Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Have a blessed Christmas

We are winding down here getting ready for Christmas, the holidays etc, so I'll be on holidays from blogging for a while.
I wish all my bloggy friends a blessed and happy Christmas and I look forward to spending more time with you in blogosphere in 2010!
Here's a picture taken of us as a family a couple of weeks ago at our church Christmas party by one of our friends who is a professional photographer. I think we scrubbed up alright, or maybe it was photoshop:)
See you all later!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Time to encourage myself:)

Two days ago, as we got in the car to head out, Rebekah said to me, "can we listen to some nice classical music mummy?".
Well, this was truly music to my ears:)

It got me pondering on the past year - as one tends to do at the end of a year - and I was really encouraged about all we've done this year with Rebekah.

For instance, I thought of the fact that she started writing her letters in cornmeal early this year

and now she knows pretty much all her lower and uppercase letters and can write them quite neatly. She knows approximately fifty words that she can read, she has progressed a lot in maths without a whole lot of formal teaching (apart from some lessons in the Singapore Math books that we started a few weeks ago), she has learnt to play "twinkle twinkle little star" by herself on her toy keyboard, and she would say her favourite books are her "art" books - we have quite a few of those:) One of our recent additions is a book called "100 Masterpieces of Australian painting" that we picked up for $5 at a recent second hand book sale (can you believe that!). She loves this book so much and it has become a recent favourite to take with her for her car rides.

When all of this dawned on me the day before yesterday, I couldn't believe that I actually had a part to play in this! Did I actually help her with all of that! It's amazing when you add up all the little bits and take a look at the big picture! I was truly encouraged at my efforts to "home school" her!

She has progressed to listening to read alouds from the Beatrix Potter books to ones like "The Magic Pudding" and "Stuart Little".

As for spiritual things, they are a bit hard to measure but judging by what she said the same night, I am encouraged. She said that she is going to start a "group" in her bedroom where she goes and prays by herself regularly..hmm not sure about the "group" thing but I think she's trying to emulate some of our prayer meetings:)

She loves her science experiments book and maps! In fact she has a child's atlas that she is truly in love with and loves looking up countries and places. She often takes out her history book from next years lot of books and loves looking at it!

Also, she loves nature and we have helped nurture that sense of wonder with things in nature and helped her develop her powers of observation. In fact, she loves drawing in her nature journal and has made quite a few entries, this being her most recent one: (sorry no scanner at the moment so had to resort to taking a picture)

These are just some of the bits and pieces from our past year of homeschooling.

So, time to pat myself on the back:) and thank God for His grace this past year with a successful year of homeschooling!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Rite of passage?

I thought I'd better tell you about our recent exciting events around here.
Rebekah has just finished her end of year dance concert. She had been looking forward to it all year long. At the start of this year, I wanted to enrol her in ballet but the most convenient place for us taught not only ballet but also jazz and tap. Rebekah has really enjoyed it all and she says jazz is her favourite though she loves tapping about in her tap shoes and has been known to wear it to church on Sundays too many a time:) Go figure! I guess jazz shoes aren't as glamourous!
Anyway, the big day arrived after and here she is:


Jazz: (They did a song from Lion King)


I was so proud of my little girl when she was up on stage in front of hundreds of people doing her thing! I had one of those moments when I couldn't believe how fast the years have gone - I thought about the day she was born and how she has grown from this little baby so quickly to be doing this. You know, it was just one of those emotional moments.....universally parents say that kids grow up fast and how true is that! Some days can seem to go slow but from a longer term perspective, it all seems to go just too fast:( I want her to stay little but I know I have no control over that! Anyway, I digress....while I was having this emotional moment I mentioned earlier, I somehow felt like a real if doing this sort of thing made me feel normal....I am not sure if it's the fact that Rebekah hasn't been to school or not that made me feel that way (you know, not having the normal school experience, first day of kindy etc, knowing all the other local kids in the community etc) I suspect it is...or just the fact that she is growing up....I felt like it was rite of passage into real motherhood...I know it's probably silly to think so but that's how I felt.

And oh, to top off all the excitement of dancing on stage etc, she even got a medal and trophy, now what can top that? It's her first ever medal and trophy and she is so proud of it!

On a different note, Ron and I have not liked the direction that Rebekah will head in if she continues in this dance school, so next year it might be a different dance school where she can learn ballet alone or maybe even Irish dancing....:)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Some Magic Pudding magic

After days of stifling heat, we had a cool change and so Rebekah and I decided to take off to the park yesterday morning to celebrate! So, while all the kids were heading off to school, we heaeded off to the park!

It's been a long time since we've been out to the park I'm sad to say.

