So this could be interesting.... - Mothering Forums
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Unschooling > So this could be interesting....
moominmamma's Avatar moominmamma 02:17 PM 08-26-2014
I've posted before about the Distributed Learning program we're part of. I helped get it started about four or five years ago. It's a public school district administered program and in a nutshell in exchange for oversight, enrolled families get some funding and access to things like the school district downhill ski instruction program, homeschoolers' art classes, a library of curricular resources, manipulatives, science tools and so on, as well as advice/support/reassurance from the supervising teacher. The teacher chosen for the program was a lovely guy, holistic in his approach, easy-going and trusting. He made it very easy for us to unschool and report in the fashion that suited us. He had no preconceptions about what homeschooling ought to look like and supported whatever we wanted to do. The principals of the DL program (there have been two so far) were always of a similar persuasion, not that they had anything much to do with the reporting and such, but it was nice to know they really understood and supported our approach.

This year we have a new principal for the program yet again, and our lovely supervising teacher is on leave. And the new principal is going to take on the teacher-supervisor role with the program as well.

Teachers are on strike in our province, but principals are with a different union and are working. So I figured I'd email the new person, introduce myself, offer to meet with her whenever it suits her. I figured she'd be spinning her wheels a little with the teachers on strike and regular school not starting next week as expected. I offered to send her our draft Learning Plan.

She wrote a kind and gracious response, thanking me for writing and for being proactive, getting a jump on the year, making her job easier, etc.. She said she'd love to meet with us next week at our convenience, and yes, it would be great if I could send along the learning plan in the meantime.

All of which sounded lovely.

And then at the end she wrote:

"I am receiving updated information around the labour dispute later this week - this is part of the reason why I suggest we meet next week rather than Friday, as then I should have the most accurate information for you as to how the year will proceed in light of the strike and how and when I will be able to mark Fiona's work."

Excuse me? "Mark Fiona's work?" wtf does that mean?

Does she think we will sit at home all year and Fiona will merrily churn out worksheet pages from a curriculum, and we will turn it into her so that she can decide what grades to award her? Is this what she thinks the DL program is about?

I read the comment off to Fiona and she said "Oh my. Has she talked to Scott? I think she should talk to Scott."

(He's the teacher who is on leave this year.)

If she's just woefully under-informed, and humble and willing to learn, things may go just fine. But if she brings those preconceptions forward, and hangs onto them tightly, there is no way we will be sticking around in the program. And I have absolutely no qualms about making the decision to leave if that's the case.

I am almost relishing a bit of back-and-forth about this, because I know that in many ways Fiona is a trump card. She produces almost no school-style output, and uses almost no curriculum, and commits to almost no scholastic structure or goals, yet if anyone wanted to take issue with our methods, I can easily point to hard evidence that she is easily two to four grade levels ahead in almost everything. And I would hope that no matter how the chips fall, that would be a somewhat eye-opening realization for this woman.

Miranda

rachelsmama's Avatar rachelsmama 03:16 PM 08-26-2014
I wonder if some of the other families in the program want and expect the teacher to mark their children's work and have been contacting the principal in a panic about that.
moominmamma's Avatar moominmamma 03:57 PM 08-26-2014
No, I doubt it. The DL program has only 7 families, and I know them all. They're way too laid-back, and are all quite Waldorfy and unschoolish in their style. And several of them live off the internet, or even off the electrical grid. I'm quite sure I'm the first person to get in touch. I'm the one who always gets to the Learning Plan in August (because I'm an old hand at this and don't need or want any teacher support or interference in the process), while everyone else waits until the teacher contacts them to set up a meeting to talk it over collaboratively before the end-of-September deadline for enrolment.

I know there are a few families who are considering DL enrolment, but the school isn't even open for administration for another week and nothing else will start until the teachers' strike ends (probably at least mid-September). I only found the new principal's email address through a back door at the district's website, and she seemed genuinely surprised to be hearing from a DL parent already.

