Monday, April 23, 2012

Home school journey - part 2

After reading part 1 myself I got the idea that our decision to home educate was made purely upon negative experiences in mainstream school and that is not the case.

Being a relatively young follower of Christ, I was determined to walk the walk and train up my children in the way of the Lord. This was where things started to get complicated...

What the teacher was trying to build up in my child in school, I was tearing down and what I was trying to build up in my child, the teacher tore down. It became a constant battle in our lives and I realized that I was in the minority, fighting a battle against the majority.

Then I heard about a Christian school, very close to home, shorter driving distance, smaller classes and this seemed like the answer to a lot of prayer, and it was! I felt relieved that my child would now be receiving a Christian education.

But Christian (and private) schools often become the home to problem children that did not cope in mainstream bigger classes (two or three out of the 12 children in Liza's class were on Ritalin) and although the teachers were devout Christians, the pupils were not always Christ followers...
It was in a Christian school that a friend of mine's child was offered money in return for sexual favours by a fellow student. Fact. Not opinion.

Then I heard about home schooling.

Home schooling?

Was there such a thing? Could it be legal? Could it be possible? Am I qualified?

After a lot of prayer and probably not enough research, the Lord answered with Proverbs 4....

to be continued...

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Home school journey - part 1

Where did our journey begin? How did it all happen? What made us decide to home educate our children?

To answer these questions, I would have to start at the beginning. The beginning would be round about the end of 2004, when my oldest, then only 5 years old where in grade 0 in public school. Three months earlier I made my 180 and converted to Christianity. On this particular day, as I parked my car in front of the school I saw her sitting alone on the front steps of the school, head on folded arms, crying.

She had lost her drama teacher on the way to class (a different location than usual) and the school secretary couldn't find the new location either, so Liza was left on her own, outside the school building.
Scene #2: She often tells me that her back hurts and I don't take much notice until one night in the bath tub I see these huge purple bruising all over her lower back and I ask and she tells me again that had told me many times CJ* kicks her in her back every time she goes to her school bag to get something. I go and see the teacher the next morning and find out that this CJ* is a troubled child with a troubled background and that no one can do anything because his mother is quite an aggressive lady. No one messes with her or her boy...
Scene #3: Most mornings as we take the last turn on our way to school she complains that her tummy hurts or she's feeling nauseous.
Scene #4: Ilze comes from little school with bite marks on her upper arm.
Scene #5: Again she comes home from school with nail scratches very close to her one eye and another bite mark. After consulting with her "caregiver" I find out that this situation is actually quite "normal" around the school and that these things happen... I get the idea that I'm making a fuss about something that is not important.
Scene #6: It is prize giving time and the giving out of prizes lasts until after eleven o'clock on a school night. The next morning the class goes on a field trip and I phone the teacher to tell her that I will be letting my children "sleep in" for a bit and I will meet them at the field trip location. Was I in trouble for doing that!? I was told that I did not have the authority to make these decisions and all the school children must be at school on time. Parents do not have this authority and I must comply with school rules and management decisions.

Excuse me?

Scene #7: We are on holiday (2007), our last school holiday and I am trying to make up my mind whether to send my children back to an institution where I give up all my God given parental authority to a person I didn't even interview beforehand and know nothing about. So Liza wants to make paper maché and she tells me to phone the school teacher to find out the correct recipe. After not being able to get hold of the teacher, I make my up my own recipe.  While mixing the paste I'm talking to a friend on the phone and Liza is jumping up and down and goes into a complete meltdown. I ignore her until I finished the telephone conversation and then she tells me that my mixture is too smooth and that it must be all lumpy like Teacher's otherwise it won't work! I keep my cool and kindly tell her not to worry and that I'm sure our mixture will also work...
Later that day Liza tells me: "Mommy, Teacher's paper maché didn't actually work as well as ours. Our maché is much better!"

