When I began contemplating homeschooling in Australia more than 20 years ago, not many people even knew it was an option. Out shopping I was often asked if it was even legal to have my kids ‘out of school’. Now it seems, especially since Covid, many families have tried homeschooling or know a homeschooler. A whole generation of parents have discovered home education in Australia. Some hate it and some love it.
At My Homeschool we have had many new converts to homeschooling.
Homeschooling Australia (also known as home education) is a vibrant and rapidly growing movement. Whilst it is hard to get exact numbers, it is estimated that there are at least 30 000 children who homeschool in Australia.
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.
Here is some general information about homeschooling in Australia. But if you want to know about getting registered follow the link to your state as requirements vary.
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 Legal Requirements For Australia – States and Territories
Each state has their own regulation for homeschooling. See information about your specific state here:
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% commence homeschool nver 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.
How To Do 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.
A Common Fallacy of Homeschooling Australia
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.
Home Schooling Methods
There are many different methods and styles that people choose when they begin homeschooling. And many homeschool curriculums are written with a particular educational philosophy in mind.
It doesn’t take much reading about homeschooling to realise that there are many ideas on how it should be done.
The My Homeschool Curriculum approach and method is a Charlotte Mason inspired approach but we also use modern teaching tools and techniques.
Here are a few of the 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
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 curriculums 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.
How Are They Teaching Their Children?
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. At My Homeschool we favour a contemporary application of the Charlotte Mason Method but we still glean some ideas from other philosophies.
Other homeschooling methods include:
- Traditional Approach,
- Montesorri and Steiner,
- Unschooling/Natural learning,
- Unit Study Approach,
- Eclectic (which is really a combination of methods).
Homeschooling and the Australian Curriculum
NSW, WA, SA and NT are currently the only states to have their homeschool registration linked to the Australian Curriculum. 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.
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). You can join our community today if you like!
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.