The Home Visit—a Breakdown

Another school year has come around; this one has had big changes for our family, with E starting school. I’ll be writing an update on that situation soon.

Today is my report on my annual back to school home visit with my homeschool facilitator, as is mandated by the government. It’ll be a quick one, because I’ve gotten myself good and busy this September, having taken on a volunteer position teaching an early morning religion class to a group of nine youth four days a week, as well as my first stint directing a show with the local community theatre group, among a few other things. This is actually a manifestation of my unschooling philosophy: the best way to raise educated, passionate humans is to live my own life passionately—in the constant pursuit of growth and self fulfillment. Children are master mimickers—they’re sure to catch on.

But on to the subject at hand! If you’re thinking of unschooling in Alberta but worried about all the oversight and regulations, never fear. Get yourself an accommodating school and an understanding facilitator, and you’re golden. Here are the components of the start of year visit:

Education Plan: these need to be sent to the facilitator for review before Sep 30th. They must contain your plans for advancing every single one of the “learning outcomes” set forth by the government. Don’t let that scare you—they are very broad; meant to describe all the ideas a child should have a good grasp of upon graduating high school. Things like, “read for information, understanding and enjoyment”, or, “respect the cultural diversity, the religious diversity and the common values of Canada“. It’s easy to fit them into your regular life plans without ever actually even thinking about them—because the government and my children actually have, more or less, the same goals. Every year I just quickly tweak the plan I’d made the previous year. This time, for G and L, it took a total of five minutes, which mostly consisted of changing the “resources” sections to reflect what I already know we’ll be doing/purchasing this year. I can add on to this at any point throughout the year. It’s important because everything I want reimbursed must be on the education plan.

Literacy/math: my facilitator whipped out her tablet and brought up the form she must fill out for the government. For each child, she asked what my literacy goals and math goals were. There are no wrong answers. For G, who is nine, my literacy goals are for him to do some hand writing (I bought him a journal), and creative writing (because he started writing his first book a couple weeks ago), and continue reading chapter books. My math goals are to continue on, basically. I mentioned resources we’ll use: board games; cooking; allowance; Life of Fred book; maybe math workbooks should he desire it; logic puzzles. For L, who is seven, the math goals were the same; literacy was getting more comfortable with writing (still mostly on the computer. He sends emails and makes PowerPoint presentations and types words into game design programs) and to get more into chapter books (because that’s about where he’s at anyway with reading enjoyment).

Signature: the tablet was passed to me so I could sign…something. So I did.

Our visit was only about 30 minutes long. It was pleasant; the toddler sat on my lap and stacked blocks, and we chuckled at him. We discussed my facilitator’s upcoming trip to Europe, and plans for the spring drama camp that she runs here in town. Then she was on her way!

And there you have it. The only prep I did was that five minute updating of the education plans, and now we’re set for the year!

Let the unschooling…continue!

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