And I almost forgot, Scene #8: Teacher needs to go away for a family funeral and three of us parents gets to be Teacher for the day: I always thought that my child does great in school and that her work was above average - that was my perceptions at Teacher-Parent meetings... not so. And when we started to home educate that next year (2008) she was not able to read and couldn't do math. In fact, she hated reading and writing and so we started all over, from scratch...

I am careful not to include my opinions in this post, as I pledged to write truthful and with integrity. This is where everything started, and these are the memories that I have of my children's brief encounter with mainstream school. I will not include stories of kissing games at the age of six or finding my younger child in a cupboard hiding and waiting for mommy to come and fetch her... and a caregiver shrugging her shoulders - one less to worry about...

Tell me, how can a parent protect their child, if that child is not in their own care and supervision? How can you protect your child in a group of 40+ children with an overworked teacher that is absentminded for a few moments?

How can I protect my child?

(*name changed to protect a troubled child)


Monday, April 16, 2012

This little light of mine... I'm gonna let it shine...

So I got stuck on verse 15. But like in really stuck. I just could not get the words in my head...

Matthew 5 : 15 "Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house." 

Not too difficult you might say. Oh no, it took me a whole week to get this one memorized. And while I'm struggling to get it all figured out where the lit candle must go and mustn't go, it struck me:

Where's my candle burning? Am I hidden away under a bushel? Rephrase: Is my little light hidden away under a measuring bucket? Where am I? What am I doing? And I am asking myself these questions while I'm away from my children, trying to do something that I actually know I should not be doing. Trying to be someone I'm not...

I know very well where my candlestick is! The place where my light ought to be shining.

Right in the middle of my own home.

This is where my candlestick is. And this is where my candle must be.

This is where my light must be shining, always.

Matthew 5 : 15 "Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house." 

I am a mother. 
I am a wife. 
This is who I am. 
And this is where my light must shine.
This is my purpose.
This is my life.
They are my first priority.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Nothing less than a miracle

wrote about this girl before. About how I went looking for the miracle somewhere else, and all along our Lord had a different plan.
We prayed for her and asked everyone we knew to pray too.
Even at Bible study we prayed.
Everyone that knew her on Facebook was praying.
I did not have a lot of faith, I think I had more faith in the miracles somewhere else.
And then the news came this morning...

My little friend is declared cancer free.
No more cancer in her fragile body.
And all the glory must go to our awesome amazing loving healing God and Father!

Psalm 86 verse 10 : "For Thou art great, and doest wondrous things: Thou art God alone."
verse 12 : "I will praise Thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify Thy Name for evermore."
I just want to soak in the whole of this Psalm...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

How the words of Jesus can change your from the inside out!

We started memorizing the Sermon on the Mount some time ago...

purposefully repeating the words of Jesus, every day...

every bit of quiet time, repeating His words on the Mountain...

repeating His words...

and slowly these Words are rearranging the interior workings of my heart...

renewing the inner most part of me...

Muffins for lunch

with Masala tea

So if you find me in the kitchen, mumbling away: Jesus is working in my heart while I'm memorizing His words in my head... verse 15 & 16 of Matthew 5 this week.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Birthdays and Resurrections

Early Sunday morning I light thirteen candles.

We wake her up with a birthday song and loud happy cheers and everybody takes turns to blow out the candles!

Then off to the kitchen for another surprise...

They are hollow inside, empty, just like Jesus' grave!

There were some sweet confusion amongst the little ones whether Jesus was infact inside the cookie or not...
It was so precious!  


And my gift: she loves her purity bracelet and her "the-surprise-is-inside" cake!

Glorious Resurrection morning!

It's raining!

I can not remember if I have ever witnessed a dry Easter weekend in the Cape. And this weekend is no different. It is rrraining buckets! It's like a promise of God: always there, always faithful, always on time.
Pouring as usual: 

showers of blessings


Resurrection Story Cookies

Saturday night, and nobody feels like messing up a just-cleaned-kitchen, but I know how the little ones enjoy this story.

