This year just when I thought ok, I’ve got this home-schooling thing … I’ve done a year so the 2nd year shouldn’t be bad. Well I was so wrong, because my eldest started Cambridge Grade 11 IGCSE levels.
We were prepared for grade 11 but had to relearn the Cambridge way. I sacrificed a weekend of rest to understand the syllabus requirements and the different coursebooks (textbooks), so that I could help my son understand his schedule. We decided to continue through TCE (Theocentric Christian Education) mostly because of the Biblical studies unit they offer and the amazing support for any school work related query. TCE acts as an online tutor where you can send through any question regarding anything you as the parent don’t understand or are unable to explain to your kids.
This is just the kind of support I needed to get through the month of January. Our books arrived, and I started my research and reading on how the Cambridge syllabus works. This year my son has seven subjects. Afrikaans, English, History, Physics, Business Studies, Mathematics and Character of God (Biblical studies). He will sit for two exam periods this year, one at home under my supervision, and the other will be his final IGCSE exam in October/November at a Cambridge Centre. The May/June exam involves IGCSE past papers, it will be sent to TCE for marking, and he will receive a report.
The final exam which will be written at a Cambridge Centre, will be couriered straight to Cambridge UK for marking, and we will receive results by end of November. Once he has passed his IGCSE level he will be able to register for his AS level. He can apply to any university both in South Africa or international with the IGCSE results but will only receive acceptance once his grade 12 (AS levels) are complete. Even though IGCSE prepares you to write your AS levels you do not have to write the exams. The IGCSE exams are unrelated to AS levels, meaning, you do not have to write them. You could work through the course work and not write the exam. You would still be able to register for AS levels even without IGCSE level. We feel its good practice, so he will be writing the exam. The fees for writing Cambridge exams and using a Cambridge facility is payable separately 5 months before the exam. This is a separate fee to what we have already paid for his books.
We are currently making use of two maths tutors, one is a Computer Programmer by career and the other is a grade 12 AS level student. The reason for this is the 1st tutor can only do face to face lessons once a month, and the student is able to come on a weekly basis or more if needed.
I also have an Afrikaans tutor who comes in once a week, as this is his final year which is AS level Afrikaans. Afrikaans has never been my strong point. He is given 5 topics for the year on which to prepare a 300-400-word essay. He will also be given a comprehension to test his understanding of the language.
We are still in the beginning of the course and as we go along we may need to get a Physics tutor in. The other subjects are mostly studying and preparing. We use a variety of Cambridge YouTube videos for Physics practicals for now and we try do at least one practical a week.
He also still does his weekly test through TCE which keeps him prepared constantly. His day is about 6-7 hours long with some study time in the afternoon or evening.
As challenging as Cambridge is, I wouldn’t change it, because I know he is getting the very best international standard education.
Deborah Pretorius is a mother of 3 kids and a BCom graduate on the amazing adventure of home schooling her family.