November 15, 2018

What’s it like to home educate your children?

Currently, 6,000 New Zealand kids are getting homeschooled, not including those enrolled at the correspondence school Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu.

Educating a child at home can allow a parent to “light a fire in their hearts and minds” without pressure or competition, says Siobhan Porter, who has homeschooled all five of her kids.

Siobhan is the director of Auckland Home Educators – a support and advocacy group for homeschoolers.

She and education consultant Natalie Donaldson – who has also homeschooled five kids  – talk to Kathryn Ryan about their experience.

Siobhan Porter of Auckland Home Educators

Siobhan Porter of Auckland Home Educators Photo: Auckland Home Educators

Siobhan Porter had a private school education herself and every advantage, she says.

She hadn’t been exposed to home education at all when she became a mother. (Her children now range in age from 6 to 19.)

“When my oldest was nearly five, I thought ‘actually I don’t really want school to interrupt this lovely thing we’ve got happening here’.”

Siobhan met with some other people who were homeschooling and decided to give it a go.

“I thought ‘surely it can’t be too hard to teach a child to read. I can read myself, I’m not trained to do this but I think I could find out.”

Every child learns differently and as a parent, you have a lot of intuition about what is best for your own child, she says.

“When you can sit alongside your child and connect with them, it’s a wonderful process of them learning and you learning alongside them.

“You’re really lighting a fire in their hearts and minds and helping them to follow their passions.

“You can do that in a really thorough and unhurried way when you’re homeschooling without all that pressure and competition.

“They do this great learning but they still have heaps of time to play, explore, create and imagine.”

Natalie, whose kids now range in age between 11 and 19, also had no intention of educating her kids at home until it became clear her 5-year-old son was going to find school a big challenge.

She and her partner gave it a try for educational reasons, but didn’t realise it would also be “a great family thing it was to do”, she says.

“We didn’t realise it would give us the opportunity to be together as a family, to grow to know each other and to actually quite like each other in a way I didn’t realise you could do as a family.”

In New Zealand, homeschoolers don’t have to follow the New Zealand school curriculum and people take many different approaches to their kids’ education, Natalie says.

“Learning isn’t about reaching a particular milestone at a particular age. It’s about progressing along a continuum and gaining those skills as you are able and interested.

“If a child is illiterate at age 10 or 11 it does not mean they will have a poor education outcome long-term if a family is committed to [their education].

“If you take the institution out of learning, children just have this wonderful freedom and curiosity to learn.”

Homeschooled kids don’t have to miss out socially, she says.

“Children don’t have to be around 20 or 30 other children to be well-socialised. They do need a few good friends and they need to see those friends regularly.”

Auckland Home Educators hosts an event every term where kids can experience the wider community of homeschoolers, she says.

But people educating their kids at home also have to use initiative and create their own community, she says.

“You have to be proactive about seeking out those families at the same age and stage in your area that you can meet with regularly.”

When they’re reading for formal schooling, home-schooled children are generally well-grounded, she says.

“They really know who they are, they know their family, they know their family culture and values.”

One of the biggest challenges of home-schooling is living on one income, she says.

“There’s a lot of families who are on quite humble incomes who find creative ways to make homeschooling work for them.”

As a parent, more mess and clutter in the house and fewer breaks from your kids can be challenging, too, she says.

Natalie concedes homeschooling isn’t the right option for everyone, but sometimes the positive outcomes can take time to be revealed.

“It can look like [the child is] doing nothing in the early years, but inevitably, in the long run, these familes do extremely well.”

You can get more information about home education at the Ministry of Education website.

Radio New Zealand:

https://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/2018669313/what-s-it-like-to-homeschool-your-kids

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Needing help for your home schooling journey: http://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 startedhttp://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/

and

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

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

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

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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New doco says NZ education system is ‘grossly unfair’

Documentary maker Bryan Bruce says the government could do better for our children.

