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?


Into TIMO

Into TIMO

We have just returned from a month of traveling – and what an awesome trip it was! When we met the leader of a team of missionaries on a remote island off the coast of Madagascar we were very interested in their experiences. What was it like to live a simple lifestyle in a hut? How were they received? What was TIMO like? How does the team function? The leaders suggested to come and take a look. No, not for a week or two, but a whole month. We are very glad we took up the invitation. We have learned so much in a month and enjoyed it thoroughly. You can see a videoreport on our multimediapage.

The island we visited is called Nosy Mitsio and is home to about 2000 people. The islanders live in small villages in simple huts made of natural materials. They fish, grow rice, coconuts, bananas and some other fruits. Some have cows, goats, ducks or chickens. Ancestor worship and special ceremonies called ‘trombas’ play an important role in their lives. The Antankarana have lived on the island for about 200 years, since they fled there from persecution by an evil Merina-queen. Regrettably the Antankarana still hold a grudge against the Merina people group, who live in and around Tana.

At first the islanders were not particularly happy about the coming of the missionaries. Still the team could come. Now, after more than a year the missionaries are loved and very much welcome. Through friendships the missionaries share the gospel and testify of the love of Jesus for them. They are currently translating a set of Bible stories to share with their neighbours. For an example of what that looks like [wp_fancybox_media hyperlink=”click here” type=”youtube” width=”640″ height=”360″ url=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/E2gjju0hcLY?version=3&autoplay=1&fs=1&rel=0″].  Other ministries include teaching about God in the local primary school, helping in the fields, and health education.

Life on the island can be tough. While we visited several team members fell ill and needed medicine. Our family also contracted some infections. Traveling to and from the island is a challenge. Every month the team leaves to buy supplies. The land hardly provides enough for the locals, so the missionaries have to travel 3 and a half hours by boat and another 2 and a half hours by bus to Ambilobe, the closest city where supplies are available. On the island the team members have to walk through knee-deep mud and over sharp rocks – still we heard no complaints.

The goal of a TIMO team is twofold: to train beginning missionaries and to plant a church amongst an unreached people group. The team meets weekly to discuss the curriculum. The curriculum supports the fases of the missionaries’ work. While we were there the team members shared their testimonies, or faith-stories, in Antankarana with each other and their neighbours. As mentioned they are working on a story set to share in their villages. They hope to organise ‘Discovery Bible Studies (DBS)’, a way of discussing the Bible with maximum involvement of all participants. You can read more about this tool here.

With the team we are very curious as to what is going to happen on Nosy Mitsio in the coming months. We believe God has planned and prepared for them to be there. He has his eye on the island and wants it for His glory. Wouldn’t it be great if the veil of fear of the ancestors would be lifted and Jesus would become the centre piece of their lives? Please spend a moment in prayer for:

the team leaders Adam and Lora Willard, with Matimu and David;

Steve and Rebekah Orner, with Ruthanne, Douglas and Heather;

Shawn and Angie Mayle, with Liam, Kailin and Gwen;

and Kelly Segit.

Though isolated they may be, let them experience they are not alone in their hard work to win the Antankarana for Jesus!

On Finances

On Finances

A new year has begun: a good moment to share with you how we are doing.

As far as we are concerned we are ready to leave: suitcases and lesson materials have been purchased; our destiny and ministry are clear; and we are all quite eager to take the plunge. Then why are we still in Holland?

The only thing to be taken care of are the finances. AIM Holland’s treasurer has made us a monthly budget and a budget for start up costs. We are responsible for raising the necessary funds ourselves. AIM is not our employer, but a facilitating organisation. This means AIM organises missionary work, but does not provide the finances. Our home church in Den Helder is not able to support us fully either. Most of our budget is dependent on individual supporters.

So how far are we? The latest statement of our fund with the mission organisation showed we have reached 52% of our monthly budget. Those who are supporting us already are helping us save for the start up costs. These include air fares, visa, vaccines, the 3 week orientation in Kenya and some basic furnishings for our new home in Antananarivo. When we have reached 90% of our monthly budget in promised support, we are allowed to book the tickets.

Would you like to sponsor us? You can find out how on our Support – Financial Support page. Money donated will be received in our private fund. You will be helping us directly, not the mission organisation in general.

Now that we will be staying in the Netherlands and Jurgen has almost finished his Diploma level in Theology, he has gone back to work. He finishes his studies in his spare time. We are very thankful for the years of study and expect to reap the fruits of it on the mission field, as we have already been blessed so much by the knowledge and experience gained over the past few years.

Biblestorying Course

Biblestorying Course

Chronological Biblestorying almost sounds like telling fairy-tales. This however, cannot be further from the truth. I (Jurgen) attended this course, given by Wycliffe at the Redcliffe college (UK), and if one thing needs to be said it will be that telling stories is a worthy way of education.

