Our Reasons for Home Education:

Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Although he was achieving good results, he wasn't reaching his full potential because his love for learning had been destroyed & hence his grades were steadily declining.

Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers

Completely failed by the system, he hated school, was always tired & homework time was a major frustration for both of us. He was severely frustrated & quickly heading to become yet another ADHD statistic.

Friday, December 24, 2010

We’re Moving

SHi there, I recently discovered and have decided to move my HomeSchooling blog across there because its content is more relevant for that site. You can now visit us at Trixi's HomeSchool Academy.
In the interim I’m wising you a very blessed Christmas Season and all the best for 2011.
Looking forward to seeing you at our new home with soon.
Kind regards & God bless

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Home Education Recourses

Although I’ve looked at homeschooling for about 3 years, I’ve spent at least 6-8 months doing intensive research on homeschooling before I finally adhered to my husband’s pleas to homeschool and took the plunge with our youngest in August last year due to learning problems at school.

I’ve done quite a bit of surfing lately and found many useful sites for homeschooling assistance. My head is still spinning from information overload…


I must, quite honestly, admit that all the info available made for loads of reading & at times was quite overwhelming. I was bookmarking pages & later found that I couldn’t remember why I bookmarked certain pages. Hence I decided to add these to my blog with descriptions in order to help me find material again at a later stage.

Since research is so time consuming, I thought I’d also share the great links I found, in order to save some other "newbie" mom the time I spent finding it…

Support Groups

  • image Legal defence fund for home educating families.

  • imagehas so much to offer all South African homeschoolers in every province, including …membership, community forums, chats, great articles, links to great websites, links to forums, events calendars (that we can add to!) and more.

2.   Organisers, Planners, Schedulers, etc.
3.   Informative Pages & Blogs
4.   Learning Styles
5.   Brain Dominance
6.   Left Handed Learners
7.   Building a Solid Foundation
8.   Home Educating a Struggling Learner
9.   Unschooling
10. Curricula
11. Tutors, Co-ops & Other Group Activities
12. Grades 8 – 12 / Matric
13. Matric Support
14. eLearning
15. Free Educational Games & Software

16. Android Apps for Home Education

16. iPad Apps for Home Education
17. Teaching Aids
  • Teacher Resources
  • Kid Safe Internet Browsers
    • Zoodles A safe Kid Mode for every device. We help your children find the age appropriate games that make learning fun. Ad blocking, Educational Subjects & Character Blocking.
    • KidZui Internet for Kids Get the FREE Kids Browser stuffed with fun curated by hundreds of parents & teachers. KidZui gives kids the freedom to explore the Internet safely. * Millions of kid-friendly YouTube videos, online games, and websites * All pre-screened and approved by editorial staff, teachers, and parents * Weekly activity reports keep you in touch with your child’s evolving interests.

Both of these offer free basic features as well as a membership option that offers additional features.

18. Book Stores
19. Extra Curricular Activities
20. Field Trip Venues


Free Recourse Pages



Blogs & Pages









homeschool planner



Here’s a image for your internet explorer to help you quickly find homeschooling Blogs, Community, Top Sites, Freebies and Feeds. It offers

  • 100 Top Homeschooling Sites
  • Popular homeschooling blogs
  • Built in Google search engine
  • Searches by specific categories helpful to moms and homeschoolers
  • One click access to homeschool communities and forums
  • Post to your Facebook from the toolbar
  • RSS feeds
  • Email notifier that manages all your email accounts
  • Tools such as the weather forecast, To Do list and a radio player
  • Pop up blocker
  • And more…


This post features on the South African Carnival of Homeschool Bloggers where South African home schoolers share experiences, ideas, philosophies and much more.  You can join the carnival too by heading to the South African Carnival of Homeschool Bloggers sign up page.   In the meantime, head to SACH Carnival #8 – Co-ops and Support Groups for this week’s carnival.  We hope you enjoy the carnival as much as we have!

