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.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Reading Blaster for Struggling/Reluctant Readers

WoW, after almost a year of home educating, it seems I may have finally found a tool that will help motivate my very reluctant reader. I downloaded a demo version of Reading Blaster for him last night.

Boy oh boy, did it manage to get him all excited about reading this morning. I haven't seen Misha read out loud this much in one day ever. I'm sure he must have covered at least a week's worth of reading already in the hour he's been playing the game. Of the 25 read-along books, he's already read 6 & done the comprehension exercises. That's so awesome!

Those that know our reasons for home educating & have been following Misha's progress since August last year, will know this is a major achievement for our little boy who struggled to read & subsequently hated reading. He spent a few hours on this game today & I have NEVER seen him this excited about reading before. This may just be the spark we needed to re-ignite his love for learning...

Children Can Build Their Reading Skills With Memorable, Entertaining Reading Games

Basically they read a short story, then get to play a game that asks them questions about the story at regular intervals to test their comprehension. They receive a printable certificate upon completion of various levels. Parents can also print detailed reports of activities completed.

If you have a struggling or reluctant reader, do yourself as well as your child the favour of trying Reading Blaster.

Descriptions below were taken from the Download FREE Games website.

FREE demo games can be downloaded that allow the child to try the game for 2 hours before purchasing the full version at $6,99.

Ages 5-7


Help the Blaster Team in an Otherworldly Adventure!

The Blaster Team ends up on the Planet of Lost Things, the place where things like lost socks and balloons end up. Can you help them return the lost items to the children by earning five keys?

Children can practice reading and thinking skills that will be useful throughout their lives with these entertaining reading activities. This game teaches skills including spelling, recognizing word and letter sounds, distinguishing vowels, using punctuation and more.

Fun, Memorable and Educational Activities

Children can enjoy a variety of educational activities including catching falling socks that have words beginning with the correct letter, learning comprehension by following directions to build faces and scenes, putting balloons with letters or words in order to make words or sentences, building trains to create words with specific sounds and more.

Children will be introduced to more than 1,500 vocabulary words. Children can read along with a variety of stories and print them out. Children can even send messages to their favourite Blaster Team members and receive funny replies!

Help Your Child Develop Skills that will Last a Lifetime

This enjoyable game is a worthwhile tool that will help children build a strong foundation in reading that will serve them for the rest of their lives. This game even has a progress report so both parents and children can see how far the child has progressed. The fun and optimistic atmosphere will make children want to keep coming back!

Give your child a fun and educational adventure now with Reading Blaster Ages 5-7!

Ages 6-8


Be a Detective and Recover the Books!

The Mumbles have stolen all the books on Earth! Can you help Blaster, GC and Mel find the clues they need to locate the missing books?

Boys and girls ages 6 to 8 will enjoy this game's colorful graphics, charming characters and engaging activities and parents will enjoy seeing how much their kids are learning. This game makes reading fun!

Learn Tons of Reading, Spelling and Grammar Skills

Play six fun mini games with educational themes. Learn to spell words as you build a bridge or learn to recognize certain letter combinations and sounds by climbing a volcano. Navigate mazes to learn punctuation or go skiing to practice reading comprehension.

Learn more than 2,000 vocabulary words and work on vital skills like creating sentences, punctuation, capitalization, synonyms, past and present tenses and much more. Enjoy 25 read-along books and track your progress with a report card. You can even write your own stories or letters and create word puzzles to print.

A Rewarding, Educational Adventure for the Entire Family

The whole family can enjoy this game's creative activities and fun detective story. Parents can enjoy the rewarding experience of watching their kids grow and develop in a fun, memorable setting. Kids will easily become addicted to this great blend of fun and education and realize that learning can be a real blast.

Give your kids the chance to learn and thrive with Reading Blaster Ages 6-8 now!

Ages 9-12


Solve the Mystery of an Evil Madman!

Dr. Dabble is kidnapping people and turning them into appliances! Can you save them and figure out why he's doing this?

This mystery adventure game is a great way for children ages 9 to 12 to practice reading comprehension, grammar, spelling, critical thinking skills, analogies, vocabulary and more.

