Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Creativity through 3D sculpting and animating

Matthew has always had a love for the arts. He is very good at drawing and use to spend hours with the Pivot stick figure animation program.

A few years back I started playing around with Blender. It is a fantastic program where you create three dimensional images and then render it to animations. This program is the same one they used in the creation of Happy Feet 2. Matthew could not wait to work with the program.

Just as another example, the funny video below was also made using Blender (by another member). This is obviously after many hours spend, creating, sculpting, doing layers, textures and then putting it all together. 

Below is some of the course creations Matthew has worked on so far. He is still busy learning all the ins and outs of Blender. It is quite a complicated program, but once you have the basics down, you can build on it and do the most amazing things. The possibilities are endless.


Blender can be downloaded for free. Several of the classes and courses are available for free. There is however another option to become a citizen member on CG Cookie where you pay an x amount per month and get access to all the courses. This is the option we opted for, as we are investing in our sons future.

We give Matthew this opportunity to grow and create. This opens the doors to endless opportunities for him in the future. I will make updates as he progress.

If you or your child wish to learn Blender, ensure you have loads of time available. This is very time consuming but worth every minute of it. 



All about Konos

The post use to be a separate page on my blog. I however decided to move it over to a normal post. It is a long post.

This is for those who wish to know more about Konos.

What is Konos

You might be one of those parents who have heard about Konos or have not, but want to know more.

Konos was designed by two homeschool mothers who wanted to step away from the normal school system. They wanted to teach their children through Godly character traits. They also wanted to be able to teach their children without having to make use of textbooks, but use the world and experiences as their reference. 

Konos is a very hands on method of learning. There are 3 Konos Volumes for Grade R - 8. These Volumes cover the following.

Ears/Eyes/Other Senses
Sound/Music/Frontiersman/ Indians
Tracking & Trapping
Kings and Queens
Crime and Punishment
Animal Classification
Plant Classification
Rock Classification
Plant growth/Gardening
Human Birth/Growth
Animal Birth/Growth
Managing Time and Money
Attributes of God/Hymns
Pottery and Sculpture
Cathedral/Church Architecture
Scientist/Scientific Method
Pet Care
American Settlers
Colonial America
Valentines Day
New Testament Men
Modern and Fictional Men
American Revolution
Proverbs/Old Testament
U.S. Constitution
Electoral Process

Systems of the Body
States and Regions
Olympics and physical skills
Great feats/Expeditions
Atomic research
Self Control
Frontier Life
Inventions/Simple Machines
Industrial Revolution

As you can see within each character trail unit you will learn various things. As with Attentiveness you will learn about sound, ears, eyes, birds and much more.

You will start out each day with Bible study, then you will do your Languages and Maths (separate programs of your choice should be bought for this). Later you will move on to discussing your topic for the day. Do some activities, read from books and just enjoy the day. Once a week you will spend time only doing your Konos unit with some more activities and watching a movie that relates to that character trait or topic.

If you are like me then planning in advance is a good idea. List the books your would like to use or get an indication on topics. Plan your trip to the library and select everything you need. If you gave a good stocked library you should not have any issues with this. If you have one like mine then you really have to dig or see if they can source the books from other libraries.

A nice to have would be if you can build up your own library with good reference books. This is however not necessary as not everyone can afford this. 

If you are in South Africa we buy all our Konos books and more from Oikos Ministries.

There is an entire series on Oikos's website about Konos and how to use it. It is the Konos Junior Workshop.
You can view the Konos official site for full information.

If you are just starting out, you can also make use of the Homeschool mentor program. With this you pay a $30 fee per month and all the lessons and activities are explained to you and you follow the program. 

Even if you do not plan to make use of the mentor program, I suggest you check out the site for the free sample video lessons just to give you an idea of how you can go about.

This is an different way homeschooling and this method can not be compared to anything out there. It is not a curriculum, it is a way of living :)
Here is some old posts of when we used Konos:

Just to clarify. We did use Konos at one stage and are not using it anymore. I still have my file and will not part with it, I am just not sure if and when we will go back to it. We might just draw some ideas here and there for certain themes



Monday, 29 December 2014

Walking Water Experiment

Walking Water Science Experiment - Instructographic

Connections Academy - Online School for Grades K–12.

Friday, 5 December 2014

The world of ice sports

What an unbelievable year this has been with ice sports for the kids. Not only do they do figure skating they also started ice hockey earlier this year.

Makayla who is obviously a figure skater, was very cautious to try out ice hockey. In the beginning she was not to keen and was not really interested. Almost a year later and she is in love with the sport. She simply said she will never be able to decide between figure skating and ice hockey. This year she also won her very first first star in a hockey match. First star means you are the best player of the winning team. She could not believe when she won the cup. She plays hard and really tries her best and enjoys every moment of it.

