Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Cartoon

More on Swedish HSing persecution case - you can help!
and here is something you can do! 

The latter being connected to a reputable homeschooling support group in New Zealand with whom we have had contact when we lived there.

Some of you may not know but we left South Africa when Jessica was 3 as homeschooling was illegal and we hoped to home school her. A couple had been imprisoned for homeschooling Africa and as I understand they refused help from American Lawyers. In the case above Sweden is refusing to let them use American lawyers. Please pray that this family would be reunited! And thank God for our freedom. (Homeschooling is now very much legal in South Africa!)

Has teaching changed with the times?

This is an  awesome talk by a progressive teacher! It is short .... so go on, listen to it - it is well worth your time! How does your kid's education measure up? How do you measure up as a teacher? A pleasant challenge indeed!

Learning should be experiential; it should give the student a voice and it should embrace failure. Education should no longer be stationary/just school based or focused on a multiple choice questions type of style where there is only one answer to tick!

How is this for architecture?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Some Lessons I have Learned as a Home Schoooling Teacher

Most of these lessons I learned from a book years before I even started educating my own children but then I proceeded to make mistakes in practise and realise that I should have followed my theoretical lessons more carefully. Sometimes you have to learn your lessons the hard way and even though we are all grown up, there is still an awful of peer pressure around to influence us too! (Don't worry I don't think we are the only adults who are influenced by peer pressure)

 Lesson 1: "The curriculum is there to serve the child, not the child the curriculum." Charlotte Mason.

So often I keep struggling determinedly with a book/curriculum that is just not working for a child - only to figure out later it is not cowardly to stop using it for now or forever - just stupid. If it does not suit the child either for developmental reasons, reasons of intellectual ability or it does not fit the child's learning style, then the time spend on it can be better used learning something more suited! Staying with the same book/curriculum that does not work is just a waste of time and is not God honouring or good use of time! If a child really cannot do the work, then it it is cruel to keep making them do it and continue ot make them fail. In the school system they would just fall further and further behind and eventually drop out and feel absolute failures (unless they got good appropriate help). This is a failing of the school system that we should not imitate in the guise of diligence! Our children should never feel inferior because they cannot do something.

Saying all that it is obvious that we should not be dumbing our children down with bad curriculum choices and implied it is obvious that we should not being doing worse by not choosing any curriculum at all as I sometimes see in the context of unschooling where the parents are too scared to actually choose a curriculum and stick with it because the child has a BA ( bad attitude) towards doing anything anyone else wants them to do. Such learning is not true learning - but simply teaching a child to resist authority, walk their own paths with no thought of anyone else and to resent anyone helping them in life, in case they have a higher authority over them or should dare spoil the fun. Coming from Africa I have so often noticed - Life is not all about fun unfortunately! The people who just have fun only in Africa often land up depressed and/or begging. The dole cushions this a bit here, but a work ethic must be encouraged in all children if they are ultimately to be truly happy. Children are most happy learning to do their best.

Lesson 2: Real learning is not just passing an exam/test or doing a bookwork well, it is what effects your life in a significant way! That life changing effect is the goal of true 'education' in the best sense of the word. It is not about intellectual outcomes, it is about how a child grows into being a beautiful adult able to enjoy the world adn contribute to the world!

Children can do all the book works perfectly, pass an exam really well and forget about the topic for the rest of their lives. Getting such 'proofs of schooling' done is not always the most effective way for your child to retain knowledge and for them to love what they have learnt, seek to learn more about what they have learnt and actually have the ability to apply it to their lives well. As important as 'proving ourselves' as good home schoolers might have to is not the most important emphasis in educating a child properly!

Life is far more important than that!

Lesson 3: I am ultimately responsible for the education of my child. This is a God given responsibly and to be taken extremely seriously - it is a huge responsibility!

 Now before you right me off as a 'religious nutter' - bear with me ....instead of this principal giving me freedom to 'do what I like' as some may interpret it - it actually pulls me in quite the opposite direction, it tightens the reigns and gives me less leeway to divert to the left or right. I have no chance of being lazy or slack if I bear this lesson in mind seriously - quite the opposite.... everything has got to be done with excellence and determination.  Only the very best is good enough! Such a principal properly applied makes for the best educators in the world!

