A set curriculum is not necessary for successful homeschooling but, whether you choose a full packaged curriculum, or draw from multiple sources, there are some amazing resources out there! There is no need to spend a lot of money; see Home Education on a Budget before you buy.
This section is only a starting point. You can help keep it current by contacting us with any updates. Don’t forget to check what your library has, second-hand bookstores and of course, the internet.
R.I.C Publications www.ricgroup.com.au/
Teacher resources designed for Australian curriculum
Modern Teaching Aids www.teaching.com.au
Online store of modern teaching materials and resources, including natural sciences, maths, english and engineering.
Phone: 1800 251 497
Dominie Educational Supplies www.dominie.com.au
General Educational supplier
Phone: (02) 9905 0201
Link Education Supplies www.linkeducational.com.au
Educational Book Specialists
341 Waverley Road, Mt. Waverley 9807 5422
Scholastic Bookclubs www.scholastic.com.au
Home educators are able to join as a ‘school’ by using their homeschooling registration letter. Suppliers of school resources and also fiction and non-fiction for kids at club prices.
Moore Educational www.mooreed.com.au
LEGO Educational Resources from prep to robotics
Beverley Paine, Practical Homeschooling www.alwayslearningbooks.com.au
Beverley has many resources available including the book Getting Started with Home Schooling: Practical Considerations along with many of the classic home education books.
Phone: (08) 8558 3212
Online VCAL Provider www.skys.org.au
The St Kilda Youth Service (SKYS) provides access to VCAL online. This is free and open to any student aged 15 – 25 looking to complete a VCAL certificate for Intermediate or Senior Levels. They provide youth support through an online youth worker at SKYS as well as opportunities to complete VET courses in Hospitality and Media To enrol, complete this flier or contact David Stillwell, the SKYS VCAL coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org or call on: 03 9534 3685
The Learning Federation www.thelearningfederation.edu.au
Educational Interactive Games in Maths, Science, English etc
Skwirk caters to different teaching and learning styles across the curriculum, with a variety of content including videos, animations, activities, worksheets and assessments
HEN Members receive a 50% discount
How Stuff Works www.howstuffworks.com
Explanations on everything from tooth whiteners to robots
Fun games and activities across the curriculum
Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority
Homeschooling registration forms and information can be downloaded from the VRQA website at http://www.vrqa.vic.gov.au/homeschool or obtained by telephoning them on (03) 9651 3293. See the legal section for full details on the law.
Homeschooling in Victoria: A guide to services and support (2015)
A booklet produced by the Victorian government, this is sent to all newly registered home educators upon registration with the VRQA. It can also be downloaded from the VRQA homeschooling page
The National Curriculum can be downloaded from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au Home educators in some states are required to adhere to the national curriculum. Victorians are not. Note that even if you are required to use it, you don’t necessarily have to produce a full curriculum in line with it – many Australian text books are written to fit it and advertise this on their covers.
Victorian Essential Learning Standards
The curriculum used in Victorian schools (P-10) is the AUSVELS (Australian/Victorian Essential Learning Standards framework). The AUSVEL website works through all topics giving examples of expectations for each year and sample units of work and examples of student work. Note Victorian home educators are not obliged to use the VELs but may wish to draw on them.
Distance Education Centre
The eligibility criteria is restricted (basically distance or medical). For full criteria see the website. Registered home educators may purchase Distance Ed materials for independent use (ie no support). Cost apporox $150 per year (note that there are materials missing). Individual subject supplies are also available for sale.
VCE for Distance Education
Students who have been registered with the VRQA for home education for at least 12 months are permitted to enrol in Distance Education for VCE even if they meet no other eligibility criteria. See contact details above.
Open Access College (SA)
Based in Adelaide, the Open Access College offers the following to DECD approved SA home schoolers:
- R-9, Language or music programme only
- Year 10, PLP only or a full Year 10 load in preparation for SACE studies
- Years 11 & 12, all senior secondary subjects
Generally the NAPLAN is not compulsory for home educated students but students in some stages may register for it – contact your moderator/inspector/authorised person for details. Registered Victorian home educators can contact their local government school to take part there.
Developed by DEECD, FUSE is for educators and is specifically designed to provide teaching, professional learning and policy resources.
Website developed by DEECD which provides teaching and learning resources suitable for LOTE from prep to year 10. Online interactive tasks and worksheets for French, German, Indonesian and Italian. There is also a ‘game maker’ template to create interactive language games using your own text, voice recordings or images – see here.
