MOH – From High Towers to High Temps


Before the commotion of different languages, the Babylonians built one HIGH tower – The Tower of Babel (a.k.a. The Tower, or The City and the Tower). Most of us have read about it in the Bible (Genesis), but there is a very similar story in Sumerian legend: Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta.

Well towers we wanted to build, but not necessarily high, rather stable and solid. We did high a year or two ago, this time we did more free-style.

MOH1-TowerOfBabelThey only lasted until Dad saw it that evening, then the marshmellow-“cement” quickly disappeared.

From Bull Leaping to Tragedy

The Minoans lived on a Greek (nowadays) island close to Crete where they had annual Bull-leaping, something akin to our leap-frog game (apparently!). There are a lot of speculation surrounding their demise, as the whole civilization just seemed to have disappeared.

The speculation includes a volcanic eruption on a very near island, and the resulting ash and debris might have caused suffocation and death on a large-scale.

Of course we had to make our own little volcano (luckily not as dangerous).

18-volcano in orderAgain a superhero had to test out just how dangerous this volcano-action is, and this time a Power Ranger volunteered. The addition of a little bit of red food colouring added to the realistic effect of “lava” flowing out.

I am however, happy to report that no animals, plants or people (real or otherwise) were hurt in this experiment. The plant was saved by the “volcano” erupting to the other side.

Join us soon on our next Mystery of History adventure!


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MOH – Egypt – Calling all superheroes

Egypt had a couple of kings and queens – ok, Pharaohs, who have been well-known throughout history: Tutankhamen, Nefertiti, Cleopatra, to name a few.

During our reading about Egypt, we needed a volunteer to demonstrate the “mummification” process. Only Spiderman was up to the task.


A look at early Egypt and mummification

A look at early Egypt and mummification

An undaunted Amazing Spiderman volunteering for the mummification process. We agreed that for this version we’ll leave intestines, brain and heart in tact, and only concentrate on oils and cloth coverings (which was toilet paper, but no need to further disturb the poor boy).

Writing your name in hieroglyphics was a carefull business, because if your “pictures” didn’t look right, they might just end up meaning something totally different. Luckily Mr.A and Mr.R got it right.

Their idea of what an Egyptian looked like in “the olden days”.


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MOH – Kicking off with NOT a bang


Mystery of History is a Christian History curricula that obviously does not support the Big Bang Theory, but Creation in 7 days by The Creator, God. It incorporates Bible and secular history in chronological order, which gives a better perspective of why some things happened the way they did, and where did what fit into history – Bible compared to secular in a way, or how the two are actually intertwined.

So of course we started off with Creation, light, sounds, animals, which do include Dinosaurs!

I am not going to relate all the topics that we cover, as we are not doing them in-depth, but rather for interest sake. I’ll just post some pictures of what we were up to.

Screenshot of topics

Screenshot of topics

 Creation in History

MOH1-CreationThey each created a Creation booklet, drawing pictures to remember what happened on which day.

One of the MOH activities (included in the manual) asked for the learner to create something of their own. This long nose dolphin-shark was Mr.A’a creation.

Some of the books we use for Mystery of History.

Testing sound waves… watching plants grow (biomes and the original atmosphere of earth?) and of course, Dinosaurs!


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Quarter past 2015 and aiming for the Future

Rush, rush, rush… this is how this first quarter of the year felt like, but we are already nearing the half way mark as I write!

During January, February and March I did two courses through Coursera on education and technology, or education in the future:

e-Learning Ecologies

The first looked more towards the future of learning. Where should it go? How should learning look like to be competent for the future? What should learners be taught to be able to work and have meaningful lives in future? Should they be taught, or rather follow their interests? Should there be strict classroom schedules, or should it rather be ubiquitous – learning at their own pace, when they want to, where they want to, what they want to? The role of the teacher in future: teaching or facilitating? The role of assessment in future: group work, peer assessment and assistance, or hand in your work for a mark? And of course: what technologies are available for this type of learning, ideas of using them, etc.

The course did not focus on a specific age group of learners, but for learners across all ages: from primary through to tertiary, and company training.

Hmmm… sound familiar? Of course! It is some of the basic principles that underlines homeschooling. You do not do school at home. You follow a more sedate, informal approach (whether that be unschooling or eclectic), according to the child’s needs and interests, and a time schedule that suites the family.

Emerging Trends and Technologies

The second course focussed more on K-12 age group of learners, and how to incorporate technology into the classroom, to give a free-er, wider array of teaching – i.e. include the learners’ different learning styles. I gained a lot of knowledge here from teachers, especially from Europe, with regards to using games like Minecraft, etc. to get kids to engage in their learning, and boy are there interesting ways of doing that!
So again, it came down to trying to accommodate the child’s learning style, accommodate the child’s interests. Have a less formal classroom environment. Again, sound familiar? Hmmm…

For this second course we each had to do an assignment where we incorporate some kind of technology and/or programme into our “class work” for our children, give reasons why, how, costs, negative, positive, outcomes, etc. These assignments would then be peer-reviewed by three other students on the course, and finally by the course administrators.

My assignment focussed on Learning English through Easy Peasy, which I attach here for your perusal, if you are interested. Peer Assignment – Learning English

This is what we are currently using for English. I can attest to the fact that it works for us. A couple of the American teachers on the course stated that if Easy Peasy complies to Pennsylvania homeschool laws, then it is of very, very high standard. Which it does and is. So no worries for me now that a free programme is not good enough. It is!