Please visit this page frequently as I will be posting regular updates as I find more resources.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

An African Dad's Perspective on Homeschooling


Dadda’s been the driving force behind our homeschooling efforts. He’s been wanting me to do it for 3 years, but due to my lack of confidence, I wouldn’t budge. Finally due, to Misha’s school experience I decided  also decided to face my fears in order to help my boy.

Please also stop by & visit Clive on his blog at An African Dad's Perspective on Homeschooling where he will be sharing his experiences on homeschooling.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Well Done Boys~!!!

So we’ve finally made it through the school year. We managed to finish all the workbooks on time & have received reports.


Jesse’s grades have dropped, but he still passed grade 7 and received the “Chess Player of the Year Trophy”. Well done, Jesse!

In spite of all the stress & frustrations, Misha’s had to deal with this year he still managed to pass Gr. 2 with good results. He achieved 93% for English & 95% for Maths on Smart Tutor. His bookwork still needs improving, but for now he’s on a well deserved break. Well done, Misha, we knew you could do it!

Initially he was supposed to continue some learning during the holidays, but I have since decided to give him these few weeks to totally destress & rest. We’ll tackle rest of his problem areas in the New Year when he’s fully relaxed & well rested.13~LOLLIPOPS040208112330

Instead I’ve devoted my time to rest, preparing the new school room & working through some Homeschooling reading material. I have also finally handed over my MIA Secretary duties after 5 years of service to the school. now I can give my undivided attention to my family & focus on homeschooling my boys, although it's going to be strange not having the additional "job" anymore.

Next year we’ll take the bull by the horns & work on any of the other areas that need improving.

Until then, wishing you all a restful holiday & God’s very richest blessings for Christmas and the New Year.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Our New School Room

Well, with Misha’s schooling finished for this year, I’ve finally had some time to start sorting out the school room for next year. Now all it needs is a fresh coat of paint, and a black chalk board.


Misha chose this corner for his desk. It worked out quite well, because he benefits from the extra wall space for posters & visual aids.


Jesse’s wanted his desk in front of the window. All he needs still is a chair. For now these bookshelves will suffice, but I expect that pretty soon we’ll probably have to find alternative shelving space.


This will be our poster & “writing” board. I’m going to get some “black board” paint & daddy will paint the wall but leave space at the top & bottom for posters. And of course the chair & music desk have to find a new spot elsewhere.

All their books have arrived & are awaiting the new school year in the bookshelf.  

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Big Brainz Multiplication Game

WoW, I’m oficially impressed!

I just stumbled across this cool game earlier today & downloaded it to try it with Misha. Initially I thought he might get bored because he has to answer the questions, but it has proven to be an absolute winner. In his words: “Mommy this is the most awesome game you have ever got me”. He’s already been at it for over an hour whereas usually he gets bored quite fast.

I can’t imagine an easier way to teach timetables to a kynesthetic learner. Now if this doesn’t end up helping my little one with his multiplication, I really don’t know what else will…

…and the best of all is that there’s Addition, Subraction & Division coming in 2011. ~ I can’t wait for those !

Multiplication Games

Timez Attack has revolutionized multiplication games. It's as polished as a high-end real video game, yet as effective as a top math tutor one-on-one. The built-in assessment, adaptation, and post-test research data guarantee total mastery.

Screenshots below:

Multiplication Games

Multiplication Games

Multiplication Games

Multiplication Games

Multiplication Games

Multiplication Games

If he keeps this up, at least, if nothing else, Misha will be learning multiplication this holiday.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Progress Report

We’re nearing the end of the schoolyear & the difference in Misha is amazing since we started homeschooling in August… He is no longer a whiny, frustrated child. To top it all my boys who used to be fighting all the time, have had their first fight since August about 2 weeks ago. Although he’s very reluctant when it comes to school books, he enjoys the Smart Tutor lessons.


Of course since, Wum passed away in September, this has become his favourite way of schooling & I’m sure Trixi’s not going to complain.


Every now & then he even manages to get hold of Smokey to sit with him.


So who cares how the work gets done? just as long as we manage to finish our goals…

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Well done, Misha, you’re a Star!!!


