Thursday, May 02, 2013
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FAQ's

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About Home Education

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What is home education?
Home education takes place where parents take direct responsibility for the schooling of their children and educate them at home.

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Is home education legal?
Home education is legal in all Australian states and territories.

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Do I need to register with the Government authorities?
The law varies between different Australian states and territories.
There are also different interpretations of the legal requirements which are held by home educators in each state. Some home educators prefer to be regulated. Others question whether the government has any legitimate authority to oversee the choices parents make to raise and educate their children.
Generally speaking, home educators experience few problems with authorities where they have taken a thoughtful approach toward their children's education and welfare.
For the legal requirements for your state tou can find more information on this site under 'getting started>state by state'.

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Do I need a curriculum?
A curriculum can help to give you a sense of direction and provide you with resources to put a more important thing into action - your educational objectives for your child.
It is also important to acknowledge that styles of home education vary greatly, from formal to informal. Use of a curriculum will vary depending on the style adopted and the home educating experience of the parent.
For further information see the programming examples we have provided.

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Can the HEA help me with a curriculum?
The HEA is a support organisation having grown through local support networks. The HEA does not produce educational material. The HEA has produced some aides for programming, which can be purchased in our 'getting started pack' - available in our online shop.
You can also browse our online Resource Directory which lists businesses that supply services and products to home educators.

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Is this the same as correspondence schooling?
Correpondence schooling is schooling taking place as distance learning and is generally administered by a government body. Home education is facilitated by the child's parents in the family home.
However, some families start homeschooling through a correspondence school. The structure of having material prescribed and sent to them can be the structure they need to get started. When they feel the self-confidence to assess their children’s needs, choose their own resources, and plan their own program they move away from a purchased curriculum.

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What about socialisation?
Prior to the advent of modern education, children were not socialised in this way. It is also unlike the world our children will experience when they emerge as adult contributors to society.
A child's social needs are more fully met through interaction with their direct and extended families and as they mingle with their community. This involves exposure to people of varying ages in real world contexts, whereas interaction in school is largely restricted to a single, narrow age band in an environment which offers limited experience.

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Will home educated children be able to matriculate and gain entrance to university?
If you would like your home educated child to matriculate, then this can be done through TAFE's OTEN distance education program.
It is instructive, however, that 62 per cent of university entrances in Australia are gained on the basis of interview or mature age entry.
There are numerous success stories of home educated children gaining entry to coveted tertiary courses, together with those who are being successful in the workforce and entrepreneurship and, most significantly, who are flourishing as positive contributors to our society.
See also: Higher education articles which discuss this topic further.

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How do I make contact with home educators in my area?
Local homeschooling contact people and support groups can be great support in homeschooling. Most groups welcome people investigating homeschooling and new homeschoolers into their regular activities. Most groups organise monthly or weekly meetings that usually focus on an educational theme but they always have a social aspect.
For support groups and contact persons see the HEA Support Contact Directory .

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How many home educators are there in Australia?
Although a lack of available data makes this difficult to determine, some estimates place this at 1-2% of Australian school-aged children.

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We are moving to Australia next year. We want to homeschool our children in Australia. Do we need to do the paperwork before we enter Australia or can we wait until our arrival?
You can either commence the paperwork while overseas or once you arrive. The registration process in most states includes a home visit so you will not be able to finish the process until you are settled in Australia. The registering authorities do not expect you to enrol your children in a school while you go through the homeschooling registration process. This is certainly the case if, in your country of origin, your children are not required to attend school because they are registered as homeschoolers there or your country is in school holiday period. You should check your visa requirements, as some visas require your child to be attending school!

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We are thinking about travelling around Australia. Do we have to register for homeschooling in each State?
Proof of registration from one state or territory is recognised throughout Australia.

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About the Association/Membership

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What is the purpose of the Home Education Association Inc.?
To assist individuals and groups to gain benefits which would be difficult to obtain otherwise.
For further details see About Us.

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Who are the Committee members of the HEA?
For information about the committee members, visit our committee members page.

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What benefits does HEA membership offer?
There are a number of benefits for members. These are detailed in membership options.
The HEA have also negotiated a number of discounts for its members on some key goods and services.

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Will membership records be public?
Your privacy is our priority and we will not share your details.

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How do I join the HEA?
Information on how to apply for membership can be found on the membership options page.

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Before I join I would like to read the constitution of the Association.
It is available on this site at: constitution.

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Organising Events/Insurance

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Which events are likely to be covered by the HEA?
The overwhelming majority of your home education events will be covered without question, and there is a list of examples below. If, however, you are not sure whether the event will qualify for cover, the HEA notification process assures that you will find out in time. Horse riding and extreme sports are not within the scope of HEA insurance.
Further information on insurance is detailed in events. To access this you must be a current HEA member and a members' area login is required.

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What type of work experience activity is covered by the HEA?
HEA members' children, 12 years and over, can be covered by our insurance for most types of work experience. 
Further information on work experience insurance is detailed in work experience. To access this you must be a current HEA member and a members' area login is required.

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Can HEA non-members attend HEA events?
Yes.

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Are all HEA events open to any HEA members?
The organiser of any event may limit attendance in any legal way. Generally all events are targeted to a specific age or interest group and the size of a group is limited.
However, it is generally against the law to discriminate against people because of their age, sex, race/ethnic group, marital status, pregnancy, disability, homosexuality or transgender. Organisers should be aware that it is a condition of cover that they abide by discrimination law.

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Is it necessary for members names to appear on attendance records?
Yes. Sufficient information to identify the attendance of each individual should be recorded. This applies to all members and non-members at HEA events.

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We have hired a tutor for a group session. Can that tutor be covered by HEA insurance?
HEA policies cover HEA staff and volunteers. A tutor is neither a volunteer nor a staff member and as such is viewed as a contractor to the HEA. A contractor would not be covered by HEA insurance. They should have their own insurance policies. HEA insurance policies are only valid for recognised volunteers and are invalid for activities where one or more individuals profit from the activities.

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I am a homeschooling parent, qualified instructor and want to organize a series of group lessons for homeschoolers. Would I be covered by HEA insurance?
There are two issues here.
HEA is a non-profit organisation and HEA activity cannot be used to profit any of our members. In this instance, I suggest that you have another HEA member take on the position of 'organiser' for the activity. This would allow you to act as an independent contractor (and free up your effort to concentrate on the task of teaching). The organiser is responsible for conducting the activity in a safe manner and HEA’s Legal Liability would cover the organiser if someone was injured during the activity.
It would not cover you as the tutor. You should have your own Public Liability, Professional Indemnity, and Personal Accident/Income Protection policies.
However, you could change the financial arrangements such that you were not profiting, but rather compensated for your costs.

The organiser of an HEA activity must keep accurate financial records and make them available for inspection, should it be required, by the HEA committee.

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