My homeschooling journey

homeschooling journey

A few years back, my stepdaughter Emma was at a prestigious all-girls school from Grade R to Grade 4. We were happy, and so was she. Little did we know we would embark on a homeschooling journey- much to our surprise- and delight!

Before our homeschooling journey began

Emmas school was a wonderfully nurturing environment, with dedicated and amazing teachers.  The school grounds were impeccably maintained, and you could feel the essence of the school in each fibre of your being when you walked across the manicured lawns.  Every bell and whistle known to folks was available.   Violin lessons?  Tick.  Golf?  Tick.  Diving?  Tick.  An in-house Occupational Therapist? Tick.

It was the type of school where learners were motivated and inspired to achieve. Of course, this came with a hefty price tag, but we were happy to pay because there simply couldn’t be – in our minds – a better environment for our child.

I was fortunate enough to be a stay-at-home mom then, and I felt so blessed to be able to collect her from school, supervise the enormous amount of daily homework, and be involved in every facet of her education.  The older she got, the more she began to question the very system she was in.

She noticed that the girls who were selected for match day teams – despite never having attended a practice – were by and large the same girls whose parents socialised with the teachers or made hefty donations to the school.  How does one explain to a 10-year-old that the system won’t always be fair, that sometimes you play by the rules and still get hurt?

Whilst there was no “final straw” or any particular event that pushed us out of the school, I came to the slow and painful realisation that perhaps, for her, this wasn’t the best environment.

The Beginning

And so began our homeschooling journey.  We made the decision to remain on the CAPS curriculum, to make reintegration with mainstream schooling easier. So, with that in mind, I purchased a boxed curriculum, and concentrated on filling the gaps in Mathematics and Afrikaans.

Funnily enough, I thought that being English speaking, English would be a breeze to teach.  Boy, was I wrong!  I found the content subjects easy enough but for languages I relied heavily on Teacher’s Guides and YouTube, and websites that made Mathematics more manageable for both Emma and I.

Why I chose Mindscape Education for my homeschooling journey

Curriculum Resources: Mindscape Education offers a wide variety of curriculum resources to support learners in their education- and particularly homeschooling  journey. These resources come in the form of textbooks, learner’s guides, and literature. For parents who are homeschooling their children, teacher’s guides become an invaluable tool.

Structure and Breakdown: The textbooks provided by Mindscape Education offer a comprehensive breakdown of the curriculum, including notional hours per subject. This breakdown allows parents to structure their child’s learning in a systematic and effective manner. The teachers’ guides facilitate the teaching process by offering step-by-step instructions, examples, and additional resources to enhance understanding.

Assessment Program: In addition to the textbooks and resources, Mindscape Education offers an assessment program. This program encompasses the learning outcomes to be achieved at each milestone. The Portfolio of Evidence consists of tasks, projects, tests, exams, and orals, which serve as a tool to measure progress and determine readiness for the following academic year. This portfolio can also be used as an exit assessment tool at Grade 9 or Grade 12.

Credibility and Recognition: To ensure credibility and recognition, Mindscape Education issues accredited and valid reports. These reports can be used to progress to the next level or grade and are recognized by other educational institutions and mainstream schools. This ensures that learners receive a quality education that meets national standards.

Your Homeschooling Journey: Valuable tips

So where does one begin?

  • Do your research regarding the type of curriculum you want to use.  You may choose any curriculum you wish, provided that the content is equal to, or better than the CAPS Curriculum.
  • You could either register with a Distance Education Provider, and use their assessments, or register with the Department of Education through your provincial education authorities and use their assessments.

Choosing a reputable curriculum provider like Mindscape Education means that the assessments and textbooks are in line with CAPS requirements.

Must-dos on the homeschooling journey

Remember that homeschooling, in its purest form, means that the child receives most of their education in their own home.

Do:  Prepare for judgment and criticism from those who are misinformed and have no insight or understanding of your unique situation.

Do:  Focus on areas of improvement – we spent extra time on Afrikaans and Mathematics, and used to begin our mornings with these subjects while Emma was at her freshest.

Do:  Go on outings that are appropriate and join Facebook support groups for Homeschoolers in your area.

Do:  Keep detailed records of your activities and assessments.  You are required to keep your child’s Portfolio of Evidence for up to three years and your curriculum provider will need this to result your child each term and issue a report.

DONT:  Replicate school at home.

Should you register with the Department of Education?

This is an extremely complex issue, particularly considering the Basic Education Law Amendment Bill that is currently being deliberated in Parliament.  Read more about this here:

**Note – links current at time of writing the article.

Presently, there are three pieces of legislation in South Africa that come to mind when pondering this conundrum:

  1. One is the South African Schools Act, 1996.
  2. The other is the Children’s Act, 2005 and
  3. The third is the South African Constitution.

Yes, there is legislation that stipulates that we must register our homeschooled children with the Department of Education. There is also legislation that says not doing so is punishable by a fine, or imprisonment, or both. But as a parent, you have a constitutional right to choose the kind of education your children receive, and you have a legal responsibility to always act in your children’s best interests.

We’re far from the end – but you can start your homeschooling journey today!

Contact Mindscape Education to find out more about their products and services – and even tutors and centres that can assist!

I leave you with the following quotes:

  • “A child educated only at school is an uneducated child” – George Santayana 1863 – 1952, philosopher and Harvard Professor.
  • “Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think”. – Albert Einstein

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Claire Wickham

Claire Wickham

Claire is a mom of five, (two grew in my tummy and three grew in my heart), and a former homeschooling mom. Dog lover and Thermomix enthusiast, I dream of the day that our schooling system moves from the archaic and antiquated, to renewed and relevant.

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