"God Leads Our Way"
My son Jonathan could not find his feet in government schools. Out of necessity I started homeschooling him in 2006, and soon other children with similar stories joined us. Since then we have grown to 35 children and three tutors, and counting... Our story ends well. Jonathan completed his general education diploma at age 16 and is currently studying for a computer science degree with the University of the People, where he has already reached the Dean's honours list in his first year.
Parents are drawn to Glow Academy by its culture of kindness and spiritual backbone. When kids arrive in the morning they are personally greeted by the tutor on duty, and walk into a home that smells of coffee and Patricia's favourite pine gel. Kettle, microwave and fridge are open to be used as they would be at home. Our three dogs are an essential part of the experience, often guiding us to the child that needs a bit of special care that day. If a child needs a power nap? We have many couches! And the spectacular view from our verandah over the Cradle of Humankind lifts every spirit.
Our community is designed to appreciate the diversity in age, gender, and cultural and financial backgrounds of our students. Our younger students have the advantage of daily interaction with older "brothers and sisters" who look out for them. Cliques, fads and bullying have no toehold in our intimate family. Unhappiness is quickly spotted and addressed.
Class time is balanced by lots of playtime in our huge yard. This may involve balls, dogs, tyres, sticks, stones, bugs, rough-and-tumble, a veggie garden and lots of laughter. We start the day at 08h00, break at 09h30 for 30 minutes. Second break is at 11h30 till 12h00, and we finish the day at 12h45.
Our junior children follow a customised curriculum that draws on best practice from places as far away as Singapore's famous Maths programme. Students progress at the pace that suits them, allowing new children to catch up without shame or anxiety. In Grade 9 we take our children on a year of discovery to prepare them for the challenge of the senior school curriculum. Our Grade 10 students have found the US-based general education diploma to be an effective way to achieve a recognised school leaving certificate, so they can get on with their lives.
Glow Academy works because all the members (parents, students and tutors) know there has to be a better way, and are prepared to contribute to the solution. Parents play their part by ensuring a stable home environment, providing the financial support, maintaining primary responsibility for the homeschooling of their child, and trusting us to do our best.
Children have the courage to be cottage-schooled, and assume the responsibility of becoming self-directed learners, no longer victim to whatever is shoved down their throats.
Tutors are prepared to engage with students as complete human beings, developing a relationship that makes raw authority largely obsolete.