Modern Australian

three things to consider if you're thinking about homeschooling your child

  • Written by David Roy, Lecturer in Education, University of Newcastle

This is the last article in our series on homeschooling in Australia. The series answers common questions including why homeschooling is on the rise and how outcomes of homeschooled children compare with those who attend formal schooling.

A successful homeschooling experience happens when children and parents know the expectations, set targets and enjoy it. In some families, one child can be home schooled while another attends a mainstream school – if those options suit the individual children. Homeschooling should be a deliberate choice.

That said, there are a growing number of so-called “accidental” homeschooled children in Australia. Families of these children feel there is no option other than to homeschool due to a lack of support in mainstream schools. This is particularly so for students with a disability or who have experienced bullying.

To homeschool, the child’s parent or guardian is the teacher (and de facto principal), and the home is viewed by authorities as a school. Parents who take on this challenge can be understandably worried if they have the time, patience, skills and money to provide a home school for their child.

Read more: Homeschooling is on the rise in Australia. Who is doing it and why?

1. Do I have the time and patience?

There is no specific amount of time families should be spending on homeschooling their child. Education departments recommend schools spend anywhere between between 40 to 300 hours of study per year (per subject) depending on the subject age and stage.

three things to consider if you're thinking about homeschooling your child It can take some time to find the right balance between parenting and teaching. from shutterstock.com

But homeschooling allows the learning experience to be tailored to the individual student. This means an activity that may take 30 minutes in a classroom could be completed in a shorter, or longer, timeframe. Rather than set specific time requirements, it’s better to have outcomes or goals based on the curriculum and the abilities of each child.

Children will need to develop an understanding of when a parent is being a parent, and when the parent is being an educator or facilitator. It’s important to delineate homeschool time from time simply being a family, even if any activity can become a learning experience. Finding the balance requires patience – be aware of this challenge before you start.

Research into homeschooling is still limited, but there are reports many homeschooling parents are qualified teachers, or have teachers in the family. These parents may already have the same skills as those in school. Some parents may wish to undertake short courses in education if they wish to improve their skills – although this will require time too. There is no requirement for a homeschool parent to have a teaching degree.

Read more: Homeschooled children are far more socially engaged than you might think

2. Do I have the money?

The government spends on average around A$13,000 a year on every child in a government school. Homeschooled children receive no funding support.

three things to consider if you're thinking about homeschooling your child Textbooks tend to get more expensive as education progresses. from shutterstock.com

The National Insurance Disability Scheme (NDIS) supports children with disability in a school setting, but there is little to no government support for children who are being homeschooled. This is even if a child is homeschooled due to disability issues. Figures show around one quarter of homeschooled children have special learning needs.

The financial burden is increased if families choose to buy into some of the educational programs available, such as Mathletics, which creates tasks tailored for each child. An annual subscription for one child starts at $100.

Costs will vary depending on the resources bought, and the complexity of the child’s needs. Curriculum costs would be expected to increase as a child ages, particularly if textbooks are required.

There are organisations to support homeschooled children, but they sometimes charge for resources such as books or learning programs. One parent must be listed as a full-time homeschool parent for registration, which also means homeschooling families are likely to only have one parent working full-time.

3. What teaching method would I use?

To homeschool, you are required to use the curriculum of the state or territory your child is registered in and meet the age and stage requirements. Accreditation is dependent on this.

three things to consider if you're thinking about homeschooling your child Homeschooling means many aspects of life can become opportunities for learning. from shutterstock.com

There are no prescriptive ways to deliver the curriculum, which is one of the benefits of homeschooling – the freedom to engage with the curriculum in a different, more creative way. Many homeschool families share their methods online, as well as the challenges and failures they have experienced.

Families also have the opportunity to adapt methodologies from across the globe, without systemic restrictions. This can include incorporating aspects from the learning-through-play concepts of Finland (for younger children) before attempting more formal schooling practices.

Read more: Homeschooled students often get better test results and have more degrees than their peers

Some families choose to have a structured learning period throughout the day or week and in many ways are replicating the formal school structures. Other families take what is called an “unschooling” approach – children choose where, what and when to learn with the parent having more of a facilitator role than a specific teacher role. Neither way is better or worse, it is more about what is suitable for a child.

