Aug 1, 2011

Home education registration and our education program

Get on board...why do I need to register to home school?
If you live in Australia and if your child has ever attended school but you are now going to homeschool, if you ever need to claim a social security benefit, if your child wants to go in fabulous competitions like UNSW ICAS competitions, or you are just a legal do-the-right-thing kinda person, you will need to register as home schoolers with your state government's registration body.

In NSW, you will register with the Board of Studies. I have to say, this whole registration process was a breeze. I anticipated some huge bureaucracy, intervening and interfering. The reality? A lovely man phoned, arranged a time to visit our place, and popped around to check our plans. Within the hour, we were advised we were going to be recommended to be given approval for 2 years, and once the report was presented, the official certificate arrived.

You only need register a child aged over 6, though in our house (and probably yours too) the education process started years earlier.

This page at the Board of Studies has the links to the Home Education package as well as application forms.

The process begins
Essentially you fill in the application form and email or mail it to BOS. You do need to give them some 6 weeks notice (they say 3 months on their site but I think that is the worst case scenario) before you intend to actually homeschool. If you desperately need to pull your child out of school, I suggest phoning BOS to assess the processing delay as well as asking your child's current school for a Leave of Absence so no nasty "truancy" accusations arise!

By the way, truancy is not handled by the Board of Studies, but by the NSW Education Department.

Authorised person will visit
The BOS designated person will call you and make an appointment to visit. If you have any queries, on the phone is a good time to bring them up.

At the arranged visit, you will need to provide an outline of your curriculum plan (subjects you will be covering - see our example below), an example of a proposed timetable to show you understand how to schedule your child's time and progress, and also show the BOS person where your child will be working. I thought this was a good idea - and it is pretty straightforward - things such as where they will sit to work, good lighting, ventilation, basically an environment that is conducive to learning :  )

Don't panic about the "learning environment" requirement - if you are reading this, you are probably an organised enough homeschool parent! Obviously, setting up a homeschooling area is very important yet that doesn't mean expensive or elaborate.

We mostly work on one end of the dining room table. That's fine.

Here is the relevant section from the Home Education Package:

Requirements for home schooling registration
Registered home schoolers must meet the requirements for registration that:

the educational program is based on the curriculum provided by the Education Act 1990; that is, the minimum curriculum for primary education (from Kindergarten to Year 6), the minimum curriculum for secondary education (Year 7 to Year 10) or the curriculum for beyond Year 10 (Year 11 and Year 12) (Part 4 of this package details the curriculum requirements)

the educational program is based on and taught in accordance with the relevant Board of Studies syllabuses

the educational program is suitable to cater for the identified learning needs of the child 

there is an adequate system of recording learning experiences and the child’s progress
and achievement

the time allocated to learning is sufficient to allow coverage of the curriculum and is comparable to the time allocated by schools

the learning environment is suitable for effective home education 

the resources within the home and those accessed externally are adequate to support the
learning needs of the child.

Don't be frightened by the educational plan guidelines
You need to cover 6 key learning areas in primary, and 8 in secondary. Don't be alarmed! There are supplied examples in Part 6 of the Home Education package, and I have included ours below...

Feel free to copy this if you need a starting point
Yes, it is okay to copy sections of this and just replace your curriculum materials and goals where ours are : ) Good luck with your application!

Oh, and this is also a good place to see what curriculum materials we use in our homeschool, subject to ongoing change of course! I wrote this in December 2010 so naturally a bit has changed.

