Does home schooling work?

Does home schooling work?

Rotorua’s home schooling community is growing. The Daily Post education reporter Kristy Martin speaks to a couple of local  mums about the benefits of teaching their children at home.

Rotorua home schoolers include

Madelyn Skilton, 12 (left), Anna Pilaar, 11, Ellen Bethune, 12, Simon Scothern, Aimee Wolsey, 14, Alex Bethune, 9, and Michael Pilaar, 13.

Photo / Andrew Warner 251110aw13

Contrary to popular belief, not all home school families are weird and highly religious – not in the 21st century anyway.

Rotorua’s Denise Wolsey, who home schools her 14-year-old daughter, Aimee, says home schooling families are misunderstood.

She has the impression most people think they’re weird and religious.

“Most people think home schoolers are wrapped in cotton, but that’s far from reality,” she says.

Fellow home schooling mother Leslie Bethune says there’s now an increasing number of tertiary-educated professionals choosing to home school in a completely new way.

Both women are part of the growing home schooling community in Rotorua and say most people question it because they don’t understand it.

Legally in New Zealand, all children between the ages of 6 and 16 must be enrolled in a registered school.


However, they can get an exemption from enrolment with the permission of the Ministry of Education.

The ministry needs to be sure parents are able to educate their children regularly and as well as a registered school.

Home school parents are not obliged to follow the national curriculum or create a mini-school at home.

Denise believes her children are far better off being home schooled.

“I feel responsible for their education so I make sure I expose them to things.”

She says the main difference between home schooling and public school is that parents can teach their children at the level they’re at.

“The huge difference for us is that if they need extra help, you don’t have to worry about 20 other kids.”

While it is a bit more difficult for home school children to get qualifications, there are a number of options.

Some home school students are able to align with local schools and do internal NCEA assessments or sign up to sit external NCEA exams via the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) website. Another option is to sit the Cambridge exams.

Despite that, Denise says being at home means her children can focus on things in which they’re interested and she never has to worry about them missing out on learning things they would in school.

She says one of the most common questions people ask is whether home schooled children are adequately socialised. She believes they are more socialised than children who go to school.

“They’re exposed to life – they don’t just sit at home.”

Home school lessons include maths, English, French, Spanish, history, geography, science, art, graphics, music, photography, drama, horse riding, swimming and more.

This year, some have also taken courses in kayaking, mountainbiking, computing, sewing, cooking, skiing and te reo.

Denise and Leslie say the Rotorua home school community often organises group classes and excursions.

Modern technology plays a huge part in the way they teach their children. Via the internet, home school children are able to take courses or qualifications from anywhere in the world.

Leslie says many of the classes are live in virtual classrooms with a real teacher and real classmates.

She likes the relaxed, flexible nature of home schooling.

“We do things at our own pace without having to compare with other students.”

Leslie says she has confidence in home schooling because she has a good idea of her children’s quality of work.

She believes home schooling allows her children to get a more well-rounded education.

View link here:

[Link: Home schooling myths and facts]