This year just when I thought ok, I’ve got this home-schooling thing … I’ve done a year so the 2nd year shouldn’t be bad. Well I was so wrong, because my eldest started Cambridge Grade 11 IGCSE levels.
We were prepared for grade 11 but had to relearn the Cambridge way. I sacrificed a weekend of rest to understand the syllabus requirements and the different coursebooks (textbooks), so that I could help my son understand his schedule. We decided to continue through TCE (Theocentric Christian Education) mostly because of the Biblical studies unit they offer and the amazing support for any school work related query. TCE acts as an online tutor where you can send through any question regarding anything you as the parent don’t understand or are unable to explain to your kids.
This is just the kind of support I needed to get through the month of January. Our books arrived, and I started my research and reading on how the Cambridge syllabus works. This year my son has seven subjects. Afrikaans, English, History, Physics, Business Studies, Mathematics and Character of God (Biblical studies). He will sit for two exam periods this year, one at home under my supervision, and the other will be his final IGCSE exam in October/November at a Cambridge Centre. The May/June exam involves IGCSE past papers, it will be sent to TCE for marking, and he will receive a report.
The final exam which will be written at a Cambridge Centre, will be couriered straight to Cambridge UK for marking, and we will receive results by end of November. Once he has passed his IGCSE level he will be able to register for his AS level. He can apply to any university both in South Africa or international with the IGCSE results but will only receive acceptance once his grade 12 (AS levels) are complete. Even though IGCSE prepares you to write your AS levels you do not have to write the exams. The IGCSE exams are unrelated to AS levels, meaning, you do not have to write them. You could work through the course work and not write the exam. You would still be able to register for AS levels even without IGCSE level. We feel its good practice, so he will be writing the exam. The fees for writing Cambridge exams and using a Cambridge facility is payable separately 5 months before the exam. This is a separate fee to what we have already paid for his books.
We are currently making use of two maths tutors, one is a Computer Programmer by career and the other is a grade 12 AS level student. The reason for this is the 1st tutor can only do face to face lessons once a month, and the student is able to come on a weekly basis or more if needed.
I also have an Afrikaans tutor who comes in once a week, as this is his final year which is AS level Afrikaans. Afrikaans has never been my strong point. He is given 5 topics for the year on which to prepare a 300-400-word essay. He will also be given a comprehension to test his understanding of the language.
We are still in the beginning of the course and as we go along we may need to get a Physics tutor in. The other subjects are mostly studying and preparing. We use a variety of Cambridge YouTube videos for Physics practicals for now and we try do at least one practical a week.
He also still does his weekly test through TCE which keeps him prepared constantly. His day is about 6-7 hours long with some study time in the afternoon or evening.
As challenging as Cambridge is, I wouldn’t change it, because I know he is getting the very best international standard education.
Writing down your Vision
I’ve always been a firm believer in writing down your vision for the New year. I was brought up in a Christian home with my dad been a Pastor, so for as long as I can remember he always taught us how important it was to have a vision for your life. I often believe in focusing on short term goals which help me get to my 3 or 5-year plan. Longer term goals can seem like a far stretch so I prefer to write down my one-year goals because it makes it more attainable.
Last year December I came across Terri Savelle and wow was I blown away with her simple explanation on how to set out a vision board. I decided then and there to implement this with my kids. (Sounds simple hey…3 kids 3 different personalities… what fun!)
Well after a lot of explanation on what to do and getting each one to think about what they want to improve on or start for the year, we eventually got pen to paper. We started out by writing down just 5 very specific things they and I would like to achieve this year. How much money they would like to save, how many books they would like to read, personal school and sports goals etc.
My Eldest is 16, some of his goals are so different or mature when compared to my 8-year-old. His 11 year old brother had to be reminded to be himself and not do what the older brother wants to do…(a sibling thing). My eldest goals are to get fit and try out for soccer trials, as his always wanted to be a professional soccer player. His daily goal is to run and gym. He also plays the piano and has decided to leave classical style piano and follow a Jazz style rather.( His choice not mine). His future is to study at Wits or UCT University either Engineering or Law.
Common goals for all my kids is to Pray and read their bibles daily, and another is to try save their allowances instead of buying trivial stuff. We plan to open bank accounts for them.
Specific goals for my 11-year-old son is to move from piano to guitar, (his dad is his hero, and recently plays more guitar than piano). He also loves karate and wants to grade to blue belt this year.
My daughter loves ballet and she would love to dance in Paris when she’s older. Short term goals, we started her at a new ballet school and she will be doing her grade 3 ballet exam this year. She also wants to learn an instrument soon (she just can’t decide yet so we are looking at guitar this year).
I did some of my personal goals with them as well. We spent a morning planning and writing, arguing and laughing, but we eventually got it done.
I went online and printed some images relate to their goals, bought some colour chart paper and we began each individual’s vision board. They drew a title and a short sentence for each goal. We attached a visual picture to each goal, and they were so proud to complete their vision boards.
They stuck their boards next to their bed so each morning and evening they commit their year to God in prayer.
Having a vision board and working daily and weekly to accomplish them, will give them the drive to live life on purpose. To wake up each day with a passion to fulfil their vision. This is a lifelong habit that I hope to instil in them each year. I encourage you to do the same with your kids, they not too young for it. This cannot be taught at school, we as parents must take responsibility for their future. They will thank you when they older. I know I’m grateful to my parents.
Deborah Pretorius is a mother of 3 kids and a BCom graduate on the amazing adventure of home schooling her family.