Unlock funding for homeschooling | 022


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About this episode

In the “Unlock Funding for Homeschooling” episode, Brett and Ellen delve into government support options for homeschooling families, highlighting Centrelink benefits and the Assistance for Isolated Children’s Scheme. They emphasise the need for homeschooling registration and professional validation to access these funds, advocating for fair financial support for homeschooling.

🎧 Tune into this episode on Apple Podcasts here. 

Key Points:

  • Introduction to homeschooling payments and allowances, with a focus on government support for families involved in homeschooling.
  • The disparity in funding between public school students and homeschooled students and the quest for fairness in financial support.
  • Centrelink JobSeeker benefits and allowances for homeschooling parents, including potential exemptions from job search requirements and the possibility of increased payments.
  • The Assistance for Isolated Children’s Scheme (AIC), offers financial support not only for geographically isolated families but also for children with special education needs, including those with disabilities, medical conditions, or learning difficulties.
  • The significant financial support provided by the AIC, potentially more than $4,000 per year, backdated to the start of the approval year, and its availability per child rather than per family.
  • The requirement for professional validation (from psychologists, doctors, etc) to access funds intended for children with specific needs, emphasises the importance of official homeschooling registration and professional recommendations.
  • The episode emphasises the importance of self-research and proactive information gathering when seeking government support for homeschooling, advocating for the allocation of educational funding directly to homeschooling families.

If you would like to find out more about the Isolated Children Scheme, you can do so by clicking this link.

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🎧 Tune into this episode on Apple Podcasts here. 


Brett Campbell (00:00.877)
Hello and welcome to Future Learners. My name is Brett Campbell. I’m the chairman and CEO of Euka Future Learning and I’m joined by my beautiful co -host, the founder and head of education, Ellen Brown. How are you, Ellen?

Brett Campbell (00:14.989)
Excellent. We are going to be talking about today. We’re actually providing, I think we’re providing an early Christmas present and birthday present, hopefully for many, many families out there. And today we’re going to be talking about homeschooling payments and allowances and how hopefully your family can get support from the government as it pertains to funding and initiatives relating to homeschooling. So.

Ellen (00:15.955)
Well, thank you, Britt.

Brett Campbell (00:43.021)
Um, I know, Ellen, you’ve been doing a lot of work in the background. And, um, one of the biggest things, and I mean, this is just an everyday life in general, to be fair. It’s not until you go digging and you start looking, um, in the archives of the internet, um, you know, opportunities that are available to us as citizens of Australia. Um, and yeah, we were sitting there one day and we’re talking, how can we, there has to be something that can support our families.

who are doing it tough and they want to do homeschooling and they just don’t have really any budget to be able to contribute to the extracurricular activities, et cetera, or resources that are required just due to personal financial situation. And then also even to families who you might not be requiring personal assistance, financial assistance. However, if it was there, why would you not want to take it up? So, today we’re gonna unpack a couple of opportunities that we’ve uncovered that’ll be extremely beneficial to our families. What I will also say is this is not financial advice. Please do your diligence and check if this is right for you, of course. Okay, I just need to put that out there first and foremost. But Alan, do you wanna sort of set us up with what we’ve sort of uncovered and then we can dive into each of these parts a little bit more detailed as well?

Ellen (02:11.539)
Look, I think one of the things that we’ve always wondered is how come kids that are going to school are government funded? Even if you’re in a public school system, every one of those students has a certain amount of funding set aside that’s given to the school in order to provide resources that the school can use for the child. So it’s, it’s, it obviously doesn’t feel very fair that when you’re taking on the responsibility of homeschooling your child that you don’t receive that funding in order to help you buy books and computers and things just as the school would. And certainly you do think to yourself if the thousands of homeschooling students joined the school system all of a sudden, there’d be a big funding problem with the way the school system is set up now. So there’s a couple of different things. The first things that we’ve looked at, are things to do with Centrelink if you’re on JobSeeker or single parent pension. How do those things get affected by you being a homeschooler? So that’s a good place to start.

Brett Campbell (03:11.373)
Well, let’s dig into that. So talk about it. And again, we’ll preface this by saying, you need to be able to check to see if you qualify for each of these. Myself and Ellen, we’ll again, unpack these to our best of our ability initially. We’ll also provide links to go and check out what we’re actually talking about here and validate, et cetera. But the first cab off the rank is the Centrelink Jobseeker Benefit. Let’s talk about that one.

