The obvious choice in distance education

Since 1996

TOP STUDY TIPS

 

Below is a list of tried and trusted study tips to help your kids get through the exams and come out tops.

Quiet Space

Find a quiet space in your home that is free of distractions (both visual and aural) where your child can settle down and concentrate.  Take regular breaks in between to rest and move around.

Testing

After each section encourage your child to take a break then test them on what they have just learnt. They can go back over problem areas again before moving on to the next section.

Learning Styles

Some people are visual learners whilst others are auditory or kinaesthetic learners and some are a combination of the above. Each learning style has its own way of doing things.

Study Aids

Use appropriate study aids such as flow charts, spider diagrams, colour coded notes, audio recordings, or incorporate movement into the learning process. Learning style influences what aids work best.

Sleep

Remember to always get a good night's sleep.  This is when our brains organise and store information. Go over some important points before bed to really maximise this sleep benefit.

Repeat

The amount of times and duration of each study session depends on each individual child.  It is a good idea to have a certain time set aside each day leading up the exams for studying.  Sometimes it helps to create a detailed study timetable to stick to.

THE IMPORTANCE OF POSITIVE WORDS

We all know the old rhyme: “sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never harm me.” We also all know that words certainly can hurt us. By the same token positive words have an incredibly encouraging impact on a person’s confidence and are vital for a child’s healthy development.

Things that are said to a child, especially from their parents, becomes part of who they are so it is important to be aware of what we say. Positive affirmation has been proven time and again to be more effective than punishment in encouraging good behaviour. Positive words build a child up and create a nurturing environment within which they can thrive. We cannot underestimate the importance of positive words and encouragement for the well-being of all people, especially children.

happy smiling little girl

Try to tell your child each and every day that they are loved and that you are glad that they are part of your life. Praise them for a job genuinely well done and be as specific as possible in telling them why you are proud of them. Try also to be conscious of the words that you use when scolding your child. It is easy to be overwhelmed and to say things in the heat of the moment that we do not mean and that we later regret. It is impossible to always avoid these negative words, but when we our tempers do erupt it is important to acknowledge and to apologise for hurtful words said in anger. Instead of saying words like “don’t do that,” rather try to phrase it more positively by saying “let’s try to do it this way,” or “imagine how you would feel if…” By being conscious of your words and trying to phrase things positively your child can learn and develop their behaviour in a constructive way instead of always being told not to do things or feeling sad and hurt by constant negative words directed at them.

Remember that you too deserve positive words, so try to use kind words for yourself as well. It is easy to forget to be kind to ourselves, especially when we are overwhelmed, tired and constantly putting the needs of others above our own. Try to practise a positive way of thinking about yourself and this will not only help you to feel better (which your children will pick up on), but it will also make it easier for you to use positive words for your children.

HOMESCHOOLING AND SOCIALISATION

The most common question that many homeschooling parents get asked by family and friends is “but what about socialisation?”  There can be a stigma attached to homeschooling that children will somehow become strange antisocial creatures that have no idea how to interact with fellow human beings.  This could not be farther from the truth.

kids jumping

Wherever people gather there is going to be interaction, there is going to be socialisation.  Whether it is at the park or museum, at a cousin’s birthday party, soccer club, girl scouts, art classes, extra language lessons, or even just in the line at the shops – people talk to one another, children play and socialisation happens very naturally.  Human beings have evolved in groups and it is in our nature to seek human interaction and develop connections and bonds.  This process of socialisation is a core part of development and happens naturally in all our lives.  The idea that this can only happen in schools is a narrow one.  In fact, interaction with only other children and often only those the same age as us is rather abnormal when you think of it.  Throughout life we interact (socialise) with people of all ages – our parents, siblings, cousins, aunts, grandparents and friends.  We learn how to interact with one another and about social hierarchies that exist in groups of people.  Basically we learn about how to be humans in a group of humans, which is what people mean when they say the dreaded words: “what about socialisation?” 

