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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, June 24, 2013

Sweet 16

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This was a fairly unproductive week where schoolwork was concerned. Thursday was filled with a whole day of science/geography by Barry from Education Support. Apart from that, we were making arrangements for Jesse’s 16th Birthday Party on Friday.2013_0621_091757

Friday was filled with a long awaited, fun filled day at Gold Reef City. We hadn’t been to Gold Reef City since Misha’s last school trip in 2006. In those days he was still to short to go on all the ride. This time though, he wanted to do some of the kiddie rides but was told he was too big.2013_0621_103404 2013_0621_120225

We left Gold Reef City at 15h30 to move the party home for cake, snacks & movies.

On Saturday Jesse spent the day at the Northgate Ice with some friends arena to test out his brand new ice skates.

Sunday was spent at home quietly but with the exception of lunch at the Spur in the afternoon.

I still find it hard to believe that my little boy has turned into such a charming young man.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Gifts of Gratitude

by Kendra Fletcher

In our home, gratitude is not a natural trait any of us possess. Complaining? Oh, yes, we’ve got that one down cold. I’ve never had to teach a toddler how to throw a tantrum when they haven’t gotten what they wanted or remind a teen to stew over the weekend’s change of plans that didn’t go her way. Complaining, it seems, is organic. Gratitude is not.

As in every area of our lives, we try to re-orient ourselves to the Gospel. When we realize what a feast God has for us, what grace He’s poured out over us, what Jesus has done so that we don’t have to, it tends to make at least this mom humble and repentant and grateful. I can’t muster up within myself gratitude at all times; many times the Holy Spirit has to bop me on the head with it! I’m so thankful for Him.

While my children’s sensitivity to the Holy Spirit often takes me by surprise, I do see a need to tangibly remind us of ways we can show our gratitude to others. When we show our thankfulness for what other people have done for us, we are in turn thanking God for His provision through them.

Of course, November and Thanksgiving offer a perfect environment in which to voice our gratitude, and I find that it’s a natural time to turn our hearts toward God and the gifts He’s given. You, too? Okay, then, let’s get going!

  • Several years ago a friend and I took our combined sixteen children to a make-your-own pottery place and had the kids make Thanksgiving turkey plates. These have been great fun for us—we display them on the dining room sideboard and get a kick out of the uniqueness of each one. A platter with every child’s turkey made from a handprint could be a wonderful way to celebrate Thanksgiving as it holds your turkey each year.
  • Garlands are always festive and very much in vogue right now. Your kids could make a garland out of anything: leaves, fabric, beads, or handprints traced on brown grocery bags. We had our kids write something they were thankful for on their handprints and hung their “handiwork” in the kitchen, year-round.
  • Similarly, a thankfulness tree can hold the thanks of each person written on paper leaves in autumnal colors, but like our thankfulness garland, a thankfulness tree certainly doesn’t need to be limited to just the Thanksgiving season.
  • I know of a family who used the same special tablecloth each year, adding their thanks to it in washable marker. During Thanksgiving dinner, they’d write something they were thankful for on the tablecloth, and after the festivities were over, the mom would embroider their words and then wash the cloth. Permanently stitched into the tablecloth, they have an amazing testament to the grace of God when they pull out their Thanksgiving tablecloth each year.
  • Jolanthe from Homeschool Creations.  (www.homeschoolcreations.com/ThanksgivingPrintables.html) has produced a free Thanksgiving preschool pack that is a nice little time-filler for your little ones. You can mash the potatoes, and they can trace a cute turkey!
  • Of course there is the happy habit of simply learning to show our gratitude to those who have blessed us in some way. Your grateful heart will spill over onto your family and model thankfulness in a world that is sorely in need of an attitude adjustment. A thank-you note, a bouquet of flowers picked from the yard or roadside, a plate of cookies—these are wonderful, small acts of gratitude that can turn the day around for someone else.

I’ll never forget the morning I received an email that simply said, “Go check your mailbox.” I followed the instructions and discovered in my mailbox a sweet bouquet of roses placed there by two young women in my church who were thanking our family for hosting a large church event on our property. After the work and excitement of the weekend, I was exhausted that Monday morning and was still picking up after people; those flowers blessed me immeasurably.

One last special word, especially for type-A moms who like things just so (me too!): Raising kids has helped me realize when my self-imposed quality standards can be reduced to reality. If the paint dries quicker than you were expecting, let it go. If the ink smears as your little one applies her handprint, it’s really, truly okay. We want them to understand that showing gratitude is the point here, and that their simple act of kindness will bless both them and the recipient, even if the handprint looks like a sea creature instead!

Resources:

  • Growing Together in Gratitude, Barbara Rainey
  • Give Thanks to the Lord, Karma Wilson, Amy June Bates
  • Grateful: A Story of Giving Thanks, John Bucchino, Anna-Lisa Hakkarainen
  • Thank You, God, for Blessing Me, Max Lucado
  • Thank You, God, for Loving Me, Max Lucado
  • Thank You, God, P. K. Hallinan
  • Thank You, God: A Year of Blessings and Prayers for Little Ones, Sophie Allsopp
  • Selections From One Thousand Gifts: Finding Joy in What Really Matters, Ann Voskamp

Kendra Fletcher is the homeschooling mother of eight, aged 19 down to 4. She has never known what it means to homeschool without the presence of preschoolers and loves to encourage other moms who are beginning their homeschool journeys with little ones underfoot. Kendra reviews for the TOS Homeschool Crew and is the author of a popular E-Book about creating a Circle Time for your homeschool. Her website and blog can be found at www.preschoolersandpeace.com.

