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The aim of the committee is to represent the interests of homeschooling families in the Western Cape to government and the media.

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The committee consists of homeschooling parents that have been elected by homeschooling parents in the Western Cape during a special meeting in Camps Bay on 22 February 2014.

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homeschool survey

The CHE Committee did a survey on Home Educator Perceptions of South African and Western Cape Policy on Home Education. Click here to download survey results.

Reports by the committee

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Chairmans Report no 9

Greetings Fellow Home educators


The DBE has scheduled Homeschooling Policy Working Group meetings monthly for the next six months. 
The idea is to create a smaller group that will work through the process with the DBE.

 

Unfortunately, due to logistical and financial constraints, there is no one from the Western Cape  able to attend in person. Bouwe van der Eems will attend through electronic media. Homeschooling representatives which live closer to Pretoria were nominated to attend. Leendert from the Pestalozzi Trust  and Joy Leavesley (independent ).

The first meeting was held on the 14th of October. The negotiations reached a stalemate due to the Department and the Homeschooling community's  fundamentally opposing views on who is the 'responsible' guardian of the child. Needless to say the Homeschoolers view is that the biological parents are the responsible guardians as opposed to the Department's view that the state is the responsible  guardian. This reminds of the communist manifesto...  According to the Constitution and the Children's act, the PARENTS are the responsible guardian, NOT the State.

The meeting was adjourned earlier than scheduled, due to this difference. The next meeting is scheduled for the middle of November.

Yours in Homeschooling

Victor

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2nd Meeting between Homeschool Associations and Department of Basic Education

Homeschool associations and the Pestalozzi Trust were invited to meetings with the Department of Basic Education (DBE) in October 2014 to discuss the development of a new policy on home education. This was the first meeting of such a nature in more than two decades. Representatives that attended these meetings were pleasantly surprised by the willingness of the DBE to listen to the homeschool representatives and learn from them. Click here to view a video on the October 2014  meetings.

After the meetings in October meetings, it was the intention to have follow-up meetings in January 2015.  As the date of the follow-up meeting approached, the meeting was postponed to February 2015, in order to provide more time to the DBE to prepare for the meeting. Two weeks before this meeting, representatives requested that te agenda and working documents be sent to them as a matter of common courtesy. Soon after this representatives were informed that the meeting was postponed indefinitely.

Middle June, representatives received another invite for a meeting on the 2nd and 3rd of July, with a proposed agenda and a updated Discussion Document by dr. Trevor Coombe. The representatives were again surprised by the updated discussion document. This document confirmed that the DBE was indeed willing to attempt to understand home education, because a number of significant paradigms shifts have been made since the previous Discussion Document that was presented in October 2014. In the preparation for the meeting, the agenda was changed a few times. The Association for Homeschooling managed to reserve more than 90 minutes of the agenda for a screening of the “Class Dismissed” movie.

On the 2nd of July representatives arrived at Pretoria from the Eastern Cape, Gauteng, KZN and the Western Cape. During the first day dr. Simelane from DBE  gave some reflections on the first consultative meeting and dr. Coombe presented an overview of the updated discussion document. During the afternoon mr. Makaleng provided information on new developments on the National Senior Certificate (NSC) and the General Education and Training Certificate (GETC). The rest of the time was taken up by plenty of two way discussions in a positive spirit.

The 3rd of July started with the screening of the “Class Dismissed” movie. This is the first full length documentary on home education and was well received by all attendees. The day was then closed with an announcement by ms. Ngcobo about a Home Education Roundtable discussion. There are only 8 roundtable discussion each year at DBE and the minister of Basic Education is present during these discussions. The fact that one of the 2015 roundtable discussions is dedicated to home education indicates that the profile of home education has increased significantly at the Department of Basic Education. Leendert van Oostrum also announced the Global Home Education Conference that will be held in Brazil in 2016.

The homeschool representatives were encouraged by the paradigm shifts that were made by DBE and dr. Simelane was positive that the 2nd meeting contributed towards making progress in the process of developing a new policy on home education.

PHOTO : A number of the homeschool representatives that attended the meeting at DBE

Homeschool

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Chairmans Report no 8

Greetings fellow home educators.

The CHE has been formally invited to the second meeting with the DBE on the 2nd and 3rd of July 2015. A draft Discussion Document has been circulated to all invited parties. The content of the document is very encouraging. The DBE gives a realistic and honest description of the current situation.

Policymakers has with regards to the homeschooling community in South Africa. The document also indicates that the presentations delivered by the various home schooling representatives at the previous meetings, had not fallen on deaf ears.

Johan Heckroodt and myself have been nominated to attend the next meeting. 

Please pray for us.

Yours in Liberty

Victor

 

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Chairmans Report no 7

Hi Fellow Home Educators

The second meeting with the DBE has been postponed for the second time.

