The best way to get started is by talking to other home educators or joining an online home education discussion group where you can post your questions. Most groups will welcome you while you are checking things out, even if your children are very young and you are not yet “officially” home educating.

It is law that NZ citizens and residents aged between 6 and 16 must go to school. This is outlined in the Education Act 1989. A parent may apply to have their child exempted from attending school under Section 21 of the Act if they can show that the child will be taught at least as regularly and well as in a registered school (or, in the case of a child with special education needs, that they will be taught at least as regularly and well as in a special class or clinic or by a special service). The exemption application process is quite detailed but very worthwhile – you only have to apply once for each child and the exemption remains valid until the child turns 16 (unless you cancel it or in rare cases the Ministry of Education may revoke it if they have cause).

There is a lot of useful information on the internet about home educating – many online communities, blogs, suppliers and curriculum resources. It’s probably never been easier to home educate! Finding a like-minded community is essential – there are many local networking groups where you can start getting to know other home educators in your area. Almost all of these groups started informally as a bunch of home educators who decided to formalise things by creating a local group. If you can’t find the right group, find another couple of like-minded families and consider starting your own.

Expect it to take about six months or so for everything to fall into place with your home education routine – perhaps even longer if your child has attended school (see Deschooling). Take the opportunity to read widely about home education and develop your ideas with regard to your philosophy, motivations and general approach.

We hope you enjoy the information on our website, please contact us if there is anything we can help you with.

At a glance …

  • In NZ a child must attend school from age 6 to 16, unless they have an exemption
  • Connecting with other home educators, either online or via your local group, is very important
  • There will be a transition process to home educating if your child has been attending school, called “deschooling
  • There are many different approaches to home education
  • It’s worthwhile to read widely about home education philosophies and methods