Makayla and her duet partner Kathleen (also homeschooled) obtained second place in the  2014 Seal Junior Figure Skating duet competition.

Matthew is an ice hockey fanatic. He hopes to one day take it professional. He plays very hard and aggressive (in a good way). Even though he is my son, I have to admit he plays very well. Matthew won one first start and two second starts this year. Second star is the best player of the losing team. He also won a cup with another boy for the most improved player. At the annual prize giving Matthew also received his very own puck and he was super happy when he got it. 

End of October Matthew decided to hang up his figure skates for good and just concentrate on ice hockey.

Ice hockey is not only a fast sport, but it is physically very demanding - they sweat like you can't believe. This sport also improves their self confidence. Today Matthew is a totally different boy than what he was a year ago. He use to be very reserved and shy. Now he is a joker and joins and chats with anyone. What more can a parent ask for.

If you want to get your child active, let him/her try ice hockey out. They joy it brings the kids is fantastic and you will see a changed child. I myself also plan to play one day, that is if I can ever learn to skate ;)



Lake Eland Game reserve

In Augustus we surprised my husband with an overnight stay at Lake Eland Game Reserve.

This is one of those must visit places in South Africa. The mountain and nature views are spectacular. The reserve is not huge but there are loads to see and do. Day visitors are welcome. Some of the activities besides game viewing are the fabulous and very high suspension bridge, the highest zipline, fishing, walk very long down to a cave and just enjoy the view. Ways to view the game is either with your own vehicle, with a safari guided trip, on horseback, by foot or even by bicycle. How up-close is that!

Lake Eland Game Reserve is very close to Port Shepstone and approximately 92 km from Amanzimototi where we stay. So that is just under two hours drive from Durban. It is also a spectacular wedding destination.

The cabins are all situated next to several dams/lakes. Each very private. The porch literally hangs over the water and you can see the wildlife walking past on the opposite of the lake. The Giraffe in the picture above is one I took while sitting on the porch.

For the more adventurous there is also camping grounds with a much larger lake for fishing as well.

Do yourself a favour and visit the reserve, it is absolutely stunning. We will surely go there again.



Illovo teagarden

A few months ago we visited Illovo Teagarden. It is a beautiful nursery in the heart of Illovo. For those who are unfamiliar of where that is, it is right next to Amanzimtoti, approximately 45km from Durban on the coastline.

What a lovely and friendly community with loads of Afrikaans people.

There is not only plants to look at, but there is also a small animal farm and a few small shops such as a secondhand bookshop and others.

The kids got the opportunity to touch and feel the snakes. Makayla was not very impressed with this so called opportunity and opted to just stand to one side and pull faces. Matthew and his dad was more than happy to feel the cold skin against them.

They also got the opportunity to feed a few bunnies.

If you are every in the area, go and visit the nursery, it is very calming.


Friday, 24 October 2014

Curriculum for 2015

The year is not done yet, but I am busy working on our plan for next year (2015).

For those who are curious of what we are doing.

English: LLATL 


We are starting with the Yellow book.

English Spelling: Sequential Spelling


Finishing off Level one and moving to Level two.

Maths: Math U See

Finishing off Delta early 2015, moving over to Epsilon.

Not sure yet, perhaps games, various reading books...

History: SOTW

Still busy with Volume 1, will move over to Volume 2

Science: Science in the Beginning

Finishing off about half way through the year, will move over to various hands on activities from Ellen McHenry's Basement Workshop.

Various book studies including an Earth Encyclopedia and hands on models.

Bible: Learning the Word in Life

We will be moving over to the second book in the series and also possibly the third.

Lessons from Paint Basket (serious art lessons) and various crafts and ideas from Pinterest.

Figure Skating and Ice Hockey.  

I might update this at a later stage, but this is it in a nutshell so far.



Thursday, 23 October 2014

Updates and changes on the blog

I am busy updating my blog - in more ways than one.

I have added a new page at the top for SOTW (Story of the World). Everything we have done for SOTW will be linked as a picture from that page which will take you to the full post instead of having to search through the entire blog. I will add content as we go.

You all may note that we have not worked on SOTW in months. We have moved twice this year and only a few months from each other and as you can imagine it was hectic. We will be getting back on track and post soon again.

I am also planning on creating a page for Science and add some experiments etc in there. I don't have a planned schedule for that yet.

The face of the blog change often as I am trying to find a template that will accommodate more pages and make it user friendly for me. Please bear with me if things look crazy, I am hoping to have to sorted soon.

Be blessed and please let me hear from you.



