Update on what we are up to!

I haven’t posted in a while, in fact I have been very quiet all round!

The end of 2016 and most of 2017 has been tough. My father was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at the end of 2016, so 2017 started off rocky. In August my father in law was diagnosed (well not so much diagnosed as that I read and googled the big words in the report he had to take from one hospital to the next – we had a merry go round public health system experience that I will never wish on my worst enemy) and my father in law passed away the day after Christmas 2017.

Adding to that the constant onslaught of new rules and regulations pertaining to home educations as proposed at the end of 2017 and constant information overload and guidelines on how to oppose these new laws. Homeschooling was in mainstream media a lot and it felt like a battlefield on opinion posts of news outlets. Home educators began fighting among themselves about who was more dedicated to the cause by their willingness to submit well thought out commentary before the closing date, nitpicking at details and constantly painting worse case scenarios.

The thing is: if you know why you want to homeschool, if you understand why you have to homeschool, if you have unshakable faith in your decision you do not need to surround yourself with others’ negativity – you have my permission.

Answering the socialization question 5 times a day, helping others face their fears of made up “what if” scenarios, trying to prove our sanity to random online commentators on published articles on the net, while basically ignoring your own family can break even the most hardened of  homeschool activists. I was done. I removed myself from all but one group on Facebook – it was and still is amazing!

So What Are we up to?!

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So we are quietly busy in the back ground doing home education. We will be finishing up this years work by the end of April because in 3 weeks time we are climbing on a plane and leaving for Europe for a travel holiday.

We will be starting in Amsterdam. Every year for our birthday, every person in the family gets to chose an outing. Daddy takes the day off and we go on an adventure. This year for my birthday I chose to see the tulips at Keukenhof. We are flying back home from Paris where B will get to see the Eiffel Tower as she has been dreaming of for more than a year now and as the Little Brother has his birthday a few days after we get back from our trip, going to Disneyland Paris will be his birthday outing. We will be seeing my grandmother in Friesland (a province of Holland), hopefully we will be going to Belgium, Germany, Austria or Switzerland but we will have to see how travelling with 3 young children go. If all else fails we will go to a resort and spend our holiday relaxing while we watch the kids playing.

We will not be doing any “school work” on this trip. B (nearly 9) is in charge of writing up a daily journal of what we see and do which will serve as her handwriting work for the year! For a little over a month we will be worldschoolers!

I will not be blogging about our experience as we go. I might write up a blog post when we get back. But in the meantime I have started a Facebook page where we will be sharing photos of our travels and daily life. You can join the page from this link or if you want to search for it, it looks like this!

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Hopefully I will get back into a routine of blogging when we get back!

See you in June!

xxM

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This is important: Call to action

The proposed amendments of the Bill regarding the laws on Education was released by the Department of Basic Education on Friday the 13th of October 2017.

These proposed amendments for the law is currently open for public participation, anyone who has any comments on these amendments need to submit them to the Department on or before 10 November 2017. The details of where you can send your comments will appear at the bottom of this post. During the course of this week the Pestalozzi Trust will release a list of guidelines and the layout of what such a letter should look like if you need them. I will update this post when I have received these guidelines.

Why is this important?

If you look at the summary of these proposed amendments on this page, you will notice that the direct changes to the law regarding homeschooling seems small and insignificant and that taking the time to reply to this might seem a complete waste, but dear parents:

The department will not make the mistake of making big changes to the law overnight with regards to our rights to homeschooling, they will do it systematically. They are counting on it that we will sit back and do nothing because the changes seem so small and insignificant, but we must do something!

In a few years when the next amendment gets proposed and the one after that, the one after that and the one after that one, there will come a day when you look up and realise that you have completely lost your rights to home educate your children and you are going to wonder “How did it go wrong this quickly” and I will be right here to remind you of this day, in which you were called to action and you decided that “someone else will handle it on my behalf”

If you child stands in front of you, one day, asking: “Mom? Dad? What steps did you take in 2017, when the first amendments to the laws were proposed, to ensure my rights as a parent to home educate your grandchildren?” you had better have a good reason because “I didn’t know” is a very weak excuse! If you are homeschooling, you NEED to know, this is your job and you need to be and stay informed and do your part. So make sure that you KNOW! If you don’t know, ask someone who knows, preferably someone like the Pestalozzi Trust who knows everything about the laws regarding home education – not your school principal, not your pastor – actual people who KNOW home education and what it is all about.