For the past 2 years, whenever homeschooling was mentioned as an option for our boys I protested: “There’s just no way I’d be able to do that”, “I’m not teacher material”, “I’d strangle them within a week.” etc. etc. Those were my excuses… but in the end it was more a lack of confidence in myself than anything else…


Well, it’s been 2 months since we’ve started homeschooling Misha & he’s still very much alive & amazingly enough I’m more relaxed than I could have ever imagined I would be.  I have since learned that he’s a strong kinesthetic as well as Visual Spacial Learner and dug up all the info I could as to how to teach him in his learning style.

chriscrap_el (5)

When we started homeschooling in August, Misha was completely anti-school. I started him on SmartTutor for Reading & Maths because his books from Le-Amen had not yet arrived. He was very reluctant at first, but within a week or so he started looking forward to learning. Although he still isn’t very keen on schoolwork, at least now he’s willing to do it again.
We’ve continued the remedial lessons with Tannie Hettie, once a week for an hour. During this time she addressed the foundation & gross motor issues. She let him do brain gym & physical activities that would promote the necessary brain development. Within a few weeks he became a very happy, relaxed 8-year old & we were actually able to see an improvement in his reading skills. Initially he hated that & refused to even read aloud to himself because this was his biggest problem area. So we worked on his rhythm & midline crossing. Lots of trampoline & skipping rope. Finally he mastered the skipping & his reading improved. Then he realized he could read & the reluctance started fading. During the holiday he went to Tannie Hettie in the morning especially to read to her class of 20 little ones ranging between 3 & 6 years old. That was an awesome sight to see. Now every week he reads to the little ones for a few minutes and like a real teacher asks them questions. His confidence is growing & with that his reading is improving steadily… He still has quite a way to go, but at this rate I’m sure he’ll get there much faster than what I could have ever anticipated.
Another problem area is writing, he struggles to write fast & neatly. All due to his shoulder muscles not having been exercised properly. We’ve hung a rope ladder under the carport for him to climb. This he does regularly & is slowly showing some improvement when he does his handwriting practice.
Of course, I knew we would have to get the books out again at some stage, but this was met with great reluctance, so I decided to leave all the other workbooks & just focus on letting him complete his portfolio for monitoring by Le Amen and just let him continue with SmartTutor & reading.

Now Misha's portfolio's back from Le-Amen & it seems they are happy with his schoolwork thus far. Here’s the feedback: "I wish you well for the next term. Keep on working well and you will succeed. Well done Misha, you're a star".

chriscrap_el (11)

This term we hit the ground running and he’s making good progress. We still have the odd days when he’s reluctant to work, but this week he’s actually started to show some enthusiasm at getting the work done.

We’ve also invested in the WiiFit Plus & he starts every day with some physical training via the WiiFit and some exercise games to get the brain started. It’s absolutely amazing what a difference the little bit of exercise at the beginning of the day makes to his learning abilities.

I’m also noticing a willingness to help around the house. This morning, by the time I got home from dropping Jesse at school he’d already taken his washing from the line, folded it & packed it away. He’d also unpacked the dishwasher & packet the stuff away & still wanted to more stuff around the house. It took some convincing on my part to get him back to his books instead. But by the time his first break came along he was off vacuuming in the lounge & wiping down surfaces… amazing…

We try to stick to 8h00 to 13h00 school day with lots of breaks in between. Sometimes he’ll opt for a longer break & choose to do the work later in the day. Then if at times we don’t manage that we’re lenient & reschedule what we weren’t able to achieve. I don’t stress about work that’s not done & he doesn’t stress with too much workload, but somehow we’re still managing to stay well on track to have his workbooks completed by the time they need to be ready for monitoring at the end of November.
chriscrap_el (14)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Homeschool Skedtrack

I’m still very new to homeschooling but have already found that a whole lot of mom’s time goes into planning & creating schedules for the kids so they can get their work handed in on time. Fortunately I have just discovered this awesome schedule & report tracking site for homeschoolers. I just had to share it, please go check it out.


