Welcome to the first post in the Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Styles series! Click here to view the rest of the series
Distance education and school at home are what most people picture when they think of homeschooling. Parent as teacher, kids sitting around the table doing worksheets, with set hours and curriculum. They both match school fairly closely, except the work is carried out at home.
Distance Education is popular in Australia due to our geographical remoteness. This is where a school provides the entire curriculum, and is responsible for the child’s learning. You are usually registered with a school as a distance education student, but not registered as homeschooling. The parent acts as the supervisor, ensuring the work is done and assisting if needed. There is typically a yearly fee, plus the cost of materials. Work may be sent out regularly (such as fortnightly) or in bundles (such as once per term). They usually provide teaching sessions via Skype or similar, and provide assistance to the parents. Some offer sports days, camps and other group activities, and award and graduation ceremonies.
This is where you are registered to homeschool, but you purchase a full curriculum from a company. They may or may not provide the additional services of distance education. Registration is usually quite straightforward, as you are provided with the full curriculum, and many providers have good reputations with homeschooling authorities.
As you can see, both systems are similar. The parent acts as the teacher/supervisor, and the child does the work provided to them. You are required to stay to the schedule provided, and work adheres to the Australian National Curriculum.
In practice, school at home methods tend to be used as a bridge from school to homeschool. Parents who remove their child from school adopt a complete curriculum as the ‘easy’ way. Over time, as they become more knowledgeable, comfortable and confident with home education, they want to implement a more personalised method, and so switch to homeschooling using their own curriculum or method. Of course, this is just a generalisation, and many people are satisfied with school at home methods.
You have to fulfil certain criteria in some states to be able to register in public distance education, such as travel, illness or remoteness. Here are the details by state.
These schools will enrol students for whom homeschooling is a choice
Brisbane School of Distance Education | Cairns School of Distance Education | Rosny College | Charleville School of Distance Education | Charters Towers School of Distance Education | Karabar High School | Longreach School of Distance Education | Capricornia School of Distance Education | Kalgoorlie School of the Air
These are all religious providers, predominantly using the ACE curriculum.
Homeschool Christian Academy | Groves Christian College | Riverside Christian College | Australian Christian Home Schooling | Australian Homebase Academy | Seabrook Christian School | South East Home Education | Homeschool WA | Jubilee Christian College | Australian Christian College
Australia has limited numbers of these – if you know of any more please tell me so I can add them to the list.
Want to read more? Take a look at my Distance Education / School at Home board on Pinterest.
As part of the Australian Homeschooling Summit, I presented a workshop about homeschooling styles and how to use them to build your own personalised homeschool.
The best bit? You can view it for free – yay!