Oftentimes children’s confidence gets crushed by peers at school and their desire to fit in overrides their desire to be themselves.  Homeschooling children are often better socialised in the sense that they are confidently themselves and can offer ideas and opinions without the fear of ridicule.  For most people, the fear of what others will think of us and what that will mean for our social standing at school kills our individuality and our belief in ourselves, our opinions and our choices.  Homeschooled children are largely free from the negative impacts of bullying, peer pressure and the burden of ‘fitting in’ so they are free to speak their minds, develop their own sense of self and even wear the fun accessories or clothes that mainstream school children are too afraid do to. 

Do not be worried about what homeschooling will mean for the socialisation of your child.  You can ensure that they interact with others in a meaningful and conscious manner by organising play dates, visiting public spaces, joining common interest groups and participating in extra mural activities.  Perhaps next time somebody expresses their deep concern to you about the socialisation of your homeschooled child, you can respond by asking them what mainstream school ‘socialisation’ is doing to their children!

 

Healthy breakfast ideas for busy parents

Banana Crumpets

 Egg Muffins

Chia Pudding

LEGITIMACY OF HOMESCHOOLING

Homeschooling is legal in South Africa. The Department of Education has a number of requirements for homeschooled learners and parents such as attendance records, continuous assessment portfolios and testing of skills in the various phases of education. Clonard Education is a homeschooling curriculum provider that makes sure that all departmental requirements are adhered to.

Parents that wish to send their children back to a mainstream school after homeschooling are able to do so using our formal reports. Our reports hold weight as our qualified teachers set and mark the exams and assessments and can be used to enrol children into schools. We make sure that main textbooks used are all CAPS approved and the subjects covered in each grade are in line with the department’s requirements. This all ensures a seamless transition back into a mainstream school. In order to ensure no difficulty in acceptance, we recommend that parents also register as homeschoolers with the DoE and you can read about that in our previous blog post.

Clonard has over 20 years of experience in putting together homeschooling curricula for parents to successfully teach their children at home. Our world-class service and support coupled with our excellent educational material, high standards of testing and formal reports means that all children homeschooled with Clonard can easily return to a mainstream school in the future.

Homeschooling registration with the DoE

man at home paperwork

Parents are encouraged to register their children as homeschoolers with the Department of Education in South Africa.  Students registered with a curriculum provider, such as Clonard, are not automatically registered with the DoE.  Unfortunately, the DoE requires parents to register their children themselves. 

Students in grade R and those 16-years-old and over are not required to be registered.  Clonard will be able to provide parents with the relevant contact details of the DoE officials responsible for registrations (each province is different).  Parents contact the official and let them know that they are homeschooling their child/children; they will be asked why; registration forms will be sent to parents via email for completion and return (parents are advised to make copies before returning them and to have a proof of delivery signed or to send them via registered post); the forms are processed and then a DoE official will contact parents to arrange a home visit.  This home visit is to check that the child’s education is being taken seriously, that they have a desk to work on, proper textbooks to work from and that they are being taught by their parents at home.  After the home visit there is some more processing to do and then the DoE will send parents a letter advising them of successful departmental registration as a homeschooler and will provide an official registration number for each child.

This departmental registration number, coupled with an official Clonard report, will ensure that students are accepted back into mainstream schools in the future.  For this reason it is advisable that parents make the time to go through the bureaucratic process of registering their children with the DoE.  It may take a while, the forms can be tedious to complete (we are always there to help) but in the end it is worth the effort as parents have the peace of mind that their children have all options available to them in the future. 

Creating a nurturing learning environment

Children can be under immense pressure at school to succeed, fit in, catch up, move quickly and compete for attention. More and more parents are finding themselves faced with a child complaining of a sore tummy every Monday morning. We hear stories of terrible bullying and sometimes even humiliation by teachers. Students are often too scared to put up their hands and tell the teacher that they did not understand as they are afraid of ridicule by their peers or are simply terrified of any sort of public speaking. These conditions are hardly conducive to a happy, encouraging learning environment and it often results in learners being “left behind” and falling through gaps. Prolonged emotional and psychological stress often means that children steadily withdraw deeper into their shells and are not the same happy children that their parents once knew. So what can you do to help create a nurturing learning environment for your child?