Copyright 2012, used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared in the November 2012 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the family education magazine. Read the magazine free at www.TOSMagazine.com or read it on the go and download the free apps at www.TOSApps.com to read the magazine on your mobile devices

Friday, June 7, 2013

Child-driven Learning

After giving up on the “school at home” approach late in 2011 and allowing Misha to unschool with just Science/Geography lessons by Education Support as well as twice a week homeschool co-op group and many field trips, we are finally starting to see the learning flame being re-ignited.

This week after Co-op I found him in the living room working on a self assigned homework project for next week’s lesson.

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After about 3 hours worth of working all by himself, here’s the result.

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For a child that absolutely detested reading & writing, this in my opinion is some awesome improvement. Now I’m ever so grateful I finally decided to follow my instincts to “let go” & allow him to find his own opportunities to explore, learn and practice. I’m amazed at what kids can achieve, when the motivation to learn comes from within.

Thank you Brenda, Claire & Courtney for your tireless input into Misha’s learning experience… it is much appreciated.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Fine & Raw Chocolate Factory

Today we enjoyed a Fine & Raw Chocolate making and tasting experience, together with Misha’s Co-op group. It involved tasting and learning about chocolate then making our own chocolate to take home. A huge thanks to Claire for organising this.

Although the chocolate might not to everyone’s taste the making & tasting experience is great.

This chocolate factory based at 46 3rd Avenue, Illovo uses cacao beans from Mexico. Please email the owner, Lara Sklaar or contact her on +27 (0)82 928 0944 for more information. Alternatively you can visit their websites at www.fineandraw.co.za or www.fineandraw.com

How to Have a Homeschool Awards Ceremony

by: Christina Parker Brown

You can have an award ceremony for practically anyone—a homeschool group, a play group, or several moms who want to honour their kids. The size of your group will depend on how you can incorporate these ideas. It is a group effort. As the children get older, they can help with putting on the ceremony.

The aim is to keep it simple but thorough, focusing on the end of the year, accomplishments, achievements, and awards. This is a great way for family members and friends to see what you have been up to during the year, to be involved, to celebrate your children, and to better understand the homeschool experience.

Jobs

Below is a list of various duties that are carried out by parents; some parents assume responsibility for more than one duty, as needed:

  • Facility Coordinator—secures a facility for the event
  • Master of Ceremonies (MC)—introduces speakers and makes the evening’s events flow smoothly.
  • Microphone Coordinator—brings and sets up the microphone and speaker(s). We use a karaoke machine and microphone that were acquired at a yard sale.
  • Program Coordinator—develops the program (coordinates what each child/family will be doing), creates the programs, and sees that the programs are printed.
  • Door Hosts—It is nice to have students greet all the guests as they come through the door.
  • Introducer—welcomes everyone, explains the theme (if you have one), and tells the audience what the group has been up to during the year.
  • Procession Coordinator—supervises children walking down the aisle, with or without flags, in a procession
  • Food/Refreshment Coordinator—keeps track of all RSVPs and updates the group on how many people are coming, as of a couple of weeks before the ceremony. This helps with setup too, as we know how many chairs to provide.
  • Decoration Coordinator—We all help with the decorations; keep it simple.
  • Setup—We all help with setup, but it helps to have someone in charge, and it is good to enlist the help of kids and husbands as well.
  • Clean-up—Everyone, with the exception of guests, helps with clean-up.

Things to Think About

  • Location: Think sanctuary, fellowship hall, or even a recreation center of some type. If you can set up the day before, that is always a plus.
  • Invitations: One mom came up with the idea of having the kids send the invitations. I love this idea, because then it becomes more than just “another thing” we (moms) are asking grandparents and friends to do. Each family sends out their own invitations. You can do this via email or go all out and make professional invites, or the kids can make them.
  • Achievement Tables: We allot one table (6-ft) per family. Two to a table is best if you can pull it off space-wise and if you have easy access to tables. Otherwise, just bring card tables or use chairs—make it work. See the sidebar for suggestions about what types of items to display, as well as ideas for student performances.
  • Picture Tables: If your kids don’t have many tangible things to display, take pictures of their work/projects and display them.
  • It is a good idea to include a family picture or display the family’s name on each table in order to identify the child and family. Guests are encouraged to look at the tables before and/or after the ceremony.
  • Theme and Decorations: We have had a Luau theme (leis carry a blessing, represent children, and traditionally express love, reverence, respect, and welcome), focusing on our support systems: family, friends, and fathers, and our gratefulness for them. Simple leis were used, in addition to some tropical lights, an “Aloha” sign, green Hawaiian grass to wrap around the tables, colorful plastic tablecloths, flowers, and candles (on the tables). Another year, we had a “Follow Your Dreams” theme with rainbow-colored crepe paper, Skittles arranged on tables, and a display of kids’ pictures designating what they wanted to be when they grow up. (Selection of a theme is totally optional.)
  • Set Up: It is best when you can set up the night before (it is less stressful to just show up with the food); however, setup took only about thirty minutes. You do not need to do decorations, but it is neat to see the program, introduction, decorations, and theme all mesh. We usually have simple, modest, handmade decorations; flower centerpieces for the food tables; small pictures of kids; etc. Keep it simple, inexpensive, and uncluttered.
  • Refreshments: We found it worked better to eat before the program. Everyone is hungry and it seems to settle stomachs and open ears if we eat first. Each family brings one or two dishes plus paper products and ice. We like to provide ice water and coffee for drinks. You could just do desserts or not do any refreshments at all.
  • Program: This can be as simple as a Word document printed on colored paper and folded in half or as professional as you want it to be.

The Program

The commencement program could include these components: procession, opening prayer, Pledge of Allegiance, Pledge to the Bible, group Bible verse, welcome, introduction/explanation of theme (if you decide to have one), performances/presentations, awards, slide show, and closing prayer.

  • Procession: We start with a procession of kids down the aisle between the audience. One member carries the American flag, one carries the Christian flag, and two carry our group flag (decorated with our kids’ handprints.) The person coordinating this keeps the children quiet, supervises the lineup, and makes sure they start walking when the music starts.
  • All of the audience is asked to stand.
  • Individual children lead us in an opening prayer, The Pledge of Allegiance, the Pledge to the Bible, and the group Bible verse.
  • Welcome to Guests and Introduction: When our theme was about our gratefulness for our families and for dads who support the choice to homeschool, I spoke about this subject. This is also the time to mention what we have been doing as a group: field trips/events for the year, updates about our group ministry, missions, our monthly prayer meeting, our Keepers of Their Home Club, and the pins earned this year. We have also had older children report about these things.
  • Special Performances: Giving a special presentation is not mandatory but is encouraged. It offers a great opportunity for the kids to get up in front of a real audience and share about something they love or share a talent. It is a great asset to be able to express themselves, and the ideas and possibilities are endless. We consider even the saying of a Bible verse a great contribution to the success of the night. As the kids get older, they are able to do more to help put on the ceremony.
  • Award Presentations: We all create our own awards. Some families hand out certificates; one family gives charms for a bracelet; other families give gifts or award medals.
  • Each family, headed by the Mom and/or Dad and joined by their children, gets up and speaks for a few minutes about their children’s accomplishments during the year. Behavioral or character achievements can be described as well. The main thing is to build up our children. Encourage them. Praise them. Admire them. Edify them. (I try to write things down during the year as it can be hard to think of everything they did all year in May.)
  • I cannot tell you how awesome it is to see these children beam, to be built up this way in front of their peers.
    • “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29, ESV).
  • Slide Show Presentation: Our group’s aspiring photographer compiles a professional slide show of all of the homeschool families who participate in the Awards Ceremony, and it is really amazing. We send her our own homeschool pictures throughout the year and she decides what makes the cut and gets it down to twenty to thirty minutes. It is an awesome way to end the night and a real labor of love. The kids love seeing pictures of themselves and their friends from throughout the year, and the people we celebrated this year (dads, family, and friends who support our homeschool journey) were especially honored.
  • Closing Prayer

Our Awards Night is always a fabulous night and lasts about three and a half hours, including setup and cleanup.

I cannot express in words what this night has done for my children. It is my hope that these ideas will help you build up your own children. It is worth it.

Achievement Tables (Sidebar)

What to include: favorite books, crafts, projects, lapbooks, notebooks, scrapbooks, artwork, Boy Scout badges and awards, projects, papier-maché, posters, science projects/experiments, musical instruments, Keeper At Home pins, etc.

Out of the box ideas: One mom used a Barbie car to symbolize her daughter’s driving lessons and a piano music box to symbolize her daughter’s piano lessons. One time I printed photographs of my daughter demonstrating various ballet positions and attached the photographs to a piece of poster board. Several of our kids were in a play and I took a photo of them “in character.” The photograph was made into a poster print, and I framed it with a frame I found at a yard sale. One child made an Eiffel Tower out of Popsicle sticks. Favorite captured bugs or small, caged pets can be displayed as well. Anything goes. You want your kids to be proud of their table, so get them involved. Creativity is key.

I really encourage my kids to be in charge of this. They are mindful of the things they do during the year, and we designate a box they can put their stuff in as the year progresses. Some things do not make the cut in the end. This year we did not have as many projects as we had in previous years, and I thought it would be hard to get much together, but they always seem to run out of room!

Performance Ideas (Sidebar)

We have enjoyed performances by a trombone player, pianists, and a flute player. One child created a digital picture show to music in which she honored her mom and dad’s anniversary (very touching). Children have sung songs, played musical instruments, presented interpretive dance routines, recited The Gettysburg Address (a 4-year-old did this!), and recited passages from stories such as The Lord of the Rings. Children also have recited the Lord’s Prayer and the books of the Bible.

Children can present demonstration speeches or highlight something from their achievement tables or just tell about something interesting. They could also read a Bible verse, a poem, or a short story they wrote. Be creative.

 

Christina Parker Brown is a writer who has homeschooled since 2001 when her first of three children was in preschool. In 1998 she founded a play group that has evolved into a Homeschool Adventure Group. She loves to write about her faith, family, and adventures and considers herself as much of a student as she is a teacher. Contact her on her blog at www.akahomeschoolmom.blogspot.com.

Copyright 2012, used with permission. All rights reserved by author. Originally appeared in the February 2012 issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, the trade magazine for homeschool families. Read the magazine free atwww.TOSMagazine.com or read it on the go and download the free apps atwww.TOSApps.com to read the magazine on your mobile devices.

Field Trip Venues

Because of their learning styles, my boys thoroughly enjoy field trips and I have found them one of the best methods to educate them as opposed to the mundane textbook approach that bores them to death. It is astounding how much information they remember on these hands-on, interactive field trips. They are also a good source of social interaction with other home educated children.

Places we have visited:

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  • 2012_0704_121920Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre de Wildt was established in South Africa in 1971 and formerly known as the De Wildt Cheetah Centre it has recently been changed to The Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre as a tribute to the woman who has devoted her life to the survival of the cheetah species. ~ Read more on my Blog Post entitled “Ann van Dyk Cheetah Centre”.

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  • 2012_0425_113041Cape Town Science Centre features ocer 300 permanent interactive exhibits. They also offer science shows, curriculum-based hands-on workshops, holiday programmes, science camps, science theatre, travelling exhibitions,hands-on experiments, excursions, experiential driven programmes, Saturday learner enrichment school, robotics workshops & tournaments, chess workshops & tournaments, Science Out Loud popular science talks, maths and science exam preparation lessons,educator enrichment workshops & educator forums, computer courses,and mini-exhibitions on topical science events.
  • Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town. is the oldest surviving colonial building in South Africa. From 1678 it was the centre of civilian, administrative and military life at the Cape, until the settlement grew and some functions and activities moved away from the Castle. Today the Castle is the seat of the military in the Cape, and houses the Castle Military Museum and Iziko Museums of Cape Town (William Fehr Collection).
  • 2012_0505_115020Cullinan Tourism & History is the only operator of the Underground, Journey of a Diamond and Historical tours in the village. They offer a variety of tours to view the city, learn about the history of diamonds and also offer an underground tour of the mine for persons older than 16. ~ Read more on my Blog Post entitled “Steam Train Trip & Cullinan Historical Tour”.

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  • SA National Museum of Military HistoryDitsong National Museum of Military History formerly called the National Museum of Military History, in Johannesburg displays a variety of guns, armoured fighting vehicles, aircraft and naval hardware. Two Bellman aircraft hangars house a variety of thematic displays such as the Anglo-Zulu War (1879), the Anglo-Boer War (1899 – 1902), the First World War (1914 – 1918), the Second World War (1939 – 1945), resistance movements eg, Umkhonto-we-Sizwe (1961 – 1994), medicine in war, the development of combat uniforms and equipment and the development of small arms, to name a few. ~ Read more on my Blog Post entitled “Military History Museum & Zoo Field Trip”.
  • 2012_1004_104124Douglasdale Dairy in Bryanston offers daily educational tours of their facilities that vary in focus depending on the age of the visitors. Tours are tailored to audiences ranging from toddlers accompanied by their mothers, through to university students and adults wanting an in depth understanding of the detailed workings of every step of the dairy production processes. The tours will educate audiences on the full milk process from the farm to the shop shelf. ~ Read more on my Blog Post entitled “Field Trips”.
  • 2012_1107_140447Durban Natural Science Museum is the most utilised natural science museum in the country. Located in the Durban City Hall. It gives a lot of information about the earth, its history and life on earth, both past and present. It houses the boma storytelling area, a life size reconstruction of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, various diorama exhibitions and plasma screens showing natural history scenery. See stuffed insects, birds, fish and reptiles that echo evidence of their earthly existence. Explore the Hall of Earth Sciences Gallery, meet Peter Amen the authentic Egyptian Mummy and journey back in time with innovative exhibitions informing on the origins of Africa.The Museum Research Centre also offers the public access to the third largest collection of birds in Africa. ~ Read more on my Blog Post entitled

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  • eTV Tours in Randburg ~ Read more on my Blog Post entitled “eTV Tour”.

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  • 2013_0604_101744Fine & Raw Chocolate Factory at 46 3rd Avenue in Illovo for a Chocolate making and tasting experience. . Engage your senses in the ancient secrets of chocolate delight. Get your hands full of chocolate in a fun session, making your own raw chocolate, exploring different tastes and sensations on your tongue (including a wine and/or shooter paring), tantalizing your every chocolate desire. Learn everything you ever wanted to know about chocolate. Experience Chocolate, like never before.
  • Fort Schanskop in Pretoria ~ was completed in 1897 and was built in such a way to avert possible attacks on Pretoria from the Johannesburg and Lourenco Marques railway line, as well as from the Johannesburg road. By mounting revolving artillery on the embankment of the fort, attacks from all directions could be warded off. Schanskop was armed with one 155 mm Creusot gun (Long Tom) and two Maxims(Pom-poms) by 1899. The soldiers included one officer and 30 privates from the Transvaal State Artillery.
  • 2011_1205_130922Friends of Kloofendal (FroK) in Roodepoort is an open conservation NGO that focuses on the Kloofendal Nature Reserve in the suburb of Kloofendal in the West of Johannesburg. They offer guided nature walks, historical walking tours to the mine as well as other school programmes. ~ Read more on my Blog Post entitled “Friends of Kloofendal”.
  • Friends of the Rail Steam Train Trip. FotR, Pretoria offers a relaxed outing for the whole family. Travel in our nostalgic vintage coaches with a real steam locomotive puffing up ahead. Join in the wonderful nostalgia of the steam train era when everything moved at a more relaxed and comfortable pace. ~ Read more on my Blog Post entitled “Steam Train Trip & Cullinan Historical Tour”.

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  • Greensleeves entertains well over a million visitors from all over the world with the songs, stories, and rollicking bawdy fun of the Baron and his Minstrels.2011_1005_090259
    • Johannesburg ~ A Medieval History Tour in which we discuss Castles, Knights, Weaponry and Armour, Tournaments, Banquets, Growing up in the Middle Ages and other related topics. This venue comes complete with a skeleton in the dungeon.

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  • 2012_0323_105908Harties “METSI A ME” Information, Communication & Knowledge Centre offers a variety of Science Experiment Presentations to  groups at Tan’ Malie se Winkel. The aim of the centre is to disseminate information and share knowledge of the overall process of the rehabilitation of Hartbeespoort Dam as well as general information on environmental awareness, sustainable development and best practices on mitigating the effects of global warming and desertification. ~ Read more on my Blog Post entitled “Sound & Light Science Expermiments at Tan’ Malie se Winkel”.

