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Home education - when your 'school' is at home

school; home school; parents; teacher; tutors; outsource; social; transition; concentration;


What is home education?

Home education is when kids learn at home rather than going to school. 

  • Maybe a parent or carer is the teacher.
  • Maybe a tutor or nanny does the teaching.
  • Maybe the kid does some lessons on-line using her or his computer to link up with a teacher who is a long way away. This is called 'distance education'.
    on-line learning
  • Maybe it's a number of different people doing the teaching but the parent is the person who is in charge of the child's education.

Why some kids learn at home instead of school

There are many reasons why a kid could be home educated.

Some could be:

  • Maybe parents believe that
    • they can give their child an education based on their talents, ability and rate of progress
    • their child will benefit from one-to-one teaching
    • their child will work better at home without distractions from others
    • there are religious reasons
    • it suits the family lifestyle.
  • Maybe the child is sick and can't go to school.
  • Maybe the family lives too far away from a school.
  • Maybe the child has learning difficulties and needs the support.

The Law states that every child has the right to be educated from 6 to 17 years of age but it is not compulsory (that means it's got to be) for that education to take place in a school setting.

being tutored at home

With Distance education, where the child lives too far away from a school or is not well enough to go to school, the Open Access College teachers are in charge of providing the lessons and the parent supervises the child's lessons. Find out more about how some children access Distance Education by going to 'School of the air'.

If parents want to be in charge of their child's education at home, they must make sure that the education being provided for their child covers the learning and experiences that a child needs. They have to apply for an exemption from the Minister of Education for their child to be educated at home. They have to provide evidence to the State to explain who is teaching, and what is being taught each year.

They have to show that they can provide

  • a suitable place where the child can learn
  • a learning program which meets the needs of the child
  • resources to help the child learn
  • opportunities for the child to socialize with other children.

The good things

There are many benefits to learning at home.

  • You don't have to go anywhere.
  • You are taught by yourself or in a small group of family or friends.
  • You get lots of attention.
  • The timetable can be flexible. (You can swap things around to fit in with what's happening.) 
    Flexible time-table
  • You get to learn at your own pace.
  • You may get out on more excursions in the community than kids in school. 
  • You may learn more about the things you are really interested in.
  • You can ask questions and find out answers without having to wait.
  • You can eat when you are hungry.
  • You get lots of time with your parent or caregiver.
  • If you are really interested in a project you can spend your free time on it too.
    doing interesting project work
  • You can choose the kids you want to play with (at their house or your house or on the Internet).
  • You can't have problems with other kids.
  • You only have to compete with yourself.

The not so good things

  • School is not just about learning about subjects; it is also about learning social skills, making friends, dealing with conflict, building resilience, working as a team, cooperating with others, etc. Working at home may not give the same opportunities for developing these skills with more people.
  • At school kids have to do tests and exams which show how well they are doing and what needs to be learned. These results can help them to continue with education, find work when they are older or go to university. Parents may be able to arrange for you to take the NAPLAN tests for primary school children if you live in Australia.
  • Schools have specialized areas, like science labs, art rooms, sports fields, indoor sports areas, computer rooms, libraries etc. on the premises. At home you may have to go out to use facilities like these.
  • In school there are rest times at recess and lunch which give kids the opportunity to socialize with other kids of different ages.
    no friends to have recess or lunch with
  • School teams and clubs can give other opportunities for building skills, meeting other kids and learning in a safe environment after school.
  • At home you may need to join early evening groups to be able to socialize with other kids.
  • If you are having a bad day in school you can go home at the end of the day. If you are taught at home there is nowhere else for you to go.
  • Kids learn from parents and teachers and from other kids at school. If you are the only kid in the house it isn't possible to learn from other kids. But you can still 'meet up with' other kids your age on many sites which are just for kids. 
  • It can be hard for your 'teacher' and yourself to stick to a learning program and timetable at home.
    hard to concentrate at home

What next?

Many home-educated kids learn at home until they reach High School age and then they go to school.

It may be a local High School, a special interest High School, a private or government school or it may be a Boarding school or the Open Access College. The Open Access College is there for kids and young people who are living in isolated areas, move around a lot with their families or need to be at home for medical reasons. It also provides access to SACE (South Australian Certificate of Education) for home educated students.

If you have been home-educated but are going to go to a school soon then some of our topics may help you.

The school category on this site has lots of information on getting ready for school, high school, making friends, homework, getting organized, going to boarding school and a whole lot more.

home schooled

Dr Kim says

Dr KimWe learn things all the time wherever we are. As babies we do most of our learning at home. We learn from parents and families.

Learning has two main areas. The learning we do all the time and the more 'formal' learning when we deliberately learn and practise skills like reading, writing and maths.

These basic skills give us the tools to move on to more advanced learning and give us many more skills. As we grow up we learn more about ourselves, our strengths and weaknesses and about how to live in the world with all the other people.

If you are a home educated kid why not write in and tell us what you like about it? You can do this by clicking on the feedback button and filling in all the fields. 

"My brother and I are home-schooled because we have lived in many different countries. We live on a farm now and help to look after the animals.  We have lessons every day with mum. Our big brother goes to boarding school and we will be going there when we are older." Gabriel

home schooling

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We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


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