Registering for home education in Australia is different for each state and territory. This makes it tricky to write a ‘one size fits all’ method. Another factor that will impact you will be if registration bodies are attempting to change procedures in your state or territory. Registration methods are in a state of flux.
DO NOT take this as a sign that you won’t be able to register, or that you’re not allowed to home educate. Home education remains a legal practice in Australia for all students, just as enrolling in a school is likewise legal. Parents have both the right and responsibility to choose an education for their children that meets their needs.
NSW has had many changes and battles over the past 5+ years, including parents lobbying successfully for a Parliamentary Inquiry into the then Board of Studies (now NESA) procedures and practices. Things are slowly changing in NSW after NESA implemented the consultation process they were instructed to do. The new Information Package, used for registration, is much improved and available from the NESA website. Of course, home educators need to be vigilant in ensuring that home education practices are supported, and not impeded, due to the lack of experience in those registering home educators, because home education (homeschooling) is not school at home. Thankfully, like other registration boards in other states and territories, NESA is listening to home educators now. It is a shame that it took an expensive inquiry and over 10,000 signatures to force the communication.
Victoria and Tasmania have also undergone some changes to processes there. Tasmania has had the highest compliance rate of registration. Many in the community attribute that to there always being an experienced home educator involved in the registration process. Tasmania has enjoyed a supportive rather than ‘regulating’ registration process, including a much needed ‘provisional registration’ to ensure children needing to leave school quickly due to anxiety, depression or bullying can do so without waiting for registration processes to be completed first. For those in Victoria, I highly recommend that you contact HEN for ongoing information and support.
Slowly home educators are educating registration bodies to understand the true nature of this educational choice. It is somewhat alternative because it’s not schooling, however, it is focused on the learner and the whole world becomes the ‘classroom’. When professional educators who haven’t home educated take the time to learn ‘what is home education’ they see that it’s also one of the best educational experiences available for children who are ‘school aged’.
Learning is a natural human experience. Children who are free to undertake self directed learning continue to learn as they did before reaching school age. Parents, and other adults, become tutors in this respect and rather than a whole class waiting to see what the teacher will present to them, each child follows their own path of learning, encouraged by their parents, and others, but they are not prevented from learning, as often happens in schools due to routines and systems.
Home education is not like running a school in your house. It’s more like getting on with life as though schools don’t exist. Registration usually involves an experienced school teacher overseeing registration documents arranged in sometimes a similar way that teachers working in a school must write up. This is NOT best practice. This is a CONVENIENCE for people without home education experience employed by Government bodies.
I strongly urge all parents who are considering registration, or require assistance, to access the free directories that Beverley Paine from The Educating Parent has created. They are packed with resources, including a comprehensive list of local meet up groups around Australia.