A mom in NZ submitted this to the Ministry of Education in New Zealand for her daughter's homeschooling registration. I've changed the name to [child's name].
Application for Exemption from Enrollment
Broad Curriculum Areas
[Child] will learn at home, in the company of her mother, older brother [name] (exemption received, date), and younger brother [name/age]. Her father will also play a major role, as will various family and friends, and members of the community.
We see education as a marathon rather than a sprint, and are focused on [child's] long-term education. It is our hope that at the end of her homeschooling, she will be able to happily do whatever it is she wants to do with her life.
[Child]’s education will be flexible and able to be adjusted as her needs change. She will be involved in the construction of her own curriculum, based around her particular interests.
We believe that life is not compartmentalised in to subjects and neither should education be. All subjects overlap and are inherently intertwined. However, for the purpose of this application we have included sixsubjects below, and how we believe they will be learned.
Our goal for [child] is that she be able to communicate on all levels, and that reading in particular will become a life-long pleasure for her.
We also hope that [child]’s reading ability will become such that she is able to understand and enjoy all forms of written material.
[child] will become competent in Literacy in the following (and more) ways:
We have a large, ever-increasing collection of books. It is our usual practice to check out 40-50 books from our local library at each visit.
- Conversations with us, and others
- Being read to
- Reading for herself
- Listening to books on tape
- Writing in her journal
- Writing notes, cards, and signs
- Watching movies based on books
- Creating new endings to stories we read
- Playing board games
- Playing with words (rhyming, alliteration,
- Acting out parts of stories
- Re-telling stories
- Telling stories in different forms, eg: suitable for a toddler
- Writing her own stories
- Illustrating her stories
- Writing/talking/thinking about characters in books
- Writing letters, addressing envelopes, and writing in cards
- Writing on competition entry forms, and bank slips
- Making lists of things to do, or items she would like
- Writing stories, poems, and captions for artwork
- Making books herself
- Visiting the library regularly (our library is in easy-walking distance from our home, and we visit the library at least once a week)
- Choosing and buying books
- Reading newspapers and magazines
- Reading signs and labels
We also have access to the National Library and that of the Auckland Home Educators.
Our goal for [child] is that she will enjoy mathematics, that she will have good number-sense, and become competent in all basic areas. We also expect that [child] will have an understanding of how mathematics is woven in to our everyday lives.
Numeracy will be learned in the following (and other) ways:
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
- Baking and cooking (fractions, measurement)
- Noticing patterns, symmetry and shapes, etc
- Shopping (currency, arithmetic, measurement)
- Counting objects (eg: ponies) or counting time (eg:hide and seek)
- Counting Pocket Money and working out ways to use it
- Playing Board Games, eg: Monopoly (currency, addition, subtraction, value)
- Playing Card Games, eg: Rat-a-Tat Cat (numbers, addition, logic, statistics)
- Playing Dice Games, eg: Yahtzee (addition, recording)
- Constructing Lego models from Instructions and imagination
- Playing with Cuisenaire Rods, Math-U-See blocks, tangrams, linking cubes, counting teddies, Weigh and Play, pretend money, dice, dominoes, magnetic numbers, rulers, calculators and other mathematical resources we purchase
- Observing times, dates and seasons
- Playing computer games online, and on cd-rom (eg: Reader Rabbit Math)
- Discussing Math and math concepts
- Reading math books (eg: The Grapes of Math)
- Doing puzzles and mazes
- Doing Sudoku and other mathematical puzzles
Our goal for [child] is that she will develop a positive interest in science to develop her scientific thinking skills. We want her to be competent and comfortable with all aspects of technology, and to find enjoyment using them.
[Child] will study science and technology, related to her personal interests and surrounding environment in the following (but not limited to these) ways:
[Child]’s father works in the IT industry, and will have many opportunities to impart his knowledge. [Child] has free access to our computers (and a laptop), and is encouraged to make use of them as often as she likes. She enjoys playing on various websites designed for children, and using some of the programs on each pc (eg; Word and Paintbrush).
- Watching Science-related documentaries and DVD’s (we own a set of Magic School Bus dvd’s, and all enjoy watching documentaries on Sky TV)
- Reading Science books (from our own collection and the library)
- Visiting the Zoo, Motat, Kelly Tarlton’s, the Museum and Observatory
- Exploring our backyard and garden
- Assisting in the garden. [Child] loves to plant and care for seeds, and watch them grow
- Attend Transition Towns meetings, and community awareness events with family
- Discussing environmental issues with family and friends
- Conducting science experiments
- Making and recording observations
- Visiting Science Fairs and roadshows
- Exploring at beaches and on our walks
- Observing the world around her
- Meeting scientists
- Being involved in recycling and composting our waste
- Using technology in the home and beyond
Her older brother also has a particular interest in this area, and loves to share the information he gleans. We expect to see [child]’s typing skills improve as she uses the computer more.
