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Our Reasons for Home Education:

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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.

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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, June 29, 2012

June 2012 SACHS Blog ~ Extra Curricular Activities

Hi everyone it's time for the June South African Carnival of Homeschooling blog. This month our theme is Extra Curricular activities and moms from all over South Africa will be sharing their experiences.

Extracurricular activities are activities performed by students that fall outside the realm of the normal curriculum of school or university education and they exist at all levels of education. Activities that often involve some time & commitment outside of the regular school day, such as band and choir, are also considered extracurricular activities.

For us these activities include Chess, Music, Junior Engineering for Africa (JEFA) and Tutur/Co-op for Technology.

Misha still goes to his old school twice a week on Monday & Wednesday for an hour of chess. On Thursdays, Jesse has Technology with a tutor and the same tutor teaches Misha art & drums. After his art & drum lessons, Misha attends a Technology co-op for 8-12 year olds in Constantia Kloof. On Fridays they both attend Junior Engineering classes in Northriding for 1 & half hours. Jesse will be taking part in the Robotics competition in July.

The boys have also done some earth science courses with Barry Byrant from Education Support which they quite enjoyed.

  1. Volcanoes Day 1 (12 March) & Day 2 (26 March)
  2. Earth Quakes & Working with Clay (11 June)

Last month Misha checked out the Honey Badger Club at the Johannesburg Zoo. He loved it so much that I’ve signed him up to attend there once a month as from next month as well.

My boys are not very keen on sports and the highlight of our month, is the monthly ice skating at Northgate Ice Arena. Except for once this year due to sickness, my boys won’t miss this for anything.

Culture Swapper

We’ve also tried some Geography with a twist this year by joining the World Wide Culture Swap. “What is Worldwide Culture Swap?” you may ask. It is various groups of people from across the world sharing gifts & information in order to learn more about each other’s country & culture. This adds a new incentive and great excitement to learning geography when parcels are sent and received.

This year I made it a priority to add numerous field trips in order to rekindle the boys’ love for learning & still have quite a few more planned for the rest of this year.

Field trips attended & planned:

  1. Sound & Light Experiments @ Tan’ Malie se Winkel (23 March)
  2. eTV Tour (24 May)
  3. Weather Training Centre @ Irene (31 May)
  4. Sci Bono Science Museum (3 July)
  5. The Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre – deWildt (4 July)
  6. Nature Treasure Hunt @ Kloofendal Nature Reserve (12 July)
  7. Maropeng (7 August)
  8. Planetarium Day (3 September)
  9. Cheese Farm & Spring Picnic (4 September)
  10. Horses & Conservancy (2 October)
  11. Scorpions – nocturnal walk @ Kloofendal Nature Reserve (6 October)
  12. Babboon Rehabilitation (5 November)
  13. Santarama Miniland (3 December)

We’ve had some hectic weeks so far but it has quietened down a bit. Next week we have 2 field trips again, but thereafter it may stay at 1 per month. Will see how it goes and what other opportunities present themselves.

The Horse Camp at Mookrans Equus is another long awaited event not to be missed. This year it’s scheduled from 26th August to 1st September.

All in all I think our new approach with de-schooling this year is slowly paying off. Jesse reckons he’s ready for some real learning again and has been signed up with Alpha Omega Academy to ease back into learning with English, Maths, Science, Health & Physical Education using the PC based Switched on Schoolhouse material. Misha will continue with unschooling for now until around 6th/7th grade when we’ll look into formal curriculum again. I pray that by then, the damage caused by private school will have been all repaired & he will be able to reach his full potential.

Now for some great contributions from other moms on how they supplement their kids’ learning with extra murals:

