An approved home education program is to:
- ensure that the relevant child is provided with opportunities to form and maintain friendships and respectful relationships and communication with his or her immediate community and other communities for a wide range of purposes; and
2. specify how those opportunities will occur.
SCHEDULE 1 – STANDARDS FOR APPROVED HOME EDUCATION PROGRAMS
EDUCATION REGULATIONS 2017
What does this mean?
It is important for the social development of a child that they have opportunities to interact with a range of people. This can happen organically through everyday life in interactions with family, shop keepers, neighbours, friends, other children, etc, as well as through planned activities with other home educators or going to a club.
This Standard asks you to think about how you will provide your child with regular opportunities for social interaction. This may include your family, peer group, home education networks, community groups or organisations, clubs, classes, or excursions and will be determined by the individual needs of your child.
What opportunities will your child have for social interaction with a range of people? This may include extracurricular activities such as dance, language or art classes and sporting activities, either as part of their regular program or incidental to it. These activities do NOT need to be provided by the parent or at the home of the child.
The Standard asks you to provide opportunities for your child to learn interpersonal skills through social interaction – however, children respond differently to various situations, and it may take several attempts before finding an opportunity in which a child can learn and thrive. Your registration is not affected if your child is not initially interested or engaged in the particular opportunity being offered. However, we would be looking for further opportunities to be offered.
What kind of information do I need to provide in my HESP?
Your HESP should include enough information for your Registration Officer to understand your program.
Your HESP should provide information under the Plan heading describing:
- the opportunities your child will have for social interaction with a range of people
- any goals that you have for your child’s development in this area.
Your HESP should provide a Summary of the opportunities you have provided for your child since your last HESP, and a Plan for the coming year.
Examples of things you can talk about in this Standard include:
- family and extended family interaction, short trips/holidays to other places or extended family travel
- friends already made through previous school enrolment or the neighbourhood, or recently made through church, sports groups, Scouts/Guides/Boys or Girls Brigade, volunteering, visits to nursing homes, special interest groups such as chess, drama, music, art, dance, lapidary, animal care and/or breeding, etc.
- home educating families and networks, excursions to places of interest
- casual interaction through trips to the library, shops, hairdressers, doctors, dentists, camping, playgrounds, beaches, bushwalks
- online communication – e.g., gaming with friends/others, social media, Kids Messenger, texting friends
- older children may have casual work
What kind of information do I need to provide at my registration visit?
During the visit, your Registration Officer will:
- appreciate having some interaction with your child. Your child may show samples of their work, or their garden outside, or any projects they are working on or have completed. If your child wishes to show the Registration Officer any of their project work or interests that are in other parts of the house or garden, please ensure you go with them.
- be interested in seeing any photos or journal entries of social activities and may ask questions about what has worked and what hasn’t.
Registration Officers can provide contact details and information about various home education networks in the area and can suggest which groups may be suitable for your family. In the southern part of Tasmania, there is an email list which provides information about any group excursions or activities arranged by home educators for their families. Sometimes Registration Officers can contact other home educating families who live in your area to see if they are interested in being put in contact with your family. If so, the Registration Officer will check that both families are happy for contact details to be shared with each other and then you can take it from there.
NOTE: This information is intended as a guide only and you do not have to include everything noted here. Every home education program is unique. What Registration Officers look for in the HESP and at the visit can vary from one program to the next, depending on the Pedagogy for that program and the specific needs of the child.
What kind of information is included in the registration report?
Through the registration report, the Registration Officer:
- confirms, updates and/or elaborates on the information you have provided in your HESP, informing the Registrar about what was discussed and sighted at the visit.
- writes about any new information, or any progress or changes to your program that are not already described in your HESP.
- writes about suggestions or recommendations concerning the development of your program, that were discussed at the visit.
How is the overall assessment of the Standard determined?
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.
If there is not enough evidence available for the Registration Officer to view, you may be asked to provide additional evidence after the visit. This is to help the Registration Officer decide on the overall assessment of the program.
To ensure consistency and fairness, Registration Officers use the following guide to decide on the overall assessment of the Standard. There are three possible outcomes: Meeting Standard, Not Meeting Standard, and Working Towards Standard.
- The home educator is providing appropriate and sufficient opportunities for the child to develop interpersonal skills which meet the child’s needs.
- There is variety in the opportunities being offered so as to provide various interactions with people of different ages.
Working Towards Standard
- The home educator has endeavoured to find opportunities for the child to develop their interpersonal skills, but the child was not interested and has refused to participate any further in those particular opportunities. However, the home educator continues to search for other opportunities and is interested in any suggestions provided by the Registration Officer.
- The home educator has focussed on other areas of the home education program and has yet to institute social activities for further development of interpersonal skills. However, it is their intention to find appropriate opportunities throughout the year.
Not Meeting Standard
- The home educator is not offering any social opportunities for their child and is not interested in finding such opportunities.
- The child is not progressing in developing their interpersonal skills.
Assessment not Judgement
It is important to note that:
- In the case of Working Towards the Standard, the Registration Officer will discuss their thoughts with you and may suggest a few courses of action during the visit. Suggestions may be provided to help you with program development, but these are suggestions only and should not be considered as endorsements by or requirements of the Office of the Education Registrar.
- The role of the Registration Officer is not that of an educational consultant. The responsibility for the design of the program lies with you, the home educator.
- A support phone call or visit may be recommended by the Registration Officer or the Registrar to follow up on the development of your program and provide further help if necessary. In some circumstances, the Registrar may request a further visit by another Registration Officer.
Where a child suffers social anxiety, there may be little interpersonal interaction. In this case, the Registration Officer may ask about what sort of professional supports your child has to address their needs and what sort of plan is in place to support your child in interacting with others. The goals you have for your child’s development of social skills will help the Registration Officer to determine whether the opportunities being provided are sufficient.
In the case of Not Meeting the Standard, Registration Officers may consider discussing any concerns with the Senior Registration Officer, Assistant Registrar or Registrar.