Homeschoolers need to realise is that governments don't give a hoot about individuals - they have their own agendas which pander to very strong and vocal lobbies. Historically, mass compulsory education has always been a socialist movement - homeschooling flies in the face of this.
No educational authority in Australia will willingly undermine the public school system - it would be then end of the department if they did. That's one compelling reason why government education authorities should not be the regulating body for homeschooling. Unfortunately this is the case in several Australian states. This presents is a clear conflict of interest, especially fiscal interest.
Most politicians would be very reluctant to champion the homeschooling cause - things get nasty enough around election time when the old 'public versus private school' debate hots up. Homeschoolers represent a tiny, vulnerable minority. The only thing we have in our favour is that we can argue our cases in court if necessary. They know that and that's why we don't see too many court cases...
In Australia state educational authorities each have their own curriculum guidelines. They are keen to force these on homeschooling families if they can and they are implementing this by stealth and by blatantly pushing through legislation, usually ignoring parliamentary debate and discussion and public consultation.
The majority of homeschooling families would probably agree that the state curriculum guidelines generally sound reasonable and sensible (once you learn how to read the jargon). But if you find yourself unable to teach various aspects of the curriculum because of your faith or family values - and you need that you are legally bound to 'register' - then everything can quickly turn sour. And it's not just faith and family values.
The bigger question that each of us as individuals need to answer is WHO determines how we parent and educate our children - strangers or people who have invested considerable time, energy and love into getting to know the needs of these individual children? What resources should be used in the educational program - something determined by a committee, perhaps even several years ago, or by someone intimately involved in the day to day existence of the child?
Instead of regulating homeschooling to the eyeballs and spending a fortune on checking up on us the politicians and their public departments need to study the efficacy of homeschooling in Australia and learn a thing or two about how children really learn best.
© Beverley Paine 2006
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