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Valentine’s Day Poetry

14 Feb
It's today.

It’s today.

A good friend of mine wrote me a poem for Val’s Day. When I last saw her, I just shared with her how tough life can be with kids, work, homeschooling and bad hair days… And by shared with her, I mean poured out my own miserable heart selfishly without even asking how she was doing, but she was cool with that because she came, unashamedly, only to use my pool (her words, not mine).

Anyway, she has now upgraded to my new very best friend forever (don’t leave me honey bunny!!) and here is what she had to say, thinking about me, late at night on Wednesday the 13th of February.

Valentine’s Day Sonnet for a Wonderful Friend

My Nutella I will not share
With those who have perfect hair
But my swimming pool is always free
For those who come to visit me.

My name is Ingrid and I homeschool
For that, some think that I’m a fool
But they just don’t know the joy
of learning like it is a toy

Unlimited interest, joyful sharing
Oh homeschooling’s all about caring!
We bond like families should
And bake for all our neighbourhood

Thank you Lord, you know what’s real
And carry me, however I might feel …

On my side, I didn’t write her a poem, because I’m just not that good a friend but also because I hate (oops, I said I wouldn’t use that word so often this year…) loathe Val’s Day.

However, I bought something for my husband. It combines his 2 most passionate loves.

Chocolate and technology together. It almost beats a hot session of love making (blush blush)

Happy Vale… never mind, I don’t do Valentine’s Day…

Beauty is skin deep

6 Feb
My imaginary friend, Dee Dee McCall. Sometimes, she still visits.

My imaginary friend, Dee Dee McCall. Sometimes, she still visits.

Growing up, I was a total fan of a police series called Rick Hunter. In fact, I had a bizarre attachment to the female (!!) lead Dee Dee McCall. Then I grew up and CSI came on the scene, which switched my interest from doing the cop career into a forensic career.

Somehow, I ended up being a stay-at-home mum, homeschooling my children  (a mix of the two above-mentioned careers) but my love for the police force and crime scenes meant that I’m not a ‘sensitive viewer’.

Now you might be wondering where I am going with all these juicy details of my childhood.

Well I’m going to Bodyworlds! Or rather I have been to Bodyworlds. This expo is absolutely mind-boggling.

Life without skin. It's not pretty.

Life without skin. It’s not pretty.

What is it about? It’s really about dead bodies. Why go see dead bodies, you might ask, when you can just watch CSI? After these bodies are fixed into lifelike poses, they are hardened through a process too difficult for me to explain. Plastination (a process used to preserve those bodies) allows us to see exactly how our bodies respond to everyday movement (organs, muscles, ligaments…) And to see what happens inside our bodies, skin is removed. Now don’t be grossed out, it is a-ma-zing! Go check-it-out!! It’s in Cape Town at the moment until end of March but it’s been all around the world.

I took my children (6,8 and 9) to the expo (homeschooling and bla bla bla) And this is what we remember and learnt:

#1. One exhibit is a foetus. Several foetus, at different age, starting at 3 weeks. I can assure you that my children will never say that a foetus is not a baby. That exhibit for me was really sad, given that these babies were alive but then died.

#2. One exhibit shows the difference between a healthy lung and a smoker lung. Don’t smoke. Your lungs will get ugly.

#3. One exhibit is displaying two baller dancers. Let’s just say that the tutu helps you forget that often, her bum is right where his head is.

#4. One exhibit is the very-talked-about sex scene. If you’ve watched any movies rated 13, you probably saw something far more raunchy than this exhibit. There is very little sex appeal about the backbone of a girl split apart to reveal the male penis inserted into her vagina… ok, ok, I see you’re blushing. It’s all right. Breath in, breath out. It’s finished.

#5. One exhibit showed an overweight man and described where the layers of fat settle. Of course, me and my renowned sensitivity, I read the description and exclaimed “What? This guy weighed 150kgs!!” to which a voice from behind replied “Well, that’s about what I weigh”. So we learned to eat healthily on that exhibit. And to be more discreet.

#6. The most important thing we learnt from this expo is that God did a really good job when He put skin on us. Beauty is really skin deep.

So what will it be: CSI or Bodyworlds?

Attitude is a little thing.

1 Feb

If you’re new around here, you might not now that I am a homeschooling mum. Hey! I heard you say “aargh, one of those!”. Don’t judge so fast…

That's us. Happy happy happy homeschooling family.

That’s us. Happy happy happy homeschooling family.


… now you can judge.

This is my second year (which, by the way, means that I survived my first year. Hourray for me… and my kids) and in this year of survival, I’ve noticed some changes in attitude.

#1. People assume that I’m weird. Once, after mentioning that we homeschooled, a woman, and by woman I mean stranger, physically grabbed my arm and took my pulse to check that I was actually sane – or maybe just alive. Maybe she was a doctor or something but hello?! If she only knew the decisions I made in my life, she would see that homeschooling is not as weird as… I don’t know, having 3 kids in 3 years… planned?

