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.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year

WoW, another year has passed us by, with tomorrow being the last of our school holiday since the boys will have had 8 weeks of school holiday since August. Of course with Jesse having started Alpha Omega Academy on the 1st August, his first semester only finishes at the end of January and the end of our school year shifts across to the end of July.

It still amazes me how fast time flies by these days. This has been a hectic year with regards to field trips, think we may just slow down on those a little bit. Thus far I’ve only finished the holiday planning for next year and still need to do school and field trip planning.

The boys are sleeping out & I’m ending off 2012 with one last blog post wishing all our family and friends a wonderfully blessed 2013.


Recommended Article: Homeschooling Shouldn't be a Private Endeavour

Homeschooling shouldn't be a private endeavour

Posted By Penelope Trunk On April 25, 2012 (10:45 am) In Fitting in is good

I am in Las Vegas giving a speech. And, of course, I brought my son. I think, when I was deciding to bring him, that I remembered hearing that Vegas was becoming kid friendly. Apparently, though, that was a decade ago. And it didn't go well, probably because people don't spend a lot of money gambling when they come to Vegas with kids.

Hotels are tearing down whole arenas devoted to kids. And the one kid place we could find, Circus Circus, looked more like a ghost town than an indoor amusement park. I told myself it didn't matter. He is learning a lot. For example: "Mom, all girls look good in their bathing suit."

He has come with me to enough speeches that we have sort of a routine. I set him up with my computer and tell him not to go anywhere and then he does something totally unexpected which I then ban for the next time. For example, he took money out of my purse and went down the street to Starbucks and ordered a hot chocolate and didn't have enough money and let the person behind him in line buy one for him and then he walked back. Before my speech was over.

During this speech, while he was furtively eating forbidden buffet foods and accidentally spilling Sprite all over my laptop keyboard, I was supposedly talking about bridging generational differences in the workplace.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Recommended Article: Top universities want you to homeschool

Well even after 2 years of home educating, I still doubt at times whether we're doing the right thing home educating our boys, but this article once again set my heart at ease...


Top universities want you to homeschool

Posted By Penelope Trunk On April 27, 2012 (12:40 am) In College, Extended classroom

It's not that top universities are telling people directly to homeschool their kids. Instead, top schools are using a selection process that gives homeschooled kids a huge advantage.


Here's why:
1. Good grades are a commodity, so they don't help in the admissions process.
Girls are doing so much better than boys in both standard high school courses and in standardized tests that their good grades and good scores don't get girls into good colleges. It's not enough anymore. White girls especially need a hook.

A hook is, ironically, something you are passionate about and engaged in that is outside of school. Top schools like Harvard and Stanford have always required a hook. Because when you're in a room full of smart people, smart suddenly doesn't matter—interesting is what matters.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

After 3 weeks away, our big brat finally got home this weekend. It’s just awesome having my whole brood back together for the holidays. Home is just not the same with missing children. Smile

I can hardly believe another year has passed and this week we had a busy week getting ready for Christmas and here it is…


Wishing you all a very blessed Christmas and all the best for 2013.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Homeschool Freebies for Thanksgiving ( & Big Family Friday Link-Up!)

Some great freebies for you to check out.

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Subject: Homeschool Freebies for Thanksgiving ( & Big Family Friday Link-Up!)
From: Holy Spirit-Led Homeschooling <>
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Homeschool Freebies for Thanksgiving ( & Big Family Friday Link-Up!)

Homeschool Freebies

You all know that I'm in the full-time homeschool freebie business. I love saving money for my own family, and helping other families afford the homeschool life, too!  I've created a massive list of all of the Homeschool Freebies for Thanksgiving that I've featured on Free Homeschool Deals this fall. If you're looking just about *anything* to round out your Thanksgiving studies – or looking to pull together a last minute study – then look no further. I've even included several freebies for mom!

Click here for Homeschool Freebies for Thanksgiving!

Also, I wanted to let you know that starting Monday 11/19/12 my friend Carrie (Homeschool Giveaways) and I are starting the Homeschool Giveaway link-up. You'll be able to link up all of your giveaways that are of interest to homeschool families. The best part is your giveaways will be featured on both sites, Homeschool Giveaways and Free Homeschool Deals!