Ellen (03:43.123)
Yeah, so when you’re on JobSeeker and you’re homeschooling and when you are homeschooling, it means that you’re registered. So you have to be able to prove that your child is a registered homeschool child. There is the opportunity for you to not have to meet the obligations of JobSeeker. So that means that you wouldn’t be needing to go out and search for those jobs each month and show that you’re searching for the job. So there’s also the chance of them getting a higher rate for that JobSeeker payment as well.

I think we might have that written somewhere. It’s not directly in front of me at the moment. And also remember that rate could change. What I have, when I have spoken to parents about this, they have said that they had to specifically know this information themselves because I would assume if you’re working in Centrelink, there’s a whole variety but ifs and what’s and you may just get somebody who may not know every single situation that you might fall under. So giving yourself this kind of information as you go in. Will actually help the person who works at Centrelink to be able to find what you are entitled to. So the first one is JobSeeker and the other one is single parents on the single parent benefit. That they will also be able to get an added amount of money to their payment each fortnight. And also will, you know, usually with the single parent pension, I believe there’s a certain level where once a child reaches a certain age, then you get put over into the JobSeeker because you can’t continue to get that once a child’s passed a certain age. Well, that will change if you’re homeschooling. So making sure you’ve got your registration approval when you go in to talk to Centrelink about an increased payment and your obligations being changed as far as the JobSeeker’s concerned.

Brett Campbell (05:25.613)
Okay, so let’s double tap on that for a second. So we’ve got the homeschooling parents who are on JobSeeker and then we’ve got the homeschooling single parent who is receiving the JobSeeker allowance. What you’re saying there is that if these particular people, and again, it looks like here that the application can be made through your MyGov account, is that correct there? So, okay, so, or you can go visit your Centrelink.

Centrelink, what do we call it? Facility? Centrelink facility. Yeah, I can’t even remember what they’re called. But go knock on the door, go and see some lovely person in person. But what that does is that is actually an extra allowance. Do you know, Alan, and I know it’s one of those how long’s a piece of string, because it’s not exactly, exactly for everyone, but what sort of extra allowance that we are even potentially looking at there? Like what’s that look like for a parent?

Ellen (06:02.099)

Ellen (06:26.931)
Look, I had the number last for last year. I’m just trying to have a look on a document at the moment. I actually don’t have the number, but it’s certainly a fortnightly, an extra bunk fortnightly to what you’re entitled to. So I can’t tell you exactly what that is. And of course, every year it would change. So checking that out with Centrelink, but making sure, like I said, that you’ve got that homeschool approval from the Department of Education, that’s really important.

Brett Campbell (06:52.205)

So I’ve got something here that, making sure we’re speaking off the same sheet of music here, where it says the current rate stayed at $ 880.20 as of August 2022. Is that the piece of information you were looking for there?

Ellen (07:05.075)

Ellen (07:15.763)
Yes, but I’m not really sure about whether that’s including what’s already being given or whether that’s an additional amount or what that is. So I’m not really exactly sure what it is, but I know it’s a fortnightly extra amount that you can get.

Brett Campbell (07:29.517)
Yeah, okay. All right. So, and again, keep in mind here, team, we’re giving you the information as we see it, as you would know, the government don’t always make it the easiest to, and this is nothing against the government, but sometimes you gotta dig through a few channels, but it’ll certainly be worth it as you start to explore this. So what’s the next, I guess, group? you could say that can seek support as well.

Ellen (08:06.035)
I think this one, this is definitely a game changer. If you heard the words assistance for isolated children’s scheme, you would assume that this is a payment for children who don’t live anywhere near school and parents need to be able to homeschool for that reason. But the interesting thing is it actually covers a whole raft of students that wouldn’t even know they could be covered. So yes, if you are a fair distance from school, and I think it’s like, 50 something, 56 kilometres from school, regardless of whether there’s transport available, you can claim this amount. And it is a significant amount of money. Like we’re talking about over $4 ,000. Last year it was $4 ,700. So it’s a large per year. And even though we’re talking about this now in April, the exciting thing about it is it is backdated to the beginning of the year. So from when you’ve been approved.

Ellen (09:05.491)
I’m not sure if you started homeschooling last year, if you can look at last year’s, that’d be amazing if you can, who knows, but you can apply for it any time during the year. But let’s, I guess the interesting thing is talking about people who are not necessarily distance students. And so yes, let’s say the distance students, yes, we know if you are more than 50, I think it’s 56 kilometres from a school and you have no, even if there’s a school bus available, you can claim the amount through that.

