Monday, September 1, 2014

The little yellow duck project

On the 1st of August 2014, South Africa joined this project. We at, a knitting and crocheting community started a bit of a competition between the Cape Town group and Gauteng group.
This is a world wide project where people are knitting, felting, crocheting or making any kind of duck that they can. We are putting a label on it and releasing it into the wild! Whether in a restaurant, car park, game reserve, well anywhere for that matter!

It is a project that is hoping to make more and more people aware of organ donation, blood transfusion etc.

The children and I got on board and knitted 31 ducks in total. 1 duck per day for the
month of August. My husbands sister died when she was 7 from Leukemia. She had bone marrow transplants etc. So, this is something worth making known.

If you are interested in this project go to

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The joys of home schooling

As a home schooler of 10 years I could say that I have some experience. It has been the most fantastic and the worst time of my life. The most enjoyable and the saddest time of my life. And yet, I would not change the last ten years if I was able to.

We started homeschooling for many reasons. The most important one was that we moved to the Eastern Cape. The schools were all Afrikaans and because we had many other reasons to home school we didn't even try to find a school. Caleb was 5, Hannah 3 and Sheth a couple of months old.

We bought a curriculum called Konos, Math-U-See and Llatl. We thought we were set! Well when I opened up the Konos file I panicked! It was overwhelming. The supplier didn't help at all when I contacted him. So, I started planning all my own lessons. I still used Math-U-see and Llatl. We hated it. It was taking us 4 to 5 hours per day to get through 1 page in each book. Caleb cried, I shouted and cried, and I felt like I was failing my child.

I read Better Late Than Early and stopped schooling him. I had gone to Waldorf Constantia when I was at school and had loved school. If there had been a Waldorf Home school curriculum then that's what I would of done right from the start. Well, we bought Little Footprints and did that for a year and a half - with me writing a lot of the schooling as well.

5 or 6 years ago my friend, Carle, told me about Waldorf Homeschooling. I bought the kindergarden to grade 8 from A Little Flower Garden for 175 dollars. She even let me pay it off! What a beautiful and trusting woman Melissa is. I started reading and didn't stop for years. I got onto Waldorf Yahoo groups and blogs. I bought more and more resources and became fully immersed in Waldorf education. I became happy, Caleb became happy, Hannah and Sheth were happy.

Caleb started reading at 11.5. He started reading the Narnia Series. He hasn't stopped reading since. Hannah started reading at 7 and hasn't stopped. Sheth is 10.5. He has just started reading his own school work, slowly, but he has yet to pick up a book and read by himself. I am not worried as I realise that every child is different.

We started Waldorf at grade 1 with Caleb and Hannah, went through it quickly as they were older, went through grade 2, 3 and 4 quickly and then started settling in at the appropriate grade for each child.

Caleb finished grade 8 Waldorf, then worked on Scout advancements, and badge courses. He had a lot of studying and log keeping to do for scouts. This was what kept him happy. This year he is doing SOS, grade 9, badge courses, Llatl, Math-U-See, Khan Academy and Creation Science. SOS is monotonous, and boring. We are using it because it gives the child a report at the end of it. Caleb will need this report as he will be applying to study Engineering and Related Design next year at college.

Hannah is finishing up her Waldorf grade 8 this year. She has almost completed her First Class Advancement so she will have to wait 2 years before she can get her Explorers. Next year she will be working on badge courses through Scouts, working on getting her Bronze Presidential Award and she will be doing projects for schoolwork.

Sheth and I will get fully immersed in Waldorf, I can't wait!

So what is my conclution? Every child is different. Remember that and adapt accordingly. If you love your child and want them to prosper in life you will never fail them. You will give them what they need to get an excellent education. And, they in turn will make you proud.


We have had a busy 3 years with Caleb in Scouts. He is working towards the Top Award, known as a Springbok Scout here in South Africa. This award consists of two parallel things, advancements and badges.

1 Pathfinder
2 Adventurer
3 First Class
4 Explorer
5 Springbok

You can do these advancements at your own pace, or not at all. Some kids go to Scouts to have fun, some to learn how to survive in the wild and others to earn their Springbok Award. Caleb has always gone to get the most badges, the highest wards etc.

He has just handed in his log book of about 42 pages for his First Class Hike. This was a two day, one night hike that each scout who wants to finish his First Class Advancement has to plan, execute and write a log on, with all the details in.

