Homeschool Beginnings Part II

Continuing my story of my unlikely journey into homeschooling from Part I …

Following our newborn baby’s diagnosis of meningitis and a brain bleed, we went into deep shock. It was the only time I saw my husband actually sob.

I spent eleven days in the hospital with my baby, now in the children’s ward, where there were five other meningitis cases, caring for my tiny, sick, newborn baby and trying desperately to learn to breastfeed.

Hospital life is interrupted, clinical, medical and full of fear.  Not the nurturing, calm and private bonding post birth experience I had dreamed for and that my hormones absolutely craved!  I almost gave up breastfeeding because my drugged and sick baby couldn’t latch properly.  I had cracked nipples and a bad case of milk fever, but a La Leche League consultant came and talked me through all my difficulties and supported my decision to keep trying to feed my baby despite all the obstacles. I am so grateful for her help as we went on to breastfeed for two years.

We were referred to pediatric specialists who told us of all the possible damage the brain bleed and meningitis could cause. The news was dreadful. The pediatric neuro-specialist referred to her diagnosis as right-side hemiplegia or right-side paralysis.   There were fears of possible learning and speech problems.  I was gutted.

My hubby and I immediately found ourselves in separate camps trying to cope with this news; he was quiet, withdrawn and in denial, and I began a frantic search for options, help, therapy, support, and interventions.  I think that I was determined to help my child and nothing was going to be too difficult.  I resigned from my teaching position and so I began my new role of stay-at-home-mom-on-a-mission!

To be continued in Part III.

Blessings, Nadene

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Homeschool Beginnings Part 1

Many of my readers have followed me for several years, but don’t know how I started homeschooling, and some of you are fairly new to Practical Pages, and so I thought I would share my personal testimony of how I stumbled into homeschooling and the amazing journey that it took us on.  It’s a long story, but I will break it up into bite-sized pieces, so please come back each week for the next post in the series.

Homeschooling was not even on my radar.  Before I had my own children, I hardly knew anyone who homeschooled, and I probably thought those who did were strange.  I was devoted school teacher and glibly thought I would continue teaching again after taking a year’s maternity and paid leave, But the Lord had other plans.

My first daughter’s birth was a precipitous, premature, hospital delivery. She was tiny, needed to go under lights and so we stayed in the hospital for five days.  After just four days at home, she developed a very high fever and screamed all night. Early the next morning we were at a pediatric hospital.  The traumatic diagnosis following a spinal tap and brain scans was that our precious baby had meningitis and had a brain bleed.

Of course, I immediately resigned from my teacher’s position, right in those first few weeks following her illness, when I realized that I had a very important job helping my child.  And so began a very different journey of motherhood and parenting, and one that would lead me, very naturally, as it seems to me now, into homeschooling.

To be continued in Part II.

Blessings, Nadene

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Lost Inspiration

I love sketching and creating a weekly entry in my nature journal, but I haven’t touched my art supplies for over 2 months.  I wondered if I had lost my creative inspiration. How had that happened?

As I pondered the reason for my lack of art, these changes came to mind ….

Feeding our bull and weaned calves

We live on a remote mountain farm in a semi-arid area called the Klein Karoo, and have been in the grip of the worst drought in living memory. We have had to supplement feed our cattle completely since March this year and it is a labour-intensive affair. Our whole family have all pulled on our boots and climbed in the Landy to help my hubby every day and especially on the weekends when our worker takes his weekend off. It would seem natural that I would not sit happily sketching and painting in my free time, especially when there is hard, physical work to be done.

My herb and vegetable garden earlier this winter …

The drought affected my gardening and I could barely manage keep my veggie garden going through the winter. My pretty rose garden withered and died back. Full-grown trees died, and about 4 other trees blew over in a terrible wind storm. I was definitely not inspired on my nature walks when I went outside.

I recently decided to re-landscape the rose bed and I transplanted several rose bushes in a smaller cluster while they were in their winter dormancy.  I also transplanted several plants dying in other neglected garden areas to this focused garden bed. I hope to carefully water this smaller area and keep them alive.  I suppose I could have journalled these changes in my nature journal, but I was simply too tired.

Off to prune pomegranate trees

With our livestock farming under stress, we decided to make full use of a neighbouring farmer’s offer to prune his pomegranate orchards and use the cuttings to create our own pomegranate plants. We spent the last week pruning, cutting slips and planting over 5000 plants. Back-breaking and hand-cramping days.

At the end of April, my 17-year-old daughter graduated homeschool and she is transitioning through her options for the rest of this year.  This is a difficult phase to navigate.  On one hand, we recognize that she has been very isolated and protected, while on the other, she has worked very independently as a homeschooler.  Even so, we as parents have struggled to let her go even though we know that this is exactly what she needs and wants to do.  I suppose this phase has been tough for me emotionally.

