Public School / State School: A state-run school that provides free education to all enrolled students. Enrolment is based on area of residence and proximity to available schools. Public schools are either all-boy, all-girl, or co-educational (enrolling both boys and girls).
Private / Independent School: A school run independently of the state system that charges all attending students fees or tuition. The majority of these schools are parochial and associated with specific religions. Enrolment is not subject to proximity. Private schools are commonly divided by gender (all-boy or all-girl), but there are several that provide a co-educational environment (enrolling both boys and girls).
Primary School: For children aged 5-12. Consists of a ‘preparatory’ year (at around age 5), and education from Years 1-6.
High School: For children aged 12-18. Education formatted to prepare students for university academics from Years 7-12.
Educational law in Victoria states simply that a “child must be educated from the age of 5 years.” Despite repeated Department of Education attempts to enforce institutional education for children, the Homeschoolers of Victoria have been successful in their defence of their right to teach their own children.
If you prefer to homeschool, you can register this intention with the Department of Education. You will be required to establish evidence to claim educational expenses as tax deductions, or apply for student concession cards (so your kids can get student prices on public transport or admission into major exhibitions or attractions). You will also likely be subjected to letters and phone-calls urging you to enrol your child in school.
A good resource for parents wishing to homeschool their children is the Australian Home Education Directory. The following site offers plenty of links to local homeschoolers, resources, discussions on different homeschooling styles, and news relevant to the homeschooling community.