As the chairperson for the Gauteng Association for homeschooling, I had the delightful honor of being invited to South Africa’s first “working group” meeting, with the Department of Education here in Gauteng on Wednesday, 18 May 2022. The meeting was scheduled to run for 4 hours, starting at 10am, with the intention of informing the government officials of the different approaches we follow as homeschooling parents – in the hopes that they can understand why it is not possible for all homeschooling parents to provide quarterly reports and regular assessments on their children’s progress.
We decided, as the committee for the Gauteng Association for Homeschooling, that we needed to get some experts onboard who could present the different styles or methods we use to educate our children. We also decided that it would be useful to do a survey to gather accurate data from homeschoolers beforehand, to provide factual figures to the authorities around this matter.
There was 715 completed responses to the survey in total, which was amazing considering that we only had 6 days to prepare for the meeting and gather all relevant data!
At the meeting, we had Je’anna Clements, who delivered an amazing presentation on self-directed learning, or as many ‘golden oldies’ from our community would refer to as ‘unschooling’. It was absolutely spot on and very factual and informative. Je’anna was invited by karin van Oostrum from the Pestalozzi Trust.
Next, we had Simone Billson from Classical Conversations, who did a brilliant presentation on the Classical Method that is being followed by hundreds of homeschooling families all over South Africa.
Janet Kieswetter, an Executive Committee member from the Gauteng Association for Homeschooling who runs the renowned Kieswetter Klaskamer, presented the eclectic approach thereafter. Janet was meticulous with her presentation, as she used her own homeschooling experience with her 5 daughters as an example of what this means and looks like for homeschooling families who follow this approach.
Lastly, there was Shaun Green, who presented with his wife on the creative method followed by different homeschoolers – it was a delight to witness a homeschooling father presenting such an interesting and natural method of homeschooling.
All the representatives of the Gauteng Association for Homeschooling who attended was: Charlene Chauvet-Swart, Lebo Ngcobo, Neeresh Badal and Janet Kieswetter.
The government officials- Ms Sybil Mdunge and Ms Carol Motswane, were extremely “impressed”, with the methods we follow as homeschooling parents. Miss Sybil shared that it was an “eye opener to the Department of Education” and that they were to “change their practice as well”. She went on saying that she can see why we as homeschoolers do not register our children with the departments and that she completely understands this now.
Overall, the meeting was very fruitful and I am feeling positive about the new Gauteng Work Group (GWG), where we will have an opportunity to inform, inspire, uplift and empower the Department of Education, with the intention to not only continue homeschooling our children with their best interests at heart and the freedom we so very much deserve in doing so, but perhaps also to assist in the change required within our own educational system in our beloved country, South Africa.
For the sake of every single child and their future.
Gauteng Association for Homeschooling