FAQ

RathvindenarcherycropDo I have to be a resident of Tasmania?
Yes.

We are going traveling to the mainland/overseas.  Can we still register?
As long as you are available in Tasmania when monitoring of your education program is due (monitoring may sometimes be brought forward or deferred)  Families that travel can enrol with eSchool, (formerly Distance Education Tasmania) if they prefer.

Is there any cost to register for home education?
No.

Do you send me the educational material for my child?
No.  It is your responsibility to
•    determine what program/material/resources/curriculum you intend using
•    obtain the materials and put a program in place
•    adapt the program to suit your child/ren’s changing needs.

How do I know what material/resources/curriculum to use?
It is your responsibility to research and find the most appropriate education program to meet your child/ren(s) needs.  This research could be via the Internet, library, speaking with other home educators etc.  We give you information on where to access programs, and books about home education,through information sessions and the THEAC information pack.

Do we have to use the National Curriculum, or any particular books?  Do we have to use books at all? 
No.  You do not have to use the National Curriculum or any particular books.  There is a wealth of material available through bookshops, home education websites, the Internet, the library, and other home educators.  THEAC has a resource library where there are some materials available as well [once you are registered with us].  Often, home educators use some formal materials (workbooks, textbooks) for literacy and numeracy, with other areas being covered through natural learning (learning through real-life experiences) or practical activities.

What happens if my child has medical problems and can’t do very much school work?
If a medical condition could impact on your home education program, THEAC may request copies of relevant medical certificates or reports.  These will be considered by the Council in conjunction with the information provided about the proposed home education program

What happens if my child has special needs – can I still access services like speech pathology, educational assessments?
Services are made available to students through the school system which means that home educators can only access these services privately.  This means paying fees.  However, there are health plans through Medicare which give some assistance with these and THEAC can give further information on accessing these services.

Can I have someone other than the legal parent/guardian put together the education program and teach my child?
No.  By definition, home education entails the parents/guardians (or primary care givers) accepting responsibility for planning, implementing and evaluating the child’s education program from the home base.  However, you may use the services of a tutor/family member to assist with your home education program.   Some home educators use online programs as part of their family program.

Can I have a part time school enrolment (including eSchool) and part time home education registration?
No.  Part time school enrolment and part time home education registration is not a legal option in Tasmania.  However, if you have an arrangement with your local school for casual attendance for say, physical education, art, excursions, etc., the school does not receive government funding for having your child there, and does not set or mark work, this may be seen as part of your home education program.

Can someone help me put together my Home Education Summary and Plan (HESP)?
Discussion with other home educators may assist you. THEAC provides headings to use when compiling your HESP and Council members and staff are happy to discuss queries.  This process is a valuable part of planning your program, which many people find helpful in starting home education. The obligatory HESP Cover Sheet should help you to feel confident that all areas required are covered.

Will my application form be considered without providing certified copies of the required ID for my child (e.g. either the child/ren’s full Record of Birth/Birth Certificate showing parents or extract of birth/passport and Medicare card?)
No. These need to be signed by a Justice of the Peace or Commissioner for Declarations as a true (certified) copy of the originals held by you; or the original paperwork can be presented at the THEAC office for copying and return to you. Guardians: Please provide other legal/relevant documentation showing your relationship to the child/children.

How long does the registration process take?
Applications are considered weekly and, if accepted, this generally occurs within two weeks of receipt of your application.  If Council writes to you requesting additional information on your program, the registration process will take longer.

How many hours a day do the children have to “do school”?
THEAC has no minimum requirement of hours to “do school”.  However, most home educators complete their formal work (written work, reading, numeracy, structured learning time) in the mornings, with the afternoons free for other activities e.g. art, music, science and social studies activities, excursions, social activities.  Some families work on a four day a week plan for formal work, with the fifth day free for shopping, excursions, library visits, etc.  Some families work on a six week rotation, with five weeks concentrating on formal work, and the sixth week for trips, or a completely different activity.  No two families are the same.  Home education allows families to construct a program that is individually suited to them.  THEAC is interested in the children making progress in various areas, particularly in literacy, numeracy, and socialisation.

How often am I monitored?
The initial monitoring visit takes place within 1-2 months of when your application is approved.  After this initial visit, there may be follow up monitoring within six months if Council recognises a need for further support.  Generally, routine monitoring takes place again within one year and subsequently at intervals of up to two years.

How do we show evaluation and assessment?
There are different ways to show this.  The Council would like to see that parents are assessing and evaluating their children’s needs and progress, and adapting the program to suit.  Diaries are useful, both kept by the parent and/or the child.  Journalling and scrapbooking, where children write about and display photos about their activities, are also acceptable.  Other suggestions include computer files, portfolio of work, comments from parents about their child’s work and further planning of activities to meet particular needs.  All work should be dated to show consistency of activities throughout the year.

Can my child get a bus pass or student ID?
A bus pass for bus services other than Metro is available from THEAC once you are registered. For Metro travel, families need to obtain Metro “Greencards” for their children who wish to use Metro buses. You may apply to the THEAC Office for a THEAC ID card for your child.

Is there any funding available to home educators?
The government has provided eSchool (formerly known as Distance Education Tasmania) materials free of charge to registered home educators.  There is an initial cost of $80 refundable deposit for materials, and an annual postal charge of $50.  Materials available include educational kits on numerous topics, textbooks, science and maths kits, and readers. Some online courses may also be available.

Other financial assistance may include discounts at bookshops and PACER program (help with airfares to visit Parliament in Canberra).

THEAC has a resource library which houses some textbooks and teaching books, as well as books about home education.  Registered home educators are also able to borrow a greater number of books from the State library than other borrowers.