Lesson 4: You can take a horse to water but you can't make it drink.

I become more and more aware of this as my children get older and finish home schooling. Their education is just that - their education and is intricately involved in who they are as people.
They decide if they will be lazy or diligent. You can do your best to guide them in the right direction to motivate and inspire them but you cannot ultimately live their lives for them. They have decisions that they must make themselves.  And you are left behind to love them to bits, encourage them, provide for them, provide a sounding board for them, give them a safe place to test and experiment with 'being grown up' and to always be there for  them no matter what. And last but not least you are there to pray for them for the rest of their lives. You are ultimately their servant, their helpers if you understand it in a respectful sort of way. Note I did not say slave - you are not at their beck and call to do everything for them but rather you are there to give them the best start in life - and that involves setting boundaries too, which brings me to the next lesson.

Lesson 5: Kids find security in clear, kind boundaries.

And to not set them is cruel, as glamorous as it may seem at the time. kids like to know that you will stick to the boundries you set them. I could not say it better than these people:

Lesson 5: Love is the most important part of teaching!

Jo Organised a Master Chef Cooking Class for his friends with Granny.

Teaching is about a relationship that is conducive to proper learning together. It is a lifestyle of enjoying each other in a wonderful world of many interesting things.Without love it is merely doing what the government expects and requires you to do. Teaching at it's best is about helping to make a person beautiful, happy and fulfilled in the ultimate  intellectual sort of way and well rounded in every other sort of way.

It is the most fulfilling as well as the most difficult of jobs to do well. Happy Teaching!

Happy Birthday JB

We have been having so much fun being 'busy' that I am so behind with blogging, so this is yet another  very belated 'Happy Birthday' (with one more still to come - hopefully before Christmas and the New Year.)
But none the less, from the bottom of our hearts a very big "Happy Birthday, Josh. We love you!" 

Joshua is a very shy and private person so I am not going to go into much detail here but I just to say that we are so proud of him... he has overcome obstacles and hurdles this year that have seemed insurmountable. And as usual he has come out with flying colours, well done! 

Starting flute and continuing piano brought much interest and creativity to Joshua's life; Josh 'talks' emotion when his fingers touch his instruments. We love his beautiful music drifting through our home for hours each day. JB loves his music and excels as he is so well disciplined and routined, practising single day without fail.
Our local homeschooling sport's afternoon each week is always one of Joshua's best afternoons of the week.

Joining a men's cricket team with Jon and Douglas has brought Josh much pleasure too. Yet, he is not beyond batting and bowling with the rest of his brothers and sisters in the back yard each afternoon - I love to watch them all interact and work at finding a fair compromise as different ages and abilities play together...fantastic social skills developing that will stand them all in good stead for a life time.  Joshua's biggest complaint is that they are 'too lazy' (really they don't have enough stamina to keep going as long as he can and wants to. Josh is super fit!)

Following the cricket and rugby international games with Dad and Gran is Joshua's favourite TV viewing. (although he did watch a bit of Master Chef, and has been inspired to cook/bake again too). His favourite movies at present are the Lord Of the Rings Trilogy, and How To Train Your Dragon. He has read through the Lord of the Rings Trilogy on numerous occasions and has devoured the Binding of the Blade series too this year.

Recently Josh and Jonathan thoroughly enjoyed a 'Health Cadetship' with Griffith University - looking at different Health careers, doing dissections, first aid etc Josh of course as always excels with his school work especially maths and science. He also did very well in an international speed test for arithmetic this year.
He is an amazing kid and when he sets his mind to be co-operative and helpful he surpasses everyone in the household in his determination and consistency and faithfulness. We are so proud of you   Joshie!  You are a delight and joy to us! We prayed for you before you were even born, we have loved seeing you grow from babyhood into a fine young man and overcome any struggles slowly but surely with determinationa and perseverence. You will always be our treasure no matter what, and we will always pray for you, be there for you and love you with all our hearts, more than we can ever tell, and more than you could ever imagine!

