About 4 months ago my parents and I decided to move from our home on the coast of Southern Africa all the way up into the Northern part of the country. This was a move of about 1200km (750 miles) to a province that consists of mainly small farming towns that centre around the various agricultural opportunities on the surrounding farms.
Seeing as schools in this area don’t have the greatest options for aspiring artists and that we would be doing a great deal of travelling, we decided that I should be home schooled.
The change from a formal school environment to an informal one was pretty big. I think that the change was magnified by the fact that I not only made this school switch, but that we were suddenly living on the other side of the country. Crazy stuff. There definitely were some things I didn’t really consider when I made the change. I would love to share these with you now that I have established myself and things have calmed down.
- Your success is completely reliant on the amount of effort you put in.
There is no teacher to blame. There are no blackboard notes or handouts to refer back to before an exam. This is all you. You have to make sure that you read through the textbook notes at least three times before you can even begin to summarise the information, because there is nobody giving you an introduction, or pausing to add some interesting info, or reading through it with you. There is no active discussion to help you remember this work.
- You have no personal relationship with your educators.
The school I’m registered with is pretty cool regarding this, I must say. We have Facebook groups for every subject where the subject heads post important info and video links, as well as answers to any questions that are posted. Nevertheless, it’s still a lot different to what I’m used to.
This might be strange, but my efforts are often directly based on the educator and the way they teach. For instance, I used to be in a small private school, so the teachers were all very involved. This meant that I would want to put in effort, because my teachers know what I’m capable of, and anything less would be a disappointment to myself and to them.
In home schooling, you don’t have to look at your Math teacher when she is giving your results back. No shameful I-know-you-can-do-better stare = no drive to work harder
- You have no reason to get dressed at all.
In South Africa, most schools have a uniform. This makes it so easy to get dressed, you have no choices to make at all. You are forced to get up. You have to wash your face and practise general hygiene. You can’t just skip all that. My first few months without this usual routine went pretty well. Until winter arrived, that is. Why should I wake up? It’s cold. Why should I change out of my pyjamas? Nobody is going to see me today. Why do I even need to look like a human?
Needless to say, my parents forced me to get my butt out of bed and get dressed. I’m so grateful that they did, because it’s so tough to be ambitious in your pyjamas.
- You will never leave your house if you don’t force yourself to.
We live in a really tiny community (the average population is 9 000) so there is pretty much nothing to do for young people. My fun outing for the week is getting dressed and going grocery shopping with my mom (in one of the two grocery stores we have in total). Yes. You read that correctly. Also, we have youth at church on Friday nights. That’s about it. I have no reason to leave the comfort of my bedroom and thus, I have no way of getting sunlight on my face.
It took me a few months to realise that I needed to make my own social interaction happen before I turned into Sheldon Cooper. It’s really hard to do that if you’re new in town and don’t go to school.
- School kids should appreciate teachers a lot more
Did you know how much planning goes into a school term? It’s totally crazy. When you home school you have to set your own deadlines. You have to make sure you cover certain chapters before certain tests and you have to plan your own schedule. It’s tougher than it sounds. You have to make sure you don’t spend too much time on your favourite subjects, and you have to force yourself to do math that day. You can’t just skip it.
Well, you can. But you shouldn’t.
A quick shout out to all teachers everywhere. You guys are the superheroes of the mundane.
(This is where every kid that goes to school rolls their eyes and stops reading this post. Sorry guys, I’m not a traitor, I promise.)
With all that said, I absolutely love home schooling. It’s super tough but it’s so worth it to have your own hours and to read Shakespeare with a cup of tea and fluffy socks. To all home schoolers out there: You’ve got this, don’t stress.