Ebola virus in Lagos

It’s a worrying time to be in Lagos.  A Liberian man arrived at Lagos international airport sick and collapsed and was suspected to have the Ebola virus.  Unfortunately he died soon after being taken to hospital and Nigeria officials have confirmed that it was ebola.

Ebola is a nasty virus.  I don’t know of any worse.  It is extremely worrying knowing that here in this densely populated city and just a few miles from our house (where this man died),  the ebola virus was there and may have been transferred.  I’ve spent a few hours terrifying myself with Google images.

Of course no evidence yet that the authorities did not properly contain it.  We may be pessimistic because of the healthcare and infrastructure shortcomings but Nigerian airport staff were  already trained  to watch out for the virus and supposedly all the people in contact with this man from the plane and through to the hospital are being monitored.  Ebola is a slow moving disease so there is no reason to panic yet.

People are very concerned – as they should be – and stepping up their sanitation practices. Some are already avoiding public gatherings – which I think is premature but I’m not a medical expert.  I’ve put hand gel by the front door and I ask everyone to wash their hands.  We’re still going to playgroup and camp and playdates and the store. I was never into street food anyway.

I wish I could run straight to the safe certainties of the UK or USA but that’s just me hyperventilating.  If you rushed off every time there was a travel alert there would be few places in the world where you could live.

So, life goes on while we wait to see to what happens and pray for good news.



Some parents be like…

At international playgroup recently, I saw a mother with her son in a body lock while he flailed and screamed.  Been there, done that so I wandered over to offer moral support and maybe learn something.  As I approached, she was trying to force feed him some goo.

“Tell him you will beat him if he doesn’t eat!” she said to me in a strong Indian accent.


“Please,” she begged with the most angelic smile. “Tell him you will beat him if he doesn’t eat.”

Cheeky. I thought. What do I look like, some nutter who goes around smacking other people’s kids? The  toddler looked at me sullenly.

“Auntie will beat you,” She scolded. “Eat your food!” “Its the only way he’ll eat,” she said apologetically.  “Please – tell him.”

“Erm, so I’m not going to do that,” I said, thoroughly discomfited by the whole episode. Maybe this would end in a  Mediatakeout or DailyMail.com story.

“Maybe wait a bit. He’ll probably eat when he gets hungry,” I suggested.

“He needs to eat now before he falls asleep,” she snapped.

Aware that if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem, I beat a hasty retreat but I did learn something – that not every parent get’s their advice from Dr Spock.

To Train Up a Child

I was a little surprised at the controversy over this book and I’m almost afraid to mention it because I know it evokes strong emotions in parents.



I think I wasn’t shocked by anything in the book because I came from a family where physical chastisement was normal.  Sometimes it was unproductive and sometimes went a little too far – but that’s where I felt this book was good as it talks about how to discipline children in a way that isn’t lashing out in anger with whatever happens to be within arm’s reach and to really think about the whole sphere of discipline before it gets to physical chastisement.  I actually have found parts of  this book useful for disciplining my kids.

I can see how it could encourage child abuse – it depends on your interpretation. I think it goes too far in parts and potentially the tone is irresponsible as many parents are stupid, abusers and/or looking for a way to parent that doesn’t involve love, time, attention and thought.

This book isn’t for everyone but disciplining your children is a very personal and private topic.  I think the scrutiny and challenge this book has received has also been a good thing.  Children are vulnerable and in our evolved societies we should be looking out for their best interests.

Mudpies to Magnets – science curriculum


I’ve just started with Mudpies to Magnets and my first experiment failed to deliver so I’m not sure about some of these ideas.

we didn't win the Nobel Prize this year...

our air machine didn’t win the Nobel Prize this year…

Some are also very prep heavy or unsuitable  when you have an 18 month old running around.  However there are a lot of experiments in here (more than you could ever use)  so you won’t be lost for ideas and some of them will work I’m sure. Even my failed experiment generated an interesting conversation and so was not   in vain.  Plus it has a range of ages up to 5 so plenty of usage will be had I’m sure.

Rainy camp

It’s called summer camp but  Nigeria doesn’t have a ‘summer’. It has rainy season, Harmattan and wedding season.  ‘Summer’ is a bit of misnomer.  It’s currently rainy season where it pretty much rains everyday and floods a lot.

For example here is our road this morning…



Anyway Ru-bear and Kio-Bear have been at ‘summer’ camp this week.

When I saw the shiny flyer I jumped at the chance to offload my kids for some of the day and have me time and organise myself.   Camp has been good making me very focused.  I wake up at 6 (usually its 7.30) and do an hour or two of numeracy/literacy/violin practice with the three year old while the 18 month old does colouring or play dough.  It’s also given me my day back – not that I’ve done too much useful with that. Blackberry Messenger really needs to join my post of things I really ain’t got time for!  As a homeschooling mum I try hard to stay connected to the community so I’ve join a couple of committees and groups and they pretty much BBM/Whatsapp you all day every day.

