Thursday, April 28, 2011

Rock house, bathroom

It has been raining for three days now, and the wind is icy cold. Greg is still persevering at building even though it is icy cold. As he works he keeps singing "Here comes the sun."

I am helping Greg by holding the wooden beams up as he nails them together. The frame work is done so we are now going to put the roof on and then the walls.

We are going to extend our trip a bit longer as we want to finish the bathroom before we go home. We have had a great trip so far, visiting with our really good friend, Pieter, spending time with my dad, the children's grandpa. Grandpa has cooked all our food, most of which comes out of his veggy patch.

After a long day of working hard we all sit at grandpa's house eating a warm meal in front of the fire. There is nothing better!

Rock house

Well we are building on our house at the moment. We are here for a week and a half. That does not give us a lot of time to build in as it is the feast of unleavened bread. There is a High Shabbat on the first day and a High Shabbat on the eighth day. And of course we have our normal weekly shabbat on Saturday. We also had to go to George to see a Professor about Caleb's leg. That was another day used up.

We dug the rest of the bathroom foundation and Greg is filling it at the moment. We are building two of the walls with corrugated iron plates.

Caleb is helping his dad build the block layer at the bottom of the walls. He loves working with his dad, it is a time of bonding, and learning. The Autumn air has a definite nip in it, and yet we are getting sunburned. I enjoy sitting with Greg as he builds. My dad helps a lot and really enjoys our company when we are here.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Fruit trees

We are on holiday at our homestead were my dad and sister live. It is Autumn and cold. It was 1 deg. Celsius yesterday morning. Thank goodness for down duvets and husbands that keep us warm!

Six years ago I bought twelve peach trees for the land. I gave six trees to my sister and planted six for myself. The soil around my sisters house is good sandy soil, but the ground around my house is clay. They planted their trees in an afternoon and it took us three days with strong labourers. It took two days to dig the holes in the clay soil and the third day we mixed compost, sand and clay together and put the two year old peach saplings in the ground.

Six years later and my sister has two trees left. They have been producing the most delicious beet peaches ever. They started producing three years ago with just five or six peaches, last year there was ample for her family of seven then and even for us. This year the peaches are falling on the floor as they can't be eaten fast enough.

Our six trees are all still growing, they are growing slower in the clay soil. They have started with their first five or six peaches each this year. I foresee huge amounts of peaches in the next three years or so.

The trees are organically grown with love, water and cow manure.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Drama class

Today the children did their first drama class ever. Boy did they enjoy it!

I booked the class for them last week and did not make a big thing out of it. So this morning I said to them to get ready for drama. Well, the questions started coming. What is it? What do we do? Will we do Romeo and Juliet? I just told them to wait and see.

We were met at our car by this petite, slim, vivacious woman. She is loud and happy and moves all the time. The children were pulled into her class with ease. They joined in with no shyness at all, it was fantastic.

They all want to go back next week, but alas! They will have to wait a couple of weeks as we are going away.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Art curriculum: Modeling

I think it is important for children to model and make things with their hands. In kindergarten, play-dough is vital for little sausages and they love it. We then move on to beeswax for modelling, and then in about grade 5 to clay.

Learning About the World Through Modeling
by Arthur Auer
This is an excellent book on modeling using different mediums.

Art curriculum: Drawing

I have looked at many drawing books before and have found two books that we suggest.

1. Drawing on the Right side of the Brain
by Betty Edwards.

This book is good and I suggest that everyone interested in drawing should get it.
Look for it at or The exchange rate will determine which is cheaper. There is no postal cost at Book Depository. If you spend more than R200.00 at loot there is no postal cost either.

2. Drawing from the Book of Nature
by Dennis Klocek.

This book is excellent! When I wanted to buy it, I read the write up about it at Loot and was really turned off of it. It took me another six months and fifteen recommendations before I bought it! This you can order through Loot has it listed but they never get it in.

Art curriculum: Colouring with Block Crayons

Now for my next art suggestion. I am sure most of you have never heard of block crayon drawing. Well, it is a beautiful way of drawing and the kids love it.

Coloring with Block Crayons
by Sleilinde de Francesca.
A DVD set or a book.
I bought the DVD set as I am a visual learner. She demonstrates on the DVD how to use the block crayons for drawing landscapes, trees, animals, and people. You will find that the children will do better at it than you.

Art curriculum: Form Drawing

For our family, art is very important. My husband is an artist and I am a crafter. I found that there are not many art curricula out there.