Miranda
rachelsmama's Avatar rachelsmama 04:53 PM 08-26-2014
Then I agree completely with your initial assessment....it could be a very interesting meeting.
starling&diesel's Avatar starling&diesel 06:46 PM 08-28-2014
Interesting indeed, Miranda. Keep us posted!
SplashingPuddle's Avatar SplashingPuddle 04:28 PM 09-02-2014
I know this is a bit off topic, but do you know if distributed learners qualify for the $40/day payments during the strike? I cannot find any information on this.
moominmamma's Avatar moominmamma 04:53 PM 09-02-2014
Public DL programs yes. Just go to the bcparentinfo website and register with your school district. In the drop down menu you should see your DL program listed.

Miranda
Nazsmum's Avatar Nazsmum 01:11 PM 09-03-2014
Subbing. Interested to see what happens.
moominmamma's Avatar moominmamma 01:26 PM 09-03-2014
No meeting yet, since the teachers are picketing the school again and I won't be crossing the picket lines. Might be a while. No further emails. I'll keep you posted.

Miranda
stormborn's Avatar stormborn 02:54 PM 09-03-2014
Out of curiosity, does that mean you get $40 per school day?
moominmamma's Avatar moominmamma 06:00 PM 09-03-2014
Yes, it's a truly bizarre politically-motivated move by the provincial government to buy complicity from parents as they try to bleed the teachers' union dry of funds during the strike. The government can only afford to do this because they are not paying its 40,000 teachers during the lockout. The money is intended to make parents stop freaking out about having to pay for childcare, but lest it be seen as portraying school as equivalent-to-childcare, they're also saying the money is for families "exploring other educational opportunities as they see fit." But the money is only available to parents of kids under 13, so as I see it, it must be primarily about child care.

And the weird thing is that because the government has insisted for years that hired teachers are in charge of the education of children enrolled in DL programs -- even though the supervisory teachers in question, the kids and the parents know that their education is almost entirely in the parents' hands -- they're being forced to put their money where their mouth is and offer the money to DL parents as well.

Miranda
kathymuggle's Avatar kathymuggle 07:05 AM 09-11-2014
Have fun with the extra cash

I am imagining she is simply ignorant - but I guess you will see.

I agree with your daughter, she needs to talk to Scott.
starling&diesel's Avatar starling&diesel 09:48 PM 09-15-2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by SplashingPuddle View Post
I know this is a bit off topic, but do you know if distributed learners qualify for the $40/day payments during the strike? I cannot find any information on this.
There is a lot of chatter on FB about this, and how the various DL are responding to questions.
There is a BC homeschool/unschool group on FB that should be easy to search for.
As far as I know, all DL students should get the $40 a day (payable as a lump sum at the end of the strike, which sucks for parents of any child who is out for cost of childcare up front, grrrrr) and registered homeschoolers do NOT get the money.
mapleleaf's Avatar mapleleaf 10:08 AM 09-18-2014
Thanks for posting, I find this program very interesting. How cool to get such good people (teacher and principles) to start the program with! I hope you are able to convey to this new principle how the program has worked in the past and how you are looking forward to the same in the future. I would also ask her if there is an intention to fill the teachers role when they are no longer on strike. I think from the start of the program the possibility of changing principle/teacher would have been a worry of mine!
moominmamma's Avatar moominmamma 08:34 PM 09-30-2014
Staffing adjustments: the principal has taken on some Educational Assistant responsibilities within the school, and one of the EAs has been reassigned as our primary liaison person for the DL program, under the "supervisory oversight" of the principal. And it's good. She worked with the co-op Waldorf-inspired alternative school that was a vibrant part of our community during the 1990s. She has, by all reports, an open-minded view of non-traditional learning. We bumped into her today for the first time and got a nice vibe. She had a friendly manner with Fiona, had read our draft learning plan in detail and was full of enthusiasm for what we had written.

We won't have our initial planning meeting for another week or two, but it feels so much better to know we will be working with someone who at least has an interest in alternative learning, rather than with someone who was dragged into it in order to get the required number of job hours.

