Thursday, 23 April 2020

The head of the Home Education Association (HEA) told EducationHQ that her organisation has also been fielding questions from parents whose children are still enrolled at their normal schools but have been forced to study form home.

“There are a lot of parents who are still enrolled in schools, but who feel like they're homeschooling,” HEA president Karen Chegwidden said.

 
 

Parents getting a ‘risk-free trial’ with homeschooling likely to stay on

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By EducationHQ News Team
Published 17 hours, 32 minutes ago

Many parents have taken the situation thrust on them by COVID-19 as an opportunity to try out homeschooling.

Parents need to make sure that their children get enough exercise while learning from home.

The head of the Home Education Association (HEA) told EducationHQ that her organisation has also been fielding questions from parents whose children are still enrolled at their normal schools but have been forced to study form home.

“There are a lot of parents who are still enrolled in schools, but who feel like they're homeschooling,” HEA president Karen Chegwidden said.

“Those people have been approaching us with questions about, ‘How do we do this learning at home?’ as well.

“I think some of them will stick around and continue to homeschool after everything goes back to normal and some of them won't, but even the ones that intend to send their children back to school and who are still doing work provided by the school have been reaching out to us for support with how to manage that learning at home.”

Chegwidden said that first-time homeschoolers often encounter the same two hurdles.

“One [challenge] is around, ‘How do I manage the day to day education of my children alongside of life?’ and the other big category that people look to support for is managing the registration process.

“So home education's legal in every state and territory in Australia, but every jurisdiction has different requirements around registration and it's required everywhere, so managing that for wherever you live is often a bit of a challenge.

“People need support around that, first-timers especially, but also just that day to day stuff, ‘How do I make sure my child is getting a good education and still get the shopping done and still manage to go to work or to do the things that we need to do in life?’”

Chegwidden’s best suggestion for new homeschoolers or parents who are supervising their children studying from home is to recognise that learning is flexible.

“Kids are hard wired to learn,” she said.

“Often, when they're learning, it actually looks like they're playing, because that's how they do it naturally.

“It might be a good moment to embrace more natural learning techniques and to consider how your child can learn and develop skills and knowledge through games; board games and card games and online games, how they can develop skills and knowledge through normal family activities like cooking or gardening, and to make sure that you include some exercise in your programme.

“[Parents need to] understand that sport and PE are part of the curriculum in every state in Australia, and kids are normally doing that stuff, and we forget that. So they're not going to be able to go out and play netball or football, but they can still go for a walk or a bike ride or they can do an exercise programme in the house with you.

“It might be a good time to try out some Tai Chi or some yoga or, you know, the things that are going to work for each family. Jumping on the trampoline in the backyard counts as exercise, playing on the swings is exercise, so make sure that you include that in every day.”

Chegwidden said that she expects some parents will decide to stick with homeschooling once schools return to normal.

“I think it's likely that some of them will stick around, just because some of these families will be people who've been considering homeschooling anyway and so, for them, it's been a bit like a test run really.

“They've been able to have a risk-free trial without having to jump through any of the registration hoops. So certainly, that cohort of people will stick around, I would expect, but how many people are in that group? How would you know?”