Home education or homeschooling is currently a hot topic.

There are many reasons why parents choose to take their children out of the formal education system; illness, ideology, problems with bullying, special needs, disengagement. Equally, there are many different forms of home education, such as flexi-schooling, de-schooling or unschooling.

It also appears that the numbers of children being homeschooled are on the rise. 

The Conversation reported in April 2019 that the numbers of home educated Australian school children rose by around 25% between 2013 and 2018.

This was a trend across several Australian states too. However, it's not totally conclusive, this study only accounts for families who have completed an official registration of their child to be homeschooled.

The idea of going to school to be educated may seem like something that has always existed. If we think about it, it can be hard to think about what we did before mainstream schools were invented. Even the concept of the ‘invention of school’ seems ridiculous. Surely they have always been there, otherwise, where did children go to be taught, where did they receive their education? I doubt the benefits of homeschooling or alternative forms of education would come to mind.

The idea of school is such a stable and ingrained part of our society that we hardly know what we would do if it didn’t exist. But the reality is that mainstream schooling is still a relatively modern concept. Before the second half of the 19th century, the mainstream and compulsory educational system had not been developed, leaving millions of children without access to formal education.

Before the latter half of the 19th century, the vast majority of kids had had access to education in one of two ways. The first was via the church which afforded an education heavy in religious study. Kids could learn to read and write, with the only textbook being the bible. The second form of education came from home, with parents and tutors responsible to educate the children.

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About Homeschooling In Australia

Homeschooling, unschooling, or home education is an alternative option for children to be taught outside of the traditional mainstream school system.

Modern-day homeschooling is not so different from that of the historical practice. With learning conducted by the parent, tutor, or with integrated life experiences.

The main difference between modern-day homeschooling is that every child can now also experience online tutoring, opening up a world of resources, lesson plans, and learning experiences for students and home educators.

Although parents today have the freedom to choose to homeschool their children, this decision can still be met with resistance and judgment.

We have forgotten that millions of children before compulsory education became popular in the late 19th century, were taught very successfully at home by their families. The idea of handing the responsibility of educating your children to someone else was not a popular concept.

It is also important to note that homeschool was not saved just for the disadvantaged population who couldn’t afford to attend state schools.

The rich also hired tutors and governesses to teach their children at home.

The critical reason for studying in this way was for the children to learn to fulfil their full potential in society, not too dissimilar to today. Homeschooling is not a new option for educating children, but it is an important one.

While there are many who do not agree with the idea of home education, it may still come as a surprise to hear that it is actually illegal to homeschool in many European countries.

In Australia, it is totally legal although you will need to submit applications and registration to your state government to prove you are capable of educating your child.

See this page from the Victorian Government for example. 

Many homeschooled children receive tutoring from professional tutors (a number of tutors near me on The Tutor Pages describe some of their current students as being homeschooled) and online tuition often now plays an integral part in the learning of home educated students.

As the numbers of home educated children increase, we may see governments attempt to impose greater control in an area that previously they have preferred to quietly ignore. I

t depends on which side of the debate you fall as to whether you think this would be a good or bad thing for education in Australia.

Organising your child's homeschool program.
You can personally create the program of your homeschool. Photo Source: Unsplash

Homeschooling Pros And Cons

There are pros and cons to homeschooling your kids. Some of the disadvantages are that it is not an ‘easy’ option, it takes a lot of time, dedication, patience and creativity.

It is also a full-time job so one parent would have to give up working to focus on providing education. This also means that the household income would lower, while the cost to provide education may rise.

Granted there are a few cons to consider before deciding if we want to homeschool our children but if you are prepared to accept the challenge you will find that the benefits far outweigh the problems.

The success of your homeschooling education system means you have a high likelihood of being left with independent, confident children who know what they want in life and have been nurtured so that they have the skills to achieve it.

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Benefits Of A Home Education

  1. Personalised Flexible Learning

An excellent benefit of homeschooling is that you can personally create the program of your homeschool. You can decide what to teach your child and how to teach them. Perhaps you will follow a formal plan in line with the school system, Or maybe you will create your own program based on what you feel is best for your child.

However, you choose to teach your child it is important to remember that you don’t have to stick to one kind of program. You are free to create the program that will bring the best out of your individual child. Try to create a flexible schedule that both you and the child will enjoy.

  1. Avoid Most Of The Common Colds And Viruses

Another bonus of homeschool is that your child is not going to get every bug, cold or flu that goes around. They will be able to remain relatively healthy and well while in the homeschool environment.  Further, if they do get sick, they can still study as they would be at home anyway.

Your child is unlikely to pretend to be sick so that they can stay home either. Since at home they have to study and continue their set learning schedule.

  1. Integrating Learning Into Your Natural Environment

Teaching your children at home has the massive benefit of preparing them to see things with new eyes. You can incorporate education into everything that you do. A walk in the park can become a science project to learn about the trees or grass. A neighbourhood tour could turn into a history lesson or a lesson about design and architecture. Even cooking the family meal can become a home economics class.

