Homeschooling education reviews are carried out either at the discretion of the Chief Review Officer or as requested by the Secretary for Education. 

When a child can be homeschooled

Most children in Aotearoa New Zealand are educated in schools. The Government also allows parents to make the choice to educate their child at home.

To homeschool a child, parents can request and receive from the Ministry of Education a Certificate of Exemption from enrolling their child or children at registered schools.

The Ministry only grants an exemption if they are satisfied that the child will be taught at least as regularly and well at home as in a registered school.

If the child has special education needs; these needs must be met; and the application will ask whānau to explain how this will be done. 

How we review and report

We focus on whether or not your child is taught at least as regularly and well as in a registered school.

Before the review - we need some information from you

Our reviewers consider all available information when planning your homeschooling review.

Before the review, we ask you to send us a copy of the application for the certificate of exemption and any other information you would like.

During the review - we look at the quality of your child’s educational programme

We gather information to answer two key questions in your homeschooling review.

  1. Is the exempted student taught at least as well as in a registered school?
  2. Is the exempted student taught at least as regularly as in a registered school?

We look at the quality of your child’s educational programme, and how effectively it promotes the child’s learning: engagement, progress and achievement.

To establish context, reviewers will also ask you about your reasons for homeschooling and what you see as the benefits.

Our reviewers may use sections of our School Evaluation Indicators in reaching judgements about your homeschooling programme. The indicators provide examples of evidence for good quality and effective programmes and practice.

The Evaluation Questions for ERO Homeschooling Reviews provides the key evaluation questions for the review with more detailed prompt questions about the way you homeschool your child or children. You might want to use these questions yourself when you are thinking about how well homeschooling is going for your child.

Read our Evaluation Questions for ERO Homeschooling Reviews.

After the review and knowing the outcome 

The report will include:

  • a judgement about whether the exempted student is being taught at least as regularly and well as in a registered school
  • a conclusion stating whether ERO’s Chief Review Officer can assure the Secretary for Education that the terms of the exemption have been met.

We send a copy of the report to the parents and the Ministry of Education. The report is confidential and are not published on ERO’s website.

If a child is not being taught as regularly and well as in a registered school the Secretary for Education can revoke the Certificate of Exemption.

For more information

Please contact us if you have a question about our homeschooling reviews.

For more information about:

  • how you can apply to the Ministry of Education for an exemption from enrolling your child at a registered school
  • the forms you will need to complete
  • who to contact and a definition of ‘at least as regularly and well’ are on the Ministry’s website

Read the homeschooling information on the Ministry of Education's website.