Homeschool Giveaways

And now, finally, after my family's adventure in Hurricane Sandy, the Big Family Friday is back in action. Link-up your encouraging post below. Next week I'll pick several posts from this link-up to feature!

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Friday, November 9, 2012

Home, Sweet Home

We were having an awesome holiday and had been able to fit in a few field trips for the boys last week.

We took it easy on the weekend with just visits to the beach and relaxing at home. Unfortunately Daddy slipped and fell in a tidal pool on Sunday morning and hurt his foot so we took Monday off for him to rest and recover. I ended up having to take him for x-rays though because of the swelling and we found he’d broken his 4th metatarsal. They were able to supply him with a moon boot and crutches and by Tuesday he was ready to join us for a tour of the Moses Mabhida Stadium.

We were fortunate to have a private tour so Clive could hobble along slowly with his sore foot. We saw the inside of the stadium, one of the dressing rooms and received a brief overview various aspects of the building.

We also took a ride up to the top of the stadium in the SkyCar for a breathtaking 360º view of Durban from the SkyPlatform. From up there all the city landmarks are visible by day. I can just imagine what an awesome sight it would have been if it hadn’t been a cloudy day.

From the stadium we headed off to Durban for a visit to Mini Town.

I was pleasantly surprised at how clean, tidy and well maintained this attraction was for an establishment that was over 30 years old. It gives a good impression of some of Durban’s most interesting buildings.

With this visit complete, we headed back to our holiday home for Clive to go rest his broken foot.

On Wednesday we took a drive to Maydon Warf for a visit to the Sugar Terminal. Once again we were fortunate to have a private tour.

The tour guide gave us a short overview the process of sugar production as well as the purpose and functions of  SASA (South African Sugar Association). Then we saw a short video presentation where after the guide took us for a tour and overview of all the different aspects of the facilities.

Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take any photos inside the facility. 

From the Sugar Terminal we headed off to the Durban City hall that houses the Durban Natural Science Museum.

Although not as big and impressive as some of the other places we’ve visited, this museum houses a wide variety of stuffed insects, birds, fish and reptiles that echo evidence of their earthly existence. There are also various diorama exhibitions and plasma screens showing natural history scenery. Standing under a life size reconstruction of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, can make one feel very tiny.

After the museum visit it was once again time to head back to our holiday home, but this time to pack and get ready for the long road back to Johannesburg.

On Thursday morning we were up bright and early to head home.

However, we had just one more stop to make as we came trough Pietermaritzburg. We stopped at the Kwa-Zulu Natal Museum just before 9am.

Of all the museums we’ve visited thus far I found this one by far the most impressive.

After 2 hours browsing the museum hit the road for another 6 hours drive home. We arrived home around 4h30pm and with that reached the end of our holiday.

This afternoon the boys were back at Junior engineering and the last 3 weeks  of our schoolyear are in sight.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Happy Holiday

This has been quite an eventful week for us with loads of fun & learning activities. We decided to take a holiday away from home for 10 days to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. We left Gauteng on Monday morning for our trip to Salt Lake, Ballito in Kwazulu Natal. We arrived at our destination around 3pm and settled in for some chillaxing time.

On Tuesday late morning, we headed off to the beach for a nice long stroll although it was miserable & cool. The boys enjoyed running around writing in the sand. After 2 hours on the beach we south out the nearest shopping centre for some groceries to get us through the week.

On Wednesday we headed off to Gateway Shopping Kingdom to visit the KZN Science Centre. The boys found it a bit disappointing because all the exhibits were familiar and many were still under construction. However, they did still manage to entertain themselves for an hour, after which we took a walk through the centre. We had lunch at the spur before heading to the movies to watch Hotel Transilvania. After the movies we stopped at the Wimpy for some pudding & then headed back home.

With the weather still miserable, we went to the Natal Sharks Board on Thursday where we got to see an informative 30 minute movie about sharks & thereafter we saw a hammer shark being dissected. 2012_1104_111116

Misha has a newfound interest in reading with the new “The Wonders of the Sea World 3D” book which he’s been reading in between activities. I’m happy to see that his interest in reading is growing steadily.

