Two Firsts for Mr.A

The Alphabet song, but in Afrikaans: Die ABC liedjie

It has taken some adapting, some pictures, making our own magnetic board (thank you daddy B!) and a little boy who was determined to learn to read… AND HE DID IT!

Prentjies, woord lettertjies, sigwoorde

1.) Draw picture for word 2.) Mom writes word 3.) Boys “spell” word with letter blocks

Mr.A has set himself a goal of 10 books to earn a PC game he really wants. Mr.R asked daddy B, in the meantime, whether he could get a game of his own, if he does school work with Mr.A every day. He has always joined us, but now he has a goal (other than just doing it for the fun of it). They both have something to aim for, and they are determined.

Mr.A reading a page from one of the readers

I cannot put into words the feeling when your child reads his first word, first sentence out loud. I have seen parents with kids in school take this for granted: “well, of course they learn to read”, but it is such a major step in that child’s life! “We” are in book 4 at the moment, adding new words on a bi-weekly basis, reading new pages every week, writing every book “we” have read in the back of his Afrikaans “skrif” (notebook). He is learning that he can pull through, he must just persevere, and the joy of understanding that blossoms on his face, is just magical – it is something to behold. The pride of the first book read.

Horse Riding

Another first that the boys got under their belt, were learning to ride. Well, it is a long process, like reading, but they have started taking lessons.

Once a month we go to Healing with Horses - Mizpah horse farm in the Curry’s Post area. It is helping Mr.R to control his body, it helps with confidence (not that they are lacking in that particular area), helps them to focus. Mr.A particularly has an affinity with animals, and learning to ride has been a wish come true.

Horses use their all-round awareness and sensitivity to accurately mirror our emotional and thought states, without judgment. This gives humans a unique opportunity to deal with emotions gently and constructively, allowing for new-found awareness to make positive life changes.

They don’t just learn to ride, they learn how to handle, treat, and read the horses. They form a bond, trust, grow character. Liesl has won the boys’, and my trust. It is a place where we can relax and just enjoy nature, peace, the horses. Just be…

First time at Mizpah

First time at Mizpah. Mr.A with Lady and Mr.R with Nina. Liesl showing Mr.A how the horse’s lips move dead grass away to get to the nice young green grass underneath.

Then there is proper riding lessons with Pippa. She is closer to home, in Winterskloof. A soft-spoken lady who takes joy in the differences between the two boys: one a talkative energy ball, the other a quiet but focused young boy. She makes things interesting by using shapes, toys, letter boards, etc. to distract them from the hight on Aragon, but also helps them to become familiar and to relax while stretching to reach posts, walking over logs on the ground, etc.

At Pippa's place: Aragon is the brown horse, and Honey the honey-coloured one. Rocco, the adventurer, lacked no confidence in coming down this very steep hill

At Pippa’s place: Aragon is the red-brown horse, and Honey the honey-coloured one. Rocco, the adventurer, lacked no confidence in coming down this very steep hill.

I am so thankful for finding these two amazing women!

Here’s to FIRSTS -

the amazing courage it unleashes, and confidence it builds.

God bless,

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Courage leads to (much needed) Change

May has seen the start of the painting season. As we were nearing winter, and 14 years in this house, it was past time for a new paint job.

I have spoken previously about just how confident the boys have become since being home full-time, and home schooling. I have spoken about new “adventures” – how they tackle things they are unsure about, and see it through… Well, now it was my turn.

I really, really wanted the kitchen different. Yes the walls needed a new layer of paint, but I wanted it … like in my dreams! I couldn’t stand the drab beige and brown kitchen any more. My friends encouraged me… I kept stalling… they supported me… I kept stalling…

Hubby said he’ll take whatever I decide to do with the kitchen, and even made me two new work benches¬† (a first for him as well!) to prove it. I sanded and sealed them, and with advice and physical help from Hayley, and some more colour advice from Carla and Melanie, we tackled the kitchen.

Kitchen before

Kitchen before

Hubby's workbenches

Hubby’s work benches

Blue aged cupboards in a semi-rustic kitchen

Blue aged cupboards in a semi-rustic kitchen, with new “old style” drawer handles

It took about a month as I only worked over weekends, but finally I had this stunning kitchen that I walk into every morning. It is bright! It is blue! (my favourite colour), and I even have a blackboard (chalkboard) for my weekly Bible verse, the boys’ chore chart, and odd notes to help me keep track of things.

