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Archives for Cape Home Educators

For South African Home Educating Families

With the recent developments in terms of policy governing home educators in South Africa, the Cape Home Educators have started an initiative to engage with government.  Here is the recently elected Steering Committee for Education’s letter to the home educating community:

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For a clearer view of the members:

CHE steering committee

And their profiles:

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Serving One Another

This article first appeared in the Cape Home Educators’ quarterly magazine,
April 2013

Serving One Another

The Organic Community of Homeschooling Families

by Taryn Hayes

One thing that I deeply love about the homeschooling community is that it is a community. Since I embarked on this journey into homeschooling ten years ago, I’ve met people from vastly different walks of life. In any other circumstance, I probably wouldn’t have met them. Yet with our common goal of homeschooling, it seems it is enough to break down cultural barriers, language difficulties and socio-economic differences. Where barriers could have existed, there is, instead, helping hands. Where needs are mentioned, they are, more often than not, met. When struggles are shared, sympathy and help is extended.

I have the privilege of administrating the Homeschool Western Cape group on Facebook. It’s a privilege, because I get to witness the homeschooling community at work, every day, first hand. It makes my heart sing when I open up the Facebook group page and read a request for some curriculum help – and then have to scroll through dozens of helpful answers. When I meet a fellow homeschool mom in the bookstore for the first time (yes, this has happened more than once!) the instant rapport that follows is exhilarating. The intricate workings of the homeschooling community is organic – natural, flowing and inclusive.

Seldom amongst homeschoolers do I hear the word “no”. Yes, there are times when families feel the pressures of life and expectations – then “no” is not only natural, it is necessary. But mostly, those in the homeschooling community are “yes” people. Yes, we can help each other figure out which curriculum would suit a particular child. Yes, we can organise an outing and have everyone join. Yes, we will join you. Yes, let’s have tea and share our woes and wins. A need is identified and, pretty soon, the solution is provided. No coercion. Just community at work.

Since we began homeschooling, community has been an unexpected benefit. In this past year alone, I’ve benefited directly from the natural flow of the Homeschool Western Cape community.  Last year began with taking part in the Cape Home Educators’ arranged Sports Day in Camps Bay. Need identified? Yes, athletics for kids is fun and something the homeschooling community doesn’t naturally have. What can we do? Let’s create it! And what fun the children have had. Last year my daughter did high-jump for the first time, getting coaching on the spot and ending up exceeding her (and our!) expectations.

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One Zimbabwe-born mom, Karen D, recognised the need to become better acquainted with her surrounding country in order to teach her children about the Cape. She chose not only to meet her own need but also to extend an invitation to others by starting an outing club called Cape Explorers. Karen is particularly gifted in leading large groups of children. In this last year we’ve visited about a dozen places, developed some solid friendships and enjoyed Karen’s wealth of gifts – living letters, administration excellence, brilliant ideas – lavished upon us.

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For some years, Wendy Y and other moms ran a wonderful homeschoolers craft market. As seasons pass on, this one came to an end. But a couple of years later, another mom, new to the Cape homeschooling community, started another entrepreneur opportunity for children. Thanks to Yolande T’s initiative, my kids got to enjoy running a Tombola store and selling juices, second hand books and sweets.

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Longstanding traditions in schools mean school-going children often find themselves with wonderful opportunities to participate in Olympiads and Shakespeare festivals. These don’t naturally extend to the homeschooling community. But the homeschooling community naturally comes up with a solution. Last year Wendy M’s innovative children joined up with a bunch of other teens to take part in the Shakespeare festival. Without the benefit of a drama teacher, the teens directed themselves, rehearsed, costumed and presented their drama case for the 30-minute Shakespeare festival – and quite successfully too.

