WHY HOME SCHOOL? >> IS IT LEGAL? >> HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
WHAT ABOUT SOCIALISING? >> WHAT ABOUT SPORTS & TEAMWORK?
WHAT QUALIFICATIONS DO YOU NEED? >> WHAT ABOUT CURRICULUM?
WHAT ABOUT UNIVERSITY? >> WHAT IS UNSCHOOLING?
Compiled by Robyn, South Africa ~ © March 2005
WHY HOME SCHOOL?
family life · self image · spend more time outdoors seeing the real world · a richer, happier life · grow up at your own speed · develop a strong sense of self-esteem and confidence · no homework · work at your own pace · concentrate on personal interests · develop a love of learning · variety of subjects · no distractions · spend time meeting interesting people you wouldn’t normally get to meet · see more of the world · a more relaxed, less hectic lifestyle · one on one focus · suit learning to a particular learning style · no fear of criticism · more confidence · travel more · spend more time with the people you choose to be with · socialise more · sibling bonding · family closeness · participate in everyday life · explore your passions · no need to wait until after school to start living your passions, you can start living them NOW!
See more wonderful in this detailed list by Laura Bankston.
“I used to say it was for religious or philosophical reasons, and because it provided the best possible education for the kids. But now that's changed to: it's best for the kids because it allows them to be more complete human beings. By following their interests, they are living in a more real world with real people. They are their own little beings, not just a part of the big machine.” ~ Blythe Pelham
“My children wanted to be home, and I wanted to be with them. The years go quickly, and I want as many moments with my children as possible. I want to be here to help them navigate the daily emotional terrain of their early lives. And to do so, I’m willing to embrace the shaky ground that’s part of the big, wide, worthwhile deal.” ~ Lauren Brenner-Katz from the essay Homeschooling Without Reason
“The main reasons I chose to hs are lifestyle and education. Lifestyle includes getting up whenever we like in the morning and avoiding the 'school' rush. A less stressful lifestyle. No homework. No exams. No peer pressure. Being able to have friends of all ages. Holidays whenever we like. Going to the beach in the morning when it's quiet. Spending more time as a family rather than just an hour or two before dinner, bath, bed. Learning about real life, by being part of it all the time. Spending lots of time just enjoying being a child. And just living life to the full... Education includes creating a love of learning in my girls, learning about what they are interested in when they are interested in it. This includes things not offered at school like perhaps French, Art or whatever. Being able to follow an interest for longer without the interruption of a bell. Working at our own pace. Spending lots of time learning outdoors. Practical learning like lying and looking at the clouds when learning about them, collecting bugs when studying them etc. etc. I could go on!” ~ Robyn, South Africa
IS IT LEGAL?
Yes, in South Africa, home schooling your own children at home is legal. It is highly recommended that you protect this constitutional right by becoming a member of the legal defence fund for home education in SA –
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
Home schooling can cost as little or as much as you like, depending on the methods and curriculum you choose for your family. Either way, you can give your child a quality education by spending as little or as much money as you have. You could home school your child for next to nothing using resources such as the library, school TV, museums, the internet, second hand materials and a few pens and paper. Or it could cost you the same amount as regular school fees cost if you use a full paid curriculum and include extra books and classes, tutors and various extramural activities. The great thing is that it is all up to you and what you can afford!
WHAT ABOUT SOCIALISING?
“It's time for homeschoolers to tell the truth about "socialization." It is a problem! The phone never stops ringing, the teenager's email has crashed the computer, and the front yard is patches of dandelions and dirt because there are always kids out there socializing!” ~ The Truth about Homeschooling and Socialization by Lucinda H Kennaley
“There is a very clear distinction between socialising and socialisation. The prior is interacting with friends and people (of all ages), the latter is accepting and conforming to the norms of the society you're in. The first is mostly desirable whereas the second is mostly not, imho!” ~ Roland, South Africa
“Homeschoolers are able to socialise very well, in fact better than their institutionalised peers! They learn social skills (what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour) first hand from their parent's example instead of a group of rowdy, undisciplined 5 year olds! Homeschooled children are not removed from life and placed into groups according to their age as school children are. They learn in a family context and often also accompany a self-employed dad to work! They thus know how to interact with various age groups. They often have to help keep the toddlers occupied while mom spends individual time with an older sibling. We have 9 year old boys teaching 3 year olds in Sunday School and 6 year olds visiting "their best friends" in Old Age Homes! They are confident in the presence of adults (not intimidated due to an unhealthy authority figure image) and can conduct meaningful conversations on a variety of topics due to their general knowledge gleaned from pursuing their interests.” ~ Adele Breedt, South Africa
Home is where we learn all our skills for life, including relationship skills. We learn how to be polite, have manners, respect others, compromise, show love, and be caring, sort out disputes amicably and in general how to relate to others by living and learning together. When in a loving and secure environment, children develop a strong sense of self-worth that is a very important part of good social skills. Learning to respect and relate to people of all ages and from all walks of life is very important. There are plenty of other ways for home schooled children to socialise. Most home schoolers belong to a local support group that meets at least once a month and organises outings and social events with larger groups of children. Then there are the local clubs and classes, extramural activities (see sports below), the local swimming pool, the library, the shops and your friends. Just about every life situation is a wonderful opportunity to socialise with other people! What did people do … years ago before state schools? Was there a world wide socialisation crisis? Home based children have the opportunity to, like the whole world long ago, develop meaningful friendships with a wide variety of people of their choice.
Another essay by Lisa Russel
Also by Christine Webb
WHAT ABOUT SPORTS AND TEAMWORK?
“Remember that any extra-mural activity that is available to the school going child is also to be found for the homeschooled child. All you have to do is search! eg. speech & drama, music lessons, art classes, ballet, modern, tap classes, chess, baseball, hockey, horse riding, rugby, swimming, computer classes etc!” ~ Charmaine KZN
Home schooled children have plenty of time for whatever sports, hobbies, activities, or outings they would like to do. The choices are endless! Most towns have local sports clubs, tennis clubs, soccer clubs, athletic clubs, the YMCA, Boy Scouts, Brownies, Girl Guides, hiking clubs, mountain climbing, indoor cricket, ice-skating and so on. Children do not have to attend schools to find sports teams to which they can belong. And besides team sports, you can just go to the local public swimming pool, park, beach or recreation centre to play games or sports and exercise with your family or with whoever is there. Also, as far as I understand, if you are a registered home schooler, the law requires your local school to allow you to join in with their sports and other after school activities. Perhaps you could approach a private school and discuss the option of allowing your child to join in with a particular sport? There are many, many options and all you need to do is use your imagination and let your child fulfil whatever dreams they may have. Anything is possible. As for teamwork, other than the above situations, getting along in a family, and learning about sharing and common goals etc. is about the best teamwork experience you can get!
WHAT QUALIFICATIONS DO YOU NEED?
You need to love your child and want what is best for them. You do not need any formal educational training but rather just enthusiasm and a desire to learn. You can have fun learning together and creating a wonderful learning environment. Passing on a life long love of learning to your child is just about the best gift you could possibly offer them. Sending them to the most expensive private schools would not be able to offer them this!
“If your child is going to spend most of her waking hours in your company, it's vital to her well being that you enjoy the daily interaction between you. This doesn't mean that there won't be moments when you need peace and quiet and some time to yourself. However, if you are frequently resentful of your child's need for you and you are constantly irritated by your children's presence, homeschooling your children will not work for you.” ~ Marty Layne author of "Learning At Home: A Mother's Guide to Homeschooling"
WHAT ABOUT CURRICULUM?
Once you have taken your child’s learning style and your own teaching style into consideration, you can then decide on what curriculum option, if any, you wish to follow. There are many curriculum providers for those who choose this route. These include correspondence schools that provide sets of full curriculum, computer software curriculum, internet curriculum and various other options. You can also make your own curriculum by utilising local bookstores, libraries, children’s educational stores and the Internet which offers many free sites with grade-specific and subject-specific information. Local home school support groups and associations may also arrange curriculum exchanges or second hand sales. For an excellent list of South African Curriculum Providers, see my .
WHAT ABOUT UNIVERSITY?
“In the US, hundreds of colleges, universities and vocational institutes all over the nation are accepting homeschooled students. Most are thrilled with these intelligent, responsible, capable young people and many are actively recruiting them. Most of these institutions value ability and attitude over formal transcripts, diplomas or GEDs.” ~ Home Education Magazine
In the USA, homeschoolers are accepted and recruited by some of the top universities in the country because of their maturity, independent thinking skills, creativity, and strong academic preparation. Homeschoolers perform above average on the ACT. Homeschoolers also placed highest on the SAT college entrance exams in the year 2000. In addition to academic success, homeschoolers have had athletic success in college. Coaches are recruiting homeschooled athletes, and in 2001 the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) declared about 100 homeschooled students eligible for athletics as freshmen at major universities, up from 85 the year before. An article in Time on September 11, 2000, reported that 26 percent of 35 homeschooled applicants had been accepted into Stanford University’s 2000-2001 freshman class. This is nearly double the rate of overall acceptance (from
There are many options in South Africa to obtain the equivalent of a senior certificate. Brainline is registered as an examination centre with Cambridge International Examinations (CIE). The IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education) is administered by CIE. IGCSE has international credibility as an educational qualification. IGCSE is recognised by universities and colleges throughout the world as a qualification equivalent in standard to the British GCSE and the international GCS Ordinary Level examinations.
There are several other options of correspondence ‘schools’ for the higher grades. You are not required to register with the government after Grade 9. You do all your work at home and write exams, you can either opt for a curriculum that gives you an SA senior certificate or an international certificate through Cambridge. Another option for homeschoolers to obtain a matric equivalent with university entrance is the GED homeschool matric plus a set SAT score. Below are some links to check out for more information.
OPTIONS FOR OBTAINING YOUR SENIOR CERTIFICATE (OR EQUIVALENT) FROM HOME
WHAT IS UNSCHOOLING?
“Unschooling makes the whole world, the whole of life, our work and our learning. That is what humans are driven to do. Add to that a good foundation of love, and we have unlimited possibilities for fulfilled lives. Learning doesn't end when we become adults. Contrary to the goals of conventional schooling, to complete the marathon of K-12, learning lasts as long as we live, and the free choice to include conventional studies in the interest of a personal goal is just one small part of the whole picture.”
~ Suzannah Harris, editor of ‘The Unschooler” e-zine
Unschooling is also sometimes called interest-initiated learning, child-led learning, natural learning, or life learning. A child knows naturally what he is interested in learning, he is hungry for knowledge and asks a lot of questions. If we ignore this and force him to learn what we feel we should be teaching, he could lose interest and eventually his natural hunger for learning could be smothered altogether. If we go with what he is interested in, and work around that, his hunger for learning will ignite and continue to burn and grow until it is a flaming fire of knowledge. He will remember things because he was interested in them. This is where going to school or following a set curriculum fails. Teaching because we want to teach something, or we have planned to teach it, may kill all desire for learning. Children naturally know what they want to learn and they will lead you in your teaching.
If you have any other questions about home schooling, please email me and I will do my best to answer!
Graphics on this page are from Simply Shantastic!