How to Choose the Best Homeschooling Program in Australia

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How to Choose the Best Homeschooling Program in Australia

So you’ve decided to go down the homeschooling path for your child? Kudos! Your family is in for an exciting and rewarding journey.

With the freedom to tailor the curriculum and learning schedules to individual needs, homeschooling is a unique opportunity for your child to learn the topics they’re interested in and at their own pace.

However, since there is no prescribed curriculum, how do you ensure your child is meeting their educational goals and benchmarks? How do you ensure that they’re learning and performance is at par with their traditionally schooled peers?

Fortunately, as more families in Australia embrace homeschooling as a viable alternative to traditional schooling, several organizations have started offering homeschooling curricula that you can tailor to your child's learning style, interests, and educational goals, while ensuring they receive a well-rounded education. 

The Importance of Selecting the Right Homeschool Curriculum

Selecting the right homeschooling program is a critical decision that can significantly impact a child's educational journey and overall development. The curriculum forms the foundation of what and how a child learns, shaping their knowledge, skills, and attitudes towards learning. 

A carefully selected curriculum can provide structure, guidance, and resources that facilitate effective teaching and ensure comprehensive coverage of essential subjects. A well-designed curriculum also offers a clear roadmap for academic progress and achievement, inspiring confidence in both parents and students.

And while it is not a necessity, many homeschooling programs try to align their learning goals with the Australian Curriculum as a benchmark.

Understanding the Australian National Curriculum

The Australian Curriculum, as developed by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment, and Reporting Authority (ACARA), sets the learning goals for students as they progress through school, irrespective of wherever they live in Australia and whichever school they attend.

The National Curriculum was introduced to improve the quality, equity and transparency of Australia’s education system. And the assessments were designed to test students' knowledge and whether they are developing essential skills like literacy and numeracy.

But if homeschooling is all about freedom from a pre-defined curriculum, how does the Australian Curriculum apply to you and your child?

The Australian Curriculum’s Relevance to Homeschooling

Since the Australian Curriculum serves as a guide for educators in schools, it can fulfil the same role for homeschooling curricula. It can provide a framework to ensure your homeschooled child is progressing at a similar level to their peers in traditional schooling. You can also use it to structure your lessons and ensure your child is covering the important topics in each subject. 

You are still in control of tailoring your approach to your child's learning style and interests. You can use a variety of resources and methods to achieve the learning outcomes outlined in the curriculum.

There is, however, the matter of registering your child for homeschooling in the state or territory you reside in. And in some cases, your homeschooling plan will need to demonstrate how you'll cover the essential learning areas as outlined in the Australian Curriculum.

State Requirements for Homeschooling Curriculum

When you submit an application for your child to be homeschooled, the state or territory will ask for a list of documents (which you should check on the relevant registering body’s website). One of these documents will be your planned homeschooling program. Here is how this requirement varies from state to state:

New South Wales (NSW)

NSW requires you to submit a homeschooling curriculum based on the NSW syllabus and its six core subjects: English, Mathematics, Science & Technology, Humanities & Social Sciences (History, Geography, Civics & Politics), Arts, and Health & Physical Education.

You can read more about applying for homeschooling in NSW here.

Victoria (VIC)

The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) doesn't mandate a specific curriculum, but requires you to develop a learning plan that aligns with the eight key learning areas: English, Mathematics, Science, Humanities, The Arts, Technologies, Personal and Social Learning, and Physical Education.

You can read more about applying for homeschooling in VIC here.

Queensland (QLD)

In QLD, you’re required to submit a summary of the educational program to be used, which should demonstrate coverage of the essential learning areas outlined in the Australian Curriculum for your child's age group.

You can read more about applying for homeschooling in QLD here.

South Australia (SA)

When applying in SA, you’ll need to submit a suitable education program that meets the goals of the Australian Curriculum, but doesn’t need to strictly follow it.

You can read more about applying for homeschooling in SA here.

Western Australia (WA)

As a home educator in WA, you need to develop a curriculum which meets the requirements of School Curriculum and Standards Authority Act 1997, as dictated by the School Curriculum and Standards Authority.

