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Home schooling: Pros and cons and what to know

Published Aug 19, 2020

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We are all aware that the South African education system is facing a crisis due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and that more parents and families are looking at the option of home schooling as a viable alternative.

While a number of private schools have offered continued remote learning, government schools are pushing ahead with the resumption of regular schooling, with strict safety protocols in place.

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If you are one of those considering teaching your children at home, here are the pros and cons to consider.

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Pros

One-on-one tuition

At home, your child gets the time and attention they need from their “teacher” and can progress at their own pace.

Special needs children catered for

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If your child has special needs, as a homeschooling parent you can tailor learning to suit your child.

Flexibility, free time

At primary school level, you can get the school day done in two to three hours. At high school level, about three to four hours should be enough for formal academic activities.

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This leaves a lot of time for flexibility and spontaneous outings, many of which are also learning activities that develop a child’s experience.

No bullies?

While keeping your child at home might protect them from bullies, a child psychiatrist cautions that this does not solve the problem.

Bullying needs to be dealt with effectively so that children are presented with a valuable opportunity to learn positive social skills.

Socialisation

Many might argue that home schooling doesn’t affect a child’s socialisation whatsoever, even suggesting that it improves it as children who are homeschooled are exposed to a range of people and age groups – especially adults who they can learn from.

Cons

Pressure on the parents

Being your child’s parent and teacher is a big responsibility and could be stressful for parents. Multiple roles inside a family are difficult.

Parents are not qualified teachers

As a parent, you might not be equipped to pick up on a learning difficulty, whereas teachers can not only identify a problem but also know how to deal with it.

Our country’s laws state that while home schooling is legal in South Africa, and was incorporated into the South African Schools Act in 1996, it’s not actively encouraged by the government.

Permission must first be sought from provincial authorities, and various requirements must be met, such as the provision of a weekly timetable and a learning programme.

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