[Child] will read various scientific and technological publications as her interest leads. She enjoys using the tools in our home, and watching them being used.
HEALTH AND WELL-BEING
Our goal for [child] is that she understands the necessity of a healthy body, and to continue to care for her body’s needs. There are many opportunities to learn about health in a home environment, and many ways for her to be physically active.
[Child] will learn about health in the following ways:
ART AND MUSIC
- Discussion with family and friends
- Shopping for and preparing food
- Discussing the essentials of a healthy diet
- Discussing various diets around the world
- Reading books on health and disease
- Being prepared in an emergency
- Participation in fire drills, and drawing up escape plans
- Discussing self-esteem
- Discussing her own health issues and those of the rest of the family
- Visiting family and friends in hospital, or when sick
- Discussing various stages of life
- Attending homeschool classes such as gymnastics, swimming lessons, sports groups, as her interest dictates
- Walking regularly- we have made the decision to do without a car during the week, so we walk everywhere we can, and take buses when we need to go further away.
- Learn to ride a bike
- Play on our various outdoor structures- geometric dome, bikes and trikes, trampoline. We plan to buy a slide shortly, and plan to build a large play structure in the next year
- Playing with balls, and sports equipment
- Swimming at our local pools and beaches
- Watching documentaries about the human body
- Cuddles and care, having fun together
- Discussing personal safety
Our goal for [child] is that she will continue to enjoy being creative, and develop her own style... She will have an opportunities to develop her creativity every day, and will learn more about Art and Music in the following (but not limited to these) ways…
HISTORY AND GEOGRAPHY
- Painting, drawing and creating at home and away. [Child] has a particular interest in arty things. She likes to make an incredible array of things out of paper, card, and masses of cellotape and glue
- Doing craft kits, and copying craft/art activities out of the books we own, and those we borrow from the library
- Dancing, singing at home and away. [Child] sings every day, usually songs about her day or what she is feeling at the time
- Listening to the radio or CD’s (various genres)
- Watching musical events on tv or You Tube
- [Child] has attended a Drama class, and may do again
- [Child] is listed with a talent agency, and has been filmed for a few television commercials, which has been a wonderful learning experience for all of us
- Attending concerts and community events, as her (and our) interest leads
- Attending music or art lessons, if [child] is interested
- Learning about famous artists and composers
- Entering competitions, eg: from newspapers, shops and tv
- Making music with the various instruments we own, and those we make/invent
- Experimenting with playdough, clay, plasticine, fimo, etc
- Creating things at the library, museum, etc
- Making cards for family and friends
It is our goal that [child] will gain a firm understanding of her place in the world, both in location and time. We expect that she will have a fair understanding of how events unfolded to shape the world we live in today, and a possible idea of how things will look in the future. It is our hope that these subjects will enrich our daughter’s life, and not (as so often happens with children) be a bore.
We feel it is important for [child] to understand that “history” happened to people like us, and we will shape the “history” that future generations of people will study.
We expect that an understanding of History and Geography will be infused naturally, in the following (amongst other) ways:
Curriculum Coverage for the First Year
- Looking at wall maps (and smaller maps, and map books) of New Zealand and the world
- Reading and being read to from various encyclopaedias (People, Histories of the world)
- Looking on maps when family or friends are travelling
- We are members of a groups of homeschoolers who send postcards to each other from all over the world
- Looking at a globe
- Visiting Motat and the Auckland War Memorial Museum, and other museums of interest outside of Auckland
- Playing Trivial Pursuit and Around the World
- Watching Sky Channels such as National Geographic, Discovery and The History Channel
- Discussion of customs and food of other cultures
- Trying and creating food from other places
- Watching television programs showing different geographic locations
- Reading historical fiction, biographies, books about different countries, children’s atlases and accounts of various events
- Talking to other people about their travels, and memories from when they were younger
- Talking about, and looking at photos of when [child] was younger
- Noticing places we visit, and the routes we take
- Travelling to other parts of the country, and possibly beyond (one day)
Our curriculum will remain the same as it has done from [child]’s birth. We will continue to enjoy each day with her, watching her interests change and develop, and introducing her to new ideas and concepts naturally and without coercion.
[Child] is a happy girl, and we have no concerns about her progress so far, nor do we expect any problems in the future.
Our programme is child-centred, with plenty of room for direction from parents where we deem it is necessary. [Child]’s natural curiosity seems to lead her, very organically, in to every possibly curriculum area.
We endeavour to make her life as full as possible, not with multitudes of activities…but with interesting events and discussion. She has plenty of time to be alone with her toys and her thoughts, as well as plenty of time to be with her family, and exploring the larger community.