Some argue that the most important thing that you can do is be present in their lives and keep communication open whilst providing a stable, loving environment at home. It can be difficult to get your kids to talk about their feelings or experiences, especially if they are negative experiences at school. Try to ask them every day how their day was and what happened in it. You can reciprocate and tell them about your day and what you did and things that may have happened that made you anxious or sad. This could help them to feel that it is ok to have bad days or to talk about things that make them feel bad. It is important for children to know that they have a safe and loving environment in which they can share their feelings and experiences honestly. Really try to listen to your child and let them do the talking. They will most often come to the solution themselves. Try not to jump straight to giving advice or trying to solve their problems for them. Use the “clucking” method by saying making sounds of acknowledgement and encouragement and words such as “yes, I see” etc. This will encourage your child to continue talking and give you the opportunity to continue listening. Remember not to react strongly and judge them or shout, as this would only further discourage them from talking to you. This gives you a chance to potentially identify any bullying and negative experiences around school.

You can also talk to them about what they learned that day and become interested in what they are doing. If you are excited about their school work and what they are learning about then they may get excited as well. Ask questions so that they can explain things to you – this will help to ensure that they properly understand the concepts and it helps to reinforce the knowledge in their brains.

Another way that you can help to create a nurturing learning environment is to attend parent-teacher evenings to get a chance to meet your child’s teacher and get a sense of what sort of person they are. It is good to know how the teacher feels about your child and any difficulties that they may have noticed during the school day. You can also be involved in their homework time, helping them and letting them know that you are there for them and that you believe in them. You could quiz them when they are learning for a test or make them a little treat to help them when they are studying for an exam just to let them know that you are thinking about them and that you support their efforts for their education.

Sometimes parents are faced with a seemingly hopeless situation where endless meetings with teachers, principals and other parents do nothing to improve bullying or another bad situation at school. Sometimes changing schools is not an option or perhaps you have already tried it to no avail. There are alternatives to mainstream schooling. Homeschooling is becoming an ever more viable option for parents in creating a safe and nurturing environment for their children. Educating your children at home allows you to provide a loving environment where your child feels cared for and confident to ask questions. This one-on-one attention allows them to properly grasp concepts before moving on to the next section, which ensures that they have a solid foundation upon which to build their school career. Having somebody who believes in them and has a vested interest in their lives and education can really make the world of difference to a child, and indeed to us all. Their confidence will grow and their marks will more than likely improve. Most importantly, they will blossom into the happy individual that they were meant to be.

Learning more languages grows your brain!

Many students require additional stimulation to keep them interested in school work, or they fly through their work quickly and homeschooling parents are left to wonder what to do with the extra time other than merely revising. Extra reading should always be encouraged as well as physical development from playing outside jumping, climbing, balancing and rolling.

A good option is also to learn an additional language.

"Learning a foreign language can increase the size of your brain. This is what Swedish scientists discovered when they used brain scans to monitor what happens when someone learns a second language. We know that people who speak more than one language fluently have better memories and are more cognitively creative and mentally flexible than monolinguals." (from an article in The Guardian titled “What happens in the brain when you learn a language?”)

Children can more easily learn a new language so it is beneficial to start whilst still in school. Dr. Denise Klein, researcher in The Neuro’s Cognitive Neuroscience Unit and a lead author on the paper published in the journal Brain and Language states: “our results provide structural evidence that age of acquisition is crucial in laying down the structure for language learning.” No matter what age you learn the new language the benefits to the brain remain largely the same.

So next time you hear the words "I'm bored" consider taking up a new language together.

Clonard is offering isiZulu second language as an alternative to Afrikaans from 2017. Students may also take both at an additional subject cost to really maximise the benefits of learning new languages.

