Frequently asked topics
Home education is legal in South Africa
You are required to register with the DBE if your child is 7-15 years old or doing grade 1-9. You can follow your own program as long as what you are doing is of the same standard or higher than the standards given by the DBE. Currently, the requirements are very lenient which means you may use various programs and approaches. Do make sure you keep record of all your children’s schoolwork.
tests and exams
The DBE requires that students be assessed at the end of grade 3, 6 and 9. Otherwise, children do not need to write tests and exams. As a parent/guardian, you will be continuously involved in your child’s education and will naturally assess their progress on a daily basis. You will constantly be aware of what they know and what their shortcomings are.
From a learning point of view, it is more beneficial if children can learn to understand and not learn to memorise. Memorising tends to happen when children are required to write tests on a regular basis. Learning comes with truly understanding concepts and not practicing rote learning. Because you will be constantly engaged in your children’s education, children can write their official exams like international GCSE’s without ever having written a test or exam.
Generally speaking, homeschoolers are very welcoming and make an effort to interact with others. Usually, homeschoolers learn to make an effort with friendships. From personal interactions with teenagers, we have seen homeschoolers are well-balanced, well-adjusted and mature for their age. We have found homeschoolers excel in various areas, can work in a team, have self-confidence, are comfortable with communicating to older figures and fit in well in a work environment or tertiary institution.
When you are new, it may be difficult to find a community. We suggest you look for events on BookNow!
What is the best program?
There really isn’t a best program. It is like asking what is the best fruit. The best resource is the one that will fit your end goal, your budget and your family’s needs. There are a lot of free resources on the market and we suggest starting there before committing to an expensive programme. We recommend this wonderful website as a starting point learningtreasurey.org.
Generally speaking, you are looking for a program that is brain-friendly. Look for
- Material that is colourful and approachable
- Work that encourages the child to think deeply and not memorise
- Material that allows for flexibility so that a child can adapt to the pace and take responsibility for his learning
- Hands-on activities that help a child gain insight into concepts
- Variation in resources and approaches
Where do I start?
Start with the end in mind. First decide where you want your children to be once they have completed their homeschooling journey. Even if you do not know the detail, you need some criteria you can use to base your daily decisions. Do you know why you use certain material above others? Always make sure what you are doing fits into your long-term plan.
Can I change resources or service provider?
Yes. you can change whenever you want. The sooner you realise something is not working, the sooner you can change to another resource. Try not to overspend in your first year as you will have to test out a lot of resources before you find something that suits your family’s needs.
Is homeschooling difficult?
Yes, anything worthwhile is hard work but worth it. So don’t feel there is something wrong with you if you find this journey a challenge. In the end, your children will see your love and sacrifice and you will build long-lasting memories.
Give yourself time to adjust. New parents assume children need to make the biggest adjustment, but we believe it’s the parents who need to make the biggest adjustment to homeschooling.
Remember, we all have had our bad days and struggles. It is not uncommon to feel like a failure. Being self critical is uncomfortable but it does help you to give your kids your very best. Any involved parent can make a success of this journey, irrespective of his or her background.
Will my child be able to go to university?
Yes, definitely. There are various routes you can take to get a matric with exemption (this is a required qualification for South African universities). To find out about your options please click on this link https://sanhsa.wordpress.com/.
One option is to write international GCSE, AS and or A levels through CAIE (known as Cambridge or Edexcel), get a USAF certificate and then apply with these certificates at the university of your choice. If you choose to study outside of South Africa, you do not need a USAF certificate.
What is USAF?
USAF is a matriculation board. You need a USAF certificate as a South African citizen to study at a South African University. This certificate is not required in the rest of the world. Read this document for all the information.
The difference between Cambridge, Edexcel and the British Curriculum
The British Curriculum is set up by the UK government. All exam boards must meet the requirements set out by OfQual who has set out the British Curriculum. Edexcel and CAIE (known as Cambridge in South Africa) are two exam boards that offer exams to school going children who want to follow the British Curriculum.
The exam boards do not offer a programme for you to follow. Basically, you can use any resource and then enter your children when you feel they are ready. This is analogous to getting a driver’s license. How you learn to drive is up to you, the department only tests your ability on the day you do the test. After completing the exams, you get a certificate stating your results. You use this certificate to apply for any tertiary institution.
As a private candidate, you cannot get the primary school syllabus set out by Cambridge or Edexcel. However, using the free British Curiculum will build a good foundation for the high school years. https://www.gov.uk/national-curriculum
International GCSE, AS and A levels
GCSE stands for General Certificate of Secondary Education. It is a school leavers certificate and is equivalent to the South African grade 11. International GCSE is for students outside of the UK. This usually a 2 year course aimed at kids aged 14-16 years.
A levels is a 2 year course. In South Africa, these qualifications are higher than what is required to enter South African univarsities. For this reason, South Africans can do half an A level, known as AS. AS is equivalent to grade 12 and A levels is equivalent to grade 12.
What qualifications are needed to write Cambridge or Edexcel exams?
No prior qualifications are required to write any exam. You can write whenever you want and as often as you want. However, if you require a USAF certificate, you do need to comply with USAF’s rules regarding matric subjects for exemption.
What books must I buy if I choose to do Cambridge or Edexcel?
There are various books available. There is no perfect book. You can use many publishers as long as the books are endorsed by the exam board. If you would like more guidance on specific books, you can contact our bookshop.
Cost R600.00 - Full Colour Book
Our philosophy “Strategic learning, the whole brain way”
Because of medical advances, we understand a lot more about how the brain learns than a few decades ago. Unfortunately, these findings are slow to become part of the mainstream teaching environment. Everything we do is based on building effective, useful long-term memories and build a child’s belief in the abilities of his wonderful brain.
Saintsburg tutors receive weekly training on how to present their classes in a more “brain friendly” way. Everyone is encouraged to not only follow textbooks but to use a variety of resources to facilitate their kids’ learning. We are constantly scouring for the latest and most effective way of teaching children difficult concepts in a fun and brain friendly way. Each child is seen as a child with limitless potential who needs to learn how to harness the power of his brain.