New rules for home schooling have upset home educators

CONCERN: There are fears changes to home schooling regulations will upset the balance parents have found for their children.

CONCERN: There are fears changes to home schooling regulations will upset the balance parents have found for their children.

DAVID Chapman's son is a completely different child than he was two years ago.

Struggling with chronic anxiety, diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder and being bullied at school, Mr Chapman and his wife decided to home school their son.

​"One of his major symptoms is chronic anxiety. He finds any disruption extremely traumatic … so school was not a good environment for him," he said.

Within 12 months the Ballarat North boy, 8, has learned to write proficiently, become an exceptional typist and reads well above the expected level for his age.

"If I let him go at his own pace he learns extremely well. But if I try and get him to sit down and focus on anything he just can't do that, and that escalates his anxiety which stops him learning anyway."

Mr Chapman fears changes to home schooling regulations, to be debated in state parliament this month, will upset the balance he has found for his son and breach the rights of parents to choose the best type of education for their child.

The government has announced that home schooling families will need to provide the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Agency with detailed learning plans showing how they will meet eight key learning areas. One in 10 families will be audited each year and must show evidence of their child's learning progress.

"Most home educators don't object to demonstrating that we are educating our children and we are prepared to do this, the problem is it moves emphasis from education to compliance with a government body who are quite hostile toward home education," said Home Education Network coordinator Susan Wight.

Ms Wight said the changes were unjustified and ignored the fact many home-schooled children had been withdrawn from schools where they were not being taught or kept safe.

"Sixty per cent of home educators have pulled children out of school, and 24 per cent of those families said it was a last resort after trying to work with schools to solve problems," Ms Wight said.

Education minister James Merlino said changes to the Home Schooling Regulations in Victoria would ensure children being educated at home received the best education possible.