00:16 Sonja Wood: So Angie, what have you got to share with us today?

00:17 Angela Allen: So, I have two boys, 16 and 11, and when I had Dex who is the older one 16 years ago, I just felt on my heart that homeschooling was a thing that I would love to be able to do because I just love this little baby so much and everything. And then it was almost like something that fizzled out or faded because I felt that I wasn’t equipped or, that, I didn’t know, I wasn’t a teacher.

00:47 Sonja: Society?

00:47 Angela: Yes, and family and friends…

00:50 Sonja: The voices of the world.

00:51 Angela: Yeah, it’s just something that you don’t do. You work… If your husband’s not earning enough, you work too. And in most households moms and dads…

01:01 Sonja: So that you can pay the bills.

01:02 Angela: Yes, and pay for things that you don’t need.

[laughter]

01:05 Angela: So…

01:06 Sonja: You said it.

[laughter]

01:08 Angela: So Dex went to school and unfortunately had to go to aftercare as well, and I worked, and there was just this longing in my heart to just keep him home. And I cried often when I dropped him off and almost felt, or I did feel that I was entrusting strangers to…

01:29 Sonja: Well, you were, weren’t you?

01:30 Angela: Yeah, to grow my child up kind of thing. And he was very lonely, always in trouble for disrupting the class because he was just not understanding like he should have and things like that. So, in grade R we were told to send him for an assessment which we did at Sherwood and straight from the start I said, “There’s no ways I’m putting my child on medication, so just I’m letting you know whatever you diagnose him with, that’s not gonna be something, an option for us.” So that was unfortunately… It was a diagnosis of ADD or ADHD or whatever, and he needed medication for that and we applied for a remedial position in a remedial unit. And there wasn’t space so he had to endure a full year of struggling in class in grade 1 and being incredibly lonely and just getting into trouble for that full year. While we waited for space in the remedial unit…

02:38 Sonja: I’m hoping there’s gonna be a silver lining coming soon because this…

[laughter]

02:41 Angela: Sorry. [laughter] I’m so sorry. So I don’t mean to be negative.

[laughter]

02:47 Sonja: This is heartbreaking.

02:48 Angela: I know. [chuckle] So, what happened was, he endured this full year and finally the year after he had to repeat grade 1 because now an opening did… Was available, but he was just not…

03:04 Sonja: He haven’t got anything in the first year or something.

03:05 Angela: Yeah, absolutely. So he went to remedial and it was like a bit of a chalk and cheese situation. It was a beautiful little unit and lovely teachers and everything but still they were pushing the whole medication story. So they wanted to treat the child, well they do, they wanted to treat the child holistically and in remedial you need to. If you’re diagnosed with this, you need to take the meds. So, shame, off he went and he used to line up in the queue every morning and take his meds.

03:34 Sonja: I thought you weren’t going to give him…

03:35 Angela: It was a case of someone else, I don’t know.

03:38 Sonja: Oh my goodness. [chuckle] Still waiting for the silver lining.

[laughter]

03:43 Angela: So along came… Yeah, well, I already had Caleb. I left that one out. I had my second one. Caleb was born four years later after Dex was born. So, I had this little guy and he was in an incredible little pre-school which I’m so grateful for but as I said, I had to work and they had to do aftercare as well. So it was a very, very long day for them. And still I had this desire to keep them home with me and I felt, ’cause I am quite an overprotective mom, I felt maybe that was just it. Maybe I was just being overprotective and actually…

04:16 Sonja: So, just hang on a second. Do you think God is ever overprotected of us?

04:19 Angela: No. [laughter]

04:20 Sonja: Okay, just checking.

04:22 Angela: Yes. So then I just brushed it off as, “Oh, I’m just being silly, I’m just overprotective,” and I battled with this continually.

04:28 Sonja: I wasn’t the truth, you know… Just…

04:29 Angela: No.

04:30 Sonja: Okay.

04:31 Angela: So it came time for little Caleb to start school and he had come from an incredible little pre-school and he thought, “Ah, I can’t wait for school for grade 1… I can’t wait.” ‘Cause he had such a good experience with the previous school. So he wore his little uniforms and he was very chuffed. And he started and I used to get a phone call at least twice a week that Caleb was sick in the sick room and he had tummy-ache and he just, I needed to come and get him. But he was clearly not happy. So I did. I chatted with him and he said he would not understand something and go to the front and the teacher would explain it and he still wouldn’t get it. And he was too embarrassed to go back the second time so he just faked an illness kind of thing. So, I spoke to my husband about this whole homeschooling thing that had been on my heart and leading up to that over the years, that seed that God had planted when I had Dex, friends and…

05:32 Sonja: Taking a little bit too long for God to get your attention.

