Did you know, A QUT study found that, on average, home schooled kids are doing better in standardized testing than kids in traditional schools?
Dr Rebecca English from Queensland University of Technology’s Faculty of Education has spent the last five years researching “the most private, private education”. Her report suggests that children educated at home achieve better results than kids in mainstream schooling, with the average NAPLAN results for home-schooled kids some 70 marks higher. But, Dr English admits, we may not be seeing the full picture.
“Only a small minority of home-schooled students undertake national tests,” Rebecca says. “It would be useful to collect more deep data, including satisfaction among students and their success at higher education.”
Emily, of Greenslopes, completed almost all of her schooling through Distance Education at home. She isn’t surprised by the results of the report.
“Distance Ed has great flexibility and teaches students how to take responsibility for their time,” she says. “The group I was going to school with did really well because we actually enjoyed it.” Interestingly, the decision to home school Emily wasn’t meant to be a permanent one.
“I was a slightly unusual case. I started at a local primary school and there were issues with the principal there,” she says. “Distance Ed was really just supposed to fill the gap but I ended up staying with it.”
Brookwater mum Jodie, who has been home schooling her two children for more than three years, believes she and her husband have made the best decision for their family.
“The kids’ formative years – the years that will shape the course of their lives – are being spent with the people who love them most,” she says. “I have nothing against school – my kids were popular and their teachers loved them, but I have much happier kids now. They get to be kids without the pressure to ‘perform’ and have a piece of paper tell them if they’re doing well or not.”
Though both Jodie and her husband work, she says it’s easier than most people think to squeeze in the hours required for home schooling.
“Sometimes a balance is hard to find, but I believe the kids are learning all the time. There’s a lot to be said for life skills being taught at home. I personally think our kids are also better socialised than school kids because they are not kept only with their same-age peers. If you attended a home school event you’d find children of all ages and genders happily playing and accepting each other for the most part.”
Jodie believes her kids are getting a more holistic learning experience through home schooling.
“Most of school is cramming your brain with information to pass a test, then once the test is done, we forget most of what we’ve learned,” she says. “I want my children to learn about what inspires them, be critical thinkers without the conformity of an education system designed for the masses.”
Emily confirms that her experiences with home schooling prepared her well for life after school. Since completing her schooling through Distance Education, Emily has gone on to complete tertiary education and now works at the university where she received her Bachelor of Arts, with Honours.
Words // Anny White