How did we get here so soon, its November! I can’t believe we’ve almost completed our second year of homeschooling. It’s been both rewarding and difficult. We’ve has so many ups and many downs. There have been days when I want to throw in the towel and others when I’m in awe of how homeschooling has changed my kids for the better.
We start our T.C.E exams soon. We are in complete exam mode and its tough. It’s tough saying no to play dates and fun activities, but we chose this. We chose a more structured homeschool lifestyle, and exam period is no different. We follow our plan as much as possible.
A month before the exam begins I create a study time table for my son. I find starting a month in advance allows him to pace himself and he doesn’t feel too stressed. His currently in grade 6 and 11 years old. He requires much more of a hands-on approach when it comes to study time than my older son in grade 11. I work through the break- down of what he needs to know for the exam and I break up each subject into daily, manageable study task. He is required to study one to two hours every evening and more on weekends.
If he is studying subjects like science, geography or history I do an oral test to see if he has studied thoroughly. When he studies maths I first revise the section with him. He then does some examples for that particular section. If he is successful with the revision questions, we move to the next section.
With English and Afrikaans, he prepares by studying the many rules and I also test him orally. He is also required to know all his poems for the term, as this is part of English. He has a biblical study subject called Studying God’s Word, where he is required to know the scriptures memorised for the term.
We start out slowly with the timetable and closer to the exam if we find we are running out of time we put in a little extra time than usual.
Once exam period starts he will write the paper in the mornings from 8.30-10.30, then have an hour break before he starts studying for the next days paper. Exam period last about two weeks.
We try to get the language exams done first then Maths and lastly the study subjects.
He writes his exams at home on our dining room table. I invigilate his exam and obviously I’m not allowed to assist him. I explain the exam instructions and he starts. His not allowed to move around during the exam, just as in school. I try to keep his sister as quiet as possible as she doesn’t yet write exams and can be a distraction. My eldest son is also still writing exams. He is almost complete with his Cambridge IGCSE exams and still has six TCE exams to do.
He also writes the TCE exams at home which I also invigilate. They sit at the same table where I can easily see them. If they sit in separate rooms I wouldn’t be able to monitor them well enough.
I also sign a parental declaration form which declares I will not help them in any way to answer the exam questions. If you know me, I stick to that declaration. Once exams are over I scan and email the exam papers together with the mark sheets for the term, to the TCE head office in Cape Town. The exam papers are marked and after a week or two depending on how busy they are, we get our reports. The report contains both the summary of mark sheets for the term as well as the actual exam marks.
I honestly cannot wait for the end. For positive results! This year was tough!
Deborah Pretorius is a mother of 3 kids and a BCom graduate on the amazing adventure of home schooling her family.