Feature Article - Home education
Feature article published in the Tasmanian Year Book, 1996 (cat. no. 1301.6)
There is a small but growing number of parents who elect to teach and educate their children at home, and not through a school.
Home education occurs when parents choose to assume responsibility for planning, implementing and evaluating their children’s learning program from a home base.
In order to monitor home education and provide advice to the Minister for Education, a Home Education Advisory Council was established in February 1993. It advises on the adequacy of individual programs of home education; provides a reference point for inquiries and concerns; maintains liaison with other agencies; and organises support and assistance to home educators. Apart from a chairperson, the council has three nominees of the Minister for Education, and three nominees of home educators.
The Home Education Advisory Council accepts responsibility for families who have notified the Minister of their intention to home educate and make themselves available for monitoring educational progress. However, the council is not responsible for families who withdraw their children from school-or who do not send their children to school-and who have not notified the Minister of their intention to home educate.
The aims of the Advisory Council are to ensure that home education in Tasmania is recognised and monitored, and to facilitate high standards in the educational practice chosen by individual families.
Among the activities of the Advisory Council during 1993-94 were:
- preparation of an information package for home educators;
- production of a regular newsletter for home educators; and
The Advisory Council has an important monitoring function. It keeps a register of families who have notified the Minister of their intention to home educate. It has adopted a number of minimum requirements from the recommendations of an earlier Working Party Report on Home Education. These minimum requirements include demonstration and verification of:
- meetings with district superintendents, school social workers, the School of Distance Education, and school principals.
- the home educators’ aims and purposes;
- the program that is intended to be followed, and specific references to literacy and numeracy;
- details of tutors and specialists, and opportunities for social interaction of home-educated children; and
During 1993, the Advisory Council was notified that 83 children were to be home-educated, of whom about half had a monitoring visit.
- records of the student’s program including the use of journals, test results, timetables, and work samples.