Homeschooling in Zambia is not governed or prohibited by the Zambian Ministry of General Education, this gives parents an alternative option to traditional schooling.
Your homeschooling methodology will be determined by your child’s needs and your desired outcome. Below are a few of the more familiar methods of homeschooling:
The school at home method provides the same structure that the student will find in a public school, but within the home environment. Parents who follow this methodology have more control over the curriculum, content taught and schedule their child will follow.
Parents who choose this route either choose to teach their child themselves or hire a tutor or teacher to assist. Parents can choose to sign up with a homeschooling provider, to offer support and provide the curriculum to help with their child’s education.
In this method parents select a combination of “at home schooling” and the services of tutor centres near them. In this case, the tutor centre supports the parent by offering the teaching expertise the parent may not have, whilst still keeping the flexibility and control of following a curriculum with the parent.
An increasing trend is the use of an online homeschooling platform, which provides the structure and support the child needs while they complete their education.
This option is rising in popularity because it grants students access to professionally trained teachers, interactive learning content and online forums where they can engage with other students, all whilst they reap the benefits of homeschooling.
Parents across the globe choose homeschooling for varying reasons, but the four listed below are the most common for Zambian parents.
Because public schools in Zambia are free, but underfunded, homeschooling is a popular choice for parents who want to give their children a quality education, without the expense of a private school.
There are several good public schools in main centres, like Lusaka, but finding a good quality public school in remote areas of Zambia proves more difficult.
Not all children are suited for a traditional learning environment. Some may have an aptitude for maths, but they struggle with English. By choosing homeschooling, parents can create an environment where more attention is given to the subjects where their child needs additional help, whilst choosing more advanced levels for the subjects where their child shows an aptitude.
Children with ADHD or children who are on the Autism spectrum can flourish in the homeschooling environment because they can learn without stigmatization and discover their unique talents.
Children that display special talents in music, sports or academics may have unique learning needs and will require a more flexible schedule to accommodate these needs. For example, a child who is gifted in swimming may need more time during their day to allow for their training schedule, whilst an academically gifted child may want to progress to the next course level as soon as they are done with the current one.
Homeschooling, when combined with a flexible curriculum like the Cambridge (or International British Curriculum) can provide a suitable education framework for talented children.
Other than the requirement to start their child’s education at the age of 6, parents do not need to comply with any other legal conditions. There are, however, a few factors that need to be considered before starting the homeschooling journey.
Though homeschooling offers unprecedented freedom, it is important to keep your child’s future in mind. If you’ve selected homeschooling in the hopes to send your child to study abroad, selecting a curriculum that will help them apply to any university will be essential.
Homeschooling will require dedication and self-discipline from both the parent and the child. It will be a partnership where both work toward the common goal of completing the child’s education.
Make sure that your child understands why you’ve selected homeschooling for them, as it will greatly improve your homeschooling experience.
If you’ve selected the “school at home” methodology without the help of a tutor or teacher, the responsibility of your child’s education will rest solely with you. However, by using either the hybrid schooling model or an online homeschooling platform you could significantly decrease the time commitment needed.
Based on a study completed by Brian D. Ray (Ph.D) in the US students who are home-educated typically perform better academically, socially, emotionally, and psychologically compared to children who attend traditional schools.
Some of the statistics from Dr Brian D. Ray’s paper include:
The cost of homeschooling will depend on the curriculum, platform, student level and the subjects you select. The Cambridge (or International British Curriculum) is the most popular homeschooling curriculum in Zambia and the costs will be influenced by the following factors.
The costing provided below is for illustrative purposes only, and will vary depending on the number of subjects, the examination venues, and the textbook formats you’ve elected to buy (digital copy vs. printed textbook).
Annual online homeschooling fees for primary stage students range between $639 and $1 839 per year for three subjects. Textbooks will cost between $100 and $200 and at this level there are no additional examination fees.
Annual online homeschooling fees for lower secondary stage students range between $2 305 and $3 642 per year for six subjects. Textbooks will cost between $400 and $500 and there are no additional examination fees for Lower Secondary years 1 and 2.
Annual online homeschooling fees for IGCSE students range between $2 486 and $4 968 per year for six subjects. Textbooks will cost between $300 and $400 and, depending on the examination centre, exam fees range between $1 000-$2 000 collectively.
Annual online homeschooling fees for A Level students range between $1 752 and $3 760 per year for four subjects. Textbooks will cost between $400 and $500 and, depending on the examination centre, the subject, and the exam type, exam fees range between $1 000-$2 000 collectively.
The most popular homeschooling curriculums parents choose in Zambia are: