Being all official and proper

At the beginning of the week I had the meeting with the homeschooling moderator. Its a once a year event and I dont really like it. Its not that its difficult or unpleasant. The reason is that I dont like how its influencing me and how I approach the process as a whole.  I cant completely shake off the nagging voice on my shoulder that keeps on whispering “Are you doing enough?”, “Hmmm…its been a whole lotta nothing for awhile”.

I am sure if there was no moderator or system looking over my shoulder, the voice will still be there, but the difference will be that it will be my voice, born out of love and concern for my children, not out of concern of whether what we are doing is going to be acceptable to someone else.

We have settled on a system that works though and thankfully there is a lot of understanding for natural learning from the moderators.

For the curious out there, here is how this once a year meeting goes.

There is a piece of paper the moderator fills and on it are the different learning areas – English, Maths, Science, Health, LOTE (language other than English), Society and Environment, Arts. First we go through any workbooks that have been done. This time I had the full Maths program from Singapore that Miss Fab did last year. There was a science workbook from the same education system that got done. And a English workbook we had worked through, but not finished. I brought in the different software programs she has used – Spanish and Spelling games and discussed the online games she is using – Intrepica is the latest, which is about spelling, vocabulary, comprehension and she seems to enjoy quite a lot.

I listed the different classes or activities Miss Fab had attended – Critical Thinking, StopMation (making animation with stop motion),  various science labs, tennis, ice skating, swimming, drama, a sports class where they try different sports for 4 weeks, writing class (an absolute favorite); attended puppet shows, symphony orchestra, traditional Japanese comedy performance, modern dance; visits to farms, zoos, reptile center, milk factory, old prison and whatever else I remembered, because I actually dont record these things. Maybe I should, it will surely save me some time and worry.

Then we move on to the journal. From what I hear, every homeschooling family has a different way of showing what they do. Some write lengthy reports and make plans for the next year. Others make huge mapping pages and connect every activity they do to the respectful learning area. Then there are graphs, excel sheets and the variety is quite wide and shows how different we all are.

Mine is a journal. A kind of wild scrap book. I print out photos from the year – this time there were about 120 of them. We empty the box that collects all the creations, stories, drawings, projects, bits and pieces and there starts the gluing. Followed by Miss Fab’s embellishments, drawings and captions to the presented visuals. A lot of the things you would know from here – gardening, building bakery on the driveway, Chalkville, cooking, creations.

My moderator loves this part and leaves the journal for last. Then as she flips through she fills her boxes on her list, as she connects the activities presented to the learning outcomes she is looking for.

The whole process takes about 1.5-2 hours.

She always seems happy and is very encouraging and appreciative of my job as a teacher. She gets that twinkle in her eye and smile in the corners of her mouth that tell me I have more than gained her approval.

And as much as it tickles my ego to a certain extent, I still dont like it. Because that voice on my shoulder is never fully my own.

Although in the end its a small price to pay to be free from the school system. Almost.