Pantry door turned huge black board

Pantry door turned huge black board

And just to be pedantic, no, the walls aren’t white-white, they are Snow Green from Plascon, with the brown called Baby Elephant. The blue is a tint I have had for years and used in the bathroom, but never had the courage (I don’t know why!) to use in the kitchen.

I LOVE my kitchen – and I LOVE my new work benches

The walls turn a light blue shade early morning with the pink from the rising sun, and a light, spring green in the afternoons when the sun is about to set. Next to the Baby Elephant brown it looks almost cream. This change has definitely been as good as a holiday. I have been so encouraged that I tackled the bathroom (shower room and bathroom as the boys call it), but that is next time’s story.

Be encouraged, change can be good.

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April – Airport Outing

As you may remember, we started with Expedition Earth (light version) this year, because the boys are so curious about statues and places they see in their favourite movies. The first time we did E.E. they play-acted flying to another country for almost an hour! This of course lead to me having to organise an outing to our local airport. I contemplated taking them to the “big” airport two hours’ drive away, but it would have been too overwhelming for them, and they wouldn’t have been able to get even close to an airplane. So our personal home school group (and a friend) went off to Pietermaritzburg Airport early one morning to “catch” the planes.

Three eager boys watching the action outside. A helicopter came in, just when an airplane were ready to take off.

Three eager boys watching the action outside. A helicopter came in, just when an airplane were ready to take off.

A young enthusiastic, but not so sure with this little group, Information Guide, lead the way. She soon found her feet, answering questions, and keeping things informal. We found out it was her first day on the job, first ever group of kids.

She led the little group step-for-step through the airport, from where they got their tickets/boarding passes, check in their baggage, go through the scanners, and board the airplane. A couple of us had our handbags scanned, to great excitement of the kids, to show how it worked.

6 boys quietly waiting?? Dangerous objects; best friends in front of the scanners.

6 boys quietly waiting?? Dangerous objects; Best friends in front of the scanners.

All worked out with no less than three different airplanes as well as a helicopter that landed and took off. They watched while the helicopter pilot checked the engine before taking off again, we discussed the wind sock, landing and taking off against the wind, and a host of other related, and not so much related topics.

Expedition Earth: Japan

We started off nicely with our study of Japan, but got side tracked by watching mostly videos this time round., especially a birthday gift Mr. R received – Scooby Doo and the Samurai, which takes place in Japan. We recognised the respectful greetings, bowing, and the hello – “konnichi wa”. Some of the videos we watched:

Hope you find this just as interesting as we did. I realised that we had just too much to do around this time, so we never really took in as much as with the previous two E.E. “visits” but a month later they got a second breath and wanted to make the photo frame gates and we read some more on Japan.

Japan favourites: Scooby Doo and the Samurai, Torrii gate photo frames and the post card

Japan favourites: Scooby Doo and the Samurai, Torrii gate photo frames and the post card

Torrii Gates, info booklet and book on Animals of Japan

Torrii Gates, info booklet and book on Animals of Japan

Eating with "the sticks", a definite favourite

Eating with “the sticks”, a definite favourite

Sushi - Did not meet with approval

Sushi – Did not meet with approval

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April – Baynesfield Butter Museum

And April came and went by in a flash!

We were busy, busy, busy with two outings fitted in the short, week-long, “school” break. The first was to Baynesfield Butter Factory farm, which is now a museum.

Baynesfield Butter Factory - the first ever built in South Africa - 1898

Baynesfield Butter Factory – the first ever built-in South Africa – 1898

The group of home schoolers watched in eager anticipation how the “farmer” made butter and they all had a sip of home-made buttermilk, which is much nicer than the boxed versions you buy in a store! Of course the biscuit with butter was just as delicious.

Tasting the butter milk and home made butter.

Tasting the butter milk and home-made butter.

