How your child can study online without your help

How your child can study online without your help

The lockdown has interrupted learning in several countries of the world and many parents are looking at alternative ways to ensure their children still get an education. Here is a new South African online high school that allows parents to do just that.

Studying online
Studying online/ iStock

Schools in South Africa are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic that has led to a lockdown in the country. 

Parents and pupils are worried about the impact this will have on the 2020 academic year. 

Although homeschooling is on the rise in the country, not all parents are equipped or able to educate their children at home. 

READ: Homeschooling on the rise in SA

But, the country now has its first online high school, where pupils can engage with other learners and have dedicated teachers who can assist them. 

The Valenture Institute offers an alternative to traditional learning where learners can study at home without the assistance of a parent.  

The online high school is the brainchild of Robert Paddock. He is also the co-founder of GetSmarter - an online institution that offers short courses. 

We spoke to Robert about the institution and how it can help students to achieve their education while at home.

Robert says the vision of the school is to "empower a generation of change-makers who can meaningfully participate in the rapidly changing world outside of the classroom."

He says the online high school should not be confused with homeschooling. 

READ: Understanding how homeschooling works

"A lot of what parents are experiencing during lockdown is homeschooling or remote learning. The key difference between homeschooling and our online high school is that our offering requires little to no involvement from parents on a day-to-day basis. This is due to our high-touch approach. Students adhere to a timetable on a daily basis, which includes attending live virtual teaching session (usually in groups of 20 students) and a number of live virtual breakout sessions. 

"Each student at Valenture Institute has a dedicated Student Success Mentor whose sole purpose is to assist in ensuring the success of their learners.

"Learner collaboration, exploration with classmates, discussion forums, and preparation for interpretation are just some of the ways we keep our students engaged. We have flipped the traditional classroom and while we do use 30% didactic material, we utilise 70% interactive material, which includes group work, polls, quizzes, forums, and interactive video. Students attend daily live virtual classes, which are taught by experienced teachers and also work together in smaller live virtual breakout sessions." 

READ: Old school or new school?

He adds that parents are also kept in the loop about their child's progress. 

"Weekly calls with students and monthly calls with parents keep everyone informed on progress and general well-being," he says. 

The other benefit of the high school is that its curriculum is broad and allows learners to further their studies at international institutions. 

"Acceptance to major Universities is a major commitment of ours. Our accreditation with Pearson Edexcel allows for precisely that, with our International AS-levels (Grade 12) being recognised by universities worldwide for entry into undergraduate degree programmes," he says. 

When it comes to fees, Robert says they range from R65,000 to R85,000 per annum. 

READ: School fee payments during lockdown: KZN Education weighs in

"Our fee structure was created to make the process of payment for schooling as simple and customisable as possible for each student, and we have numerous methods and payment possibilities in place to further aid in this area," he says.

He adds that the Velenture Institution offers relief to both parents and pupils. 

"For parents, Valenture Institute offers a safe, inclusive, forward-thinking and individualised environment where your child will gain an internationally certified qualification and the skills to future-proof their future," he adds.

"For students, we offer a socially-rich environment where you will be supported by expert mentors and teachers who will guide you through your journey. You will have the opportunity to meet, and make friends with, peers from around the world. Lastly, many of our students have been subjected to bullying, peer pressure or simply don’t fit in at traditional schools – they are enjoying the inclusivity, support, and safety that Valenture Institute provides." 

Image courtesy of iStock/ @Ridofranz

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