The rise of homeschooling in South Africa

Homeschooling has been legal in South Africa since 1996. In recent years we have noticed a marked increase in the number of parents choosing to homeschool their children.

Parents want the best for their children when it comes to education. Many parents feel that their children are falling through the gaps at state schools as the teachers do not have the capacity to provide the valuable attention that their children require due to the ever increasing size of the classes. Private schooling is simply too expensive for most parents to even consider. Homeschooling provides a viable option for these parents as it is far more affordable than private school fees and can provide an excellent quality of education for their children. Once children are in a safe environment at home without fear of mockery from their peers they begin to ask questions and the attention that they now receive from the teacher (parent) means that their understanding, and so their marks, begins to improve, which in turn leads to a growth in confidence.

Many parents often only begin to consider homeschooling their children when faced with no other choice as they do not fully understand what homeschooling means or entails. Perhaps they live in rural areas far away from any schools and so must now choose between boarding school or homeschool. Perhaps their child is steadily becoming more and more dejected and isolated as their confidence diminishes daily due to bullying. More often than not the local schools are full and so parents cannot find a school in their area, or indeed even in neighbouring suburbs, that have spaces available. So they sit on waiting lists and grow ever more concerned about the future of their children. These parents are left with no other alternative but to homeschool their children. Regularly parents receive a call from a school after a year of homeschooling to tell them that a space has become available, and often times these parents choose to turn it down and rather continue to homeschool their children as they have seen far more benefits than they ever thought possible.

Homeschooling does not have to be unstructured or a daunting task. Clonard Education offers the structure that parents often crave when transitioning from a mainstream school. Clonard will supply all the learning material that the parent will need for the year in order to educate their children at home, as well a formal report for each grade thus allowing them the option to return to a mainstream school in the future, as the children have written formal exams marked by qualified teachers. Clonard will also provide support to the parents every step of the way by means of access to qualified teachers throughout the year thus ensuring that any parent can educate their child at home. The Department of Education’s requirements are met by ensuring that the Clonard syllabus conforms to the National Curriculum Statement and the basic CAPS curriculum is also supplemented with additional material thus ensuring a higher standard of education than the children would have even received at their local school.

Whatever the initial reason that parents have to homeschool their children, it is definitely seeing a growth in popularity. Clonard Distance Education has observed a greatly increased demand for an adequate alternative to mainstream schooling. More and more families are seriously considering homeschooling as a viable option for the education of their children. Even sceptical parents begin to see the positive affect that homeschooling has on their children and they never look back.

Testimonials

  • “Everyone at Clonard has been exceptionally helpful, professional, good hearted, kind and patient with both my son and I when I needed it the most.  It has been a pleasure dealing with Clonard and an experience that I will never forget.” ~ Shaamila Safedien

  • “I have really enjoyed the time we have spent working through your wonderful materials. Thank you for all your support and help in the homeschooling process.”
    ~ Tamryn Paterson

  • "The kids are so looking forward to finishing school with Clonard. Your system works! The kids have learned so much because the work is set out well and it is easy to understand."
    ~ Nicola Shore

  • “We have had the most amazing year home schooling with Clonard! I am deeply grateful to Clonard for providing us with such a comprehensive syllabus so that Aidan was able to keep up with his education despite his health issues.”
    ~ Debra & Russell Orffer-Brown

  • "I believe that homeschooling - when done in the disciplined and methodical manner which Clonard's system makes so easy - should be considered by all parents fortunate enough to have the opportunity.  It is a very easy programme to follow and very well planned.  The staff are always friendly and very accomodating."
    ~ Lorraine Windsor

  • “An educational psychologist advised us that our grade 7 son would not be able to go on to obtain a matric. We refused to accept that and thanks to three years of one-on-one tuition using the Clonard curriculum he returned to a mainstream school and achieved his matric. He then went on to attend a computer college where he was top of his class! We know that Clonard works and is easy to follow and teach if you are not a qualified teacher.”
    ~ Sheelagh and John Tingle