Rebekah has named this new park recently opened up at our place as "The Snugglepot and Cuddlepie Magic Pudding Park". She doesn't mind that it takes her 10 seconds to say it's name (yes we counted the seconds as I thought it was too long!) and won't let me call it just "The Magic Pudding park".
It does have some of May Gibbs' characters as well painted along the park - I just forgot to take some pics of them:)

Isn't it amazing how life is filled with some amazing co-incidences. I have noticed this so much more since we decided to homeschool Rebekah. I think it's God's way of confirming and affirming me that we are on the right track.
This park is one of those amazing co-incidences. We started reading "The Maggic Pudding" (well Ron did, not me) to Rebekah a few weeks ago and then we discover this newly opened park about ten minutes from our home. howzat!

Rebekah assures me that Albert is not always grouchy as he seems here:)

We had a magical time hanging out here before work called us home:(

Rebekah doing her "ballet" pose on a tree stump....will have to post on that soon.....

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Give me this day my daily blog!!!! Please!!!!

I have just realised that three out of my seven bloggy friends are now taking a vacation of sorts (from blogging atleast) for three very different reasons.

Sarah has her in-laws for a visit.
Mrs Adept is busy packing for her trip and
Jeanne is have a well earned rest for a couple of days

so what is this girl meant to do? Where am I to find my daily blog?

Hooray for Amy, at least she is blogging every day (you go girl!) due to joining some type of blog a day carnival or something:)
I would be lost if it wasn't for her blog:)

Missing you all........

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"I know the names of the three Gods" and some neologisms

Here's what Rebekah has been talking about of late:

"I know the names of the three Gods". I look bewildered, wondering what on earth has she been hearing and learning other than what I've been teaching her....turns out she meant: Father, Son and Holy Spirit! Oh, I was so relieved to hear that! I then proceeded to explain that they were not three Gods but three in One - you know - the Trinity! How does one explain the Trinity to a 5 year old other than to just say it as it is, no they are not three separate God's but three in One, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. I wanted to explain about ice, steam and water all being the same yet one but I thought I might leave that one for another time:)

"I like my food hot"
For the last fifteen years of our married life I've had to deal with this difference between Ron and I. He loves his food hot, no make that piping hot and as for me, I don't really care - well, as long as it's warm and edible and tastes good, that's all that matters:)
So, almost every time we have a hot meal for dinner, you can bet your bottom dollar that Ron will walk over to the microwave within a few seconds of commencing his meal.
Now, you think I would have learnt after fifteen years to make it piping hot - well, I know that, buuuut, it's all relative isn't it, sometimes I think it's hot enough but it's not to him!
So, anyway, the other day, we all sit down to eat and Rebekah is having her lamb curry with rice and she says, "I think I would like my food hot mummy" Thinking I didn't hear her right, I ask her what she means - and yes - you guessed it, it wasn't hot enough for her - like father, like daughter:)
Can you believe this 5 year old!!!!

Now for some neologisms: (thanks Jeanne, I learnt that word from you)

When we play birthday parties with dolls and play-doh and we sing happy birthday followed by "she's a jolly good fellow" it's "for she's a jolly good feather".

ABC "For the juniors" is "Forth the pejunias" (yes, I admit we do watch it sometimes besides I think she's learning lots from it - all in the name of education right!)

"Ridiculous" is "ridiclius"

"Piano" is "plano"

And do you think I actually bother to correct her - no way! I let her say them as she wishes coz it makes me chuckle and I love it!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Why does she like being called a "good girl" and what do you all think of rewards?

I have read a few parenting books over the last few years. I remember one book saying not to call your child "good girl/boy" for doing whatever it is they did, instead to praise the "act" and their "effort" by saying "good job for doing...." or something else to that effect. Well, I have tried to follow that to the best of my ability.

However a year or so ago, I noticed that when her both her nanas say "good girl" after she does something, she gets a gleam in her eye and you can see her spirit just lifts and she loves it!
So, since I noticed that, I started occassionally saying it myself and I can see she LOVES it! I've even heard her talking to her imaginary friends later to tell them I said she was a good girl!

Now, this is my dilemma....
I don't want her to grow up with an unsaid / undue outward pressure on her to "be good" (as that is definitely not what God wants) as that is what that parenting book talked about, I don't want her self worth to be determined by how good she is but by what God thinks of her and I want her to be praised for her efforts and for doing the right thing .
So, why does she love being called a good girl?
Is it really all that bad to say it sometimes?
I am still pondering.....

The other parenting matter I am grappling with at the moment is "doing something because it's right, rather than for a reward".
I grew up in a world with no rewards for doing what I was meant to do, chores, obedience, good habits, etc etc.
Rather, it was respect for authority that motivated me and an attitude of I need to do it coz it's the right thing to do (sorry this isn't meant to be a brag:)) and hopefully it still is with me these days:)
Wind the clock forward a few years and I read about Charlotte Mason's motto for her students:
"I am, I can, I ought and I will".

