August 23, 2014

Latest posts from Home Education Foundation

MoE Meetings: 1st Meeting 15 July 2014 – Getting to know you

The MoE had a shuffle around with their staff and offices on 1 July 2014; you can read about it here:  http://hef.org.nz/2014/changes-in-the-moe/

Recently, I have been part of two meetings with the new MoE staff.

The first meeting on 15 July was with Jim Greening (Group Manager, Schools and Student Support), Sonya Logan (Manager, Student Engagement) and Lucy Ambrose (Senior Advisor, Learner Engagement). The purpose of the meeting was for the MoE to meet with a Home Schooling organisation to establish that they were a valid and recognised representation of home educators, and to lay groundwork for scoping: consulting with ERO, evaluating MoE resources and policies and opening communication with home schooling groups. These meetings are to be ongoing.

Our discussions were fairly general for the first part of the meeting where we were getting to know Jim, Sonya and Lucy and they were getting to understand home educators. We talked very briefly about the history of home education in New Zealand. See A Brief History of Home Education in New Zealand by Craig Smith.

We did talk about some nitty gritty things, and I believe ended up with some good outcomes.

Jim would like to see consistency of information and approach within the ten MoE offices. The two main questions are:

  • is the child getting a good education?
  • is the child safe?

Need to keep records

These three from the MoE National office want to unpick this one with home educators. Here is what we talked about, and it is not about keeping records at all, but preparing when we need to for either the “ERO, further education or training”. See more here: http://hef.org.nz/2014/record-of-progress-and-achievement/

Need for MoE to contact Schools during the exemption process 

We considered this statement: “Principal notified of your intention to homeschool (in the case of a child currently enrolled in a school). The Principal of your child’s current school (or most recently attended school) will be asked to comment on the suitability or otherwise of home education as an option for your child. We also discussed the way different local MoE offices use this statement. They stated that the school’s input is to highlight any special needs or learning needs that the child has. This is part of the process in working out what is best for the child. Our response: The MoE should not contact the school as a normal process of approving an exemption application. They could check online to see if the child is on the school’s role. When the MoE contacts the school this can cause all sorts of problems for the child in the school until the exemption application is approved, and also for the parents. It has nothing to do with the school whether a child is home educated or not. It is the parents’ decision not the schools. A child can have difficulty learning at school, or be naughty, and when they come home and the parents are working with them one on one and using different approaches to what the school uses, the child can flourish. Principals don’t see this but we do. They may not take that into account when “commenting on the suitability or otherwise of home education as an option for your child”. Most schools are good about this, but there are some schools that are one-eyed and they will, out of prejudice, say that home education is not suitable for some particular children. Jim, Sonya and Lucy seemed to understand this and agreed that this statement needs to be changed. They had also heard from others who are concerned about this.

Failed ERO review

We looked at the wording in the letter that goes out to parents after a failed ERO review. “There is provision for the MoE to request that ERO reviews a programme again in six months, following an ERO review, if parents indicate that they accept the findings of the ERO report, intend to address the relevant issues and have already made progress.” If the ERO has made a report and we feel that it does not reflect our home educating of our children, how can we “accept the findings of the ERO report” without incriminating ourselves? They agreed the wording needs to be changed.

As regularly and well

Unfortunately Jim feels the need to define the words “regular” and “well”. We told him that these words do not need to be defined any more than they already are in the exemption form. We have not needed these words defined in the past and it could be detrimental to home educators if they are defined for the future. Thankfully the MoE want to be in discussions with us over all aspects of home education – the forms, the processes and anything else. So if these words are defined more than what is in the exemption form, we will be able to comment on it.

ERO Reviews:

Jim would like to see ERO reviews done not on the basis of a complaint but in a more supportive role. He feels that this would give a better overall view of Home Schooling. He is questioning why these reviews are so limited – up to 35 done per year (14 last year). We know why – because the MoE was looking to see how they could cut their budget and found that home educators are a low risk group. At the meeting I thought that Jim was considering taking the reviews from around 14 a year up to the full quota of 35 a year with non-compliant based reviews. We need to discuss the purpose of the ERO reviews more. Are they to find out where parents are not “teaching as regular and well as a registered school” or for the MoE to get an overview of home education or both?