This could be ascribed to lack of management or slow work ethic from the governments side. OR They were so impacted by the home education representatives presentations that they need more time to figure it out and decide the lawful way forward. We are hoping the reason for the postponement is the second reason and not the first. At this stage we are patiently waiting for a new date to be set by the DBE. In the meantime we encourage homes educators to make time to clearly understand their constitutional rights and create 

awareness about our cause.

Regards

Victor

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Feedback on meeting with DBE 9/10 October by CHE

A. INTRODUCTION 

We wish to reiterate, upon commencement of this discussion, that we as HE parents have our children’s ‘best interest’ at heart, at all times. We hope and endeavor to dispel any myths suggesting otherwise. History, logic, reason and human experience tells us that the notion of ‘Parental Responsibilities and Rights’ and ‘the best interest of the child’ are by NO means mutually exclusive concepts, except in the minds of presumptuous men. They are, in fact, inextricably linked, as expressed by James Kent in his famous Commentaries on American Law. 

The duties of parents to their children, as being their natural guardians, consist in maintaining and educating them during the season of infancy and youth, and in making reasonable provision for their future usefulness and happiness in life, by a situation suited to their habits, and a competent provision for the exigencies of that situation”. 

Background: 

The Home Education (henceforth referred to as HE) community feels strongly that the Policy of 1999 came into being without proper consultation with and participation of the HE community, together with extreme presumption and prejudice (at the time of formulation) on the part of government. The lack of Home educators complying to SASA with respect to registration (or ‘lawful non-compliance’) furthermore confirms the HE position in terms of current Policy. This spirit of animosity, ignorance and lack of understanding surrounding the formulation of this Policy, was probably best expressed by Prof Asmal’s perception of Home educators, as “attempting to impose their loony, paranoid and perverse ideas on the nation" (July 2001) 

We are thus grateful for and immensely encouraged by the willingness of the Department of Basic Education (DBE), to engage in open dialogue, and consult in a vibrant, meaningful, productive manner, and in amiable spirit with the HE community in the revision of current Policy. 

The HE community hopes and will gladly provide assistance in the ’exploratory study’ (par 4) done on behalf of the DBE. Even though we conclude the study to be a good overarching one, it does lack in specifics, including a comprehensive definition of ‘Education’, details of the freedom enjoyed by many prominent countries internationally in terms of legislation, as well as interpretation and application of certain universal, fundamental laws and conventions. The fact that the task team responsible for the finalization of the new HE policy does not include current or previous Home educators, in itself is considered a serious void. 

B. CHARACTER OF HOME EDUCATION 

Scope of Home Education 

Education globally is in an evolutionary phase, with a vast array of opportunities in e-learning, virtual classrooms, distance learning and various other methodologies. It would be premature and unwise to legislate and regulate HE, specifically with restrictions on methods and modes of assessment and limitations on curricula. Standardized testing, for example, is fast becoming an anachronism, as below extract confirms: 

The report, together with a number of other studies released in the past year, effectively serve as a warning to policymakers in states that are moving to implement laws, with support from the Obama administration, to make teacher and principal evaluation largely dependent on increases in students’ standardized test scores. The practice doesn’t bring about the kind of student achievement policymakers say is necessary for the United States to compete with the highest-performing countries, according to the 17-member Committee on Incentives and Test-Based Accountability convened by the National Research Council, which is the research arm of the National Academies (including the National Academy of Sciences, the National Council of Engineering and the National Academy of Medicine). See here and here references.

Robert Tombs, professor of history at St John's College, Cambridge, likewise warned that students were “drilled into writing” in a “formulaic manner between the age of 11 and 18, leaving them unable to articulate their ideas on degree courses”.

Rationale and Motivation 

The HE parent does not regard the state as enjoying co or equal responsibility for their children’s education. HE parents believe and can substantiate legally, historically and logically, that the primary responsibility for the education of the child vests with the parent, and that the state plays a secondary role, or as mentioned in par 10, should act “as a safety net” only. We acknowledge that the majority of parents opt for state controlled education, but maintain that those who choose to assume the responsibility of educating their own children, should be free to do so, and in whatever manner they deem fit and ‘in the best interest’ of the child. “(T)he common law presumes that the natural love and affection of the parents for their children would impel them to faithfully perform this duty…”. (Blackstone Commentary on the Law of England) 

State intervention is considered justifiable only when this duty is neglected or abused. In the same vein children from public schools, who are subject to abuse and neglect at home are cared 

for by Social Welfare and Development Services, the rare and exceptional cases of truancy or neglect among parents who profess to home educate, should be attended to. 

Content, Methodology and Support 

The reason for the diverse pedagogics among Home Educators is primarily that of seeking to best meet the needs and unique requirements of each individual child. It is in the light of the above, that it would be a near insurmountable task to implement a uniform assessment model and single, standardized curriculum benchmark. 

