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Reporting and Program Writing

24 Jan

Yes it’s that time of year again…sigh.

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I enjoy planning the year ahead but I don’t really like having to write it with the bureaucracy in mind. Ah but there’s no point in complaining. It must be done and so it has been.

This year I’m registering both of my boys. Technically Brayden should have been registered last year…or was it the year before…ahhh but time got away from me and in the end I decided that I liked having a little practise time up my sleeve. After two year of “practising” writing plans and journals for both boys I was confident that I could do it with ease (despite a little grumbling…okay, I can not tell a lie…there was a lot of grumbling).

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All that remains to do is taking the paperwork to a Justice of Peace to sign and then popping it all in the mail.

Phew! Complete for another year…unless they have a concern and want further clarification. Of course I probably won’t receive any feedback about my paperwork until July or August (the months they’ve previously processed my January paperwork in). I kid you not!

For those who are curious about HEU report writing and planning I’ll give you an overview of what I did. Bear in mind that I do WELL beyond what they expect because I’m just verbose, plus I don’t like their suggested reporting format.

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First my report…the biggest headache

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I made a checklist of the goals I had for each subject and used check marks to indicate whether I felt we had achieved the goal, were still working on it or hadn’t yet achieved it (usually because we hadn’t studied it yet). I also added a comment box for any explanations I wanted to add.

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A sample of the checklist

I also added a cd that contained my photographic journals so they can see what we had covered and look at photos of our year.

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I added Language samples. I chose to report on writing this year as it was Ethan’s main goal. I added stacks more than the required two samples and instead of completing their checklist (which to me seems to evaluate my effectiveness as a teacher rather than report on the progress of my child) I wrote a blurb explaining the progress that the samples show.

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One of the many sample of writing I included

I did the same for my Math samples. I chose to report on our Fraction unit and since finding comparable samples is like trying to find similarities between apples and oranges, I added a large selection of samples that show the extent of the learning that occurred.

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In the “suggested” reporting style that the HEU encourages you to use, you are suppose to report on three subjects – Language, Mathematics and one subject of your choice and give two comparative samples for each. I chose Technology as our third subject but only included one sample (the beauty of doing things my own way). It was a spectacular Powerpoint Presentation that Ethan created as a Geography quiz for his friends. It was truly impressive so I didn’t feel it needed anything to compare it to.

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As Brayden hasn’t been registered yet his first report won’t be due until the beginning of next year thankfully. Having to do two of them next year makes my head spin just thinking about it. I’m going to have to be organised and start doing small bits during the year like I do with my programming.

My programming is always more pleasant to do…probably because I don’t leave it until the last minute. By half way through the year I start writing small bits here and there so by the time it comes to December and January most of the hard work has been done. By focusing on one topic/subject at a time I can also mull things over, take my time wording things and only have to tweak it a little to make changes.

In my program I’ve included a little introduction that explains why we’ve chosen homeschooling, what sort of homeschool philosophies we follow and of course I slipped a shameless paragraph in there listing Hubby’s and my teaching qualifications as an insurance policy.  (Hey, all those years of expensive education should be useful for something! *evil grin*).

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I also wrote a background outline for each boy – that they’ve never been to school, what their strengths, weaknesses and interests are.

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I described our daily routine and how I plan out our week in my weekly planner. Some people include a timetable but I can’t function under the strangle hold of a timetable.

I also added a paragraph about how I collect reporting data and create my photo journals.

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I explained how our boys are socialised naturally and listed their many social opportunities – playdates, family life, neighbourhood children, sports and hobby groups, field trips with other homeschoolers, participation in holiday programs etc.

Because I’m registering both boys this year, and not creating and printing out two separate but virtually identical programs (they might throw a fit over this…I’ll keep you informed) I’ve included a blurb to explain how I cater for two different students, reassuring them that they do Math and Language at their own skill level, and how I can use the same curriculum and topics in other areas. Hopefully this will work otherwise I’ll find myself doing two separate programs each year which would be ridiculous.

The main part of our learning program, of course, is our subject plans. I create a table for ours – listing our teaching plans, the resources we have available to use and our specific goals (many of which I select straight from “Home Learning Year by Year” and “What Your Child Needs to Know When”) .

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Others write a lot less than I do and are accepted for registration so it’s clearly not a matter of words. I think the process is mostly about showing that you have put a lot of thought into your plans. Every year I “try” to write less in my paperwork and I’m slowly…very slowly…getting better at it. Or perhaps I’m just getting tired of writing them. Hehehe.  But my plans are still a LOT more than you have to write so please don’t panic at the sight of them.  I’ve seen approved programs that are 5 or 6 pages in length.   Obviously I have no idea how to be concise which you might have noticed from my of my posts…including this one!

Okay, since I KNOW you’ve been trying to enlarge the size of my images so you can see exactly what I’ve written in my planning….(Yes, you with the magnifying glasses. You can pop them away now.)…I’ve uploaded my registration paperwork so you can download, both the background information AND my actual program, to get an idea of the kinds of things you could include in your own.

Since all my readers have now abandoned this post to download my registration paperwork, I’m probably talking to myself now.  So I might as well sign off.

