Wodonga couple continues fight against home-school changes after peaceful protest in Melbourne

A WAY OF LIFE: Annmarie Beatty and her husband Ben Scott home-school their children; Harriet Scott, 4, Sinead, 8, and Walter, 6. Picture: SIMON BAYLISS

A WAY OF LIFE: Annmarie Beatty and her husband Ben Scott home-school their children; Harriet Scott, 4, Sinead, 8, and Walter, 6. Picture: SIMON BAYLISS

Border families will not go down easily in the fight to stop the Victorian government increasing regulations on home-schooling.

Wodonga mum Annmarie Beatty was one of 49 parents and carers who travelled to Melbourne last Monday in a peaceful protest against the proposals.

The draft legislation, open for consultation until the 28th, proposes the Victorian Regulation and Qualifications Authority be authorised to review family arrangements “to make sure they are providing a quality education to their children”.

Ms Beatty said her visit to Melbourne was part of a campaign to show Education Minister James Merlino the value of freedom in home education.

“I feel as though the government is handing over the power to the VRQA, who for me and other parents and even teachers, are not that receptive to home education,” she said.

“The Melbourne trip was a way for us to work together positively to fight the changes.

“There was a house template sent out by the Home Education Network we could then draw on to show what home education means to us.

“I took down about 40 ‘houses’ representative of the community in the North East and there were over 500 houses all up.”

Ms Beatty was joined by her husband Ben Scott, who was equally passionate about the home education of their three children.

“It works for us because other schooling methods haven’t,” he said.

“Traditional mainstream schooling didn’t work for me, yet here I am earning a living, paying tax, and raising a family.

“What I’m hoping for is their education isn’t to the detriment of their learning.”

The couple relayed their experience at a monthly meeting of Border home school families for a learning session, this time at the Sustainable Activity Centre.

Mr Scott said the gathering encapsulated exactly what was valued – and at threat – about current home-schooling opportunities.

“Certainly, a lot of people, my friends, even me when I started –  thought homeschooling meant just being at home,” he said.

“Some do; others like ours go out into group environments, to travelling exhibitions – we have that freedom.

“It doesn’t work for everybody, but it is a legal and valid option and all we want is the best for our kids.”