Record keeping for home education

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Record keeping for home education

By Kirsty James

 

One common concern for new home educators in Victoria is how to keep records. This tends to stem from the question how will learning outcomes be recorded on the VRQA paperwork when applying for home ed registration, and it’s common for people to list multiple methods of record keeping there.

The main purpose of records is to provide a framework for a review, if you are one of the 10% of registered families selected for review each year in Victoria. People often think that in order to pass a review they will need to show copies of a child’s writing and maths, test results or a list of everything covered in science that year. If you have been concerned about this, you can relax.

If you are selected for a review then you will need to provide proof that you are providing an education program that, when taken as a whole, covers the eight key learning areas, and that you are providing ‘regular and efficient instruction’. Think about the types of evidence/records you may already keep, such as photos, work samples, art and so on, and keep some of these in easily accessible ways to help you with your review.

A review is similar to a learning plan in depth. The VRQA just wants to know that you have been educating your child. There’s no requirement to have followed what you put in your initial learning plan, or the Australian or Victorian curriculum, and it’s also okay if you have changed the method of record keeping you mentioned in your application to register for home ed.

If there’s a possibility of a trip to the Family Court, it would be advisable to keep detailed records as they could be useful.

Please note that there is no requirement to demonstrate the progress your child has made or to show copies of their work. The VRQA is reviewing the education you have provided, but you may include examples of work, progress, or learning if you wish. For example, for English you could mention three or four of the following:

  • The wide variety of books your child has read (or you have read together)
  • Regular letter writing
  • An excursion to see a play
  • A spelling app
  • Writing songs
  • Playing word games like ‘I Spy’ and ‘The Minister’s Cat’
  • A science or history project which included a writing element
  • A discussion about how the English language is always changing
  • Submitting a poem or story to Otherways
  • Speech therapy appointments
  • Playing Boggle, Scrabble or Bananagrams

That’s all. When we do review workshops, parents routinely feel they won’t have enough for certain key learning areas, but when we start asking them questions, it’s usually the case that they have far more than would be needed.

So what kind of records do you really need? If your child does Mathletics, Duolingo, or a science workbook, they are records in themselves– you don’t need to write anything down. If you have a family calendar which lists excursions, regular classes etc, again that’s a record. Hang on to it at the end of the year in case you are selected for review. And remember that photographs are a great way to keep a record, so if you have a photo of an excursion, or an ephemeral artwork, that should be enough to jog your memory.

So what should you write down? I keep a list of the things I might forget: an orienteering activity at Scouts, an observation that showed great depth of understanding, a book that provoked a heated discussion, documentaries watched and take lots of photographs.

My choice is based on my personality and needs. I have a teen who could easily write her own review, and I find record keeping a chore. Some people are natural record keepers, and would find it stressful not to record activities daily, others fall somewhere in between. If creating a private Facebook page, or writing a weekly overview of your week is a method that’s working well for you, then there’s no need to change.

If keeping records is creating stress, or you are encouraging your child to do activities or pose for photos ‘so we have a record’, you can relax. Record keeping is as individual as home education. There’s no one right way, it’s about finding a balance that works for your family.

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1 Comment

  1. Simone says:

    Thank you so much for this article! Being reviewed has always been a secret fear of mine since beginning home schooling in 2015. I feel much more at ease, knowing that I probably have everything I’ll need, should I be chosen in the future. God bless you!

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