WELCOME to (remote) Home Schooling! – Rebekka Liebenberg

The genesis of my brand of a home education website predates Covid19. I started putting together a homely space for my online community where we could establish a more private forum, away from prying eyes and opinionated commentary. It was an idea born out of missing the cosy, and friendly, and safe space we used to have in private groups on various social media.

The homeschooling landscape has grown and changed so quickly over the last 10 years especially, and one would think another big change wouldn’t really be a stretch for us. Yet our world has changed so quickly in the last few months as to make much of what has gone before, suddenly virtually irrelevant.

Home education is when a parent (or sometimes another kind of guardian) educates a child in their own home rather than sending them to a place of instruction each day. The law provides for homeschooling as an alternative to Private and Public schools that are registered as such. Anything else is not homeschooling/home education.

Over the last 15 years or so, the face of home education has morphed many times, and as of today (2020) we have a plethora of non home education activities that have congregated under this banner, for lack of any provision by the law, the government, society at large, and public opinion. Its not anyones fault. It evolved this way. Now, we find ourselves going through yet another change as the entire country is placed in lock down. Our movement is restricted, our ears at high alert and our thinking deeply guarded for fear of saying or doing anything wrong, which may bring more attention onto our already seemingly fringe lifestyles

Now that everyone has to work and school from home, we are said to be in the same boat, to be ONE in terms of having to home school our children. For some this feels like an insult, for others a relief. Yet more are confused and so many have made mention of being defined within terms they neither want or deserve! Quite frankly, its a bit of a mess!

Since we are all at home, working and teaching and learning, the truth is that we are indeed all in the same boat. However, in this boat we have at times called the floating turd, the sinking ship and other superlatives I dare not mention, our souls still hold out hope of survival. Economic survival, social survival, emotional survival, and for our purposes, educational survival. This new form of “education” that the whole of South Africa has been forced into is not home schooling, distance learning or online schooling. Remote schooling is probably the most accurate term I have come across yet, and while its not ideal for any of us, we need to admit that we are all in the same boat of living remotely for now. We are conducting all the usual activities from one place and for the sake of expedience, our lives have shifted to an online space that most of us are unused to. Its a learning curve for everyone and we should embrace the change insomuch as trying to function as best we can given the tools we have.