We’ve officially begun our new homeschooling program. Although, officially, we’re not actually homeschoolers. The program is a registered independent “Distributed Learning” school, so DD is registered as a Kindergartener. However, the Ministry of Education is watching the program closely, and with interest, recognizing that it represents a very unique model for education.
As part of our requirements I have to complete an “Observation for Learning” form every other week. This is supposed to be a description of the things we’ve done with an emphasis on how DD felt about the activities, what her emotional state was and her energy level. Our Learning Consultant then translates this into “education-ese”, or “ministry-speak”, for the purposes of reassuring the government that we are actually “doing something”. Since I enjoy writing, this is not a burden to me, and the record of reports provides a personal journal of our learning experiences.
I also have to complete a “Weekly Hours” form, to document how many hours we spend on each type of activity. Being a very unschooling friendly program, our LC reminds us that this is really the equivalent of “attendance” for the Ministry, and is not meant to be incredibly accurate. After all, learning happens in bits and pieces throughout the day, and one experience (say, a trip to the local Bird Sanctuary) can involve various subjects, such as Ecology, spirituality (connecting with nature), logical thought (how to dole out the birdseed to maximize enjoyment), etc. But I’m finding that it actually isn’t hard to do the form – as a K student DD is only required to log 12.5 hours of learning per week. Between classes at the Ecology Centre, gym class, and various day trips it doesn’t appear to be hard to make up those hours. Many parents just consider it the price of being in this funded program, and getting our preloaded Visa cards with which we can purchase learning materials.
I’m already finding that being in this mindset is helping me get organized with our learning in terms of my time management. For example, today DD and I leafed through a magazine full of craft and decorating ideas for fall. I suggested we go to an art supply store and do a craft from the magazine. Normally this idea would sit in the back of my mind for weeks until an opportunity happened to present itself. But now I see a chance to log some “creative arts” time. So I sat down with my planner and have set aside some time this Thursday to do it. This is the sort of motivation I need to put our ideas into action, prioritize activities, and also try to vary DD’s exposure to various subjects. It’s easy to get completely wrapped up in her passion for science and nature and not make an effort to introduce her to other things.