Editing to correct my initial assumption: She's not an Educational Assistant (EA). She's a fully qualified teacher whose work in recent years has been as part of the Learning Assistance Program at our bricks-and-mortar school, co-ordinating with and directing two or three EAs. Which is good, because it gives her more control over reviewing and record-keeping on our behalf. The principal, no matter her stance on alternative learning, will be serving a strictly administrative role.

Miranda
moominmamma's Avatar moominmamma 02:34 PM 10-15-2014
Well, I love that the new teacher seems pretty swift with tech tools and happy for a lot of our contact to be virtual. But ... well, there's a process involved here in opening her eyes to unschooling.

I had mentioned in our learning plan that Fiona would be interested, if possible, in participating in the on-line literature circles that the local school has been involved in for the past few years. Students would choose one of a handful of novels to read, and would then be encouraged to discuss with each other various interpretive themes and issues results from teacher prompts or more free-flowing threads. Very much like this forum in format.

The teacher wrote to let me know that the Lit. Circles wouldn't be happening this year.

I wrote back saying "too bad, because that would have been a really easy and natural way for you to get a sense of Fiona's writing ability." And then I tried to explain why it isn't necessarily easy to get unschooled kids to produce samples of their writing for a portfolio.

Quote:
I know that from the perspective of a teacher who normally deals with students who have been writing for evaluative purposes since age 5 it seems like a really trivial thing to get a kid to write something for a portfolio, but for all of my homeschooled kids it has been a challenge. Not because they’ve been resistant to writing or are bad at it, but because they just don’t ever do it for that reason.

It’s hard to explain, but imagine a similar scenario with verbal language. Imagine that you were going for a job interview where part of the hiring process was based on your ability to handle verbal language — not conversationally but more formally. They want you to bring some sort video presentation of your oral prowess to your interview. I think for most people that requirement would create a lot of self-conscious awkwardness. I mean, I speak all the time in a million different contexts, and I do so in public quite easily. But it would feel weirdly contrived and awkward to have to create something that illustrated my speaking ability in order to present it to an evaluator.

Fiona feels that way about writing samples. Her schoolwork isn’t based on writing for evaluation. We just talk as she’s learning and doing and wants to communicate; she tells me cool things she’s figured out, and if I ask she tells me honestly and perceptively whether she understands or remembers things. She writes for various reasons, and writes pretty well I think, but entirely for her own purposes. When asked what she would like to submit for a writing sample, she gets stressed, can’t think of anything that isn’t either too personal or too unpolished for her liking. She procrastinates, and if I get anything at all it’s usually under duress, pretty minimal in quantity and quality, and leaves a bad taste in her mouth. Which really isn’t how I want her to feel about writing or about the DL program.
I thought maybe she'd start to understand. But then I got this reply:

Quote:
I agree that literacy isn’t all about the written word. There are other ways Fiona can demonstrate her understanding of a novel or other reading passages, as you said, “She loves talking and thinking about novels and literary devices and themes.” For example she could do a podcast or power point.


So I write back:

Quote:
I think it might be easier to just quietly gather some of her natural writing to use as samples. Her issue is with the expectation that she needs to do something that is (for her) completely separate from learning: creating/presenting something to “demonstrate her understanding.” It’s the demonstrating that’s the issue, not the writing. I guess I'm not explaining this very well.

She does love talking about the things I mentioned, but not in a parent-prompted “show me what you’ve learned” fashion. For example, she’ll be reading in the car and will suddenly turn to me and start talking about whether she thinks this author had the over-arching plot for the entire series of books mapped out ahead of time or not, and what her evidence is, and the different ways books in series can be linked and what styles of linkage she prefers.

To take a spontaneous interest-inspired conversation like that and turn it into a demonstration of learning (whether essay, Prezi, oral presentation or podcast) is a completely unengaging task for my unschooled child. She did some thinking and learning that she found interesting and which excited her. There’s no reason she’d want to add a whole other subsequent — and pointless to her — phase to it.

But anyway, I’m sure we’ll find workarounds. I’m not worried.
I wonder if we'll ever end up understanding each other. It's early days yet. She clearly wants to be understanding and accommodating, but she's definitely in that school-based head-space. We'll see.

