Thursday, June 08, 2006

Homeschooling update

Lots of things have been happening here lately, so I thought I'd better do a bit of a recap for my own benefit...

The new education act ammendments look like they'll be ratified soon and then it will be compulsory to register your homeschooling intentions. No application to homeschool is necessary at this point in time, but basically they want both parents' name and address and the full name and age of each child to be homeschooled, which means if (or perhaps it's really just a matter of when) the laws change and they start making people apply for the right to educate their children as they see fit, they'll have the details of the vast majority of home educators in Victoria...

Now, of course, we could always do what the vast majority of home educators in Queensland are doing and just not register at all. That would mean a steep fine for each child for each day they were seen to be "truant"... I mean, in all reality they cannot legally uphold this law as it breeches international personal rights laws, but for the average home educator to afford to take the state Government to court would be out of the question... So, it looks like we may be officially registering as home educators by the beginning of next year.

No one will have the right to come into our house uninvited, which is a good thing, but they may ask to review our "work" if they have grounds to believe we are failing to provide "regular and efficient education for the child's age level" - age level??? Now, right there you have the reason why MANY parents choose to home educate, so they can free their children of the abitrary expectations of "age appropriate academic development"...

This has me thinking I'd better keep some sort of logue on what the boys are up too... What a job!!! They do so much stuff each and every day that keeping track would be a full time job in and of itself...

Broadly speaking though...

Erik's fine motor skills, particularly with regard to writing and drawing have really taken off of late. He seems to have a very good eye for proportions, and has been drawing what he sees and replicating things in drawings with amazing accuracy for his age. He reminds me a lot of my brother with this.

He has also come out with some interesting questions of late. He wanted to know if ghosts were real and why people did or didn't believe in them. Also, he recently asked me what a good luck charm was and then told me that his Tiger was his good luck charm. He sounded out and spelled his first word by himself, it was "David". He also asked me a question about something, that I can't for the life of me remember, but after explaining it to him, I remember thinking that now he knew about something I was pretty sure other 6 year old wouldn't be learning in school and might not even think about...

Oh, we spent and evening discussing mammals, which was interesting too, and he and Luey were calling out all the animals they thought were mammals...

Luey has just decided in the past couple of weeks that it would be a good thing for him to learn to write. and so he is now playing Erik's game of "How do you spell..?" - Erik is actually teaching him how to write letters, which is very cool!

It's funny, because we follow an unschooling philosophy, I have never thought my boys would spend a lot of time sitting at a table writing and drawing etc. Not that I didn't want them to, just that I have always envisaged most of their learning as happening "on the go". Most of it doesn't happen like that, but this Autumn and (now) Winter, they've come to spend a lot of time at our kitchen table with their textas and paper, writing stuff out, and making books and booklets. They can sit like that for hours. Also playing a lot of board games - I would not have imagined this happening two years ago.

Now I can that bookwork will happen if they're left to their own accord. Upon reflecting on this, I can see that that would make sense, both Dave and I love reading and writing (both of us being writers)... I hate to admit it, but it's a bit of relief to see think "conventional" approach to learning rearing its head in our house. I know I shouldn't worry about it, but this seems to legitimise their home *education* for me...

And, just to finish off... I've been head hunted to write an article for Education Choices Magasine, and it looks like it will actually end up being a two parter (so an article spread over two issues)! I'm thrilled to bits to be able to use my writing skills and also talk about the benefits of home educating!

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