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concern re HEA subscription promotion to families temporarily home schooling due to school closure or self-isolation

Emma Thompson, March 2020

Last year I shared a post on Facebook from Regeneration 2040 which listed all the charities you could donate to. Sadly, the entirety of this money has not been passed on, and will not be passed on to Bush fire victims.

At the same time, an association I belong to launched its own Bush Fire Appeal. I was not confident that they could keep funds raised separate from the association's funds, and as they were suing, yet again, another home educating family business, I was worried about the association's funds if they lost their NSW NCAT case (which they did but that's another story) and had to pay costs. However, the association's minutes record that most of the money donated has been directly given to home educating families affected by bush fires.

It has always been buyer beware and it is wise to research before you part with your money. With this in mind, I ask that you read the following email I have sent to the HEA management committe. Remember it has always been 'Buyer Beware' and, of course, you can share if you care.

"To the Committee of HEA Inc.

RE: Serious Concerns

It has come to my attention that the HEA Inc, on it's FB business page, has embarked on a recruitment drive to get parents of school enrolled school students to buy an HEA Inc membership, which is half the price of a yearly membership, and lasting only for six months. Apart from the fact that the constitution only has 12 month memberships and a six month membership is not possible, my main concern is the disrepute this action will bring to the whole home education community.

School enrolled students whose parents have removed them due to COVID-19 will have their educational needs provided for by the state. For example, here in Tasmania state enrolled students already have an edu email, they also have the ability to download Microsoft Office applications onto personal devices, they can access Mathletics and other educational resources, as well as Story Box (free through the state library).

As school enrolled students, the state will make provision for their educational programs. Accordingly, these parents have no requirements to prepare educational programs to meet their retrospective state or territory legal requirements to educate at home.

In this light, I feel that the most appropriate action for the experienced home education community is to encourage parents of school enrolled students to seek guidance from their school about how the school will provide an educational program for their children.

How can these parents benefit from HEA services like:

  • Home education registration packs
  • Event organiser insurance (COVID-19 makes these events impossible and; furthermore, irresponsible to advocate the public undertake such activities)
  • Student Work Experience (retrospective state and territories provide this to school students)
  • Student ID cards (once again, schools provide these to their students)
  • HEA email address with google education (schools have advanced online platforms to work from like Blackboard collaborate and Canvas)
  • Entrance to discounted conferences (not possible with COVID-19 restrictions)

The only benefit might be subscriptions at reduced prices; but, with the downturn in the economy and the unprecedented rise in unemployment, these parents will be better off relying on state funded education to provide resources to educate their children.

I feel this is what makes the HEA recruitment drive repugnant. Taking advantage of worried and desperate parents is a distasteful case of profiteering. It is unconscionable behaviour and brings our whole community into disrepute.

As experienced home educators, we can offer support and community to our fellow parents. If parents find the next six months draws them to continuing educating their children at home, then the HEA Inc. would have services and products that would be useful to parents wanting to become registered home educators.

For now, we should be encouraging these families to simply enjoy their children and liaise with their school for educational programs, resources and supports.

Finally, I am aware that you will ignore this email and, because I feel that it is morally corrupt to take advantage of worried parents, I will be posting this email to my personal page as a public post.

Then I will share with a buyer beware warning.

I believe that you know this behaviour is wrong. This is evidenced by 1) your hiding the post from my profile, 2) the deletion of my community service announcement comment on the HEA's FB business page (made under a FB profile I made in my previous legal name) where I alert readers that they can get benefits as an enrolled school students for free, and 3) the deletion of all comments under said post that alerts the public to the fact that they don't need to buy your product.

It's tragic that this post, and HEA's censorship actions, have spilled over from your own business page to a group, 'Australian Homeschool Network', which had over 9K members, and resulted in its closure. Sadly, closing the group was the only action left to it's owner to stop the HEA Inc using her many years work to flog their recruitment drive.

As you returned my membership renewal, and refuse to follow the constitution in relation to my dispute with this Committee, I feel that public exposure is the best option I have to put a stop to this abhorrent behaviour.

Yours sincerely,
Emma Thompson"

see also:

The Other Side was a Facebook group that gives members who are disturbed and concerned by the litigious behaviour of the current (2019 and 2020) committee. The information on the HEA website continues to misrepresent the facts.

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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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