Miranda
transpecos 08:54 PM 10-15-2014
Miranda, your exchange reminds me of some of the interactions I had with my son's teachers in his first two years of school. You're a better mom than I...I just ran out of patience and asked my two younger kids if they really wanted to go to school that bad...

Deborah

p.s. And so the complications keep piling up...my youngest has just asked if she can buy a horse, so she can compete in 4-H...some of the competitions require the participant to own the horse. (After one competition last year, she declared she never would again. She's changed her mind. Like I couldn't see that coming.) Here's the thing...we have no place for a horse (there were some in my neighborhood until a couple of decades ago, when five of them got out and stampeded through the neighborhood, through a yard with some little kids playing there), no money for a horse or horse care. She seems to have it all figured out...I gave her leave to pursue this with the horse owner.
moominmamma's Avatar moominmamma 09:13 PM 10-15-2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by transpecos View Post
You're a better mom than I...I just ran out of patience and asked my two younger kids if they really wanted to go to school that bad...
Oh you can bet that if this teacher had any direct control or influence over what happened with my kid (in other words, if she was actually in school), I'd be outta there. There are perks Fiona enjoys that come in exchange for the reporting I do ... if I can reach a point of understanding with the teacher that makes the reporting comfortable for me.

Miranda
transpecos 08:54 AM 10-19-2014
"When asked what she would like to submit for a writing sample, she gets stressed, can’t think of anything that isn’t either too personal or too unpolished for her liking. She procrastinates, and if I get anything at all it’s usually under duress, pretty minimal in quantity and quality, and leaves a bad taste in her mouth. Which really isn’t how I want her to feel about writing or about the DL program."

Exactly. I've had SO many people tell me (sometimes, people who don't know our "educational orientation") that if people get to do what they want to all the time, then they won't ever do what they HAVE to do. This argument is both bogus and malicious. It's bogus, because my two unschooled kids (on the edge of radical unschooling, actually) have grown up to not procrastinate (unlike mom), not shirk unpleasant work, and to not be satisfied with low quality work. The malicious part is...I don't WANT them to be put in a position where they are unable to choose work(etc.) that is meaningful for them. Part of that choice...is being able to say NO, loudly and resoundingly and with the wherewithal to back it up. (Leaving soapbox now.)

Deborah
moominmamma's Avatar moominmamma 12:17 PM 10-20-2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by transpecos View Post
I've had SO many people tell me (sometimes, people who don't know our "educational orientation") that if people get to do what they want to all the time, then they won't ever do what they HAVE to do.
This is such a common objection to unschooling. I'm going to make a new thread about it just for fun.

Miranda
transpecos 03:38 PM 10-20-2014
And this: "I unschooled my kids all summer, and all they did was play video games".

Deborah
moominmamma's Avatar moominmamma 10:04 AM 11-03-2014
It's a bit of a gong show here with these new people at the helm. I dunno, it feels like if the program makes it through this year (until the original teacher is back from sabbatical) it will be due primarily to the actions of the parents.

The Learning Plan and learning support request I submitted at the end of August finally produced results this past week. I had asked for a particular science workbook, and when Fiona and I showed up at art class last week there was a package waiting for us. Inside: a math workbook! Uh, no, guys. Math is not the same as science.

They were asking for suggestions as to what to purchase for a materials lending library. I emailed back and said that many similar programs offer Rosetta Stone language software. "It's not something Fiona is interested in at this point, but it might be good for the program to be able to give students access to if they want." A week later I got an email from the teacher saying "The school district actually has a 10-student license. Here is Fiona's login information so she can get started."

One point for effort. But reading comprehension, guys.

Still waiting on that science workbook. Also haven't heard boo about the music theory software I asked for. And nothing about our request that Fiona be able to attend workshops with the Social Studies class at the school. It's November. Can you imagine if classroom teachers were still waiting on textbooks for their students in November, with no information about when or if they might be arriving? I mean, it's not like we're helpless when it comes to learning without these resources, but as I see it the whole point of being involved in the program is to get access to these sorts of things ... And what's the point in doing up the whole Learning Plan according to their specifications if nothing happens as a result of it?

