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Review of the Biggest Gauteng Alternative Education Expo Ever – May 2021

Changing education as we knew it

If ever there was a time to learn more about homeschooling, it has been the past year and going forward. The pandemic and lockdowns have placed thousands more families in a position to consider home education long-term. As a result, the recent Gauteng home education expo held on 15 May 2021 at the Heartfelt Arena in Pretoria with over 80 exhibitors was the largest one held to date.

A new focus for the popular home education expo

The KragDag team hosted the expo in cooperation with SAHomeschoolers. This year, the Gauteng Alternative Education Expo focused on private alternatives to public education and training. In the past, the focus used to be mostly on home education and the expo was known as the Gauteng Homeschooling Expo.

Due to a massive surge in demand for alternatives to the standard school-going norm, the expo-organizers decided to expand the focus this year to include private schools, support services, extramural activities, and a large variety of tertiary training opportunities.

More ways to educate and get support

The expo provided parents with the opportunity to explore educational solutions and network with other families who are doing the same. Visitors could listen to many well-known speakers such as Bouwe van der Eems from the Pestalozzi Trust, veteran homeschool mom Marita Green, owner of WackyBox Activities Nicolene Steyn, education mentor Annerine Wenholdt, and a panel discussion by Wingu Academy.

Nicolene enjoyed presenting a workshop about Teaching Toddlers saying, “I was surprised at the attendance. Although we knew attendance would be minimal, my workshop was still one of the best attended, which led me to believe that parents really need help teaching their toddlers at home. It is such a tricky subject, with parents truly doubting themselves when it comes to toddlers. For school-going ages there are loads of curriculums, but parents of pre-schoolers are really left in the dark. And the advice to “just let them play” is NOT enough for a first-time homeschooling parent. The conversations I have had with many desperate or confused preschool parents convinced me that these parents need much more support.

Debbie van der Eems who organized the workshops and themes said, “Education comprises a broad spectrum of resources and the expo helped showcase this to help parents choose the best options for their children from home education, online schools, learning centres, private schools and tertiary institutions.”

Other goals of the expo included:

Discussing various themes that crop up throughout every phase of the home education journey.

  • Helping those who are new to home education.
  • Encouraging and advising parents who are currently doing home education
  • Supporting fathers in their role.
  • Providing a broad perspective on different matriculation options.
  • Advising on how to develop entrepreneurs after school.
  • Informing and inviting home educators to participate in conversations regarding new proposed legislation that will have far-reaching impact on home education in the future.

Yolande van Staden, a parent who attended the expo, commented: “I thought I knew about most of the curriculums available, so I was surprised to see how many there are that I didn’t know about!

Roxanne Svensson, another parent who attended the expo, said, “I enjoyed the expo. There was a good number of suppliers present and the event was well run and organised. I didn’t attend any of the lectures, but they looked informative and useful to the homeschooling journey.

Creating new and more practical, cost-effective, and up-to-date methods of education and supporting such efforts is the way forward — whether families use online schooling, an eclectic approach, a book-based approach, or something else. More and more families are exploring and finding their own support structures that best support their children’s education and it’s an exciting transition for all the role players in the education sector as well.

Education is changing

A living education is something that should be flexible, adaptable, changing forms, methods, tools, and approaches as necessary, rather than getting stuck in a one-size-that-doesn’t-fit-all approach. For more info on home education expos coming up in Cape Town and Durban, follow our Facebook page.

We look forward to seeing you there and supporting you with answers to your questions, and options that suit your family’s needs.

 

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Tuesday, 04 October 2022

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