Exploring our beautiful land’s geology left us all in wonder at the grandeur of it all. Clambering up wave lapped hilltops and playing in beach sand upon a mountain top were but a few of the “wow” moments we encountered today. #southafricatourism #explore #naturestudy #reallifelearning #homeschooling #homeschool #roadschooling #worldschooling #ourgodissogreat #creationist #familyadventures
I so love travel. 😊 When we out of our comfort zones we once again become acutely aware of our surroundings… A single new bird call has everyone dashing out and peering into the trees. We discover so many new treasures that are another man’s everyday familiarity.
A new adventure is time for a new travel notebook. Everyone is so excited to knuckle down with creating new covers a nd their first entries of what they have discovered so far.
Travel is in our blood – what can I say. We are heading out again. Making steps into eternity, intentional about extending His Kingdom in the lives of people we meet.
AND – we finally we did it! An almost 3 week trip with just a boot full – no trailer – for 8 of us… including our food! So proud of these little peeps in learning to pack light. It makes all the difference when moving from place to place.
Today’s destination is Nelspruit some 600 km away .
By 8 am we had the house cleaned and ready for our house sitter. By 8:15 am once again we felt the thrill of the road beneath our wings.
As we headed north east – dusty, dry, arid land surrounded us for the most of today. Rocky outcrops, thorn trees and dust….. so much dust…..
We are in the midst of reading Jenny Seed’s book Prince of the Bay so we couldn’t afford driving past Escort where there is Fort Durnford that was used to protect farmers from Shaka’s warriors – seen in the valley below the cannons. What a find! From historic documents, to swords and Zulu shield to a full egg collection from birds throughout Africa to dinosaur bones and a mini town scene. Soon our 20 min stop was extended into well over an hour.
Sobering scenery, road work blocks, very few places for loo breaks made for a very long, charcter building day on the road and our host house in Nelspruit such a welcoming oasis.
This last month has been a busy yet fun one. In prep for our pending Kruger trip we have been learning about SA history – a great deal of which I had never been taught or knew about so I think I have been left more educated than the children and quite shattered by our heritage! Non the less a dear friend offered to make our girls these Voortrekker bonnets. They have been a great hit and were even worn to church and the shops a few times.
A great feat this month has been Lily-Grace and Nate both finally becoming competent on their bikes. This has made riding to soccer and ballet so much more fun and a great deal less stressful for me. I think it’s finally time for me to dust off my bike now too so that I can ride with them.
For 12 years I have wanted to haven an awesome sandpit for the children and finally it is completed. Well we have had it for a while but the children kept filling it with water to make a pool during summer but it finally has sand in it! What an amazing asset this has been. I wondered the other night busy how dark it would need to get before the girls realised that they should in fact come in. Well they never even seemed to notice until the bats were out and it was getting really cold!
A few Saturdays ago I was working on the balcony when suddenly all was quiet and I saw the little guys lying on the lawn, with their umbrellas reading and I realised that for the first time since September last year we had finally finished moving and building and that we can now just be! Being more relaxed at home I have asked Kadin to take in the other 3 children as his music students. They working through the piano wizard programme and he is sing a great job. He has also begun giving some violin lessons. I still stand in awe at his musical ability and easily he understands and can teach it all.
And Maisy! Well she keeps us on our toes from morning till night there just is never a dull moment when this 2yr old going on 7 is in the room – or should I say especially when she’s off quietly somewhere out of sight! Lily-Grace has also become our in house hairdresser and Amber-Mai loves all the extra attention she is given having her hair styled!
1am this morning was not what I expected 1am to look like. It began with Amber-Mai crying and before long she began throwing up – again, and again and again – every 15 min or half hour for the rest of the night. During which time Nate joined her in their midnight adventure. Dozing in and out of broken sleep I was dreading the first rays of dawn…
The day did however unfold in the most gentle way. Em rushed off to write an exam and Kadin had to go to a 2 hour violin rehearsal, Amber-Mai fell asleep and Nate lay relaxing on the couch.
