Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Frustration that Regulatory Authorities STILL Don't Understand the Nature of Home Education

by Beverley Paine

Today a mother posted on one of the online support groups that her home educating son is required to do "four hours of math and English and Languages other than English (LOTE) a day, plus science, history and geography, etc mixed into each week".

It irks me that moderators and APs and Home Ed Officers (whatever they call themselves in each state and territory!) STILL have little understanding of the nature of home education and how it fundamentally differs from school education despite decades of interaction by the regulatory authorities with home educating families!

There is no need to spend large blocks of time on any subjects when home educating because we're on task helping our children learn *across the curriculum* from the minute they wake up to when they fall asleep at night. Our children's education is fully integrated, making it incredibly efficient. They're learning from life and a home educated life is varied, interesting, resourceful, very hands-on, naturally challenging, social and much more!

The ability to tap into the learning moment and be there, helping our children solve problems and answer questions when their interest is piqued and motivation high, short cuts the education process. And it has the added bonus that our children retain and remember the information or insights gleaned forever, not just until the next test... Learning is meaningful and in context and meets our children's needs, not the bureaucratic scheduling of the classroom or school or other children's needs.

Our ability to select resources, activities and materials that suit our children's individual learning styles, preferences and needs naturally make it a lot easier to help our children cover the curriculum in a more efficient manner than school teachers can manage. We don't have the same restrictions governing how our time is used: time wasted getting children's attention, giving instructions, revising, etc is spent doing, being and playing with our children, sharing their interests and hobbies, helping them grow and learn.

Why should we limit ourselves to the bureaucrats' view of education? The world is our classroom! We can define education to suit our children's needs. We can write our own learning programs that also cover the broad requirements of the state/territory/national curricula but are primarily responsive to our children's educational needs.

As home educators we can be assertive and promote better understanding of the nature of home education. I've written hundreds of articles over the years to help parents develop confidence as home educators - click on the article index on my Homeschool Australia site to access them.  

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