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.

Aboriginal Tale a Geology Lesson with Australian Indigenous History all in one

Long ago, four giant beings arrived in southeast Australia. Three strode out to other parts of the continent, but one crouched in place. His body transformed into a volcano called Budj Bim, and his teeth became the lava the volcano spat out.

Told by the Aboriginal Gunditjmara people of south west Victoria

Is an Aboriginal tale of an ancient volcano the oldest story ever told?

By Colin BarrasFeb. 11, 2020 , 5:40 PM

This article explores the fascinating link between the tale of the Gunditjmara people of the four giants and the rapid formation of the Tower Hill volcano 37,000 years ago, creating the possibility of this story being the oldest story in human history. Supporting evidence of human occupation in the area includes the discovery of an axe head covered in a layer of volcanic ash from that period.

For home educators, a cross curricular approach to education is always the most effective way to learn about something new. Read here for more information. Read a brief version of the original story with indigenous language included in the telling.

By exploring this story with your children, you will be covering science through geology, history through learning about human artefacts buried deep in the ground and their significance, Language Other Than English (LOTE) through exposure to the Gunditjmara story, and gain a better appreciation of how rich the knowledge that has been preserved through the longest continuous culture in the world can be. All this learning can be translated across all stages of the Australian Curriculum to suit the learning needs of the student.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures cross-curriculum priority recognises two distinct needs in the Australian Curriculum:

• Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students can see themselves, their identities and their cultures reflected in the curriculum of each of the learning areas, can fully participate in the curriculum and can build their self-esteem.
• The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures cross-curriculum priority is designed for all students to engage in reconciliation, respect and recognition of the world’s oldest continuous living cultures.

“We’re always amazed with … new technologies that prove the brilliance of our ancestors.”

Damein Bell, CEO of the Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation

If you are on Facebook, it is well worth joining the Home School Maths & Science group to learn more about teaching science and maths in the home.

Ed Consult. Supporting Home Educators Across Australia.

The Power of Learning History Through Reality TV

Too often it is said by long suffering students, that learning history is soooo boring.

Here is a way to bring history alive to everyone in the family. Historical reality TV shows insert ordinary people and experts into the clothes, the buildings, the smells, the work loads, the food, and the reality of what it was really like to live as our ancestors have lived before us.

Click here for a link to a comprehensive webpage all about historical reality TV shows to really engage your learners.

Help bring history alive in your home.

Ed Consult. Supporting Home Educators Across Australia.

Update on Sky Muster Education Ports for Regional Internet Access

This is a reminder for the parents of Australian Home Educated Students that they along with their Distance Education peers can access the nbn Sky Muster Education Port for internet access with up to 3 dedicated 50G download limit separate from the household connection.

It is a big thank you to the Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association for pushing for this equity of access.

This is a huge win for remote home educators. In the past, families would be sharing, on average, 20G per month with speeds under 1mpps on their satellite NBN. This would place a great deal of difficulty of trying to allocate the download resources for all the family’s needs.

Sky Muster Education Ports provide internet access for students without access to wired NBN, which is more expensive, and has only a limited download. The Education Port is only available on the NBN Sky Muster satellite service.

Home Education Students (Pre K -12) who have registered with their State Education Department and are in receipt of the Federal Government’s Geographically Isolated AIC Allowance, may now apply to a Retail (Internet) Service Provider for access to the NBN Sky Muster Education Port.

Equally, Students (Pre K -12) who have a medical condition and are in receipt of the Medical AIC Allowance living in an NBN Sky Muster designated area, may now also apply to a Retail (Internet) Service Provider (RSP) for access too.

Stay tuned for more information on access for other regional home educators. And viewers, please do let us know at if there are any changes to this scheme.

Here are some details:

1.       Student’s Home Education registration and AIC status will be verified as part of the approval process. Regular audits will be conducted to confirm the status of Students.

2.       It is the Parent’s / Carer’s responsibility to advise RSPs when Students complete their education or change their status e.g. move to Distance Education or into non-home based education.

3.       Students who have been approved for access to the Education port are allocated 50 Gigs per month. That can be used at any time of the day for Education purposes.

4.       Up to 3 students (50 Gigs each) can be connected as standard. 1 Student is approx. $40 – 50 per month, 2 Students are approx. $70 per month, 3 Students are approx. $90 per month. Check the pricing with the individual RSPs as they vary.

5.       If there are more than 3 students at a site, special arrangements will be made to accommodate them. This may alter how the tariff is charged.

6.       If the school room is in a house with an existing Sky Muster service, the Education port will be attached to that service. If the School House is remote from the house, then a standalone Sky Muster service could be provided at that location. It can have a Standard + Education service or just an Education service.

You cannot have 2 Sky Muster services on the same building.

7.       Depending on the number of Students and the configuration of the internet installation, it may be necessary to purchase a Router to connect Student devices to the Sky Muster service.