Incidence 

The number of Home educators in the US and UK are reasonably accurate and comprises the majority of organized HE internationally. It would therefore be advisable to draw specifically from the history, developments and legislation in these countries. Studies on HE will confirm that legislation and regulation in the light of the education revolution would be premature. Please refer to CHE Presentation “Challenges Home Ed faces: An International Perspective”. 

Response of Governments 

There certainly exists a lack of properly defining and understanding ‘Education’, and the faulty presumption that ‘school’ equates to ‘education’. We further submit (and have hopefully illustrated during discussion and presentations) that there is increasing international cognizance of, interest in, and recognition of HE, its value and contribution to a healthier society. The US and UK, specifically, are ‘taking note’, and are in fact encouraging and commending HE. Prestigious universities in the US actually ‘welcome’ home learners for their “intellectual vitality, self-driven approach, level of maturity and high sense of responsibility” among other commendable qualities. (Stanford Alumni, Dec 2000). Harvard considers home education “favorably and as an educational asset” when considering its admission applications. (The Harvard Crimson, March 1989) (For University performance among HE click here

HE in India is exploding and the media is paying close (and generally very favorable) attention. Mexico, China, Chile and Norway, are but a few examples of countries enjoying exponential growth in HE. (Again refer to CHE presentation on the International Perspective). Furthermore, Michael Donnelly (Esq), HSDLA Director of International Relations, attended the 2011 World Congress of Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy in Frankfurt, Germany, where he presented his thesis entitled, Creature of the State?, Subtitled, Homeschooling, the Law, Human Rights and Parental Autonomy. 

Several prominent members of the Intelligentsia are applauding and advocating HE, including Education Prof Christian Beck, from the University of Oslo, Norway, as well as Education expert Sir Ken Robinson. The highly acclaimed TED show regularly hosts speakers favoring and promoting alternative education and HE in lieu of the standardized ‘schooling system’ status quo. 

We submit to the reader, that HE is indeed recognized, often applauded and given due credence world-wide. 

C. CURRENT SOUTH AFRICAN HOME EDUCATION LAW AND POLICY 

How does one determine what is “in the best interest of the learner”? 

According to Prof Boezaart, “the best interest standard necessitates full knowledge of all the facts and circumstances… with due consideration”. This could hardly be wholly achieved by the Head of Department (HOD). We submit that the reasonable parent is in the best position to determine what is in the best interest of the individual child, especially during his or her formative, minor years. Traditionally, according to Common Law, and still today, “un-emancipated minors lack some of the most fundamental rights of self-determination—including even the right of liberty in its narrow sense, i.e., the right to come and go at will..”. 

The requirements by the DBE are too vague. They cannot be realistically measured, hence cannot be left to the HOD to make this life-shaping decision for a child. 

The 1999 Policy on Home Education 

Empirical research shows that parents/mothers need not be qualified, in order to teach their children properly (notwithstanding the fact that the majority of parents as shown in the recent CHE Survey nevertheless possess a tertiary qualification). Please refer to the well-researched article “The Myth of Teacher Qualification” below, as well as dissertations by Dierde Bester and Ester De Waal, cited in the DDD p25, confirming these findings. 

Any form of “prescribed hours” would equate to implementing school at home, which even the DDD acknowledges is not expected, nor (necessarily) characteristic of HE. This is besides the fact that HE families consider ‘all of life’ to comprise ‘education’, hence rendering prescribed hours irrelevant. However, presuming formal learning is alluded to, the reality is, the vast majority of HE families devote more than sufficient time to formal studies or subjects. 

As mentioned during the discussions, “assessments” as per the conventional understanding there-of (a proper definition would be useful, as discussed during the meetings) are included in most HE curricula - certainly all formal curricula. Embedded in many curricula are multiple reviews or review questions and tests to monitor the child’s understanding and comprehension throughout, accompanied with comprehensive teacher’s guides. However, ‘assessments’ in its 

broader sense, takes place on a continuous, daily basis within the HE environment. This process essentially involves the ongoing development and monitoring of the child’s “full personality, talents, mental and physical abilities”, together with his or her “socialization, affiliation and interaction with others and with nature” as per UNCRC Art 29. 

D. REVIEW OF SOUTH AFRICAN HOME EDUCATION LAW AND POLICY 

Balancing rights, responsibilities and capabilities 

Of paramount importance is a proper, comprehensive definition of “Education” (distinctly omitted in the above). Please again refer to the CHE Presentation “What Home Education is, and What it is Not”. In summary, Article 29 of the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child (UNCRC), best encompasses what the HE community considers ‘Education’ (paraphrasing): The “development of the child’s full personality, talents, mental and physical abilities”, together with his or her “socialization, affiliation and interaction with others and with nature”. 

