How to involve Grandparents in our homeschooling journey?
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I, Sonja Wood, asked my mother, Yvonne McCurrach, to write her testimony of being a grandmother of home educated (Homeschooled) grandchildren. She wrote this letter to parents choosing to teach their children at home and advising them to include the grandparents as much as possible.
Letters from Granny Oikos
As promised I will outline our experiences as the grandparents of home educated (Homeschooled) children.
We have seven grandchildren ranging in age between 12 and 27 years old, four boys and three girls. Missy and Jamie are the only two who are home educated (Homeschooled).
I would suggest that as parents who are choosing to educate your children at home, it is a good idea to have a visit with grans and grandpas, without your children, to explain your reasons, motivation and heart to them. It is a good idea to also visit at a later stage with the children who can also tell gran and grandpa how they would like them to feel about them being home educated (Homeschooled). We were very fortunate that Greg and Sonja included us from the very start of their home education (Homeschooling) journey.
We have enjoyed being in a position where we have been ‘Hands on’ grandparents to all our precious grandchildren and so it has been a tremendous blessing to us that we have participated in Missy and Jamie’s home education (Homeschooling) from the very beginning. We can see how much our support and participation has meant to our family and of course the rewards are numerous.
As for feeling deprived of the opportunity to brag about our grandchildren who have made it into the 1st rugby team, been chosen as an exchange student to go to U.S.A for 6 months, to win art exhibitions, be made head prefect etc. etc. not a chance. All the above are very commendable but my personal feeling is the memories we cherish are more precious by far. What can replace teaching my grandchildren to swim (in the dam at Mbona!!) having wonderful craft mornings together, going for walks to find frogs, baking gingerbread men, dressing up, reading Bible stories, telling them stories about their Mom when she was a little girl (they love those), going on camping trips that involved writing a diary and working out how many kilometres from Mbona to Pilansburg Game Reserve. I could go on and on as many other grans could do but turning all the above into learning experiences is what has made us realise how much we can contribute to our grandchildren’s education and have lots of fun in the process. We have been richly blessed. In addition to all the above, Sonja and the children have an annual ‘Grandparent’s Day’ when us four grandparents are treated to a lovely lunch (done by Missy and Jamie) and a sharing of the years work. We take gifts to the children and congratulate them on their achievements. By the way many public schooled children don’t ever win a prize because there’s not much room at the top but every year our two get commended for their efforts and have many ‘Achievement Awards’ to their credit.
I am very aware that not all grandparents are in a position to do all the above things but the fact is that even from a wheelchair grandparents can support, enjoy, love and participate in the choice that their children have made. The alternative — ‘Disapproval’ is soul destroying to oneself, destructive to the family and produces nothing but sadness and negative results and so my prayer is that all parents who choose the ‘Home Education (Homeschool) Route’ will seek God’s help in bringing grandparents on board with them to enrich the lives of these precious children who have been entrusted to our care, and to acknowledge the wisdom and guidance that grandparents can pass onto the children.
God bless and love from Yvonne.
P.S. I must share with you that since coming to live at Mbona (where Greg and Sonja’s home is) it has become Jamie’s job to take granny swimming in the dam —- I sit on the back of his surfboard and we both paddle out to the centre of the dam, slide off the board, have a lovely swim and then I hang onto the back of the board (because I can’t haul myself back onto it) and Jamie paddles us back to the bank. Isn’t that precious?
For Grandparents of Home Educated (Homeschooled) Grandchildren
We are the very blessed grandparents of two precious home educated (Homeschooled) grandchildren. Melissa and James are now aged 19 and 14 and so we have enjoyed being on the sidelines to see them blossoming into outstanding young adults. Our daughter Sonja and her husband Greg drew us into the lifestyle from day one and have encouraged us to participate whenever and wherever we can enjoy sharing this amazing journey that we have all gone on. We have been careful not to intrude and so have been led by these dedicated parents to help when our input would be of value.
Maybe we have been denied the ‘Bragging and Boasting’ that most of us enjoy in telling our friends about the ‘Trophies’ awarded to our grandchildren at school and let me emphasise that I am in no way diminishing these achievements (we have 5 other precious grandchildren of whom we are very proud) However there is little to equal the precious times we have spent doing crafts, digging in the garden (looking for worms) looking at stars through the telescope, sewing, knitting, planting seeds, reading together, painting pictures, learning to swim and camping —- where every project becomes educational in such a fun way. Believe me we have learnt so many new things ourselves that it has advanced our own education at a very late time in life!! As they say , “You are never too old to learn!’ I add that even from a wheelchair or a rocking chair, be it academic, sport or creative arts you are never too old to have fun and make special memories
Go for it grannies, and grandpas – have lots of fun, be hugely blessed and very proud of your children who have made this amazing commitment to be the kind of parents who are dedicating themselves to the most noble of all callings – to present to the world young people who are in every way special and ready themselves to give to society something with which they have been blessed.
May God bless you with many more years to Support, Observe, Participate and Enjoy the fruits of your precious family.
For Further Encouragement
Please get yourself this little treasure of a booklet called Letters by Granny Oikos. Please visit the store to see this book.