She’s my only full-time homeschooler this year, and gosh, is she every loving that! She would also love to attend school in the flexible part-time way that Erin did for three years, and that Noah is doing this year, but that’s not going to work easily until Grade 10, when teaching becomes subject-oriented rather than cross-curricular and part-time enrolment is officially allowed. She recognizes that elementary school is not going to be a good fit for her, and so she is happy to continue homeschooling. And she is really enjoying the prospect of getting more of my time and energy this year.
For those readers who are not familiar with our planning process, please do not be intimidated or confused by the organized, schoolish, subject-by-subject nature of this plan as written. What actually happens is that we go out for lunch and I ask Fiona to talk about how she would like to prioritize energy, time and money this year to support her learning. I listen to and jot down whatever she says. Whatever she says. If she runs out of things to talk about I might remind her of goals or ambitions she’s expressed in the recent past, and activities and areas of learning that she has enjoyed and/or deemed important in the past. I jot down everything she comes up with, and then we briefly talk about various ways to facilitate those things and how they might be implemented, and what kind of resources and support she wants, if any.
This particular kid likes organized, sequential, school-like resources and loves to be busy with things that are tangibly about learning. It hasn’t always been that way, and her siblings certainly haven’t always chosen such routes. But in her case, at this age, she really likes curriculum materials! She was using only a math program 8 months ago, but last spring added a science program and is now keen to add programs for history and geography. On the surface the plan that follows sure doesn’t look like it’s for an unschooler, but it is: the choice to adopt structured materials is all hers.
After our preliminary meeting I go through all my notes and organize things in a subject-oriented way that makes sense to our supervising teachers and makes it easy to document. I do some research, often with her help, into the particular way we might realize her goals, and we revise the plan as appropriate. Eventually we take this draft in to our DL program teachers and explain it, asking them to order the resources we’d like to procure (within the learning allowance budget we’re allocated) and talking about how we’ll document what she’s doing. This latter issue is easy Fiona’s case: she loves creating projects and worksheets and bringing them in to show off to her DL teacher, and she is also happy to talk about the things that have been interesting to her recently. Compared to my reserved elder children she is a dream as a DL student.
Here is our first draft of her Learning Plan for this year: