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Friday, 29 July 2016

Motherhood without guilt



If we have feelings of guilt, there is probably an area in our life that needs attention. Then we need to focus on those areas and make the necessary changes. But sometimes as mothers we often carry around guilt over things that we don’t have control over. We need to learn the difference between these two types of guilt. We need to eliminate unnecessary guilt.

In the book” 52 Timesavers for on the go Moms”* Kate Redd dedicates a chapter to facing guilt. She identifies 3 main areas that moms feel guilty about. I just added my own thoughts under each heading.
1.They feel guilty about not spending enough time with their children.
Working moms feel guilty that they are working; Moms at home feel guilty that they are at home and yet don’t spend enough quality time with their kids. So what good is it to feel guilty? Those are the paths we chose, we just have to learn to make the most of it.
Learn to maximise the 5 minutes before bedtime. Let our time together be quality not quantity.
Ask yourselves the questions:

How can I be more flexible with my time?
Where can I make the changes?

2. They feel guilty about not making more things for their children.
With regards to meal times, Moms often feel guilty about taking short cuts or having fast food. While nutrition is important, you also don’t want to be using up special time making gourmet meals that could be used to spend time together. You could include your children in the cooking process and work together.
When it comes to sewing, baking, making birthday invites; some moms just aren’t creative! So what? Ask yourself: What can I do? And then do that thing that you are good at.

3.They feel guilty about not having enough energy and being impatient with their children.
We can all make the choice not to shout or be impatient with our kids. It is just a decision away. Sometimes stress can play a big part in our moods but then we need to find ways to alleviate the stress. Manage our time better so that we do have the energy required. Ask yourself: What changes can I make to my schedule?

Another big area I wanted to add that Mothers feel guilty in is…
4. They feel guilty if they think of themselves
This is different from being selfish and is often confused. Being selfish is when you have absolutely no regard for others. Mothers need to think of themselves, this doesn’t mean they have no regard for their children. They need to take care of themselves, and have their own identity outside of being a mother. They need to take a break now and then, go have their nails done or a cup of tea with a friend. This doesn’t make them a bad mother on the contrary if she is looking after herself then how much more will she be able to look after the precious gifts entrusted to her, her children.

“Guilt is a normal human emotion, but it is only constructive if you evaluate whether it is founded. If it is, you can do something about it. If it isn't, it's a useless waste of emotional energy that can be better spent otherwise.”

“Guilt is most often more about our own unrealistic expectations of ourselves than about us falling short in our role as mothers.”

Tammy Styles, Psychologist

Tips
Ask yourselves the right questions.
Make the changes.
Learn to say sorry to your kids.
Focus on what you can do.
Avoid comparison with others.

*Redd, K (1993) 52 Timesavers for on the go Moms. Oliver-nelson books, Nashville, Tennessee, USA.

Monday, 18 July 2016

The importance of play


When children are playing, so much is actually going on. They are learning about themselves and their environment. It allows them to: 

Discover
Experiment
Create
Concentrate
Express ideas
Develop speech
Develop muscles
Learn new skills
Use their imagination
Co-operate

It builds a foundation for later learning. Play is essential for the development of the whole child i.e. Social, Emotional, Intellectual, Physical and Aesthetic development.
Social Development:
Through role-play they learn how to relate to those around them. By playing ‘shop’ they learn that things happen in sequence, as they first have to pay the money to get their item in return. Sequencing is an early stage of learning maths. They also begin to understand social roles. They learn to understand the expectations of adults and the influence they have on others.
Emotional Development:
Through play children learn to express their feelings. It gives them the opportunity to master skills by trying and trying again. Thus gaining confidence in their own environment and a sense of self-worth because they can achieve their goals.
Intellectual Development:

There are actually 4 stages to this

1.Learning through the body. E.g. discovers big and small as he
realises he is too big to really drive his toy car.
2.Exploring their world with real objects. How they work and the  
Different ways in which to use them. He forms concepts in his mind from the real object to a mental picture.                                                                                           
3.  Interpreting symbolically. In the form of educational games
4.  Represent ideas through graphical artwork.  Now he is able to express what he sees in his mind through drawing, clay modelling or construction.
Where some pre-school teachers get this wrong is they try to fit all 4 stages in to one half an hour lesson, instead of allowing mastery at each stage. They want to hand out worksheets to have a record of what the child has learnt when in reality no real learning in being done.

Physical Development:
Play develops the senses, body control, fine and large muscle development and co-ordination. The cross-lateral movement involved is critical to a child’s later success in reading and writing.


