AT THEIR OWN PACE: Tanya Watson will be home schooling her children Josh, Lucas and Rachel this year after a successful two years for Lucas.
AT THEIR OWN PACE: Tanya Watson will be home schooling her children Josh, Lucas and Rachel this year after a successful two years for Lucas.

Home schooling: personal approach creates harmony

TWO years ago, Lucas Watson was struggling at school.

"He didn't cope well, and it was getting worse and worse," says mum Tanya.

"It got to the point where I was waiting each day for the call to say 'Come and pick him up'."

Tanya and Dan Watson decided to try home schooling.

Two years on, they're preparing to have 10-year-old Lucas's younger siblings, Josh and Rachel, at home too.

"It's not for everyone, but it can make things better for a lot of people," she said.

Initially Lucas switched to distance education, corre

sponding with a teacher in Brisbane.

Now, Tanya sets her own topics each term, guided by the national curriculum - from sustainability to Indonesian studies to robotics.

"They've already built a computer from scratch these holidays," she said.

"They learned about all the internal components of the computer and put it all together. This year Lucas will be teaching some other kids how to make a Raspberry Pie, a tiny computer."

On the autism spectrum and with ADHD, Lucas couldn't sit still in the classroom environment. Now, at home, he can move around, listen to music, and his parents can help him focus.

"It's hard for a teacher to keep an eye on one student when there are 25 others you have to worry about.

"At home it's a bit easier to steer them in the right direction."

The children often initiate their own impromptu lessons.

As for those who argue home schooling holds children back socially, Tanya says "It's the least of your worries - sometimes I've got too full a calendar. There are lots of opportunities for kids to interact - not just with other kids, but adults, too."

"I get the whole 'How can you do that? You're just going to stress yourself out'," she said.

"But it's actually a lot less stressful, because I'm not picking up angry kids from school and trying to get work done with them when they're already worked up.

"Now we can just slide into it and work at their pace, and if they're struggling in some area, we can work on that."



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