This is the Ombewa’s story of how the flexibility of homeschooling has helped them transition into their new life.
The family, originally from Kenya, moved to Kazakhstan with their two children, Sally and Eddy. Both children have taken courses with Wolsey Hall. Here, mum Serah, shares her thoughts on her family’s homeschooling journey so far and how homeschooling flexibility helps let her family take charge of their day.
“We are a Kenyan family living in Ust-Kamenogorsk (Oskemen) in Kazakhstan.”
“We have enrolled two children at Wolsey Hall Oxford. Sally, taking her IGCSE courses and Eddy who started with Year 7 Secondary courses. They are entirely homeschooled as we could not find any schools here that teach in English and also needed an internationally recognised curriculum.”
“We found Wolsey Hall on the internet when we were making plans to relocate. Being first-time homeschoolers, we did not know what criteria to use in engaging a homeschooling provider. We were attracted by its relationship to Nelson Mandela, who studied for his Bachelor of Law through Wolsey Hall Oxford. At least someone famous knew Wolsey Hall.”
“It took us the whole of our first month to get organised but we finally put together a flexible schedule that works. Our day starts at 9 in the morning and ends at 4:40 in the afternoon. The timetable has seven lessons of 50 minutes each, and a long lunch break to allow Sally to learn the guitar and recorder, and Eddy to watch science videos (mostly BBC Planet Earth).”
“On most days, Maths lessons are in the morning hours, and the other subjects are randomly distributed. Changes to the timetable are made when there are assignments or when one falls behind schedule in one subject and needs more time. Free time is spent watching TV or movies, listening to music, Eddy playing with friends (even with very little knowledge of Russian or Kazakh!), Sally reading, dancing, or knitting.”
“The most rewarding thing is that the children feel in charge of their own learning. They follow the course outlines, use the internet a lot, and move at a pace that is comfortable. The most challenging part of homeschooling for me as the parent is being able to take them through the content. I usually need to do a lot of reading and look through their work to ensure that all is well. For Sally and Eddy, they miss their classmates and friends and the funny classroom experiences that are part of regular school.”
“To new parents at Wolsey Hall, I have found that the members of staff, are willing to help when the going gets tough. Homeschooling can be overwhelming at the beginning. Personally, I needed help to register onto Canvas (I totally messed it up the first time), to come up with a daily timetable, and I continuously reach out when I am not sure of one thing or another. I find that the staff are near even if geographically far. We are happy to have found Wolsey Hall!”