Formally tracking time - does it get less overwhelming? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 28 Old 09-09-2011, 07:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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As of Sept 1 we are on the clock to meet or exceed our state's required 900 hours.

 

I know I don't have to do 900 hours of tedious book work, that activities and field trips and such count.

 

We've just started, and it just seems like a lot to get used to. I was hoping people might share how it was an adjustment but they got used to it. DD is 6 and this is "grade 1" - we kept her home for kindergarten too but we were not required by our state to report anything. We did work with her but it was extremely informal, entirely unscheduled, untracked, etc. Just very organic. But suddenly trying to get in 4 hours a day on average (I'm thinking this because we need a little buffer, some days we won't feel like it, or when grandparents come for the week the schedule will probably fly out the window, etc.) is just... a lot. Maybe it's stupid, we're homeschooling and not just taking an extended summer vacation. But it's sure an adjustment.

 

One thing that will have to change is that DH likes to relax with a TV show (on DVD - we don't have TV reception) at night. Just one, but we don't have time for that anymore.

 

I work full time from home, and  DH has his own business from home (but he does his work at night, mostly). We're still figuring out the split of responsibilities - I originally said I'd do 2 hours after dinner and he does 2 hours during the day. He said he'd try to do 3 hours so I could just do 1. It's just been a lot - because we need time to plan lessons (even if it's just going to the forest and getting leaf rubbings, we're having to think of ideas of what to do) and plus we have all our usual household and familial chores. Like DH needs to gather more wood for the winter (DD helps with kindling but I can't count that as homeschool, lol) and other yard work. Maintaining the house takes some time each day, especially since we all live here all day. I have some of my own projects I'm trying to work through, some of which have real deadlines (like a project to help my grandpa, who is sliding into dementia and forgetting key memories but who is still with us enough to be REALLY interested in having me write down what he has told me before about the war, etc. - I can't just wait 4 months or it might be too late. And other things too, just one example). It's tomato canning season and my freezer is stuffed full with tomatoes (seriously, can't fit 1 more tomato in) and tomatoes are rotting on the vine because I haven't gotten to them. That I can maybe make a homeschooling lesson though. I guess.

 

ANYWAY... yeah. It's an adjustment. Am I alone? Can I look forward to hitting our stride?

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#2 of 28 Old 09-09-2011, 07:50 AM
 
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If unschoolers can get the required hours in with no actual formal lessons, I am sure there is a way to NOT do 4 hours a day of strict hands on teaching...that seems like a lot to me.  I would work hard on counting more everday activities and tasks into the clocked time.


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#3 of 28 Old 09-09-2011, 08:10 AM
 
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You need to think much more broadly about what "counts." Reading a story to her counts, even if it's at bedtime. Having her help cut up cheese sticks for lunch counts. A walk to the convenience store counts. Watching a nature documentary DVD counts. That conversation you had in the car about what an atheist is counts. Working together in the garden counts. Piano lessons and dance class count. Family swim time counts. Five hours spent at the zoo on Sunday counts. Watching Disney's Fantasia 2000 counts. Playing with Knex or Magnetix counts. Making up and performing an impromptu puppet show counts. Writing an email to grandma counts. The 45 minutes she spends watching Steve Spangler YouTube videos counts. Playing on the monkey bars counts.

Divorced from the flow of real life, schools have to assign these learning these activities to Subjects like health, PE, science, literacy, drama, personal planning, nutrition, social studies and such, and create contrived lessons to touch on the same skills and knowledge. But the learning is at least as bona fide in the flow of real life... and should be acknowledged as such even if it doesn't look like school.

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#4 of 28 Old 09-09-2011, 10:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I hear ya and I'm taking the advice. But a little shy about some things.

 

OK, so we go to the farm every week. If we didn't go every week, then a trip to the farm would clearly be instructive. But if we go EVERY WEEK I'm not sure if she's necessarily learning anything new each time she goes - at least from the point of view of the superintendent, who I know will be looking at my logs in some detail (not because he's a jerk but he's actually interested - though also not necessarily fully cognizant of the differences between schooling at home and in an institution).