Dr Sakkie Prinsloo from the Dept of Education Management and Policy Studies from the University of Pretoria, aptly furnishes us with an extension of this definition HE subscribes to, when referring to ‘Education’ as “the conveyer of culture, of moral and normative attitudes, and of values”. (SA Journal of Education, May 2009) 

When doing the balancing act, we have to consider international laws, regulation, treaties and conventions incl. UNCRC (Articles 5 &29), African Charter of Child Welfare (Articles 18 & 20), Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 26(2)), the European Convention on Human Rights (Prot. 1, Article 3), existing laws of US and UK in particular, as well as legislation in India, Chile, and progress made in Russia, among other.

We especially need to properly balance the SA Constitution, Bill of Rights and current HE legislation and policy. The HE community locally and internationally, when interpreting the above sources, conclude that it is the duty of the parent to assist the child in exercising his or her right, and the parent’s “prior right” to determine or “choose” what is in the ‘best interest of the child’, and “to ensure the religious and moral education of their children are in conformity with their own convictions” (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 18 & International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) Article 13). In doing so, the age of accountability or ‘evolving capacity’ of the child is naturally taken into account (UNCRC Article 5), until which time the parent makes decisions on behalf of the growing child. 

The HE community does not consider the state as equal partner in its education responsibilities towards the child, unless the parent chooses to share that responsibility. The state will be jointly or solely responsible, only in instances where the parents neglect, shun or pervert this duty. As mentioned, the constitution requires that the law assume that individuals obey the law unless 

they have been proven guilty of breaking it. Parents, likewise, have the constitutional right of the presumption of innocence, i.e. we assume that they comply with the law unless the opposite is proven. This is the case in every other aspect of parental care in terms of the Children's Act. We submit that it is unreasonable to make an exception of the parental duty to educate the child. 

The State parties are to have ‘respect for the liberty of the parents” in this choice. (ICESCR Article 13) 

Below ruling by the Court in Parham vs J.R., and Blackstone’s Commentaries on Common Law, most aptly explains the legal, as well as intrinsic primacy and inherent autonomy of parents in the upbringing and education of their child: 

"Our jurisprudence historically has reflected Western civilization concepts of the family as a unit with broad parental authority over minor children. Our cases have consistently followed that course; our constitutional system long ago rejected any notion that a child is “the mere creature of the State” and, on the contrary, asserted that parents generally “have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare [their children] for additional obligations.” Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510, 535 (1925). 

The law’s concept of the family rests on a presumption that parents possess what a child lacks in maturity, experience, and capacity for judgment required for making life’s difficult decisions. More important, historically it has been recognized that natural bonds of affection lead parents to act in the best interests of their children. 1 W. Blackstone, Commentaries 447; 2 J. Kent, Commentaries on American Law 190. 

As with so many other legal presumptions, experience and reality may rebut what the law accepts as a starting point; the incidence of child neglect and abuse cases attests to this. That some parents “may at times be acting against the interests of their children” ... creates a basis for caution, but it is hardly a reason to discard wholesale those pages of human experience that teach that parents generally do act in the child’s best interest ... The statist notion that governmental power should supersede parental authority in all cases because some parents abuse and neglect children is repugnant...” 

Bear in mind, interpretations of sources cited to legislate and regulate HE internationally, are inevitably (albeit unwittingly at times) subject to diverse ideologies and worldviews. The fathers and architects of modern ‘education’ or schooling, incl Dewey, Stanley Hall, and Skinner, were all influenced by particular political and distinct ideological persuasions. B.F. Skinner described a society in which children are “reared by the State”. Dewey strongly emphasized “the predominance of the group over the individual”, among other markedly totalitarian ideas. Yet, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 16(3) states “the family is the natural and fundamental group unit (or seedbed) of society”. We deliberately draw attention to this dynamic, as above-mentioned ideologies often undermine or deride the innate duty towards and care of parents for children, as well as the centrality of family in society, despite what history, reason, logic and Common Law may prove. Much healthy, vigorous debate has taken place over the validity, coherence and legitimacy of the respective worldviews, and if needed to arrive at reasonable, just and substantiated solutions, these could potentially be addressed. 

We will all agree that SA can be regarded as a country that has metamorphosed from apartheid which is virtually equivalent to Nazism, into pioneers in establishing democracies against all odds, all the while circumventing revolutions as for instance the case with France. 

We propose that SA should safely be able to adopt a majority US, and a UK position on HE, acknowledging HE as not only legal, but a valid, efficient, commendable and proven alternative to Institutional education. In terms of Sec 51 of SASA, we further posit a basic, maximum requirement of a once-off notification only. In the light of our progressive ability to broker and negotiate solutions under trying and challenging circumstances, amidst complex relationships, we further suggest HE associations be established or existing ones employed, to liaise with the necessary authorities concerning relevant matters. 

