A checklist on how to choose an online school that’s right for your child.

If you’re not sure whether online schooling in South Africa is suitable for your child, or which online school will be the best fit for them, this checklist will help make that choice a whole lot easier.

Before you even begin learning more about online schooling, first find out how your child actually learns, and what factors impact their ability to be at their best.


Many children feel overwhelmed by the ‘real world’ school system – the noise and number of students in class, the reality of physical bullying, and the challenge of early morning traffic and the time taken to travel to school. All of these can impact their ability to absorb information and reach their full potential.


Other children who are auditory learners or have learning barriers can feel left behind by an education system that doesn’t play to their strengths – they may need to play back a lesson at a slower pace or watch a recorded lesson in their own time and space that suits them, and not feel stigmatised for this.


On the other hand, top students and multi-talented achievers may loathe the limits placed on them by traditional schools, where they are either held back by what they feel is a plodding pace of study, or can’t find the time they need to devote to their other talents.


An online school like Teneo can address all these individual needs, and change a child’s learning outcomes for the better.


Teneo offers three learning formats to choose from:


  • Live: Participate in a full school day’s scheduled live lessons taught by qualified teachers according to your daily timetable. All live lessons are recorded to revisit later.
  • Live + Recorded: Participate in scheduled live lessons taught by qualified teachers according to your daily timetable, and for the other half of the day’s coursework watch pre-recorded lessons in your own time to stay on track. All live lessons are recorded to revisit later.
  • Recorded: Watch pre-recorded lessons taught by qualified teachers at a time you choose to stay on track with your daily coursework.


The Live option is best for students who need more routine and structure and direct engagement with live teachers in a classroom setting, interacting with fellow students, with the option to revisit lessons at their own pace. 


The Recorded option is great for students who prefer independent learning and who thrive in a space of freedom and flexibility. 


And the Live + Recorded option is for students who like the combination of a little structure but also want to pursue outside passions and interests and learn in their own time.

A checklist for choosing an online school

Whatever learning format you feels fits your child best, these questions should be top of mind when making your choice of school:

1. Are the teachers qualified and is the school accredited?

  • All Teneo teachers are qualified and registered with SACE (South African Council for Educators). 
  • Teneo is registered with three different examination boards: SACAI and IEB for students following the South African curriculum, and Pearson Edexcel for those who want to follow the British International curriculum. 
  • Teneo students can achieve their South African Matric NSC certificate and apply to tertiary institutions in South Africa and abroad.


Tip: When asking about teachers’ credentials, be specific and also check that the school is accredited with credible, legitimate examination boards that are accredited with the Umalusi Council..

2. What guarantees are in place to make sure the school puts students’ needs first?

  • Teneo classes are led by qualified teachers, and assignments and tests are set and marked by these same teachers, so that students get personal feedback – teaching is not outsourced to third-party tutors.
  • Communication with parents and students is open and easy. Parents get regular feedback in real time, and can track their child’s progress and class attendance through the Canvas Parent Observer app.  And Teneo’s Family Portal allows students and parents to log tickets for technical, academic and general support. 


Tip: Ask what parent and student platforms are in place to allow interactions with the teacher and for parents to raise any queries that arise. 

How will I know whether my child will get individual attention and support?

  • Teneo offers a choice of 3 learning formats to address the needs of different learning styles and preferences.
  • Teneo offers live lessons with teacher interaction and playback recordings of all lessons.


Tip: Ask whether the school offers live lessons and recordings of live lessons, and whether qualified teachers lead the teaching, as opposed to outsourcing to third-party providers, such as tutors.

4. How does the school measure success?

  • Teneo applies a holistic approach to allow each child to reach their full potential and explore their interests.  
  • Teneo provides enrichment opportunities and rigorous curriculums to make sure students remain engaged and challenged. For the third year, Teneo students have secured a place in the top 10 SACAI matriculants in South Africa. In 2023, Teneo outperformed the national average matric pass rate and bachelor pass rate.
  • Teneo partners with extramural and social clubs to equip students with far more than academic knowledge, to help them to grow into well-rounded adults who can take their place in the world of further study and work.

 Tip: Ask what the school’s success criteria are. Ask what policy is in place for further studies and learning support.

