Yes it’s that time of year again…sigh.
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).
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.
First my report…the biggest headache
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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*).
I also wrote a background outline for each boy – that they’ve never been to school, what their strengths, weaknesses and interests are.
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.
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”) .
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”.