Piece Together the Mystery by Playing Reading Games

Children are sure to enjoy the feeling of being a detective and searching for evidence throughout the mansion! A piece of evidence is earned for each activity completed.

Activities include building sentences in a memory graveyard game, practicing synonyms and antonyms by jumping on moving ghosts to find the correct words, working on comprehension and critical thinking by solving logical word puzzles, building a bridge by finding words that relate to each other and more.

Make Reading Fun and Memorable for Your Child!

This game is rich with mystery perfect for children ages 9 to 12. They'll feel rewarded as they put together the pieces of the mystery and greatly improve their reading skills!

With various difficulty levels for each activity and nice touches like short stories scattered throughout the mansion, children will want to play and replay this game for endless hours!

Give your child education and entertainment now with Reading Blaster Ages 9-12!


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

~ Summer 2011 - Free Gift Issue

 I recently subscribed to the Old Schoolhouse Digital Magazine and have since found some very valuable materials to help me with my quest to educate my children.

Highlights from this issue include:


Read It Online Today!

"I know that it will be impossible to teach them everything that is now known. Knowing this, I have determined that it is much more important to provide an excellent basic education as well as to teach them how to think and find answers. "

~ Amanda B.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Kitchen Maths

This morning I did some Banana Bread Maths with Misha. I was absolutely amazed at how much he remembered as it’s been a few weeks since we last did some baking together. From doubles & halves to how many ml in a cup, teaspoon & tablespoon, he remembered it all...
I realize more & more as we journey along that teaching methods make all the difference. At first I was apprehensive of removing the worksheets completely, but now I see, just with the decision to home educate, this too was the best for him… from time to time now he even asks for Maths worksheet & for now those are the only worksheets he’s doing.
Last weekend I caught him reading to his cousin. He’s really come such a long way since we started.. from hating books all together to actually reading to others.
Misha Reading to his Cousin
* Smile *
Of course Jesse’s been nagging for pancakes since last week, so this evening we did Pancake Maths. Misha got to measure & mix the ingredients whereafter Jesse did the frying of the pancakes.
Masterchef at Work
Needless to say the pancakes were absolutely yummy!

* Smile *

Friday, July 22, 2011

SA Home Schooling Blog Carnival #3

~ Afrikaans and/or Foreign Languages

Welcome to my first hosting of the South African Carnival of Home Schooling Blogs (or SACH-Blogs) & I trust you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed creating hosting it.

We are currently investigating our options for teaching our boys Afrikaans and German next year.

Having been born in Germany & recently reconciled with our remaining relatives in Germany, we thought it good to teach the boys German as a third language. We’re currently using the Learn to Speak German 8.0 software from The Learning Company for Jesse.

With Misha having had foundational issues at school, we didn’t subject him to a third language, so he’s only doing Afrikaans 2nd Language. Unlike his brother who did grade R in a playgroup with loads of Afrikaans speaking children & thus having been able to read & speak fluent Afrikaans by the time he wen to private school in Grade 1, Misha started grade R in private school without the exposure to hearing Afrikaans on a regular basis. He only started Afrikaans at school last year (Gr. 2), and I’ve found that he seems to be struggling a bit. I have subsequently discovered that his Afrikaans foundation is not solid and he doesn’t even know the alphabet & phonics in Afrikaans yet & hence he is struggling with reading & writing. I have decided to take him back to the basics & start from scratch, with lots of “hearing” exposure so he can get used to the sound of the language as the worksheets are just not working 100% for him at this stage.

Fortunately I have just received quite a few Afrikaans readers from a friend who is relocating to New Zealand to get us started as I was struggling to find good early readers to read to him at the library & the book stores.

Vrolike Liedjies ~ 978-0-620-41679-5 (1)Wat laat warmlugballonne vlieg ~ 1-4150-0214-2 (1)

During my searches I have come across quite a variety of material and software that could be use full for this purpose & decided I would dedicate a page at my blog for sharing all these links, so please be sure to check out my Foreign Languages page.