Saturday, 13 September 2014

Using Livebinder

Do you save all your website links as bookmarks? Well, there is actually a better way to do it and get a front page view of the sites you are interested in and organize it by using Livebinder.

Those who are unfamiliar with Livebinder - it is a virtual three ring binder where you save all your links to websites and organize them under various categories.

You can save your binder as a personal binder where only you can see it, or you can share it with the world and everyone can see your links.

Here is one of my binders just as an example.  This is the top section if you are in presentation mode of your categories and the pages you added under that category. You can add pages one by one by linking it or you can add the Livebinder button to your shortcut bar and save it quick and easy under the category where you want to place it.

Above you see my categories. You will see there is a little triangle under the category that is open "Science" and the pages I have saved for it.

Above you can see I clicked on the ARKive tab. You will see the website within Livebinder and just at the top of the picture the link. So you have two options, view each "tab" aka link you have saved in this format, or you can go to the link to display only that official webpage.

I have found that if I just bookmark pages within my browser I sometimes forget what a site was even if I have it filed into a category. But by using Livebinder it gives me a quick view of what is in that website etc.

Above is another example of one of the sites I have under my Arts and Crafts.

You can register for free on the site and use it for free. With a free account you can create up to 10 binders, 2 levels of tabs, storage up to 100 MB etc. Check out Livebinder if you wish to create your own account and play around and see how it works. 

It is very simple and easy to use.

Have fun and organize your homeschool educational links in a easy way.



Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Afrikaans Blog

Just a note:

To my fellow South Africa Afrikaans followers, I also have this blog in Afrikaans -  Hart van die Huis. There are times I add more items there that are available only in Afrikaans. So go ahead and pop in there and follow there if you wish :)

Here is the link www.moolmanskool.blogspot.com



Sequential Spelling

As most know we use LLATL (Learning Language Arts through Literature) as our English curriculum. We love the program and are planning on using it up to the end.

I have to however add that I feel and this is just my own personal opinion that LLATL is very light in spelling. This does cause some problems when it comes composition as the kids can't write well as they can't spell well.

I have searched the web and read hundreds of reviews of various spelling programs. Every time I came back to All About Spelling. But... yes, a big but for me. As we are in South Africa, the cost of shipping just makes it impossible for us to get AAS. 

My searched continued for something that the kids would enjoy to do, that really works and which is also affordable.

I have read several recommendations of Sequential Spelling. I looked at the samples and then decided to purchase level 1 in electronic format.

What a pleasant surprise this program is. The kids just love it, they just want to do more and more and every morning ask to do spelling :)

How we use the program: I got the kids both a hardcover notebook to write it. On the top of each page they write, Day 1, Day 2 etc. Only one day's spelling per page, even if it is only a few words. (First few days only a few words, from day 6 moves up to 20 words and then up to 25 words per day) 
I say the word, I give it in a sentence and say the word again.
Without them ever seeing the word before they write in their book how they think the word should be spelled.
I write the 'main' word in green on a whiteboard i.e. 'in' and then the rest of the letters to make up the remainder word in red or blue. If they wrote the word wrong, they erase it and write the correct spelling. If it is correct they just make a tick next to the correct word. Then only we move on to the next word. We do it word by word - listen, write and see.
The point behind this method if for them to immediately rectify and see what they did wrong and learn from it.
Do not do the entire list all at once and then only do the corrections, this method does not help them to retain the spelling of the words.
Here is an example of the first few days.

To explain more in detail:  
They start with the word 'in'. 'in' is the base word of all that follows such as , 'pin', 'sin', 'spin', 'win', 'wins', 'winning' etc. The words are introduced in groups.

We did day six recently and I was totally amazed that my very Afrikaans kids could write the word 'beginnings' without making a mistake. So yes, that is how good the program works. The best of all is that the kids really learn how to spell and they love the program.

The kids also learn the homophones as they are introduced to certain words. As they come up we look at them, discuss them and see what makes them different (meanings and spelling).

In school most of us learned to spell by getting a list, writing it a couple of times, make a sentence and the end of the week writing a spelling test. *Yawn* well not this program.

Do yourself a favour and download the first few days and do it with your kids and see if they like it and if it works for them.

Just as a note, everyone must start with Level 1, even if they can spell.

If you are doing this program or decide to do it, pop me a note and let me know how it goes.



Friday, 8 August 2014

Afrikaans: Plural Soldiers

A fun way to teach your kids the very basics of plurals is with these fun soldier men.

I do not know who is the original creator of the idea behind the soldiers as they have been around of many many years. I have updated it and made the men a little more 'fun'.

To enable you to teach your kids about these Afrikaans plurals you have to be able to read, speak and understand Afrikaans well.

