Clarity for Stages 4-5 HSIE Subject choices in NSW with NESA

HSIE has been an area of confusion for home educators in NSW when writing learning plans for their students in years 7-10 in the History Society and Its Environment subject area.

Home educated students enjoy the most freedom of choice when choosing what they will study, when compared to their schooled peers who are required to study History and Geography for all of stages 4-5.

NESA has acknowledged that their Guidelines for Homeschooling document is misleading, suggesting that it must be History or Geography however they are in the process of updating this document to express the true requirements rather than simply what state schools generally do.

Home Educated students must choose to study at least one of the following subjects during stages 4-5 but can change what that subject is throughout the period of study:


Aboriginal Studies 7–10 Go to syllabus

Commerce 7–10 Go to syllabus

Geography K–10 Go to syllabus

Geography Elective 7–10 Go to syllabus

History K–10 Go to syllabus

History Elective 7–10 Go to syllabus

Work Education 7–10 Go to syllabus

A student may study History and Geography as an integrated subject. It is rather difficult to teach History without Geography given the events all happened in a place somewhere.

The nice thing to remember is that as a home educated student, you can choose to study Commerce for four years rather than History or Geography and can exercise more choice in their study plans than their schooled peers. Yet another reason to choose to home educate.

Ed Consult. Supporting Home Educators Across Australia.

NSW in Focus – How to Register for Home Education

Registering for home education in NSW is straight forward and easy. If you know how.

You will need to follow a few steps as listed below in order to successfully register for the maximum first registration period of 1 year. Upon re-registration in 12 months time, you can apply for a two year maximum registration period. NSW home educators register through NSW Education Standards Authority also known as NESA.

How to make the big bad government Authorised Person smile on your home visit. Only joking!

Step 1 – Alert the authorities that you are leaving the reservation

Go to the NESA homeschooling webpage and download Form 1 for initial registration. Fill one out for each child separately and then email them back signed. An AP (Authorised Person, usually a teacher) will then call you to make an appointment for the purposes of sighting your children and to read a written program for each child.…/home-schooling…

Step 2 – Write your plan

The program can be as simple as cutting and pasting the stage statements from each Key Learning Area (KLA), and then list any resources you intend to use to cover those skills sets in the stage statements.

I wouldn’t write any education philosophies down. Stay away from mentioning unschooling or natural learning and save yourself an unnecessary headache. Just list resources or activities that will tick what each stage statement will need.

You only need to register for primary or secondary school. You do not need to list a grade level. This gives you the freedom to alter the skills levels for each KLA to suit where your child is upto. If they are more advanced in Mathematics you may select the stage statement for stage 3 instead of stage 2. This is your opportunity to truly tailor your child’s education.
Click here for all the stage statements in a single document for Early Stage 1 to Stage 5. Stage 6 is separated due to the volume of subjects and different requirements in the Curriculum.…/stage…

If you are using work books, your list of resources under the stage statements for English and Maths KLAs may look something like this:

  • Mathematics stage 2 – Targeting Maths grade 3, Life of Fred, online multiplication games.
  • English – All About Spelling level 4 – 5, First Language Lessons, Writing with Ease, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings for literature, readers from the library, Audio books, speech at home school group.

If you are using a child led approach or unschooling, you will still need to write something down and that may look like this:

  • English – Public speaking at the home school meet-up, writing a journal, creating a recipe book, creating an ad for selling a bike on Gumtree, memorising poetry from a nursery rhyme book, writing some short stories, doing some copy work, keeping a word index book of words learnt with meanings, reading list appropriate for their interest and age.
  • Mathematics – focusing on using measuring equipment especially in cooking, online maths games, chalk and cement for practice problems, building with lego, sorting colours and quantities and following instructions, shopping adding up the purchases, planning a family trip with public transport, playing math based card games like Gin Rummy, playing board games like Ticket to Ride or Rummikub, singing along with the times table song disc.

It really isn’t very hard. Do the simplest paperwork such as listing of resources above is all you need to write. Be polite to the Authorised Person and then get the government out your front door. What you do in your home is your business. The longest registration period you will get for the initial registration is 12 months. Some home educators have really great APs and they are a welcome resource during home visits, but some have reported APs who expect school at home setups and can be highly rigid in interpreting their jobs. Do let Ed Consult know if you have had an experience such as this at

Step 3 Get re-registered for your next home education adventure together

In 12 month’s time you print off the second form on the above mentioned NESA webpage and then have some work samples for each KLA, a photo album, diary entries or some form of record keeping of their learning and the new plan for the next two years. You are not required to compare your registered plan with what work was actually reported on. The AP is simply noting that you have a plan that is consistent with the NSW Curriculum. If you do nothing that you planned to do, that doesn’t matter at all. Just report what was done. Not hard really.

