Is Distance Education the best choice for your travelling family?

The decision to homeschool or use distance education while travelling should not be made lightly. It will significantly impact your day to day life, so it is best to consider both options carefully before jumping in.

Enrolment in Distance Ed. is in effect enrolling in a government school. It provides students who are unable to attend school with access to a government school education. This includes students travelling within Australia.

As education is a state government responsibility, requirements and guidelines vary on a state by state basis, and may also depend on the school that you enrol through. Use this information as a general guide, but for specifics please check with the relevant state guidelines. (Links provided below).

Advantages of Distance Education (over homeschooling)

  • A registered school provides a program for the child. A child is enrolled and registered teachers help monitor their learning. The school provides learning materials, requires students to respond to certain learning tasks, assesses student work and monitors educational progress. The parent's role is as the supervisor or home tutor to the child.
  • Most people who use distance ed. site the above advantage. The child is basically doing the same things as they would be doing at a regular school, and being provided for and watched over in the same way. It is familiar to both the parent and child.

  • The parent is free of the burden of determining, planning and providing for the educational needs of their child.
  • Can be less expensive than homeschooling.

Disadvantages of Distance Education (over homeschooling)

The fact that the child is basically doing the same thing as they would have done at a regular school can be seen as being an advantage and a disadvantage. The advantages of this are listed above, the disadvantages of this are:

  • No break from the regular style of schoolwork (the travelling life could afford a great opportunity to take a break and do things differently for a time).
  • Similar time commitment required as regular school (eg 2-3 hours/day in primary, more for high school). This impacts enormously on the time available to take advantage of your unique environment, circumstances and the learning opportunities surrounding you.
  • Much time will be spent collecting material from post offices, posting material, and in communication with the child/ren's teacher.
  • The learning program is not tailor-made to the individual needs of your child. Much time may be 'wasted' doing 'busywork' when your child already understands a concept, and opportunities to move ahead with the unique strengths of your child may be missed.

Other disadvantages include:

  • You need to provide a comprehensive itinerary before you leave.
  • You need to provide addresses for a minimum 6 weeks in advance (so that school work can be sent out). Any changes to your plans are very inconvenient (if not impossible). You may have to wait for schoolwork to arrive at a place long after you would like to have moved on, or cover hundreds of kilometres to get to a place you no longer even want to go to! This loss of flexibility is a huge disadvantage to the fleet-footed traveller!
  • If you stop for 6 weeks or more, you may be required to enrol the child in the local school. (This may be an advantage for those travellers hoping to pick up work along the way).

Compare Distance Education to Homeschooling

Distance Education State and Territory Information

For further information on distance education, please click on the relevant state. Note that laws and guidelines vary on a state by state basis, so select the state that you reside in, or for other reasons believe that you should register through.

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