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Home schooling, is it for you? We’ve set out to answer some of the more common questions that we get about home education.

Every parent wants to do the best they can for their children when it comes to education. But what is the best? For some, it might be homeschooling.

The pros

Homeschooling can be a solution to a number of difficult situations. Living in a remote area, where getting to and from school isn’t simple, can be a good reason to homeschool your child, says Danielle Barfoot from Impak, a home education curriculum provider.

Other reasons include that you want your child to get individual attention, your ideological, cultural or religious viewpoints differ from those at nearby schools, or perhaps you’re looking for more flexibility in your and your child’s daily schedule.

Homeschooling allows you to educate your own child, catering to their individual needs and investing time in their emotional, social, physical and intellectual development, says Barfoot.

You control the quality of your child’s education, along with the content and pace of their curriculum. On top of this, you can provide a safe and secure environment for your child, one best suited to their learning needs. “Children who are educated at home work individually, measuring themselves against their own performance and not a class average,” says Barfoot.

The cons

But choosing to homeschool also means that you are solely responsible for your child’s education. Plus, homeschooling will require one parent staying at home, which may put a strain on finances. You won’t have access to all the facilities that a school could offer, so you’ll need to make use of other resources – online materials, extracurricular activities, libraries, science centres or other places of learning, and homeschool organisations.

Do you have the right temperament? Not all parents are cut out to be teachers; perfectionists, disorganised individuals or those quick to temper may not be suited to teaching their child.

Does homeschooling work for special needs children?

This is an option for children who have special needs, such as a learning or physical disability. If nearby schools aren’t able to provide the services your child needs, Barfoot says that homeschooling can be an alternative. You may feel that you can provide a better learning environment, more suited to your child’s individual needs. Homeschooling gives you the flexibility to adjust your schedule, to tailor the curriculum and offer more pertinent instruction. There is also more opportunity to teach real-world skills, says Barfoot.

What do I need to do to homeschool my child?

Start by looking at the different curriculum providers. Then choose the one that best suits your circumstances, expectations, norms and values.  “A good curriculum provider will offer you the necessary material and assistance to guide your child from Grade R to Grade 12,” says Barfoot. Find out what support is available, for example, a network of other homeschoolers or local tutors.

Also ensure that you are organised and have everything you may need for your child’s education. Remember to provide them with a comfortable, well-equipped space from which to work. This includes having the right furniture and lighting.

Parents of children in Grades 1 to 9 need to apply to the head of the Provincial Department of Basic Education. Learners older than 15, or those in Grades 10 to 12 don’t need to register.

Once you have registered and begun homeschooling, you’ll need to keep a comprehensive record of your child’s progress and evidence of assessment.

Homeschooling resources and curriculum providers

Tamlyn Vincent