  • “The Clonard ladies are just the most professional people I have had the pleasure of dealing with!”
    ~ Vanessa Jorge

  • “My daughter went off to high school at the beginning of this year after six years of home education with Clonard from the time she was just 8 years old.  She has done so well, academically and socially, achieving a good solid B aggregate for the first term and doing particularly well in Maths.  She is at one of the best-rated schools in our province which makes her achievement (and Clonard’s) particularly striking.  I wanted to say a big thank you to everyone at Clonard for the years of guidance and help.  During our six years of home education, it was wonderful to know that help and advice was always just a phone call away. Thank you so much!”
    ~ Louise

  • “I want to extend my sincerest gratitude to you and Clonard for the exceptional service and support that you have rendered to us.  Thanks again and I will most certainly recommend Clonard to anyone who is considering distance learning for their children.”
    ~ Yusuf Gani

  • “This is Sara's last year at Clonard, she will be starting at our local high school next year.  Our headmaster is very impressed with her marks and says her marks are even better than some of the children that come from the private schools.  So thank you for such a wonderful syllabus and all Clonard's help and support.”  
    ~ Diane Weitsz

  • “We want to compliment your team and the excellent syllabus that you provided for our daughter over the years which enabled her to score an A in her entrance test for Grade 8.  Please express our appreciation and heartfelt thanks to all.  We will readily recommend the school to anyone for the excellent support and commitment.”
    ~Ismail & Roogsana Jhazbhai

  • “I am extremely happy about having chosen to educate my son through Clonard.  Clonard staff have always been ready to help me, whether it was with applications for the Department of Education or to repeatedly remind me of my son's student number.  I would gladly recommend Clonard to anyone looking to home school their children.”
    Zaheera Jooma

  • "Tom is a potent reader, at the age of 9 he reads all newspapers and National Geographics. He reads quickly with a sharp understanding of what he is reading. I thank Clonard for leading him to this point, those early reading books were fantastic."
    ~ Osnat de Villiers

  • "I have tried other curriculums and found that they did not provide the same excellent service that I have experienced through Clonard.  The staff are efficient, friendly and helpful and the teachers are always available if you have any concerns or if you just need some advice.  The curriculum takes care of every aspect of your child's education, the books are easy to follow for the parent and the child, which makes it so much more fun and in turn achieves better results.  I would recommend Clonard Education to anyone who is looking at home schooling their children, it is a reputable provider that obtains amazing results, and leaves the parent at peace knowing that every avenue of their child’s education is in good hands."
    ~ Tamara Seagreen

  • "Setting a high standard and laying a sound foundation for your children's future." 
    ~ Ackermann family

  • "Clonard provided me with everything I needed to Homeschool my son and my daughter.  Neither one ever went to public school.  I am not a formally trained teacher, but Clonard provided me with the learning material and teacher support that I needeed.  My children have never lacked in any area and my 18yr old son has grown in responsibility and maturity far beyond his years as a result of homeschooling.  He now leads and guides 3 full installation crews, is well adjusted and outgoing with others.  Thank you Mike, Virginia and your team for your unfailing support throughout my years as a homeschooling mother." 
    ~ Fiona

  • "We are finding the course material easy to use and our little one is enjoying the work. I have actually been wanting to let you know, that we had our little one assessed recently, by a Grade 1 teacher at a local school.  Firstly she far prefers your work books to the work books that they are provided with.  She also felt that the standard of your work is far higher than in the average classroom, and after having looked through my sons books she feels that he is for more advanced than the children in her Grade 1 classroom.  I owe that all to Clonard.  Your books give just enough to keep the children stimulated and enough repetition to ensure that they fully understand the concept, without me having to spend hours finding additional worksheets etc.  Well done on a great curriculum." 
    ~ Jacqui Botes

Contact Details

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Tel:  (+27) 031 764 6480
Fax: 086 693 8593

Physical address:
1A Shalee Park 
53 Ebonyfield Avenue
Springfield Park, 4051

Postal address:
P. O. Box 74009
Rochdale Park
4034

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