By Ian Townsend for Background Briefing
Updated January 29, 2012 13:59:08
As a new school year begins, more than 50,000 Australian children will be home-schooled and in most cases, their parents are doing it illegally.
It is compulsory to send children between the ages of six and 16 to school, or register them for home schooling, but more parents are opting out of the traditional school system and keeping their children at home.
However, thousands of parents across the country are not registered and that means they potentially face prosecution.
Governments have been reluctant to take legal action, but in a landmark case last October, Bob Osmark from the Home Schooling Association of Queensland was prosecuted for not registering with the Home Education Unit to home school his 13-year-old daughter.
Mr Osmark had home-schooled his nine children.
He was charged under the Queensland Education Act that says parents have to enrol children of compulsory school age in a school, or register them for home schooling.
Mr Osmark was found guilty and fined $300 plus costs.
"I didn't register with the Home Education Unit. I refused to do that because I see education as something of a parental right," he said.
"We as parents know and love our children best. It's not some cold faceless bureaucrat in the education department that knows what's best for your child.
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