Homeschooling is all about teaching your children a curriculum at home and not at a school. Recently, this mode of education has seen a rise in interest as many parents in South Africa have found their children’s academic calendars disrupted for extended periods due to the recent lockdowns. Many parents, therefore, want to know how they can go about teaching their children at home, and also they want to know if it is legal.
Yes, do not worry- this form of education is recognized by the Department of Basic Education in South Africa as a legal practice. However, there are a few guidelines and necessary requirements that one has to follow in order to do it well, and in the legally prescribed manner. You can therefore apply to the head of your province’s education department to register your children for the option to home-school.
A major challenge will then be finding the right curriculum for your child. Thankfully, with the advent of the internet, there is no shortage of resources to help you in this regard because there are many sites and help groups available online that help you to get the resources you need to successfully school your kids. You can also learn how to research and assess curricula based on the individual capacities and talents of each individual child.
How to Register For Homeschooling in South Africa
- Register with the Department of Education
- Completed an application form from the Department Of Education
- Certified copy of the ID
- Copy of the child’s birth certificate
- Last copy of the child’s school report
- Weekly timetable that includes the contact time per day
- Present a weekly timetable that includes the contact time per day
- Provide your chosen learning program
- Present breakdown of terms for the year
You will need to register with the Department of Education. Please do not fail to this because this is how you ensure that your child will not be denied opportunities in the future. Furthermore, this could save you from unnecessary legal trouble in years to come. Here are some things that you will need:
You will need a completed application form which you will obtain from the provincial Department of Education. This application form is free, and you just need to apply for it. You may then take it home, fill it and return for submission.
You will also need to bring your Identity Document (ID) and a certified copy of the ID. Since it is the child that you want to home-school, and some documentation needs to be made of the child, you will also be required to bring a copy of the child’s birth certificate.
If the child has previously been enrolled in a school, you will also need to bring along the last copy of the child’s school report. If the child has not previously been enrolled in school you must instead bring his/her immunization cards.
You will need to present a weekly timetable that includes the contact time per day, and also provide your chosen learning program.
You then need to present a breakdown of terms for the year. The recommended learning schedule is 196 school days for every year.
As mentioned in the introduction, there are many websites and groups that can help you get the resources such as time table, books, teaching manuals, and other things that you will need to successfully homeschool your children.
After Registering for Home Schooling
Please keep in mind that it may take up to a month for your application to be processed.
However, just because you have registered for homeschooling does not mean that you can now rest easy: there is still a lot of work to be done. After registering for homeschooling with the relevant authorities, you will need to monitor your child’s progress.
In order to monitor your child’s progress, you will need to keep and maintain an up-to-date record of attendance every single day, just as it would have been done at a regular school. You will also need to keep records of the child’s progress throughout the year.
You will need to keep records of all the lessons, or ‘classes’ that the child receives as well as a record of his written work. It is also necessary to keep a record of the performances as evidence of the continuous assessment of the child’s progress. Classwork, tests, year-end examinations will all need to be kept.
Please do not feel overwhelmed; it is very possible to do all these; you just need to liaise with any of the websites (sometimes run by NPOs) that promote homeschooling in the country. Whatever you do, please ensure that you meet these requirements: they are there as guidelines to help ensure that every child- whether homeschooled or not- gets the right standard and quality of education that will enable them to meet their potentials.
It has been noticed that some parents prefer to not register with the department at all, believing that the requirements of the department are unfair and that the government’s scheme of work is not good enough for their children. However, such thinking is faulty because it exposes one to the possibility of legal trouble in the future, furthermore, children who are not registered in the government education database could miss out on several opportunities in the future.
Before any parents can make the decision to home school their children, it is better to evaluate themselves properly so as to know whether they can devote the necessary time to providing the education by themselves at home. While there are many support groups, Non-Profit Organizations, and websites that provide great resources that can help parents make homeschooling a success, much still depends on the parents to put in the work.
One benefit of regular state education is that records are made and kept of each child’s progress. If homeschooling is to be successful, therefore, the child must be continually assessed as to whether he is making progress in his academic work. The records of these assessments must be kept, not just as evidence of the child having passed through the schooling, but also as a measure of his learning curve, so as to determine whether any recent changes in the child’s schooling methods are producing a positive change of not.
For the benefit of the overall development of your child, please do not neglect socialization, which is a great benefit of regular state-sponsored education. If you have opted for homeschooling, it is, therefore, important to find alternative means of socializing your children so as to help them develop a well-rounded personality.