Homeschooling in New Zealand
Homeschooling in New Zealand (NZ) is a legal option that is supported by a small government allowance. In 2021 there were 8306 students registered for homeschooling in NZ. This is a little over 1% of the NZ school population.
Since the 1970s homeschooling has become a viable alternative to education. Numbers have stayed steady but the Covid pandemic saw homeschooling in NZ numbers increase by nearly 8%. In comparison homeschooling in the USA increased by more than 10%, homeschooling in Australia saw an 18% increase and the United Kingdom saw a 200% increase in home schooling.
Ministry of Education Homeschooling Allowance
Most countries offer little financial help to homeschool, however when homeschooling in New Zealand you can apply for the Home Education Supervision Allowance. This is paid after your application has been processed.
In 2021 the amounts were:
- first child $743.00
- second child $632.00
- third child $521.00
- subsequent children $372.00
How To Apply For An Exemption To Homeschool in NZ
New Zealand children from 6 to 17 need to be enrolled in a registered school. When you apply to homeschool in New Zealand, you actually apply for a Certificate of Exemption from Enrolment at a Registered School. Homeschooling in New Zealand is managed locally with your school district. The process takes about 6 weeks.
Full details of what is needed for a homeschool application can be found on the NZ Government Education website.
The Homeschool Application Process
The application form asks parents to provide details on their child’s individual needs, educational approach or philosophy the parent will use and what curriculum and resources they plan on using.
This is a once off process and your exemption expires if you enrol in school. A back-to-school trial of up to 10 weeks is permitted without the need to reapply for an exemption if you begin homeschooling again.
Reviews can be conducted by the Education Review Office. There is no specific timeline for these reviews, and they are not always done. You would need to liaise with your local school district for more specific details on their processes regarding this.
Overseas travel is permitted for homeschooling however the Home Education Supervision allowance changes if you are overseas for more than 28 days.
Options For Curriculum For Homeschooling NZ
There is no set curriculum that you need when homeschooling in New Zealand. The main requirement is that a child educated at home should be taught well and regularly – at least as well as they would be taught if in a registered school.
However, you will be asked on your application how you intend to homeschool, and if a review is conducted you will also be asked to give evidence of the education you are providing.
When buying NZ homeschool curriculum from other countries such as Australia or the USA, it is worth noting that grade names are different internationally. See this table to see grades and ages for international schools.
Homeschooling In NZ With My Homeschool
My Homeschool is very much a curriculum that New Zealanders can use. We already have a few Kiwis using our program.
One thing to note is that in New Zealand your Year 1 is our Kindergarten in Australia, so you will need to use the grade below the one you would normally use in New Zealand. Australia still has the same amount of school years. But in New Zealand you graduate high school at Year 13 and in Australia they graduate in Year 12.
Our My Homeschool Curriculum only goes to Year 11 New Zealand (Year 10 Australia).
You’ll find there is a lot of overlap with NZ and Australia and so we certainly have a lot there for you. Since there is no specific requirement to use a particular curriculum choosing My Homeschool is a good option for many reasons.
Shared Stories & Seasons
Australia and New Zealand share many stories, history and cultural perspectives. We also share a seasonal approach to nature study.
My Homeschool offers a Charlotte Mason inspired curriculum that includes lots of Global Goodies. For example, you will find world history and geography in all the primary years.
New Zealand Content
We have a reasonable amount of NZ homeschooling content in our curriculum. We include NZ literature, NZ nature study, some NZ civics. We don’t cover a lot of specific NZ history but we do have some when it overlaps with Australia. There isn’t any Māori content. However, you can source that from a library – ask your librarian.
On the purchase of a course, you are provided with a planning template, Scope and Sequence, and Weekly Planner to help you plan out your year ahead with ease and confidence. This will make your homeschool application/exemption very easy as we have already done most of the work for you.
My Homeschool is based in NSW Australia. We offer support to our members with a community forum and from time to time we have live workshops that work for New Zealand families due to the time difference only being around 2 hours. You can even book a call. See our contact page.
More Help For Homeschooling In New Zealand
Find more information on New Zealand support groups and online networking with National Council of Home Education in New Zealand.
For Christian homeschooling information relevant to New Zealanders please see the Home Education Foundation.