As the public-school sector lurches from crisis to crisis, there’s an education revolution taking place in SA: home schooling. This once-niche practice is generating increased appeal, along with its associated spin-offs such as learning and tutor centres. Home schooling was once derided as a fringe activity of the loony right or left. But the reasons parents choose to school children at home are varied. They range from distrust of the public system to financial considerations (no uniforms, fees or transport costs) and religious qualms. Or there may be issues of special needs, “fitting in” or sexual orientation. Karin van Oostrum is the manager at the Pestalozzi Trust in Tshwane, an educational consultant NGO whose area of speciality is home schooling. She reluctantly estimates there are between 50,000 and 100,000 home-schooled children across SA from grade R to matric, but adds that it’s almost impossible to be definitive because of under-reporting. Another home-schooling expert put...

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