Some home schooling parents prefer a structured approach to home schooling even though they have decided to remove their kids from traditional school. Along with this structured approach is also the preference to register with some kind of authority or body. In this article we discuss the various options available to parents in South Africa.
For me this was extremely important, so once we were in the first month of our curriculum I began the process of registration.
There are many families who choose not to register their children, as this is not a legal requirement. My main reason was so that they can be on the Department of Education’s registrar of students and if I need to go back to work at some stage they will be on record as been home-schooled. The other important reason is if anyone enquires as to why my kids aren’t at school (sometimes this happens when you have nosy neighbours) I can prove that they have a certificate of registration approved by the department.
There are two important bodies to register with.
The Pestalozzi Trust was established to protect the rights and freedom of education for all families wishing to educate their children at home or through cottage schools. It’s important to be registered with them because should you find yourself in a conflict situation with regards to educational authorities the Pestalozzi Trust is able to assist you to resolve the matter before the matter goes to court. If it does go to court the Pestalozzi Trust is able to carry the cost and provide a competent legal team for your protection. You can read details regarding this Trust on their website.
Department of Education
Registration with the Department of Education involves a home visit from the Head of the home-schooling department. I contacted the person in charge of the province in which we live and he emailed me forms to fill for each child. If the child is in grade 10 and above they are regarded as adult education and need not be registered with the department.
The forms are very simple to fill and requires a birth certificate and parents Identification forms.
Once filled you email them back and expect a home visit within four to six weeks. Our home visit was very pleasant. The head of department came with an assistant who looked through our curriculum and admitted that it was actually a very high standard. He was also very surprised with the volume of work we do per week. To hear that honestly made me sigh with relief, as this was what I wanted. Knowing my kids were doing work not only of a higher standard but more than required was what I wanted from this home-schooling experience. I didn’t want them to lack in anyway.
My certificates, once finalised, were emailed to me and I was excited to continue my journey.
Again, not all families register their kids and that is a personal decision. The law may change soon where registration is a legal requirement but until then it is your choice.
There are many different groups on Facebook which are specifically for any questions you may have regarding your home school journey. The main group is called “Home-schooling in South Africa”, and they have over 11,000 members and counting. The other group which I belong to is called “Home-schooling Christians in South Africa”. I have seen questions asked from what curriculums are available, which Youtube channels to use to assist in learning, tutors who can assist your kids where you cannot, basically anything you need regarding home-schooling can be found using this social media outlet. There are also Facebook groups in your local area, depending on where you are based you can easily connect with other home-schooling families. These Facebook sites are great to get connected to especially if you want your kids to get involved in the different activities.
The Facebook groups also keep you informed as to the legal requirements and laws that change constantly.
I have found these Facebook groups to be extremely helpful.
When I started my home-school journey I had no idea that WhatsApp would be my lifeline to other families in my area. I have met so many families through WhatsApp all within 10-20 min to where I live. It was an eye opener for me to see so many people support and able to answer any question I needed assistance with. Some of these families are home-schooling for many years and have a wealth of knowledge. I have seen the most insignificant questions asked and answered by people so willing to help.
From curriculum queries to extra mural activities anything you need is answered on these groups.
The sub groups created from the main WhatsApp groups are also amazingly helpful. There are playgroups, reading groups, gaming groups, chat groups, Christian moms support groups. As I say it’s a very supportive community of amazing people all striving to do what’s best for their kids.
These groups have been my lifeline during my 1st year of home-schooling. It’s made it less daunting!
Deborah Pretorius is a mother of 3 kids and a BCom graduate on the amazing adventure of home schooling her family.