Home schooling is becoming an increasingly popular educational option in Australia. Under the Education Act 1990, home schooling is education delivered in a child’s home by a parent or guardian. Currently over four thousand children are being home schooled in New South Wales alone with approximately a third of those students living in Western Sydney.
There are numerous reasons why parents are choosing this alternate setting as the preferred method for their child’s education. According to the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA), the top reason for electing to home school is due to philosophical reasons. Additional reasons cited include: special learning needs, behavioural, religious, bullying and other non-specified.
Regardless of the reasons why parents choose to home school their child, families in this state are required to register with NESA, develop a learning program based on the curriculum and monitor their children’s progress. There are many organisations and support networks available for families who home school; parents are encouraged to connect with other home schooling parents to share ideas and resources, support one another and provide opportunities for children to socialise.
Another interesting alternative to regular home schooling that is getting a lot of media attention currently is the concept of ‘unschooling’. This somewhat radical approach operates under the premise of children learning through every day experiences and learning naturally without the conformities of the curriculum. This model of education does not currently meet registration requirements in NSW.
If you are considering home schooling your children it is important to consider the positive and negative aspects in order to make an informed decision. As the teacher you will need to be patient, prepared and deal with the possible misbehavior of your children whilst encouraging them to learn. Conversely, you will get to spend extra time with your children, have a more flexible lifestyle and be able to cater for their individual needs. Home schooling can be very stressful, but it is also very rewarding. This option is not for every family. Parents who are not prepared to make the commitment to be an effective teacher should avoid it.
As featured in: Glenmore Gazette, Jordan Springs Gazette & Mulgoa Gazette - November 2017
Sara Drebber is an educational consultant, teacher, writer and mother of three.