The following very positive article appeared in the Cape Times on 14 February 2011:
Parents turns to home schooling
Instead of being taken to school every day by their parents, home has become school to three Cape Town children.
Daniel, 12, Jasmine, 10, and Aimee, 8, are taught by their mother, Helen Baker.
Their class is around a table just off the kitchen and, surrounded by books and stationery, they start their school day by raising hands to answer questions and filling answers in their workbooks.
Their father, Kevin Baker, who works to support the family, helps with homework in the evenings.
He said the decision to teach their children at home had not been easy and their reasons for deciding were complex.
“We wanted the best education, like any parent does,” he said.
“In our situation we felt (conventional schooling) was not going to work for us.”
The Baker family could not afford private education and so they decided to give home schooling a try.
“The obvious advantage is they get a lot more one-on-one attention. That is what makes it work for us.”
Kevin Baker said the children, in Grades 3, 5 and 6, were happy and loved being taught at home.
“They get to learn in their own way and at their own pace.”
An added advantage, Kevin Baker said, was missing the “mad rush” other parents and pupils faced in the morning of getting dressed in uniforms and travelling to school.
“It’s a much more relaxed environment.”
The family followed a timetable similar to conventional schools, starting at 8am, breaking for lunch and then continuing with afternoon lessons.
After classes ended for the day the children took part in a wide range of extramural activities, such as ballet, cricket and swimming. Kevin Baker said the children joined other children at extramural activities and at events organised by other home-schooling families who lived nearby.
“On the social side they are definitely not lacking. The one advantage with home schooling is they are able to relate to children older and younger than they are, because that is what they do all day.”
Helen Baker had no teaching experience and enjoyed learning the curriculum as she taught it to the children.
“It is quite satisfying. You have to be one step ahead of who you are teaching,” she said.
Kevin Baker advised parents considering home schooling to research it extensively and to be aware that it was particularly difficult when starting out.
“Home schooling does not work for everyone. It is a hang of a commitment.
“You have to know that you really want to do it.
“We have no regrets. There is a big support base out there.” - Cape Times
To read it online goto Cape Times - IOL