John Holt (1923-1985) wrote many books which are all considered classics in the home education world. As a fifth grade teacher, John was part of the progressive education movement in the 60s and initially wrote about the failings of school. Eventually, he gave up on reforming the school system and, instead, advocated home education. To his surprise, people started contacting him to say they were already doing just what he suggested. As a result, he began a home education magazine called Growing Without Schooling. All of his books are well worth a read.
- Teach your Own – The John Holt Book of Home Schooling is about how we can teach children, or rather allow them to learn outside of schools. It is John’s only book specifically about home education.
- John Holt – How Children Fail was John’s first book when he first began to realise that schools were hurting children who are entirely capable of teaching themselves.
- How Children Learn details John’s thoughtful observation and investigation of the actual learning he witnessed amongst his students.
- Other titles: Learning All the Time, Freedom and Beyond, Instead of Education: Ways to Help People do Things Better, Escape from Childhood, What do I do Monday? Never Too Late.
John Taylor Gatto has written some excellent books, and has also published some audio tapes and videos. John has seen that between schooling and television, our children have precious little time to learn for themselves about the community they live in, or the lives they might lead. Instead, they are schooled to merely obey orders and become smoothly functioning cogs in the industrial machine.
- Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling
- The Exhausted School: Bending the Bars of Traditional Education
- A Different Kind of Teacher: Solving the Crisis of American Schooling
- Underground History of American Education is the result of a lifetime of teaching and research. This is the definitive book about the origins and effect of our education system.
- There are also some great essays by John sprinkled around the internet.
Teenage Liberation Handbook by Grace Llewellyn. This is an excellent read for teens thinking of leaving school and recommended reading for any parent of teenagers.
The Why and How of Australian Home Education by Dr John Barratt-Peacock, 1997. This a PhD thesis which was hailed as the most authoritative text on home education in Australia. The author approached his research with twenty-seven years’ experience in home education. He views education as essentially a process of acquisition of culture. He conducted initial interviews with 186 families across Australia, thirteen families were interviewed a second time and six families (deliberately chosen to represent a wide range of home educating practice) were interviewed a third time and observed for a full day each. Both formal and informal learning was noted, with a recognition not only of the immediate activity a child was engaged in, but what was going on around the child – a conversation overheard from the next room for example – or the child’s awareness of the activity of other members of the family. He summed up the Australian home educating family as “a community of learning practice.” Home educating families in this study had more children than the average Australian family and it was predominantly mothers who had the primary responsibility of educating children. The PDF is for sale in our shop and available free in the members’ area.
- The Unschooling Handbook: Subtitled How to Use the Whole World As Your Child’s Classroom is a great resource, not only for unschoolers, but for any home educator as it gets you thinking about all the resources at your fingertips.
- The Homeschoolong Handbook is also a valuable resource as is anything by this author.
In Their Own Way by Thomas Armstrong. Children learn in multiple ways, and educator Thomas Armstrong shows how to locate those unique areas in each of our children where learning and creativity seem to flow with special vigor. Armstrong delineates how to discover your child’s particular areas of strength. The book shatters the conventional wisdom that brands our students as “underachievers,” “unmotivated,” or as suffering from “learning disabilities,” “attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,” or other “learning diseases.” Armstrong explains how these flawed labels often overlook students who are in possession of a distinctive combination of multiple intelligences, and demonstrates how to help them acquire knowledge and skills according to their sometimes extraordinary aptitudes. Filled with resources for the home and classroom, In Their Own Way offers inspiration for every learning situation.
Right-Brained Children in a Left-Brained World by Jeffrey Freed and Laurie Parsons. This book explains why some people fit into school, and some do not. This book advocates effective method for helping children with Attention Deficit Disorder excel in a classroom setting and many of them can easily be applied at home where you and your child are more in control of the environment.
The Fundamentals of Home Schooling by Anne Lahrson-Fisher. An extensive exploration of how children learn naturally in families through play, conversation, family togetherness, and the process of growing up. This book is a refreshing look at the how-to and why-to of home education, including academic, social, learning style, and family life issues, plus a bonus of many practical resources and tips.
Educating Your Child at Home by Dr Alan Thomas, 1998. Alan’s interest in individualised learning led him to examine home education in Australia and the U.K. He points out that although ‘catering for individual needs’ is touted as the ultimate pedagogy, it is actually impossible to achieve in a classroom. “In fact, in spite of nearly a century of interest in individualised teaching, practically nothing is actually known about it in practice, certainly not with regard to children of school age, simply because it cannot be studied to any significant extent in school. The only way to find out more is to turn to children who are educated at home.” This book is an inspiring home-ed resource, especially for those looking for reassurance on natural learning.