The freedom of unschooling can increase confidence and sense of self in students. But homeschooled children also need peers they can engage with for social development. The internet has allowed many families to make these connections.

A tailored homeschooling learning experience often creates closer family bonds. And studies have shown homeschooled students have similar, and sometimes better, outcomes than their traditionally educated peers.

While homeschooling is a challenging experience, when successful, the rewards make it worth it.

Authors: David Roy, Lecturer in Education, University of Newcastle

Read more http://theconversation.com/time-money-and-method-three-things-to-consider-if-youre-thinking-about-homeschooling-your-child-110273

NEWS

As the dust of the election settles, Australia's wildlife still needs a pathway for recovery

The Darling River near Louth NSW, April 2019, in the midst of a drought compounded by upstream irrigation policies.Jaana Dielenberg, Author providedThe environment was a keyconcern in the recent federal...

The long and complicated history of Aboriginal involvement in football

Over the next two weekends, the Australian Football League celebrates the contribution of Indigenous peoples to the history of the game. At the same time, a new documentary will show...

Curious Kids: why are there waves?

Nina Maile Gordon/The Conversation, CC BY-NC-NDCurious Kids is a series for children. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, send it to curiouskids@theconversation.edu.au You might also...

Why Sydney residents use 30% more water per day than Melburnians

Melbourne's water supplies are running low after years of drought.shutterstockThis week Melbourne’s water storage dropped below 50%, a sign of the prolonged and deepening drought gripping eastern Australia. Sydney is...

Friday essay: YouTube apologies and reality TV revelations

A little over a year ago, former Australian cricket captain Steve Smith made a tearful confession and apology to the public, having been banned from cricket for 12 months for...

six ingredients of successful public policy

Australia’s national policy response to HIV/AIDS has been lauded as one of the best in the world.ShutterstockIn the lead up to the recent federal election, there was plenty of negative...

Population DNA testing for disease risk is coming. Here are five things to know

Screening millions of healthy people for their risk of disease can be cost-effective. But it raises ethical and regulatory concerns.from www.shutterstock.comDNA testing to predict disease risk has the potential to...

How the dangerous evolution of Pakistan’s national security state threatens domestic stability

Protests followed the terrorist attack that killed more than 40 Indian military personnel in the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir. AAP/Jaipal Singh, CC BY-NDIn February, a terrorist attack by...

the tall buildings of Australia show why we need strong design guidelines

Towering canyons of concrete and glass are an increasingly dominant feature of fast-growing cities like Melbourne.ymgerman/ShutterstockPrivate enterprise has shaped the skylines of Australia’s cities, and the names of their highest...

If you think less immigration will solve Australia's problems, you're wrong; but neither will more

More by luck than design, recent recent levels of immigration seem to be in a 'goldilocks zone' that balances economic, social and environmental objectives.www.shutterstock.comAre we letting too many or too...

Let them play! Kids need freedom from play restrictions to develop

Playing in nature improves children's learning, social and emotional skills.MI PHAM/unsplashYou may have heard of play. It’s that thing children do – the diverse range of unstructured, spontaneous activities and...

Gamers use machine learning to navigate complex video games – but it's not free

Playing Dota 2? You can do better with a little help from machine learning.Shutterstock/hkhtt hj Some of the world’s most popular video games track your activity as you play –...

Popular articles from Modern Australian

EXYRA eyewearShould you get a hair transplant in Turkey if your hair is grey?Do You Need a Tummy Tuck or Just Liposuction?Best 4 Sassicaia Wine with Soothing Taste and AromaMarvelous Makeover - 5 Tips to Revitalize Your Look This SummerWhat to Expect When Recovering from Gynecomastia SurgeryClickClack Pantry Range | Helping Australians save time & moneyThe Gentleman’s Guide to Wearing Custom TiesGynecomastia – Understanding the Facts and Treatment OptionsIs Coffee Good for you10 Foods Which Reduce Blood Sugar Levels4 Unexpected Reasons Why You Could Be Losing Your HairWhat to Do When Traveling From Australia to USAWhat we should know about ‘nitric oxide’ and why we need more of itDownsizing: What Is Too Small?