As a matter of interest and legislative relevance, please refer to the following article 

As Home Educators, we find it compelling and somewhat ironic that parental involvement is so highly regarded and valued within the school system. Essentially implying the latter should be thrilled at the prospects of parents assuming the full responsibility of raising and training their children, thus relieving the Institution of some of its burdens. Professor Beckmann and Prinsloo from the University of Pretoria, Education Management & Policy Studies, wrote in the South African Journal of Education Vol 29, 2009: 

In terms of section 23(9) of SASA, the number of parent members must comprise one more than the combined total of the other members of the governing body who have voting rights. The fact that parents make up the majority (section 23(9)) of the governing body demonstrates the importance of their involvement and constitutes the principle of partnership and mutual responsibility for a public school. This partnership is based on the democratic principle of decentralisation and the distribution of authority from the national and provincial spheres of government to the school community itself” 

The parent representatives on the governing body, together with the principal and the school's management team, are in the best position to determine the specific employment needs of the school. The parents on the governing body have an obligation toward the school community to recommend the appointment of the best qualified, motivated, committed and competent educators to vacant posts, in order to ensure effective and quality teaching and learning for their children...the school should be the extension of family life and should reflect the culture, norms and values of a specific school community”. 

Reference to school as ‘the extension of family life’ essentially denotes the primacy of family over institution. Thus, ironically, even from this institutional perspective, as interpreted by these educational experts as well as in some ways, the Quality Learning and Teaching Campaign (QLTC) Code for Parents, the responsibility of education remains primarily that of the parent. 

It is worth mentioning, that during the course of research conducted by the Cape Home Educators (CHE) Steering committee, we have encountered numerous pleas from the Educational Institutions or DBE, for much needed assistance and greater involvement from parents in the education of their children (Sources include Educational Policy Briefs, Die Burger and Prof Jansen). Again, based on the evidence, the DBE should applaud, welcome and encourage those parents who willingly choose to assume the sole and full responsibility of this ‘paramount’ task. 

The logical extension begs the question: How could an educational Institution, which acknowledges its dire need for parental involvement and support, concomitantly insist on regulating and monitoring parents in the willing, eager education of their own children? 

To resolve this dilemma (both semantically and practically), we request that serious attention should be given to the definition of ‘Education’. Again, please refer to the CHE Presentation “What Home Education Is, and What Not”. 

Those parents who neglect their duty to educate their children, should be prosecuted under the latter Act, as in any other instance of neglect. As authorities in India stated with regards to HE, they “cannot be micromanaging”. (Times of India, Sept 2010) 

In his research paper entitled “State Interference in the Governance of Public Schools” (Vol 26(3) 2006), Dr Prinsloo decries the inability and unreliability of the HOD, to consistently successfully fulfill his duty within the Public School system. The purpose of the article was to “demonstrate how the rights of parents, to have a say in the governance of a public school, are being violated by interference of the State or by officials who jeopardise the smooth functioning of schools by failing to carry out their duties”. He cites 4 respective Court Cases, whereby HOD’s were challenged for not properly fulfilling their duties or acting illegally (p2). 

The above is in no wise intended to exploit exceptions, but appealed to in order to illustrate that the exertion of energy and expenditure of already rare resources and limited manpower to monitor and regulate a self-sustained, autonomous, vibrant community who considers the education of their children of utmost importance and paramountcy, to not only be unconstitutional, but superfluous and counter-productive. 

With regards to transition from HE to Public school: Research shows Home educated children to be academically and socially on par and often ahead of their Public school peers, hence incorporation into Public School should generally not be problematic. Hundreds, if not thousands of South African families make use of US and UK curricula, which are of the highest standard, and MORE than adequate preparation for tertiary studies. 

With regards to university entrance, it has been shown that in the US, "home schoolers bring certain skills—motivation, curiosity, the capacity to be responsible for their education—that high schools don't induce very well," as a Stanford University admissions officer told the Wall Street Journal. Many top prestigious universities in the US, incl Stanford, Princeton, MIT and Harvard now accept HE students and make special provision for admissions, many of them considering applications ‘holistically’, based on portfolios, recommendations, entrepreneurial endeavors, extra-curricular activities, reading lists, community service and other ‘real-life’ criteria. Please refer to the following pages from MIT and Princeton.

Lawrence University, Wisconsin, on their admission page states, “Lawrence welcomes applications from homeschooled students, who often find themselves particularly well-suited to take advantage of Lawrence's high degree of challenge through individualized coursework. We recognize the important contributions made by homeschoolers both inside and outside the classroom, and we make a deliberate effort to accommodate the special circumstances of homeschoolers during the admissions process”. 

