Posted by: The Saffa Mom | June 27, 2011

Home school is very REAL!

Saturday was possibly the coldest day this year, or maybe the coldest one I remember this year. Where was I? Outside!!! My Princess had been invited by one of her Ballet friends to a birthday party at the Boswell Wilkie Circus in the Randvaal area. It is a permanent residence for the circus, and I believe the place everyone eventually calls home after their travels. Throughout the year the place has a little restaurant, we have had breakfast there many times.

The party was awesome! The kids were all marched off to a big circus tent, and taught to put a show together. The parents were then invited to the circus tent a little while later to watch their act- our beautiful children painted and dressed up to be a part of the circus. I think they all had a fabulous time.

But that is not what my story is about.

I knew all along that Ballet Friend was home schooled….along with her sister a few years younger. Their mom has recently added a new addition to the family, and in my little noggin it would be very difficult to cope. My hat goes off to her.

Did you read what I said. HOME SCHOOL-ED. Foreign I know. It means that the kids stay home and mom teaches them everything they need to know.

I don’t think I would be rushing off to fulfil a role as “everything” to my little girl. All too fantasy- like for me. In fact, I like knowing that she goes to school every day and we have some separate time. Probably keeps us both sane.

Up until I had met Jo (Ballet friend’s mom), I didn’t even realise that there were human beings that “home schooled” their kids in this day and age? Did you? It sounded so rural. Cave like. Do we really want to fight the system so drastically? Forget the system, the fact is that I probably don’t have the skills to do that! I forgotten what a freaking “preposition” is!!! (I discovered this just the other day… I quickly launched google and wordweb.) And the patience? That would be another reason.

BACK TO STORY- So here I am, huddled in a seated circle trying to get some rays of sunshine to defrost myself while waiting for these kids to learn to juggle, and get on with the party. The moms all seem to know each other and the conversation is flowing. (I am not a very social mom.) At least they were entertaining, and I didn’t feel like I needed to pitch in. BUT it didn’t take long before I realised that I am actually the odd one out, not only for the reason that I am new to this circle, but for a far far bigger reason. Far far bigger!

Mom on my far right hand side has 5 kids. (A SURE SIGN THAT SHE IS CRAZY TO BEGIN WITH!!) She home schools all of them. Her husband works from home too. One big happy family all day long! (She talked alot). In fact, I know that they have a tv and a dvd player- however they do not have an aerial or a dstv satellite, and therefore are not connected to anything external. (I do see some of the benefits to that….. however believe that you can set boundaries, and tv can be okay.) At this point I had to hold back from asking how they keep up with the NEWS, and whether they do not think that this is important?

Mom and dad on my direct right hand side also home schools her three kids. (She had quite a sense of humour and said that one bonus of having lots of kids at home, was the cheap labour.)

Another mom on my right hand side is home schooling her three kids too.

On my left hand side we have Jo’s gran. She- like me, seems to have a normal life. She takes her hat off to all these mothers…..but I think she likes feeling needed by other people too. Like her work colleagues.   

In front of me is a dad, who is also very quiet. I suspect he is looking at these figures and wandering if he is at the RIGHT birthday party… probably wishing he had brought his wife along.

Then we have Jo and her husband with their new baba.

I deduced that there are two things I have in common with all these folks.

The one thing is that I live in the country. They do too……but they live there all day and all night! They spend most waking moments there, and that 20 minute drive to a shop seems to them to be a trek. I drive to work each morning, they plan when the seeds need to be planted. I come home and feel like I am on holiday. They stay home and wish they had a holiday.

The second thing we have in common is a child. However our children have completely different normals. All these kids seem to look out for each other, all the time. They seem to get on well. They seem to be the best of friends. At the same time- they have no idea what a queue is.

Maybe three things. We all love our children to the ends of the earth.

This was the first time in my life that I felt I was in a position that if I even defended my normal need to go to work (sometimes I do wander why…) and realisation that my child needs to be taught by someone who knows how to teach, and has been trained to teach- I would feel the back fire of a thousand dragons protecting their young.

I almost felt like a bad mother for not looking at motherhood the same way. For not wanting/ needing to spend every second that I could with my child. For not believing that I was the best for her in everything. I think many moms could be easily swayed when caught in this position.

I am sure that there are many pros to home schooling. (Dont get me wrong.)

BUT at the same token there must be so many cons.

The fact is that kids need to mix with people, lots of people to realise that not all people are nice. To realise that people have different characters, personalities and boundaries. They need to sometimes have a horrible witch for a teacher for a full year……why? Because one day they are bound to have a boss that they HATE with everything they have, yet cannot change. They need to socialise with girls, boys, whatever. They need to figure out whether they are clever, or competitive, or not inclined to sports. They need to be able to put their hands up in a class and ask a question, that every other kid may be wandering. They need to know that on your birthday, life carries on…. you still need to work. They need to know that they cannot home school in university!

More importantly, moms need to socialise. They need people. Other people. Moms need to feel normal. Mom need to find sanity every day, to be able to go home and fall in love with those kids all over again.