We offer all manner of activities, and she suggests those that are of interest to. Hardly a day will go by when [child] doesn’t come up with a plan for some new thing she would like to try.
The Aim: To expand [child]’s knowledge about the Kiwi. She noticed kiwi at the zoo, and began to ask many questions about them.
Resources: Encyclopedia (from home), books from the library about kiwi/birds/nocturnal animals, look for a dvd (or upcoming documentary on Sky) about the kiwi or birds in general; the Auckland Zoo, Art Supplies.
Method: We will answer [child]’s questions about the kiwi, and impart whatever further knowledge we have. She naturally wants to draw the kiwi she saw, and we can encourage her to make pictures of kiwi in other ways (eg: collage or with labelled parts). We can also make kiwi out of playdough, or items from our recycling bin.
There is a place we have driven to in Kerikeri (on the way to Opedo Bay) where there are signs up to beware of kiwi walking across the road at night. We would love to take her there in the night with a torch to see if we can see a kiwi in the wild.
We can talk about endangered species, and ways we can help the kiwi (in particular) to survive. We can discover together what kiwi like to eat, and where they are likely to be found. We can look at maps about where they are most often found, and make pictures of how many kiwi are thought to be in each area. We can go back to the zoo to watch them some more, and if possible, compare how we notice them behaving at the zoo and in the wild (if we should get to see them).
We can talk about how the kiwi came to be one of our national icons, and all the different places we might see kiwi alluded to (eg: the National Rugby League team, on NZ money)…we can go on a kiwi hunt, at home, and out. We can look in a tourist shop for all the items which have something to do with the kiwi.
We can talk about the kiwi’s predators, and the ways it protects itself from them. We can find out if there are any kiwi in other parts of the world, and talk about the national birds/animals of other countries.
Evaluation: We will know how effective the learning has been by the questions [child] asks, and comments she makes. We will also hear her discussing what she has learned with her brothers, and other family members, and in her solitary play.
Resources and Reference Material
- Computers with broadband internet access, and many software titles
- Large Collection of books, including fiction, non-fiction, children’s books, magazines, comics strips, encyclopaedias, atlases, dictionaries, thesaurus
- A Map of New Zealand, Map of the World, Globe
Magazines, including Net Guide, Taste, Life Learning, Natural Life, Healthy Food Guide, PC World, Disney Adventures, Princess, Kidzone, Whacky But True
- Calculating and measuring tools
- Art & Craft Supplies, including: various colours and sizes/thicknesses of paper and card, acrylic paint, tempura paint, water colours, felts, opens, pencils (coloured and lead), chalk, glitter pens, water colour pencils, paint pens, glitter, glue, ice block sticks, permanent markers, whiteboard markers, pastels, play dough, scissors, guillotine, cellotape, double-sided tape, string, nails, wood, stamps, punches, stencils, easel, art and craft and drawing books
- Musical Instruments, including: child s-zed guitar, ukelele, recorder, castanets, mini drums, large (and small) keyboard, tambourines, whistles
- Music- large selection of tapes and cd’s, stereo, mp3 player
- Sports Equipment, including: tee-ball set, geometric dome, bikes, trikes, ride on toys, tennis racquets and balls, rugby balls, soccer balls, softball gloves, cricket sets, trampoline and rebounder
- Kitchen Equipment
- Gardening Tools
- Home Maintenance tolls and equipment
- Playing Cards, and large selection of card games, and learning cards
- Math Manipulatives, including: Cuisenaire rods, buttons, counting teddies, linking cubes, Math-U-See blocks, dominoes, geometric boards, number charts, rules, wooden shapes, Brainy Blocks (plastic shapes)
- Board Games, including: Cranium, Cranium Cadoo, Settlers of Cataan, Monopoly, Scrabble, Cluedo, Pictionary, Kids vs Grown-Ups, Trivial Pursuit, Around the World, Hungry Hippo, Tumblin’ Monkey’s, Pop-Up Pirate, Trax, selection of cooperative games
- Large Selection of children’s dvd’s
- Sky television, including 4 children’s channels, The History Channel, Animal Planet, National Geographic, The Documentary Channel
- Lego and Duplo
- Large collection of plastic animals, Polly Pockets, My Little Ponies
- Large box of wooden blocks
- Play Food, train set, collection of Little People, cash register, lots of containers of small toys, Pirate Ship, Sand and Water Play Table
- Large number of puzzles ranging from 30-1000 pieces, including 2 Triazzles, Rush Hour, and The Global Puzzle
- Magnetic letters and numbers
- Loads of toys
- Family in Auckland, Kerikeri, Christchurch, Sydney and London
- Friends all over Auckland, New Zealand, Canada, and worldwide (that we haven’t met other than online)
- Play Station 2, DVD player, digital camera
- Local and city-wide homeschooling support groups.