Yesterday we were happy to have some sunshine and headed off to uShaka Marine World for some serious fun in the sun mixed with a hint of learning. We arrived at 11h20, just in time for the Dolphin show. Then we had some lunch at the Spur where after we went to see the seal show. It’s amazing how fast time flies when roaming around exhibits. By the time we were through the exhibits in the Phantom Ship it was after 3pm, leaving us with 2 more hours to check out the Wet ‘n Wild. Since it hadn’t been all that hot all day, the water in the rides were quite cold, but we had fun nevertheless.

Today we slept late, lazed around and then went for another stroll along the beach. Tomorrow we continue to chillax and Next week we have some more fun & learning scheduled before heading home on Thursday morning.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

October 2012 SACHS Blog ~ Changing Curriculum

curriculum_000_thumb1We’re nearing the end of this year and it’s Carnival time again. This month we’re focusing on changing curriculum in order to find the right fit for each student.

Definition of Curriculum according to Wikipedia: “In formal education, a curriculum (kəˈrɪkjʉləm/; plural: curricula /kəˈrɪkjʉlə/ or curriculums) is the set of courses, and their content, offered at a school or university. A curriculum may also refer to a defined and prescribed course of studies, which students must fulfil in order to pass a certain level of education. For example, an elementary school might discuss how its curriculum, or its entire sum of lessons and teachings, is designed to improve national testing scores or help students learn the basics. An individual teacher might also refer to his or her curriculum, meaning all the subjects that will be taught during a school year.”

All children have different learning styles resulting that curricula purchased may not work for all the children in a particular family. Many of us have found fitting curricula through trial and error. With this post we'll be looking at how other families have dealt with their non-fitting curricula and adapted or changed it to fit their students.

Finding the right curriculum fit for our boys has probably been the greatest challenge I’ve faced since taking up home education and believe me, at times it seemed hopeless and I have doubted the wisdom of bringing the boys home from school.

With Jesse already starting high school we felt it was important for him to do a formal curriculum that would also supply him with an official report, so we started them up with Le Amen Education Centre for an IEB matric. Their primary school material is worksheet based and not at all suitable for our kinaesthetic / visual spatial learner. They’re colourless and very mundane. Misha disliked them with a passion and was extremely happy when I allowed him to cut them up instead to add them to his lapbooks. We also found the high school material was not homeschool / self study friendly and fulfilling their requirements very strenuous and seemed at times to be worse than those experienced at private school. This turned out to be a “school at home” scenario that didn’t work well for my boys or myself. By the end of the second term I was already heading for burnout and except for enjoying the freedoms of being at home, the boys hated the “school” part. In fact, Jesse referred to his situation as having been taken out of “jail”, just to be put straight back into jail using the Le Amen. To top it all their service was poor, parent support sadly lacking and their final reports didn’t correspond with the results I had calculated & handed in.

We had taken the kids out of private school in order to alleviate the stress, but instead we found ourselves way more stressed out with the new requirements than before homeschooling… Half way through last year I realised this setup wasn’t working for us but dad insisted they complete the year and I had no idea where to go from here. Dad wanted us to aim at going the Cambridge route but after attending the Cambridge talk at Dainfern College with Jesse last year, I just realised that although Jesse was academically capable, this would be another frustrating “school at home” scenario for us.

I set out searching for curricula that would suit my boys and stumbled on a book on learning styles that gave me loads of insight as to why school wasn’t working for them and why the traditional “school at home” approach did more harm than good in our homeschool environment.

If They Don’t Learn the Way You Teach, Teach the Way They Learn
~ Jacquie McTaggart

This year, I eventually decided to ditch all the school books and to rather unschool the boys until I found a curricula that would work for them. We focused on field trips, many of those and alternative fun ways to help restore their love for learning. I allowed the boys to deschool completely, which meant NO SCHOOL for a few months… I focused on educating myself in order to find material that would work for the boys.

Front CoverDuring this time I’ve read a number of books with some very valuable information, much of which I’ve started to apply to our learning environment. I learnt how “play” shapes the brain, opens the imagination and invigorates the soul. In order to maintain a happy, balanced lifestyle, children as well as adults need to continually make time for playful activities in their lives whether it be riding a horse, reading a book or just play with their children or pets. Without these activities we lose our joy and life becomes a meaningless chore.Front Cover I decided to allow the kids the time to play and have seen some wonderful results.

