> General Questions
1. What does the registration process with Brainline entail?
  1. Go to mybrainline.com and enrol for the product that suits your child’s needs.
  2. The following documents will be required during the enrolment process, keep them handy in electronic format:
    1. Copy of the parent & student ID/birth certificate
    2. Proof of income (payslip/bank statement) (should you wish to pay via monthly instalments)
    3. Previous academic year’s reports (compulsory for Grade 10 – 12)
  3. Your enrolment is first approved.
  4. You will then get access brainONLINE (www.brainonline.com), our online learning platform, and the Brainline eReader (downloaded from mybrainline.com if purchased). For the remainder of 2020, you may choose to buy ebooks when you enrol, which are made available on the Brainline eReader. Snapplify will be our preferred digital supplier in 2021. However, it is important to note that ebooks will not be printable from that platform.
    If your child is of compulsory school-going age (7–15), the next step is to register with Department of Basic Education for homeschooling.

(Follow this link to begin the process: https://www.education.gov.za/Programmes/HomeEducation.aspx)

2. Will my child be able to go to university or transfer to a regular school with a Brainline report?

Current legislation in South Africa as at 1 July 2020 does not allow for the registration of Brainline as a distance education provider at school level. However, Brainline reports are readily accepted at schools, as we are fully CAPS compliant, which means that appropriate assessment has been applied and that our reports are valid and reliable. Brainline is registered with the IEB as a service provider for delivery of the NSC (National Senior Certificate) qualification as monitored and recognized by the IEB.

Because of this, qualifying candidates can submit their NSC certificates to any tertiary institution both in South African and abroad with confidence. It is advised that you consult with the tertiary education of your choice regarding entrance requirements.

3. Is Brainline legal and registered?

Current legislation in South Africa as at 1 July 2020 does not allow for the registration of Brainline as a distance education provider at school level. However, Brainline reports are readily accepted at schools as we are fully CAPS compliant, which means that appropriate assessment has been applied and that our reports are valid and reliable. Brainline is registered with the IEB as a service provider for delivery of the NSC (National Senior Certificate) qualification as monitored and recognized by the IEB.

4. What is the difference between all the examination bodies, DBE, SACAI and IEB, and who is Umalusi? How does Brainline fit in here?

There are currently three ‘examination boards’ in South Africa: a) DBE (Department of Basic Education) – For the purposes of this discussion, we consider the provinces as one examination board (as the National pass rate is calculated by adding all the pass rates for the provinces together); b) SACAI (South African Comprehensive Assessment Institute) – An independent examinations body; c) IEB (Independent Examinations Board) ­– This is the examination board with which Brainline is registered and that recognizes Brainline as a valid education provider.

 All examination boards in South Africa as well as all independent schools are quality assured and accredited by Umalusi (Council for Quality Assurance in General and Further Education and Training).

5. What is the difference between CAPS (Curriculum Assessment Policy Statement) and IEB?

Most independent schools and all public schools in South Africa follow the CAPS curriculum. It is important to note that CAPS is not a “curriculum” but is actually the way that assessment is managed. This means that traditional schools follow the assessment guidelines as stipulated by the Department of Basic Education (Grades 1-9): https://www.education.gov.za/Portals/0/CD/GET/doc/overview.pdf?ver=2006-11-21-100143-000, and the Subject Based Assessment Guidelines as stipulated by the Department of Further Education and Training (Grades 10-12): https://www.thutong.doe.gov.za/Home/Curriculum/tabid/257/Default.aspx

All schools (who align themselves with the South African curriculum) follow the curriculum guidelines as published in the Revised National Curriculum Statement.

On consideration of how the IEB (the examination board with whom Brainline is aligned) interprets the CAPS way of assessment, the main difference would be emphasis on critical thinking, application of knowledge and insight as opposed to rote learning. It is our opinion that it is in the best interest of the learner not to have his/her memory tested, but rather whether he/she has acquired the skill set to apply the knowledge learnt. For this reason, we fully support our alignment with this outcome.

In addition, the IEB integrates elements into the Revised National Curriculum Statement in an effort to align the curriculum to tertiary requirements in various subjects such as Physical Science. The CAPS way of assessment is also supplemented for the same reason by additional examination papers such as a practical paper for Life Science (Paper 3).

