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TO THE POINT: Change of Season
December 21, 2019
A CHANGE OF SEASON
This ezine will be a bit different in that I want to share from my heart the story of Homeschooling Curriculum Guide up until now, a decade of writing later. Ten years ago there was much less information available on home education than there is available today, and a main go-to source of information was websites. To develop a website was also a much bigger and more challenging project than it is today, and there were few homeschoolers in South Africa who had websites with valuable information. These homeschoolers also had books for sale and even curriculum developed first-hand from their own experience. They inspired me to also try my hand at such a venture, as I was already being asked for help by lots of homeschoolers during that time. To always be available, at no charge, to anybody needing information became time consuming.
So the website information was a compilation of my personal experience gained from home educating my own three children. It was fun learning how to use new technology and writing from my heart. I remember how excited I was when my first ezine had 20 subscribers! I also remember how I always had more than enough to say, and how I could just sit down and write about lots of topics. I received many enquiries on homeschooling – the Why, the How, the How to start, the Curriculum questions etc. and this helped me to get to know the typical questions new homeschoolers have. So I structured the website around those questions so that information was readily available for anyone.
A few years down the line, in order to fill a real need at that time for a high quality Afrikaans reading and writing curriculum, I developed and self-published Omvattend Afrikaans. This curriculum is still an excellent product meeting needs in terms of helping children to read and write Afrikaans. I am proud to say that not only is it distributed far and wide in South Africa (especially to farms), but also to other countries far away where South Africans still want to teach their children Afrikaans!
During that same year, my mom and I have been working on the South African Art series for Children, a unit-based art curriculum appropriate for all children. Again this was done to meet a gap we saw in available resources, in that one could find lots of practical (how to do) art curriculum, or even information on the classical and other artists, but very little on specifically South African artists. This curriculum was self-published as well, and clients include not only homeschooling families, but also artists presenting art classes to children!
I also published the seven Homeschooling Guides that year, which was a massive task I am personally very proud of. Structured around the typical questions, these Guides help parents understand various key topics: from the reasons to consider homeschooling, how to start, administration and socialization issues, to the different child development phases children go through, and the 7-Step process that helps parents compile their own eclectic curriculum. I received very positive feedback from clients indicating how they appreciate the practical help and how comprehensive these Guides are.
But then came social media, such as facebook and whatsapp groups, and suddenly it seemed that the world of information go-to changed drastically. Apparently many people found the ease of asking for instant information from many other people online way more comfortable, despite not knowing these people. It seemed that some people are also just more ‘social’ than others and have the answers to all questions, even though they are not necessarily there yet with their own children.
As homeschooling in South Africa grew in numbers, it also seemed that one should be much more careful in giving advice since the value system and perspective one can bring to the table is not necessarily politically/socially ‘correct’ anymore. Homeschooling is maturing in South Africa over time and today there are many ‘veteran’ homeschoolers available for asking advice.
In time, even more people will start to ask questions on alternative education options as the public school system in South Africa appears to be worsening. So, not only homeschooling but other education options are initiated, developed and growing in numbers. As with anything in life, there are seasons and this year was a change of season for me personally. I am nearly done formally homeschooling my own children, and I am also involved in one of these ‘alternative’ education option ventures, applying what I have learnt from homeschooling my own children. It is exciting and rewarding! But this causes my time and energy to be redirected into a new channel. So after 10 years of writing, I have decided to stop writing ezines for Homeschooling Curriculum Guide.
I know that many people were encouraged, inspired and helped by the messages, as some have given me feedback. Thank you! I also know that I have enjoyed writing them from my heart, as I had to carefully consider what to say each and every time. But there is a time for some things to stop, and now is such a time for me.
The website will still be available and all products available for purchase. I will also read all emails sent to me personally, but for now – goodbye, all the best and remember God is with you in your homeschooling journey!
Freedom from chaos begins with habit. (Deborah Wuehler)
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