If you are new to home education you need to comment on this amendment.
If you are a veteran homeschooler you need to comment on this amendment.
If your children have already flown the nest and you home educated them with freedom to choose what is best for them, you need to comment on this amendment.
If you intend to home educate in the future, you need to comment on this amendment.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE HOME EDUCATION TO CONTINUE TO BE AN OPTION FOR ALL FAMILIES YOU NEED TO COMMENT ON THIS AMENDMENT.

The vultures are circling!

As Martie du Plessis said in her presentation at the Homeschooling Expo in Cape Town yesterday. THIS IS A PRE-WAR MEETING!

Step up to the plate – let your voice be heard. ROAR momma (and daddy) lions!

Fight this by following the right channels, this is your chance.

If you are in a homeschooling group, a social group, learning group, area specific group, please ask the person/persons in charge of your group to write a letter on behalf of all the members of that specific group too. Every bit counts.

A few general observations:

When example documents are released of the general format of such a letter, please do not copy and paste it and just add your name to the bottom. Say YOUR say. Tell YOUR story!

There are a few people showing concern for having to add their name and full contact details to such a letter. Please do not send anonymous comments and complaints, be brave! If you are a member of the trust I am sure that you can use their address as your own. If you have a PO Box, use that instead of your home address if you must, but even if the Department ends up in front of your door on 11 November, KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!

Be brave like the Meintjie parents who were sentenced to prison in 1993 when homeschooling was still illegal in South Africa for standing up for what they believed in. We owe them that!

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Comments should indicate the name and detailed contact information of the person or organisation submitting them and should be directed to the
Director-General, Private Bag X895, Pretoria, 0001, for attention: Adv. TD Rudman. Tel: 012 357 3586, email: rudman.d@dbe.gov.za

To register or not, that is the question…

There are a few questions that pops up – A LOT

They are, in no particular order:
Should we register
What curriculum should we use
What about test/exams
How do I know my child is ready to move on to the next grade
and What about Matric

I will answer each of these questions in their own post, so let’s go.

When it comes to decision to register or not:

Please do not make a rash decision based on fear.

Do your homework.

Make sure you understand the laws regarding this matter.

Do not lend your ears to just anyone on this subject. (There is a nice looking FB group which has spread half truths and blatant lies in the past, even some curriculum providers – be sure you understand what they stand to gain from your decision!)

And if you are standing in front of this decision or already decided or already registered and you have never hear of the Pestalozzi Trust – you didn’t follow any of the 3 suggestions I just made! (as stipulated and printed in BOLD above)

There is a very reasonable explanation for why as many as 95 – 98%* of homeschooling families aren’t registered with the department (*depending on which source you use, Shirley’s book “Homeschooling the Primary Years” states 95% and the Pestalozzi Trust website says 98%)

It is true that by law you need to register your child (7-15 years of age) for home education unless you have a valid reason why registering isn’t in the best interest of your child.

Let’s take a look at the documents you need to submit to register, the records you need to keep and general guidelines from the Department of Basic Education with regards to home education as taken from their website. Direct quotes from their website will be printed in Bold. Here is the link to the website so you can read it yourself. I am going to point out the reasons I feel some of these aren’t in the interest of my child(ren) and thus allows me to reason, in court that my decision to not register was in the best interest of my child(ren)

I’m going to start at the end and work my way up. In the documents you need to submit it states: weekly timetable which includes contact time per day and breakdown of terms per year (196 days per year)  as well as this record you need to keep: record  of attendance. These three sentences already raise a huge red flag for me. If you understood home education and how children learn best you would know:
1) Children who are home educated are always in their learning environment, so record of attendance can just be 24/7/365 but I’m guessing that the department will have an issue with that, so you will enjoy some useless busy work thumb sucking a reasonable (for the department) lie. Why would I spend days making up these things when I could be educating my children?
2) Contact time per day? From the moment they wake up till they go to sleep? And sometimes in the middle of the night? I guess that won’t be a reasonable answer either, but again, if you understood home education you would know that this is highly likely the case. And if you know what it is that home educators are working towards self-sufficient learners the answer to this question from senior phase, if not earlier, will be none.
3) Terms per year. That is such a school way of thinking. These 3 sentences alone shows a total lack of understanding. We school year round and take holiday as and when daddy can take a holiday or days off when we need it – would that be an acceptable time table and term breakdown?

