Across Australia, parents are given the option of enrolling their children in a school or in homeschooling education. While most children go to school, parents who choose to homeschool their children must get permission from the relevant authority in their area and make sure the learning is aligned to the national curriculum.
According to this 2019 article on homeschooling, around 20,000 children in Australia participate in homeschooling, which is a number that has risen significantly since 2013.
Let’s look at some of the main reasons that parents might choose to homeschool their children:
- Religion. Some parents with religious beliefs might prefer homeschooling, particularly if there are no schools which match their religion close to them, or if religious school fees are too expensive for their budget.
- Location. For families that live in regional or rural areas, or far away from most schools, homeschooling can represent simply the most practical option.
- Specific educational needs incompatible with traditional schools. Some children struggle more than others with traditional schools, whether it be from special educational needs, bullying or simply not fitting in. Increasingly, families with these children are choosing to withdraw from school and enrol in homeschooling, instead of facing the stress of moving from school to school multiple times to find the right fit.
- Parenting philosophy. Some parents are ideologically opposed to the teaching methods used at schools and prefer to take over their children’s education themselves.
- Educational outcomes might be better. Research on this topic is limited in Australia mainly to NAPLAN results – homeschooled children are shown to overall score higher on NAPLAN. Perhaps the one-to-one level of attention not available in schools helps children flourish. However, it’s worth noting that NAPLAN is not necessarily a measure of success!
What are some of the benefits offered by traditional schools?
- Socialisation. The most common reason many parents are hesitant to take up homeschooling is that it might limit opportunities for their children to form social bonds with others, an essential part of setting them up for life with social skills.
- Structure. The school day is inherently structured and regimented, which suits some learners more than others. Many students benefit from having a strong sense of routine, and it helps them to learn better.
- More subject options. If a parent is their child’s only teacher, it is likely the child misses out on the opportunity to learn about some areas, such as art, music and sports.
- Teachers with pedagogical training. Teachers in schools must have a teaching qualification, which means they should be experts in learning – your child could have a great learning experience with a variety of teachers.
- Independence. From school, students begin to learn how to take care of themselves outside of the home. School is a great way of introducing different responsibilities to children as they begin to learn more about the world.
There are pros and cons to homeschooling as compared to a more traditional education. There is no one-size-fits-all recommendation when it comes to weighing up homeschooling and traditional schooling – everything depends upon the needs of the child and parents.
If you loved this article, you will LOVE all of our other articles, such as: How to Develop Problem-Solving Skills in Students, Benefits of Using Technology in the Classroom and How to Study in Times of Stress.
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