6. What is the difference between IEB-aligned (and/or CAPS-aligned) and BrainlineEXPRESS?

The BrainlineEXPRESS product excludes live classes, and does not have a set timeline, as it provides the tasks, tests and examinations for Cycle 1–3 (complete), which may be completed and marked by yourself at your own pace. You may enrol for the final examination (marked by Brainline) at the end of the year at an additional fee. The latter is recommended if you wish to obtain an academic report for presentation to an educational institution.

The IEB-aligned (and/or CAPS-aligned) product includes live classes, and has a set time schedule that must be adhered to. All tasks, tests and examinations are marked and moderated by Brainline.

7. Where do we get the textbooks and at what cost?

Hardcopy textbooks may be ordered from CredoBooks: https://www.credobooks.co.za/commerce/shop_institution. Please keep in mind that timelines for deliveries are affected by lockdown regulations as well as supplier stock. Deliveries may take three to six weeks. For the remainder of 2020, you can opt to buy ebooks when you enrol at www.mybrainline.com that are made available on the Brainline eReader. Snapplify will be our preferred digital supplier in 2021. However, it is important to note that ebooks will not be printable from that platform.

8. What does Brainline provide?

Brainline is a home education curriculum provider for Grade R–12. There are a range of products to choose from, depending on the needs of the home educating family. Complete this quiz to find the product that suits your needs: https://brainline.com/product-quiz/. Brainline is proud of its cohort of qualified teachers who present live virtual classes which are recorded for future reference. This means that learners are able to access discussions on study material whenever and from wherever they want. Valid and compliant assessment is so important to Brainline as a company that it is managed by an independent division under leadership of its Director, Karen Reynecke.

9. Does Brainline have tutor centres?

Current legislation in South Africa (as specified in the South African Schools Act of 1989) does not recognise cottage schools, micro-schools or tutor centres as legal entities. In fact, the Department of Basic Education actively discourages parents from using such services in its policies (unpublished). For this reason, Brainline has taken the decision not to list tutor centres, micro-schools or cottage schools, as that would expose such centres to legal prosecution. This policy does not, however, by any means discredit or deny the valuable contribution that such educational entities may be able to provide to the home education industry.

> General IT Questions

For any IT-related support queries, please email support@brainline.com.

> Finances and Enrolment Periods
1. How do the fees and payment work?

You may pay for the entire year upfront or choose to pay a 20% deposit, followed by monthly instalment payments via debit order. When you enrol online at www.mybrainline.com, you will be given an online quotation, along with any current discounts (terms and conditions apply to specific products and add-on products selected). We offer discounted fees throughout the year to enable parents to enrol at any time at an affordable rate. Additional fees may apply and will be quoted when you enrol, depending on the product selection which may include ebooks, examination, and/ or practical fees. 

2. Can I cancel at any time during the year and what are the financial implications?

Brainline reserves the right to impose a reasonable cancellation penalty with regard to any services provided. For detailed cancellation terms, please refer to the standard agreement section I. General cancellation and refund procedure: https://brainline.com/legal/.

3. Can I enrol at any time during the year, and what is the process?

Our enrolments are open throughout the year, except for Grade 12, which ends at the end of February of each year. Late enrolments are exempted from the current test/examination series immediately following the enrolment (unless otherwise advised). Our teachers support all late enrolments, ensuring that they know where to start in each subject and can carry on with the current term. It is advised that the previous terms are then revised, where the parent and/or learner identifies gaps in knowledge in preparation for the next cycle. All live lessons of previous cycles are recorded and can be revised by the learner at their own pace.

> The Role of the Parent
1. Am I equipped to educate my own child?

As a parent, you are the best equipped to educate your own child, and that includes an academic education. As resources are plentiful, affordable and readily available. In addition, exceptional tutoring services are offered by many companies in almost all learning areas. Professional services such as educational psychologists, remedial services, and others allow parents to confidently venture into home education. Brainline’s structured system gives parents the confidence and peace of mind that the entire academic education of the learner is taken care of.

2. What are my roles and responsibilities as the parent in home education?

Ideally, the decision to home educate should be made by the family as a unit (especially if the children are able to be part of the reasoning process). The buy-in of the learners in the family contributes a great deal to a conflict-free environment. It is our experience that, when home education is started at a young age (primary school), learners acquire the skills of self-discipline, self-learning, a love of learning as well as the satisfaction of managing their own learning at a very early age.

It should be noted that learners in Grade R to 7 achieve the best academic results with parent/ guardian intervention and continued support (as a computer screen can never replace the warm hands and heart of a human being who loves and cares for them).

