Friday, January 15, 2010

Back to School

We have mostly been a home school family. I say mostly because we have also done school. We have been in farm type schools (Greyton- where we were promised 'a childhood to remember', and chose to school in a classroom of 12, three grades, three languages, many races, one teacher), sea side schools (Kalk Bay - where you can see the sea from the classroom windows and the sea breezes whip at the short skirts of the school uniforms, and you meet on the beach to surf, directly after the bell rings).

We have schooled in a little school in a church (seven in a class, Georgia the only girl, where she was better than them all at jay boarding, jungle gym climbing and they were all - except her - on Ritolin!) We have schooled at a private Christian college (where all wore civvies, and assorted body piercings, tattoos (mostly hidden) and dyed hair, lank over one eye.) We have done the cottage school in the sea side suburb, with pentagram graffiti, foul mouthed lounging teenagers.... And inbetween we have homeschooled.

I would like to say we have done it all well. But we haven't. We have done well sometimes, often even, but not always. Homeschooling is like a club, even a sect, sometimes a religion. Those within it know what I mean. Its hard to be in it, hard to get out of it, and very hard to change your own mindset to believe that God is in fact in and out of every and any situation.

There are some homeschoolers like us, who also have gone in and out of school. Some who have never set foot in school (and say they never will!). Some who are depressed, struggling, despairing and yet determined to continue - and others who simply opt out and don't really school at all, at home or in an institution.

I have friends who are awesome homeschoolers, bordering on perfect, they are inspirational, exciting, have exacting academic standards and their children flourish and succeed. I know others who flounder, wander aimlessly, know a lot about a little and a little about a lot.

We have been all of these at times, and when I look at my two children I often feel pretty guilty, certainly never smug (some homeschoolers are smug?), and mostly I have fallen face down on the mercy of God. We have been more nomadic than the Tsuareg, more random than any city teenager, had more wanderlust than the Khoi and San put together and have been just as inconsistent as the Langkloof weather (we are discovering).

And now, in 2010, we find ourselves at the beginning of another season. Yes, you guessed it - institution school again. We are about to enter, yet again ,through the wrought iron gates and (this time) pink walls of a school building, braving the system again, risking life and limb as we pit ourselves against the brainwashing, the sinfulness, the Godlessness supposedly found within those hallowed halls.

I have had these comments and many more said to me at times when we have left the safe havern of homeschooling before, and wandered like so many sheep to the slaughter, into the realms of institutionalized schooling.

Ho hum..... Its not that we do not have these fears ourselves. I have sat up straight in bed in the darkness of the night WORRIED about decisions made. I have never been sure, never known for sure that a decision is a right one.

But Thank You God. At the moment the school is an Afrikaans one - in a farming community, a conservative one, 300 children - where the white boere children now go to school with the children of the labourers. They rub each other raw sometimes, but still manage to be rated 12th best school in the Eastern Cape. I have anxiety about it all, even though it seems we are being pioneers, English speakers, 'inkomers' who are getting special treatment, english text books and exams, because, as it goes -'the times they are a changing'.
And anyway Lex and I will be teaching Drama and Computers to Grade 10,11 and 12.

How all that happened can only be a God thing and you will have to trust me on that, without getting all the details. In to it all we jump, like we do very often into the Kouga these days, to escape the blistering heat. And the water flows on, and takes its twists and turns and goes where it wills.Us, in God are like that, seems to me.

Its all about trust, at the end of the day, and not about the details. The children are strangely excited - Georgia begged to be allowed to go. Jethro simply wants to get his matric. It all takes faith, in or out, in my experience.

But I like this river, and swimming in it. Maybe there are some rapids round the corner, some high cliffs. Maybe a sandy cove, a sheltered beach of white pebbles to rest in and soak up the sun. We'll see, we'll see....

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