Conclusions

Part of the aim of this meeting was to form a group of people who can work with the MoE – a sector group to look at all aspects of home education. Jim, Sonya and Lucy are still meeting with home educators to find who should be part of this group. They are meeting with NCHENZ on the 19th August 2014. I am not sure who else they are meeting with, but they did say that they would be meeting up with some Home Education Support Groups.

I also want to explain my role (representing the Home Education Foundation) at any MoE/ERO meetings. I am not representing any other home educators – only my family. I asked another couple to be with me at this meeting, who have finished home educating seven children and are looking forward to having grandchildren who will be home educated too. I have eight children and have already been home educating for 28 years, with an exemption. I still have an eight year old being educated at home along with her 13 and 16 year old siblings, so I will be at this for a long time yet. As I see it, my role at these meetings (if I am a part of them) is to be there with the 28 years of experience I have at home educating and supporting Craig in the work he did with the Home Education Foundation, then to share the outcome of these meetings with you, the home educators of New Zealand, so that you will be able to represent yourselves by either contacting me (I’ll pass on your comments and concerns), your local MoE office or Lucy Ambrose from the National Office.

Please be patient

As you can see there are new staff at the MoE and they are wanting and needing to make changes to the forms and processes the MoE uses for home educators, and it would seem that the changes could be good for home educators. Both teams are still meeting with home educators. They plan to involve home educators (not sure who yet) in the changes.

At this stage most changes have not happened yet. The ten MoE offices have been set up – but not all of them are able to approve exemptions yet.  It will take awhile for these changes (once approved) to be operating in the local MoE offices. So we need to be a little patient.

MoE Meetings: 2nd Meeting 28 July 2014 – Red Tape Cluster Buster Meeting - coming soon

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From the Smiths:

http://hef.org.nz/2011/craig-smith-26-january-1951-to-30-september-2011/

Updated 22 April 2014:  Two years on (Craig Smith’s Health) page 7 click here

*****

Needing help for your home schooling journey:

http://hef.org.nz/2011/needing-help-for-your-home-schooling-journey-2/

And

Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling:

Information on getting startedhttp://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/

and

Information on getting an exemptionhttp://hef.org.nz/exemptions/

This link is motivational: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-what-is-it-all-about/

Exemption Form online: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-exemption-form-now-online/

Coming Events: http://hef.org.nz/2013/some-coming-events-for-home-education-during-2013-2/

Beneficiaries: http://hef.org.nz/2013/where-to-for-beneficiary-families-now-that-the-social-security-benefit-categories-and-work-focus-amendment-bill-has-passed-its-third-reading/

 

Book Review Blogging: Free Books

Most home educators love to read and love to own their own books. What are some ways that we can build our own libraries?

I have written a few articles on books and reading:

Reading Aloud

The Art of Buying Used Books

Learning to Read & Reading to Learn

Parental Reading

Choosing What to Read

In one of the links above I talk about the art of buying used books. The link below suggests a way to get new books by doing book reviews.

How to Become a Book Review Blogger

My Book Review Blog

“…Then I discovered book review blogging as the ideal solution to my novel-reading problem.

Today, even with regular culling, my novels are now crammed onto twenty-seven feet of shelf space. (I am currently saving to buy bigger bookcases.) I received ninety percent of those book for free from various book review programs.

What is Book Review Blogging?

Book Review Blogging is an exchange of free books for blog reviews. If you have a blog and love to read, these programs may be perfect for you.

How does it work?

  1. You need a blog. Some programs require your blog to have a small following.
  2. Sign up for a book review program. At the end of this post you’ll find links to seven Christian fiction review programs.
  3. After you’re accepted into the program, select titles you’d like to review (either print copies or digital). Many programs allow you to review only one or two titles at a time.
  4. Read the book in its entirety.
  5. Write a 200-word (or so) review on your blog. Be careful not to share spoilers. Many programs also encourage you to post a review on a consumer website.
  6. Provide the link to your review. Often, there is a form to fill out online.
  7. Repeat steps 3-6 as often as you’d like.