Armed and ready...

a little extra sugar...

now the long wait...
We made these resurrection story cookies three years ago for the first time. This truly makes such an impact on the children. Especially the wooden spoon beating they give the nuts in the beginning, the tasting and smelling of salt, vinegar and sugar - it is an experience for all their senses and their little hearts and souls. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Seder feestelikheid!

Wat begin het as 'n eenvoudige tuisonderrig projek, het nou 'n instelling geword by ons - 'n Seder ete.

Ons het ons eie Seder ete borde gemaak en hard gewerk om alles net mooi perfek te hê vir ons gaste.
As jy kan onthou,  het hierdie dag glad nie perfek begin nie. Gelukkig laat ons foute en ons swak punte ons altyd weer fokus op die perfekte Een. Hierdie dag en hierdie seisoen vier ons dit wat Jesus Christus vir ons kom doen het!

Ongesuurde brood

Spesiaal vir die klein mensies

En as jy kan lees, is jy oud genoeg om saam met die grootmense aan te sit...

Die kinders geniet hierdie geleentheid so!

En Paasfees is nie Paasfees sonder lamsvleis nie

Ek het grootgeword met die ou paashaas en paaseiers gaan soek in die tuin. Vrydag oggend kerk toe, en dan het die hele dag soos 'n Sondag gevoel net om weer twee dae later nog 'n Sondag te beleef. En dieselfde tradisie het ek met my eie kinders voortgesit met sjokolade eiers en hasies en kruise en iewers het ons die betekenis van Paasfees gemis.

Is Paasfees en dit wat daar gebeur het aan die kruis op Golgota nie die absolute middelpunt van die Christelike geloof nie? Dan moet ons mos 'n baie groot hoe-ha maak van hierdie fees nie waar nie!?

Hoe vier jy die Paasfees?


Late Thursday night Liza an I light a candle, #1998

Later still, I thank the Lord that she wants me to pray for her every night, that she will not go to sleep unless I prayed with her. I thank the Lord that I still have this opportunity with her, to talk and share and pray #1999

I can't think straight and I can't find that next gift. I turn off the light and go to sleep.

Good Friday. I drag by body out of bed, put on the coffee, make porridge, all the helping hands are sleeping in. Micah falls off the chair. Emma almost pulls another chair over onto herself. Anika rearranges the living room. I burn the porridge. Coffee spills on the floor. Lord, where is the gift in all this mess? How can a pot of burn be a gift? In all this mess?

We rush. Almost didn't go to church. Joe drives over a little black bike and everything explodes.

Very quietly we drive to church. I am on full alert for that all elusive gift.

Then I get it:

#2000, today in the mess and chaos and imperfections and tempers flaring we celebrate the Perfect One. The All Sufficient One, The Perfect Sacrifice who saves me from my mess, Who sanctifies me in this mess. The Holy One. I can say Eucahisteo Thank You in this mess because He is the Miracle!

Do you know Him?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

How to make your own Seder plates.

Two years ago, we had our first Seder meal. It started out as a home school project. Our family enjoyed the symbolism of it so much, and it gave so much more meaning to the life, death and resurrection of Christ that we decided to do this every year and make it our family tradition. Here is a link to the traditional Jewish Seder meal.

As Christians we are so bombarded with the worldly celebration of Easter that we really need to go out of our way to make a big Jesus fuss over this time of year. Our children need to know the true meaning of Passover, Easter, Good Friday, Pesach, whatever you want to call it.

So here is how to make your own Seder plate:

Find a good printable Seder plate to save and print.

Take measurements, and use a normal plate to draw circles on the back of "sticky back plastic."

Make cut outs, and transfer the plastic to the printed side.

Put a little bit of glue stick in the centre of a paper plate.

Transfer the image onto the paper plate and remove all air bubbles.

There you have your own Seder plate!

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