But for many Toowoomba children, education takes place at home with their family.
A group of Toowoomba homeschooling mothers gathered to celebrate their year at a Christmas function in November.
“We believe there are at least 100 families homeschooling in Toowoomba,” Barb Somervaille, one of the coordinators of the Darling Downs Christian Homeschool Network said.
“It can be hard to tell because many families enrol through different schools or through Education Queensland.”
The network is about to celebrate its 18th Awards Night, and Barb said the group had grown considerably since it first started.
“Homeschooling has become more accepted and widely known. It used to be thought of as very strange, but now people tend to just nod and smile and say, ‘Oh, I know someone else who homeschools,’” said Barb, who has homeschooled her own eight children over the past 20 years.
Barb said benefits such as a peaceful lifestyle, time for children to develop their own interests and individual personalities, as well as the formation of close-knit families, were some of the reasons people were turning to home education.
With a teaching co-op, weekly sports groups, regular excursions and activity days, as well as many informal get-togethers, homeschooling families were often well connected within the community.
Barb said there were many “precious friendships” formed between homeschooling families from different denominations.
“Our common ground is that we all just want to do the best we can to train and educate our children.”
She said finding support was important to share ideas and resources as well as encouragement.
Next year, the biennial MumHeart mothers’ retreat will occur at the Sunshine Coast.
“Last year we had over 100 women and we are expecting more from around Australia next year,” Barb said.