For the first time in more than four years, families from all over Africa gathered at a homeschool conference to be refreshed and encouraged.
More than 350 people met in Nairobi, Kenya, in August to support home education and to be reminded of their high calling as homeschool parents. I was blessed to be able to join them.
The conference was hosted by East Africa Christian Homeschoolers (EACH), an emerging and vibrant group of homeschooling families supporting each other in Kenya and the surrounding nations.
Attendees came from Kenya, Uganda, Namibia, South Africa, and South Sudan. Many traveled a full day to attend. Some even rode public buses and other modes of transportation for two days, just for the opportunity to be with other homeschool families.
Very Happy to Homeschool
Reida, a mother traveling with her daughter from South Sudan, started homeschooling because her 9-year-old son, Enoch, didn’t want to go to school any longer.
“The children were bullying him in school, nicknaming him, laughing at him,” Reida said.
REIDA SHARES HER STORY:
After her husband did some research, they decided to start homeschooling Enoch. According to Reida, Enoch is now “very happy” and is doing well in his studies.
When I asked Reida about homeschool support in her community, she told me that she does not know any other homeschool families.
Like Reida, many others who attended the conference found it to be a huge blessing. My family “is more content,” said Sarah, who has been homeschooling her five children for five years, and “the kids are learning more.”
SARAH SHARES HER STORY:
Sammy and his wife, who are from Nairobi, started homeschooling their kids after getting to know other homeschooled children, and said they’re very thankful for it because it has allowed them to be together. “I appreciate the opportunity to be able to influence them to be who God created them to be,” he added.
Despite the success of the conference, home education in Africa continues to be under pressure.
In Kenya, the legal status of homeschooling is uncertain and families risk repercussions for teaching their children at home. In South Africa, the national parliament is considering a bill that threatens to significantly regulate homeschooling. In Namibia, officials may mandate curriculum, and in Uganda, homeschooling is a growing option but is not explicitly defined in the law. The status of homeschooling is simply unknown in many other African countries.
Despite the challenges ahead, Africans remain optimistic.
Liz, who organized the conference on behalf of EACH, said she sees great momentum resulting from the conference. “It presents a good opportunity to build even more partnerships for homeschooling in the region going forward,” she noted.Karin Van Oostrum, with the South Africa-based Pestalozzi Trust and longtime African homeschool champion, put it simply: “It was an unforgettable experience.”