Below extract from the HSDLA reveals the many positive results among Home educators entering the tertiary arena: 

Survey of Admissions Personnel 

In 1997, Dr. Irene Prue, Assistant Director of Admission of Georgia Southern University, released a nationwide survey of admissions personnel's knowledge, attitudes and experiences with home educated applicants. In general, a total of 210 (out of the 1,289 surveyed) respondents to the study reported: 

  • Homeschoolers are academically, emotionally, and socially prepared to succeed at college. 
  • Parental motivations and involvement are in the best interest of their children. 
  • While documentation and evaluation of homeschooled applicants is problematic, it is not insurmountable. 

Survey of Admission Policies 

In 1996 the National Center for Home Education, a division of HSLDA, conducted a nationwide college survey: a sampling of the homeschool admission policies in all 50 states. National Center’s liberal definition of “policy” includes colleges that take into account homeschoolers’ unique capabilities and circumstances. 44% of the responding colleges had verbal or written policies for homeschool applicants. Course descriptions or portfolios are accepted in lieu of an accredited diploma or GED by 93% of the schools polled. Nevertheless, 96% of the colleges polled had at least one and sometimes over 200 home-educated students enrolled at their college. Several colleges had homeschoolers excelling in their honors programs. 

The Wall Street Journal confirms that many colleges are adjusting their admissions policies to homeschoolers: Many colleges now routinely accept homeschooled students, who typically present “portfolios” of their work instead of transcripts. Each year Harvard University takes up to 10 applicants who have had some homeschooling. “In general, those kids do just fine,” says David Illingsworth, senior admissions officer. He adds that the number of applications and inquiries from homeschoolers is “definitely increasing.

Some of the secondary-level education curricula and examinations used by SA HE are however acceptable for entry into South African Universities (e.g. see Higher Education South Africa 

[HESA] requirements for those with Cambridge qualifications 

Prof Niebuhr alluded to alleged abusers within the assessment arena, which in turn necessitates registration of assessors and/or curricula providers. These abusers should be prosecuted in terms of existing law. Why need special provision to control them? We believe that the above argument cannot be justified and used in determining the need to register or not to register. Instead, the functions of the Department of Justice and Welfare, and society, should be sufficient to address and manage this concern (Refer to Par 52). Informal schools should not be confused with HE. 

Home Education and Standards 

CAPS cannot be used as the standard against which HE or OBE models can be measured. The required compatibility with National Curriculum and use of benchmark standards, are not practically possible due to the diverse pedagogy and eclectic curriculum employed, many of which are similar to OBE. The latter system has been proven an almost impossible task to implement within Institutional structures, with the exception of Finland, where classes are limited to 15 pupils, and teachers remain with the same class for consecutive years, among other factors - much akin to HE. 

E. CONCLUSION 

 In closing: It may be recalled by those present, that in response to the CHE presentation with regards to International Perspective on Regulation, EC DBE’s Piet Spies specifically posed the question re (cor)relation, if any, between the level of regulation and HE outcome and performance. 

In response, we would like to conclude with an extract from a research report by Dr. Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute (referred to on p26 of the DDD) entitled, A Nationwide Study of Home Education: Family Characteristics, Legal Matters, and Student Achievement. This was a study of over 2,000 home educating families in all 50 states. The research revealed that there was no positive correlation between the state regulation of home education and the home-educated students’ performance. The study compared home educators in three groups of states representing various levels of regulation. Group 1 represented the most restrictive states, such as Michigan, which at the time of the study required home educators to use certified teachers; Group 2 represented slightly less restrictive states including North Dakota; and Group 3 represented unregulated states, such as Texas and California, which have no teacher qualifications. Dr. Ray concluded: 

No difference was found in the achievement scores of students between the three groups which represent various degrees of state regulation of home education.... It was found that students in all three regulation groups scored on the average at or above the 76th percentile in the three areas examined: total reading, total math, and total language. These findings in conjunction with others described in this section do not support the idea that state regulation and compliance on the part of home education families assures successful student achievement”. 

It is clear that freedom from regulation in no wise negatively affects the efficacy of HE. Conversely, imposed regulation infringes upon the liberty and choice of parents to properly fulfill their obligation to educate their child in a manner most suited to, and in the best interest of their child. 

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” Nelson Mandela

- Johan & Linda Heckroodt

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Chairmans Report no 6

Hi Fellow Home Educators

The CHE and the  3 other  provincial associations namely Gauteng , Eastern Cape , Natal with the SA Association along with the Pestalozzi Trust have been officially invited to meetings with the Department of Basic Education (DBE) on the 9&10 of October 2014 and the  29 &30 of January 2015. We gave requested an agenda but up to date have not received one. The two delegates from the Cape which will go to the first meeting is Johan and Linda Heckroodt. At this stage we are not sure whether the meetings  planned by the department are merely to fulfill their obligation of required public participation and to simply tick the box that the homeschooling community was consulted OR whether they are sincerely intrested in drawing up a  policy which agrees with the constitution and  has the homeschooling communities best intrests at heart.