Both kids  love camp and at first I thought this was a sign that they should be in school but but now I don’t think it means anything. They enjoy camp and they would enjoy school and they enjoy being home with me and basically they are happy kids who find it hard not to enjoy anything that is fun.

I also have realised that when you’re kids are away all day you sort of want to know what they’ve been doing but teachers are not that forthcoming.

Mums complain a lot to me about the lack of feedback teachers give.  I think they want specific minute by minute analysis – like in a football game.   ‘Uh, it’s only 10 minutes in and Phineus has already picked up the dry erase markers.  He’s running with the markers to the white board and look he gets there before anyone else and starts writing out A, B, C,D – oh no he’s lost interest! He’s seen a dead bug on the floor and has decided to step on it. Can his concentration be brought back to the task at hand? Does he need extra tutoring?  Rob – over to you in the staffroom’.   I mean it’s ridiculous  – we all know it’s ridiculous.  You’ve sent your child for someone else to babysit/educate but now you to spend an hour talking about what happened?

Anyway so they’re doing camp and camp is pretty cool. Here’s a really intricate structure Ru bear made yesterday! I think a lot of marshmallows were harmed in making this!


Selfish Reasons to have more Kids and other books about genetics



So… I’m obsessed about genetics.  I don’t know how this happened. I just watch my kids growing and become fascinated about who they are becoming and how I’m affecting that.  Selfish Reasons to have kids argues that I’m really not affecting their destiny as much as I thought.  That took the wind out of my sails a little. I mean homeschool is hard, you like to think you’re having an impact.  Since reading this book I’ve had to rethink my intentions a bit and make sure I’m still working on and improving my own life alongside homeschooling because if I can’t stop making it about them becoming x, y or z. this ship has sunk before its even left port. Oh and great book – although I STILL DON’T BELIEVE YOU!


Another book on genetics I’m still reading is The Son Also Rises – Surnames and the History of Social Mobility


What I find very interesting about this book is again the impact genes have on social mobility.  As my husband keeps assuring me – it’s all much of a muchness – but  I believe he thinks this way because he’s a Warrior not a Worrier.  This is another genetics book that blew me away – all about gender behaviour.  Mothers are just programmed to worry more about stuff that doesn’t matter.


If you know of anymore fascinating books about behavioural genetics, holler at your girl!



The Triple Package


Not obviously relevant to homeschoolers but living in a foreign country with kids who are mixed ethnically and culturally I find myself thinking a lot more about culture, race and ethnicity in the context of raising my kids.   The Triple Package  is a very thought provoking read, I’ve made reference to it more than once in my blogging here.  When you become responsible for your child’s education you start to think about what you want the end result to be,  what success is and what kind of person your child will grow up to be. It’s made me think a lot about these questions – things you just don’t have to think about so much when you send your child to school.

Amy Chua’s first book ‘Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother’ was pretty engrossing too.

Singapore Maths -Essential Math Kindergarten A




I’ve only just started using this Singapore Math workbook with my 3 year old but we both really love it! I have to pace ourselves so we don’t turn a good thing bad.  Never thought I’d say that about a math book but what I like is that rather than teaching what I’ve always understood to be ‘math’ (i.e rote learning and intimidating numbers) it engages young children with patterns, puzzles and activities to develop their understanding of mathematical principles. It encourages conversation rather than demanding ‘the right answer’.

Learn & Grow Curriculum



Don’t be fooled by the cheapo artwork. I’ve been using this for the past year and for the price (about $30) it’s been wonderful!

Learn & Grow covers the whole school year with a full day’s lesson for every weekday. It takes into account seasons and special events in the American calendar.

I don’t use it everyday but its a great backbone when you don’t have time to think of a lesson plan. The only drawback is some of the materials can be hard to get hold of  – especially if you don’t have access to the internet or an American toystore but for some this may be an advantage as coming without materials that you may not even need/use means it’s cheaper.  Great value for money and a lifesaver for me!

My homeschool bookshelf

I’ve been meaning to post my homeschool bookshelf for a while now and it hasn’t happened. Mostly because my bookshelf looks like this…


I can never remember/find any books!  I’m working on a more efficient bookshelf!  My books are increasingly online too.   The problem is that levy on imported furniture is so high you have to get most things made and carpenters here are like plumbers,  they earn so much they are difficult to pin down.


But I have over the past year read and accumulated many books that have been helpful to my lil homeschool.  I hope they are useful to you too.  You certainly don’t need a lot of books by the way. I think I just like reading.  I’ll try to add reviews as I go on. Feel free to add your comments too!