On records you need to keep: Portfolio of the child’s work – This is the first sentence I don’t have an issue with! The question arises though if what I deem “portfolio” worthy will be what the department has in mind? I might keep a letter she wrote to the tooth fairy in her “portfolio” to show progress in writing and spelling or the “test” at the end of a weeks’ worth of maths or the answers of the yearly Olympiads, would that suffice? I think they would more than likely prefer to see completed daily worksheets as per the “scope of the … compulsory phases of education”

Up- to- date records of the child’s progress – You’d think this is about the same as the portfolio mentioned in the previous point but I’m going to guess that this one refers to daily or weekly testing or assessments. (Listen, my IQ is quite up there, but I am having trouble understanding exactly what all of these things mean – which already makes me feel inadequate to say the least! Are you sure you are up to the task of home education if you read these things?! And I wonder whether all of these requirements weren’t written exactly to make you feel that way even though research from America shows that the level of education of the parent has little effect on how well homeschoolers score on generalized test)

Portfolio of the educational support given to the child – I’m guessing “selfies” of me reading to my children aren’t what the department is looking for (although reading to your children has amazing benefits) This might refer to extra math lessons, reading centres, tutors. And again this shows lack of understanding on their part. For example when a good quality, geared towards home education math curriculum is used the foundation built is so solid that it eliminates the need for extra maths, especially in the early years, a tutor might be used in highschool if the student needs good maths marks for the field of study they would like to enter after school and they are struggling.

Evidence of the continuous assessment of the child’s work – A parent committed to home education is able to gauge progress without the need for regular testing. If I sit right next to my child while she is working on her maths I can see whether she grasps the concepts. If I can see that she isn’t quite “getting it” we continue working at it until she has mastered the concept. No tests needed.

Evidence of the assessment and or examination at the end of each year – I know very few homeschooling parents who follow the route of writing exams before “progressing” to the next grade. We merely identify our children by grade for the sake of others. The reality is that most curriculums written exclusively for home education work on the basis of mastery. When we are finished with book 1 and all that it entails, we move on to book 2, whether it is in the middle of the school year or the middle of the week. Also there are a lot of children for whom this particular guideline and the one to follow really isn’t in their best interest as they suffer from some type of disability which prohibits them from finishing tests in the alloted time or they have severe anxiety and do not fare well in a stressful situation like being tested or like the next guideline:

Evidence at the end of grade 3,6 and 9, that shows whether your child has achieved the outcomes for these grades – Now let’s sit down and really think about this one. Let’s say that to continue being “allowed” to home educate your children they need to pass each tested subject and the end of the year examinations guideline above – why are homeschoolers held to a higher standard than public schools? It is a well known fact that you can only fail each grade once and then you have to be put through to the next – will our registration be revoked if our children perform below average? Shouldn’t schools with children performing below average for these grades and at the end of each year be placed on probation or something similar then?

And now the very first point at the very top of the page:
The lesson you offer your child must fall within the scope of the following compulsory phases of education: foundation phase, intermediate phase, senior phase with links to the scope and sequence documentation for each phase, this document also includes timetables for each subject in each grade (which I think is about what the timetable should look like which you need to submit when registering but again lack of understanding of how home education works best, if I forced my children through 7 – 8 hours a week of home language they will be begging me to go to school, not only that but on a year round schedule we will be done with grade 12 by the age of 10!)
With this statement it seems that the DBE is unaware of a court ruling stating that the national curriculum isn’t binding for private schools and home educated individuals. So you do not need to follow the CAPS scope and sequence for your children when home educating, but ignoring that fact here’s a few other reasons many homeschooling families prefer not to follow the national curriculum.
The national curriculum as used in schools is written for use in a classroom, so it caters to the “average”. A child who is quick in grasping new concepts and dislikes “busy work” will be bored to tears or a child struggling will be left behind quickly by the pace. Home education isn’t and shouldn’t look like school at home unless that particular method fits the child’s personality and learning style as well as the parent teaching the child. It could very well be that it fits one child and not another in the same family, in these types of cases the sheer volume of work prescribed by the national curriculum will be hard to live up to with children needing different approaches in learning and could very well lead to burnout.
Parents aren’t happy with the amount of work that needs to be done from as early as the foundation phase, taking away precious play time from children, the amount of busy work and homework eats away at family time, the amount of tests, assessments, projects etc creates anxiety and stress. Most also have a problem with the content of the curriculum, lack of religion and the amount of propaganda.
A lot of families also opt to follow the path to international school leaving qualifications which are of a higher standard, sometimes cheaper, internationally recognised or more suited to their further educational needs.