Learning and education are not just contained within random school subjects. Every moment brings a new opportunity to learn something new opening your child's mind to this will make them a stronger and more curious student.

What are the differences between home learning and online learning?

Monitor the child and learn their interests.
Freedom to follow the child's natural interests. Photo Source: Unsplash
  1. Freedom To Follow The Child's Natural Interests

A huge benefit of homeschooling is that as a parent teaching your child, you will have the opportunity to monitor the child and learn their interests. You will be able to see where they blossom and where they struggle.

This gives you the option of integrating their interests and using that as a propellor to retain the engagement of the child and accelerate their learning. For example, if they love cars, then you can use this interest to create a school curriculum that will focus on teaching teach history, maths, geography etc.

This flexibility is a crucial strength of homeschooling, and it is essential to retain this flexibility in the learning of the child. Allowing them to co-create their own educational program via their natural talents and interests and introducing lessons on a variety of topics.

  1. Instill Self-confidence

Moving away from an authoritarian way of teaching and allowing your children to express themselves. While taking an active part in their own learning will validate your child, helping them to feel confident and empowered. Responsibility and trust are central motivators for self-confidence, and these are easy to instill in the homeschool environment.

  1. Wider Learning Experiences

While teaching your child the world is your oyster, you can go out to museums to see what you are learning about, or arrange visits to an office to understand how to apply mathematics into the real world. You could even take a year off and go to travel the world and learn about history, languages and culture on the way.

Homeschooling does not mean you have to be confined to your home. Homeschooling does not require a set of physical location to be successful. This freedom allows you to explore and discover new ways to engage, teach, and excite your child about the world around them.

  1. Application Of Learning Into Everyday Life

From cooking to paying the household bills, to budgeting, and dealing with challenges. The list is endless, but a key strength of homeschool learning is the way that children can learn to apply what they are learning to real-life and with this relevance. Learning takes on a whole new meaning, going from arbitrary pieces of information to fundamental skills to survive successfully in the future.

Allowing your child to take part in and experience most forms of adult life will enable them to use this learning as preparation for their own futures.

  1. Freedom From Peer Pressure And Bullying

A significant challenge in public school today is safety and security, but when teaching your child at home. You don’t have to be concerned about the harmful effects of peer pressure, the devastatingly violent effects of bullying or the life-threatening impacts of in-school violence.

Your child will be 100% assured a safe and secure environment to work, learn and focus on growing up into a happy, confident individual.

Taking an organised but relaxed approach is good for you and the child.
Don’t try to fit too much into one day. Photo Source: Unsplash

Can I Teach Myself For Year 12?

Students are interested in home education for many different reasons; a feeling of lack of support in school, problems with bullying, disagreements with teachers or simply that the subjects they want are not being offered.

The three main questions asked are usually:

Am I legally allowed to teach myself at home?

Yes – as long as your parent or guardian agrees, you have a legal right to be homeschooled.

The local authority needs to be notified, however, if you are leaving school.

Make sure you understand the extent of the task and are able to acquire the necessary textbooks. Consider finding groups online of people in your situation, and engaging the services of a private tutor, either regularly or as and when necessary.

How can I enter for exams if I’m not in school?

In all Australian states, homeschooled students are not eligible to receive an ATAR score, making it difficult to meet the selection requirements for most universities. 

Will I still be able to apply to university?

Yes, it is certainly possible to enter university in Australia without an ATAR score. If you choose not to enroll in a state public education system, you will have to do one of the following things to be able to get into a uni. 

  • Distance Education

You can enroll at your nearest participating school. This means you will do the normal state curriculum but you can still work from home. You will receive textbook guidance, be able to attend seminars with people like you, and have access to other helpful materials to help you work to achieve a high ATAR score.

  • Senior Studies at TAFE

Each Australian state offers a slightly different variation of senior study opportunities via TAFE or similar institutions. All offer nationally recognised TVET Studies (Training Packages or Accredited Courses) or senior subjects developed and approved by your state’s education sector. These certifications can be used to apply for university.

  • Apply directly to University

This is by no means a guarantee. But some unis may accept you if you can get in contact with an admissions officer and convince them you have the skills required for them to admit you. You will have to be a pit pushy for this one as it is not common practice, but there is no law that says you can't, so why not try?

3 Quick Tips To Successful Home Schooling

  1. Don’t try to fit too many activities into one day, you will become tired and burnt out quickly.
  2. Join a homeschool support group and organise regular field trips and outings with other homeschoolers.
  3. Use multimedia technology and the internet, there are lots of things such as languages that could be best taught by an expert. Plus there are free curriculums, lesson plans, activities, worksheets, and other homeschooling resources.

Mainstream schooling is still the popular option when it comes to educating children. But it doesn’t have to be, with the dramatic rise of in-school bullying, in-school violence, the questionable educational system, and the less than promising economic climate. How does mainstream schooling compare to homeschooling?

Homeschooling has become not just a secondary option. But a key consideration in keeping children safe while preparing them for a successful future in which they can thrive as happy members of society.

Now discover this step by step guide to homeschooling your learners...

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