 

If we work in the garden EVERY WEEK, does she have to learn something specific, or is just harvesting a half bushel of tomatoes (just like last week) enough? If it's the same thing as last week, will the super think I'm totally fudging this or will he see the value? If I spend 2 minutes on some fact ("this carrot is a biennual. It lives for 2 years. We pull it up after 1 year because that's when it's the sweetest. It stores up the sugar to prepare for the winter, but we eat it instead") I can see that but what if I don't have anything to show or say that day?

 

We went to one farm on Wednesday and the farmer there showed us a hugely pregnant spider they had found. We all stared at it for about 5 minutes. I asked DD if she had any idea why its belly was so huge. And so on. Is that 5 minutes of learning or is it 30 minutes, since we spent 30 minutes at the farm?

 

I'm totally sold, myself, on the value of LIFE. I just want to make sure I'm doing enough, too. If I didn't have anyone watching over my shoulder, I'd probably take it easy this year too (like last year - though probably still do more) but do a bit more at age 7, when I think kids have a lot more focus for detail.

 

I think DD is as knowledgable in general as her peers, except for one big thing - she's not reading yet (age 6). She is right-brained and I am going on the assumption that it will click in the next year or so. I've been extremely careful to have her do the driving on learning to read, because if she gets frustrated, she shuts down. Thankfully, she has not shut down and asks to work on it once every few days (I just have to be careful to see the signs when she's tired and ready to stop). So she's behind her peers on that subject but I don't think she would be better off in school. I think I'm doing the right thing by playing it cool and making it my number one priority to preserve her love of learning and her curiosity rather than killing it with a lot of pressure and tests and such (which happened to my husband, who DD very strongly takes after).

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#5 of 28 Old 09-09-2011, 04:26 PM
 
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I hear ya and I'm taking the advice. But a little shy about some things.

 

OK, so we go to the farm every week. If we didn't go every week, then a trip to the farm would clearly be instructive. But if we go EVERY WEEK I'm not sure if she's necessarily learning anything new each time she goes - at least from the point of view of the superintendent, who I know will be looking at my logs in some detail (not because he's a jerk but he's actually interested - though also not necessarily fully cognizant of the differences between schooling at home and in an institution).

 

If we work in the garden EVERY WEEK, does she have to learn something specific, or is just harvesting a half bushel of tomatoes (just like last week) enough? If it's the same thing as last week, will the super think I'm totally fudging this or will he see the value? If I spend 2 minutes on some fact ("this carrot is a biennual. It lives for 2 years. We pull it up after 1 year because that's when it's the sweetest. It stores up the sugar to prepare for the winter, but we eat it instead") I can see that but what if I don't have anything to show or say that day?


I think you're being much too hard on yourself and taking the requirements a little more strictly than they're intended. I was in a public school program for two years that required 4 hrs. a day, but I just journaled and took pictures, and counted everything, including park day social time - and the school loved it! I even took pictures of board games in progress and building projects.

 

You don't need to make lessons of everything in order for her to be thriving, and you don't need to convince the school she's formally learning something during every minute of all those hours - only that she's being exposed to lots of things she can learn from. Think about and briefly note the things she's learning and noticing when you go to the farm - the seasons, the changes of the sun in the sky, the cloud formations, the changing crops, etc. - the school gets that she's learning a lot there. I would even avoid describing minute or specific things she learns there except as an example by way of explaining the kind of experiences that are included. A lot of your journaling can just be philosophical musings about how you see her learning or observing, etc. You can mention books you're reading together - which can be books you read to her, and audio recordings she listens to, tv shows she sees and thinks about, videos, etc. 


Here are some other threads with suggestions:

keeping records without disturbiing free learning?

records and "progress reports" for unschoolers

 

I think the school will learn more from you and your daughter than you'll learn from them - just think of yourself as an inspiration, and have fun!   - Lillian

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#6 of 28 Old 09-09-2011, 04:46 PM
 
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Do your best to record what you can, as the pp are saying.  If the super is really interested, is really wanting to be helpful, then he will give you feedback, I would think.  I mean, this is your *first year*.  Hopefully the system in your state is not so obstructionist as to prevent you from homeschooling in the future.  How often are they looking at your records?  Is there an organization you can talk to for help on this first year?  Can you speak with the superintendent about what he wants?  You don't have to tell them you are having a hard time fitting in table time or whatever, but you can speak about field trips and how those are counted etc.  

