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January 26, 2023

Can you commit?

As I start this last year of homeschooling my own children, there is a lot of advice I can give young or new parents considering homeschooling. The number one question will be :

Can you really make the commitment it will take to homeschool?

Most people considering alternative options to public school hear the word ‘homeschooling’ and immediately think of ‘another school’ to replace the normal public school. The worldwide pandemic has also caused the word ‘homeschooling’ to become a misnomer for just a variety of other ‘schools’ parents look for, including the very popular online schools, where they can just ‘drop off’ their child and go do other things.

In the past few years as a homeschool coach, I have come to know many such parents, and I have seen how the level of commitment to your children’s whole-hearted education makes a difference in the outcome. Parents were more often looking for somebody else to be responsible for their child’s education and growth. I have seen how ignorance or fear or insecurities can contribute to a lack of commitment, and I understand that, but in every instance where the parents made the commitment fully, preparing themselves with an attitude that said – no matter what happens we will work through this, there was success. Not only did the child then excel but the parents also grew in their deeper understanding of the true heart of homeschooling.

Let me share a little about my own journey to maybe help you understand. After meeting a family member who was homeschooling way back, I was intrigued even though my oldest was only 3 years old at the time. When I started doing research, there was not a lot of information so freely available and even less people one could speak to who were either busy homeschooling, so one could talk practicalities or was done homeschooling, so one could talk about the possibilities. But there was just enough information to help me realize that this will probably not be a difficult thing to do, but it does take time and commitment.

However, since raising children was one of my dreams come true, and to choose to stay at home for my children was a quality lifestyle decision that my husband and I made since the day we got married, we were prepared to commit to that. Even though I had given up a career as an engineer, I knew that this journey will only last a certain season. I sincerely believe that one has only a limited time of investing in your children, before they leave the nest.

As my other children were born, there was a time of really being busy just surviving every day, as I am sure some of you can relate to. Then suddenly my daughter was ready to learn to read, and I realized, hey, we can now formally start with home education! I was also at that time a little bit insecure on how to start, what to do and questions on curriculum naturally surfaced also, so we ordered a ‘formal’ curriculum.

When it arrived, I threw out some of the manuals, they were just silly, and when I looked at the teacher manual, I thought - what a burden! So I simply took some of the lovely books that was also part of the package and I made my own plans of working through them for a year. It was not hard to do, and soon we had a plan and a schedule to follow. We tried our best to stick to it for most of the days, but remember there were two little brothers as toddler and baby also during that time, so not every day went smoothly… but it was fun and easy, so life went on.

In hearing about an eclectic approach to compile your own curriculum, I could associate with that and soon had an idea for all the years stretching ahead of us. I literally went through our own bookshelves (we are readers so there are many books in our home), took out the books I thought will help my children learn about all sorts of stuff I wanted them to learn. I also visited secondhand bookshops, the library, ordered books from the internet or others including some homeschool curriculum suppliers. Books were chosen because I wanted a literature rich approach and it supported our vision (Step 1 of the 7-Step process). Soon there were bookshelves filled with books for all the years just before a formal highschool qualification.

Homeschooling three children during the primary school years were busy, but still manageable even though it was hard work! It was commitment that kept me going..

Did everything always go as planned? No, of course not.

Did the children always co-operate? No, of course not.

Did I lose my patience and got angry and frustrated? Often.

But never once was I thinking, give up

because of the COMMITMENT I made at the start.

Then the high school years were upon us, but by then my children were all working on their own independently, with my role being a mentor and guide and facilitator. So yes, it was still my responsibility to choose curriculum, but they had a say also, so they committed to their own education by then, as it should be. The high school years were actually less work in a sense, but not necessarily easier parenting. It was however still a commitment to be available if they needed me, and of course they still needed me to drive them around to all their ‘commitments’ whether social, sport or adventures ! And now this year, as my youngest is busy with his last formal school year, I am still personally committed to this venture, and will be so until the paper arrive as proof we are done!

You can do this too, dear reader, if you can commit. The question is :


Until next time, Willemien

Minutes are more worth than money. Spend them wisely. - Thomas Murphy

Want more info?

Homeschooling Guides for Parents→

Need curriculum?

South African Art Series for Children / Suid-Afrikaanse Kuns Reeks vir Kinders →

Omvattend Afrikaans Graad 1, 2 en 3 →

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