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The following short interviews were conducted with long term home based students who have also attended traditional schools. These interviews are intended to supply  answers to a growing number of parents who want to understand what home based learning means from a child’s point of view especially in the teenage years.  If your child would like to be included in this initiative please email the Coordinator for further information at coordinator@hbln.org.au

Helaina,  Age 16

How does home based learning compare to attending a traditional school?

It’s more enjoyable to learn, I am more willing to participate and learn, I don’t have to compete with 30 other children or prove myself all the time.  I am more willing to say I don’t understand can you explain this to me further and I no longer have to deal with bullies set on making life difficult for anyone who is different. I have found that home based kids are really friendly and a lot more mature and accepting of people who are different to them.

Do you miss other children?

No, I am not a particularly social person to begin with and I found school very, very draining having to continuously cope with the noise and rushing from class to class.  Being at home  has meant that I don’t have my internal battery drained every day. I have a couple of really good friends that I see once  or twice a week  for a couple of hours and  the rest of the time it’s just my  family and me and I am fine with that.

What is the most frustrating thing about home education?

Either the responses I get from people when they found out I am home educated or when they are trying to figure out if you’re playing hooky from school.

What do you enjoy the most?

The fact that if I get stuck on something I can take a break and go for a swim or something and come back to it without someone telling me I am not concentrating or I need to buckle down.  I find that when I am stuck I need to shift gears by doing something else for a bit and you can’t do this in a traditional school.  It’s funny but my standard of work has gone up even though I take more breaks, I enjoy learning more.

How do you think your particular learning style has been helped by being home educated?

It took me awhile to understand that I no longer had to understand things on someone else’s time table, that I now had the time  and space to go at my pace because I no longer had to keep up with the rest of the class.  How I feel about myself has improved, because who I am isn’t being measured constantly by what score I got on the latest test or how fast I caught onto something. Clocks dictate how you learn in traditional classrooms, at home  I get it when I get it and that’s okay.  

Spencer, Age 13

How does home based learning compare to traditional schooling?

It’s better  I am able  to choose what I want to learn when I what to learn it, I have more time for myself just to think,  or read  a book, I am not having to constantly fit into someone else schedule

Do you miss all the other children in a traditional school?

No because even though you're with a lot of children, most of the time you're with them someone else is directing the activities and how you interact. Now if I am with other children we generally have the time and space to really talk and get to know each other so you make some really good friends and ones that you actually choose to be friends with because you have things in common.  In school your limited to choosing friends by who else is in your class, and that means that you may   have to choose someone just so you’re not the looser on the playground  whose all by himself, whether you like them or not.

What’s the most frustrating thing about home schooling?

It would have to be when your siblings are interested in something and you’re not but you still have to sit around and wait for them while they do that activity.

What do you enjoy the most about home education?

Our family doesn’t use s timetables for learning which means we actually simply live and learn at the same time without constantly putting things on hold.  I love the fact that I can immerse myself in a project for hours on end instead of only getting 20 -40 minutes because its time to do maths or English now regardless of what you’re  in the middle of doing.

How do you think your particular learning style has been helped by being home educated?

I did well in a school environment because it’s designed for kids like me who learn by reading and writing, but I like being at home  much better because now I can really get stuck into things.  Before I would spend all day  at school and by the time I got home  and did  my chores and had dinner, there wasn’t a lot of time left over for anything extra, especially as on weekends as I  had sport and church.  Being at home I’ve  done brilliant things like ice skating, fencing, horse riding, abseiling as well as going on loads of excursions to amazing places like Gin Gin to see the gravity centre and Meckering where we checked out this house that simulates being in an earth quake. 

Karin, Age 14

How does home based learning compare to attending a traditional school?

It’s a lot more interesting,  and I have far more opportunities to be creative, I have learnt to take chances and sometimes it’s scary but the more I do new stuff the easier it is getting to take chances and try new things and new ideas.

Do you miss other children?

It’s hard to miss something you haven’t lost, I might not see other kids every day but its darn close to it and any way with texting and Facebook I can still talk to my friends even if it’s not face to face.  The friends I have now are real friends because no one is forced to hang out with someone they don’t like just because you’re in the same class, now if I get together with someone it’s because I genuinely like them and get on with them, whereas before in primary school it was more about having someone, anyone to hang with otherwise you became a target.

What is the most frustrating thing about home education?

Hearing mum and dad say they will have to check the budget before I can do something, it makes me mad that the government pays money towards every other child’s education, even refugees, but home schoolers get nothing.  Mum and dad do a great job but with four other siblings it can get very tight when it comes to money.

What do you enjoy the most about home education?

The fact that its tailored to me and not someone else, I am a night owl and I don’t function real well before 10.00am,  in fact my brain doesn’t really get going till around 5.00pm.  It’s not unusual for me to still be reading  and doing stuff at 2.00am in the morning.  I’ve been studying biology and in particular the brain and apparently that’s normal for most kids my age.

How do you think your particular learning style has been helped by being home educated?

I think in pictures so I  learn though seeing and doing not reading or writing, don’t get me wrong I like both of them it’s just not a good way to learn new stuff for me.  Plus when I am making notes for myself I tend to use pictograms and diagrams which is much easier to do when you’re not having to write essays or assignments for someone else.