 

If you think that visits need to present something new, perhaps the farmers can somehow fit you and your daughter in on a regular basis to take a small part in the actual farm work, from planting seed to harvesting and market.  If you go for regular hikes, pay special attention to what is different each week (with the plants, for example) and make a note of it.  Watch the weather each day.  Notice moon phases.  The Harvest Moon is coming up this week, so that makes *this* full moon different from a human context.  Plus, the moon will track higher and higher in the sky as the sun sinks lower and lower.  Sirius, the Dog Star, will start to make it's annual appearance in the fall/ winter sky.  The stars are different each season.  Let her pay for things.  The total is different every time.  The denominations of the bills are different, the change is different.  The "lessons" are different, you just have to look for them.


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#7 of 28 Old 09-09-2011, 04:53 PM
 
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I would count the full 30 minutes, for two reasons.

First, when you look at how time is spent in school, you'll see a similar allocation of time... A typical 30 minutes of school time might comprise three minutes of getting everyone sitting, paying attention, two minutes explaining what group behavior is expected, half a minute of explanation of the task, three or four minutes answering questions that other children have, ten minutes of quiet time working on some questions that are mostly busy work simply designed to help the teacher figure out (since she can't tell via one-on-one conversation) whether each child understood yesterday's phonics rule, interspersed with five minutes of interruptions by other students, reminders to stay quiet and on-task, three minutes collecting papers, and three minutes of announcements about attendance and reminders to bring the map project and agendas back to school tomorrow. Out of all that there might have been, if you're lucky, five minutes of productive, on-her-level, meaningful learning for your dd. Or maybe none.

Second, you seem quite comfortable counting the informational type learning, the stuff that's about filling your dd up with facts and discrete knowledge, but uncomfortable counting the sort of experiential learning (picking tomatoes, noticing the changes in the garden, smelling that distinctive nightshade smell, feeling the resilience of the soil underfoot, noticing the weed growth, reflecting on the value of being a patient gardener, of feeding the soil) ... You feel that's hard to justify as learning, and yet you have said yourself that your dd is a right-brained learner. I would wager that she does her best learning in the periods of reflection and experience when she's not being instructed, that this is when she sees the big picture and forms connections between things. So yes, it really does count!

As for documentation, I would keep a running list of big-picture lessons you notice that your dd is getting through her weekly experiences on the farm and in the garden. Witnessing the gradual turning of the seasons, experiencing the values of patience and consistency, watching the grand cycle of life turn, participating in traditions of sustainability, food security, self-sufficiency, learning to think ahead and plan for the next year and for the good of future generations, appreciating genetic diversity, seeing first-hand the long-term benefits of good management of the nitrogen cycle in the soil, gaining a good work ethic, contributing meaningfully to family and community well-being, getting physical exercise, noticing and predicting weather changes etc.etc. I would supplement that list with lots of photos that show your dd experiencing landmark moments of the various seasons in these environments: washing carrots, petting the lambs, weeding the strawberry patch. I can pretty much guarantee that this sort of body of documentation will impress even yourself after a few months, and your supervisor doubly so.

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#8 of 28 Old 09-09-2011, 05:11 PM
 
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What state requires such specific logging of time?

 

I'm in NY and we are required to cover certain subjects and we are required to fulfill the 900 hours but how we fulfill them is up to the parent. We generally do 2-3 hours of pretty steady work, with additional videos, games, reading out loud, etc.


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#9 of 28 Old 09-10-2011, 06:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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In in MA. I was willing to log hours in leiu of making up a BS daily schedule - to show that we will "meet or exceed" the required annual hours of education. Despite the initial challenges, I'm still ok with it.

 

You all are right that DH and I apparently need to be de-institutionalized. DH saw my log on seeing a pregnant spider at the farm and said it looked like BS. I said "geez, if the first grade classroom had a spider in a tank, they'd count it. So just because it happened to be in the wild and we didn't know ahead of time we'd find it, it doesn't count?" He found that argument convincing, but it seems we both need to go through a process of reorienting ourselves.