And if you made it thus far and you live in a different province than the Western Cape please have a look at the registration form (PDF link) for this province and general requirements for home education. This province is the most regulated, performs regular inspections, demand regular evidence and will withdraw registration at the first smell of noncompliance – this will be the future for all provinces even those who seem incompetent at this point in time.

There is no way to unregister, unless your child goes back into the system or turns 15

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In short, when you register for “permission” to home educate your child(ren) you are signing a document which states that you will do exactly what the DBE and subsequently your provinces department of basic education require right now or anywhere in the future while your child is still of school going age (7 – 15), or if you can’t you will supply at your own cost documentation from a professional stating why you can’t. If trouble comes and it goes to court the burden of proof will be on you. You will have to prove that you have done everything in your power to comply with every rule and guideline set, you will need to have the original documents as well as proof that you submitted these documents.

If you chose not to register on the grounds that registering isn’t in the best interest of your child, trouble comes and your case goes to court, the burden of proof rests with the state department to prove that you are worse than the average public school. In this case it will be in your best interest to be registered with the Pestalozzi Trust who will appoint legal representation should your case go to court.

More links on the topic of registration:
Pestalozzi Trust
South African Homeschool Curriculum Website
Shirley Erwee’s books geared towards South African Home Education:

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Willemien Kruger also touches on the topic of the law in her series of books on Home Education – you can find a link to them here

What are we up to in 2017?!

Early this year I decided that my hashtag for 2017 will be #unlikeschool. The word unschool or unschooling has such a bad reputation, some people still think it means that we do absolutely nothing the whole day, or that children are left in front of the TV or video games for too long. So my mission this year is to show everyone what it looks like to unschool, not in the sense of doing no learning, but doing everything UNLIKE traditional schools.

My goals for this year for B (Grade 2) are:
* Try and finish up the Mensa k-grade 3 reading list (this will count as English)
* Continue with Math u See Alpha, finish up and start with Beta. This is where we buy the SA version from. As a side note, we were set to finish Alpha last year but even though I know B dislikes repetition of things she already grasps I pushed my own agenda on her (I have this thing for starting on page 1 and doing every page till the book is done) and it broke her spirited love of maths a bit, I have now skipped two or three chapters and will continue with new work.
* Afrikaans reading and writing happens organically. B will grab a book and read whenever she feels like it, so I’m not at all worried about reading. She has started writing more letters etc so I’m not going to push this one and would like to keep it as organic as possible. I will help her start a notebook with a daily writing prompt, a sentence or two just to keep her interested and try to finish up a crossword puzzle every week or so.

Those are the 3R’s covered, don’t know what the 3R’s are – read this book!

I know schools do life skills too – but did you read the part about #unlikeschool?!
For life skills we do life

For the rest I would like to start with Volume 1 of Story of the World

On my list I have also added more STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics) activities and experiments, so we are going to try and make it work as a group activity with the other homeschoolers in our area.