Where to sign up:

To read the whole article and to find out the places to sign up for this then please go to: http://whenreaderswrite.com/?p=1282#comments

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The above articles on reading and buying books first appeared in Keystone magazine and are reprinted in this book: Training Our Children

 

training

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From the Smiths:

http://hef.org.nz/2011/craig-smith-26-january-1951-to-30-september-2011/

Updated 22 April 2014:  Two years on (Craig Smith’s Health) page 7 click here

*****

Needing help for your home schooling journey:

http://hef.org.nz/2011/needing-help-for-your-home-schooling-journey-2/

And

Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling:

Information on getting startedhttp://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/

and

Information on getting an exemptionhttp://hef.org.nz/exemptions/

This link is motivational: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-what-is-it-all-about/

Exemption Form online: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-exemption-form-now-online/

Coming Events: http://hef.org.nz/2013/some-coming-events-for-home-education-during-2013-2/

Beneficiaries: http://hef.org.nz/2013/where-to-for-beneficiary-families-now-that-the-social-security-benefit-categories-and-work-focus-amendment-bill-has-passed-its-third-reading/

Worldschooling: a minimalist’s list for learning on the go

Craig’s father died when he was 13. The next year his mother pulled him and his siblings out of school and travelled in England and Europe for a year. They spent a lot of time in Austria skiing. Then about 3 or 4 years later they did the London to Kathmandu overland trip and continued onto New Zealand. Craig highly recommends this way of educating our children. His advise when people asked him “what text books to take on a trip”  was to “leave them at home and learn all you can in the Country you are in”.

I think Craig would have enjoyed reading and following this blog:

More than a few of you have asked how we’ll be homeschooling on the road—or, worldschooling, more appropriately. I’m happy to share.

There should be a few bits of disclosure before diving head-first into the topic of education from the road:

• Our educational priorities are a bit different this year, seeing as we’ll be stomping around and through the greatest textbook ever (that is, Earth). This, plus living out of backpacks, means we’re taking a very minimalist approach to school. (This fills me with glee.)

• We don’t exactly know what we’re doing here. We’ve never lived out of backpacks for a year while traipsing through almost every continent, oddly enough, so we sorta feel like we’re making this up as we go. There are plenty of people who’ve gone before us—and who are doing this lifestyle, right now, all the time—so we’re not alone. But we’ve certainly never tried it ourselves.

• Our family has a rather unique philosophy about education. Or maybe I should say unique approach. Either way, it’s taken us a few years to really figure out what matters to us… we’re slowly getting there. Basically, we believe:

• That learning is a constant, 24/7 endeavor,
• That educational opportunities can be found everywhere,
• That students are people who educate themselves (sometimes with the help of inspirational teachers or mentors), and
• That the two most significant things we can do as parents is to provide an environment where learning is naturally inevitable, and to model a posture of lifelong learning ourselves.

This can happen anywhere—in traditional classrooms, at home, in the woods, between the covers of a book, on a rickety bus in rural Sri Lanka, or at the table of a restaurant on a Chinese side-street.

So. Yep, our kids will be learning stuff this year. And while the bulk majority of their school supplies involve their passports, eyes, and legs, here’s a few other things we’ll use: read here for the other things they use: http://theartofsimpletravel.net/worldschooling/

The blog post finishes with

Minimalist school supplies—the bare minimum for a solid education while traveling.

(Not shown: dice, white boards, little kid workbook. I could retake the photo remembering everything, but I’ve got stuff to do.)

Ultimately, we hope to live out our conviction that learning can happen anytime, anywhere, from most anything. Writing, reading, and math will comprise the bulk of any “formal” education, with everything else providing opportunities to build on those skills.

Honestly, our kids’ education is near the top of my list of reasons to get excited about this trip. I can’t even imagine how this would have shaped my own childhood—even if the kids aren’t exactly cognizant of how extraordinary this upcoming year will be, their parents are. And we’ll make the most of every opportunity.

