Semigration to the countryside and coast
Property trends in South Africa indicate that the Covid pandemic has opened eyes to the charms of the work from home (WFH) lifestyle. And if working from home, why not from a place right on the beach? With over $38 billion global investment in educational technology since first lockdown, finding quality schooling for your kids (LFH) should no longer stand in the way of your coastal or countryside semigration dreams.
We are all familiar with the most popular holiday destinations in South Africa. As the Work from Home (WFH) trend has grown in stature, these areas have seen a massive influx of execs and entrepreneurs, taking up semi-residence in what was formerly just their holiday destination. It is estimated that at least one-third of South African workers will never return to the office full-time.
In no order of preference and most certainly the source of many a ‘love it, hate it, you can have it’ disagreements with friends, this list of semigration and WFH favourites includes:
- Cape Town, a global tourism Top Spot regular. Most of the twenty priciest suburbs in the country nestle between mountains, oceans and forests. Blue flag beaches and pretty people, it is a more active, outdoorsy city by a whopping 30% to any rival, according to a Discovery Fittest City
- A mere 70 kilometer to the South, the Overberg region with Hermanus, Pringle Bay and further up the N2 as far as Mossel Bay, reported record property sales last summer as in-country visitors, arguably sick and tired of lockdown claustrophobia, all wanted to claim a piece of this expansive beauty.
- The Plettenberg Bay, George & Knysna region up the Garden Route has always been our idea of paradise. Warmer ocean water also helps. When we were kids, this was a two-day drive away. Now, it is a hop-skip-and-jump via excellent airports to have a morning swim and still be in a Sandton Board meeting later that same day.
- Up the other coastline, the Langebaan and Yzerfontein areas have seen explosive growth. In many ways, the lifestyle out here is textbook – fishing, sailing, surfing, hikes and great sunsets.
- The KZN-Natal North-Coast area. As explained to us by the CEO of a JSE-listed company, head office in Johannesburg: “I looked at the Cape, but then realised I could drive between Ballito and my work in a shorter time than making a plane to Cape Town. My kids loved the beaches and warm summers, so we moved our family base down here. I spend on average 3 days a week in Joburg.”
- Finally, lest we obsess too much about blue waters, the remote interiors of the SA countryside have also seen its fair share of city folk switch Bootleggers for co-op stoep chats while picking up chicken feed. Midlands, Karoo, Eastern Free-State, Southern Cape. All within good wi-fi range. Maybe MTN and Vodacom should rebrand as the ‘N8’ (the next national highway).
Family Lifestyle Choices
What lockdown has taught many a family, is exactly how much the education department actually owns the national calendar. More than anything else, the rhythm of South African life is set by school holidays, long weekends away, and the way the school owns your every Saturday with some sporting event.
Now, make no mistake, there is a definite charm to these old traditions and many a family has made their best friends sitting next to a cricket field, or foaming at a referee who was just trying not to step on any of the little rugby players playing their hearts out.
But if one had to turn back time, to year 0 PK (pre-kids), when you were hiking, glamping, cycling and traveling every weekend, you never would have imagined that you would be giving up so much control over your free time once you started a family.
Lockdown peeled things back a bit. It showed us the value of family time. Your decision, or at least your aspiration, to move the family away from all the madness and to a beautiful and serene place where, respectively, you can work from home (WFH) and the kids can learn (LFH), without that level of external control, can now become a reality.
The emergence of a strong, online home-schooling culture in South Africa places a quality education within your reach wherever your family wants to move. Time to take control over your family life again…
The New Mainstream
Like many parts of the world, home-schooling first started among some disgruntled dissidents. They either wanted more religion, or less rainbow politics. But that was a long time ago.
Today, parents can choose to home-school their children on the South African curriculum, or step-up to a global standard with, for instance, the Cambridge International curriculum, accepted by SA universities and highly respected all over the world.
Then, the next choice is whether signing up for any one of a wide choice of so-called ‘content providers.’ This is often no more than a box of books (either hard copies or very elegantly offered online), yet with little teaching, unless logging in weekly with 8,000 – 10,000 students to watch distant strangers in unison counts as teaching.
However, for the discerning parents who weigh the family move mostly for its impact on their children’s education and future career prospects, there is good news though. The new emerging mainstream follows the same trends observed in virtually every industry. Market leaders offer a schooling model that is:
- Highly personalised
- Of exceptional quality
- On par with global benchmarking standards
- Fully integrated with the best educational technology.
Case Study of Bespoke Home-schooling
The Chapel Lane Academy teaches the Cambridge International curriculum. Situated along the golden mile of education in Rondebosch, Cape Town, its Ivy League educated, PhD founders, carefully select only a handful of high-school learners each year. These learners are offered a broad choice of interesting and relevant subjects, all taught live, on-line, in groups of no more than 5 learners in a class. Learners are supported 24/7 with direct access to the teachers, able to ask any questions or solve problems they experience in a particular subject. Not even the priciest private school in South Africa offers this level of personal contact between the learner and the parents. Learners are taught how to study and are offered extensive exam preparation sessions. No surprise then that over 60% of all Cambridge exams sat by learners from The Chapel Lane Academy yield distinctions.
The owners assist learners with international scholarship applications and have also guided Academy learners towards NCAA sport scholarships in the US. Chapel Lane teaches towards the top, meaning that for the exceptional and ambitious student, there is all the opportunity to excel. There is no pressure on less ambitious learners, yet the culture of excellence and the safe, mature and collegial learning atmosphere is inspirational to all who attend.
You can learn more about this innovative approach to online high-schooling at www.chapellaneacademy.co.za.
Family time is too precious not to take that next bold step and moving your family to your dream WFH (work from home) and LFH (learn from home) destination.
With the gold standard in a future-focused high school education now affordably available on-line, having kids at school should no longer stand in the way of creating your dream lifestyle.