By Elmien Ackerman, a self-proclaimed “wordaholic” who loves words and language and cringes at the thought of a missing apostrophe. She writes for Impaq Education, a curriculum provider for home and tutor education.
During the last year, all parents have had to undertake some form of homeschooling at certain times. But it’s been moms, in particular, who have been among the greatest education heroes during this time — often also juggling work, home and parenting.
THANK YOU to all the mothers out there who have helped keep their children’s education going.
Sophia Saib and Lisa van Rensburg are amongst the real homeschooling heroes. They have both decided to teach their children at home full-time and share why you don’t need to be a teacher to homeschool.
“In this time of COVID-19, the outside world isn’t safe, but that doesn’t mean our children’s education must suffer,” Saib explains. Saib worked in a corporate environment, but her passion for teaching steered her in the direction of a postgraduate degree in education when her second daughter was born ten years ago.
“We all want what’s best for our own children. With COVID-19 currently, we decided as a family [that] homeschooling would be the best option. Now I can’t see us ever wanting to go back to mainstream [schooling],” Saib says.
Van Rensburg, who has been teaching for the past ten years, adds: “We decided to do homeschooling because I just felt it would be safer and I would be able to give my children the education they needed”.
Van Rensburg had grown up in the teaching sector as her mom had been a teacher for over 30 years. “I have always had a passion for teaching,” Van Rensburg explains.
Homeschooling vs Traditional Schooling
“An obvious difference between homeschooling and traditional schooling is the available undivided attention,” Van Rensburg says. She explains that she can now give her two boys, aged 7 and 5, the one-on-one attention they need. Saib agrees and says that she can now spend more time with her four daughters, aged 12, 10, 7 and 3.
Benefits Of Homeschooling
Saib and Van Rensburg are enjoying the many benefits of homeschooling, and listed some of their favourites below:
Working at their own pace
“I love that we can work at our own pace and in our own time,” Van Rensburg says. Saib says that they follow a time structure for lessons but still work at their own pace. “Each child is unique, so we play around with a schedule that works for us.”
Learning from the comfort of home
“I love the fact that we can learn in the comfort of our own home,” Van Rensburg says. Saib agrees and adds: “We have watched our daughters grow more relaxed, owning their environment and learning with a smile.”
Both Saib and Van Rensburg said that they don’t miss the mad morning school rush or sitting in traffic. “We now enjoy a relaxed, calm approach,” says Van Rensburg. “Now we don’t send our children away, they are not overwhelmed with homework, and [they] are released from the pressures of having ‘no time’ to be children,” Saib adds.
While they might be new to homeschooling, as former teachers, Saib and Van Rensburg are experts in learning. They share their tips below:
- Stay organised
“Have a schedule and stick to it,” Van Rensburg says. “Being organised is key.”
- Make it fun
“When doing the art activities, have all the art supplies available,” Van Rensburg advises. “Make the outdoor physical activities exciting,” she adds.
- Reward your kids
Saib was worried that her daughters might miss school competitions as her daughters enjoyed winning academic awards, but now they take a different approach. “We teach them to value that you compete with yourself and to try and be your own best – not [to compete with] anyone else’s standards.”
Van Rensburg helps her boys work towards their goals by relying on a tried-and-tested form of reward. “Reward charts work so well with our two boys,” Van Rensburg explains.
- Take part in extracurricular activities
Van Rensburg enrolled her children at a soccer academy to keep them involved in social activities. “We also try to get them involved in other activities and playdates (lockdown regulations permitting),” she concludes.
Finally, parents also have help at hand when it comes to homeschooling. A respected curriculum provider, such Impaq, provides parents and learners with guided support. For families based in Gauteng, they can also access the Optimi Campus facilities in Auckland Park and Lynwood. There are also many independent tutors throughout the country.
About Optimi Home
Optimi Home provides accessible learning solutions for home education and after-school tutoring. Optimi Home operates Impaq, South Africa’s largest home education provider. Impaq provides a comprehensive set of educational products based on a CAPS-aligned home education curriculum for Grades R to 12. Other offerings from Optimi Home include the Optimi Campus facilities in Lynwood, Tshwane as well as Auckland Park, Johannesburg. Optimi Home forms part of the Optimi Group.