Thursday, 26 September 2013

10 steps to Home Education in Australia

If you are looking into homeschooling your children or you have already made the decision to home educate, the next step can be somewhat daunting. So here is a brief outline of the steps we took to start home educating our children. 

1. Learn your state/territory requirements
In Australia, each state and territory have their own set of requirements for homeschooling (such as registration) so before you start home educating your children, you need to be aware of these requirements. Click on the state/territory below to view these requirements:

2. Find and connect with a home schooling group 
Your greatest resource and support will come from others who are also home educating. The best place to start looking for other home educators is on the Home Education Association website. HEA provides support and services to Australian home educating families and has many links to online support groups, blogs, resources and other information you may need to get started with homeschooling. Also look for different support groups online such as facebook groups and yahoo groups.

3. Research the different learning styles
Everyone learns in different ways so by knowing your children's learning style, it can help you understand the best way they learn and what methods of learning suits them best. It will also help you incorporate different techniques when planning and implementing learning experiences as well as helping you decide what resources you may need. There are seven different learning styles and they are:

It may take some time to identify your child's learning styles as they will have more than one and can adapt their learning styles to suit the situation. But the way they learn will help determine what type of approach you will have to home educating them. For us, my son is a visual and kinesthetic learner so he learns best when he is "seeing" and "doing" the learning so we do a lot of hands-on learning activities (hence my very activity based blog). 
4. Research different home educating styles  
There are a number of different approaches or styles to homeschooling and each one is different and unique. There is no one correct style of homeschooling as it is up to you to decide what approach best suits your family and most importantly your children. Here are some of the different styles of homeschooling:

5. Look at the Curriculum requirements
Although the Australian Curriculum is being implement across Australia, most state and territory still have their own curriculum requirements. Click on the links below to view these requirements:
Knowing your state or territories curriculum requirements can give you a rough outline of how to take your next step.

6. Make a flexible plan  
I believe that children are ALWAYS learning so I mainly use a timetable, such as the one below, as a general guide (for registration and recording purposes) when supporting my children with their learning. You can read about how Our Learning Day happens.

When putting together a timetable or a learning plan, such as the one below, I use our state curriculum as a guide to which subjects need to be included in the plan. I basically write an outline of all the activities and resources I think my children might like to do or what I think we should cover, then add the state required outcomes to show that I am covering the requirements. I write the plan to suit my children's area of interest and make the outcomes fit the plan. 

Planning needs to be flexible. So having a plan like this is used as a guide to what learning might look like throughout the year as well as giving you some direction in how to cover your state or territory requirements.

7. FREE resources
Before you start purchasing any curriculum based learning resources, have a look online for the free resources that are available. My biggest free online resource is Pinterest. Not only is it great for finding free resources it is also great for finding great learning ideas.

8. Look at curriculum suppliers
If you decide that you want to buy curriculum based learning books or student workbooks, there are a few online Australian suppliers that have good quality learning books as well as good shipping prices and other learning resources. Here are some that we have used:

If online shopping is not for you, I have found a large range of learning resource books at our local Kmart and Big W, your local news agency and bookstore are also helpful. There are many different online learning website such as reading eggs and skwirk for example, so it is a matter for searching for the best one that works for your children and your budget. 
9. A learning space 
Whether you take a natural approach to learning or take a more structure style of homeschooling, you will have different learning resources that will require some type of organised space in your home. When we first decided to home educate, we already had what we called a 'play room'  with books and toy shelves as well as storage boxes for learning supplies. So all we did was purchase a student desk and chair to add to our room. You can read about Our Learning Space.

Make sure you keep within your budget, only purchase the things you need and start out slow.
10. Be prepared to face adversity 
Like everything in life, there are those around us who will disagree with decisions you make about your life and your children. Many well-meaning family and friends might see your decision to home educate your children as a threat on their own parenting or their own children's education. It can be difficult to take the criticism and consistent questions when you first start out but as you continue on your homeschooling journey you will start to see the benefits that home education has on your children and so will others.

I have also found another link that you might want to look at about Getting Started with Homeschooling in Australia. I hope this blog post has been informative and helpful. 

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