Do You Want a Glimpse?

I think it was 2017 when I came across a post in a homeschool group about two families that were going to be going around the country interviewing homeschool families. They mentioned some of the stops that they’d be making but nothing jumped out at me to make me follow their page.

A while after this, when my poor children were unwell, I saw a post saying they’d be in Somerset West (I think it would be the very next day) and would love to meet and possibly include families from the Western Cape who homeschool. Now, here’s the thing. There are politicians who believe that all homeschool families are White Afrikaners and racist and want to remove their children from schools. After all, this IS Africa and especially in the other provinces, Africans make up a huge majority of the country and *gasp* some Africans are present even in the ‘good schools,’ as we call them. Yes, obviously some are indeed racist. And some do do a lot of complaining about the current government, forgetting that for most of us, this is miles better than the separation, oppression, forced removals and township life, and hatred and fear and death that permeated the very fabric of our lives.

But others are just like me. We just want to be the ones who raise our children, who spend significant time with them. So, I decided to ask them if I could attend on my own as my children weren’t well. I wanted the naysayers (Who probably won’t watch it but hey🤷🏽‍♀️) to know that there ARE Black people who have chosen home education. That was my sole motive. To add my colour to the few others of my colour who might appear in the documentary.

They said yes.

It came out on Vimeo a few months ago. It’s about R260 to buy. $15. It’s simply called ‘Home Ed Documentary’ – based here in South Africa. I enjoyed seeing the different types of families we have. I was intrigued by the adoptive family and our similar lives… You might catch a glimpse of me when I only had four children.😉

Homeschool Fears

EXAMS!!

My son slowed down in his primary years. Now that I know about his autistic traits, that could be why🤔Here we are, preparing for the first ever official exams and I’m terrified.

I have always had love for the ones who struggle. Even as a nine year old, I purposely befriended the one special needs girl in our class. When I had a piano recital during assembly, I asked her to play what my left hand would play so that she would feel accomplished in some way, ‘celebrated’ for a change. Years later, after befriending a refugee, My mother asked why I picked “the ones with problems” to be my friends.

Because if I don’t, who will? The refugee girl came late in our high school life. The rest of us had been together since what is now known as grade eight. This girl came in grade 11. She didn’t fit in. Her blazer was second hand and CLEARLY so. It even looked handsewn. (The second hand shop charged depending on how bad the item looked. This looked BAD. Was obviously what her breadwinner mother of four could afford.) She had bad body odour from walking long sister access to and from school. Everybody said she and another refugee stank. But by the end of the year, that had been sorted. But I had to drift away from a friend who told me, “It’s the three of us. WE are friends. Why are you inviting HER to sit with us? Why can’t she go sit in the library during break like she always does?”

Anyway, that’s not the point. The point is that I’ve always been drawn to the struggling, the friendless, the ones who need to try harder. Be it to get through school, or to get through life. And note it’s my turn. My children’s turn. And I’m scared!

They are the first I’ve ever educated. I mark their school work and except for Maths, they’re generally doing well. But will doing well translate into good exam results? I’m not sure for my son. Economics isn’t only about learning the jargon, it’s about applying the knowledge . And that’s where the struggle is. When he ‘applies,’ all the jargon, all the economic terms disappear from his mind. He answers like he’s answering an English paper. Instead of using phrases like supply and demand, he’ll say, “More people will want more of the items.” Things like that. Same problem with Business Studies and Geography. He also doesn’t answer Case Stidies well either.

Maths? No good. I’m getting both teens tutors for that once we’re done and I know all their problem concepts.

English? Oh boy. The neurologist (Who I’ve fired) mentioned an autistic teen who said he didn’t understand how he could “Describe a trip to the ocean” when he’d never been to one. She had to ask him if he’d ever read about the ocean, which he had. He then was told he could use his imagination plus what he’d read about, to describe a trip to one. Which made sense to him. But in an exam, I can’t tell my son to imagine things. To be verbose. His essays are pitifully short and he HATES writing.

I’m honestly scared.

I want them to thrive! But I am not their brain. Physics is going great. I’ll cling to that. He’s able to learn facts easily. It’s interpretation and Maths that are his bug bear. It is what it is. I’ll take it one day at a time. I’m doing MY best as teacher, using extra videos for them to learn through too.

I’m terrified. I hate that we don’t have support in the family, but detractors. We don’t have well wishers, but haters. I can’t go to them with concerns, they’ll blame homeschooling itself, or claim God is cursing us. (Hey, I did say a relative said God cursed us with twins because we adopted, right? So anything goes in their evil world.)

Here’s to exam prep. We’ve begun. Going through past English papers when I’m recovering from my surgery in two weeks’ time. And he has started revising Economics so we can go through past papers there too to see what gaps we have. And physics…He only has one chapter to go, and very few of Business Studies too.

We’re on the home stretch for international exam number one -IGCSE (aka the international O levels). Praying he does super incredibly. Not for only the sake of our detractors, but for both our sakes too. God help us!