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  1. #1
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    Default Distance Education??

    Hi everyone,
    I am getting a jump on schooling, I have 2 boys under 3 but have recently been considering home schooling via distance ed.
    I would like to hear about others' experiences - the pros and cons, and also have some questions.
    How much "school time" do you do each day?
    How much does it cost to do distance education?
    Do you get any government assistance payments?
    We are a one income family so I'm not sure if this could be financially viable for us.
    My husband is also concerned about the lack of social interaction from home schooling/distance ed. Do you find this to be a problem?
    How do you maintain social experiences for your children?
    Any other information you think might help would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Hi

    I have just started home schooling my DD (4 years old) this year with kindy. I also have a two year old and an 11 month old. We live on a property so this was really our only option regarding schooling without driving around for 3 hours a day to get her to school, especially with younger ones. We really enjoy it. My two year old even gets involved as kindy is 'play based" activites. It works well with us as it is flexible to a certain extent.
    We currently do propably three hours a day, generally 3 days a week, but you can do less hours a day and do it over 5 days etc, IYKWIM.
    Depending on your circumstance, distance ed can be free (eg. distance, medical, travel around alot etc). As we are more than a certain km's away from a school we are exempt from fees, but if you choose to do it and you do not come under the exceptions I believe it costs around $1200 a year per student (from what I have read), don't quote me of that though.

    Any other questions just ask..

  3. #3
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    What state are you in, depends on the state you are in :-)

    I am in VIC, and you can't do distance ed my pure choice. In Queensland you can...for a fee like PP said..$1200k waived if there is a reason other thean by pure choice...isolated, medical, traveling, child works in showbizz etc

  4. #4
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    Depends what state you in for sure! $80 a year in WA.

  5. #5
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    We are in Brisbane, QLD. So I guess isolation is out of the question, will just have to move to WA! I just want to give our children the best schooling experience possible. Get them into the things they are interested in and get out into the community rather than just letting teachers do all the textbook teaching. Still unsure if it is financially viable for us though. Will have to do more research. Thanks for your replies and let me know if there is any more info I should look at.

  6. #6
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    Hi there, we are Brisbane too, and we've been home educating for around 3 years. I will start by saying we don't do Distance Education, we using a natural learning/ unschooling approach. We do have many friends who do use Distance Education and in the early stages we did look at it as an option.

    I think when many families are considering home education, they often start by looking at 'school at home' type of options, ie buying a curriculum and teaching their children themselves or distance education - both of these options can be good for some children and their families. As people go through their homeschooling journey they change and adapt to suit the children and family's needs, so many do end up going down a more natural learning type path. This is in part because of their own 'deschooling process' and also by following their child, growing in their own confidence as home educators and by seeing the benefits of living and learning naturally.
    I saw your most recent post - we also want to give our children the best opportunity to grow, thrive, learn and learn, and for us being in the community and learning from other children, other parents and other community members gives them the most fun and enriching experience. For us there is nothing that a school can offer that we can't provide for our children in a more creative and fun way.

    Answering your questions from the OP
    How much "school time" do you do each day?
    If you choose distance education, particularly christian based programs or BDSE, then its like school at home, so its very structured and can take several hours per day (depending on age/grade of child), you need to be available to do the 'online lessons and tutorials' and there are materials you need to complete and submit to your DE unit usually on a 2 weekly basis, so that can add to the time you spend.
    For us, and given my 2 girls ages/grades (prep and gr2) we would spend 1 hr/day on bookwork - my children have the freedom and choice and they like doing book work, so when they choose to do it (handwriting, maths, english, science, sose etc) its not usually for more than an hour and they are both well ahead their peers in terms of the academics.

    How much does it cost to do distance education?

    Depends on which DE unit you go through, BDSE (Bris School of Distance Ed) is around $1000 per child per year, but that includes the online lessons and resources/materials. There are other units like Groves and Jubilee Christian College and their fees vary. I know that JCC, Unit 3 (performing arts based on the northside of Brisbane) charge $500 per family/year. Its worth contacting each of the DE units individually to get updated information about enrolment and costs, inclusions and their requirements.

    Do you get any government assistance payments?
    No, we wish. If you are a single parent, you can continue to get Centrelink benefits (FTB, Newstart/parenting payment etc) and obtain exception from the activity test, if you have registered your child as a homeschooler. You obtain the same benefits as schooled children, ie the School Kids Bonus (that twice/year payment for school expenses). There are other allowances for children that are rural etc but you need to check with Centrelink regarding entitlements.

    We are a one income family so I'm not sure if this could be financially viable for us.
    Any style of home education does require time and effort of both parents and if you are lucky extended family, so it can limit the amount of income a family can earn. There are many home educating families that run home based businesses and many parents (including the primary one homeschooling) who works, some full time and others part time. It requires creativity and lots of support to make it work in any family, in terms of the practical and financial elements. The cost of DE makes it less attractive for many families and you can home educate quite cheaply as there are many free resources, online, local libraries etc.

