Wednesday, October 8, 2014

How do I Home School, Is it Legal?

Excuse me digressing somewhat from a travel blog, however I have had many questions about home schooling and here's some information that may assist those people with their choices.

(*DISCLAIMER: Please note – this is my personal opinion only, some of it may be incorrect and it is what has worked for us, please check into whether the material is accurate for your area/situation and always check with authorities and others in your community as to the accuracy for you)


Lunch with the locals - Hello "Dot" (If he sat
down she shared his meal, so most were taken
standing) Camping and travelling
around Kangaroo Island
Sth Australia
I remember the daunting feeling when I first began our Home School journey and I was so grateful for other mothers who assisted me that I always thought I would do that if anybody else needed it.
*They refers to HS parents / carers.

Here's my personal thoughts (not professional) on Home Schooling in our location: 

There really is no body in Victoria that will tell you what or how to do anything with HS, it is the only state in Australia where we do not have officers and we are pretty much left to our own devices.

Under the new laws they do need to be registered with the VRQA  as homeschoolers - failure to do this can result in the newly implemented truancy fines of up to $45 per day. However in order to register (in Victoria) it is a simple form that you sign and that's pretty much it. You can then educate your child how you like.

There are many groups that will offer them other support including Facebook, HEN and the HEA and there is also a magazine called Otherways which can be helpful.

There are many websites which will be really helpful, but my biggest source of advice is actually Facebook and I am more than happy to provide the Group information if you want them from me (Scroll down for some groups).

Studying Gemmology and identifying gemstones
There is no set curriculum and rules to follow as there really are none in Victoria.

This can be good and bad, as you are pretty well left alone but also you do not have support if you require it.

If they are concerned about socialisation once they link in with home-school Groups there are at least 12 camps that children can go on each year and numerous meet ups and excursions.

For every homeschool family their journey is an intangible and fluid one.

Every time you think you have nailed down your curriculum and you know when you are going - something changes.

The biggest trap I fell into was thinking that I had to school at home rather than doing it completely differently.

I was inspired by John Holt:
“It is not the teacher's proper task to be constantly testing and checking the understanding of the learner. That's the learner's task, and only the learner can do it. The teacher's job is to answer questions when
learners ask them, or to try to help learners understand better when they ask for that help.” 
― John HoltHow Children Fail

In our personal situation, we are not trying to school at home, we are not trying to re-create a classroom within our home, rather we are trying to awaken a love of learning to inspire and to engage children to become motivated by what is around them, to ask their own questions, and in many ways gain their own education.
On Campfest with around 60 home school
children  and their parents
I see our role as one to nurture their interests, guide them along the way and allow them to blossom into the people they were destined to be.

The theory and the reality often get a little muddled with me personally. Why? Because I am a bit of a control freak and I worry whether things are in order, whether I've got it right.
Hence, generally I downloaded the Naplan and Acara Text papers at the beginning of each year and we spend the first day asking the children to answer all of these questions.
Usually by the end of this day we realize we are at least one year ahead of where they need to be age wise and that takes the pressure off needing to learn anything at all for the entire year.

It is pretty much the same story every year. Everyone will do this differently but for me it satisfies my need to be up to speed with the rest of the children of their age attending school. One day it is my aspiration, to let go of this need, I'll probably manage it by the time they are adults. *Sheesh*

I am constantly amazed how by not formally teaching these subjects, the children learn them all anyway.
As homeschool parents, you naturally incorporate education into almost everything you do - instead of just looking at a bird, you would work out what type of bird it was - that would lead to a discussion which might go into biology or genetic mutations or DNA  structures (depending on the age of the children).

Google becomes your friend and there are many documentaries that will fill the blanks in with what you do not know.
Gardening, Helping Out, Permaculture,
Building Rock Walls.Having Fun!

We often hook up an iPad to the television and watch You-tube to find out things that we are interested in.

Websites like KhanAcademy.org provide lesson plans if you prefer formal teaching but you do not want to do it yourself. They will even monitor where your child is up to and make suggestions based on their learning style for the next topic they are heading to. One of the best things is that the entire site is completely free.
We'll also utilise Edalive and many other software programs, including Rosetta Stone.

One of the most important aspects about homeschooling is that you are part of your children's lives, you are part of their education and you know what is going on with them. You will intrinsically know when one child is having difficulty with a certain area and you will naturally incorporate that into your day today life to support them and bring them up to speed.

