Homeschooling is exactly that: teaching kids a curriculum at home and not at a school. You can either teach your kids yourself, join an established small group or register them at a homeschool-style school.Homeschooling is recognized by the Department of Basic Education in South Africa as a legal practice and you can apply to the head of your province's education department to register your children for the option to homeschool.
One of the most difficult tasks is to find the right curriculum for your child. There are many sites and help groups available online (it is a fast growing trend in S.A). A bit of research, foresight and proper assessment will help you choose the right one for your family. The Department of Basic Education does not have a preferred homeschooling curriculum (in fact, all independent schools are free to adopt their own).
They only offer guidelines which outline the compulsory phases of education (foundation, intermediate and senior) which can be found at the governmental website
To register for homeschooling, go to your provincial Department of Education offices and make sure you bring the following:
- A completed application form which you will obtain from the provincial Department of Education or download from their website. (the service is free).
- Your Identity Document (ID) and a certified copy of the ID as well as a copy of the child's birth certificate.
- The last copy of your children's school report if they were in school before. If the child is only starting school now you must bring their immunisation cards.
- A weekly timetable which includes the contact time per day.
- A breakdown of terms for the year (196 'school' days per year)
- Your chosen learning program.
It may take up to a month for your application to be processed. Once you've been registered with the department, you are expected to keep and maintain an up-to-date record of attendance and the child's progress throughout the year. A portfolio of all the lessons/tutorials/education the child receives as well as a portfolio of the child's work will need to be kept as well as evidence of the continuos assessment of the child's work, tests, year-end examinations, etc
These requirements from the department are set out to make sure that the child is receiving a worthy education. There are some parents who prefer to not register with the department at all, believing that the requirements of the department are unfair and that the government's curriculum is insufficient.
To clarify, the Department of Basic Education does not have a curriculum of choice; you are free to choose one for your child. What it does expect from every homeschool is that at the end of Grades 3, 6 and 9, you have kept evidence that proves your child has indeed achieved all the outcomes for these grades/phases of education. At the end of many parental debates on whether one should register with the country's education department or not lies the fact that without registering, (and without the recognized certificates and diplomas), your child will inevitably have a much harder time continuing studies at a tertiary institution, be it in South Africa or abroad.