OPINION: Dear Department of Education, leave my home-schooled child alone!


The Education Department has made a few controversial changes to SA's public school system, which will also impact families who have chosen to go the home-schooling route. Some of these changes include having children study the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) way, or at least an education programme of the same standard, having the child being home-schooled assessed by a "competent assessor" every year at your own expense, and only matriculating with the National Senior Certificate (NSC).

We received many responses from concerned parents about these changes. You can read their thoughts and opinions here.

One parent in particular wrote an open letter to the Department of Education.

Dear Department of Education,


Perhaps we need to clear something up regarding my daughter from the outset as there seems to be a misunderstanding of where my responsibility ends and yours begins:

You didn't give birth to her.

You didn't pay for her food, clothing, warm bed.

You didn't pour your time and love into her as she grew up.

You didn't wipe away her tears during her failures.

You didn't cheer her on during her successes.

And that's okay because you're not her parent, I am.

She is not your responsibility, she is mine.

And this is where the misunderstanding seems to come in. Learning does not miraculously, at the age of four or five, become a separate issue. It is part and parcel of her growth and, therefore, our parenting responsibility.

Formal education is just a part of learning. And learning isn't a 13 or 17-year stint during one's lifetime at school, college or university. It should be a delightful part of every day for our whole lives.

Sadly, I've seen with my own eyes as my generation and my children's generation go into school eager and curious, and emerge 12 or 13 years later completely disinterested. Bar the few exceptions, the masses move on as if on autopilot towards their expected tertiary education. Their love of learning has somehow been stripped from them. The regularity and thoroughness with which this has been happening is alarming.

This is a crying shame and I fail to see why you would discourage those of us who are finding ways to keep the love of learning alive in our children.

Let me be blunt. Not only do you not have the authority (you are not the parent) over our children, but you don't even have the answers. So I am only left to assume that the real issues here are not about what's best for our children, but what's best for your pockets and all those mandates you're compelled to adhere to from the UN.

For the record, we tried your way for 9 years.

She was not thriving.

We made the decision to change the way she learned.

This included a different curriculum and a different 'matric'.

She thrived.

We're not crediting you with this achievement.

We're not paying you for the 'privilege'.

Her success had nothing to do with you.

And if you insist on trying to get homeschooling to resemble the formal education system in this country then you will, once again, be taking away her ability to thrive in her learning.

Please, consider that last line.  It is the sole reason I wrote this letter. 


A concerned parent

What are your thoughts on all the changes made by the Department of Education? Tell us by emailing chatback@parent24.com and we may publish your comments.

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