Tasmania (TAS)

In TAS, you’re required to submit a Home Education Summary and Program, as required by the Tasmanian Office of The Education Registrar. There's no mandated curriculum, but the learning plan should address each of the Standards defined in the booklet on their website.

Australian Capital Territory (ACT)

As a homeschooling family in ACT, you’re not required to follow the Australian Curriculum. ACT’s Home Education team can discuss curriculum options with you as needed, when you apply.

You can read more about applying for homeschooling in ACT here.

Northern Territory (NT)

To be approved for home education in NT, you’ll need to submit a self-developed or commercially purchased curriculum, which may or may not follow the Australian Curriculum.

You can read more about applying for homeschooling in NT here.

As you can see, the curriculum you use for homeschooling your child plays a vital role for successful registration, no matter which state or territory you live in.

You can either follow a specific homeschooling curriculum, develop your own, or use a hybrid of the two approaches. However, there are some key considerations in selecting a homeschooling curriculum.

Factors to Consider When Selecting a Homeschool Curriculum

When selecting a homeschool curriculum, there are several factors to consider to ensure it meets the needs of your child and your teaching style. Here are some key considerations:

  • Learning Style: Your child's learning style could be visual, auditory, kinesthetic, or a combination. Choose a curriculum that aligns with how your child learns best.

  • Academic Goals: Choose a curriculum that supports your child’s academic goals, whether it's focusing on core subjects, incorporating extracurricular activities, or emphasizing a particular teaching philosophy.

  • Teaching Approach: Choose a curriculum that complements your strengths as a teacher and aligns with your educational philosophy.

  • Flexibility: Determine how much flexibility you need in terms of scheduling and pacing. Some curricula are more structured and require strict adherence to a schedule, while others allow for more flexibility and adaptability.

  • Cost: Consider your budget and the cost of the curriculum. Some curricula can be expensive, so it's important to find a balance between cost and quality.

  • Support: Look for curricula that offer support resources for both parents and students, such as teacher guides, online forums, or customer service helplines.

By considering these factors, you can select a homeschool curriculum that best meets the needs of your child and supports their academic growth and development.

Before finalizing the curriculum, research online reviews and seek recommendations from other homeschooling parents to get insights into the effectiveness and suitability of different curricula.

In the next section, we’ve created a list of the most popular and well-reviewed homeschooling programs in Australia to help you narrow down your search.

A List of the Best Homeschooling Programs in Australia (Top 5)

The homeschooling programs we’ve listed below are based on online reviews and our personal insight into education in early childhood. This is by no means an exhaustive list, so please do your own research.

With that said, here is the list of what we think are the best homeschooling programs in Australia:

1. Australian Christian Home Schooling (ACHS)

Australian Christian Home Schooling is the largest provider of comprehensive support and resources for homeschooling families in Australia. The program offers a wide range of educational materials, curriculum guides, and teaching resources that align with Christian values and beliefs. ACHS takes a holistic approach to education, focusing on academic excellence, character development, and spiritual growth. It also encourages parents to create a nurturing and faith-based learning environment at home, tailored to their children's individual needs and learning styles. By promoting a strong sense of community and collaboration among homeschooling families, ACHS has also built a large supportive network.

2. Maths Australia

Maths Australia is a specialized educational platform that offers multi-sensory numeracy instruction from preschool to Year 12. They provide comprehensive resources, including online courses, practice exercises, and educational materials designed to improve students' maths skills and understanding. Maths Australia's programs focus on building a strong foundation in mathematics but at a pace the student is comfortable with. By incorporating interactive learning tools and personalized support, Maths Australia aims to help students develop confidence and excel in maths.

3. Homeschool in a Box

Homeschool in a Box is an online platform designed to simplify the homeschooling experience for families in Australia. They aim to provide parents with all the tools they need to deliver a high-quality education to their children at home, without the stress of planning and sourcing materials. Their ready-made educational boxes include curriculum materials, lesson plans, and interactive resources for various subjects and grade levels, allowing parents to easily implement a structured learning program that meets their child's academic needs. The boxes contain everything needed to complete the term’s work, and each subject comes with an educator instruction booklet which explains each week’s lesson plan. With a user-friendly interface and access to a wide range of educational resources, Homeschool in a Box offers convenience, affordability, and effectiveness in creating a successful homeschooling environment.

4. My Homeschool

My Homeschool is a leading online platform that follows the Charlotte Mason approach to home education, which emphasizes the importance of living books, nature study, and hands-on learning. They offer a diverse selection of curriculum materials, lesson plans, and educational resources across various subjects and grade levels to assist parents in providing a quality education for their children at home. With a focus on promoting a positive and engaging homeschooling environment, My Homeschool aims to empower parents to create personalized and effective home education programs for families throughout Australia.

5. Simply Homeschool

Simply Homeschool provides family-orientated curriculum, online classes, homeschool camps and ongoing support to Australian homeschoolers. With a focus on flexibility, creativity, and individualized learning, Simply Homeschool aims to empower parents to provide a high-quality education tailored to their children's needs and interests. Many of their teachers are also trained in neurodiversity, and their programs cater to kids with a wide variety of learning needs and interests. They also offer Homeschool Connect Camps to bring together homeschool families, build a community, and share the joy and wonder of real-life learning opportunities with children.

We recommend starting the homeschooling curriculum exploration journey with these top home education programs. Remember, this is just a starting point and you’ll need to identify your child's unique educational needs and aspirations, and align the program with those.

You can also choose to customize the homeschooling curriculum to suit your child’s specific needs. Not to worry; it’s not as hard as it sounds.

Customizing Your Homeschooling Curriculum

Customizing the homeschooling curriculum to fit your child's unique learning style and interests is crucial for their academic success and overall engagement. Here are some tips for doing that:

  • Identify the Learning Style: Begin by determining your child's preferred learning style, whether it's visual, auditory, kinesthetic, or a combination of these. This understanding will help you tailor the curriculum to better suit their needs.

  • Customize the Materials: Adapt the curriculum materials to align with your child's learning style. For visual learners, incorporate more images, diagrams, and videos. For auditory learners, include podcasts, audiobooks, and discussions. For kinesthetic learners, incorporate hands-on activities, experiments, and field trips.

  • Encourage Exploration: Allow your child to explore topics of interest within the curriculum. Incorporate projects, research assignments, or creative tasks that align with their passions and encourage deeper learning.

  • Flexibility in Scheduling: Be flexible with your homeschooling schedule to accommodate your child's peak learning times. Some children may learn better in the morning, while others may be more receptive in the afternoon or evening.

  • Incorporate Multisensory Activities: Engage multiple senses in the learning process by incorporating hands-on activities, visual aids, music, movement, and tactile experiences. This approach can help reinforce concepts and improve retention.

  • Encourage Self-Directed Learning: Encourage independence and self-directed learning by allowing your child to take ownership of their education. Provide opportunities for them to set goals, choose projects, and explore subjects that pique their curiosity.

  • Open Communication: Maintain open communication with your child to understand their preferences, challenges, and progress. Adjust the curriculum as needed based on their feedback and learning experiences.

  • Seek Support: Connect with homeschooling communities, online forums, or educational experts to gather insights and resources for adapting the curriculum to suit your child's unique learning style and interests.

In all this planning and structuring, don’t forget to celebrate your child’s achievements.  Take every opportunity to acknowledge their successes and milestones throughout their homeschooling journey. Positive reinforcement can motivate them to stay engaged and enthusiastic about learning.

With this personalized approach to homeschooling, you can ensures that your child's individual needs and passions are nurtured, leading to a fulfilling and enjoyable learning journey.

At FunFox, we aim to provide individualized reading and writing tutoring services to support and/or supplement your child’s homeschooling needs. In addition to our tutoring programs, we’ve also built a thriving community of like-minded families through regular in-person and virtual events. Please contact us to learn more about how we can support your homeschooling needs.

Conclusion

Embarking on the homeschooling journey can be a daunting prospect, but it is also an incredible opportunity to provide your children with a personalized education that caters to their unique needs and learning styles.

We hope this article has given you a good foundation for choosing the best homeschool curriculum for your child. And if you were still deciding between home education or traditional schooling, our homeschooling guide may be of assistance.

These days, there is a wealth of online resources, homeschooling communities, and expert guidance at your fingertips to create a nurturing, enriching educational environment for your child. Embrace this journey with an open mind and a willingness to adapt.

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