Primary 2011
We aim to help facilitate growing independence and love of learning through interest-led explorations within a background framework of Classical Education. name and name are both creative systems thinkers and we aim to build a comprehensive education path with strong chronological structure to help stabilise their strong conceptual thinking.
To this end, we will add French language study, philosophy, and history to the 6 required KLAs.
We plan to have a daily mix of directed skill-based outcomes and unstructured, immersion projects. 
Current starting point
name is x years old and was in Year x in 2011. 
name has the reading age of xxx. We aim to increase her vocabulary by encouraging her to read age and theme appropriate factual texts and narratives. For example, reading about architecture in Ancient Egypt and fiction based on Ancient Greek myths. Her spelling challenges will also come from themed and personal interest reading in addition to the explicit resource material listed below. We aim to incorporate an hour every day for her own reading.
name will continue to produce complex pieces of factual text writing - including explanations, reviews, information reports - and narratives using the writing cycle of brainstorming, drafting, revising and proofreading.
name will continue to publish stories and texts as printed books, Powerpoint presentations, video and audio files.
Resources and Curriculum materials
  • Michael Clay Thompson Language Arts gifted program: Grammar Island, Grammar Town, Sentence Island, Paragraph Town
  • Michael Clay Thompson Building Language and Caesar's English 1 for vocabulary building and fluency in language roots
  • Michael Clay Thompson Music of the Hemispheres and Building Poems for poetry understanding and practice
  • Ongoing script handwriting skills reinforced with "Targeting Handwriting Year x" Student Book
  • Typing practice with BBC's Dancemat Typing Program
  • Text style consolidation using "Targeting English Book 2 Upper Primary" 
  • Creative writing using “Once Upon A Time” prompt cards 
  • Continuation of name's upper Primary weekly drama class and performance workshops through the year
  • iPad application Australian Oxford Dictionary
name has a good understanding and application skills in addition, subtraction, and multiplication. We will work further on division and building greater fluency with decimals and fractions.
Resources and Curriculum materials 
  • subscription to Stanford University's online self-pacing gifted students maths program EGPY
  • Life of Fred Fractions textbook, moving through to Life of Fred Pre-algebra and Biology maths textbook
  • day to day practice and reinforcing maths skills with NSW Targeting Maths Year x workbook
  • Excel Developing Your Thinking Skills years x workbook
  • weekly farmers' market money handling experience 
  • games including Monopoly, Super Farmer, Tangram, chess and card games
  • CSIRO Maths By Email subscription
  • iPad applications including  School Zone multiplication and division, Princess Maths, Analogies, and Labyrinth
Science and Technology
Living in x, we have excellent daily access to a range of physical environments. We aim to explore and investigate these ecosystems using nature study techniques - observing, drawing, describing, cataloging, researching using animal classification guides.
name is very interested in diversity and taxonomy. We will construct our own lap book resource sorting organisms into their kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species classification.
These explorations in evolution will link into our ongoing timeline construction from the Big Bang to present day.
Introducing the basics of chemistry through the Periodic Table - building blocks of life - and conducting hands on experiments to investigate properties.
Exploring basic laws of physics with simple practical experiments and thought experiments including momentum, friction, and gravitational forces.
Resources and Curriculum materials 
  • magazine subscription to Double Helix club with the CSIRO
  • CSIRO weekly science email with experiments and web links
  • Joy Hakim's Story of Science "Aristotle Leads the Way" text and Teacher and Student Guide
  • animal guides to seashore life,  Australian mammals, reptiles, Australian birds, and Australian frogs
  • USB electronic microscope
  • periodic table resources including poster, magnets, and videos
  • astronomy observations using 10" telescope
  • iPad application Star Walk, NASA, and Pocket Weather
Human Society and Its Environment (HSIE)
We are constructing an accurate physical timeline in our reading room from Ancient History through to present time. The girls will add drawings, models, comments and labels as we cover each period through myths and legends, physical artefacts, art history and biographies of significant people.
We will start at the beginning of human civilisation with the evolution of prehistoric peoples and then explore the Ancient cultures of Egypt, Asia, Greek, Roman and Aboriginal Australia. Concurrently we will refer to the physical geography and build knowledge of  the physical locations of ancient civilisations. 
Resources and Curriculum materials  
  • National Geographic Junior Atlas
  • Horrible History books on Ancient Greece, and Rome
  • The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia
  • Ancient Greek activity book on paper doll costumes
  • The Pocket Guide to reading and writing your own Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs
  • Ancient Rome colouring book
  • Dorling Kindersley Eyewitness project guides on Prehistoric Life, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome
  • British Museum Colouring Book of Ancient Rome
  • British Museum's Ancient Egypt activity and sticker book
  • internet resources and documentary series including "History of the World in 100 Objects" from the BBC and British Museum
  • local activities and talks from the indigenous Bundjalung people  
  • iPad application Google Earth
Creative Arts
We are currently exploring line drawing and will continue building on these techniques as we work through the "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" workbook. Areas to continue to explore will include tone, colour mixing, and media techniques including collage, pastel, water-colour, acrylics, wax resist, fabric painting, mono printing, weaving and embroidery. Topics in themed history will provide the inspiration with tie-ins like potato printing hieroglyphs, water-colour landscapes of Egyptian pyramids and so on.
name has an ongoing sketchbook for exploring visual art ideas.
name is currently learning piano and will continue with this. She has weekly individual lessons in the Suzuki method which incorporates the study of classical and traditional pieces. Music theory is also incorporated in these classes.
Resources and Curriculum materials 
  • large personal library of art history and visual art technique books as well as local library books
  • Internet resources and e-list subscriptions including GOMA in Brisbane, Crafty Crow, Artful Parent, Gennine's Art Blog 
  • gallery visits to Tweed River Gallery, Lismore RegionalGallery, Art Piece Gallery, GOMA and QAG in Brisbane as well as Internet gallery tours of MOMA, Tate for Kids, and others
  • iPad application Art Authority and SketchBook Pro
Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE)
name has robust physical health due to daily vigorous activities such as trampoline, swimming, climbing, dancing, circus skills, and running around on our 16 hectares.
As a family, we grow our own fruit and vegetables, and have chickens for eggs. The girls are very involved in purchasing our weekly food from the local Farmers' Market and supermarket so are well versed in healthy choices as well as the complexities of organic versus conventional agriculture, and local versus imported food. We make our own yoghurt and sourdough bread which the girls watch as we process and then we all eat and enjoy the end product.
 Along with the physically demanding circus skills class, the girls also do kids' yoga and relaxation. They are also members of the x Nippers Club and are learning life saving skills along with individual and team participation in races and competitions.
Resources and Curriculum materials 
  • trampoline under rain and sun shade
  • swimming pool
  • sports equipment including hula hoop, cricket set, softball set, soccer and assorted balls, skipping rope, punching bag, yoga equipment, elastics, ten pin bowling set, totem tennis, kites, climbing net, slide, trapeze, monkey bars, treadmill
  • vegetable and fruit garden
Daily Record Keeping and Methods of Assessment
We will maintain a weekly home education journal with categories including date, child's name, strategy, activity description, ideas for further progression, and comments.
We are recording the names of all books read to the girls, and each girl has her own book journal for her independent reading record.
Most of the skill-based curriculum material we are using has assessment and skill testing materials included. We will use these to measure each girl's progress. In the EPGY maths program for example, assessment is continual and the student cannot proceed further without obtaining mastery.
For the more exploratory, child-led project-based learning we will maintain a written teaching record of the project and its findings, as well as an extensive portfolio of samples of work using documentary photos, videos and audio recordings. 
Timetable Sample
On the next page is a copy of a sample weekly timetable.


Chrissy said...

Thank you so much for sharing your initial interview. We have ours booked for this Friday and reading your post has let some nerves ease.

Tracey Mansted said...

Thanks Chrissy - it's nice to hear the post helped!

All the best for Friday : )

Anonymous said...

Thank you for putting all this down - it's a great template! I would love to see your timetable example, but I don't understand how to hop to that page?

Tracey Mansted said...

Ah - there is no link to follow to the timetable - sorry! This truly is a cut and paste from my first plan I printed out and presented to BOS, and the next page (in real life) was a pencil timetable plan for a typical week.

Melissa said...

Great plan Tracey. I've picked up a few ideas and it has given me even more confidence to start homeschooling.

Tracey Mansted said...

Thanks Melissa : )
Enjoy your homeschooling journey!

Honeypeoples said...

Ah Tracey what a generous soul you are! Thank you for sharing your experience to give us newbies the courage to try. Thank you!! Kim :-)

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