During our visit to the FudureEd Expo at the Dome in May, I saw a lady demonstrating some software to a child. Unfortunately hubby was a bit in a hurry & I couldn’t check it out properly, so instead I just left my details. Unfortunately by the time I got home, I had forgotten the company name so I couldn’t research it any further and subsequently forgot about it.

Much to my surprise, I received a phone call from the agent from Compu Connect Education this week reminding me of the visit at the Dome. After checking out the information on the website I realised this is probably the one most likely to fit both my sons’ learning styles. From what I’ve seen it is colourful, interactive & will help with:

  • Reading exercises
  • Comprehension
  • Spelling and vocabulary building
  • Correct pronunciation of Afrikaans words

I received the following information from the agent:

  • They have 2 payment options ~ Either once off up front payment of R4000 or R1000 deposit with R365 per month for one year.
  • More than 3 learners can be loaded.
  • The Afrikaans will take the child all the way up to grade 12 (Matric).

If you have a child that learns well with audio / visual material and loves interactive PC learning, then this is most definitely a worthwhile option to check out, and at R4000 for grades K-12 it would absolutely be worth the investment. For those living in Gauteng, they are willing to make appointments to come to your premises to demonstrate the software. I will definitely be arranging one of those demos for us to check out the software.

Misha Learning Afrikaans
Community submissions…

  • Taryn Hayes describes how with a little bit of coloured cardboard, cutting and creativity the Hayes kids had fun playing games and learning about colours in Afrikaans in her post Afrikaans Fun at the Hayes Family blog. ~ WoW, what an awesomely creative idea to teach colours in Afrikaans, thank you so much for sharing, Taryn.


  • At her blog post They Missed School, Thandi describes how she wants her kids to learn two other languages - Afrikaans and isiXhosa and how her son knows more Afrikaans than the other.. and speaks it better. It’s not really about ‘how’ she teaches them because they’re not doing anything ‘formal.’ ~ I was absolutely amazed to hear how excited the kids can get over learning & how they missed “school”. I’m looking forward to the day when my boys’ love for learning has been restored to the extent that they too will be missing “school” when we skip a day or so.


  • In her blog post called Finger Puppets at her Practical Pages blog, Nadine Esterhuizen shares how they used finger puppets to practice speaking Afrikaans! and she also has loads of other links and tips for oral narrations and different types of quick and easy puppets at her blog. ~ Awesome idea to get the kids communicating in a new language…


  • Lulu van Rooy rambles about how she sees life and the blessings she finds in it. Check out her post Being Multi Lingual is a Blessing at her blog called The Life and the Ramblings of a life blessed where she shares how they learn various different languages. ~ From experience with my youngest, I must agree with her theory of learning to speak the language first, before worrying about grammar & reading.

Please stop by these blogs for inspiration & be sure to leave your comments.


Live today as if there were no tomorrow. We don’t get a second chance to say “good job” or “I am so proud of you” at the most important moment of accomplishment. Words of encouragement last a lifetime and then some. Share your legacy—your life—with your children.


This post features on the South African Carnival of Homeschool Bloggers (SACH 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.  We hope you enjoy the carnival as much as we have!

SA Home Schooling Blog Carnival #3

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Books are Back

Our children are going to remember the time we spend with 225228_208437512520331_127603680603715_646560_3797124_nthem --- the time we listen, the time we encourage,​ and the moral support we offer as they test their wings and ideas, and begin moving on their dreams. 

~ Now that's an education!!!

I went to collect the boys' books from monitoring on Tuesday & was amazed to see that neither of them need to send their books in again for monitoring, so for the rest of this year we can have a little less stress with books & a whole lot more fun learning things “their way”.

