OUTDOOR LEARNING: Home schooling allows parents to spend more time with their kids. Picture: wikimedia commons

Young Suné Botes is a successful model and owner of her own designer label.

But what many don’t know is that the budding entrepreneur didn’t attend any prestigious school to achieve her accomplishments.

The 21-year-old and her sister were home schooled from an early age, but the decision did not come lightly for her parents.

She explains that due to her parents’ heavy work schedule, they decided to take the home-schooling route.

“It wasn’t that it was easier but this was a way we could have more time as a family,” says Botes.

Just like an ordinary school, Botes also worked according to a timetable, giving the family more flexibility for time together, but also to ensure the children were thriving on a routine.

“Mondays were our off days as a family to do some fun activities.

"On the other days we had a set amount of pages that had to be done on each subject.”

Botes also started modelling from the age of 13 and her home schooling gave her the flexibility to actively pursue her modelling career.

“I always preferred to do my work later in the afternoon and used my morning to do modelling jobs and put my creativity to use.”

She recalls one fond memory that landed her in trouble with her mother/ teacher: “I remember my mom sending me to my room to get an eraser and hours later coming to find me – I had made a whole new designer clothing range for Barbie.”

But she has no regrets and credits home schooling for helping her find her passion from a young age.

“Fashion design has always been something I loved; being home schooled I was able to use my creativity the moment it came to mind, as long as I got my work done some time in the day.

“For me one of the pros was definitely being able to spend lots of time with my family, learning what my passion was at a young age and being able to put it to use.

"It taught me how to be independent and I learned early on that I was responsible for your own destiny.”

She’s managed to take her modelling career to an international level and devote more of her time to a charity close to her heart.

ALL GROWN UP: Suné Botes advocates home schooling as it allowed her the time to pursue modelling.

Many can argue that home schooling’s main drawback is not giving children the option to socialise and make friends.

But here is a well-rounded young woman without the “spoils” associated with her generation.

Having not had peers to truant with, compare cellphones and handbags has benefited her, but surely the experience can sometimes lead to alienation?

“My parents always made an effort for us to do extra activities such as ballet, modelling and other sports.

"If my parents didn’t do this, I would say a con would be that it could get pretty lonely.” concludes Suné.

Suné Botes’s tips for parents wanting to do the same:

  •  Just forget trying to duplicate a classroom environment, schedule and curriculum in your home. There’s nothing sacred about sitting at desks, having set amounts of time per subject, or using only textbooks.
  • Ultimately, your role will be as a facilitator to your child’s learning. There’s no need to lecture and very often you’ll find yourself learning something new right alongside your child.
  • This may go against your nature, but there’s no need to do every subject every day.
  • I can’t overemphasise the importance of reading and maths, they are the keys to everything else your child will learn. Do everything in your power to develop strong readers and little mathematicians.
  • This is YOUR school. The flexibility and spontaneity are part of the adventure.

What you need to know about home schooling your child:

  • Always do your research: home schooling requires a mind shift and parents tend to think of education based on their experience.
  • Don’t replicate school at home: the stress of trying to keep up with the curriculum can sometimes suck the joy out of home education.
  • Understand that there are different approaches: select products created specifically for home schooling and your children will be more receptive to learning.
  • Go at your own pace: choose the option best suited to you and coach your children when it comes to tests.
  • For matric, the favoured options are: British Cambridge certificate, National Senior Certificate and accredited GED.

* Shirley Erwee is a home-school consultant. She can be contacted on [email protected] or visit her website