Thursday 25 February 2010
I forgot how much fun it can be having a boy that age with me again, especially when it came to play. We had great fun making crafts and going to the part, but the most fun for him seems to have been playing with a big basket full of Sean's old cars. Check out the colour in the car photo:o)
Saturday 20 February 2010
Than you very much to Mama Syder. Much appreciated and you brightened my day, and may I even say made me 'Happy' :0)
The Rules of this award are:
1. link back to the giver of the award
2. List ten things that make me Happy.
2. My Family, I am constantly happy, delighted and sometimes surprised to have one.
3. Church family, it's a big one and they live all over the world and beyond!
4. The fact that my husband and son loves me so much.
5. Coke floats, movie and a fire, mmmmmmmm.................
6. Hot sunny holidays.
7. Living where I live, just love it.
8. Children, anybodies children.
9. Thinking of whats next and knowing that this isn't all there is.
10. Being at home, being a wife and being a mum.
this is Yana, my sister in the Lord and this is her testimony of how she was converted by God...
My name is Yana Muskulidi. I was born in Russia. At that time my country was called the Soviet Union and religion was against the law. I grew up in an atheistic family. My father was a member of the Communist Party and in our family we never prayed and never read the Bible. From my childhood I asked myself the questions, ‘Why are people born?’, ‘Why do they die sooner or later?’, ‘Why was I born?’ and ‘Is God real?’
In school I had a friend called Sasha. We were in a bad class. Very often we were mocked by the other children because we were different, we didn’t smoke or drink and we worked at school. This was perhaps the first time I wondered why people behaved in bad ways, however, a few years later we became just as bad as them.
My friend’s grandparents were Baptists. My friend came to Christ Jesus when we were 18 years old. I was shocked. Firstly, because the Baptist Church in Russia is considered to be a cult. Secondly, I always thought the church was for desperate people, like those who were jobless or very sick, or old people who are preparing to die. She wasn’t really a strong person so I put it down to character weakness. Sometimes she told me about Jesus, Church and Christians. I just listened out of politeness. The Christian life, prayers and Bible study and Church services, all seemed boring and very uninteresting. I was young, in my late teens, and I was enjoying my life, nightclubs etc.
I noticed that to get on in life, many people became selfish, proud, ambitious and this seemed ok to me too. I liked the idea of living for myself, my wants and desires. This is why I didn’t think I needed God. My friend told me more and more about Christianity, and her Church. I began to understand what she really believed and what Christians were really like. Sometimes she would use the Bible to show me why things were wrong. Once she offered to pray before a meal. I was surprised but said “Yes”. She shut her eyes and thanked God for our food, our health and other things. It was wonderful for me. I didn’t know people could talk to God in such a personal manner. I was also amazed she would thank God for everything we have.
The next month I visited her. Her mum was sick with cancer. She was dying. She died the day I called, while I was in the house. While she was in her dying moments Sasha and her sister were crying and praying to God to heal their mother. I said “Sasha, stop it, she’s already dead.” We called nieghbours and her pastor. When he arrived he was so different from what I expected. When he spoke to Sasha, he smiled and told her, “It’s ok. Your mum is happy now. She’s in a better place.” I thought, “A person can’t be happy after death.” I just went home and thought about this over the next few days. I didn’t go to the funeral, but I heard that many of the Church members were there and sang Christian songs. This was shocking to the nieghbours who were watching. It’s not usual to hear singing at funerals in Russia. I heard later that the Church collected a lot of money and gave a gift to the two sisters.
Something else was going on in my life at this time. My boss, who was rich and successful, began to make advances towards me. I kept putting him off and told him I loved my boyfriend Dimitrei. Eventually he threatened me that if I didn’t sleep with him I would lose my job. Once he even refused to pay me my month’s salary saying I hadn’t worked hard enough and didn’t do what he wanted. I wondered, ‘If there is a God, how does He let people like this go unpunished?’ Dimitrei and I got married in June 1997 and one month later my boss sacked me.
