Homeschool Registration Visit, Part 1: Learning Activities


This is part one of a three part series, which I am republishing. (I reverted them to draft form for a number of months.) These posts were written without taking into account the changes in the NSW Homeschool Information Package, so I am not sure if this way of keeping records and preparing for a homeschool visit is still adequate.



Warning: Rather a dry post unless you are wondering how an unschooling family can comply with the Australian NSW Board of Studies (BoS) homeschooling registration requirements.

Before I share… I know this is not the only way of doing things. It may not be your method. But it is the way I have successfully registered all my children for over 20 years…


In that time, I have seen a few changes in the requirements needed when registering as homeschoolers with the NSW BoS. When we had our latest
homeschooling registration visit a couple of weeks ago, I caught up on the latest news.

In the past we have been able to print off our records and plans and post them off to the BoS for approval (registration by documentation). This option is no longer available. Every homeschooler in NSW now has to be visited by an Authorised Person (AP). Apparently a number of families abused the registration by documentation system. APs were receiving similar applications from different families, leading them to believe that some people were copying other people’s records.

I talked to my AP about how it can be good to share ideas and ways of doing things with other families who are setting out along the homeschooling pathway, and she agreed this was both acceptable and helpful. So I will share how our homeschooling visit went, but PLEASE don’t copy any of my records I post here. You are quite welcome to use my records as models if they suit your way of doing things, but please don’t submit my family’s documentation as your own.

Now I have got that out of the way, onto my visit, or rather onto my preparation for that visit!

The following paragraph was taken from the homeschool registration form I had to fill out and send off to the BoS, before our visit was arranged.


An Authorised Person will contact you to make an appointment to review your application.


Are you prepared for the visit from an Authorised Person by having records of:                 

the educational program covering all relevant curriculum requirements  including an overview of the curriculum planned for the next period
of registration?                                                                                             
Yes No 

learning activities?                                                                                            
Yes No 


student achievement and progress?                                                                
Yes No 

time allocated to student learning?                                                                   
Yes No 


resources being used to support the delivery of the educational program
 
 

So what did I do to satisfy these requirements?

I started with the second point: records of learning activities.

I took my records books where I’ve been recording all the educational activities of my children for the past two years, and turned these scribbled notes into an impressive (I hoped!) document. The examples are for Sophie (age 10-12)  Gemma-Rose (age 7-9)


Sophie and Gemma-Rose 2011-2013


English
  • ·
    Novel writing: wrote novels for National Novel Writing Month
  • ·
    Script writing: wrote scripts for National Script Frenzy Month
  • ·
    Learnt about drafts, need for revision, rewriting
  • ·
    Created blogs
  • ·
    Wrote blog posts
  • ·
    Letter writing
  • ·
    Email writing
  • ·
    Handwriting
  • ·
    Punctuation, grammar: learnt gradually when writing and using
  • ·
    Commas, full stops, capitals, abbreviations, contractions, nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, titles etc ………

 

Sophie and Gemma-Rose 2011-2013
 
Science
  • ·
    Watched
    videos and took quizzes on Brainpop website
  • ·
    Used
    science gizmos on Explore Learning website
  • ·
    Visited
    Questacon, national science and technology centre
  • ·
    Visited
    Taronga Zoo
  • ·
    Performed
    experiments
  • ·
    Watched
    DVDs
  • ·
    Played
    online science games
  • ·
    Researched using Google
  • ·
    Explored
    various websites
  • ·
    Read
    Learn the News magazine and books


Areas covered:
  • ·
    The Solar System, the planets, gravity, survival in space, Watched Space Odyssey- Voyage to the Planets, gizmo. The moon, Apollo missions, Neil Armstrong
  • ·
    Gravity, Galileo, gizmo, free fall, record attempt, breaking the sound barrier, pressure suits
  • ·
    Electricity, circuits, parallel and in series, conductors/insulators, safety, alternate forms of energy gizmos, experiments
  • ·
    Windmills, Archimedes screw, wells, windfarms, energy from one form to another gizmo
  • ·
    Seasons, day-length, latitudes, tilt of earth, demonstration, gizmo
  • ·
    Classification of organisms, gizmo
  • ·
    Birds, flight: watched Life of Birds DVD
  • ·
    Density, weight and mass, gizmo
  • ·
    Solids, liquids, gases……………


Sophie and Gemma-Rose 2011-2013
 


Human Society and its Environment
 
·
Watched
videos on the Brainpop website

·
Watched
videos on Youtube

·
Visited
National Museum of Australia

·
Visited
beach at Swan Lake for a week

·
Many
visits to bush and lake

·
Read Learn the News magazine
·
Read
historical fiction and discussed, did further research and mapwork, using Google, books


Areas covered
:


Australian history and geography
:

·
Bushrangers: Read The Horse Who Bit a Bushranger by Jackie French, watched DVD, Ned Kelly, Captain Thunderbolt
·
Read some of the Australian Girls book series: Meet Grace: convicts, transportation; Meet Poppy: aboriginal/Chinese orphans, the missions
·
The missions, removal of children, National Museum of Australia
·
Eureka Stockade: Read The Night They Stormed Eureka by Jackie French, Journey to Eureka by Kerry Greenwood…


These are just snippets of what I put together. It was amazing just how long the lists of activities were. The girls seemed to have covered so much in the last two years, all without planning, just by following their interests and being stimulated by my strewing ideas.

