Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I get asked alot about homeschooling here in Australia. It is more common in the US than Australia. I will give you a brief rundown on homeschooling for us. I am in New South Wales and the legal requirements are that I register my school age children with the NSW Board of Studies. To gain registration I have to show that I have an educational plan to teach the children following the six key learning areas, have access to suitable resources and can provide an adequate learning area.

World puzzle that the countries are single jigsaw pieces

The six Key Learning Areas are English, Mathematics, Science and Technology, Human Society and It's Environment, Creative Arts and Personal Development, Health, Physical Education. Some of these are quite broad; for instance Human Society and It's Environment to me is geography, history and civics. Creative Arts is art, craft, dance, drama and music.

In order to gain registration you have an inspection from a NSW Board of Studies Inspector (these seem to be former school principals in my experience) or you apply through documentation - sending the documents away. Registration is for between 1 month and 2 years, depending on how confident/approving the Inspector is with you and your plans. They are also there to help and guide if you need it.

Alot of people confuse homeschooling with distance education. The main difference, as I see it, is that with homeschooling I get to choose the material and set the pace. With distance education you follow both the material and timetable that is sent to you, and they monitor it all closely. We chose to homeschool because we wanted to choose the material and work with the pace of the child instead of working to the class. I enjoy this extra time spent with the children that I would not get if they attended school. Seeing and being a part of that 'aha' moment makes all the hard effort so worthwhile.

As any homeschooling family will tell you, no two days are the same for homeschooling, however I will give an idea on how our days go. After breakfast the children complete chores, not only to help run our large family but to teach them valuable life skills. Once our morning chores are completed we complete our bookwork, sometimes we stop for morning tea (this depends on how late a start it is to the day!). After lunch I like to read to the children on various topics, and work on crafts, yes - sewing happens often in the afternoon! Once afternoon tea is over the children complete their afternoon chores and have free time until dinner. I find that the older ones are good at helping with the younger ones, that extra reinforcement with counting and learning the alphabet is a great help.

Now many of you know I have younger children too, ages 3 and 2. What are these ones doing all this time? They are busy playing in the dirt/sandpit, riding bikes, bouncing on the trampoline; thuogh most of the time I have set things out to occupy them. I don't mind them watching a little tv, usually playschool, but don't like them to watch more than 1/2 hr to an hour a day. The special activities that they do include lacing, puzzles, looking at books, an older child will read or make up a story to go with a book, lego, wooden train set, drawing, various board type games. Often you will find one of both of the boys on my lap while working through something with one of the older children. It needs to be said that on the days that I don't have anything organised for them, trouble reigns!

BBQ dip

Socialising is something I am frequently asked about; and something that I used to ask about in the early days. The children interact well with other children and adults alike. If anything, they are more repsonsible and aware of the consequences of their actions. They have regular contact with other children, both schooled and homeschooled; play soccor in the winter and swim in the summer.

I am proud of how my children help at home and use their manners, however you do have weary times. Homeschooling isn't all sunshine and roses, but the sunshine and roses makes all the hard times very worthwhile. For all you working mums out there reading this, I have alot of admiration for you do too; your job also requires alot of organisation and effort in your childrens best interests; and there are only so many hours in one day.

Oh, and you DO NOT want to see my ironing pile! It currently is sitting about eye level! yup, you can't do everything!

the coffee table regularly gets piled up like this!

My school age children are 8yrs, 7yrs and 6yrs. To give you an idea of the work we complete I will list the main workbooks and books that we work through and read, in addition to this we read alot of books on many topics, including literature.

Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading

Explode the Code (phonics workbooks)

Practice Your English Skills
Readers - Bob books, Phonics Practice, Fitzroy, Nutshell.
Letter writing
Singapore Mathematics3rd edition (main maths program)
Singapore Mathematics CD-ROM
New Wave Mental Maths RIC publications
EasyLearn Maths
Flashmaster (electronic maths quiz)
Lets Read and Find Out About Science books on various topics
REAL Science - pandia press
Active Science
Wonderland of Nature by Nuri Mass
Story of the World by Susan Wise Bauer
Suceeding in Social Studies
Society and Environment
various Australian history books
Artistic Pursuits
Home Economics for Home Schoolers
Stitches and Pins
Buckles and Bobbins
Self Esteem

Leave a comment or email me with any questions.


bettsy said...

I spent three years teaching preschool by distance education ( back in dinosaur times.) I have the utmost respect for mothers who choose to teach at home, either by correspondence or choice. The children must keep you on your toes, but it certainly can be exciting when you join in their journey of discovery. Good work.

Anonymous said...

What a great post Bec from someone who wondered how it all worked but had never asked. I knew you would have to have a bit of a plan....
As for that ironing.... My iron is only bought out for my sewing. I try to wash,hang then pack away. Keeps the ironing down to a minimum. Thanks for sharing....

Anita said...

Thanks for sharing Bec, good on you for homeschooling. I think you need to be a special person to do it, and patient too, something I am not LOL
And as for the ironing, don't worry, my ironing pile is just as big!!

Mary Grace McNamara said...

I have several sisters who have homeschooled or who are homeschooling their children, and their families count 14, 11, and 10 children! My other 3 siblings have not homeschooled, nor have I. Everyone does it for different reasons, but I think all homeschoolers agree that getting to know their children so well is one of the greatest benefits. Good for you, and for them! And thanks for sharing your perspective.


Maree said...

I take my hat off to You...what a wonderful time to have with your children...Congratulations...

Traceyrox74 said...

Cool. A post on homeschooling. I read it twice I liked it so much. Yes, our homeschool table looks like your coffee table. It often spills over onto the reading couch too. I'll photograph my ironing pile for you. It's not eye height yet but mine starts from the ground and goes up to Ethan's eye height. :o)) Besides ironing is far less important in the grand scheme of things when there are babies to be cuddled and little ones to read to. Looking forward to the next homeschool post.


Jelly Wares said...

It's been a while since I popped by Bec, you've sure been busy... The new blog template looks great and this post rocks.... You explained the whole home schooling thing perfectly... :)

Jodie :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Bec,
I can't find your e-mail. Thank you for the pattern. Your table looks like mine! We had our homeschool check this week and got another 2 years, Yeah!

Anonymous said...