We had a small family wedding, with only a few friends there. Although my friend Sasha should have been my bridesmaid I didn’t invite her because I was ashamed of her Christian faith. She wasn’t hurt and we remained friends. In the winter of 1998 she invited me to her Church. I was interested. I don’t remember what the preacher spoke about because I was watching the people. There were many young people in the Church. They didn’t seem like desperate people. It seemed that they knew the meaning of life. In their eyes I saw happiness and peace. It looked like they didn’t face a tough life, the tough life which was normal in Russia. These people were so different. The Church building didn’t have icons or statues and on the wall was written, “Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world.” It was strange for me. The service started and the choir sang hymns about Christ and about salvation. The Preachers also spoke about Christ, reading from the Bible. The service in the Baptist Church lasted about two hours with songs, prayer and preaching. Visitors commented that it was like going to a concert! I wondered what was bringing these people to these services. Maybe they didn’t like their lives before they became churchgoers?
Most of all I remember the pastor. He prayed for the unsaved who were there with tears and a trembling voice. I had never seen a man crying before. I realised he was crying for me also. I thought, “I’m not a criminal, not a sinner. I don’t need salvation.” Sasha gave me a gift of a Bible at this time. A few months later I started to read the Bible from the beginning and I could not understand the Old Testament. Probably this was because I didn’t believe it. In autumn of the same year my husband and I were in a car accident and had a miraculous escape. We thought this was divine intervention and started to attend the Baptist Church.
For me it was a beginning. I attended Church every Sunday. It was wonderful and from the sermons I got a lot of answers to my questions. I understood that everyone was born a sinner and can only be changed by God. And also I understood that everyone needs to be saved, criminals and good-living people. Even a small lie is a sin in God’s eyes. Things like adultery and abortion, which have become acceptable in our world, are sins too. Then I understood that if I came to Christ I would no longer go to bars, night clubs etc. enjoying that kind of life .I was beginning to fear God because of the life I was living but I still wanted to live life my way, so I couldn’t take that step, yet.
In the winter of 1999 I was at home alone and suddenly I could see. I needed to confess to God. I understood my life had no meaning. I knew that my priorities were all wrong. I realised that everything I was living for could be taken away. I had no foundation. I knew what would happen to my soul if I died and faced God. I knelt down but I couldn’t speak for a while because I had never prayed before. It seemed odd to pray to nothing, no statues, no icons, just the void. I started sobbing and praying for the first time in my life. I asked God to forgive me for my unbelief and for what I had done in my life. Then I asked Him to take my life in His hands. When I stood up I felt as if a weight had been lifted off me, that I was forgiven. A few months later I was baptised in the local river.
My life was changed. The first months of my new life I was happy. I went to all the services in the Church. I listened very carefully to all the preaching. I liked it. I understood a lot of things. But to be honest I didn’t like the idea of eternal life. I didn’t tell anybody in the Church because I was ashamed. I tried to appear to be a good Christian, to be active in the Church. I was happy in my new life, I was forgiven, I thought God would give me everything. I wanted it to be like a slot machine, I’d put money in and out would come the winnings! I couldn’t understand that God could love the real me, with my faults and failings. In Church I was often alone and very few people would speak to me. In spite of this I liked these people more than non-Christians. I even joined the choir to make new friends and to be seen. I was still a bit proud!
My parents didn’t understand what had happened to me. They said Sasha had lured me into a cult and once when she phoned me, my dad yelled a lot of bad things at her. Dimitrei wasn’t against me going to Church. He came with me a few times at the beginning but then only occasionally after my baptism. I was angry. I wanted to bring him to the Lord! Later I knew he was reading the Bible on his own. He even stopped this too, maybe because of me. Maybe I didn’t trust God in this matter. Every holiday I invited him, because I was in the choir. Each time I hoped “This time he’ll be saved and everybody will see us together!”
I spoke to my sisters a lot about God. Soon after me, my middle sister was saved. But my father stopped her going to church and sometimes even hid her Bible. He would say things to her like, ‘If you go to that church you’ll end up like Yana, narrow-minded and ignorant!’ My father didn’t accept God’s forgiveness. He was an alcoholic and drank a lot and finally killed himself in the year 2000.
