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Coming Home - Step 1: Withdraw from School

Updated: Dec 12, 2021


So you have made the momentous decision to pull your kids out of school and become a homeschooler. It feels like a huge decision, doesn’t it? Suddenly, everyone you know has an opinion about your decision to home educate, and they are asking questions you don’t yet have the answers to.


Is it even legal? Can they still go to uni? What about socialisation? How do you get the curriculum?


Good news - yes, home education is legal in every state and territory in Australia.

And yes - they can still go to university. Home educated kids have great social skills and lots of opportunities to learn and practice.

And the curriculum documents are all available online for everyone - for free.


Let me also reassure you that this is probably not as big a decision as it feels right now. Perspective is an amazing thing - you make decisions for your children every day of their lives, so don’t torture yourself over this one.


So now you are ready to step off the metaphorical cliff, but where to start?


Step 1: Register and withdraw from school.

Your first step is to exit the school system.

Since education is governed at a state level, exiting the school system looks slightly different in every state. There is detailed information about registration processes on our state pages, and our support teams can assist you through the process. Here’s a quick overview to get you started:



  1. Notify the school principal in writing that you are withdrawing your child to home educate.

  2. Stop sending your child to school and start homeschooling.

  3. Apply for registration as a home educator. You are automatically granted provisional registration from the time your application is received, regardless of which pathway you choose. There are two pathways:

    1. Provisional Registration (s207) - this is the best choice for families who don’t have a plan ready to go, because you automatically get 60 days to develop your educational program and get all the paperwork together.

      1. No required form - HEA has an optional form to help you

      2. Send in copy of birth certificate

    2. Registration (s208) - this is full registration. You can choose to do this at the end of your provisional registration, or go straight to it and skip provisional. The choice is yours. You will get up to 90 days provisional registration while your application is processed.

      1. Submit application using the required HEU form

      2. Include a summary of your educational program. Although you can submit without this, the HEU will contact you and give you 28 days to submit the summary.

  1. Complete the application form and submit to NESA as soon as you decide to home educate. The guidelines state that you should apply 3 months before you plan to start home educating.

  2. You should have a phone call from the AP (Authorised Person) within 2-6 weeks to arrange an interview time

  3. During the interview, the AP will want to see your education plan and how you will keep records. You can find more information here.

  4. Withdraw your child from school once registration is approved. There is no requirement to provide a copy of your registration certificate to the school.

  5. Stop sending your child to school and start homeschooling.

  1. Fill out the application form and submit it to VQRA. It needs to include a learning plan for each child that includes the 8 learning areas. There is no requirement to use any particular curriculum

  2. Processing time: 28 days

  3. Withdraw from school once registration is approved. It you need to withdraw your child sooner, your school Principal can excuse your child from attending school during the processing period.

  4. Stop sending your child to school and start homeschooling.

  1. Notify the school that you are withdrawing your child from school to home educate.

  2. Stop sending your child to school and start homeschooling.

  3. Submit your Registration form to the Directorate within 14 days

  4. It takes up to 28 Days to process your application, but you have up to 3 months to submit your education plan. There is no obligation to follow a particular curriculum, and part-time school & home education is possible.

  1. Submit your registration application to the OER. It will take up to 3 weeks to process your application and be granted provisional registration.

  2. Once you have provisional registration, notify the principal in writing that you are withdrawing from school.

  3. Stop sending your child to school and start homeschooling.

  4. There will be a home visit in the first 3 months to process your full registration. There is no obligation to follow any particular curriculum. You will need to write a home education summary & program (HESP) for each child.

  1. Enrol in school. In SA, you are granted an exemption from attending.

  2. Submit your registration application to the Home Education Unit. To access the link to the online application form, email your name, address and contact number to education.homeeducation@sa.gov.au.

  3. It takes about 4-5 weeks to process your application, and it includes a home visit

  4. Once you are registered, stop sending your child to school and start home educating. If you need to start sooner, the Principal can give an exemption from attending school while your application is being processed.

  1. Notify the school principal in writing that you are withdrawing your child to home educate.

  2. Stop sending your child to school and start homeschooling.

  3. Contact your district office to get the application form for home education. Complete the form and return it to them within 14 days.

  4. Your registration approval is automatic.

  5. Within the first 3 months, there will be a home visit from a Moderator, who will want to see evidence of learning and your ongoing plan to cover the WA Curriculum

  1. Submit your registration application to the Education Department. It should include:

    1. The application form, and

    2. Your learning plan.

  2. It takes about 3 weeks to process you application, which also includes a home visit.

  3. Once you are registered, withdraw your child from school and start home educating.


If, for the well-being of your child, you need to withdraw your child from school sooner than the process allows, regardless of which state you are in, talk to your GP about your concerns. GP's know that mental health is just as important as physical health. A medical certificate can help to bridge the gap as you transition to home education. And if you need extra support as you transition, the HEA can help. Just email us at support@hea.edu.au

Step 2 in Coming Home is "De-schooling"

- we'll talk more about that next time.



So although it feels like you're about to step off a cliff, the fall is not as fall as you think and home education is a soft place to land. You've got this.


-Karen Chegwidden

HEA President



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2 Comments


Karen Chegwidden
Karen Chegwidden
Dec 11, 2021

I'm glad it helped :) Most families feel like it is a very daunting decision, but then later look back and wonder why. I know I did. Hopefully it helps to know you are not alone, and you can do this.

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Thank you, looking forward to the next newsletter, very reassuring, it is for me anyway a daunting decision and I find it difficult to get my mind out of the standard schooling system

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