Frequently Asked Questions
According to the World Economic Forum’s 2012-2013 Global Competitiveness Report (pages 325 and 361), South Africa is ranked 140 out of 144 countries for the overall quality of its education system, and 143 out of 144 countries for Maths and Science. The United States is ranked 28th for its overall quality.
This simply means that the South African matric’s credibility is not collapsing, but has already collapsed! There are no reasons why any caring parent would want to associate their child’s education with what is considered by many to be a worthless piece of paper.
Obtaining the GED® “matric/grade 12” equivalent still allows farther study at a tertiary level in South Africa, plus is also recognised internationally. So with no downside and only advantages, why look elsewhere.
For grades 2 – 9, the curriculum for home schooling adheres to the National Curriculum Statement (NCS) as stipulated by the South African Department of Education’s guidelines. The textbooks up to grades 4 are from commonly used publishers. For grades 5 and above, our own qualified teachers have developed the textbook resources. They are continually updated and improved upon to cater for an ever changing world. For the GED®, we have structured textbooks to adequately cater for student preparation to pass the final exams.
We have developed a comprehensive series of English language courses that will help remedy that problem! They are designed for second language English speakers or those English speakers that need assistance to improve their English.
This course is called Cyber School English and caters for all levels of English assistance and can be completed after hours, during holiday periods, and at a student’s convenience and pace. There are 15 courses starting from beginner to tertiary and a pre-admission assessment will guide each student into the appropriate course level.
Cyber School English: These are supplementary English skills (Reading, Writing, Listening & Speaking) to help ensure a higher command of English for tertiary study and or for your professional life and career. There is also one level that can lead to the international Cambridge IELTS accreditation and a further 5 courses to bring your English up to a level acceptable for Tertiary study.
See the webpage Cyber School English
No. All lessons are structured and delivered by qualified teachers. You, as the parent are welcome to supplement with any extra education that you feel is appropriate.
As the parent you need to ensure that your child “attends” and participates in school by being logged in to the classroom at the prescribed times as per his classroom timetable and the school term calendar. In addition, as would be normal in any school situation, monitor and supervise his progress and ensure he completes his homework assignments. You are welcome to supplement this with any extra lessons where you feel this is appropriate.
Students take graded Assessments (exams or tests) on a regular basis. The results can be accessed in their “Assessment Report” section after logging in. This allows parents and students to monitor their progress throughout the year. Assessments are taken for each subject and you will quickly be able to determine whether any extra revision or assistance is needed in a particular subject or not. If yes, you will be able to take corrective action during the year and not at the end when it is too late! Your child will be given a total running cumulative grade for each subject during the year and you will be able to see how well he is doing from month to month. At the end of each year, a transcript will be provided that shows the subjects taken and grades achieved.
(The report cards issued are for parents to monitor the progress of their children. They are not official documents as we are not a registered school, and are for you and Cyber School to assess his/her suitability to proceed on to the next year’s grade)
All answers provided in previous Assessments (exams) are available for revision purposes. This means students can re-access all their past Assessments and see how they answered plus see the correct answer and read the reasoning for that answer being correct.
We use the South African Gauteng Province private school calendar. The school day starts at approx. 08h00 and ends at approx. 13h00, from Monday to Friday. There are regular breaks between lessons and students do not spend more than three hours collectively per day in online lessons.
Here are a few answers to common questions that will help you better understand what we offer:
If your child has any academic problems during the year, you are always welcome to contact his or her teacher. If you are not happy with the outcome, you can escalate the matter to the administration department for farther investigation. Professional support is at hand and you are never alone in this process.
Absolutely. Our curriculum offered is no less a standard as that offered in a traditional school. As a result, your child will not be prejudiced in any way regarding the standards offered, and he should be able to either go back into a mainstream school at anytime or proceed on to tertiary education.
English is the language of instruction. Afrikaans is offered as a second language up to grade 9, which is only compulsory for students that are resident in South Africa. If a student’s home language is not English, we also offer optional English courses to help them attain the necessary standard of English. See the Curriculum section for more information.
