What inspired you to start homeschooling?
I always wanted to do it because I believe it is a better way, and my sister is homeschooling her daughters as well. I wanted to give my children more than a one-size-fits-all approach, and spend the time with them.
What are some of the benefits you have found with homeschooling?
My child can focus better in a less noisy environment. She is much happier and feels more included and involved in whatever is happening at home, even when it’s challenging at times. She can participate in giving ideas as to what may help her do better. Conversations are so helpful!
What has been a surprise in your homeschooling?
The amount of patience required. I knew I would need it, but it’s definitely a daily lesson for me because my daughter and I have opposite temperaments. I have had to learn a completely different approach to helping her, and to figuring out how she thinks to make this work.
I have also been surprised by her own interest in the world around her, the way she connects certain concepts and ideas, and the questions she comes up with. It’s fun! I enjoy that anything can become a learning moment during the day, even on days where I feel I don’t have the capacity to do a lesson time with her.
Do you feel there is a stigma to homeschooling?
Yes, slightly. I think it’s improving, but people still feel intimidated by those who think for themselves and have the courage to act differently. It’s really about your own boundaries – you are the parent, you do what you feel is best for your family, and you don’t owe others a defense or explanation in doing so. People need to learn to be friends without having to agree on every single aspect of parenting.
What tips can you offer those who are considering homeschooling?
Take it slow, take a break, do a lot of reading, talk to other families. Think about what it is you want for your child’s development as a person, and not just about their education. Think about the experiences you’d like to create and have with them. Don’t rush out to buy things. Start with what you have and where you are, and get to know how your child thinks and what he/she likes. It will give you a much better baseline to start from.
What curriculum do you use or have used that you enjoyed and why?
We don’t currently use one. I use an eclectic approach, things I print off from the internet, library books, Reading Eggs, Rivet, Khan Academy, Teach Your Monster How to Read, and Dr Binocs science videos. The reason is that my child is only 7, I’m still exploring what works best for her, so I’m not in a hurry to invest in a curriculum just yet.
Can you offer tips for homeschooling in your area? Any good groups you can share for our readers who may be moving and/or live in that area?
I’m in South Africa, Cape Town. In my area, I encourage homeschoolers to connect to the local and international groups for support. And to register with the Pestalozzi Trust, our legal defence organisation for homeschoolers here.