Archive for the 'Home Education' Category

Criminalizing Home Education – California

As a grandmother of the early home education movement in North America, naturally I was concerned about the recent court ruling in California which basically criminalized about 200,000 home schooling parents lacking teaching credentials. Hopefully, if it is not overturned by the Supreme Court, Governor Schwarzenegger has promised legislative remedy: "Parents should not be penalized for acting in the best interests of their children’s education.”

I am very impressed by the extent and depth of feeling and outrage expressed by supporters of home education. But, I am disappointed at the hostility and shallowness of those who are opposed, either out of self-interest (teacher unions) or basic intolerance. (Just Google California home schooling ruling…)

It is because this case even came up in 2008, and because the hostility and threat can be reasserted at any time, that I would like you to read my publication in 1987 which was useful in two ways: 1) to encourage home educators, and 2) to put the education establishment on notice about the legality and imperatives driving this movement. In the article I quote John Holt as saying:

Today freedom has different enemies. It must be fought for in different ways. It will take very different qualities of mind and heart to save it.”

Published in a prestigious educator magazine — The Canadian School Executive —  the article carries weight to this day, often quoted.

My history in home education goes back to 1972 when, after being credentialed from a Teachers College, I traveled with my children to Mexico to study under Ivan Illich of deschooling fame. 

There I met with John Holt. He knew I had two young children with me, ages 3 and 5, and asked if I would be enrolling them in school soon. I said I might educate them at home.

He thought this was illegal, but I said I found from my readings at Teachers College that the “otherwise” clause in most Education Acts allowed it.

He then commented that at least I would be qualified to do it, having obtained a teaching certificate. Again, I enlightened him with the fact that this was not a requirement.

He then posed the thoughtful but predictable question about socialization, and we chatted about the various community opportunities available and the negative aspects of socialization that parents wanted to avoid.

His parting comment was: “Smart City!”

Using his mailing list which he had used to encourage education reform, he soon embraced home education and in 1977 started a new publication, “Growing Without Schooling".

Meanwhile, Dr. Raymond Moore was spreading the word (The Family Report) amongst his mainly Christian audience and paid frequent visits to Vancouver, especially when we held Home Learning Fairs.

You can download the article: Home Education: the third option which helped validate the movement and to see issues of 20 years ago reappearing today……

(See this article under Home Education)

Home Education Endorsed as Reducing Socio-economic Disadvantages


“Canadian and American Policy makers should recognize the ability of parents to meet the educational needs of their children at home, without government involvement,” says Claudia Hepburn in the 2nd edition of Home Schooling: From the Extreme to the Mainstream (Fraser Institute, Oct. 2007).

The 24 page research document is worth downloading free from:

I was a pioneer in the movement in the 70’s and 80’s and devoted considerable energy and effort to jumpstart parent confidence in home educating their own children in Canada.  The above report refers to my article:  Home Education: The Third Option .

“It has been argued that home schoolers serve “as models of economy and effectiveness” (Audain, 1987). Such realities suggest that both Canadian and American policy makers should consider whether or not home schooling parents, whose property taxes subsidize public schools, merit reduction in those taxes or some other recognition of their contribution."

BUT, the important finding in this latest report is the value of home education to improving academic performance of students from families with low levels of education.

“Poorly educated parents who choose to teach their children at home produce better academic results for their children than public schools do….evidence clearly demonstrates that home education may help reduce the negative effects of some background factors that many educators believe affects a child’s ability to learn, such as low family income, low parental educational attainment, parents not having formal training as teachers, race or ethnicity of the students, gender of the student, not having a computer in the home, and infrequent usage of public libraries."

All this supports my long-held belief that parent involvement in the substance of education (not the current vogue of using parents as volunteer labor in schools) is what matters. Both parents and students thrive in co-educational settings. Family efficacy is increased. Parents are not made to feel inadequate as is so often the case in interfaces with public schools.

See the news release: Home schooling improves academic performance and reduces impact of socio-economic factors



Education: Let technology do the teaching?


