Homeschooling Australia Facts in a Nutshell
Homeschooling Australia is legal in all states and territories. Each state government has different requirements. You apply to the education board in the state you reside but if you have no fixed address you cannot apply. If you do not live in Australia, or you are not a resident then you cannot apply for homeschooling in Australia. You do not get paid to homeschool in Australia. You choose and buy your own curriculum.
Now Let Me Explain Homeschooling in Australia in More Detail.
Quick Find Details For Home Schooling Australia
- Home schooling Australia statistics
- How to get started homeschooling in Australia
- Legal requirements to homeschool in Australia
- Distance Education or Homeschooling
- State and Territory requirements
- How much does homeschooling cost ?
- What are the reasons for homeschooling in Australia?
- What curriculum do I need to use?
- How Do You Teach?
- Where can I find support?
Homeschool Statistics in Australia
Homeschooling Australia (also known as home education) is a vibrant and rapidly growing movement. Not all homeschoolers register with the government for various reasons. Children in distance education are not considered to be home schooled so their enrollment is not included in official statistics. Whilst it is hard to get exact numbers these here are some recent figures gathered from state government annual reports and correspondence.
Unregistered homeschool numbers are hard to estimate but some believe it to be at least 30% of the general homeschool community. Reasons for not registering include the difficult registration process, parents travelling, and educational autonomy for the parents.
Home education is a growing sector in education. More than 3000 children are currently registered for home education in NSW, there having been a 40% increase in registrations over the past five years. However, these statistics underestimate the true number of home educated children as many families opt out of the registration system; there may be more than 10 000 home educated children in NSW. Home Education Australia May 2014
Students who use a distance education provider are not included in official government statistics. They are considered to be in school. Queensland and Western Australia have a very high proportion of homeschool students doing distance education and this is why the amount of registered homeschoolers in those states looks smaller. One of the biggest educational providers in Queensland reports more than 5000 students.
How To Start Homeschooling In Australia
Starting homeschooling can feel a bit daunting at first because you need to work out what to teach and how to teach. To help you with this we have a How To Homeschool Course.
We also run free weekly workshops for our newsletter subscribers and My Homeschool members on different topics associated with teaching your child.
If you would like to subscribe to our newsletter then we can let you know more about this.
General Information on Homeschooling Australia
Here is some general information about homeschooling in Australia.
Is Homeschooling Legal In Australia?
Legally children in Australia between the ages of 6 to 15 need to be at school or homeschooled. From 15 to 17 children can leave school as long as they meet state educational or vocational requirements (this varies slightly between states).
To be registered for homeschooling in Australia you must apply to the state or territory in which you are a resident.
You cannot register to homeschool in Australia if you are living overseas, or have no fixed address.
The parent who will be the home educator is the person who registers each individual child.
Homeschooling Vs Distance Education – Are They The Same?
Australia has a great tradition of children learning at home. School of the Air has been around in the outback for many years. But there is a subtle distinction to make between distance education and homeschooling Australia.
Homeschooling is not run by a school. Parents are accountable for their children’s education – not a school or teacher. You are the teacher and you oversee lessons.
There is actually a big difference between being a distance education student and being a registered homeschooler. When you are with a school, or a distance education provider, you are accountable to a school. You send all your documentation in to them and they run the schedule and set the curriculum that must be done. Your child is actually still a school student and not technically homeschooled.
For example, when you use My Homeschool you buy the curriculum from us but you still have the flexibility to run the schedule or even change around the curriculum if desired. You are not accountable to us. You are responsible for your child’s registration and you make the application to homeschool to your state’s registration unit. You are in control of your schedule and can take holidays whenever you want. If you like to follow the school term schedule you can but it is not compulsory. You don’t send any work to us. You mark their work and keep their records.
Whether you homeschool Australia or do distance education, you will need to send paperwork off to someone. When you homeschool you apply to your state’s homeschool registration body.
Some families choose distance education because they think it is easier and that they will get more support. However more support also can mean less flexibility. Distance education is also much more expensive as in most cases they are run by private schools.
How Much Does Homeschooling Cost?
To get registered to homeschool in Australia it is free. You don’t get a specific government subsidy to homeschool but some families are eligible for the isolated children’s scheme. Centerlink also gives some exemptions to the educating parent from working when you homeschool.
What will cost you money is curriculum and external lessons like music and other activities such as swimming lessons. Here is a breakdown of particular costs using different learning styles.
Reasons for Homeschooling in Australia
Homeschooling registration numbers grew across Australia by 18% from 2019 to 2020. At My Homeschool many of our new families report that their experiment with homeschooling during 2020 has been the reason they have decided to continue with it on a more permanent arrangement.
Why Are More People Choosing To Home Educate?
According to a recent NSW parliamentary enquiry, parents’ reasons for homeschooling include:
- philosophical (such as religion or educational philosophy),
- dissatisfaction with school,
- special needs,
When Do Home Educators Begin Homeschooling?
According to a Facebook survey of 560 Australian homeschoolers :
- 16% never sent their children to school or preschool.
- 6% commence homeschool after preschool
- 39% withdraw their children from school between Foundation to Year 3
- 26% withdraw their children from school between Year 4 and 6
- 16% withdraw their children from school during high school
This survey was conducted R Vella, February 2017.
What Curriculum Do You Need To Teach?