 

For me, I'm convinced for MYSELF but am hung up on how the superintendent will see it. If DH thought the spider entry was BS (and DH is a dedicated homeschooler), won't the super think it's fluff padding too?

 

Yesterday, DH took DD to a playground. They spent hours there, In no particular order: DD played with DH and by herself some, some kids came along and played with her, some caterpillars were discovered, one caterpillar was discovered apparently crawling away from a shed skin (too bad they didn't see it actually happen but they saw the skin and the caterpillar which was a different color from the rest), and they captured a monarch butterfly (in case you were wondering the catterpillars were NOT monarchs, we'll still have to look to find out if we can identify them with online pictures). I hate kids capturing animals, especially ones as fragile as butterflies, but thankfully the butterfly was released completely unharmed (it flew very high and far away with no trouble). Any educator in his right mind would see the catterpillar and butterfly stuff as worthy learning time, but this was about 2.5 hours total at the playground, and maybe only 45 minutes of it was strictly "biology."

 

You guys are right that the experience in the garden really does count even if there aren't any huge "lessons" in a given day. Compared to kids whose interactions with plants consist of diagrams of pistles and stamens, DD knows far more. Without any formal "instruction" or memorizing or anything like that, DD can easily identify most garden plants from the seedling stage on, and she can identify a few seeds too (squash, beans, corn, etc.). She's seen the corn tassle and she knows there are male and female parts (though I doubt she has the full grasp of that concept, but who cares, she just turned 6). There are facts that are completely obvious to her (she'd probably think someone was crazy not to know) but a lot of kids don't know, like the parts we eat of carrots and potatoes are underground. Also, she knows more than a lot of kids that we often only eat plant PARTS, so she knows the carrot is more than just the root. (And she can identify carrot leaves without needing to see the root). She knows that there is a season for everything, and she knows roughly what they are. She also knows a fair amount about livestock though we don't keep any ourselves - and has even been present at a chicken processing. Every time we eat a chicken (which is unfortunately not often) we always spend time looking at the included heart and liver and lungs. She always asks questions. She LOVES looking at those organs, and has said she would like to be more involved in a chicken processing sometime so she can see ALL the organs. This is way different from anything you could get out of a book, though her books do augment her knowledge too (what she has learned from books she applies to what she sees, and vice versa).

 

DH and I have been able to make the observation that probably all home educators do, that children are not empty vessels to be filled up, but need layers of experience to build on.

 

You know what, I think that's my entire solution right there. I will obviously include a letter with my annual submission of portfolio and logs. The letter will explain all this. I think the super might not be already oriented to this thinking, but I think he would be open to it if I explained it. I'm certain he would actually read my letter and since he thought my other materials were very thoughtful, I'm sure he'll be happy.

 

Thanks for the feedback and opportunity to sort things out.

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#10 of 28 Old 09-10-2011, 12:51 PM
 
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I thought there was no way we were doing 5 hours of "school" everyday but when you break it down and include ALL forms of learning, even if it isn't formal lessons, it easily adds up to 5 hours.  I don't have to log our hours, but I do try to make sure we're putting a consistent amount of time toward schooling.  So every once in a while I break down a day and see what we've done and how much time we've spent on it.  I include that 30 minutes I read aloud to DS before bed, swimming or bowling (P.E.), building a pyramid out of legos (math, history), coloring (art), cooking (math, science), etc.  It ALL counts, because in the end, he is getting a better education through informal studies than he would be sitting at a desk in school all day.  Sure, he could be doing all that stuff even if he went to school, making his total learning time even longer, but who the heck has time to do all that when they are at school all day, then have to struggle through load of homework every night?  We spend about 2-3 hours on FORMAL lessons each day.  Like sitting down and doing math and language arts.  The reading, P.E., educational videos, art....it all adds up.