8.       All costs associated with the Education Port are the responsibility of the parents / carers.

For more details about this scheme, please see the information including web links for 6 Rural Service Providers (RSP) who sell the Education Port.

For some general information from the launch of the NBN Sky Muster Education Port click here

Ed Consult. Supporting Home Educators Across Australia.

The Home Educated Students’ Edge … Time

Time to be quiet. Time to stretch and yawn. Time to think. Time to be absorbed. Time to grow. Time to search. Time to imagine. Time to experiment. Time to explore. Time to move. Time to excel.

And all without the interruption of a bell!

Photo by manu mangalassery on

Home educated kids do not have to wake up at a certain time, or eat at a certain time, or start a learning opportunity at a certain time, or go to the toilet at a certain time.

Home educated kids can speed up their learning or slow it down. They can work while school is on and study on the weekends. Home educated kids can start university as soon as they are ready to. All this without the constraints of the K to 12 standard school system.

Home educated kids have the edge over their schooled cousins. They have time to explore and potentially realise their true, authentic selves and reach their goals, perhaps years before their peers have even finished year 12. In fact, the old notion of staying in school until year 12 is rapidly becoming a disadvantage for many, while the “school drop out” is gaining an edge in an increasingly unstructured and self-directed world.

A great example of the benefits of time was seen with home educated Billie Eilish’s recent sweeping wins at the Grammy Awards on the 26th January 2020. Click here to read more. In the same interview, Baird stressed the flexibility of homeschooling for parents and children alike.

Everybody’s always out doing things, traveling, going places, meeting for classes, and organizing field trips. It’s like going to college. You take what you want, where you want it, and you find what you need…Homeschooling allows us to let them do the things that they really love to do and not have a giant academic schedule on top of it.

Maggie Baird – mother of Billie Eilish

Ed Consult. Supporting Home Educators Across Australia.

What Have We Learnt with Ed Consult this January 2020?

There is so much to learn about home education in Australia. Since the launch December 26th, 2019, there have been over 20 blog posts and just in case you missed out on some of it, here is a list so you can stay informed and up to date.

NSW In Focus – Learn about the numbers, the registration process and TAFE Update.

A Load of General Home Education Support Blogs

Victoria in Focus – Learn about how many and possible funding discussions

And the Launch of the New Ed Consult YouTube Channel

Remember to hit the subscribe button to stay up to date with the latest video release.

If you have any particular home education issue relevant to Australia that you would like to know more about, or you think needs to be clarified in the community, then leave a comment below or send a message to

Ed Consult. Supporting Home Educators Across Australia.

Working with Health Professionals

Some home educators report not feeling supported with their decision to home educate their children when working with some health professionals. Some practitioners are overstepping their purview enforcing their negative opinion of home education uninvited, rather than giving unbiased professional advice on the condition that is presented by the child. There have been reports that some professionals forcefully advising the child or parents to enroll in a school.  It is worthwhile reminding professionals who hold this view that home education is a legal third choice in addition to government or independent schools when parents are deciding on the education for their child.

It is a reasonable premise that positive interaction and collaboration between families and practitioners is in the best interest of the child’s well being. It is important to ensure that all parties involved in children’s wellbeing understand the validity of home education, and respect a parent’s right and responsibility  to choose their child’s form of instruction.

Some parents have reported about how their home education environments have helped their children with special needs.

One mum said “My daughter has ASD, SPD, generalised anxiety and is learning delayed. Homeschool has allowed me to reduce sensory overload and sit with her one on one and learn her strengths and frustrations. I can tailor her learning just to her, using any resources that will fit, rather than trying to make certain resources fit her.”   

One experienced mother’s advice to other home educating parents working with professionals was to:

“Tell the [Health Professional] you home educate, that is a non negotiable thing that will not be changing, and can they help and advise you within that context…Only once did I encounter a person who said she could not work with my child unless we would put him in school, and … we knew not to go back [to them].”

There were also families that have enjoyed positive experiences with their therapists such as:

“We have been fortunate enough to find supportive medical and allied professionals who have acknowledged that home education is the best choice in our case. It has been worth seeking out the good ones.”

“My son’s therapists weren’t happy about me homeschooling but respected my decision nonetheless. Now, they praise it as they have seen the change in my boy..”

An online resource has emerged called “Home Ed Friendly professionals” to help families find services in every state and territory to help their children be the best they can be and still respecting home education as their choice for their children’s education. Make sure to add to this project any professionals who have contributed positively to your home education experience.

Another mother stated:

“I have dealt with a lot of health professionals and don’t mind at all explaining what home education is. However, I do mind having to defend those choices to professionals who overstep the mark.”

Ed Consult. Supporting Home Educators Across Australia.

