Homeschooling In New Zealand – Where to begin? Step by Step FREE Guide

homeschooling application exemption guide new zealand

Thinking of Homeschooling in New Zealand? But don’t know where to begin…

It can be daunting to consider homeschooling, and it’s not always straightforward in knowing where to begin the process. So I am going to break down the steps for you! No strings attached, let’s get into it. 


So, in order to legally home educate your child in New Zealand, the first thing to do is to apply for an exemption. The law in New Zealand requires all children between the ages of 6-16 to be enrolled in and attending a registered school, this is why you have to apply for an “exemption”. This process isn’t as hard as it may sound but it does require some planning. The good thing is that you only have to apply for this exemption once! It is a once-off to prove you have the competency to homeschool your child or children.


Once you’re granted the exemption you are on your way and are free to teach as you wish. The only way this could change would be if your child returns to enrollment in a registered school, your child turns 16 (they are not legally required to attend school from this age onwards), or your exemption gets revoked (this doesn’t happen often).


There is only one ongoing requirement once you have received your exemption, every six months (usually around April/May and Oct/Nov) you will be sent a two page form which you must sign and return. The first page is just to confirm you are homeschooling your child/children still. The second page asks if you would like to be paid the homeschool supervision allowance
(which is optional).


The amount of the allowance, which is usually paid in June and December each year is:
– First child $769 ($384.50 twice a year)
– Second child $654 ($327 twice a year)
– Third Child $536 ($269 twice a year)
– Subsequent children $385 ($192.50 twice a year)


Step by step process to get you started on your homeschool journey.


The first steps to applying should involve some planning and organizing of your thoughts, check out this page I am linking to first and have a read through the information as a lot of your questions will be answered here (direct from the Ministry of Education) Home education – – Practical information about education for parents and carers


The next step is get onto some homeschooling support groups! I have created a support group for anyone who is considering homeschooling in New Zealand and I (as well as others) will be more than happy to help you with any questions or advice you may need. There is plenty of region specific groups also, so you can plan activities with other homeschoolers – Homeschooling New Zealand Facebook Group


Once you have joined the homeschooling group feel free to reach out and the group will be able to help you find a local group for activities and meet ups.


Next you will need to figure out what your approach/style and philosophy to education is, for example you may have a varied approach and feel like you would use many different tools to teach (this is called eclectic) or maybe you prefer a more structured school at home approach, it’s a good idea to make notes and do some google searching (or facebook searching) to gather your thoughts around this. Start thinking about what curriculum you might use, and do some research on different types of curriculum. For example I use an eclectic approach to homeschooling, I use resources that I create myself (you can purchase these on my shop page of this website if you wish to use them too) and I use the internet to teach in various ways, I also use Easy Peasy All In One Homeschool too. Which I will link here: Easy Peasy All In One Homeschool


The next step is to think about your child or children and how THEY learn, as well as how YOU teach. What works best for you is just as important as what works best for your child. I suggest NOT buying a whole lot of curriculum especially at first, often you will find your children don’t like the curriculum you choose, or maybe it just doesn’t suit your own teaching style. It is better to try to sample some curriculum (buy a book or two not a whole years worth) first.


It’s important to think of how homeschooling will work practically for you and your family. Who will be teaching each day, will you share this responsibility with someone else? Will you need to work outside of the home at all? Can you offer a flexible enough lifestyle to attend groups and activities? These are just some things to think about before even applying. Will this work for your family and how can you make sure it does work well.


Next step is figuring out where your child or children are at currently, this is an important one. You will need to know where they are at with their learning so that on the application the MOE will be satisfied that you have a good understanding of your child and how to teach them. You may not need to know a lot if they are only five or six years old but if your thinking of applying for a high school age student you may want to have a look through past reports (or work) from their school. Just prepare yourself with a good overall understanding of where your child is at (strengths and weaknesses) this will help you fill in the application form. Ps. a lot of curriculums offer diagnostic teaching to figure out where your child/children are at in their learning. 


The next step is to start preparing and writing a draft for your application form. Here is the application form: Home Education Application Form PDF. You will need to decide whether you want to fill in the form as it comes or if you want to write your own application out in a word document. I suggest either way that you save a copy of your writing on a word program to your computer. The forms that the MOE supply are limited in space and sometimes have issues with saving, so in my opinion it is much wiser to write your own forms out in a word document or LibreOffice (which is what I use as it’s free). You can print your forms out and post them or send them via email (which I recommend).


You will need to be aware that the form pages 2-4 (section one of the MOE application form) MUST be included in your application even if you write it all out in word yourself, you will need to print pages 2-4 and make sure there is a parents signature included, then make sure to send them off with the rest of your written application. Section two can be written however you wish, but you will need to include each of the headings/sections that are in the MOE forms. Make sure you also cover in detail the core subjects such as Math, English (including great detail on reading and writing), and Science.


Next you will need a copy of your child/children’s birth certificate, you just need a copy not an original document. Once you have finished your exemption and you have checked that you have included the form pages 2-4 in section one, you just need to scan everything onto your computer and send it off to the MOE in your region (make sure you include a copy of the birth certificate too) The first page of the application form has drop-down fields at the bottom from which you can select your office, and the postal or email address will be displayed.


If your need some extra help or you need more details with the above steps feel free to ask in the Homeschool groups on facebook, ask a question/leave a comment on this blog page, and check out this page…


You can find me active on Facebook here Homeschooling New Zealand Facebook group and here Peace Through Grace Official Facebook page


Last but not least it can be helpful to see some examples of exemptions so I have linked some pages to check out here too :
The Exemption by Angela Rowe (NZ)

and Exemption Example from a homeschooling mum (NZ)


First steps to homeschooling in New Zealand

Hopefully that gives you a good overview of where to begin and the steps to take, feel free to leave me a comment/question below and I will do my best to help direct you.

And just a reminder you can find me active on Facebook here Homeschooling New Zealand Facebook group and here Peace Through Grace Official Facebook page

6 thoughts on “Homeschooling In New Zealand – Where to begin? Step by Step FREE Guide

  1. This is amazing thanks so much for this . My little boy is about to turn 5 when can I send in my exception I know it doesn’t start till 6 but egged to get it done

    1. Most people submit their exemptions at least 6 weeks before the child’s 6th birthday but you can submit the exemption any time after the child’s 5th birthday (it won’t be ‘official’ until they’re 6 though. I always sent my kids ones in when they were about 5 and a half.

  2. This is really helpful thank you. I was wondering if there is any examples of exemptions that are not unschooling? It would be nice to see how it is done if you are using a curriculum.

  3. Thankyou for the time and effort you have put into making this information readily available to parents considering the home schooling approach. My daughter will be turning five next year so I’m glad I’ve had a quick read on what steps I’ll be needing to take before she turns six. 👍

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