Misha’s Feedback

He received this note from the teacher: “Thank you for an excellent volume of activities and an interesting presentation. Well done, Misha!” although they their main complaint is that he needs to focus on his handwriting. However, I’m not too concerned about that because at his age, I remember having red circles for handwriting on my reports many times.
I was quite surprised that his Teaching Textbooks Maths results between 91 & 100% only got a “good results” remark. They found his creative work for Environmental studies excellent and his lapbooks very creative & interesting.
Fragile is the soul of a child ~ nurture it
Deep are the thoughts of a child ~ quite them
Heavy is the grief of a child ~ lighten it
Bitter are the tears of a child ~ sweeten them
Soft is the heart of a child ~ embrace it

Jesse’s Feedback

Teacher’s note: “Thank you for your very good work! We wish you well!” and surprisingly no complaints although in my opinion, his handwriting is much worse than Misha’s. He needs to give more attention to creative writing & summaries, which I know now already is not going to be easily achieved.

The ‘Teen’ Commandments

  1. Don’t let your parents down ~ they brought you up.
  2. Choose your companions with care ~ you can become what they are.
  3. Be master of your habits ~ or they will master you.
  4. Treasure your time ~ don’t spend it, invest it.
  5. Stand for something ~ or you will fall for anything.
  6. Select only a date whom you think will make a good mate.
  7. See what you can do for others ~ not what they can do for you.
  8. Guard your thoughts ~ what you think, you are.
  9. Don’t fill up on this world’s crumbs ~ feed your soul with the Living Bread.
  10. Give your all to Jesus Christ ~ He gave His all to you.
Jesse’s still away on holiday with his buddy so didn’t start school again this week as originally planned, but we’ll start on the 19th instead.
I enjoyed this break. I never realised how tired I was of sitting into the early hours of the morning, marking books & worksheets. I am so going to find a better way to cater for all of our learning styles with this stuff.
I must admit it was also quite nice being able to sleep in with this cold weather we've been having but I am looking forward to some warmer weather soon.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Restoring the Love for Learning

I've spent the school holidays researching Jesse’s options for high school & University whilst still catering for his learning style. We considered Cambridge, but I soon realized that it might not work for either Jesse or Misha, because neither of them like reading much and learn best with interactive material as well as audio and visual material as opposed to the textbook approach.
I have also realized through my research, that my biggest challenge right now is  to help them restore their love for learning.
Misha's struggling through school resulted in him always being tired & stressed because of additional activities that should have helped him improve but instead only placed more strain on him. He developed an intense dislike to schoolwork. He didn't take to well to the piles of worksheets we received from Le-Amen. When we started homeschooling in August last year he hated reading & writing with such a passion that he’d totally phase out when I took out a reader or worksheet.
Although Jesse never struggled through school due to the solid motor skills foundation he received at Hettie Hen Playgroup, he too disliked school, & wasn’t reaching his full potential. Although his scores ranged around the 70% for most subjects, he was always told he could do better. I realize now, if his enthusiasm for learning hadn't been dampened so much he could easily reach above 80%.
The first term we followed strict Le-Amen requirements & the neither the boys nor myself really enjoyed it much because it turned out to be merely "school at home". I must admit it was quite stressful & by the end of the term I had schoolwork coming out my ears.
Last term I decided to slack the Le-Amen requirements to do more of our own thing. I added some Switched on Schoolhouse subjects as well as Teaching Textbooks for Maths. I have also replaced most of Jesse’s textbooks with some more self-study orientated books I found at PNA. I also invested in some educational games as well as allowed online educational games. With Misha we focussed on motor skills development & I gave him permission to cut up his worksheets & paste them into his Lapbooks much to his delight. They watch "How it’s Made", "How they do it", "Myth Busters" & loadds of "National Geographic" on a daily basis & I'm amazed daily at how much of that they can remember.
We have seen Misha blossom into a very relaxed, confident little boy. Towards the end of the term he was starting to read without being asked and at times he would ask for worksheets to do on the weekend. He finally started to enjoy his handwriting workbook & he really liked the lapbooking. However Jesse still had quite a bit of schoolwork & I realize now that he didn't have enough time to deschool after coming home. Although he's already much more relaxed, I know now that Le-Amen is still causing quite a bit of stress.
They're both highly intelligent boys, with absolutely no interest in anything that concerns education right due to past pressures. They would much rather spend hours sitting on my lap instead of doing schoolwork & quite frankly after the seeing the stress that brings first hand in the first term, I am not surprised.
The more time I spend with the boys, the more I realize how school has failed even me & fact that I passed matric with my grades, is actually a major miracle considering that today I remember next to nothing of what I learnt then. The only reason I made it is because I could read well & had an ability to learn facts like a parrot. I too, am re-learning a whole lot as we go along and this time round I’m sure I could pass with full distinctions because I facilitate teaching the way we all learn.
Learning should be fun & not stressful. Most children love to learn because they mostly learn through play, but when they go to school, playtime gets replaced with book work at a time when most of their motor skills haven't even been properly developed to enable them to cope with the bookwork. They have to spend 13 long years behind books. The least we can do is teach them the way they learn best instead of dampening their love for learning & in many cases also their spirits.
“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
This term I plan to leave no stone unturned until I find a way to restore their love for learning in order to help them reach their full potential.
Smile Smile Smile