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#11 of 28 Old 09-10-2011, 02:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I told my husband my conclusions, that I felt better about it, and he thought it was reasonable. But he also said "just to play devil's advocate, what about the stuff that EVERYBODY does, even with their schooled kids? Like reading bedtime stories, or them playing or going to the playground etc - does that really count for homeschooling?" Ignoring the fact that of course not everybody reads their kids bedtime stories, I'm curious about responses to that. I didn't have a really great one except that the number of hours we have to meet is based on an institutional system which is less effective than real life learning in a number of ways (because there's a lot less context, because you're having to teach 30 kids the same stuff, etc). So if we have to meet a number of hours, it would be waaaaay too intense a program for a 6 year old at home. The fluff we count is more effective learning than the standing in line, staring out the window, waiting for the teacher to discipline the class clown, and all the stuff that THEY get to count.

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#12 of 28 Old 09-10-2011, 04:48 PM
 
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You are right that some of what you are doing the kids going to school are also getting.  And great for them!  But think about what they *aren't* getting in school.  They certainly aren't getting 5 hours of instruction.  Do you know how long it takes to get 25 kids to move from one activity to the next?  To move them to the art room for art class?  To pass out each worksheet?  To explain something in a way so the majority of those 25 kids can understand?  To visit the bathroom as a class twice a day?  To get coats and hats hung up when they get there?  To put them on for recess?  To get it all put back up after recess?  And to get them on AGAIN before sending the kids home?  To deal with "spirited" kids who continually disrupt the classroom?  And of course, you gotta take out lunch and recess time.  So your 6 1/2 hours is down to about 1 1/2 hours of *actual* instruction and maybe another hour or 2 of free work and reading.

 

When you do a lesson with your DD, you can sit down with her, have it explained in probably 5 minutes, tops, and she can work for 10 minutes and have it done.  In a class of 25, that same task would take twice as long, easily.  When your DD has to use the restroom, she can stop her lesson, be gone 2 minutes and get back.  To get 25 kids to the bathroom, letting them go in 3 at a time (each boys and girls), it can take 15 minutes.

 

Kids at school aren't getting 5 hours of instruction per day.  They just aren't.

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#13 of 28 Old 09-11-2011, 09:25 AM
 
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I told my husband my conclusions, that I felt better about it, and he thought it was reasonable. But he also said "just to play devil's advocate, what about the stuff that EVERYBODY does, even with their schooled kids? Like reading bedtime stories, or them playing or going to the playground etc - does that really count for homeschooling?"

The reading campaign advocates reading what? 20 minutes a day?  Sometimes our bedtime reading is an hour or two.  When we go to the playground, we're usually there for 3 hours.  The schooled kids come and go with the trip just being a short interval on their way home from school or an errand, to burn off energy.  Sure, most active parents do that stuff but they don't always have the time available to really get engrossed in doing them.  And like bandgeek points out, the kids in school spend quite a bit of time waiting.  I remember being in high school and counting up how much of the 7 hour day was spent in actual instruction.  It was only 2 1/2 hours once you took away homeroom, lunch, time traveling to classes, study hall, gym, the time the teachers spent chatting about their weekends or whatever.
 

 


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#14 of 28 Old 09-11-2011, 06:39 PM
 
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I have a hard time believing that the superintendent is going to read what happens in each of the 900 hours for every homeschooled child in his district.


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#15 of 28 Old 09-11-2011, 07:04 PM
 
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I believe the OP is overthinking the whole process.  Join a homeschool group and see a variety of tracking ways.  Just as there a million ways to homeschool there are a million ways to track 900 hours.

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#16 of 28 Old 09-11-2011, 08:15 PM
 
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I believe the OP is overthinking the whole process.  


Definitely! I was part of a program for five years, with up to four children enrolled, where we had to track similar hours. Fortunately the administrators of the program were very good at getting parents past the 'overthinking' phase very quickly. Within a few short weeks I was doing what the vast majority of parents were doing, which was to mark down about 5 hours a day at least five days a week, on the understanding that we were providing a robust and holistic educational experience for our child, which in school-based terms format would require a 5-hour day. End of story.

 

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#17 of 28 Old 09-11-2011, 08:49 PM
 
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Originally Posted by seashells View Post

I told my husband my conclusions, that I felt better about it, and he thought it was reasonable. But he also said "just to play devil's advocate, what about the stuff that EVERYBODY does, even with their schooled kids? Like reading bedtime stories, or them playing or going to the playground etc - does that really count for homeschooling?"