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From the Smiths:

http://hef.org.nz/2011/craig-smith-26-january-1951-to-30-september-2011/

Updated 22 April 2014:  Two years on (Craig Smith’s Health) page 7 click here

*****

Needing help for your home schooling journey:

http://hef.org.nz/2011/needing-help-for-your-home-schooling-journey-2/

And

Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling:

Information on getting startedhttp://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/

and

Information on getting an exemptionhttp://hef.org.nz/exemptions/

This link is motivational: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-what-is-it-all-about/

Exemption Form online: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-exemption-form-now-online/

Coming Events: http://hef.org.nz/2013/some-coming-events-for-home-education-during-2013-2/

Beneficiaries: http://hef.org.nz/2013/where-to-for-beneficiary-families-now-that-the-social-security-benefit-categories-and-work-focus-amendment-bill-has-passed-its-third-reading/

I Will Survive — Homeschool version

Here is something to see you through the rest of the year.

 

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From the Smiths:

http://hef.org.nz/2011/craig-smith-26-january-1951-to-30-september-2011/

Updated 22 April 2014: Two years on (Craig Smith’s Health) page 7 click here
*****
Needing help for your home schooling journey:

http://hef.org.nz/2011/needing-help-for-your-home-schooling-journey-2/

And
Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling:
Information on getting started: http://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/
and
Information on getting an exemption: http://hef.org.nz/exemptions/
This link is motivational: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-what-is-it-all-about/
Exemption Form online: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-exemption-form-now-online/
Coming Events: http://hef.org.nz/2013/some-coming-events-for-home-education-during-2013-2/
Beneficiaries: http://hef.org.nz/2013/where-to-for-beneficiary-families-now-that-the-social-security-benefit-categories-and-work-focus-amendment-bill-has-passed-its-third-reading/

<

TEACH Bulletin Archives 1997-2006

I still have to put on the website January 2007 – May 2011.

May take a couple of minutes to load.