Bryan Bruce is not afraid to ask the big questions whether he is looking at child poverty or the growing divide between rich and poor. The Scottish-born Kiwi filmmaker, who was responsible for the documentaries Mind The Gapand Inside Child Poverty, is now putting New Zealand’s education system under the microscope.

In his documentary, World Class? Inside NZ Education: A Special Report, Bryan, a former teacher, looks at what he believes are some fundamental problems in schools.

He is critical of the reforms, known as Tomorrow’s Schools, which started in the 1980s in which schools became self-managing.

 “So what happened in 1987 is the politicians got involved and thought ‘We know better than the teachers. We’re going to get involved and every school will manage itself and we’ll have these boards.’

READ MORE:
*Depression among Kiwi students a ‘crisis’
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*Marlborough colleges visit Christchurch for co-location ideas

“What happened is that schools in rich areas did really well because they had accountants and lawyers on their boards and schools in poor areas didn’t do well because they didn’t have the capacity to pull in money and all of that. What we’ve really ended up with is an apartheid system of education. Our system of education is grossly unfair.

“Every child who enters the public system of education should have the same right not just to enter it but to actually succeed in it and that’s not the case.

“If education was a reality game show I’d be giving out roses to the teachers and voting treasury off the island. I’d be telling the ministry that if they don’t help teachers more, they’ll be next to go.”

For his documentary Bryan travels to New York, China and Finland to compare their education systems with New Zealand’s. He also shines the spotlight on South Auckland’s Manurewa Intermediate, a decile one school he says is “one of the best schools in the country”.

“It’s run by an incredible principal called Iain Taylor. They have a discovery approach where you will find what the child is interested in and then you will teach from that position. So if a kid likes motorbikes you start there. They read about motorbikes. The idea is to develop a passion for learning.

“If you keep testing children on knowledge, you drive that passion for learning out of them.”

World Class? Inside NZ Education: A Special Report – TV3, May 24

 – TV Guide

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Needing help for your home schooling journey: http://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 startedhttp://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/

and

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

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

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

Coming Events: http://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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Vaccine or Home School

From the States:
“California lawmakers on Tuesday approved a hotly contested bill that would impose one of the strictest vaccination laws in the country, after five hours of highly emotional testimony that brought hundreds of opponents to the Capitol.

“The bill, sponsored by Democratic Sens. Richard Pan of Sacramento and Ben Allen of Santa Monica, would only allow children with serious health problems to opt out of school-mandated vaccinations. School-age children who remain unvaccinated would need to be home-schooled.

It would apply to elementary schools, secondary schools and day care centers.”

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Please feel free to repost, forward or pass on  this email

Please do so with the whole post. Thankyou

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Needing help for your home schooling journey:

http://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 startedhttp://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/

and

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

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

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

Coming Events: http://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

Red Tape Cluster Buster Meetings and the Scoping Survey: http://hef.org.nz/2014/next-steps-deadline-8-december-2014/

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Excellent news from the National Library

Email sent to Lennie Harrison today:

Sent: Tuesday, April 07, 2015 12:13 PM
To:
Subject: RE: books for Amberley Harrisons

Hi Lennie

cut…

I also have some exciting news for you.  The changes to our services has been slowed and will now take a longer time to implement into schools.  The document out at the moment, which is an ‘in process’ document says that they have decided that there will be no change to the service provided to Home Education Families.  This has come about because of all the feedback that people and organisations have sent in concerning the changes.

Thanks – bye for now.

Michelle

Thank you to all those who sent in feedback to the National Library. You were listened to.

Previous information:

National Library service changes 2015

Response to Melissa from the National Library

New National Library Access proposal

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Please share/forward this link with other home educators.