At the same time as these advancements the scouts have to work on badges for First Class (a physical badge, eg. Swimming interest) and for the Explorer advancement.

The scout can choose to do 1 of the three explorers, being land, sea or air. They have 6 badges to do for this. Or, like my child, you can choose to do all three!  Then you may choose to do your Bushman's Thong (land), your Bosun's cord (sea), or your Airman's cord (air) or like my son, all 3! We at 1st Durbanville, and the Kanonkop district, call this a SEAL Scout.

To do one of the cords you have to do 3 extra badges on top of the 6 you need to do for the relevant cord. If you plan properly you can do 21 badges to get all 3 explorers with cords.

Caleb has got one badge still to do to get all 3 Explorers and all 3 cords. He has got to do the canoeist badge. He has done about 25, 26 badges as he loves doing courses. You have to be 15 and a half to do your First Aid badge. Therefore you cannot get your Explorer before then. First Aid is a compulsory badge for the Explorer. This year the First Aid Interest badge gives the scout a level 2 certification, but Caleb chose to do level 3. He passed and is now a certified level 3 First Aider.

All he has to do now is the advancements for the Explorer. If he plans well he could have his Explorer by the end of the year.

Not only has he chosen to do all 3 Explorers with all 3 cords, he has also done, completed and received his Bronze Presidential Award. Caleb is now working on his Silver Presidential Award.

Caleb did PLTU, Patrol Leadership Training Unit earlier this year. It is a 9 day course. He loved it! He loves a challenge and takes it on full force.

So far the Hike Leader course and PLTU have been his best courses. The toughest for him was the backwoodsman. He was sick for this badge course, but insisted on going.

In the Western Cape we have set badge courses that all our scouts can do. They have practical and theory aspects to them. Most of them have a test which needs a 60 to 75 percent pass. The badge requirements are of a very high standard and scare me sometimes!

Caleb has been able to go for all the awards and as many badges as he wants to because he is home educated. If he was at a school I doubt he would of had the time and kept up good grades.

Caleb is planning to go to the College of Cape Town next year to do a vocational matric. He will be studying Engineering and Related Design.
Because he has planned his scouts so well up to now, he will have the time to study hard and focus on his schooling next year. He will probably be staff on a few courses, such as Hike Leader, some sea scout courses and hopefully PLTU. Being staff though is fun with NO studying.

He can get his Springbok next year, when he is 16. It is all up to him.
Wearing his PLTU scarf and Bronze Presidential Award pin.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Our year, three

Caleb and Hannah have had really busy years with their extra curriculum.

Sheth is 9 and we, Greg and I, feel that the kids should be kids as long as possible, so we keep the extras for when they are older. In saying that, Sheth does cubs and piano. He did guitar at the beginning of the year and really didn't enjoy it. He asked if he could do piano instead, which he now does. He enjoys it and practices without being asked.

Hannah does Piano and music theory. She loves doing it. At the beginning of the year she had wanted to become a music teacher.

Now she wants to be a sound engineer.

Hannah has been asking if she can do flute for about 3 years, so because she did so well in her piano and theory exams we said she can do flute next year. She got in at Hugo Lambrechts to do flute!

Hannah started dancing at the beginning of the year, it was like a dream for her, as she has been wanting to dance since she was 2. Greg wouldn't allow it because he did ballet at UCT when he was younger and he found the pressure too much. He didn't want Hannah to be too young with the pressure.

She started with a teen class, which did all different genres of dance. From hip-hop to ballroom. She loved the class.

She also started with modern grade 1. Hannah started dancing with 2 left feet, bad posture and a very serious determination to work hard. She worked really hard to the degree that I would laugh at her serious facial expressions. She has become a beautiful dancer with good posture and a lovely smile when she dances. She has done so well that she is skipping a grade next year and is therefore doing grade 3 modern. I am so proud of her.

Hannah's favourite genres are contemporary, ballroom and modern.

Hannah also does Scouts. She is in an all girl patrol called the Springboks. She has advanced quite quickly. She has one small thing to do before finishing her Adventurer advancement. Hannah has worked at badges this year. She has 7 badges already. Because Hannah is quieter than Caleb and not as adventurous she is not really noticed at Scouts, and yet she is probably the youngest scout to have completed her Adventurer at 1st Durbanville. Well done girl!

