were originally one teacher schools. The increase in size of schools has been
largely for administrative convenience. One to one tuition has always been the
best which is why homeschooling is so successful. Homeschooling enables all
students to succeed providing they are permitted to work at their own level and
own rate. Every child is unique and will have pre-set learning rates and
individual needs. Homeschooling allows parents to cater for both the learning
rate and the learning method regardless of the child's ability. Slow, average
and bright students all do well under this type of system. Homeschooling also
allows for training in self-discipline which will be required throughout life.
are, and always have been, the best teachers. They know their children and are
prepared to expend whatever time and energy is necessary in ensuring the
child's success. If self-instructional material is used then children are not
limited by their parents’ knowledge, or lack of it, in a particular subject.
The parent remains the "authority figure" in the child's life and is available
to guide the child. As a result, families become closer.
main criteria for success in homeschooling is that parents be able to
discipline both themselves and their children to follow a schedule. Initially
this should be fairly rigid, e.g. begin work at nine o'clock and work until
eleven on academics, however, once a pattern is set this can be relaxed to suit
the family needs, e.g. the birth of a baby, sickness, relatives coming to stay.
all books are the same standard. Many books are written as “one-off” and do not
follow sequentially. Sequential learning is important. You can not just choose
any books from a book shop at a particular grade and expect them to work well.
home children must be able to work from the material provided with minimal
supervision since the mother needs to spend time with other children and with
house duties. This trains children to work on their own and set their own goals
by adjusting their rate of study to make most efficient use of their own time.
These skills will be needed later in the workforce.
requires too much time. A family with four children studying five core subjects
at different levels would involve the preparation of twenty separate lessons
per day. The curriculum must therefore be self-instructional, that is, not
require the constant services of a teacher. Self-instructional material makes
it unnecssary for the parents to have a high level of education or know all
subjects. The author in effect becomes the tutor. Self-instructional material
frees the parent to spend time with a child who may be experiencing
difficulties. Text selected should have answers as this also saves parents
is a long term commitment requiring long term planning. Material should be
available from pre-school to year 10. It should be broad enough to cater for a
range of children, since not all children are the same.
are Australians and as a nation different to Americans or any other race. We
spell differently, we use different grammar rules, the sequence we teach our
maths is different, our chemistry and maths is different, our outlook is
different and we have different needs.
overseas curriculum have been written around the country of origin. An
Australian curriculum does not have these problems and nor does it have
problems of supply. Purchasers should ensure that the curriculum contains
Australian Social Studies, Maths etc. Parents should be especially careful when
choosing science and maths material for highschool age children to ensure that
their children complete the necessary level for their chosen career.
Australian curriculum we have provides a great variety within the material.
Children will be required to comprehend, reason, fill in gaps, write sentences,
paragraphs and essays, draw maps and research material. This gives children the
opportunity to gain a wide range of skills and makes it less likely that the
smart child will work out the “system” of the programme.
material does not assume that every child will reach year twelve or higher.
Since the material works on a spiral system skills, are learnt and built on the
following year thus ensuring a child is equipped for the workforce regardless
of the level at which they exit.
of packages or arrangements that allow you to use reference books or answer
keys for a specified amount per year. There may not be enough reference books
in the system. If you have more than one child you will pay over and over again
for the same books. Consumable workbooks which include the answers are best.
beware of teachers who are willing to “tutor” children. Generally these people
are looking at creating a job for themselves. Look out for schools that are
willing to let use their fascilities. The Federal Government has changed the
way it funds schools and some are now willing to “assist” homeschoolers. This
often means that the child is placed on their roll and they receive grants for
should be tailored to suit the child rather than children being slotted into a
curriculum. Children can vary greatly and so can their needs. Individual
characteristics need to be catered for. No child will consistently have
subjects all at one level. Generally, children are better at either maths or english.
Children need to be able to progress at their own rate in each subject. The
curriculum should not be designed to envisage a yearly progress from one grade
to another but should allow a child to advance in each subject as he/she
masters each section.
should not be assumed that chronological age is a measure of scholastic
achievement. Diagnostic tests are required to find the point at which a child
should begin the curriculum. They should be begun at the year below which the
child is presently working. The tests should reveal specific weaknesses needing
special attention to ensure the child has a solid foundation. (The Test Your
Maths, Test Your English and Test Your Spelling series does this.) Do not place
the child at a higher level simply because he is older. It is better to know a
little thoroughly than a lot inadequately. For example, a child must have
mastered addition, subtraction, multiplication, fractions, decimals and
percentages before proceeding to highschool maths.
“Test Your …..” series is available up to year 9. These can also be used as
extension work at the end of each level to ensure the child has no small gaps
before progressing to the next level. This way a child will always succeed.
must be readily available. Some curriculum coming from overseas may be subject
to supply problems as deliveries may be delayed. If goods do not match the
order, re-ordering and delays of several months may result. If a child needs
extra work in an area it should be readily available. It is important that the
supplier be based in Australia and that he carry a large stock of the material.
Question the stock levels and resupply times carefully before purchasing.
Australian material, unless it is being reprinted, can generally be obtained
under two weeks even when your supplier is out of stock.
should be fast and efficient. Do not be afraid to ask how long it generally
takes for an order to be processed. Can you return the books if you find one is
not suitable or must you pay a re-stocking fee? What period do you have to look
at them? Are you required to pay the postage on back orders or will the
conventional education, homeschooling often requires specialised advice,
especially in the initial stages. It is essential that the supplier of the
curriculum offer advice on its use. Since the supplier is earning money from
sale of the books this should be free. You do not pay for advice if you buy,
for example, a microwave, in a shop.
specialised services may need to be paid, for example, reports. Be sure that
the person giving the advice is qualified to do so. Ask the following questions
and evaluate the advice accordingly:
a. Does the
person homeschool or has homeschooled previously? Homeschooling requires
different skills to those used teaching in a school. (Be sure that they really
have homeschooled and not been just part of a parent run school.)
b. How long
have they homeschooled? If they have homeschooled for a short time their advice
may be theoretical rather than practical.
c. How many
children do they have? Families where there are fewer children may use
techniques that are unsuitable for large families, e.g., they may teach two
children at one level. Teaching a number of children at various levels is
almost impossible and self-instructional material is required.
d. Do they use
the material they recommend?
e. Have they
had any children finish homeschooling and entered the workforce? Have these
children succeeded in their own field.
they willing to listen to what you are saying about your children? Every child
is different. The person who best knows the child is the mother. Most mothers
can accurately pinpoint the problem if asked although they do not always
realise that they have this knowledge. Any “professional” who thinks that they
know more about the child than the child’s mother should not be listened to.
Take advice from someone who is willing to listen to you and help you choose
material on the basis of your knowledge of your child.