So suddenly I, Mom of 6, found myself alone with the twins. Interestingly they had decided to pretend they were going to school for the day and were needing a snack for their lunch boxes. So we grabbed the moment and the 3 of us quickly cooked up a storm! What a special time it was cooking alongside these special girls – with no interruptions! We made the most delicious fudge-choc biscuits and they designed their own colourful treats.
While we measured and mixed I managed to squeeze in an impromptu “lesson” on how to work out half and quarter cups. They were fascinated that 2 halves really filled the 1 cup and that 2 quarters made a half etc… We then mixed only red, yellow and blue dough before I had to rush out to fetch Kadin and they were left to create orange, purple and green dough. Hmm, suppose that counts for art 😉
The twins then had the most delightful picnic outside in the fresh spring sun – with their “school” lunch boxes – while I dashed around sorting lunch and other children needing me again.
Nate looking for something to do sat reading a whole reader and listened to Vivaldi’s Ring of Mystery – before he fell asleep too. The day was spent juggling medicine, dry toast, meals and snacks for my healthy kids, saving cookies from the hot oven, rushing to extra-murals, checking temps and yet the day was one of the most peaceful we have encountered in ages. We did so many things we never get around to doing – the boy even played a board game together this afternoon.
Maybe it was because all else – outside the home – had to fade away and I was forced to focused purely on the immediate needs of my family.
Some History: Having taught in remedial classes until our son was born 10 yrs ago I was not ready to leave my career for anything. Yet when our son turned 3 months old and I had to return to work my heart was broken. Something deep inside me snapped – something I didn’t know was even there, was now directing every step of our lives… With that I resigned and the real adventure was about to begin. As a stay at home mom of one baby I was busy – but also craved company and “brain food.” With these desires firmly intact I happened to stumble upon homeschooling, Sonlight and Wendy Young – co-author of the South African curriculum Footprints. As I delved further into this new realm of understanding blinkers began to fall from my eyes a whole new world of thought and understanding of education and child rearing was being revealed. As I befriended Charlotte Mason – 19th Century Educationist – my entire world view began to heave and shift. My reality sat upon very unstable ground. The next ten years were spent busy readjusting my thought patterns, soaking up this new understanding and realigning my life to a life of child led education, filled with living books, project based education that drew from a child’s desire to want to know.
To the present:
I have stood in awe as my one son’s love for birds taught him to read and recognise all the countries of the world whilst our second son’s love to sport has taught him the exact same information. This was not regulated to lessons or a curriculum it just poured naturally from them. Calculations of birds distance flown or the number of goals scored in this match or that and the average speed of a bird or the average number of goals scored by a player see numerous sums being calculated daily. Yes living books and a curriculum such as Sonlight fuels the fire and helps drive the boat – but that in itself – opposed to a teacher driven model of marks, punishment and rewards was all new to me.
So here we sit 10 years on…. Very comfortable in our daily routine, life could quite happily continue in this vein for another 18 years. But Mom’s becoming restless, a silent whisper settles upon her heart. “I didn’t train you for nothing… now’s your time.” A whisper that will not be stilled or leave…. The nudge begins, the ideas grow, the pull in epic, it will leave no peace until it’s faced. Finally the time arrives. The time to choose to listen or choose to run. But where will one run too? Is Tarshish far enough? Would the voice not follow there too? Maybe it’s time to simply stop and listen – so we did… After months of prayer and deliberation we feel a deep calling within the heart of our family to start a learning centre – a place for children to be assisted within their homeschool journey. For each family this may look different. Some may come for a few hours a week, others every morning, whilst others may just be to guide the folks. Our deepest heart cry is for the many children literally dying in the system and owning to parents commitments they simply have no alternative. It’s our hope that this learning centre will provide them with time to complete their maths and language whilst giving them opportunities to follow their interests, passions, and learn from their heart – whether it be birds or rugby…. So today we take a the first steps into this unknown territory as we embark upon this crazy walk by faith…. Only God knows what it’ll look like and who He’ll bring but for now all we can say is: We are willing – let the adventure begin!
