Find out about homeschooling Victoria
- Can I do part-time homeschooling Victoria?
- When can I take my child out of school?
- Can I get a VCE (Victorian Certificate of Education) when I homeschool ?
- Do I need to register to homeschool in Victoria?
- What are the registration requirements for Homeschooling Victoria?
- Tips for writing your homeschool registration documents.
- Support for Victorian home schoolers?
Part Time Homeschooling Victoria
Part-time (or partial enrolment in school) is an option for homeschooling in Victoria. However you will need to negotiate this with your individual schools. To begin you need a homeschooling Victoria registration letter when you apply for your part-time school application. Find out more about part-time homeschooling in Victoria.
When Can I Remove My Child from School
Many schools are supportive of homeschooling and will leave the door open for you to return if homeschooling doesn’t work out.
After you have made your application to homeschool it generally takes 14 days before your official registration letter is given. However, many parents remove their child before their registration has been officially approved. Some parents get a doctor’s certificate for stress leave for their child until registration is approved. If you anticipate having problems can I suggest you mention as little as possible to the school and get your registration application in ASAP. Schools don’t have any power to stop you from homeschooling. It’s your legal right.
Can I Get A VCE When Homeschooling Victoria?
Homeschooling for Year 11 and 12 will not provide you with a VCE, however your children can study for a VCE alternative. My two oldest children both started university without a high school qualifications, my third child went to TAFE without any school records and there are many others we know who went to university without a high school qualification, and are studying courses like medicine, engineering and music.
Some alternatives include:
- TAFE certificate 4 or VCE at TAFE
- The STAT test is accepted for some universities – conditions apply.
- University entry special admission course – conditions apply.
- Open University – both my children used this option at 16 and they were subsequently able to get into the University courses that they wanted.
- Youth With A Mission – their discipleship training courses are Certificate III and they also offer some Certificate IV courses.
- Choose to go to school for Year 11 and 12 or enrol in Distance Education
Do I Need To Register for Homeschooling Victoria?
The Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) states it is a legal requirement to register to homeschool:
- if your child is not enrolled in distance education, or at a school
- they are compulsory school age – aged 6 to 17, or a child who turns 6 during the year home schooling will commence
- your child’s residential address is in Victoria.
Having said that some homeschoolers choose not register and ‘fly under the radar’ as they feel it is a parent’s right to educate their children.
From 2018 registration requirements for homeschooling in Victoria will change and many homeschooling families in Victoria are feeling a little daunted. It’s really not as scary as many think.
I’ve been a registered homeschooler in NSW for 16 years and we have had reporting requirements for all of my homeschooling journey. I’d like to give you some tips to help you get your registration documents and learning plans prepared plus answer a few of the questions I am usually asked.
Disclaimer: This is not legal advice but information from my research and experience.
Registration Requirements Homeschooling Victoria
When you begin your homeschooling Victoria application and are accepted your child is enrolled for the period of their remaining school years (if you continue homeschooling in Victoria). Each year you are contacted by letter or email and asked to indicate if you want to continue homeschooling. This can be as simple as a yes/no on an email link. Then you will be given your certificate of registration. If you stop homeschooling then you will be required to resubmit your registration.
Preparing Your Learning Plan for Homeschooling Victoria Registration – New Homeschoolers
If you register before December 31st 2017 you will only be required to submit an application (no learning plan will be required).
From January 1st 2018 you will need to submit a learning plan with your child’s application. The learning plan needs to show how you plan to “efficiently instruct the child in the eight key learning areas as a whole” (Department of Education and Training [DET] – Fact Sheet on Homeschooling).
Documentation can be a little daunting and some new homeschoolers go completely overboard when making their first homeschool plan. I’ve helped many homeschoolers get their paperwork organised for homeschooling registration so I hope this guide will help.
What will VRQA be looking for in your plan? That you are providing a holistic plan for your children that covers all the eight key learning areas. The plan also needs to be age appropriate.
What if my child has special needs? You can also apply for exemptions of subjects if needed for your child. Assessors will consider your child’s special needs on application.
You Will Need A Basic Understanding of Key Learning Areas
A key learning area is a school subject that needs to be covered. In most cases you will understand the general content of the subject but you can always check out the Australian Curriculum if desired. I also provide some guides:
Eight key learning areas (KLA) you need to follow for homeschooling Victoria.
Follow the links for some additional information on teaching these subjects.