Dozens of times a week I see community at work. Kirsten R offers a mom’s chill out evening every so often – a wonderful time-out for moms to meet and chat. The “Far Southers” (that would be Fishoek and beyond) hold a weekly picnic day on the Noordhoek common. Several young homeschooling families meet up in the Northern Suburbs and the encouraging invitations to newcomers often pop up on the HWC Facebook page. Outings are arranged by various families and, more often than not, the invitation goes out to the HWC group. The more the merrier! It’s not uncommon to find a group of homeschooled families – from all different backgrounds, religions and races – visiting a museum, a farm or a factory together.

When I started homeschooling in the early 2000s, I never expected to experience community at this level. But, now, looking back, I’m not surprised. It makes sense that families who choose to swim against the mainstream schooling system would have the tenacity to make community work. And I’m glad. Because it means that my weaknesses are lifted up by the strength of others, and I can offer my strengths in service of our greater community.

Are you a part of a greater homeschooling community? If not, consider plugging into one of these online groups. Real-life contact naturally extends from these online meeting places, and before you know it, you will be warding off strangers’ “What about socialisation?” questions with “Goodness! That’s the least of our worries!”

Facebook Groups:

· Homeschool Western Cape http://www.facebook.com/groups/homeschoolwesterncape/

· Homeschooling in South Africa http://www.facebook.com/groups/100788473311514/

· Helderberg Homeschool http://www.facebook.com/groups/491935657490037/

· Homeschooling Christians in South Africa (not visible on your non-group friends’ newsfeed) http://www.facebook.com/groups/Christianhomeschoolingza/

· Christian Homeschooling in South Africa (visible on your non-group friends’ newsfeed) http://www.facebook.com/groups/christianhomeschoolingsa/

· Sonlight Curriculum: South Africa http://www.facebook.com/groups/sonlightsouthafrica/

· Footprints Curriculum support group http://www.facebook.com/groups/footprintsonourland/

· Love 2 Learn Curriculum support group http://www.facebook.com/groups/love2learncurriculum/

Yahoo Eloops (email only groups):

SACSSA Sports Day

Friday 18th: SACSSA ATHLETICS DAY!

This morning saw us all get up super early. Rousing four (five, if I include Craig) sleepy heads is no mean feat! But we got up and going by 7am. Granny Bev arrived by 6:30am to help out with some hair brushing and the like.

And then we were ready for our first interschools athletics event. Kiera was invited to take part based on her results from the CHE athletics day. Knowing how keen she was to take part, I couldn’t very well turn the offer down, without feeling major mommy guilt! So off we went – two grannies, one grandpa, four kids and two parents to spend a morning in the sun to watch one child take part in a couple of races and one javelin event.

And it was fun. Kiera was a bundle of nervous excitement. Loads of preparation ahead of time regarding potential disappointment did nothing to discourage her. Pure bubbling excitement was Kiera.

She didn’t place better than third (in the original post I said fourth but in reviewing the video of her 80m race I remembered that she came third) in any if her races, but I still screamed and cheered like a crazy woman. And she managed to be positive about her disappointment in not winning her races. Coming stone cold last in the turbo javelin event, however, was harder to suck up. A few grumbles escaped her mouth – mostly aimed at herself. Oh these life lessons are not easy to learn!!

Katie was down to take part too, but the hugeness of it all overwhelmed her, so she didn’t take part in the end, even though she arrived all dressed the part.

There were about 40-50 homeschoolers participating under the CHE banner. The South African Christian Schools Sports Association (SACSSA) invites Christian schools and homeschoolers to compete. I was really impressed with the number of schools. I had no idea so many Christian schools existed in our corner of the Western Cape. But more impressive was the organisation of the event. SACSSA gets two thumbs up for a very well run event. Every detail was attended to.

After Kiera’s events were completed, we made our way home. It was a long morning in the sun for our boys – especially the daddy one who took the morning off work to be with us!

I definitely recommend that more home school families get involved in events like these. They’re fun and also give our kids great exposure to athletics as a sport.

