Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Ramble About Getting Ready for School

Sports day, quilting, lace bobbin making and lace making, worm farming, nature study, baking, nature treasure hunts, Sunday School and picnics, youth groups and young adults, university and nannying, cricket and back yard soccer, swimming, Wolston House, Nerada Tea Factory, botanical gardens etc are just some of the things we did last year...I wonder what this year holds? My oldest daughter turns 20 this October and I am struck that the 'happy-go-lucky', easy going school days are whisked away by the flow of time, and all too fast. And I determine to enjoy this year with my children as much as I can!

It is sooon to be the beginning of the academic year in the Southern Hemisphere. And although I have lived in 4 countries in my life time I have always been in the Southern Hemisphere and so happily stick to this routine. (I was born in Kenya - my hubby is a Zimbo. No neither of us is Black but we are both African through and through. Together we have lived in South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia - so you guess who we support for the Tri Nations? My hubby always says he supports the under dog, but I notice he still gets pretty happy when South Africa does well! Imagine if Zimbabwe was playing well! )

Anyway for us it is the time of the year when homeschooling mothers either start to panic about what they are going to do in the next academic year or when they start to get excited about what they are going to do! Or maybe they will have a little of both...only a few more weeks to go!

Last year soon after we had flooded and moved I put Joseph and Erica onto 'Switched on School House' for everything and they have absolutely loved it! (SEE ) They seem to be learning heaps! For the next six months I will continue with it to buy 'a bit of time' for Emma and Tim, who are both learning to read etc. I hope to go back to Sonlight again sometime with these four. We'll see!

My two big boys are very good at maths and science and work very independently, although Douglas is in the backgound if they neeed help, which seldom happens. They have all their classes on DVD/CD. Jonathan is busy with year 12 this year. He will also prepare for the SAT exams for university entry, so it will be a busy year for him... he may need an extra six months or so to get eveything done that he wants to do- which is 'cool' with me!

I hope to run our usual Excellence in Writing Courses, and may teach some sewing classes to kids too, maybe ...????? We'll see, first things first - let's get into the swing again!

I generally use a mix of things like Saxon, Teaching Text Books, ABEKA, Apologia, Mystery of History and Story of the World etc, etc We also read a fact in this house I have to ban reading and music practice- yea, us home schoolers are rather weird at times!

Art is going to have a higher profile this year if I can help it, as it is always the first off the list in a difficult year, last year was such a year. Not that my kids have any problems doing art minus a class. But I love art theory and history and appreciation too, and have nearly a dozen teaching DVD's to be used again! Hoping to get to the art gallery too in the next couple of weeks as they have an Asia Pacific Art Exhibition - I wonder if they will have any Maori art? I find their fish hook art and symbolism fascinating!

If you ever wonder where I am coming from...I guess my favourite home schooling philosophy is still Charlotte Mason after all these years. But as I have time constraints and work at so many different levels at once, I adapt and make do too.

We still do a lot of nature study and have continued that in the holidays with silk worms, moths and now eggs. Maybe this year we can get going with nature diaries and drawings again! I love this side of homeschooling.

Anyway, happy planning and getting excited all my dear Homeschooling Moms! And don't panic in a few weeks time it will all start to come together again! I always find this a good praying time as I ponder over each child. How blessed we are to cater for their individual needs - their gifts and their difficulties!

Below ....cheeky worm farming


  1. Hello, my name is Kristi Gesink and I work for the Homeschooling Company Alpha Omega Publications. I noticed after reading through your blog that you are using our Switched on Schoolhouse curriculum to teach 2 of your children at home. We would like to say a big thank you for mentioning our curriculum on your blog and we would appreciate it very much if you would turn that mention into a link to our website at, that way friends and readers can simply click on the link and find out more information about your great curriculum choice.

    If you have any questions please email me at

    Thanks again and may God bless your school year!
    Kristi Gesink

  2. Sure Kristi!

    For everybody who has a time constraint for one reason or another- this is definitely your answer! I vowed and declared I would never use this style for education for oh so, so long! Forget your educational what if this is not your usual style...this program is very well put together and a lot of fun and learning seems to be happening in our house in leaps and bounds due to Switched on School House! Do you know what I absolutely love about Switched on School House? Switched on School House is a computer based program which marks the kids work the second they enter the answer. That means they cannot ever go a week or longer until you figure out your kid has been barking up the wrong tree because you have not had time to mark this week's work! And then you have to re-teach that work and redo all the problems. For us, this has been fantastic for maths especially! Switched on School House can be a life saver for those who are wanting to continue home schooling but who face a crisis of some sort. I don't know of anyone here who uses it all the time for everything, but I can see why it could be a temptation! I know many people here who use ACE and have plenty of time left over to bulk up their studies with art and nature study etc. I reckon Switched on school house can work in much the same way. I wish I had tried it before 2009! And wish I had more money to buy it all, maybe oneday...we'll see how we go! Joy