Caleb is a Junior Ranger. This is his third year. He loves it and thinks he may want to be a Ranger one day. He will move up to level 4 next year.

Caleb does piano and music theory. He really enjoys it. He will be doing Cello next year at Hugo Lambrechts. He has been wanting to play cello now for just over a year. We will see how he copes with 2 instruments, grade 10 art, grade 9 Switched on Schoolhouse, etc. If it becomes too much he will be able to do the instrument that he prefers. Oh, and he and Hannah will have to do orchestra as well.

Caleb is the ultimate Scout. He loves extreme adventure. He worked hard to finish his Adventurer this year and he is more than half way through his First Class advancement. He has 17 Badges. He is working towards all 3 Explorers and all 3 cords. Some of the badges are scoutcraft, so they don't count for his Explorer. He has 4 of the 6 compulsory badges for his Sea Explorer. This year he became a patrol leader. He is really chuffed about this.

Caleb does hockey on a Tuesday and sometimes on a Thursday. It is a social game run by a couple of dads in the area. We also try hike. Caleb runs up Lions head every second Thursday or so. We do this as a family. It is great fun.

All 3 kids do arts and crafts on a Thursday morning at the Tygerburg Art Centre. They love doing it. It gives me 2 hours to mark, check and plan schooling.

We have signed up on . The kids do maths and computer programming on it. With the maths they earn energy points and badges. This is a really good incentive for my kids as it works on a similar level to Scouts with badges.
Ice-skating is definitely one of the childrens favourite past times.

At this point Caleb wants to go to Northlink College, technical school, with carpentry as his technical subject. This will be from grade 10, 2015. We are looking at doing SOS schooling or Impact next year as he will need a grade 9 report to get in. I just have to research if SOS does this. If not, we will have to get him onto Impact next year.

So as busy as this year was, next year will be busier.

I am so proud to see my children working hard and achieving good things. Well done guys. I love you. Mom.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Our year, two: schooling

This year has been a bit disjointed with schooling. With packing up a house, moving etc, it hasn't been easy to keep a routine going. But, we have finished our year and that is all that matters.

This year Caleb has done:

  • Grade 8 Waldorf
  • Exploring Creation through General Science.
  • He has done the first 4 modules of 'Exploring Creation through Physical Science'.
  • Math-u-see Pre Algebra and has finished a third of Algebra 1.
  • He has finished Llatl Green book.
  • Train your brain, South African english.
  • We are working on Afrikaans, using 'Pret met Afrikaans'.

He has done art and music with other teachers which is great for him and gives me a break:

  • Music theory Grade 1, Trinity.(We are waiting for his marks)
  • Piano practical, Intro Grade, Trinity: 78% Merit.
  • Arts and craft at the Tygerberg Art Centre.
  • Junior Rangers: level 3.
  • Scouts: he completed Adventurer and is almost finished First Class. He was appointed as a Patrol leader and is working on his badges that go towards his 3 explorers and 3 cords!
  • Bronze Presidential award, he will have completed this in January.
  • Ballroom, hip-hop, african and contemporary dancing.
  • Khan Academy: maths and computer programming.

Well, when I look at this list it does seem that he has done quite a lot.


  • Grade 6 and7 Waldorf.
  • Math-u-see Zeta.
  • Llatl tan.
  • Afrikaans, Pret met Afrikaans.
  • Exploring creation through general science

With other teachers:

  • Music theory, Trinity, grade 1, waiting on marks.
  • Piano practical, Intro grade, Trinity: 87% distinction.
  • Arts and crafts, Tygerberg Art Centre.
  • Modern dance grade 1, waiting on marks.
  • Scouts: Hannah has a talk with her Scouter and then she has completed her Adventurer award.
  • Ballroom, hip-hop, african and contemporary dance.
  • Khan Academy: maths and computer programming.

Also a full schedule.


  • Llatl red book.
  • Math-u-see Delta.
  • Little Footprints.
  • Waldorf.

  • Guitar.
  • Piano.

Well all in all a very busy year.

