Australian Curriculum Homeschooling
The Australian Curriculum is a comprehensive framework that outlines what students should learn in each subject area at each grade level. While it can seem daunting at first, there are ways to make it more manageable.
With the right approach, you can navigate the Australian Curriculum with ease and use it for homeschooling.
What is the Australian Curriculum?
The Australian Curriculum (ACARA) is the Australia wide school curriculum written to help young Australians learn about and engage with the world. This curriculum is used as a guiding principle in many states for home education registration. It is managed by the Australian Federal Government. It is secular.
It was introduced in 2012 and its goal is to standardise teaching outcomes around Australia. Consequently, schools in Queensland, the Northern Territory, Canberra (ACT), South Australia, and Tasmania have all followed the Australian Curriculum. New South Wales, Western Australia, and Victoria incorporate the national curriculum into their state syllabi.
In 2022 a Version 9 of the Australian Curriculum was released. You can find the full government curriculum here.
Do home educators need to use the Australian Curriculum for homeschooling?
Northern Territory is the only state that links homeschool registration directly to the Australian Curriculum.
If you live in NSW you need to use the NSW Curriculum for homeschooling planning. Whilst the NSW Curriculum is based on the Australian Curriculum, they take an adopt and adapt approach and the layout of the curriculum and the codes they use are different. In 2022 NSW released a new version of their English and Maths curriculum but this has not yet been tagged with the V9 Australian Curriculum codes. The other NSW subjects still use the Version 8.4 of the Australian Curriculum.
The Western Australian Curriculum uses the Australian Curriculum’s English, Maths, and Science in an unchanged format. The subjects of Humanities and Social Sciences, Health and Physical Education, Technologies, The Arts and Languages have some minor changes to make them more relevant to Western Australians.
The Western Australian Curriculum still uses 8.4 of the Australian Curriculum and has not updated to Version 9 of the Australian Curriculum. Homeschoolers in Western Australia need to use the Western Australian Curriculum to plan for homeschool registration.
In other states and territories, the expectation is that you provide a high-quality education. You don’t need to stick to the Australian Curriculum for homeschooling. However, many Australian and international families find the structure of the Australian Curriculum a helpful framework for developing a plan that is sequential and age appropriate.
Understand the structure of the curriculum.
Before diving into the content of the Australian Curriculum, it’s important to understand its structure. The curriculum is divided into three main areas:
- Learning areas are subject-specific and include English, mathematics, science, and more.
- General capabilities are skills that are important across all subject areas, such as critical thinking and communication.
- Cross-curriculum priorities are themes that are integrated throughout the curriculum. They are Australia’s place in Asia, sustainability and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures.
The learning areas are where homeschoolers will find most of the information that they need. You’ll find the general capabilities and cross curriculum priorities are weaved into the learning areas.
Focus on the learning areas that are most relevant to your teaching.
With so much information available on the Australian Curriculum website, it can be overwhelming to try to absorb it all at once. Instead, you should try to focus on the learning areas that are most relevant to your child. For example, if you are homeschooling a Year 4 child, you may want to prioritise the English, Mathematics, and Science learning areas for Year 4. By prioritising your focus, you can ensure that you are able to navigate the curriculum with ease.
The Australian Curriculum and Charlotte Mason Method
There is no specific Charlotte Mason Curriculum. Nevertheless, Charlotte Mason’s ideas on what is important for children to learn are integral to her method.
The learning goals in the English Curriculum of Charlotte Mason and the Australian Curriculum are quite similar, except the type of literature used in the Charlotte Mason method is more classical in its approach. Also, the Australian Curriculum places a much stronger emphasis on phonics, creative writing, and spelling in the early years.
The Humanities in the early years of the Australian Curriculum are more of a Social Science subject. Whereas Charlotte Mason also includes chronological history and specific geography lessons. Charlotte also introduces Plutarch as a Civics and leadership lesson.
The Australian Curriculum supports Charlotte Mason’s method of teaching science through observation, literature, and scientist biographies. Charlotte Mason employed an immersion technique, where a child learns a topic in depth in one block, while the Australian Curriculum utilises a spiral approach, providing tiny quantities of content on the same topic year after year.
Charlotte didn’t talk a lot about maths, so there is no real comparison to make.
At My Homeschool we merge the philosophy of Charlotte Mason method and content of the Australian Curriculum (NSW and WA Curriculum).