Okay, I’m a day late, which honestly is how I usually am with writing any home ed report anyway, but let’s get to it.
Obviously, if you are following a school-at-home or other structured methodology then writing an annual report whether for the local authority, yourself, or anyone else is fairly easy. When I first deregistered @PanKwake, we signed up for an on-line full-curriculum, though US-based, that allowed you to hit one button and print out a neat monthly report with a list of lesson, how much time your child spent on each, and the number of correct answers. How easy was that?
But that is not @PanKwake’s learning style. And something that structured triggers her PDA (Pathological Demand Avoidance). Each day I could count on several meltdowns as I tried valiantly to force her to do the work. No amount of rewards helped. In the end, I gave up. And drifted closer to a self-directed learning or radical unschooling approach.
One thing to remember is that in England and Wales, you are not expected to provide such details reports. Or show examples of your child’s work, though they will try to get you to do that…’to prove education.’
Of course, I encourage you to fact-check this as they are trying to change that in both countries.
But even in the US, where home education laws vary from state to state, even under the strictest of regulations self-directed learning continues to gain momentum, especially among POC (People of Color).
How do they manage to ‘prove education’ with a radical unschooling approach?
In those situations, another role of the parent-mentor becomes journaling or recording educational activities. Ideally this needs to be done daily.
If you’re wondering why so much work? Try to remember what you ate for dinner three nights ago? I use weekly menus. But since I use a white board for that, I don’t have any record of what we had to eat last week.
So, too, it would be if you attempted to keep weekly or monthly reports of your young person’s learning activities. And as a result of forgotten learning, your reports might not give an accurate impression of the quality of your provision.
But if you don’t have that kind of time, there’s a simple way. One that most of you have right in your pocket. The camera on your phone. Remember all these pictures from yesterday’s blog?
Those are @PanKwake, her companion, Alan, and I opening her Universal Yums boxes. She doesn’t like to do those alone. So they have piled up over lockdown. Yesterday, we visited Russia and Thailand. We talked about the continents and why it’s important even if your geography isn’t perfect to have at least a general knowledge of the continents.
She also spent loads of time talking with her companion about story ideas. We haven’t yet found the right tool to allow her to put those stories down. Though she is playing with Gotcha as a storytelling medium. When we finally find that tool, master the ones we have, or overcome the confidence issue, she’s gonna blow them away with her story writing. Yes, a young person who is essentially illiterate is a writer.
If you’re snapping a few photos every day, that makes it easy to write those weekly or even monthly reports, which can then be easily collated into an annual report.
The other things that should be included in reports, even under the looser UK standards, is the resources that you make available for your child. Whether that is books, computers, arts and crafts, or other materials. Even if you don’t have those items in your home, your local library is a resource. As is Mother Nature.
I generally like to spice my reports up with a bit of intellectual snobbery by including a heaping helping of quotes about the law or educational theory and philosophy. I bet by now some of you can guess what my favorite is. You guessed it.
Article 29 (goals of education)UN-CRC
Education must develop every child’s personality, talents and abilities to the full. It must encourage the child’s respect for human rights, as well as respect for their parents, their own and other cultures, and the environment.
By the time I’m finished adding photographs, quotes, and formatting, my reports generally run between thirty and fifty pages. I seriously doubt that anyone even bothers to read them.
But that goes back to the interesting distinction, you do not need ‘approval’ in order to home educate your child in the UK. In fact, in that worst case scenario where the local authority does take you to magistrate’s court, they have the responsibility to prove that you are not providing:
efficient full-time education suitable—Section 7 of the Education Act of 1996
(a)to his age, ability and aptitude, and
(b)to any special educational needs he may have
If you’re wondering about that wording, what is ‘suitable education’? That was defined by case law as:
Education is suitable if it primarily equips a child for life within the community of which he is a member, rather than the way of life in the wider country as a whole, as long as it does not foreclose the child’s options in later years to adopt some other form of life if he wishes to do so.R v Secretary of State for Education, ex parte Talmud Torah Machzikei Hadass School Trust. Judicial review 1985
While that ruling was in regards to a religious community, there is no reason to expect it could not be applied equally to an #ActuallyAutistic or neurodivergent one as well.
Of course, thirty to fifty pages may not be your style. For other report writing options, you can check out the Educational Freedom website.