Homeschooling FAQs


Answers to homeschooling FAQ’s for families that are new to home education or starting out on the homeschool journey.

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Homeschooling FAQs

Whatever the reasons for considering education at home, being new to homeschooling, you probably still have many questions that need answers. Below are some frequently asked questions and their answers.

As you read and learn more about homeschooling, you will overcome your doubts and be more confident about making a decision to homeschool your family.

Please contact us if we can answer any other questions you may have on our Homeschool Question and Answers page.


1. Is homeschooling legal?
2. Should my children be registered with the Department of Education?
3. What do I need to homeschool my children?
4. Do I need to be qualified to homeschool?
5. Where do I find a curriculum?
6. Is there an accredited homeschooling curriculum that has the approval of the Department of Education?
7. What does homeschooling cost?
8. How will I know if my children are learning?
9. What about tests and assessments?
10. What if my child needs to learn something that I can’t teach?
11. Will my child be able to get a matric or school leaving certificate?
12. Will my child be able to go to technikon or university?
13. What if my child doesn’t want to study further after (home)school?
14. How much time does homeschooling take?
15. Can I work if I am homeschooling?
16. What about sport and other extra-curricular activities?
17. What about socialization?
18. What about homeschooling preschoolers?
19. What if we want our child to go back to school?
20. I’m not very organized. Will I be able to homeschool successfully?


1. Is homeschooling legal?

Yes, home based learning, or “home school,” as it is often referred to in the regulations, is legal in South Africa and was incorporated into the South African Schools Act in 1996.

However, it is not usually a good idea to ask your local school or department of education for information before informing yourself about the laws. In many areas, local officials do not truly understand the laws relating to home education, and may therefore ask for far more information than the law requires or give you false information regarding requirements to homeschool your children.

In the USA homeschooling is also legal, but legislation varies from state to state. Contact the Homeschool Legal Defence Association for more information.

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2. Should my children be registered with the Department of Education?

Most homeschoolers in South Africa choose not to register as this often results in unlawful interference by education officials. Download the brochure Homeschooling and the Law for legal advice before making your own decision.

Also read about how to go about Removing Your Child from School and Registering for Homeschooling in South Africa and Registering with the Department for an explanation of how compliance with unlawful requirements is often demanded of homeschoolers who seek to register.

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3. What do I need to homeschool my children?

The answer to this question will depend on the age of your child/ren and whether you are homeschooling from preschool age or if your child is being withdrawn from the school system, in which case, it is recommended that you give your child some time to “deschool” and relax from the academic pressures, the negative impact of the school’s social environment, and rediscover the joy of learning.

How you start will also depend on what style of education you take. There are a variety of approaches ranging from very structured school-like systems to very unstructured delight-directed approaches, from text-book based models to unschooling.

You would be wise to research the different approaches and the philosophies behind them, and choose one or create one that suits your individual family’s needs and values.

You can find lists of recommended articles and books to read through the links on our homeschool resources page.

We suggest that you join a local support group or an online community where you can ask questions and get advice from more seasoned homeschoolers.

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4. Do I need to be qualified to homeschool?

According to extensive research into the qualifications of homeschooling parents, the qualifications of the parent do not affect the performance of the students. Even parents that have dropped out of school have successfully home-educated their children throughout high school.

However, if you feel a need to get better educated in order to properly teach your child, consider the option of earning a masters in education online. This option allows you to prepare yourself while still being there for your family.

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5. Where do I find a curriculum?

We hope that while you are on this site, that you will consider one of our Footprints South African Homeschool Curriculum. Each of our three packages has been designed to by two homeschooling moms to make homeschooling simple and stress-free, especially for new moms. We have done all the lesson planning for you and provide all the resources you need when you need them. Although the format may seem quite different from the text-book type of education used in schools, with which our generation are more familiar, our clients, both the parents and the children, find that learning by sharing stories together and then discovering the facts behind the stories is a much more enjoyable format than traditional school methods.

We have also reviewed a number of programmes for English Language, Maths, Afrikaans and some free homeschool curriculum products which you will find online.

Many families also use their public library for resources. If you are interested in finding out more about a prepackaged curriculum, then contact the suppliers and ask for their catalogues or brochures.

Homeschooling expos and curriculum fairs and open days are another place for looking at materials and getting information. Check our Homeschool Events page or with your local support groups for information about these.

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6. Is there an accredited homeschooling curriculum that has the approval of the Department of Education?

No. At this point, the Department of Education does not even have a set of criteria by which to evaluate homeschooling curricula.

In March 2011, it was confirmed in die Pretoria High Court that the state curriculum is not binding on independent schools and parents who educate their children at home.

“Private educators can now safely ignore demands to teach according to the state curriculum.”

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7. What does homeschooling cost?

There is no set answer to this question as it varies from family to family. However, in general, it would be safe to say that homeschooling need not cost you more than it would cost to have your child/ren attend school.

Since most homeschooling families live on a single income, many of them find ways to educate their children on a tight budget, using carefully selected materials and then supplementing with resources from the public library system. As stated above, there are also many homeschooling resources available via the internet that are free.

