The Shepparton-based Northern Victoria Homeschool Australia group says sending children to school is not the only way for them to get an education.By Sophie Malcolm
Hip-hop dance and Auslan classes, tie-dying lessons and excursions to a dairy farm.
Members of the Shepparton-based Northern Victoria Homeschool Australia group say there is more to homeschooling than most people think.
As thousands of students across the Goulburn Valley get ready to walk through the school gates for another year, the small but tight-knit group will get their education at home.
Tina’s two children are part of the group.
She decided to homeschool her children after her son, now 13, experienced bullying at a mainstream school.
The bullying became so bad, he became non-verbal, she said.
Tina said the process of transitioning to homeschool had its challenges initially — she ‘‘de-schooled’’ her son, avoiding school in any form for six months, before building his learning time back up.
She said many people had misconceptions that homeschooled children were socially isolated, but said the children in the group saw each other at least three days a week.
‘‘They do netball, football, soccer, canoeing, dancing, we go on excursions once a month, they have sleepovers and stuff like that,’’ she said.
Interest in the group had grown steadily, she said.
‘‘Everbody has this idea that you have to send your child to school and that’s not the case at all.’’
A spokesperson for the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development said homeschooled children represented less than 0.4 per cent of school aged children in Victoria, with 3435 registered students last year.
‘‘Parents choose home schooling for a variety of reasons and periods of time,’’ the spokesperson said.
‘‘Parents are able to access a broad range of resources to assist them with home schooling.’’
Angela Joy, another member of the group, said she decided to homeschool her children Cameron, Jacinda and Mitchel because she believed learning was not ‘‘separated from life’’.
‘‘We recently went on a month-long road trip along the east coast of Australia, visiting family and friends, meeting other homeschool families and groups and exploring our beautiful country,’’ Ms Joy said.
‘‘Our children were particularly keen on all the astronomy learning opportunities on the way home down the Newell Hwy.
‘‘There is so much value for all of us in spending time with our children.’’
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