The Authorised Person (AP) came to visit. She looked at my records of learning activities and could see the girls had covered a lot of areas in the past two years. But how did she know they had actually learnt anything? I needed to show her some evidence of their achievements and progress.
I don’t require my girls to fill in worksheets or write essays or book reviews, or in fact do any set work just for the sake of having something to show
for their efforts. So what could I show the AP to prove our children are achieving and learning?
I used four main methods: folders, end-of the-term reports, outcomes, and a display of arts and crafts.
Each of the girls has a large folder, and during the year, we file away anything that could be described as educational such as:
- Photos of any projects, experiments, crafts…
- Samples of artworks
- Photocopies of covers of books they have read: fiction, non-fiction including maths
- Photocopies of DVD cases of movies, mini-series, Shakespeare plays, operettas, musicals, ballets… they have watched
- Photocopies of CD cases of music they have listened to.
- Any maths problems they have worked on
- Pictures of anything we have talked about
- Maps of places mentioned in our reading
- Copies of poems that have enjoyed
- Copies of any paintings they have looked at and liked
- Copies of letters they have written to friends
- Copies of blog posts they have written
- Photos of outings we have been on
- Tickets and other souvenirs from such places as the zoo
- Copies of drawings and animations made with java script
- Certificates: music exams, sports carnival, swimming
- etc etc
I don’t think quantity matters as much as progress: for example, a few writing samples showing improvement over time is enough. The folders are evidence of both achievement and learning activities.
The girls like putting their folders together. It’s a bit like keeping a journal or a scrapbook. It only takes a couple of minutes to add something, so this form of record keeping isn’t a huge chore.
I used to write a report at the end of each term for each child. Now the girls write their own. I collected all these reports together for the AP to see. They seem to have passed her inspection.
The BoS has put together a set of outcomes for each of the 6 key learning area: outcomes a child should have achieved by the time they reach the end of a particular stage of school.
Using outcomes is something new for me. I’ve always ignored them before, but this time, I thought I’d give them a go.
I found the outcomes for years K-6 on the BoS website, and printed them off. I couldn’t find any for the high school years but I probably just looked in the wrong place.
I know some people refer to these outcomes at regular intervals, dating them as each outcome is met by a child. I hadn’t done this. As I said, I’d never looked at them before. I printed the outcomes off at the last minute and asked Andy to help me quickly go through them in one go. I read each outcome in turn, Andy turned it into plain English for me (he’s very familiar with them because he is a teacher), and then asked me for an example to show the girls had achieved it. I then ticked the outcome and moved onto the next one. I ticked all but a couple of the outcomes for Sophie and Gemma-Rose for the stages they are being registered for. This indicates they are well ahead of their school peers. The whole assessment procedure took me about half an hour. Even without Andy’s help, I could have managed to work my way through them.
Display of Arts and Crafts
I remember one AP, a few years ago, asking me if my children did any art and craft. The girls were send off during the visit to look for things they’d made. This time I was all prepared. We set up an impressive display of sketchbooks, crochet, knitting, sewing, painted wooden boxes… and we made sure the AP looked at every single item.
So… for evidence of progress and achievement, I gathered together
- the girls’ folders,
- their end-of term reports,
- the outcomes pages, and
- the arts and crafts.
Onto the next requirement…
That sounds a bit forbidding, doesn’t it? All this means is… what do I plan to teach the girls in the next registration period? How can an unschooler plan ahead? I will show you what I wrote for that in my next post!
By the way, I heard that the outcomes are changing, probably when the new national curriculum comes into effect. In the future the BoS will be assessing skills achieved. I don’t know how this differs from outcomes. I will have to ask Andy. Sometimes having a school teacher for a husband is very handy!
And if you missed Part 1, and want to read about recording learning activities, here’s the link: Homeschool Registration Visit Part 1: Learning Activities