Home education events and groups are organised by home ed parents. If there is something your child is interested in, and you think it would make a good activity or series of classes, HEN can advise you on what needs to be done. HEN also provides insurance cover for HEN members organising non-profit activities. To learn more about the requirements and process for being covered by our insurance, please see our insurance page.
We have put together some advice on how to go about organising groups, which can be found here. We have also put together a brainstorming checklist to help you plan your group.
HEN has guidelines for organisers and attendees of camps and events. In participating in a HEN event, attendees acknowledge that they have read, understood and agree to abide by these guidelines.
Please also take a minute to read our page on how HEN organises events, and where your money goes.
Anyone in the home education community is welcome to create their own group. Groups are simply any organised gathering of families from a free informal meetup group at a playground open to all, to a co-op that charges term fees and meets weekly. Each group has their own way of doing things, so if you would like to attend a group, you must first make contact with their co-ordinator.
While HEN itself does not run any groups, we do encourage you to start your own and we can assist you with this process as well as insurance.
HEN maintains a listing of groups, which you can find here.
HEN has a members talk on groups. To view, log in to your HEN member account on our website, and select ‘member talks’ under the Members menu.
Classes and activities
Activities can be one-off, such as a single basket weaving workshop, or recurring, such as archery class every Monday during a term or four weeks of public speaking classes.
Activities can be organised by anyone in the home education community. Parents usually organise an activity in order to meet the needs and interests of their children. While HEN does organise some activities, it is largely the home ed parents who organise activities, and all associated booking arrangements.
HEN maintains a calendar listing of activities and classes which you can find here. This is not a comprehensive listing of all that the home education community is offering. Most organisations and calls for interest occur in the various Facebook groups (many of which can be found on our Groups page).
All HEN events are run with the requirement that attendees follow our guidelines: please see above.
Camps are the highlight of many a home educator’s schedule. Some of the past HEN annual camps have included the Otways Camp, where children had day trips that included the beach, lighthouse tours, science activities and viewing glow worms in the nearby rainforest. The Lorne camp is free of organised activities, whereas the Grampians camp traditionally has had activities organised with a local outdoor ed business.
When there are no organised activities it is usually up to families to decide how to go about exploring the area, whether that be hiking or touring, and whether they would like to include other families in their adventures.
There have also been special event (non-annual) camps such as the Kryal Castle camp, the Swan Hill Pioneer Settlement camp, as well as Sovereign Hill camp. Here, the venues usually provide organised sessions similar to what they offer school groups.
At a structured camp, children enjoy attending educational sessions with peers, friends and siblings. Costumes are sometimes encouraged, and there are often opportunities to socialise and play together after sessions. At an unstructured camp, children enjoy hours of free play with other home ed kids over several days, in essence like the old concept of a neighbourhood where kids go out to play and only seek their parents when they’re hungry. If it is a beach camp, several families head to the beach together for swimming, surfing, beach play, and picnics. Local tours or other adventures may be booked by groups of families through local businesses. Group games are organised spontaneously by kids: capture the flag, survival tiggy, frisbee football, soccer, cops and robbers, bicycling around the campground or into town.
Parents often comment that their children come away from camps happy, exhausted, and feeling more confident, and show increased independence and maturity.
Camps are often advertised through HEN channels such as the member newsletter, Facebook groups and Otherways.
The Not Back to School Party
The Not Back to School Party has become a yearly highlight for many home educators, and HEN members receive a substantial discount on tickets. The NBSP is growing every year. In 2020, 450 people meet up at Adventure Park Geelong for a day of wet and dry activities. It’s a chance to meet up with old friends and start the year with a bang, a clear example of how home education is different. We have the park almost to ourselves, as all the other kids are back at school.
The park is huge and everyone sets up wherever they want and choose which activities to do, and when. This can make it hard for new families to meet people, so it’s a good idea to try and connect with a couple of local families beforehand so you know who to look out for. HEN has a flag set up by one of the shelters, so come along and say hello!
The NBSP is advertised through HEN channels, so be sure to keep an eye on your member email, Otherways and HEN Facebook groups.