VA IL Y NZYL FAM
Bertus and Carna van Zyl from the farm Eenvoud outside Napier started homeschooling at their previous farm outside Piet Retief. “We began by attending an insightful home-schooling workshop and doing personality tests to establish each person’s learning style. Wian was a kinetic learner and Berna a visual learner. We then chose a curriculum best suited to the four members of our family.”
They switched from an informal approach to a formal South African curriculum (Breinlyn) in Grade 10 to make admission to university easier. Eventually the family decided to let the children complete Grades 11 and 12 at the Vryheid Agricultural High School in order to broaden their horizons and experience a school environment. “Some people are still amazed by my son [ Wian] who is busy with his third year in engineering!” laughs Carna.
Berna, who as a child learnt sewing from one of their neighbours, has already designed her own range of handbags and clothes, and is now studying fashion design at Fedisa in Cape Town. The Van Zyls say it takes perseverance, but strong family bonds and the freedom children have to develop their own interests were great advantages. “A wonderful bonus: seaside holidays where the only footprints in the sand are yours!”