By Louise Schoonwinkel, MD of Optimi Home, the company that operates Impaq
Reflecting on the last 365 days it’s clear that lockdown has changed many things – including our perspectives on Homeschooling Education has undergone immense changes that will forever alter the way that our children learn.
As the country’s largest homeschooling curriculum provider, Impaq has noticed how more families are increasingly viewing homeschooling as an appealing alternative. Over the last year, millions of children have done at least some of their schooling from home, with some families realising how homeschooling has benefits for them.
As a result, Impaq has experienced its fastest ever rate of growth with over 5 000 new learners in 2020. Families from various demographics and backgrounds have registered with Impaq.
Among the interesting observations are that families with younger children — those at the Grade R and Grade 1 levels — have been one of the largest new signup groups. In addition, 2020 has also seen a high rate of signups from older children who have flourished more under a homeschooling setup than a traditional schooling environment.
Why perspectives on homeschooling have changed: the benefits
There are three key benefits that the pandemic has taught us about homeschooling and distance learning over the last year:
Learning really can happen from anywhere
In our internet-connected age, adults have learned that they can work from anywhere in the world, and that they don’t always need to be in the office. The same lessons apply to education.
Prior to the pandemic, we often had families who travel internationally sign their children up for homeschooling. This ensured that their children’s education was on track, no matter where they were in the world.
During lockdown last year, we saw the same trend on a local level, as many families decided to use the opportunity to travel to other South African locations, such as coastal areas, to continue their work and schooling from there.
What is interesting is that while many families have returned to their hometowns or cities, others have decided that they enjoy this new way of life and have continued with homeschooling their children.
You don’t have to be a super mom or dad to do homeschooling
Providers of structured homeschooling, such as Impaq, will give you all the support you need to make learning at home easy. This includes:
- detailed scheduling on Impaq’s online learning platform,
- lesson structures and material,
- live online lessons to help grasp important concepts,
- access to educational specialists when you get stuck and
- all the assessments that need to be completed to progress to the next grade.
You ,as the parent, don’t need to be an expert in Mathematics or Physical Science. Parents can also enlist the assistance of a tutor should they need assistance.
Also read: How do I choose a tutor for my child?
The gift of more time and adaptability
In addition to being based from anywhere, homeschooling provides more time for families and children. For starters, you don’t have to endure the morning and afternoon rush hour trips to get your children to and from school.
Homeschooled children can also work at their own pace, thereby spending more time on topics and aspects that may need greater attention from them. In turn, this results in more individualised attention – something that can be a challenge in traditional schools.
For children who take on time-intensive extracurricular activities, such as professional sport or music, homeschooling is also often the best option for them.
Then there are those children at Grade 10 to12 level who wish to take on more subjects. Homeschooling enables these children to have the time to do so. In addition, a reputable provider such as Impaq provides many more subject choices than what a school can offer.
As the unknowns around the pandemic play out and as technology evolves, there’s no doubt that our education landscape will experience further major changes down the line. What’s good to know is that there are alternatives in place to keep learning going during this challenging time.
Impaq, which forms part of the Optimi Group, is South Africa’s largest education curriculum provider. It provides a comprehensive set of educational products based on a CAPS-aligned home education curriculum for Grades R to 12.