Here is the 'story' of the plural soldier (Meervoud soldate)


You can download the pdf of the above here.
Have fun!



Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Science in the Beginning

It look us a long time to find the perfect science curriculum/book. This year we started using the book Science in the Beginning by Dr Jay Wile. What an absolute blessing this book has been to us.

As you note from the title of the book Science in the Beginning it is creation based. It jumps of from day one all the way to the sixth day of creation. With every lesson there is a hands-on activity and also lesson reviews where the kids can write and draw what they learned in a journal. There is no official journal that are part of this book, you just use what you have. With the text book you also get a parents help book.
Learning about light

The book was written so everyone could clearly understand it. If teaching science to your kids was one of your biggest homeschool fears, well fear no more, it is very straight forward. Everything you need to know and the supplies you need is all listed in the book. The supplies are basic items you will find in your home, with an exception of a few extras.

Learning about colours and light

Before we purchased this book, we worked on the sample that is downloadable from the publishers site. The kids loved it from the get go. The experiments are fun and easy to understand and they just want to know when we are doing the next lesson.

For those who live in South Africa, the book can be purchased from Oikos Ministries.

This book is part of a series, we are only using the first book in the series. It can be used teaching multiple ages at once - always a bonus when homeschooling various grades/levels.

What the kids understood about what light is.
How do we see colours?
How we use the book:
We gather all the supplies and do the experiment. Then I read the lesson to them. (My children are Afrikaans, but I still read it to them in English and explain in Afrikaans.) Finally they would answer the review questions and do the written/drawing assignment.

Check out this videos of experiments Dr Wile did.

Guiding Light


Cloud formation

Here is a great article Dr Jay's Top 10 Homeschool Science Tips.

We really love this book and hope you will give it a go to.

Update: I just noted there is a downloadable notebook free from the Publishers site. You can download it HERE, go to the Download tab at the middle and the file is the bottom one. I am planning on printing and using that one too.



Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Missing in Action

A very very big apology for not posting in a long time.

We have moved house and life has been crazy for the past few weeks. Things are now finally slowing down and we will get back to 'action' again soon. 

We have been very blessed to rent a nice large home for several years. Unfortunately the owner of the house passed away in February. His wife who is an elderly woman did not want to keep the house and it was sold. We had to move. We moved to a very small house with the ocean just a peek out of the window away.

We are still trying to sort out a space to work as we have no dining room and no school room. I guess the lounge and the coffee table is going to have to do for now.

In the meantime the kids have done very well in their sport. Matthew won a medal for best player in ice hockey in his first ever game. Makayla will be competing in her very first figure skating competition this coming Saturday.

I will be posting pictures of these.



Tuesday, 8 April 2014

SOTW - Chapter 3 The First Writing

The discovery of the first writings is a very interesting subject. One can only image what the explorers must have thought when they saw it for the first time.

Here is a nice site about how writings came to be.

HERE (as in the picture above) is  a short lesson that explains to you how to make a 'coutouche' with your name written in it, it explains how the sounds work and there is also some art activities.

Here is another site about the writings and an online typewriter. You can type out your name and print it out. Look towards the bottom in this link for the 'typewriter' Here is a screenshot of my name as per the 'typewriter'.

Even though this study is very interesting I have to admit I became very frustrated in my search for hieroglyphic alphabets. I managed to find several on the internet, but there were some difference between the symbols in some letters. Therefore I really am not sure which are the true and correct alphabet.

We used what we could find. The kids used the above typewriter to make some coutouches of their names. They used oil pastels on sugar paper.

Matthew's name

Makayla's name

Some fantastic documentary films by BBC about the discovery of the Rosetta Stone and the Hieroglyphics can be seen below. The films are quite long, but it is told in a story format. It is very interesting how they started to dig deeper into the meanings of these symbols. It is really worth looking at it. My children were hooked from the get go and also finished the second film in one sitting.

The first video here below is about the discovery of the Rosetta Stone. I suggest that you watch the films in this order as I placed it here. The film story is based on the same characters and one basically continue from the other one. 

In the second film it continues to show how they discovered the aphabet and how they were able to read what was written. The second film could also be watched as a stand alone film if you do not wish to watch the first one. 

We managed to find these films at our local library, I was lucky to find them on Youtube and be able to share with you. This is really a must watch. 

Happy learning and discovering.



Monday, 24 March 2014

What happend to us?

It has been a while since I last posted. Just wanted to say were are still here.

Our family has been through an emotional time and we are now getting everything back in order again.

School holidays here actually kicks in from about Friday for the next week, but we will be taking this week off and maybe next to just get everything back on track. I will use this time to organize and plan.

Watch this space, I will be back soon. I still need to post our last SOTW activities :)