And lastly:

Every year I let B think of a few things she would like to learn more about or do, this is her list and it was the first year she wrote everything down herself.
1. I want to go on a paint outing (we’ll try and go to Artjamming and Clay Café)
2. I want to go on a planting outing (we went to Angelus farm last year and she loved it, she wants to learn more about growing a veggie garden so we will see what we can organize this year)
3. I want to learn about birds (so we will be painting a few birds, learn about different birds and identify their different body parts for our nature journal. We will also try and go back to World of Birds and Eagle Encounters at Spier)
4. I want to know how builders build houses (For this we luckily have loads of houses being built in the area, we might watch a few YouTube videos, I’ll see if we can find a book at the library and for hands on learning we will build our own house with a kit like these)
5. I want to know how police dogs get so smart (For this one I smell an outing as we have a dog training facility not too far from us.)
6.  I want to know how paper is made (we did this at the end of 2015 when the question we answered was How are books made. She added it again because she wants to watch the YouTube video again, if we have time this year we might try to do another recycle paper outing)
7. How are pencils made. (For this one I have a book! I bought the book a while back because I wanted to see what it was like and now we will use it for her question! Love living books for learning!)

 
8. How are movies made. (We will investigate the different types of movies, acting, camera work, mostly hands on)
9. How are clothes made. (This question will be answered throughout the year as we do a bit of sewing for practical life skills with our homeschool group)
10. How are cars made. (This will be a YouTube video and perhaps a book from the library if we can find one – perhaps even a bit of hands on learning with daddy and a STEAM activity!)

So there you have it! Little A will experience most of these things with us, she will take in the information on her own level, so she might not understand everything but she retains more than I usually expect! For her this year I am going to do a few tot trays focussing on fine motor skills, cutting and early writing practice and a few easy ones for the Little man as he is also ready to start focussing and learning a bit more.

But mostly, the children will be playing! About 80% of their awake time will go to playing, because it is the work of childhood!

xxx M

2016 A year in Review!

I can’t believe how quiet it has been around here! 2016 will go down in history as the teething year! A year in which a baby brother needed me.

My first thought as I sat down to write this post was: “This year we have done absolutely nothing.” but then I started scrolling through the pictures and it isn’t looking too bad!

This was B’s Grade 1 year (she turned 7 in the middle of the year), Little A turned 4 near the end of this year and little brother turned 1 in the middle of the year.

Let’s start with Little Brother!

He had his first swim and loved it and went to the beach for the first time and loved that even more!IMG_20160103_141117.jpg
He started crawling, sitting, eating and walking, saying words and got 16 teeth (not all at once!) – busy year for him. He is 18 months old now and very independant!

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Little A

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This year Little A went from a toddler to a pre-schooler. She is full of ideas, knows what she likes (and doesn’t) but for the most part she isn’t afraid to try new things. She has had to learn to share, negotiate and use her words to get what she wants or doesn’t. She has had to suffer a lot under her little brother since she isn’t that much taller than he is and she isn’t as quick to get away or strong to stop him, but she is handling it better every day.

This year she has started drawing, colouring and writing and she so desperately want to do math too!

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She just loves life and is always happy and cracking jokes!

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We are still working on character and obedience and will start doing more totschool/preschool activities in the new year.

This year B started ballet and did her first ballet exam

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She loved it and can’t wait to do it again in the new year. Close to the end of the year she also started gymnastics which she also loved!
She started off the year as a reluctant reader so I set her a challenge, if she read 50 books (because she was still on beginner readers) she could choose a treat for her and her sister. So this year she has read well over 100 books and is now onto chapter books.

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Up to the middle of this year she hasn’t been too keen on writing so I didn’t push too much. At some point something clicked (I think being able to read better might have done the trick) and she has started writing, she is into doing age appropriate crossword puzzles and is picking up spelling and letter formation without too much boring repetition.

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She finally learned how to tie shoelaces. Lost 4 of her baby teeth and went through one hell of a growth spurt, during which I noticed her having ADD like symptoms, she couldn’t concentrate, constantly daydreaming, short with her siblings, falling over her own feet, couldn’t remember simple instructions – so I just took it easier on her, gave her space and less responsiblities and loads of hugs and time to chat if she needed it. She’s been a great help this year, not only with her brother but she learnt to set the table and wants to help cook dinner more often.

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This year saw her be more caring and gentle towards others and their feelings, writing little notes to me when she saw me being sad or moody. Sending letters to friends and family, keeping in touch because she wanted to.

IMG_20161121_161334.jpgOne of the many little notes she wrote this year

Her creativity is developing so well, which was the one “topic” I was most afraid of “teaching”!

