© Beverley Paine

The other day I was asked: “One of my concerns is that if I decide not to register and my children decide to want to pursue tertiary studies, can that still happen?” This is a slightly different version of a question that comes up frequently in the Homeschool Australia online support group.

Homeschool registration during the primary and/or high school years is not a prerequisite to entering any kind of tertiary educational institution. Unregistered homeschoolers have gained entrance to courses of their choice at universities across Australia, as well as at TAFE or other colleges. And homeschooled students as young as eleven are enrolled in Open Learning University subjects, with or without registration as homeschoolers.

It is worth remembering that tertiary entrance selection criteria may change considerably between now and when your six year old will be ready for university. I know the wheels of change turn slowly, even in this electronically aided world and that not a lot has changed in the last couple of decades, except perhaps that more universities are open to the idea of accepting home educated students, and some overseas institutions actually advertise for them… There is already a private university based in Sydney actively seeking homeschooled graduates.

Homeschooled students who wish to gain entrance to tertiary studies at the moment consider the options available to them and take the path that best suits their needs, or the compromise that will get them what they want or need. This often involves either doing years 11 and/or 12 at school, through distance education, through TAFE or a private college; approaching the university faculty direct with a portfolio and talk their way in; enrolling in Open Learning University (available for students aged 11+) and working toward a degree, or through ‘bridging’ subjects. Some students chose to work through certificate 1-4 at TAFE or accredited colleges. This is also a legitimate path to university.

Homeschoolers have the advantage of thinking of the traditional high school years as a gradual transition from a preparatory curriculum (covering the basics which allows students to be self-directed competent life-long learners) to selecting and trying out subjects and courses that match their talents, learning styles and passions.

A child who is really keen on cooking and has a creative flair at the age of 12 could be specialising a lot sooner than her schooled peers. A well designed homeschool curriculum won’t ignore and will integrate important areas of learning not obviously related to the interest, giving the child the opportunity to move to something else if she desires at the age of 15. However, should she continue with her passion for cooking by the time she is 16 she could well be studying at certificate 2 (apprenticeship entry level) and gaining valuable work experience through employment. By the time she’s 20 she will already be working competently at a job she loves while her uni student schooled peers are beginning to realise they have chosen the wrong uni course because they don’t know what they really want to do!


Original article found at Beverley’s site. Pioneering members of the home education movement in Australia, Beverley and Robin Paine are passionate advocates of true educational choice for families. They began homeschooling their children in 1986 and three years later started the South Australian Home Based Learners network. Beverley wrote Getting Started with Homeschooling in 1995-97 and since then continues to write books and booklets on home education. She balances spending time helping home educators with working in her garden and renovating her home, as well as continuing to build her collection of writing on a variety of homeschooling subjects. Beverley maintains an extensive collection of websites as well as several Yahoo groups supporting families teaching their children at home. In 2007 Beverley joined the HEA and became a committee member in 2008: she also edits and produce the HEA Newsletter, HEA magazine, Stepping Stones for Home Educators, annual Resource Directory and other HEA publications. If you’d like to keep in touch with what Beverley is up to her in her life, sign up for the Homeschool Australia Newsletter or visit her Facebook page.