- Science and Technology
- Human Society and its Environment (Includes history, geography and civics)
- Creative and Practical Arts (Includes dancing and music)
- Personal Development, Health and Physical Education – PDHPE (includes health information and sport). This doesn’t need to be a textbook but can be covered through many of the aspects of daily living.
- Information and Technology – This subject can be integrated into many of your other subjects and doesn’t need to be taught on its own. Most subjects encompass aspects of digital technology.
- Languages – please note language study does not have to include learning to speak a language. Geography lessons can also tie in an awareness of languages and cultures.
Ideas For Your Written Plan for Homeschooling Victoria
From January 1st 2018,you need to show a written plan of what you intend to teach. This is a tool to show VRQA that you have thought your educational program through.
This may seem stressful but here are a few tips to make it easier:
- To help you get organised I suggest you make a homeschool planner.
- Write out your plan referring to each subject (KLA). It can be as simple as what textbook you might be using. The plan only needs to be for one year. You do not need to follow your worked out plan exactly. It is your starting point. You will find as you homeschool it will change as you work out the needs of your homeschool students. It doesn’t matter if it’s not perfect. You can modify it as you work out what works for your child after registration. Here are some curriculum plans to help you.
You can use what ever resources you want to use for your plan. That includes American resources, science with a secular or Christian world view and living books. You can use a variety of homeschool methods. Offering a scope and sequence from your chosen curriculum provider for a subject will suffice. You just need to show them a one year plan.
Planning can actually be very rewarding and it challenges you to really think through what you want to achieve as a home educator. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you begin your plan.
Existing Homeschoolers – Yearly Reviews
(10% of all registered homeschool families in Victoria)
What will a review entail? Parents will be asked to show how the “eight key learning areas are being regularly addressed and provide some evidence of educational progress.” (Department of Education and Training [DET] – Fact Sheet on Homeschooling). This is simply a submission sent into the VRQA. Your review documentation is not meant to be a large document.
In 2017 there were three thousand families (5000 children) registered to homeschool in Victoria. Apparently, reviews have always been a part of the homeschooling Victoria process but now they have set a goal amount. There is no guarantee when or when you wont be assessed but you will get some warning.
These ideas are to help you document your child’s assessment reviews:
The eight key learning areas can be addressed using a term planner. This is a brief explanation of what is to be done for each subject that term. I write in how many pages of the maths textbook I want to cover, what read-alouds we will be doing, what copywork and dictation I hope to achieve. I type this up as a table on my computer and save it so that I can review my work at the end of term and use this document as the basis for my end of term report. See Term Planning Records
Make a schedule. Don’t make a timetable to show regular instruction. Record the basic pattern of your week and what you hope to achieve. I do not ever record specific school hours instead I work from a basic routine. We run on a four term schedule.
You will need to shift the way you look at learning and see what your children are naturally learning. Record achievements. You will find you can accomplish much more in a shorter space of time than schools. Don’t feel guilty about that–enjoy it! Student Term Schedule Sample
Portfolios are an excellent way to demonstrate evidence of educational progress. They are also a great keepsake.
In your portfolio you can put:
- work samples from each KLA.
- certificates obtained
- term reports
A Term Report for Your Portfolio
I do this at the end of each term. The Term Planner that I made at the beginning of the term is resurrected and filled in with what has actually been achieved.
- I add page numbers, chapters, specific book narrations, field trips and unit studies.
- I also put in the extra learning things that I can remember for the term such as specific DVDs watched and other projects usually associated with their hobbies.
- I have never kept a daily diary. Some of my friends have started one but they quickly abandon them. It really is good enough to keep a term report going. If you think that you will forget events attended then write that into a calendar and refer to it when you are writing up a term report.
- After documenting what we have achieved I make sure I give an assessment of how I think each child is progressing. I also mention what they are struggling with and what their interests and strengths are and what subjects may need attention. This is also helpful if you decide to enrol your child in school at a later date. See my sample of Sample Term Report
Find out more about fuss free record keeping here.
Support for Registration and Homeschooling in Victoria
If you want more support or to ask more questions about homeschooling in Victoria then you will find that the Home Education Network (HEN), based in Victoria, is the place with the latest up-to-date information. They are a group of homeschooling parents who provide encouragement and connection for the homeschooling community. They also print a homeschooling magazine, Otherways. HEN website here.