Welcome to The Educating Parent Beverley Paine's archive of articles about homeschooling and unschooling written over a period of 30 plus years

HomeAbout Blog Articles Curriculum Resource Directory Shop Kids Pages Facebook

Download our FREE The Educating Parent Resource Directories today! Plus... more FREE resources!

Free download a quick guide to getting started with homeschooling and unschooling by Beverley Paine The Educating Parent in this excellent Resource Directory


Download for FREE this huge collection of links to online Australian homeschool and unschool support groups in this special The Educating Parent Resource Directory by Beverley Paine

Plan, record and report all in the one document! Always Learning Books planners available in each year level to suit your homeschooling needs, includes curriculum checklists
Australia's original homeschooling manual from veteran home educator Beverley Paine, how to write your own learning plan and curriculum to meet your child's needs
Let Beverley and friends help you design and write your own curriculum to suit your child's individual learning needs, learn how to prepare lessons, unit studies and more, record and evaluate your children's learning in this series of 3 parent workbooks developed on Beverley's popular homeschool manual Getting Started with Home School Practical Considerations
Introduction to
Home Education
  National and State
Support Groups
  Yearly Planner, Diary & Report Beverley's Original Home Ed Manual Series of How To
Parent Workbooks

Support Groups: National SA VIC NSW QLD TAS ACT NT
Registration Guides: VIC NSW QLD SA WA TAS ACT NT

Looking for support, reassurance and information?
Join Beverley's The Educating Parents Homeschooling and Unschooling Facebook online group.


How Many Home Educated Students in Australia?

by Beverley Paine, Feb 2013

This is a question that is frequently asked by journalists writing stories about home education. In 2012 home educator Stuart Chapman phoned all the state and territory home education registration authorities as well as looking up statistics in Education Department Annual Reports and came up with the following numbers:
ACT: 136
NSW: 2315; 128 exempt
NT: 60 (approximately)
Qld: 772
SA: 891
TAS: 603; 319 families;
VIC: 3300 (approximately)
WA: 1806

This comes to approximately 10,000 students. It doesn't take into account the number of home educating families "flying under the radar", the colloquial term for not being registered (or exempted from attending school in SA). Neither does it include the number of students enrolled in distance education programs specifically set up to accommodate home education, a figure Stuart Chapman estimates to be about 4,000. Or the large number of families with children aged 4 and 5 who are not eligible for home education registration status but whose peers are already at school and whose parents consider them to be already home educating.

Estimating the number of unregistered students has been attempted many times over the years.

Home educating advocates running support groups have for many years claimed that for every registered home educating family there are probably three or four choosing not to register. Ian Townsend, ABC reporter in a program for Background Briefing estimated 50,000 students were being illegally home educated across Australia using school enrollment and population figures from the latest Census.

If Mr Townsend's figure is reasonably accurate 60,000 home educated students is a considerable cohort of students, enough to possibly fill 100 new schools, and represents a massive saving to State and Federal government budgets every year.

It is my perception that the number of non-registered home educating students is gradually and naturally decreasing.

A great many older non-registered families now have teens or young adults and this will also work to diminish those numbers.

There is a huge increase in the number of families with children under compulsory school age investigating home education. I expect the numbers of both registered and unregistered home educating students to grow fairly rapidly over the coming years.

It is a lot easier to source accurate information about registering as well as support from existing home educating families and groups. Families are feeling more empowered and confident about their choice. All states and territories have published reasonably clear guidelines online for families considering home education.

Another compelling reason for new families to register is the home education exemption from the activity test for Centrelink recipients.

The education tax rebate and School Bonus both required evidence of home education registration (in theory but not always in practice) and that is also cited as a reason for registering.

By and large it seems that it is much easier to be approved as a home educating family although funding for the offices that oversee registrations hasn't kept pace with the demand. I feel this is because the authorities responsible for home education (with a few notable exceptions) are more familiar with the concept and that there is more general acceptance as an alternative in the wider community. In many instances assessing officers (approved person, moderator, home education officer, etc) have been in the job for a while and understands the nature of home education and how it differs from school-based education. There has been a shift in the tone of posts on forums and chit chat in groups over the years: people are sharing how less intimidating it was than expected, though still complain that it is intrusive and unnecessarily onerous.

Stories of negative experiences with the education authorities do have an effect of dissuading families from registration. I think that if the support group a family first encounters is generally anti-registration then they'll be less likely to register.

A few things which seem to complicate the registration process and which I believe generate negative stories are:

a) single parent families still seem to be given a harder time than couples - apart from the other parent's signature needed on the paperwork, which is a real issue at the moment and causing considerable grief to a small number of families annually, I wonder if the current emphasis on the economy (a 'working' Australia rather than a 'parenting' Australia) adds a negative bias to the application and interview process. The prejudice against single parent families in our society is subtle but significant.

b) families with children with special needs seem to need to jump through more hoops when they register. Not sure why this would be so because the government and schools save so much money when these children are home educated - you'd think they'd be encouraging families to 'go it alone'. However, individual schools do lose additional funding when a special needs child leaves the school, so the school may be applying pressure for a negative registration outcome.

c) and there are still officers (APs, moderators, etc) who are ignorant about the nature of home ed, or who bring their personal prejudices to work (for example, not giving approval because the teen is a 'goth', asking for incredibly detailed learning programs not required from other families, etc).

Families withdrawing children from schools are compelled to register to avoid being followed up by the truancy section of the Education Department (not sure what happens if the child is enrolled in a private school). The advent of the internet and information and communication technologies means different authorities communicate and pass on information more efficiently.

Basically the only families who now begin home educating without registering are those that have children who have never started school or where the family have moved house at the time of removing their children from school, or those who have moved without supplying the registering authority a forwarding address.