“Play is the highest form of research” ~ Albert Einstein

I have also discovered more about learning styles and how that affects our ability to learn and retain new information. I gained a new understanding as to why my boys and I hated school so much and how the system failed us. As a matter of fact neither of our learning styles were catered for, although Jesse and I learnt to cope with our environment and still obtain good scores. With Misha being a kinaesthetic, visual-spatial learner, this however was not possible so he started to mimic in class in order to hide his inability to cope. He was becoming more and more fidgety and frustrated. His teacher was already cautioning us to medicate him for concentration and had we not removed him when we did, he would have most definitely been branded ADHD by now. The knowledge gained from this book has helped me understand myself and the boys better. I have learnt that taking their learning styles dispositions, talents, modalities and interests into account is a vital requirement to finding the correct curriculum fit for them.

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results” ~ Albert Einstein

Alpha Omega AcademyJesse had asked for all his school to be done on computer prior to homeschooling and fortunately I was able to find a curriculum that would give him that, with the added benefit of online lessons and a teacher for every subject. Of course for me the bonus is not having to worry about marking schoolwork & whether or not I can explain the material to him. With 9 months de-schooling time now complete, Jesse is now back to school for his Freshman Year with Alpha Omega Academy as from the 1st of August. The past two months of homeschooling him have been a breeze. No more constant reminding or nagging necessary for him to get his schoolwork done. Due to the time difference, his online lessons start from 3pm, just the way he likes it. His pc work can be done at any time of the day, so when he wants to go out in the evening, he just does his work during the day instead. This curriculum allows him to study where he’s most comfortable and also at his most productive time of the day which unlike most is in the late afternoon/evening. If the past 3 months are anything to go by, then the next four years of high school homeschooling should be a breeze.

Here are some of our recent news updates since changing curriculum & learning strategies:

At this stage I’m not sure if Switched on Schoolhouse through Alpha Omega Academy is going to work as well for Misha as it does for Jesse, but I trust we’ll be able to find a similarly successful curriculum for Misha when he gets to high school. For now he’ll continue unschooling with a variety of activities until he gets to grade 6. We will continually re-evaluate and change curriculum as necessary.Image(1)

Now let us visit the homes of our Carnival Contributors to see how they have dealt with this challenge of finding the correct curriculum fit for their children:

is a seasoned homeschooler and shared some very valuable insight on how parents should choose a curriculum in his post How should parents choose a homeschooling curriculum?” In his post he confirms that due to people and circumstances changing over the years, it is wise to avoid purchasing a complete curriculum just in case the need to change curriculum arises later.

doesn’t have a blog but submitted the following:

“I began homeschooling May 2012. All the different curriculum providers overwhelmed me so much. Thank goodness for the Facebook group we have where you find a lot of useful information on homeschooling. I attended the homeschool expo last year in Cape Town and grabbed a pamphlet from each provider! Went home and studied them, still only to be more confused for I did not yet realize what style my 8 year old and 5 year old needed. After seeing a lot of positive comments on Sonlight and Love 2 Learn, I first tried out Brainline. I was still very much into the structured and organized side of how schooling should be and Brainline fell into that category, and of course all the exams which I felt at the time was a must.

Brainline was a complete disaster for we ended up sitting from 08h00 in the morning to 18h00 at night, printing the sheets and doing endless homework – this was for Grade 2!! Two weeks of hell, we immediately stopped Brainline and I then decided to go for Sonlight. Sonlight is a great curriculum with excellent living and enriching books, but after 4 months I realized my son is a Kinaesthetic learner and he did not like what Sonlight offered. Arjay needs to work with his hands almost on every subject or he looses interest and runs off. But for my 5 year old, she is more a Visual learner and LOVES colourful and reading books. Sonlight works perfect for her.

So I had to customize some of the resources together for Arjay to actually sit down or then walk around and learn something.

I bought Maths-u-see and we are flying through the lessons. He loves the blocks and learning that way. Building and working out problems with his new colourful blocks – an added bonus!

I ordered Apologia for the Science part. A lot of experiments and walking outside to actually go and find the animals or insects and study them in detail. Not looking through books, but actually go and find them and design a nice lap book.

I ordered LLATL, have not received it yet, but hope it will work just as good as the rest.

So yes, Sonlight works perfectly for Saskia, all the colourful books and writing. A real book worm. Visual learner.

