In South Australia, children are legally required to attend a government or non-government school from the ages of 6-17. However, the Education Act 1972 allows parents or guardians to apply for an exemption from attendance for the purposes of homeschooling at any stage during these compulsory school years.
Unlike other states, South Australia requires all children to be enrolled at a government or non-government school in order to receive exemption for the purposes of homeschooling. That means you essentially have to enrol your child in school before you can begin homeschooling them.
In order to successfully register for homeschooling, parents must apply to the Home Education unit of the South Australian Department of Education (DET).
Registering for homeschooling in SA
An application form must be signed by both parents or guardian(s) of a child under the age of 18 and include:
- The contact details of both parents or guardians
- A copy of your child’s birth certificate
- Any relevant court orders
- A detailing learning program (including three identified learning goals for your child)
Requirements of homeschooling
You must also agree to the following eight conditions before submitting your form. Failing to consent to any one of these requirements will result in immediate refusal.
- Both parents or legal guardians must consent to homeschooling, except in cases with exceptional circumstances.
- Responsibility for educating your child will be entirely yours, and you must plan and implement an educational program in accordance with the Australian National Curriculum (or similar). This includes providing all necessary resources and opportunities for social interaction for your child.
- Your educational program caters to the identified learning needs of your child.
- You consent to the DET liaising with the Department of Child Protection or other relevant agencies to ensure the welfare of your child when approving or reviewing your application.
- You acknowledge that the DET bears no responsibility to provide educational resources or support for your child.
- You must disclose the name of the government or non-government school your child is enrolled at.
- You must agree to a home visit from an education officer to discuss your application and assess your proposed program and learning environment.
- You must agree to immediately inform the DET of any changes to your circumstances, including updated address or changes to your enrolment status.
- You must agree to a review process in order to renew your registration every 12 months. This will involve a home visit and review meeting in which you will be required to show evidence of learning and progress according to the needs and abilities of your child.
For more details on the specific process and requirements of homeschooling, you can view the DET’s guide to home education
When you have all of your documents ready, you can request a homeschooling registration form by emailing Education.HomeEducation@sa.gov.au
Planning a successful home education program
According to the DET, effective home education programs:
- Are planned in advance and aligned with the eight core learning areas as defined by the Australian National Curriculum.
- Utilise a range of learning materials and resources
- Have clearly identified learning goals.
- Include a variety of approaches to teaching and learning.
- Involve your child in the development of the program where possible.
Your learning program should cater to the identified needs of your child and be implemented in a home environment which is suitable for effective learning.
You will also be required to develop a system for recording your child’s learning over time to show how the program has been delivered and how the requirements for registration are being met.
Your learning program should include:
- A list of specific topics, activities, skills, projects, and/or unit studies for each of the eight learning areas.
- A list of formal and informal learning activities, as well as planned excursions and/or educational workshops.
- A list of resources you plan to utilise to support each topic/unit of study e.g. workbooks, software and even support in the form of tutoring.
- Opportunities for social interaction as part of each unit.
Monitoring and recording your child’s progress
According to the DET, your child’s progress can be demonstrated through:
- Completed workbooks or online progress reports
- A portfolio of work samples
- Documented learning outcomes and achievements
- Examples of creative or project work
- Research assignments
- A learning journal or compilation of personal discoveries written by your child
- Formal assessment tools, such as NAPLAN or the Progressive Assessment Tool (PAT)
These samples will demonstrate your child’s engagement in their learning program and can be used during reviews and to support future homeschooling applications.
How Cluey supports homeschooling in South Australia
Our flexible, online model means that your child can log in to our online learning platform from anywhere, utilising video, audio and collaborative whiteboard capabilities.
You can choose the areas you’d most like to focus on and specify your learning goals. Our programs can be tailored to your teaching philosophy and the needs of your child. What’s more, you’ll receive a report at the end of every session which can form part of your portfolio of learning progress.
What do I need to consider before I homeschool?
Although there are some technical details to consider, homeschooling is first and foremost an incredible time commitment. It’s important to consider whether you have the time and energy required to teach your child, and whether this will get in the way of paid work or other commitments.
How old must my child be before I register them?
An application for homeschooling can be submitted for any child of compulsory school age (6-17)
What happens after I register?
Once you submit a written application along with the required documents and intended learning program, a copy of your completed application will be emailed to you as acknowledgment of receipt. An email will also be sent to the second parent or guardian listed on the application requesting consent. The principal of your enrolled school will also be notified and a home education officer will be in touch within 14 days to organise a home visit.
