Welcome to The Educating Parent Beverley Paine's archive of articles about homeschooling and unschooling written over a period of 30 plus years

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Introduction to
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Sample Homeschool Learning Programs

Paine Family Homeschool Curriculum, 1997

© Beverley Paine, 1997
(this learning program first published in Getting Started with Homeschooling Practical Considerations)

When we began homeschooling we sat down and gave thought over a two week period to what education means for us as individuals and as parents. This formed the foundation of two decades of home education experience. When I felt unsure about continuing to homeschool my children I would pull out our homeschooling folder and read our philosophy, goals and aims. Because we put so much thought and effort into creating this document in the first place we didn't find it necessary to change any aspect of it during these periodical reviews.

Our curriculum outline was kept in a folder with a copy of the philosophy, goals and overview statements. This learning program covers a period of one year, and was recorded for the purposes of obtaining registration, as well a a permanent record of the family’s approach to education.

The learning program was supported by a collection of learning plans in individual topic or skill-based areas, developed as the year progressed.

Program Outline - Roger

Roger will complete selected studies in the ‘8 Plus’ mathematics text, with additional practical work based on real life situations given. Work covered will be in the areas of fractions, decimals, probability, calculators, geometry, percentage, measurement, algebra, including numbers.

Assessment will be by completion of tests in the text, and reference to Maths
Curriculum Guidelines. Upon satisfactory completion of this text, he will progress to using ‘Business and Social Mathematics’ text, focussing on
statistics, networks, spreadsheet computing, earning and spending, and
investment and borrowing.

In addition, Roger will be involved in planning, designing and building renovations to our house, including kitchen cupboards; involving completing scaled drawings and calculation of materials required for the construction and probable cost.

Roger will continue to manage his own finances, preparing a personal budget using the computer, and opening a bank account.

To supplement his own writing and reading work, Roger will complete selected lessons in "Basic Reading Skills" according to need, and participate in an individualised spelling program. He will be encouraged to read fiction, with an emphasis on discussions relating to intent of author, personal response, bias and style, and will participate in shared family reading sessions. He will be encouraged to critically read a variety of material, particularly newspapers, journals and magazines of his own choice, and to identify bias, and distinguish between fact and opinion.

Roger will become a skilled user of information sources such as the library,
encyclopaedias, thesaurus, dictionaries, atlases and other maps. Roger will
keep a personal journal, and also be required to make entries in the excursion scrap book as appropriate.

There will be a focus on developing telephone skills, including answering and making all types of calls, emergency calls, information accessing (consumer, information, businesses, operator), and using the White and Yellow Pages.
Roger will participate in a range of science, art and craft activities using a range of materials, resources and equipment, both individually, with siblings and small groups of children. Emphasis will be placed on themes arising from daily life and individual interests, with introduced activities building on interests. Continuing family interests in the environment, focussing on conservation, Trees for Life, gardening and permaculture, will be featured.

He will continue to use the computer and television in educational ways, to
broaden his knowledge and understanding about the world, in all curriculum areas. He will be encouraged to watch media programs critically.

Roger will focus and complete his studies in Personal Computer Repairs
through International Correspondence Schools. In addition, he will be encourage to pursue his interest in programming using Basic, and to explore the computer as a tool for learning.

Responsibility for personal hygiene, fitness, health, safety and nutrition will be encouraged through daily practice and emphasis on healthy practices. Maintenance and selection of personal items such as clothing shall be encouraged, including basic sewing skills, laundry and shoe care.

Roger will be involved in organising and preparing nutritionally balanced meals, including food and household budgeting, shopping and kitchen safety. In addition, attention will be given to staying safe in the community, focussing (mainly through discussion and media) on issues relating to peer pressures to conform, unwanted attention, invasion of privacy, safety in the home and community, and understanding of issues relating to substance abuse.

Roger will be increasingly involved in participating in voluntary and paid work situations, including tuition in work place health and safety conditions, both in the home and community, with adult supervision and guidance.

Program Outline - Thomas

Emphasis will be placed on learning to read, with daily reading practice. Weekly trips to the library will supplement his collection of books. The focus
will be on enjoyment of reading as a pleasurable past-time, and an understanding of, and personal response to, the text. A variety of levels of
text will be accessed, as well as different types (for different purposes).

Thomas will be required to read aloud daily, with progression based on personal comfort and confidence levels. In addition to fiction he will be required to make sense of writing in practical and stress free situations. He will participate in look, read, say, cover, write and check spelling lists based on a phonetic approach to spelling, commonly used words, and from his own writing. He will be required to regularly complete worksheets designed to give him practice and confidence in reading, writing and spelling. With help, Thomas will write in a journal daily, and will be encouraged to write stories and captions. He will be encouraged to record data and information in a variety of ways, and to display his work.

