Throughout this website, there are words
and acronyms whose meanings are not
necessarily immediately obvious. Below,
we endeavour to demystify some of the jargon.



If you’ve been navigated to this page by clicking a link within an article,
scroll down the page to the word that made you wonder what it was all about.
Listings are in alphabetical order.


Australian Capital Territory. This is the territory surrounding Canberra, the capital city of Australia, and the location of our nation’s government.

Approaches to Home Education
This has been defined by DET in the Glossary of the Home Education Manual as published in 2008. (The document is under review in 2010.) This definition includes:

“Home educators develop (and constantly adapt) an educational approach that suits the needs of their children and generally reflects their own religious, personal or educational philosophy. All approaches, whether pre-defined or personally developed, are acceptable if the educational needs of the child are met.”

Authorised Person (AP)
The Authorised Person is the government employee who has been given the authority to conduct registration visits for home educators, and make assessment of the high quality home education being provided, in accordance with the official registration process.

Conditions for Registration
These are found in Chapter 5 of the Education Act. Section 132 contains the Conditions for Registration for Home Education:
….. The registration of a child for home education is subject to the following conditions:
.……… (a) the parents of the child are to provide high-quality education for the child;
………. (b) the parents of the child must document the educational opportunities
……………. offered by the parents to their child and the strategies they use to
……………. encourage their child to learn;
………. (c) the parents of the child must make available for inspection on request by
……………. the chief executive any education programs, materials or other records
……………. used for the home education.

The Department of Education and Training – the Government department which has oversight for the administration of home education in the ACT.

My own colloquialism for the jargon-filled language choices of those who work in the education system. The terminology might make perfect sense to those who use it all the time, but for those of us unfamiliar with it, it usually only serves to make simple sentences sound complex and beyond comprehension. (Nurses, doctors, computer geeks, gamers, etc., all have their own versions, so please understand that there is no offense meant by the term.)

Every Chance to Learn (ECTL)
“The 2007 ACT curriculum framework, Every chance to learn, describes what is essential for ACT students to learn from preschool to year 10.” This is from the Every Chance to Learn website.

Every Chance to Learn is a curriculum framework that outlines the learning considered essential for students attending ACT schools. It also provides 10 guiding principles for schools to use in writing their curriculum. Individual schools need to ensure that students have opportunities to achieve the essential learnings and are responsible for making decisions as to how that learning will be organised and delivered (for example the topics and units to be covered, when it will be covered and how).

Home educators may wish to be aware of what guides schools in the decisions they make for student learning. This knowledge may be most helpful for families who choose to do part-time home education with part-time school, or those who choose to home educate before or after their children participate in the school system.

When home educators are made aware of this document, it is not to place obligations on home educators as to what they should be teaching.

General Principles of the Education Act as applied to Home Education
These are found in Chapter 5 of the Education Act 2004, in section 128:
…..The following are the principles on which this chapter is based:
………. (a) parents have the right to choose a suitable educational environment
……………. for their children;
………. (b) there is a diversity of religious and educational philosophies held by
……………. parents providing home education for their children;
………. (c) the diversity of educational philosophies reflects the diversity of
preferences of parents for particular forms of education for their children;
………. (d) home education is committed to—
…………… (i) offering a broad range of opportunities that foster in each child the ………………. development of the child’s unique spiritual, emotional, physical, social ………………. and intellectual being; and
…………… (ii) valuing the individual needs, interests and aptitudes of each child; and
…………… (iii) preparing each child to become an independent and effective local
………………… and global citizen.

High Quality Education
This has been defined by DET in the Glossary of the Home Education Manual as published in 2008. (The document is under review in 2010.) In part, this definition says: “Details of the educational opportunities are a matter of parental choice and there is no set curriculum for home education in the ACT.” An unofficial guideline is to ensure that the child is provided with both depth and breadth in their educational opportunities and experiences.

