Anyone involved for even a short while will have heard – or even asked – this question. And so, this week, we ask two homeschool moms what they would include in their starter kit.
With resources available right at your fingertips, says homeschool mom Ilze Lyell, finding information is bliss:
“The Montessori approach inspires me a lot. There are Montessori ideas easily accessible on Pinterest and it offers wonderful ideas.”
Ilze’s also suggests using things you already have at home and using your available space optimally:
“Put a small table and chair in every room you occupy often, with different Montessori-inspired activities. You can rotate these activities weekly.”
Boredom, continues Ilze – especially when mom is busy – is hardly a bad thing, as this teaches the children to find ways to keep themselves creatively busy.
Gerda Welman, homeschooling veteran and coordinator of the Free State Home school group, has been teaching her two children – now aged nine and twelve – for the past six years. Her advice for starting the homeschool endeavour is to use your senses:
“In the beginning, I thought that the most important things were academic books, stationary, and black boards. But, since then, I’ve learned to truly see the world around me, to listen to people and animals and to smell tasty food. Books can’t teach you empathy.”
No schooling curriculum, says Gerda, is complete “without reading aloud to your kids and prayer.”
She also relies on affordable ways for inspiration:
“If you keep your eyes and ears open, then homeschooling can be a cheaper choice (than traditional schools). There are a lot of websites which offer information free of charge.”
Her advice for rookie homeschool parents is to take it one step at a time: “Take it easy for the first few weeks and learn your children’s preferences and interests. This will determine if a curriculum will suit them.” She says there are more than 50 curricula available and it is also possible to use a custom-made one, or a variety of more than one curriculum.
Her final word of wisdom is to join support groups and stay well-informed. Join the Pestalozzi Trust, she says:
“If there is aid, make use of it. It is important that homeschoolers stay in contact with other homeschoolers, so as to make friends, avoid loneliness, and find rapport when things get tough.”
Homeschooling pioneer and mother of two, now aged 20 and 22 and having never seen a “formal” day’s schooling, Marisa Haasbroek, shares a pearl of wisdom for us:
“The sentence that makes home schooling a whole lot easier is: Failures are only steps on the route to success.”