Mrs. Rebekka Liebenberg Biography
Rebekka Liebenberg is a homeschooling mother of four children. Three of them have since grown up and moved onto tertiary studies and their own home and work lives. She is currently still homeschooling her 14-year-old daughter.
She founded an online support group for homeschooling parents around 2008, which has seen tremendous growth and activity over the years, culminating in a de facto association of sorts for homeschooling parents in South Africa. “Homeschooling in South Africa” thus became a brand of its own making. It is the largest group of its kind in the country. Since the group is private and the members are carefully vetted, it is not advertised or listed in all the popular forums so as to ensure genuine interest from only those who are homeschooling their own children. Since the covid wave of change hit our nation, and homeschooling became the new buzz word, the group has faced an influx of in interest and queries, especially from those seeking to take advantage of the burgeoning market of home education. Sitting at a comfortable number of 22K+ membership, the group continues to grow slowly as the homeschooling sector grows in relevance.
Having studied some law, worked in the medical support field for a while and thoroughly enjoyed the world of marketing and sales of a variety of products ranging from Educational software for foundation phase children and Employee Union representation to Mecedes benz fleet maintenance, Rebekka was well prepared to manage the variety of hurdles facing the education sector and the legal complications that arise from challenging the Governments mal-leadership of education in South Africa. She has thus become somewhat of an activist in this field, championing the rights of parents to choose how to educate their children, as they see fit to serve their children’s best interests.
In 2020 she attended the DBE round table meeting on putting the final touches to the implementation to the Bella Bill and shared her memberships’ perspectives on the matter. Sadly the Government, who was rather collaborative at the time, backtracked on much of progress reached in that meeting and allowed the chaos of the Covid situation to supersede in terms of priority over the welfare of home-schooled children in South Africa. The battle on this ground thus continues for parental rights and children’s rights of Homeschooling community, who wish for reasonable regulations and access to the government in the form of active participation. The sector has since been largely ignored in favo ur of role-players who are merchants in the field and not the actual stakeholders of the sector at all.
Studying Fine Arts may seem a far cry from education activism, but in reality, it was what really ignited the spark of interest in exploring the individuality and exclusivity of expression and unique perspectives that children and young people foster within, before the systems of education start to wear them down with absolutes and limitations of thinking.
Homeschooling thus became an obvious end goal for Rebekka and her family, even if she didn’t know it from the start.
“Looking back, I wish I had had the courage to forge ahead, the imagination to explore, and the depth of understanding of how children and adults learn, that I have today. I would never have sent my children to school as youngsters, and would have home-schooled them exclusively, right into high school, or even beyond if that were possible. I am thankful to God for the opportunity afforded our family to experience this kind of life because it taught my children and our family much more of the good stuff than school ever could have. Also, it saved them from the many horrors of societal socialization, and for that I am deeply grateful” – Rebekka Liebenberg 2021