I am a Queensland homeschooler. I am really warming to my relatively new title. It adds to mum, wife, friend, etc. They all make me feel good about myself and the way I choose to live.

Not long ago I was not feeling good, in fact I was pretty traumatized and depressed. Every day involved anxiety! I was living the pain that my child was facing in the school system. I was beside myself with worry for him and our family! I was battling for him, crying for him, even howling for him. It is hard to describe how nightmarish my life had become.

But in the end I am a fighter and an optimist. I pulled myself together and removed him from the problem; the school system. The relief was almost instantaneous. Prior to school I had never considered homeschooling. I can't say that I really knew that it existed. Oh well, we live and we learn. During my son's life, my journey has been one of becoming the parent he needs and I finally feel that I am getting there. Whilst I still wish I had withdrawn him from school earlier, I refuse to look back and instead look forward to being his partner in the development of a wonderful future man.

So that past is gone but then came the next challenge. I wanted to register. I still had one child in school and did not want to be worried about “being legal” so to speak. I wanted to be able to be open about what I was doing.

Okay, so that is all fine and dandy, but of course there are hoops. Governments never seem to be able to make things simple and seem to like to accumulate paperwork. However, I felt that writing my own programs would work best for me and my son. We could focus on his interests and not be told what we should learn.

So I examine the stuff on the website, print out the rego forms, read them and cringe! “I have to write a whole year's program! Now?! I have only just started! How do I know what we will do? Argh!” I pictured the pages and pages of information I would have to write. I felt overwhelmed.

So I tentatively rang the “Home Education Unit” … of course, an answering machine! I waited nervously. “Am I really going to be able to do this?” Finally she rings me – my consultant – and … she's lovely; warm, supportive and reassuring. She asks me to complete my goals for my son as a first step. This is a relief considering the pages of documentation I had been picturing. I could do that.

My goals are simple and holistic. They cover academic and life goals, and include re-engaging my son with learning. She was extremely complimentary and again encouraging. For the next step, she told me; “Just write out a program for the first 10 weeks, in brief. This will be enough for your interim registration.”

“OK,” I thought, “I can do that too.” So I consulted with my son and came up with 3 brief pages on my plans for those first weeks. I addressed each subject area and also talked about how I would achieve the goals I had set. I sent this in expecting to then be asked to provide a detailed plan, but no, apparently 3 pages was enough, so my 10 week program was complete.

My next task was to develop my program for the year. I now had a handle on the detail required and was assured that the unit do not expect this program to be set in stone and understand that changes will be made along the way, so I jumped the next hurdle.

This document included the goals I had already written and an expansion of my 10 week program to include the rest of the year divided loosely into terms and a paragraph on my son's learning environment. It took me about an hour to complete. Whew! It just seemed too easy.

Again I was surprised and relieved to be told that it was fine. I was done and could now concentrate on becoming a good homeschooling mum.

I have now completed one whole cycle of registration. I wrote my report at the 10 month mark and it was accepted and I submitted a new program for this year which was also accepted. I am now feeling confident that I understand what is required. I was relieved to receive feedback on my report recently as a large component of what we do is unschooling with no formal output and so there are not always work examples to show and the unit must rely on my anecdotal info. The report was great. My consultant really got me and what I was trying to achieve alongside my son!

So in the end the process empowered me. I know now I can provide the education I want for my son and check the boxes I need to stay registered and not only that I have my own personal cheer squad: my HEU consultant.

The mother who was beaten and traumatized 18 months ago is gone. Now our home is at peace and I am energized by my new role. I am loving it! My son is happy and I am now writing programs for my daughter.

I wish all you homeschoolers out there had told me about this earlier!

Author: Jane