Happy Blogger Belated Birthday, JB

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I thought I would share some things I have been blessed by recently ...
(1) I love Christmas time ... it helps me to take extra time to meditate on God's tremendous love for His people! I try to write a blog on our Christmas focus on Christ - if you want to take a peek, but do find myself always running out of time for blogging. 
(2) Feel as if you are in a rut? Looking inward too much? Need to have your eyes lifted heavenward? Then I am sure this will bless you as much as it did me! Recently we have seen Giglio's DVD Indescribable, you can see it free on You Tube: ( Not crazy about the background screamers but definitely well worth getting beyond that to be blessed by what Giglio has to say about how big and awesome our God is! And then along similar lines the DVD God of Wonders See , if you scroll down this page you will see a link to You Tube too!

(3) Are you interested in Christian counselling? We all should be..we all have family, friends who need our encouragement (and who need to encourage us too!) I was so blessed by this excellent article!

(4) Do you also grow weary of doing good and being strong? What beautiful words are found to encourage us in scriptures; what a wonderful example our Saviour is to us... it is only as Christians that we can find a supernatural strength and courage to keep going well!

I  have been so encouraged by a sermon on Romans 15! See

Just look at these wonderful verses (ESV) Romans 15: 1 We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

(5) Last but not least I have been blessed by our many recent cool weather outings in God's beautiful creation and occassions to be with friends and family. This is our seventh summer here in Brisbane and it is usually sweltering hot by this time of the year, air conditioners are usually necessary  for our family to cope. But this year God has chosen to bless with months 'of out of the ordinary' cool weather and lots of rain, this is a welcome break for us from the strain of coping with the heat and humidity of Brisbane. All these pictures were taken in friend's garden on a lovely rainy day! What a blessing rain is after years of drought! What a joy to see my friend's garden mature over the last 6 years and see her young boy grow up and become a talented choek (chicken) minder and choek house builder! Indeed friends are blessings untold too! What a treasure to have family and friends surround us making our lives beautiful and rich!

May you all know  quiet closeness to God this Christmas, love and may God bless, Joy

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Preparing our hearts to make Christ our focus this Christmas

My Christmas blog will start up again soon! SEE

Here are some thoughts

I always plan to be ready for advent ahead of time and as always I am found scrambling around in thought as to what I am going to do! Last year I had started my own advent devotional, based on the character of God. I tell the story of Christmas as I explain the character of God. But then I had knee sugary just before Christmas last year and never finished it. This year in Mid-November I realised that I should have been doing it all through the year, so of course it is not finished – I must try and get it done by next year!

So I am left wondering, “What I am going to do this year?”

(This is my little cousins Christmas table from last year. When we are spread out all over the world it is lovely to have photographs to keep us connected!)
I think I will keep it very simple….many years ago I was inspired by Noel Piper’s book Treasuring God in Our Traditions ( ) to make every aspect of Christmas meaningful so that when our children as adults go into a shopping centre as see a Christmas tree or decorations they will be reminded of some meaningful aspect of God. For example when I see a Christmas tree now I am reminded of the wooden cross and crib. When I see little silver or gold strings of beads, I think of Christ’s humanness, of his tears. When I see strings of red beads I remember his drops of anguished blood as he agonised for our salvation and his suffering in the process. So far we have only got our trees up, and 3 little crosses made.( there is no point in remembering Christmas without remembering why Christ came, so that is why we are starting with the cross first this year) I am in no hurry and plan to do each meaningful decoration one at a time until Christmas Day, spending time explaining and enjoying a fuller meaning to Christmas. Of course nativity scenes are a must in our family. And I aim to get my cloth interactive one a bit closer to being completed! I trust this will encourage you to love our dear Saviour more this Christmas. It is a wonderful time to make your own family memories and traditions that can be passed onto new generations. Christmas Blessings  and love :-) Joy

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Today We Visted a Fish and Chips Shop...Or...Am I Homophobic?

I am pleased I left the kids in the car with an older sibling for a few short minutes...

two women are  holding hands in front of me as they placed their order. I imagine an older woman holding a grief stricken younger women in comfort as they faced some sudden death of a loved one. They turn slightly and I realised they were the same age. Perhaps they are long lost sisters? They move back and I collect and pay for my order. As I walk out I can not avoid the couple for they are smooching passionately and openly in the middle of the tiny crowded shop! I am shaken.

I am so pleased I left the kids in the car with an older sibling for a few short minutes...

