This morning I read a post on a USA homeschool support forum from a parent who pays $50 a year to someone who maintains an 'attendance record', kept her children's 'report cards' and issued a 'diploma' at the age her unschooled children would have graduated if they'd been at school. She had a 'loose plan' she followed for unschooling her children.
I met another parent recently whom, when living in the USA, also paid someone to maintain home education records for her children. This mainly involved an interview with her children once a year from which the person compiled a report and application for renewal of home education registration for the authorities.
At first I was dubious of the merit of paying someone else to keep track of my children's educational progress: it's something I want and feel I need to do myself as I think it enhances my understanding of their learning needs and helps me get to know my children. The process of conscious and analytical reflection I derived from keeping home educating records often brought to light aspects of their development in different areas I had not previously gleaned. My understanding of my children's needs, and of the learning process itself, deepened and this deepened my confidence as an educator.
However, there are many areas of our lives we delegate to others, especially the ones we find tedious or feel less competent to handle. Why shouldn't recording our children's educational progress be one of them? Many online learning programs record 'scores' and chart progress and families can print out 'certificates' of achievement. Perhaps one of the main attractions of signing up to learning programs offered by online educational providers is being unburdened by the need to keep home education records.
I was a 'do-it-yourself' home educating parent but that's my nature, it's who I am, part of our family culture. My writing (books and website) encourages others to follow this path because it's been immensely satisfying and a lot less difficult than I initially thought it would be. I aim to demystify the process and help parents feel empowered to find the confidence within them and gradually build a sense of competence as educators, learning alongside their children. I talk about my personal experience because that's what I know and understand best. My collection of home education records continues to illuminate my understanding of how children learn.
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