FAQs: Home Ed

Who and what is the Pestalozzi Trust?

 The Trust is a registered public benefit organisation, which supports its members when they come into in conflict with the authorities, in connection with their home schooling.

Does the Trust help all homeschoolers who encounter problems?

No, only our members. If a member comes into conflict with the education department, welfare or police, the member immediately calls the emergency number of the Trust.

Is the Trust affiliated to a curriculum supplier?

No, the Trust is independent of any curriculum supplier.

Is the Trust affiliated to the education department?

No, the Trust is not affiliated to the education department.

Registration

Does the Trust register its members with the Education Department?

 No, the Trust is not affiliated to the education department and does not register its members with the various education departments.

Should I register with the education department?

According to the law you have to register, unless you have good reason not to. Important: Inform yourself of the legal implications of registration and of non-registration, and read this article.

May families who are registered with the education department join the Pestalozzi Trust?

Yes, they may apply for membership of the Trust, if they have not yet encountered problems from the education department, welfare or police, regarding their home education.

Joining the Trust

Why should I join the Pestalozzi Trust?

As a member of the Trust I can make it possible for my child to learn according his best interests, without the interference and demands of strangers, who don’t know the child.

My daughter is 3 years old and I am currently homeschooling her and intend on doing so her entire schooling career. How necessary is it to join the Pestalozzi Trust at this stage and if not necessary now when would you suggest do I start looking at this option?

You may join the Trust now as an Associate Member family. This membership category is for families whose children are not yet or no longer liable for compulsory schooling. Although the membership category does not provide legal support, families receive information and may attend meetings of the Trust at members’ fees. The membership fee for Associate Membership is R560 per family per annum.

At the beginning of the year in which your child turns 7, you may apply for Standard Membership of the Trust at R1080 per family per annum.

What are the criteria for NOT approving an application?

The Trustees may turn down an application without having to explain their reasons.

However, an application is seldom turned down

  • if the learners are being taught in their own homes;
  • if the whole form has been completed and signed by both parents, and the correct payment for membership fee has been received;
  • if the learners are under the supervision of the parents when necessary;
  • if no legal action has been threatened or brought against the family’s home education or anyone associated with it, or if the family has not been contacted by any school or education official, social worker or other government official concerning their children, their home education, or absence from institutional school; and
  • if the family have not been investigated for or charged with child abuse, neglect, or any other related charges.

Do I have to answer questions number 9 and 10? We have never been investigated or charged with child abuse, neglect or other related charges.

 Yes, you have to answer the questions. Your application won’t be considered without the answers.

Should both parents sign the form?

Yes, the parents should be in agreement about the education that their child receives, and both should sign the agreement with the Trust.

It is necessary to complete the teaching schedule?

Yes, it is necessary. If it changes from day to day, please indicate it on an appendix.

Which children’s details should I fill in on the form?

You may include all your childrens’ details, including those who are preschool and those who are no longer liable for compulsory schooling. Then the Trust has all the details of the children, en you need not complete a form again later. Children are liable for compulsory schooling from the first school day of the year in which they turn 7, up till the last school day of the year in which they turn 15. Many homeschoolers prefer to remain members of the Trust till all the children have finished school, so that they have the services of the Trust available, should they encounter problems to be allowed in a tertiary institution.

How shall we know if our application with the Trust has been accepted?

You’ll receive a letter acknowledging receipt. Subsequently, after the application has been approved and processed, you will receive an official letter of confirmation of your membership, as well as a members’ pack, containing an emergency number.

Membership of the Trust covers 12 months. Do the 12 months start when joining the Trust, or from January to December?

The membership period stretches over 12 months, from the date of joining the Trust (for example from 1 June 2016) to 12 months after that date (for example to 1 June 2017).

How shall we know that our membership has expired?

You will be reminded 6-8 weeks before your membership expires, and again 4 weeks before the date of expiry.

How do I submit the application form to the Pestalozzi Trust?

Scan it in and send it by e-mail: defensor@pestalozzi.org,  or by fax: 011 507 5997, or by mail: PO Box 12332, Queenswood, 0121.

