Sunday involved preparing curriculum for a new Homeschool term. This was made more strenuous by a letter we received the other day. In it we were reminded about stricter guidelines now being set up for home education in our state.
For those foreign to attitudes in Australia towards homeschooling, the best way to illustrate them is by stating that they range between indifference, curiosity, confusion and sometimes hostility.
The general notion is that since the Commonwealth (Federal Government) and States provide “free” schooling, why homeschool?
It is not always the case, but hidden within this is the cultural hang-up that wrongly views “kids as burdens to be offloaded, and their successes paraded only when the result reflects “exceptional parental conduct.”
I feel sorry for the school teachers who are overloaded, overworked, underpaid and largely have their role misunderstood. Granted, the system works up to a point. However it ceases to function effectively when the State (or any private institution) begins to walk away from endorsing the fact that teachers are professional educators, not substitute parents. Nor, to use a more blunt analogy, are they glorified baby-sitters.
Parental responsibility is still the most significant part in the effective education of children. This includes making time to not only be concerned about the place of education, but participate in the method of education and contribute to the progress of their child’s education.
It is part of a more broader political party view, but some State Government representatives in Australia, see Home Schooling as primitive, biased and regressive.
”Without the watchful eye of teachers, some children could end up trapped in abusive settings or left without appropriate learning opportunities,” Greens MP, Dr John Kaye said. (source)
Although helpful to some degree, this new bureaucratic push has some unhealthy weight to it. As a result it is being felt. So for now we are back to homeschooling, but for how long, I couldn’t say.
The good side to this fresh approach by our governing agencies is that it means some empowerment for homeschoolers. For instance, a more targeted practice in the art of “review, review, review” and the opportunity to promote the benefits of homeschooling to those generally unaware of the them.
This can only translate as support. Otherwise we’d be consumed by the fact that it appears as though it’s a politely veiled, politically driven, disincentive to continue.
(Original image credit: digitalart)