Customized Maths-u-see, Apologia and LLATL for Arjay, experiments and moving around and about. Kinaesthetic learner.”

shares her experience in her post “Switching Curriculum”. I found some comfort in the fact that even a “seasoned” home educator could find switching curriculum daunting & intriguing. It just goes to show that feeling anxious when curriculum is not working is quite normal. Her tell tale red flags give a good indication as to when it’s “broken” and investigation into another approach may be required.

is another seasoned home educator whose blog has been both informative and inspirational to me over the last 2 years. In her blog post Choosing the Right Homeschooling Curriculum, she shares how thrilling it is to see how all kinds of families choose to homeschool from all walks of life, but one thing these families have in common is their confusion when choosing the RIGHT curriculum on a journey that is so unfamiliar and uncertain.  What should one take into consideration when choosing a curriculum? In this posting Linnie listed five points to take into consideration with the purpose to guide our children not only to learn information but discover their gifting and talents, which will direct them to their purpose in life and give them the satisfaction of seeing God work through them, changing the World.

Thank you to these contributors for sharing their lives with us. May you all go from strength to strength & be blessed in all that you do. I trust you will enjoy visiting these blogs as much as I did.

Remember, there are no hard and fast rules here. All children are different and what works for one family may not necessarily work for another. This post is meant to encourage you that you are not alone in this quest and that you can find the solution to suit your child’s best method of learning. From my experience it’s important to get to know your children and how they learn best before investing a fortune in curriculum. Try out various materials and do not be afraid to adjust it or change it all together if it doesn’t work. Most importantly, enjoy your kids, build relationships, relax and have fun…

Sometimes a curriculum may not need replacing, but with some tweaking may prove effective after all. Please read this article entitled How to Adjust your Curriculum in the July issue of the The Old Schoolhouse Magazine for some tips on adjusting curriculum.

CurrClick Affordable curriculum, lapbooks, & homeschooling resources as well as some great Live lessons and Free Clubs.

Homeschool Tracker

“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 Bennett Unit Studies

As long as you have taught your child how to learn there is nothing he/she cannot learn on their own. So put this on a post note and post it all over the place until you believe it. As long as your child can read a book and understand what it says and knows how to look up what they don't understand, they will always be able to learn something new. And with that knowledge you can never fail your child in teaching.

Our children are going to remember the time we spend with them ~ 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!



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 October 2012 ~ Changing Curriculum

Friday, October 26, 2012

Holiday 4 Us

2012_1022_095111Another school week is finished for us and with that we’re officially on holiday for the next 2 weeks. A very well deserved break for Daddy who’s been working so hard all year. We’re all looking forward to 10 days at the dolphin coast. This time we will also be doing some exploring in Durban with some, fun, real-life, hand-on geography to add to this year’s learning experiences.

Gibson's Learn and Master Guitar Winner 0f the 2011 Acoustic Guitar Player's Choice Gold AwardThe kids have been thoroughly enjoying their guitar lessons. I’m really impressed to see how fast they are progressing through the sessions. If they keep this up they will finish a year’s worth of lessons in just 4-5 months. I really didn’t expect Jesse to manage to finish by end of November as originally scheduled, but with them already at session 8 with just 2 more sessions to complete the first of our 2 year homeschool curriculum. I’m still looking to source a second hand drum set for Misha who will then also use the Gibson Learn & Master Drums Homeschool curriculum to follow his passion.


As for official “schooling”, Jesse is well on track through his first semester, with well improved grades. If he keeps this up, he’ll pass grade 9 with distinctions. However, he still seems to get bored with the online lessons at times. On Monday the English teacher talked him to sleep with the added benefit of being able to lie comfortably on the couch, not that I can blame him since I was listening in and also found it quite boring. Of course having Gerhard & Keanan around for school seems to be adding some additional motivation for all the kids. I think this positive influence may just help getting Misha back to enjoying learning.

But now first a well deserved holiday in anticipation of our 20th Wedding anniversary on the 31st October. I’m looking forward to some quiet, relaxing, family time but will also be taking some time to read some books to better equip myself to help the boys achieve their full potential. Tomorrow we’ll attend the King’s School Entrepreneurs' day with the boys and then we’ll pack and get ready to leave on Monday morning.