How and when do we pay the membership fee?

 You may make the payment when completing the form, and send in proof of payment or proof of a stop order together with your completed, signed application form.

How much is the membership fee?

The membership fee is R1200 per family per annum. If you join before you take your children out of school, or within 3 months of taking them out of school, you pay the reduced fee of R1080 per family per annum.
PLEASE NOTE: Existing members who renew in time (before their membership lapses) stay on the fee level at which they joined. Therefore they don’t pay the increased membership fee in future.

How do we pay the membership fee?

You may pay once-off, or you may pay by stop order. Ask your bank to ensure that your name and surname appears on OUR bank statement, so that we can link your payment to your account.

How do I take my children out of school?

Keep in mind that it is not illegal to take your children out of school. You therefore do not need the permission of the education department, the school, the school personnel or the school board of the school to take your child out of school. You have entrusted your child to the school for a period of time. However, during this whole period when your child attended school, the responsibility of your child’s education was nevertheless squarely on your own shoulders. The responsibility for the teaching and education of your child remains with you as the parent since the day when you registered your child’s birth with the Department of Internal Affairs. You need not ask for permission or prove that you that you are capable of teaching your child yourself.

Most people would like to avoid confrontation when they take their children out of school, and taking the following steps can help prevent it:

1 If you are planning to join the Pestalozzi Trust Legal Defence Fund for Home Education, do it before taking any steps to remove the child from school. (Download the application form here.) The reason why you should join before contacting the school is that the Trust does not accept applications from families who have already experienced conflict with the authorities in connection with their home schooling.

2 Do not inform the school beforehand of your plans. (In the past children have occasionally been victimised by classmates or personnel when it has become known that the child was going to receive home education.)

3 It is not necessary or advisable to wait for the end of the year, quarter or similar occasion to transfer the child to home education. If parents are persuaded that home schooling is in the best interest of the child, it cannot be in the best interests of the child to attend a school any longer. The child can therefore be removed on the same day on which the application for membership was submitted to the Pestalozzi Trust.

4 When the child is already back from school, we advise the father to phone the school. (Schools tend to be less intimidating towards fathers than towards mothers.) It is important that the notice should be given telephonically to make it easier to avoid conflict. We recommend therefore that the parents do not deliver the notice personally or in writing.

5 The notice contains the following element, and nothing more:

“I have transferred my child to home education.”

6 If the school refuses to provide a transfer certificate, the parents need not insist, for the parents do not need a transfer certificate. It merely is a gesture of courtesy to ask for it. (It facilitates the process of removing the child from the school’s books if the school furnishes a transfer certificate.)

7 If the representative of the school starts protesting, arguing or making threats during the telephonic conversation, the parent should not be drawn into an argument. The parent can merely state the following: “ I appreciate the school’s concern for the best interests of my child, but unfortunately I cannot discuss these matters telephonically. Please put it in writing for me so that I can consult with my wife/husband, as well as my advisors. Good-bye.”

8 If hereafter the family is again approached by any official regarding the home education of their children, and if they have joined the Pestalozzi Trust, they should in the first place call the private emergency number of the Trust, and report the incident. Then they could refer the officials to the Pestalozzi Trust, and provide the official telephone number of the Trust (012 330 1337). If the family receives any written communication from officials, they can send it directly to the Pestalozzi Trust.

May I teach my neighbour’s children (or any other children) at my home?

 You may do that, but the children will NOT receive home education. Home education is defined in the law as education at the child’s own home. If the child is being taught outside of his own home, he does not receive home education.

If you do that, you will be running a small private or independent school. This is the way the law sees it. Read about the legal aspects of cottage schools here.

May unschoolers join the Trust, or does one have to do CAPS?

The Trust does not prescribe to its members which curriculum to follow. Members of the Trust therefore follow a large variety of curricula. Parents should decide which curriculum is in their child’s best interest, and follow that curriculum.

Which is the best curriculum to follow?

The best curriculum is the curriculum which is in the best interest of your child, and which will fully develop his/her personality.

MORE QUESTIONS? Contact us!