At a recent seminar focusing on matric options and alternatives in South Africa, Shirley was asked to answer some Online GED® questions.
We thought you might be interested in some of the answers too and so we are sharing them:
- Do you offer an online course as well as a text book option?
Online GED® offers everything a student needs to succeed in the GED tests in an online learning programme only. However, there are GED® study guides available in text book format which students can purchase for a reasonable fee from online book stores if they want additional study materials.
- Can students study 100% at home or must they attend a centre and if so, how often?
The course provided by Online GED®, created by Essential Education is designed for self-study, with an animated tutor called Leonard, who teaches the student new concepts and answers typical questions.
Therefore. most students manage very well on their own at home.
Some attend tutor centres if their parents want them to have supervision or someone to keep them accountable.
We also run an Online GED® support group on Facebook for our clients, where they can ask practical questions about matters such as how to book tests etc. We provide administrative support giving you information and guidelines for each step of your GED® journey.
- Can you accommodate students who live far away from city centres or who live outside of South Africa?
The GED® Tests can be written at over 3 200 official GED® test centres, in over 60 countries around the world. This means that if a student travels a lot or emigrates from South Africa, they do not have to change from one education system to another. They can continue with their studies online and write the GED® tests at their nearest test centre. The tests are identical worldwide. We have a number of sport stars who travel internationally for events who are enrolled for this very reason as the self-paced course can accommodate their sports schedules.
- Are students assessed and how often?
There is no continuous assessment required for students wishing to write the GED®. No year mark is needed. Only their scores on the official GED® Tests count.
However, on the online study programme, there are regular quizzes and practice tests in each subject, as well as a progress graph showing the students’ scores which helps them to measure their progress and assess when they are test-ready.
At the end of the study programme, the online system actually tells you, “Congratulations, you are ready to book your test,” so it boosts a student’s self-confidence and sets him/her up for success.
If the student is not yet test-ready, it says, “You are almost ready, but please review the following lessons,” and a list of lessons to review is provided.
The assessment on the online programme is provided automatically.
Students can also take a mock-exam by purchasing a GED Ready® test. Click here for more info.
- Can a parent hand over responsibility to the child or must the parent be involved?
The answer to this will depend on the student and how mature s/he is and mostly how MOTIVATED s/he is to take ownership of his/her education. The majority of students work independently but there are some, particularly those with learning disabilities or those who have had an awful time in the school system, who sometimes need some nurturing and support from the parent.
The GED® online course offers students who had a problematic schooling experience, the opportunity to go back to basics, to fill in any ‘gaps’ in their understanding or skills and then build a strong foundation and advance from there through the high school level learning material.
Many parents share that their children find it incredibly healing to discover that they CAN learn and that they can SUCCEED with subjects that they previously found very challenging. The self-paced course enables them to progress in their own time and it allows for healing of their self-confidence, which is vital for their long-term success.
The online course is so well set up for students to work independently that we do not need to offer any tutor support. We offer administrative support through the whole GED® process and we sometimes reassign lessons or reset the course on request by the student, but the majority of them study completely on their own and do very well.
- Do you offer different options or packages?
At Online GED® we offer only one fantastic option – enrolment on our study programme for one year at a time for a price of R2500 per annum (2019 price). There is no monthly payment after that. Students can enrol at any time of the year and tests can be written all year round at about 38 GED® Testing Centres in South Africa. Click here to Enrol
Examination fees are USD75 per test and there are four tests. This is paid directly to the GED Testing Service® in the USA and currently (September 2018) amounts to an estimate of just over R1000 per test, subject to the rand-dollar exchange rate.
- How long has your option been serving the homeschooling movement?
The GED Testing Service® has been operating since 1942 in the USA and worldwide. Over 20 million people (and counting) have written the GED®.
In South Africa, Shirley Erwee has been a home education consultant for over 15 years and started promoting the GED® as a viable grade 12 solution when her eldest child reached high school level in 2013. Online GED® was launched in 2016, when the GED® started growing in popularity as a foreign grade 12 alternative in South Africa.
- Have you home educated your own children?
Yes. I have been a homeschooling parent for over 20 years, since 1997 and the youngest of my six children is only 7, so I will be homeschooling for many more years to come.
My two eldest children have both chosen to write the GED® – it was their own choice. The one has been working as an au pair in Europe for two years learning foreign languages. She was accepted to study at Stellenbosch University in 2018 but decided rather to work another year overseas. She is currently in the process of applying to study at a university in Brussels, KU Leuven which is ranked 46th in the world.
