Traditional African Houses

In our Footprints On Our Land (South African History studies), we have joined the 1820 British Settlers who settled along the Eastern Frontier, to the land where the Xhosa people lived.

The frontier with allotted farms, c. 1835

The frontier with allotted farms, c. 1835 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This section of History covers aspects of the Frontier Wars between the Xhosa and the settlers and the British government.

Tensions were so great that a neutral territory was created between the Great Fish River and the Kei River to prevent the Xhosa crossing over to steal cattle and burn settler farms, and the retaliatory raids to recapture stolen cattle.

These issues come to life as I read wonderful living books, and our current story “Strangers in the Land“.

While I read, my young daughter cut and created these African homes from postcards that I had collected long ago in my teaching days.

She displayed all the different houses on the bookshelf, each house in its own ‘village’, separated by a book pulled out slightly.

We will focus on the Zulu in the next theme. This is what their traditional house looks like.Many of my readers may have seen the brightly colored, geometric designs the Ndebele use to decorate their homes on African-themed designs.  Theirs is truly the most colorful homes!

Below is a Venda home, also painted and decorated, but they use more earthy, natural colored paints.

And this Sotho house completes this collection:

Blessings,

Fun History!

What a shock my kids had when I walked into the room like this!

(Excuse the slightly blurred photo.  My 10-year-old was giggling too much to focus the camera properly!)

It was a great way to introduce the British Occupation at the Cape and the 1820 British Settlers for our Footprints On Our Land history curriculum.

All Miss.L10′s narrations were done with the mask and a most ‘proper’ British accent!

(And lots of giggles from Miss.K13 studying in the background!)

Some novelty and fun makes History fresh and exciting!

Hope you and your kids have fun now and then!

Blessings,

3D Models into Art

“Busy hands while I read aloud”

This is a wonderful recipe to success in a literature-based curriculum like Sonlight.

My kids have modeled in clay, made prints, colored-in, painted, woven wool, built a Lego ziggurat, tied knots and built paper models.

In Footprints on our Land, we recently studied the French Huguenots and their influence on the culture, architecture, agriculture, language and religion in the Cape.

I had some postcard paper models of Cape houses from my old teaching-days.  I made color photo-copies (to save my originals) and gave them to Miss.L10 to cut and glue while I read aloud.

She enjoyed the intricate cutting and scoring,

glueing and forming …

The water-mill was quite tricky!

Once she had finished “playing” with the little paper people around her houses, we put the models up on the window sill on display.

This week we finished off the read aloud.  While I read the last few chapters, we solved the “where do we store the 3D models?” problem with an artistic application ~

  • cut the models apart
  • use the front, the sides and the back to create 3 houses from 1 model
  • paste them on a blank page
  • draw, color and paint the background and the details
  • and we have wonderful, detailed, colorful pages for in our notebook file!

This way we achieved ~

  1. creative and busy hands while I read aloud
  2. storage for a 3-dimensional object in our notebook file
  3. creative problem-solving = make the models fit into a 2-dimensional design (she had to cut the roof in different angles to look “true”, she made a door where there was only a window, she wanted both sides of the water mill and created a full water flow through several buildings!)

How do you store your children’s 3D models?  What busy-hands activities have been the most successful/ creative?  Please share in the comments.

Blessings,

Fun with Oreo Moons

Double Stuf Oreos, by Nabisco.

It is always good to have some kind of fun activity to help teach or reinforce new concepts.

Our current South African History story relates how the Khoikhoi natives measured time with the moon.  Typically, as in our all literature studies, we branched off the story and we studied the moon phases.

I found a fun Oreo moon phase worksheet and we …

twisted

licked

ate

enjoyed

our Oreos

and made

our own moon phases chart.

Yummy!

Now, in testimony of my health-eating choices, my 9-year-old had NEVER eaten Oreos before!  But for the sake of fun I decided that this would definitely add something special to the lesson.

It was a really delicious, new learning experience!

Here are some web links to similar Oreo Moon studies:

In my years of homeschooling I realize that hand-on activities, creative and fun projects, art & crafts, outdoor lessons and co-op/ group outings are essential to a young child’s love for learning.

With 2 of my children in high school it seems that we don’t enjoy as many fun moments homeschooling.  Somehow the seriousness of studies and schedules make greater demands on our time and liberty.

Do the creative-hand-on-fun activities with your young kids.

Deviate from the schedule.

Deny the time constraints.

Delve out of the program.

Do delight-directed unit studies.

Do have fun!

What fun activities did you and your children love best?  Please share some and link to your posts in the comments below.

Blessings,

School Outings ~ What I Miss Most

 Girls find garnets in the gravel at Kimberley Big Hole

For several years now we lived too far away (not to mention our horrendous mountain roads) from cities, towns and friends to join homeschool outings –

and I miss it much more than my kids do!