There is no set curriculum that you need to teach. However in NSW, WA, SA and NT homeschool registration linked to the Australian Curriculum. Queensland also likes you to use the Australian Curriculum however they do approves other programs. NSW and WA use their states version of the Australian Curriculum. Currently all other homeschoolers can decide whether or not to follow the Australian curriculum.
The Australian Curriculum is managed by the Australian Federal Government. It was introduced in 2012 for all schools in Australia and it’s goal is to standardise teaching outcomes around Australia. Consequently, schools in Queensland, Northern Territory, Canberra (ACT), South Australia and Tasmania have all followed the Australian Curriculum as laid out in the federal government website. However, New South Wales, Western Australia and Victoria incorporate the national curriculum into their state syllabi.
For a detailed explanation of the Australian Curriculum and how it impacts homeschooling then read this article.
You can find the full government curriculum here.
At My Homeschool we have written our Australian Homeschool Curriculum to comply with the Australian Curriculum.
Can You Do The Registration Plan For Me?
There are no generic plans that you can just print off and submit. However, some people offer a planning registration service that will cost you a few hundred dollars.
If you become a member of Home Education Australia they will give you some very basic templates.
In all circumstances you will need to be a part of the planning process because all plans need to be individualised for your child. When you have your registration visit you need to know what is in the plan and discuss how you are going to teach it.
At My Homeschool we provide a Registration Planning Course and give you templates with an outcome linked scope and sequence for each of our grades. These are only useful to you if you are using our courses.
My Homeschool is a curriculum package for Australian homeschoolers that has been successfully used for registration by hundreds of NSW homeschoolers. We have done most of the planning and linking to the syllabus for you. You just need to add specifics for your child. Our graded courses also provide you with templates and a Getting Registered Course that will make it much easier.
Home Schooling Methods
Home education in Australia is very different to traditional school and there are a variety of methods and philosophies of how you can teach your kids at home.
It doesn’t take much reading about homeschooling to realise that there are many ideas on how it should be done.
Here are a few of popular methods used for home schooling in Australia.
Traditional – School At Home
This approach tends to be a workbook and textbook approach. It is like setting up a mini school at home. Lots of pre packaged distance education/homeschool providers use this approach.
Eclectic is the label given to those of us who borrow freely from a range of different styles of homeschool philosophies and combine them to find our own personal approach, and hopefully our children’s learning style. Eclectic homeschooling allows flexibility. If I had to label my style of home education I would say I have an eclectic style with Charlotte Mason leanings and natural learning tendencies.
Charlotte Mason Method
My Homeschool is an Australian Christian homeschooling curriculum inspired by Charlotte Mason.
The Charlotte Mason Method is a simple yet wonderful collection of delightful ideas and teaching opportunities. It offers children the keys to education through gentle instruction, living books and the formation of good habits. Her methods are perfectly suited to home schooling and are extremely popular. Many books and resources have been written and based on her methods and she also wrote a six volume series herself.
Learning about the Charlotte Mason Method made me enjoy homeschooling and convinced me to keep homeschooling when I’d nearly given up. You will find many of her ideas suggested on this site.
Her motto was “Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.” Learn more about Charlotte Mason Homeschooling.
Can you use the Charlotte Mason Method for teaching high school?
This method is based on the great books of the world and stages of learning. It upholds the Ancient Greek style of learning as its model and is very academic with a strong literature component.
“Classical education depends on a three-part process of training the mind. The early years of school are spent in absorbing facts, systematically laying the foundations for advanced study. In the middle grades, students learn to think through arguments. In the high school years, they learn to express themselves. This classical pattern is called the trivium.” Susan Wise Bauer
The first years of schooling are called the “Grammar Stage”. During this stage children have a lot of memory work and drill. The second phase is the “Logic Stage,” when facts are placed into their logical framework, and the relationships with different concepts and ideas are examined. The third phase is the “Rhetoric Stage,” when children learn to express their thoughts with force and originality.
Classical education and the Charlotte Mason method overlap in many places.
Natural Learning & Unschooling
Natural learning seizes natural curiosity and learning opportunity. As parents we are well versed in the techniques of natural learning. We have watched our children learn to eat, talk, walk and scribble. We have worked with their maturity and curiosity. This method need not stop once our children get to school age.
Unschooling is also a form of natural learning. However, It has no curriculum, no peer comparison, no timetables, no schedules and no schoolish materials. Parents provid resources and experiences that support their child’s passions and desire to learn. Unschooling is very much a homeschool method that is lifestyle based.
Unit Study Learning
Typically a unit study is a theme, or topic, based teaching method that incorporates a range of subjects and learning styles. It has a holistic approach to learning. Children can discover the many facets and deepen their understanding of a topic.
Art, science, literature, social studies and more can all be taught using one core topic. Some homeschooling families use unit study as their primary homeschool method and others (like me) use unit studies as more of as a short term break to our regular homeschool routine.
Montessori, Steiner, Waldorf are also popular methods.
Homeschooling Support in Australia
My Homeschool Community – is a virtual home educator’s staff room. We run our courses and forums using Moodle, which is used by many schools and universities. It provides: a place to ask questions, how to homeschool courses, resources for homeschooling, and our online curriculum (grades courses are an additional cost).
Other Homeschooling Australia Support Groups
Home Education Association HEA website
The Home Education Association Inc. (HEA) has been formed to support, promote and encourage the practice of home education.The HEA has no affiliation with state education authorities and all members should note that privacy is an Association priority.
There are also a number of homeschooling in Australia FB groups
Tip: Search Facebook for homeschool groups in your area or ask on one of the Facebook forums. There are many more groups.