KNOW THE DIFFERENCE:

COTTAGE SCHOOLS, CENTRES, SMALL SCHOOLS, MICRO SCHOOLS
VS
HOMESCHOOL

Firstly, let’s address this question: Cottage Schools, Centres, Micro and Small Schools and any other Learning institutions, are NOT “homeschool”.

The SA Schools Act specifies that home education only applies where each child is educated in his or her own home.
Different Provincial and legislative laws apply.

The South African Schools Act 84 of 1996 established a national schooling system and recognised two categories of schools: public and independent.
Public schools are state-controlled, whilst independent schools are privately governed, with full compliance to the above School Act, and provincial governance laws.

The law that apply to schools, as stipulated in the South African Schools Act, are different from the current laws that apply to home education. For this reason, it is important not to confuse the terms.

There is much uncertainty, regarding the above differences, amongst parents and the general public.
Parents who send their school-age children, to an unregistered “independent school” can be prosecuted and – upon conviction – may be sentenced to a maximum of six months in prison or a fine.

Cottage Schools, Centres, Small Schools and institutions are listed in the Act as Independent schools. Children who are educated at any place OTHER than in their OWN HOME are, by law, attending school.
A school who uses a homeschooling curriculum definitely does not qualify as a home school; it remains an “Independent School”, subject to the Schools Act law in accordance with Government and provincial legislature, as set in the National Schools Act.

The only legal “Independent School” is a school registered at the Department of Education, with full compliance to the National School Act, and all laws statured by the specific provincial and government law.

Any “Independent School” not registered with the relevant provincial education department and in full
coherence to the National School Act is regarded as an illegal private school. If unregistered, the institution can be prosecuted and – upon conviction – may be sentenced to a maximum of three months in prison or a fine.

There are millions of desperate learners and parents, who will do almost anything to find good education for their Children.
Unfortunately, due to the growing demand – and more recently the COVID-19 measures – there has been a spike in “entrepreneurs”, trying to exploit this ever-growing market, with very dangerous long-term consequences.
There has been a growing tendency, marketed as “homeschool centres” and, by law, and as stipulated above, these centres ARE NOT “HOMESCHOOL”. Home education only applies where each child is educated in his or her own home.

The Pestalozzi Trust defends our civil right to education and are constantly involved in negotiations and consultation, with International Home School organisations. Please contact them for further assistance on this matter.

WHAT IS HOMESCHOOLING THEN?
If you decide to homeschool, you are investing in your children by educating them in your home, in your life and life itself, with every opportunity to gain further knowledge of the surrounding environment brought to them.

Homeschool is a very broad topic, with each individual household embracing the opportunity, in their own unique and fascinating manner. This “uniqueness” also provides such a diversity in home schooling and cannot be equalled in any national school environment.

There is a global diversity of methods and means to homeschool, and by directing your homeschool path with your children’s unique individual needs, the whole world beckons at your feet.

The unique opportunity to individually grow with your children on a daily basis enables you to truly know and understand each of your children’s individual learning structures and interests. With this powerful knowledge, in realising what their true passions are, you are able to focus them on their passions – at an earlier stage – and this only escalates their future prospects. The human process of acquiring these above specifics may involve some labour and sanity checks, with a truly unique time schedule, but the results are worth every second of it.

As said above, with all the curriculum providers and the internet at our disposal, we are granted with more opportunities than any previous generation of home educators. Unfortunately, with all these options at our disposal, the decision-making process directly involves your individual knowledge of your children’s specific learning processes. There is no right or wrong or better method, only the best method according to your specific child.

With the above in mind, let’s shortly address some general curriculum methods.

Traditional (or Schooling at Home):
As the traditional home educator, you buy the “year-in-a-box” curriculum and bring the school room to your living room. You school in your own home. It is just using the national curriculum and teaching it at home.

Unschooling:
There’s been much talk of unschooling lately – “the child-led seemingly hands-off” homeschool approach, that allows the student freedom to pursue their interests at their own pace.
Un-schoolers do not use a specific curriculum, but rather base their schooling on a life-oriented learning curve, using anything from everyday experiences, excursions, holidays, social and life in general, as a teachable moment. Unschoolers have 100% student-led education. This “seemingly” unstructured approach to education allows the student to dive fully into his or her interests. It is an educational method and philosophy which advocates learners to choose relevant – and sometimes irrelevant – activities, to further their education. Unschoolers therefore learn through their (and your) natural life experiences, including factors like play, household responsibilities, personal interests and curiosity, internships and work experience, travel, books, elective classes, family, and social interaction.

Homeschool Co-Ops:
One of the most valuable things we have done as home educators was to establish a homeschool co-op.
Getting out and meeting other homeschoolers in your community has been significantly beneficial (especially for those “no social environment” questions we get from time to time…)
Homeschool co-op topics vary widely, and it is important for you to at least try out a few and find a true fit. This does take time but don’t be discouraged, since the benefits surrounding the co-ops are so rewarding. Parents attending the co-op bring their unique experiences, skills, and perspectives to the group, and offer you the opportunity to relate your own experiences. Our children have been introduced through the co-ops to the workings of auctions, writing skills, arts and science, maths, and countless other career and social-based enterprises within the community

Game schooling:
Another fun way to homeschool is by learning through games. Game schooling is a form of play-based learning that incorporates educational components into fun and engaging board or card games. There are countless “games” that teach complex concepts, in a way that makes them easy to understand, and grasp the relevance to enact in everyday events. Kids catch on quickly when concepts are presented through play. Kids often have difficulty grasping a maths concept and, by subjecting them to fun educational games, it helps to solidify the concept in a recognisable fun format. This way they are able to practice a concept and the repetition of the games helps them to remember it.

An example includes the Pizza Fraction Fun Game, helping players to visualizse fractions (who’s kid doesn’t know the shape of a pizza?) Another is the Dino Math Tracks Game. It doesn’t feel like school, it’s just playing a game with your child.

Online:
If you are having trouble with the above options, and favour a more traditional classroom setting and mindset, perhaps opting for online homeschool instead of a home-based curriculum is the answer.
There are countless options when it comes to online classes. The classes are self-paced, and offer a wide variety of options with ways to track your child’s progress.
These live classes provide a rich home school learning environment, with specific curriculums that offer the structure and interaction that you and your child may prefer.

For a more comprehensive understanding of all the approaches and their pros and cons, please refer to the publication at:
https://thebestschools.org/magazine/homeschool-style-right/