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  • 2011_0914_105144James Hall Transport Museum in Johannesburg ~ is the largest and most comprehensive museum of land transport in South Africa. It was established by the Late Jimmie Hall together with the City of Johannesburg in February 1964. The JHMT gives visitors a rare glimpse of Johannesburg’s transport history, dating back more than a century. The museum is the most comprehensive land transport museum in South Africa, with thematic displays and exhibits in the various exhibition halls. Entrance to the Museum is FREE! ~ Read more on my Blog Post entitled “James Hall Transport Museum”.
  • Planetarium, JohannesburgJohannesburg Planetarium is the second biggest in the Southern Hemisphere. It offers mind-expanding shows to the public, as well as astronomy lessons. Educate yourself about star constellations, the movements of the planets, the wonders of the southern skies and the extraordinary deep sky objects that have been discovered in our universe.~ Read more on my Blog Post entitled
  • Johannesburg ZooJohannesburg Zoo has several modern animal exhibits and educational centres. To learn about some of main attractions read the short descriptions below. All directions are given from the Upper Park Zoo entrance. They also offers an environmental and educational programme, the  Honey Badger Club for 7-14 year olds. The club focuses on the animal information and welfare of the Zoo animals, you will have the chance to learn what being a Zoo-keeper is all about, not to mention that you will be able to visit the Zoo every month! ~ Read more on my Blog Post entitled “Military History Museum & Zoo Field Trip”.

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  • 2012_1031_120601KZN Science Centre situated inside the Gateway Shopping Kingdom provides hands-on science learning experiences for all ages, preschool to adult. Ignite your imagination as you explore our unique Gallery containing more than 90 interactive exhibits. With subjects ranging from physics to nature to mathematics and beyond, learning is made fun for all ages in an informal environment where hands-on experience is the best teacher. ~ Read more on my Blog Post entitled “Happy Holiday”.
  • Kwa-Zulu Natal Museum in Pietermaritzburg ranks among the top National Museums in South Africa's, a cultural and natural history museum renowned for its unique collections - there are eight natural history and around ten cultural history galleries that include an array of mammals (together with the last wild elephant in KwaZulu-Natal), birds, amphibians, insects, an extensive mollusc collection (there are few South African land snails that are not represented in the Natal Museum) and a life-size T-Rex model.

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  • Melt ChocolatesMelt Chocolates is a beautiful little chocolate shop, in the Nicholway Shopping Centre in Bryanston, with a kitchen that is visible from the outside. They offer a quick overview on the history of chocolate & a short tour to taste see how they create these delectable favourites. ~ Read more on my Blog Post entitled “Field Trips”.
  • 2012_1106_141632Mini Town is one of Durban's best-loved attractions, It gives a good impression of some of Durban's landmarks and a walkabout will give you an opportunity to view excellent models of some of Durbans most interesting buildings. One of the most popular features of Mini Town is the rail network with trains continually on the go and the airport complete with aeroplanes. The harbour scene features a tug and ship travelling around the harbour.
  • 2012_0309_123727Mogale’s Gate Environmental Education Centre is a specialised environmental education centre situated on a beautiful game farm in the Magaliesburg area, Gauteng. This unique facility offers professional, yet, affordable Environmental Educational Day Trips to school groups during weekdays. The game drive followed by an interactive presentation, makes for a truly fun learning experience. ~ Read more on my Blog Post entitled “Bush School @ Mogale’s Gate”.2012_0826_102024
  • Mooikrans Equus is a horse riding centre and holiday farm, situated on the escarpment of the Mpumalanga Highveld, 27km from Morgenzon on the R35 route to Amersfoort. They offer a variety of educational, psychotherapy and social programs. Our boys have thoroughly enjoyed the camps & loved the staff at Mooikrans. ~ Read more on my Blog Posts entitled “Horse Camp in Mpumalanga”, ”Horse Camp”, “Horse Camp Feedback” & “Mooikrans Equus Horse Camp 2012”.
  • Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban offers a variety of experiences and attractions. Take a trip on the Sky Car for a 360º View or make the 550-step adventure walk to the top of the arch and enjoy panoramic views of the Indian Ocean and Durban. Or take a look inside the stadium with one of our all-access (90 minute) or general (45 minute) tours. For the adrenaline junkies, try plunging off the 106 metre arch on the Big Swing.
  • Market Theatre Renting OptionsMoyo Market Theatre in Newtown, Johannesburg consists of the the “Laager Theatre” the “Main Theatre” as well as the the “Barney Simon” theatre. The Market Theatre also houses the Market Theatre Laboratory for skills training. The Laboratory is a platform for young artists in this country, to meet, interact, engage and discuss issues affecting the arts industry and creative processes. The Lab hosts community theatre showcases nationally weekly. Groups in and around Gauteng can book showcases with the Lab office, while groups nationally can send a request to be visited by a fieldworker to showcase their new plays for the Lab.~ Read more on my Blog Post entitled “Museum Africa & Moyo Market Theatre”. 
  • 2012_0605_084650Museum Africa is one of the most beautiful buildings where it lies right next door to the Market Theatre complex in Bree Street, Newtown, Johannesburg. It is Johannesburg’s social and cultural history museum and is located in what was once the city’s fruit and vegetable market, with a block-long facade, towering pillars and huge interior space. The journey through Africa’s history visits places like Kemet, now known as Egypt, Kush (Sudan) and Punt (Somalia), which the ancients called ‘God’s country’. Museum Africa is about a time the world forgot; a time very little of the world knows; a rich history with which a generation of black children can identify and correct the record on African history as it has been presented up until now. Its collection and research focuses on indigenous African cultures, history and archaeology, and linguistics, and the collection of rock art is more than impressive. The collected works of art contain many local artists as well as Pre-Raphaelite and Impressionist paintings.  ~ Read more on my Blog Post entitled “Museum Africa & Moyo Market Theatre

