September 26, 2020

Home schooling: 818 Waikato children learn at home

They’ve been to kindy and one tried school, but the Morrison kids like learning at home.

And there’s a school roll’s worth of kids learning like them in the Waikato.

Nationally, there were about 5600 home schoolers in 2015 – including 818 in the Waikato and 1214 in Auckland.

STUFF is asking the question:

Why did you choose to home school?

Share your stories, photos and videos.

Home schooling Hamilton mum Loral Morrison doesn’t know where to start on stereotypes.

“There’s an assumption you drive a mini bus and have 17 children… Your kids all wear three-quarter pants and jerseys that are too small and have no social skills.”

Hamilton woman Loral Morrison home schools her three kids. She's pictured in 'the library' with Jacob, 4, (left) and Zeke, 8.

GEORGE HEARD/FAIRFAX NZ

Hamilton woman Loral Morrison home schools her three kids. She’s pictured in ‘the library’ with Jacob, 4, (left) and Zeke, 8.

 Many assume all home schoolers are Christian – the Morrisons are.

Loral says balancing three kids’ learning needs is like solving a Rubik’s cube, but it’s still a low child-to-teacher ratio.

All her children spent time at kindy and started home education about age four.

Kayla Morrison's school desk is in her bedroom. The 12-year-old tried school for a year when she was eight but prefers ...

GEORGE HEARD/FAIRFAX NZ

Kayla Morrison’s school desk is in her bedroom. The 12-year-old tried school for a year when she was eight but prefers learning at home.

 Kayla, now 12, went to school for about a year when youngest brother Jacob was born.

“Kayla was reading around the age of three, speaking very early, just a bright kid,” Loral said.

“The reason we pulled her out of school again, we saw a drastic decline.”

Kayla, then eight, said she wasn’t challenged.

“Sometimes [at school] we would have really easy subjects and books that I might have been reading when I was six.”

There are as many reasons for home schooling as there are families and kids in them: quality time, better managed health needs, freedom to individualise the learning.

The Morrisons use a curriculum bought from the US.

“We try and have all of our books done by lunchtime, which is getting a bit more challenging now that there’s three [kids],” Loral said.

“It’s a little bit like a Rubik’s cube, changing around and making it work.”

They don’t have set hours during the week but include regular extracurricular activities and break for school holidays.

Parents or guardians who want to home school need Ministry of Education approval for each child, who must be taught “at least as regularly and as well as they would be in a registered school”.

Once granted, the parent or guardian is legally responsible for the child’s education.

Financial support for a single child is $743 a year.

Waikato’s The Home Educators Network (THEN) liaises with the ministry through Sheena Harris.

It has about 100 members with a rural – urban spread.

Harris has noticed a slight increase in people who choose to teach their kids after diagnoses of special needs such as ADHD and autism.

And while she knows of a couple of dads, it’s mostly mums who are the main teacher for their kids.

For more information on home schooling in the Waikato, contact Sheena Harris on sheenaharris.cm@btinternet.com

– Stuff

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Needing help for your home schooling journey:

https://hef.org.nz/2011/needing-help-for-your-home-schooling-journey-2/

And

Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling:

Information on getting startedhttps://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/

and

Information on getting an exemptionhttps://hef.org.nz/exemptions/

This link is motivational:https://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-what-is-it-all-about/

Exemption Form online:https://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-exemption-form-now-online/

Coming Events:https://hef.org.nz/2013/some-coming-events-for-home-education-during-2013-2/

Beneficiaries: http://hef.org.nz/2013/where-to-for-beneficiary-families-now-that-the-social-security-benefit-categories-and-work-focus-amendment-bill-has-passed-its-third-reading

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