In the West we are used to learn from books. Obviously some things are learned by experience but from the moment one enters a school-building that person knows one thing for sure: From now one you will have to read, write and read again. This is because our culture is completely literate orientated. The opposite can be seen among people who are illiterate. In the year 1998 16% of the world’s population was illiterate and Unicef predicted that this percentage will rise.1 We have negative connotation when we think of illiteracy and thus we spend many years learning how to read and write.

Still, there are many cultures in which people do not mind that they can not read or write. Their education methods are more orientated on experience and imitating others. Often they transfer knowledge through (old) stories. Where did our ancestors come from? Why did we become shepherds? Against who did we wage war and how did we solve it? The stories are often a bit adjusted to make it more understandable. These cultures are orally orientated. So do not think you can make them happy with a book because it does not say a thing to them. When you offer to tell a good series of stories however, big chance that they will come with the whole village to listen.

So, why this course, when we can read to them out of the Bible? To answer this question let me suggest that you image that you are going to the cinema. There is a great film playing and you already look forward being drawn into the adventures of the people in it. But wait, the film is not playing and the director climbs the stage and, instead of showing the film, he is willing to read the script to you. Most likely, depending on his reading skills, you are not thrilled. The script contains many details and these are only understandable when you see it on screen. Now, we cannot compare the Bible with a film but the idea behind this example can.

The course aimed to teach how to stay close to the Bible and at the same how to adjust certain details to make it more understandable. This is different from reading the stories literally. Some details can come across different from what it actually means. For example: We had to learn the story of Zacheus (Luke 19). Sometime during the course a man was invited in. He was not a believer and hardly knew the Bible. He listened to the story and afterwards we asked him what his thoughts were. Surprisingly he got stuck with this aspect of Zacheus being bullied by the people. What did he do wrong? Was he not just doing his job? For our guest this was the main theme, which was bad because the crux of the story is that people need to be restored to God. After some adjustments we have tried it a second time and the next person grasped the essence of the story right away.

A second example was about a culture where, in the stories, the hero always appeared at the last moment. This way the hero could save the day when everything seemed lost. One day, missionaries started to tell the Bible stories. They also told the story where Satan tempted Jesus in the desert (Matthew 4). This was very disturbing for the people as in this story it was Satan who came last. According to their ‘rules’ he, Satan, had to be the hero! That could not be right… could it?

You will understand that thorough preparation and a good understanding of where to give extra explanation is important. These and other suggestions where given during this course. The week was very intensive. To get a good understanding of how oral orientated people learn we were discouraged to take note or even read books on the topic. Among the students were five other workers from Africa Inland Mission, which was unexpected but very nice.

Telling stories is an interesting discipline which will not suit everybody. That is why we also learned how craft the stories and to teach others to tell them. This is very useful when one comes to an area where one does not speak the language. In those situations you can teach a native speaker how develop a series that is relevant and understandable for the hearers.

All in all, the course was very good and we believe it to be a good preparation for our work on Madagascar.

Here are some examples to watch:


Ee-taow. In this documentary you see what happens to a tribe who gets to know Jesus after a whole series of Biblestories.

This is the adjusted version of Zacheus told by Jurgen.


Ruth and Naomi (Ruth 1).

The Phillipian jailer (Acts 16:11-40).
 

1. http://www.infoplease.com/encyclopedia/society/illiteracy-world-illiteracy-rates.html

Going Prepared

Going Prepared

From 13 till 16 April we took in an Orientation for new members of Africa Inland Mission (AIM). We have been encouraged by meeting with several christians from other countries with the same goal and purpose in mind: seeing Christ-centered churches among all African peoples.

Many practical issues have been discussed: health, safety, communication, dealing with transition and cultural differences. We are more aware than ever of the risks and likeliness of suffering, but ever the more motivated to go. The children enjoyed a parallel programme.

We had the chance to speak with the Personnel Director about the possibility of being placed in a team on Madagascar. It has become clear that the team and unit leaders were worried they would not be able to suit the educational needs of our children. We have responded this need not be a problem, since we are prepared and willing to home educate our children. We hope the team leaders will soon find the time to see and pray whether we would fit on the team.

To be continued…

Accepted at LST

Accepted at LST

This week we received a letter of acceptance from London School of Theology. Jurgen can finally begin his second year of study. We are very happy about that. For the Diploma Level Jurgen needs to complete at least 9 modules.

The first module is titled: ‘Encountering God and Neighbour’ and deals with our relationship with God and our fellow man. Many Old Testament books will be studied, especially Genesis, Micha and Proverbs.

The theological books in this module relate to questions of origins, possessions, Old Testament Spirituality, poverty and guilt.

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.