Our Mandate and The Law
We must emphasise that we are first and foremost, Oikos Family Ministries. Our primary focus is not on legal matters, yet because our aim is to support and help the whole family, we do need to impart understanding with regard to the legal matters of home education (Homeschooling) in South Africa.
Before we go further however, we suggest that you first seek God on this and allow His Word to be what directs your heart and convictions. If you are wanting to have some practical advice regarding these matters, we can also share with you what we know stands in section 51 of the S.A Schools Act 84 – 1996. This states that a parent may educate their children in the environment of their own home and that they may register. Please note that it clearly states (anyone can go online and read the S.A. Schools Act, section 51 of 1996) you ‘may’ register. In other words registration is not a requirement.
So it is up to the discretion of each individual if they so choose. That is on the matter of registration, now about the matter of whether or not a family must, ‘by law’, use the official goverment curriculum. The National Curriculum is not a ‘law’ or a regulation or a rule, it is a policy, which means it is not binding by law to abide by it, it is rather the choice of the individual as to whether they choose to follow such policy or not.
Now saying all this, you are obviously aware that things within government are not always stable and certain, so there is a trust formed specifically to support and help families with questions regarding legalities, registration etc, that being the Pestalozzi Trust. You can visit www.pestalozzi.org to support you in this regard with up-to-date information.
Pray don’t Panic
There is a scare doing the rounds regarding the Political situation for Home Education (Homeschooling) in South Africa. The solution to this is to ‘pray not panic’.
It has been brought to our attention that families are concerned about the political situation regarding home education (Homeschooling) which is doing the rounds through media, social networking and websites.
Although this state of affairs has some new details, the broad situation is not new to Oikos. This is the nature of all things political, there will always be continual changes! It ought not surprise us when we hear that the political situation is shifting. A house built on sand will not stand, but a house built on a rock shall. So we give thanks that God keeps revealing to us, with each passing season, that He has gone before and built this ministry upon a Rock.
It is with this introduction that we share some answers with you now, as there have been frequent questions and concerns from parents. We will explore how this news could possibly affect Oikos families.
- Oikos has a mandate upon it to support families in the lifestyle they have chosen in educating their children at home. This we have done for over 20 years and we shall continue to do so.
- Standard and Quality?
- Families choosing the Oikos lifestyle and resources for their home education (Homeschooling) are assured of a high standard of quality education which is affordable to many.
- Oikos does not require families to register or enrol their children, as we do not consider ourselves to be an ‘educational institution’ but rather a ‘Family Ministry’. We provide educational resources to assist families in educating their children at home. We are comforted to know that parents are free to choose amazing resources for raising their children, even if it must be considered a ‘supplementary resource’ such as Apologia Creation Science, Picture Smart, Excellence in Writing or Math-U-See. No one can stop a parent from making their own choices regarding this. Just think about all the educational games, toys, books and so on, that parents acquire for their children’s educational benefit.
- Continuing Through Oikos?
- Considering what has been shared above, we can confidently say yes, families may continue home educating (Homeschooling) through Oikos. Do not walk in fear and panic, but rather continue in your conviction and follow Him. It is your constitutional right!
- Adequate Education?
- If we go by the testimony and results of many Oikos graduates who have completed their educational years at home, we again can confidently say yes, your children will most certainly be adequately educated. We have seen the evidence of this again and again.
- Enforced Government Curriculum?
- Our first response is “Would this even be able to be implemented?” There are thousands of home educating (Homeschooling) families who have a voice! It is no longer a small handful of people making this choice for their family.
“To help homeschoolers become organised, the ‘tuisonderwys’ forum is available as a central meeting place where homeschoolers of any persuasion can give or get information and get in touch with others to build necessary networks. Homeschoolers who are not yet signed up with the forum need only send an empty email to firstname.lastname@example.org. From there, this task can be taken further.” – an excerpt from the Petsalozi Trust newsletter (abridged)
In conclusion, let us ‘Pray not Panic’ as we continue on this journey supporting one another in His vision for families.