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Will My Homeschooled Child Be Able to go to University?

© Beverley Paine

The other day I was asked: "One of my concerns is that if I decide not to register and my children decide to want to pursue tertiary studies, can that still happen?" This is a slightly different version of a question that comes up frequently in the Homeschool Australia online support group.

Homeschool registration during the primary and/or high school years is not a prerequisite to entering any kind of tertiary educational institution. Unregistered homeschoolers have gained entrance to courses of their choice at universities across Australia, as well as at TAFE or other colleges. And homeschooled students as young as eleven are enrolled in Open Learning University subjects, with or without registration as homeschoolers.

It is worth remembering that tertiary entrance selection criteria may change considerably between now and when your six year old will be ready for university. I know the wheels of change turn slowly, even in this electronically aided world and that not a lot has changed in the last couple of decades, except perhaps that more universities are open to the idea of accepting home educated students, and some overseas institutions actually advertise for them... I have heard that there is already a private university based in Sydney actively seeking homeschooled graduates.

Homeschooled students who wish to gain entrance to tertiary studies at the moment consider the options available to them and take the path that best suits their needs, or the compromise that will get them what they want or need. This often involves either doing years 11 and/or 12 at school, through distance education, through TAFE or a private college; approaching the university faculty direct with a portfolio and talk their way in; enrolling in Open University (available for students aged 11+) and working toward a degree, or through 'bridging' subjects. Some universities enrol young people into certain first year courses while they are still at school. Check out your preferred uni to see if they will accept people who are homeschooled. Once your child has successfully complete a few subjects he or she can then transfer into the university of choice. Some students chose to work through certificate 1-4 at TAFE or accredited colleges. This is also a legitimate path to university.

Don't forget to visit the university or TAFE campus that offers the course your child wants to do. Speak to the head of the department or course coordinator and even the lecturers if you can locate them. Advocate for your child and give your child the opportunity to present his or her case for being enrolled in the course. This approach has worked for many home educated young people.

Homeschoolers have the advantage of thinking of the traditional high school years as a gradual transition from a prepartory curriculum (covering the basics which allows students to be self-directed competent life-long learners) to selecting and trying out subjects and courses that match their talents, learning styles and passions.

A child who is really keen on cooking and has a creative flair at the age of 12 could be specialising a lot sooner than her schooled peers. A well designed homeschool curriculum won't ignore and will integrate important areas of learning not obviously related to the interest, giving the child the opportunity to move to something else if she desires at the age of 15. However, should she continue with her passion for cooking by the time she is 16 she could well be studying at certificate 2 (apprenticeship entry level) and gaining valuable work experience through employment. By the time she's 20 she will already be working competently at a job she loves while her uni student schooled peers are beginning to realise they have chosen the wrong uni course because they don't know what they really want to do!

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Beverley Paine with her children, and their home educated children, relaxing at home.

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 supporter of national, state, regional and local home education groups.

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"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."

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We began educating our children in 1985, when our eldest was five. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn since 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. We hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was! Beverley Paine

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'.

The Educating Parent acknowledges the Traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Owners, the Custodians of Australia, and pay our respects to Elders past and present and extend that respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people viewing this website.

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Home education is a legal alternative
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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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