We all go through seasons. This has been a physically hard and barren season, which has literally dried up my time and energy, which in turn, dried up my art and creativity.

Snow on our mountains!

Thankfully, just in this past week, miraculous rain and snow has fallen, and the drought seems to have almost broken. While it will take months for the fields and grass to recover, and we will still have to supplement feed our livestock, there is hope in the air and in our hearts.

It seems that my art and creativity are linked to regular watering of my spirit and soul. Perhaps my sketching and painting will bud and fruit sometime soon again ….

The Lord is faithful to keep us, even in dry and weary times.

What inspires your art and creativity?

Wishing you every blessing in whatever season you are in, Nadene

7 Things Not To Do For Your Teen

How do we raise competent adults if we’re always doing everything for our kids?  As devoted homeschool parents we often are very involved in our children’s lives, but as they mature, we should graciously back off and allow our teens to grow, learn and mature in every area of their lives.

“Parenting on Purpose” allows opportunity for our kids to develop the necessary life skills.  Some may view this as a lack of parenting, but research shows that “helicopter parenting” — over-involved, hyper-vigilant parenting —  is a one-way ticket to incompetent offspring,  While we don’t want our children to fail, we need to realize that adversity is a normal part of life and the only way to teach our children coping skills is to make them do and think for themselves.

To quote Ann Landers,

“It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings.”

Here are some issues to avoid when parenting teens ~

  1. Do not speak for them.  Do not stand in for them in social situations, doctor’s consultations, interviews, bookings and introductions.  After blundering in this area and seeing my children cringe and roll their eyes when I butted in conversations, I made a decision to shut up and give my teens the space to speak for themselves.  They often amaze me with their eloquence.  My shy daughter still tries to avoid answering the telephone and greeting visitors, but she has become more confident.  Practice makes this life skill easier.
  2. Do not lie for them.  For over-protective parents, this may be a form of trying to soften the blows of life, but our teens need to connect with the consequences of their decisions, lack of diligence, mistakes or issues.  Our teens need to learn to be honest, admit their failings, and find ways to make right.  Often harsh consequences teach them far more than a weekend of lectures.
  3. 20161201_185333Do not manage their time.  Every teen should set their own alarms, wake up,  prepare and be on time without mom or dad cajoling, persuading, nagging or reminding.  Don’t rush around buying last-minute items, find lost clothes or projects or”helping” them reach their deadlines.  Teach your teens to make schedules, activate their own alarms and add reminders to their cellphones, or simply keep a calendar or notebook.  Our aim is to raise well-functioning adults here.
  4. Do not manage their budget & money.  No matter how little or how much pocket-money your teen receives, they need to learn how to save, budget, spend or share their own money.  If you constantly dish out money to your teen, you act as their personal ATM.  Now is the time to open a personal bank account for your teen and teach them how to spend and save wisely.  Don’t rescue them when they spend all their money or suddenly need more money.  Give them ideas or opportunities from young to work to earn extra pocket-money.  My kids tender for projects that need doing around the house to earn extra money.
  5. Do not fight their teacher/ “friend” battles.  When your teen has issues with teachers or friends, it may be wise to listen and ask questions which may lead them to figure out what to do about their unpleasant situation, but at this point, parents should not be personally involved in bringing about resolutions.  Let your teen figure things out for themselves.  My eldest daughter once told her dad, “I can navigate this situation better on my own.”  And she was right.
  6. 20161201_185345Do not take over incompleted work/ chores.  Do not rescue your teen when they forget their work, leave it behind, delay or procrastinate and run out of time with work or chores.  Again, allow the consequences to be the life lesson here.
  7. Stop filling out their paperwork.  Teens should learn how to complete forms or fill their own applications.  With a little advice, most teens should be able to complete all their own paperwork.  Practice this skill while they are still young.  Every teen should practice their own signature and write neatly and clearly.

My parenting goal is to raise competent and capable adults.  And to accomplish this, I am backing off in areas where my teens can stand on their own two feet.  So, despite my love and my desire to hover and help, I want to see my teens succeed in the real world.  This means that I may have to stand by as they navigate failure and real life stuff on their own.

So please don’t judge me if my kids seem a little unsure, make mistakes, or sometimes suffer the consequences … it’s all part of growing teens in independence.

And may I add here, that this is an area that calls for grace

… to yourself … to your children … and to others.  Grace to other moms who are trying to figure out just how much help is required .. or who don’t know how to step back …  Grace to young adults who are growing and learning.

In Grace, Nadene

Busy Bees Sewing

witsand-xmas-marketIt has been quiet over here at Practical Pages this past month because we have been busy sewing and I put our homeschooling on the back burner.  We were given a last-minute spot at the fabulous Witsand Christmas Market to sell our handmade items this December.  Not having much time to prepare, we plunged in full-time!