  1. "Unofficial Extra-Curricular Activities" by Elize van der Merwe at  Bearakademie has this to say: “At first I thought, oh my… only one extra-curricular activity, but then I remembered the Masters are pre-schoolers, they participate in a lot of things that are seen as extra-curricular, but is termed "unofficial" – as they don’t necessarily do it as part of a group, or a group of their own peers. So here are our unofficial-official list of extra-curricular activities...”
  2. Taryn Hayes from Hayes Happenings shares in her post All About Extra Murals how they supplement their much loved literature-based curriculum with various extra curricular activities and outings.
  3. Jolene van Niekerk from MonstersEd submitted 3 posts about field trips they’ve attended as part of their extra curricular activities.
    • Reef Steemers ~ “We had the opportunity to go on a steam train depo tour at Reef Steamers.  We also got to go on a short ride on one of the trains.  It was an awesome experience.”
    • Douglasdale Dairy ~ “We had the opportunity to go to Douglasdale Dairy to learn about the milk bottling process.  We also go to go on a tour of the dairy.”
    • Rhino Lion Nature Reserve ~ “We took our conservationist boys to the Rhino Lion Nature Reserve.  Since Noo is such an avid wild animal lover (thanks to my parents owning and living on a game farm) this was right up his alley.”
  4. Joanne Madgwick from Castle for Keeps has a family of 7 that lives in the rolling hills of KZN in South Africa. They value family and love creating their home to be a place that not only nurtures their children but provides a place for them to grow and be individually built into a Castle that will last for eternity. They blog about parenting, education, homeschooling, training, crafts, outings, special days and celebrations among other aspects. Castle For Keeps also provides me with a platform from which I can share with others the articles I write for the Witness Newspaper on Education and Parenting - all of which are daily laying stone upon stone to create our Castle Keeps. She shares her view on extra curricular activities in her post entitled The Soul of Education.
  5. In her post, Assagay Coffee Farm, Bronwyn Marcus from Three Marcus Boys shares how they joined a few homeschoolers in Pinetown KZN on a tour of the coffee farm and tasting of the coffee.
  6. Melanie Grant from Mel’s Mouthful on Mothering has these pages to share
    • “I have to be intentional in my approach to physical activity.  I am not a natural physically active person, it takes lots and lots of effort to get this lazy body moving, but like I have said before - you need to be who you say you are, and what you tell your children to be.  So if I expect them to be physical then I need to be too.  So my first priority,  when it comes to extra curricular activities is - sport, movement, exercise! And this is how we do it: Homeschooling and Extra-Curricular Activities: Sport
    • “Extra curricular activities play a vital role in bringing balance to our children.  After I have ensured that the children have lots and lots of sporting and physical activities to do, I can then focus on taking my children out into a learning environment.  Learning comes alive when there is an authentic interaction with the subject and this is where our extra curricular activities for enrichment play an important role.  I want my children to love learning.  I want them to find joy in discovering and adventuring and questioning. Sometimes they do a little too much but they are thriving in this environment.  It's all about maintaining a lifestyle of learning.  Sometimes we take notes, sometimes we do report backs, sometimes we just have fun. We never do the same thing in the same way.  But if you ask them questions about what they have learnt you will be amazed at what they remember and their experiences.”
    • “Creativity is not one of my strengths but I love artistic expression in different forms.  The more varied, the better.  I don't just want my children to be limited to arts and crafts, though they do that too, but I want them to experience the joy of creating whether its from a piece of wood, beads, paper or wood.  The sky is the limit.  And so where there is an opportunity for creative expression, we do it.” Homeschooling and Extra Curricular Activities in Creativity
    • I believe that though one's life as a Christian cannot be compartmentalised, it's important to ensure that my children participate in extra curricular activities that are spiritual in nature - that feed their soul, remind them of who they are in God and develop good healthy relationships with the church.  I want to encourage them to enjoy fellowship, the gathering of the saints and being part of a body - at a young age.  We study the word and pray every day with our children but if we relied only our input into their lives, they would be limited in their growth.  This gives them many opportunities to grow, to be challenged, to  learn and to have fellowship. Homeschooling and Extra Curricular Activities:  Spiritual

Now if reading all these posts has left you feeling inadequate or overwhelmed please read Melanie Grant’s additional post entitled The Lowdown on Extra Mural Activities in order to bring some balance to all these articles.

For us newbies it is very important to remember these feelings result from our lack of knowledge & that these seasoned homeshool moms were also once newbies like us and through years of experience have found what works for their families. Finding that balance, takes time, sometimes through trial & error. However, their willingness to share their experiences with us will enable us to gain knowledge faster in order to eventually find that balance for our families. We shouldn’t compare ourselves with these families, instead learn from them through reading the posts in order to find ideas of what’s available to try and then set out to sift through those ideas to find those that will work for our individual families.

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

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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 June 2012 ~ Extra Curricular Activities