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Why thousands of parents are choosing to home school in 2022.

Is 2022 the year of the home school revolution? Thousands of parents are taking their children out of the traditional schooling system. The number of students being educated at home in Australia have been steadily increasing. Many caregivers experienced remote learning facilitation in the past couple of years but is home schooling that different? We investigated what it entails legally, the benefits, and why people are willing to make a change.

What is homeschooling?

Home schooling is a legal alternative to traditional schooling where the child’s education takes place at home. It is not to be confused with distance education, which is also accessed from home. Distance Education is more of a ‘school-like’ experience. It is facilitated by a teacher to a group of children, not a particular family. Home schooling can begin when a child is 6 years old. It can continue right through to when the child is 17 or 18 years old. People rarely home school for that many years though.

How does homeschooling work?

Parents must apply to their state or territory for permission to home school. The parent or a hired registered teacher is then responsible for the child’s education. There are around 20 000 Australian children registered for home schooling across the country and any parent is able to apply and educate their child. This is regardless of their own education. Parents must submit an education plan to the governing body which is in keeping with the current national curriculum, or alternatively, they can buy a program. The majority tend to create one themselves which aligns with their own philosophies.

Is there reporting involved?

Generally, parents are required to give the governing body an update of the child’s progress every 10 months. However requirements may differ from state to state. Children do not have to undertake formal assessments when doing homeschooling and may choose to participate in NAPLAN or not. As for students doing their final years of education: “Homeschooled students can choose to go for an ATAR and do a school-based traineeship or apprenticeship, even though they don’t do assessment” (English, 2019).

Why homeschool?

Every parent chooses to home school for a different reason. There is no doubt that recurrent lockdowns have allowed parents more insight into how their children learn. Further highlighting the benefits of learning at home. Reasons to homeschool include: religious beliefs, a family’s geographical location (which may mean it is difficult to physically attend a school), financial reasons, opposition or issues with mainstream schooling, or simply as a second option after normal schooling went wrong. For example, parents may choose to homeschool if their child is not coping with the school environment; if they are being bullied; or if their school is not able to provide enough learning support. Mainstream schools were once an ideal place for children to learn to socialise. If mainstream does not serve that purpose, parents may not see the benefit of traditional education.

What are the benefits?

There are many positives to home schooling your child. Assessments are not necessary, so this is ideal for children who have specific learning needs or anxiety around testing and assessments. Schooling can be individualised for a particular child. It could be: classical, project based, natural learning, centred around creativity, faith-based, theme based, or a mixture of these. Generally, home schooling involves a lot less children than in a classroom setting. Children receive more quality learning time in less hours with less distractions. Their education can also be made to fit into the family’s lifestyle. Whether they are on a farm, on the road, or have children with specific needs.

Is homeschooling better than traditional schooling?

Whilst there is not a huge amount of data available, NAPLAN results suggest that homeschooled students do better when at home and even after resuming traditional schooling. This could be due to one on one attention, personalisation of curriculum or agency over their learning.

Like anything that involves your child, you know them the best of anyone. If homeschooling is going to be of benefit to them and suit your lifestyle, then it is worth looking into educating at home.

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