What if I don’t register?

Under the Education Act (see my other blog on this topic) in NSW you are required to register with NESA to home educate. If you are not registered, the only thing that will happen is that you will be asked to register with NESA. If you persist to fail to comply with the above steps, then the end worst case scenario is that you could be charged with “educational neglect”. This is very very rare and reserved for those who repeatedly refuse to register under the act.

If you are reported, simply register your children. Children who have never attended any schools are not on any lists. Children who unenroll from a school will be on the list of the school or a home school liaison officer and you can expect a phone call enquiring why your children are skipping school without a note.

Just say what the government wants to hear.

  • Yes we use the NSW Curriculum
  • Yes we keep records of the learning
  • Yes I considered my child’s learning needs and interests
  • Yes we have resources and space available to facilitate the learning of my child.

Job done.

Ed Consult. Supporting Home Educators Across Australia.

Time for a Bush Fire Unit Study?

Is Your Family Prepared? What can you learn together today to help you in the future?

In the summer of 2019/2020, Australia is in the midst of some of the worst fire conditions with low humidity, high winds, and large fuel loads on the ground. Every other bush fire victim who has lost everything say, “you never think it will happen to you”.

Here are a list of resources and suggestions on what we should all know about bush fires and how to be prepared. Use these resources to create a unit study appropriate for your family’s circumstances. There are so many home educating families who have already lost their homes or are in the path of oncoming fire grounds. The Ed Consult family is in the same position. Ed Consult has decided to learn what we need to know so that we can make the difficult decisions; do we stay and defend or do we evacuate and is evacuation even possible?

We can all use this summer period to teach our children what we all need to know to be able to cope with the harsh Australian environment.

Where to find information

Education Resources

  • ABC BTN (Behind The News) has created an Australian Curriculum linked activity called “Bushfire Escape”.
  • This page by the NSW Rural Fire Service has a wealth of links for fire related information.
  • Click here to find youtube videos for education again provided by the NSW Rural Fire Service.
  • Here is a page to create a bushfire survival plan by the Rural Fire Service NSW that can be used by all Australians.
  • The Bushfire CRC has produced an ebook for parents on how to talk to children about bushfire preparation and safety. The ebook, “Making a bushfire plan? Involve your kids!” is based on the PhD research of Briony Towers from RMIT University. Here is a link to it’s download page:
  • ABC Education has a wide range of materials.
  • A Resource for younger children
  • From Victorian bushfire education

What if we do choose to stay and defend our home? What does that look like?

Firstly, make sure you have a radio with batteries and take some cash out of the ATM. There are large areas of the south coast of NSW that are without power and will remain so for the foreseeable future which has meant no internet, and no EFTPOS to purchase supplies without cash. If you no longer have access to mobile wifi internet, tune into your local ABC radio channel to keep up to date with the local information. See here for a link to your local ABC frequency.

Below is an excerpt from Joan Webster OMA Essential Bush Fire Safety Tips

“Although data states that 2/3 of Black Saturday [2009] fatalities died while sheltering in or near their house, research by bushfire scientists revealed that they did not die BECAUSE they were sheltering. They died because they did not know how to shelter safely.

SO WHEN THE BUSHFIRE EMERGENCY MESSAGE IS “It is too Late to Leave, You Should Take Shelter and Stay Indoors”.


  • Shelter behind a wall; beside a large fire resistant tree (that has no flammable undergrowth); in or beside a car; in a dam (if no vegetation is near either), in a ditch, (cover yourself with earth or blanket); crouch beneath a blankets (must be PURE WOOL) on bare ground or an already burnt area.
  • people have withstood the most catastrophic conditions.

IF YOU CAN SHELTER IN A BUILDING – Before you go inside:

  • Shut off gas and electricity at the mains.
  • Put pets inside: dogs on leash, cats in covered cages.
  • Take in outdoor furniture, doormats, hanging baskets, plastic pot plants.
  • When you are inside:
  • Make sure all doors and windows are securely shut.
  • Turn off air conditioners; cover their internal vents.
  • If windows are unshuttered, cover with blankets (must be PURE WOOL), heavy quality quilts, foil or wet towels.
  • Move flammable furniture away from windows.
  • Close internal doors to limit fire spread if embers enter and ignite inside.
  • Put on protective clothing and nose mask and drink often.
  • Keep blankets (must be PURE WOOL) handy.
  • Cool off when possible.
  • Watch the conditions outside if possible through a small window or peephole. Do not open a door or window to look outside.
  • When you are sure flaring shrubs have blackened, it’s safe to go out again. (Burning tree trunks do not generally emit killing radiant heat.)