But it’s the second cohort that I think a lot of people would have no idea about knowing that all of a sudden there’s over $4 ,000 available to them.

Brett Campbell (09:42.125)
Yeah, amazing. And do you have to just as I’ll play parent here, do you have to provide do you know if we have to provide like, where do we intend on spending that money? Where’s that going to go to do we have to provide a plan around that? Or is it you simply submit? Obviously have to answer some questions. You don’t just go and go, Hey, I’m homeschooling. Can I have $4 ,000? But do you have any optics over the the depth of what’s required?

Ellen (10:14.259)
I don’t actually, I don’t have any optics over what happens once you get the money and whether you have to keep a record of where it’s spent or things like that. I don’t, I assume that’s not the case because it certainly isn’t the case with other kinds of government funding that you get given that you’re supposed to handle that in a sensible way and pay computers and books and things like that. But I can’t envisage that they’d be asking you for an itemized list of the things you actually used the money on.

But I know for parents who are homeschooling, there are lots of costs involved with things like, you know, making sure they’ve got good technology and their textbooks or things like that. So it’ll be really, really beneficial for a family. And remember, it’s per child. We’re not just talking about per family here. So it is per child. So maybe we should talk about the groups of people that would be eligible for this amount of money beyond those families that are geolog…

Brett Campbell (10:55.693)
Mm. Mm.

Ellen (11:11.219)
geographically isolated. Okay, so the second category is children who have a special education need. Now, this is where it gets really interesting. If your child has a physical disability, an intellectual disability, if they’ve got ASD, if they’ve got a psychological situation, if they’ve got an emotional situation happening, a behavioral situation,

Brett Campbell (11:11.981)
Yeah, absolutely.

Ellen (11:39.763)
Anxiety, a medical condition, a learning difficulty. If your child fits into any one of those categories and you have a professional who is able to write a letter of recommendation to say, yes, this has caused your child to find that homeschooling is the best option for your child, then that’s all you need to be able to apply.

Brett Campbell (12:00.781)
That’s an extremely broad breadbasket right there, which, um, you know, caters to the majority. I would say the majority of families currently, um, you know, in the homeschooling arena, obviously there’s lots and lots, thousands and thousands of more families coming and finding out about homeschooling going, well, this is just, it seems like a much better way to be able to learn and educate my family and children. Um, but it, I’ll sort of.

Put air quotes around it is when Ellen said professional, that is an actual designated professional such as a psychologist or a doctor, et cetera, who does have the credentials to be able to say, hey, look, this is currently what my child is experiencing. Now, again, we will say this because this is fairly new on our radar. We just wanted to get you this information as quick as we possibly can and then you’ll be able to take it and run with it. But we will in time, as we dig further deeper into this as well, we’ll provide more resources on how we can help facilitate you through this as well. But right now this is for, hey, there’s an opportunity here. We want you to go and run with it. We don’t want to have to wait another day or a week or a month until we get this out to you. So with that, it would be for whatever reason it is, go and book it.

Book an appointment with a psychologist and step them through. Hey, this is why we’re actually now looking at homeschooling. Be resourceful in your nature is what I will say there. So just to recap, we’ve got, there’s the support right now for JobKeeper. There’s the support right now for the AIC, which is the Assistance for Isolated Children’s Scheme, but underneath this isolated children’s scheme, essentially fits a wide variety of different use cases as it relates to your child. So who else and what else have we got there? Ellen, what about anything extra that we need to provide?

Ellen (14:15.251)
Yeah, I can see one here that says parents who receive a disability support pension or parents single payment can apply for assistance for the isolated children’s scheme as well, a supplement, which is $62 .40 per fortnight. So that’s over and above the actual main payment as well. So that’s what I was looking for before, because I knew there was a certain amount per fortnight that you would have added on, but I wasn’t sure what that was. So.

I guess, yes, like you said, Brett, the biggest thing is if you’ve got a child that has that you’re dealing with some issue as to why they’re not at school, most of the time you’ve already got a professional that’s involved in your family’s life anyway, and they know your child and they’ve been part of that decision making about your homeschooling. But if you haven’t, you know, I’m finding more and more that people in the mental health profession are understanding and seeing this so commonly that that school is not the best place for everyone. And so you’re not going to hit up against a brick wall like you would if you were going to talk to a principal, for example, about the fact that your child is homeschooling. So that’s a really good one. Now, just about the key dates. That’s probably an important one, Brett.

Brett Campbell (15:32.237)
Yeah, shoot, Alan, you’re on a roll. See you those key dates.