How Children Learn at Home by Alan Thomas and Harriet Pattison. From the moment you read the preface you’ll know that Alan Thomas and Harriet Pattison understand the world of home education in general and natural learning in particular. Here they discuss the what and how of informal learning by school-age children, the world that surrounds these children and how they engage with it. Three types of learning are identified – incidental and implicit learning which both occur with little awareness from the child and self-directed learning in which children more deliberately find out about something that has captured their interest. Overall the book is both reassuring and empowering for natural learning families. It confirms through research what our own experience continues to tell us and yet we sometimes fear to believe – that natural learning is an effective way to learn.
Homeschooling the Teen Years by Cafi Cohen. This contains a lot of useful information whether you are actively home educating teenagers or just considering your options. Using real-life stories from dozens of families, this book reveals the secrets of making homeschooling work for you and your teen. Cafi Cohen also has useful books for home educated young people moving onto university (although some of the information is specific to American college applications.)
Finding Home by Erik Peacock. Erik, son of home ed pioneer John Peacock, talks about his home education, growing up as an English migrant in Tasmania, making sense of the world and finding a place in it. He details his journeys of activism, faith and relationships. His interesting blend of Christianity and environmentalism means half of the book should appeal to the bulk of the home ed community – just not the same half to the whole community! Perhaps Erik sums it up well himself when he says, “Life had moved me over the years from the evangelical right to the wishy washy left. I never meant to end up there, but having been broken I now knew when to bend. While I could understand and respect most points of view I realised that I would never fit snugly in any camp. Life is too complicated and people’s stories too interesting to get overly hung up on categories and my identity is not tied up with belonging in one.”
Tales out of School by Dr John Barratt Peacock and Susan Wight. A book for existing home educators and those enquiring into home education as an option for their families. It contains 40 home education stories from the coalface of home education. The world of home education is a hugely diverse one. Within these pages, as in home education itself, you will meet families whose stories will immediately resonate with you and you will also meet families who you will regard as more than a little odd. Whether you have a casual interest in home education, are starting out or a seasoned veteran, this book has something for you. Available in the HEN shop, free to members.
Cosmos for Schools – HEN member price $12
HEN now has a ‘school’ subscription to this valuable science teaching resource which has been gradually put together by the Cosmos team over recent years. Many of you will be familiar with the independent Cosmos science magazine which has been around since 2004. This digital platform expands on the magazine with many more resources aimed at the education sector.
The cost to join the HEN subscription is $12 per HEN family with $25 for non-members.
The subscription includes the following :
• Unrestricted access to lesson archive
• Unrestricted access to Cosmos digital magazine.
• Unrestricted access to the Cosmos podcast.
• Unrestricted access to 10 years’ worth of Cosmos Magazine PDF archives
• 25+ new science lessons each year
Our family were particularly interested in the ‘live lessons’ which offered an interactive and self-guided teaching resource for all aspects of science aimed at year levels 7 to 10. The lesson packages are organised so parents can log in as the ‘teacher’ and manage lesson content and also mark completed lessons etc. These lessons are ‘interactive’ and require students to read material or watch videos and then respond to various questions about the subject content. Once completed, the lessons can then be submitted for ‘marking’ and ‘feedback’ by the ‘teacher’.
We currently have two children completing lessons at the year 7 and year 9 level. Our older child is able to complete the lessons in a self-guided manner while our son who is doing the year 7 level lessons requires more assistance getting used to the digital platform and also understanding many of the new concepts being introduced. Both are finding the content stimulating and relevant and are becoming more and more self-motivated to explore the material on offer.
The team at Cosmos regularly release new live lessons which is advertised in a broadcast email to all subscribers. We are still exploring the extent of the teaching resources and feel we have really only scratched the surface of what is available and look forward to using more and more.
Along with some other families we had some minor problems with initial log-in to the lessons but this was sorted out by changing internet browsers (e.g. firefox, Chrome etc). The ‘Cosmos for Schools’ administration team have been very responsive to our requests for assistance and we can usually sort out any issues within a day or so.
Glen ( Skul ) Rodgers,
HEN Cosmos for Schools Co-ordinator
IntoScience – HEN member price $36
I love IntoScience and think that you will too.
IntoScience is an engaging, learning website where you can have fun and learn about sciences such as chemistry, physics, biology and much more.
