Who we are and what we do
The Home Education Network (HEN) is a not-for profit organisation providing support and information for home educators. HEN is the largest, most vocal, home education support group in Victoria.
As well as maintaining this website, we run events, camps and activities, and provide home-ed support services in the form of email support, messaging and Facebook groups. HEN also publishes Otherways, the oldest and most widely read home education magazine in Australia today.
HEN is a parent support group, not a business or government body. We are all committed to helping you find the information you need, put you in touch with the right person, book you into classes/events/camps, or post out things you have ordered, and we strive to do so as quickly and efficiently as possible. Please do keep in mind, however, that we are volunteers educating our children at home (or out of home!). For this reason, we can’t always respond as quickly as you would expect from paid workers. Please bear with us; we are keen to help, but sometimes it just takes a little time.
Mission statement and our commitment to child safety
As home educators, we believe that children have an innate curiosity to learn and grow and, when given the freedom and support of family and friends, they will have the best opportunity to reach their full potential. We are dedicated to raising self-motivated, broad-minded, confident, competent, independent, passionately alive people. Home education empowers children and young adults to discover their potential, unencumbered by arbitrary authorities, and promotes a love of life-long learning.
Home education provides broad socialisation through networking with a diverse group of people of varying age and social backgrounds. The Home Education Network recognises that true socialisation begins with acceptance and growth within one’s own family, and a naturally widening circle as children grow older. It aims to provide additional social opportunities for home educating families, to encourage mutual support amongst home educating families, access to like-minded people, and support and encouragement to enquiring families.
Home Education Network: Statement of Purposes
HEN aims to make information on home education accessible to the general public via newsletters, the HEN website, phone and personal contacts.
HEN aims to support a network of contacts for those people wishing to educate their children from a home base.
Parents retain the responsibility for the education and supervision of their own children. HEN is committed to keeping children safe. Please see our Statement of Commitment on Child Safety for details.
A long and proud history
HEN began in 1980 as the Alternative Education Resource Group (AERG) and provided information on alternatives to mainstream schooling. Some members home educated and others started community schools. Gradually the focus moved to home education and the name of the group was changed to the Home Education Network.
HEN has been at the forefront of political action in order to protect the rights and freedoms of home educators in Victoria. Through our lobbying, and mobilising the home education community, we have seen the formation of the Victorian Home Education Advisory Committee where home educators now have a seat at the table.
HEN members are encouraged to log in to the members section and watch the video titled 'How HEN protects Victorian Home Education with Sue Wight' .
Lobbying and VHEAC
HEN’s strong lobbying keeps the Victorian legal requirements reasonable and was instrumental in the formation of the Victorian Home Education Advisory Committee (VHEAC), through which we’ve worked with the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) and the Department of Education and Training (DET) to:
- Develop registration procedures, sample learning plans and templates.
- Advise how home education works and create a reasonable review format.
- Produce the Guide to the Home Education in Victoria.
- Recruit and train the VRQA home ed team.
- Run a regulations roadshow.
- Run information sessions on registration and reviews.
- HEN is currently working with DET to resolve the problems with VET funding access for home educators.
Providing benefits for our members
HEN provides members with a number of benefits, including:
- Advice on registration, learning plans and reviews
- Otherways – Australia’s own top-quality home education magazine
- Weekly email newsletter
- Events and camps
- Annual conference day
- Information sessions
- Insurance for events
- Work experience support
- Academic competitions
- Discounts on educational subscriptions
- Pathways advice through Other Ways to University and Careers and individually
HEN annual surveys and research