My paraphrase:
I am a child of God etc...
I can do that which I need to do (because of His grace and power)
I ought to do the right thing.... and
I will do the right thing.

She also recommended no rewards other than natural consequences being the, if I finish my lessons early I get more play time etc.
I also tend to think that other "rewards" can bring with it a sense of entitlement as one grows up..."I did this therefore I deserve this" (and how much do we see that in this generation)...which I don't want to see in her.

What CM says truly resonates with me but it's a job and a half to implement that at times !
I have taught her good habits (using Charlotte Mason's approach). But there are other habits that just don't seem to want to take root!
So, I've been pondering of late about rewards (atleast temporarily) to help get some good habits (that I am finding difficulty with) instilled in her.
Also, the Bible says God is a Rewarder so therefore He is into rewards, so are external rewards all that bad?

Or is it me that needs to have the habit of working on "instilling habits" including the habit of teaching her "I am, I can, I ought and I will". I haven't used those exact words with her (but used the method to train her) but I am thinking she's getting to the age now where she will truly be able to understand these concepts, so maybe I just need to start it?

Still pondering....and mulling things over and hope all of this is clear....what do you all think?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I've never even won a meat tray....

Well, actually I did win one once, many moons ago, so that title wasn't totally accurate...:)

But....I was so....excited to win a book over at Jeanne's blog last month.
To celebrate her blog's first birthday, she was giving away a book a week all of September and you just had to comment on her post or make a mention of it on your blog to get an entry into the competition.

It arrived yesterday in the mail, all wrapped up and with another book as well, wow, thanks Jeanne!

While I was excited to win it, I felt terrible to "take" it off her as it was one of her favourite books:(
This is it:

Jeanne, I can promise you that I will be taking good care of this book and that I will start reading it very soon.
I hope to learn more about this wonderful country and it's past from it. Thanks again and thanks for your great blog!

Friday, October 23, 2009

7 new things about me

My dear blogger friend Jeanne at bestowed me with this award:

As I said to her, while I humbly accept this award, I must say that I believe my "Kreativity" does not lie in blogging but elsewhere! Still, I need to tell you 7 new things about me (as opposed to the ten I've already told you before), so here goes it:

1. I was unable to have children due to fertility issues. It was taking a while to get pregnant and we kept praying and standing on God's promises believing He could do a miracle.
We decided after a few years of this to do some tests to find out what was going on.
After my gyn/ob gave me the bad news, we decided that we would continue to stand on God's word before we made any further medical decisions. During this time, I miraculously fell pregnant after one of our dear friends who is a pastor and missionary prayed for me. I miscarried that child at 10 weeks and while it was a really sad time for us, we knew that God had done something in my body to enable me to fall pregnant in the first place. So, encouraged by this, we continued to pray and I fell pregnant 8 months later. "Rebekah Faith" was a name that we had picked out years ago for a daughter we would have one day and little did we know how prophetic her middle name would turn out to be. She was truly a miracle borne out of faith in Jesus and His healing power.

2. If you're still reading:), here goes my second thing:
I grew up in one of the biggest cities in India and Ron grew up in a little country town in Victoria but we both came to know Jesus in the same year while we were countries and continents apart!

3. I have come to know that whatever God calls one to do requires faith and is not always easy, in fact sometimes it is downright difficult! Yet, if we remain close to Him and continue to trust, His grace is always sufficient. As someone said once, God is not interested in my comfort but in my heart (or something to that effect)!

4. Woh, I feel like I've bared my soul to you all, so now for something not so deep:)
I enjoy doing family budgets, crunching numbers etc:)

5. I am an introvert (though I have mentioned that before). My personality type means I tend to make friends very slowly and generally only have just a few close friends.

6. I am the third born of four siblings but I am sometimes told I have the personality of an "oldest" child, whatever that means:)

7. Related to 4, I was actually studying to become an accountant before I left India to come to Oz. God had a different plan for my life and I never became one, though Ron would say I'm the family accountant:)

Here are my friends I'm going to pass this onto in no particular order:

Sarah at though I believe she's changed hers to Eternally grateful now:)
Amy at - She is one witty creative writer and you always get lots of laughs at her blog, pop over and read some of them if you like. Btw, she and her husband are the pastors of our church.
Mrs adept at - someone I have just been getting to know via her blogging. I love her small and varied posts:)
Susan at I don't "know" her but do follow her blog. She is a true pioneer in the homeschooling movement in Australia. She has blessed my life in more ways than she would know!
and of course, if I could, but I know I can't, I would have given this to Jeanne as she is the first true "blogger friend" I have made though I've read many blogs prior to hers.
My list runs out here unfortunately, see point 5 above for further explanation:)

Or maybe I could copy what Jeanne did and just give it to YOU who are still reading but who's blog I've not listed:)

Now, it's your turn and this is what you need to do:
These are the rules:

1. Thank the person who gave this to you.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link the person who nominated you.
4. Name 7 things about yourself that no one would really know.
5. Nominate 7 other bloggers & let them know they are nominated.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Homeschooling an only child

I have been thinking of doing such a post for a while because really, homeschoolers of only children are as rare as hen's teeth:)

There ain't much around that I can see - most books I've read on homeschooling don't even touch the subject:(

So, I'm just journalling my experiences so that it may encourage anyone who is in a similar situation that comes across this post.

