Friday, April 8, 2011

Lessons for State and Homeschooling community from recent Court Case in South Africa

Reaction to the recent court case (see previous article in this blog) has reached the media.

The Cape Times 6th April page 6 reported:

Home schools' lesson for the state
AN ORGANISATION that provided legal information to home schools and independent schools has welcomed a decision that these schools are not bound by the national curriculum.

The Pestalozzi Trust works with between 4 000 and 5 000 home schools in South Africa.
Judge Cynthia Pretorius recently found in the Pretoria High Court that the State curriculum was not binding on independent or home schools.

Home-schooling parents and private schools had asked the court to declare the curriculum non-binding, but Judge Pretorius found that a 2001 Constitutional Court judgment made the application unnecessary.
Bouwe van der Eems, a trustee of the Pestalozzi Trust, said private teachers could now safely ignore demands that they teach the state curriculum.

He expected the verdict would bring peace to parents and private education institutions, which "continually have to resist unlawful pressure from? authorities, demanding that they teach the national curriculum".

The Cape Times ran a series of articles in February about the increase in home schooling in South Africa. Most families opt not to register with the department.

Van der Eems said thousands of home-school ing parents and private schools had refused to register because officials made "unlawful demands, such as (that they comply) with the national curriculum as a condition for registration". He said parents and schools had been vindicated by the courts.

Trust member Leendert van Oostrum said it was regrettable the case had taken nearly four years. "The case was kept out of court while officials persisted in imposing the curriculum on private education.

SABC Interview

Nancy Richards interviewed Leendert van Oostrum from the Pezzalozi Trust on SAfm on 8 April 2011

(photo from
Nancy Richards - SAfm

(photo from Facebook)
Leendert and Karin van Oostrum

Click to listen to the interview    you can right click and save as to download the audio in mp3 format.Copyright 2011, SABC. All rights reserved


Monday, March 28, 2011

South African Court confirms : National Curriculum not binding on private education

A court in South Africa found that the that government policy was not enforceable on private schools until regulations had been issued. An application by a group of independent Afrikaans Christian schools and a home schooling mother to declare that the national school curriculum and policy on religion did not apply to them has been dismissed on technical grounds.

The Pestalozzi Trust representing homeschoolers issued the following in response to the case:
National Curriculum not binding on private education

  State curriculum not binding

Posted by: "Leendert van Oostrum"   leendertvanoostrum

Fri Mar 25, 2011 8:44 am (PDT)

Court confirms : National Curriculum not binding on private education

Statement by the Pestalozzi Trust  

25th March 2011

Judge Cynthia Pretorius confirmed in die Pretoria High Court today that the state curriculum is not binding on independent schools and parents who educate their children at home.

The judge rejected an application by homeschooling parents and private schools to declare the curriculum non-binding. She decided that a Constitutional Court verdict from 2001 made the application unnecessary.

Mr. Bouwe van der Eems of the Pestalozzi Trust, a legal defence association for civil and home education, nevertheless welcomed the verdict because private educators can now safely ignore demands to teach according to the state curriculum.

He expects that the verdict will bring peace to parents and private education institutions who continually have to resist unlawful pressure from education authorities demanding that they teach according to the national curriculum.

Van der Eems points mentions that tens of thousands of homeschooling parents and thousands of private schools have refused to register with the authorities precisely because officials make unlawful demands such as compliance with the national curriculum as precondition for registration. He is of the opinion that these parents and schools have been vindicated by the verdict.

He says that many parents and schools have also succumbed in the past to intimidation by education officials to comply with such unlawful demands. He expects that more of them will now stand up for the internationally
recognised right of children to receive education that differs from that which is offered by the state.

The Pestalozzi Trust regrets that the case took nearly four years and gets the impression that the minister fought tooth and nail to keep the case out of court while she and officials at all levels persisted in imposing the
curriculum on private education. The Trust calls on education authorities to communicate and consult better with stakeholders in future about the measures that they attempt to impose on private education.

For further information: Leendert van Oostrum 012 330 1337

References in the Media

Judge’s no to schools

School, minister locked in policy law

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Homeschooling in Uganda - Homeschooler enters University of Cape Town

Homeschool parents want the best for their children and often start the process sometimes unsure of themselves and the outcome.   Recently a pioneer Ugandan family rejoiced when their son was admitted to the University of Cape Town.
 The Dr Magara his wife with their four homeschooled children. Photo from Daily Monitor
As a retired homeschool father, I want to congratulate  Dr James Magara and his family.  I will pray that they will continue on this path.   By God's grace my children also enrolled at universities after completing their homeschooling.
For those considering homeschooling, it is not always easy but it is rewarding. Although I have not yet met the Magara family, I am sure they have the discipline required to homeschool.  It is often the mothers who take the largest share in the task as the men are often too busy putting bread on the table.  The role of men is something we need to attend to in homeschooling.  Being disciplined and selecting an appropriate curriculum are most important for success.