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  • 2012_1101_150325Natal Sharks Board in Umschlanga Rocks offers a see an informative 25 minute audio-visual presentation about sharks followed by a shark being dissection. These sharks were found dead in the shark safety gear during routine servicing at protected beaches and then stored in deep freezers until required for dissection. This ensures that the specimens do not deteriorate and valuable information is not lost. ~ Read more on my Blog Post entitled “Happy Holiday

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  • Pikitup Landfills & Depot Tours in Johannesburg. Pikitup is the biggest waste management company in Africa. Their present services are restricted to the geographical area of the City of Johannesburg. ~ Read more on my Blog Post entitled “Pikitup Landfill Site & Depot Tour

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  • Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve in Roodepoort is a privately owned, non-subsidized game reserve, covering approxmiately 1 200 ha on the typical highveld of Gauteng. The reserve is situated in the "Cradle of Humankind", a declared World Heritage Site. Facilities offered are
    • Rhino & Lion Nature ReserveAbseil-Adventures,
    • Accommodation in the rest camp that has its own private swimming pool, lapa area and a jungle gym for x-small children.
    • Animal Crèche Animals available to touch and take a photograph with are Lion & Tiger Cubs etc.
    • Day Visitors
    • Game Drives Day or night drives, with a duration of roughly two and a half hours are conducted seven days a week. These can be incorporated with a braai or a tour of the Wonder caves for that special outing or enjoy the lion feed on Saturdays and Sundays. Big groups and schools are welcome. (Outsourced to Non-Reserve Entities)
    • Wondercave  ~ Read more on my Blog Post entitled “Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve

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  • 2013_0530_095516_thumb[4]SA Mint situated on the Old Johannesburg Road, Gateway Centurion offers the following:
    • Presentation and Welcome
    • An informative video on the production of coins.
    • A personalised tour in the South African Mint's coin museum ~ Read more on my Blog Post entitled “COIN Tour at SA Mint”.
  • SA National Botanical Gardens
    • Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden is situated against the backdrop of the magnificent Witpoortjie waterfall, this Garden covers almost 300 hectares and consists of both landscaped and natural veld areas. The natural vegetation of the area is known as the 'Rocky Highveld Grassland' and consists of a mosaic of grassland and savanna, with dense bush in kloofs and along streams. The variety of habitats accommodates over 600 naturally occurring plant species. A breeding pair of majestic Verreaux's Eagles nest on the cliffs alongside the waterfall. The Garden is home to an abundance of wildlife with over 220 birds species recorded on site. There are also a number of reptiles and small mammals, including small antelope and jackals, which occur naturally in the Nature Reserve.
  • SAASTA (South African Association for Science & Technology Advancement) aims to advance public awareness, appreciation and engagement of science, engineering and technology in South Africa. SAASTA is a business unit of the National Research Foundation. ~ Read more on my Blog Posts entitled “SAASTA Telescope Building & Science Experiments” & “Star Gazing at SAASTA Johannesburg Observatory”.
  • 2012_0815_113747Sasol Techno X aims at enthusing learners, students and the general public about the endless possibilities of science and technology. Sasol Techno X seeks to expose, at a practical level, the many facets of technology and encourage learners to explore the wide range of exciting disciplines and career choices that science, maths and technology offer.  This initiative is driven by five core members from Sasol and the Boitjhorisong Resource Centre. ~ Read more on my Blog Post entitled “Sasol Techno X”.
  • Sci-Bono Discovery Centre in Johannesburg offers edutaining birthday parties and holiday programmes and boasts over 350 interactive exhibits designed to satisfy curious minds of all ages. ~ Read more on my Blog Posts entitled “Sci-Bono Discovery Centre”, “Dialogue in the Dark", “Sci-Bono Discovery Centre & “Field Trips“.
  • Sugar Terminal Tours offered by SASA (South African Sugar Association). The vast sugar terminals at Maydon Wharf, on the west side of the bay, are among the biggest in the world, and are capable of storing huge amounts of sugar and handling and moving tons and tons of this precious food ingredient. Come and tour this great monument to Durban's past as a trading port and witness its continuing prosperity. The tour is fascinating and educational, it tells about the sugar production and refinement processes.

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  • uShaka Marine World situated in Durban ~ Read more on my Blog Post entitled “Happy Holiday”.
    • Sea World features the largest aquarium in the southern hemisphere, with underground viewing galleries, extending 500 meters through a series of four superbly designed old ship wrecks, the uShaka aquarium is breathtaking. Each and every display was designed to represent not only the natural habitat of the sea creatures, but to depict a story that ties in with the Phantom Ship theme. Incorporated into the Sea World complex, are the Animal Encounters, comprising the Meet a Dolphin, Snorkel Lagoon, Ocean Walker and Xpanda Shark Cage Experience, allowing uShaka patrons to truly experience interactions with sea creatures. They also offer daily Dolphin, Seal & Penguin shows.
    • Wet ‘n Wild offers a variety of fun fresh water world of slides and pools and caters for the adrenaline junkie and those less adventurous!
    • uShaka Kids World is a haven for kids from the ages of 2yrs to 12yrs, designed with jam-packed activities and interactive areas.
      Boasting Africa’s biggest jungle gym, to Crabby Beach (giant sandpit) to Polly’s Paint Pen (painting paradise), and for our movie stars, Cast-Aways (show time stage area) it’s fun from sun-up to sun-down!
    • Village Walk offers a host of unique outdoor adventure stores, variety of curios stores and a full flavour of surf and ethnic clothing stores creating a retail heaven and culinary adventure rolled into one with an awesome variety of specialty stores and family restaurants.
    • Dangerous Creatures in a "Zanzibar" warehouse filled with exotic reptiles from around the world which have been saved from a shipwreck. Here you'll come face to face with some of the world's fastest and most poisonous snakes such as the king cobra and black mamba. Then there's the anaconda, the longest and heaviest snake in the world, and the Gaboon adder with the longest, most venomous fangs.
    • uShaka Beach offers a variety of beach activities to make even the free zones at the park an experience to remember.