Homeschool Skedtrack is a FREE online lesson planner, scheduler, and tracking system rolled into one. The heart of the system is the automated scheduling of activities that frees you from the headache of rescheduling everything once an activity/lesson is missed.
The whole system is a personal virtual school that features:

  • easy record keeping from PK-12 for each student
  • worry free data back-up
  • access of your virtual school from anywhere around the world
  • secure access of information between the server and the user's browser using secure socket layer (SSL) just like online banking
  • flexible scheduling of your child's activities/lessons per year, per month, per week or as you go
  • automated display of daily home school activities/lessons per course
  • automated tracking of total number of hours/days completed
  • scheduling and tracking of field trips
  • scheduling vacations and declaring holidays
  • a school calendar for each student
  • a resource list per course
  • tests recording
  • automated grade calculation
  • report card generation in pdf format
  • transcript generation in pdf format ( two columns or by subject )


Friday, September 17, 2010

Short Story: The Importance of You


Now here’s a very encouraging story I just read at Homeschool Articles

What an eye opener. Thought I’d pass it on…


We often learn more from a story.  Below is a short story that you can use to facilitate important conversation between you and your children.


The Importance of You

I am about to tell you a true story of three most unlikely heroes. Seabiscuit was a race horse that was considered to small to be a winner. Mistreated and poorly trained he lost most of his races. He was seen as a “loser”. Frustrated and angry, because his natural desire to win had been suppressed, this horse had become unruly and unmanageable…angry if you will.

However one trainer, the Native American Tom Smith, saw a winner in Seabiscuit when no one else could. You see, time and time again Mr. Smith demonstrated that he had the ability to take “ordinary” horses and make winners of them. He was able to do this by understanding their uniqueness… their strengths and weaknesses. He knew Seabiscuit needed help focusing, and his legs were shorter than the other race horses. But he also knew his horse loved the competition, and had a big desire to win.

The untrusting Seabiscuit needed a jockey, but didn’t seem to like any of them until he met Johnny Pollard, nicknamed “Red” for his fiery red hair. Homeless and penniless, Red was himself considered a loser. He was considered too big by jockey standards, and was blind in one eye. But he loved horses, and had a gentle way with them. When introduced to the cantankerous horse he gently offered him a sugar cube. Seabiscuit touched Red’s shoulder in a rare gesture of affection. Seabiscuit had chosen his jockey.

Most everyone laughed at these three friends… a trainer to old to train , a jockey to big and blind in one eye, and a race horse too small. But the three unlikely winners began training, and to the surprise of those who ridiculed and laughed at them, they began beating larger horses rode by smaller jockeys.

This all took place during the “Great Depression” when many people had lost jobs, farms, and homes. This was a time when many people were feeling like losers. Seabiscuit and Red became an inspiration for the down trodden. The people showed up by the thousands to cheer on Seabiscuit, their champion. The horse, who was too small, raised spirits as he won race after race eventually even beating the top race horse, War Admiral.

But their climb to success was not without challenges. In his first race against War Admiral, Seabiscuit lost. But in a second race against War Admiral he won! While riding another race horse Red broke his leg, and was told he would never ride again. During one race Seabiscuit injured his leg unable to race or train for a long time.

Against such odds, many people would have given up. After all Red was told he could never ride again. But Red did not give up on his beloved horse, and while suffering from his own injury began caring for his beloved Seabiscuit nursing him back to health. As he focused on the needs of his crippled horse, he also began to heal. They did race together again, and again rose to the top.

Often when we focus on helping others we find our own way. Do you ever feel like you are different, and don’t belong? Are you told you are too short, to fat, ugly, stupid, dumb or other unkind things? Well remember the lesson of Seabiscuit and his friends. It is not you who are lacking. It is the inability of others to see the winner in you that is the true lacking.

How others treat you is a reflection of their character… not yours. How you treat yourself and others is a reflection of your character. When you discover the winner, you become an inspiration to others. That is your gift.

You understand what others can not. You see what others can not see. By vowing to extend kindness to those most in need of it, you have a heart when others can not find their own. And remember this one: You can not control what others do or say, but you can control what you do, and what you accept. By refusing to co-operate or be controlled by those who ridicule, you become a champion.


