Home-schooling on rise as Australian bullies world's worst
A FORMER teacher says more parents are choosing to homeschool their kids to protect them from bullying.
Booval's Kerri Richards was a primary school teacher of 28 years and recently resigned to start her business, Uplifted Homeschooling.
She said more parents were choosing to homeschool children as suicides related to bullying increased.
"Bullying is happening in every school, every day and it's happening a lot in our primary schools," Ms Richards said.
"As a primary school teacher, I've witnessed first-hand the bullying of students in primary schools - some as young as eight years old.
I have even been bullied myself as a staff member and been threatened by some students as young as 10 years of age."
Department of Education and Training data shows the number of registered home-schooled students in Queensland more than doubled from 891 in 2011 to more than 2300 in 2016 and continues to rise.
A survey by Mullis, Martin and Foy of schools in about 40 countries found Australian primary schools were among those with the highest reported incidence of bullying in the world.
With National Day Of Action Against Bullying and Violence Week on last week, Ms Richards said attention and focus needed to be given to the primary schools to help solve the bullying epidemic.
"As with any problem in life, I believe that early intervention is the key," she said.
**Are you an Ipswich parent who homeschools their kid/s? Tell us why; email Myjanne Jensen, email@example.com or call 3817 1717**
"Early intervention in our primary schools is critical to not only build confidence and skills in bullying victims, but may also help to interrupt the bullying behaviours of the perpetrators.
"Giving them the love, support and tools to build their confidence and self-worth is important so that if or when they do encounter bullies, they're emotionally stronger and have greater resilience to deal with them."
The Australian Covert Bullying Prevalence Study reported one in four students aged between eight and 14 years reported being bullied every few weeks or more, with the highest prevalence rates being reported by children in Year 5 (age 10 - 11 years).
The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children found that almost one in three students aged 10 - 11 years reported being bullied or picked on by peers, with name calling being far more common than physical bullying.
Ms Richards said name-calling was a tactic used in cyberbullying, which had been linked to the suicide deaths of teens in Australia and worldwide.
"As adults, we sometimes dismiss young children's concerns when they're being bullied," she said.
"For example, how many times have we heard or even used ourselves the phrase 'kids can be cruel'.
"But by not acting on young children's concerns, we are in fact unknowingly acting as silent witnesses to this bullying behaviour.
"I believe that if we address this in our primary schools, tackle it early by educating children on empathy, building their protective factors with programs on social and emotional learning and putting intervention programs in place, we'd have a much better chance of decreasing bullying in high schools."
To find out more about Uplifted Homeschooling visit the website.