Homeschooling in South Africa: a multiple case study
Steytler, Jennifer Rae.
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Homeschooling is a growing phenomenon, in South Africa and worldwide. Despite this increasing popularity, it remains somewhat of an enigma, particularly in South Africa. This qualitative study explores the motivations of parents who have chosen to homeschool their children, their academic approach, and their perceptions of the academic, social and emotional benefits of homeschooling. Initial sampling was purposeful, based on established criteria. Thereafter, snowball sampling was utilised. Data was gathered by means of semi-structured interviews and field observations. All research was conducted within the greater Durban area. There were eight participants, of which five were parents currently homeschooling and three were people who had other experience of homeschooling. Following the interview process, a non-participant observation was conducted at each of the homeschooling sites. Data from interviews was collected by digital recording and manual note-taking. Field observations were recorded manually. All data was transcribed by the researcher, and analysed using thematic analysis. The main themes identified during the research design process were: the contextual circumstances leading to parents choosing to homeschool their children; teaching strategies used in homeschooling; the social, emotional and academic benefits of homeschooling for children; and the challenges experienced in homeschooling. Several sub-themes arose out of the analysis of the data including, inter alia, the special educational needs of children, the perceived shortcomings of mainstream education, parents’ perceptions of the socialisation needs of homeschooled children and plans for their future education. The research findings suggest that homeschooling has benefits in the areas of academic, social and emotional development, and that it can therefore be considered to be both a valid and viable alternative educational setting in South Africa, that has value in meeting the individual educational needs of children. Recommendations are made for both homeschoolers and education authorities, and suggestions for further research are proposed, in order to develop a more accurate and positive understanding of homeschooling in South Africa.