Questions and Answers | 6 Minutes

Veritas Around The World: Q&A with Fiona | Australia

Molly Nickles Written by Molly Nickles
Veritas Around The World: Q&A with Fiona | Australia

Veritas isn’t just for people living in America. We absolutely love having students from all over the world. Each student brings a unique world-perspective to the class that enriches every conversation in the classroom. And for those seeking a self-paced option, they can use self-paced courses that fit in their school year.

We recently asked a Veritas self-paced course mom, Fiona about her experience as an Australian doing self-paced courses with her daughter.

Q: What a great photo of your family!

A: This photo is a few years old, but it's a sweet one of us. We've been married for 32 years and have 5 kids!

Q: Can you give us insight into the overall landscape of education in Australia? Is homeschooling popular there?

A: So, most kids are in public/government schools. Due to the lockdowns, and more intrusive laws for going to government schools, a record number of people have been interested in homeschooling. The numbers have greatly increased since COVID-19.

There was a TV show about the surge in homeschooling earlier this year. I've known about homeschooling since 1994 and met people who did it once I asked friends if they knew anybody who was homeschooling. Since then, it's kept growing and growing. When I was a teacher in Christian schools, I sometimes had students who had previously homeschooled. My own 5 children have attended a mixture of public and Christian schools. I even homeschooled one for a 1/2 year in 2007.

Q:Is Classical education well known?

A: Classical education is NOT well known. To be honest, I wasn't even sure what it meant myself. We don't speak in such terms here that I've ever heard, and I even have a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in English Literature! We do talk about some books being classics, such as Dickens, but don't refer to “classical education” in the way that Veritas does. As I've always been interested in home schooling, and used to subscribe to The Teaching Home in the 90s, I used to see them talk about classical education and wondered if it just meant reading the classics.

What do people say when they hear you do an American online class?

We don't do the live class. We do the Self-paced video subscription. People are mostly surprised that I use American education as they sometimes wonder why I don't use local options. The Australian homeschooling arena is just not as well set up as [America’s].

I was underwhelmed with the Australian options I saw. As a teacher, I'm very fussy about curriculum.

When I knew I'd been homeschooling for the 2022 Aussie school year, which goes from late January to December, I spent from September to December 2021 carefully perusing options. I asked my good friend, who's been homeschooling for about 4 years, what she uses. She now lives in Sydney, and I'm in Melbourne, so she messaged me a list - Veritas, Apologia etc. I agonised over Veritas or Sonlight, as another friend raved about that. Both seemed to have strong points. I am very indecisive, and I spent ages poring over the websites. As an English teacher, I felt pretty confident about teaching English anyway, but I liked the Bible/Theology, Literature, and History mix. I went with Veritas and decided to do the self-paced videos!

My daughter does like both Tammi and Bruce, so she feels welcomed. Bruce does occasionally mention to the guest speakers that people around the world do this, and we smile at each other as if, "That's us!!!" lol!

Q: How does the Veritas education differ from what your kids would have received had you not heard about it?

A: Veritas is so very different. It almost feels like university-level reading. As I only have my 13 year old doing homeschooling this year, I sit alongside her for all but maths, which my husband does. So, I've seen every primary and secondary lesson with Bruce and Tammi thus far. Aussie kids, even at a Christian school, do the modern type of English (full year from Years 7 to 12) where they do a variety of texts - many modern, with history as a separate half-year subject, from Years 7 to 10, and after that, it's an elective. Bible is about once a week or maybe 3 periods a fortnight.

My daughter knows she's doing a much harder program but that her mind is being stimulated by great writers/thinkers, and she's getting the Christian view of every text as they always go back to the Bible or biblical worldview. I feel like I'm getting the Classical Education that I never knew about and never missed until I did this course. My 13yo daughter and I are learning so much. Our faith is growing, our minds are being challenged, and our worldview is being honed further.

What does it look like for you to use Veritas in Australia?

We start around the 1st Feb, just after our 2022 school year begins. We worked very hard to follow the schedule in Veritas, but we were only managing to do Veritas Primary/Secondary, Maths (Maths U See) and Apologia Science, most days. On Fridays, we'd try to fit in Art, as my daughter loves it. Occasionally, we'd fit in French and a bit of geography or Australian politics. The Australian Government likes you to do more subjects than this, ideally.

Currently, we do Primary Omnibus by doing the reading one day (and at night/on weekends) and the lesson the next day. We do 3x Secondary lessons a week. We have to read at night and on weekends for that, too. My friend who uses Veritas advised this as it stopped the tears for her children about the Veritas pace. We should finish the Omnibus Secondary lessons in time, but just may need more time for Primary. I'm so glad my friend suggested a little of an easier load as, during the Histories, we'd sometimes read for about 3 hours a day, and it was so challenging! I love Veritas but had been thinking that I'd need to give it up as it was too labour intensive, so this solution seemed approachable.

I joke that I have a love/hate relationship with Veritas as it's sooooo wonderful but very rigorous in that it's so time-consuming. I joke that I have a figurative bowl of water, which is my time for the day, but Veritas is like a huge sponge that sucks it all up and only leaves me with a little water left for Maths and Science! I was getting all stressed about not doing all the curriculum areas that the Victorian Government wanted, but then my friend gave me that better pace for doing it. I'd love to fit in more French, health, Australian Politics, more Art, geography etc., bu t we are very happy with Veritas– extremely intensive reading schedule beside.

We love the video lessons, and the textbook has interesting essays! The street interviews are thought-provoking, the games are mostly fun or challenging, the guest speakers are always interesting and valuable, and Bruce and Tammi try to make it interesting.

Some of the texts we've read have been life-changing, such as 'Chosen by God', 'Till We Have Faces', and Odyssey. We are learning so much!