NSW Minister for Education. Changes to Home Education Pack
There is a new Home Education Information pack which has substantial changes in it. It will make it very difficult for many families to continue Homeschooling. It was prepared without any consultation with homeschoolers.
I am deeply alarmed with the new board of studies requirements.
I have just read through the entire package and am devastated by the controlling and difficult overarching nature that they have changed it to re documentation and using set outcomes and syllabus.
There is even the note in there that they (Board Of Studies) can basically make an appointment to 'drop in' whenever they like to check ongoing requirements are being met, within the 2 year registration process.
Also if my child is in a different year level to the year level that their age links to they need a BOS 'Authorised Person' to come and tell me it is OK for me to teach them at their level.
This is ridiculous!! This shows absolutely NO understanding of how children learn … how they may excel in certain areas (e.g.: in one sub strand of maths) and how they make jumps in their learning.
It sounds like I need to have the BOS AP dropping in very regularly to keep tabs on me and my teaching / learning!!
A friend of mine has child in a school and at Teacher / Parent interview they asked to see their proof / documentation for supporting their school report. The teacher only had an unmarked, undated school maths book and a few entries in a writing book. No charts, no outcome checklists, no portfolio of work samples. Nothing.
Yet we as homeschoolers are expected to have an over the top level of notes. Even the examples that state little reminders to ourselves re selecting harder texts (like I saw in the example record keeping) are ridiculous. A weekly diary as a guideline is fine and helpful but a lot of homeschoolers following a more 'natural approach' would never plan like this so it seems like the BOS will only accept a very rigid 'departmental / school' approach or nothing. If this is the case, it is the end to learning in a home based environment as we know it. We are being asked to make 'mini schools'.
This is not the reason I or anyone I know chose to home school. We chose to NOT do what school does. How does the package presented now demonstrate anything different to school???
The BOS show no understanding of how homeschoolers learn. For example, suggesting we do 1 hour a week lessons on Personal Development is disjointed and fake learning. Most homeschoolers try to integrate learning areas and do longer immersion methods of learning. Also many of the ways that homeschoolers learn are not on pencil and paper … what about if you follow a read aloud style and spend many hours with nothing concrete to show? What about if your child has a negative fear towards writing and so you don't churn out as much written work? What about the desire of families to be able to learn together. The whole thing is top down, telling us what we should do, what curriculum we must use (although homeschoolers have been using fantastic resources for years from over seas) and demanding an increased evaluation / record keeping component.
The children thrive when the education is tailored to their needs and interests. This will reduce the quality of the education delivered.
The BOS did research in 2004 on how they could better facilitate home education. Now they consider themselves only a regulator. This change in their own definition is greatly concerning.
No changes should be made to the home education package without widespread consultation and consideration of the particular needs of home educators.