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  • Vaal Dam is South Africa’s second biggest dam by area and fourth largest by volume. It is situated 56km south of Johannesburg on the Vaal River in Vanderbiljpark, the Vaal Dam It has more than 800km of shoreline, spans three provinces - Gauteng, Free State and Mpumalanga - and is a favourite destination for water sport enthusiasts.~ Read more on my Blog Post entitled “Vaaldam Water Pufication Plant Field Trip”.
  • Voortrekker Monument & Nature Reserve in Pretoria ~ It is a unique Monument which commemorates the Pioneer history of Southern Africa and the history of the Afrikaner. It stands as a major landmark on a low hill, just outside Tshwane (as Pretoria is now called). Depending on who you are, the monument that has some of the finest sculpture work in the country is either a reminder of apartheid or an important memorial for Afrikanerdom, but either way, it is worth a visit.

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Places we still plan to visit:

  • UntitledAnglo Boer War Museum in Bloemfontein gives the visitor insight into the Boer War through it`s unique art collection, dioramas and exhibits but also brings the visitor closer to understanding the background against which the war took place. The course and development of the war unfolds in front of the visitor as you progress through the museum. You are also afforded a glimpse into the life in the concentration and also prisoner-of-war camps.
  • Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg is a museum complex in Johannesburg, South Africa dedicated to illustrating apartheid and the 20th century history of South Africa.
  • Gold of Africa Barbier-Mueller Museum in Cape Town entices visitors to experience the ancient, sometimes mystical relationship that exists between gold and the African continent throughstate-of-the-art visuals and artistic displays. The museum is home to a collection of 350 WestAfrican gold artefacts as well as objects from theancient gold civilisations of southern Africa. The purpose of the collection is to preserve the art of African goldsmithing while inspiring contemporary design. Temporary exhibitions from countries as diverse as India, Brazil, Mali and Egypt explore the commonality of this theme across geographical borders and cultural divides.
    • Medieval feastsDurban ~ A Medieval History Tour in our enchanting castle in which we discuss Castles, Knights, Weaponry and Armour, Tournaments, Banquets, Growing up in the Middle Ages and other related topics. You will be transported into another world of Kings and Queens, jousting, wizards, knights and the manorial system and life in those times.
  • photo_footer1.jpgHijke is a small cheese making industry started by Hester Hoogendijk in the year 1998 with the production of soft cheeses. Hard cheeses have been produced since late 2003. The farm Doornkraal, which is home to Hijke Cheese, is 9Ha in extent & located 20km from Johannesburg International Airport off the R25 to Bapsfontein
  • the Tumulus buildingMaropeng and the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site is an exciting, world-class exhibition, focusing on the development of humans and our ancestors. Along the pathway to the Tumulus building is the site of an archaeological excavation which has been excavated since October 2005 by scientists from the University of the Witwatersrand.
  • National Cultural History Museum, PretoriaNational Cultural History Museum in Pretoria houses vast collections documenting the life of South Africans, from the early Stone Age, through the Iron Age, and up into our day.Notable exhibitions include the San Art exhibition, the Marabastad exhibit as well as an art gallery as well as various temporary exhibitions.
  • National Museum BloemfonteinNational Museum in Bloemfontein is a natural history, cultural history and art museum which was established in 1877 and is a Declared Cultural Institution, which resorts under the Department of Arts and Culture and is governed by a council. The Museum currently includes 13 research departments (both Natural Sciences and Human Sciences), an Art Museum, Education Department, Information Services section / Library, an Administration section, and two technical departments.
  • Island ImagesRobben Island Museum off the Cape Town shores. Robben Island served as a place of banishment  isolation and imprisonment from the 17th to the 20th centuries,. Today it is a World Heritage Site and museum, a poignant reminder to the newly democratic South Africa of the price paid for freedom. Ferries depart at 9am, 11am, 1pm and 3pm, weather permitting, from Nelson Mandela Gateway, at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.
  • SA National Botanical Gardens
    • Free State National Botanical Garden on the outskirts of Bloemfontein, spans a valley between picturesque dolerite koppies. The natural vegetation comprises tall grassland and woodland, dominated by magnificent wild olive and karee trees. The harmony of the Garden has been achieved by retaining and highlighting the best elements of the natural landscape. It covers 70 hectacres, and is home to about 400 species of plants, mainly from the Free State, Northern Cape and Lesotho. It also includes a fine collection of decorative and hardy trees indigenous to the area.

    • Hantam National Botanical Garden is situated just outside Nieuwoudtville, the Garden is one of the world's very special biodiversity treasures and the first National Botanical Garden in the Northern Cape, South Africa. Enjoy the magic of the amazing diversity of plants and animals alike, which provide spectacular displays during winter, spring and autumn.

