Why I homeschool my child

homeschooling child at desk

It was a question that I battled with, as every mom does, when my daughter was almost three. All the little people who were friends of my daughter were starting going to school and the parents seemed well pleased with it, so I thought it should be something that I should start looking into. And I did. I searched and researched playgroups and creches in my area and even a few recommended ones a little further afield. I decided to go have a look at my shortlist of schools and think I visited 10 in the end. I was not happy. I also could not understand why I was not happy. If asked, I could not give a single clear-cut answer of why I thought a particular school was a “no”. They all seemed, well, as good as advertised. Eventually I did send her to a nice little school, but after a week and a bit and the change I witnessed in my child, I was not happy.

Long story short, I decided to homeschool (“unschool”) my daughter and we’ve had tremendous fun the last two and a half years. She socializes plenty with children her own age, and also gets to spend time with children in different age groups – her best little buddy is a boy younger than her while her favourite cousin to play with is a girl a couple years older. She also engages in extra mural activities (swimming, music, gymnastics and library story time) which further ensures she gets adequate mingling time with other kids. That is all besides the play dates that she regularly has. And of course, chatting to me and Daddy and other grown-ups is also an important social skill to learn. She also has plenty of me-time, to have her space and sort out her thoughts and ideas and spends time away from me and has grown quite independent in many instances.

I don’t simply do school at home, to me that is not at all what homeschooling is about. I get led by my daughter’s interests and her advancement and use life and living as our classroom. We don’t follow a particular curriculum and don’t adhere to “school times”. When an opportunity presents itself for learning (and they constantly do), we engage it.

She is doing spectacularly well, without any pushing and prodding from me, and is in most instances far ahead with developmental milestones. I cannot attribute that to homeschooling alone though, I think she just is a bright little spark in any case (which makes it even more challenging for me to ensure her eager mind gets all it needs).

After investigating homeschooling, and practicing it for two and a half years, I can very confidently say that I have made the right choice for us. I have my reasons for continuing homeschooling and that could probably fill a whole booklet, so I won’t go into the particulars here. Suffice to say that the words to the song “Logical” by the group Supertramps pretty much sums it up.

Anyway, my point is that whether you should send your child to school at 9 months, 18 months, 2 years or 3 years, should maybe not be the only question – perhaps you should think whether you want to send your child to school at all.

Click here to find schools and organisations that offer services and products for parents who homeschool their children in Gauteng.

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Minette Tonoli

Minette Tonoli

Minette Tonoli, mom to 2 gorgeous girls  (4 + 9mnths), passionate homeschooler and herb lover. 

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12 Responses

  1. Hi Minette

    My name is Rashika; I also have 2 daughters aged 4 & 8. I am also homeschooling my kids; am enjoying it tremendously.
    I live in Brakpan, Gauteng. Where do you live?

    Hope we can stay in touch


  2. I salute you for homeschooling your child. I have started this year to homeschool my daughter who is in grade 9. She loves it. I should have done that long ago but I had to work to earn money. Should you able to afford to stay at home to teach your children, go for it.

  3. Rashika and Angela, thanks for your replies. It is encouraging to see how the homeschool movement is growing. I think that more and more people are getting disillusioned with the education system as it is and are looking for alternatives.

    I’m based in Boskruin, near the Coca Cola Dome and will be happy to meet up with other homeschoolers to exchange thoughts and ideas.

  4. Fantastic article, especially on the point of you not being able to figure out why you are unhappy with the schools. My wife and I have been faced with the same problem and I can honestly say that I think it comes down to a trust issue, I just don’t trust anyone else but my wife to have my children’s best interests at heart. That being said, homeschooling is a pretty scary prospect but I am pretty certain that by God’s grace we will manage. All in all I think homeschooling is the way to go so thank you for your account of it thus far!

  5. Kenneth, I would say that “pretty scary” is an understatement 🙂 But for those of us who are fortunate enough to be able to do it and brave enough to struggle through those early days of being unsure about everything and constantly questioning ourselves, the rewards are bountiful!

    From what I can see the homeschooling movement (and by extension the unschooling movement) is growing globally by the day and the support out there is tremendous, so if you really hit a wall, or just need some encouragement, simply ask, someone is sure to have an answer and most of us are very eager to help out.

    Thanks for your input and good luck with your homeschooling.

  6. Hi, thanks for this article. You articulated your thoughts so well. I think the way you do but end up saying things like, “No, we do not use any curriculum. We just play a lot and have fun and learning happens around our living life.” I tell you what, it freaks people out! Sometimes I start to believe them that I am doing something wrong! How could anything as important as educating your children be so much fun? Maybe I should be making it more boring or structured? Anyway, I am loving this opportunity with my kiddies. I feel so priveleged and lucky.

  7. Catherine, I just LOVE your comment about “How could anything as important as educating your children be so much fun!”

    Never ever make it more boring or structured – as long as kids (and you) have fun, so much more education happens, I’m convinced of it! I had my four year old come to me sometime at the beginning of the year asking me “Please! Please, Mommy, can we play homeschooling today?” Every time I think of that I have to just smile – for her learning is so much fun she sees it as playing!

    Thank you for posting back. Enjoy homeschooling!

  8. My daughter is five we have a classroom at my office where i have a lady teaching her privately I am looking for afrikaans kids same age to start a group of two or three with Impact sylabus if you know anybody that will be interested as I feel your child will get best attention in smaller group and get to socialize…

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