Home-schooling: a local experience

By Jodie Passmore – Ecovillage Sales Admin, resident and home-schooling mum

The Witchcliffe Ecovillage is fortunate to have a great selection of local primary schools in the surrounding area, with excellent bus links to and from Witchcliffe. These include Margaret River PS, Margaret River Montessori, Rapids Landing PS and Margaret River Independent School to the south. And then for many different reasons, some of us have chosen to home-school our children, and it feels great to have connected with other families on this path.

We have observed this topic coming up every now and then on the Ecovillage Community Facebook Group and know there are a number of residents moving across from the eastern states who are interested in home-schooling. So, we’ve decided to include some helpful background information on the home-schooling community in the Margaret River region.

There are a couple of regular groups that meet weekly in Margaret River: a widely attended social group each Friday afternoon (‘Basecamp’) and a Steiner-inspired group who meet and complete various activities together in nature.

There is also a little group run by one of our Ecovillagers on Tuesday mornings called the Witchy Experts Club (WEC). One day this group will be able to use the Community Centre, but for now WEC happens at Witchcliffe’s Druid’s Hall. Each week a different “expert” in their field is invited to speak to the group (20 – 25 kids), then they all work on a related activity and have a play afterwards. It’s lovely to see the kids forming some strong friendships and becoming more confident in the questions to guest experts. We’ve had some wonderful experts who have shared their knowledge and expertise with the group including a beekeeper, environmental scientists, a marine biologist, State Emergency Service Workers and local Wallcliffe Volunteer Firefighters.

There are a number of local individual tutors and teachers who offer independent classes and it’s great to hear some of our kids are already the lucky recipients of music lessons from fellow talented Ecovillagers. Skateboarding lessons, roller-skating, horse riding, equine therapy, swimming lessons, science and music classes, snorkelling and other great groups are constantly forming and if anyone needs connecting with the home-schooling community, a great place to start is the ‘South West, Western Australia Home Schooling Network’ Facebook page.