. 

The black spots we normally see in mould is called spores. Their function is to grow new mould with this being said they are so lightweight which makes it easy to travel through air and spread around.

Very important the mould that grows on bread is harmful and can lead to food poisoning.  

Watch this fascinating time-lapse video to see how mould grows.

On the website of Environmental Graffiti you can view beautiful photos of fungi under the microscope. Happy exploring.



LLATL (part 1)

We initially started our English portion of 'schooling' using Adventures in Phonics by Christian Liberty Press. For those who does not know, English is not our first language. 

Today we finally moved over to LLATL (Learning Language Arts through Literature) by Common Sense Press.

We started with the Red book.

The first two books in the program the blue and the red both comes as a set. This includes a teacher guide, student book and readers. There is also additional readers that you need purchase that form part of the literature studies in the book.

The kids absolutely love this book. The lessons are interesting and at this level still loads of cut and paste activities. This was only day one, they said it is not a boring book and so much fun. I have to admit this is our first time ever also taking on lapbooking.

working hard sorting words
 Even though this is only the start here you can see what they have got so far. I didn't use normal file folders, I  used larger card stock and folded it. The inside bottom is about A3 size.

See HERE for some samples of the LLATL books. The student and teacher book can also be purchased as e-books (so much cheaper). I bought the student book as an e-book. I have to admit that my printer did not co-operate so well while printing all those many many pages. I might buy the printed books for the next level.

Most people recommended that I try and get the additional readers from the library, unfortunately I only managed to find two and will need to purchase the rest.

If you wish to start using LLATL and don't know where to start, there is placements tests on their site. Happy learning.