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The Keys to finding employment
General Infomation on Homeschooling
Homeschooling Laws
How to Get Started
Notes for Overseas Customers
Choosing A Career
The Highschool Years
Phonics/Reading & Writing
History of Homeschooling in Australia
Types of Tests
Entering TAFE
ACT Education Act
When to Read & Write
Slow Learners

The Highschool Years

The Highschool Years

The Highschool Years

Since children vary so much, rather than state specific books we have tried to outline the general principles. Specific help can be gained from us in person or check the grade guides on the web.

The primary school years are the time when children should learn the basics and be provided with the foundation they will need for the rest of their lives. In English they should have mastered addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, percentages, averages, volume, area, and have a good understanding of shapes and angles. If they are using Easy Learn Maths they will have also begun simple algebra and geometry. In English they should have covered the basics of grammar, written expression and be able to read and comprehend well. They should also be able to spell and understand basic spelling rules. This can all be accomplished in a consistent hour and a half of work each day leaving plenty of time to develop more practical areas of knowledge in children.

Once the basics have been learnt the highschool child's curriculum can be tailored to suit the child's future needs. By twelve most children have not yet settled on a career but traits are already obvious. The child, for example, may be good with his hands, or show imagination and creativity or have a definite leaning towards either maths and science or english. All these help in choosing the most appropriate material for the child. Even if they do not their suggestions of careers often indicate which subjects need to be covered.

If the child is likely to enter a trade like electronics, or mechanics or pursue a career in science or engineering then it is essential that they are provided with a quality science programme and an advanced maths course. (If they are good at maths and science pursue this track anyway.

Most parents are not aware that the number on the front cover of a maths book may have little bearing on the work contained inside. The actual standard may fluctuate between grade four work and grade ten even if the cover says the book is for year ten. An advanced maths course will have covered in depth algebra, geometry and trigonometry by year ten and will contain little practice in basic functions after year 7. The science programme will cover the general areas of physics, chemistry, physical science and biology and provide the child with solid information rather than a great many pretty pictures and no solid facts.

If the child has struggled with maths throughout primary school and is unlikely to use anything other than the basic arithmetical functions then it is cruel to force them to study algebra and geometry which may always remain a foreign language rather, it is better to provide them with a more practical series like Maths for Living. This provides them with further development of the skills they have already mastered in a more practical way. For example they may work out the deposit that needs to be made on a hire purchase and the extra cost of paying it off over a period of time rather than paying cash. While this child will also study science it will need to be tailored to suit their future needs. All children who are capable should study general science as it teaches general principles and information we use all our lives. However, if a child is interested in nursing or naturopathy using the Human Anatomy Colouring Book followed by an extra biology may need to also be included.

All children will continue to study english as this teaches skills used every day but again their course will need to be tailored to suit their needs. A child who later wishes to pursue a career in journalism, for example, will need a far more in depth knowledge of grammar and a different vocabulary, to the child who wishes to become a mechanic. Regardless of career choices all children need to develop practical writing skills. Schools have traditionally studied the classics and poetry and have taught more creative writing skills. While this may have enlarged the child's knowledge it did not help them obtain the practical writing skills that they needed in the workforce. We use a programme, written specifically for homeschoolers, which teach skills like writing reports, outlines, summaries, and letters to the editor, letters of application and reference and writing instructions. We have found that this achieves better results as the child can understand the need to learn the skills. Working with the child rather than pushing the child is the key to successful homeschooling. It is essential to tailor any course to the child and not to the mother's interests or convenience.

By year ten most employers will require the child to have covered English, Maths, Science, & Studies in Environment, which will include both Geography and History. Geography and History are really knowledge of our world and the topics covered can be varied enormously to suit the child's interest. Employers will also expect to see electives that are relevant to a future career. For example, the child who wishes to work as a secretary will need to have completed a typing course and have word processing and data base skills. A child interested in mechanics needs to have available practical examples of their interest through pictures of work completed on cars.

Whether it is realistic or not most employers are looking for sixteen year olds with two years work experience. If a child reaches eighteen without this part-time experience it can be hard to gain employment. By fourteen, if not earlier, the child should have some part time job. This may simply be delivering newspapers or letter boxing. One enterprising set of homeschooled boys we know wash cars at the beach in summer and have managed to earn a large amount of money. Others have cut lawns. If the job is in an area of future interest to the child, for example working with animals, then all the better. However when it comes to competition in the work force any work at all is an advantage providing it has been undertaken consistently for a period of time. A job, apart from giving the child money, also teaches the child what employers refer to as "work ethics." From a mother's point of view, it uses productively the enormous amount of energy that teenagers produce. It also provides the parents with opportunities to teach their children to manage money wisely.

Once year ten is completed the homeschooler can begin accessing TAFE courses. Certificate 1 should be avoided. It is too simple. Certificate 2 contains pre-apprenticeship and other courses. Many employers require pre-apprenticeship courses as a pre-requisite to an interview.

Certificate 2 or higher courses should be chosen with a view to the child's chosen career. At this point, before embarking on further training, it is essential to check that work is available. There is no point completing a course where there are no jobs at the end. Do not take the word of career advisors, TAFE's or Universities. Check it out yourself through the paper and through Centre Link. If there are not many jobs available at that time do not assume that there will be jobs in the future. Choose an allied career. The job market is changing very rapidly. In media, for example, where once each state and each television station had their own newscasters now, with satellites, news is being produced in Sydney and only local news added. This means that the workforce has been drastically reduced. In other areas where an electrician and a computer technician were both employed now the electrician does both jobs. (See article on Choosing a Career.)

Each Certificate at TAFE opens several doors to other courses at the next level. If the child completes a Diploma or Advanced Diploma Course they can begin a University Course at the second or third year. As of 1999 each Degree course was required to have a TAFE pathway to reach it. The beauty of this method is it requires a child to make only a small decision each time and allows them to change direction at the end of each course without wasting time or being penalized for it. Furthermore the work undertaken at TAFE is recognized later in life should the child wish to continue studying.

There is little point continuing studying until year twelve unless the child is under sixteen. We have discovered that TAFE's and Universities only considered an external year twelve course to be equivalent to year ten and six months in the workforce. 63% of students enter university by means other than the year twelve exams and universities in fact prefer this method as the students are generally more mature and will complete the course they have undertaken. In addition the child who has travelled the pathway through TAFE has a far more practical education and therefore a generally better understanding of the theory of the course they are undertaking.

The aim of any course is ultimately to allow the child to gain a job therefore once year ten is completed traineeships and apprenticeships are also good options. These generally include further study combined with practical work at the same time that the child is learning the theory. For more details on this parents should contact the New Apprenticeship Board in their state.

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