Homeschooling education

5 Ways Homeschooling Can Broaden Access To Learning

In South Africa, quality education has unfortunately been a privilege rather than a universal right, leading to inequality and widening socio-economic disparities in our society.

A key challenge that all of us face is how we can speed up South Africa’s push to educate its citizens and engender greater equality.

This is challenging in an environment where, every year, schools are filled to capacity and provincial education departments have to work extremely hard to find a placement for every child. In these situations, many parents are left with having their children placed in schools that are not their preferred choice, thereby creating additional stress and worry.

One answer to this challenge lies in broadening our country’s education reach and taking the strain off our public education system. We can do this by ensuring that there are more alternative forms of education that can help close the gap, including homeschooling and online schooling.

In recent years, we’ve started to see a major shift towards the acceptance of more alternative forms of education. This was largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which only accelerated this trend. As South Africa’s largest homeschooling and online schooling provider, we experienced a nearly 60% increase in learner numbers from 2020 through to 2023.

Amid this growing demand, we launched our online school in 2022 and have expanded it this year.

With Human Rights Day having been celebrated this month, here are five ways that homeschooling and online schooling can help broaden access to education and strengthen the right to education in our country.

5 ways homeschooling can broaden access to learning

5 Ways Homeschooling Can Broaden Access To Learning

Quality Learning, From Anywhere

Whether you live on a farm in the Karoo or in an apartment in a big city, homeschooling and online schooling give you the freedom and flexibility to provide your child with an education from anywhere.

You might live in an area where the school choices are limited, and, here, homeschooling or online schooling can be a great option.

By using a provider that adheres to quality standards, this also gives your child flexibility to re-enter a mainstream school at any point.

This may be further beneficial if, for instance, you travel with your children for prolonged periods of time for work purposes. While travelling, your children can be homeschooled but if you settle back into one place in South Africa, you can then choose to send your child to a school without missing a step.

Another flexible aspect of homeschooling and online schooling is that it is well-suited for children who pursue their talents at a higher level, such as professional athletes and even entrepreneurs.


Pathway To Matric

Homeschooling and online schooling are similar, but different. The former is more self-directed while the latter has the structure of dedicated teachers and class timetables.

But while homeschooling and online schooling might differ in terms of delivery, these options of education – especially if accessed via credible and trusted providers such as Impaq – follow the same CAPS-aligned curriculum that every school in the country follows.

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.

This provides South Africans with another route to matric.

Homeschooling work

Choice

Homeschooling and online schooling learners often have access to more subjects than those that are typically offered in schools.

In a school, learners at FET level (Grade 10-12) are typically restricted to choosing only a certain number of subjects, depending on the resources available at the school. However, these same limits do not apply for homeschooling learners as they have the choice to take on more extra subjects.

Sociability

Pursuing the homeschooling or online schooling route doesn’t mean that your child misses out on social activities.

In fact, home educated children can have more time to engage in several extra-curricular activities and interact with a variety of peers. Children who are part of an online school are also grouped together in a class, where they have regularity in interacting with their peers.


Regulation On Its Way

Finally, South Africa’s government is currently working on a framework for online schooling. This is expected to place requirements on online school providers to be registered with the Department of Basic Education.

This will engender greater trust and transparency in the space.

For you as a parent, online schooling could be the ideal way to blend quality, structured learning with home-based flexibility, however it’s important to know that you need to select a provider that is fully committed to complying with these requirements and who is fully aware of these going forward.

In closing, homeschooling and online schooling are expanding our education universe. And by being more open to it, our country stands to benefit in the long term.

Louise Schoonwinkel
Louise Schoonwinkel

By Louise Schoonwinkel, MD of Optimi Home

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About Impaq

Impaq, which forms part of Optimi Home, is South Africa’s largest homeschooling provider. It provides a comprehensive set of educational products based on a CAPS-aligned homeschooling curriculum for Grades R to 12. Impaq also launched an online school at the start of 2022.

About Optimi

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.

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One comment

  1. This is great. Although it requires quite a bit of patience and dedication

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