TEACH Bulletin #109 – November 2006
TEACH Bulletin #108 – October 2006
TEACH Bulletin #107 – September 2006
TEACH Bulletin #106 – August 2006
TEACH Bulletin #105 – July 2006
TEACH Bulletin #104 – June 2006
TEACH Bulletin #103 – May 2006
TEACH Bulletin #102 – April 2006
TEACH Bulletin #101 – March 2006
TEACH Bulletin #100 – February 2006
TEACH Bulletin # 99 – January 2006
TEACH Bulletin # 98 – December 2005
TEACH Bulletin # 97 – November 2005
TEACH Bulletin # 96 – September 2005
TEACH Bulletin # 95 – August 2005
TEACH Bulletin # 94 – July 2005
TEACH Bulletin # 93 – June 2005
TEACH Bulletin # 92 – May 2005
TEACH Bulletin # 91 – April 2005
TEACH Bulletin # 90 – March 2005
TEACH Bulletin # 89 – February 2005
TEACH Bulletin # 88 – January 2005
TEACH Bulletin # 87 – November 2004
TEACH Bulletin # 86 – October 2004
TEACH Bulletin # 85 – September 2004
TEACH Bulletin # 84 – August 2004
TEACH Bulletin # 83 – July 2004
TEACH Bulletin # 82 – June 2004
TEACH Bulletin # 81 – May 2004
TEACH Bulletin # 80 – April 2004
TEACH Bulletin # 79 – March 2004
TEACH Bulletin # 78 – February 2004
TEACH Bulletin # 77 – January 2004
TEACH Bulletin # 76 – November 2003
TEACH Bulletin # 75 – October 2003
TEACH Bulletin # 74 – September 2003
TEACH Bulletin # 73 – August 2003
TEACH Bulletin # 72 – July 2003
TEACH Bulletin # 71 – June 2003
TEACH Bulletin # 70 – May 2003
TEACH Bulletin # 69 – April 2003
TEACH Bulletin # 68 – March 2003
TEACH Bulletin # 67 – February 2003
TEACH Bulletin # 66 – January 2003
TEACH Bulletin # 65 – November 2002
TEACH Bulletin # 64 – October 2002
TEACH Bulletin # 63 – September 2002
TEACH Bulletin # 62 – August 2002
TEACH Bulletin # 61 – July 2002
TEACH Bulletin # 60 – June 2002
TEACH Bulletin # 59 – May 2002
TEACH Bulletin # 58 – April 2002
TEACH Bulletin # 57 – March 2002
TEACH Bulletin # 56 – February 2002
TEACH Bulletin # 55 – January 2002
TEACH Bulletin # 54 – October/November 2001
TEACH Bulletin # 53 – September 2001
TEACH Bulletin # 52 – August 2001
TEACH Bulletin # 51 – July 2001
TEACH Bulletin # 50 – June 2001
TEACH Bulletin # 49 – May 2001
TEACH Bulletin # 48 – April 2001
TEACH Bulletin # 47 – March 2001
TEACH Bulletin # 46 – February 2001
TEACH Bulletin # 45 – January 2001
TEACH Bulletin # 44 – November 2000
TEACH Bulletin # 43 – October 2000
TEACH Bulletin # 42 – September 2000
TEACH Bulletin # 41 – August 2000
TEACH Bulletin # 40 – July 2000
TEACH Bulletin # 39 – June 2000
TEACH Bulletin # 38 – May 2000
TEACH Bulletin # 37 – April 2000
TEACH Bulletin # 36 – March 2000
TEACH Bulletin # 34 – January 2000
TEACH Bulletin # 33a – November 1999
TEACH Bulletin # 33 – November 1999
TEACH Bulletin # 32 – October 1999
TEACH Bulletin # 31 – September 1999
TEACH Bulletin # 30 – August 1999
TEACH Bulletin # 29 – July 1999
TEACH Bulletin # 28 – June 1999
TEACH Bulletin # 27 – May 1999
TEACH Bulletin # 26 – April 1999
TEACH Bulletin # 25 – March 1999
TEACH Bulletin # 24 – February 1999
TEACH Bulletin # 23 – January 1999
TEACH Bulletin # 22 – November 1998
TEACH Bulletin # 21 – October 1998
TEACH Bulletin # 20 – September 1998
TEACH Bulletin # 19 – August 1998
TEACH Bulletin # 18 – July 1998
TEACH Bulletin # 17 – June 1998
TEACH Bulletin # 16 – May 1998
TEACH Bulletin # 15 – April 1998
TEACH Bulletin # 14 – March 1998
TEACH Bulletin # 13 – February 1998
TEACH Bulletin # 12 – January 1998
TEACH Bulletin # 11 – November 1997
TEACH Bulletin # 10 – October 1997
TEACH Bulletin # 9 – September 1997
TEACH Bulletin # 8 – August 1997
TEACH Bulletin # 7 – July 1997
TEACH Bulletin # 6 – June 1997
TEACH Bulletin # 5 – May 1997
TEACH Bulletin # 4 – April 1997
TEACH Bulletin # 3 – March 1997
TEACH Bulletin # 2 – February 1997
TEACH Bulletin # 1 – January 1997

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From the Smiths:

http://hef.org.nz/2011/craig-smith-26-january-1951-to-30-september-2011/

Updated 22 April 2014:  Two years on (Craig Smith’s Health) page 7 click here

*****

Needing help for your home schooling journey:

http://hef.org.nz/2011/needing-help-for-your-home-schooling-journey-2/

And

Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling:

Information on getting startedhttp://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/

and

Information on getting an exemptionhttp://hef.org.nz/exemptions/

This link is motivational: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-what-is-it-all-about/

Exemption Form online: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-exemption-form-now-online/

Coming Events: http://hef.org.nz/2013/some-coming-events-for-home-education-during-2013-2/

Beneficiaries: http://hef.org.nz/2013/where-to-for-beneficiary-families-now-that-the-social-security-benefit-categories-and-work-focus-amendment-bill-has-passed-its-third-reading/

 

UC Business and Law Essay Competition

 The UC Business and Law Essay Competition is open to all secondary students in New Zealand including home educators. Details of the competition are below.
——————————————————————————————

Good afternoon,

The College of Business and Law invites your students to enter our 2014 UC Business and Law Essay Competition.

