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Home Education South Africa Style

We are grateful to have more space to spread out our home learning area here in South Africa. Much of my week between Christmas and New Year was spent organising education materials while Dave helped occupy the children.

We now have a large open plan living area where we can have more distinct areas for our learning materials, play and our sitting area. There is lots of wall space for displays. Below is my desk with an education materials shelf next to it, then some lovely new daily and monthly calendars, and a little blackboard. We also have our music spot with the piano and our music players. Mercy has begun to take an interest in learning the piano and I am attempting to include lessons.

These pictures were taken after our domestic worker comes on Tuesdays, things are not normally quite so neat. God has been good to us in blessing us with a good helper. It has also been a huge step forward to finally purchase my lockable toy and puzzle cupboard! You can see it here next to the play mat. This really helps to keep the craziness under control. Despite years of attempting to teach them, our children are not the best at packing up happily. So controlling how much mess they are able to make is important. This cupboard was purchased second hand and has four levels and even smells nice inside . . . all in all it is a great blessing and help (yes, almost as good as having another adult in the house, as I once read).

Near the door to the garage there is a sweet little nook that we are shaping into an art and craft and science area. We are keeping some materials out all the time and Nate spends a lot of time there. I put up some drying lines on the wall for paintings. I found a bucket caddy for pencils, sticky tape, watercolour paints, and glue that can be used on a daily basis. This has the added bonus of temporarily housing the random pieces of paper with possibly precious creations that are always around this table. God is good to give us the space to have a little table like this that can stay a mess. Later on I hope to get a small lockable cupboard to house craft materials and paint that become unmanageable if the children are allowed to access them at any time.

We are keeping some nature finds on the top shelf. I read the idea of a nature discovery table but realised this would not work in our house if kept out at all times . . . think pieces of coral in beds. So I decided to display the items out of reach and bring them down for specific nature discovery times. The other day Nate painted a watercolour of some of his finds.

Opposite the wall with the piano, bookshelf, etc. is this green wall. We hope to put up a big display board there when we find the right one to finally use some of our posters and create craft displays. Meanwhile the easel is getting more use as there is space to keep it out.

In the garden we had the delightful surprise of being given a chicken house. Eventually we hope to turn this corner into a chicken run. We are not quite ready to resume having hens yet though.

Finally we went to a birthday party with new friends on Sunday. We joked that the children were having "sensory play" in the mud at the Helderberg Nature Reserve. 

 Who needs sensory tables when you can have the joy of painting red clay on banks and trees in nature's playground?

All this can look quite idyllic online but it looks a lot crazier in real life. I have found it harder than my classroom teaching experiences and been much more tested and broken than I was through them. There are the lovely moments reading stories and making discoveries and seeing progress. There is a lot of joy in persevering through tears to teach a child a skill and then seeing him/her do it naturally after all that effort. Then there are the days where children's emotions or unwillingness, teaching multiple levels, and other demands on our time make it seem impossible to hold it all together as the teacher/parent. Home education is a more relaxed lifestyle for the children but not necessarily the adults. My goal is to face the impossibility of reaching all our ideals without  blaming myself or anyone else. My prayer is that we will instead depend on God to show us the way through our weakness to his strength and grace.

Faith  – (January 19, 2016 at 9:18 AM)  

what fun spaces you have created for your home schooling endeavors!! All the blessings of God on you and your beautiful family!!

PB  – (January 19, 2016 at 9:10 PM)  

Thanks for sharing Sherrin. Love the Tas map. Love the lockable cupboard. Have you seen Hoffman Academy for piano? So good! And may God give you all the energy you need for the craziness that is parenting.

Deb  – (January 28, 2016 at 6:51 AM)  

Hi Sherrin,
I read your post last week but saved it in my reader until I had a chance to comment. I SO very much enjoyed seeing a glimpse of your schooling area and reading how you've set everything up. Great job!

I know moving with little ones and homeschooling and being a wife and homemaker....and all of life....can be challenging and sometimes overwhelming. I totally understand! I've been thinking of you ever since I read this because it brings back memories of our 4 children when they were the ages of yours.

I may have already mentioned in the past about the possibility of Dave helping with the schooling to help give you a little free time. If it's not possible with his job demands or your home situation, then this idea wouldn't work. But my husband taught math and science in the evenings to all four children. They absolutely loved the schooling attention from Dad after being with Mom all day. It was a win-win situation. It was good for them, and I was able to have some free time to either clean quietly in the kitchen, take a leisurely bath, or read a personal book.

In fact, my 30-year old son remarked on it recently that his goal for his future was to teach his children (if the Lord so provided) "just like his dad did for him."

He still remembered his dad's example, and I always rave about my husband sacrificing his time and energy to take part after a hard day's work at the office.

Of course, there will still be the trials and demands of schooling and parenting while Dad is at work during the day. But I often found that just knowing help was on the way was enough to get us through the day and to welcoming Dad home.

I will be praying for you as the Lord brings you to mind that He will give you patience and wisdom to deal with little ones and that the children will want to learn readily and be models of good behavior in the home and to their brothers/sisters.

Be encouraged! It will get easier as you settle in and get into a good routine and the kids are a bit older.

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