Mr. A and Mr. R really wanted to have a closer look at the old tractors, but unfortunately that was not on the tour schedule for the day. A quick tour through the farm – butter making section:

Small butter turner; different paddles; glass milk bottle with tokens; oldest milk machine; replica of the prize winning pig; all kinds of cow injections/inocculation devices.

Small butter turner; different paddles; glass milk bottle with tokens; oldest milk machine; replica of the prize-winning pig; all kinds of cow injections/inoculation/branding devices.

A quick tour through the old farm-house, which has been renovated in the meantime:

Baynesfield Farm House

Baynesfield Farm House

The group of home schoolers and their questions were unfortunately one too many for the poor lady. The rest of the group had a lovely picnic in the garden, when we left early for home.

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Crocodilian Lapbook

You may remember that we went to Crocworld last month because Mr.A is seriously crazy about reptiles, specifically crocodiles, at the moment. Here is a link to my post about that holiday trip.

Alligator and Nile crocs.

Alligator and Nile crocs.

While there Mr.A reminded me that we will have to make a lapbook about this wonderful crocodile place, and knowing him it meant mommy must make the lapbook, Mr.A will look and learn afterwards.

So with no further ado…

Reptiles

¬†All projects start off with research, which he eagerly did with me. The book with the giant chameleon is “Die Klein Slimkoppies ontdek… Diere”, one of their all time favourites!

Reading about reptiles ... research

Reading about reptiles … research

… and taking into account this boy’s love for reptiles in general, it didn’t stay with reading about crocodilians, no we read through the whole book about Southern African Reptiles, especially the snakes (which makes up most of the book) where he could fit his toy snakes to those in the book. The red and black toy snake is actually a Milk Snake from USA and not South African.

More research with daddy looking up the Milk snake on Wiki.

More research with daddy looking up the Milk snake on Wiki.

IDEA FOR ANY ENTREPRENEUR – make rubber animals specific to a location/country, i.e. reptiles from Southern Africa, birds from Southern Africa, insects from Southern Africa… you get the idea? ;)

Crocodilians Lapbook

Page 1: Four different types of crocodilians, their habitat, food and size Page 2: Difference between Alligators and Crocodiles and Life cycle of crocodiles.

Page 1: Four different types of crocodilians, their habitat, food and size
Page 2: Difference between Alligators and Crocodiles and Life cycle of crocodiles.

The black pictures of the life cycle of a crocodilian are from a worksheet where the child has to place them in order. This Mr.A did and then explained to me (without me asking or prompting) what happened in each picture! I was seriously impressed because this showed that he did listen to the guide at Crocworld (a month ago), as I haven’t gone through this with him again.

Four types of crocodilians with descriptions.

Four types of crocodilians with descriptions.

For the four different types of crocodilians we didn’t do the four main types in the world (crocodiles, alligators, caimans, and gavial), we did the four types that interested Mr.A the most, BUT I explained the difference to him. His all time favourite – Salt water crocodiles – replaced the American caimans. I wrote the descriptions, he made the faces which shows the main differences.

Left: List of food and habitat with picture. Right: World map with locations of crocodilians.

Left: List of food and habitat with picture.
Right: World map with locations of crocodilians.

Alligators in a swamp by Mr.A

Alligators in a swamp by Mr.A

Page 3: Boy or Girl when the egg hatch? Interesting Croc facts as well as test whether something is a reptilian or not. Page 4: Some true/false, yes/no questions. Food chain for crocodilians (still to do at time of taking photo)

Page 3: Boy or Girl when the egg hatch? Interesting croc facts; test whether something is a reptilian or not.
Page 4: Some true/false, yes/no questions. Food chain for crocodilians (still to do at time of taking photo)

I put the crocodile teeth that a guide at Crocworld gave us in a little bag for safe keeping, after they were inspected through magnifying glasses by the boys! A good friend with a lizard as pet, happily gave us some of the shed skin. That is in the other little bag. Again, thorough inspection by the boys before bagged!

Mark the reptiles and write their names.

Mark the reptiles and write their names.

Mr.A had to check off which of the four pictures were reptiles, and he had to say each letter as he wrote their names. This he happily did. This morning Mr.A finished some of the other crocodile/reptile worksheets I printed, which included dot-to-dot numbers, mazes, etc. So an all-round success and new “book” to look through in future.

Resources:

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