5. Does the school also offer opportunities to connect socially with classmates and pursue other interests?

  • Teneo offers over 20 extramurals with partners who operate across SA, providing an opportunity to interact and connect with peers through common interests.
  • Teneo also provides multiple collaborative and connecting opportunities through live lessons and online group projects.
  • Along with social activities, workshops and clubs, Teneo students are allocated to a classroom to meet their classmates and teachers weekly for fun activities, to share news and knowledge, celebrate birthdays and have a good catch-up.


Tip: Ask what in-person extramurals and collaborative opportunities are on offer.


A well-established, well-run online school will have all the necessary processes, procedures and resources in place to make sure each child feels safe, seen and supported. In that sense, Teneo ticks all the boxes!


A day in the life of a Grade 12 online high school student.

If you’re wondering whether online high school or home schooling in South Africa is the right fit for your child, there’s only one way to find out – spend the day with one of our students!


We asked Cheyenne Victor, a 2023 Grade 12 Teneo student, what online learning is like and what strategies she uses to structure her school day. 

Cheyenne joined Teneo Online School at the start of Grade 10, in the final phase of her high school journey. Why the switch? There were several reasons.


She chose Teneo out of all the high schools in South Africa because it is structured like a bricks and mortar, ‘real-world’ school. With its ‘Live’ school format, Teneo offers live daily lessons led by expert teachers, rather than tutors.


On top of that, Teneo was a total fit for her family. Cheyenne’s father works in Zambia, where Cheyenne now lives. In the past, when the rest of the family lived in SA, his leave didn’t always sync with school holidays and Cheyenne either had to miss out on much-loved family gatherings or miss weeks of schoolwork. With Teneo, she could get the best of both worlds. And it gave her the flexibility to eventually join her father in Zambia.


But more than that, online school gave Cheyenne a chance to pursue her passions in a way that a bricks and mortar school never could. She lives for her photography, and her Instagram feed is filled with wildlife pics taken in the iconic African veld – which she sells online as an entrepreneurial side hustle!


Online school gave her the freedom to get into the bush more frequently, with lessons on the go: “There’s a photo of me with my tablet, attending school while out in the veld!”


But the bush is not only where her heart lies; it’s where she’s headed after school. She’s going to do a three-year course that combines marine guiding with game-ranging, turning her passion into a career path.


So, as she prepares for her final year, we asked her what the online learning experience is like at Teneo, and how she manages to ‘have it all’.

All the details on day-to-day online learning

At a glance, an online school day looks no different to a typical ‘real world’ school day – without the hassle of early morning traffic and time pressure!


6:30 am: Wake up.

7:00 am: Dress, eat breakfast and get ready.

7.30 am: Sit at my desk, open my Teneo calendar and put on music to relax.

7:35 – 7:55 am: Listen to music and jot down important things to do that day

8:00 am: Attend the first class of the day.

2:15 pm: School’s out!

3 – 4 pm: Go to the gym or relax and prepare for the next day.

9 pm: Bedtime.


But the real difference is that Cheyenne’s timetable evolved as she learnt what worked for her and what didn’t. 


Cheyenne recommends taking frequent breaks and limiting after-school screentime is a must. Stepping out into sunlight – natural light – also offers a break from blue light. So it’s important to embrace the power of the pause. 


Cheyenne is also serious about getting a good night’s rest: “Yes, I really do go to bed at 9 o’clock! If I don’t get a good night’s sleep, the next day is really tough.” Sleep, it seems, is one of the secrets to making a success of online schooling.

Discipline and a healthy dose of freedom make all the difference

Cheyenne was first exposed to the online schooling experience during Covid lockdown and had a vague idea of what to expect. But she was totally surprised by the extent to which she could set up her own schedule and determine her day.


“As much as we have a set timetable, I decide what to do during ‘free’ periods,” Cheyenne explains. “Most of the time, I do assignments, but it does break up my day and allows me far more free time than I ever had in my previous bricks and mortar school.”


Cheyenne also uses her free time to chat to friends and grab a lunch, but she’s mindful of the fact that it’s easy to get distracted from schoolwork: “You’re forced to be more disciplined in an online environment. If you don’t, you won’t get very far.”


So, it seems online school really instills self-discipline in students and prepares them for further study after school, in a university or college environment. 


Says Cheyenne, “I had to bite the bullet and accept that I am still in school.” That sense of maturity is baked into the Teneo online learning experience, where students learn not just academic skills but life skills that stay with them long after they leave our school.