Our family was shocked because of this. His last day he asked me about God but, because he was drunk, I said, ‘Let’s talk about this tomorrow.’ That night he killed himself! My family was concerned for me because I was pregnant. My brother and sisters in the church were prayed for me and everything worked out fine. Our son, Artem, was born one month later. My mother cried a lot and considered herself guilty because of her husband’s death. I also felt guilty because I hadn’t taken that last chance to tell him about God.
My mother began to look for some comfort so she began to come to church. Later she too was saved. Of course, my sister was able to attend church again. She made a lot of friends and I was happy for her. My youngest sister also said she was saved but I’m not sure it’s genuine. After 2 years she stopped attending church and went back to her old way of life. But I do believe god will bring her back to Himself.
At first I was ashamed to speak to my relatives about my faith. Our best friends, Dmitrei’s and mine, knew about my faith and came to church a few times. But they are still Russian Orthodox christians, not real christians. My relatives have no contact with us since my mother was saved.
Shortly before we came to Ireland there was a teenage boy from a christian family who got saved. He had been very sick for a long time and the doctors had not been able to help him. He got saved and got well very soon afterwards. He matured very quickly and had a great knowledge of the Bible and an understanding of people. What happened to him transformed my view of God. God used him to change me in many ways. Now I want to live my whole life serving God. Eternal life is now something wonderful!
Dmitrei decided to move to Ireland to work. For a year and a half we saved and prepared. I didn’t want to go. I prayed all this time. of course, I knew I would accept God’s will. I arrived here a few months after Dmitrei, in late December 2001. Now most of the people we met were non-christian Russian-speaking people who had moved here too. This was strange for me. Back in Russia most of the people I knew were christians. I found it hard to tell these people about my faith. I realised they would be washing how we lived, thc’s so important!
In March of 2002 I found the Dundalk Baptist church. It was so small. The church at home had about a thousand members, this one had only a few dozen! But I found they had a real brotherly love. When our second son, Denis, was born the ladies of the church arranged to have meals sent to our home for several days afterwards. This was a very welcome blessing to me!
It seems that God plans to keep us here for the moment. Recently Dmitrei was offered a job in Tullamore. I prayed to God, trusting in His will. The job was switched for a local one instead.
Since we arrived here many more Russian-speaking people have moved into the area. My hope is that the Lord will use me to witness to them.
Friday 19 February 2010
Dr. Raymond Moore, in his book Better Late than Early
- Ninety-five percent of homeschoolers had an adequate comprehension of politics and government, compared to 65% of
- Seventy-one percent of homeschool graduates participate in ongoing community service activities, including politics, compared to 37% of adults in similar ages.
- Eighty-eight percent of HS graduates are members of organizations (community groups, church, or professional organizations) compared to 50% of
- Significantly, 76% of homeschool graduates voted in a national or state election within the past 5 years, compared to 29 percent of similar
Colleges and Universities all around the nation have realized the positive benefits of attracting homeschoolers. Research indicates that homeschoolers who have gone to college have no social skill deprivation, exhibit greater leadership skills, demonstrated stronger work ethic and had higher moral values, integral in their college success.
An Open Letter from the NEWB
by David Newton, Home Assessor, July 2006
Dear Homeschool-Ireland Website Visitor,
I wish to thank the webmaster for publishing this update on home education within the NEWB.
Allow me to give you my background. I have worked on home education assessment with the National Educational Welfare Board (NEWB) since 2003. During this time, I have met a whole host of home educators and prepared over 225 reports. I wish to say that it has a real privilege to be invited into the homes of these home educating families and I continue to be deeply impressed with the full commitment, warm attention and overall richness that so many parents/guardians are bringing to the challenging task of home education.