Last week we finally had a meeting scheduled with all the parents, the teacher and the principal to talk about the program, the new caps on funding for resources, the new categories for those resources, and so on. The meeting got cut to 15 minutes because the principal had double-booked herself. She had enough time to explain the system she's worked out to reimburse parents for purchases of curriculum or services. Which sounded lovely, except that we experienced DL parents all know that the provincial Ministry of Education explicitly disallows the reimbursement of parents: money can only be paid to 3rd party vendors directly. We tried to persuade her of this. She said that no, she had talked to the Finance person with the school district, and they had agreed on this method. She had just authorized a couple of reimbursements for a parent that morning, and the system was working well. "Are you sure?" we asked, and explained our experience in the past, and what we'd been told by the previous staff. "I'm not privy to that information," she said. "I've okayed this with the Finance Director." (Well okay, but I believe the Finance Director is mostly in charge of internal accounting practices, and maybe has no understanding of government policy concerning DL programs.)

We've been told over the years that the government will claw money back from school districts retroactively if upon auditing, DL programs have not been following these sorts of rules. We parents left the meeting pretty unimpressed and rather concerned. I went home, found the government documentation which makes the rule clear, and wrote a carefully worded email to the principal. I got a gracious email back: she's looking into it and will be discussing the situation with her higher-ups. I imagine her reimbursement policy will be changed this week.

But it's just one more in a series of things that makes me feel like they have no clue about DL programs, and no sense of how to support and facilitate what DL families are doing. What I have loved about the program in the past is how it added a community and interpersonal dimension to our home-learning, how the people in charge seemed truly excited by what DL families were doing and enthusiastically supported the idea of alternative learning. Fiona's relationship with the previous teacher was a genuine and multi-faceted form of mutual admiration. The two of them, and the other DL students, were always looking for ways to make connections, to relate, to build synergy. Typically by this stage in the year we'd have all our requested resources, would have received invitations to workshops and special presentations at the school, would have had two to three half-hour conferences with the teacher, a meet-and-greet potluck afternoon and a couple of newsletters.

With these two new women at the helm, and only one 15 minute parents-only group meeting so far, so many gaffs and mis-interpretations and unanswered or mis-answered emails, I have to say that at this point the only reason we're continuing is to help prevent the program from folding before our beloved teacher returns from sabbatical next year.

Urgh. Thanks for letting me rant.

Miranda
transpecos 11:21 AM 11-03-2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

The meeting got cut to 15 minutes because the principal had double-booked herself. She had enough time to explain the system she's worked out to reimburse parents for purchases of curriculum or services. Which sounded lovely, except that we experienced DL parents all know that the provincial Ministry of Education explicitly disallows the reimbursement of parents: money can only be paid to 3rd party vendors directly. We tried to persuade her of this. She said that no, she had talked to the Finance person with the school district, and they had agreed on this method...
We've been told over the years that the government will claw money back from school districts retroactively if upon auditing, DL programs have not been following these sorts of rules. We parents left the meeting pretty unimpressed and rather concerned.

Miranda
Yikes, Miranda...I hope they're better with the bricks and mortar school administration!

Deborah
moominmamma's Avatar moominmamma 11:29 AM 11-03-2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by transpecos View Post
Yikes, Miranda...I hope they're better with the bricks and mortar school administration!

Deborah
I imagine they're just fine at it. They've worked within that system for 35 collective years. Old dogs and new tricks, though... just not happening.

This morning I sent an email asking (diplomatically!) for some clarity on numerous issues. Or even just a response that in effect says "we don't have a clue, so just go at it on your own and we promise we'll be cool about it."

Miranda
moominmamma's Avatar moominmamma 12:56 PM 11-22-2014
The saga continues.

They two new women at the helm of our DL program have backtracked on their interpretation of the rules concerning funding. We parents were correct: they cannot reimburse us for purchases. The school has to buy materials or services on our behalf. That came pretty quickly after we questioned their interpretation and was no surprise.

