HOME schooling three children might sound like a lot of work, but to Northern Rivers mother Tara Luca, it's something she is proud of and loves. Tara is a member of the Northern Rivers Home School Network and knows that having the support of like-minded people is just as important as giving the children an appropriate education.
"Home schooling a child starts from birth," Tara said. "It's a progressive, natural education in life and young children learn all the time through everyday tasks and activities - cooking, chopping and stirring moves naturally into measuring and looking at numbers and words in recipes - it's education with a practical purpose."
With three children under the age of seven, Tara and her husband made a decision to educate their children from home after looking around at the educational options available to them in the local area.
"We tried distance education, then we looked at Steiner school education, but it was expensive and we had to decide if we should both go to work to pay for private education or live a simple life on a property out of town," Tara said. "Now I stay at home and educate the kids and we can focus our lives around family. If it doesn't work, we can think about school or other options. My husband was home schooled and had a fantastic experience - he's a well grounded person with great practical and social skills."
According to Tara, there are many families in the local area who choose to home school their children and could benefit from learning from the experiences of other families already involved with the Northern Rivers Home School Network group.
"People might be considering home education but want more information, so the group is holding an open day on October 26 and anyone interested can come along and meet other families, develop community and hear about different teaching and learning styles being used... One family in the group has kids who were acting up in school and they realised the children were bored and now they cater for them in different ways," Tara said. "With home schooling, they now teach them with an accelerated learning process, three or four levels higher than in school."
These days, Tara sits down with her six-year-old daughter Olive to deliver a more formal education syllabus and has outsourced private music lessons for her.
"As the kids get older, they help each other," Tara said. "All the home school kids we've met are super inspiring. One of the greatest misconceptions of home education is the concern that students are home all the time and hidden away from the world; this could not be further from the truth, the world itself is our classroom."
Parents are legally required to register for home education with the NSW Board of Studies and follow syllabus guidelines, which according to Tara involves about two hours of formal learning every day
"The benefits of home schooling mean that we can focus on developing our children's talents which may set them up in a field they are passionate about," Tara said. "Home education is a holistic learning process and is more focussed on the needs of the child."
The Northern Rivers Home School Network is made up of home school groups from Byron Bay, Nimbin and Lismore. The open day will be held this Friday, October 26 in Wade Park, Lismore from 2-4pm. For more information, you can contact Tara on firstname.lastname@example.org.