Education Advisory, the service providing 'consumer advice' to parents, sponsored 5 Home Learning Fairs in the 80's to show how technology and parents could prepare students for the future. The following newspaper article was published in the Vancouver Province, Nov 03, 1985. From this article you will see how Education Advisory was involved in the climate of ferment seeking improvements and alternatives to the existing system of education.
Frank Ogden is a Vancouver futurist.
Education: Let technology do the Teaching (Vancouver Province, Nov 03, 1985)
Underneath the technological tidal wave that is dominating our society are changes in public opinion. For, along with the outward changes that technology is bringing to us, are the first stirrings of great social changes to come.
Perhaps the greatest of these is the groundswell for change in our educational system. All over the world many forces are eroding the professional monopoly of teaching.
We are discovering, for example, that most information can be acquired via satellite, computer link or information utility at a cost of at least 10 per cent of current educational costs.
And it isn't just the 'information elite' that knows this is so.
A case in point: For the past 12 years a West Vancouver woman named Tunya Audain has been researching just what is the matter with our educational system. (The original goal of education was to provide employability. Well, we now know that isn't working.) She isn't doing it the old way. She is closer to her word processor than are most institutional teachers.
Three years ago she started the Home Learning Fair, subsidizing the costs out of her own relatively meager funds. The first year she called a meeting, 500 parents hungry for a better way showed up. Last year her bugle call drew more than 2,000 parents who wanted to explore alternatives to traditional schooling.
On Monday, Nov 11, she will hold her third annual meeting at the McPherson Convention Centre in Burnaby. And this time, more than the crowd will have increased.
Exhibits of computers, home education courses, educational games, books and toys will be displayed. Alternative schools and counseling services will also be exhibiting themselves.
Workshops showing how to start independent schools, how to design your own home curriculum, how to develop cottage industries or handle the special needs of the gifted or the disabled will be held. Flowery academic language will not be used to mask the tasks.
I love the titles of some of the lectures:
Beyond Schooling to Real Education
Why we Need a Voucher System
Preserving Freedom of Choice
Education Malpractice
Education in the Future
The process of non-institutionalized education is nothing new and it has been proven beneficial. In fact, B.C. is leading the country in educating students at home. The Open Learning Institute alone has 16,000 course registrations representing 9,300 individuals, says Ron. Jessels, Principal. This covers university courses, career, vocational, technical and adult education.
In addition to that, ministry of education correspondence courses are reaching 1,040 elementary school students and 17,419 secondary.


Library Resources for Home Education

Libraries are a terrific resource for parents, whether just starting or already long-term.

1) The children’s librarian can usually determine your child’s reading level, and recommend appropriate materials and books.

2) The reference sections have clipping files which you can access. There will be newspaper clippings, brochures, and other items on topic, probably with local stories.

3) The librarian might refer you to local support groups, or tell you how to find them. Or you can look up in the phone book if there is anything like: Home Learning, Home Education, or Home Schooling information.

4) Libraries provide free access to computers and Internet to students and parents. Some provide lab times for longer periods, with assistance available.

5) Videos, CD’s are also available on educational topics.

6) The library will likely have many books on topic. Our library (West Vancouver) has the following so far:

– Homeschooling for Excellence, David and Micki Colfax (1988)

– The Homeschooling Book of Answers, Linda Dobson (1998)

– The Unofficial Guide to Homeschooling, Kathy Isizuka (2000)

– Creative Home Schooling, Lisa Rivero (2002)

– The Home School Manual (7th Edition), Theodore E. Wade (1998)

– Growing Without Schools (Vol One, Aug ’77 – Dec ’79, #’s 1-12), John Holt

– Homeschooling for Success

– The Homeschooling Handbook, Mary Griffith (1997)

Furthermore, parents who find other books useful or needed can get librarians to order them or obtain them through inter-library loans.

Also, those sections of the library collection dealing with home education will have related books on dealing with schools, teachers, what children should learn, etc.

I just obtained a second-hand book called: Shelter for the Spirit, Victoria Moran (1997): How to make your home a haven in a hectic world.

I was very impressed to read about Homeschooling as one of her topics:

It’s certainly not without its challenges. It takes serious parental commitment, but so does helping children through a more conventional education. To homeschool successfully, you have to enjoy the company of your children and be willing to both give them your time and allow them time on their own.

Home education: the third option

Home education: the third option

Tunya Audain – April 1987, The Canadian School Executive
Tunya Audain is Co-ordinator of Education Advisory, West Vancouver, B.C.

An advocate of education in the home lays out the rationale–and forces us to think again about how children’s needs might best be served.

Home education is as old as the hills, yet it has become a concern among educators. Why? The reason is that, next to the option of private schooling, home education is now coming on strong as a challenge to the near monopoly that public schools now enjoy (95% of school-age children in Canada attend public schools). Increasing numbers of parents, especially young parents, are looking into home education. They are making informed choices concerning their children’s education, rather than using the local neighbourhood school automatically. Continue reading ‘Home education: the third option’