Every parent is familiar with the typical back to school routine. Buying stationary, trying on new school uniforms and realising last minute that school shoes no longer fit as the more relaxed summer days fade away. But for students who study via Distance Education (DE), their back to school routine is far from that of the traditional schooling student.

One family in particular gets to experience ‘back to school’ from both perspectives. With one child studying via DE and another studying at a traditional school, the Giovanazzi’s provide great insight into how they meet the needs of all of their children as they prepare to go back to school, regardless of that school’s location.

“We have been lucky enough to find schooling that fits the needs and learning styles for all of our children, even if they are different,” comments Belinda Giovanazzi, mother of four diversely educated children, as she says.

Different Challenges

Preparing for each child to return to school sees its own challenges. For Belinda’s DE student she knows almost all of their work is completed online, meaning that a strong internet connection and good laptop with current software are essential tools for that child’s success. For her traditional school children, Belinda knows the beginning of the year will see a rush to buy stationary, books, uniforms, and school shoes.

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Significant Improvement

The Giovanazzi family chose different paths to meet the different needs of their children, even if it’s not always the most convenient option. Belinda’s daughter, Eva, has seen a significant academic improvement since switching to Distance Education, with Belinda commenting “she’s now able to take the time she really needs to study independently and at her own pace.”

Of her traditional school son, Aaron, Belinda said “We also like traditional schooling for Aaron, who thrives having in-person support from teachers and peers, along with the social development that suits him.”

The school days for Belinda’s children are uniquely different. Although they all eat breakfast together, one leaves and one stays home to start their school days.

More Responsibility

Eva who has just started year 8 is given a lot of responsibility when it comes to her Distance Education environment. She is solely responsible for how much work and what subjects to tackle in a given day, with an added bonus of getting to make her own lunch in the kitchen when lunchtime rolls around.

Aaron on the other hand has started year 10 in the traditional schooling environment where he is thriving. He doesn’t have reminders of due dates evident for his parents to see like Eva does via the DE portal; he takes on that responsibility himself and must keep accountable of his deadlines.

After school, the teens often collaborate on homework, assisting one another in their respective strength areas.

“We understand that this strategy of schooling definitely isn’t the norm, but we are lucky enough to find something that works for both kids and see two different education styles and their benefits for our children,” says Belinda. 

Eva attends the Australian Christian College Distance Education program through ACC Southlands while Aaron attends the Australian Christian College Southlands campus.

Would you consider Distance Education for your child? Tell us in the comments below.


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  • My son did years 11 and 12 at home. Happy to say he thrived and excelled. All his grades improved markedly. He went from a kid barely making pass marks to a being at the top of his class. It was a positive experience for all of us


  • I wouldn’t as there is no socialisation skills developed this way and no creating of friendships


  • You would need a lot of discipline with DE.


  • Wouldn’t work for everyone, but if it works for your family then why not? You have to do what is right for you!


  • The more I think about this, the more hesitant I am about my ability to support DE students. Not for us.


  • i would consider it if it was necessary, however I can appreciate the benefits of being in the social situation of attending a school.


  • This is a great alternative if your child is not doing so well in school and puts pressure on themselves. It would also be good for those children who get bullied at school and nothing gets done about it. Save on uniforms as well. My youngest son didn’t want to go away to do year 11 & 12 so he did that by distant education and he did great.


  • Wow that is interesting! I never considered distance education I always thought traditional but if it works for your family great!


  • We are not at this stage yet, but very interesting, glad students are finding what works for them.


  • My son (11) is in his second year of DE. We aren’t remote but he wasn’t coping at all with being at school. He needs lots of one on one support and I am now able to provide this. He still has a teacher that we can contact at any time needed, and a learning support person as well. We sit down and do the school work each day, and work it in around different social activities. He’s still getting a lot of opportunities to socialise, and they have been much more positive than those experienced at school.
    For us it has been perfect and he’s now much happier and learning.


  • I absolutely love how this family has considered the individual learning for each of their children rather than most families who just send their kids to the same school regardless of their needs. I would have considered this an option if I’d known and understood it better.


  • Not up to this stage yet. Very interesting to have two doing different things but it obviously works for their children. I’d be fearful that their would be a lack of socialising for the child who does DE when they aren’t inn a remote area, but each to their own. They might not cope with large groups.


  • Wish DE had been around when my children were at school – it would have saved long trips and boarding.


  • I think your kid needs to e reasonably self motivated to succeed in DE.


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