Reading to a child is no different at bedtime than at any other time - and reading to a child is, I think, every bit as important and valuable as nudging them into their own reading. And play often involves use of the imagination, which is vitally important, or it involves physical fitness, or whatever you happen to notice. Yes - all that counts for homeschooling as far as many of us are concerned, and you can find ways of describing anything in such a way as to show its "educational" value.  - Lillian

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#18 of 28 Old 09-11-2011, 11:16 PM
 
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We have less stringent requirements, but I wanted to post some encouragement that I find I actually enjoy writing down what we do. I like having the record of favorite books read, and I like the way it encourages mindfulness during my day. I let it go over the summer, and I find I'm happy to be documenting again.  

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#19 of 28 Old 09-12-2011, 03:26 AM
 
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In my state (PA) you can either keep track by hours or days.  It's 180 days or 900 hours.  I chose days and the way I keep track of it is by marking an X on a calendar for every day we homeschool.  Then I submit that calendar along with the portfolio at the end of the year.  And PA is supposed to be one of the stricter states!  I am really curious - which state requires you to log hours?

 


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#20 of 28 Old 09-12-2011, 07:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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<Shrug> I doubt the superintedent will read it all either but he will skim it. And if half of it seems like fluff to him, that will jump out regardless of whether he reads every line or not. I don't think I'm insane for wanting to be sure we get approved for next year, you know? I don't have a guaranteed right to homeschool in my state; the board has to approve me. While I can move to another state, I tried selling my house last year and it was an expensive failure. I'd prefer to figure this out now than have a problem on my hands, have to hire a lawyer or move. It just seems easier and saner.

 

I don't know why people post on forums if they dismiss everyone's questions. If a question seems stupid, move on, how hard is that? Do you want a community of support or just to feel superior that you think other people are stupid? I think there are other forums for the latter.

 

The superintendent clearly read all of my submitted curriculum, and that was 5 or 6 pages. I think I know my superintendent better than anyone posting here.

 

Thanks to those who were helpful, I will figure out the rest myself.

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#21 of 28 Old 09-12-2011, 07:25 AM
 
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I dont think anyone was dismissing your question but trying to help you not be so worried about the details that most likely are not needed.  

 

Tone is missing on forums for sure...I didnt see a negative tone in any of the posts. 


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#22 of 28 Old 09-12-2011, 08:27 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

I have a hard time believing that the superintendent is going to read what happens in each of the 900 hours for every homeschooled child in his district.


I'm quoting my own post to reassure you that I, for one, was simply trying to put things in perspective.  In our state, WA, we have a statewide homeschooling organization that helps with things like things.  They can connect you with parents who have already gone through the process.  Home Education magazine has homeschooling laws for every state and organizations for each one (it's been a while since I've been on their website.)

 

I don't mean to be dismissive when I say that I'm sure the super expects that parents won't quite get the first year perfectly.  Be genuine.  I don't think your ability to homeschool be compromised right out of the starting gate.  Even parents with degrees piled one on top of another would quail at some of the educationese in teacher-prepared curriculums and records.  I imagine that the super will be helpful if you need to be more thorough but likes what he sees otherwise.  But then, I don't know.  That is why you need to contact your local HS org.

 


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#23 of 28 Old 09-12-2011, 08:37 AM
 
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Oh dear, I wasn't dismissing your questions. They're very common, in my experience: most parents logging hours have tons of questions about what "counts" and how to make it a simple process. As I said, I've been there -- and have found my peace with it. I've tried to give you lots of ideas for things that "count," and why they should count, and how easy they are to count. I just think you're making it too complicated, entertaining too many "devil's advocate" thoughts. You asked if logging hours gets easier. It will, definitely! But mostly by dropping a lot of the analytical, comparative, second-guessing, letter-of-the-law stuff and honing in on the spirit or purpose of the regulations. The supervisor will want reassurance that you are providing a reasonably robust and appropriate educational experience for your child. That's it. He won't care whether you were lecturing your dd for a portion of every half-hour farm visit. He has certain administrative parameters defined by the state that need to be ticked off, but even the most mainstream school official will understand that learning encompasses times that are devoid of direct top-down instruction. 

 

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#24 of 28 Old 09-12-2011, 08:38 AM
 
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I double checked.  They list "support groups" for Mass.  