Thomas will continue to work through the Mathematics Curriculum Guide lines using the Modules and other texts as references, completing exercises in areas where he needs reinforcement. Use of division, fractions and decimals will be shown and practiced. Explanation and use of calculator functions will be shown. Practice in numerical skills will be facilitated by use of math based games and activities, including the computer. Practice in measurement and spatial maths will be focussed on by introducing practical activities, with recording encouraged. Graphing will be introduced, and related to other areas of learning (especially science and geography). Thomas will continue to update and maintain his bank account.

He will participate in a range of science, art and craft activities using a range of materials, resources and equipment, both with siblings, on his own, and with small groups of children. Emphasis will be on interest related activities, with some activities introduced to further develop his abilities, knowledge and understandings in all curriculum areas. Continuing interests in the environment, focussing on gardening and permaculture, conservation, and Trees for Life will be featured. In the area of arts and crafts, technological skills and knowledge will be encouraged, although aesthetic appreciation and critically appraising his own, and others’, products will continue to play an important role.

Responsibility for personal hygiene, fitness, health, safety and nutrition will be encouraged through daily practice and emphasis on healthy practices. Maintenance and selection of personal items such as clothing shall be encouraged, including basic sewing skills, laundry and shoe care. Thomas will be involved in the preparation of simple meals and housekeeping chores, including safe practices in the home. In addition, attention will be given to staying safe in the community, focussing (mainly through discussion) on issues relating to peer pressures to conform, unwanted attention, invasion of privacy, safety in the home and community, and understanding of issues relating to substance abuse.

During our holidays Thomas will be exposed to activities and learning in the area of South Australian history, including early European exploration and settlement and Aboriginal culture. This topic will be approached as a general theme, with related activities supporting learning during our trip, before and after. How people use environmental resources, both historically and at present, will be investigated.

Record Keeping

  • Daily recording in personal journals by everyone.
  • Excursion scrap book.
  • Recording in specific subject or project books, including the use of some
    commercial workbooks.
  • Individual children's scrap books for all notable work produced.
  • Photographic journal of outings and events of educational and social
    natures.
  • Audio and video recording where appropriate.
  • Collection of calendar pages.
  • Collection of participation and meritorious certificates.
  • Collection of television guide pages with educational (and other) programs watched highlighted.

Evaluation

  • Use of commercial tests, individualised tests.
  • Reference to checklists in subject areas, and to National Curriculum
    Guidelines (and former Attainment Levels literature), educational literature and curriculum materials and texts.
  • Continuous reflection (by parent and children) of abilities, attitudes, feelings, preferences, goals, learnings, processes.

Resources

  • Regular use of local Library and Noarlunga Library, access to Teacher
  • Resource Library at local school (curriculum guidelines and texts), use of
    own reference and fiction library.
  • Regular use of educational institutions such as Museums, Galleries,
    Theatres, National and Conservation Parks, etc.
  • Use of commercial texts and educational computer software in subject
    areas.
  • Access to community activity programs, including those specifically for
    children, e.g. Junior Friends of the South Australian Museum.
  • PC Repair Course, International Correspondence Schools
  • Participation in community festivals and events, e.g. Adelaide Festival of
    Arts events and local exhibitions.
  • Participation in Fleurieu Home Based Learners Network group events,
    including camps, excursions, picnics, activity-based days, newsletter
    production.

Planned Activities

  • Visit to Parliament House, including discussion on government, laws, etc.
  • Preparation and follow up with use of library books and videos.
  • Camping holiday to the Flinders Ranges. Focus on geology, climate, land
    use, land degradation, conservation of plant and animal species, rocks
    and minerals, map skills, early explorers, history and Aboriginal culture.
  • Home Based Learning Camp in a local Conservation Park. Participation
    in survival and bushcraft skills, planning and organisational skills,
    social and recreational activities, bushwalking.
  • Participation in Trees for Life Free Tree Scheme. Growing and planting
    1000 seedlings for our property, and 2000 for a tree planting project.
    Record keeping and propagation skills. Preparation of permaculture
    plan and map of our property; planning land use.
  • Visit to Investigator Science Centre Special Exhibits.
  • Visit to St Kilda Mangrove Trail.
  • Visit to ABC building - focus on Media.
  • Visits to various places of employment (e.g. bakery, car factory, etc).
  • Visit to the SA Museum - various exhibits.
  • Visit to the Zoological Gardens
  • 'Dunecare’ activity days and events.

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Beverley Paine with her children, and their home educated children, relaxing at home.

Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active supporter of national, state, regional and local home education groups.

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We began educating our children in 1985, when our eldest was five. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn since they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. We hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was! Beverley Paine

The information on this website is of a general nature only and is not intended as personal or professional advice. This site merges and incorporates 'Homeschool Australia' and 'Unschool Australia'.

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