Am I homophobic? ....No I weep those two kids, I fear for them and for all who do not respect God's ways! Why? Simply put ... His ways are perfect and the only way to happiness. By not following Him they risk losing happiness, of any sense of fulfillment and direction. I remember Sodom and Gomorrah and remember Lot's wife who was foolish enough to look back against God's wish - all of that city and Lot's dear wife were destroyed. Lot's life and his daughters lives were never the same again - fear and frustration led to more sin, more misery.

I do not judge, I shake with fear. I live in a city like Sodom and Gomorrah, where no one thinks there will be any consequences, but there will be and God alone can help us!

I urge you...chose today whom you will serve, for you cannot serve two masters at is the devil (often times in disguise of many religions) and the other is the one true livign God. Our lives last an eternity, we chose now where we will spend the rest of our time.

Am I homophobic? No I have had friends who are homosexual. I have no problem befriending such  people. But am I afraid for their eternal well being? Yes, as I am afraid for the eternal well being of anyone who says they are a Christian but never shows any fruit or who openly deny they have a faith in God.

You think I am not being very PC ( politically correct)? :-) I am merely taking the liberty of exercising my right to freedom of speech!

Luke 19: 41 41 And when he (Jesus) drew near and saw the city (Jerusalem) , he wept over it.
How greatly must God weep over our cities today...for how much it has cost Him to send His dearly beloved Son for the benefit of our salvation. May we weep with Christ for our cities and be drawn to compassionate action!

About having a gratitude attitude!

Adoption, Orphanages, and the African Extended Family System

Here is a very thought provoking post written by a Reformed Baptist pastor in Zambia.

Do we treasure each Moment?

"Teach us...... that we may feel the importance of every day, of every hour, as it passes."
Jane Austen

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

More Starfall: The Best!

For years we have loved the free reading program Starfall, it is really brilliant! Than last year we registered for More Starfall and loved that even more! This  year we have re-registered, as it gets better and better. Timothy is reading well ahead for his age and Emma has been able to access extra remedial work. Jarryn always utterly amazes me at what he can mange to do - he tries every thing! This year they have developed their early maths area. They have work varying from from basic counting, recognition of numerals and number word to counting to 1000, there is adding subtracting and multiplying and dividing. They are brilliantly visual e.g. When you subtract, your things get eaten up and taken away. When you add they dance together. They use singing and rhyming too e.g. "4x8 is 32. Don't feed hippos at the zoo" etc.

I have used it with my kids since they were two.It is the best computers can offer little ones ( and bigger ones) in learning! Take a look, I would never usually pay a yearly fee to access something but this is truly worth it! Start with Starfall and then move onto More Starfall ( it does not have the maths though) and then if you like it try More Starfall.
Jarryn playing mulitplication concerntration, he plays it as a matching game but is sure to learn his muliplication eventaully as he goes along the way! LOL. "4x9 is 36, this little house is made of bricks."

Monday, November 8, 2010

Are you a post modernist?

Want to know how post modernists think? Take a look at this.....

Sunday, November 7, 2010

“Education is not the filling of a pail,

but the lighting of a fire.”   
William Butler Yeats

Jarryn at 'the ocean floor bed' looking for turtles, QLD Museum.

Oftentimes it is not so much what is taught but how much we love what we teach and how much love for our topic we pass on to our children. We can fill a child up with facts and think a child is educated. But how much better to give them a love for learning, a thirst for understanding that will last a life time. 

May we start this fire that will burn for a life time. For this is the ultimate of 'life in all it's fullness', the way God wants us to enjoy his world with Him, the marvelous creator at the centre of our discovery of a beautiful, interesting and challenging world.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Losing a child

One of the hardest ways to lose a child is when you have fostered a child and they unexpectedly have to go back to family. I was talking about Katie earlier this week. Here is more of Katie's story from another blog I follow

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

October catch up: Mt Cootha

New sunglasses:

Look out:

The only photograph out of about 20 where someone was not sticking out a tongue, hiding behind someone,  giving Granny bunny ears or sticking sunglasses into their pants(Jarryn)

Everyone sick, what we do on a day off.

I have had everyone off school yesterday and today as they all have horrible sore throats and temperatures. So what do homeschooling kids do when they are sick and relaxing?