My numerous journeys out into the home education community confirm the following well-considered statement on home education researcher and author, Dr. Alan Thomas. He writes in his excellent book, Educating Your Child at Home,
‘Of necessity (home educating parents) become pioneers of a different pedagogy (from that of school) more suited to learning at home. Their experiences as they adapt, yield very different perspectives on education and challenge many professional assumptions about the nature of teaching and learning.’ (1998, pp. 1-2)
You may be surprised to learn that the legislative framework for home education in Ireland is more progressive than in many other western European countries. The Irish Constitution acknowledges the role of a parent/guardian as the primary educator of the child and has enshrined in law that a parent/guardian may home educate a child. Under present legislation an authorised assessor must determine that the child is in receipt of ‘a certain minimum of education’ (See articles 42.1, 42.2 and 42.3.2 and the judgements found in DPP vs. Best).
Under the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000, the NEWB is charged with ensuring that every child receives an education and as part of this remit it must ensure the registration of children who receive their education through home settings. This requirement exists in order to support parents in their right to home educate and to safeguard a child’s rights to a minimum education.
The assessment process is straightforward and usually involves a visit to the home setting after a home education application has been received by the NEWB. The meeting between parent and assessor can also take place at an agreed location, as long as the assessor can speak with the primary educator about specific educational activities on offer, the materials available and the educational philosophy followed.
The child need not be present at this meeting but the examination of representative samples of the child’s various work efforts is necessary. Key information is gathered on the child’s talents/abilities and strengths as it relates to his or her intellectual, social, emotional and moral development. Essential to this evidence gathering is identifying that there is a clear correspondence between the various holistic needs of the child and the educational provision. Literacy, language and numeracy skills should have an integral place within that provision.
Home education has the potential to create a unique, unrivalled learning environment. It is important to note therefore that it is not essential that the educational provision replicate any firm feature located in any State or other curricula materials, including set schedules, delineated subject area strands and various structured assignments. In the case of teenagers, preparation for the certificate exams is not a requirement.
The preliminary assessment interview generally takes around 2 hours. Occasionally, in order to ensure that the ‘certain minimum of education’ criterion is being met, it may be necessary to carry out a follow-up comprehensive assessment. During this assessment the assessor will observe the parent/guardian and child interacting in the educative process in the home environment.
Following the assessment a report is then generated. The parents/guardians receive a copy of this report and are invited by the NEWB to revert with their comments. The NEWB reviews and subsequently approves for registration assessments which clearly reflect that a child is in receipt of a certain minimum of education. The present cycle from application submission to formal registration is generally around 3 months.
Some Key Home Education Facts
- There is no formal educational requirement that a parent must meet to be allowed to home educate their child. Information on educational background may be provided if desired.
- Each child reflects his or her own unique strengths. What is important for the registration process is that the home education provision is seen to be meeting the child’s overall holistic needs.
- In most assessment cases, the curricula points made between the assessor and the parents/guardians centre around content choices, teaching approaches and work flow and, in most cases, these points remain as suggestions. The role of the authorised assessor has a clear advisory function encompassing the overall progressive welfare approach taken by the NEWB.
- Under the Education (Welfare) Act, 2000, parents / guardians who home educate their children are legally obliged to submit an application to register children with the NEWB. Failure to submit the home education application and follow through with the registration process could potentially lead to legal action against the parent / guardian.
- Since June 2004, when the first home educated child was formally registered, 225 other registrations have been completed. It is estimated that a further 1500-2000 children are currently being educated at home.
- All home education documents remain confidential.
- Children currently in receipt of home tuition may not be registered by the NEWB as being home educated.
- Once the age of 16 is reached, Child Benefit monies will continue for those young people that are registered by the NEWB. The parent / guardian should make contact with officials in Child Benefit and offer a copy of the NEWB registration letter.
If you wish to have an application form and a copy of the NEWB’s Guidelines on the Assessment of Education in Places Other Than Recognised Schools sent out to you, please contact Grainne McLoughlin at .
If you have any questions or concerns about home education in general, please feel free to contact me at 086-10-78778 or at email@example.com.
