Do Homeschool High School Differently

by Beverley Paine

Education is about meeting children's learning and developmental needs: these are determined by the nature of the child and the environment in which they live. Rather than trying to cram in some curriculum that is designed for schools, ask what is it that you want your child to be able to do at age 18, what is it she wants to be able to do by then, what will she need to be able to do, and what kind of person do you want her to be and more importantly, what kind of person does she want to be? These are your guiding questions in working out what to learn, when and how.

When we personalise education we help our children take ownership of and responsibility for their learning: it is something they do because they need to grow and want to be become adults rather than something that happens passively to them because other people think it is a good idea.

When we become fully engaged in one topic or area of life we naturally use, build and reinforce skills and knowledge from other areas to support our learning.

Say, for example, for a 15 year old decides to spend months pulling apart and repairing or rebuilding a car, learning about road safety, rules, working safely, purchasing parts, working with others, researching information on forums and the internet, fixing dents, respraying, etc. Some would say this is a hobby or an interest. I'd call it a curriculum - describe it as a course. It is possible to write this up as a course coordinator for TAFE or Year 12 would present it - a six month course in Automobile Repair and Servicing. Bullet point some of the main skills covered: 'communicating with peers and experts in a variety of ways to obtain, share, formulate and discuss ideas, experience, results using written and oral media', etc. (Basically asking the guy over the counter some questions, sending emails, replying to forums, chatting with like-minded friends, etc!)

We're home educators and we're carving a new path in education experience (actually a very old one!). And, at the moment and hopefully for the foreseeable future, we're able to it in whichever way we want. We have the ability to show them that the nature of home education is different from school and that although it achieves the same outcomes and covers the same ground as required by the school curriculum it does it can do it vastly different ways - many of them more akin to how adults learn in tertiary education than how children learn in classrooms.

Such examples of recording confidently and assertively presented in our applications and reviews educate those making and applying the rules just how innovative and superior home education is compared to what is happening in classrooms. Eventually, gradually we will collectively begin to make a difference.

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