Homeschooling – Is it just a dream?
Maria Venter – South Africans to Oz
My daughter, 5 years old, has just started her first year in the public schooling system in Australia. Although she is doing very well and skips into school each morning, I have toyed with the idea of homeschooling my children.
I have yet to take the plunge and not sure I ever will, but I know quite a few parents living in my area who are homeschooling.
Judging by their positive, intelligent, adaptable, inquiring minded children, I’m certain it is an awesome way to give your children the education they deserve, without all the schedules and restrictions they encounter in a formal school environment.
Legalities of homeschooling
Legally children in Australia between the ages of 6 to 17 (Tasmania (5-16 years) must be in school or registered to home school.
Children younger than 17 who want to leave school must apply to home school, or meet certain workforce or vocational education requirements.
This is a fast-growing movement, for families who want to escape the rat race and have more control over their child’s education.
The latest statistics indicate that there are at least 30 000 children home schooling around Australia.
Main reasons for homeschooling
- Philosophical (such as those opposed to mass education)
- Dissatisfaction with school
- Special needs
State homeschooling requirements
Typically, each state has their own set of legal requirements to home school your child. It is expected that you must apply to the state or territory in which you reside.
You cannot register for homeschooling if you are living overseas or have no fixed address.
To get more information on what each state expects when it comes to registering for homeschooling, please go to: http://www.homeschoolingdownunder.com
Also listed on this website are a number of forums, websites and Facebook pages to help support you through the process, and provide you with valuable resources.
Homeschooling in NSW
According to the NSW Education Standards Authority, the idea behind homeschooling is to allow a parent or guardian to integrate the NSW curriculum with the learning processes that occur naturally in the home throughout a child’s development.
Download the Registration for Home Schooling in NSW – Information Package (PDF) (updated August 2013) which has all the information needed to help you decide if this form of education is appropriate for you and your child.
Once you have registered it is your responsibility, as educator, to plan, deliver and record an educational program based on the relevant Board of Studies syllabuses.
Gain some insight first
As formal as this sounds, you can still be pretty flexible in choosing content that is relevant to your child’s learning needs. This may be syllabus content, content developed by the parent or content drawn from a range of other resources.
A parent does not need to be a qualified teacher to register for home schooling, and there are many different approaches to homeschooling.
With this in mind, perhaps it would be a good idea to discuss it with experienced homeschoolers to gain insight into home schooling before you embark on this journey.
Flexibility and rewards
A homeschooling mother of 3 daughters recently told me it was very daunting getting started, and taking her kids out of a ‘normal schooling life’ but once she was through the first year, she has never looked back.
It gives her family all the flexibility they need as her husband runs a business that requires quite a bit of traveling and this way, the family can accompany him on the road!
So perhaps if the travel bug bites us once more, that will be the catalyst in getting me started on this challenging, yet undoubtedly rewarding journey with my children….ons sal maar sien!