I first came face to face with the idea of home schooling while on holiday with my husband and our two young daughters some 18 years ago. I met a home schooler for the first time – a young girl in her teens whose parents worked at the resort where we were staying. She made a very good impression: mature, confident and pleasant. I still couldn’t imagine how a parent could take all the responsibility for their children’s education! My first thoughts were: “Never! – this is not for me”.
You see I come from a traditional South African background: I went through the 12 years of formal school myself, and continued on to tertiary education. I even became a teacher at a school and became a university lecturer, but I still thought only a super-mom or a perfect parent would be able to school their children while juggling all their other responsibilities.
Then, just over two years later, “Never say Never” became all too true for me. With the encouragement and support of my wonderful husband, I took the plunge: we took our oldest daughter, then in grade 1, out of school and started the home schooling journey with her younger sister and baby brother.
By taking the plunge I learnt that there is no such thing as a super-mom or a perfect-parent; this is neither attainable nor necessary.
And this is where the motivation for writing this book on home schooling comes from. The idea was born about three years ago while chatting to my friend, Laverne, on a home school exhibition in our local Botanical Garden. I realised that there were so many good stories and testimonies out there that could encourage the home schooling parents with younger children on their journey. The initial plan was to assemble testimonies of people who had been through the mill, so to speak – veteran home schoolers and their children.
While watching the younger moms and hearing them share their concerns and fears, I could really identify with them. When we started, there were very few role models. Sometimes I felt as if we were treading in the dark and I often considered giving it all up. Often it was an encouraging book, an article in a newspaper or a testimony told, that encouraged me to still continue.
And that is what I hope this book will do – that it will not only serve as a source of information on the different options and approaches to home schooling, but will also encourage parents to enjoy their children, think out of the box and learn from the testimonies and stories of others that each situation and family is unique and that it is OK to be different.