    My husband is also concerned about the lack of social interaction from home schooling/distance ed. Do you find this to be a problem?
    How do you maintain social experiences for your children?

    Ah yes the socialisation question - this always comes up. This is a myth. School is not a place designed for 'socialisation', you are placed in a group of age related peers and are instructed in your learning, how many of us remember being told by teachers ' you are not here to socialise' and got in trouble for talking to our friends. Given the increase of bullying, humiliation by teachers and the competitiveness of school environments, I don't accept the argument that school is a great place to socialise children.
    As homeschoolers, parents put in a lot of effort to find community, ie to link with other homeschooling families/groups, who run regular park play meets, plan activities and excursions, classes/workshops and for support of others who are living this wonderful life. Calling it homeschooling is also a misnomer, as many are rarely at home with all of the opportunities home ed brings - there are opportunities every day to see other children, to make friends, do activities, play, learn and socialise with children of varying ages - its important to learning to have children mix with children of different ages.
    Distance Education can include excursions and activities where the families meet up on a regular basis so it doesn't need to be an isolating experience.
    For me, it does require some effort and planning to maintain social experiences for my children, we try to follow our natural rhythm, some days we want to have a 'home day' to rest, play or work on our own projects and other days we are going to meet with our home ed friends at the park, participate in an excursion, class or activity or other activities with schooled children (sports, dance, girl guides etc). We find that at times we are being too social and out too much and then we review this and spend time at home.

    If you have reached the end of this novel, then well done
    If you have any more questions feel free to ask and I will do my best to answer them.
    Ultimately this is a decision only you as a family can make, this option isn't for everybody but for those that make it, it enhances family cohesion and connection and can be a really joyous life

  7. The Following User Says Thank You to zenifa For This Useful Post:

    Isabellabean  (27-05-2013)

  8. #7
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    That was an awesome post by the way, thanks so much zenifa! I would love to do just homeschooling setting our own curriculum but it seems very daunting. Where do you start??!? How do you know whats appropriate for your children to learn? Are you monitored by the government to make sure you are teaching your children the right basics? How do you determine what to teach your children and where do you get the information/booklets or whatever tools you use? What is the process you have to go through in order to be a home educator - government wise. This is all a great help thanks so much

  9. #8
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    Subbing because Im interested as well - although Im in Tas.

    Something I can suggest you try mumbelina is to search for some homeschooling groups in your area and maybe go along to a meet up/join a facebook group to see what other homeschoolers say/do/gain wisdom to see if it might be for you.

    I have recently joined 2 such facebook groups and its exciting to see what others are doing and as we draw closer to having to officially make the decision Im sure I will participate/go along to a meet up so I can annoy them and ask 1000's of questions

    Also thanks Zenifa for the info.

  10. #9
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    Hi mumbelina! We use an Online Curriculum. So, I will do my best to answer your questions and hopefully I can help How much "school time" do you do each day? This varies day to day. We choose to school year round, so we have more flexibility on how many hours a day we contribute to our lessons. However, an avg day would be around 3-4 hours.
    How much does it cost to do distance education? I can not speak for all programs, but we use Time4Learning and for my youngest it is $14.95 a month and will be starting the Time4Learning High School courses this school year for my oldest. It will only be $30 a month for her. III II a
    Do you get any government assistance payments? We personally do not.
    We are a one income family so I'm not sure if this could be financially viable for us.
    We are also a one income family. My husband Disability check is all we have, which we all know is not a lot. I was very concerned we would have to stop Homeschooling, when our income changed. I wondered not only how I could afford to Homeschool, but if my husband could take over, if I had to go to work or if I went back to school. What I chose is to rearrange our priority's. I cut down on non essential expense's like premium movie channels, etc. I changed our expensive curriculum to something we could afford. Since, I decided to go back to school myself, I knew I also needed something that would allow for Independent learning. Budgeting is key, when money is tight. By cutting our Homeschool bill in half, it is much easier. We now spend $50 a month for 2 children instead of $1200 a year! Also, monthly is easier than a one time payment.
    My husband is also concerned about the lack of social interaction from home schooling/distance ed. Do you find this to be a problem? No! I will admit that this could happen, if you choose to allow your family to live like hermits. Of course, most people do not live like this. So, like I said, No this isn't an issue. Between Church, Homeschool groups/ Co-ops, 4-H, sports, etc. There are many ways to allow your children to make friends.
    How do you maintain social experiences for your children? By being evolved! Just have to go to Church, go to 4H, go to Co-op and play dates. Unless your child is old enough to drive, you will have to take them. When they make a friend, encourage them to exchange numbers or facebook pages ( if they are old enough for this of course ) or talk to their mom/dad and set up a private play date. You can always say ~> Hey I am planning on taking Susie to the pool next Saturday, would Kim like to come?


 

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