Ellen (15:33.779)
Oh, you want me to talk about that? I was just saying that if you apply before the 31st of December, which obviously you’re going to, and thankfully we’ve got into this nice and early in the year, that you may be eligible for the whole year being backdated to the full amount. So even if you’re applying now, it will go back to at least the beginning of this year. It’ll be fascinating to find out if you can look at what happened with last year as well, that would be amazing if you can do that as well. But knowing that the payment will come to you at the beginning of each term, so it is broken up into four pieces and it’ll come at the beginning of each term.

Brett Campbell (16:11.437)
Yeah. And if appearance in there now going, all right, excellent. This sounds great. I want to go and investigate this. Where do they go, Ellen? I know I mentioned the my gov account. But again, that could be like going down a rabbit hole. Is there anything specifically where they can go read up a little bit more about this to see if they specifically qualify for their unique situation? Where would someone go to right now?

Ellen (16:39.603)
Well, maybe we can add the link when we put the podcast in, but I would go online and I would look up assistance for isolated children’s scheme and in brackets, AIC. I’d look that up and that’ll show you all the way through how to apply for it and that kind of thing. And as long as you’ve got your paperwork in order, you’ve got your approval, you’ve got a professional’s letter to back up the situation for you, then you’ve ticked all the boxes.

Brett Campbell (16:40.909)
Yeah, we will.

Brett Campbell (17:05.325)
Yeah, amazing. And I could tell you right now, I just did a quick Google search while you said that. Servicesaustralia .gov .au. It is there, how to claim, step to claim, isolate or get ready. It does tell you to sign into myGov account. So there you go. Make sure you’re connected to your myGov. Pretty straightforward instructions. It’s saying get your tax file number ready, any information you need. Then you submit your claim. There you go.

It does say here though, Alan, actually just on the updated, if you’re claiming for 2023, oh no, you’ve just missed out. Sorry, team. If you’re claiming for 2023, you have to submit before March the 1st. So we’ve missed that date as of this, but it does seem like they give you a three month sort of clawback. So keep that in mind. But this is an amazing, amazing opportunity that we hope.

Ellen (17:45.939)
I’m sorry.

Ellen (17:51.027)
Oh no, okay, well let’s pretend that’s happening.

Ellen (17:59.795)

Brett Campbell (18:03.469)
You are able to be able to go and qualify for and get that extra bit of assistance. And then I’d encourage you, if you do get the funds, go and listen to our episode on financial planning and how do you plan and how much is homeschooling and figure out where you can now deploy those funds to create a better learning experience for your child. Don’t just go out there and buy yourself a MacBook Pro with that money. Although I’m a Mac fan, but there’s have a look at where you can best deploy those resources. So again, this is all about how you can give your child the best learning experience they possibly can have. All right, Alan, great. That’s great little update. If you’ve gotten value out of this and you actually go and apply and you get accepted, please let us know. We want to know about it. Head over to yuka .edu .au, jump into our chat support area and just let us know. So, hey, just want to let you know, thanks, I applied for it and I got accepted. That would be really, really great to hear. And as I mentioned a little bit earlier, we will be looking to provide better resources and a more, let’s call it structured opportunity for you here. But we wanted to get this out to you because every day is another day that you don’t have the opportunity to take advantage of this. So awesome, Alan, great pickup, great find. And I’m sure this is going to help many, many families.

Ellen (19:30.931)
Thanks, Brett. Yeah, look, I would just always say the very best thing you can do is to gather as much information for yourself so that when you are, if you are going in to talk to somebody at Centrelink, that you actually have the information, even print it out and bring it with you because, you know, there’s a lot of nuances that they may not necessarily know about. And so you want to be able to give them that information as well and make it really smooth for yourself. I mean, after all, really in reality, every homeschooling parent should be given funding that would be given to the school for resources. But, you know, that’s just me on my pedestal there having a chat about that because it just frustrates me that that it is left to the parents. But here’s a way of being able to help yourself a little bit.

Brett Campbell (20:12.397)
Yeah, amazing. Excellent. Well, thank you very much for tuning in. Hopefully this has been a benefit to you. If you know of any other family who’s out there in the homeschooling world, I’m sure this is news to them as well. Send this over to them, send them this link. And of course, please head over to Apple, iTunes, Spotify, drop us five star review on the show. It helps the show to be heard by many, many more families. So until the next one, have an amazing morning, midday. Afternoon evening depending on when you’re listening to this just be amazing or be amazing at it. Thank you so much, and we’ll see you on the next one