Home education tips

Home education tips

The Corona virus is spreading and everybody needs to stay at home. Working and learning at home can be a challenge. With the ungoing crisis we thought it is time for some home education tips. You can read our tips on Facebook as well.
Tip #1 - Home is not a school (31-03-2020)
Tip #2 - Little ones first! (01-04-2020)
Tip #3 - A schedule is good, a rhythm better (02-04-2020)
Tip #4 - We do the chores together! (03-04-2020)
Tip #5 - You Don't Have to be an Expert (06-04-2020)
Tip #6 - Make Use of the Concentration Peak (07-04-2020)
Tip #7 - Read With and To Your Child (07-04-2020)
Tip #8 - Grace and Mercy are the Winning Team (14-04-2020)
Tip #9 - Play! (15-04-2020)
Tip #10 - A Love for Learning (17-04-2020)

Tip #1 - Home is not a school (31-03-2020)

Many home educators prefer the term 'home education' over 'homeschooling'. Education at home does not turn your home into a school. Relax: home education starts with home. So take time to think and talk about what makes a home: What defines us as a family? What traditions are in place? Should we start some new ones? HOME is the firm foundation for successful home education. And even you feel not much education is going on: at least you are giving your children a gift beyond measure: home.




Tip #2 - Little Ones First (01-04-2020)

Helping older children with their work while little ones keep you perfectly distracted is very frustrating. That's why it's a good idea to spend time with your pre-schoolers first. We love reading together, but a game or some other activity with mom or dad is fine too. After about half an hour of filling their 'love tanks' with your kind attention, they are ready to play on their own; freeing you to help older ones. Personally I enjoy this way of starting the day very much: it's easy, enjoyable and comes with great rewards.



Tip #3 - A schedule is good, a rhythm better (02-04-2020)

A timed schedule for the day looks very professional indeed ... until real life kicks in and interruptions great and small mock your beautiful plans. We use a rhythm instead. A rhythm - or set order of activities - allows for structure and serendipity alike. As long as I don't plan too many subjects things get done in a happy way. For example our mornings follow this rhythm: breakfast - reading aloud to young ones - maths - languages - sometimes science - lunch. Whatever gets done we consider a morning well spent. Happy planning everyone!



Tip #4 - We do the chores together! (03-04-2020)

For parents home education takes a lot of (extra) time. No problem though: the children can help! Teens can cook and clean well and even a toddler can help clear away the dishes. Having the children do (more) chores not only frees the parents to home educate, but also gives children a sense of responsibility and belonging. The children might grumble and complain a bit in the beginning, but with the necessary compliments for a job well done they are sure to grow into it. 😀



Tip #5 - You Don't Have to be an Expert (06-04-2020)

'Mom, when can I use a semicolon?' or 'Dad, how do I calculate the circumference of an ellipse?' Please don't panic: you don't have to be an expert to home educate! Willingness to find the answers together is enough. In this day and age it is easy to find information about most anything online. Visit a book or website together or watch a video. Questions are a great opportunity to learn alongside your child and/or teach him or her research skills. After some practice your child will grow in confidence as she is able to find answers herself. Her attitude is sure to change from 'No idea' to 'I'll look it up!' 🤓



Tip #6 - Make Use of the Concentration Peak (07-04-2020)

Much research has been done to discover the best time of day for learning tasks. For most of us the best time to concentrate deeply is in the morning around 10. Find out what subject requires most of your child's attention and let him sit down to it around 10 am for the best results. If 10 am is a particularly unsuitable time, you can alternatively choose for one a half hour after lunch or supper, although our concentration peak is somewhat lower at those times of day. Happy studying!


Tip #7 - Read With and To Your Child (09-04-2020)

Reading is key to all further learning and paticipation in society. The ability to read is one of the most precious gifts you can give to your child. Therefore: read to your child, at least until he can read fluently himself (longer is allowed 😀). Enjoying books together whets your child's appetite for reading, gives him a feel for language and builds his vocabulary. Secondly, have your beginning reader read to you daily - also at least until he reads fluently. Don't be surprised if this takes long: 10 years or older is no exception for reading fluency. Reading together is one of the best investments in your child's future.