Aesthetic Development:
There are two types of creativity
1.Artwork and aesthetic appreciation
2.Creative thinking and problem solving
Play encourages creativity. He makes up his own games, decides what materials to use and how long to play for. Painting and drawing and constructing pictures help them to express their unique creativity.


So lets break it down to each activity and see what they are actually learning;

Building with blocks
A child learns about gravity, stability, weight and balance. Early maths concepts. Depth, width, height, length, measurement, volume, area, classification, shape, symmetry, mapping, equality and inequality.

Books
Language development, increasing vocabulary knowledge, as you read to them. Creativity as they make up stories to the pictures. Sequencing, as they see they have to read the book in a certain order.


Art
Discovering and exploring as they use different materials to make something, creativity, fine muscle co-ordination as they use scissors, or fine paint brushes, self–esteem when they see their completed work.


Cooking/Baking
 Measurements, fine motor skills when using measuring spoons and stirring, science experiments as they see that yeast helps the dough to rise or jelly wont set if not kept in the fridge. Reasoning learns about nutrition.

Tidy up time
Social skills and orderliness, discipline, responsibility. Sorting, matching and classifying, as they have to put things away in their right places.

Outside and Nature
There is so much to be learnt by allowing our kids to play outside. Running or riding a bike develops large muscles. Seeing how an earthworm crawls in the soil or catching butterflies, they learn science skills. Or just playing in the sand, measuring sand from one cup to another.




Encourage free play in your children; it will be the most important contribution you as a parent can make to their learning, especially in these early foundational years.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Children's book review : A Hat for Ivan

A Hat for Ivan

Author: Max Lucado
Illustrations by: David Wenzel

Everyone in the village wears a hat that best describes what they love to do, and who they are. Ivan is very excited because he is about to receive his special hat but things don’t go exactly the way he had planned. The grown-ups all have their own opinion as to what hat he should wear. Ivan doesn’t stay confused for too long because his father, the hat maker, teaches him that there is only one hat made just for him.
This is a lovely, warm-hearted, children’s book. They learn the importance of being themselves and not trying to please everyone around them.
Max Lucado is a best selling and award winning author as well as a devoted father to 3 daughters. David Wenzel is recognised for illustrating many children’s books as well as J.R.R Tolkiens The hobbit.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Developing a love of reading in your children



Love for books:
  • Firstly, if you don’t love reading start reading yourself. Let them see you reading books; they will imitate what you do.
  • Create in them a love for books by reading to them. I know sometimes that is the last thing you feel like doing before bedtime because you are so exhausted yourself but you can choose short stories and it can literally take 5-10 mins.
  • Get books from the library every 2 weeks. Choose topics they are interested in whether it be books on dinosaurs, space or flowers and gardening.
  • Take them to the library just to look through books and sit down and read together.
  • Buy a new book for them every so often; there is something so special about new books!
  • When reading together snuggle up with a hot chocolate under a blanket and make it comfortable.


Learning to read/beginner readers:
·         Helping with homework, remember this… TO, WITH AND BY. Read to them, read it together and then let them attempt it on their own. This really does help with children who struggle because they hear the rhythm and flow of the words and also helps with memory.
·         Be patient and make corrections at the end.
·         Help them to recognise street names, grocery labels in the shop e.g. MILK, BREAD, CHEESE.
·         Read poems or make up poems with a definite rhyme to it. This helps with audio-perception needed for reading.
·         ENCOURAGEMENT! Always praise there good work and tell them “you can read”


Friday, 15 July 2016

Myths about home schooling

There are the some questions that we, as homeschool moms, repeatedly get asked and even once asked ourselves. What about socialisation? What about sports? There are answers to those questions! But still there are these myths about homeschooling floating around. I hope to, in my own simply researched way, try and tackle some of these questions.

 THE MYTHS.....

1.Children are isolated.
Contrary to ignorant belief; home schooled children are not bubble wrapped and kept indoors all day unable to associate with the outside world. In fact they have varying opportunities to go on many different outings, as a family or as a co-op group during normal “school time”. They get to go to museums, parks, beaches, animal farms, and shows. A trip to the bank even becomes a lesson on banking and money. A visit to the supermarket, with all 3 children, becomes another learning opportunity. One child reads the shopping list, while another is adding up the totals. Many homeschoolers are involved in their local church and or community. It could be argued that placing the same group of children in the same classroom 5 days a week is a type of isolation itself.
*“Dr. Brian Ray, the founder of the National Home Education Research Institute and former professor of education and science, has found that home schooled children have a greater degree of community involvement than their state-educated peers.”