Victoria in Focus – Numbers are up for home ed registration in Victoria

There was more mention of home education in Victoria recently talking about the rise in the home education registration in 2019. With 1,108 registered in Victoria in 2013 to 3,232 in 2018 saw a 192% increase. Today, 6425 children were home educated in 2019.

“Parents are best placed to make decisions about the education of their children and Daniel Andrews must ensure that parents who make the choice to educate their children at home are supported.” Victorian opposition education spokeswoman Cindy McLeish.

Click on the link below to read the article in The Herald Sun newspaper in Victoria.

At the current rate of increase of home education registration across Australia, the number of students registered for home education will exceed 1% of the total student population within two years. This increase is chasing the American home education population of over 3% of all students in the USA.

Ed Consult. Supporting Home Educators Across Australia.

Victoria in Focus – $ Vouchers for Home Educators?

Democratic Labour Party MP Rachel Carling-Jenkins urged the Andrews government back in 2015 to provide taxpayer-funded vouchers to help the growing number of homeschooling families pay for stationery, curriculum resources, computers and internet access.

Democratic Labour Party MP Rachel Carling-Jenkins urged the Andrews government back in 2015 to provide taxpayer-funded vouchers to help the growing number of homeschooling families pay for stationery, curriculum resources, computers and internet access.

Click on the link below to read the article in The Age newspaper.

It really takes experienced politicians who have home educated their own children to stand up and speak on behalf of home educators and their needs. Ms Carling-Jenkins knows personally how much it costs to choose to educate children at home.

“Opponents of homeschooling cite concerns about the standard of education children receive without a qualified teacher; the lack of socialisation some children might face; and the potential for religious extremism to be imposed. Proponents say it gives children the chance to excel by catering to their individual needs, particularly if a child has a learning disability or is being bullied at school.” The Age Farrah Tomazin

Ed Consult encourages home educators across Australia to write to any politician who talks about support for home educators. However, Ed Consult would never garner votes for any individual politician on that basis alone because their other political agendas may become divisive in our large and wonderfully diverse community.

Unfortunately, in the recent past a home educator linked a national association to the suggestion that home educators should vote in the Federal elections 2019 for a particular small party Candidate because of their support for a section of the home education community in the NSW parliamentary enquiry into home education in NSW in 2017. This candidate failed to secure a seat. This voting direction caused pain and concern within our LGBTQI Community and the larger home education community as well.

Lobbying for an issue or support for home education is quite OK and open to anyone to do. This is distinct from lobbying for a candidate’s election who is supportive of only a section of the home education community. Linking a diverse home educating community with a socially and politically divisive individual candidate in any parliament has had the effect of dividing and destabilising the home education community in Australia.

Dr Carling-Jenkins said she would continue to lobby Premier Daniel Andrews to give parents “a fair go”.

A voucher suggestion is a wonderful start.

Ed Consult. Supporting Home Educators Across Australia.

NSW in Focus – TAFE Update

The NSW Minister for Skills, John Barilaro, announced in 2017 that home educated students 15 years and over registered with NESA as secondary students could enrol in Smart and Skilled funded courses at TAFE and private RTOs in NSW. This greatly reduces the fees to access these courses and ensures that this remains a viable pathway to work or further education.

Click here for the eligible courses for Smart and Skilled funded placements.

The simple eligible student criteria includes:

  • aged 15 years or older
  • live in New South Wales
  • an Australian citizen, permanent resident, humanitarian visa holder or New Zealand citizen

There is a specific fact sheet for home educated kids interested in a TAFE course or Registered Training Organisation (RTO) here.

The fees that students pay vary widely depending on a variety of circumstances. Students with a disability do not have to pay any fees. Students in low income households (in receipt of the full Family Tax benefit A or youth allowance), or who are Aboriginal, have low fees. If students do not fit into these categories their fees will be more – up to several thousand dollars depending on the course. TAFE has a fee calculator on their website that you can use to help determine what the fees will likely be.  

It is no longer a requirement for registered home educated students to have a year 10 certificate for admission to Smart and Skilled funded NSW TAFE courses. If you are asked by TAFE or the private RTO for a year 10 certificate, explain that the student is registered for home education and meets the requirements for eligibility for a Smart and Skilled funded course. 

There have been some stories in 2018-2019 where home educated kids were being rejected as not eligible for Smart and Skilled funded placements. This was usually down to poorly trained staff and the best ways to deal with a difficult gatekeeper is to ask:

  • Firstly, hand the TAFE admin the Smart and Skilled PDF.
  • If that doesn’t work, ask to speak to the supervisor.
  • If that doesn’t work, contact Smart and Skilled directly on this link and tell them the branch of TAFE or the RTO you are dealing with and get the answers your child deserves.

If you have experienced discriminatory practices in your state or territory with regards to higher education access, please email at or leave a comment below this blog or the YouTube video. 

Ed Consult. Supporting Home Educators Across Australia.