My product line is called Birdie Bags and I am trying to generate enough stock to last the full month of Dec into the New Year.  I am sewing bags, mostly quilted drawstring bags and pencil and other zip bags.  These bags fold open to become a basket-tray, making it an ideal travel bag.  birdie-bags1

 

 

birdie-bagsMy daughters created a pyjama range and my eldest sews the beautiful tops, while my middle daughter sews the shorts and pants.  They have a wonderful friendship and an amazing collaborative business.  They are setting up their Facebook page and Instagram pages and already have orders, but their Christmas market stock is a priority.  img-20161102-wa0007

So, as this school year draws to a close and South Africans plan for their long-awaited summer December break, I trust you are finding your end of year flow and rhythm.

Much grace, Nadene

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Have you liked my new Practical Pages Facebook Page yet?

Facebook Practical Pages coverSeveral months ago I started a new Practical Pages FB page because the original FB page could not be merged to my personal account.  Over the months since, only a couple hundred have joined me on my new page.

Would you please click and like the new page so that all my fresh posts automatically come up on your feed?

Blessings, Nadene

 

 

 

New Practical Pages Facebook Page

I’m a slow starter when it comes to Facebook …

Facebook Practical Pages

I started a business Practical Pages Facebook page a year or so before I started my own personal Facebook page.  Since then, Facebook have made changes and I now need to deactivate my original Practical Pages Facebook page (FB does not allow me to merge the 2 pages) in order to focus on the new Practical Pages FB page.

Please, pretty please 1,300+ followers, would you please pop over and click to follow the new page … I’d love you to easily receive all my posts, notifications and conversations!

Blessings, Nadene

Restful Festive Season Greetings

As Christmas week approaches,

my thoughts and prayers for you is …

for times of rest, reflection, refreshing and re-focussing.

May your festive season be blessed!

Blessings In Him,

Timing myself!

Revisiting a post written several years ago …https://i0.wp.com/www.simplysmartliving.com/assets/images/pg-kitchen-timer.jpg

Before we started our Lucerne Tree business, before I joined Facebook … before our having to discipline our teenage daughters’ computer and cell phone times …

I  wonder just how quickly the boundaries shift or “vanish”  …  and realize, again, that my habits set the tone for the family, and set an example for my children.

Just after we started our homeschooling, I re-evaluated my schedule. I realized that things were not in balance. I went to pray.  The Lord really convicted me about my time spent on my computer.

I realized that I spent hours at my laptop every day. I love to read, and research, create and write. I love to read new posts on my favourite blogs. I love to receive emails and write and encourage others.

Isn’t this my “ministry” while I live on a farm so remote and far from everyone?

But I spend too much time here everyday.

So, I committed my time to the Lord anew. I took my handy kitchen timer and placed it on my desk. I now limit my computer time to 1 hour for the day. For everything. Emails, posts, writing, reading, creating my own pages, whatever. When that bell rings, I must stop.

Shut down.

Walk away.

Seriously.

My hubby is glad. My children are very glad.

This is right. And I am so grateful that the Lord stirs my conscience and urges me to hear His soft voice. May my use of my time honor Him.

Blessings,

Away and Return

Some of my readers asked where I have been as I have not posted any new posts in the last weeks …

I have been away.

My dad became ill in May, and again early July and following several days of hospitalization 2 weeks ago, he became paralyzed. The eventual diagnosis was spinal TB or extra-pulmonary tuberculosis.

At the moment he is still in ICU following a really long and complex spinal fusion.  Doctors hope that now that his spine is stabilized, the nerves will eventually recover.  It may require up to 18 months in rehab.

My mom is traumatized by the sudden dramatic events and she faces many huge decisions.  She will have to pack and sell, give away and donate their things and sell her house.  We visited the retirement complex she has reserved and trust for God’s perfect timing to move there.

My dad’s treatments and final recovery is uncertain. Medical aid will not cover the many months of rehab. He has lost his job as the company has had to replace him, and at his age, he probably will not be able to return when he recovers.

I took an 19-hour bus trip to be with my parents and support my mom.  We spent many days sorting out dad’s legal affairs and accounts.

We visited him in hospital.

We cried many times.

We prayed constantly.

My mom’s church, the ladies in her quilting group, her dog therapy group and many of her patients (she’s a physiotherapist) and family have rallied around mom and dad.

Although we live far away, I am in constant contact with her.

In the meantime, I have returned home to my family and our farm.  My eldest daughter approaches her  prelim exams in August and matric final exams in November.  I have committed to driving her to the exam center and supporting her in these last few important months of her schooling.

I will so appreciate your prayers.

Blessings,

Here are some sites you may wish to view if you have any questions regarding extra-pulmonary TB: