When our children come of age to start school we generally think we have two options available to us: private school or public school.
There is, however, a third option…homeschool.
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
Put away your images of helicopter mums and housebound kids. The reality is quite different from what you may expect.
Is homeschooling legal? Homeschooling is legal in Western Australia, as long as you register yourself as a homeschooler with the Education Department of Western Australia (EDWA). Upon registering EDWA assigns each family a moderator who performs annual reviews of the work being undertaken and ensures that the curriculum requirements are met for each child. The moderator also acts as a point of contact should you need any help or advice.
Who can become a homeschooler? Anyone who is the parent or legal guardian of a school aged child can apply to become a homeschooler. It pays to do some research when considering a homeschool approach as it does involve a large time and energy commitment from everyone involved.
Why homeschool? Parents and caregivers choose to homeschool for many reasons. Some students do not learn well in a traditional classroom environment and yet go on to thrive when homeschooled. Some students live in a remote area where there is no access to a school whilst others are too ill to attend school.
What, and how, do students learn? There are as many ways to approach learning and teaching as there are stars in the sky. The main rule most homeschoolers follow is “how does my child learn best?”. The answer becomes the basis for how they teach.
Quite often a family will use multiple learning approaches to cater to their individual children. Some students learn best through book work whilst others learn best through practical experience. Students also have access to many learning programs run by local businesses, libraries, and homeschooling organisations.
For a homeschooled child a classroom can be a park, an art gallery, Scitech, or even the backyard at home.
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
What about socialisation? The most common misconception about homeschooled children is that they are lacking a social outlet. In reality this couldn't be further from the truth. Homeschooling is simply the name of the educational style and is in no way indicative that the student does not leave the house. In truth, homeschooled children are often exposed to a more social environment than other students. A large percentage of learning takes place while the child is out and about in the world or on excursions.
There are also many social gatherings, including a ball for older students, sports carnivals, discos, and more that are organised by parents, local businesses, and the various homeschooling organisations around Perth.
What about further education? Being homeschooled does not preclude a child from further education. Students are able to take alternative pathways into TAFE and then further into university.
Homeschooling is not for everyone. However, if you are interested (or even just curious) there are many Facebook groups specifically catering to homeschooling parents that are a great place to visit and ask questions. The EDWA website is also a great place to check out the legal and curriculum requirements.