It’s election year so the essay topics are based on examining political parties’ policies on issues affecting the economy, employment, taxation and the justice system.

There are some great cash prizes for your students and your school. Each category will have three placement prizes.

·        1st Prize: $400 for your student and $150 for your school

·        2nd Prize: $200 for your student and $150 for your school

·        3rd Prize: $150 for your student and $150 for your school

What do students need to do?
Write a 600-word essay on any of the following topics.

Category Topic
Economy Some political parties are advocating the use of tools to manage the value of the New Zealand dollar in the belief it is over-valued.  Discuss the value of the $NZ and the impact of the use of tools to control its value.

 

Employment Compare and contrast the employment policies of the two main political parties (National and Labour) and discuss their impact on young job seekers.

 

Law and Justice Compare and contrast the justice policy of two or more political parties and discuss their advantages and disadvantages.

 

Taxation Some political parties are advocating the introduction of a capital gain tax.  Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this type of taxation.

 

Then go online to enter at:

http://www.buslaw.canterbury.ac.nz/outreach/essay.shtml

Encourage your students to start watching the election news, reading up about political parties’ propositions, and discussing the issues in class and at school. Most importantly, tell them to start writing and enter!

Kind regards,

Andrea and Fiona

Andrea Chin

Marketing and Outreach Coordinator
School of Business and Economics | College of Business & Law

University of Canterbury | Te Whare Wananga o Waitaha

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From the Smiths:

http://hef.org.nz/2011/craig-smith-26-january-1951-to-30-september-2011/

Updated 22 April 2014:  Two years on (Craig Smith’s Health) page 7 click here

*****

Needing help for your home schooling journey:

http://hef.org.nz/2011/needing-help-for-your-home-schooling-journey-2/

And

Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling:

Information on getting startedhttp://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/

and

Information on getting an exemptionhttp://hef.org.nz/exemptions/

This link is motivational: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-what-is-it-all-about/

Exemption Form online: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-exemption-form-now-online/

Coming Events: http://hef.org.nz/2013/some-coming-events-for-home-education-during-2013-2/

Beneficiaries: http://hef.org.nz/2013/where-to-for-beneficiary-families-now-that-the-social-security-benefit-categories-and-work-focus-amendment-bill-has-passed-its-third-reading/

 

 

A Home Schooler’s library

This is an Australian home educator’s library

What To Do With The Picture Books?

“Last week I finally tackled the toppling piles of books in our library which had been accumulating for months. Once I accepted I couldn’t fit all those books onto the shelves, I began a ruthless cull, tossing books that I had considered treasures yet no-one else did. Thirteen boxes of books departed the house making one friend extremely happy and liberating me to enjoy actually having space on my shelves!:) The culling still didn’t enable all the books to fit onto the shelves, but pulling all the picture books out of their bookcase did…Read more here…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From the Smiths:

http://hef.org.nz/2011/craig-smith-26-january-1951-to-30-september-2011/

Updated 22 April 2014:  Two years on (Craig Smith’s Health) page 7 click here

*****

Needing help for your home schooling journey:

http://hef.org.nz/2011/needing-help-for-your-home-schooling-journey-2/

And

Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling:

Information on getting startedhttp://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/

and

Information on getting an exemptionhttp://hef.org.nz/exemptions/

This link is motivational: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-what-is-it-all-about/

Exemption Form online: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-exemption-form-now-online/

Coming Events: http://hef.org.nz/2013/some-coming-events-for-home-education-during-2013-2/

Beneficiaries: http://hef.org.nz/2013/where-to-for-beneficiary-families-now-that-the-social-security-benefit-categories-and-work-focus-amendment-bill-has-passed-its-third-reading/

Home schooling allowances and private schools’ funding

There are some interesting facts on page 16 of this pdf : VOTE EDUCATION – 2009 BUDGET LINE BY LINE REVIEW

From 2008/2009 until 2012/13 the home schooling allowance paid out to home educators each year has been $4 million (excluding GST) – Private schools have been around $34 million (excluding GST).

