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Let’s get Lost in India!

A few weeks back, our curriculum provider, Sonlight, sent out an intriguing email about getting involved in raising support for children in India.

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Every year, Sonlight creates an opportunity for Sonlighters to be involved in supporting mission work in some part of the world.

We’ve been very slack in getting involved in the past few years, but last year we supported the Far East Broadcasting Company as they sought to raise funds for more gospel radios to reach remote areas in the Far East.  The kids thoroughly enjoyed being involved in that, especially since it involved following ‘Phoenix Phaxx’ the homeschooled boy around the world.

So when the opportunity came up again to raise support in this way, the kids were really keen – especially since it involved video footage!

But, Lost in India is so much more than video footage of a great cause.  Within the first few minutes my kids were 100% committed to being a part of this global project.  Their young hearts were touched.  Before we even had a chance to look at some of the extras, they were ready to dash out the room and sell half their belongings in order to raise funds.  That in itself is enough for me – my kids have moments of great urgency for the gospel, but like most Western kids (and adults, mom included!), they also have a great love for the things of this world too – a love that clouds out the magnitude of The Love. But this project has them thinking and asking questions and excited to share with children halfway across the world who have nothing.

And then we opened the extras and realised that Lost in India is investing not only in the gospel and my kids’ heart for the gospel (that alone is the best!) but the programme is also investing in my kids’ education.

It started off with receiving these goodies in the mail yesterday:

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A map, stickers and other info plus a cardboard backpack money box to collect their donations.  We get to follow Chris and Justin’s journey on the map – hands-on visual learning!

Each of the 8 video episodes in this month-long series includes 9 extra things the kids can do, watch, read and share:

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Like this slideshow that shows and explains about the different clothing items children and people in India wear:

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And these phrases explained to kids:

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After reading the section above, Katie pulled out her little netbook and wrote this email to her dad, which Craig promptly responded to:

 

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The kids get to write their own journal too, alongside Chris’s “lost in India” journal.  My kids dictated their journal pieces to me while I typed it in:

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And stories about the children that are benefitting from the Mission India Children’s Bible Club feature too:

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The second episode was released today.  Wow.  It was powerful.  How lost our world is.  How much we need Jesus.

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Lost in India is aiming to raise $350 000 dollars in support of Mission India’s children bible clubs.  Sonlight Curriculum is partnering with Mission India in this endeavour by matching every dollar raised by others.  When you read the stories of how these clubs have impacted the lives of Indian children and how the gospel has set families free, it’s hard not to want to dive straight in and help in whichever way we can!

The video episodes in the “Lost in India” story are released each week on a Tuesday and Thursday.  You can watch them at any time and if you want to do the activities, they can be done as and when your family has time.  It’s not too late to sign up and join the experience.

So come with us and Get Lost in India!

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Sonlight Giveaway $25!


It’s getting to that time of year again when we homeschooling parents start thinking about next year.  What do we want to do with our kids?  What programmes should we try?  Curricula?

Well, as most of everyone knows by now, we love Sonlight.  It is the programme that got us homeschooling in the first place and one of the reasons we keep homeschooling.  Sonlight is a huge part of what inspired me to write my first novel, Seekers of the Lost Boyand has been the backbone of our homeschooling experience for the last 7 years.

Along with the celebrations of my book, I thought it would be awesome to celebrate Sonlight’s role by sharing the love! (keep reading…)SeekersSonlight giveaway

So here’s the deal.  I’m giving away a $20 gift voucher to Sonlight.com.  The contest is open to ANYONE in the world who opens a new account with Sonlight.  Together with Sonlight’s $5 discount for all new accounts with a first purchase of $50 or more, you could have a total of $25 off your first purchase!

