New Research on Home Education in South Africa
(November 2000)

Dr Esther de Waal was recently awarded her PhD at Potchefstroom University on her thesis on home education. In her study, she completed the first quantitative description of the home schooling population of South Africa.

Her research provides biographical information about the home schooling polulation, and about their reasons for choosing home ed.

She does _not_ attempt to find out how many home schoolers there are in the country, and she does _not_ investigate their academic performance or social/personal development.

Furthermore, her data are based on 422 responses to 1000 questionaires that were distributed by curriculum suppliers and home schooling associations. One should bear this in mind when interpreting her results, because it means that many families who are not associated with curriculum suppliers or associations were not included in the study (no-one knows how many these might be, but I suspect that the numbers must be substantial).

This study, therefore, provides very valuable information about the typical home learner and their families, which will form a good basis for further research on numbers and outcomes.

Her results can be summarised as follows:

48.6% of the respondents were English speaking, 49.3% were Afrikaans speaking and 2.1% other.

95% of home schooling parents are older than 30 years.

40% of the teaching parents have only matric, 30% a tertiary diploma, 13% have a first degree, 11% a post graduate diploma, 4.6% have an honours degree, 1.2% a masters and 0.7 a doctorate.

76% ofthe parents do not have teacher qualifications. Interestingly, one in four home teachers _does_ have a teaching qualification, but prefers not to send her children to school!

The average home schooling family has an monthly basic income of about R7000, which compares to the average montly basic income of white families in SA of R7 262,03.  Nearly one out of every five home schooling families earn less than R2000 per month, while about one third earn more than R10 000 per month.

60% of home schooling families does not formally belong to any of the major religious denominations, and about one third belong to one a Christian church in the reformed tradition.

KZN seems to have most of the home schoolers by a wide margin, namely 27%, Gauteng has 18%, Western Cape 17%, Eastern Cape 12%, Mpumalanga 7%, Northern Cape 5%, Free State 5%, North West 4%, Northern Province 4%, and intinerant 1%. More than half of the home schoolers seem to live in the three coastal provinces, therefore.

99.5 of the home schoolin families who responded to the survey see themselves as white, 0.2% Asian and 0.2% Coloured.

51.7% of the families belong to home schooling associations.

88.3% of the primary educators are the mothers, 1.2% fathers, and 10.5% parents share the durties of the home education.

84.5% of home schooling families are not registered with education departments. 27% of the registered families live in Gauteng, although Gauteng only has 18% of the home schoolers.
34% of home schooling families are single child families, 36.9% have two children, 23% have 3 children, 5% have four children. The average is 2 children.