donderdag 31 december 2009

A merry Christmas

At the beginning of this month I really wondered: 'How would I like our children to remember our family Christmasses when they are older?'  This made me think about what we celebrate with Christmas (the birth of Jesus our Saviour) and what else is important or just nice (family time, home decorations).



We narrated the children the Christmasstories. It think it was helpful that the toddler chreche in church and preschool did the same, because they've remembered quite well what we told them about Joseph, Mary, baby Jesus, the manger, the stable, the wise men, the star and the shepherds. One time when I told the story of Joseph and Mary going on the trip to Bethlehem Boas reminded me that Joseph first had to work hard to finish his chores in the workplace (which he remembered from the creche) before he could go on a journey. And Fera suddenly said 'is born' when she heard the name Jesus. And also 'a manger'. (In Dutch, by the way ;-) ) We took them to the Christmas celebration of our church, and we enjoyed it so much! It was a beautiful service with drama, film, music, the Word, decorations and worship. And as parents we were so proud and touched by our children who played and danced together during the worship service!


Christmas morning we had a brunch at Nelleke and Jeroen's home (Jos' sister and her boyfriend) together with the rest of the Kleinleugenmors family. In the afternoon we had friends over. Geert Jan and Hilde with their girls Loïs (4) and Lucie (1,5) came and stayed till the next day. We had lots of fun. The kids had a good time together and so did the parents. We enjoyed playing together, the delicious food, the conversations and relaxing on the couch. And on Saturday, when we started to feel lazy and fat, we decided to visit and feed the ducks.

zaterdag 26 december 2009

Snowworld

All Holland was up side down! Huge traffic jams, enormous public transport problems, tons of salt for the icy roads ... But, my, what did we have lots of snowfun!!

Our house looked like its had an extreme makeover. What a beautiful white world!


We went to the forest to go sledging with friends. No mountain too high .... (a pity that the photocamera caught a cold, so that I couldn't take those real downhills, but believe me, that went really fast!)



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But you don't have to be in the forest to have fun. One takes one carrot, two potatoes, a cap and a scarf. Oh, and don't forget to bring your daddy! Besides that he can fix you a snowman, you can also pelt him with snowballs!!!














zaterdag 19 december 2009

Siblings forever

This week we loved to watch our children play together. The first half year after Fera started to walk seemed quite hard and frustrating for Boas sometimes. They fought a lot. Boas teasing Fera and Fera yelling at Boas. Of course it still goes that way sometimes, but they really improve!! And that's why we so much enjoy seeing them happy together. We often say: 'You need to protect younger children, Boas,' and 'Fera, don't scream, just ask friendly.' Could it be that it works??

They seem to have discovered each other for real and that playing together means FUN! Often Boas invents a new game and Fera happily follows. This week they did a lot of travelling. 'Come, Fera, we go on a trip again,' says Boas. (Could be somewhat genetical, the preference for travelling ;-) )

So they built their own tent with a little help of daddy....


and they slept in another tent...


... and decided to have breakfast in there.


But for showering and toileting you need the box and the potty.

Let's make music!

The kids love singing together. We usually do this before bedtime, but sometimes we grab the guitar and try some real work. Like that night that we had so much fun that we went to bed a little too late...











My big boy

My big boy is doing so well! Listen to a proud mummy (so don't believe every single detail ;-) ) ....

A while ago I designed a calendar to start to learn the days of the week, the months and the numbers. It also helps Boas to know how long he has to wait (or how many nights to sleep) before something special will happen.


We've been practising words since 1,5 week now and Boas really enjoys it! I'm amazed at the pace he learns to recognise words. The first week he just watched the flashcards and enjoyed it, but after that he realised that he could actually use his new 'knowledge'. Since then he's even more focused and is so eager to see and learn the daily new words.

What we do now is this. We have three sets of flashcards with five words. 3 times a day (at least that's what we try) we show them each word of one set. Which, for the lazy multiplier, makes 9 sessions a day. It's interesting to see that Boas tells us (or shouts) the words he knows even before we can pronounce them. So without testing him, we notice that he really learns to read them! We also participate Fera in this. She is less interested yet, but we just keep going and we'll see what see picks up!

