Learning with Four Little Boys
(2005)

First I'd like to say welcome to ALL the new members.  I only realized today
how rarely I have posted in the last while.  I hope you will all love it
here around the Kitchen Table with a nice cup of tea/coffee/hot choc and
enjoy the discussions around homeschooling.  I have been so blessed by all
these ladies and their wisdom and believe that you will also be.

I would love to just share with all my friends here around the table what
has been happening in our lives this year.

As most of you know, Caleb John Ricardson was born mid-March at home.  His
birth was amazing.  He made his appearance 5 minutes after his brothers woke
up and Daddy called them from their bedrooms to welcome their truly newborn
brother.  As oblidging as he was then, he continues to be now and he has
just fitted in beautifully.  He sleeps relatively well and pretty much just
fits in with out homeschooling etc.  Only thing is that he is HATING the car
and screams in his babyseat until we reach our destination.  This means that
I rarely go out with him.

I have found out that I can read from a chapter book, stick a plaster on a
"eina" and breastfeed all at the same time.  I can TRULY multi-task! :-)

Our other three boys are loving baby Caleb.  I sometimes have to fight them
to get a chance to cuddle him.  We have had no jealousy and 2 year old
Daniel just adores "his" baby.

Daniel is by far our "wild" child and when he is not trying to set the house
alight (cloth on the stove), he breaks 30 eggs on the kitchen floor, mixes
it up with bare hands and then lies down to lick it up (no tactile
defensiveness here
:-)  He needs constant watching, but he is also an absolute joy and love
cuddling, hugging and kissing all his family members.

Alec (5) has learnt to read and reads everything and anything.  Times like
these I'm especially pleased that we live out in the country and we don't
have to deal with all the advertisement posters and especially those
dreadful Love Life ads.  Alec asked Jesus to come into his heart two weeks
ago and is very joyful in the Lord.  He loves the fact that he is now part
of a bigger family - with lots of brothers and sisters in Christ.  It
tickles him no end when I tell him that not only is he my son, but also my
brother. :-)

Dylan (7) has started his own business.  He raises piglets for the local
abatoir and is doing a sterling job.  I have been amazed by his diligence.
He goes out at 6:45 in the mornings to feed his pigs and let them out their
pen (they are free-range piggies and his advertising slogan is:  "Happy pigs
taste good").  It is so cold that time of the morning, but he does it
joyfully 90% of the time.

Dylan and Alec have both been very interested in the rehabilitation of
wildlife and we have been blessed by meeting people who could give them
plenty of advise.  They managed to almost fully rehabilitate a little cape
weaver that fell out its nest, but then the cat got hold of it and we had a
lesson in food chains and dealing with dissappointment instead.  They did
manage to save and release a forktail swift though (we didn't rebilitate it
as swallows and swifts can only eat whilst flying and you cannot really feed
it in captivity), but we did nestled it in a dark box (after our dog caught
it) and released it at dawn the next morning.  What a joyous moment when it
took wing and flew off.

Trevor and I have started a side-business manufacturing paving and I have
learnt that one should be grateful for all trials because it builds
character.  By now I should have character aplenty... :-)

I have managed to grow a wonderful summer veggie garden (quite feat for
someone who could never even keep a pot plant alive :-).  The boys helped me
and we loved eating the fruits (or in this case the vegetables) of our
labour.

We have finally, and sadly, said goodbye to our Five in a Row journey.  I
almost felt like crying when I moved the prep file from the bottom to the
top shelf.  The books of course continue being close and dear friends and we
still read them OFTEN and finding plenty wonderful things to discuss through
them.  I will shortly start Before Five in a Row with Daniel and I'm looking
forward to that.

Well, having bid our faithful FIAR friends farewell, we have embarked on the
KONOS journey.  We are absolutely loving the hands-on approach.  Although
many people warned me regarding the lots of prep, I must admit that we have
not found this to be the case.  Prep is necessary, but no where as much as I
expected.

Alec cried one Saturday because it wasn't a "school-day" and I hadn't
planned any specific KONOS activities.  One Thursday we ended up at the dr.
in the morning and the Dylan was quick to remind me at 4pm that we haven't
done any KONOS yet.

We continue having to answer questions regarding our homeschooling and the
two major ones are still "socialization" and "sport".

Well, sporting wise, the two bigger boys have learnt to shoot with a
crossbow and pellet gun, they paddleski on the dam (although we had a leech
infestation and after that they have not been quite so keen) other than that
they are champion explorers, tree-climbers and cross-country runners.  We
will also be adding some ponies to our farm-yard family, so soon they should
be able to add schooling a pony and riding to their "sport list".

Socialization, well, that is the one so-called "issue" of homeschooling that
is a total non-issue for us.

So far 2005 has been a tremedous year for us.  We have grown together as a
family and our homeschooling experiences have been truely amazing.

Thank you for allowing me to share with you all.

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