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HOMESCHOOL REPORTING


Language Studies

One of the most common questions I see in the homeschool community is “How do I report to the education department”.


EDUCATION DEPARTMENT STYLE REPORTING

Now I’m just going to plug this link here:


This is a resource from the education department of Western Australia and also from the Homeschool Education Western Australia website. It’s wise to know this information however don’t feel overwhelmed by this as the reporting side from a homeschool parents perspective is a fairly straight forward exercise. Both of those websites are helpful for those that wish to follow the Education Departments curriculum. Every state is different so be sure to research on your states homeschool website. If you are not following the curriculum and taking your own path there are many alternative homeschooling methods out there you just need to choose what fits your childrens learning style the best. Styles of homeschooling is a post for another day. For now lets focus on reporting for those families that aren’t following the education departments curriculum.


CAPTURING YOUR CHILDS LEARNING

The best way I have found to capture your child’s learning is to have an online calendar of some sort with an event named LEARNING that occurs daily and you just add to it and delete when you have added it to your report/summary or using your notes section on your phone and writing down immediately what has been learned or what interests have popped up. Interests can work into your planning phase, capturing these interests gives you ideas to come up with at a later stage. If your an old school journal style person then a diary or notebook is sufficient.


Taking photos is another way of capturing the moment and then at the end of the day adding this into your diary/online calendar. When I first began homeschooling I created a Facebook group for my immediate family to view only. Each day I would take photos of the learning achieved and then create a detailed description and then linking the subject to each description. Most of the time a simple activity covered numerous subjects. This was a great way to not only show my family what the kids were learning but to also reassure me that I was doing enough. Most days we covered a lot without even trying. Child led learning is truly a remarkable way to watch the children learn in a natural space and it allowed me to spend time just capturing, researching and planning for the next day, week, month or year. When we created the Facebook Group we were in the deschooling phase of our homeschool journey, this was roughly a 6 month period where we allowed ourselves the time to be unconditioned from the school environment. We found our groove and no longer need that reassurance of the Facebook group. A blog on deschooling is for another day.


I also have set up notebooks for each subject, I get the earth brown notebook from Coles with a spiral bind. I label each one, our subjects are a little different as we follow a Charlotte Mason learning style so we have:


Nature Study

Math

Writing - which covers Copywriting/Written Narration/Dictation This book covers most subjects as we read books that relate to all subjects of the Ed Departments Curriculum. Example Geography we are reading about Marco Polo’s adventures and also doing Map work which covers Geography.

History - which covers Art & Music Appreciation as well


I then provide these books for each subject, even if the child has written on another piece of paper a song lyric or a drawing from our morning walk I paste it into the relevant workbook. I’m normally not very diligent in this department and have a pile of papers to paste but that’s ok it will get done. At the end of the year this process makes it easy to just hand over the work collected as their evidence. Honestly when you show that you are confident you have a plan and you are capturing your Childs work it does not matter what pace you are going and what method of learning you are following. Most of the time your meeting will become a cup of a tea and a friendly chat of support.



FIRST REPORT - THE PLAN


After you have registered your moderator will book your first meeting, usually within the first 3 months of your homeschooling. Alot of parents get overwhelmed by this meeting but if you have a supportive moderator you should find it supportive and a relief when it’s over. This meeting is about what your children been doing in the last 3 months and what is your plan. If you are following a curriculum then this part will be easy just hand it over and show any evidence if you have already started. For those that haven’t found a curriculum that suits your family you may still be in the deschooling phase where you have no plan or have decided to take an unschooling approach or an eclectic approach where you will be following lots of different methods at any given time. If you don’t have a detailed curriculum I would recommend creating the foundations of your report/summary that you will submit at the end of every year to your moderator.


You can log onto the education departments website and look up the curriculum subject headers for your child’s grade. Use these as your headers in an excel spreadsheet or a large notebook. You can start to fill in underneath the subjects what you plan to do, whether this gets achieved or not does not matter as long as you have a plan. I can also assure you the plan will change constantly as you begin to do further research so it’s fine that it’s not achieved. For example History might be a book from a Booklist that was recommended that you may read aloud to your child once a day, or planned excursions to museums etc, If you have an idea in your mind then this is part of your plan. Ask your children what would you like to learn about history, is there something in your past that you wish to learn about, a personal timeline is also a great idea. We have created a timeline of the history books that we have read and the people in them. So you could write personal timeline, family tree etc. You can complete this for each subject. Have some resources with you that are in line with your plan so books etc that you plan to read and also the report excel or manual notebook in front of you of where you are going to capture the learning.


Because I do follow a fairly structured style of learning (Charlotte Mason) I will create an even for each subject in my online calendar and add the interests and ideas, online web pages or books to read from into the calendar event. This makes my life easy so when we get into the nitty gritty I‘m all ready to go. We just click on the web link and begin Or grab the book and start reading. I’m a very planned structured kind of person however if it doesn’t flow that day or the children are bored out of their brains I usually toss it and move on. Our structure and our daily flow is for another post. This meeting is not a test, your children do not even have to be present. This is a simple overview of what they have to retrieve from you on a yearly basis and a basic meet and greet. They will not ask your child to read to them I promise.


Your plan will also start to grow and before you know it there will be loads of interests written and you will think we are never going to get any of these done and without even trying you will notice every year your summary will show so much that you all have achieved.


YEARLY REPORTING - THE SUMMARY

Some people find this a huge task to report to the education department, if you continue to plug at this report during the year it won’t be. So under your subject headers I have these sub headers:


HISTORY

BOOKS I HAVE READ or READ ALOUD TO

ONLINE PROGRAMS or WORK BOOKS

OBSERVATIONS & DISCUSSIONS

WRITTEN NARRATION - This is how we write and comprehend it’s a Charlotte Mason style of writing. So the child will read a chapter and then narrate in their writing. Or a paragraph might be enough for those just starting out. Young ones can verbally narrate.

EXCURSIONS

ART/MUSIC HISTORY - This will be a study on a famous musician or artist whether we have just observed their paintings or tried to paint our own replica or read a story about them etc. If you learn a lot about Art or Music History then this could be it’s own subject header.


So each week I view my notes from my online calendar and add them into this summary/report. I like to call it a summary of our learning that I’m happy to share with the moderator to help them fulfill their requirements. I don’t see it as a report I need to fill out for the education department as I believe completing this summary is for my children and myself to see what we achieve each year. It gives us hope and momentum and a sense of achievement without doing one single test.


I hope this blog has helped you in your reporting journey remember it’s not a report for them it’s a summary and plan for you.
















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