Are there any home educating groups that meet regularly?
Yes.  Details can be found in the THEAC newsletter.  Alternatively you may place a free article in the newsletter requesting contact with other home educators. You may also contact the THEAC Office for a list of Home Education networks in Tasmania.

What is the minimum time I can register for?
Six months.

What happens when my children get to high school – I’m not sure that I will be able to cope with the level of work?
Often you find that parents grow into teaching high school subjects along with their children and it is not as difficult as you think it might be.  There are textbooks and computer programs available which provide answers, marking and correcting of work, and some families find it helpful to hire a tutor if parents find the subject beyond them.  The Internet is an invaluable source of information as well, with YouTube also providing “how to” videos on various topics.    Parents don’t need to have all the answers, but should be able to assist their children find the answers.

How do I know whether my child is keeping up with learning requirements? – i.e. accessing Australian Curriculum, or Tasmanian Curriculum.
The Australian or Tasmanian Curricula are available online. THEAC provides these links for your information only, as it is not a requirement that you utilise these resources.
Buying workbooks and textbooks at the appropriate grade level gives a good indication as to whether your child can cope with the required learning levels.

Registered home educators can access National Assessment Program Literacy & Numeracy [NAPLAN] tests (done in Grades 3, 5, 7, and 9) and ICAS tests (through the University of New South Wales and done in each Grade level, in English, Maths, Science, and Computing) which compare your child’s progress to the national standards. THEAC provides this link for your information only, as it is not a requirement that you utilise NAPLAN.

THEAC is interested in your children making progress in various areas, particularly in literacy, numeracy, and socialisation.

What testing processes are available for me to check my child’s progress?
NAPLAN testing occurs in schools around May each year.  Registered home educators have the option to participate if they wish but it is not required by THEAC.  Details are generally in the February newsletters.
See previous question.

Does home education registration satisfy Centrelink requirements?
Registered home educators who fulfill Centrelink requirements are eligible for payments. Should you require proof of your home education registration for Centrelink purposes, please contact the THEAC office and we will send you our ‘certification’ letter.

To what age can I home educate my child?
THEAC is able to register children for the compulsory years of education and for two years following that.  The compulsory years of education are from the age of 5, as at 1st January, up until the end of the year in which a child turns 16.

In addition, children are now legally required to participate in an ‘eligible option’ until they have attained the age of 17 years.  Home education is an eligible option.

They are also entitled to 2 fulltime years of post-compulsory education following the end of the year in which they turn 16.

Can my registered child participate in work experience?
Yes.  Full details can be obtained from the THEAC Work Experience brochure.

Can my child work part-time and, if so, what hours can they work?
Home educated children may work part-time.  Employers are not allowed to employ students during school hours.  However, as home educating students don’t attend school and home education encompasses all of life, not just school hours, this is a problematic area for home educated students.  Generally, THEAC advises families that students should confine their part-time work to out-of-school hours.

There is no legal minimum age for employment in Tasmania – however Australia is a signatory to the International Labour Organisation Minimum Age Convention 138 (1973).  One condition from the Convention is as follows:

Children between the ages of 13 and 15 years old may do light work, as long as it does not threaten their health and safety, or hinder their education or vocational orientation and training.

Also, some industries have specific age requirements, e.g. you must be over 18 to work in the forestry industry.  Information on employment conditions can be found on fairwork.gov.au  which also provides a Toolkit for young workers.

THEAC does not set a minimum number of hours for part-time work, but generally, students should aim for no more than 15-18 hours a week and paid work should not compromise their education.  THEAC looks at this issue on a case by case basis and uses its professional judgement in relation to whether too much work is included in the child’s program.

Does the Council help with career planning?
THEAC provides information to parents to help them in career planning with their children.  This includes Job Guides, work experience pamphlets, and career planning websites.  Council members and staff are happy to discuss alternative entry to university, entrance to college or Flexible Learning.

Will my child get an HSC at the end of year 10?
No.   THEAC provides a letter at completion of home educating which states that the family has fulfilled all requirements to satisfy THEAC registration for the years of home education.

As THEAC does not assess a child’s ability, there is no capacity to give a certificate of achievement.

My child wants to continue with further studies past year 10. What information do I need to begin to gather early? What else do I need to know?
As a Home-edder, if your child is looking towards Uni enrollment, start researching requirements and gathering evidence from the beginning of year 10 at the latest. In some circumstances, you may need to do so even earlier.  Visit and thoroughly explore the UTas Admissions site.

How does my child get into college?
Families are advised to contact the college during the year before to discuss possible subject choices and how to attend taster days. For younger than normal students a letter outlining the reasons you seek early entry to grade 11 and expressing interest in having an interview can be helpful. Enrollment dates for each college are advertised in local newspapers towards the end of the school year.  It is a good idea to take samples of your child’s work or test results to interviews with course counselors which gives an idea of the course level they will be capable of.

How does my child get into University without HSC or college results?
Universities have alternative entry tests which your child can sit.  Search various university websites for information on alternative entry.  Contact the appropriate faculty at the university to ascertain prerequisites for their courses.  Families may present samples of their child’s work in their discussions with faculty staff.

There are also international tests which your child can sit e.g. Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT).

What if my educational program does not meet the expectations of the Minister?

  • Where there are any concerns, THEAC will offer you support and advice to address them.
  • The areas of concern will be indicated to you in writing.
  • A follow-up visit will be arranged and a final recommendation made by THEAC.
  • In the event that the concerns cannot be rectified the Minister will be advised.
  • You may appeal if there is a disagreement with the decision.

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