Many husbands and partners of home educators become interested and involved with PORSE.
PORSE couple Derek Shieffelbein and partner Carolynn Angell have created a unique opportunity, where they are now both working as educators from two different homes, neighbouring each other.
This couple’s story shows that when you have a dream and a passion for children, anything is “PORSEable”. By combining their talents to work alongside each other as home educators, Carolynn and Derek are enjoying the same career, which has brought them closer as they share the same goal – to offer children the very best experiences in fabulous home environments.
Carolynn has been an educator for ten years. She joined PORSE after her own children had left home and foster children had also come and gone. The first twelve months in her new business were slow, however she was determined to be “the best educator” she could be and as parents saw the benefits for their children in her care, they spread the word and business never looked back.
“Within two years I had trebled my previous income as a sewing machinist, and I loved being a part of children’s lives again.”
When partner Derek retired from his banking job in 2010 he made the decision to follow Carolynn into a career as an educator. For Derek to become an educator, he needed his own home so the couple set about looking for the right location.
As if by magic, another house in the quiet Hastings cul de sac next door to where Carolynn works, came on the market. They bought it and turned it into a home which Derek shares with daughter Bronwyn.
Derek’s large garden is geared for physical play with a focus on sports; a bike track, enormous sandpit, tree house, remote control cars, football goalposts, golf clubs, traffic lights and woodwork. The large shady trees top it off as a child’s dream playground.
“Vroom, vroom” can be heard from the bike track as three year old Finn manoeuvres his balance bike expertly over the bumps on the bike track.
More bikes are on the way as a local bike shop has just offered Derek a “good deal” on the wooden balance bikes.
“The children seem to get better traction with these bikes and they have more fun.”
Derek’s place with all the “big toys” is appealing for parents of boys who have seen the environment as a great place for their sons.
“It means they can play together really well and are generally at a similar learning stage with the toys and gear.”
Finn’s mother Michelle Hutchins says the time spent with Derek has been very positive for Finn. “Finn has benefitted ten fold, his skills and confidence on his bike have improved, he is learning to problem solve and he loves the giant sandpit.”
Indoors, a pristinely tidy playroom and kitchen is bordered with containers full of construction sets, hard hats, puzzles, books, pirate ships, castles and a large train set.
Some days Derek and the boys will pop through the gate to Carolynn’s house for lunch with the other children and they might make pizzas, or have combined activity and play, before happily heading back to “their house”. And the girls just love visiting their ‘new’ neighbours.
“We go out to a PlaySchool once or twice a week but if the children don’t want to go then that’s fine. Each environment is so different, offering a wide range of home activities and outside learning so that we don’t have to drive anywhere,” Carolynn says.
Derek has already notched up some important training. Now, with First Aid, BabyCHAT and BabyCARES courses under his belt he’s enrolled in the PORSE Introductory Module in ECE. He admits he’s often the only guy at PORSE training or meetings.
Dad Damon Harvey says his daughter Livia just loves “Carolynn and Derek” and it’s fantastic to see her enjoying being part of this unique setup. ;“It’s awesome to see what they have achieved together, and the effort Derek has made in creating a home environment that he wants to work in and offer families.”
“Any parent who is lucky enough to have children cared for like this, will look back and know, it was a very special first few years in their child’s life.”
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