More take plunge and homeschool kids

HOME education may be on the rise in Gladstone, but a homeschooling mum says many parents are afraid of taking the leap.

There are two extra Gladstone students registered with the state's home education unit this year, and there also has been a 49% increase in the number of children in the region enrolled in distance education.

A rural mother-of-three who lives in the Gladstone region has adopted "free range" education methods with her three children, and admits she has not registered them with the state government's home education unit.

The mother, who asked not to be named for this reason, said if she registered her 12-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son as being homeschooled, she would have to follow a certain curriculum.

But she does not want to follow those educational methods.

The mother also has a 21-month-old girl, who she is also educating.

"It's natural learning," she said. "If an opportunity comes up for discussion, we talk about that. If we're driving and we're going 100kmh, what if we only go 80kmh, how long will it take us?

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"We're learning all the time. We're taking opportunities all the time. That's our life. There's no Monday or Friday or weekend or school holidays."

The mother said when talking to other parents about homeschooling, she said a lot were "daunted and afraid".

"It was quite scary at first," she admitted. "But over the years it's become natural and our family unit is tighter."

When she spoke about her experiences, the mother said people expressed concerns that her children would not have many opportunities when they grew up.

"I want them to grow up to become and learn how to be adults, from adults," she said. "They won't learn that from other children in the playground.

"They're being influenced by people that care about them the most. Their parents care more about their growth and development than a teacher in a classroom."

The mother said school kept all children at the same pace.

She also said a teacher could not possibly give every single child in their 30-student class individual attention.

It is difficult to determine exactly how many children are being homeschooled because not all parents register with the state government, Christian Education Ministries' Schools Department general manager Dr Terry Harding says.

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.




Last year:

  • 6 homeschooled students
  • 47 in distance education

This year:

  • 8 homeschooled
  • 70 in distance education

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