I then started looking at the Waldorf curriculum. I am able to teach my kids using any curriculum, if I don't agree with some of the teachings I don't teach them. I say this because most Christian homeschoolers hear Waldorf mentioned and they automatically turn off. Please do not do this as there are so many fantastic art resources available through the Waldorf curriculum suppliers.

Form Drawing
By Melisa Nielson
This DVD set covers grade 1 to grade 5.

It is very good for getting children ready to write in grade 1, and it helps with getting handwriting neat. When doing forms the children cross the midline which is needed to develop the child's fine motor skills, allowing the brain to develop correctly according to society.

My children enjoy form drawing and practice often even when I haven't asked them too. Melisa's A Journey Through Waldorf Geometry follows after the form drawing nicely. You can order this at the same place as the form drawing.

Maths curriculum: Geometry

Geometry was my favourite part of maths at school. I enjoyed the beauty in the shapes and I enjoyed working out the different angles and degrees etc. It is like the best mystery book that you can read! You have to work out certain things in a certain order to find the treasure or maths answer.

A Journey through Waldorf Geometry.
By Melisa Nielson
Learning how to draw an
isosceles and equilateral
This is an e-book and a DVD is sent in the post. Melisa shows you how to construct the different forms on the DVD which is very helpful for me.

When I found Melisa's geometry curriculum for grade 5, 6 and 7, I was so excited. Caleb has done the grade 5 geometry so far and has loved it! We will be doing the grade 6 later in the year.

Music curriculum: Recorder

Music is such a beautiful thing. We have music playing in our house most of the time. We like many different genres in my family, from classical to rock, reggae to Hebraic worship, gospel to instrumental. And so the list goes on.

I never did music when I was young and regret it to this day. So, I am teaching my children to play the recorder. With this comes theory and learning to read music. It is the basic music instrument that most schools and music teachers start with.

I have beautiful wooden flutes (recorders) for the children to learn with. I believe that a woodwind instrument should be made of wood, that it has a special character, warmth to it that you do not get with a plastic recorder.

I use a curriculum written by Marie du Plessis.
  • Tel: 023 3121288
  • Address: PO Box 857, Ceres 6835
There are four books.
Book one
1. Teaches the music notes B, A, G, C', D'. The notes are named and colour coded, for example, Annie A wears a red dress. The children enjoy colour coding their notes and colouring Annie A in a red dress. The timing notes are also associated with for example a fox, or a tortoise. I have always battled with music timing but for the first time I understand it and have grasped it.
Book two
2. Teaches: Shy Donkey D, Eddy E and Old Uncle Middle C.
Book three
3.teaches: Frieda F# and Frieda F.
Book four
4. Teaches: Eddy E' and B-flat.

You get a teachers handbook and two CD's with it. Again this is very reasonably priced. The whole set cost us about R400.00 with postage. You can buy each book separately. But I bought the whole set.

Well, that is the recorder sorted. I am now looking for a guitar curriculum!

Language curriculum: Afrikaans

Well, Afrikaans is the second language our children in South Africa must learn. It is an interesting language as it is only spoken in South Africa. Well, that depends, now that I think about it. If you are being rude about someone in Afrikaans when you are oversees, in general they respond in Afrikaans! This has become VERY common with a lot of South Africans emigrating to other countries. So be aware you do not get caught out.

The other thing is a lot of people believe it is a dying language. I find this to be very sad if it is true as it is a unique language.

I have been looking for an Afrikaans program for about six years now and was unable to find one that I could use, and enjoy using till the beginning of this year. I hope this information is useful to you. Enjoy!

I use the afrikaans curriculum, Pret met Afrikaans.
Contact details are:
There are 6 levels.
Grade one to three:
1. Laer graad: consisting of four books.
2. Reeks een: consisting of eight books.
Grades three to five:
3. Reeks twee: consisting of eight books.
Grades four to six:
4. Reeks drie: consisting of seven books.
Grades five to seven:
5. Reeks vier: consisting of eight books.
Grades six to seven:
6. Reeks vyf: consisting of seven books.

I ordered a full set per child. Three sets. The total payment was about R300.00 to R400.00. It is so economic! You do not have to order all the books like I did, but I am just pedantic about having to have every thing that I need for schooling on hand, as I learn it before I bring it to my children.

The children are realy enjoying the program and learning Afrikaans. There are poems, songs and pictures to colour in. The kids enjoy learning the poems and songs, and as they colour in the pictures they are reading the work. This helps them to remember it.

We bought the, "Smile" Afrikaans curriculum a few years ago and it was horrible compared to this program. I did not understand it, so asked my Afrikaans neighbour for help with it and she told me that it made no sense. We did not use the program after that.