Home schoolers swap teaching tips
By JOHN HARTEVELT – The Press | Monday, 28 July 2008
Parents who home school their students compared notes on a surge in their number at a gathering in Christchurch at the weekend.
Home schoolers from Christchurch and around the country met in Bishopdale for a curriculum fair and a series of workshops.
National director of the Home Education Foundation Craig Smith said about 50 people attended and visited seminars which covered topics ranging from classical education to how home education could prevent burnout.
Home schooling appealed to many parents because of the “administrative bullying” of teachers and the public education system in general.
“I hear a lot parents tell me my child’s been at school now for three years and they haven’t learned a darn thing,” Smith said.
The number of children home schooled has grown from about 5280 10 years ago to 6500 in July last year.
Home-schooled children must obtain a certificate of exemption from regular schooling.
The Ministry of Education said home-based schooling must meet the same standards as registered schools.
Kathy Duncan said her four children, aged between five and 12, mixed with a lot of other children who were home schooled.
“Certainly our children wouldn’t socialise with 30 other children the same age as them every day but they do have friends they see regularly,” Duncan said.
Home schooling was a a lifestyle choice, she said.
“It’s not just like having school at home … all of life becomes an education. It’s really hard to separate our life from the education.”
Duncan does not have any teaching qualifications but she said she had “a lot of experience”.
Home schooling is most popular on the West Coast, where 1.9 per cent of children are in home schooling.
The Canterbury Home Educators group has 230 members, representing less than 1% of students in the region.
Smith said aspects of the national assessment programme (NCEA) were “anti-intellectual” and the school curriculum needed to get back to basics and cut out political correctness.
Smith did not want any more Government funding because he feared it would take control of home schoolers.
“The ERO (Education Review Office) is sitting in judgment on the way you as a parent relate to your own child,” he said.