After a drop in numbers, homeschooling is on the rise again in Tauranga. The Bay of Plenty Times got to chat to a current and past homeschooling parent and find out a little bit about why they made the choice to base learning from home.
Figures obtained from the Ministry of Education showed that after a drop in the number of children in homeschooling in 2015 and 2016, the total number of homeschoolers in Tauranga and the Western Bay of Plenty hit the highest it had been in a decade in 2018.
On July 1 2018, there were a total of 279 homeschoolers in the area. This was up 60 children from the 219 in 2017 and up 78 from the 201 in 2016.
Homeschooling was where parents or legal guardians take responsibility for the education of their children and they choose the curriculum they use to teach their children.
The Bay of Plenty Times got to chat to a current and past homeschooling parent and find out a little bit about why they made the choice to base learning from home.
Mother and homeschool educator of two Jay Hart said the decision to homeschool her children came about six months before her oldest child was set to start school.
She said she crammed hours of research into homeschooling and decided if she could do it, it was where she wanted to be investing her time.
"To me, it just didn't seem possible for one person to meet the learning needs of 30 children."
She said she did not believe that teachers nowadays were resourced adequately.
Hart was now in her third year of homeschooling, with a 5-year-old daughter and a 7-year-old son.
Hart has always been dedicated to her own education. She was qualified with a doctorate in law and had a lengthy career in Parliament.
She said homeschooling gave her freedom and flexibility when it came to educating her children.
Auckland University clinical psychologist Vas Ajello, who specialises in child and adolescent psychology, said the impact of homeschooling on children depended on a range of factors.
He said the biggest factor was access to peer-based activities and that could be the biggest disadvantage of homeschooling compared to conventional schooling.
Ajello said there was a higher chance of homeschooled children being less equipped to handle social situations based on the nature of home school but that was easy to overcome.
However, Katikati ex-homeschooler Sue King refuted this, saying the biggest misconception with homeschooling was that the children were socially starved.
She believed the fact they got to interact with children from all different age groups through social groups and adults was extremely beneficial.
King homeschooled her three children from year 1 straight through until year 13.
Her main motivator came from her research finding that only around 5 to 18 per cent of a child's day at school was on-task learning. She felt she was capable of doing more for her children.
There was quite a network of homeschooling families in Katikati, so they would often utilise each parents' skill set and all the children would go to one place to do things like physics or art classes.
All three of her children managed to finish their schooling by the age of 16 and went on to get their masters degrees.
The Ministry of Education tracked the numbers and issued exemptions for parents to homeschool their children.
When a parent applied for a homeschooling exemption, one of the sections in the applications asked for details on how the child will be taught, what learning philosophy will be used, and what resources will be used, said a Ministry of Education spokeswoman.
If it fulfilled the criteria of "will be taught at least as regularly and well as in a registered school" under section 21 of the Education Act 1989 then the Ministry will grant an exemption, she said.
Home educators were required to file a declaration form twice-yearly confirming they were still home educating their child.