Homeschooling in Zimbabwe

Jodie & Jamie’s story

Belinda Sparrow-Smith’s two daughters, Jodie and Jamie are homeschooling in Zimbabwe with Wolsey Hall. Belinda explains the reasons behind their decision and how it’s working further down the line.

“Homeschooling was not an easy decision as we both have our own businesses and are very busy. Private school is the only option available for a good education in Zimbabwe as the government schools are full to over-flowing; no books and often no teachers are also a norm. Increasing school fees at a private school forced us to find other choices.”

“We were recommended Wolsey Hall Oxford by a friend and were instantly impressed with the structure. The price was affordable and it was a Cambridge School, which was the system we were used to. I felt if we failed at it we could always slot back into mainstream school.”

“Our biggest worry was that they would miss out on friendships at school but once the decision was made it was like a load had been lifted off our shoulders. We felt we were able to give our girls the best education we could afford.”

Online Learning in ZImbabwe

Wolsey Hall Oxford supports a growing number of families homeschooling in Zimbabwe

“My youngest daughter at the time had just finished Form 1 (first year of high school). She really struggles to learn in a classroom environment and often came home crying because of poor grades. Her confidence was at an all-time low so for her, we definitely felt it was a beneficial move.”

“My oldest daughter had just completed Form 2 and would start with O-levels. She was happy with the move to home school. At the time we had another friend who was also struggling with the cost of private tuition so her daughter joined Wolsey Hall too. One of the things that made the decision easier was the phone call we received from Sarah Webb. It was good to speak to a real person who answered our questions and made us feel we were dealing with a school that cared.”

“Fortunately, we had a room available at home to use so the cost of setting up was minimal. It was a bit of a challenge getting books into Zimbabwe because of potential for theft and huge import duties. We managed to get it in through a roundabout route through South Africa. The girls were so excited to start!”

“I realised it would be a challenge with me working but I work from home and can set client appointments at a convenient time for me. We also had our son still in junior school and he would need me to run him around for activities. We made some rules for the girls such as starting at 7am. I help them set up their work so they have a diary with their pages set out for each subject. If they are stuck with something they have learnt to contact their Tutor for help via email. It took them a little while to get used to taking responsibility instead of relying on a Tutor to spoon feed them everything.”

homeschooling in Zimbabwe

“Nearly a year on and we have very happy kids. The work is going well and their marks have improved. They all work very well together and have become close friends. It has not always been easy and the girls have struggled with a few subjects so we have had to bring in a Physics/ Chemistry teacher once a week to assist with extra lessons. A friend comes to help with French too.”

“The girls are also involved in music so we encouraged them to put together a show for 40 adults which was a resounding success. They then took the show to an old age home in the community and were well received and asked to return.”

“We needn’t have worried about the girls missing out on friendships and they have kept in contact with old friends. For us, it has certainly been a positive move but it has helped having the back up of fantastic teachers at Wolsey Hall.”

“The best of it has been having happy teenagers, who take care of each other and are growing into independent young ladies. A huge thank you to Wolsey Hall who made the transition to homeschooling in Zimbabwe relatively stress free.”

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