You start as a scientist in the research lab. You get to customise your person into a range of different scientists, or make up your own, which is cool. From there you get to explore new zones and find out about all sorts of different and interesting facts within that interactive world. There are different missions or quests that you must do, for example, on the quests I have done so far, I have learnt about geology and how caves were formed, our solar system and the effects of gravity and the wild animals of Asia . My favourite thing to learn about is biology, although there are many other things to try.
This is a fun website that makes you feel like you’re playing a game while teaching interesting things at the same time.
I recommend this website for both boys and girls aged 8 and up. Younger kids would enjoy exploring the Asian woodlands and finding the many animals that reside there. I love the Tigers!
Chloe Wagner, 11 years
IntoScience is a fun and exciting way to explore science. It’s a 3D computer software that feels like you are playing a computer game. IntoScience is aimed at upper primary school kids to lower secondary school kids. It is an awesome concept that is constantly being improved. When you first log on you are given a tour. There are a number of worlds you can access, these include: The Biodome, Research Lab, Observatory and many others. There is even a complete replica of the Jenolan Caves (USA) .
I have being playing/learning on IntoScience for three years. One thing I like is that you can choose from multiple activities and it feels like you are playing a game. I find it interesting and enjoyable. The thing that I dislike is that it can be hard to find the answers and you can get stuck. I really like the 3rd Degree, this is an activity that is a bit like Live Mathletices, the only difference is that you answer ‘sciencey’ questions instead of maths ones.
I would like to encourage any homeschooler that is between 10-16 years old to give it a go and maybe sign up through HEN next year.
I hope that you enjoyed my review.
Madelief Johnston, 14 years
Rosetta Stone HEN member price $143
Rosetta Stone is an online language program that teaches language as it is taught to small children, as well as can be achieved via computer! It presents a photo, written word and spoken language (audio), for each word or sentence. You do not need any prior knowledge of the language and vocabulary is built gradually. After you hear a word spoken, you repeat it back, trying to say it exactly as you hear it on the audio. You need to have a microphone and headphones on your computer. When learning new vocabulary you are asked to select a picture of the word. For learning sentences, different responses are required. You may be asked to match different combinations of written text, audio and pictures. You are not given the English translation. In Japanese, you have the option to change text into the pronunciation using English letters, or into written Japanese at anytime. ‘Milestones’ at the end of each unit, tests you on speaking, using a series of pictures to create an everyday situation. It is a very good programme for learning basic vocabulary and common sentences for everyday life. Words are repeated frequently to ensure you remember them. But you are not taught how to construct your own new sentences or the mechanics of grammar. You get good at hearing and understanding the language. It got me to year 9 standard vocabulary in Japanese. I used it just about every day for about six months. I now have a tutor who said that my knowledge was like ‘Survival Japanese’ and I have been able to go on to year 10 level this year. I highly recommend this program for homeschooled kids who don’t have access to languages classes.
Quilby Nelson, 16 years
Rosetta Stone is a web based language learning program that differs from a lot of other programs in the way that it never shows you a translation. Instead it links the foreign words to pictures, and your own brain makes the translation from picture to your primary language, which is the very same way that you learn you primary language as a baby. It also has voice recognition protocols that listen to how you pronounce the words of your chosen language and shows you what you need to improve on.
I have been learning German on Rosetta Stone since last year and am approximately 4/5 of the way through. Each language has five levels with each level containing four units. In each unit are the individual lessons. Once inside a unit, you will start with a core lesson, which will associate pictures to basic words and premises. A core lesson usually takes about 30 minutes to go through. After the core lesson, there are separate lessons that build on the premises learnt in the core lesson, such as vocabulary, speaking, pronunciation, writing and grammar, each of these generally take about five minutes. Interspersed through each unit are review exercises to jog your memory on previous units. At the end of each unit, there is a final ‘test’ called the milestone, which place you in the position of a person in a scenario where you have to talk to various other ‘people’ in the chosen language.
You can expect an entire course to take a year at minimum, depending on how much time you can spend on it.
I find learning a language on Rosetta Stone an enjoyable experience because of its very organised and incremental structure (like me :D) and the simple method it uses to associate words and phrases from a foreign language to things you already are familiar with.
Overall, I recommend Rosetta Stone if you want to learn a new language in an efficient and effective way.
Ben Wagner, 15 years
My ten year old daughter says it’s good – she learns Portuguese, however she wished she could learn more of greetings & introduction, i.e. my name is… i live in… etc. My daughter is only taught word by word, which is mostly subjective objects. Also, most of the time when she is asked to linguistically say a word, although she says it correctly, the program rejects it. She often gets tired and just messes around with any sound. When the system accepts odd errors, it doesn’t help her learn the language correctly.
Inge Scott, HEN member