Hazy Days

Archives for Cape Home Educators

2014 CHE Sports Day

Every year the Cape Home Educators hold a sports day event for home educators in the Cape.  We’ve attended on and off over the years and every year the kids have a blast.  This year being their best yet.  I’ve found that the littlies in the family take a few years to warm up to participating, but once they’re in, they love it. 

An event like this is a huge undertaking to organise and not a small feat when the organisers are a small team of dedicated homeschooling parents with a lot on their plate already. 

Some changes were made this year that worked well, other changes not so well, but mostly it was a really wonderful time and I love the fact that my kids get an opportunity to experience track and field events and the camaraderie that happens when they meet other homeschoolers for the first time and just get along like a house on fire.  That, for me, is the best part – for every year my girls end up hanging out with girls they’ve never met, but instantly they’re chatting, getting to know each other and supporting each other on the sports’ field.  And some years it’s a reunion and in other years it’s been girls they know outside of this event too.  Blessings!

In the whole month of February, other than building project photos, this event got the main attention from my camera!

So here goes – photos from Sports Day 2014:

Sam racing his little heart out – short legs and no running-speed-genes advantage left him at the back of the pack – but boy he had fun!

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Katie gunning it – I think she came second or third in this race.

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There was an unfortunate incident where a young boy hurt his back in the long jump event.  It was the first time in 8 or so years of this event running that an incident that required more than a plaster happened.  Big shock, but good news is that he is totally fine!

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Kiera running her heart out – she came second, if I remember correctly!

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Love the excited brother on the sidelines running her in…

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This year some “boeresports” were added – tug of war:

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Yellow team won hands down!

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Egg, spoon and sack races too. 

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We also had a free demonstration, try out and competition of bow shooting that the kids AND parents enjoyed!

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There are two sessions of prize giving – this helps for those families with smaller kids who can’t stay until after lunch.

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Here, Victor, as chairman of CHE, awards the kids their placement ribbons:

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Kiera at the high jump …

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And shot put:

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She came first for shot put.

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Katie, third for running.

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And Kiera, first place tied with two other girls for high jump.  A sweet story here: Kiera was awarded first place and the other two second and third.  But, at the event itself, because all the girls couldn’t get over the next height, they were told that they tied first place.  So, Kiera spoke up politely and told Victor that they had been told that the other two were also supposed to get first place.  A quick check and sure enough – the two other girls stepped up to the first podium in time for a smile for the camera.  I was proud of my girl for speaking up.

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Dads practising target shooting with bows and arrows.  Move over Katniss, here comes Craig! Winking smile

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The event ended and then it was off to the next event.  Leendert Van Oostrum from the Pestalozzi Trust spoke to all home educating parents who came to attend a special meeting.  The meeting was to discuss the home education registration and policy document of the Western Cape and how we as a home education body are to address it.  Leendert spoke a little on the history of home ed and also spent some time outlining some of his concerns and fears.  The floor was given an opportunity to speak, by which a couple of parents spoke up to question some of Leendert’s thoughts.  Then, the main purpose of the event happened – to elect a body of home educating parents to serve as a body of home educators whose aim it is to engage government on the issues of policy documentation and how best to work it so that it properly represents the best interests of the children.  That resulted in the formation of the CHE’s Steering Committee on Education.  The team and the purpose and mission is explained further at www.liberty-in-learning.co.za 

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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:

che letterche meet the team header 2014

For a clearer view of the members:

CHE steering committee

And their profiles:

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logoandheaderCHE1

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!

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