My Unschoolers’ End-of-the-Year Reports


My husband Andy is a primary school teacher, and twice a year he has to write school reports for all his children. For a couple of weeks, we see nothing of him except his back, as he sits in front of his computer, trying to condense six months’ learning and progress for each child into a limited number of characters.

“Writing my end-of-the-year school reports is easy,” I say to Andy. “My students write their own.”


“I wish my children could write their own too,” says Andy, with a sigh. His students can’t but mine can. Yes, I have the easier job.

Progress reports? I wouldn’t bother recording anything if it wasn’t required for homeschooling registration purposes. Why bother dissecting everything when all I have to do is observe my children? But records have to be kept, though I don’t necessarily have to write them. I let my girls write their own reports. They are the ones who know what they have learnt and where they want to go. It seems the sensible unschooly thing to do. It’s also interesting to read what they’ve written.

I would probably write totally different reports if I did it myself. I would mention every bit of progress and achievement possible. But I do like what the girls have come up with. Anyway, all the things the girls worked on but forgot to mention, are still recorded in my records book, which can be thought of as an additional learning report.

Here’s Sophie’s report:

Term Report: Term 4 2012

  • Writing. I wrote a novel for NaNoWriMo. It was 50 thousand words long.
  • Running. I managed to run for a whole six kilometres without stopping and I have gotten faster.
  • Fractions and Multiplications. I have learnt how to add, subtract and multiply fractions. I learnt a nice simple way of doing Multiplications and I even sometimes got the answer to a question before Mum did.
  • Piano. I have started the fourth mini step book. I have also learnt some extra pieces.
  • Baking. I have baked many muffins and scones.
  • Reading aloud. I have been reading the Bible readings of the day, and a book to Mum.
  • Art. I have drawn more lifelike pictures.
  • Craft. I have made a salt dough wall decoration. I baked, painted and varnished it. I have helped make some fancy dress party costumes.
  • History of Australia. I learnt about convicts, aboriginal people and animals. I also went to the National Museum of Australia and saw clothes, windmills and things like that.
  • The Texas Panhandle. I have learnt about how people lived in dug outs and used cow chips to keep their fires going.
  • Solar System. I have learnt about the planets and how they all circle the sun. I have learnt about how there is more than one galaxy. We found a movie on some people going to visit the planets and we started watching
    it.
  • Pulleys and levers. We learnt how the more pulleys you have the easier to pull something up. We went to a science museum and did some experiments. We also went and played some Gizmos on it.
  • Artists. I studied Renoir’s and Monet’s paintings. I took a liking to Renoir’s painting of Two Girls at a Piano. I also liked Monet’s Water Lilies.
  • Blogging. I have written more blog posts.
  • Pictures. I have learnt to edit pictures on the computer and I have put some on my blog.
  • Singing. Imogen taught me how to sing better. I have also sung hymns at mass and songs from Gilbert and Sullivan plays.
  • Computer science. I have learnt about javascript and I have learnt how to draw pictures on the computer using it.
  • Animation. I made an animated movie and added sound.
Not bad for a girl who thought she wasn’t doing much ‘school work’.
.
And here’s Gemma-Rose’s report:

Term report: Term 4 2012
 
The things I have improved on.

  • Multiplication.
  • Swimming breast stroke kick
  • Piano.
  • Cooking I’ve made very good muffins and scones.
  • Writing and hand writing I have written lots of letters and a novel.
  • Reading I have read the Bible reading of the day, and some books to Mum
  • History   about the Texas panhandle and how they all help each other out and they sleep in each other’s houses.
  • Machines seesaws and pulleys
  • Running
  • National Museum  of Australia and Questacon
  • Computer science drawing pictures
 Things I have to improve on

timing for piano
hand writing
running
writing
reading


Things I want to do

I want Mum to read to us next term
piano
running
cooking
swimming

Well done Gemma-Rose!

Don’t you love that last sentence?  I can just imagine the smile on Gemma-Rose’s face as she typed it.

So Sophie’s and Gemma-Rose’s end-of-the-year reports have been written. (Charlotte still has hers to do.) I printed off a copy of each and they have been filed in their progress folders.

Well done, girls!

Is that the end of learning for the year? “Learning never stops, Mum!” No, but I guess we will be concentrating on some different things over the next few weeks: Advent and Christmas activities, editing our NaNoWriMo novels, reading that imaginary stack of ebooks, hopefully going on a mini holiday to the beach, summer school for Imogen… I am sure we will have a very busy summer holiday.

So learning will continue but record keeping can come to an end. I close my records book and toss it into the basket. That’s all for another year. Wow! That feels so good.


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Comments

  1. Reply

    Sue, my type-A personality used to turn me off to the unschooling approach. I have to tell you that it is watching YOUR approach that has helped me not only appreciate it but, in fact, incorporate a bit of it into my own approach. Thanks for sharing all you do about your homeschooling!

    1. Reply

      Stephanie,

      I wasn't sure about unschooling at one point either. But I think I had a few misconceptions about what unschooling is. Although my older girls are happy to go off and direct their own learning, the younger ones still like me to get involved and learn with them. (They do have a lot of things they work on by themselves too.) I used to think that a parent had to back off and leave their children to it, and not have any input. I didn't like this idea. But maybe unschooling isn't about standing back and doing nothing. I wonder if similar thoughts turned you off unschooling, or whether it was something different.

      It is so kind of you to share my posts. Thank you! I appreciate your comment too.

    2. Reply

      Sue, to be honest, it was probably my total lack of knowledge about what true unschooling is. When I used to think "unschooling," I thought complete lack of structure. I know that I don't know a lot about it. Perhaps you could do a post on what true "unschooling" is? I would love to hear more about it! : )

    3. Reply

      Stephanie,

      Maybe unschooling is more active than passive, rather than structured or unstructured. I know I never make plans but I do look for ideas that might interest the girls, and I try to pick up on their own ideas. It does take a lot of work to ensure the girls are surrounded by a rich and varied world where learning will flourish. I never realised unschooling could be so involving.

      A post on true unschooling? Maybe my ideas on what it is won't match other peoples'!! But I could have a go, explaining what it means to our family. I'll think about it. Thank you for your suggestion.

      God bless!

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