Home business, home education and health challenges: what makes us tic?

Posts tagged ‘Konos’

Our God, the Artist

Yesterday was a Konos-n-Art day. Because I have SO much to do, and because I have been blessed with standard 24-hour days rather than the requisite 48 that would make it possible to achieve all I have to do, I have split the school day over two days. This means that on one day we do Maths & English, and on the next day we do Art & Konos, which includes Science, History, Geography and Biology. We do Bible every day, of course.

It may seem as though this is not enough school, and I certainly believed that would be the case. But the results of Goldilocks’ recent exams speak for themselves. 91.5% for English. 63% for Grade 4 Maths, and we’re only doing Grade 2 Maths in school! And 69% for the the rest in a combined exam. In this case, the exam covered work we haven’t done yet, and didn’t cover some things that we have done. So I think we’re okay.

But back to my story: yesterday was an Art day and a Konos day. Because we have just started studying birds in Konos, and because we are discovering the shapes in objects in Art, I thought it would be a good idea to draw a bird for Art. And because we had just studied camouflage as well, I chose an Ostrich (Tony Hart, of course). It’s South African, and it has fairly good camouflage. We drew the birds, then used watercolours to paint them (according to their ACTUAL colours), and camouflage them to the background. (Painting is SO teherapeutic!)

The Parable (and the point of this post)

While we were painting, Goldilocks said, “Mom, don’t you think life is like painting?”

Not sure where this was headed, I sagely nodded and said, “tell me more.”

And here’s the parable she relayed:

“God is the Artist. The Holy Spirit is the Water, and we are the paints. Without the Water, the paint is dry and doesn’t really make any colour at all. With a little bit of Water, a picture starts coming, but it only really looks like anything with a lot of Water, and a gentle stroke from the Artist. The more Water you use the better the picture, and if you use a lot of Water, you just get a hint of the colour, and a very realistic picture because of the gentle shading the Water creates.”

Isn’t that a beautiful picture of our relationship with God, the Painter of our Masterpiece?


Sinking feeling.

This week we’ve been studying boats. There are different kinds, serving different purposes, and reflecting different levels of civilisation and technology. Using a boat for any purpose requires trust that the boat will do its intended function. The boat, therefore, needs to be trustworthy.

As I’ve mentioned before, we’re studying the unit on TRUST, so this stuff is relevant.

Finally, to wrap up the bit about boats, I set the girls a project. I gave them a simple brief (preparing them for projects now and ad agencies later):

Make a poster that displays different kinds of boats, then write a bit about each boat. Make the poster colourful and beautiful, but more importantly: make it accurate, informative and descriptive. This is NOT an art project.

The result was a very colourful collage featuring something they assure me is a canoe (even though it has a keel); a sailing ship (I am encouraged to see bright red sails, not bright red balloons, despite the shape and colour), and of course that most important of all ships: a Pirate Ship. This last, at least, bore some resemblance to the ships in story books.

By way of text, two clouds were cut out and pasted into the sky, one for each type of boat in the picture. The cloud about canoes says:


are made buy islanders.

Made with:

tree trunks

lether leather

somestimes leafs

The cloud about sailing ships says:


Are much the same.

But bigger and more
sails and made everyone.

When I pointed out that perhaps more data could have been helpful, and after all the project was intended to educate the viewer about what boats are, how they look, and what they do, I was met with bewildered silence. “But – it’s beautiful!” (this is true). “And – there are mermaids!” (So there are. When, pray tell, did we cover this in our studies?)

Later, as they were putting the final touches on their project, secure in the knowledge that I could not hear them as I was “working, I overheard this gem from nearly-7-year-old DD#2:

“But WE make boats that are from our IMAGINATION. Mom just likes us to do boring boats that someone else thought of before”

So there you have it. Clearly I’m doing something wrong, though what exactly that may be eludes me. Or perhaps it’s something so right it’s gone all the way around and just looks wrong because we’re seeing it from the other side. Here’s hoping …

Science this week.

"Waterfall" - M.C. Escher

"Waterfall" - M.C. Escher

Well, we’re still working through Trust. Today we were concentrating on optical illusions (which we also touched on in the “Eyesight” section of Attentiveness). We studied the works of Escher and Salvador Dali, which are so mind boggling and fascinating. I love being able to share these great works of art with the girls, and I love having access to the Internet, which makes it so easy to achieve this sharing of knowledge.

We also created a thaumatrope. Ever heard of one? It’s pretty interesting, and at first it completely failed (as my science experiments tend to do), which was disappointing. However, once again the Internet came to the rescue. I found this website, which gave us an explanation of thaumatropes that we could understand, some simple experiments, and a shorty video tutorial.

We also found this website, with a list of animated GIFs, which perform the same illusion as the hard copy thaumatropes we made, but with fewer human errors. 🙂 . Random Motion was very useful in its definition and experiments, which even I managed eventually.

Thaumatrope demonstration

Thaumatrope demonstration

Thaumatrope: n.

The thaumatrope was invented in the 1820s and it proved the phenomena of persistence of vision. The word “thaumatrope” has Greek roots. “Thauma” means magic in Greek and “trope” refers to something that turns. The thaumatrope is somewhat magical because it creates illusions dependent on persistence of vision.

And finally, DH came home and did his Daddy-trick, in which he just looks at a science-y thing and it works. So all of our thaumatropes worked and the girls had a good idea of how easily the eyes can be deceived. A good day for science and discernment, methinks.

The pursuit of happiness.

Nothing makes me happier than teaching my kids. I’ll admit that leisurely chats over fresh, hot tea with my darling sister are a close second, but I really love the time I spend with my girls each day as we discover the miraculous world we share.

Mondays are, well, interesting. We start the day with a morning’s business training and on-site work. My planny-plan is to start the day early with 2 hours of school, spend 4 hours at training, then squeeze the remaining 2 hours of school into the early afternoon, just after lunch. After that I should have 3 hours of work available before supper, and at least 2 more after story time. A total of 7 if you factor in the fact that half the morning is me being trained, and the other half is me doing training. Not too shabby.

Needless to say, so far we only just manage to rush into training on time, having squeezed in no school whatsoever. Still, each day gets better and today DD#1 asked if I could tell her what needed to be done and she would make sure that she and her sister did it. To my great surprise, they pretty much did. Only a small amount of input was required from me, and even though the work done only amounts to about a third of what needed to be done today (and we went shopping then to lunch, so it’s all the work that was done today), I was pleased and satisfied with the results. The level of maturity demonstrated really is significant when compared to six months ago.

We’re studying attentiveness this term in Konos, and it’s a delight to see how concentration really is a learned behaviour and, by Jove, they’re learning it – eagerly!

Later, that same day …

After dropping off the groceries (and DH) at home, it was time to go to the library, pay my inordinate late fee, and get the books I need for school this week. (The size of the fee is entirely my fault, I might add). DD#2 elected to stay home and have some “Daddy time” (code for “Computer Games”), while DD#1 was lured by the call of the jungly gym outside the library, and came with me.

You probably already know this, but just in case you don’t, or you’ve forgotten, I’m paranoid. I would NEVER let my kids play outside on the jungle gym without me being right there with them. I practically had a panic attack when DD#1 went to the loo by herself, even though she assured me, palms raised in earnest of truth, “It’s ok, Mom. I can handle it.” So she had to wait with me while I tried to fathom the workings of the juvenile shelves at the library in an attempt to find the books I needed, before she could play outside for a few precious moments.

Then, books in hand, we headed outdoors. Since there was just her and me, I played on the apparatus with her. We see-sawed. We raced the swings to see who could reach the highest height first. We climbed the jungle gym all the way to the top to see what we could see. What struck me forcibly was the complete sense of timelessness. All of a sudden, I was in my element. Carefree, and 10 years old, with wind in my hair and nowhere to be. While part of my brain knew I was responsible for the golden elf at my side, most of me felt utterly equal to her: a friend I made at the playground, chatting about interesting things and imaginary places; speculating about the grown ups at home and wondering if we could dance in the rain (if it showed its face at all). It was wonderfully liberating, and I was happier for that quarter of an hour than I remember being in a very long time.

I might just do it again tomorrow.

Home school: week 13

I can’t believe we’ve already been doing this for 13 weeks! The time has whizzed by and I certainly don’t think we’ve covered 13 weeks worth of “school”. Of course we’ve done a lot of other, equally important things (at least to my mind). For instance, we’ve overcome the dread of learning the girls seemed to have (especially DD#1). We’ve established a kind-of-a routine and created a space for school. Both girls have made massive strides in reading and overcome barriers in maths. We’ve learned more about each other and more about having a deep and meaningful relationship with God. And we’ve all learned how to chillax.

So that’s progress, right? And a huge step forward was choosing – and getting – our Konos curriculum from Oikos. This will form the backbone for all our learning in the months and years ahead, and marks a significant turning point in our journey. Besides, when schools close in 3.5 weeks time, we don’t. So maybe we’ve only done 5 weeks’ worth of school, but while everyone else takes 4 or 5 weeks off, we’ll probably only take 1 or 2. And because our other work slows down at this time of year, we’ll be able to make up a lot of ground. Hopefully.

This week, however, has not been a good week for school. In fact, it started last week, when our one and only car burst into flames and burnt to the ground. That’s not a figure of speech. We found ourselves literally stranded and deeply distracted for the remainder of the week. Thank God our prayers were answered by my dear and amazing in-laws, who gave us their spare car – the second time they’ve done this! Still, losing a car so dramatically, 60km from home is never fun. Thank God no one was hurt.

This week started with a flurry of work followed by the most hectic migraine I can remember having – complete with two days semi-conscious in bed and even a spell of throwing up! (Sorry to share). I really don’t think it’s ever been that bad before. Now, of course, I am four days behind in my work, and school has taken a serious knock. I’m feeling seriously frantic about how in the world I will ever catch it up, so if you’re reading this, please keep me in your prayers.

But when we do get back to school, it’s going to be a lot of fun. We’re doing the unit called Orderliness and it involves (among other things) building a family tree and constructing buildings from various materials. As an auxiliary to this unit, we’re reading Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, which ends with a plan for making our own Japanese Dolls’ House. This is something I’ve wanted to do ever since I first read the book when I was about 11 years old, so I am REALLY looking forward to reaching the end.


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