This week I read 'Rim en Tim naar zee'  for Boas, which is one of Jos' old readingbooks. And Boas and I were so proud that he recognised quite some words! Mam, Pap, koek ... and some more. After this experience he's even more motivated.

Sometimes it can be quite a challenge to let Boas take his afternoon nap. He can do without pretty well, now, so sometimes we keep him awake on purpose. (If we need a long, quiet evening :-) ) But there are still days that he is so tired from everything life gives him, that he is eager to nap. And it's a special treat if mummy says: This afternoon you can take your nap on the couch! Is there a better place in the house? (I still prefer my bed, but, who am I anyway?;-) )

dinsdag 8 december 2009

At the petting zoo

Last week we went to Malkenschoten, Apeldoorn. It's a beautiful and big petting zoo (children's farm) with also many opportunities to play around. Unfortunately it was quite cold (as is often the case in November Holland), but we had a lot of fun. We saw many animals, played in the playground, had a train ride through the park and... we will come back in spring to visit all the very-exciting-but-too-cold-to-do-now-activities, like water bikes and other water stuff and the huge Lego blocks. We bought us an annual season ticket, because we definitively want to see those cuties grow!!!

maandag 7 december 2009

Top priority

Besides playing we also do some formal learning. What we as parents find important now, besides the obedience thing, which we still work on and still achieve results with (oh! our sweet littluns), is reading. So I did some investigation and bought the book:  How to teach your baby to read by Glen and Janet Doman.



And today we started! The previous days I made a shoebox with flashcards with words. Today I showed them to the kids, who were curious to know what is more in the box. Boas already requested for some words that are special to him now (animals!!), which I gladly added.

The idea of this book is that children can, want and should learn to read early. It seems that if we increase the size of the letters, also small children (even babies, but unfortunately we don't have them yet ;-) ) can learn to recognise words. And even much faster than older children or grown ups. And since they probably will really benefit from learning to read early (because a whole new world of information and fun opens up and kids who are familiar with reading from a young age seem to have less language problems when they're older), we think it's definitely worth the try!

So that is our first real method, if you want :-)

I also try to regularly expose them to the English language. I bought and borrowed some nice English picture books. And we discovered 'Engels met Raaf' on Schooltv.nl


 We don't use the materials that go with the films yet, but I try to let them watch an episode weekly.  And if they watch a familiar film, like Dora the Explorer, we sometimes pick the English language.

Why would we like our children to know English soon? We have several reasons for that.

1. a second language can be learnt faster and easier at a young age, specifically before the age of 6.

2. once our children can understand English, a huge lot of other information will be available to them.

3. we are quite internationally oriented and feel God won't keep us here forever, so we also try to prepare our children for that.

Learning is so much fun!! Every time is discover something new I get excited about teaching our children. But, it's good to know your priorities. And if you don't know, talk to your sweet hubbie :-).

Schedule

Up to now we don't use any schedules or methods to learn at home. Sometimes I find that quite hard, because you can't really 'see' what you've done already. No checking boxes... And it's not always that easy to 'measure' what they've learnt. But, I strongly believe that education is especially life itself. So we just live as a family and become wiser and wiser. I try to involve the children in little household chores just to let them feel that we are a family together, and that together we are responsible for our house and properties.



And we play a lot. We read aloud (and learn new words and concentration), we tinker (and learn the colours and what happens if you blend them), we do card games (and learn to count, add up and subtract), we play board games (and learn the numbers on the dice, shapes and colours), we build with duplo (and learn that houses need doors), we imitate animals (and learn the sounds, the movements and do drama), we build our own gymnastics track (and do gymnastics). And we don't just play, we also play together. Which teaches us to protect younger children, and that you're more likely to succeed if you don't whine but just ask properly for something.













So we have lots of fun. We get the giggles when we keep saying: I love you (in English!) to our friends. We get the giggles when we hunt for Papa when we play tag. We get the giggles when we have a romp.

dinsdag 24 november 2009

At the zoo

Yesterday we went to the zoo. In this specific case 'we' means: Boas, Rebekka and Heidi. On Fera's birthday, less than a month ago, we went to this same zoo, but we had a very good reason to go again. This would be our first meeting with other christian homeschoolers, whom I know from Jozua24v15, a Yahoo!group. It was so interesting and exciting to meet them! To see all the different families with children, to hear about the daily practice of homeschooling and just sharing the fun of not going to school but being able to go to the zoo on an ordinary Monday!