We have steadily been making progress, getting fit, getting ready for autumn and now winter. The boys are growing, learning, loosing that “little boy” look and feel.

And time just keeps moving forward.

Keep well. Chat again soon!


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Curricula for 2015

With 2014 being an “Afrikaans” language only, then “no, you have to bring in English”, for a couple of weeks, back to “Afrikaans only”, with regards to formal language learning, I was really not sure how to tackle languages in 2015! By end of 2014, we saw that Afrikaans was pretty well laid, with Mr.A being able to read short words and sentences, and understood what he read. He said again that he is eager to learn to read English, because it would make some of his games, especially Minecraft, a lot easier. They are learning simultaneously, so both languages are about comparably strong when it comes to talking, but Mr.A seems to think in English, while Mr.R thinks in Afrikaans, if you take their grammar, especially sentence structure, into consideration. So after a lot of discussion between Daddy B, me (and my trusty HS-support group), and the boys, we decided on the following for this year:

Afrikaans Language

We’ll continue with Omvattend Afrikaans Gr.1 book until complete. I found that this Gr.1 book is of a very high standard, and contains a lot of Gr.2 work, as I know it from other, older curricula, so I am not too phased that Mr.A hasn’t completed it yet. We took some time beginning of last year, sorting out his language learning style, and then took more time working out a way that suited him best – having to cover letters, words, sentences, with auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learning styles.  He is getting there, which is most important. Slow and steady wins the race! When we finish the first book, and there are only maybe a month or two of the year left, we’ll rather continue with short little booklets I have, like Smile Phonetics, language arts booklet I was gifted, etc. and start Omvattend Afrikaans Gr.2 next year.

Omvattend Afrikaans Gr.2

Mr.R is, of course, learning alongside Mr.A. I’m still a bit unsure about this 5yr old (almost 6yr) wanting to learn, but I won’t ever stop, neither force him, if that is what he wants to do. I definitely believe “Better late, than early“, but no harm in him setting the pace.

English Language

For English we are going to continue with Easy Peasy Getting Ready 1 (E.P.). As we are South African, and here we learn British English, I make use of Starfall UK links, and try to say the letters out loud for them to get the right pronunciation. We make use of E.P. links, but most of them are from We read the paragraph/story about the animal, and either of the two boys colour in the picture of the animal. Then I chose one or two video links with regards to pronunciation, and one craft for the letter, that goes up on our wall. This I did ahead of time, pulled up a spreadsheet with the relevant information, and made links by lesson, in Mozilla Firefox.

Easy Peasy Getting Ready 1

For copy work/writing, we are using the South African Basic Education Caps books for Gr.1, which I was given. I’m not fond of them, as I was told by English home language parents that they contain errors (and I found the same in the Afrikaans and math books), but I can skip or correct as I go. We use it mainly for their colourful pages, review of letters, and as I said some writing, review of colours, shapes, etc. that are added in these books.


As we had to lay the Afrikaans foundation strong last year, I had to switch to Afrikaans Math workbooks. Luckily I could download a lot of workbook pages, and had a programme to follow for both boys, that were similar, but with Mr.A obviously doing a bit more advanced stuff than Mr.R.

This year however, we are finally starting with Life of Fred!

Fred Gauss, a child prodigy math genius

Fred Gauss, a child prodigy math genius

We will fill in (for the visual/kinesthetic side) with Edupeg Gr.2 books, as well as some free math games on Ubuntu and the internet. I continue to use the manipulatives from Box-N-Dice, and where I see that they don’t understand a concept, I will fall back on those DVD lessons. In the end we only bought Level1 DVD, but if it is really necessary, we will consider buying Level2.

I read sample chapters from the first book, Apples, to the boys maybe 2 years ago. They both still remembered the little boy who slept in his sleeping bag under a table, and ran in the snow, looking for apples!

Interest Based Learning

I decided to incorporate Mystery of History this year. The boys had asked SO MANY QUESTIONS last year about different topics, which would have been covered by MOH Vol.1. We will do this as an interest topic, thus we are NOT going to learn dates, we are NOT concentrating on remembering names, places, etc. It is purely for enjoyment!

MOHVol1-2ndEdCoverI am again using books we have on all kinds of topics to enhance the experience, by including science experiments, nature science, geography, human science, etc. So for instance when we learn about Sampson from the Bible, we will read up on human hair and muscles. In Ice Age we will do ice experiments, look at YouTube videos where applicable, etc.

It took me about three weeks’ evenings in December to work out a programme with all the added extras, but this time round, I cut it down to the bare necessities. So just a little bit extra, to bring in hands-on (although MOH has its own age-appropriate activities), and variation. It shouldn’t overwhelm us like Expedition Earth’s work (which was also an interest subject) did.

As you can see on the plan underneath, we will not be doing all subjects on all days. The main subjects are Afrikaans and Math (each having 3 “days”). Then English and Mystery of History share two days. It took a bit of juggling to fit in around their sport and me having to go to town on a specific day and time! So for most of the time we work for 2hrs a morning, but some days, some of the MOH activities (like baking a cake, etc.) will take longer.

Bi-weekly schedule 2015

Bi-weekly schedule 2015

Those of you who followed last year’s work, will see that we are either using books we have, or planned to use since a while back, or we are just continuing with a higher level book. No major changes except in what the boys can manage, and how they have developed and matured.

 That’s it folks! Please share your own choices or experience as we all learn from each other.



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