Home Education
Here in the ACT, parents who participated in the development of the original legislation emphasised the importance of the term ‘home education’ as distinct from ‘home schooling’ to be used in official documentation. Education is compulsory but school is not – ‘home education’ is a broader term and its use is helpful in educating the community that home educators do not necessarily do ‘school at home’.  ‘Home education’ is the term used in ACT legislation.

Home Schooling or Homeschooling
This term is often used interchangeably with ‘home education’ here in ACT, perhaps as it is the more common term used overseas. It does imply that ‘schooling’, or ‘school at home’ is what is taking place, and suggests a more rigid or schoolish structure than many home educators actually employ in the effective education of their children.

Life Learning
The term ‘life learning’ was coined by the editor of Canada’s Life Learning Magazine, Wendy Priesnitz, and is sometimes referred to as ‘radical unschooling’. ‘Life learning’ is learning that is personalised, non-coercive, active, interest-led learning from life. One of the highest ideals of home education is producing students who are eager to learn throughout all their lives, and who make no real distinction between formal learning in an institution and the informal learning they cheerfully undertake in pursuit of living their ongoing rich and rewarding lives.

Any of various objects designed to be moved or arranged by hand as a means of developing motor skills or understanding abstractions, especially in mathematics. (reference: dictionary.com).

National Assessment Program, Literacy and Numeracy – this is the program that is run in schools in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9. Home educated children are invited to participate in the NAPLAN testing in appropriate age years, but participation is not mandatory. Home educated children  are tested all together, usually at the CTL rooms, with the testing overseen by DET personnel.

Further information, sample tests and answers to frequently asked questions can be found on the NAPLAN website.

Home educators may choose to participate in this testing for many reasons: to give their children exposure to more formal testing situations; because their children enjoy tests; because they are interested to see how their children perform alongside their age-peers. Parents are given the choice as to whether or not a copy of their child’s results is put into their home education file.

Many home educators do not choose to have their children participate in NAPLAN. Standardised testing is not always seen as relevant to a child’s real progress. Results are not always indicative of a child’s real abilities, depending on their response to an unfamiliar environment, familiarity with test material, etc.

Non Government Education Section – the division of the Department of Education which administrates home education.

Radical Unschooling
Radical unschooling is trusting that a child will seek out and learn what they need to know, when they need to know it, without coercion, without school or school type methods, in the freedom and safety of their own family. The parents’ role in this is to facilitate and make available our time, space, money, and lives to helping them explore the world.

Christians who utilise this approach also trust that God will direct the child’s path himself. The parents’ role is to act as guides and mentors in the learning process, and to disciple our children in our faith through our daily example of walking out our faith before their eyes. (Adapted from a definition provided on the Crunchy Christian Mom blog.)

Strategies Used to Encourage Learning
This has been defined by DET in the Glossary of the Home Education Manual as published in 2008. (The document is under review in 2010.) This definition includes:

“A home educator’s approach to learning generally incorporates a number of methods to facilitate and consolidate learning. The strategies used by individual families will often vary depending on the age and needs of the individual child. Some curriculum materials will incorporate educational strategies to introduce new concepts, develop understanding and test knowledge or applications.

“Examples of strategies to encourage learning may include specific strategies such as discussion, workbooks, computer programs, research, literacy based activities, media, games, experiments or excursions. It may also include strategies to develop more overarching skills such as time management, decision making and goal setting.”

This term was coined by educator Naomi Aldort:

Teacheria is contagious and is readily transmitted by modelling – “Let me tell you how it works.” Most parents suffer from a form of the ‘disease.’ Teacheria is the drive to give lessons; it is not curable, but the symptoms can be managed, or they can be satisfied in an educational setting.”

The term “unschooling” was coined in the 1970s by educator John Holt. Unschooling generally allows children to learn through their natural life experiences, including child-directed play, games, household responsibilities, work experience and social interaction, rather than through a more traditional school curriculum. Unschooling encourages exploration of activities led by the children themselves, facilitated by the adults. Most features of traditional schooling are considered counterproductive to the goal of maximising the education of each individual child. (Adapted from Wikipedia article on Unschooling.)