Ive met quite a few mothers on various yahoo groups that gave up on the idea of homeschooling their only child when it was time to go to kindergarten as it seems like that was the toughest time for them for various reasons. So, I write this for any future mums in my situation:) Take what you will from it as it's just my experience that I'm journalling:)

I was introduced to homeschooling through friends of ours many years before we had Rebekah and was very impressed by it, so thought that perhaps one day I would like to do the same when I had my own kiddos. So.... when it came time to decide on the all important question asked of a mother of a 2 year old "so which pre-school are you going to send Rebekah to?" I decided I needed to look into this whole homeschooling thing again!

Actually remembering back to some of those conversations, I remember feeling like I would miss Rebekah so much when it came time to send her to school and some mums told me that would change in time. Well, she is now five and half and I still feel the same! In fact we love each other's company and things are much easier now than ever and I just love all the wonderful conversations we have, and the time we spend together reading, playing with her etc. That's not to say that I don't have days when I just want to be left alone though, but for the great majority of the time we both truly enjoy the homeschooling process!

Anyway, back to what I was saying....

So, I bought some books and read them. One day I casually mentioned it to another mum in my playgroup and discovered she was thinking along the same lines and was already way ahead of me in the research stage. She turned out to be a great encouragement and source of information at the time.

I then proceeded to spend hours researching it on the internet and joined some discussion forums and groups. During that time, we (Ron and I) became convinced that it was definitely something we wanted to do and felt called to do.

Little did I know then (when Rebekah was two and half by this stage) that by the time it came time for her to be at school, that she would still be our only child!

Things were progressing along fine with my research and buying books for Rebekah that I would use to teach her etc.

Last year, I reluctantly joined a yahoo discussion group for mothers of only children - I say reluctantly because we are still praying for a sibling for Rebekah:) This group is quite small and discussions are not that frequent but they are a great bunch of very supportive mums! So, if you're in a similar situation, check out this group or any others that are around.

So, what are some of the the issues/challenges I've faced? I actually anticipated it to be worse than it was:)
I thought that this year- 2009 - when Rebekah saw her friends going to school that she would find it quite difficult, but it wasn't as bad as I anticipated, thankfully!
In fact I anticipated the same thing last year when all her friends were going to preschool and it didn't happen:) hmm...that says something about me doesn't it:)
Late last year we moved to a new place which is right near a primary school. We can see it from the front of our house and we hear the kids playing during recess and hear the school bell ring etc.
Early this year when we were talking about her friends going off to school etc and her seeing what a "real school" was right from our front door, we went through a short stage which probably only lasted a week or two at the most when she started asking me about why she was not going to school and that she wanted to go to school etc. So, I explained our decision to her (after seeking some advice from the afore mentioned yahoo group) which I think she quickly understood because she hasn't mentioned going to school since!

The other challenge which we've easily overcome is companionship from other kids. Once again I think I was more concerned about her lack of this than she has been!
I think kids get used to the way things are for them and I guess to her she doesn't know any different - I think I had been needlessly worrying because both Ron and I come from families with many siblings.
I signed her up for dance classes which we do weekly and we attend homeschooler park days about once a month. Between this and family visits, church, cousins, playdates with friends etc she actually gets quite a bit of socialisation! (Homeschoolers always say that they get asked this question a lot! well, as a parent of an only I can say that I get asked this more than anyone else and from total strangers I might add, including twenty something checkout chicks!)

Adding to this, we also got her some guinea pigs - now this is one thing that has not only been a huge blessing to Rebekah but has enriched all of our lives :) We love them as much as she does:)

Another thing was that she always a very clingy and shy child and I often wondered whether she would be better off at school, but then it didn't take long for me to realise that I was like that and school didn't help much in that area for me. I would say that while I am still shy, it wasn't until my twenties when I started changing in this area!
The reason I say that is because I was often told that she needs to go to school to help her come out of her shell. Well, as it turns out, I think she has naturally come out of her shell in the last 8 to 12 months, and while she is still shy she is definitely not as clingy as she used to be!
She has become very resourceful in "entertaining" herself. She can play by herself for long periods of time now! She has oodles of imaginary friends that she plays with:)

The last issue/challenge that I can think of is finding time for myself. I am certainly an introvert and recharge by solitude. Ron has been extremely supportive in this area by regularly taking Rebekah out for a few hours on the weekend. Thanks honey!

