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Fundraising effort to help cover legal costs for home educating mums

July 30th, 2018

https://www.gofundme.com/help-mums-defend-court?member=499282 - click to show your support and donate

A call has gone out (see article below) to raise funds to help home educating parents cover their considerable legal costs after being served summons to appear in NSW Supreme Court this morning by a small group of members and non-members, identifying as the HEA. In effect, the HEA is taking itself to court. And the plaintiffs - purporting to represent the HEA - are determined that the defendants will bear the full cost.

I am personally aghast that any member of an association would do this to other members. In my 30 years of supporting and promoting home education I have not come across anything as destructive as this, to home educating families, organisations and the home educating community.

I know the four defendants, all are home educating mums. They are close and dear friends, they don't deserve the crap that has been written about them over the past few months on several Facebook groups. Believe that crap if you must, but have a heart for their families: we're all home educating families, few of us have an income that can support defending ourselves in court.

I am no longer a HEA member: disappointed by the behaviour of volunteers and members I revoked my life membership in May. However, for eight weeks prior to this I had volunteered my time, energy and experience as a member of the HEA committee, on top of already serving on the committee for the SA Chapter, a position I had held for 17 months after helping to establish it. As a result I am aware of all of the details on both sides of the conflict.

The following is a video which presents a version of what happened that has not been widely circulated. I'm sharing it because I have friends in the association who don't support the HEA taking court action and who want to see a solution which doesn't end up costing individual members or the association tens of thousands of dollars. The video asks members to share it with HEA members and to contact the online HEA Unite group and ask them to accept the solution offered.

Help Home Ed Mums Defend Court

If you have ever have made contact, spoken to or been supported by these HOME ED MUMS, now is the time to pay it forward. They need your help, NOW!


"Right now four mums need your help and support.

The HEA (Home Education Association) is a not-for-profit, volunteer run support group which has operated and helped home schooling families since 2001.

Home schoolers receive no funding or support from government. They depend on support groups to help them find resources, social opportunities, information and practical support. Support groups can be a lifeline for families who find that school is no longer meeting their child's needs and that home schooling is the only option left.

The HEA depends on the efforts of volunteers to provide information and resources, as well as to support home schooling families negotiate fair and reasonable regulatory policies and procedures, particularly during periods of legislative review.

Sadly, even within a community organisation focused on supporting the educational needs of parents and children, conflicts can arise and derail effective management, resulting in toxic disputes that threaten the existence of the association and needlessly target individuals. Right now, four such individuals, all home schooling mothers, need your support.

Two former committee members and the two administration contractors (both members) are being taken to the Supreme Court of NSW by a small group of non-members and members who are seeking control of the HEA, asking the Court to legitimize an AGM that which they held without appropriate notice provided to members and in breach of the association's Constitution.

This small group have said they are well funded. The four mothers they have named as defendants have no such funds. The cost of going to court is great. It is unreasonable and unfair that these mothers, hard-working home schoolers who have given so much of their time over many years to support other home schooling families, should face the stress of financing this unwarranted court action.

As it stands they cannot afford even a barrister. They need your help. Any donation is a message of support and if you are able send them more it will go directly to helping them make their case.

It is a strong case and they in no way deserve this. All are conscientious advocates for the community. There is no argument there. The dispute should be settled by mediation, an avenue that has not yet been thoroughly explored.

The Supreme Court seems an extreme way to resolve it but the four mothers now have no option but to defend themselves, possibly without even a lawyer to represent them.

If you are able, please consider helping them.

No association, especially one the sole purpose of which is to support families, should threaten its members, in this case home schooling mums, with legal action, let alone take them to the Supreme Court."


Update 29 August: all four homeschooling mothers now have access to excellent legal advice; 3 are being represented in court by a lawyer and barrister. As the plaintiffs were not adequately prepared for the hearing in July a new hearing date was set in September. This has resulted in unnecessary additional cost for the defendants.

THANK YOU for your support, it is much appreciated.

Other articles in this series regarding the HEA:

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Beverley Paine with her children, and their home educated children, relaxing at home.

Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active supporter of national, state, regional and local home education groups.

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We began educating our children in 1985, when our eldest was five. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn since they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. We hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was! Beverley Paine

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Home education is a legal alternative
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