PASSIVE SHELTERERS – This is what the children should be doing.

  • DO NOT SHELTER IN AN INNER ROOM. Not in the hallway. Not in the bath. If you shelter in ANY kind of inner room – no matter how many doors it has – you could be trapped. Embers may have ignited sub-floor or wall cavities or rafters in the ceiling space,. Flaming walls or ceiling could collapse on you. Toxic fumes from smouldering furnishings, synthetic furniture or wall linings could overcome you.
  • STAY BY A DOOR THAT EXITS TO OUTSIDE in protective clothing and with blankets (must be PURE WOOL).
  • It is vital for passive shelterers to exit as soon as the potentially killing radiant heat from flames has died down.

ACTIVE SHELTERERS – These are the people defending their property.

  • Take hose, sprayers and ladder inside with you.
  • Fill bath & troughs with water, immerse towels, roll up and place at door gaps and window ledges. Plug keyholes with play dough, blue-tack or soap.
  • Fill containers (e.g. garden sprayers) with water; put these, with dippers, mops etc, in each room.
  • Watch for invading embers. Particularly in the ceiling space, through windows, gaps under doors. Spray or hit with wet mop any sparks, embers or smouldering furnishings.
  • If any ignition cannot be extinguished, close the door of that room.
  • Maintain easy access to an exit door.
  • Never go outside during a flame front to douse an outside ignition.


  • Exit with great care, preferably from a door that is sheltered from the wind.
  • Wear protective clothing & nose cover, cover yourself with your blanket (must be PURE WOOL), crouch, lower your eyelids and open the door gradually.
  • The quintessential bushfire survival resource is a HEAVY DUTY PURE WOOL BLANKET.
  • Covered with their blanket and with a flask of water people have withstood the most catastrophic conditions.”

You can follow Joan Webster on Facebook. Extracted from Essential Bushfire Safety Tips (CSIRO 2012), (If you can’t afford to buy it – most libraries have a copy.)

Let’s prepare our children now for when they grow up and are defending their own families in the future. Take care.

Ed Consult. Supporting Home Educators Across Australia.

Step 1. Home Education Across the Australian Curriculum

Photo by Breakingpic on

But what do I teach my child? How will I know? Is there a road map or GPS? Relax, there is quite a lot of information provided by each registration jurisdiction across Australia to help you get started with the paper work and road map.

Start with the Australian Curriculum

In all states and territories across Australia, there are links to the State or Territory version of the Australian Curriculum on the state or territory home education pages. When registering you generally refer to your state or territories’ version of the Australian Curriculum however in Tasmania for example you only need to develop a plan that includes subject areas and how you will cover those areas. Go to the registration body in each area to find out more:

Click through the links to find the link of each curriculum and learn the broad areas you are required to have in your Individual Learning Plan (ILP) for each child. This ILP may be over different stages and not all within a single “grade” level. The joy of home education is that the learning plan can adjust to where your child is, rather than what grade their age may place them if in a school.

In general, focus on reading, writing and arithmetic for the primary education years, and then in secondary levels with elective subjects to focus on their interests and special skills to help them develop those skills further. English is a focus for the whole of the child’s education, with maths, geography/history, and science as the core subjects. The other subject areas are at the child and educators’ discretion within the rules for choosing elective subjects of your education region.

For the more stringent home ed registration states in Australia, generally, a cut and paste of each Key Learning Area (KLA) stage statements into a word document with a list of resources or strategies you intend to use for the next registration period, will suffice for the learning plan prior to the home visit in the states and territories where they have them.

In South Australia, when applying for home education, it isn’t called registration due to differences in the Education Act. In SA you need to apply for exemption from school after you register your child at your local school as a student. This process is managed by the principal of the school.

If you have not registered for home education, and somehow the Government becomes aware of this, they will simply contact you and ask you to register or apply for exemption. There are no direct penalties for not registering your child for home education across Australia. If you persist with not registering your child for home education against the directions of the registering body, then the most drastic scenario is that you could be charged with educational neglect. However, this is very rare in Australia with regards to home education.

There is no registration body, that will try to match the ILP with the parent written report upon re-registration the next time. Life happens and learning needs change. The learning that occurred may resemble in a very limited way the learning plan you were initially registered under. Just keep some basic records as you go across the curriculum areas of your child’s educational experiences and the re-registration process will be successful. 

Ed Consult. Supporting Home Educators Across Australia.