#2. My son thinks I’m irrelevant. My 8 year old boy seems to think that he has a choice in the matter of whether he should or shouldn’t do his school work. Although it shouldn’t surprise me as he seems to have the ability to question everything that comes out of my mouth.  The word “questioning” doesn’t do justice to his relentless arguing. From whether he should eat, get dressed, brush his teeth, tidy his room, be polite, go play outside, stay inside, play with his brother, not play with his brother, leave his mum alone. Say something, anything, he’ll argue against it. Is there a job he can do where arguing would make him rich?

It's basically me. Without the bow. Although sometimes I wish I had one.

It’s basically me. Without the bow. Although sometimes I wish I had one.

#3. Non-homeschoolers think I’m brave. You darn right I am. Of course, they don’t see me shouting like a fishmonger’s wive and looking like la folle de Chaillot. I let them believe that I’m brave and I act normal in public. I’m cool like that.

#4. My friends think I am ruthless. I miss no opportunities to remind my children of how looooong the days are at school, how limiting it is to wear closed shoes in winter AND in summer and how boring it is to stand in line to go to the library. No mercy. Anything in my power to make sure they are very well aware of the sacrifice I’m willing to make for them.

#5. My neighbour thinks I’m a cold-blooded cutthroat neighbour. This is my chance  to pay my neighbours back for their high-pitch disturbances. Don’t get me wrong, we have pretty decent neighbours – from a distance at least. They  never complain (except the one across who’s grouchy smurf), they’re friendly, they keep their front lawn neat (so he likes to mow the lawn in his speedo, who am I to judge the portuguese? I dip my banana in my coffee). But between the early morning yelping dogs and the woman with the Nanny-Named-Fran voice, I don’t know which is worse! It helps me to know that they also have to put up with my boys overexcited shouts from 7 to 7ish.

So homeschooling has been helpful, not just from an academic perspective. I will share some more positive outcome of homeschooling in a future post. For now, I need to grab my bow and arrow and go back to the classroom.


What? No school this year?

6 Mar

Nope. This year we decided to homeschool. 

When we finally took the decision in the middle of last year, I yielded my husband’s good advice and did not advertise it. My heart wanted to share it with everyone I bumped into, but my head told me not to. I am aware that it can be a divisive topic and I certainly did not want to be that. So hush hush I kept it, until it was time to reveal our intentions. First to my mum (what do you mean ‘school at home??’ ), then to my husband’s mum (‘Homeschooling? I’m not so sure…’ ), then to my close friends (yes, they are still close friends) and lastly to strangers who asked (‘All THREE of your children?’).

Nonetheless, half a year after taking that decision and almost a term into the reality of it, I think it’s appropriate that it becomes official, i.e. Facebook status and blog!! One day, when I’m old and senile and my children want to know when and why and how and who and any other ‘wh’ questions regarding their homeschooling time, I will be able to say ‘Well my poppet, I … I… can’t remember. Just read our blog…’

So when? … It started when she was in Grade 3, he was in Grade 2 and he was in grade R. It’s easy enough because they are still so little that I don’t lose my sleep over their next maths lesson. And ‘when’, just to reassure my mum who might be freaking out, it’s e-ve-ry-day mum!! Counting, writing, reading, spelling, grammaring…Except some fridays but with good excuses to learn about something wider that the walls of our house, some Mondays because Killian goes to a technology club. Every now and then on a Tuesday because we run errands; and occasionally we skip Thursday because we don’t feel like working. Otherwise, EVERY other day!! (Just kidding mamaaaaannn!!!)

Why? … Because I had enough of saying ‘quickly’ and ‘vite vite’ to them, morning to evening, monday to friday. I wanted to switch to ‘just relax’ (of course it’s not all of the ‘whys’ but it certainly was a part weighing on my heart).

Who?… Of course my 3 children. Someone asked me if I had other kids as well, so I said ‘No, I didn’t start a school, I started homeschool’. That aside, the ‘who’ includes much more than me and my kids. I love outsourcing help, they make their life richer and mine easier, starting with art, music, wood work…

How?… With a complete curriculum that does all the work for me so that during the day I teach my kids, and in the evening, I can spend time with my husband ( and our housemate at the moment, wink wink…)

And voila! This is the summarized neat version of what is happening inside our walls this year. Emphasize on “neat” of course because the reality is always so much more murky 😉 Sometimes the ‘when’ is far too often, I wonder ‘why’, I can’t stand the ‘who’ and I’ve forgotten “how’.

But to finish on a positive note, I really enjoy homeschooling my kids and they seem to enjoy it too. And if only for these reasons, I am glad.

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