Why is homeschooling becoming popular in Australia?
It's true that homeschooling is becoming more popular in Australia. And why is that? More and more people are deciding to take the leap and educate their children at home.
Especially through our current pandemic COVID-19, where schools have been forced to shut down, for most families with kids, there has been no other option.
However, even once schools have re-opened their doors, many are still choosing to homeschool. I have some schooling friends of mine who have switched over to homeschooling and would never go back.
Why should you choose to homeschool in Australia?
Across Australia, there are around 20,000 homeschooled students and the numbers are growing. Around 1,100 students were being homeschooled in Queensland in 2013. By 2018, this had increased to 3,232 students.
The numbers are rising in other states too. In New South Wales, an estimated 4,700 students were enrolled in homeschool in 2017 compared to around 3,300 in 2013. Around 5,300 children were being homeschooled in Victoria in 2018, compared to 3,545 children in 2013.
These numbers may not tell the whole story as they only represent families who have registered to homeschool their child. Research suggests there may be thousands who haven’t registered - an excerpt from The Conversations article.
It means something is working! There's something that is much more effective, connected and meaningful in homeschooling your children and working with them throughout their education. Sure, there will be a few more responsibilities on what to choose and how to choose the right curriculum for them, but the benefits dramatically outweigh the costs.
What are the benefits of homeschooling in Australia?
Certainly, from my own experience of homeschooling my 5 daughters, it was not only a pleasure to teach them from home but I soon realised how much more information they seemed to be learning.
"The volume and quality of the research on outcomes for children in home schooling is limited. In Australia, studies have focused on NAPLAN results. These suggest home-educated students score higher than state averages across every measure. The effect continues even if the child returns to school.
These children may be doing well because they receive one-on-one attention. Or it could be because the child’s learning is personalised and the child has agency over their learning.
Studies from the US, where there is far more data, suggest home-educated students enjoy benefits in reading, language, maths, science and social studies."
Yes, the schools have the social aspect of hanging out with kids their own age - but this can be substituted with socialising with other homeschooling families, with friends that are visiting, the tradesmen that come through the house and the shopkeepers on the food shopping runs. I found my kids had social skills in relating to people from all ages and backgrounds.
Is homeschooling the same as distance education (DE)?
Some parents may like the idea of home education but feel they want a more school-like experience. They may choose to enrol their children in distance education.
While it’s also conducted at home, distance education is not home education and the enrolment counts as a “school”. Because it’s technically a school, distance education students are not counted among home education numbers.
The differences are many. Home education is conducted by the parent, but distance education is a school program delivered by teachers at home frequently using the internet. It is also usually delivered to a group of children, rather than a family.
There are private and public distance education schools. Some states, such as New South Wales, limit the enrolment to students who are geographically isolated or may be experiencing a special need that stops them from going to school. In others, such as Queensland, any child can enrol in a distance education school.
Have you home-schooled before? What has been your experience and how has homeschooling worked for you?
Of course, the choice to homeschool your kids is entirely yours, but I highly recommend this rewarding and enriching experience,