NSW Homeschool Review: Do I need to provide 'proof of learning'?
by April Jermey
responding to a question asked in The Educating Parents Homeschooling and Unschooling
What you need to provide the department is evidence that you understand the curriculum, how you will present learning opportunities to your child, and how you will record and track learning progress.
Ultimately they can't demand to see your child 'passing' and 'progressing', because otherwise the education department would have to expect the same of every teacher for every student in mainstream education. Accountability they simply can't produce. "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink." the same can be said for a teacher with their students. All the department can demand is that you do your best to present your child with learning opportunities, they can't demand that your child produces 'results' that line up with anything.
The advantage that home educators have over a teacher presiding over 25+ students is that we have time on our side, we have less students, and more time with them. We can see our children learning every single day, with every thing they do.
You need to have an understanding of the key learning areas in the curriculum so that you don't fail to present learning opportunities in all key learning areas. Although frankly this isn't likely, there is so much cross over with life learning. Eg baking can cover science, maths, health, and home economics.
You're not home educating for the department, you're home educating for your family, be accountable to your child first and foremost. Keep records not just because they'll gain you the exemption you need, but because your child needs to see it too. My kids love looking through our home ed records (essentially a photo album with notes), they love reminiscing about the things they've done with photos to prompt their memories. As they get older and have a better understanding of the learning they are doing, they can see how I have documented that learning.
The AP (approved person, NESA officer in NSW) at our first registration visit last month said I was doing far more than necessary, and I told her I don't do it for her, I do it for the kids, I'm accountable to them. She was a bit taken aback by that, but she understood.
You can still provide 'proof of learning' while unschooling. Most departments will not look kindly upon the term unschooling, so it's best to say that you're following an interest led approach. Essentially you just keep good records of everything you d o, and apply it to the curriculum. It's pretty easy to cover everything with life learning, you just have to think about it from an educator's perspective, and change the language you use to make it fit. I've just done my fourth natural learning plan, and have had no issues each time (first three in SA, fourth in NSW).
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