1.  They decided to homeschool their children and are happy with the results, Daily Monitor, by By Agnes K. Namaganda,  2011-03-06 

2.  Homeschooling in Uganda Posted by Bouwe van der Eems March 11, 2011,  in Bloggies

3. Homeschooling in Uganda , February 2010

4. James Magara - Owner at Jubilee Dental, 2011-03-13, 


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Media coverage: Parents turns to home schooling - Cape Times 14 February 2011

The following very positive article appeared in the Cape Times on 14 February 2011:

Parents turns to home schooling    

Helen Baker, left, is home schooling her children Jasmine, Daniel and Aimee. Picture: Cindy waxa
Instead of being taken to school every day by their parents, home has become school to three Cape Town children.
Daniel, 12, Jasmine, 10, and Aimee, 8, are taught by their mother, Helen Baker.
Their class is around a table just off the kitchen and, surrounded by books and stationery, they start their school day by raising hands to answer questions and filling answers in their workbooks.
Their father, Kevin Baker, who works to support the family, helps with homework in the evenings.
He said the decision to teach their children at home had not been easy and their reasons for deciding were complex.
“We wanted the best education, like any parent does,” he said.
“In our situation we felt (conventional schooling) was not going to work for us.”
The Baker family could not afford private education and so they decided to give home schooling a try.
“The obvious advantage is they get a lot more one-on-one attention. That is what makes it work for us.”
Kevin Baker said the children, in Grades 3, 5 and 6, were happy and loved being taught at home.
“They get to learn in their own way and at their own pace.”
An added advantage, Kevin Baker said, was missing the “mad rush” other parents and pupils faced in the morning of getting dressed in uniforms and travelling to school.
“It’s a much more relaxed environment.”
The family followed a timetable similar to conventional schools, starting at 8am, breaking for lunch and then continuing with afternoon lessons.
After classes ended for the day the children took part in a wide range of extramural activities, such as ballet, cricket and swimming. Kevin Baker said the children joined other children at extramural activities and at events organised by other home-schooling families who lived nearby.
“On the social side they are definitely not lacking. The one advantage with home schooling is they are able to relate to children older and younger than they are, because that is what they do all day.”
Helen Baker had no teaching experience and enjoyed learning the curriculum as she taught it to the children.
“It is quite satisfying. You have to be one step ahead of who you are teaching,” she said.
Kevin Baker advised parents considering home schooling to research it extensively and to be aware that it was particularly difficult when starting out.
“Home schooling does not work for everyone. It is a hang of a commitment.
“You have to know that you really want to do it.
“We have no regrets. There is a big support base out there.” - Cape Times
To read it online goto Cape Times - IOL

Homeschooling in South Africa in the Media

A recent letter wrote by a homeschool mother.  We need more similar exposure to Homeschooling:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Taryn Hayes <cr.......>
Date: Wed, Feb 16, 2011 at 11:41 AM
Subject: Letter to the Cape Times: Regarding the Homeschooling article
To the editor: Cape Times

I'd like to commend Michelle Jones of the Cape Times on her refreshingly balanced article addressing home schooling in South Africa (14-02-2011).  Home schooling families are often misrepresented as kooky misfits.  The reality is that, generally, home schoolers are normal people who have simply chosen a different educational experience to the mainstream choice.
Our home schooling experience is similar to the Baker family.  We enjoy this lifestyle choice and the freedom it allows us.  We get together weekly with four other families where our children enjoy play time, music, art and Xhosa lessons together.  And we benefit from a large, growing support system of home schoolers which includes the Cape Home Educators who provide us with Sports Days, Prizegivings and Eisteddfods.  

Home schooling in South Africa is definitely growing.  Which makes me wonder if the figures mentioned are not representative of the actual number of Western Cape home schooling families.  From what I understand, many home schooling families feel reticent to register due to the lack of clear, constitutional policy documents in the Western Cape. Also, some feel that they cannot, in good conscience, register as they would be required to follow the government curriculum and not the educational method of their choice. These factors perhaps explain the decline in the numbers of Department of Education registered home school families, but the massive increase in home schooling families each year.  

Essentially, however, home schooling is legal and more families are choosing this path.  The commitment is huge, but so are the rewards.  While we've not formally determined how far into the future we will walk this path, I am greatly encouraged by the many South African home school students who have matriculated well and are currently being lauded as well-rounded students who excel in all aspects of tertiary education.

Taryn Hayes
Plumstead is in Cape Town, South Africa.    To read more about Tary Hayes, visit her blog.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Homeschooling in Africa

I recently found the following on a blog:
This is an idea I have been toying with for long. Here in Kenya school children are overburdened by the education system. Learning should be fun. When kids leave home before their working parents and arrive after them with home work to last till 11pm ........?!
What is happening in your community? Is home schooling a better option? Have I missed out on some advantages of public or private school?
Hey Id like to hear from you all in Africa and beyond. Thank you 

My short answer: 

Homeschooling is definitely an option to consider. We have homeschooled our 4 children in South Africa and would do it again!

We started in 1996 and our last son wrote Cambridge AS levels in 2010.

When we started it was not common at all. It was not easy, but it is rewarding and the fruit of the effort makes it worthwhile.  I believe that many of us in Africa can benefit by educating our  children at home.  I plan to discuss this in more detail on this blog. Follow me and come back for more soon.

Johan Grobler
Retired Homeschool Father
PS I also maintain a homeschool resource website at