Some schools will now consider partial enrollments and thus may suit for some families as a bit of the best of both worlds.

As per my blog post a few days ago with the Village School. 
It is certainly more challenging, making the choice to home school and to be responsible for every part of your child / childrens learning, but schools like the village school will assist in every part of home schooling if you are feeling uncertain of the entire responsibility Being on your shoulders 

With enrolling the children into a partial enrolment with the village school it will take that weight off your mind.

Learning about reptiles first hand. Yes, it's alive!
The village school is the only school I know (there may be many that I don’t know) that links 100% perfectly with homeschooling in a loving, supportive and nurturing environment. http://www.villageschool.vic.edu.au

I have recently had the privilege of teaching some of the children on a casual basis in gemmology at the village school.
I also teach in private schools and I am amazed that the children at the village school - even the little six year olds (that have not really been taught anything by the school) are so clever. I have found that the children at the village school are bright, they are present, they are attentive, they are interested and they have been taught how to think about the question that is being asked rather than what is just perceived as the correct answer.

I guess the thing to keep in mind with homeschooling is that it is changeable and you're not locked in and if at any given point it does not work for you you can always go back to school.

I hope some of this assists with your journey and your decisions.
You will encounter many new options along your way, you will most likely lose your way, hopefully you will easily find it again, you may lose your "mojo" (we've usually found this happens around August /September each year) but hang in there and it will all come together again. You will encounter the "socialisation" question - sometimes on a daily basis, you will have people telling you "ohhhh, isn't she clever, I've never known a child her age to be able to do percentages" when they overhear your child stating mathematics - percentages and fractions in departments stores with 35% off sales and in the same breath they may ask you "aren't you worried about their learning, how do you know she is up to speed with her peers".

You will most likely have the "in the zone days" sometimes in the same day as the "tear your hair out days"
But if you have made this decision to home school, you may reach out to the HS community and discover all manner of interesting new friends, you will hang in there, you will be dedicated to the best for your child and your family and you will blossom and flourish and best of all, you get to be part of it, you get to share the adventures, the discoveries and you get to spend time with these amazing little people that are intrinsically part of your life.

GROUPS: (you may need a "friend" to add you in to some of these)
These are the ones I belong to but there are probably many more :-)

www.facebook.com/renascent.home.school (all home school networking and events - this is MY page)
https://www.facebook.com/groups/227336584135550/ (Homeschool Australia Teen Chat)
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1391286824465276/ (Homeschooling Educational Books Australia)
https://www.facebook.com/groups/334723039962837/ (Home School/Educational Supplies - Buy, Sell, Swap Australia)
https://www.facebook.com/groups/CampFest/ (Run by Jenny and Roman Domansky at their caravan park)
https://www.facebook.com/groups/379055948882815/ (Australian Teens Homeschooling Connection)
https://www.facebook.com/groups/143988099090079/ ( Homeschool Buy, Sell, Swap - Australia)
https://www.facebook.com/groups/121165911384094/ (Bali Unschool Adventure on Gili Air, May 2014)
https://www.facebook.com/groups/FOTR.Australia/ (Families on the Road- Travelling Australia)
https://www.facebook.com/educationideas?ref=br_rs (Great Reasons to Home School)

HEN

HEA
www.hea.edu.au/

VRQA
www.vrqa.vic.gov.au/

department of education
www.education.vic.gov.au/

www.distance.vic.edu.au/

Geology and rock formations
We, St Kilda Youth Service (SKYS), are specialists in engaging young people with complex needs through our young person centered approach. We're a proud innovative, entrepreneurial not-for-profit organisation. We offer specialised education, youth engagement, housing and social service programs. We also run two social enterprises which young people can gain the opportunity to be employed with; HEAT Catering (a catering enterprise) and Blue SKYS Media (a graphic design enterprise). Our social enterprises are providing long-term sustainability for our organisation.

My son studied via Distance Education with SKYS

Good Luck with your choices with your children, may they be school, home school, distance education, unschooling, world schooling and many more including a mixture of all. Trust yourself, trust your children and may your journey be a successful adventure.

Re-enacted Courtroom day with the Melbourne Gaol Program

Rare Chook Breeding Day
with the lovely Julie from www.countrychooks.com

Trees Adventures Challenge Course.
Yes as Home Schoolers, even the parents get to join in.



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