Homeschooling in NSW
The NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) states it is a legal requirement to register to homeschool from ages 6 to 16, if your child is not enrolled in distance education, or at a school.
Many people investigating homeschooling in NSW feel a little daunted at first. However, it’s really not as scary as many think.
Disclaimer: This is not legal advice but information from my own research and experience.
FAQ – Homeschooling in NSW
Can I Homeschool Part Time in NSW?
Part time homeschooling is not an option in NSW.
Can I Travel When Homeschooling in NSW?
In NSW your homeschool registration does not cover extended travel (6 months travelling around Australia as an example). NESA suggests that you do distance education while travelling. Because of this silly rule many homeschoolers choose not to inform the NESA about their travelling plans. The reason NESA states they won’t register you when travelling is because you are of “no fixed address” and they cannot “approve” your educational facilities.
When Can I Remove My Kids from School?
Theoretically you are supposed to wait until your registration is approved. This process can take a month to three months (but usually it’s less than a month). However, many parents remove their child before their homeschool registration has been officially approved. Some parents get a doctor’s certificate for stress leave for their child until registration is approved.
Many schools can be quite supportive of homeschooling and will leave the door open for you to return if homeschooling doesn’t work out. However, some parents report having problems with the school administration (they lose funding and possibly a teacher when you leave).
You need to know that schools don’t have any power to stop you from homeschooling. (It’s a legitimate option).
You do not need to show the school proof that you are homeschooling although some schools will be quite insistent they are given documentation. If you anticipate having problems, I suggest you mention as little as possible to the school and get your registration application in ASAP. If you move, don’t leave a forwarding address with the school.
Can I Get A Higher School Certificate When I Homeschool?
When you choose to homeschool you can’t get a HSC, however your children can study for a HSC alternative.
Many homeschooled children go on to tertiary study without a HSC.
What if My Child Has Special Need?
Many parents who are homeschooling have children with special needs. NESA allows you to adapt your curriculum to suit your child’s needs.
Register For Homeschooling in NSW
Before you register your child for home education, get your documentation ready and find out the basics of how to homeschool. Planning your curriculum requires thought and there is a great deal of information and resources to absorb.
If you are in a hurry to register and want to get the process started immediately then send in your forms but you will need to start working out your documentation and resources immediately.
The AP (approved person from the NESA who will come to your home) usually contacts you 2 – 3 weeks after you send in your application and they will want to make an appointment within a week or two. Whilst the application does state you need to fill these forms in three months prior, in reality I’ve never heard of someone whose registration took that long.
ABOUT THE FORM
There are two forms; one for initial registration and one for re-registration.
Send off your form. Tick yes to all the requirements for an AP visit (Approved Person) such as:
- Educational Plan based on the NESA syllabus (You will need to prepare one. More on this down the page).
- A plan for the next educational period (Same as above really)
- Record of progress (or plan for one)
- Records of time allocated to learning. Note: With regards to time allocated to learning, it helps to know the legislation here – NSW Education Act 1990 section 14.4 states that NESA can suggest an amount of time, but not make it mandatory. So as a homeschooler you can say that they are always learning. Here is the direct quote: “Any syllabus developed or endorsed by the Board [NESA] for a particular course of study may indicate generally the period of time that should be allocated to the teaching of the course, but is not to make a specific period of time mandatory. “
- Sufficient resources for learning. (You’ll need to have resources to show).
The application forms and official requirements for homeschooling in NSW can be found on the NESA website .
Note: Application for Exemption – This is really not an exemption at all. You still need to fill in the exact same things for both procedures and get approval in the same way. But still it is a personal conviction that makes parents choose this path.
How long can I get registration for? It is NESA policy for new homeschoolers to only get 6 to12 months approval. After initial registration you can be registered for up to 2 years.
Preparing Your Documents For NSW Homeschooling Registration
Documentation can be a little daunting and some new homeschoolers go completely overboard when making their first homeschool plan. I’ve helped quite a lot of homeschoolers get their paperwork organised for registration and it’s only taken a few days.
You Will Need A Basic Understanding the NESA Syllabus.
To plan your syllabus you can use:
- Syllabus Outcomes (I don’t recommend this method. It’s really for school teachers not homeschoolers and it’s complicated).
- Syllabus Content (I find this the best way to work out what is expected). Ii’s much easier to use the Australian Curriculum for content planning as it is set out in one year blocks. What is the difference between NSW syllabus and the Australian Curriculum? The basic answer is not much at all. However if you want a more comprehensive answer please read this article.
- Stage Statements (are summaries of the content for each subject set into 2 year periods. You can use them as part of your documentation but it probably won’t help with planning).
- Early Stage One (Kindergarten) Note: You don’t need to register your child until they are 6. So you may not need to register until Year 1.
- Stage One (Year One – Year Two) Approximate ages 6-8
- Stage Two (Year Three – Year Four) Approximate ages 8-10
- Stage Three (Year Five – Year Six) Approximate ages 10-12
- Stage Four (Year Seven – Year Eight) Approximate ages 12 – 14
- Stage Five (Year Nine – Year Ten) Approximate ages14-16
- Stage Six (Year Eleven – Year Twelve) Approximate ages16-18 – Most homeschoolers choose not to do Stage 6 but prefer alternative pathways.
Plan using subjects also called key learning areas (KLAs) .
Key learning areas in primary are:
- Science and Technology
- Human Society and its Environment (Includes history, geography and civics)
- Creative and Practical Arts (Includes dancing and music)
- Personal Development, Health and Physical Education – PDHPE (includes health information and sport).
Key learning areas in high school (7 to 10) are:
- Human Society and its Environment (HSIE) – History, Geography, Civics and Politics.
Electives Subjects you can choose to study 2 of the 4 other subjects in the syllabus).
- Creative and practical arts
- Foreign Language
- Design and Technology
Is Homeschooling in NSW Sounding Too Hard?
I know many of you are starting to think this is all too difficult (unless you’re a teacher or planning fanatic and this excites you), so here are a few options:
1. My Homeschool Graded Courses
My Homeschool is a complete syllabus for Australian homeschoolers that has been used for registration by many 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.
2. DIY Plan and Guide
If you want to plan your own curriculum then you can use the NESA syllabus and write up your own homeschool plan. These guides will help you familiarise yourself with the NESA syllabus & the Australian Curriculum.