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Welcome to the World of Home Education and Learning Without School!

We began educating our three children in 1985, when our eldest was aged five years. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn as they grew and explored and discovered this amazing world since the moment they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. I hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was!

Getting Started with Homeschooling in Victoria

Congratulations on your decision to teach your children at home!

This page will give you some clues as to what to do next... There is a LOT of information available on the internet and hopefully this brief guide will get started.

My name is Beverley Paine and I began home educating in 1985, which means my three children are now all adults. They are all happy they had the opportunity to learn at home and in the community rather than at school.

First of all I'd like to reassure you that homeschooling is a legal alternative to school based education for children in Victoria. Secondly, you aren't alone in your decision to home educate! There are hundreds of families registered as home educators in this state.

There are very many home education support groups in Victoria and these offer companionship and support for parents and children, as well as educational opportunities, excursions, activities and camps. Home educators seek the best education possible for their children and make use of the whole community, learning from many sources and in many different environments, as well as the home.

A good place to start homeschooling is by reading as much as you can about home education. It will be daunting at first because there is SO much information! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you get started.

There is a small but growing body of literature available in home education in Australia: see Summary of Australian Research on Home Education .

Families intending to home educate in Victoria are encouraged to join the Home Education Network www.home-ed.vic.edu.au/, for information and support, and to speak to local home educating families to familiarise themselves with the requirements.

Part 6 of the Education and Training Reform Regulations 2006, www.legislation.vic.gov.au/ , requires families intending to home educate children between the ages of 6 years and 16 years (soon to be raised to 17 years) to register with the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA). The VRQA website http://www.vrqa.vic.gov.au/registration/homeschooling/default.htm includes information on registration, as well as links to frequently asked questions and the application form. Families can phone 03 9637 3386 to have the paperwork sent to them.

See also Home Schooling for information about registering to homeschool your children. The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development also provide a downloadable comprehensive guide to homeschooling in Victoria.

The application must be accompanied by a copy of each child's birth certificate. The authorities are required to notify the family regarding the decision within 14 days of receiving the application. As a condition of registration, parents need to notify the VRQA in writing by November 30 each year of their intention for the following year, or within 14 days of ceasing to home educate. Registered homeschool students are eligible for partial enrolment at the neighbourhood government school for specific activities, as agreed by the school and the parent.

It is a condition of registration that children must receive regular and efficient instruction that substantially addresses the eight learning areas. Parents may find the Victorian Essential Learning Standards (VELS). The registration application also requires parents to agree to a commitment to demonstrate democratic principles (which are expressed in fairly broad terms).

Registered home educating children are also eligible to partially enrol and attend at their local government school for specific activities agreed on by the school and the home educating family. See Partial Enrolment for Registered Home Schooling Students Guidelines for more information.

Not all families who choose to home educate their children register. The reasons for this are many and varied and all are personal decisions based on careful consideration of all factors involved.

See examples of approved learning plans

Some tips for applying for registration as a home educator:

Once you have contacted the education authority it generally takes 3-4 weeks to get approval to home educate. Sometimes it can take longer if there is a backlog of applications and reviews to process.

You may be asked for your reason to home educate your children. Be positive and assertive: “We believe that we can give our child the best education possible, with access to quality resources and materials, individual learning programs, group learning and social opportunities.”

When dealing with the authorities:

  • Read all paperwork carefully;
  • Never sign anything you are not completely happy with: rewrite forms in your own words;
  • Keep dated records of all communication with authority officials, take notes while on the phone;
  • Before the interview, ask for an outline of what will be discussed at least a week before so you can be adequately prepared;
  • Keep homeschool records until the child is 17;
  • Never supply original documents, only photocopies;
  • You can obtain access to reports about your application through Freedom of Information Act.

Removing your child from school:

  • Contact your state authority and begin the application process.
  • Children are required to stay at school in most states until registration or exemption is granted: in practice this is seldom enforced.
  • Give adequate written notice to the school of your intentions, including a date when you will collect your children’s belongings from the school and return school property, library books, etc.
  • Remain positive and constructive –focus on how you can educate your child at home, not what has gone wrong at school.
  • It helps to have another adult present during interviews with principals and teachers. Ask for confirmation of requests, etc., in writing.
  • Record in your diary the date you commence educating your children from home.

