Covid-19 Help: Explaining the Corona Virus to Kids

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corona virus

With South Africa currently on lock down, Pixie has been struggling to understand the corona virus is so dangerous. I find it difficult to explain certain things at her level of understanding and sometimes just get it completely wrong.

There are so many resources out there to help people explain exactly what Corona virus is, so I thought I’d share what I found online to help others.

The Conversation website has great tips on how to answer questions your children are most likely to ask about Corona.

When stress is heightened — which it is for all of us right now because of the COVID-19 pandemic — children become aware of it and they try to locate the source of the stress. It is important to both acknowledge their concerns and be open to discussing them.

Helping children to make sense of the consequences of COVID-19 and helping them to organize their thoughts and feelings is the best approach.

There have been many sites that have created Covid-19/Corona Virus worksheets and activities. Here are a few I have found so far.

The Dads Net shared this really awesome FREE Book which is great to explaining Covid-19, corona virus, to your children
Corona Virus

Twinkl has TONS of resources available and have opened up their site to help parents who are under quarantine. Here are their Covid-19 Resources.

FREE! – UKS2 What Is Coronavirus? Daily News PowerPoint With Teacher Guidance
Corona Virus
Daily News PowerPoint to help you answer questions about the coronavirus and discuss what they have seen in the news. It is written and designed for KS2 children. The Daily News PowerPoint includes factual information about what the coronavirus is and how people are working to stop it spreading. It also includes a slide to help children explore what they can do when they are upset by the news.

Coronavirus Social Situation
Corona Virus
If any of the children under your care are confused or worried about the coronavirus situation, this Coronavirus Social Situation might be just what they need.

This illustrated social story for kids uses child-friendly language to explain what COVID-19 is, as well as why many people are being asked to stay at home right now.

The information is delivered in a friendly and reassuring tone, with the aim to calm down children who might be scared and provide them with information on how they can stay healthy.

Coronavirus Diary
Corona Virus
Although school closures and learning from home present lots of challenges, it is possible to find and celebrate the positives.

It is also really important for well being to look for the positive side of this unprecedented situation.

Use this lovely diary page to help your child to record what they have done during the week, to record their physical activity, to celebrate the lovely things that have happened and to plan for the week ahead.

COVID-19: What Are Your Worries and How Can You Cope?
Corona Virus
This simple resource will help children to articulate their fears in the current pandemic and talk about ways in which to calm themselves.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Supporting Pupils with SEND
Corona Virus
During school closures, schools are advised to make assessments on a case-by-case basis for pupils with SEND on an education, health and care (EHC) plan, based on health and safeguarding considerations. Our guide summarises the key guidance from the Department for Education as well as some guiding principles from NASEN.

Kiddie Charts has shared a Free Covid-19 time capsule worksheets.
Corona Virus

K5Learning has shared 6 Coronavirus Worksheets
Corona Virus
Understanding and avoiding Coronavirus for kids
Communicating with kids about Coronavirus is important to calm their fears and help them develop healthy habits. We’ve created some worksheets that we hope parents and teachers will find helpful. We’ve also listed some online resources about Coronavirus and kids below. Stay safe!

Mamma &m Bear has shared 28 free resources to help your children understand Coronavirus. She’s a fellow South African Mommy blogger.
Corona Virus

Have your children asked about the Corona virus? How are they coping with the lock down in your area?

Stay safe

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CTC Math Review

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CTC Math review
I was sponsored by CTC Math to review their comprehensive online math curriculum program and am excited to share my experience as well as an awesome giveaway! All opinions are mine alone. For more information please read my full disclosure.

I decided that we would be using CTC Math for the first 2 months of school year to gauge where the kidlets are in terms of their math knowledge and I’m thrilled to announce that they are ahead of their peers!

Unique Features

For children in grades K-12

Great for catch up, for keeping up, and for moving ahead. We found that Koko was struggling with 1 concept and with the help of CTC Math he now fully understands it and has moved onto new concepts.