At high-school level, learners flourish on regular positive affirmation, parent interest and involvement (though not on an hourly or daily basis), taking an interest in the details of both curriculum and assessment results.

Some of the responsibilities may be

  • Ensuring that your child attends the live or recorded classes;
  • Ensuring that your child completes his or her tasks, tests and exams on time;
  • Reviewing feedback given by teachers on the assessment items completed;
  • Ensuring an optimal learning environment;
  • Identifying best learning methods to ensure that they reach their full academic potential;
  • Identifying barriers to learning and seeking professional advice;
  • Making use of all Brainline resources and support made available.
3. Can I enrol at any time during the year, and what is the process?

Our enrolments are open throughout the year, except for Grade 12, which ends at the end of February of each year. Late enrolments are exempted from the current test/examination series immediately following the enrolment (unless otherwise advised). Our teachers support all late enrolments, ensuring that they know where to start in each subject and can carry on with the current term. It is advised that the previous terms are then revised, where the parent and/or learner identifies gaps in knowledge in preparation for the next cycle. All live lessons of previous cycles are recorded and can be revised by the learner at their own pace.

> examinations and adjudication
1. Where are the tests/examinations written?

Grade 8–9 test/examination papers are written at home in the presence of a Brainline-registered independent invigilator. 

Grade 10–12 papers are written at an independent learning centre or at home in the presence of an independent Brainline-registered invigilator.

Grade 12 students write their final IEB examinations at one of the registered Brainline examination centres situated in Montana, Woodmead, Umhlanga or Stellenbosch.

2. Are there fixed test and examination dates?

Yes. The Grade 8–12 test and examination timetables for each session are available for download from brainONLINE.

This does not apply to the BrainlineEXPRESS product, except where a learner enrolled to write the final examination.

3. Can a student determine the time at which to write a test/examination?
  • The test/examination series requires that students keep strictly to the set timetable.
  • The time limit for each test or examination is indicated on the cover page of the relevant question paper.
  • Students have mornings to open the paper scheduled for the morning session, to write it within the prescribed time limit, and to upload it again.
  • The paper to be written in the afternoon can be downloaded, written and uploaded in the afternoons.
  • The duration for each is indicated on the test/examination timetable.

This does not apply to the BrainlineEXPRESS product, except where a learner enrolled to write the final examination.

4. Is it necessary to get an invigilator for every test/examination session?

The invigilator is of the utmost importance for each of the formal (controlled) assessment sessions (tests, examinations and tasks that are listed on the test or examination timetables). He/she must be an independent person who is literate and does not have any family ties with the person writing the test/examination. The invigilator must be older than 18 years and should also be computer literate. The invigilator is responsible for the entire test/examination procedure, from the moment the paper is downloaded, until the paper is uploaded to brainONLINE again by the student. (The invigilator oversees the upload process and does not upload answer books on behalf of a student.)

An invigilator may register at www.brainoffline.com/invigilator.

5. Can the allotted time for a test/examination be adjusted for students with barriers to learning that affect their performance?

Accommodation(s): Should a student have permanent or temporary physical difficulties or intrinsic learning difficulties, the parent/guardian must apply for an assessment accommodation at enrolment.

If the student does not yet have an accommodation, an application for accommodation must be submitted to mentor@brainline.com.

Until such a time that the student does have an approved accommodation, the allotted time for a test/examination may not be adjusted. Applications for accommodations must be made before the last cycle in Grade 11. Late applications may be rejected by the IEB.

6. If a student does not have Internet access on the day of a test/examination due to connectivity problems, what can he/she do?
  • The papers must be downloaded and also uploaded electronically after completion.
  • Internet access is therefore essential. Backup in the form of cellular data should always be accessible.
7. What will the format of the test/examination papers be?

The papers are in a ‘Flat PDF’ format and papers must be downloaded, printed, written (not typed) in black pen, scanned and uploaded as a single PDF file.

8. What equipment is required to write the paper?
  • A computer with Internet access for download and upload — a prerequisite to submitting completed test/examination papers.
  • A printer to print a test/examination paper after having downloaded it from brainONLINE. (Note that all tests/examinations must be written in black pen.)
  • A scanner to scan the completed answer book before uploading it as a single PDF document.
9. What happens with the test/examination results?

