A Brief Outline of a Sample Home Education Learning Program
© Beverley Paine
Home Education can be as varied as the individual families who choose to do it. There is no one right way to educate your children, and your learning program will reflect your family values and personal goals for your children. Many families begin with collections of text and work books, and then relax as they realise the enormous learning potential of normal, everyday living activities. Home education is flexible, dynamic and immensely satisfying!
The following outline is an abbreviated sample of a learning program, suggested as a guide to help you devise your own. It is by no means complete, and has not been 'approved' by any educational authority in Australia.
We believe that we can best cater for our child's individual intellectual, social, emotional, physical and spiritual developmental needs, as we 'know' our children best and love them.
We will provide a learning environment rich in educational resources and opportunities, catering to their individual learning needs and styles.
It is our desire to allow our children to fully develop all of their unique talents and abilities by providing them with a non-competitive environment to enable them to learn at their own pace.
We aim to offer a broad and basic education which will serve as a platform for continuous, life long learning, and launch our children into any desired direction, further study or employment.
Our home education program is designed to promote the development of the following skills; communication, literacy, numeracy, analysis and problem solving, information processing, computing, technological, scientific, and work practices.
We wish to encourage our children to develop an understanding of the roles of culture, science and technology in their lives, and an appreciation of Australian and world history, geography and cultural development.
We hold in high regard the need to promote the development of tolerance and respect for all cultures, including the opportunity to learn another language and study another culture in depth. Different cultures and periods in history will be examined, mainly focussing on local, state and national cultural development, including use of mass media, historical and cultural institutions, and a variety of texts and people. These will be drawn from personal interest, cultural interest (special events, etc), and developed theme studies.
It is our aspiration to develop an appreciation of The Arts (Visual, Performing, Music, Drama, Craft) and the opportunity to develop our children's personal artistic talents and abilities. Opportunities will be made for the development of critical appraisal and appreciation of the full range of artistic expression by other artists; with provision for the development and practice of artistic skills for expression and enjoyment.
Our home learning program will promote an awareness of, and responsibility for, personal care, hygiene, safety, relationships, and citizenship.
There will be an emphasis on effective communication through language development - reading, writing, listening and speaking; skill and process building, comprehension and critical appraisal; drawn from everyday activities meaningful and relevant to the children's immediate life, and supplemented with chosen educational material, texts, workbooks, and resources suitable to their personal developmental levels.
Attainment of mathematical skills and understandings in number, space and measurement will occur through daily activities; art/craft (technological) projects, play, games, and also progression through chosen maths texts.
There will be a focus on environment and science, drawn from personal and cultural interests, and conducted through practical investigation and experience, research and reporting. Extensive use will be made of community and environment resources. Focus will be on interdependence, independence, evolution of species and landscapes, and the physical and chemical nature of all things.
We will encourage personal responsibility, an understanding of social structures, the need for law and order, conflict resolution, tolerant and co-operative behaviors.
Attention will be focussed on personal hygiene and physical development, personal health and nutrition.
Resources & Evaluation
We will pursue subjects and activities of general interest or focus, using a variety of activities and learning styles and resources, following the children's inclinations and interests as they develop.
We will make use of the whole home, including outside, with specific areas set aside for study, storage of resources, display, project work in progress, specific activities (study, work and recreation), etc.
We will introduce activities and lesson plans in particular areas, and use revision and pre-testing as required.
There will be opportunities developed for group learning situations as well as individual study.
Resources used in all areas of the learning program will include local libraries, educational institutions, community organisations, educational suppliers for curriculum information, texts and other materials, computer software and the Internet; participation in community festivals, exhibitions and events, local homeschooling networks (social & educational activities, support, and idea sharing).
This will include continuous reflection and evaluation of the educational process, examining progressive development of abilities, attitudes, feelings, preferences, goals, knowledge, processes, etc.
Recording of progress will be by use of personal journals and diaries, collections of the children's work, scrapbooks, subject work and project books, art folders, photo albums, video and audio tapes, collection of participation and meritorious certificates, use of individualised and commercial tests, reference to checklists and curriculum guidelines, and the use of sequential developmental work books in subject areas.
We will use the local and wider community and environment - people (tutors, classes, etc) places (conservation parks, museums, library, field trips, etc) and materials.
We will continue to participate in community events and organisations. There will be provision for regular access to friends and group activities. We will participate in home education social networks - excursions, social gatherings, organised sport, conferences, camps, etc. The children will participate in organised community educational program activities - Friends of the Museum, Investigator Science Center Workshops, Double Helix Club, etc.
Outline of a Typical Day
Home education groups and networks are excellent sources of information, advice and support when applying for approval for exemption from attending school. Very few families are rejected on their first application, and although the process appears intimidating and overwhelming, it is relatively simple, and not a lot of detail is usually sought.
"Getting Started with Home Schooling: Practical Considerations for Parents of School Aged Children" is an excellent and practical manual, written by long term South Australian home educating parent, Beverley Paine. With over 130 informative pages, the manual covers developing a home learning curriculum, preparing the learning space (physical and psychological), writing a learning program, examples of planning methods, examples of different practices of recording, assessment and evaluation techniques, connecting with others, extensive checklists in each subject area, examination of learning styles and lists of useful materials.
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Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active support of national, state, regional and local home education groups.
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We began educating our three children in 1985, when our eldest was aged five years. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn as they grew and explored and discovered this amazing world since the moment they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. I hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was!
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