Once your home visit has been completed, a report will be prepared for the home education unit, who will make a final decision regarding your application.
How long will the application process take?
Although every approval process is different depending on your individual circumstances and process of consent, an average approval process from the time you submit your application is 4-5 weeks.
What happens when an education officer makes a home visit?
An authorised officer of the DET will get in touch within two weeks of receiving your application and will likely want to schedule an appointment shortly thereafter. Be prepared to discuss your reasons for homeschooling and demonstrate a sound understanding of the syllabus requirements, as well as your learning program.
This is an informal discussion in which your education officer will ensure you have a healthy learning environment and sound homeschooling plan.
What happens if my application for homeschooling registration is refused?
If your application is refused, you can lodge a complaint or request a review in writing directly with the manager of the Home Education unit or the director of Conditions for Learning. Be sure to include the specific details of the complaint and the outcome being sought (i.e. an internal review of your application).
Complaints can be addressed to:
Director Conditions for Learning
OR Manager Home Education
Home Education unit Department for Education
GPO Box 1152
Adelaide SA 5001
What happens if they refuse my application for registration after an internal review?
If your complaint is not resolved, you can contact the Education Complaint Unit on 1800 677 435 or Education.HomeEducation@sa.gov.au
How can I make sure I get approved?
Do your research on what’s required, including the relevant documentation, and develop a detailed learning plan. You should also be ready to arrange a home meeting with your assigned education officer within 1-2 weeks of submitting your application.
Most refusals are due to an inability to arrange a home visit, despite making ample attempts to contact the parent. They also occur when the authorised person determines that the requirements are not being met or would not be met.
Will I be monitored by inspectors while homeschooling?
Records of implementing your child’s educational program must be kept to show how the program has been delivered and how the requirements for registration are being met.
Every 12 months, you will be required to submit an application to renew your homeschooling registration. This will involve a home visit with an education officer, who will assess your learning environment and progress to date. You will also be required to consent to all of the original conditions of home education once more.
What are the essential subjects/curriculum I need to teach?
Although there is no set homeschooling curriculum, you’ll be required to develop an educational program based on the eight core learning areas defined by the Australian National Curriculum. These include literacy, numeracy and HSIE subjects. More information about the learning requirements for each year group can be found here.
How much time should I spend on each subject?
You might find that a four day week works best, or five half days. You need to ensure you cover the requirements in the curriculum, but the way you teach it and the time you spend on each module is entirely up to you.
What if my child has special needs?
If you have a child who for any reason doesn’t fit the “ordinary” box, homeschooling could be a positive option. Homeschooling can often take the stress out of structured lessons, allowing children to learn at their own pace and in their own way. For special needs, always seek as much support as possible, both to ensure you’re teaching to your child’s unique needs, and to connect with other parents or teachers who might be experiencing similar challenges. The DET requests a copy of a therapeutic or medical assessment / report to verify the diagnosis or health needs of your child at the time of applying.
How do I plan my homeschool/learning program?
You could plan your own curriculum based on the learning outcomes detailed in the Australian National Curriculum. There are also several out-of-the-box homeschooling programs, many of which are developed by education experts and based on different approaches and teaching philosophies. Just ensure that the program you choose takes into account the unique requirements of the South Australian Department of Education.
And of course Cluey offers homeschooling support programs.
How do I document my homeschooling progress/portfolio?
There’s no one way to document your homeschooling portfolio. You might put together a collection of work, which would look different depending on the age and ability of your child. A written diary or essay samples are one example. Maths worksheets, stories based on historical understanding and other creative, inquiry-based studies are other options.
Do I need formal teaching qualifications to homeschool?
You don’t need any formal training to become a homeschool teacher. As long as you meet the requirements and show evidence of learning, you’re set!
What do I do if I’m overwhelmed?
Will you be able to cope with the mammoth undertaking that is homeschooling? The short answer is yes — when there’s a will there’s a way. But it’s important to understand the realities of homeschooling and seek support in the form of outside tutoring if you feel yourself burning out.
Does my homeschooled child really need to complete Year 11 or 12?
Like mainstream education, progressing to a senior level is entirely up to you and your child. If your child has university in his or her sights, your child may choose to begin the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) or access other vocational pathway programs through their enrolled school or the Open Access College. When this occurs, a home education exemption is no longer required.