Charmian Woodhouse, a bubbly, enthusiastic, ready-for-anything young girl from Hout Bay came to live with us. Even though we had received such a good grant from Woodstock School, we felt we needed to take the girls out and home school them. Ash had been there from first to third grade and Zoë just for first. We talked to them about it and they were excited to have their school at home.
We fixed up a little room downstairs and made it into a colourful classroom. The girls helped Charmian paint a wall mural and we got desks and chairs. It was such a sunny, happy room. Charmian was so good for them. She taught them music, dance, art and really helped to build their confidence. Her passionate love for God rubbed off on them. They had such fun together. We loved to hear them laughing during school hours.
Tony and the guys got a really long rope and made a wooden swing from one of the tall trees. It swung way out and the fall was steep. Char decided to leap onto it from the top and lost her grip. She went flying off and down the hill into the trees. We all screamed and the girls went hysterical thinking she was dead. She climbed up the hill covered in sticks and leaves and grinning from ear to ear. That was Charmian.
One of the main reasons we wanted to have the girls at home, was for them to be totally involved in our lives and community. It was important that they knew what we were doing and the people we were doing it with. The students at Woodstock didn’t seem to have friendships with “local” people. We didn’t want our children to grow up with any kind of superiority complex.
We also felt that much of our energy was going into the undoing of things we didn’t approve of. It was tiring enough putting the good things in.
The best part was that we didn’t have to fit in with school terms. We loved surprising the girls in the early hours of the morning with, “Get up, we’re going for a long drive.” It suited our busy, organic lifestyle.
While home schooling worked perfectly for us in our situation, we weren’t “home school evangelists”. We could see it wouldn’t work for everyone. Having young girls like Charmian living with us and schooling our girls was just the best.