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Homeschool regulation: Directive without direction

Kammann, Megan (2015) Homeschool regulation: Directive without direction. Masters by Research thesis, Murdoch University.

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Literature and first-hand accounts assert that home education and schooling are fundamentally different forms of education and that homeschooling has long been associated with positive educational outcomes. In 2012, the Western Australian School Curriculum and Standards Authority directed all Western Australian schools and home educators to begin implementing the Australian Curriculum (a Foundation to Year 10 syllabus specifying yearly-delineated content). Home educators received no explanation as to how they could apply such a detailed, fixed syllabus to their un-school-like settings and the only assistance offered came in the form of a reference to the official Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority website.

The aim of this research is to determine how homeschooling parents perceive this directive, how (or if) they intend to satisfy its obligations and whether evidence suggests that superior educational outcomes are likely to result. It is argued that parents’ perceptions of homeschool requirements are of critical importance as accurate evaluation of home education is extremely difficult particularly if parents choose to eschew registration.

A qualitative paradigm with an interpretive phenomenological emphasis was utilized to understand parents’ responses, actions and decisions. To this end, semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted in March 2013 with thirteen home educators. Participants were recruited from Perth and south-west Western Australia using purposive and snowball sampling.

The findings of this study indicate there is a wide disparity in parents’ willingness to adopt the Australian Curriculum into their homeschool settings. Some parents indicate an inclination to adjust the way they report educational experiences rather than to modify their actual practices. This study concludes that imposing a regulatory framework intended for mainstream schools onto home educating families actually restricts the use of flexible practices which have significantly contributed to the positive educational outcomes of homeschooled children in the past.

Publication Type: Thesis (Masters by Research)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Education
Supervisor: Aveling, Nado
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