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She took part in Conquesta and the Living Maths Olympiad this year and did very well.

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And perhaps the best part of the year were the new friends she made, who live right next door. There is now a permanent ladder next to the wall so that they can drop in anytime!

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As a family we:

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Said goodbye to our foster doggy, she spent nearly 2 years with us while her family was back home in the USA.

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Went on an outing to the firebrigade and gave each person on duty a chocolate to thank them!

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Went camping, met a donkey and foofy slid across a dam
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Got headlice, which had mommy in tears and then chopped everyones hair off, including my own.

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Some relaxing by the pool in summer and snuggling by the fire in winter.

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A long weekend away to Robertson, visited family and the market in Montagu, went to Bird’s Paradise, the Donkey Sanctuary in McGregor, Owls Rest where we learned how lavender oil was extracted and for daddy a tour through the Klipdrift distillery.

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Lazy beachhouse weekends.

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Went up a windy lighthouse in Gansbaai.

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Visited the penguin rescue and

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learned to catch a fish.

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Made new friends everywhere we went, this was in Hermanus. Had Italian ice cream in Stanford. And visted the strand at Strand

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Had a painting done which now hangs above the fireplace.

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Played in the rain.

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Made money at the entrepreneursday.

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Made a mess. Loads of messes!

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Cleaned it up.

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Saw a few things that made our jaw drop, like spectacular sunsets and the “once in a lifetime” super moon.

Went to Bugz Play Park 2 or three times. B won a Barbie competition. Went to Le Bonheur Crocodile park, Babylonstoren, visted the penguins at Boulders Beach, Rode the tram up to Cape Point. Did artjamming in the waterfront.

Went on holiday, stayed a night in Swellendam and visited the fairy garden, did the maze at Redberry farm, picked strawberries and rode the kiddy train, visited the farmers market in Sedgefield, the transport Museum in George, the Knysna heads, Map of Africa in Wilderness, Puzzle Park in Plettenbergbay (where new friends were made, again!) the Cango Caves, the Rust and Vrede waterfall and the Cango Wildlife Ranch.

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Went to see a Lollos show. Saved water (also known as: lugged around a huge amount of buckets of water from the shower and bathed in a bucket!). Sold our car. Started a veggie garden. Homeschool get together in Tulbach. Went up Table Mountain with the cable car, rode the red bus. Went to the Waterfront, rode the Big Wheel, visited the Aquarium, the Scratch Patch and played mini golf. Went to Angulles to learn about organic farming. Went bowling, ice skating and to the Ice Age exhibition. Went to watch the Sleeping Beauty Ballet at the Artscape. Had a year end function for the homeschoolers in our area, cared for baby birds and a tortoise and lost our cat. Attended the grand opening of the 3rd branch of daddy’s business. Went cherry picking. Visited friends and family. Played games, celebrated a 1st birthday, a 4th birthday and a 7th birthday.

All in all a good, busy year with too many pictures!!! 2017 will be spent making albums filled with memories for the kids! And hopefully good health for family and friends!

Have a wonderful New Year everyone – See you on the flipside!

Ballet B

005A photo of B at age 2, dancing

Our eldest B, has started doing ballet – and she loves it! As in, her eyes light up and she can’t wait for the day and keeps asking why the week is so very long because she wants to go do ballet.

But, I can already see it coming… I am not overprotective and I’m not a helicopter parent so my concern isn’t that I want to save my children from feeling these feelings, but like any other parent I really can’t stand the heartbreak especially for something she loves.

She loves it and will continue to love it but there will come a day when she doesn’t want to do it anymore because of the other ballet girls. I can see it in her eyes before class when all the little friends hug each other like they haven’t seen each other in months – yet no one talks to her.

I can see them huddled over cell phones excitedly chatting over the next most important thing the world is throwing at them and she has no idea what they are on about.

And I can see them copying each other, they are all copy + paste of whoever is the most popular girl in the group, yet I will not allow it. These girls are 6 and 7 years old and it doesn’t bode well for the future!

Pretty soon I will be the only mother outside waiting on our girl to finish and pretty soon they will start pointing this out to her. Because the movie Mean Girls wasn’t based on science fiction!

