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Learning Times

The march of time cannot be arrested (despite Craig’s contention otherwise,) and so we find that school days are upon us.

Ethan is now five years old. After a year of informal learning times with him and pondering the various schooling options, we discovered a home-based teaching programme that really resonated. Sonlight Curriculum is literature-based, meaning that a good proportion of the teaching is done through books and stories. And so, at the beginning of 2015, Ethan began his formal education. We started him at a Grade 1 level (6-7 year old) with which he is more than comfortable. A feature of the literature-based approach is that it can be used for a range of ages, so Jesse is listening to the books and sitting in on many of the lessons, and learning alongside Ethan.


Ethan and Jesse both love the science experiments, and we also cover reading, memorization, writing, history, geography, mathematics and Portuguese. Ethan is steadily working his way through the bookshelf of new books that arrived with the curriculum (if you’re curious, here’s the list:

Jesse wants to join in, and has begun learning to read. He insisted that we keep an old writing board that we were about to throw away, and has been practicing on it. He is teaching himself to write with very little input from me. Last week, he showed me that he could write his name unassisted.

So that basically accounts for Ethan, Jesse and Craig! Craig has also taken on the role of President at his Toastmasters club, and is continuing to make use of the opportunities to practice his public speaking. During the year, he told the story of How Pickles Saved the World Cup, recounted the day he met Edelweiss, and entertained with the tale of The Ant and the Kangaroo.

After our last update, Edelweiss began working with a start-up coach to develop a viable business model for RPHealth resulting in a clear focus to serve chiropractors. She is gaining traction in that space. There continue to be a few other projects in which she’s involved, including a new chapter for an international Human Resources textbook (Expatriate Management across the MENA Region,) strategy consulting with Capstone, participating in a faith-based social entrepreneurship conference last September and teaching her next course at Bethany Global University. She enjoys working from our home office and homeschooling on Fridays including Portuguese lessons.

We seem to have managed a lot of activities over the last year, so here is a brief run-down.


  • A camping trip with cousins, which we really enjoyed
  • Blackberry picking! Our favourite spring-time activity. They grow wild at the nearby park, and this year Craig learned how to make delicious blackberry pies
  • Ethan attended Vacation Bible School for a week at the beginning of the summer
  • Craig’s Dad visited from NZ for Ethan’s 5th birthday
  • We took a family trip to Chicago, and really enjoyed our time with Edelweiss’s best friends from Georgetown, Dr Anna and Mrs Inna. We also had a great time staying with Mr & Mrs Williams, and with the McRosties
  • Canoeing on Lake Harriet while Edelweiss’s Mom paddle-boarded
  • The Minnesota State Fair, which we look forward to all year
  • Helping Mr Hansen in the garden
  • Attending the Fire Service Open Day. Ethan & Jesse put out a “fire” with the fire hose, practiced escaping from a room filled with smoke, and climbed into a Fire Truck, an ambulance and a snow plow
  • In the Fall, we spent a fun afternoon driving up to Stillwater and picnicking by the Saint Croix River
  • Apple picking
  • Heading north to Brainerd to go flying with Brad Thornberg in his Super Cub. Edelweiss’s greatest achievement last year was introducing Debbie Smith to Brad in September, and we were delighted to attend their wedding just before Christmas


  • Christmas Day was a lot of fun, shared with Mark & Elaine, Jasmine and Amber via Skype
  • After Christmas, we had a week long holiday in St Paul, going to the zoo, shovelling snow, driving along the Mississippi river banks, and visiting the frozen Minnehaha Falls
  • On Friday, we make pizza and play games. Ethan is learning to play chess with Edelweiss, while Jesse and Craig usually play Snap

We have chosen a selection of photos from last year to put in our Photo Gallery, so please check them out:

Have a great year!

Craig & Edelweiss, Ethan + Jesse