The Marking Coordinator will upload the results onto brainONLINE. Each test/examination is awarded a specific weighting and will form part of the cycle mark and eventually the year mark. All year marks are determined in accordance with the IEB’s subject criteria.

More about our online classes and teachers
1. What happens if there is load shedding and the online class cannot take place?

Our teachers are equipped with backup plans to present live classes regardless of load shedding, as the entire company is not (usually) subject to power loss. Parents can however be assured that all classes are recorded and stored for easy access at a later stage.

2. My child has missed an online class, how do they catch up?

All live classes are recorded and stored on brainONLINE for easy access at a later stage.

3. How interactive are the live classes and what is the scope of the classes?
  1. Grade R–3: Live webinars are offered in an effort to support parents on their educational journey. It was found that offering live classes to the little ones is not productive and merely serves to offer a sense of community and fun. For this reason, the emphasis is on exactly that (for the most part) but also on supporting parents.
  2. Grade 4–7: Here we focus on Languages and Mathematics. Live webinars are offered in an effort to support parents on their educational journey. Classes are scheduled during the year on a set time schedule. The parents attend the classes along with the learner. The intention of the Gr 4–7 online classes is not to replace the facilitator (who is the parent).
  3. Grade 8–12: Here we focus on core areas of each subject in preparation for tasks and tests. The live classes do not cover a textbook end-to-end but focus on the core concept in each subject. A Brainline learner may expect three to five hours of live classes per day depending on their subject selection. Teachers guide the live lessons, and learners may ask questions.
4. How is student behaviour managed during the live classes?

It is primarily the responsibility of the parent to ensure that the learner actively participates and behaves appropriately in a live class, as they would in a traditional setting. Our teachers monitor learner attendance before the commencement of each class, allowing each user into the class whilst they are in a ‘waiting room’. Learners are muted upon entrance and chat functionalities disabled until such time as the teacher allows it. Should it be found that a learner is behaving inappropriately, the teacher will follow a standard protocol, which may include immediate ejection from the class.

5. How many hours per day should my child spend on school?

There is no rule, as you may determine what is best for your child. We recommend working on an average of two to three hours per day (Grade R to 3), three to five hours (Grade 4 to 7), and more than five hours Grade 8 to 12, divided up during the day per the schedule that you decide on.

6. Are the classes offered in English or Afrikaans?

Grade 4–7 classes are conducted in Afrikaans and English separately. Grade 8–12 classes are primarily conducted bilingually. However, wherever possible, classes have been split to cater for Afrikaans and English students separately. For Grade 4–12, where classes are combined, any terminologies and important concepts are covered in both Afrikaans and English. The bilingual classes may offer an opportunity to the learner to improve their First Additional Language. We continue to improve our offering in a learner Home Language as soon as suitable resources become available.

7. What subjects are offered?
  1. Gr 4–6

Afrikaans Eerste Addisionele Taal, Afrikaans Huistaal, English Home Language, English First Additional Language, Life Skills, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, and Mathematics.

2. Grade 7

Afrikaans Eerste Addisionele Taal, Afrikaans Huistaal, English Home Language, English First Additional Language, Economic and Management Sciences, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, Mathematics, Technology, Life Orientation, and Creative Arts.

3. Gr 8-9

Afrikaans Eerste Addisionele Taal, Afrikaans Huistaal, English Home Language, English First Additional Language, Creative Arts, Economic and Management Sciences, Life Orientation, Mathematics, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, and Technology.

4. Gr 10 – 12

Accounting, Afrikaans Eerste Addisionele Taal, Afrikaans Huistaal, Agricultural Sciences, Business Studies, Computer Applications Technology, Consumer Studies, Dramatic Arts, Electrical Technology – Digital Electronics, Electrical Technology – Electronics, Engineering Graphics and Design, English Home Language, Equine Studies, Geography, History, Life Orientation, Life Sciences, Mathematical Literacy, Mathematics, Music, Physical Sciences, Tourism, and Visual Arts

8. If Brainline does not have the subject that I need in Grade 10 to 12, what are my options?

There are a number of subjects that we can offer in collaboration with other IEB or online IEB schools through mixed provisioning. Please enquire at the time of enrolment.

9. Do you monitor student attendance and ensure that my child completes all the work required?

No, the responsibility lies with the parent and the learner to ensure that they complete the academic year requirements. However, in an effort to identify learners at risk of failing, such attendance is monitored and recorded. We provide the tools that would enable a learner to complete their academic year successfully, but cannot replace the responsibility of the parent to stay involved in their child’s academic responsibilities.

