Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Introducing Us.

First, allow me to introduce myself - and my dear family. We are a South African family who left our home in Cape Town in January 2011 and traded it for the greener (physically speaking) shores of England. This was not a decision we took lightly and many sacrifices have had to be made to get here. Most significantly leaving behind family, friends and having to re-home our much-loved pets - which has been heart breaking!

 So we have brought our family back to their ancestral home. It has been quite a moving experience as I picture my mother-in-law leaving English shores over 50 years ago and my Great Grand-father departing Scottish shores over many more years before that, for a 'brighter' future. Just as we are now doing for our children - returning from whence we originally came. I have to just say that God has moved in a mighty way to make our paths straight and as stress-free as possible. A home was provided for us and within 6 weeks my husband had a job which is quite amazing considering the current economic climate in the UK. So a new life begins. A new way of life. Things are different here, from the school year to the way ordinary run-of-the-mill things work - such as water and electricity services. Things you don't ordinarily think much about.

We began our home-schooling journey 5 years ago. We started off with (in fact have always to some degree used) KONOS. Over the years as I have stepped out of my comfort zone, adjusting our home-schooling schedule and braved the eclectic waves of gathering our own resources, delving into the Charlotte Mason methods. I have, however, found this meander down the rabbit trail to be huge distraction, one which I sometimes wish I had not set out on! Let me explain...

When God called us to home educate, to bring our little ones home, He gave me a very clear picture of what my priorities were to be. They were to teach my children to 'love the Lord their God with all their hearts, with all their strength, with all their souls and with all their minds.' We were to educate our children in such a way that all things pointed back to their Creator - so that... They would seek Him all the days of their lives and choose to live their lives to His Honor and glory and to trust Him in all things - that includes seeking His plan for their futures - whatever that may be. God led us to Oikos Family Ministries who support and encourage home-schooling families throughout South Africa and beyond its borders to seek God in all things and to nurture and train up our children in the way they should go.
This ministry supplies resources which have all been supplied in miraculous ways to them by God. One of those resources - among many other outstanding resources - was KONOS.

When I had a look at the curriculum it immediately was rooted in my heart and I knew that this is what God wanted for our family. An educational resource which pointed back to him and gave my children (and us) plenty of opportunity to practise Godly character traits and to continually seek out what God says in His Word. And all went swimmingly for the first year. Our children were young and we were relaxed and at peace using KONOS. We gained understanding on many spiritual and academic matters, loving each day that came our way.

THEN... a well-meaning friend introduced me to the ways of Charlotte Mason - a wonderful educator far beyond her peers in her view of education. I really do love her methodology and her views. They make sense and they work. However, this was the beginning of what has turned out to be years of distraction from what we were called to do. Be very wary of discussing curriculum and methodology with others who do not share your God-given views. Remember, God has a plan for each of our families - what may be right for others may not be right for yours.

Anyhoo, getting back to my point. I ended up joining our local CM support group, studying CM's methods and began implementing them into our school day. I became so focused on this area that I lost my focal point - God and what He was wanting to do in our home. I would love to say that this was a fleeting distraction, but it was not. It has turned out to be a constant source of turmoil in my life. I have felt guilt for not sticking to what He gave us, frustration because what I have tried to replace it with never quite sits right with me, teachers block (is there such a thing?) in trying to get back on track with our KONOS and most of all exhaustion and a deep sense of sadness from it all.

Last year God brought me to a place of clear leading in getting back to what He supplied. Back to using KONOS because it helped us stay on track, helped keep me focused on the goals that we hope to achieve in training our children.  Again, I wish I could tell you that it has been plain sailing from that point on, but it has been hard. There are always consequences to our actions and mine is a mind that has been 'contaminated' from its original purpose. I always have the thought that I should rather be doing this or that or the next thing. But I do know that God gives me strength to do what he needs me to do.

But there comes a time when one needs to the decision to put aside all else and look forward with hope and determination. So, just as we as a family are experiencing new beginnings in a new country, we move into new beginnings in our home school journey and in a new online journal to record our learning days. My eldest daughter has one more year left of 'middle school' This year September sees her starting her high school studies with KONOS HOW 1. I want this next year to be one that she treasures and remembers for the rest of her life. One in which she remembers the joy of discovery learning. I am grateful that I still have 3 years left to dedicate wholeheartedly to our KONOS learning with my youngest.

 For us, using the KONOS character curriculum is more than just a curriculum I follow in order to 'educate' my children. It is a tool that helps us keep our focus on raising our children for God as well as keeping us focused on living our lives wholeheartedly for Him. Sometimes life can step in and create the illusion that education and Godly living is separate, but it is not at odds. True education and wisdom has it's root in reverence of the Lord. 'The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge..,' Proverbs 1:7

So wont you join us on our KONOS journey? Come and have a peek into our learning, living and loving days. This will be the new home in documenting our living and learning days as a home educating family committed to our Lord and Saviour.

Blessings in Christ

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