And here is where the parenting rubber hits the road. My wish for her is that she stays strong, not let it affect her and dances because she loves it. I hope we have taken enough time to build up her confidence so she doesn’t buckle under the pressure, that in her mind she gives them a thumbs down for trying to be the same and shines in her individuality. I hope she always welcomes the girl that no one wants to be friends with – because those friendships last.

I pray that I have enough wisdom to know exactly the moment in time she tries to be like them, talk like them, want something because they have it and stop her, gently – because the world doesn’t need another girl lost to a copy + paste culture.

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Generation Twaddle

A while back I was added to a new group on Facebook, I was intrigued and thought it was a brilliant idea to have all the “mommy” bloggers together, easier to find new reading material, a place to share.

But it wasn’t long until I knew I didn’t belong there.

When I was added I started reading a few blogs, I remember bbm’ing my best friend saying: “When I read all these mommy blogs I feel like I should also work full time so I can have more time to blog!” {The irony in that sentence isn’t lost on me!}

Because yes, I have a blog but I have very little time to actually blog, when I sit down behind the computer I either have, 1, 2 or 3 screaming kids interrupting my thoughts, or I have orders to process or stock to update on the website that takes priority but if I had a full time job outside the house then there would be loads of time to write up blog posts.

Yes, sure, the only problem is that I wouldn’t do it. Getting paid to do a job and then sitting there in quiet moments when my work is done, doing my own thing is something that I was taught, by my parents, never to do: Do not waste your employers time and money, do your own thing in your own time.

And as my friend so rightly pointed out: “Work, just to blog while missing out on these special moments with your children?” – She’s a wise one!

You see, what I saw was bloggers getting stuff, free stuff and I was slightly jealous, but I knew to also get “free stuff” I needed to blog more often and and and.

A week later all the bloggers got “free stuff” that made me think, I wouldn’t want that! What do you do when you get free stuff but it goes against everything you believe in and want or don’t want to expose your children to, but you have established yourself as a brand that tests things and reviews them and you can’t very well say that you threw the products in the trash because you didn’t want it in your house, no one would want to give their free stuff to you anymore.

You see it a lot on blogs, here and abroad, that little disclaimer at the end or beginning of a blog post saying: “Here’s my honest review, I wasn’t paid to do it but I did receive the product for free.”

How is that not being paid? Sure, no money exchanged hands but c’mon! A mighty ego boost to get stuff for free, I’ll like anything if it’s free even if it is made by child labour in the back corners of Africa or food that contains chemicals that should only be used for cleaning grease off your garage floor, while I do a happy dance for being one of the “cool” bloggers who gets free stuff.

And suddenly I started viewing blogs in a whole different way. How much twaddle (look it up) do I need to shift through to get to one or two posts that could be encouraging, that actually show me that you are a unique person who I want to get to know, who will add real value to my life.

I long for honest, religious, motherhood encouragement daily. I am looking for someone who writes posts not to get everyone to like it, but who is honest even if that means taking a beating from a modern society so far removed from what is truly important. A blog that will make me mad in an effort to get me to re-evaluate what life should be about, someone that will get me thinking. Posts that will rap me over the knuckles for veering off course.

Product review mommy bloggers are a dime a dozen, with a bit of twaddle thrown in to keep the numbers ticking over.

What I need? Hen’s teeth in the blogging world.

So I’m clearing out my blogs to follow and sticking to those who share the truth, no matter how uncomfortable – those who usually do not get any free stuff!

I’m sad that Linnie has stopped blogging over at http://backtoancientways.blogspot.co.za/ I long for her wisdom.

I wish Grietjie would blog again, yes about homeschooling too, but about life and lessons learned, she might get suspicious if I email too often!

I will go and re-read everything from Generation Ceder
A little bit from The Better Mom every now and then

And I will continue to add to this list, because perhaps you might be looking for blogs with real “meat on the bone” too, forever weary of the ‘fluffy motherhood’ stuff that makes you feel worse about yourself and your inability to have a neat hairdo as you train up your children in the somewhat lonely way that they should go!

Please share with me if you have a must read blog that you think might be just what I’m looking for!