Children need to play with friends of their own age. Parents can network with other home schooling parents, living in their area. Some schools allow home schooled children to join their sports teams in the afternoons. These schools charge a fee for the child to participate in matches with the school team. Home schooled children can also join Sports Clubs or Playgroups in their specific area. It is important to study your child’s needs and decide where his/her talents lie e.g. arts, crafts, music, sports etc. and then organise weekly lessons. Church groups also provide plenty of social activities for families on a regular basis.
The advantage of home schooling is that parents can choose their child’s friends, unlike traditional schools whereby children may be negatively influenced by unsuitable friends. Your child doesn’t need to have twenty friends; four good playmates is about the same size group your child would socialize with in a traditional school. In addition to this, children have siblings, cousins and neighbours whom they often visit.
Please see the Social Curriculum page for more information about the system offered to assist with this process.
You can control this for free. Download and install K-9 via http://www1.k9webprotection.com. It will allow you to password protect and block any user from visiting any unauthorized site. We recommend that you only allow our sites and those we refer students to.
Students do need a reliable windows based pc, but most of all they need a reliable broadband internet service that offers good enough quality to enable audio and video streaming. (Best to plan for 3 Gigs usage per month).
We recommend that you test your internet connection to see that it is of an acceptable standard. To do this, go to http://www.speedtest.net/. Take the test by clicking “Begin Test”.
Once completed, your test results will be displayed and your line quality given a score. If your line quality score is an A or B, your quality should be fine for our purposes. If not, then you need to ask your service provider why and when they are going to fix it to an acceptable standard. Otherwise, you need to switch to one of our preferred providers.
Typically, we do not recommend Iburst, MTN, Vodacom, Cell C or 8ta, as these products are not designed for audio or video streaming, but rather for emailing whilst mobile. It must be stressed that the quality of a connection depends on your localised infrastructure; this includes your proximity to your nearest mast and how congested it is at the times you wish to gain access. The cell phone operators’ new LTA service is an exception to this and if your local mast is LTA enabled combined with your modem, that should be more than sufficient.
We recommend one of two options; either a Telkom ADSL line (1 megabyte and above speed) or a satellite internet service within South Africa that is national and can cater for students anywhere in the country, including rural areas. With this service, your proximity to a local mast is not important as it uses a satellite.
Students will spend approximately 3 hours per day online. Wherever possible, they will be given extra work offline or have tasks that they can complete using their text books.
Yes – in South Africa it became legal for parents to teach their own children at home in 1996. Cyber School is a supplier of extra lessons to assist parents intending to teach their own children at home, which conforms with the home education guidelines laid down by the Department of Education of South Africa. The Department does permit the use of tutors to assist the parent in this task. That’s where we come in!
Students complete multiple-choice Assessments on a regular basis. These “graded” evaluations ensure they understand what has been done during the previous few weeks. After completion of an Assessment the final grade is displayed as soon as all the questions have been answered. This grading system charts your child’s progress throughout the year. All the scores can be viewed in his online Assessment Report Module, as well as a running total which indicates what overall grade has been achieved to date. This makes revision far superior to existing paper based systems being used by traditional schools.
That’s no problem…. We cater for parents and children that have had little exposure to computers or the internet. Firstly, our system is very easy to use and you require no experience or know-how in order to access classes.
I am sure you agree that we all live in the Information Age, whether we like it or not. So we have two choices; we can bury our heads in the sand and hope it goes away (which it won’t) or we can embrace it and master it for our own benefit! Like it or not, we need to accept that this is the way of the world and the sooner we and our children learn to work proficiently with the internet, the easier it will be for them in the long run.
Legally, all South African resident home schoolers up to grade 9 (or age 16) are obliged to register with the Department of Education. As the parent, you will still be “technically” responsible for your child’s homeschooling (up to grade 9) and the service we offer is there to supplement what you are doing. If you are not a resident of South Africa, you do not need to comply with this requirement, and need to comply with the regulations in your home country, if they exist.