The life and times of a home schooling mom of se7en + 1.

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Homeschooling in the Western Cape, Especially the South Peninsula…

April 11th, 2014 · 2 Comments

Just lately I have discovered templates, and in an effort to stream-line my workflow I am actually using them. I have always used templates for certain work, standard run of the mill posts, I have a template and I drop the information into the post and “tada…” I have templates for emails, a lot of the F.A.Q.’s on this blog, many of the quick “what, where, why and how?” questions. But there is one question I cannot answer and it is the most frequently asked question on our site. At any one time I have two or three of these questions crying out for help in my inbox. Dear readers, it is time for you all to write us a blog post!!!


“We are moving to your area and would love to know about homeschooling resources in your area.”

I have no really helpful answer… other than: ummm we homeschool, we always have. That means we pretty much do everything at home. So the art we do is mostly at our kitchen table, the reading happens around the table or draped over the biggest bed in the house and sport and fitness, read “races in the driveway…” well they are in the driveway. That being said, there are tons of home-schoolers in our area and I know that some homeschoolers do co-op and others have weekly meet-ups and there are heaps of varied extra-murals ranging from anything to everything. There are high-school groups and pre-K groups, every group. You can sign up for sports day and prize-giving, both are things that some homeschoolers love their kids to be part of and we kind of think it is a perk of homeschooling that we don’t have to attend. I know these groups exist but we haven’t been part of them, however I would love to share this information with our readers.


What Do I Say?

I usually refer folks to a post I wrote about homeschooling in South Africa, it is by no means definitive, but explains our experience. And I know that you can connect with other homeschoolers on this Resource Page… and here is another fabulous page packed with heaps of useful links. But what else… and this is where you all come in…


Please Leave a Comment

If you know of a fabulous resource for home-shoolers in the Western Cape or the South Peninsula then leave a comment… Is there a regular writing group in Cape Town, an art class, a homeschool meet-up, a language class, sport, music… if you are looking for something for your kids to join then leave a comment too, tell us what you need because somebody reading our blog will have the answer. It doesn’t have to be local, homeschooling is universal, as are pen-pals, there are online classes and free-resources all over the world. So now is your chance… leave a comment, a fab resource for homeschoolers that you know about. Share away and help our readers…

→ 2 CommentsTags: HomeSchool Questions · Se7en at School

Happy Birthday to Hood #3…

April 10th, 2014 · 13 Comments

And just like that I became the mum of three teens…


Happy Birthday Hood #3


To the girl who just discovered Jane Austen…


And who loves Yuppie Chef as much as I do…


To the girl who will walk for a cause…


To the big sister that will read anytime anyplace…


To the girl who spends hours with her dad…


To the girl who loves the great outdoors…


And the ocean…


To the girl who is not afraid to try new things…


To the girl that loves baking…


And arting…


To the girl who is not afraid to stand up in a crowd when she has too…


But would really rather be baking…


Really… baking…


To the girl who loves bedtime stories…


And babies…


To the girl who will conquer great things…


To the girl with the ready laugh…


To this girl…

I salute you…

You are magical and wonderful and I love you… wishing you the best year ahead, may thirteen be filled with wonderful adventures and loads of exciting discoveries.

Se7en + 1 of Your Favourite Things…

  1. Favourite Feast: Ice-cream
  2. Favourite Outing: Beach
  3. Favourite Colour: Turquoise
  4. Favourite Occupation: Baking
  5. Favourite Past-time: Reading
  6. Favourite Movie: The Sound of Music
  7. Favourite Book: Heidi
  8. And the se7en + 1th…

  9. Favourite Afternoon: Chatting with Friends












Time Really Does Fly When You Are Having Fun…

→ 13 CommentsTags: Home Truths · Our Events

Se7en + 1 Go Out Walking: The SirkelsVlei Walk at Cape Point…

April 8th, 2014 · 7 Comments

And just like that a monthly hike in the Game Park has been added to our daily ambles. If my children remember nothing else about their childhood I would like them to remember the heaps of time they spent together in the great outdoors…


Once a month we head for Cape Point Nature Reserve, for a morning out with a ranger…


And that involves a little classroom time


And exploring the great outdoors with friends.


And a picnic lunch…


But that is just the morning. The rest of the day is ours to explore… Some days are meant to be spent under clear blue African skies…


We are still looking for a fabulous map of the area, but in the meanwhile there is a lot that you can download off the internet and we got our route instructions from this link, at Slingsby Maps. When you arrive at the Main Gate of the game park you receive a map and we headed for one of our favourite spots: Olifantsbos, we like going there because we can be sure to meet a little herd of Bontebok.


Olifantsbos is a beach on the Atlantic Coast, and behind the beach is a mountain… Up you go… this is the hardest part of the whole walk and it is about fifteen minutes of rocky path and uphill…


From the top there is a stunning view…


The rest of the walk is almost entirely on the flat and very easy walking… I wouldn’t pick the heat of summer, a cool autumn day was perfect. As you walk across the plain. It looks like a blank canvas as far as the eye can see…


But you will find a whole lot of lovely surprises… Rocks to twist and turn through…


Not to mention clamber on…


Did I mention it was a little bit windy…


And on the sandy path… footprints…


That lead to real live eland…


We want to go back and visit that again…


Rocky outcrops…


That you can wander right through…


Because we didn’t have a map we had to rely on the signposts… and the route was well signposted all the way. Though about half way through the hike some of my gang were a little concerned that it appeared that we were walking further and further away from the start of the hike… they could see how far they had walked… and “the circular route” didn’t appear to be turning back.


Turns out that the path is taking you to an beautiful landmark. When the directions said that there was a lake, we were expecting a marshy spot… it has just been summer after all we thought the lake would have dried up. In fact we actually thought that we had missed it, but just as spirits were lagging the path gave a little twist and we were amazed to discover a real live and large lake…


With it’s own beach


And some bontebok at the far side.


Spirits were lifted… a large patch of water can do that for children that live alongside the ocean… they were back in their comfort zone and good to go on.


After the lake the path did indeed turn towards the ocean… we made our way back across the reedy plain, with lovely rocky stepping stones all the way… which means this must be quite the swamp in winter!!!


Across the plain and back to the start along the ridge overlooking the most fabulous and what felt like to us, undiscovered beaches. We have to return here with a picnic.


This part of the park felt totally untouched – of course it isn’t, we were walking along a path… but it is off the beaten track of the main road down the park that thousands of visitors drive up and down each day to visit the famous Cape Point. There was lots to look at…


Even ruins to wonder about… we have to find out more about this spot… so we will have to go back.


And then we were back at the start, looking down on the bontebok and quick walk back down the mountain slope and back to the beach.


And the sun on its way down…


This walk was well worth the effort… a 3 hour walk and it took us 3 1/2 hours… the first half we lingered and explored a lot, the second half we hurried, actually ran, because we suddenly wondered if we would miss the closing time at the gates… so that is something to remember to check next time… What time do the gates close? Sometime close to sundown, so if the sun is still way up in the sky then you are good to keep on ambling.


Now there are lots of walks all over the park and we intend to explore a whole lot more of them… to figure out how easy or difficult they are for a family amble, to discover their hidden secrets. So you can expect, a couple more hike-like posts over the next few months, as we explore our local game park. I have a feeling that our daily amble, that has just become a monthly hike as well, could lead us on some great adventures and we love adventures. You really don’t have to be a multi-displined athlete with expensive gear to enjoy the great outdoors. This is very much a scenario where ordinary folk, like a family with a bunch of kids of very average athletic ability and very ordinary equipment: comfy shoes, a water bottle and a sweater, can do something extra-ordinary like spend whole days discovering the wonder of the great outdoors.

→ 7 CommentsTags: Cape Town · Outdoors · Outings · Saturday Spot

Se7en’s Fabulous Friday Fun #217

April 7th, 2014 · 4 Comments

This was going to be a Friday Fun Post on an actual Friday, then on Saturday… and here we are and it is Sunday. For the first time this weekend I am actually sitting and I will not move until our readers have a post… It turned out to be the weekend that we had nearly nothing happening to one that was ever so slightly hectic and top that with glorious weather and having to spend every moment in the sunshine – enjoying the blue skies…


We Are Really Building a Library Book by Book

Firstly a warning, if you decide to build libraries, with the help of your blog readers then from time to time your house is going to be smothered in books…SMOTHERED!!! We are thrilled to show you boxes and boxes of books that have been pouring in – really we cannot thank our readers enough for their commitment and their love… If you would still like to contribute we will be collecting books for the next week or two.


Book of the Week

Dandelion Clocks by Rebecca Westcott, Published by Penguin Books, South Africa. This is one of those books that is pitched at early teen, tween girls – but absolutely anybody can read and, I have to say I totally loved it. But Hood #3 really lived and LOVED it. This is the story of your typical eleven year old girl, Liv, who loves photography and doing her own “eleven year old, wish I was sixteen year old” thing. She is in the sweet hinterland of childhood, where older looks so appealing but younger is well worth hanging onto. She has an older brother with Asperger’s Syndrome, which puts her in the awkward position of being younger and yet responsible. She loves him dearly and if you didn’t know more, from the book jacket, that would probably be enough of a story.

But there is more, Liv’s mum is dying and the book begins a couple of months before her death… and follows Liv and her mum through this tragic time. It is sad, you will cry… but these two have a special relationship and you will find yourself laughing your heart out as well. You will find conversations you have had with your daughter in this book, and conversations that you know you must have… This book covers topics where most of us wouldn’t dare to tread… but it is funny and lovely and tragic. Grab the tissues and read away. It is brilliant and special, a book about real people in a real family and they are so heartwarmingly normal that you may well know them.

I love that the author has been writing diaries since she was a young girl, and kept them… not knowing that one day she would create a book. Perhaps the honesty in this book could well be because she could look back and see the world through the eyes of a young girl. A brilliant first novel, I would put this onto my pile of must read-books with any of my impending teen/tween daughters. What a debut, we are looking forward to more from Rebecca Westcott, This book was given to us by Pengiun Books, South Africa for review purposes. We were not paid for our review and the opinions were as usual totally our own.


Here are some lovely links from this week

  1. Gotta love these Home Made Journals on A Beautiful Mess…
  2. Oh Alisa Burke… so very much to love: Driftwood Flowers… and Lucy’s Fairy Gardenin a Pot.
  3. 16 Gifts for New Mothers… on the Art of Simple… I don’t have a friend, new mom or not, who wouldn’t like to be gifted from this list… really fab ideas.
  4. Well Keeper of the Home did a fab round-up of all the books I need to read write now!!!
  5. Everything you ever needed to know about having folk over on Apartment Therapy.
  6. Oh you are going to need some inner strength to read this post from David Murray’s Head Heart Hand: The Widow’s First Laugh.
  7. 50 Photos of Cape Town that Will make You Want to Live Here on TravelStartBlog.
  8. And the se7en + 1th link:

  9. A Blast From the Past: And here are a couple of links to posts, this week, from previous years: The Easter Edition…

That’s us… Hope your weekend is a fabulous one and we are so looking forward to another week of blogging with you all…

→ 4 CommentsTags: Fabulous Friday Fun

Se7en + 1 Have Been Boxed Again, Thank-You Sonlight…

April 4th, 2014 · 19 Comments

It’s been quiet over here, what can I say… we have been boxed and there are a number of people over here immersed in books. As most of you know, we are avid Sonlighters and from time to time we get boxed, which means we have read through our stash of Sonlight books and order the next level up…


Now I am not the best at ordering school books, trying to co-ordinate eight kids and their accumulated reads is pretty much mission impossible. Every year I delay the inevitable order as long as I possibly can. A couple of weeks back our kids declared a mutiny and began school… they were right of course, summer appears to have come to an end. Little did they know that I had placed their order. We astonished the delivery men with shouts of joy as their school books arrived. The books were piled in the corner… until the father person got home… to share the heady joy!!! But then we had guests for dinner and …


After they went home our kids just couldn’t wait another moment…


Our teens dived in – don’t tell me kids don’t love school!!!


Someone I know stayed up way after 1am reading her way through her brother’s history Encyclopaedia.


And the books stayed neat and piled on the dresser for about a whole ten minutes… while the packaging was rolled up to make our Sonlight snail…


And much as I love our Instructor’s Guides I really don’t enjoy filling those files…


But there is no holding back a Sonlight veteran and with a flurry of pages… my kids had their files in shape and good to go in minutes…


And our crate-shelf that has been filled with just library books for the past couple of weeks is back to being our current school shelf… each child has a crate with their current school reads in there. And our days are now called school days. To an outsider our school days look pretty much like our days of summer… we gather round the table for breakfast, read together for a while, work on a project together and then the kids drift off and work on their own projects… we gather again for lunch and read a whole lot more. Perhaps the biggest difference between our school and non-school days is that for 36 weeks of the year we read Sonlight books and the other weeks of the year we read just about every book we can find in the library.


Now I always forget to get something – did I mention I am galactically bad at ordering our books without losing my mind… well one child is missing a history book, we should get by. But another was elated to discover that he did not get his language arts instructor’s guide… I am pretty stranded without it. He is thrilled, it means he gets to read through his pile of books without care in the world… I might have liked him to do a little more application. But lets face it, it is not nearly as bad as the year I forgot all their Instructor’s Guides!!! And since we are back in school, it is probably time to share a couple of homeschool posts… over the next few weeks…

→ 19 CommentsTags: Se7en at School

Se7en’s April… And Your Free Printable Calendar…

April 2nd, 2014 · 4 Comments


Welcome to April and here is your free printable calendar… click on it and it should open in a fresh window, print it landscape and colour away. We add a couple of dates we especially want to remember to our calendar before we pop it onto our noticeboard.

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→ 4 CommentsTags: Celebrity Calendar

Se7en’s Fabulous Friday Fun #216 And All Our GiveAway Winners…

March 31st, 2014 · 4 Comments

A Friday Fun Post… on a Sunday… We had such a crazy, busy weekend!!! All good and all fun… but busy!!!



Here are some lovely links from this week:

  1. I love Attic24 for all the beautiful colours and a touch of lovely Englishness and I totally loved this post: Caravan Love Affair on Attic 24… and another book jumped onto my wish list.
  2. LongMilesCoffee is one of my favourite travel spots on the web… and this post, from the heart… Debunking 5 Myths about Expat Life… So well written.
  3. This post… on The Homeschool Classroom on Successful Strewing, had I know it had a name!!! This post resonated, strewing is one of my favourite life skills!!!
  4. If you are in need of a quiet place to sneak away then look no further than Top Five children’s Spaces…on TigerLillyQuinn.
  5. Love this “HOW To Post”… on The Fresh Exchange: “How we create on the run.”
  6. I never wear make-up and I pretty much don’t do selfies… but this post: Why I don’t do make-up free selfies… on the Gourmet Girlfriend, really deserves a read…
  7. The Ultimate Collection: No More Entertaining Excuses on Apartment Therapy...
  8. Everything that you might ever need to know about April Fool’s Day by Heather Sanders on Pioneer Women Homeschooling.
  9. And the se7en + 1th link:

  10. A Blast From the Past: And here are a couple of links to posts, this week, from previous years:

Quick Report on our Community Library

The Community Library that we are creating with all our readers is taking off!!! And we are loving it… books are pouring in daily. A blogging friend, Reeta at “House of Anais” blogged about our project and she is sending a whole pile of books over…

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We want to thank each and every reader for sending books to us… really book by book we are steadily building a library… Very Exciting Times!!! If you still have books you would like to share or you want to know more about our project then you are welcome to follow this link to read about it…

GiveAway Winners

Lesley Pearse Hamper

All the entries…


And the winner is:


Jo Mar 23, 2014 at 9:21 pm I would love to win some good books for winter!

We would like to thank Penguin Books South Africa who supplied us with the GiveAway books.

Your Southern African Bucket List – 2 copies…

All the entries…


Turned and Mixed…

And the winners are:
se7en-31-Mar-14-DSC_0105.jpg se7en-31-Mar-14-DSC_0104.jpg

We would like to thank MapStudio.

The Syding Adventures Caravans and Castles

All the entries…


Turned and Mixed and selected…

And picking and choosing…

Erin M. Mar 25, 2014 at 11:09 pm I find it easier to find books that my daughters would enjoy than to find books for my son. This would be something he would like to read.

Congratulations to: Jo, Erin M and Cat, and totally and completely randomly, Erin M again… I will be dropping you all an email later today to gather your details…

We would like to thank Christain Book Discounters who supplied us with the GiveAway book.f

That’s us… Hope your weekend was a fabulous one and we are so looking forward to another week of blogging with you all…

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→ 4 CommentsTags: Fabulous Friday Fun