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Home schooling numbers on the increase

SCHOOL’S IN: Erin Hassett (centre) with some of her “students
SCHOOL’S IN: Erin Hassett (centre) with some of her “students", Mariah, 13, Saxon, 8, Sebastian, 3, Genevieve, 10, Malachi, 15 and Ignatius Hassett, 6, some of the 10 children in the Hassett family who have been, or will be homeschooled. PHOTO: ADAM HOURIGAN

A GRAFTON mum says the number of students being homeschooled in the region is increasing.

While figures from the Board of Studies show homeschooling registrations in the Grafton area have increased from 36 in 2013 to 45 this year, homeschooling mum, Erin Hassett, says there are more students out there.

She said they may not be listed in the statistics because the families may not be officially registered.

Mrs Hassett runs a support group for homeschoolers and says their numbers have increased.

"We've had a blow-out," she said.

"We recently had our local sports day and there were 75 kids enrolled."

Many of the new families she has met are parents with young children who are opting for home education.

Mrs Hassett said the reasons for homeschooling in the region varied from family to family.

"Once upon a time (the reasoning) was narrow, now it's just so widespread," she said. "We've got families pulling kids out of school and families who have never been to school."

Mrs Hassett has 10 children and is homeschooling all of them.

Three have graduated and are going to university.

"It was something we always wanted to do because I was familiar with it," Mrs Hassett said.

She said her siblings were homeschooled when she was growing up.

"We were very much drawn it," Mrs Hassett said.

"We wanted the children to have that close sense of family.

"And to be able to tailor their education to the individual was a big thing too."

Mrs Hassett, who is also a member of the Home Education Association, said unlike a lot of areas, many homeschooled children in the area were high school age.

Homeschooling expert Dr Terry Harding, who spoke at the State Government's inquiry into homeschooling, said choosing home education was not just about isolation or remoteness anymore.

According to Dr Harding's research, 90-95% of distance education students are in metropolitan areas.

"It's different… it's no longer about location, it's more about parent choice, and that's the critical point," he said.

HOMESCHOOLING

  • Last year: 36 students were registered from 13 families in Grafton.
  • This year: 45 students are registered from 17 families.

Topics:  clarence valley department of education home schooling



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