  • I miss the planning and preparation of an outing that fits all our schedules and topics of  interest.
  • I miss meeting friends at a car park, chatting to moms while we wait for the rest to arrive.
  • I miss watching the kids playing before we can even introduce the new family that has joined the group.
  • I miss the hugs, encouragement and support of other moms who have rushed household chores, packed picnic baskets and scurried to put the baby things in the bag for the day, to get the to venue on time.
  • I miss the buzz of excitement of the little ones as we enter the museum or place of interest.
  • I miss the tour guide telling the kids stuff that we read about and watching the children’s faces light up with, “I know that!
  • I miss the joy of my child’s feeling of success when she answers a guide’s questions with confidence.
  • I miss the group activities, the teams, the joint efforts in some or other exercise.
  • I miss seeing, with wonder and joy, older teenagers (especially the guys) playing and helping the toddlers and young kids, when I know that it would not be “cool” among their government school peers.
  • I miss sharing healthy and delicious snacks and tea and coffee afterwards.
  • I miss hearing the successes and failures of other homeschool families and being part of such a wonderful support system.
  • I miss my children’s excited news and joy of friends who have the same life values.
  • I miss the confirmation of our homeschooling choices seen at work in other families.
  • And of course I miss the art museums, the professional tour guides, seeing real artifacts and proof of reality seen up close and personal.

For moms with young children I urge you to join other groups, or form your own, and make time each month for an outing!  If possible, choose a schedule that gives you 1 day each week for outings and get-together.  (Sonlight offers a choice between a 4-day or a 5-day week schedules.  We often used our 5th ‘free’ day for library, visits, shopping and outings.)

These outings are wonderful experiences and make memories that may last for ever!

I  think we stocked up on our family’s outings because we spent over a year on the road and traveled around South Africa while we did Footprints on the Land curriculum.

May you enjoy your homeschool groups and outings!

Blessings,

This post is part of the upcoming South African Carnival of Homeschooling.

Happy Birthday Nelson Mandela!

[NelsonMandela5.jpg]

Our former South African president Nelson Mandela turns 92 today, just one week after the successful hosting of the FIFA Soccer World Cup.

But this year the world will celebrate with him on

Nelson Mandela International Day”,

which the United Nations decided would be observed every year on his birthday to recognise his struggle for peace and freedom.

In honour of his 67 years of service  to his country and his people, the Mandela Foundation is asking people around the world to give 67 minutes of their time to volunteer work – one minute for every year that he spent in the struggle for equality.

What can we do?

  • Donate blood (only if you’re over 18).  Monday is World Blood Donar Day.
  • Volunteer at rural schools; give books, stationary, posters, paint out the classrooms, donate tea and coffee for the staff, garden or decorate at the entrance.
  • Fix and build playground equipment in poor community schools and parks.
  • Make meals for the needy.
  • Donate groceries to the needy.
  • Visit the needy at caravan parks and give clothes and food.
  • Visit hospital wards; especially the children’s wards, oncology wards and bless the nurses too.
  • Visit the aged in old age homes.  Encourage the staff who serve the elderly.
  • Visit and encourage staff and children in orphanages.
  • Join with other communities and play soccer/games in a community park.
  • Offer your services to your local municipal library or clinics.
  • Plant a vegetable bed in a needy community; donate seeds, seedlings, garden tools and fertilizer.
  • Visit the lonely in your own neighbourhood.
  • Bake cakes and biscuits to give to the needy.
  • Serve those who serve – the cleaners, refuse removal staff.
  • Thank your local police and emergency workers.  Bring them cake!

Watch this short video of Nelson Mandela International Day.

Read his autobiography The Long Road To Freedom.

A Long Walk to Freedom

For an excellent, rich,  literature-based South African History eduction curriculum I highly recommend Footprints On Our Land.  (We used this curriculum for all 3 of our children. See my review here.)

As Nelson Mandela encourages,

we must use our lives to make the world a better place.

What will you do?

Footprints – a South African Education

A few years ago we used Footprints On Our Land – for ages 7-12-years, a literature-based, Charlotte Mason approached education, which explores the rich heritage, culture, history, fauna and flora and geography of South Africa.

Footprints map

Footprints map

Our family was fortunate enough to have a year to travel around South Africa. As we travelled and learnt and we discovered our own Footprints in South Africa.

Our Footprints map shows all the places we visited, people we met and picture discs of all the books we read in their geographical location.

This curriculum was an idyllic method to fully appreciate the diverse and interesting aspects of the history of South Africa.  But even without travelling at all, the Footprints curriculum package is a wonderful, rich learning experience for those who can read the amazing ‘living-books’, research online and go on some relevant outings!

One of the blessings of this period in our homeschooling with Footprints On Our Land was that I could use 1 package for all 3 girls.  My eldest, then 12-years-old, and my middle daughter, then 7-years-old, could manage and master the content and activities at their respective ages.  My youngest daughter was only 5-years-old, and could enjoy all the stories and hands-on activities!  (Little Footprints is an ideal curriculum for her age group!)

Girls find garnets in the gravel at Kimberley Big Hole

Girls find garnets in the gravel at Kimberley Big Hole

This curriculum provides Bible, Social Studies, Geography, Biology, Science, Language, Life Skills, Art and Crafts lesson ideas. You would need to get a grade-appropriate maths and phonics program to complete your full schooling requirements.

I will post more information on the Footprints into the 21st Century for 12-16-year-olds soon.

I highly recommend Footprints On Our Land!