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#25 of 28 Old 09-12-2011, 11:49 AM
 
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I looked up the MA homeschooling law on the HSDLA website and good news:

 

 

Required days of instruction:  None required, but school districts will use the public school’s 
required number of days and hours of instruction time for purposes 
of comparison, i.e., 180 days; 900 hours at the elementary level and 
990 hours at the secondary level. 
 
 
You CAN count by days - and that is enormously easier.  I recommend you consider doing that instead.  :)  A simple log like: 
 
Monday Sept 12 2010
 
We did Math Reading Science and Phys. Ed.
 
should suffice.  Well - at least it does in PA.  It's hard to believe but yes; it is that easy.  Good luck!

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#26 of 28 Old 09-12-2011, 12:39 PM
 
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I don't really log anymore with DD.  I can certainly come up with something if I needed to (in this state, we don't need to.)  I remember that my first year I was so worried about doing it 'right' that we were very much 'school at home' more than homeschool oriented.  

 

My solution- simply to call up the superintendent for a chat about what we were doing, and what he thought might need to be tweaked.  He was pretty open to my approach.  He did suggest adding in a couple more portfolio building exercises, but agreed that it was largely CYA stuff that wouldn't have much impact on the education as a whole. I do strive for two 'projects' each week that go into a file.  Sometimes those are book reports, occasionally they are math reviews, other times they may be artwork or science projects... With a really young child, I would expect a lot of art, and only a little academic content.  I would also include photos taken during hands on activities as some of those portfolio items.  Homeschool does not HAVE to look like school to 'count'.  Sure, it can, but it doesn't need to.  

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#27 of 28 Old 09-12-2011, 09:02 PM
 
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We are in Mass too and I'm here to tell you that you're overthinking the whole logging of hours thing.  I always write on our homeschooling ed plan something to the effect of "We homeschool year round [this is true] and thus the hours of education easily exceed the 900 hours required by the State of Massachusetts."  If you keep any kind of log or decent portfolio, very few districts will call you on it or ask for a minute-by-minute breakdown--and, in fact, asking for a minute-by-minute breakdown would be exceeding their mien if you can provide a portfolio that shows your child is up to grade level.

 

Also, keep in mind that gym (phys ed) is part of those 900 hours, and that exercise=gym.  At the VERY least, you can count those weekly farm trips as gym.  And honestly, for a six year old, I'd be counting any farm trip as ecology/science on top of that.  Schools count field trips as educational hours, so shouldn't you?

 

An easier way to log hours is to "post-plan" instead of pre-plan.  At the end of the week, sit down and think about everything (whether overtly schooly or not) your child did.  Then write it all down using "educationese" wording.  When your kid is a little older and can read and write, she can even do this herself.  For instance, here's what my 13yo recorded for last week.  Note that only the math book is actual "curriculum"--the rest was just stuff she happened to do/learn and thought to write down after the fact.

 

Life of Fred: Pre-Algebra II – pages 14-21.
Karate class: 1 hour.
Watched Modern Marvels: The Telephone (documentary).
Learned about: astrological signs, gerrymandering, alternative voting.
Dance team practice: 2.5 hours.
Community volunteer work: 6 hours.
Vocabulary: Latin roots for “celestial” and “lunar”.
Learned a French phrase.

 

You do that every week, and at the end of the year submit the entire loooooooooong list to the school, I guarantee their eyes will bug out after about the tenth entry and they'll stamp their approval on your letter of intent.  You are underestimating when and what your child is learning, and overestimating the school district's interest in the minutiae of your homeschooling schedule.  Trust me.

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#28 of 28 Old 09-13-2011, 09:13 AM
 
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Yes, a whole-hearted endorsement of the "post-plan." For us, this works better with near-daily writing down something, at least a few chicken tracks, and then cobbling it all together at the end of the month. I can't tell you how often I think, "Oh, this is going to be rough," if it feels like a light month, only to realize how much we have actually done when I glance back through my notes.

 

It also helps me to periodically skim through the standards so I have a feel for what is being sought--things like alphabetizing do come up spontaneously for us, but I wouldn't necessarily think to note them down if I weren't mindful of what formal topics are out there. 

 

Heather

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