This year thousands of Australian school children will be illegally home schooled, according to a report on Radio National’s Background Briefing program.
By law, children between the ages of 6 and 16 must attend school or be registered for home schooling. In the story Opting Out and Staying Home, journalist Ian Townsend reported that 50,000 students will be home schooled in Australia this year, but most of these will not be registered.
Bob Osmak from the Home Schooling Association of Queensland said there are 942 children in Queensland registered with the Home Schooling Unit this year, but he believes there may be another 10,000 children who will be home schooled illegally.
Common reasons given for not registering with an official body included parents’ belief that their child’s education was a parental right, and distrust of authority. One mother said she was not “organised or disciplined” enough to tackle the extensive paperwork.
The report stated that home-schooling is booming as a result of the Internet and the greater availability of resources and how-to information.
The Tasmanian Home Education Advisory Council recently surveyed its 600 registered parents on why they had chosen to home school:
- 17% said the main reason was religion
- nearly half gave philosophical reasons
- 27% were not happy with the local school
- 7% had children with special needs.
Background Briefing reporter Ian Townsend said the challenge now for education departments around Australia is to get home-schooling parents to agree to some form of monitoring of their children’s education.
Acting manager of the Queensland Home Education Unit, Hanne Worsoe, told the program: “Standards exist for a reason and they’re about the kids, not about the parents and their ideas about what they should do. That’s why we live in a civil society that provides that capacity to represent children and to monitor their educational needs. If people aren’t registered I’d say you’re breaking the law, and if you’re doing the right thing by your kids you’ve got nothing to hide.”
Read Thousands of parents illegally home schooling on www.abc.net.au.
Listen to the Background Briefing program, Opting Out and Staying Home