Home Education

What is Home Education?

Home education means that parents take direct responsibility for the education of their children, sourcing their own learning materials and opportunities. 

Families home educate for all kinds of reasons; it may be a matter of personal beliefs and philosophies, or a path that better suits a child whose needs are not being well met at school.

Some families homeschool just for a while, others right the way through.  

Is Home Education legal?

Yes. All children of school age must legally have access to an education, but attending school is not compulsory. Every child has a 'right' to home education.

Home education is legal in all states of Australia, but each state has its own legislative requirements.  

Do I have to register my child as home-educated?

While the legal requirements of home educators vary between states, parents are legally required to register their children as home-educated with their state or territory education department. Generally, this is a straightforward process and parents who have taken a considered approach to their child's education and welfare experience few problems.

Registration is the responsibility of parents, and not a requirement for HENCAST membership.

Home Education in the ACT

In the ACT, the contact for home educating families is the Home Ed Liaison Unit at the ACT Department of Education and Training. An initial 6-month period of provisional registration is automatically approved. This allows time for the exploration of home education options and methods. After the provisional registration period, parents must then apply for full registration. This involves supplying information on how they provide a high quality education for their child, and a home visit. Registration is approved for a period of up to 2 years at a time. Parents are required to submit an annual report on their child's educational progress.

See www.det.act.gov.au/school_education/home_education/ for details, including a summary of the registration process and a question and answer section.

Home Education in NSW

In NSW, the NSW Board of Studies oversees home education. Parents apply for registration, prepare information about their home education program and then arrange for an authorised person to visit them at home. 

Details of registration procedures and requirements can be found in the Home Education Information Package at www.boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au/home-schooling.

Can I homeschool part-time?

Part-time home education in combination with part-time school attendance is the right of all children in the ACT. This requires negotiation with the school executive to decide on an acceptable timetable.

Support from an advocacy service (e.g. ADACAS or Advocacy For Inclusion) may be helpful with this process.

Part-time homeschooling is not an option in NSW.

How do I homeschool?

Families home educate in many different ways, according to their beliefs and preferences, and within the requirements of their state. Some families find it helpful to have a curriculum and stated educational direction, others prefer to follow a less formal educational path.

For those who want to keep an eye on what schools may be doing at a similar age level, the Australian National Curriculum is available at www.acara.edu.au.

What about socialisation?

There are myriad opportunities for home-educated children to socialise. Home educated children generally interact with a wider variety of ages and real-world contexts than they might have been exposed to in a school setting.

Can home-educated children get into university?

Yes. Home-educated children can access tertiary education via alternate pathways, just as others – such as foreign or mature-age students – can. 

What is HENCAST?

HENCAST is an eclectic and inclusive, secular network of home educating families based in Canberra and its surrounds. Our members come from all walks of life and practise a broad range of educational approaches.  HENCAST is not a business, there is no office, and HENCAST is run exclusively by volunteer members. 

HENCAST exists to provide social opportunities and support for home-educating families.

HENCAST is an Incorporated Association – a designation that provides structure and security for the group. 

Our Constitution and Practice Manual are available on our website for full details.

Benefits: What do I get for my annual HENCAST membership?

  • An inclusive network for all, with a wide communication platform for accessing information and events (website, email, Facebook)
  • Contact with other local home educators and their children. 
  • Weekly opportunities to socialise and participate in activities (regular Thursday events)
  • Access to smaller and special interest groups
  • A committee to oversee admin and enquiries, resolve issues and rifts, coordinate media responses, represent the group to the Dept of Ed, implement and update processes, etc
  • Public liability insurance cover for all HENCAST events
  • Hall hire for HENCAST group activities

Can I talk to someone about their home educating experience?

The best way to do this is to come along to a HENCAST event and chat to some of our members. Potential new members are welcome to attend two Thursday activities by invitation from the Secretary before joining HENCAST.

We also have an Enquiry List – volunteers from a variety of backgrounds, age levels, specialist areas, who are happy to chat to you about their experience. 

For either of these options, contact the HENCAST Secretary or use our contact form - click

How do I join HENCAST?

Just fill in our membership form and send it to the HENCAST Secretary at secretary@hencast.org.au.

Where can I find resources for homeschooling?

Home educators find resources and inspiration in all kinds of places!  A few ideas:

  • Many institutions (museums, galleries, etc) have education programs which they are happy for home educators to access
  • Canberra is full of activities, events and exhibitions – keep an eye on publication such as Canberra's Child, The Chronicle, etc
  • Search the internet – the web is full of great materials
  • Educational suppliers carry textbooks and other educational materials – eg 'Chalk Education' in Phillip
  • Chat to other home educators and find out what they're doing
  • Libraries are great for books and electronic resources

Resources for children with special needs

HENCAST is an inclusive group – we welcome everyone, whatever their situation. It is not our role to provide resources or referrals for specific conditions or needs. We may, however, have other members in similar situations who are willing to share their experience.

Contact Centrelink to enquire about any payments that may be available.

The NDIS is also a possible source of support for children with documented physical or mental disabilities.