To enter, follow these steps:

  1. Head to sonlight.com and sign up for a new account.  In the “referred by a friend?” section paste this code: TH20169508 (this automatically earns you $5 off your first purchase of $50 or more, whether or not you win this giveaway)
  2. Once you’ve done this, then head back here and fill in the form below.  By filling out the Rafflecopter form below (can’t see it?  You can also find it here: http://bit.ly/18jsFqS)  you’ll gain one entry into the competition.  Filling out the form unlocks other entry options, so make sure you do it!
  3. Share the love with your friends by clicking on the sharing icons below!
  4. AND if you want the opportunity to win 1 of 3 Kindle versions of Seekers of the Lost Boy, then click here for more giveaway fun: http://tarynhayes.com/giveaway-seekers-on-kindle/

Competition is open until the end of July 2013!  All the best, everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Seekers Cover (5)PS – for all those new to this website and my book, Seekers of the Lost Boy, here’s the skinny: Seekers is a youth novel that follows a young homeschooling family on an incredible journey.  It begins on Muizenberg beach in Cape Town when 12-year-old Simon finds a message in a bottle at the water’s edge.  It contains a letter written by another 12-year-old boy, Joseph, from 30 years ago.  The letter intrigues Simon and his siblings, twins Nic and Kim, so they set out to find Joseph.  Their journey takes them into their country’s apartheid past, focusing on forced removals from District Six and causes the family to answer a few unexpected questions.  Read more about it on my website: http://tarynhayes.com or on Amazon

Sonlight Curriculum

SAfm interview with Nancy Richards

(audio clip embedded at end of article)

This part Sunday ended up being quite an eventful one for us.  What with it being Father’s Day  and Youth Day, it was already a special day.  But add in a whole lot of gastro for one little boy in our family and my first live interview on national radio, and you’ve got a real mix of a day!  And to think how I agonised over the decision in the first place!

source: wikimedia.orgThe original plan had been that Craig and I would go through to the SABC studios in Seapoint.  I’d do the half-hour or so interview, and then head back to the family lunch at Craig’s folks’ place.  Then Sam got sick.  So, Craig stayed home with the boys, and the girls came along to the studios to experience the other side of the radio broadcast.

And what fun it was!  They took dozens of photos and a few video clips, including a few selfies!

IMG_1896They got to see the sound engineer at work, learn what a “chill room” is and see what a studio looks like.  With our president doing his annual Youth Day speech, we had some time to chat to our interviewer, Nancy Richards of SAfm’s Literature show (amongst others she does in the week).  She interviewed the girls, off air, and they were delighted when she mentioned them being in the studio, on air later on.

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IMG_1874Nancy was a great interviewer and presenter.  I think that it’s always tough to interview someone you’ve never met, know very little about and is quite possibly not from the same philosophical viewpoint as yourself.  I imagine that it must take quite a bit of talent to ask great questions that draw out great answers, giving the listeners something interesting to engage with. 

I had been feeling quite nervous about the whole thing initially.  But, after our off-air chat beforehand, my nerves faded and the only strangeness lurking at the beginning of the on-air interview was the awkwardness of getting into the flow of conversation, given that I’d never before had to speak into a radio mike, wear fancy headphones and answer questions for just the one person in front of me, but also, really, for a few million people listening.  But Nancy was so easy to talk to, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

The reason for the interview was to highlight my book, Seekers of the Lost Boy.  Since it is set in South Africa and about young kids, I imagine that the producer of the show figured it would be a fitting story for the Youth Day show.   It’s not often that authors get this call, and so it was a huge privilege and opportunity to promote Seekers on national radio.  We had a great chat about the book, but, with the protagonists being homeschooled kids, and myself being a homeschooling mom, our conversation quickly went the homeschooling route.  And what fun that was!

I was able to chat about some of my most favourite subjects, like Sonlight, Footprints, Charlotte Mason, literature-based education and more.  It was such a wonderful opportunity to speak about homeschooling things in a positive light.  Of course, I have gone over the interview and picked up on the things I wish I had said and hadn’t said.  I would’ve liked to have included everything there is to say in answer to every question – I did feel as if I was only able to cover a small portion of the reality in each answer.  And, I do cringe at my many moments of inarticulate umming, ahhing and stumbling over and grasping at words!  But, the reality of the situation dictates that I couldn’t have changed it in any way.  Yes, I know I could have said a whole lot a whole lot better, I’ve had to remind myself to cut myself some slack – it’s radio after all, with totally unprepared questions and I don’t have the advantage of time to think, in the same way that I do with writing.  mostly I think that it went well. 

If you’d like to listen, click the embedded audio below, or if you’re reading from RSS or email, then click this link: http://youtu.be/dl5lVTUuMic

this post first featured here: http://tarynhayes.com/safm-interview-with-nancy-richards-2/

All the Awesomeness of April

School holidays greeted us at the beginning of April.  This year, the kids were keen to head to the St Stephen’s holiday club.  Well, Katie and Sam were keen.  Kiera wasn’t doing too well at the beginning of the week, but when she was feeling better, she headed to a soccer clinic for a morning.

St Stephen’s holiday club was a huge hit with my kids and they got 100% into the challenge to dress up each day.  Here Katie is a prairie girl and Sam, a pirate.  It was a delight for me to wake up each morning to see what they had planned for themselves for the day!  We also had cowboy and rapper girl and various other attires.  Really sweet!

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I took some time in the holidays to work on some room changes for the boys.  Micah and Sam had worked on me quite well – and eventually I relented.  Wa-ay overdue makeover… The before pic:

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And After… which is a horrid photo!  You can see better photos here: Boys Room Makeover…

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The girls helped out with the room transformation – painting walls and sanding gutter shelving.  Loads of fun!

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We also had the awesome privilege this April of hanging out with the Poole family.  Graham Poole came to South Africa wa-ay back in 1996.  Chance meetings led him to stay at my folks’ home in Cape Town where we built some awesome memories of his time here.  Here Graham poses with a photo of Craig and Kerry – we were all round bummed that they weren’t here to enjoy the reunion.

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Graham is also the reason that our good friends, Scott and Hayley met and married.  Graham is Australian and through him and an awesome chain of events, Scott ended up coming to Cape Town to study theology at George Whitefield College.  He met Hayley and well, the picture below is the (first) product of their union!

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The weather didn’t always play ball for us, but we did get to enjoy loads of great chat time (for the parents) and play time (for the kids) and now they all want to write to each other.  Sweet!

Craig and Graham enjoying deep convo in Kirstenbosch, under the majestic Table Mountain.

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Braai at our house and all the kids.  Crazy bunch together.

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My parents arrived home from Israel just in time to catch a morning together with the Pooles.  Blessed memories.

Peter, Graham,Linda Poole and Sally

We got to enjoy a really awesome photo shoot with Susie LeBlond in the middle of April.  It was kind of an impromptu thing.  I saw loads and loads of her photos come through my newsfeed on Facebook.  Loved them – so very much my style.  But, I’ve never considered doing the family photoshoot thing before (aside from one freebie studio gig I got thanks to my neighbours!) – budget, budget, budget.  But, her photos were well-timed with my need for some author shots for the upcoming book.  It was a bit of a whirlwind – only after did I remember my own (many times removed) cousin is a great professional photographer too.  Hadn’t even crossed my mind to ask him!  That’s how out of the photoshoot thing my frame of reference is.  Sorry, Gavin!!!

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The day after the shoot, the boys went through a major change – aka HAIRCUT.  Why would I want to cut off those gorgeous locks, you ask?  Well, the full story is here: boys’ haircut.

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We spent some holiday (well, back to school in a relaxed fashion, really) time with our friends down the road, while their parents were enjoying a 10-year anniversary holiday in Mauritius (awesome!).  The rain came down and so out came this previously-neglected puzzle.  What a lot of fun it ended up being!  I blogged all about it here: Sonlight Global Puzzle Fun.

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Before puzzle time, the kids spent a fair bit of time making duplo creations and coming to show them off to me…

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… or called me to come see what they were doing.  Here’s Jakey and Katie with the tallest tower…

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Lunch Bunch is, as always, lots of fun.  The kids are really getting along beautifully and it’s such a joy to watch how they are growing and adapting.  Here the littlies watch some of the biggies music lesson – they’re doing a stint of musicals at the moment, and the movie of that day was My Fair Lady.