Your kids learn at their pace, not somebody else’s. Pixie finished the entire 1st half of the Semester in 3 weeks! She is working through the lessons and assessments at an astonishing pace. She is averaging 85 – 95 % for each assessment.

Start getting better grades now. Fifi is really grown in leaps and bounds in her confidence in her math knowledge. She recently started long division and, where she previously struggled with the concept, she is now really understanding. Its all about finding what works for her and CTC Math is exactly what she needs.

Including Hands-on Activities

Pixie is a visual learner. In order for her to understand math concepts, she needs to have manipulatives. The CTC Math program doesn’t limit the use of these physical aids, but we use them in conjunction of it.
CTC Math review

What Do the Kidlets Like Best?

At the end of each successfully completed topic, the child receives a certificate with their grade on it. This is a great reward and visual reinforcement of their success. They ask to see their certificate after every topic.
CTC Math review

My Favourite Features

I can monitor exactly when and how long the children have been working on a topic (or concept) and where they may be struggling.

I receive a weekly progress report per kidlet, showing exactly what they have done for the week and what they achieved.
CTC Math review

My Final Thoughts

I am so glad I was given the opportunity to review this amazing curriculum. I highly recommend it, even if you aren’t a homeschooling family, its a great resource to use for reinforcing what they have learned at school.

Try out the CTC Math FREE TRIAL today!

CTC Math Family Membership Giveaway ($148 value)!

Enter to win a 12-month subscription for the whole family!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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What is the difference between IEB vs CAPS?

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ieb vs caps

I never fully understood the difference between IEB vs CAPS, but now that Noo is in an IEB school, I felt the need to research it more in-depth.

IEB Definition:

The Independent Examinations Board, or IEB, is a South African independent assessment agency which offers examinations for various client schools, mostly private schools. It is most prominent in setting examinations for the school-leaving National Senior Certificate, or NSC (which replaced the Senior Certificate and Further Education and Training Certificate) for its client schools. See High school: South Africa; Matriculation in South Africa. [Source]

CAPS Definition:

CAPS, the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement, is a revision of the previous NCS (National Curriculum Statement). CAPS gives teachers detailed guidelines of what to teach and assessed on a grade –by- grade and subject-by- subject basis. It also gives clear guidance of assessment requirements. [Source]

My understanding, before my research, was that IEB was a totally different curriculum to the CAPS curriculum. That is not the case at all.

The IEB preparation course only really starts in Grade 10, when Students are 16 years old. They still follow the CAPS curriculum, HOWEVER, there are some differences.

The IEB exams are considered by many teachers, parents, students and universities, both within South Africa and abroad, as a more challenging and comprehensive assessment than the State NSC.

Students with excellent IEB results have been accepted to Ivy League and Oxbridge institutions without taking further requirements such as A-levels. SATs (or ACTs) are required for all major U.S. universities – the IEB NSC does not exempt students from this requirement.)

It is also important to note that IEB students who matriculate receive the same certificate as a NSC student would and universities may not bias between a state NSC and IEB matriculant.

Many Grade 10 students (my son included) struggled with the new IEB exams. Fortunately, there are many past papers available to download from the IEB to help the students prepare for the exams.

The IEB are very strict in terms of giving marks. All answers need to be comprehensive and many questions are expected to be answered in essay format with headings and subheadings.

I have downloaded past Grade 10 papers for Noo to go through from the IEB Document Library. The IEB exam process is very different to the CAPS process. I’m looking forward to seeing how much these past papers will help Noo in the next set of exams in November this year.

I’d love to hear your experiences with the IEB and how your child coped with the change in the examination process.

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Curriculum Choices 2018

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curriculum choices 2018

curriculum choices 2018
I’m often asked what our Curriculum Choices are for this year. In short, we follow the Cambridge International Primary Curriculum for our core subjects. We then added a few other programs that suit us and the kidlets’ learning styles. We are currently in our 3rd year of using this curriculum and are very happy with it.
curriculum choices 2018
In addition to the Core Cambridge Primary curriculum, I also purchased the Keys to Learning Boxes for each child. I use them as reinforcement as the kidlets are all visual learners and this has helped us quite a bit to get the concepts ingrained.

