Welcome to home education! We hope you enjoy your journey in educating your children and find it a rewarding and exciting time together.
The registration of home education in Tasmania is managed by the Office of the Education Registrar.
Under the Education Act 2016, parents may exercise educational choice to register as home educators, thereby assuming responsibility for delivering education during their children’s compulsory years of schooling.
In Tasmania, a child who is at least 5 years of age as at 1 January in any year must be enrolled at school or provided with home education by a registered home educator for that year and subsequent years until the child is 18 or completes a Certificate III. Once a child completes the equivalent of year 10, that child may decide whether to continue with home education or undertake an approved learning program.
Here at the Office of the Education Registrar, or OER for short, we want to help you on that journey.
What does it mean?
Home education is educating your children at home, using a program or method that you have put together to meet the learning needs of your children.
Home education approaches can be seen as an everchanging thread, ranging from very structured programs at one end, to very natural learning programs at the other, with varied combinations of both in between. Structured programs include whole curricula – for example, those of the Steiner approach, Christian world view, online programs, or Australian curriculum. Natural learning programs include, for example, those inspired by Charlotte Mason and John Holt, bush/forest learning, or earthschooling. Families often start out in quite a structured way, mirroring school routines, with approaches evolving to meet the needs of your family learning. Eventually, home educating families settle on routines and resources that suit their families – this may include some bits of various programs put together to create a whole program, called an eclectic program, which completely meets the learning needs of their children. Further adjustment occurs over time, with children’s needs changing with age and development.
There are many different resources available due to the Internet and, more recently, the rise in online programs on offer. Sometimes it can be quite overwhelming to decide and Registration Officers (themselves past or current home educators) in the OER are ready to help you make some decisions. Or there are many in the home educating community who are willing to help through discussion.
In Tasmania, home education is a legal option for your child’s education. There is no requirement to follow the Australian Curriculum or any particular curriculum. The OER asks you to plan a program that addresses 10 Standards. This document, Understanding the Standards, outlines the process of writing about your program and how it will meet the Standards.
As part of the application process for home education, you will need to prepare a Home Education Summary and Program (HESP) to accompany your application form. This is your plan for your home education program and will show how it meets the 10 Standards contained in the Education Regulations 2017. The Regulations are guidelines that provide more detail about the Education Act 2016 and show how a law is to be implemented step by step. Addressing these Standards will ensure your child receives a well-rounded education which caters to their needs.
The purpose of these documents is to:
- help home educators to understand the Standards
- clarify what the Office of the Education Registrar is looking for in your program.
Each child needs their own HESP which addresses each Standard separately and should be written in your own words. There has been an increase in programs being offered to home educators, particularly online, which includes a fee-for-service to provide or edit documents for registration. Whilst it is perfectly acceptable for you to use these programs as part of your home education program, unfortunately, we are unable to accept the generic information provided in these documents in place of a HESP. It is your responsibility to devise and write about your program – your family is unique and your HESP should reflect that.
The OER has created a template which you can use to write your HESP (found on the website). You are not required to use it, but you may find it helpful in organising your thoughts, so as to address each Standard.
We understand if you are home educating more than one child, that the ways you address some of the Standards will be the same, for example, Pedagogy may well be same in the way you organise your routine and the children may study some topics and materials together. However, each child is unique, has differing needs and will respond to the program in their own way, and this should be reflected in their HESP.
For renewing registrations, we ask you to provide a Summary of the past year’s activities, and what learning has been achieved, as well as a Plan for the coming year for each Standard. For the Standards of Literacy, Numeracy, Range of Learning Areas and Wellbeing, we also ask you to provide an Evaluation of how the program met your child’s needs specific to that Standard and how that informs your plan for the next year. This is different to the Evaluation Standard, where we ask you to show how you have recorded, assessed and evaluated your overall program and home education as a choice, and how this informs your program for the coming year.
Please note, for the purposes of HESP writing:
- Summary means what has happened over the past year – this can include activities, workbooks worked in and/or completed, achievements, books that have been read, etc.
- Plan means what you hope to provide for your child’s learning over the next year. While we ask for future plans, the OER understands that life events can change those plans, or the chosen resources may not be found to be suitable, necessitating a revision to the program. This information should be included in your summary for the next HESP.
- Year means the registration year, not the calendar year.
The explanation for each Standard follows a similar format and addresses:
- What does the Standard say (for each Standard) and what does this mean?
- What kind of information do I need to provide in my HESP?
- What kind of information do I need to provide at my registration visit?
- What kind of information is included in the registration report?
- How is the overall assessment of the Standard determined?
What is the assessment process?
The Office of the Education Registrar understands that every family, child, and program is unique.
The Registration Officer decides the overall assessment for the standard based on:
- the information in your HESP, and
- the discussion shared and evidence shown at the registration visit.
To ensure consistency and fairness, Registration Officers use a guide to decide on the overall assessment of the Standard. There are three possible outcomes:
Meeting Standard Working Towards Standard Not Meeting Standard
It is important to note that:
- Registration Officers do not make judgements about your, or your child’s, physical or intellectual abilities. Registration Officers assess the capacity of your home education program to identify and cater for each child’s learning needs.
- Receiving a Working Towards Standard or Not Meeting Standard does not mean that your registration will not be approved. If a Standard is determined as Working Towards Standard or Not Meeting Standard, the Registration Officer will work with you to support the development of your program to meet the needs of your child. Your Registration Officer may suggest a follow up visit or support phone call to discuss your program further and to offer more support.