By Louise Schoonwinkel, MD of Optimi Home
The last two years have been a rollercoaster ride for many families in South Africa, as we navigated school closures and learning from home.
But now that the lockdown has ended, many families have come to realise that home-schooling works for them.
Since the pandemic started, we at Impaq – South Africa’s largest home-schooling provider – saw our learner numbers jump almost 60%, from 19 000 to over 30 000 in the last 24 months. Strong growth has continued, and Impaq also launched a new online school at the start of this year.
We have seen a range of families making the full-time switch to home-schooling, from those that have enjoyed the more individualised attention their children receive to others that have moved across the country.
As a parent, you may be wondering whether home-schooling is the right fit for you and your child. To help you navigate this, here are five key reasons why home-schooling has become a first choice for many families in South Africa.
Pathway to matric
Credible home-schooling providers, such as Impaq, follow the same CAPS-aligned curriculum that every school in the country adheres to.
Learners who use Impaq’s solutions are registered with SACAI (South African Comprehensive Assessment Institute), one of the three examination bodies recognised by Umalusi.
Because of this, these learners write the same exams as every other school child in the country, and they will receive a National Senior certificate upon successfully completing their matric. Learners who achieve a Bachelor’s pass will also be eligible to continue tertiary studies at any University in South Africa.
Home-schooling learners have access to more subjects than those that are typically offered in schools.
In a traditional school, learners at FET level (Grade 10-12) are typically restricted to choosing only a certain number of subjects or subject combinations, depending on the resources available. However, these same limits do not apply for home-schooling learners.
Added to this, home-schooling learners have access to many more subjects that aren’t available at many schools, ranging from the likes of hospitality studies to visual arts.
Home-schooling learners through Impaq can also take their subjects in Afrikaans or English, while newer subjects such as robotics and coding are available as well.
Pursuing the home-schooling route doesn’t mean that your child misses out on social activities.
In fact, home-schooled children can have more time to engage in several extra-curricular activities and interact with a variety of peers.
There are even home-schooling communities that organise sports and other activities such as debating across the length and breadth of South Africa.
Home-schooling parents, who use the likes of Impaq, get access to very detailed facilitator guides that inform them on how to teach a subject. Impaq’s online learning platform also gives facilitators access to step-by-step instructions, lesson planning, assessment materials and other learning resources.
Added to this, we also have education specialists who can support parents and learners with academic queries.
Finally, there is a highly flexible aspect of home-schooling that is well-suited for children who pursue their talents at a higher level, such as professional athletes and even entrepreneurs.
From teenagers training to become international race car drivers to ballet dancers, we’ve seen many talented children signing up with Impaq over the years to pursue their dreams on a full-time basis while still getting an education.
If needed, parents can further seek out the assistance of a tutor in specific curriculum areas as well. There are hundreds of tutors across South Africa to choose from. These tutors are independent of curriculum providers such as Impaq, but we do provide a list on our website to help you find a suitable tutor near you.
For many, life may be returning to normal, but along the way we’ve learnt about new ways of doing things. There’s no doubt that home-schooling has come to the fore over this period and will become a bigger part of the education landscape in years to come.
Impaq, which forms part of Optimi Home, is South Africa’s largest home-schooling provider. It provides a comprehensive set of educational products based on a CAPS-aligned home-schooling curriculum for Grades R to 12. Impaq also launched an online school at the start of 2022.
The Optimi Group provides accessible learning solutions that support every step of your learning journey. Optimi provides offerings in four divisions: Home, Workplace, Classroom and College. Together, these divisions support more than 200 000 learners every year.