So.....our homeschooling life is sailing along smoothly:) And while I would like Rebekah to be homeschooled all the way (by the grace of God), we feel it's best to take it one year at a time and see how it all pans out from year to year!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

She's got it, by George I think she's got it!

I started teaching Rebekah to read very informally using Charlotte Mason's recommendations. We started with "at" then the words with consonants before that.
Actually I tried starting this early on this year but she just wasn't getting it so I left it and then one day a couple of months ago, it's like a switch went on and she got it!
Then I did the "en" and the words that can be made with consonants added to it.
Along with this, she would pick up books to "read" and by asking me what certain words were, she learnt other words like "is", "in","to", "too", "of", "off", "the", and "and".
Then last week, we were at Borders in her favourite kiddie section and I realised as we were looking at the books that she could actually read all the words in the title of this book, so I picked it up and asked her and she did it! She read her first "full sentence"!

It was the title of the book by Dr Seuss:

That was such a cool and exciting moment for both of us!

Then a couple of days ago, she decided to write it out in the bath with her bath crayons:

So, there you have it, her first sentence she read and wrote!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Workbooks that excite me!

After all these years of not pushing academics and letting Rebekah just be and play, explore and learn (a la Charlotte Mason) and read her good living books, I must say I began to salivate when I opened the parcel I got in the mail last night!
Our first ever Singapore maths workbooks!
Am I crazy to salivate over workbooks? I must be either maths crazy or weird or something because I am so...excited about them!
I don't know what my problem is, but anyway, this morning there were tears around here because Rebekah wanted to get into them too. It appears I must have passed this gene onto her!
I told her she will need to wait till next year to do them which to her is an eternity. So, there were a few tears shed this morning over our maths workbooks! I guess it's better than the other way around don't you think?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

You have to read this!

I'm a bit of a slack blogger and only do random posts. So, when I read my friend Jeanne's blog today, it gave me a good reason to do another post.
You see, she has been so generous to the homeschooling community with her blog where she freely posts her wisdom and experience in homeschooling to help newer homeschooling mums like myself.
She is truly a becoming a great mentor to many many mums especially Aussie Charlotte Mason mums!
Besides being so generous with her time and wisdom, she is now also giving away stuff on her blog! Can you believe it! There is no end to her generosity.
You'll have to visit her post here to see what I mean:
Hope you win! (no not really, I'm hoping I win it!)

Monday, August 31, 2009

Viva la difference!

Ron and I have been doing a bible study with some others (in our small group) on a book called "Walking together" by John and Cynthia Heald.
It's a study on marriage and as the name indicates, meant to help us "walk together".

Well, we have a had a rip roaring time, doing this with a few other couples. The questions "force" us to communicate about areas of our lives and relationship to each other that normally get passed over for one reason or another. You can imagine some of the stuff that comes out when one is forced to have some honest communication going on!

Anyway, a few weeks ago, the topic was on "Building each other" and one of those delving questions I had to ask Ron was "What is one thing you would like me to continue doing, or do differently, in relation to you or to our home?"

Those who know my dear husband, know what a kind and gentle man he is, so of course, he was so polite in his reply..oh well, nothing know what I mean:). But **I** know there IS one thing **I** need to work on and when it came time to share it in our small group, I told them MY answer in addition to his explained below:

This is a new seatbelt rule from RTA that will also to be implemented not only in ........ but across ALL states.

The Road & Traffic Authority has done extensive testing on a newly designed seat belt. Results show that accidents can be reduced by as much as 45% when the belt is properly installed. Correct installation is illustrated.

Please pass on to family and friends.

Now, I hope you laughed! But it's amazing how this is such a common issue among women!

Yep, I am working on it girls!

I was just so thankful that when I bring up HIS driving, he doesn't bring up this up coz he's a good man!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I like staying home.....

We had a very "social" week last week..."social" meaning we had lots of playdates, park days etc so we were not home much last week.
On Monday morning Rebekah asked me (as she does on some days) "so where are we going today mummy?".
I told her we were going to stay home today. My jaw dropped when I heard her reply: " I like staying home! I get to do so many things at home!" !!!
I cannot tell you that it was not like music to my ears:)
Did she actually say this? Yes, I heard right!
Not that she's every complained of being at home on the days we did stay home....I sighed a huge sigh of relief! Here I was for the last couple of years wondering, if we were doing the right thing keeping her home, especially because she doesn't have any siblings (yet). I think she's actually always been content and happy with what we've done, it's just that she's never verbalised it before.
I can tell you, this affirmation (even if it came from my 5 year old) has done great wonders for my soul this week!
So, we continued to stay home this week and catch up on stuff we had to do, enjoying our guinea pigs (one of whom is pregnant by the way but that's for another time) enjoying this beautiful weather in our back yard, eating our meals outdoors, playing with her new basket ball etc etc.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A great kids devotional!