Many families believe that the state has no right to demand registration or impose the state or national curriculum on their children. They feel the education of their children is their responsibility rather than bureaucracy's. Many families resent the time and energy taken away from the education of their children to comply with registration requirements and reporting.

Advantages to registration include compliance with legislation and in some states, access to a very limited number of resources. Many families find the contact with the authority useful and helpful, offering some guidance and reassurance to the experience of home education. The ability to confidently and directly lobby politicians for legislative or regulation change is another advantage cited by registered home educators. As the number of registered home educators increase the more mainstream it appears and it is featured more in the media, meaning a greater number of families in need are made aware of the option.

Was this article helpful? Was it worth $1.00 to you? Your gift of $1 or more helps to keep this site operating offering encouragement and reassurance to families wanting better outcomes for their children.

Thank you for your gift contribution!

Beverley Paine with her children, and their home educated children, relaxing at home.

Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active supporter of national, state, regional and local home education groups.

"You've been an inspiration to me, I love the way
you really listen to people."

"Whenever I read your writing I always come away
with increased confidence in my ability to provide and
share a wonderful learning journey with my family!"

"Your guidance, understanding, support and words of
wisdom changed our lives. We now offer support and
organise many homeschooling events for others."

"Thank you once again for your prompt and friendly service.
I am convinced that your books are going to add
quality and peace of mind to my journey of teaching my kids
at home! Just from studying your website, until almost
2am in the morning, I 've been encouraged!"

"Thank you for all your many,many reassuring words
over many, many years. You probably don't know exactly how
valuable you are to the Australian Home Education community.
I've been reading your stuff for maybe 8 years or more now.
And I'm very grateful."

Want to learn how to write your own education plans to suit
your unique children's individual learning needs?

Looking for quality curriculum and teaching tips ?

Over 1000 reassuring and informative articles to help
build your confidence as an Educating Parent

Welcome to the World of Home Education
and Learning without School!

It's been and gone but you don't have to miss out! Purchase the full set of recordings of the 2022 Australian Homeschool Summit, expert help from experienced Australian home educators, all you need to get your started and continuing on your homeschooling or unschooling adventure with your children! Over 30 workshops, downloads and more.

We began educating our children in 1985, when our eldest was five. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn since they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. We hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was! Beverley Paine


Getting Started with
Home Educating Series of


#1 Create Your
Own Curriculum

#2 DIY Lesson Plans
& Unit Studies

#3 Recording and Evaluation Made Simple

$10.00 each (includes postage)

let experienced home educators Beverley, Tamara and April walk you through HOW to create a learning plan that builds on solid foundations that works for YOUR family AND ticks all the boxes for home educaton registration with part 1 of this getting started with home educating serioes of parent workbooks, Create Your Own Curriculum!
Let experienced home educators Beverley, Tamara and April walk you through HOW to create a learning plan that builds on solid foundations that works for YOUR family AND ticks all the boxes for home educaton registration!

To see the full range of Beverley Paine's books on homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning visit Always Learning Books

Tap into Beverley's experience through her books

"Your books, your blogs helped me beyond words...
they helped me to find comfort in knowing it is ok to choose
exactly what is best for my family." Nisha

"Your books and information are mind blowing and already
I am feeling good about this new experience." Diane

Connect with Beverley and ask questions
through her online The Educating Parents Homeschooling and Unschooling Facebook support group.

purchase Beverley's practical and common sense books on homeschooling and unschooling
"Your guidance, understanding, support & words of wisdom changed our lives." Leslie

"I feel specially inspired by Beverley's words and, the more I read her comments, the more inspired I feel, since my need for support, respect for different parenting styles, and information are fully met." Marijo

The information on this website is of a general nature only and is not intended as personal or professional advice. This site merges and incorporates 'Homeschool Australia' and 'Unschool Australia'.

The Educating Parent acknowledges the Traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Owners, the Custodians of Australia, and pay our respects to Elders past and present and extend that respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people viewing this website.

complete comprehensive step by step program that teaches you how to craft your ultimate homeschool

Australia's best home education consultant, let Tamara Kidd guide and help you prepare your home education registration application or review

Online science lessons for primary school aged home educating children

30% discount for purchases from ReadyEd Publications when you use the code 'homeschool' at  the checkout

reset your mindset for homeschooling success with deschooling essentials a quick course to help build your confidence as an educating parent

200 pages of templates, planning pages, tables, prompts and record sheets to organise your whole year!

subscription video art lessons by Australian artist

Home education is a legal alternative
to school education in Australia.
State and Territory governments are responsible
for regulating home education and have different
requirements, however home educating families
are able to develop curriculum and learning programs
to suit the individual needs of their children.

animated Australian flag

Without revenue from advertising
by educational suppliers and Google Ads
we could not continue to provide information
to home educators. Please support us by letting
our advertisers know that you found them on
The Educating Parent. Thanks!

Beverley's books are excellent for building confidence as a home educator says Tracey, homeschooling mum.

Support Centre
Contact Us | Join a Support Group | Beverley's Books | Resource Directory | Blog | Donate

About The Educating Parent
Beverley Paine | April Jermey and Always Learning Books | Advertise with us


What is Home Education Why Home Educate Getting Started & Registering Different Ways to Home Educate
Life as a Home Educator Resources & Support Teens and Beyond Curriculum and Teaching Tips
Unschooling & Natural Learning Travelling & Home Educating Record Keeping Children's Pages

animated smiling face Thank you for visiting!

Beverley Paine, The Educating Parent
The opinions and articles included on this website are not necessarily those of Beverley and Robin Paine,
nor do they endorse or recommend products listed in contributed articles, pages, or advertisements.
This website uses browsing cookies and conducts other means to collect user information in order to display contextual ads.
Text and images on this site © All Rights Reserved 1999-2022.