Roma Cox worked as a para-professional in the public school system. She was part of a government funded program called Follow Through in which she was trained by psychologists on how to work with the children. Roma now shares what she has learned with others through her website, workshops, and articles.


Monday, August 16, 2010

Letting Go & Moving Forward


We have a very active, yet highly intelligent 7 year old, who has been struggling through school for the past 2 years. It has recently come to our attention that his gross & fine motor skills foundation has not been addressed properly at a Gr. R level. He is also a visual & active learner & this learning style is not catered for in most of our schools today.

“A mother’s first duty to her children is to secure for them a quiet and growing time, a full six years of passive receptive life, the waking part of it for the most part spent out in the fresh air.” ~ Charlotte Mason

that's where the "system" failed our little one quite miserably...

The school focused too early & too much on academics & neglected the motor skills as well as visual perception. Midline crossing & skipping, being very important skills for fluent reading are just 2 of many areas that have not been addressed properly. Although he can memorise paragraphs, like a parrot, he struggles to read. He Aces his spelling tests but cannot spell when writing sentences. These are just a few of the issues we’ve been working on together with his pre-school teacher to get him through Gr. 2. Up to now he’s been able to cope with his intelligence, but the struggling has impacted his self-esteem very negatively & caused him to dislike school with a passion.

Although the school tried to address the problem with remedial (at additional cost to us as parents) & extra lessons, these showed very little success, but instead placed extra workload & repetition rather than addressing the foundation of the problem... hence we've took him back to his preschool teacher twice a week since August last year so she could do physical activities & brain gym with him in order to get the brain development going. This has shown huge improvement, but his backlog is so big that he still gets very fidgety in class when he doesn’t understand the tasks at hand.

‎"Every student can learn. Just not on the same day or in the same way." ~ George Evans

We know now that Misha’s just a normal active little boy who’s trying to cope with a situation that's way beyond his control. It breaks my heart to see such a highly intelligent child struggling at school & being so frustrated...

We've recently registered him with Le-Amen Education Centre in Ruimsig & have pulled him out of school on Friday. What I like about Le-Amen is that they are registered with the Gauteng education department and they supply the curriculum at very reasonable prices. The kids’ work books have to be handed in 3 times a year to be monitored by qualified teachers & at the end of the school year they issue school reports to the children. Both parent & kids are monitored & at matric level they write the same IEB exams as the private schools.

We’ll be using this week to let him destress & deschool Misha. In the interim he’ll be using online curriculum to put the fun back into learning. Then we'll continue his schooling, but will also have to go back as far as Gr. R in order to address his foundation. I just hope we caught it on time to repair the damage & that we will be able to help him reach his full potential in life.

‎"Mothers write on the hearts of their children what the hand of time can't erase." (Unknown)

When I look at the amount of kids in our schools that end up in remedial & extra lessons, I cannot help but wonder how many of them are highly intelligent kids, like Misha, whose foundations have been proved lacking & due to that will be struggling through school for the rest of their lives… I just cannot understand how it is possible in today’s day & age, with all the knowledge available to our teachers regarding the importance of physical activities being the foundation to develop brain functions in our little ones that they still let them sit cooped up in classrooms with academics all day at such a young age. Our little ones should be playing more & learning less… the academics will follow as soon as the body is sorted…

I must confess, I’ve spent months stressing about Misha’s situation & was fuming, when the teacher’s plan to resolve this issue was aimed at Misha’s preschool teacher & myself addressing the foundation in order to get him through Gr. 2. As far as I was concerned, we pay expensive school fees & he shouldn’t have been in this situation in the first place. Today, however, I can honestly say the burden’s lifted & I have peace in my heart that we’ve made the right decision for our boys.

"When we forgive someone, it doesn't make them right or justify what they have done. It releases them into God's hands so He can deal with them. Forgiveness is actually the best revenge because it not only sets us free from the person we forgive, but it sets us free to move into all God has for us." ~ Stormie O'Martian

The school & their staff have been forgiven… I’m letting go & we’re moving forward… I pray for wisdom to make the right decisions in order to continuously guide our sons into reaching their full potential…

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