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?




Creepy Crawlers

Creepy Crawlers

At first we wanted to write a post about all the nice fruits we eat every day. A life to dream about. Fruit in abundance, sunshine, and a porch on which you can sit at sunset with a nice glass of wine. Mmmm, nope not really. Fruit, yes; sunshine, yes; and yes, also a porch. Romantic? No, unless you want to hide under a mosquito net.

We admit, we love the sunshine (if it is not too hot, that is). We enjoy the spacious porch for the children to play on. It becomes more bothering if you need to pay attention to all the bugs. During the day we have the tiger-mosquitoes and during the night the mosquitoes species which give you Malaria. Than, the spiders.

Nephilingis livida

At the moment our porch is home of a huge one. Her bite, we’ve been told, is just as painful as a sting of a scorpion (yes, we have those too). We have a love/hate relation with the spider. She keeps the mosquitoes and other flying stingy critters at bay.

Another annoying bug is the sand-flea (jigger). This bug crawls under your skin (literally) and lays it eggs there while feeding on your blood. The children all had their share and this time it was Jurgen’s turn. Two of these ‘cute’ creatures dug a nice hole in his little toe. The trick is to remove them completely with egg-sag still attached. Simple starting to dig in with a needle is a bad idea. Most likely the egg-sag will get damaged and will cause a mess. Slowly cutting open the skin around the sag works best. The first one on Jurgen’s toe came out as a whole, the second one tore open but still came out reasonably well. With the egg-sag still attached, the sand-flea could be studied under the mini-microscope. It gave the children a nice chance to see it up close. It was hard to get a focus as the sand-flea constantly tried to move away from the light.

To live here has its advantages when it come to learning or experiencing new stuff… Whether you always want to learn these things is a whole other matter.

For all of you who would like to see the animal we have a little video:

We have place some picture below.
BUT, BE WARNED! THE PICTURE ARE GRAPHIC. YEP, BLOOD IS INCLUDED.
Only scroll down if you don’t mind seeing blood!
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Language as Ministry

Language as Ministry

Since this month we have a Malagasy teacher who teaches us at home several times a week. It makes a huge difference! Filmantra (pronounce: feeluhmantrs) insists we speak Malagasy like the locals do. That sounds logical, but she told us many foreigners learn to speak Malagasy as it is written – which is not quite how it is spoken. This ‘school-Malagasy’ sets the foreigner apart from the locals, and that is not what we want. An example: ‘I am happy’ is written: ‘Faly aho’. Pronounced as written you hear /fahlee ahoo/, pronounced as the locals do, you hear /fahlea/ (ea as in Andrea) instead. It is easy to see how you can sound ‘funny’ pronouncing words as they are written. We have noticed that – if we do a good job – our Malagasy neighbours instantly recognise what we say. Their eyes start to glimmer, a smile appears. It also makes a difference when bargaining, and that helps our finances!

The correct pronounciation takes some getting used to. In Dutch and English we try to say the whole word – in Malagasy not so. Some word endings seem to go missing completely, like in the word ‘inona’ (meaning ‘what’) which is pronounced /eenn/ with the prolonged n representing the last two syllables. Oh boy, what fun! We really love this language.

The children are taught Malagasy by us during short breaks and before and after meals. It helps both them and us, as we repeat what we have learned with them. We have found the children really need to be helped with their language, it does not come to them without effort. They enjoy their growing proficiency, as they are encouraged by our Malagasy friends and neighbours.

Another fun way we learn Malagasy is through singing children’s songs. We share our favourites with you here:

‘Tia zaza’ – a song somewhat resembling ‘Jesus loves the little children’ in lyrics.

‘Iza no namorana’ – Dani’s favourite: he loves the ‘funny’ policeman. The song is about God being the sole Creator of the earth, the water, the trees and YOU! See if you can find out which of the four he is singing about (hint: order matters).

‘Miantso anao Jesosy’ – a song somewhat more for teens and / or adults. The lyrics say that Jesus calls you and loves you. Return to Him, my friend.

But why spend so much time and effort on language learning? We are apt to believe it is necessary to minister to the people – later. On the contrary: we have learned that language learning is ministering to the people now. Through learning the language and culture we put ourselves in a humble position, as Jesus did. We position ourselves as learners and testify of the love of God, who came to this earth a helpless babe and became one with us in everything – even carrying the burden of sin on the cross. Language is the most important way to be one with the Malagasy, a means to somewhat understand our fellow man and feel what they feel, experience life as they do. During this process we will be on the receiving end for quite some time: we have not come as the know-it-alls, but as hands and feet of our Lord.

We have made a video about our language lessons. In it, Jurgen once more explains the importance of language learning. You will also meet our language teacher, see us try hard to communicate in Malagasy and help our children express themselves in this beautiful language.

Application LST

Application LST

Last week Jurgen was notified that the last marks of his studies have been determined. Jurgen received an overall mark of 61%, with which he is glad. It has not been easy to study at university level for the first time – and in English – but his efforts were rewarded.

Now that the last marks are known, the application for the distance learning course of the London School of Theology can be posted. This was taken care of yesterday. Jurgen hopes to commence his second year of study shortly after our arrival in Holland next month.

Although we regret that Jurgen can no longer study at Trinity School of Ministry, we are thankful for this next step. Distance learning frees us to be wherever we need to be and for Jurgen to study at his own pace. Thus we have the time to invest in our contact with missionary organisation AIM and to orientate ourselves as to where the Lord wants us to serve him.