The Road Not Taken
By Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.
This last term our boys attended Lego Club! Awesome is all I can say!
One thing we have learned from Lego club is that Lego is not just for boys and they do not just build cars and houses!They have been exposed to numerous technology skills and entirely new ways of thinking. From building lego puppets, to pullies, to cars, box mazes and box walls, straw towers and jelly-bean catapults we have stood in awe of this most amazing curriculum.
Lego Club is not only about the design process but in the words of one of our boys “Learning to get on with each other and working together … that’s what Lego is all about.”
Their teacher’s enthusiasm and passion for her subject as well as the stunning activities are so contagious that one finds the adults even wanting to stay!
Earlier this year we realised we were slacking in our science lessons – and as Dad is a scientist it made sense to start a science club. So every Tuesday afternoon we have a group of about 10 join us to do science. This has been fantastic as it ensures we get our science done but it also brings in a little extra cash which we then use to pay for our children to do other lessons.
We asked Lord Dad to write a little about the science club so you can hear straight from the scientist what it’s all about….
(To find our more about our Lord Dad and his fun science lessons visit his webpage at http://www.good-science-fair-projects.com/ )
“Contrary to popular belief, science does not only happen in a laboratory with test tubes and microscopes – it happens everywhere. Science is about being able to explain why things happen, or don’t happen. It is about understanding our world, seeing things that amaze you and then making sense of what happened when you understand. Science is about life!
Science Club is a place where I get a chance to pass on my passion for the world of science. It is a place where science is relevant, practical and within reach to the young scientists who attend. It is a place where the equipment used for the experiments are things that are either in the house, or can be bought from a local shop. It is a place where concepts are explained in simple everyday language, but at the same time where important jargon and scientific terminology is used thus expanding the scientific vocabulary.
Each term consists of 9 science lessons with the final lesson being an opportunity for parents to come and see what their children have been learning and for the children to teach what they have learned to their parents and siblings.
My vision for the Club is to make science relevant and accessible and to see young people engaging with science and eventually being able to apply it to solve problems and make this world a better place to live in.
For the last few weeks we have been reading all about the ocean and fish in our Sonlight PreK and Core A programs. The children have sat pouring over the pictures and even my – almost 10 year old – has been creeping over to listen.
Well last night I remembered that a while back my brother-in-law had been spear fishing and had given us a fish and it was still in the freezer. After lunch we set up our little tables and laid out the fish.
Firstly Reid had to measure it with his ever present tape measure – once the length had been anounced we could proceed with! It was then so interesting to watch how at first everyone pressed and poked gently as we looked at the different parts and tried to remember what they were called. We found the gills and how the water would wash over them. Raine then took out his penknife and took on the manly job of scaling the fish – which we will be eating for supper!
I popped inside to get a bucket of water only to come out and find 4 little pairs of hands pulling off scales, opening and closing the mouth, trying to dig the eye out. And the questions that flowed, “why’s the eye stuck, is this the tonge, I think I found the throat, can we cut off it’s tail? I need a torch.”
At times like these I find it best to simply step back, and move right out the way. Simply because I realise that to most of these questions they don’t want me to give them answers and if they do they’ll ask them again later, instead they are simply voicing their thoughts.
Their senses are allowing them to access so much information and so many thought processes are taking place that me adding more to it will spoil the moment. As Mom I often have to learn to take a side step and let the learning just take place all on it’s own. As they managed to take out the eye, scrape off the scales and feel the teeth I know that no explanation of mine will match the pure wonder, physical touch and smell of doing this for themselves.
As they keenly ran to meet Dad and helped him prepare the fish for dinner whilst telling him all about what they had discovered I knew that today we’d experienced the best Fish lesson ever!