Spotlight on Home Ed Alumni

Home education is no barrier to employment or higher education. Home ed alumni have been accepted in to universities and TAFE across Australia, as well as undertaking apprenticeships, finding employment or starting their own business. Below are some examples of former home educated students who have shared their pathways and offer words of advice, and we will be adding more in the coming weeks. You can also find more home ed alumni stories in our magazine Otherways, or in the HEN Handbook of Home Educated Alumni, which is free for HEN members.

Are you a home ed alumni and would like your profile to appear here or in an issue of Otherways magazine? Please fill out this survey and a HEN volunteer will get back to you.

TAFE and Work alumni

Name: Jadimo

Age: 17

Years home educated: my whole life.

Did you/your family follow any particular home ed style?

We utilised a blend of different techniques. As my interests and skills developed, we experimented with different curriculums and home education styles, culminating in an education tailored to my needs, passions and strengths, while fostering an environment for exploration, self motivation and independence.

What are you currently doing?

Currently I am studying a Certificate IV in Disability, a Certificate IV in Ageing Support and a Certificate IV in Leisure and Health. In addition to this I am working in the field of disability, as well as being a gymnastics coach and English tutor.

What pathways did you take to get there? How did you meet any prerequisites the course required?

Prior to studying the aforementioned Certificate IVs, I had completed another Certificate IV, two Certificate IIIs and some Open University study. While this prior study was beneficial in learning study techniques and gaining knowledge, it was not essential or a prerequisite for the courses I am currently studying. That being said, different institutes and TAFEs may differ in what prerequisites they require (some call for a Certificate IV).

Do you have any advice to offer other home educated students considering doing the same as you?

For anyone who is interested in becoming a support worker for people with disabilities, I would highly recommend firstly volunteering in the field. Volunteering not only provides an opportunity to experience the field firsthand, it also allows time to evaluate if the field is right for you and visa versa (before delving into study). Volunteering also provides opportunities to make connections in the industry. Personally, for these reasons, I have found volunteering highly beneficial, and would recommend it to everyone who may be considering work in the field of disability (or any field for that matter).

TAFE to uni pathway in engineering

Name: Andre

Age: 16

Years home educated: All my life.

Did you/your family follow any particular home ed style?

Eclectic. We used a curriculum for maths and I was also in charge of my own learning for the most part. My parents also supplemented my education with documentaries, public lectures at universities and research institutes, articles, classes they thought I would find interesting, home ed excursions and activities, general life and work experience.

What are you currently doing?

I am about to start an Advanced Diploma of Mechanical Engineering (2021).

What pathways did you take to get there? How did you meet any prerequisites the course required?

I did a Certificate IV at the same institution which feeds in to the advanced diploma course, where I receive credit for prior study from the Cert IV. The advanced diploma is a guaranteed pathway to the mechanical engineering degree at the associated university. For the Cert IV, because I was under age 17 I had to get an official 'exit letter' from the Department of Education that allowed me to enrol in TAFE. As part of my Cert IV application I had to complete a numeracy, language and literacy test which was fairly straightforward. The advanced diploma and engineering degree will take me less time to complete because of all the prior study.

Do you have any advice to offer other home educated students considering doing what you're doing?

There is no reason to wait until you are 18 to do tertiary study like school students usually do. VCE is not required to get into university and there are examples all across Australia of home ed kids starting tertiary education at a younger age. There are many TAFE courses that you can start with, so if you have a degree in mind check the entry requirements for established pathways you can follow. Home education allowed me to focus on studying topics that I found interesting, as well as earlier entry in to tertiary education.

own business alumni

Name: Orianna

Age: 21

Years home educated: Baby to year 12!

Did you/your family follow any particular home ed style?

My mum used a very eclectic style taking aspects from a few different homeschooling models. As her background was in occupational therapy she used largely an activity based learning style (Montessori style) in my early years. Some bookwork was used. Unschooling became the main method used after I was 9 years of age where I was free to explore learning through my interests. Occasionally mum used unit studies in our learning.

What are you currently doing?

Since I was 15 years old (2015) I have been running my own business; Naturally Goat Skincare. I originally founded the business with the name “Udderly Healthy Soaps” however as it expanded and became more professional I took it to the next level, by completely rebranding and changed the name to Naturally Goat Skincare. Having started with only 1 product - soap bars, which I spent 2 years perfecting the recipe for, my brand now offers over 200 products both online, through retail stores and shipped worldwide.

What pathways did you take to get there? How did you meet any prerequisites the course required?

I studied online short courses through recognised universities worldwide such as RMIT, Massy University NZ, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Swinburne Uni. I was 15 years old when I started participating in courses through universities. At 16 years I was accepted into a business scholarship in Sydney.

Do you have any advice to offer other home educated students considering doing what you're doing?

Follow your dreams. Don’t let anyone tell you it can’t be done. Be you and be proud of who you are and the achievements you’ve made. Don’t be scared to think outside the square or take paths that are 'different' to the standard worldly way. You are unique and have something to offer.

BA Arts alumni

Name: Theo

Age: 22

Years home educated: All my life

Did you/your family follow any particular home ed style?

Eclectic, with lots of unit studies.

What are you currently doing?

BA Arts, majoring in History and Politics at ACU. I'm in my second year (2020).

What pathways did you take to get there? How did you meet any prerequisites the course required?

I did five Open University units in maths, writing and history.

Do you have any advice to offer other home educated students considering doing what you're doing?

I spread my units out over about a year. If I was doing it again, I’d chose to do a full load.

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