20 years marked
‘‘I'm not all that different from you - I just domy schoolwork at home, and my teacher is my mum’’ Erica Dekker
Erica Dekker spent the school holidays in her classroom preparing for a special occasion.
The 15-year-old home-schooled student, and teacher, mum Louise Dekker, made a memory board in the schoolroom that doubles as the family dining room.
The memory board is to acknowledge the 20th anniversary of the Manawatu Home Educators annual Home and Country Show.
The highlight of the homeschooled year, Saturday’s showcase of talents and abilities has been held at Ashhurst’s Village Valley Centre for the past 18 years.
Judged over 10 categories, which includes baking, floral, photography, art, literature, handcraft, animals and pets, the family day also incorporates games, activities and a good oldfashioned home-school community get-together, while the judges spend two hours evaluating the work on display.
The Dekker’s memory board features photographs from the first event held at Awahuri, along with anecdotes and insights from the past two decades.
Louise is the ideal person to co- ordinate the memory board - she has home educated her five children (Erica is the youngest) and attended the first Home and Country Show.
She and husband Paul were inspired to try home schooling because they liked the way friends had parented and schooled their children, and when eldest son Aaron, now 27, turned 5, felt he wasn’t ready for school.
‘‘I was a nurse and quite career-focused, so it was a huge thing,’’ Louise said.
She and Paul saw home schooling as an investment in their family, and having spent two decades as a home educator, Louise has no regrets.
Paul said people have the idea that home schooling is reclusive, but his children went to dance and music classes, gymnastics and played soccer, and have fitted into jobs and further study without complications.
Erica was quick to dispel any sense of being stereotyped.
‘‘People who go to normal schools always ask about it. I tell them I’m not all that different from you - I just do my schoolwork at home, and my teacher is my mum.’’
Home Education Awareness Week runs from October 17 to 22.
Monique, Erica, Paul and Louise Dekker and the Home and Country Show memory board.