One of the first questions people ask when we first tell them about our planned adventure is, “but what about school?” There’s a few different ways you can go about educating your kids on the road, so I thought I’d give you a bit of insight into what we’re doing.
We are Queensland based, so there may be differences for those of you in other states and territories. For us there were two main alternatives – Brisbane School of Distance Education or the Home Education Unit. I’ll put all the links in together at the end of this post.
When I looked at it, the major differences were that BSDE was a lot more structured, providing learning materials and scheduled lessons where appropriate which is a great system for parents who want that level of support. Those structures also came with some guidelines such as having to provide a detailed itinerary and also a cost of $1261.90 per child for learning materials.
We decided to register through the Home Education Unit (HEU) as it was more suitable to our needs. We don’t want to have to press on to another place because we’ve said that’s where we’ll be in our itinerary; our travel plans are pretty loosey goosey at the moment. We also want to use our travel to facilitate learning – we want the kids to learn about Indigenous art by seeing it in person rather than on the internet or on a worksheet. The application process is different with the HEU however, as you need to provide a detailed program of what and how you are going to teach your children over the course of the coming year.
Even though I have half a teaching degree, I was still a little intimidated in putting that together. I suppose I was frightened that they would say “nope, not good enough, back to school”. There are some samples on the website for you to get an idea of what they’re after, and they will help you address any areas you may have missed in your application as part of the registration process. It doesn’t need to be full scale lesson planning either, I basically wrote an essay on each of my kids outlining their strengths, weaknesses and learning styles, and how I saw the year unfolding.
Our approach is that the kids will follow the Australian Curriculum, but we will use their particular interests to drive their learning. As a quick example, Year 2 History explores the impact of technology on people’s lives. The C2C provides a lesson plan on technological changes on toys, but for my fashion loving little poppet we’ve chosen to use clothing as our focus instead.
There are some conditions that need to be met once we travel out of Queensland; we’re anticipating that we will be here until the end of the school year more or less, but I will cross that bridge when I come to it.
You are assigned a contact person at the HEU when your registration is approved, and they also send out regular newsletters with links, what’s on etc. We’ve also joined a homeschool co-op in our local area until we take off which is good for a bit of extra socialisation and doing a few different things.
This is turning into quite the epic post, so I think the best way to handle it is to break it up into a few different posts rather than overwhelm you with all the info in one hit. Please feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions in particular or you can email us firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d prefer to ask a question privately.
Here’s a few links for some more information and resources:
Some examples of our homeschool co-op days http://www.racheous.com/homeschool-co-op-classes/
Sparklebox – a UK site but great FREE resources http://www.sparklebox.co.uk/
Australian Curriculum http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/
Scootle – HEU now provides access to this online library of digital resources https://www.scootle.edu.au