Tip #8 - Grace and Mercy are the Winning Team (14-04-2020)

Home Educators need grace and mercy in abundance. Home education means you spend a lot of time together as a family. You share moments of joy, but also of chagrin and frustration. Especially then words of grace are needed. Words that say: 'You can try again, don't worry if you don't understand or if you take a long time to learn.' Words that don't compare and hurt, but instead forgive and give a second chance - over and over again. Words that communicate a deep and profound love for your child and patience to see him or her blossom.
This is what happens when someone puts 'just a little to much' soap in the dishwasher...


Tip #9 - Play! (15-04-2020)

Learning does not just happen sitting at a desk with a book and a notepad and pencil in hand. Learning happens in many different ways, amongst which is play. Play itself comes in many varieties: can be done in- or outside, can be physical or mental (even musical!), done alone or together and provides a good break from formal learning. Research shows that playing makes learning outcomes better. So, if you like your child to be a succesful learner: let him play!



Tip #10 - A Love for Learning (17-04-2020)

There seems to be no end to what can be learned. In the primary years we focus on reading, writing and arithmetic to use them later as tools for further studies. Once we gain an appetite for learning, the possibilities are manifold: we can learn a new hobby or game, taķe an online course, learn a language ... Learning can be enjoyed by young and old, gives us healthy challenges and provides stimulation. So what would you like to learn - or teach your child - today?


Trip to Maroamboka

Trip to Maroamboka

A week ago Jurgen and Issa travelled to Maroamboka to pay a visit to the building site of our house. Maroamboka is situated just 5km from Sandrohy.

Papers

We wanted to visit the side earlier but putting all the car papers in our name took much longer than anticipated. Finally, we received all the papers… that is to say, the temporary papers. Hopefully he official papers will be ready at the end of December 2016. Jurgen’s Malagasy drivers licence is a whole different story. To get the official licence we need a visa that has to be still six months valid. This is not so straightforward as it might sound. When we apply for a visa (for the new year) we receive a paper that says that we have applied. With this paper we can travel but it is not the same as the official visa. Still, the validity of the visa starts as soon as we apply. In other words, if we receive the official visa after 4 months it will only be valid for eight more months. Our hope is that we will get our visa in time to transform the temporary licence to a permanent one.

Furniture

Slowly but surely the car is equipped with the necessities to deal with the hard conditions in which we are going to use it. One of the changes is a big roofrack (2,30 bij 1,20). Local metalworkers worked hard to make us a strong one. We are very happy with the rack as this gives us the possibility to move our belongings in and out of the area.

Jurgen used the visit to move many of our furniture. On the roof we transported a heavy cupboard together with two small tables. In the car we stacked our chairs and kitchen appliance. Jurgen and Issa left on the 11th of December at about 5 in the morning. After only 45 minutes a police officer stopped them. The load on the roof was no problem but apparently Jurgen needed a permit for the load in the car. Luckily Jurgen managed to persuade the officer to write him a permit on the spot. So, with all the right papers they could continue their trip.

Bad Roads

The national roads on Madagascar look very much like Dutch cheese with holes. This makes travelling very tiresome. At noon Issa and Jurgen arrived in a place called Abohimahasoa. There they stopped to spend the night in a hotel. The next day they travelled the second part. Near Ifanadiana one of the tires went flat, a piece of wood stuck right through. Fortunately help was not far. Jurgen stopped the car near one of the many police checkpoints and asked one of the officers for help. The officer first had to put his AK47 aside and then he stopped a lorry. He told the driver that the foreigners needed help. The lorry driver, together with a local, changed the wheel and said that there was no need for Jurgen to get his hands dirty. A few miles further the tire was repaired in Ifanadiana for about € 1,70.

Arrival

It is not hard to hear the car coming. The people of Sandrohy al ready waited at the side of the road. The children sheered and clapped their hands and the adults came to shake hands. After some brief chats the trip continued to Maroamboka, about five kilometres from Sandrohy. This road was a good test for the car. Deep gullies, big rocks and steep climbs (sometimes 35% and more).