I had been on a quest to find a devotional to use with Rebekah to have a more "formal" way of teaching her about God. So, I looked around a bit, and read some online reviews etc .Anyway, I had been hearing about "Leading Little Ones to God" on the home school circuit for quite a few years and had been waiting for Rebekah to grow up a bit to use it. I kind of thought it was for the 6 - 8 year old age group.Well, it's not cheap here in Australia so didn't want to rush into it. Anyway, one day out of the blue a few weeks ago, I decided to search ebay and guess what, to my surprise there was one on sale for $2.50 and the postage was going to be $5.50. It had been on sale for quite a while would you believe with no takers. The "buy it now" option also had "make an offer" beneath it, so I gave it a shot and offered $1.50 (which was accepted) bringing the grand total to $7.00!! What a bargain! This way I thought if it's a dud atleast I haven't spent $30 to $40 getting it through Koorong.
Well, you can imagine my surprise when I opened up the book and started to read the first chapter! I was amazed at the gentle, non-condescending, sweet yet intelligent way the author Marion Schoolland has written the book, presenting God to our little ones.......honestly I browsed through some of the more "modern" ones and nothing comes close to this! I cannot speak more highly of this "older" devotional.
She starts of with a secion on "Looking for God" and slowly progresses through the different stages of finding God to then what happens when we become children of God and how we need to live etc.
At the end of each chapter there is a scripture reference and a hymn to be sung (we just read the hymn out aloud and Rebekah thinks it's a poem:)). Also the prayer at the end is in old English which you don't really need to use as you can make up your own or edit it on the go. By the way the book itself is not written in older English, it's just the prayer for some reason - hmm things have changed in how we pray these days hasn't it!
Beautiful book! If you are looking for one for your kids I highly recommend it. By the way, I would say you could use it from the age of 4 upto 7 or 8 years old.
Just thought I'd post this in case my huge list of followers were looking for something like this, yeah right!
BTW, I am so excited about this book I found another reasonably priced second hand copy recently and am going to give it to one of my friends from church to use with her son. I am going to see her today and can't wait to give it to her, can you tell how much I love this book???

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

We have twins!!!

baby guinea pig twins that is! gotcha!

For the past couple of years, Rebekah has been asking for a dog. She absolutely loves and adores all dogs and has done so since she was very young. Well, she's still young, just 5, but you get the she is at around 18 months with a family member's dog......

Anyway, we had been telling her that she would get one after we have another baby. Well, it's been a long wait and I was kind of thinking that maybe when she's six we'd get her one for her birthday whether or not she had a little sibling by then.

Well, last month we visited a friend who just recently got her son some guinea pigs. Rebekah just took to them and fell in love with them. She was then to get one of them "on loan" for six days from her friend but at the last moment he backed down. She was very disappointed to say the least. Anyway, in the same week, we heard of some baby guineas for sale from one of the mums in our home school group. Well, they couldn't have come at a better time - it didn't take Ron and I very long at all to decide to get them for Rebekah. She was over the moon! So, we picked last Saturday. She is absolutely besotted with them!

I didn't realise pets could have this effect, it's been a loooong time since I've had one. But really, it's like having a new baby (or in our case babies). I've seen a new side to Ron - I knew he was a softie but to see him just love these little creatures is amazing. Also, I have to be honest here, I was not too keen on cuddling them at first but it didn't take me long either and I must say we've all fallen in love with them! They are the cutest little things. Rebekah has named them "Claire" and "Annalise" :)

Here they are:

They make a great first pet we were told, and so far this has definitely been the case. Easy and low maintenance!

Doesn't she look over the moon! She is truly learning what it means to "look after and care for" something / some one else. In her case being an only child (at the moment) I think it's been great for her to learn this:) She is learning responsibility, gentleness, care how good is that!

Friday, June 19, 2009

A great day in our homeschooling life!