As you know, the NEWB has the challenging task of ensuring that all children in Ireland receive an education. By registering a child with the NEWB, a home educator meets their legal obligations under existing law. The entry of this child onto the Register of Children in Receipt of Education in Places Other than a Recognised School then allows the NEWB to meet its statutory obligations relating to this home educated child under existing law.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter!
NEWB Home Assessor
BA, M.Sc, M.Ed
Wednesday 17 February 2010
My sister gave me 8 pairs of needles and a neighbour gave me lots and lots of wool so we were off to a good start. Sean lights the fire and he and Paula's son answers the door and lets the girls in. So far the crack has been good with a few laughs along the way such as Paula getting the wool stuck in her teeth while she tried to break it! We take a break half way through to have hot chocolate or sweets etc.
I am enjoying the group. It's fun because the girls haven't a clue how to knit and we are having fun just teaching it and laughing over our mistakes:0)
Here are a couple of photos of bags I bought for €1 and also for 50c. The girls are using them to keep their knitting in and so I have personalized them by putting their names on and they love them! I hope to post some more photos and a small piece of video too.
Saturday 13 February 2010
Friday 12 February 2010
Saturday 6 February 2010
Niall's work situation is quiet these days so he has been busy doing some DIY with Sean around the home which is good for all three of us. He teaches Sean, Sean enjoys it and I get the list of 'things to do' shortened.
I have been a tad slow getting back into the swing of schooling Sean after the holidays but that's ok, I'm on top of it. He has improved a lot with his maths and is working away steadily in all his other subjects. His typing and computer work are improving. It helps having his friends on line, emailing to and fro and also keeping up with his Blog and his friends Blogs. We have a week of science coming up soon where Niall is pegged to help us out. I have lots of science books along with books full of cool experiments and on top of that we have different science kits, so the guys should enjoy that.
We had a visit from Kate, our friend/teacher from Dublin who comes up to visit us every once in a while to encourage and advise. Kate brought Sean's SIGMA-T maths test with her so Niall will be testing him on Monday and Tuesday. Sean has also started another class recently. Mick is teaching him all about navigation. Sean and Niall are finding this very interesting and are really enjoying it. It should be a great help to Sean if, Lord willing, he completes his fourth Summer at the Sailing in Carlingford this year. It is a tougher level this Summer and they will be learning about navigation/chart reading as well as sailing so we hope this extra class will give Sean a boost and prepare him. There is a fair chance that he will be the youngest sailor there and so he needs to concentrate on sailing and mastering the bigger boats this Summer. It's been lovely watching him mature and go from strength to strength over the past Summers in Carlingford. He has gone from sailing the small boats to the larger ones. Initially he was happy to stay with the small ones but as he grew and matured he moved along and is now very happy about sailing the larger ones on his own and is quite looking forwards to it this Summer!
I am very proud of him. He survived a very scary experience a couple of Summers ago. He was out on one of the smaller boats on his own. The group went out but the wind changed directions and force so they were ordered to turn around and come back in. When the children did this some of them capsized. Sean was only 9 or 10 at the time and didn't like capsizing so he tried to turn but was afraid, so he straightened up and continued to sail hoping the speed boat would come out and tow him back as they usually do.
Well, the leaders were so busy fishing the other children out of the water that they didn't see him. He continued to sail out into the Lough towards the shipping lane. Still no one noticed he was gone. A tanker passed by and left a big wake and the waves started to go into the little boat. He froze with fear, thinking he was going to die. He thought the boat would fill up with water (and it did) and sink and that he would die of an asthma attack because of the cold water. He was crying and asking God to save him. A few minutes later he realized that his life didn't 'flash before hie eyes' and so he wasn't going to die (!) so he started to bail out the boat while continuing to sail with the wind, across the Lough towards Northern Ireland. It was very choppy and a bit wild out there. He took turns holding the rope between his knees while counting to ten and bailing out the water with his two hands cupped together, then he held the rope in his hands and tried to kick the water out with his feet. He did this for a while and it kept his mind occupied. Finally, he could see two children playing on the beach on the other side of the bay in Northern Ireland and started calling to them to get help from their mum. At this point he knew he was safe but was still very scared. He saw the rescue boat coming and shouted and waved for help. The guy came along, put him into the rib and towed the dingy back to where the other children were. Sean said he was so scared when he got into the rib that he had to put his hand over his own mouth to stop himself from shouting from screaming... The next day Niall and I went in to have a chat with the manager, and that day Sean went back out in the boat on his own free will... Now you know why I am so proud of him...