    • View over Garden from Fynbos TrailHarold Porter National Botanical Garden is situated in the centre of the coastal fynbos where the flora is at its richest. It encompasses mountain slopes with wind-clipped heathlands, deep gorges with relict forests, flats and marshes with restios, sedges and bulbs, as well as dunes adjacent to the beach with specialised salt-adapted plants. The Garden is renowned for its waterfalls and amber pools. The main fynbos families (proteas, ericas and restios) are present as well as other important families such as irises, daisies and orchids. The Garden boasts red disa (Disa uniflora) in its natural habitat as well as South Africa's national flower, the king protea (Protea cynaroides).

    • Karoo Desert National Botanical Garden is a truly unique garden. It cultivates and displays a wide variety of desert and semi-desert plants. The 154 hectare Garden lies at the foot of the Hexriver Mountain range, 120 km north of Cape Town. Only 11 hectares are cultivated and the remaining 143 hectares are comprised of natural vegetation. The Shale trail and Grysbokkie trail are the two hiking trails in the natural area.

    • Kirstenbosch  National Botanical Garden is acclaimed as one of the great botanic gardens of the world. Few gardens can match the sheer grandeur of the setting of Kirstenbosch, against the eastern slopes of Cape Town’s Table Mountain. was the first botanic garden in the world to be devoted to a country's indigenous flora. Kirstenbosch displays a wide variety of the unique plant life of the Cape Flora, also known as fynbos, as well as plants from all the diverse regions of southern Africa.

    • KwaZulu-Natal National Botanical Garden specialises in the conservation of plants from the eastern region of South Africa and of rare and endangered species from elsewhere. The Garden's Victorian past is evident in its magnificent specimens of northern hemisphere plants, such as the swamp cypress, tulip trees, camphor trees, plane trees, giant figs and magnolias. One of the finest features of the Garden is the avenue of London Plane trees. The focus of the Garden is to collect, display and promote the conservation of plants of the eastern grasslands, in particular the genera Clivia, Gerbera, Kniphofia and Watsonia. A section of the Garden is planted specifically to attract birds which, along with other diverse habitats, makes the Garden rich in bird life, with over 150 species recorded. A special feature is the fascinating Useful Plants Garden, displaying plants used culturally by the Zulu people for medicine, craft, food and other uses.

    • Lowveld National Botanical Garden is shaped by the two main rivers that cut across it, namely the Crocodile and Nels Rivers. Before these two rivers converge in the Garden, they form spectacular waterfalls which can be viewed at the Cascades and the Nels viewpoints. When the Crocodile River is low, interesting geological formations are visible. When in bloom the clivias at the Garden's main entrance are a beautiful and welcoming sight. Walking through the enchanting African Rain Forest enables one to cross the Crocodile River across the famous suspended bridge, where the cascading waterfall can also be viewed.

    • Pretoria National Botanical Garden is a urban oasis is a pristine getaway situated in the eastern suburbs of South Africa's administrative capital, Pretoria. A 35 m high quartzite outcrop divides the Garden in two sections. Its frosty south-facing section and the north-facing, warmer section present two different worlds to the visitor and botanist. A paved nature trail gives access to the fascinating natural vegetation on the ridge, which boasts a diversity of indigenous fauna and flora.

  • South African Museum in Cape Town houses more than one and a half million specimens of scientific importance. The collections now range from fossils almost 700-million years old to insects and fish caught last week. There are also stone tools made by people 120 000 years ago, traditional clothes from the last century, and T-shirts printed yesterday
  • Sudwala Dinosaur Park situated in Mpumalanga, next to the stunning Sudwala Caves, this beautiful park is actually an exquisite garden that houses some of the most intriguing displays about life on earth; prehistoric creatures, age-old debates about man’s humble beginnings and fascinating creatures that roam the nature’s wildernesswill be a learning experience that you will never forget. It provides a fascinating medley of scientific facts that will please the curious mind. The exquisite park comes alive with the various forms and models that depict the development of life in different ages – be it the ancient amphibians, huge mammal-like reptiles, grand dinosaurs, extinct mammals or pre-historic man, this park has a lot of stories to tell. Be awed by the intriguing forms of Mr and Mrs Pless, the most famous representatives of "Austrolopithicus africanus" – southern apes that lived millions of years ago and an integral part of the informative debates on mankind’s ancestors.
  • Transvaal Museum of Natural History, PretoriaTransvaal Museum of Natural History in Pretoria ~ Exhibits include hominid fossils from the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site and associated fauna, including Mrs Ples one of the country’s top celebs and the nickname attributed to a fossil skull believed to represent a distant relative of all humankind; fossils of amphibians, fish, reptiles and plants from the Karoo. There’s a Discovery Centre for children (by appointment) who can enjoy a ‘hands on’ experience of natural history, and the museum caters further for the younger generation by including a reconstruction of a Deinonychus dinosaur – apparently used in the filming of Jurassic Park by Stephen Spielberg. And a chemical analysis of 17th century clay pipes from Stratford-upon-Avon suggests that Shakespeare and his cronies were smoking cannabis and other compounds, particularly in the light of a new assessment of Sonnet 76 – it may be worth reviewing your Shakespeare before a visit to the Transvaal Museum of Natural History.
  • Union Buildings in Pretoria ~ form the official seat of the South African government and also house the offices of the President of South Africa. The grand Union buildings sit on Meintjies Kop and overlook the city of Pretoria. ~ Read more on my Blog Post entitled

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Virtual Field Trips