Once you've made the decision to homeschool your teen the next step is to figure out how you're going to do it. You may have a dream, a picture, a goal of what homeschooling means to you and what you're going to pursue through homeschooling - you just need to begin putting into practise.
The very first step is to decide whether you will enrol in a DE school (distance education) or create your own plan. And if you decide to create your own plan, will you register or not?
In Australia home education is a legal option of education for families in all states and all states have slightly different legislation governing how home education families need to operate, plan, and evaluate their personal education programs. In Queensland, parents are legally required to register through the HEU (Home Education Unit).
This is path our family chose to take.
To Register or Not to Register: That is the Question
This is an enormous question all homeschooling families wrestle with, as this question touches deeply on personal beliefs regarding the role of the government in education, the place for freedom and personal decisions when parents have the personal responsibility for raising and educating their children, and whether education should be institutionalised and homogenised.
As homeschoolers we fight to keep education in the realm of real life, real relationships, real work, real abilities and real interests. This is where fires are lit, people are stretched, and connections are made. And we ask, quite honestly, can we register with a government department and still maintain those links between education and life?
Considerations: Pros & Cons
Registration with the HEU provides you with:
~ a recognised educational option to help access Tafe-at-school and Uni Headstart programs before your teen turns 17.
~ a registration certificate that can be used as one of your proof-of-identity documents when opening bank accounts and other instances where you may need a school-based proof-of-identity.
~ the planning and registration process can help you in refining your plan and worksamples to an excellent standard and give you definite time frames and goals to work with.
~ knowledge that you are legally secure in your home education lifestyle and you do not need to fear busybodies or be afraid you will be found 'truant'.
Some Cons with the Registration process:
~ making plans and reports every year can be time consuming and take valuable time away from actually home educating. This is a battle teachers face - and we need to ask whether parents should have to face this as well? This can be a heavy weight to bear especially if you feel this process does not add anything of real value to your home education experience.
~ depending upon your approach to homeschooling and how you communicate your goals, achievements and work, you may find yourself constantly going against the grain. Although the HEU recognises all forms of home education, they evaluate your plan against the National Curriculum and any advice they give reflects that paradigm. Sometimes this is simple to work with, and other times it can be a battle to get yourself understood.
Laying aside the question of legal requirements for the moment, take the time to process whether registration is right for your family, and then reconsider those legal requirements and whether you can - in good conscience - fulfil those requirements in a way that adds value to your home education life.
Then you can move on to making your learning plans.
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