Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see – Neil Postman

Nobody told me people homeschool in Australia

There can be little doubt that many Australians don’t really know much about home-education. Like me, they go to school, go to uni and don’t really encounter anybody who was ‘home-schooled’. Possibly, we don’t encounter homeschoolers because we don’t ask, they don’t say or we can’t tell from their behaviour/demeanour/actions/achievements that they were homeschooled. I think I was about 34 before I realised people home school in this country. I think people don’t know that homeschool exists in Australia; that it’s legal in Australia and especially don’t realise that it’s an increasingly popular school choice. According to Jackson & Allan, 2010, there’s a literature gap around homeschool in Australia, and I agree with that. It seems that there is limited research into home-education families’ reasons for choosing homeschool and the type of homeschool they choose. I’m really perplexed by this gap in research because, if it’s a growing education movement in Australia (cf. Jackson & Allan, 2010) as well as in other countries such as the USA (cf. Hurlbutt, 2011 [paywall]) and Canada (Aurini & Davies, 2005 [paywall]) then surely, it makes sense that people would or should be researching it.

That’s why I believe it’s imperative that academics, researchers and interested parents do serious, peer-reviewed, theory-driven research into home-education. If it’s to be taken seriously, it needs to have a serious presence in the literature on school choice, on outcomes in education and on pedagogy and practice. Legitimacy is achieved by serious study, theorising, consideration and thus research (cf. Ospina; 2011 [paywall]Rodrigues, Duarte & de Padua Carrieri, 2012 [paywall]).

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