Homeschooling Australia Facts in a Nutshell.
Homeschooling in 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.
Specific Requirements For Homeschooling In Australia In Your State
17 FAQs For Homeschooling In Australia Answered
What is homeschooling?
Homeschooling is a broad term used for many different types of home education. Put simply homeschooling is full time education out of the traditional school classroom. It is often done at home but is also done within the community or whilst travelling. The primary responsibility for the education is taken by the parent.
When homeschooling in Australia the parent is responsible for planning the child’s education. You can still use purchased curriculum, but you choose it. You teach your child and do the assessments. You do not hand in work to a school. You are in control of your schedule. Whilst parents may use tutors for some subjects the primary responsibility is the parents. There is no government paid support for your student. However, in all Australian states and territories you still need to apply to homeschool.
Homeschooling can be done in different ways and for more discussion about this see our article about different homeschool methods.
Please Note: In Australia there is a distinction made between homeschooling and distance education. When you are with a distance education provider, you are accountable to a school. You apply to the school to enrol, and you do not need to apply to homeschool. Your child is still a school student and not technically homeschooled. The school determines the curriculum.
Can I homeschool?
Yes you can!
Today there is a lot of support for parents wanting to homeschool. If you want to DIY your curriculum you can, but you can also get support from a community like My Homeschool that does the curriculum for you.
You do not need to be a school teacher to apply, you just need to be a parent or the legal guardian.
Is it legal to homeschool in Australia?
Yes. Legally children in Australia between the ages of 6 to 15 need to be at school or homeschooled (in Tasmania it is from 5 Years old). 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.
Is unschooling allowed in Australia?
My child is at school but can I swap to homeschool them?
Absolutely. Homeschooling is available to all students. You just need to apply. You can move to homeschooling at any time of year. However, you will need to apply and get a program to teach. This is easy to do if you use a homeschool provider like My Homeschool.
If your child is at a private school, you can still remove them at any time but you usually need to give a terms notice regarding the fees. This may mean you still pay fees for a term even if your child has left, but some schools may waiver this right.
Can I send them back to school later if I need to?
Yes you can send your child back to school after homeschooling. You just apply to the specific school you want to go to and you are treated like a new student application. The same conditions will apply to you like any new students.
Some schools will request to see a portfolio of work completed to help them with class placement but this is not a requirement.
Do I have to use a specific curriculum?
The Australian Curriculum is the national syllabus for Australian students. All states except Victoria and Tasmania use the Australian Curriculum as the syllabus guide for homeschooling registration. New South Wales and Western Australia use their state syllabus, which is version of the Australian Curriculum, as the guideline for preparing a learning plan.
However, there is no set curriculum package you have to use. It’s your choice how you put your lessons together. You can DIY all your resources and curriculum if you want, but most new homeschoolers prefer to purchase packaged curricula when they start.
- Read this article for a detailed explanation of the Australian Curriculum and how it impacts homeschooling .
- You can find the full Australian Curriculum here.
- Read a comparison of the NSW Syllabus and the Australian Curriculum here.
At My Homeschool we have written our Australian Homeschool Curriculum to comply with the Australian Curriculum, Western Australian Curriculum and NSW NESA Syllabus. Our curriculum also provides templates for registration which makes writing your plan easy.
Can I homeschool in high school?
Yes, you can homeschool your child at any time during their education. Homeschooling through high school without teacher training can be done successfully. Here are some ideas on teaching subjects that scare you.
Do homeschoolers do exams?
Homeschoolers are not required to do exams to stay registered. Some homeschool families choose to do the NAPLAN; you can contact your local school for help in getting a test. Many resources include tests and quizzes. You can also make up your own exams. Many homeschoolers assess their children as they go or provide Charlotte Mason style exams.
Testing in the USA shows that homeschoolers perform extremely well in standardised tests.
Can my child go to university if they are homeschooled?
Yes. You will need to look for alternative pathways but there are many options. There are many stories of children getting into university including the harder courses like medicine and astrophysics. Read about alternative pathways homeschoolers have taken to get into university.
How do I start homeschooling?
Here are 5 quick tips:
- Determine your motives for homeschooling. This will affect so many of your choices. It will give you a great starting point.
- Make a simple start. Don’t be afraid to buy a curriculum package at first. Get samples when possible. It is probably a cheaper option than DIY in the long run and you can usually find some support at the same time. Curriculum packages have already streamlined the process so you won’t feel so overwhelmed comparing all your options.
- Watch how you like to teach and how your child learns. This will help you make decisions in the future.
- Be prepared to make some sacrifices. Homeschooling takes a considerable commitment for it to work, especially in the early days.
- Try to take your focus off academics and on to establishing good habits and close family relationships. Academics will fall into place. Homeschooling is not school at home – it is a lifestyle.
See our How to Start Homeschooling article for more direction.
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.
Centrelink 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. In some states there are specific allowances for families that can be claimed by homeschool parents.
- Queensland homeschoolers can apply for the Textbooks and Resources payment and a Fair Play Voucher that can be used to pay for sports activities.
- NSW has a back to school payment , a Creative Kids Voucher to help with artistic pursuits and an Active Kids Voucher to encourage sports. These are not specific to homeschoolers but NSW homeschoolers are eligible to apply.
- Northern Territory homeschoolers can also apply for the Back To School Payment and a Sports Voucher allowance.
- Some ACT homeschooling families may also be eligible for educational resource costs.
Homeschooling is cheaper than private school and distance education.
How do homeschoolers make friends?
There are now a large number of homeschool groups in Australia and many opportunities for your child to make friends. However, it takes time to make new friends so it can take a few events before your child feels comfortable in a new settings.
Places to Start:
- Homeschool groups – see if you can find one in your local area
- Community groups – scouts, sports, choirs
- Church youth groups
Benefits of homeschool socialisation
- Promotes loving sibling friendships
- Positive socialisation with other families and adults
- Friendships based on common interests without peer group pressure
- Fun learning adventures with other homeschooling groups
How do you homeschool with more than one child?
Many large families choose to homeschool. It can often be easier because they have playmates during the school days. When families homeschool they often report their children become very close. Here are some ideas on combining lessons.
How many homeschoolers are there in Australia?
Homeschooling in Australia (also known as home education) has been trending upward for the last decade and Post Covid it is still a vibrant and rapidly growing movement. Some of the reasons for this where discussed in an ABC roundtable discussion Home schooling in a post COVID lockdown world.
Not all homeschoolers register with the government for various reasons. Children in distance education are not considered to be home schooled so their enrolment 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.
The increase in homeschooling is seen in both regional and urban regions. Students who use a distance education provider are not included in homeschool statistics but enrolments in distance education has also increased. 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.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of homeschooling?
Another disadvantage often raised is that homeschoolers lack socialisation. This has also been shown to be an insignificant issue in homeschooling.
Some of the perceived disadvantages are that the educating parent needs to sacrifice too much to homeschool their child.
Homeschooling Support in Australia
The Home Education Association (HEA) provides legal advice and a free hotline. This helps homeschoolers across Australia
Victoria has the Home Education Network.
Western Australia has the Home Education WA
Sydney has Sydney Home Education Network (SHEN)
There is also a specific Australian Muslim Home Education Network.
Other Australian homeschooling regional groups can be found on Facebook groups but there are too many to list. Try also searching a group in your local area.
The My Homeschool Community is also a place that offers support for homeschooling in Australia.
We provide a virtual home educator’s staff room for all our members which includes:
- newsletter, workshops and special offers
- free courses including our How to Homeschool course
- registration templates and self paced registration help for members
- community forums for members only
If you need more help please contact us to make an enquiry or book a call.