10. How qualified are your teachers?
All our teachers are handpicked and have IEB experience. We ensure that our teachers are ahead of the latest technologies, incorporating it into their live lessons, and ensuring the best and most engaging experience for our learners. We push the boundaries of education and online teaching and continually assess new requirements and changes backed by research.
11. How do practical subjects work, where there is a practical component, in Gr 10–12, such as Consumer Studies, Life Sciences, and CAT?

Practical components are managed in line with the IEB requirements and may require the attendance of practical sessions at our Brainline centres. Please enquire at the time of enrolment.

12. What is required to pass in Grade R to 12?
Pass requirements are determined by the Department of Basic Education and are applied accordingly.

Promotion requirements for Grade 1–3
Rating code 4 (Home Language)
Rating code 3 (First Additional Language)
Rating code 3 (Mathematics)

Promotion requirements for Grade 4–6
50%+ (Home Language)
40%+ (Add. Language, Maths and 2 other subjects)

Promotion requirements for Grade 7
50%+ (Home Language)
40%+ (Add. Language, Maths and 3 other subjects)
30%+ (2 other subjects)

Promotion requirements for Grade 8–9
50%+ (Home Language)
40%+ (First Additional Language)
40%+ (Mathematics)
40%+ (3 other subjects)
30%+ (2 other subjects)

Promotion requirements for Grade 10–12
Must offer no less than seven subjects:
To obtain the National Senior Certificate, the learner must achieve the following marks:
At least 40% (level 3) in a Home language (1st Language) and any 2 other subjects.
At least 30% (level 2) in any 3 of the other remaining subjects.
A learner may have less than 30% in 1 subject.

Scale of Achievement

Achievement level:

7

6

5

4

3

2

1

Achievement description:

Outstanding Achievement

Meritorious Achievement

Substantial Achievement

Adequate Achievement

Moderate Achievement

Elementary Achievement

Requirements not achieved

Marks:

80–100

70–79

60–69

50–59

40–49

30–39

0–29

13. Who marks the tasks and assessments?

If you enrolled for the IEB-aligned (and/or CAPS-aligned) product, all tasks, tests and examinations are marked and moderated by Brainline. If you enrolled for the BrainlineEXPRESS product, these are marked by you. Valid and compliant assessment is so important to Brainline as a company that it is managed by an independent division under leadership of its Director, Karen Reynecke.

> Concerns about my child
1. If my child needs extra help in a subject, like a tutor, would Brainline be able to help?

You may find a tutor under our Support Services:  https://brainline.com/support-services-location/, or by accessing the internet, as there are multiple excellent companies available who offer such services.

Brainline advises parents to be careful about contracting tutors on an ad hoc basis, as they may find that this method is not cost-effective. The learner is advised to clearly indicate which aspect of the study material presents issues that need to be addressed by a tutor. This affords the tutor the opportunity to focus on the relevant area, which makes this exercise more affordable and effective.

2. I am concerned about my child’s social interaction and lack thereof in home education. Any advice?

It is up to the parent and the learner to engage in cultural and sporting activities, such as music lessons, dance, karate, etc. Some schools also allow our students to partake in school sports (please contact your school). Due to the flexibility of home education, the learner can do this any time during the day.

Our student mentor schedules engaging sessions with our learners during the year. We also have B-Active with Brainline sessions, which involve online physical exercises and physical development.

We also have tours scheduled during the year, as well as a matric dance (postponed for this year until further notice due to Covid-19).

3. If both parents are employed fulltime, would the Brainline solution work?

It should be noted that learners in Grade R to 7 achieve the best academic results with parent/ guardian intervention and continued support (as a computer screen can never replace the warm hands and heart of a human being who loves and cares for them).

At high-school level, learners flourish on regular positive affirmation, parent interest and involvement (though not on an hourly or daily basis), taking an interest in the details of both curriculum and assessment results.

4. Do you make provision for learners with disabilities/accommodations? What is the process?

Brainline, in collaboration with the IEB, offers several accommodations which may include extra time, writing the examination on a computer, readers, scribes, separate venues, spelling concessions, etc. Please note that a learner has to qualify for these accommodations, and that application must be done through the IEB from Grade 8 onwards. As specific rules and regulations apply, please send an email to mentor@brainline.com once the learner has been enrolled with Brainline for more information on this matter.

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