While addressing the nation on Tuesday night, Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga told anxious parents they would not be forced to send their children back to school.
When asked how the department would deal with children with underlying health issues, she said parents had options – re-applying for the schools their children attended to repeat the grade, and homeschooling.
Motshekga had earlier iterated schools will be re-opened on June 1. The first group of learners who'll return will be Grades 12 and 7.
For parents who had the time and means, homeschooling was looking like a very attractive option. But navigating the homeschooling minefield comes with challenges.
When it comes to academic prowess, children who are taught the basics at home from an early age have the upper hand. A study published in School Effectiveness and School Improvement found preschoolers whose parents read and talked about books to them scored better on maths tests at age 12.
“Our results underline the great importance of exposing children to books for development not just in literacy but numeracy too: early language skills not only improve a child’s reading but also boost mathematical ability,” said study lead author Simone Lehrl from University of Bamberg.
Louise Schoonwinkel, the general manager of home education provider Impaq, said learners who joined an accredited home education provider followed the same Caps curriculum as their school-going peers, and should also fall under examination bodies overseen by Umalusi. Once the recommendations were met, learners could exit or return to a traditional school at any time.
Parents should also take note of the following:
“You will be taking control of your child’s education, and it might seem like an impossible task. However, the right provider will give you a schedule and structure that tells you exactly what you need to do and when,” added Schoonwinkel.
“Home education parents get very detailed facilitator guides, which tell them how to teach a subject. These guides don't just communicate what a learner needs, but also what the parent needs to know about teaching a particular subject.
“In addition, there are working groups where parents – with varying knowledge sets – can assist each other in understanding how to teach different subjects.”
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
“Many parents find it easier to teach an early grade syllabus such as Grade 1, but as children progress to higher grades, most parents will typically need to seek the assistance of a tutor. But while they do offer greater assistance, it’s important to remember that you as the parent have to take responsibility for your child’s education right up until Grade 9 level.”
Follow the rules
“According to law, you also have to register your child with the Department of Education and we strongly advise that home education parents ensure that they do this.”
- Impaq: www.impaq.co.za
Learning reimagined with Zakiyya Ismail: livingjoyfully.ca
How to register your child: www.schoolguide.co.za/for-parents/school-review-guidelines/1036-education-guide/11110-how-to-register-for-homeschooling-in-south-africa.html