Because it was quite a rainy day, we did a lot inside. We lingered at the aquariums, we wondered at the monkeys in the tropical heat, we loved playing in the huge indoor playground with lots of sand, water and wood, and we were entertained by the sea lions. And in the meantime we just chatted and played around.


We also did some informal biology. We learnt some new animal names, learnt that male sea lions can be three or four times as big as females, Rebekka fed the sea lions some fish, we discovered that Nemo is a very tiny fish, were amazed at a snake's skeleton, and met some really weird animals, like the elephant fish.

And we practised being kind toward each other, talking to strangers and helping people.


I'm often amazed at Boas and Rebekka's friendship. Although there's eleven months between them, they can get along very, very well. They tell stories to each other, they tell jokes and have fun, they do who-can-sneeze-the-loudest-games and get the giggles, they fight and reconcile again. They're very fond of each other.

I'm very thankful. Another happy day!

maandag 16 november 2009

Obedience

More and more, I discover that you learn at best when there is full attention and complete obedience. Seems logical, but is not always easy. Because obedience requires from us consistent behaviour and sometimes I just don't want to be consistent and consistent and consistent... Sometimes I just want to do my own thing, without being distracted by behaviour that I need to correct immediately... 


What inspired me the last time:

Raising Godly Tomatoes; Loving Parenting With Only Occasional Trips to the Woodshed written by L. Elizabeth Krueger. (see: www.raisinggodlytomatoes.com, with lots of other useful upbringing articles).

Charlotte Mason, about whom I probably will tell more later, has written a lot about raising and educating children. She includes obedience in education. Literally she says 'Education is a discipline - that is, the discipline of the good habits in which the child is trained. Education is a life, nourished upon ideas; and education is an atmosphere - that is, the child breathes the atmosphere emanating from his parent; that of the ideas which rule their own lives'. (see: www.simplycharlottemason.com, where you can buy books or download (some free) e-books that are based on her ideas.

'How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk' and 'Siblings without rivalry' written by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. These are books that focus on how to communicate with your kids. They aim to bring about more cooperation from children than all the yelling and pleading in the world.

And the website http://aolff.org/sermons/kindness-vs-obedience , which focusses on godly behaviour and obedience through a living and godly example of the parents.

zaterdag 14 november 2009

No easy way back

Deciding not to send your kids to school is quite unusual in the Netherlands. And.. we consider to keep ours at home! In the past 3,5 years we've met a couple of homeschooling families. The first family lived in Surinam. Ok, then you talk about a country where the public school system is very poor and where private schools are ofcourse expensive. And if you are in the situation of having eight children, then it's an easy choice. The second family lived in the Netherlands, but would move abroad. Ok, at first I found that quite strange. Why would you not send your children to a school if you have access to good ones? Then I discovered the privilege and the joy of teaching our children. For instance, I simply loved to design a weekboard for Boas with the days of the week and magnetic photo's of his friends, our family and of activities he regularly does, such as visiting church or preschool. When we, this time Jos was also present, met our third homeschooling family, we saw a family that most of the time functioned as a team. This South African family moved to Spain 5 years ago and has settled there to going to be involved in a church plant. We were guests in this family with three kids, 10, 8 and 2 years old, that (talking about the two oldest girls ;-) ) were polite, socially developed, obedient, eager to learn, and we were IMPRESSED. Then we remembered that nice, big family in Surinam, with children with an attitude which was quite similar to the girls in Spain's attitude. And back home we started investigating this very strange, unusual, but magic thing called 'homeschooling'. We discovered lots of interesting things, met lots of interesting people, read lots of interesting stories. WOW! What a great opportunity to raise ánd educate your children yourself. To imprent them what's right according to the Bible, to learn them God's ways, to feed their personal interests, to encourage their confidence, to be with them. There was no easy way back. We prayed over it as well and felt God wanted us to make a deliberate decision. So we decided... not to send Boas to school when he turns 4 in March, but to keep him home this year between 4 and 5 in which there won't be a compulsory attendance at school that forces him to go. So until March 2011 we just keep going with learning a lot at home, and we highly expect God to confirm our choice ... or not.

the four of us