Saturday, 25 April 2009


I recently started keeping a home-ed journal (again!). I've been doing this, sporadically, since we started HEing - I keep up with it for a while, then either forget for a while, leaving a long gap which puts me off starting again (it will look like we did nothing for two weeks); or I get so frustrated with the incompatibility of our way of learning and keeping written records that I give up.

This time around I have noticed something: some days there seems to be loads of 'recordable' instances of education taking place, while other days the only thing I can think of to actually write down is 'went swimming'. It seems to be all or nothing.
Now, I know that on the 'swimming' days there will have been lots of little learning experiences along the way, just not ones I can think of to write down. But it still bugs me that it looks bad - it looks like we've done nothing with the whole day except swim. And I suppose the reason that I'm getting all caught up in how it looks is because at the back of my mind this record-keeping process is a part of preparing for the day some official Education Authority person asks to see what, exactly, I have been doing as my child's educator.
This inevitable(?) day seems to be looming closer, as I read more and more about government plans to increase state powers at the expense of parental rights. It is also the reason I keep suggesting to A that she produce a 'project book' on whatever she's been doing.

I think one of the biggest problems I have with this record-keeping is the way it can kill spontaneity and interfere with creativity. A lot of what we do is very spur of the moment, and that's what I love about being a home educating parent - I can respond immediately to something that takes A's interest. And A is an extremely creative person, she learns much more by following some flash of inspiration to 'make' something, than by working through stages/levels of workbooks. That's just A. But I can see already how the knowledge of future contact with the EA (and not knowing how sympathetic to HE they might be) is affecting my approach to HE.

Maybe I should let go of these concerns, and just deal with it when it happens, but I'm the sort of person who needs to be prepared - especially if I'm going to have to fight my corner. I hate conflict, and I hate confrontations, and don't cope with them very well. Of course, I might end up dealing with someone who is very positive and understanding about HE, but I'm also the kind of person who needs to be prepared for the worst case scenario.

So, I suppose I've just got to work on keeping a balance - collecting 'evidence' that my daughter is actually receiving an education, and enjoying the opportunities this lifestyle offers.


Jax said...

It is a very difficult one isn't it? We're very free flow atm, although it does change from time to time, and although I blog, I don't mention every little learning conversation that goes on and I think it's those little learning conversations that make all the difference.

But I'm firmly relying on dealing with it when it comes and not letting what could be change what is now - if we do have to do something different to satisfy inspectors in the future, I want to savour every last little bit of freedom first.

dawny said...

Sweetie they have no rights ( as yet) to see any records of anything.
If they look for concrete on paperr stuff from us this year they will find very little, but learning I know we've (including me) done loads, but it's not on paper , I even keep forgetting the camera out.
They meet you on your terms or you send in an ed phil and just liase with them on your terms . they don't have the rights to even insist it's at your house , invite him or her alnog on a day out. . . at a play barn, at the museum, you call the shots :-)
d xx

Anonymous said...

hi this is fiona, chair of EO government policy group. i'm biased but the phrase "project book" strikes a note of doom. i;d recommend you write an educational philosophy, following tips from this page here.

plus everything is "educational".

excluded children or sick children get a few hours tutoring a week. i honestly think you are expecting too much of yourself.


Anonymous said...

sorry forgot to ask, are you in england?


K said...

Thanks for your comments, its helpful to get some feedback on this.

Jax - you're completely right about enjoying the freedom while we still have it! Sometimes I wish I wasn't such a worrier, as I know it can spoil the present, all this worrying about the future. I'm working on that :)

Dawny - thanks mate, I need to keep reminding myself that I have the right to decide on terms of communication. I think I'm just so worried about being caught off guard - thats so often the way I get pushed into things. I guess thats what this is all about - I need to clarify in my own mind how I'm going to deal with it.

Fiona - I know what you mean about the 'project book' - every time I find myself suggesting it I cringe, I think just posting about this has brought it home to me how unhelpful it probably is to A.
I'm actually in Scotland, and am a member of both EO and Schoolhouse, so I know the support is there. I think you're right about getting an educational philosophy/plan of provision down on paper, then at least I've got something ready to offer. We're still relatively new to HE, so I've not really felt confident enough about what we're doing to put one together, but I think I've reached that point now.

This 'comment' has turned into a full post!!
Cheers X

Elizabeth said...

As we don't need to show 'proof', I wouldn't stress over it. I do keep a journal of what we've done for bookwork--only for my own records (especially as K is older--helps me to remember what might work for K). I don't keep the sheets or the work. I figure if worse comes to worse, the kids are the 'proof' that something goes on.
Your blog records so many of A's accomplishements and outings--which are a wonderful record. I just jot everything down in a spiral notebook-and it doesn't matter if there are time-lapses--it's not an official document--so when you think about it, do it, when you don't think about--relax, there are a zillion more important things to worry about!

K said...

I know Elizabeth - I'm my own worst enemy sometimes. In good moments (and these are most of the time) I can see all this, and enjoy what we're doing. These worries arise when I listen to that part of me that is slightly paranoid, full of self-doubt, and has a need to cover all bases.
Thats so true that the kids are proof enough that something is going on, maybe I need to have more faith in A.
Cheers X

Lynsey said...

I am finding this too. Have been so down this week because I feel pressured to prove my children are learning. Still very new to it all and trying to find out what works and what doesn't is hard.