Our year, one

What can I say? It has been a busy year.
We bought a house. The ugliest house ever, with the most potential! The house is much bigger than the place we were renting. The children each get their own room, and hubby and I have our own bathroom! We even have a lockable door on our bedroom, yay!
The front garden was one huge bay leaf tree and a frangipani tree. My mom-in-law has done a lot of work in the front garden with the children. She bought me plants for our house warming. My mom's favourite plant, the geraltin wax, butterfly plants and some local shrubs. I planted roses that I had grown from cuttings from a good friend of mine, and all the plants have taken and are shooting. It is starting to look really nice.
Along the drive way we have planted veggies and herbs. We have rosemary, lemon verbena, parsley, aubergines, tomatoes, gem squash and myrtle. There are lots of other plants between.
We renovated the granny flat, dividing it into two units - a bachelor pad and a one bedroom flat. We have two tenants in. A butcher in the bachelor pad and a single older lady in the one bedroom flat. This gives us a bit of financial security in case one of the tenants leave without notice.
It was long hours and hard work that got the flats ready, and of course money! Now, the next project will be painting the outside of the granny flat, and the main house.
We are enjoying our house as we settle in, we are far from organised as there are a lot of renovations to do, but we love it because it is ours.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


Autumn is my favourite season of the year and it is in full swing. There is a gorgeous nip in the air, we have our down duvets on and the sun streams into my bedroom first thing in the morning. As I am sitting in bed this morning and looking out the window, I am thinking about the things my family have achieved, and there are many things.

Caleb and Hannah are working on their Adventurer advancement badge for Scouts. They are both planning on getting their Springbok Scout badge with doing the Land, Sea and Air Explorer badges!

Caleb has got his Swimmers, Lifesaver, Survivor, Watermanship, Sailing, Artist, Patrol Activity, Air Planner and First Aid Scoutcraft/Interest badges. He is spreading out the badges that he needs for his Explorer advancements that there will be no rush when he needs to do them.

This year he will be doing his Boatman, Cooks, Hike Leader, Pioneers and Air Traffic Controller badges. These badges are done on courses, which as a homeschooler, I love. They do the course and have an exam to write. If they fail they get to do a rewrite, and if they fail that they have to redo the course the next year.

For every course that Greg and I pay for for Caleb and Hannah, they have to work on badges that don't cost anything. So, Caleb is working on his Conservation and Camping badges.

Hannah has done her Swimmers and Lifesaving badge. This year she will be doing her Watermanship, Air Planner, Sailing, and First Aid badges. Hannah is working on her Artist badge and Patrol Activity badge.

Caleb is 14 this year and has been my most difficult child to school. He is dyslexic, so he doesn't learn as easily as other people. Caleb learnt to read with ease at 11.5, but only in his head. He still does not enjoy reading aloud, but will do so on the odd occasion.

Writing has been the other bane of his existence. He has a fantastic imagination but doesn't like writing as his spelling has always been atrocious. I have been working with him in a Waldorf manner and he is doing a computer programme called Excellence in Spelling. The spelling programme is good BUT does not help with basic spelling. So, the difficult words he is able to spell easier than the basic words. We are working on the basic words and this year it seems to be clicking into place. Caleb still mixes up b and d and sometimes w and m, but I am positive this will rectify in time as I had the same problem and it only rectified about mid high school.

Caleb is working hard on school work. He is doing projects for Junior Rangers without me asking him to do it. And works on Scout badges on his own. I think it helps that there is a carrot for Junior Rangers which is a 5 day camp in the Tsitsikama Game Reserve in September that he desperately wants to go on. The carrot for Scouts are the badges. He loves his uniform.

So, if any of you homeschoolers out there have the same problem with your boys in particular, don't stress as it all works out in the end. Remember, boys should be playing till at least 12 before we teach them to read. I know this is difficult to do as society pressures and dictates as does family. They do not understand.

Sheth is nine and reads very basically at this stage. He is not ready to read at the level that society dictates, and Greg and I are very happy with this as we know the end result.

Hannah on the other hand was reading fluently at seven. She is a girl! That's what girls do. So as you can see we allow our kids to lead us to a large degree with home schooling.

Sheth is doing guitar lessons this year and Caleb and Hannah are in their second year of piano. Caleb and Hannah will be doing their first theory and practical exams this year. Hannah wants to be a music teacher when she is an adult so that she can be home with her children one day. She is doing piano and, as Sheth does guitar, I teach Hannah the guitar, and as I get spare cash then I give her guitar lessons with the teacher. When our finances ease up a bit we will send her to guitar lessons but at this point we can not afford it.

In the middle of the year they will be going to Tygerberg Art Centre.

So all and all the blessings and the relationship that we build with our children as we home school are so worth it.

Keep going, it is worth it!