Keys to Learning focuses on basic literacy, numeracy and mathematics skills, and can be used for the consolidation of skills in the mainstream classroom – as well as for remedial work at earlier levels.
Click on the image below to find out more about the Keys to Learning program.
curriculum choices 2018

Koko is currently doing the Stage 5 curriculum. These are the books he is currently working on. We use a combination of Cambridge for the core subjects and the CAPS (the South African curriculum):

English
Teachers Manual

 

 

 

 

Learners Book

 

 

 

 

Activity book

 

 

 

 

Phonics in a Box Workbook. We use this book for dictionary work.

 

 

 

 

Mathematics
Teachers Manual

 

 

Learners Book

 

 

 

 

Games book

 

 

 

 

Science
Teachers Manual

 

 

 

 

Learners Book

 

 

 

 

Activity book

 

 

 

 

Life Skills
CAPS Workbook

Afrikaans
CAPS Workbook

Fifi is currently doing the Stage 3 curriculum. These are the books she is currently working on. We use a combination of Cambridge for the core subjects and the CAPS (the South African curriculum):

English
Teachers Manual

 

 

 

 

Learners Book

 

 

 

 

Activity book

 

 

 

 

Phonics in a Box Workbook. We use this book for dictionary work.

 

 

 

 

Mathematics
Teachers Manual

 

 

 

 

Learners Book

 

 

 

 

Games book

 

 

 

 
Science
Teachers Manual

 

 

 

 

Learners Book

 

 

 

 

Activity book

 

 

 

 

Life Skills
CAPS Workbook

Afrikaans
CAPS Workbook

Pixie is currently doing the Stage 1 curriculum. These are the books she is currently working on. We use a combination of Cambridge for the core subjects and the CAPS (the South African curriculum):

English
Teachers Manual

 

 

 

 

Learners Book

 

 

 

 
Activity book

 

 

 

 

Phonics Workbook B. She completed Workbook A last year.

 

 

 

 
Phonics in a Box Workbook.

 

 

 

 
Mathematics
Teachers Manual

 

 

 

 
Learners Book

 

 

 

 
Games book

 

 

 

 
Science
Teachers Manual

 

 

 

 
Learners Book

 

 

 

 
Activity book

 

 

 

 
Life Skills
CAPS Workbook

Afrikaans
CAPS Workbook

The girls are currently using the Rainbow Reading Curriculum.

Rainbow Reading is a graded reading series for primary schools. It provides a wealth of original stories and factual texts, which will help learners to develop the reading skills and vocabulary they need to meet the requirements of the curriculum in all learning areas. All 350 titles in the series are written by South African authors. Rainbow Reading motivates young readers to become fluent readers, because it allows them to choose stories that they want to read and to read at their own level.

Fifi is currently using Rainbow Reading Level 3.

The books in Level 3 can be used in any grade in the Foundation Phase, but they are best suited to seven- to nine-year-old learners in Grade 2 or Grade 3. Many of the learners will be learning English as a First Additional Language. Most children at this level have started to read and some may be reading quite well already. They should be able to recognise sight words and decode unfamiliar words.

Level 3 Rainbow Reading books are 16 pages long. The stories are based on familiar objects and actions and the characters include children typical of those in the target age group. The artwork is a very important part of each text at this level, as it supports reading and helps the emerging readers to make sense of the stories. The artwork provides cludes, which help the readers to decode and recognise words. Text is consistently placed to help learners to become confident about reading books.

There are three types of texts at this level:

Read Aloud stories (fiction) 250-400 total words
Read Alone stories (fiction) 250-400 total words
Factual (non-fiction) texts 250-400 total words
Each boxed set in Level 3 contains a comprehensive teacher’s guide, which provides valuable support for teaching reading and book skills, and includes specific support for each title, including phonics, oral skills, high-frequency words and key oral vocabulary, as well as suggested activities.”

