Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see – Neil Postman

Homeschoolers get the school kid bonus too

Photo: © Bridget O’Brien

From this year, all eligible school, and home education, students are entitled to receive money from the government towards educational expenses. Called the Education Tax Refund, families are entitled to up to $420/annum for each eligible primary age student, $820/annum for families for each eligible secondary aged student. According to the Department of Families, Housing and Community Affairs, the payment is for eligible, school related costs and can be used for school fees, uniforms, books, sports, music lessons and other developmental activities. The website states:

A child or an independent student meets the schooling requirement for each six-month period, starting 1 July or 1 January, if both of the following are true:

  • one of the following applies
    • they are registered or enrolled in a primary or secondary school course provided at an educational institution such as a school or TAFE
    • they are registered or enrolled with the education authority of their state or territory as a home schooled student


There is information on eligibility that can be accessed here. The payment is to help students, and their parents, with the costs of schooling so it’s a major step forward that it can be accessed by home education families. It’s a fabulous, government level, recognition of, not only the legitimacy of the choice of home education in Australia, but also of the parallels between home education and other forms of education choice.


2 Responses to “Homeschoolers get the school kid bonus too”

  1. sage_brush

    No such thing is offered in the states, but as tempting as it sounds, I feel fairly certain it would lead to government intrusion, which is something most home schoolers are very wary of.

    It has recently emerged that a favorite math curriculum of home schoolers [Saxon Math] is “Core compliant.” Right. As it is – the core curriculum that I’ve seen is significantly inferior to the texts I used for my children through A Beka book. Dumbed down aptly describes it.

    I’m grateful for your sake that the Australian government has acknowledged home schools. I hope for your sake, that the government restrains itself, when it comes to controlling how and what you teach your children. Yet, when have governments restrained themselves when it comes to controlling the sheep?

    • Rebecca English

      I’m aware of the differences between The States and Australia. Our government tends to be way more ‘hands off’ here. They don’t seem to want to intrude so much into our private lives. I see this money as the government’s way of saying “alright, we value choice and you’ve made one. It’s no different to choosing to send you kid to partially government funded Geelong Grammar (where Prince Charles went to school for a bit, I hope that conveys what I want it to convey about that school), or the fully government funded local state school. They’re all valid”. I believe it’s one step on the path to normalising what is, otherwise, not a normal choice in this country, the vast majority send their kids to school. And by majority, I mean very very few people homeschool (that’s why my study is hard work, finding people who a) homeschool and b) are willing to talk is like trying to find a needle in a huge haystack). It’s not something we’ve traditioanlly done because all schools, public and private, are government funded, are good quality, offer a variety of choices (Muslim schools, Jewish schools, Baptist schools, Catholic schools by the truckload, Montessori and Steiner Schools, Non-Denominational Christian schools etc etc) and generally get good outcomes (even increasingly levelling the playing field apparently). I think it’s great we have so much ‘mainstream’ choice, however, I think parents can do better than schools, and not just in teaching values but also in maintaining links to family without sacrificing good quality educational outcomes. That’s why the choice to homeschool is becoming more and more popular here. I also think that the increasing popularity is why governments are giving this tacit funding nod to homeschoolers saying “keep up the great work”.

      In addition, homeschoolers save the government a fortune because the kids aren’t in schools so the government isn’t paying for that bum on that seat, sorry to invoke a pretty crass Australianism!


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