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Monday, July 30, 2012

Homeschool - Our First Week

Our home school opened it's doors last week!  Our pencils were sharpened, our books labeled and sorted and we all were eager to get started.  I could see it in their eyes when we turned to page one early on Monday morning.  They were not sure what to expect either.  But I decided from the get go to keep lessons short and introduce a change of pace on a regular basis.

                                                                                       Making Lemonade             

By late afternoon they flung their arms around my hips and looked up with an expression that is hard to put into words, but I knew what it meant.  It was a sense of relief, happiness...... No.  More like "This is going to be great!"  The girls actually ran hubby over when he came home to show him everything we did every day;  talking over one another with an eagerness verging on hysteria.  Their excitement is infectious.

Making Peach Cobbler

We've made a family tree, we've studied American artwork, learned about, played and listened to the violin, had an archeological dig in the back yard, baked peach cobbler,  went on nature walks drawing pictures of everything we observe and dotting down observations in our science journals and staring at out of space images on our microscope; modeled beeswax characters while reading beautiful stories written by Hans Christian Anderson; swam every afternoon, traced shadows on the driveway to learn about the passage of time and in between all of that we found pockets of minutes to practice reading, writing and solving math problems when we are not dancing or chasing colorful balloons around the great room!  Phew!

Sunset On The Lake This Weekend
I've already learned a lot.  And I think the girls also realized this is not going to be exactly like traditional school.  We hardly ever sit at a desk;  there are no bells running our schedule and we progress at the pace they are comfortable with (which is way faster than I anticipated).  We have a relaxed setup and I've already asked them to let me know what they want to learn more about, because I would love to incorporate it into our little program.  So, this week we will be learning more about cheetahs!

Archeological Dig

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Big Bertha

We've endured one heat wave after another this summer.  Triple digit temperatures are the norm.

A date with Big Bertha was just what the doctor ordered.

There is nothing as relaxing as just being in the moment;  so focused on the activity at hand that we feel like we came back from a week long vacation at the end of the day.  We just let go and have fun, fun, fun!!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Independence Day......Week

But of course no 4th of July will be quite the same if we did not get to set ablaze our own fireworks.

We had a good laugh at the cicadas who all were noticeably louder every time the sparkling and crackling came to an end.  Almost as if they were scolding us from their bedroom windows "Can you please turn down the volume?"  Followed by our retort "Just one more!"

Our girls love this family tradition.  Comments like "Wow!"  and "That's so awesome!"  and of course the inevitable question "Did you ever do this in Africa when you were a kid?"  dotted our conversations.

They are so curious about our childhood in Africa.  I don't recall being like that when I was young, but then again I did not grow up with immigrant parents speaking a foreign language and all my family living overseas.

I've had to explain more than once that we lived a life very similar to theirs, but only in Africa.  They have a hard time wrapping their heads around this because all they saw in school about Africa and what they were told about Africa were about the poor,  undeveloped, mud hut communities.  Which do exist (lets not kid ourselves), but it instilled a very one-sided view of the second largest continent on planet earth.  Not only do they have a hard time believing this, but when I bring to their attention the strife and hardship happening within this wonderful country called the USA, they don't quite get that either.  Really?  They still have so much to learn.

We are looking forward to showing them around in South Africa and sharing experiences with them from our childhood.  I have a whole month set aside for them learning about the South African history and geography while visiting our home country with lots of opportunities to see, smell, touch, taste and feel what this part of Africa is really like.  I would like for them to dance to the beat of African drums with the Zulus in a boma, cuddle and feed a baby cheetah in their natural surroundings;  stand on top of Table Mountain staring down over Cape Town with it's 800,000 + households sparkling far below in the dark and feed a hungry crowd waiting in line all day for a sandwich.

Most of all I can't wait to see how family bonds are strengthened and how those little light bulbs go off and our children grow and evolve in every sense of the word right in front of our eyes.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

4th of July

Hope you had a wonderful 4th of July!  Why is it that by the time I've switched on the camera the cake has already been mauled by the family? Geez!

Our 4th was kicked off with the annual bike parade.

The kids started asking about it weeks ago already.  They meet up with some friends once a year at this bike parade, so I cannot imagine us getting away with not going.........ever!  I might have to think up something spectacular by next year.

Then the celebrations started with cake, champagne, cheese and crackers, swimming, movies and as a grande finale the fireworks show!

We are still recovering.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Impromptu Walks

I like impromptu walks.

I love feeling the cool breeze blowing from the lake while walking along the path hugging the shoreline in our neighborhood.  It's like walking along the rim of Table Mountain.  You feel a sense of wonder; you see a glimpse of the big picture.  It makes you stop and take note;  breathe more deeply and dream about tomorrow and what that might hold.

I strive to continue live every day with that wonder and amazement I had as a young girl.   Living a life without dreams and hopes is living a life without being alive.  Growing older has it's pluses and minuses, but a big plus is the perspective you gain.  I don't consider being a dreamer a liability anymore;  I consider it a necessity!