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Updated 1 October 2014:  Three years on (Craig Smith’s Health) page 7 click here

*****

Needing help for your home schooling journey:

http://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 startedhttp://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/

and

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

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

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

Coming Events: http://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

Red Tape Cluster Buster Meetings and the Scoping Survey: http://hef.org.nz/2014/next-steps-deadline-8-december-2014/

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Emma Thompson and husband decide to educate daughter Gaia at home

Gaia - pictured here with her famous parents Emma Thompson and Greg Wise - has decided main stream education isn't for her

Gaia – pictured here with her famous parents Emma Thompson and Greg Wise – has decided main stream education isn’t for her

Emma Thompson and her husband Greg Wise have withdrawn their 15-year-old daughter from school and begun educating her at home.

Mr Wise, who starred in Sense and Sensibility, said their daughter Gaia had decided shortly before her GCSEs that school “wasn’t for her”.

He said: “She loves learning and she’s terribly focused and hardworking, but she didn’t like the sausage factory of formal education. I’ve no argument with that.”

Mr Wise and Ms Thompson have built a school room at the end of their garden in West Hampstead, north London, where tutors will teach Gaia.

He said: “Although I won’t be teaching her. We’ve got tutors and I’ve built her a school room in the garden.”

But the couple admit they have not yet decided what will be on their daughter’s home curriculum, with Mr Wise – who recently starred in Effie Gray – the story of Victorian critic John Ruskin’s teenage bride – joking: “I think we should just teach Latin and free-form dance. Really.”

He said home schooling made sense in a world where the nature of jobs and careers is changing at a rapid pace – requiring a more flexible approach to educating children.

“I read a fascinating statistic recently that said 60 per cent of the kids at school will go on to do jobs that haven’t yet been invented,” he said.

Although by law children have to receive full time education until the age of 17, this does not have to be at school and can be done legally at home.

‘Home educating’ families do not have to follow the National Curriculum, making the idea attractive to parents with children who find it hard to ‘fit in’; children with special needs or who have been severely bullied; and children for whom the school classroom does not suit their particular way of learning.

It is estimated that up to 60,000 children are being home educated in England and Wales at any one time.

Edwina Theunissen, of Education Otherwise, said: “School doesn’t suit everyone and it’s great that there’s a safety net like home education. Many children suffer from anxiety at school, or are finding it increasingly hard to cope with the pressure of the exam system. In other cases they are bored with what is being taught and children can gain a great deal following their own interests.

Mr Wise, 48, said parents had to be careful not to regard themselves as irreplaceable or responsible for everything that happens in their children’s lives.

“As a parent, it is easy to make yourself feel responsible for things that are out of your control, but it comes from a need to feel needed and to shape our lives,” he said.

In an interview in The Times magazine, Mr Wise, who first came to public prominence with his appearance as Mr Willoughby in the 1995 film version of Sense and Sensibility, which also starred Ms Thompson and Kate Winslet, said his daughter – who has recently been photographed with her mother at a number of film premieres – refuses to watch anything in which he appears.

He said: “This is the big argument we’re having at the moment. Gaia is OK watching her mum, though. She knows her mum’s an actress and a film star and she gets stopped in the street all the time. But Dad’s Dad. I’m a piece of furniture – we hang out and do stuFF.”

Read the rest of the article here: Emma Thompson and husband decide to educate daughter Gaia at home

Earlier stories:

1. Emma Thompson decides to educate her daughter at home after girl says school ‘wasn’t for her’ 

Emma Thompson’s daughter has been withdrawn from her £6,000-a-term school so she can be taught in her back garden after deciding main-stream learning ‘wasn’t for her’.

– Father Greg Wise revealed ‘sausage factory’ education wasn’t for her

2. Emma Thompson: I would take daughter out of school for a year

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Updated 1 October 2014:  Three years on (Craig Smith’s Health) page 7 click here

*****

Needing help for your home schooling journey:

http://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 startedhttp://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/

and

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

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

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

Coming Events: http://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

Red Tape Cluster Buster Meetings and the Scoping Survey: http://hef.org.nz/2014/next-steps-deadline-8-december-2014/

 

 

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