HOME GROWN: Imogen, 8, and Indira, 6, are being home-schooled by their mum, Tracey Mansted.
HOME GROWN: Imogen, 8, and Indira, 6, are being home-schooled by their mum, Tracey Mansted. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Home is their school

TRACEY Mansted's family is full of proud school teachers, so there were a lot of eyebrows raised when she and her husband Mike opted to home-school their two daughters.

Tracey, from Wilson's Creek near Mullumbimby, admits even she was surprised as she was a big believer in the public school system and the local school.

But she said her academically gifted daughters Imogen and Indira found the school curriculum boring.

"It's a lovely little school; there just wasn't the challenge," Tracey said.

She said her initial concerns that it may hinder their social development proved groundless, with her daughters enjoying a range of activities.

Eight-year-old Imogen said she didn't miss going to school.

"It wasn't really hard enough so most of the time I was sitting in a chair daydreaming," Imogen said of school.

The Mansteds are one of an estimated 50 families in the region who home-school their children for a variety of reasons.

On Friday The Northern Rivers Homeschool Network, an umbrella group for home-schooling parents in Lismore, Nimbin and Byron Bay, will come together to celebrate National Home Education Week.

Network spokeswoman Tara Luca admitted some people still regarded home-schooled kids as weird social misfits and/or the spawn of religious freaks and over-controlling par- ents, but she said that could not be further from the truth.

"Every anti-social person I've ever met went to school and 99% of home-schooled people I've met have been well-adjusted," said Tara who teaches her three daughters at their home near Evans Head.

"My experience of home-schooled kids is that they're a lot better socialised than other kids. (My own kids) are really articulate and don't actually see any dif- ference between ages.

"They have friends that are 60 and friends that are six."

The Northern Rivers Homeschool Network family fun afternoon will be staged between 2-4pm at Wade Park on October 26.



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