Four Things You May Want to Know About Home Schooling

I am a homeschooling mum to my 10 year old son, Lewi who has never been to school. If you aim to help our new generation reach it’s goal to make this world a batter place then early childhood teacher courses Sydney is the right one for you.

In 2004, just before Lewi was of school age, I had to make the decision (like all parents do) about where he would spend the next 12 plus years. After much research and discussion we decided that he could stay right where he was – at home.

It wasn’t an easy decision to make by any means. As a former teacher in the education system I certainly had a lot to consider. Questions and concerns came thick and fast from well-meaning friends and family. Is home schooling legal? What about socialisation? (The age old question that everyone seems to ask). What about friendships? How can you possibly teach him all there is to learn?

Each one of those questions are extremely valid and are questions that I asked myself in those early days. They certainly required an answer. So, answer I did.

Is homeschooling legal?

Yes, it is! Children, by law, must be registered either at a school or as homeschoolers. The process of registration for homeschoolers is a relatively painless one. Details for registering a child for homeschooling can be found on the internet or in your phone books.

Socialisation

What is socialisation? Is it spending 6 hours a day, 5 days a week in a classroom surrounded by lots of children of similar ages all doing similar things? Well, it can be, for sure. But it doesn’t have to be.
Simply explained, socialisation is about our children learning how to be social beings in the real world. With this in mind then: talking to the cashier at the shops, opening the cafe door for an elderly person, ordering a meal, organising play dates with friends both in and out of school and of all ages, learning how to interact and problem solve within a family environment, playing in the garden and chatting to the neighbours, hanging out with family and friends, spending time with other homeschoolers, being a part of the local community are all ways that help children become social and cause socialisation to take place. It does not need to be confined to the four walls of a classroom. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that! For all of you fellow Seinfeld lovers).

Friendships:

In this wonderful Bega Valley we have so many choices when it comes to the education of our children. Along with the various schools within our shire we also have many families who choose to home school. There are several local, organised groups who regularly meet in and around the area. There is certainly no shortage of friendship opportunities for home schooled children. Our local groups are continually growing as more and more families choose to home school. We have lots of fun outings and have a regular term activities schedule for meet up times throughout the year. Most groups meet on a weekly basis and also catch up outside group get together times.

As well as having fellow home schooling friends, Lewi has many close friends who go to school that we catch up with regularly also. We are certainly not friend deprived!

Is it possible to teach them everything?

Home schooling is an option for children of all ages. There are as many approaches to home schooling as there are philosophies of learning. Some families choose to buy a ready made program. These can be purchased quite cheaply and have all of the learning requirements for their child set out for them. Others prefer to make their own program based on a philosophy of learning ~ eg: Steiner or Montessori or Classical Learning or Charlotte Mason or the many others you can Google or Bing. Some choose a more eclectic approach where they take from lots of different learning styles and then fit it to meet the needs of their child.

All of these are wonderful and extremely valid options for learning at home. We have chosen a different l learning path, however. It’s called ‘natural learning’ and it’s probably the most common choice for homeschoolers in Australia.

Natural Learning (or unschooling as it’s also referred to) is a learning approach that acknowledges the child as central to the learning experience. It is based upon the child’s passions, strengths and interests. The parent becomes a facilitator of learning where they are responsible for providing a rich and interesting environment for their child to live in. The child is then free to learn within those parameters.

Natural Learning sees ‘learning’ completely embedded into life. Learning is not separated into neat, organised sections of knowledge but rather it is immersed in the richness and fullness that each normal day brings. The natural curiousity of a child, when encouraged and nurtured, is inquisitive and enthused about their environment and the learning within that. Children are born with this innate desire to learn.
Rather than breaking learning up into separated modules, a natural learner ‘goes with the flow’. Baking, gardening, painting, drawing, swinging, swimming, chatting, shopping, playing, dreaming, sharing, writing, measuring, building and whatever else constitutes ‘living’ are all parts of a natural learners life. When children are encouraged and given a rich environment that nurtures their individual needs and interests, learning happens. They all learn to read and write and do maths and all of those things that schooled children do but it’s in their own time, at their own pace and always embedded in their interests and needs at the time. Natural learning is about children becoming very active in their learning and thus they are generally extremely self-driven, self-motivated and ever inquiring people.

It pays to mention though that regardless of the learning approach for a home schooled child the computer age has opened up our world in a way that no other generation has experienced before. There is really nothing that a self-motivated, interest-led person can not access and learn via cyber space.

As a home schooling mum who also runs an interior decorating consultancy from home and who loves to write and blog (in my spare time) I have to say it is a great choice. It’s relaxed. It’s busy. Each day is different from the one before. It’s filled with lots and lots of social times in our home schooling groups and with our friends and family. It is a wonderful way of remaining connected to my child and really knowing who he is and what his needs are at any given time. I can highly recommend it!

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