Application summary:

  • Regardless of whether you register or seek exemption, it is advisable to write your own curriculum or learning plan, start recording your children's educational progress, and keep a social diary orscrapbook.
  • Date all entries, and mark on a calendar the days your children are being home educated -the equivalent of a school roll book.
  • Keep records. Some families will tell you it isn't necessary to record, or that it's too much bother, but as a newcomer it is the quickest way to build confidence in your home learning experience.
  • Dated records are also legally acceptable evidence in court that your children are being appropriately educated.
  • Act like a professional educator: officers processing your application will feel less inclined to treat you as just another parent.
  • Keep dated written records of all communication, including phone.

Some final advice:

  • Make contact with local home educators before applying for registration. Do a search on Yahoo and Facebook using the words ‘homeschool’, ‘home education’, ‘unschool’ and your town or region.
  • Join a group, go to activities, meet new friends. This is very important and will build your confidence.
  • Subscribe to newsletters and groups.
  • Don’t be shy: ask questions. People have ‘been there, done that’ –they can help.
  • Don’t accept ‘no’ from the authority as an answer. Negotiate: ask them what they need to see and work out how you can meet their needs withoutcompromising your own. Get helppreparing your application from experienced home educators.

I've written quite a few books and booklets for Aussie homeschoolers - links to these can be found in the right hand column on this page. I take a personalized approach to education and my book Getting Started with Homeschooling is a practical manual that describes how you can write your own learning programs and build your own curriculum to suit your family and your individual children rather than buying one off the shelf. A do-it-yourself curriculum isn't hard to create and doesn't take long to do. Visit other homeschooling families and join a support group so that you can see how easy it really is!

If you wish to share your experiences as a home educator or would like to make contact with other homeschooling families in your area please consider listing yourself as a contact person on our support groups page.

I am looking for a volunteer to help write the WA information section of The Educating Parent website. If you are interested, please email. In the meantime I am collecting links to information that may be helpful.

I've written quite a few books and booklets for Aussie homeschoolers - links to these can be found in the right hand column on this page. I take a personalized approach to education and my book Getting Started with Homeschooling is a practical manual that describes how you can write your own learning programs and build your own curriculum to suit your family and your individual children rather than buying one off the shelf. A do-it-yourself curriculum isn't hard to create and doesn't take long to do. Visit other homeschooling families and join a support group so that you can see how easy it really is!

If you wish to share your experiences as a home educator or would like to make contact with other homeschooling families in your area please consider listing yourself as a contact person on our support groups page.

I am looking for a volunteer to help write the Tasmania information section of The Educating Parent website. If you are interested, please email. In the meantime I am collecting links to information that may be helpful.

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Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active support of national, state, regional and local home education groups.

"You've been an inspiration to me, I love the way
you really listen to people."
Vanessa

"Whenever I read your writing I always come away
with increased confidence in my ability to provide and
share a wonderful learning journey with my family!"
Davina

"Your guidance, understanding, support and words of
wisdom changed our lives. We now offer support and
organise many homeschooling events for others."
Lesley

"Thank you once again for your prompt and friendly service.
I am convinced that your books are going to add
quality and peace of mind to my journey of teaching my kids
at home! Just from studying your website, until almost
2am in the morning, I 've been encouraged!"
Louisa

"Thank you for all your many,many reassuring words
over many, many years. You probably don't know exactly how
valuable you are to the Australian Home Education community.
I've been reading your stuff for maybe 8 years or more now.
And I'm very grateful."
Gythaa

A gift of any size, small or large, is greatly appreciated.
By contributing, even as little as $1, you are helping to inform, encourage, reassure and support parents live closer, happier lives with their children.

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please email me the link? Thank you.

 

The information on this website is of
a general nature only and is not intended
as personal or professional advice.
This site merges and incorporates
'Homeschool Australia' and 'Unschool Australia'.

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Home education is a legal alternative
to school education in Australia.
State and Territory governments are responsible
for regulating home education and have different
requirements, however home educating families
are able to develop curriculum and learning programs
to suit the individual needs of their children.

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