My eldest son told me at age 14 that he intends to do self-study and be self-employed in the IT industry. He completed his GED® to keep me happy and passed it with flying colours. He is currently employed as the admin and technical support guy for Online GED® and he is studying IT part-time.
He has already done freelance work for two different IT firms in SA and they are eager for him to finish the courses he is doing so that they can send him more work.
- How many subjects do you offer and what do they include?
In order to earn a GED® credential, a student must pass all 4 tests in the 4 subjects listed below.
The GED® test mainly SKILLS in 4 subjects – skills which are considered to be essential for success in the workplace of the 21st Century – maths, reading, writing and a huge emphasis on reasoning and critical thinking.
The tests are presented mostly in comprehension test format, so no memorisation work or wasting time cramming obsolete facts and information is required. The tests are done on computer – the tool of the future!
1.) Reasoning Through Language Arts
- 75% informational texts
- 25% literature
- Argumentative essay
- Students must be able to read, write and edit standard English in context
2.) Mathematical Reasoning – click to read more about the GED® Maths Test
- Includes Algebra and 2- and 3-Dimensional Geometry
- No Trigonometry
- No Calculus
- Calculator provided on-screen where allowed
- Formula sheet provided
- 40% Life Science
- 40% Physical Science
- 20% Earth and Space Science
- Students must be able to reason, criticise, hypothesise etc.
4.) Social Studies
- 50% Civics and Government
- 20% United States History
- 15% Economics
- 15% Geography and The World
- Students must be able to READ with comprehension and THINK critically.
- What work should a homeschooling family cover from Grade 6 onwards in order to be prepared for your high school option?
The most important skills required to do well on the GED® tests are good reading comprehension skills, maths and critical thinking skills. As much reading aloud together as a family as possible is therefore recommended. You can use any home education materials of your choosing to develop your children’s skills in the 4 subjects that the GED® tests.
- Mathematical Reasoning
- Reasoning Through Language Arts
- Social Studies
Click here for recommendations of What to Do Before the GED® on our sister site.
- Until what grade or age level can families continue homeschooling in freedom, using learning materials of their own choosing before they use your products and services?
There is no age limit. Families can decide when they are ready to enrol with Online GED®.
We find that if students have reached about grade 10 level then they cope very well with the online course and advance through it fairly quickly, if they are motivated. Some families enrol their students at age 16 so that the children can write the GED® tests once they turn 17. Others wait until they feel that their children are mature enough to be ‘finished’ with this phase of their education and they enrol anytime after that.
- What are the full costs of your option?
The GED® usually takes students one year to complete, provided that they have had a good education before that and do not have any learning challenges.
Cost of the GED® Credential in August 2018
The costs are as follows:
- R2 500 – enrolment for one year at http://onlineGED.co.za
- $75 per test x 4 -GED®test fees, paid online in dollars – can be paid one at a time when you book each test
- $15 for a hard copy of your GED® transcript and free diploma plus shipping (USD 47.50 x 2), paid online in dollars
Depending on the rand-dollar exchange rate, you can get your GED® all done for roughly R8 000!
- Is there a short-cut to the matric ‘hurdle’?
This is a question that could possibly be interpreted to have negative connotations, depending on your assumptions and perspectives. I have encountered it many times among home educating parents who are choosing a traditional path to pursue a matric certificate for their children. It seems that some of them resent any alternative options that seem to take less time than the route that they are pursuing and so they sometimes try to discredit those options. Or when they discover there are alternatives, they feel cheated that they are forced to jump through hoops for three years to get a traditional matric.
This question assumes that life is a race and that we are all on route to the same destination, but this is a wrong assumption. Life is not a race. We are not in competition with each other and we are not all pursuing the same goals. Therefore, there are different routes to different places. One is not a short-cut and one a long-way round. The goals and experiences along the way as well as the destination are not the same.
There is no short-cut to success in adult-life. As parents each of us should be aiming to raise children who are able to achieve their own goals for their lives and give them the form of education that is in their best interests. Since each child is unique, there should not be a one-size-fits all approach to education or matric.
The GED® is not a hurdle, but a stepping stone on the educational or career path of many students. Many don’t need it but choose to do it in order to get a recognised school-leaving certificate, as that is something demanded by the society in which we live. For others, it is a milestone that symbolises the end of the secondary phase of their education and the start of tertiary education or a specific career path. It is not an end, but a beginning of a new stage of lifelong learning. There is no short-cut because this is not a race and we are not all pursuing the same path and the same experiences.