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September 12, 2003

Update on Home Education in Australia

In Australia, home education has grown rapidly over the past 25 years. Families are educating their children at home in all six States and two territories in urban, suburban, regional, and remote parts of Australia.

As in all other nations where home education is growing, there is a wide variety of methodologies and styles used by home educators. Some families are using complete curriculums, others are using a mix and match approach to academic resources, whilst others are using a natural learning approach to their children's education.

Of all the States and Territories in Australia, only the state of Victoria has an Education Act which recognises that parents are fully responsible for the education of their children. Legislation in the other States and Territories assume that the Minister for Education is responsible for the education of children. In states where this is the case, home educators teach their children at home, despite the law. Numbers are so large that state governments are playing catch-up. Currently the Queensland Education Act is under ministerial review. Home educators have presented their preferred legislative recommendations to the Minister for Education indicating a "no regulation no monitoring" position. We now await the results of the law review.

Terry and Diane Harding have home educated their five children for 13 years. Their goals for the home education of their children were to see them come to know the Lord Jesus Christ and to follow Him; for them to honour and submit to their parents; and for them to be successful in the world. Now that 4 of their 5 children have entered university study and, or business, as godly young adults, Terry and Diane believe that they have seen these three goals achieved in the lives of their five children. They know that home education has been an integral part of that process. With only 16 year old Nathan still in home education, both Terry and Diane say "God's ways work!" This is an encouragement to younger parents who are yet to see the fruit of their home education labours.

Terry and Diane now both encourage home educators nationwide and internationally regarding marriage, parenting, family life and education. Terry is also doing doctoral research into home education and the function of parents throughout Australia.

In 2003, Terry was successful in lobbying for the Education Act of Queensland to be altered so that he could commence a state-approved, private School of Distance Education. This institution is called the Australian Christian Academy School of Distance Education. This provides an alternate model to home educators, and will make home education even more accessible to those who wish to pursue this path.

The future is bright for home educators in Australia. We will continue to grow as the Lord blesses this wonderful movement.

Submitted by Terry Harding