So, to all those moms that made me feel so utterly strange on Saturday, I am so incredibly envious of your life, yet at the same time so gob smacked that it works. I say well done. You could compare my envy to that of wishing i was a princess, marrying Prince William, and having walked into that fairy tale wedding in which you never have to need for anything. (Especially an island holiday in this freezing cold!!) Could I do it? Probably not……but from here it sounds NICE. Very very nice.




  1. Great post! Home schooling is becoming more common here as well. Still very much the minority but growing. I actually know four or five families that home school, a couple of my scout families and actually one of the guys that works for us. One thing they all seem to have in common is strong religious beliefs and spirituality and that seems to drive some of the teaching. It’s definitely not for me, I’m a big public school fan, but it is interesting and amazing that they can get it all done. Personally I love my kids, but need to get away from them once in a while! I agree with your statement that kids need to socialize around other kids, I think that is one of the downsides to home schooling, but at least around here there are lots of home school organizations that allow kids to participate in activities together, including sports, music, etc.

    • The fact is that if i was home schooled, I probably would never have done half the bad things i did. I am convinced i would have been too scared.
      Sometimes, i do wish i loved my kids that much that i could give them ever single second. But it would mean that i may not be giving them the best parts of me too.

  2. I’m not sure I agree with home schooling, they miss out on all sorts of things that help them integrate into society when they’re older, like school concerts and market day. Besides, most days I can’t wait for 7.30am to get her out of my hair for a few hours 😉

    • Perhaps if our kids were not only children we would feel a little different?

  3. I love what you said: Moms need to find sanity every day, to be able to go home and fall in love with those kids all over again.

    That is exactly how I feel. I’m a better Mom when I can apply myself to work outside the house, that I know I’m providing for my kids. I like them knowing that their Mom has a job (and purpose in life), that they will want to have a job when they are older. Cooking (and my blog) are a second source of energy to recharge the Mommy batteries. I only wish I could afford a housekeeper to help with cleaning and laundry so I could focus on falling in love with my kids more each day.


    • I think we are quite spoilt in that department. I could not imagine spending the whole day at work, and then coming home and starting the laundry. I think cooking is enough….. and it already eats into quality time with Logan.
      I think i woudl be quite happy with a half day job actually. Then i could give her a bit of both worlds.

  4. Agree or not home schooling works! Especially here in the USA where home schooled kids do much better on average than public schooled kids.
    Am I biased? Yes, we home school with six kids. The first three boys through 8th grade then they went to a private Christian high school where they all excelled. Our oldest just graduated college magna cum laud! Our oldest daughter will be 8th grade with a son 5th grade and youngest daughter 4th grade. All do well socially.
    Who needs others your own age around all the time! That is what is NOT normal. How many of you work in a place where everyone is your age? None I bet! Do you only socialize with those your own age? Doubtful.

    Ah, the part about cheap labor and easy to get baby sitters when older, yippee!!! 🙂

    I am some times told I couldn’t do what you do. My main point is you never tried in the first place and if you had you would have a totally different relationship with your kids. You and your kids would be different.

    Who’s ideas do you want in your kids? Other kids? Or yours?!

    Okay sorry about blathering on here. The world will now continue on. Wait…it didn’t stop?! Really?! 🙂

    • DId I mention the thousand dragon mothers protecting their young?
      Harold my dear friend, i see your points and yes, agree with so many…… but some people- like your self were born to be fathers- and have 8 kids…. (a little crazy in itself *wink, wink*). Others like myself, are still trying to figure out what they were born for, and along the way happen to become mothers. (And perhaps not the best ones.) One bonus would be a huge savings in school fees though.
      Perhaps my decision is not based around Logan, but rather myself. Maybe selfish…….. but i need to be around for a long time still. And while I am, I need to remain sane.
      From Logan’s side- she is an only child. She often wishes in her own little world for brothers and sisters, she asks all the time when that will happen. I can not have another child to make her happy……. Would keeping her at home all day to home school be fair? Remember you talk from the experience of a huge family. Your kids could possibly never feel lonely, or bored. They could never feel like they need to entertain themselves…. These things make me feel sad that i have not given Logan a baby brother or sister, but they can never be the deciding factor.
      So many views. SO many right and wrong answers. Again, I envy your bravery and courage!

      • I am sorry I forgot to mention that Logan just looks darling! Such a sweety! Gets it from her mom! Of course if you put on make-up like that my mind could change…maybe not!

  5. I admire home-schoolers too, but love our boys’ school too much to ever be able to compete with it. Our eldest son happily does a bit of work at home if he’s having a home-day and isn’t actually dying of man-flu. But it’s not for us either.

    • I think it is quite difficult to find the “grey” here. It seems that you are either for it, or against it. Could be quite a controversial topic.

  6. there are pros and cons. i9t’s definiteoy not something do do easily. those kids still need contact and time with their peers, so sports and hobbies become even more important

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