Emma and Tim have been doing art, pivot (a basic stick figure animation program), chess, Zoominis (a logic game) and yesterday Tim could not resist doing his computer spelling program just for fun :-)

Erica and Jo have been lying around the lounge, listening to Treasure Island again (classic literature studies?) and have started the Hornblower on CD too.

Jonathan and Josh have been watching the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. ( Media studies?) And the big boys only stopped 'proper school' because they looked half dead after half a day of school. Jonathan having completed his final uni assignment yesterday.

I think most of them have played the piano/flute for fun in the last two days. Everyone will need a sleep this afternoon - if I can get them to stop doing 'school' on their sick days ;-) 

One of the things I love about homeschooling is that learning is life, a lifestyle choice; where the demarcations of school and relaxation merge.

Oh, I nearly forgot, the younger kids and I enjoyed the new Velveteen Rabbit movie yesterday too, it is sooo lovely.

And what does a homeschooling Mom do with no pupils to teach? I have been researching new distance schools for next year, new curriculum and of course catching up on blogging!

Who will hear their cry?

More than 140 million orphaned children in the world cry out; 13 million have lost both parents ... who will hear their cry? It is not a government matter, the Bible quite clearly teaches it is a church matter - what is our response?

You cannot change the world but you can make a world of difference to one child at a time! 

We need to do more, we need to hear their cries... Are you in Brisbane or Australia and wanting to do more, please contact me with your details, I would like to establish a list of people with a common burden who can get together, talk and pray about how we can make a difference!

Here are some of the things that are being done from America.

Happy Birthday Jessica

It a bit late in coming but it comes with all my love...a tribute to my oldest daughter who hit her twenties last month.
Giving presents to Jessica in the early morning before she goes to TAFE.

Family Birthday chaotic fun in the evening
Blowing out candles with the family.. too many to fit on the cake! Traditionally, in our family, however many candles you do not blow out, that is how many boyfriends you have; so in order to prevent any brotherly teasing, it is of utmost importance that you blow out all your candles. And that Jarryn does not blow out candles for you! Happy Birthday sweetie!
Jessica is our pied piper when she is not buried in books studying. The little kids adore her, she has the energy I had with the big kids when they were little...Jessica climbs playground equipment with them and runs with them, and plays energetic games with them. Jessica talks to them as sweetly as can be, "so Jarryn how did you wake up this morning...grumpy or happy?” “Me happy", he chuckles back " (for once his me happy really means he is happy, often he will say that when he is grumpy in order to prevent the inevitable much needed sleep)They love her as a second mother but it is different to a motherly relationship as Jessica has none of the motherly responsibilities - there is more freedom to just enjoy the kids...undistracted adoration, bliss, fun - truly the only way to describe it is to say there is nothing better in the whole world than a big sister who adores you. Recently the two little girls had moved into Jessica's room when Granny came to visit. When they moved out of her room Jessica moved into their room as she missed them so much.

What about the big boys, how do they see their big sister? A delightful bundle of 'gullible', who falls for every dot of teasing they dish out to her! What boy could want more in a big sister? But more they have! A sister who bosses them when they don't read their Bible or comforts when they feel down, who insists on the headphones going off so she can talk to them and be their friend, a sister who insists that they are too shy and need to practise talking to girls now while they are young otherwise they will be awkward when they want to find a wife...." so when last did you actually talk to a girl properly?"

Jessica is studying child care this year. She has completed her certificate level and has just started her diploma, which she is trying to do by the end of next year, instead of over two years. It is very intense but she is managing. I admire her guts, her fighting spirit, her determination...she has fought against hidden disabilities and conquers far more than she ever thinks she is capable of conquering. She is my best friend right up there with my parents and dear hubby.

She is passionate and compassionate. I admire her smooth transitioning from homeschooling to secular on campus studies. She befriends the underdog; she is a fearless but fearsly kind evangelist. She is a pro-life activist; she has a prayer support group on face book for 'our orphanage' in South Africa. She is a pray-er, who has fought against the odds to prove that she can do what many thought she could not do. She has faced trials I cannot imagine, and has come out stronger and closer to God. I know I am her mother but I think she is the most wonderful daughter a mother can have. We have prayed for her from before conception, and will continue to pray for her for as long as we live. She has truly risen up to bless us abundantly!

Here is her blog