His swimming is coming along leaps and bounds. Sigita our friend is his coach and you know when a child has one to one teaching of any kind the chances are that he will do very well. Well, that's what's happening with the swimming. Well may it continue. Being a good strong swimmer is important for Sean when he is out sailing and anyway, it's great for his lungs (he's an asthmatic) and also it should help out with his growth. The sailing courses won't last forever and I am hoping that in a few years, perhaps when he is 14 he may take up deep sea diving. We already looked into this and if he is strong enough I think we may encourage him along these lines. There is a really good diving club here, the Dundalk Sub Aqua Club and we have already talked to the director and found out about the age limits, prices etc., and Sean has had a chance to try his hand at it in a large pool with the instructors. He likes it, so here's hoping!
One long term goal Sean and I are looking into is to try to raise enough money over the next two years to buy him a small sailing boat with engine. All the sailing courses in the world won't do him much good if he hasn't a boat to practice on long term. So the goal is to get him one by the Summer of 2012 when he should be 14 and old enough to handle/care for it himself. At that stage he should be going out and back to school in Cooley (which is quite a journey that takes two buses there and two back) and I would like to think that soon after that he will be able to bike it out to Blackrock with a friend and go sailing.
We have a boat in mind. It's called a RID, Rigid Inflatable Dingy and it's made by Walker Bay. They are very safe boats, 10 foot, with a detachable four chamber tube around the HIMC hull, removable daggerboard, oars, sail and tiller and you can use a small engine on her. Anyway, a friend of mine has one and Niall and Mick checked one out a couple of years ago when they first came on the market. I am hoping that by the time we go to buy one there will be a couple of second hand ones on the market and it won't cost us an arm and a leg.
I have taken on with helping a neighbour's daughter with her school work so my earnings from that is being squirrelled away for this purpose.
I am doing ok spiritually. We are about half way through reading the Bible together as a family. Niall and I are going through BCF Self Confrontation Manual for in-depth Biblical Discipleships developed by John C. Broger. We studied it a couple of years ago every Sunday night at the Church Centre with other members and found it hard going but good, so we decided to go back to it most evenings at home and study parts that are directly relevant to our lives at this moment. I am still reading through the Bible myself along with attending service and Sunday School and some of the study on Revelations every Sunday evening at the Centre. I enjoy listening to John MacAuthor on my phone several times a week too. I have my ups and downs but you know, this Christian life is a win/win situation. When things are good, they are good. When things get tough the Lord works all things together for my good and His glory so they are still good!
We still continue to reach out to Church members, neighbours and the community on a regular basis. But it all counts for nothing unless my relationship with Him is good and as always, that's a work in progress:0)
I am looking forwards to Spring. These past 20 years or so the weather has been sunny and hot here in April so that's like a miniture early Summer to look forwards to when we can home school out doors. I hope to recieve a grant for €480 (keeping my fingers crossed) so I can buy shrubs and all sorts of plants to plant in this small 48 house estate that I call home. I have worked on the area this way for the past three years and with the help of kids in the area, we have make a difference. This year I would like to plant lots of ivy along the walls and maybe some trees.
I'll wait and see.
Wednesday 3 February 2010
Sean plays a bit of basket ball beside the Community Centre. He hopes that by the time he goes to the Bush school he will be good at the game and find it easier to fit in so that's why I like this picture. Hope it's not a foretaste of the future!
There are lot more to see over here...
Norman Rockwell Paintings at Thomas Kinkade Norman Rockwell Pictures Paintings Art