I’m here to spread the word about homeschool.
I’m not sure how many people in Australia realise what homeschooling is exactly and why you would want to homeschool.
I’m here to share with you that not only is homeschooling a legal and ingenious way to educate children it also has many benefits and can be a real joy.
I have for you some of the benefits (there are MANY!) of homeschooling your children. As well as sharing my own experience of being homeschooled for a year as a child.
Children can learn about what interests them.
As a homeschooling parent you can arrange your child’s curriculum to suit their interests. And it need not be complicated. With the foundations of English (reading and writing) and maths in place, the rest of their time can be spent learning about what they enjoy. Perhaps you have a child who loves to play piano – when they learn at home they can get a little English and Maths out of the way (EVERYONE needs to know how to read, write and do basic sums) and then spend several hours practicing piano. Or reading, sewing, painting, dancing, or writing or designing computer graphics. Other subjects which are compulsory in regular school settings such as social studies, science, history, etc are learned along the way through real life learning. If this is not for you then go with a boxed curriculum such as ACE which has all lessons and subjects all planned out for you.
However, remember, there are other means to an education besides being force-fed facts and information that is of little interest of the child and is likely to go in one ear and out the other.
Children are more likely to retain information when they are learning about something that excites them, in a way that they find interesting, and gives them a flutter of thrill when they think of it.
There is a new wave of homeschooling parents who see flaws in the education system and can clearly see that their unique child is not suited to fitting into the ‘system.’ They have taken it upon themselves to see their unique child gets the best education they can and doesn’t get lost in a sea of faces.
Imagine if you yourself were given several hours a day to dive deep into a subject or skill that interests you. Imagine you were given all the supplies you need and tutoring you require how good you would be become at the skill (painting nature for example) or how knowledgeable you would become at the certain topic. (World war 1 for example). The learning part of your brain would become very engaged and the facts and information would infiltrate deep into your mind.
I may sound dreamy and idealistic, however, this is the exciting reality that home education can be with a little planning and enthusiasm.
I was home-schooled for a year. It was grade five. My parents were fed up with school. They were fed up with, what they described as the, ‘rubbish’ that goes on at school. Bullying, worldly agenda government-based curriculum, social status among the students and peer pressure, teachers who swore and yelled. They were fed up with getting me there. We lived 30km from town on a sheep and cattle farm and they were tired of the drive to the bus stop and all the traveling back and forth.
So began my year of adventure, my most cherished school year I ever had. My mum taught me using the ACE curriculum. I could wake and eat breakfast when I pleased but had to be dressed by 9am when we would sit down at a table in the lounge room. I would complete around three pages each of my five subjects. English, Word Building (spelling), Maths, Science and Social Studies. This sit down book work took me anywhere from between 45 minutes to 2 hours depending on the tasks and amount of writing involved.
I whizzed through this work. The pages of my workbooks were colourful and interesting and filled with Bible verses to learn. I thoroughly enjoyed this curriculum – all except maths! The maths books were pages and pages of sums – something I wasn’t used to in regular school.
The year I was home schooled I was different. It is hard to describe but it was like my brain had been switched on for the first time to all the possibilities of life and learning. It was very freeing.
Yes, home-schooling is freedom!
Suddenly I was free to be me. I became so excited for life and was fascinated by everything around me. And because my book work only took me two hours I had the rest of my day free to live, learn and explore. I showed interest in Art so mum let me switch on the Telly when Art Attack came on in the morning and we would watch it together. Mum would often go and purchase the supplies I needed and we would make our own versions of all the interesting art works we watched on the show.
That year I spent so much time outdoors! It was very fortunate that we lived on a farm in a beautiful setting. On my parents 3000 acre farm we had native scrub lands, hill country as well as swamp lands. There was so much land to explore. I love the outdoors and I spent many many hours exploring nature while I walked the farm. I learned the names and can still identify today, many native birds, wildlife and native trees.
I lived in a positive environment with no peer pressure.
One huge thing I noticed in my year of being homeschooled is that I stopped caring about what other people thought of me. Without the pressure of my peers pushing fashions and worldly ideas into my face I became me again. The me I was before I began public school at age 5. I had only positive people around me. My mum, dad and big sister (My older sister left school early because she was interested in being a farmer. My other 3 older sisters had left home and were at uni or working at this point – I am the youngest child in my family) treated me with respect, no one teased me or told me something I was doing was not cool. I had a strong support system and felt very safe. I really thrived.
I also noticed that my learning level was more advanced for my grade level when I returned to school the next year. I knew what matter was and all the names of every type of cloud. The kids in my class hadn’t heard of such things.
This is why I believe homeschoolers can have such freedom to be themselves and learn at their own pace. It is freedom and it feels wonderful!
I wish I was able to continue to be home schooled for all the rest of my schooling, however my mum is a quiet lady and was used to having her thoughts to herself during the day and home schooling became a bit too much so I returned to school the next year for grade 6.
My mind goes wild with imagination as I think of what subjects I could have dove deep into if I had continued to be home-schooled. I began guitar lessons when I was twelve. And I remember being much too tired and having way to much homework required of me, so I wasn’t able to practice as much as I wanted to. In the summer school holidays I practiced everyday and in those six weeks, myself, and my teacher saw a huge improvement in my skills and ability on the guitar. I would like to think that if I still had been homeschooling when I took up guitar than I would be twice as good as I am on the guitar right now. And what exciting paths that could have led me down.
I understand that everyone’s experience with homeschooling will be different than mine, just as every family and individual is different. The only negative thing I have to say about my ‘year of adventure’ is that I missed my friends a bit during the week. However, I believe this is unique to me, as I lived out on a farm and didn’t attend other extra curricular activities at the time. My parents did make an effort to drive me into town and have me visit or sleep over at my best friends house most weekends which I really looked forward to.
Homeschooling in a town or city would be much different than my experience out on the farm as there are all sorts of things homeschoolers can attend. Nearby where we are living now is a weekly home schooling meet up group that do all kinds of interesting activities together. There is also a scouts club, a children’s choir, dance studios, music teachers, sports clubs of every kind you can imagine, churches, art classes, cooking classes and much more!
Homeschoolers can have the opportunity to meet with many different people and make friends their own age as well as all other ages. In real life as an adult we must socialise with people young and old, not just our peer group of same age people, this is something homeschoolers learn because they are not forced to spend the majority of their time in a room filled with children the same age as them. You gain greater wisdom from people who are your elders than from peers the same age, at the same level as you. This dampens the ‘socialisation argument’ most people begin if you tell them you are home schooling/being homeschooled/thinking about homeschooling.
Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm. Proverbs 13:20
The Bible states it very clearly that we become like the people we hang around. This is one of the huge deciding factors for my husband and I when we decided to home school our own children. We want them to be raised around people who show respect for others like their parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles and other members of our church and community.
Unfortunately due to my own health problems we sent our two oldest sons to our local public school last year. This may be temporary, we would like to homeschool again but are waiting for when the time is right. Homeschooling has always been myself and my husbands ‘ideal’, however it hasn’t always been easy nor a smooth road.
That doesn’t change how strongly we both feel about what we have learnt about homeschooling and I would encourage you to consider it for your own family.
I am happy to answer any questions you may have if you are new to the idea of homeschooling – especially if you live in Australia, I know a lot about the legal process to begin. It really is not all that complicated. You can begin in your own time and don’t need to be registered as a homeschooler until your child turns six.
Thanks for reading!
Leave a comment if you have something to add to this or have a question.
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Blessings, Peta xo