20 years ago, with a three-year-old and a baby, I started my own homeschool journey. I remember many questions, the feeling of excitement, the research and feeling unsure. Over the next 5 years, I planned school-style lessons and bought an expensive curriculum. Looking back, I know I have learned a lot in the past 20 years.
Homeschool has been a second opportunity at my own education, but also, I have gained a deep understanding of what homeschool really is, how to go about it, and why it works. And now, it’s my privilege to help others begin and navigate their own homeschooling journey.
As parents consider this option, many feel overwhelmed with information about registration, curriculum and other practicalities. We’d love to help you begin this exciting learning journey with your child.
Homeschool in Australia is a growing trend - Over 20,000 Australian families currently homeschool their children. (The Conversation https://theconversation.com/homeschooling-is-on-the-rise-in-australia-who-is-doing-it-and-why-110268) Parents choose to homeschool their children for many reasons including:
- To provide a safe learning environment
- To meet their child’s learning needs
- Behavioural/Social/Mental Health Challenges
- Long-term travel
- Religious or cultural beliefs
A few statistics - Many Homeschool families have a child with significant challenges:
- Health Issues (36%)
- ASD (38%)
- Dyslexia (37%), ADD/ADHD (37%)
- Slow Processing Speed (37%)
- Anxiety (43%)
- Intellectual Challenges (36%)
- Physical Disability (36%)
(Simply Homeschool Statistics Nov 2019)
What is Homeschooling?
Homeschool is not ‘school at home’ - it’s a learning-engaged way of life.
- Homeschoolers take responsibility for the education of our children
- Homeschoolers tailor our child’s learning to suit their needs and interests
- Homeschoolers integrate our whole way of life with learning.
- Homeschoolers meet up in local parks and at community events. We go on excursions and camps together. We have rich social opportunities.
- Homeschoolers access professionals (eg artists, sports coaches, scientists) to provide specialist lessons for our children.
Homeschooling is not actually complicated. When your children were toddlers, you didn’t need a curriculum to teach them their first language. You knew, instinctively, when they were engaged, when they were tired and when they were ready to face new challenges. When you teach them to drive, you will use this same parent intuition. You will notice what they know and what they need to learn. You will know when they are ready for the road, ready for the highway. You won’t need a timetable or weekly assessments. You know what safe driving is. You know your child. You are a good teacher. Trust your intuition.
But we know - everyone needs community and it’s great to have experienced support backing you when you start a new journey. And that is why I started Simply Homeschool.
Can I do this?
As parents, we each have challenges to face as we consider homeschooling. Some common questions are:
Can I homeschool my child with special needs?
Absolutely. Many Simply Homeschool parents and children face different challenges including health issues, ASD, Dyslexia, ADD/ADHD, Intellectual Challenges and Physical Disability. For more information about this please see our page about homeschooling your child with special needs.
Can single parents homeschool?
I’ve been a single parent homeschooling mum for the past 10 years. It can be a tough gig, but, in many cases, it’s possible. I have 3 adult kids who never went to school, and I can say now, I’m really pleased we did this. 61% of our Simply Homeschool parents are going solo. Some states have regulations about single parent homeschooling (SA, TAS and NSW).
Can I work and homeschool?
Work and homeschool can be a juggle, but there are many ways to manage this. Some parents work from home, others share homeschooling with another family and work part-time, some even work shift-work and have a paid carer overnight. Over 60% of our Simply Homeschool families are juggling work and homeschool.
Can I have any time to myself if I homeschool?
Homeschool can be demanding - about 15 years ago one of my long term homeschool friends said - “It’s not homeschooling that’s hard, it’s being a parent - 24/7.” One strategy I used when my kids were young was swapping kids with another homeschooling mum. It gave us both one child-free day each. I get up earlier than my kids. I walk to the letterbox - very slowly! And now that they’re older, it’s easier. Finding a local homeschool community can really help with this.
How much does it cost?
It depends. Some terms, I have spent nothing on homeschool. Other terms I have spent a lot. You can homeschool on any budget. Be warned - it’s easy to waste a lot of money on resources you never use. Start small. This is why Simply Homeschool provides a Free Trial Membership and Pay by the Month so that you can begin homeschooling well with a very low outlay.
Can I homeschool high school?
YES! And you don’t need to know everything. You can learn alongside your kids and facilitate their learning. You don’t need to understand Science for your 16-year-old to study Advanced Human Biology. You just need to find them a very good program that suits their needs and interests.
Can my children get into Tertiary Education/University?
Absolutely! Homeschool children are able to complete TAFE Courses and Open University subjects as a pathway to Tertiary Education.
Can we travel and homeschool?
Many families in Australia are homeschooling while travelling. Your journey provides rich opportunities for learning. If you are considering purchasing a curriculum, it’s important to choose one that is flexible enough to fit your study opportunities. For example, Simply Homeschool recommends audiobooks so you can listen to great literature on those long drives.
Some states have travelling regulations. Check the requirements for your own state.
Where can I find other homeschoolers?
Friendship matters for your kids and it matters for you. Many homeschool children and parents find friendships through:
- Local homeschool groups, co-ops and meet ups
- Online groups (Social Media)
- Local community activities
Simply Homeschool has our very own Community Group for friendships and support when you join. You can start now with a free trial. We also run camps each year.
Simply Homeschool - Real Life and Good Books
Simply Homeschool integrates real-life with engaging books. We find fabulous books. We add step by step lessons for high-quality academic learning and include real-life activities to help your child to understand and apply what they’re learning. We support you to choose the books and lessons that best suit your child’s interests and learning needs so that you can focus on starting this learning journey with your child, knowing that you’re heading in the right direction.
Some of our Simply Homeschool staff have been homeschooling for over 20 years! We have rich resources to help you provide a rich and engaging homeschool experience for your child.