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Matric Support

This page is dedicated to study materials as well as info I found regarding further studies after matric…

  • Department of Basic Education

  • Thutong South African Education Portal ~ For Managing Matric hints & tips, Exam papers & Memorandums, Timetales & Self Study Guides.

  • SABC Education

  • Learning Channel ~ offers a comprehensive range of Grades 10, 11 and 12 courses that cover all the Learning Outcomes, Assessment Standards, knowledge, key concepts and skills as reflected in the National Curriculum Statement — everything you need to make a success of your world!

  • MindSet Learn ~ offers study materials, Learn Xtra Gr. 12 Video Lessons, Past Exam Papers & Detailed Study Notes as well as TV Guide for the DSTV Learning Channel 319.

Further Studies

South African Colleges

Western Cape

Kwa-Zulu Natal

Distance Learning

South African Universities

Eastern Cape
Free State
Western Cape
Kwa-Zulu Natal

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

Friday, July 8, 2011

Military History Museum & Zoo Field Trip

Yesterday I took the boys to join a group of homeschoolers at the SA National Museum of Military History in Johannesburg.

Mr Patterson’s one & half hour tour covered a run-down on the following aircraft:

  • Focke-Wulf
  • Messerschmitt
  • Flugabwehrkanone 37
  • M06/12 Field Gun
  • Panzerabwehrkanone (PAK) 38
  • Scout experimental 5a (SE5a)
  • Armstrong Siddeley Puma 230
  • A4 ground-to-grund missile
  • Breech-loading 6-inch Mark XIX Gun
  • Molch Submarine
  • T-34/85 Medium Tank
  • PT-76 Model 2
  • M41C Sherman "Firefly"
  • G6 Self-propelled gun Howitzer
  • Carro Leggero 3/35
  • Sa reconnaissance car Mark
  • DSpecial demolision aerial bomb
  • Dora German X0cm K (E) Railway gun
  • Supermarine spitfire F viii

There is so much history at the museum, we could easily do another tour, covering a different topic for example World War I or II at a later occasion.

After our tour at the Military Museum, we visited the Zoo where we roamed around for 3 more hours before heading back home.

Friday, July 1, 2011

New Resources Added


I’ve spent quite a lot of time over the last 2 weeks researching options for my teenager & came across a whole lot more of useful resources which I added to my blog pages.

  • If you have a kinaesthetic, visual-spatial or audio learner, visit my Free Educational Games & Software page. I have added a few new online educational gaming links. There are some very nice games especially for grades K – 6.
  • New links have been added to my Curricula page.
  • I have added content & links to my Learning Styles page relating to Right-Brained vs. Left-Brained learning.
  • New content & links have been added to my High School options page.
  • I added a new page with links for HomeEducating a Struggling Learner.
  • I also added a page for Matric Support with some helpful links to hints & tips, past papers & memorandums, study guides as well as further study (college & university) links.


♥You'll never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice!!!♥

Smile Winking smile Smile


SACH Blog Carnival # 2 ~ Outings is now live at Hayes Happenings. If you are keen to enter, you can join the carnival by heading to the South African Carnival of Homeschool Bloggers sign up page. All the details, plus a carnival button for your blog, are there. We hope you enjoy the carnival as much as we have!