Today the sun was out and it wasn't too cold - about 18 degrees I would say. The perfect day to get out and enjoy nature after the rain of the past few days.
So, Rebekah and I went off to visit a reserve not far from our place. (Pictures following were taken at the same spot a few months ago)

We fed the ducks, strolled along the international gardens, picked up some fallen leaves of various beautiful autumn colours, stood up at the top of the waterfall (man made one but beautiful albeit) and enjoyed the scenic view down over the lakes and gardens. Rebekah even brought along a cursive writing book as she said she wants to play "going to university" and I could be the teacher seeing I would make a good one:) Thanks Rebekah!!!:) She even brought along her maginary friends - she had some new ones today (who's names I cannot remember!) oh actually, some of them were - Elessa, Ellen, oh, I can't remember the rest now, drats!
Anyway, you get the picture, they all came along on our "field trip" as she put it today. And yes, after she fed the ducks and played and we had our lunch, she did actually get her book out and start "writing" some words - she was copying the cursive writing into upper case letters - no she is not that advanced, we are still at upper case letters:)

Anyway, Charlotte Mason would have been so proud of me I reckon.

This is what she says "How much time daily in the open air should the children have? And how is it possible to secure this for them? In this time of extraordinary pressure, educational and social, perhaps a mothers first duty to her children is to secure for them a quiet growing time, a full six years of passive receptive life, the waking part of it spent for the most part out in the fresh air. And this, not for the gain in bodily health alone––body and soul, heart and mind, are nourished with food convenient for them when the children are let alone, let to live without friction and without stimulus amongst happy influences which incline them to be good."

She is so right about this. Every day I struggle to follow her wisdom - to let Rebekah just be - to get her outdoors as much as possible, to enoy nature etc etc. So much screams out at me that I need to be teaching her this or that! But as I've learnt to relax and not "force" academics on her, she has of her own volition wanted to learn things, like the scenario of taking her book out today. I certainly have not encouraged this! Wow, bring it on - a lifelong love of learning is what I am after for my daughter not academics just to pass a test!

Friday, May 29, 2009

It's about time I posted again!

My wonderful friend and pastor - Amy - tagged me with this award:

and so, I better pass it I'm told. Anway, I'm kind of new to this whole thing and I guess she must have wanted to "gently encourage" me (as she is known to do) to get on with it!!!

So, here goes ten facts about me that you may or may not have wanted to know:)

1. Amy says she's nerdy, wait till you hear this: I have an incredible ability to remember people's phone numbers, car number plates etc etc, basically anything with numbers, including scripture references!

2. So, all you people thought I knew my Bible so well, it's just that I can remember these things easily! Whoa! was that a secret I should not have let out!

3. I am not copying Amy but seriously I would be a nervous wreck when I had to do any public speaking growing up. These days I get a bit nervous but I enjoy it as well. It's one of those things you cannot explain unless you understood the scripture that says "His strength is made perfect in my weakness". I'll omit the scripture reference for this one, though I know it:)

4. I got 100% for maths in my HSC , all by the grace of God. In fact, I was always pretty good at maths but before my exams I felt God tell me not to trust in my own ability but in Him and little did I know why - even though I was pretty good, I never ever would have got 100% without His help! See number 1, it's all related I guess?

5. My parents separated (and later divorced) when I was eight and it was a pretty sad time for me. I longed for them to get back together and live happily but it never happened.

6. God has now given me such a wonderful husband and we decided (with good counsel) to never ever mention the "D" word, and even today, I refuse to do it even in jest. Mind you, we've never ever had reason to even think of the 'd' word. God has been so good to us. I am the most blessed wife in the world!

7. Growing up, I was always the "peace maker" among my siblings, friends etc.

8. I was an extremely shy child and still am but not as painfully shy as I was until about the age of 21 when things started to change. (Some of you are quite puzzled by this I'm sure), trust me, I am still shy!

9. I have an incredible ability to "forget" movie stories not long after I've seen them. My dear husband who is a movie lover cannot for the life of him work this out though I can remember other things easily!

10. Related to above, I love the old black and white movies!

Well, I could go on but won't bore you....

Now for my seven, I don't actually know seven bloggers (well, not well enough to pass this on) so, I may have to break this chain blogging thing! Sorry Amy! Hope that's ok?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Never too young to learn to save

A few months ago, we started giving Rebekah pocket money of $2 per week:)
We started this mainly to stop the "Can I please have this?" questions when we were out shopping and also to try to instill a respect for money in her.
So, each week she got her $2 and blissfully spent it on whatever little thing that took her fancy. However, a couple of months ago, she saw a book called "The princess handbook" at Borders and fell in love with it. She is getting into "princesses" now:) It cost $14.95, hmm hmm, a bit more than $2 so we saw it as the perfect opportunity to teach her a new and valuable lesson - the power of saving!
So, we explained how it worked to her and she slowly put her money away in her little piggy bank (which previously was just a toy) each week.
In the back of my mind, I was thinking that surely she would get impatient and frustrated at how long it was going to take to save up for it. So Ron and I discussed it and decided that if that happened, towards the end, we would tell her that seeing that she had saved so hard we would chip in and pay for the difference. However, I must say that she was determined and never ever gave up. We would re-visit Borders several times in those weeks (our local one has a great GJ's by the way so it was easy to re-visit:)) and I think that kept the vision alive in her. Well, here she is in the picture, the proud owner of something she saved for, for almost eight weeks! What a proud moment it was for her when "daddy" took her in with all her coins to pay for the book. Well, Ron said she got a little shy actually and hid behind him while he paid for it:)
I was so impressed with my little daughter and what a powerful lesson to learn at such a young age! Now that she has learnt this, she has saved up and bought a $7 Barbie (which actually ended up being on sale for $4 when we went to pay for it) and she is truly learning the value of money and things!
A lesson for us grown ups too!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Homeschooling Books I have read and enjoyed (so far)