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Cape Explorers continues to be a highlight of our week.  Here are some shots from our recent visit to the Shark Centre in Kalk Bay…

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And to the Het Poshuys – museum home of the Battle of Muizenberg.

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This month I finally got to hold Seekers of the Lost Boy in my hands.  Barely containing my excitement here in this picture:

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The rest of the week was very much Seekers-focused.  Dinner out with family to celebrate that first night:

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Kiera made a cake…

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Which we shared at Lunch Bunch with the originals Smile

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And Sam took this blurry shot of two very special people who have been instrumental in getting this book to the public.

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My folks returned from Israel and Kiera insisted on bringing Seekers with  –  the book has been a regular photo-bomb lately, mostly due to Kiera’s actions.

What a wonderful welcome home reception awaited us on return to Cape Town International!

With Granny and Grandpa’s return came some gifts, including these t-shirts – boys loved modelling them!

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Love this photo – the kids helping me make supper for Granny and Grandpa.  Too sweet!  Smile 

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Sam has been dwelling in super-cuteville lately.  This is a note he wrote for me in the car the other day.  “Mom I love you that’s why I love you.”  I love that – it’s totally the truth and echoes Jesus – He loves us.  Why?  Because He loves us.  Nothing we can do or say can change that.  Nothing we do or say can win His love.   

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And here is Sam wanting me to send a photo to Cubby his Aussie-Sudanese friend, showing off the necklace that Cubby (Caleb) made for him. 

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April has seen us get back into some mountain walks. 

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We also had a huge privilege of going to a nearby stud farm.  Vanessa invited Kiera and the rest of the kids for a visit, thanks to Kiera’s horsey-fixation. 

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What a jol!  The children loved every minute of it.  I took hundreds of photos.  But I’ll only subject you to a few…

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Like this beauty with the heart-shaped star:

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This birdy couldn’t fly anymore.  But the kids felt strongly that he needed saving, which constituted of carrying him all over the farm.  Vanessa’s young boy was the sweetest – carrying him around, then setting him down, walking a little while and then, with great concern, racing back to comfort and care for the little guy.  The pigeon ended up being carried, set down, and then gently picked up again, only to be carried to the next spot.  So sweet!

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The kids got to see reindeer from afar – yes, reindeer!  They do exist.  And in Cape Town, nogal!  One guy with impressive antlers was standing outside of the group.  Turns out that he’s an old guy and his lack of fertility during mating season means that he is excluded from the group until the season is over!  The poor guy looked rather forlornly at the group.

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Sam creating grass-angels! Smile

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Katie found this part of a springbok skull.  Not uncommon on the farm, thanks to the recently deceased resident wolf.  Loved kids, but still loved eating reindeer and springbok from time to time. Smile

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Despite the crazy interruptions in our life, thanks to all the work around the book, we managed to fit in school work – if not in the same pattern we are used to!  Here are some examples:

Katie doing maths on the trampoline after “riding” to “school”.

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Sam doing his Explode the Code phonics, with his newly-adapted pencil thanks to the peacock feathers we got from the farm. 

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Kiera and Micah hang out by our puzzle map doing school together – Kiera reading to Micah from her language arts work – developing a Tall Tale.  She chose to turn this one into a fully illustrated book for her siblings.  Too sweet.

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This month at Lunch Bunch, we got to hang out with the people from Talking Hands.  They are busy working on a full translation of the Bible into sign language – that means, the Bible by video.  Lisa C introduced us to the interpreters and we learnt a thing or two about sign language and the deaf community.

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Here the kids are learning some signs Smile

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… and watching a recording of a bible passage.  Read all about it here: Hands with Words ministry.

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One of the last days in April saw us joining the Tubbies on a mid-week escape to the beach one early evening. 

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Hout Bay at 7pm – so beautiful!

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On the very last day of April, Katie put together a special party in honour of fairies’ birthdays – or something to that effect.  I found her and Micah holding a tea party, along with Smartie the white tiger in party dress. 

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Love them to bits!

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