My experience of registering with the Education Department

This post is in English.

The following is about the process of registering my home school at the Gauteng Department of Education. I have taken these steps because I would like to be official and welcome visits from the Department. I hope to present homeschooling in a positive light and give the ‘powers that be’ an example of successful home education.

I initially found an application form on their website, but it was very small print. Douw Breytenbach (helper of all homeschoolers: admin@tuisonderrig.co.za) referred me Carol Motswhane (Carol.Motshwane@gauteng.gov.za) whom I e-mailed. Mrs Motshwane replied promptly with a new application form and requests that applications are posted to the department, not e-mailed (as I did at first). There are no costs involved in registering at the Department (unless you count the postage of application).

The documents that you need to send with your application are:

1. A certified copy of the parent’s identity document.

2. A certified copy of the learner’s full birth certificate.

3. A certified copy of the learner’s immunization records. (My daughters immunization forms are unfortunately lost so I did not send these in. When Mrs Motshwane was here, I asked if that would count against me, and she said no. She did mark that the immunization form was lost.)

4. An outline of the age and ability appropriate Learner/ Learning Programme including resources that will be used for the learner. The alignment to the National Curriculum Statements has to be indicated. (I discuss this in more detail shortly.)

5. The time that will be allocated to the teaching of the learner:

* during the day (i.e. a comprehensive weekly timetable) – minimum of 3 hours contact time per day; and

* in total during the year (an academic breakdown in terms for the year) – minimum of 196 school days per year.

6. A stamped transfer document from the last school the learner attended. (As my child started Grade 1 this year, I did not send a transfer document.)

7. Please attach supporting evidence for your motivation to apply e.g. Medical Reports (Doctors and Psychologists, Educations Psychologists reports etc.) Work/Business/Missionary related demands (letter from company/insititution). Religious based reasons (letter from religious organizations), Sports (letter from sporting body ect.).

This last criteria had me ranting and raving to my husband. What if we don;t have any such reason for homeschooling?! We are not doing it for medical or work reasons. We’re not even doing it for religious reasons. My daughter was at a wonderful Christian private school before I decided to homeschool her. I have not taken her to an educational psychologist (although if you have seen Martie du Plessis, Consultant to Homeschoolers or parents considering homeschooling their children, http://www.dynamislearning.co.za, her report will be beneficial to send in your application). We have simply chosen homeschooling as the best option for our family. And that’s what I said in my A4 page ‘Motivation for Homeschooling’ that is also required. Simply that its the best fit for our family. This was acceptable to the Department. And that’s why I would encourage more homeschoolers to register so that the authorities realize there are more reasons for homeschooling than they may guess. That we don’t choose homeschooling as a result of one of the above options (medical, sports, work, religious).

Now for that sticky required document 4: The “outline of the age and ability appropriate Learner/Learning Programme including resources that will be used for the learner. The alignment to the National Curriculum Statements has to be indicated.” Now understandably, this is hard for many homeschoolers. In essence, the Department is asking us to show that what we teach at home is exactly the same as at a public school! Clearly they don’t understand the freedom that homeschoolers enjoy is in the fact that we DON’T follow the EXACT curriculum prescribed by the Department. We go at our child’s pace and teach what we decide is necessary and appropriate for our child. So, how do I satisfy this requirement and still follow my eclectic way of homeschooling?

I think there is a happy compromise which you are welcome to read about in my post titled: My Learning Programme Compared to CAPS.

 

Resources and roughly the number of times we’ll be using them in a month:

 

Subject: Resources: Frequency of use
Maths/Numeracy Kumon, My book of NumbersKumon Math Workbook, Grade 1Slimkoppe Wiskunde Graad 1Home Workbooks (Syfers 0-20; Shapes; Wiskunde Kopkrappers en Speletjies; Optel en Aftel, Wiskunde vir Beginners)

Simply Maths, Workbook 1

Early Childhood Education Series, Subtraction

One of these resources 3-4 times a week
Handwriting Ek leer Drukskrif (Depicta)Slimkoppe, Afrikaans Huistaal Graad 1Kinderwerf werkskaarte 3-4 times a week
Literacy Slimkoppe LeesboekeKleinbegin Leesboekies (passed on to me by my mom-in-law. I have not been able to locate the source.)Begin Lees boekies deur Louise John en Miriam Latimer Only applicable later in the year. Then reading will take place every day.
Science 101 Science Experiments by Every second week.
Social Studies and Geography Little Footprints by Wendy Young and Shirley Erwee (Little Footprints is actually a complete curriculum but initially, I will mainly be using the Social Studies aspect of it.)‘Ek en my Mense’ saamgestel deur Han Lans‘Jy kan die Wêreled verander’ deur Jill Johnstone One of these Every second week.
Art, creative activity The Best of Children’s Art and CraftsOwn ideas, Pinterest, Google, other blogs Every day
Music and Sport Nothing formal, just our own songs and games At least 4 times a week
Life-orientation Lewens-vaardigheid Graad 1Home Workbook: Wie is ek? Once a week
Poetry Klankies vir Kleuters deur DJ OppermanAnderste Alfabetboek vir Aspatatte Every second week

 

CAPS Requirements CAPS Time allocated My Home Education Programme Time we spend doing this
Oral work at the beginning of the day. News, birthdays, special events We open in prayer. We discuss the date and the weather chart every morning. Months of the year, days of the week. Count aloud together or alphabet practice. Sight words. ±20min every morning.
Focused activities for Listening and Speaking. 15 min per day, total 1 hour per week. We teach communication as part of daily life. Good listening and speaking skills are a core value in our home. It’s difficult to put a time to a way of life, but if I have to, I would estimate 5 hours per day.
Reading & Phonics Phonics: Phonics 15 minutes per day for 4 days (1 hour)Shared Reading 20 minutes per day for 3 days(1 hour)Group Reading 30 minutes per day (2 groups each for 15 minutes)

for 5 days (2 hours 30 minutes)

We spend a lot of time on phonics every day so that my children know the new letter/sound very well!My daughter doesn’t read yet, but I read a lot of books and stories to her. 

 

1+ hour per day 

 

30-45min per day

Handwriting 15 minutes per day for 4 days Handwriting practice 15-30 minutes a day for 4 days
Writing (writing from  the board or sentence on a paper) 15 minutes per day for 3 days Writing steps of an experiment, writing a shopping list, copy work 15min 4 days a week

 

 

Our School Day

School starts at 8:00 and ends at 12:00. We have one break of 30 minutes. Therefore contact teaching time is 3,5 hours which I think is fair for a 6 year old.

Our School Terms for 2014

Term School starts School ends Weeks School days
1 7 January 14 March 11 53
2 31 March 13 June 11 55
3 7 July 19 September 11 54
4 6 October 21 November 7 35

Total: 197 days

There are some public holidays that we will be working on.

We end the year earlier than public schools as we have a lot of family birthdays at the end of November.

As part of the registration process, Mrs Carol Motswhane came to visit us at our house. Read about that visit here.

I received notification per e-mail that my child has been registered and that I would be receiving a letter by registered mail confirming this within the week. My experience of the Department’s administration is fairly positive. They communicate by e-mail, phone and snail mail. They are courteous and helpful.

Time will tell whether registering was the best thing to do, but I believe, for us, it was the right thing to do.

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