Now we're heading into the first set of meetings / portfolio reviews / evaluations.

When the program started several years ago, these seemed to happen organically and informally. The previous teacher made an effort to "meet with families periodically to talk about how things are going." The tone was "I would like to get an idea of what you're doing so that my job of making up a report card is easier." I never had the sense that our chatty get-togethers were being framed as Evaluations. We typically brought almost nothing with us; occasionally we brought in a cool book that we'd been reading to show him. Once we brought Homeland Season 3 to lend to him because Fiona had been delighted to find out that he was as hooked on the show as we were and he hadn't seen the current season. Just to give you a sense of the friendly, casual atmosphere!

The subtext I heard in all this was "I trust that your child is learning like crazy. If you can share some of that with me, I'll be able to do the paperwork that enables your lovely unschooling to continue."

So, contrast that with the wording of the recent request from the new teacher:

"To complete an accurate report of your child’s progress and to make our meeting go quickly and smoothly I need for you to bring the following with you to the meeting: if possible, a summary (or highlights) of what your child has completed in his/her Learning Plan up to the middle of November, as well as, samples demonstrating his/her progress. These samples can be provided in a variety of ways: photocopied pages of writing, math pages and/or actual workbook; photographs of projects; blog entries; videos; whatever way works to provide me with examples demonstrating your child/children is/are achieving the learning outcomes outlined in his/her/their Learning Plan."

What I hear as the subtext is this:

"You need to prove to me that your homeschooling is sufficient."

Or, perhaps more charitably, "I need you to provide proof that you satisfy the government's standards of sufficient learning." It's probably a subtle distinction to her, but to me it feels really big: the old teacher positioned himself as our advocate, while the new teacher seems to view her role as that of judge.

I'll be honest: my teacher-pleaser reflexive response is to want to bombard her with evidence of learning that will just blow any concerns away. I want to bring videos of Intermediate Ballet Technique class, of Fiona's handsprings in gymnastics, of her playing the Largo from the Bach C Major Violin Solo Sonata, her Grade 10 pre-calculus math workbook, the transcript from her high school level music theory courseware... I want her to think to herself "Oh, this family is doing great!" and pronounce us in complete compliance with governmental standards.

But a bigger, stronger, more idealistic part of me doesn't want to raise the bar for other parents by acquiescing, by fulfilling the teacher's expectations and leaving her assumptions unchallenged. I want to behave in a way that encourages her to become an ally, not a judge.

How?

For what it's worth, she's a nice lady who is sympathetic to the idea of alternative learning and mostly just doesn't know how much she doesn't know. And this will probably be the only year she does this job: our old guy will likely be back next year.

Miranda
transpecos 11:32 AM 11-23-2014
I wouldn't be able to comply. It's not because I'm hard to get along with and won't entertain viewpoints other than my own (I'm not, and will ...otherwise, how could I have become an almost-radical unschooler myself)...it's because what she's asking would be a complete paradigm shift, a complete negation of my "core educational values". Our "interest" or "child" led learning is just that...and not to be dictated or restructured or judged or modified by adult "experts", in order to fit some pedagogical model that it is completely incompatible with us.

Deborah

p.s. I'm shocked how much Middle seems to care about her grades...she obviously cares about the subjects too, but the attraction to award based systems seems quite strong, regardless of my efforts to minimize "the influence". I'm so glad that her homeschool adviser (back when we had one) just wanted to...have real conversations with her. No academic pressure.
moominmamma's Avatar moominmamma 01:16 PM 11-23-2014
If it meant anything about Fiona's actual experience of living and learning had to change, I couldn't comply either. And I have no intention of changing the negligible hard "evidence" of learning we walk in with. (You'll notice that she included "blog entries" in her list of acceptable documentation: I keep a blog, which she's been reading all fall and gushing over, and I'm almost sure that will be enough "evidence" for her.)

So compliance isn't the issue for me. It's that I want to re-frame of the nature of the family-teacher-governmental relationship, and shake up her educational paradigm.

