Is homeschooling the best choice for your travelling family?

We believe that homeschooling is almost always the best choice for travelling families. Why?

Advantages of Homeschooling

1. Freedom & Flexibility in Travel Plans

One of the wonderful benefits of travel is the feeling of freedom - of having few responsibilities and commitments.

The choice of homeschooling for your travel school is a great fit with this lifestyle of freedom. You can change your plans on a whim, staying longer in a place or moving on sooner than planned, as you are not answering to a school.

You can change your mind as much and as often as you like to take advantage of new information, weather, or how you feel, without the need to hang around waiting for school materials to arrive (as we have seen many frustrated families doing!)

This benefit can be undermined by enrolling your children for distance education. Generally with distance education you need to:

  • Provide a comprehensive itinerary of where you are going.
  • Give addresses for where you will be a minimum 6 weeks in advance.
  • If you stop for 6 weeks or more, you may be required to enrol your children in the local school.

2. Freedom & Flexibility in Learning

Even more important than the freedom and flexibility in your travel itinerary, is the freedom and flexibility afforded by home education on what and how you spend your learning time.

Homeschooling allows you to:

  • Move ahead quickly with work that your child understands, or linger on concepts that are not yet understood, without getting 'behind'.
  • Take advantage of any opportunities for learning which arise during your day. These opportunities may be planned or un-planned, but they can be considered 'school' nevertheless.
  • Have days "off" (even several in a row) when it suits you, and at other times do more than is required, as it suits the ebb and flow of your travels.

  • For instance, we found that when we were stopped in one place for a few days, or having 'rest days' from travel, it was easy to do lots of 'school work'. At other times, especially when packing up and doing several long driving days in a row, bookwork wasn't a high priority.

Cape Le Grand NP

Examining a whale spine in Cape Le Grand NP (WA)

This level of freedom is reduced by enrolling children for distance education. Generally with distance education you need to:

  • Complete a standard 'classroom' amount of bookwork. (Perhaps 2-3 hours per day for primary school children, and more for high school).
  • Submit work on a weekly basis.
  • Do work set by the school, regardless of whether it is interesting, relevant, or targeted just where your child is at etc.

When the work set by the school has been completed, it is then easy to fall into 'relaxation' mode, and not be open to the unique learning opportunities surrounding you. For instance, you may have done 2 or 3 hours 'schoolwork' in the morning, and be too jaded to take advantage of the wonderful, real / hands-on options around.

Instead of sitting down doing the standard bookwork (often dull in comparison) you can be out and about taking advantage of a local museum, watching a short documentary at the local visitor information centre, exploring the Outback Centre, participating in the Aboriginal dot art workshop or climbing a mountain in the town or area you are staying in. These sort of learning experiences are much more likely to "stick" in a child's memory as they are real and relevant.

Royal Flying Doctor Kalgoorlie

Visiting the Royal Flying Doctor base in Kalgoorlie

Disadvantages of Homeschooling

  • The main downside for some parents when choosing home education is that they are responsible for determining, planning and providing for the educational needs of their child. This can be daunting at first, but becomes quite liberating over time as you tailor learning plans to the individual child.
  • The benefits you reap from shouldering this responsibility are more than worth the effort involved. See "Our Favourite Educational Resources For Travel" for some great ideas for travel schooling.

  • Depending on your choice of educational resources, home education can work out to be more expensive than distance education.

Compare Homeschooling to Distance Education

Answers to some Common Homeschooling Questions

Do I have to register to Homeschool?

When children are of the 'compulsory schooling age' (varies by state) it is law that they must attend a government school or registered non-government school, or be registered for Home Education. (So YES, it is a legal requirement that you register!)

nb, You do not need to register children who are outside this 'compulsory age' bracket. (Check your state compulsory age by clicking on "Homeschooling State and Territory Information" below).

Do I have to be a teacher to Homeschool?

Parents do not need formal teacher training or teaching experience to be home educators. However, they are expected to show a capacity to plan and provide for the educational needs of the child.

Homeschooling State and Territory Information

Link to Homeschooling State and Territiory Information for specific home education information for each state and territory in Australia. The information available varies by state, but generally includes:

  • Information manuals / guidelines
  • Legal requirements
  • Registration forms
  • Contact details (for more information)

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