Happy planning and registering…okay…happy is not the word…try “grin and bear it”.

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12 Comments

Posted by on January 24, 2011 in Planning and Registration

 

12 responses to “Reporting and Program Writing

  1. Vanessa

    January 24, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    Ha ha, I stayed to the end! I’ll save the downloading for another day 🙂

    I’m impressed by your program and report style. You’re a lovely person sharing it all, to help people new to the process.

    I’m sure some of your forms will help me … I am having difficulty condensing the big ideas and numerous resources into something coherent and concise (and I’m also an ex teacher, so I’m used to and actually enjoy producing verbose, lengthy programs).

    Thanks for your candid post!

     
  2. Kerrie

    January 25, 2011 at 8:01 am

    How well you know your readers… if only I read to the end woudl of saved me enlarging the pages trying to read 😉

    Thanks again Tracey for all the effort you put into this wealth of information

     
  3. Bernadette

    January 25, 2011 at 9:40 am

    LOL 🙂 I stayed to the end also, but the mouse was hovering impatiently of the link 🙂

    off to read your handiwork now….. if i can keep my eyes open! have not long returned from the airport for DH’s flight back to work, he insists on being at the airport 1.5 hrs early which requires a 3am! wake up call!

    ZZZZzzzzzzz…. i’m awake i’awake 😉
    Bernadette & Crew

     
  4. Tracey

    January 25, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Oh I didn’t want to be responsible for all of that eyesight strain.

    3am Bernadette!!! Does such an hour exist??

     
  5. April

    January 25, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    Thanks so much for this post Tracey. I recently submitted my son’s report and 2010 program to the HEU. I keep the in depth plan to myself and only submit the bare minimum. This is my first submission of a report so it will be interesting to see if I get contacted for more information. I can’t believe you have waited 6 months for a response from the HEU… Your plan is fabulous and thanks for letting me look at it. April 🙂

     
  6. Tracey

    January 25, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    Oh yes, the past two years I’ve waited around the 6 month mark to hear from them. I think it was quicker on the first one because it was just the registration with no reporting. Gosh, could be super long this time with TWO registrations and a report. Imagine what it will be like when I’m reporting on them both. It’s comical and yet one of the HEU staff commented on a friend of mine’s “time management”. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Hehehehe.

     
  7. Bernadette

    January 25, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    Great ideas as always, i can’t imagine you ever have worries about them rejecting it 🙂 i bet they probably pass on your ideas to others in their “suggestions”
    and yes unfortunately there is such an hour! every 4 weeks i get to see the sunrise over the Perth airport getting there at 4:00am and not leaving til 5:45am, as the children HAVE to see the plane take off 😉 If we buy this block we’ve been looking at, i might get to find out if an earlier time exists!!

    Bernadette and crew 🙂

     
  8. Joanne Trewick

    January 25, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    Hi Tracey.

    I found your blog via aussie homeschool, well done on your excellent presentation, I wouldn’t even begin to know how to present something so professional.

    My first submnission to the HEU for my 4 school age children, left last week. I have yet to see whether they will approve it or not. There was a lot of work in outlining a program for years 3,5,6 and 8…and I’m not sure how they will feel about so much of our work being done together, especially for the highschool child.

    Have you ever thought about doing paid consultancy for other HSers who may lack the technical expertise to submit such high quality submissions? Just a thought.

    Warmly,
    Joanne

     
  9. Tracey

    January 25, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    OH I couldn’t even begin to imagine how much work would be in outlining a program for four children. Eeek! My head is spinning. I bet I would quickly learn to be more concise in my writing!! Hehehe.

    No I hadn’t considered paid consultancy. I’m more than happy to help people with their programs without being paid. I’ve already helped quite a few people with their paperwork. I don’t type them up for them as I think the process is important for them to think through themselves, but I often give ideas about what to include, help with brainstorming ideas or look at denied programs and see where changes could be made.

    And I love looking at the plans that other people write to see how I can condense mine down further. If you can believe it my very first submission was a centimetre thick. Yep you read that correctly. So I’ve improved stacks this year. Hehehe.

     
  10. April

    March 28, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    Hi Tracey. Have you received any feedback from the HEU? I was keen to know if they accepted a ‘joint’ learning program for your boys. In the future, when my little girl is registered, it would be practical to use the approach you have. (individual maths and English and then combining the rest) Just thinking… April 🙂 p.s. I submitted a report and planning for my son at the beginning of January, still no response…

     
  11. Tracey

    March 28, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    No news yet. In fact if it had arrived this early I’m sure I would have keel over with amazement. I usually don’t hear back from them until the second half of the year.

    I’m hoping they accept my joint plan too. I have a friend who does it a similar way so I’m hoping it’ll pass. Fingers crossed and holding my breath.

     
  12. Tracey

    May 9, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    Forgot to tell you April, Brayden’s section of the joint learning program was accepted so I’m assuming it will be just fine for Ethan’s too.
    They STILL haven’t processed Ethan’s stuff yet. I’m betting it’ll be around July at a guess. I got Brayden’s approval late in April – a mere three months.
    Ridiculous, isn’t it?!

     

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