All the associations and the Pestalozzi trust have formed a temporary coalition  to unify our engagement with the department. 

Please pray that the meeting with the department will go well and that we will be able to continue homeschooling without governmental interference.

Regards

Victor

 

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CHE Committee engages with WCED

Early this year, two statements from the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) prompted large groups of home educating parents to voice their concerns about the current and proposed unconstitutional policies surrounding the rights of home educated parents and children.  On 11 February, 2014,  the WCED issued Draft 8 of a proposed policy on home education that requires parents to use the state curriculum, register before they can start homeschooling, prohibiting home learners to come together in groups and a multitude of other requirements that are not in keeping with the constitutional rights of the parents to educate their children as they see fit. In protest against this policy, many parents wrote letters to their DA councillors, the MEC of education in the Western Cape and other members of the education departments. On 14 February the proposed policy was withdrawn. However, on 4 March, the WCED published their standard notice in Western Cape newspapers prescribing similar unlawful requirements.

These incidents made the homeschooling community aware of the fact that they must always be alert and vigilant in order to protect their liberty. In reaction to these statements from the WCED, Cape Home Educators organised a meeting at Camps Bay on 22 February 2014. During this meeting, Leendert van Oostrum of the Pestalozzi Trust gave a presentation.  After his presentation, home educating parents present, any of whom are members of the CHE, elected a steering committee with the purpose to engage the WCED on these issues.

The members of this committee are Victor Sabbe (Chairman), Bouwe van der Eems (Communications), Johan Heckroodt (Liason), Natalie Ledgerwood (Secretary), Taryn Hayes, Irwin Brown and Linda Heckroodt. The committee had its first meeting two weeks later when office bearers were elected and a name was chosen: Cape Home Educators Steering Committee on Education (CHESCE).

The committee created a website at www.liberty-in-learning.co.za in order to communicate with the homeschooling community.

Irwin Brown, member of CHESCE, developed two surveys to gain a better understanding of the opinion of homeschooling parents. The first survey was on Home Educator Perceptions of South African and Western Cape Policy on Home Education. The second survey was on demographics, home education spend, curricula, extramural, activities, outreach activities, achievements & media exposure. The results of these surveys are available on the CHESCHE's website.

The committee had its first meeting with the WCED was on 9 May 2014. The people present on the side of the WCED were Mr. DD Louw & Mr. M. Ndzuzo (Institutional Management and Governance Planning), Mr. A Bruerley (Policy Co-ordination) and Mr. J Parbhoo (Assessment Management). The committee learned that the proposed policy was withdrawn and that officials from the WCED are now part of a national task team that is responsible for drafting a new national policy.

The second meeting with the WCED was on 24 June 2014. Present on the side of the WCED were Mr. DD Louw & Mr. I. Morkel (Institutional Management and Governance Planning) and Mr. A Jantjies (Assesment Management). During this meeting, Johan Heckroodt gave an extensive presentation on homeschooling rights, international trends, benefits, etc. A summary of this presentation is available on the website of the committee.

Since then, the CHESCE has officially been included and invited to partake in the national process of drawing up a policy around Home Education by the Department of Basic Education. The CHESCE will be contacted at a later stage with the specific details.

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Meeting with WCED on 9 March

Rear from left to right : Linda & Johan Heckroodt, Bouwe van der Eems, Victor Sabbe, Irwin Brown, Natalie Ledgerwood, Taryn Hayes

Front from left to right : M. Ndzuzo, DD Louw, A Bruerley, J Parbhoo

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Chairmans Report no 5

Hi Fellow Home Educators

The CHE has officially been included and invited to partake in the national process of drawing up a policy around Home Education by the Department of Basic Education.

We will be contacted at a later stage with the specific details.

The results of the second survey will be released soon and made available on the website.Thank you to all who participated in this survey.

The research team has really burnt the midnight oil on creating a presentation which will firstly be presented to the Western Cape Education Department on the 24th of  June 2014.Thereafter I believe we can use the presentation in the national process.

The presentation will be presented on the 30th August at the CHEs Expo if any one would like to see it.

Regards

Victor

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Chairmans Report no 4

Hi Fellow Home Educators

On the 9th of May we had our first meeting with the WCED.There were four department officials who handled different portfolios , namely drafting of policy; home education and assessment.

1) They informed us that the  draught policy released in the beginning of the year was withdrawn.

2) National government was in the process of drafting a new home education policy.

3) This policy would be released for comment in August.

The meeting was cordial and both sides had the opportunity 

to raise concerns and engage in two way dialogue. 

The WCED suggested we get organised on a national level for the release of the national policy.They also asked us to do a presentation on Home education for them before they go to the national meeting when they draw up the national policy.This national policy will be adopted by the provinces and enforced upon us.Know is the time to mobilise. Please support the endeavor by joining your provincial association  and the Pestolozzi Trust.