- National and International Yahoo Groups (e-mail support)
- Easy-walking Distance to library, community centre, skate park and several shops
- Annual (unlimited entry) Motat Pass
- Museum, art galleries, swimming pools, zoo, beaches, parks, Chipmunks, bowling, ice skating, airport, mini golf, pet shops, Observatory
- Manukau Libraries, one if which is open 7 days a week
- Community events
- Movie Theatre
- School fairs and galas
- Homeschool group trips/events
- A bach owned by the children’s Great-Nana
- Supermarkets and malls
- Garden and Yard
- Local Newspapers
- Kelly Tarlton's Membership (unlimited access for a year, and invites to behind-the-scenes events)
Anything else we hear about, or can think of that is interesting
We consider the whole world is available to [child] in her education. She is not separated from the rest of the world, but very much a part of it.
We are always on the lookout for interesting happenings in our community and beyond. Virtually any trip outside our gate is used to “extend and enrich” [child]’s education (as well as nearly everything inside our gate).
We have made many visits to interesting places so far this year, and this will continue. We plan to visit Kerikeri for Labour Weekend, and also the family bach in Port Waikato when the water warms up. We will also be heading back to Kerikeri for Christmas.
If we can get enough spare weekends, we would also like to visit homeschooling friends in Coromandel, Raglan, New Plymouth and Fielding and Wellington.
We will visit the museum again, and swimming pools, beaches, Motat, and we hope to have a visit to a recycling plant and to Rainbow’s End. We would also like to take the Scenic Rainforest train ride, and visit Model World.
We have just pruchased a year's membership at Kelly Tarlton's for [child], and she is keen to go as often as possible.
We will get to as many homeschool get-togethers as we can manage, particularly as the weather improves.
[Child] has constant social contact with her mother and two brothers. She also sees a great deal of her Daddy, as we organise our lives to make sure he gets to spend as much time as possible with the children while they are awake.
She sees people every day, from neighbours, to friends, to check-out operators. [Child] is very friendly, and enjoys people of all ages.
We see family regularly, and [child] enjoys playing with her cousins, and talking to her grandparents, uncles and aunts.
We have several friends that visit our home, and get together with other children/families as often as possible.
[Child] also writes to a few people we know, and some we have never met (via the internet, or postcards) and enjoys keeping in touch in that way.
She talks to family on the phone, and sometimes friends as well. We see this increasing as she gets older.
She is with her brothers all day, and they are rarely separated.
It is very important to us that our children be able to get along with people from all walks of life, regardless of their differences. To this end, we believe we are providing for them very well socially, and will continue to do so- adjusting our schedules and acquaintances to reflect their ever-changing needs.
Assessment and Evaluation
We are able to assess [child] on a daily basis, as we watch her discover new things, and observe her skills improving.
We have the privilege of being “on the spot” when “a light turns on” and she makes a new discovery.
We don’t have any timetable for when [child] will learn each new skill, and trust that she will learn everything she needs for her life in her own time.
Consequently there is no need to assess or compare her to others.
We are able to describe in great detail where [child] is at in every subject area, due to the constant contact we have with our daughter.
We are endeavouring to keep a blog about our family’s learning. We also keep nearly everything [child] produces (except that which is made for someone else), and she as a journal she writes in as well.
[Child]’s education is very important to us, and we believe she is learning no matter what activity she is engaged in. Therefore, she is learning (or being taught) all her waking hours. It would be very difficult to separate when she is learning, from when she is not. We believe living and learning are inextricably linked.
We believe [child] is being “taught” at least as regularly in a registered school, but probably more considering she is with us (awake) for 15 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Our weeks are filled with interesting activities, which we think provides an exceptionally rich education for [child]. Our days are structured around ordinary routines, and the necessity of meals, though there are never two days the same.
Every day we are committed to [child]’s well-being and education, and endeavour to provide her with a memorable and excellent foundation for her future.
We are always learning, and have read some excellent resources on home education, and how children learn. [Mother's name] in particular reads about education and child development on a daily basis. We make great use of the internet in learning new information, challenging assumptions, and assessing our curriculum.
Our routine is changeable- we see this as a positive thing- being adaptable to the needs of our children. Our love for [child] is not, however, and what is best for her is always at the forefront of our minds. We are very proud of our daughter, and plan to help her have the very best education she can possibly have.
We sincerely hope this is enough information to assure you of our commitment to teach [child] “as regularly and as well as a registered school”, and look forward to receiving her exemption as soon as possible.
Thank you very much.
Other descriptions of a curriculum in unschooling terms