Pixie is currently using Rainbow Reading Level 1/.

The books in Rainbow Reading Level 1 can be used in any grade in the Foundation Phase, but they are best suited to five- and six-year-old learners in Grade R or Grade 1. Many of the learners will be learning English as a First Additional Language. Most children at this level will not be able to read by themselves in any language, and some of the children will be handling books for the first time.

Level 1 Rainbow Reading books are eight pages long. The stories are based on familiar objects and actions and the characters include children typical of those in the target age group. The artwork is very important part of each text at this level, as it supports reading and helps the emerging readers to make sense of the stories. The pictures tell the story. Text is consistently placed to help learners become confident about reading books.

There are three types of texts at this level:

Read Aloud stories (fiction) Maximum 50 words
Read Alone stories (fiction) Maximum 20 words
Factual (non-fiction) texts Maximum 20 words
Each boxed set in Level 1 contains a comprehensive teacher’s guide, which provides valuable support for teaching reading skills, and includes specific support for each title, including phonics, oral skills, high-frequency words and key oral vocabulary, as well as suggested activities.”

History is a group lesson here. We use the Story of the World curriculum and love it. We work through each chapter thoroughly and have sometimes spent a month on a chapter that may only be 2 pages long. I let the children drive this part of our lessons as they generally ask a ton of more indepth questions than I expect.

Each Friday, the kidlets do a research project, these often take up to 3 weeks to complete (depending on the work). They choose the topic and we work together to get all the information for them. They then create a poster of all they have learned. So far we have learned about the food pyramid, the importance of vitamins and kangaroos. Our next project is Fifi’s choice.

One of the first questions we get asked is, “Do your children do exams and assessments?” The easy answer is yes. I download the Annual National Assessments from the Department of Basic Education’s website. The kidlets do them and I mark them. I have these on hand should we ever need them for some reason.

The Annual National Assessments (ANA) are standardised national assessments for languages and mathematics in the senior phase (grades 7 – 9), intermediate phase (grades 4 – 6) and in literacy and numeracy for the foundation phase (grades 1 – 3). The question papers and marking memoranda (exemplars) are supplied by the national Department of Basic Education and the schools manage the conduct of the tests as well as the marking and internal moderation.

With regards to exams, we don’t do official exams. The kidlets are assessed as to their knowledge during each lesson, if they don’t understand the concept of the lesson, we don’t move on. That is one HUGE benefit of homeschooling. Once all the work for the year has been completed, we move onto the next grade.

I also often get asked about the legalities of homeschooling in South Africa. I am not a lawyer and don’t pretend to have the answers. My suggestion is that you visit the Pestalozzi Trust website. They have all the information available to the public.

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Lets Get real ~ Homeschooling FAQ

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lets get real

Homeschooling FAQ

I am often questioned at length by non homeschoolers about our homeschooling decision and journey. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions.

1. Why did you decide to homeschool?
When we first started homeschooling, Noo was in grade 1. My initial reason for homeschooling was 2 fold.

1. I had been told by his Grade R (South Africa’s version of Kindregarten) teacher that he works faster than his peers, becomes a disruption when he was done and we will be told that he needs to be medicated when he goes to school to keep him “focussed” and easier to control by the teacher. This horrified me, instead of giving him more work, or work that was more difficult for him, his teacher was telling me that he would need to be medicated to, essentially, dumb him down to the level of his peers. This was a major red flag to me.

2. Noo has Hirschprungs Disease and for a long time, he wasn’t coping well with it. Keeping him home till he had it under control was a huge contributing factor for me. He started going to public school in 2012 and transitioned well.

We have since decided that homeschooling works for our family and will continue doing so for the foreseen future. We have no plans on sending the younger three children to school at the moment. I am not anti-school, I am pro what is best for my family and we firmly believe that homeschooling is best for us right now.

2. You must have the patience of a saint?
Uh, no. I, quite honestly, don’t have that much patience. What homeschooling has taught me, is how to work through my frustrations and to teach each of my children in the way they respond best. Routine keeps me sane.