The second survey was released which will assist us with our presentation. The research team is currently hard at work preparing the presentation.

Regards

Victor Sabbe

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Chairmans Report no 3

Hi Fellow Homeschoolers

A second meeting was held on the 15th of April 2014 because contact had been established with the WCED. Subsequently a meeting had been arranged with the WCED for the 9th of May 2014.This will be a meeting to present ourselves and to gather information about time frames etc.Please pray for this meeting.

The website was created and the name  Liberty-in-learning was secured.

 

The survey had also been drawn up and circulated , the results are available on the website.

The survey results were discussed  and we have a good idea of the feeling towards policy and regulation from the general Western Cape Home schooling community.

It was decided to do a second survey to gain information about the great results achieved by home schoolers and the asset homeschooling is for the country .

Currently we are working on a presentation to government.

Regards

 

Victor Sabbe

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Chairmans Report no 2

Hi Fellow Homeschoolers

After the committee was chosen we had our first official meeting.

 

The following office bearers were elected.

  • Victor Sabbe Chairman
  • Bouwe van Der Eems Communications
  • Johan Heckroodt  Liason
  • Natalie Ledgerwood Secretary
  • Taryn Hayes
  • Irwin Brown
  • Linda Heckroodt

We discussed the way forward and the following plan was decided on.

 

  1. A friendly ,diplomatic, proactive approach would be followed.
  2. A survey would be drawn up and distributed to gauge the feeling of the Western Cape Home schooling community.
  3. A website would be created with a name, for the campaign. This would keep everyone informed of what is going on and allow people to contribute in some or other way.
  4. Contact would be made with the WCED to arrange a meeting to obtain information about time frames , processes and public participation for draughting a new policy.

Regards

 

 

Victor Sabbe

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Chairmans Report no 1

Hi Fellow home educators

These chairman's reports will be posted as we move forward in the the process of engaging with government.

This is report number one.

Due to the Draft policy on home education released earlier this year by the Western Cape Education Department home schoolers decided to take action.Many people wrote letters and engaged with various government officials.Due to this very effective campaign the policy was withdrawn.After this a need arose to create a united front and give the campaign some direction. In consultation with the Pestalozzi trust the CHE called a meeting on the 22nd of Febuary 2014 at the Camps Bay Sports Ground. Leendert from the Pestalozzi trust gave a talk about the current status of affairs.

A committee of 7 representatives were democratically chosen and a date for a first meeting by the committee was agreed on to map the way forward.

Regards

Victor Sabbe

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Letter from Chairman to homeschoolers

For almost 20 years, home education has been a legal education option in South Africa.  Most of the over 50 000 current home educating families, as well as those who have graduated students, can testify to the benefits of choosing home education.  The success stories are many.  What has not been a success thus far, however, is the aligning of policy and legislation to represent accurately the rights of children and parents who chose this option. It has been a point of concern for home educators for many years.

Thus, when a new draft policy (Draft 8) on Home Education in the Western Cape was made public in early February 2014, many home educators voiced their objection.  The policy was felt to be too restrictive, unconstitutional and not representative of the home education community. Due to the voice of home educators across South Africa, the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) withdrew the draft with the spoken intention of waiting for the national draft policy, due in August 2014, to inform their own.

With this in mind, the Cape Home Educators association, along with other home education stakeholders, chose to democratically elect a Steering Committee for Education.  Our aim is twofold:  1) to engage government and 2) to create a vehicle by which all home educators can, if they so choose, channel their queries and objections to government on the matters of home education and legislation in South Africa.

At our first meeting, held on February 27, 2014, the CHE Steering Committee for Education was established.  The following portfolios were filled: 

  • Chairman - Victor Sabbe, 
  • Communications Officer - Bouwe van der Eems, and 
  • Secretary - Natalie Ledgerwood.  

In addition, a negotiating forum with government will consist of Johan Heckroodt, Natalie Ledgerwood and Irwin Brown. Other supporting members include Taryn Hayes and Linda Heckroodt.

We are in the process of establishing a social media platform run by Bouwe van der Eems.  Johan Heckroodt will head up establishing contact persons and the route to government, both regionally and nationally, in order to facilitate initial discussions regarding the time frame of the policy draft and the processes to be followed.  More specific plans of action will be determined after the initial meeting with government..   In due course, the CHE Steering Committee for Education will also put out a survey for all home educators to contribute their anonymous thoughts on the matters that lie before us.

We welcome suggestions and comments.  All communication can be addressed to the CHE

Steering Committee for Education or our communications officer, Bouwe van der Eems at:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Yours in Home Education,

Victor Sabbe (Chairman) and the CHE Steering Commitee

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