Homeschool Registration Visit Part 2: Evidence of Achievement and Progress


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.

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 Folders
 

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
If something looks remotely educational, I tell the girls to file it away in their folders.

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.
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End-of-Term Reports

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.


Outcomes

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.
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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…

records of:
–      the educational program covering all relevant curriculum requirements including an overview of the curriculum planned for the next period of registration?

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


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Comments

  1. Reply

    It does look very good, Sue. Very creative and organised. I think I need to be more organised in collecting work into a folder. Our children do a lot that doesn't get recorded.

    I'm looking forward to reading about the program. I've just changed ours to weekly, rather than termly, to make it more flexible and freeing. It will be good to see how you approach it.

    Thank you for sharing, Sue – this is helpful.

    God bless:-)

    1. Reply

      Vicky,

      I have just got into the habit of looking for things to put in the girls' folders. I regularly give the girls things to file away. Usually there is an easy way to record something they have been working on.

      I think maybe 'planning' is not quite the right word. I have made no plan look like a plan. Confusing? I'll explain in the next post!

  2. Reply

    This is so interesting, as here in Victoria we (so far) only have to register and we are given in a letter a set of key learning areas we're supposed to cover. I'm sure this will change in the future and I dread the thought of having to allow a stranger into our home in order to assess our learning.
    A question regarding your booklist from the previous post: do you buy or borrow books? Our local library is very good but naturally doesn't stock a lot of books that are desirable to Catholics so I'm curious to know what you do.

    P.S. My 3 year old just came and whispered to me "you're the bestest lady I've never seen!". Love it 🙂

    1. Reply

      Kelly,

      I wonder if there will eventually be a national system of homeschooling registration. The national curriculum could be the first step in that direction. I haven't heard anything about this so I am only speculating.

      I can see why you'd prefer not to have visits to your home. In some ways it is invasive. I have to admit though, in our 20 years of visits all the APs have been very nice and easy to work with. We've never had a problem. I have actually built up a good relationship with our current AP as she's been to see us a few times. The only problem is her contract with the BoS ends at the end of the year and she doesn't know if it will be renewed. We could face a different AP next time.

      We own practically all the books I listed in the previous post. I have been collecting children's books for a long time as I think they are a good investment. Some are ebooks which means they were cheaper to buy than paperback books. Some are secondhand books. I occasionally buy older hard-to-get secondhand books online. The older girls have a great ebook collection. I will have to share their list some time.

      Thank you for sharing your 3 year old's words. I can just imagine the smile that came to your face. Children say the most unexpected and beautiful things sometimes!

    2. Reply

      Ah yes, I can just picture your home library, I bet it has some real treasures!
      Which brings me to another question if you don't mind – any recommendations for a 7 year old girl reader who has been reading a variety of novels but it in between books at the moment? Much to my disappointment she has tried "Little house in the big woods" and has declared she "doesn't want to read any Laura books" 🙁

    3. Reply

      Kelly,

      I am going to ask the girls to list their favourite books that would be appropriate for a 7 year old. I hope they come up with something interesting!

    4. Reply

      Wonderful – thank you!

    • Anonymous
    • May 8, 2013
    Reply

    Sue, thanks for sharing! Our state in the USA does not require proof of what we do for homeschooling. However, my oldest will be officially a high schooler next year so I will need to make something for college applications. I really like the idea of taking pictures of things. However, I am hoping my son will write down the titles and authors of books he has read – just to get him writing. I have told him I want him to do one year of composition in high school and possibly take a writing class at the local branch campus. I had started a portfolio book of field trips we go on but haven't added anything recently. Maybe it could take the place of my writing daily homeschool comments in a notebook. I was writing down some notes each day but got a little burned out from that. Such good ideas on your blog! – Gina

    1. Reply

      Gina,

      I would love not having to provide proof our children are learning, though I guess, the records might come in handy one day. They are good to look back on.

      I hadn't thought about portfolios for college applications. So far none of my children have needed them. An extension of my folder idea might work if they ever did.

      I would love to see your field trip portfolios, but you don't have a homeschooling blog where you could share photos, do you? Would any of your children enjoy blogging? It's a fun way to do some writing and share with others. My girls love the design side of blogging too.

      Thank you for your kind words. It's always good to swap comments with you, Gina!

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