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


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 ├índ 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