I think I'll open by explaining that we have no interest at all in receiving the report that she generates, so please don't send it to us. Because for us reporting is about her translating our learning practices into a form that satisfies the government, and this reporting has value for us only because that allows us to have access to the support $$ and activities. Besides, the report of Fiona's learning is experienced first-hand in our home, and is already second-hand by the time she receives it. What would be the point of us receiving a report back? It would be third-hand by that point, and we already are already living the first-hand experience, ya know? Anyway, I realize that quirky self-directed home-learners don't always make her job easy since they don't fit neatly into the government's narrow view of what and how kids learn, so I hope that my blogging helps her understand what we're up to. And ... is there anything else she would like to know about what we do to help her with that translation?

Miranda
transpecos 04:37 PM 11-23-2014
Compliance isn't the issue for me, either. But this is:

"To complete an accurate report of your child’s progress and to make our meeting go quickly and smoothly I need for you to bring the following with you to the meeting: if possible, a summary (or highlights) of what your child has completed in his/her Learning Plan up to the middle of November, as well as, samples demonstrating his/her progress."

Does the child attend the session? If so, he/she has just been brought into a situation where goals are established by an outside expert, whereas in our case, what goals there are, are established by consensus, and more often than not, the work itself is sufficient to ensure "progress". I'm really serious about allowing/facilitating intrinsic motivation & goal setting...not gonna happen if an outside agency is setting the expectations.

This sort of meeting would have been exceptionally disastrous for my daughters, who certainly would been considered "behind" on "everything," even though at the time they were both laying the groundwork for exceptional achievement in specific areas. At this time, Middle (despite her dyslexia) is treated elsewise as a "gifted" student...traditional expectations and goal setting would never sprung her from the cohort the most academically challenged students. Or so I was told by the certified teacher we hired for her yearly evaluations when we lived in a state that required this.

If the student does not attend the meeting, I would still have problems with it: my kids were/are not on a traditional track. The way we do things, they're not ever going to be. I cannot count the number of people who foretold academic/life disaster for Middle, people who assumed we were neglecting her education, people who thought she would thrive if we set some goals for her, withheld stuff when she didn't achieve, gave her "things to work for"...when being able to read/write normally would have been all the prize she ever wanted.

Deborah
moominmamma's Avatar moominmamma 05:04 PM 11-23-2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by transpecos View Post
Does the child attend the session? If so, he/she has just been brought into a situation where goals are established by an outside expert, whereas in our case, what goals there are, are established by consensus, and more often than not, the work itself is sufficient to ensure "progress".
I think you're misunderstanding. The Learning Plan is the one I mentioned in the first few posts in this thread: I wrote it (entirely as directed by Fiona). It's not from the teacher or the school. We are able to edit the Learning Plan if things change direction. It serves as a sort of moveable beacon to which we refer when reporting, and any funding for purchases of goods or services must be justified as in service of the Learning Plan. (A month ago I added "would like to do some formal study of music theory" to her plan because we wanted to be able direct the school to purchase some music theory software on her behalf. Now when I write blog posts, I occasionally make mention of the work she's done with that software.)

Does that change the picture for you?

Oh, and to answer your other question, the parent must attend the meeting but there's no requirement that the child do so. All children are welcome to attend and older children are encouraged to do so, but it's up to the parent. Fiona has always really enjoyed being part of the meetings. They've had the feel of a get-together with a favourite uncle whom she is welcome to show off and brag to.

Miranda
transpecos 05:25 PM 11-23-2014
"To complete an accurate report of your child’s progress and to make our meeting go quickly and smoothly I need for you to bring the following with you to the meeting: if possible, a summary (or highlights) of what your child has completed in his/her Learning Plan up to the middle of November, as well as, samples demonstrating his/her progress."

I don't think I'm misunderstanding at all...it seems quite clear that the evaluation/goal setting has been outsourced.

I'd be a lot more comfortable if my kid weren't involved in this process.

Part of my discomfort probably stems from the way others tried to second guess our home education, appealing directly to our children to try to make them (our kids) force us (shame us, make us feel inadequate, especially with regard to Middle) to change our approach. I understand this isn't what you're dealing with at all...

Deborah
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