By Susanne Vivian
Education plays an important role in the development of children’s essential life skills, such as reading and writing, which sets them up for life so they are able to contribute to society as adults. Therefore the decision for many parents – where to send their children – is an extremely important one.
There is the traditional choice between private and public schools, however over the past few years many parents have opted against the standard education system and have decided to home-school their children instead, according to recent figures.
The Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority’s latest report indicates there has been a significant increase in the number of parents who have registered their children for home schooling. The governing body for home schooling reports that in 2014 there was 3,582 children registered compared to 4,136 in 2015 an increase of 15 %.
Reasons parents could want to educate their children at home rather than sending them to a government or private school include; being able to tailor the curriculum to their children’s learning needs and interests, a dissatisfaction with the quality of education offered in schools, to escape bad situations such as bullying and harassment, and religious grounds. In some cases parents would rather teach their children at home because of mental health issues or a learning disability. With the ease of availability of resources to parents such as the internet and instruction-kits and mail-order curricula, home schooling has become a more viable option to families when compared with traditional educational institutions.
In Victoria, for children between the ages of 6 and 17 years it is compulsory for them to attend some form of education, either in a school or in the home. The requirements for home schooling children include registering with the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority. Failure to register your children is illegal and may result in fines. Your curriculum must include subjects such as English, Mathematics, Science, Humanities, the Arts, Languages, Health and Physical education, and Information and Communications Technology, and at the end of every school year parents need to report to the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority if they plan to continue home schooling their children in the following school year.
Support networks for parents include the Home Education Association (www.hea.edu.au) which provides guidance to parents on how to educate their children, connects home-schooling families, and runs camps and events. There is also the Australian Christian Home Schooling (www.achs.edu.au) for parents wanting to give their children a religious-based home schooling.
For more information about home schooling please refer to the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority s website: www.vrqa.vic.gov.au