Thursday, 11 August 2016

School Readiness


It is that time of year, when parents question whether their children are ready to start grade 1.I homeschool but have foundation phase qualifications and thought this might be helpful to those who send their children to school.

In South Africa, children need to enter Grade 1 in the year they turn 7. They are allowed to start at age 5 provided they turn 6 after June. There are many influencing factors which can all be very overwhelming and confusing. We don’t want to push our kids too much but we also don’t want to hold them back if they are ready for the challenge. Children are unique and different and all develop at a pace of their own so we cannot compare them to others. You as the parent have to make the choice that is right for your child. If for some reason you have to “hold them back” it doesn’t have to be a negative. It just means that they are not yet ready but when they are ready they will be better equipped to enter into the big scary world of Grade 1 with confidence.

School readiness looks at Physical, Cognitive, Emotional and Social development. In other words, it looks at the development of the whole child.

Here is a basic checklist;


  • Can hold a pencil correctly
  • Can cut with scissors
  • Can throw and catch a ball
  • Can hop skip and jump
  • Balance on a balancing beam
  • Can dress and undress himself
  • Can tie own laces/do up buttons
  • Can go to the toilet without help
  • Can colour pictures


  • Short term memory
  • Know left from right
  • Able to draw himself
  • Can build a puzzle
  • Show discrimination between different objects
  • Able to put things in sequence
  • Understands positions in space
  • Has intellectual curiosity
  • Knows colours and shapes
  • Can count up to 20
  • Identifies numbers up to 10
  • Can concentrate/pay attention
  • Has an understanding of time. I.e. yesterday, today, tomorrow
  • Knows own age


  • Can verbally express emotions
  • Will not cry when separated from father or mother
  • Does not act in aggressive way
  • Can cope if he does not get his own way
  • Will correctly deal with criticism
  • Will respond when spoken to
  • Knows the difference between fantasy and reality


  • Can integrate into a group
  • Willing to share
  • Carry a conversation
  • Knows how to ask for things and not just take
  • Able to listen to others
  • Show good manners

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Wordless wednesday: Chocolate Mousse cappuccino

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Because sometimes all you need is a coffee and some friends.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Selfishness vs. selflessness


I wonder what motivates people to think only of themselves? The selfish person is by definition someone who acts according to ones own interests and needs without regard for others. It must be a very sad soul to go through life only ever giving thought to one’s own little world. Sometimes we give excuses of being too busy or too tired but in fact what we are saying to the world is

“I am more important than you”.

On occasion we know of situations that need help but we are overwhelmed and either do not know what to do or we think that someone else will do it.

The selfishness must be discovered and understood before it can be removed. It is powerless to remove itself, neither will it pass away of itself. Darkness ceases only when light is introduced; so ignorance can only be dispersed by Knowledge; selfishness by Love.

James Allen

Those who do not hate their own selfishness and regard themselves as more important than the rest of the world are blind because the truth lies elsewhere

Blaise Pascal


There is a short story from 1843 called The Bosom-serpent by Nathaniel Hawthorne .


[*]The plot:

George Herkimer visits his old acquaintance, Roderick Elliston, who is rumoured to have a snake residing in his bosom. Herkimer says he brings Elliston a message from his wife Rosina, but he retreats into his house before receiving it.

Elliston and Rosina had separated four years earlier. Soon, people noticed a green tint to his skin and often heard a hissing sound coming from his bosom. Elliston sought the attention of others and pointed out the snakes they possessed within their own bosoms. His relatives placed him in an asylum, but his doctors decided his affliction did not demand confinement.

After learning this, Herkimer returns to Elliston, who says his self-contemplation has nurtured the serpent. Rosina appears and suggests that he "forget [himself] in the idea of another." They touch and Roderick is healed.

Selfishness is similar to egotism which is is the motivation to maintain and enhance favourable views of self. Egotism means placing oneself at the centre of one's world with no direct concern for others.One of the main themes in this story is egotism and reveals that we cannot live only for ourselves but need the help and interaction of others

To read the story The Bosom-serpent online go to here

So then we ask “How can we become less selfish? Less egotistical?”

How can we start to live selfless lives, start to think more of others, our friends, our family and our community?

The answer is simple…JUST START.

  • Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person.
  • Everytime you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing.
  • I want you to be concerned about your next door neighbour. Do you know your next door neighbour?
  • In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.
  • Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lays.
    Mother Teresa

Take it one step at a time. Making a meal for a friend who is sick. Remembering a birthday or just sending an sms to show you care.

You can become more involved in your church or community. If you look around in your area you can find an orphanage, foundation or cause to support. It may not always be giving money; it could be giving of your time. What about visiting the lonely in an old age home?

Whatever you do ,make a decision to live selflessly rather than selfishly! One day at a time.

[*] Wikipedia;_or,_The_Bosom-Serpent]

Saturday, 6 August 2016

My first piece of writing

When I was in high school I remember having to do a writing assignment and I chose to do mine on "Jim Morrison and The Doors" It was here where I discovered my love for writing as I penned the psychological profile of this man who lived out William Blake's quote "If the doors of perception were cleansed then everything would appear to man as it truly is, infinite" I wrote about how through drugs ,music and witchcraft, Jim Morrison thought he was cleansing his soul but instead he destroyed it.

I didn't give any thought or time to writing until I was working in a preschool and I decided to write a children's book. It was called "The Zebra Shell" and was a silly story but I was proud of it. I did my own illustrations and created a PDF version of it but nothing ever came of it. I just read it to my children when they were little. I am such a disorganised writer that I subsequently lost the PDF version but still have all my original hand painted illustrations and original hand writing. I had also created a you tube clip of the story but lost that as well. Bear in mind this was all 18 years ago.

I eventually found it as a word document somewhere in my shambolic filing system. Here it is:

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