CHOICES: Grace Hill, 10, is home schooled by her mum and ex-schoolteacher Sharon Hill.
CHOICES: Grace Hill, 10, is home schooled by her mum and ex-schoolteacher Sharon Hill. Greg Miller

Drop in home schooling enrolments in Gympie

EDUCATING kids at home is becoming less popular in Gympie.

There has been a slight decrease in the number of home-schooled students in Gympie and a 40% drop in distance education enrolments.

But one mother says that is not necessarily a bad thing.

Gympie mother Sharon Hill, who home-schools her 10-year-old daughter, said Gympie schools were becoming more accepting of students on the autism spectrum, meaning fewer parents needed to teach them at home.

"Some schools seem to be doing a good job integrating them in school," Ms Hill said. "I've heard some quite positive things about schools in Gympie," she said.

"Maybe it's a difference in schools and when it comes to making a choice, parents choose school because it does have a good reputation."

Unfortunately, schooling did not work for Ms Hill's daughter, Grace, who is on the autism spectrum.

Until Year 3, Grace went to school but after experiencing difficulties, Ms Hill enrolled her in distance education.

But, after a while, she noticed Grace started struggling with the distance work too.

"She was finding the curriculum too much pressure," Ms Hill said.

"Sometimes it was just too boring and very repetitive."

Now, the Year 5 student learns about things she's interested in, such as computer coding and Javascript. If she wants to know about a topic, she'll research it.

"She's become a lot more independent with her learning, and a lot more engaged," Ms Hill said.

"She does a lot of maths but not a lot of science and social studies unless something comes up she's interested in, like what causes tornadoes."

She's not in a classroom, but Grace is constantly learning.

"Questions come up on a day-to-day basis; she knows where to find the answers. Goodness knows how they did it before the internet!" Ms Hill said.

It is difficult to determine exactly how many children are being home schooled because not all parents register with the State Government, Christian Education Ministries' Schools Department general manager Terry Harding said.

Dr Harding said choosing home education was not just about isolation or remoteness anymore.

His research shows 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.

- APN NEWSDESK

HOME EDUCATION

Last year:

52 home-schooled students

80 in distance education

This year:

48 home-schooled

48 in distance education

Gympie Times


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