2.Children are unable to be socialised.
First lets look at what socialisation means; “the process by which a human being beginning at infancy acquires the habits, beliefs, and accumulated knowledge of society through education and training for adult status”
Therefore how can children acquire these habits from other children who are still also learning how to socialise themselves? No! They need to learn how to socialise from their parents. According to Dr. Raymond Moore
“The idea that children need to be around many other youngsters in order to be ‘socialised’ is perhaps the most dangerous and extravagant myth in education and child rearing today.”
There is no platform for negative socialization or bullying in a home-schooled environment. In fact home-schooled children are able to make friends of all ages, sex or race because they are not confined to a segregated group like in a classroom. The only other place in the ‘real world’ where you find such groups are in the military and in prison. Not exactly the adult status we are aiming for right?


3.Children cannot participate in extra curricular activities.
There are soccer clubs, drama clubs and there are other activities such as cycling, running, archery, swimming, surfing, gymnastics, horse riding, ice-skating, paddle skiing, mountain climbing and ballet. There art classes, ceramics, photography and music. Many homeschoolers are actively involved in sports or activities because they love it, not because they are forced to. Some schools even allow homeschoolers to participate in their school sports.


4. Parents are not qualified to teach.
Although some parents may not have teaching degrees, the fact that they are parents; alone qualifies them for the task. They know their own children, their strengths and weaknesses. The school system unfortunately cannot always recognise the full potential of every student but a parent can! There are also a lot of support groups around South Africa for parents. There are many curricula available, which are aimed at both parent and child. There is a copious amount of reading materials and resources available from the Internet. Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore as I mentioned earlier have provided help for homeschoolers for many years. “Better late than early” and “School can wait” are amongst the most popular. If you think about it; if a child has a question in a classroom with 30 other kids, the teacher doesn’t have the time to answer each and every question, where as with one on one attention the question can be answered. Not even teachers know the answers to everything and in a home environment; parent and child can research the answers together. It develops an inquiring mind rather than being spoon fed information.

5. Homeschoolers do not support public schools.
This is just totally untrue. Just because a parent opts to home-school their own child for whatever reason (and there are many) does not automatically mean they do not support public schools. Every family has to make the choices that are right for them. There are some really amazing schools out there and not everyone can home-school. Also, us as home school parents would love to be able to unite and work with the schools rather than against them. On the contrary, it is the homeschoolers who are judged or looked down on for being different. It is basically just another form of discrimination that is so prevalent in our society when anyone does anything against the social norms.

Stereotyped and labeled ,homeschooling parents just want the best for their families. Each homescool family is different and does it differently and that is the beauty of it. There are many styles of learning, some use unit studies, some are eclectic and use a variety of curricula ,while others unschool or nature school. Each family chooses  the best path for them depending on the uniqueness of each individual child. We are not producing little boxes.




  
For more interesting facts about homeschooling, check this out on Wikipedia;

reference box


Monday, 11 July 2016

A mother's courage

“Shall we beat a retreat, and turn back from our high calling in Christ Jesus, or dare we advance at God’s command in the face of the impossible? Let us remind ourselves that the Great Commission was never qualified by clauses calling for advance only if funds were plentiful and no hardship or self-denial was involved. On the contrary, we are told to expect tribulation and even persecution, but with it victory in Christ.”
John Stam gave this speech at the Moody Bible Institute; little did he know what would take place just 2 years later.

Answering God’s call, Betty went to China in 1931 and John went a year later but to a different region. They went as a part of the CIM (China Inland Missionaries). Then in 1933 they were married. They had a daughter Helen and settled as a family in Tsingteh. It was 1934 and was a time of civil war and hard times for Christians in China. It was December and they heard rumours of communist raids through the city but didn’t have enough time to leave.

The communists caught up with the Stams, they arrested them and took them to headquarters where they held them for ransom and demanded John write a letter to the CIM. John did this knowing full well the missionary organisation was not allowed to pay ransom demands. In his letter he quoted Philippians 1:20 “May Christ be glorified by life or death”

 They spent the night in a prison. Betty was holding 3 month old baby Helen who cried and was nearly killed because of it. The next morning they were bound tightly and stripped of their outer garments and forced to march about 19 km to Miaosheo. The group stopped for the night where Betty was allowed to tend to Helen. Betty must have known her fate and actually hid Helen in a sleeping blanket with provisions in the hope that someone would save her baby. The couple were paraded in front of the Town where all the people gathered to witness the execution of the Christians. A Chinese shopkeeper pleaded for their lives but to no avail. The communists saw the bible in his hand and he was made to walk alongside the Stams to be killed. No one else dared to intervene. After marching a little further on John, Betty and the shopkeeper were forced to kneel and were beheaded.