If you are homeschooling more than one child and are concerned about finances, you should find resources that can be used for multi-level homeschooling. Unit studies are ideal for this. However, if finances are not an issue, you may wish to buy a separate curriculum for each age group.

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8. How will I know if my children are learning?

Children are always learning – it is a natural part of life. Just like when they were babies and toddlers, they learned by discovering and exploring the world around them, so too older children continue to grow in knowledge, skill and experience just by living.

Children are naturally curious and even if left to their own devices, will seek answers to their questions.

Many homeschoolers find that their children begin to incorporate topics of learning into their daily conversations or their play and thus, in a very natural way, parents are able to observe the degree of learning that children have achieved, without the rigors of standardized testing.

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9. What about tests and assessments?

Many homeschooling parents find it unnecessary to test their children as they are able to observe their children’s progress on a daily basis and know very well how they are performing in each subject. However, there are some parents that want their children tested independently. Some curriculum suppliers offer testing as part of their programme.

There is also a Private Examinations Board that offers a homeschool assessment testing service to families. For more information, contact Debby Engelbrecht, Email: wook@webmail.co.za or visit www.homeschool-assessment-tests.com.

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10. What if my child needs to learn something that I can’t teach?

Most homeschooling materials are designed to be used by parents and students who are not familiar with the subject matter. They are therefore self-explanatory. In many cases a parent’s or teacher’s manual is provided with instructions on how to teach new concepts and some curriculum providers even provide teaching videos and dvd’s.

The other alternative that some families use, is to find a qualified or experienced tutor to teach a specific subject – friends, relatives, neighbours, community clubs, and homeschool support groups are there to help.

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11. Will my child be able to get a matric or school leaving certificate?

Yes, there are a number of avenues to follow in order to get a school leaving certificate.

  • Your child may register to write the South African National Senior Certificate (NSC) through an accredited curriculum provider.
  • Your child may take a school leaving course that is internationally recognized and obtain a matric equivalent from HESA .

On our High School Homeschool Options page the options are explained more fully.

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12. Will my child be able to go to technikon or university?

Just like a child in the school system, if your child wants to go to technikon or university, s/he will need to meet the requirements of that particular institution. It is advisable to first find out what the requirements are and then find a way to make sure that your child will qualify.

Recently a growing number of homeschooled students have been accepted to South African universities and because they are self-motivated and disciplined students, they have coped well with the demands of campus life.

In the USA, where homeschooing is well-established, universities welcome homeschooled students for this same reason.

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13. What if my child doesn’t want to study further after (home)school?

Many homeschoolers actually encourage their children to take this route. Since they are able to identify their children’s talents and interests, they seek ways for them to pursue their passions through correspondence courses, apprenticeships, Christian ministries and encouraging their children to become entrepreneurs.

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14. How much time does homeschooling take?

Again this may vary from one family to another, but in general at primary school level, 2-3 hours per day is sufficient and at high school level about 3-4 hours should be sufficient for formal academic activities. This leaves a lot of time for other activities, many of which are also learning activities that develop a child’s experience or character – such as hobbies, reading, outings, extra-curricular activities and helping in the home.

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15. Can I work if I am homeschooling?

There are many homeschooling families where one or both parents work, part-time or full-time. Of course, this means that they have to schedule and organize their homeschooling around their work commitments, but where families are committed, they are able to homeschool successfully.Increasingly, homeschooling moms are finding ways to work-from-home.

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16. What about sport and other extra-curricular activities?

Homeschooling families participate in as many and sometimes more activities than children who attend school. There are an increasing number of private sports clubs being established that welcome the support of homeschoolers. In many areas, homeschooling groups arrange their own sports coaching, eisteddfods, galas and sports days. Find out from other homeschoolers in your area about sporting options for your children.

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17. What about socialization?

Homeschoolers believe that their children need to socialize with people of all age groups, not just say grade 3’s or grade 6’s, in order to be well-socialised.

Many people have a misconception of socialization and of homeschooling. Some think that homeschoolers isolate their children and that they are not socially skilled, however research has shown the opposite to be true. Homeschooled children are often more confident and can relate to both younger and older people more effectively as they are not mostly confined to their peer group.

In the adult world, one is seldom confined to work with just one age group and since homeschoolers spend more time out in the real world than children confined to classrooms, research has shown that they are generally well-adjusted socially. Read more about Homeschool Socialisation

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18. What about homeschooling preschoolers?

Extensive research has shown that homeschooling is the best option for children of preschool age. Read the following articles:

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19. What if we want our child to go back to school?

In South Africa, children between the ages of 7 and 15 years have a constitutional right to education and may not be refused schooling. They are usually placed in a specific grade according to their age. Some schools may ask for an assessment but this is unlawful. Refer to School Admissions Tests

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20. I’m not very organized. Will I be able to homeschool successfully?

Experience has shown that commitment and determination are often the key to successful homeschooling. Each family faces their own unique challenges. For those who are not very organized, homeschooling affords both parent and children the opportunity to learn to overcome this obstacle. Families learn to set up routines for doing chores and other jobs. To help with this visit Organized Mom.

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