[chuckle]

05:34 Angela: It was. Friends would water that seed and eventually I thought, “You know what? Maybe there is something more to this. Maybe I can do this.” So my husband and I agreed that this was an option. We went to the schools and we discussed with the HODs and teachers and obviously they were… Well, Caleb’s teacher wasn’t too impressed but with Dex we were told, “Well if you’re not gonna treat him with the medication, then I’m sorry, we can’t help because it’s a holistic thing.” So we agreed mutually that it was probably the best option for our family. And we took ’em out. It was actually so amazing because the following year, my husband had traveled quite a bit…

06:18 Sonja: Sorry, I just have to interrupt you.

06:19 Angela: Sorry.

06:19 Sonja: I just have to say, that people don’t necessarily… You don’t need to necessarily get the agreement of…

06:25 Angela: Absolutely.

06:26 Sonja: Just saying. Because some people actually feel. We actually get people phoning us and saying that they want to take their child off of the special situation because they want to get the medication but they’re not agreeing. The system isn’t agreeing that home education will be good for this family. So mum’s heart is breaking and she’s doesn’t feel she can take him out because they don’t agree.

06:47 Angela: Yes.

06:49 Sonja: So I just wanted to…

06:50 Angela: No. Absolutely.

06:51 Sonja: Say that it’s not up to the system to agree with whether it’s good or not for your… Yeah. Okay.

06:55 Angela: Which you… That you’d adapt that mentality that’s…

07:00 Sonja: You do, yes. You take on that mentality…

07:01 Angela: You know, they know more than what I…

07:01 Sonja: Yeah. Sorry I interrupted you, you said you were going to…

07:03 Angela: No. It’s okay.

07:04 Sonja: Your husband was traveling a lot.

07:06 Angela: He did. He traveled quite a bit. So the following year, we were able to go and spend five weeks with him in Cape Town because, our homeschooling, so that was awesome. But…

07:14 Sonja: One of the advantages of this, so many, it’s just one of them, yeah.

07:17 Angela: Yeah. One of them, yeah. So over the years… Initially, it was a little bit of… I had to de- or un-school, whatever, because I thought, “Well, I need to create this whole classroom environment. Paint the chalkboard, have desks and just drum information into their heads for the first year.” And they were measurable. So… [chuckle]

07:36 Sonja: So you were trying to take school system and shove it in your home?

07:39 Angela: Yes.

07:43 Sonja: Bad idea.

07:44 Angela: Bad. Then I did, eventually… We realized that it wasn’t about the curriculums and what we teach as such, in terms of education. It’s that developing their characteristics or their characters. We realized that they were such amazing musicians. So just spending this time at home and allowing them to actually be themselves and discover what they were interested in. We realized that… Well, Declan was an amazing drummer. He is an amazing drummer and he was trying…

08:26 Sonja: Sure. I’m so glad we’re on the silver lining now. [chuckle] Because it was getting quite… [laughter] Keep me going with sadness.

08:33 Angela: Sorry… [laughter]

08:35 Sonja: But now that, he’s a drummer. And the other one?

08:38 Angela: And the other one’s a guitarist. But, it’s just…

08:41 Sonja: How fantastic.

08:42 Angela: It’s just an amazing to watch as well because I have been so caught up as well in the whole, like, “What should I teach them? And what curriculum should we use?” And that kind of thing. And it’s actually not…

08:53 Sonja: Not the focus.

08:54 Angela: No, it’s not the focus. As I said, Dex discovered that he was this drummer and he ended up playing in the worship team at church for three years and Caleb’s a brilliant little guitarist, as well. And he loves to cook and bake and the rest of it.

09:10 Sonja: Oh, wow.

09:11 Angela: But just little things that have come up for me as well, and encouraged me personally was…

09:19 Sonja: Did you stop working?

09:20 Angela: Yes, sorry. I did. I stopped working.

09:22 Sonja: Good.

09:22 Angela: Yes, I stopped working.

[laughter]

09:26 Sonja: Now you’re working at home now, understood, it’s much harder, isn’t it?

09:26 Angela: So, yes. [laughter] But, with him loving baking and cooking and things like that. He’s got his own little apron and he puts his little apron on [chuckle] and he’ll go and cook supper or make breakfast or unpack the dishwasher on his own. And you’ll find him everyday lying on his bed at the same time reading the words. It’s those little things that I think…

09:50 Sonja: Those massive things.

09:52 Angela: Yeah, that’s… I don’t need to panic. I don’t need to worry ’cause God’s got them.

10:00 Sonja: Sure. I don’t need to panic ’cause God’s got them.

10:00 Angela: I don’t.

[laughter]

10:01 Sonja: I think we should make a song.

[laughter]

10:05 Sonja: Wow, what a tease to me. That is so wonderful. Now, how long have you been full time at home and home educating and…

10:12 Angela: I think it’s been six years.

10:13 Sonja: Sure.

10:14 Angela: Six years, yeah.

10:15 Sonja: And he’s following his path and not worrying about tomorrow so much?

10:20 Angela: No.

10:20 Sonja: And about curriculum? And about and… Oh that is fantastic. Oh, well. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

10:25 Angela: Thank you so much.

10:26 Sonja: That was wonderful.

10:27 Angela: Okay.