A courageous Reverend Lo Kechou found the Stams bodies the next day and after a little searching found baby Helen miraculously still alive. He concealed her in a rice basket and made a dangerous journey over mountainous terrain and delivered her to her maternal grandparents, the Scotts.

What must have been going through Betty’s mind when she had to leave her baby behind, we will never know? But what incredible faith and courage it must have required. Maybe God whispered comforting words in her ear? Maybe He filled her with peace?  I know that kind of faith and courage is available to all of us. We may not ever have to face the same kind of persecution that Betty did but we can apply it in our own everyday lives.  A mother’s courage! A courage that comes from God.

I don’t think we understand the depths of what happened there in Miaosheo that day, to undergo that kind of extreme persecution. But what amazes me is how prepared they were. They knew the risks were great but their love for their God was even greater and unwavering! It was not in vain and it wasn’t for selfish gain. They chose to live and die for others.  They stood firm to the end.





            

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Scripture Sunday

"24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching."
Hebrews 10 vs 24-25

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Living with a child with Aspergers


Living with an aspergers child is a daily struggle. Its not always easy to explain. Behavior is judged by others as being naughty. When Ethan was younger he would have meltdowns in public, at gatherings or parties and I did not always know the best way to deal with the situation. Often I would try encourage him to explain in words rather than emotions as to what his struggles were. Other times I'd let him ride it out till he became calm again.
He is very intense, doesn't stop talking and his brain is full of thoughts and ideas that he has to get out. I'd often remind him that he is a new computer program and I am an old computer so I cannot process all the information he is downloading!
He is high functioning so people don't believe me that he is aspergers or understand what it is. He can get on with people of all ages. I think he sometimes annoys the adults as he is 14 now and likes to include himself in their conversations. But he has to be in control of his environment, if he is not, if someone is doing something he doesn't like its a problem and he tends to get worked up over it. I have tried giving him life skills though the word of God to remind him of social behavior such us loving our enemies or not thinking of ourselves higher than we ought.
What do I mean by "meltdowns"?Meltdowns happen when he feels he doesn't have control in a situation. Its not a tantrum, which is to manipulate the parent. A tantrum is an action. A meltdown is a reaction. See the difference? It looks like sulky behaviour,or an outburst of anger. Once he broke a chair in such an outburst (thankfully for me that was just once and we dealt with it straight away). It can last a few minutes or can be the whole day! Depending on what it is. Reasons for a meltdown may vary,if they have their routine broken(sometimes this is life and can't be helped) , their control(OCD) issues or just for no apparent reason at all.
For various reasons,he does not fit into the mould of mainstream school and I have had the privilege of homeschooling him. Its not been an easy road but its been the best thing for him! He has confidence and a good character and I have been able to provide a loving nurturing environment for him to grow up in. He didn't have the unhealthy socialisation of school to deal with but rather a healthy more natural form of socializing in the real world around him. At homeschool events, at the shops,at church, with older adults to small babies. All where he had to practice skills he was taught that don't come easy to him. Such as looking at someone in the eye when speaking to them .
He is an amazing boy, very loving and caring. He has a sensitive heart for the poor and needy. But its this sensitivity that also hurts him. He picks up everything. But at the same time he is egocentric and cannot really see things from another's point of view and its not his fault,he just cannot do it.
Aspergers children often have obsessions and he has had a few over the years but the biggest one has been cooking! He loves to cook,he loves food and he loves eating. This has been a wonderful outlet for him. When he is focused on that he blocks out the rest of the world( or tries to) we are not allowed in the kitchen when he is cooking unless specifically asked to help with something. He has recently been added to a cooking team at church which has helped him so much to learn how to work with others. Lucky for me,they understand him and are very patient with him.
Its a daily struggle as a parent but I have the lord Jesus guiding me. When I don't know what to do,He does. He has led me day by day and help Ethan to grow into a wonderful young man inspite of his issues. Ethan and I have our ups and downs but we have a special bond and love each other through the difficulties.
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device





Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Wordless Wednesday :Phone Booth Library

http://wordlesswednesday.blogspot.co.za/

Useful Tips: Uses for baking soda you might not have known

If you are living on a tight budget or environmentally friendly and looking for alternatives to today’s modern chemicals, baking soda has so many different uses that sometimes even work better than its chemically produced counterparts.
Shampoo
Add a little apple cider vinegar with some baking soda and apply to your hair. You can either add it to your shampoo or use it completely on its own. You will find that you wash your hair less and your hair will look healthy and have a natural shine to it. Chemicals in shampoo can strip your hair and make it dull.
Make a bath soak
Add ½ a cup of baking soda to your bath to wash away excess oil and neutralise acids on your skin. Your skin will feel very soft after. You can even dissolve 3 tablespoons in a tub to soak and scrub your feet after a long day.
Body deodorant
Apply under your arms to keep them dry and keep body odours at bay
Make toothpaste
A paste made from baking soda , sea salt, 1 drop of peppermint, clove or cinnamon and a few drops of water applied to you toothbrush makes a natural alternative to chemically produced toothpastes.
Deodorising
Place an open box of baking soda at the back of your fridge or sprinkle baking soda at the bottom or your rubbish bin to neutralise any odours. Pour ½ a cup of baking soda down your drain with the hot water running to clean the drain. Keep your running shoes odour free when they not in use by sprinkling a bit of baking soda in them and shaking it out before use.
Treat insect bites
Make a paste of baking soda and water and apply to an insect bite, it will neutralise any itchiness and even a bee sting.
Household cleaning
You don’t have to spend a small fortune buying cleaning products. Make a paste with baking soda, coarse salt and dish liquid to wash stove tops and any tough grimy surfaces. Or just sprinkle baking soda in your bath or sink and wash with a damp sponge and rinse.
You can even use a strong baking soda solution to freshen up your sponges.
You can clean your floors as well. Use ½ a cup of baking soda in a bucket of water to floors and rinse. 
Make a homemade lemon and baking soda furniture polish and also apply to walls to remove crayon marks.
Clean batteries
Baking soda is a mild alkali so it can neutralise acid battery corrosion on car batteries. Make 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water and clean with a damp cloth. Make sure you have disconnected them form the terminal first. Apply Vaseline after to prevent future corrosion.
Extinguish fires
For small cooking fires, turn off the heat source then throw baking soda over the flames. When baking soda is heated it gives off CO2 which smothers the flames. 











Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Tim Noaks and Banting....Is it a dangerous new fa


Definitely a new craze diet! One steeped in controversy. Most people just blindly follow it without really doing the proper research for themselves.
What is Banting?
In his book, The Real Meal Revolution, Noakes encourages eating mostly leafy vegetables, protein, nuts, fat and cheese. Sugar and Carbohydrates are out of the question. He claims that animal fats such as butter and cream keep hunger pangs away for longer.You will crave the sugars and Carbohydrates less.Carbohydrate deprivation leads the body into ketosis, a chemical fat-burning process that causes weight loss. Although some suggest that this diet works because of the fewer calories that are eaten and not in the cutting out of the Carbohydrates. The diet even cuts out fruit, because of the fructose which is a sugar and some fruits like bananas are high in Carbohydrates. What everyone seems to have forgotten is that too much fat still clogs up your arteries which leads to high cholesterol and higher chance of heart attacks.
Posting your favourite banting recipe on facebook or pintrest seems to be the new cult. The cauliflower pizza seems to be a winner amongst Noakes groupies. There are some creative recipes that come along with this diet such as almond flour pancakes, sweet potato nachos and flourless chocolate cake. Even if you are not a Banting radical, you could still enjoy a few of the recipes on occasion.
Why do they even call it Banting?
It was named after William Banting,a London Undertaker which suffered from obesity, was prescribed a strict diet by a Harley Street surgeon in 1861 with considerable success
We saw this happen in 1974 with the Atkins Diet. That too was steeped in controversy and there has even been question as to Atkins own death, some say he died of a heart attack but this was proven to be false, he died of a head injury but he did suffer a cardiac arrest in 2002, just a year before he died. There were just too many questions surrounding this diet. Sound familiar?
Banting is sweeping through the country like a plague causing great concern with many Health professionals.
The recent Stellenbosch University study on 10 July 2014 conducted by Dr Celeste Naude of Stellenbosch University’s Centre for Evidence, in fact proved that the diet doesn’t work and is even dangerous. cardiologists, endocrinologists, epidemiologists, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of SA, the Association of Dietetics of SA, and the Health Professions Council of SA, all in agreement ,concluded the same thing.
At the Vitality Summit on Friday 1 August 2014, Johannesburg cardiologist Anthony Dalby has called sport scientist Tim Noakes's high-fat diet "criminal". Reputable Nutritionist Patrick Holford says that Tim Noakes Diet is a specific eating plan intended for Diabetics under strict medical supervision.
Despite all the evidence the public are still, pardon the pun, eating it all up. Maybe our grandchildren will laugh at us like we laugh at the popularity of smoking in the 1920’s.Tim Noakes’ fame is spreading like wildfire and his book has sold more 100 000 copies since publication in December 2013, making it South Africa’s bestseller ever.