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.