Here’s a taste in photos:

We arrived at the Tygerberg Athletics grounds at 7:45am. It was already packed full of people and granny Sally and Grandpa Peter were already there. Grannies got stuck into some great chatting. :-)



An excited Kiera waits in line for her 60m race. She’s wearing all white as that was our official Homeschool ‘uniform’. As usual, we don’t have the right kit, so the Herrmann and Falconer family came to our rescue. Thanks guys!



Micah the monkey wearing his daddy’s hat after leaving his at home.


Granny and Katie wait for Kiera’s javelin event.



Daddy Craig watches intently.

Granny Sally passes the time with Sam – reading Thomas books.


A taste of some of the crowds of people there.


Kiera’s turbo javelin experience.



A snippet of Kiera’s 60m race. Turn DOWN your volume! You’ve been warned!


And her 80m 3rd place:


A big thanks to the organisers! And especially Sharon W of the CHE for coordinating the home schoolers so well!

2011 CHE Sports Day

2011 saw the CHE sports day arrive a month earlier than last year.  We almost didn’t go as it felt a bit rushed, what with all the other beginning of term stuff.  We didn’t even tell the kids until the last minute, so there was no practising running like last year.  But, it’s such a wonderful opportunity and it only comes once a year, we decided to get it together and head out.

Craig had just arrived home late the night before from a conference in Franschoek.  And he was leaving the next day for a trip to Ghana for the week.  Squeezing a hot day in the sun watching kids running around the field is not always fun, especially under those circumstances.  But he got us all there on time and between chasing the boys, taking photos and making sure we had a place to rest, he kept busy and had fun with the kids.

Enjoy the photos!

Sitting soccer – a fun ice breaker event before the big races begin.

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Kiera tries out being goalie…

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Turbo javelin – this event introduces kids to throwing a javelin.  They throw what looks like an overgrown shuttlecock.  Katie wasn’t too interested in it, but Kiera was dead keen.  She threw better and better with each throw and ended up placing 4th in the 8-9 age group.

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The bigger kids did high jump, long jump, shot put and of course all the longer races.  I was impressed with how many teens took part.

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Families camped out on the sidelines.  We were again at Symmonds Field in Camps Bay.  A beautiful venue!  But the no shade factor can make it really really hot.  Fortunately this year the breeze was up a bit and the temperatures didn’t soar like they did the year before.

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The girls ran the 60m and the 80m race each.  Kiera in her age group of 8-9 year olds, and Katie in hers of 6-7 year olds.  The both ran their hearts out – so very cute to see the determination on their faces as they gave it their all!

Kiera managed to place 3rd (60m) and surprised even herself with a 1st in the 80m!

run Katie run!!!

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She almost got Mary Dekker-ed off the track at one point.  Bt she ran ran ran with all she had.

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Methinks Kiera should go with the “no practising” training programme – it worked a charm this year!  Actually, I didn’t think she’d place, as she didn’t last year.  She tends to take losing quite badly, so I had a few good discussions with her about the fact that we are there to have fun.  Losing is disappointing, but it is still important to be grateful for the good things like running and being able to take part.  And it’s always good to congratulate the winner.  Little did I know she’d be the winner once!

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Getting her name entered in as 3rd place in this photo below.

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While the girls ran, the boys played.  They could take part in the potato race, but Sam was not interested…

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And, well, just take a look at Micah.  Does that look like a face of sporting interest?

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Bev and Chris came for some of the morning, so they got to see Kiera place 3rd in the 60m.  Both Bev and I yelled ourselves silly.  I videoed the races (see below).  For Katie’s I had placed myself in an awkward spot – she couldn’t really hear me so I only ended up yelling as she came past.  By the time Kiera came along, I had learnt that it was better to stand near the end – hence the fish-wifey sounds emitting from my mouth as I cheered her.  Of course, the girl was winning too, so that just trebled the volume … and shriekiness!  Oh boy!  Poor kid!

Below is a 1 minute video of their races.  Enjoy!

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