I listed everything for the 6 key learning areas: English; maths; science; human society and its environment; creative and practical arts; and personal development, health and physical education.
I then wrote a long list of books I’d read out aloud to the girls:


Books Read Together 2011-2013
  • ·
    The Rose Round
  • ·
    The
    Crystal Snowstorm
  • ·
    The Angel and Dragon
  • ·
    Follow the Phoenix
  • ·
    Sun Faster, Sun Slower
  • ·
    The Rose and Crown by Meriol Trevor
  • ·
    The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier
  • ·
    When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr
  • ·
    The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • ·
    Pennies for Hitler
  • ·
    The Horse Who Bit a Bushranger
  • ·
    The Donkey Who  Carried the Wounded
  • ·
    The Dog Who Lived a Queen
  • ·
    The Goat Who Sailed the World
  • ·
    Hitler’s Daughter
  • ·
    The Camel Who Crossed Australia
  • ·
    Tom Appleby Convict Boy
  • ·
    A Rose for the Anzac Boys
  • ·
    A Waltz for Matilda by Jackie French
  • ·
    The Wheel on the Schoolby Meindert DeJong
  • ·
    When the Dikes Broke by Alta Halverson Seymour
  • ·
    The Switherby Pilgrims
  • ·
    Jamberoo Road by Eleanor Spence
  • ·
    Ballet Shoes
  • ·
    White Boots by Noel Streatfeild
  • ·
    The Penderwicks
  • ·
    The Penderwicks on Gardam Street
  • ·
    The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall
  • ·
    The Collected tales of Nurse Matilda by Christianna Brand
  • ·
    Milly Molly Mandy books by Joyce Lankester Brisley
  • ·
    Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
  • ·
    Heidi by Johanna Spyri
  • ·
    Heidi Grows up by Charles Tritten
  • ·
    Heidi’s Children by Charles Tritten
  • ·
    Anne of Green Gables
  • ·
    Anne of Avonlea
  • ·
    Anne of the Island
  • ·
    Anne of Windy Willows
  • ·
    Anne’s House of Dreams
  • ·
    Anne of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery
  • ·
    Emily Windsnap books by Liz Kessler
  • ·
    The Shakespeare Stealer
  • ·
    The Shakespeare Scribe
  • ·
    Shakespeare’s Spy by Gary Blackwood

The girls also read many, many books on their own but I didn’t keep records of these but mentioned them as a whole.


Then I compiled a list of computer skills:

Sophie and Gemma-Rose 2011-2013
 
Computer Skills
  • ·
    Set up an email account: writing and answering emails
  • ·
    Created blogs using Blogger, designing blogs, publishing posts, reading blogs, commenting on blogs
  • ·
    Computer science: drawing and animation using java script at the website Kahn Academy
  • ·
    Used Google search engine for when researching, visiting websites, downloading information, printing information
  • ·
    Learnt about computer game design using the website Gamestar Mechanic
  • ·
    Used Celtx software to write novels and scripts
  • ·
    Made animated videos using SAM
  • ·
    Used Word
  • ·
    Edited Word documents: fonts, images
  • ·
    Used Excel spreadsheets
  • ·
    Learnt how to download and edit photographs. Used photo-editing websites
  • ·
    Used Jigsaw-Lite software to make jigsaw puzzles
  • ·
    Scanned and printed documents

Once I had the learning activities listed, I moved onto student achievement and progress.

But I’ll write about that in Part 2.

I’ll finish this post with an interesting fact: Felicity my oldest child was the 62nd student in NSW to be registered as a homeschooler. Now there are over 12 000 registered students. Homeschooling is certainly growing!

PS: Some of the titles on my read aloud list (several of the Jackie French books) contained  language and themes I didn’t think were appropriate for my girls to hear. I edited these out as I read, and the stories weren’t affected. (They are good books regardless.) I don’t even think the girls realised that I was changing words as I read!


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Comments

  1. Reply

    Wow! You've read a lot and covered so much! It's very impressive that you did all this with no planning.

    It's good to see how you prepare for the BoS. Thank you for sharing.

    God bless, Sue:-)

  2. Reply

    Vicky,

    I know your methods are different in some ways to mine, but equally effective, so I appeciate your encouraging comment. You are kind! When everything is written down, we can see just how much children can learn when given the lead. A lot happened in that last 2 year period!

    God bless!

  3. Reply

    Thanks for sharing! Our system of review is twice a year, and we have to present portfolios which show progress in the different areas. I find I really enjoy the reviews because it makes me realize how much the kids have learned!

    1. Reply

      Wendy,

      Twice a year reviews! That must involve a lot of work on your part, though it sounds like you don't mind. Yes, it can be very satisfying and reassuring to see the progress our children are making. I am always amazed by just how much my girls have achieved in each of our two yearly registration periods. It's always very time consuming putting together the records for the AP because there is so much in my records book. I guess this job is not quite as big when the reviews are six monthly.

      It is interesting to hear about the homeschooling requirements in different places. Thank you for sharing yours!

  4. Reply

    Wow, This was interesting to read. I presumed that someone was doing something silly for us all to get homevisits again.
    Our AP says she needs to sign Brid off?? Not sure how she will do this but it will make an interesting post..
    Leanne

    1. Reply

      Leanne,

      I was disappointed we can no longer register by documentation. It seems a few people have spoilt the system for the majority of people who do conform to the rules.

      This was Charlotte's last registration visit too. Our AP didn't say anything about having to sign her off. She just said there will be a certificate in the post, and she won't need to come and see Charlotte again. Maybe I missed something. Please tell me if you find out more about Brid's 'signing off'! Looking forward to your post.

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