3. Don’t you ever get tired of your children?
I don’t think “getting tired of my children” is the correct phrase. Yes, I do take a break, yes I do need some me-time. I am fortunate enough to have an amazing husband who stands by my side and gives me breaks over weekends. Though, I’ll be honest, the first time I went out by myself, I had no idea what to do. I am slowly learning to go out by myself and enjoy my own time. Its hard, I’ve always had a child with me over the last 8 years, so I’ve never been 100 % alone (my own choice, not hubby’s).

4. What about socialization?
20130708-113836
This is, by far, the most asked (and hated) question. I have yet to have a conversation with a non homeschooler without this question being asked. What amuses me the most is that this question is always asked while we are at an extra mural. Fifi and Pixie dance 3 days a week (between the two of them), Fifi’s best friend does acro with her, so she sees her friend at least twice a week. Koko is a Cub Scout and avid soccer player, so sees his friends at least twice a week (this is not counting the friends he has at dancing and swimming). Their friends are not all their age, they have friends who are both younger and older than them. As a matter of fact, because of Koko’s interests, his friends are mostly older than him.
3532535cba7c7083081aa8e57f58e07d

5. Aren’t you worried that your children will be ostracised by society?
Absolutely not. I have yet to have a negative response to the knowledge that we homeschool. People often comment that we don’t “look like homeschoolers.” I have yet to figure out exactly what that means.

6. Do you homeschool for religious reasons?
No. Though we are Christians, we believe that there should be a separation of church and state. Our views are not generally accepted by our peers.

7. Is homeschooling legal in South Africa?
Yes, you can read more on the laws regarding homeschool registration HERE.

8. When will your children be going to school?
At this point in time, the children will not be going to school. We plan on homeschooling through to high school. Should our situation change, then we’ll revisit our decision.

9. Is homeschooling cheaper than sending your child to school?
It depends on the school. Homeschooling is not cheaper than public schooling. All Noo’s extra murals and classes are included in the monthly school fees. Homeschooling is, however, cheaper than private school. My children participate in many extra murals and we regularly go on outings which are not free. You can homeschool frugally, there are so many free resources available online.

10. How do you decide what to teach your children?
When we first started homeschooling, we used the boxed curriculum that came with all the books and subjects we needed for the year. We have since changed what we use because the curriculum was lacking and we now use a combination of different curricula to make up our own curriculum. You can read more about our curriculum choices HERE.

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Back to School

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curriculumchoicesbanner

 photo IMG_7939_zps656ed2c3.jpg

We are officially back to school. We started last Wednesday and the kids are L.O.V.I.N.G. their new curriculum. I was very apprehensive in the weeks before we started back, but I don’t regret our decision to change from Clonard Distance Education to what we will be using now.

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KOKO


Language Arts: English: Learning Language Arts Through Literature Red Book
Afrikaans: Afrikaans – Geniet Dit! – Werkboek 1
Mathematics: Math U See Alpha
Handwriting: Italic Handwriting Series Book B
Science (Group work): Hands-on-Science Foundation Phase
Geography (Group work): Enchanted homeschooling Mom’s Pack Your Bags lapbook series
History (Group work): Story of the World Volume 1
Life Skills: Life Skills 2
Art (Group work): Kidazzle

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FIFI


Language Arts: English: Learning Language Arts Through Literature Blue Book
Afrikaans (Group Work): Afrikaans – Geniet Dit! – Werkboek 1
Mathematics: Math U See Primer
Handwriting: Italic Handwriting Series Book A
Science (Group work): Hands-on-Science Foundation Phase
Geography (Group work): Enchanted homeschooling Mom’s Pack Your Bags lapbook series
History (Group work): Story of the World Volume 1
Life Skills: Life Skills 1
Art (Group work): Kidazzle

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PIXIE


Pixie will be using a variety of online resource themes and the Kumon Cutting, Colouring, Pasting, etc, books. We will continue to follow the Montessori Method with her.

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