"So you're thinking about homeschooling" Lisa Whelchel (This was the first book I read, bought it at Koorong and would highly recommend it to anyone thinking of homeschooling. It gives you a glimpse into some of the composite families lives that the author has met and put together. Shows you the wide range of homeschooling family situations, options and methods)

"For the children's sake" Susan Schaeffer Macaulay - A great introduction to Charlotte Mason's philosophy of homeschooling.

"A Charlotte Mason Education" Catherine Levinson - A great "how to" book for implementing the CM methods.

"A Charlotte Mason Companion" Karen Andreola - Another great "how to" book for implementing CM methods with more details on each topic. A highly enjoyable book to read!

"The 3 R's" by Ruth Beechick - A "how to" book, on teaching the three R's from K-3

Books for three to five year olds

These are some of the many books that we have read to Rebekah and which she has requested to be read to her many times over:)
They are all the original and unabridged versions. We steer clear of the abridged, watered down versions.

"The 20th Century Children's Book treasury" selected by Janet Schulman
(jjust some of her favourite stories: Harry the dirty dog, Amelia Bedelia, Millions of Cats, Frog and Toad are friends)
"Caps for Sale" Esphyr Slobodkina
"Because I love you" Max Lucado
"You are special" Max Lucado
"The cat in the hat" Dr Seuss
"The complete tales and poems of Winnie the Pooh" A A Milne
Almost all of the Beatrix Potter books - some of them are:
The tale of Peter Rabbit, The tale of Mr Jeremy Fisher, The tale of the Flopsy Bunnies, The tale of Samuel Whiskers or the Roly Poly Pudding, etc
"The story of Babar" Jean de Brunhoff

Some others are:

"A Child's book of Art" by Lucy Micklethwait (great introduction to art) (Rebekah refers to this book as her most favourite book!)
"A picnic with Monet" Julie Merberg and Suzanne Bober ( a beautiful board book with poetry to Monet's art)
Golden books : "My little golden book about God", "The poky little puppy" and "The saggy baggy elephant" are some of her faves.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Our first year of structured but "unofficial" homeschooling

Where we live, we don't need to register as a homeschooler / get exemption from attending school until a child is about to turn six. So, Rebekah turning 5 this year, I decided to start a practice/ trial year of homeschooling mainly for our own benefit, just so I can say to all those people out there that ask me why she is not at school that I am homeschooling her (wink wink) and also I wanted to trial a schedule for her and get her used to some more structured work before we embark on the real deal next year.
I chose Living Books Curriculum to do this as they have a teachers guide and lay it out all there for you, rather than me having to fend for myself.
Yes, I know there are lots of freebies out there etc etc but I felt I was spending too much time trying to research and put something together myself and also not being experienced at this, I felt it would be great to have my hand held so to speak while we start out.
I love the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling and while I don't do everything she suggests, I do "try" as much as possible to follow her philosophy as I can see the huge benefits of it.
I will post more on some of her methods in the future, and some things that have worked for us and have really been "proved" here at our place.
So, we are doing a Kindergarten (sort of) year for Rebekah this year.
We commenced in January and have just finished week 8.
Woo hoo!
We are both having a ball!
I will post more on the books we are using etc along with some pictures. By the way, the above picture was of Rebekah's "first day of 'Kindy' ", Jan 5th 2009 with her folders and books in the background.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

So, I've entered blogosphere!

After much pondering and musing, I've decided to enter this world of blogging!
Isn't my life busy enough? It is, but I have to admit that blogging and reading blogs is a great "time out" for me in my busy life, some blogs are truly encouraging and some are truly entertaining!
So, I decided to start a blog mainly to keep a journal of some aspects of our lives and hope that it encourages those that happen to read it!
I was introduced to blogging by the many many homeschoolers who I have "met" in the last couple of years through the homeschooling discussion groups on the internet. I have read and enjoyed and learnt a lot from them.
I hope this blog helps someone else in the same manner.
Not all of my blogs will be about homeschooling but I'm sure it will feature a lot as it's a big part of my life.
So, read on and enjoy!