Passing through the last curve the house became visible. Quickly the local people ran towards the car to greet Jurgen and Issa. The car could be parked next to the house of our contact person. After the inspection of the car by all the ‘experts they started to unload the car, which didn’t took long with all the extra hands.

 

The House

We were already informed about the fact that the builders didn’t fully followed the drawings. Our drawings where way to modest. The house will be bigger because, according to the builder, we need enough space for all our children. On the ground floor we will have a bedroom and a combination of a living room with a kitchen. Going up the stairs we find ourselves on the first floor with a corridor and two more bedrooms for the children. Outside is a separate place to wash ourselves and about 15 metres further the builders dug a toilet. The house is situated next to a water-well with clean water. Most of the time there is enough pressure to install some plumbing. This is something the builder will look at. However, during Jurgen’s and Issa’s visit the well didn’t give much water due to a lack of rain. We will have to see whether we can solve this with a water reservoir that can collect and store rainwater. The house is mainly built of wood from the nearby rainforest. We will have, however, a tin roof and the ground floor is made of cement. The traditional houses have a leaf roof and a wooden or mud floor. This is a set up for trouble during the rainy season. Coming month we will look for a solar panel system. Solar panels are more common as many have a little system to recharge phones and the like.

Visit

During the two days, Jurgen and Issa visited three villages. The mpanjakas (kings) of two villages where absent. Jurgen brought the promised photos from our last visit and left it together with his greetings for the mpanjaka. The mpanjaka of the last village was present and he welcomed Jurgen and Issa into his house. It was a good meeting in which the mpanjaka did his utmost to understand Jurgen’s official Malagasy. The conversation was relaxed and amusing—especially when Jurgen started to pronounce the differences in several Malagasy dialects. The mpanjaka said that he was very happy to hear Jurgen’s progress in the language.

Meanwhile, Jurgen and Issa are back in Antananarivo. The came back with a lot of fruit given by the locals. We are planning another trip to Maroamboka soon. We will have to bring more furniture and other things like our bed and school material for the children. The builder estimated that we can move as a family somewhere in January 2017.

We are excited! Finally, after months of preparation, we are going to live among the Tanala.

Photo Gallery Baby

Photo Gallery Baby

We had to wait 4 years on his arrival, but he has finally made it: Simeon! He was born on 29 July at 01:20 am in hospital. He weighed 3810 grammes and measured about 51 cm. It all went rather quickly: labour started at 10:49 pm, the arrival in hospital was at 00:30 am and three quarters of an hour later Simeon had safely found his way into this world. We feel very rich. Again we are amazed about 10 little toes and 10 little fingers. How small and fragile life begins!

Preparations

Preparations

Our departure to Madagascar is drawing nearer. For years we have been preparing ourselves, but how?

Bilinguality

The language amongst missionaries and within most missionary organisations is English. That is one of the reasons why we have decided to raise our children bilingually from an early age. From about 3 years of age – when they have an age appropriate fluency in Dutch – Katja speaks as much English to and with them as possible. After having learned to read and write Dutch at beginner’s level, we start teaching them the same in English. Sofar this approach works for our family: our children are capable of conversing in 2 languages and are confident about their abilities. On the mission field they will be able to communicate with other missionaries and their children from the start.

Cultural Awareness

Compared to thirty years ago, when we were in primary education, the world seems to have ‘shrunk’! The world comes closer in the books we read, the television programmes we see and even through people living around us who have come from a different culture.

Since we will be living in a vastly different culture than our own, we read and talk a lot about the continents, climates, cultures and religions in the world. We hope to get a better understanding of what culture is and how important it is in everyday life. We read books on Madagascar in particular, so we will have some idea in advance of what we might experience and see.

Identity

Children of missionaries generally have more identity problems than their peers who have no cross-cultural experience. It is often heard that the live between 2 or more cultures and have difficulty identifying any which country as home. Ties with the country of origin can be weaker than the ties with the country they, as a familly, have served in.

For these reasons we emphasize our own cultural identity as well. Through history lessons, typical Dutch celebrations and family traditions we enforce our identity as a familly, Christians, Dutch and Europeans. We trust this will enable us to move and feel freely in both our own and our host cultures.