Winning a Science Expo award is a significant feat for any high school learner. But when you throw a pandemic and homeschooling into the mix, it becomes that much more interesting.
This is the case for Grade 12 Impaq homeschooler Relebohile Mosea, who hails from Bloemfontein in the Free State. In September this year, Mosea won a gold award at the provincial round of the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists. She went on to further receive an honourable award at the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists International Science Fair for her project entitled ‘A Novel Approach to Vaccine Development’.
As part of her submission, Mosea conducted desktop research to identify whether nanotechnology-based capsules can both detect and treat COVID-19. Studies have shown that there are positive results in the use of nanotechnology in the detection and treatment of diseases, and Mosea found that this is possible for treating COVID-19 too.
“Nanotechnology has been used effectively for diagnostics and treatment of diseases such as cancer and tuberculosis. Basically, I sought how to implement this technology for COVID-19 and to see how far we can use this in terms of vaccine development,” says Mosea.
Mosea’s success on the science stage has come at a time when she’s recently become a new Impaq learner.
Mosea joined Impaq in April this year, coming from a traditional schooling environment. As a matric learner, she is taking eight subjects: Mathematics, Physical Sciences, Life Sciences, History, English Home Language, Afrikaans First Additional Language, Life Orientation, and Information Technology.
Getting used to homeschooling has proven to be an adjustment at first. “You need to put yourself in it; you need to wake up in the morning and do it. There’s no bell; there’s no timetable that the teachers write for you,” she says. But after adapting to this new way of learning and creating a structure at home, Mosea hasn’t looked back.
“Homeschooling is really a lot of fun, but it is all about self-discipline. You need to wake up in the morning and do your work because no one is going to tell you to do it. The best way to do it is to really have a schedule for yourself. Follow the stuff that is on the website that is set out for you, watch videos that are there, go into lessons, and really just enjoy it. It’s just like school except you are in the comfort of your bedroom or your desk at home,” she says.
Mosea plans to go to university next year, where she hopes to study biochemistry or mathematics and physics.
The massive growth in homeschooling
Mosea became a homeschooler when thousands of families and learners had made the switch to homeschooling amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Optimi Home, which operates South Africa’s biggest homeschooling provider Impaq, has witnessed this trend first-hand, with record numbers of families switching to its offering in the last 18 months. Impaq has been operating for almost 20 years, and it currently has over 30 000 homeschooling learners.
Amid the rapidly growing demand for distance learning, Impaq has also embarked on taking schooling to the next level by launching a fully catered-for online school for English- and Afrikaans-speaking learners. This move brings Impaq’s offering full circle in terms of being a distance learning provider in South Africa.
Admissions to the Impaq Online School for 2022 have officially opened, and the school is set to cater to Grade 7 – 11 learners, while plans are in place to expand to other grades from 2023. The school will follow the CAPS curriculum.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has opened the door for online learning and distance learning for school-going learners in South Africa,” says Louise Schoonwinkel, MD of Optimi Home.
“Homeschooling has been an alternative for South African families for many years. But we are now seeing that families who previously would not have considered homeschooling as an option have been experimenting and even making the full-time switch to it after finding that it works for them,” says Schoonwinkel.
“Our new online school will be like a full-time school, but from home. We’ll have highly qualified teachers and structured timetables that will help guide a new generation of distance learners every step of the way. As a result, quality education is set to become ever more accessible in this exciting digital age,” concludes Schoonwinkel.