How to Home school

Do you know How to Home School? Probably not!  But don't panic, many TAWKers are doing it and they thought like you at first.  If you haven't already, you need to check the legislation in your state and see what options are available to you (Website links at the bottom of this page - but read through this page first  so you know where you might need to go, once on the relevant sites). Then investigate and see what you think would work best for you. 

Basically you have three options on how to home school:

  • You register for Distance Education in your state.
  • You enrol as a Home Educator and meet the ongoing valuations of registration.
  • You Maintain Your Child's Enrolment at their current school and with the permission of your principal, you organise your child's educational program.

All three have pros and cons, (which are listed below) that you will need to consider.

Distance Education

Different states have different versions of Distance Education, but ultimately they offer similar things; online communications and lessons and hard copy work packages.

The Good News

  • It is very comprehensive and structured and the Distance Education School takes responsibility for the child's learning's learning and tell you how to home school. They provide the timetable and the work, you pretty much oversee your child.
  • You do not have to organise lesson plans.
  • The packages get delivered to your specified address, your child completes the work and you send it off for marking.
  • Much of the work is getting more computer orientated without the need for lots of books to pack.

The Bad News

  • There is a lot of it!  It's almost like your child is at school, but you still have to fit in your travelling and sightseeing; there seems to be little time for anything else.
  • You might not know where you will be in two weeks to advise delivery of the packages.
  • You may want to move on but are still waiting for a package to arrive. 
  • There may not be ANY postage whatsoever in remote areas.
  • You may not have access to the internet to access the digital programs.

Enrol as Home Educator

You must register as a home educator.  The department firstly assesses that you know how to home school - but also as far as I can make of the legislation, you have to have a registered permanent address to be able to do this. The department monitors your child and makes home visits.This is where it does get tricky and you really should make sure this is right for you as obviously it is not really an option if you are travelling!

The Good News

  • You can tailor your child's education to suit them and their individual abilities.
  • It is not so structured as the Distance Education and you can adjust their learning to suit your location and other activities.
  • You may be able to defer the home monitoring until you get back home. (Although unless you have developed a passion for homeschooling your child/children, you'd be re enrolling them back in their old school upon return anyway.)

The Bad News

  • You have to apply to become a home educator and demonstrate your ability and commitment to educate you child - you may not be approved.
  • You need to source your childs education material and devise a study plan and have a good idea on how to home school your child - this can be daunting for some.
  • You are travelling and therefore will not be at home for the home visit, so may not be an option depending on the regulations for your state.

Maintain Current Enrollment

If you think that Distance Education is too restricting and that you didn't really want to enrol as a Home Educator, mainly because you only intend to travel for a limited time then you may wish to Maintain your child's Current Enrollment.  Should you choose this option you would firstly discuss the options related to your child’s education with your school principal. The principal will consider your situation and if they agree that you can provide a good education for your child, provide you with an exemption.

The Good News

  • You can tailor your child's education to suit them and their individual abilities.
  • It is not so structured as the Distance Education and you can adjust their learning to suit your location and other activities.
  • You do not have to wait for postage or rely on internet connectivity to educate your child.

The Bad News

  • You need to source your child's education material, devise a study plan and have a good idea on how to home school your child - this can be daunting for some.
  • You do need to be motivated and disciplined to keep up a regular schooling, as without having to answer to any particular body, it can be easy to let go.

This information is an overall view of things as I understand it.  As I have said earlier, each state has specific rules. There is no federal home education legislation. You really do need to visit your states individual Education Authority's Websites listed below:

Contact your states Education Dept and ask How to Home School

Western Australia      Department of Education WA

Northern Territory     Department of Education NT

Queensland               Department of Education QLD

Victoria                      Department of Education VIC

New South Wales       Department of Education NSW

Tasmania                  Department of Education TAS

ACT                           Department of Education ACT

South Australia          Department of Education SA

What did we do?

I didn't have a clue how to home school my three children, however with a bit of research and commitment, I found it to be the most rewarding of jobs.  Yes, it is a bit like a job, on our trip my husband found work in different places and my 'job' was to educate the children.

After investigation, we decided that we would maintain our children's current enrollment at their school.  I believed that Distance Education would be too restricting for us and at the end of the day, I was only going to be doing it for the trip and at this stage, not forever, so that ruled out Home Educator.  I approached our principal and with a bit of advice and the emails of some of the children's teachers, I learnt how to home school my children.  We did this for two years and thankfully when they did return to mainstream school, they were ahead in many areas of their peers!  (YES I did give myself a pat on the back). For further details on exactly how I did it, please visit here on how we did our trip.

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