Home schooling on the rise

EDUCATING children in the home is becoming a popular choice for Ipswich parents.

Statistics showed there was a 70% increase in the number of registered students being home schooled in the area since last year.

There was also an 8% increase in the number of students enrolled in distance education.

Teacher Julie Faint travels to homes south of the city to support students who are enrolled in Faith Christian School of Distance Education.

She has noticed an increase of home-educated students in the Ipswich area.

Ms Faint said more parents were enrolling their students in distance education because there was more support than home schooling.

"I think one of the keys is having those locally-based teachers that parents can access," she said.

"Home visits and learning resources; they're important to the mums."

The statistics, which show there are 236 distance education students this year in the Ipswich area, does not include private schools, including Ms Faint's.

She said parents tended to move their children from home schooling to distance education when they reached high school.

"I think there would be a correlation between where the kids are at," she said.

"It varies really, depending on what (the parents) are looking for. If they want that support, they'll come across (to distance education)."

One of the benefits of distance education is being able to tailor programs to their skills.

Ms Faint said a Year 3 student could be up to a Year 5 standard in mathematics.

"Within the curriculum we try and accommodate an individual child's needs," Ms Faint said.

"Once we've done that we provide them with a range of resources they need."

Christian Education Ministries' Schools Department general manager Dr Terry Harding said it was difficult to determine exactly how many students were home schooled because many families did not register with the Queensland Government.

Dr Harding said choosing home education was not just about isolation or remoteness anymore.

His research shows 90-95% of distance education students are in metropolitan areas.

"It's different… it's no longer about location, it's more about parent choice, and that's the critical point," he said.

HOME EDUCATION

Last year:

  • 10 homeschool students
  • 218 in distance education

This year:

  • 17 homeschool students
  • 236 in distance education

 

Why we choose to educate our own children

THERE are many reasons why parents choose to keep their children at home for their education.

Christian Education Ministries' Schools Department general manager Dr Terry Harding has conducted research into reasons. He surveyed home schooling parents and found:

  • 26% of parents make the decision for "educational reasons". "They like the individualised approach to home education and wanted greater flexibility, particularly for gifted and talented students," Dr Harding said.
  • 22% wanted to engage more with their child's education. "They believed it was their responsibility (to educate) rather than the responsibility of other people."
  • 19% of parents said home schooling came down to religion, beliefs and values.
  • 11% said it was about social development. This included issues in the playground, such as bullying. They also did not want their child to be forced to socialise only with children their own age.
  • 8% said school did not meet the child's needs, including health and those with disabilities, or school was too far away or expensive.
  • 7% said they wanted to see their child build a strong self-concept and have an ability to "be themselves" and have the freedom to pursue their gifts and interests.
  • 7% said the decision was made for environmental reasons. These parents wanted their children to learn in a positive environment that was not disruptive, noisy or too busy.


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