Around 0.8%  (2006-2010)  and 0.07% (2011-2013) of school aged children are home educated while around 4% of school aged children attend private schools.

http://www.minedu.govt.nz/~/media/MinEdu/Files/TheMinistry/Budget2009/09VoteEducation2009BudgetLineByLineReview.pdf

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From the Smiths:

http://hef.org.nz/2011/craig-smith-26-january-1951-to-30-september-2011/

Updated 22 April 2014:  Two years on (Craig Smith’s Health) page 7 click here

*****

Needing help for your home schooling journey:

http://hef.org.nz/2011/needing-help-for-your-home-schooling-journey-2/

And

Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling:

Information on getting startedhttp://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/

and

Information on getting an exemptionhttp://hef.org.nz/exemptions/

This link is motivational: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-what-is-it-all-about/

Exemption Form online: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-exemption-form-now-online/

Coming Events: http://hef.org.nz/2013/some-coming-events-for-home-education-during-2013-2/

Beneficiaries: http://hef.org.nz/2013/where-to-for-beneficiary-families-now-that-the-social-security-benefit-categories-and-work-focus-amendment-bill-has-passed-its-third-reading/

 

Truancy and the Home Schooler/Home Educator

Craig with children and timelineThe law says that a child between the ages of 6 and 16 must be in school (unless they are under 7 and live 3km walking distance from the school or it is not convenient to catch the bus which is under 3km from your home. And for the child under 10: Exemption from attendance.)

So to keep our children at home to educate them, we have to apply for an exemption (see also Effect of exemption).

While we are in the process of applying for an exemption, our child could be six or seven or even older. All correspondence from the MoE must say that our children have to be in school during those ages, because that is the law – and the MoE has to keep within the law. So what can we do?

A problem arises when our exemptions have not been approved by the time our child turns six/seven, or when they are already in school and we want to take them out immediately. There are many reasons why our exemptions may not be approved on time. The MoE does not look at the exemption applications until our children are almost six, and then it can take up to six weeks to get the exemption. If the MoE requires more information, this usually means that our child has turned six and the parents may face a penalty for failure to enrol of $3000.00 if convicted (I have never heard of anyone being fined while applying for an exemption). There are many reasons why those pulling their child/ren out of school want to do that straight away. There may be a bullying problem, or they may have moved and don’t want their child/ren going through the stress of a new school for two or three weeks. It may be after the holidays and the parents want to capitalise on what has been achieved in building up their relationships over that period etc. If convicted of truancy the fine is $30.00 a day and does not exceed $300.00 for first offence or $3000.00 for second and subsequent offence. (Again, I have never heard of anyone being fined when they have pulled their children out of school while waiting to get their exemption – although sometimes it does make it more difficult to get the exemption.)

So what can we do when our child is six/seven and under sixteen and we still do not have an exemption? At the Red Tape Cluster Buster meeting we discussed the need for the exemptions to be processed faster than 4-6 weeks. I also asked for there to be some leniency for home educators, after reading a letter from Jim Greening to Prinicpals where he says:

In 2013, the Attendance Service received over 38,000 unjustified absence and non enrolment referrals.  This high number of referrals shows us the importance of ensuring students attend school to reach their potential.  However, with this high number of referrals we want to ensure that schools are playing their part before making a referral to the Attendance Service.  It is important that your school has an attendance management plan in place to ensure your students attend school and that all reasonable actions are exhausted before making a referral through to your local Attendance Service.

The Attendance Service is here to support you when your attempts to solve non-attendance issues are not successful and the non-attendance is on-going.  The Attendance Service is designed to help you deal with students of chronic non-attendance rather than students who occasionally don’t go to school.

For 2014, there will be a focus on decreasing the number of students who are re-referred to the Attendance Service.  The aim is to identify root causes of non-attendance, implement strategies to address these, and help ensure students are returned to a sustainable regular attendance.  We look forward to working with you on this and value your commitment and ongoing involvement in these matters.

The Head office of the MoE is far more interested in finding and addressing the chronic non-attendance at schools than tracking down the Home Educator who is currently in the process of applying for an exemption.

I talked with the Red Tape Cluster Buster team about this and asked if something can be done for us. Megan was quick to come back with what is already in place – Justified absence (any amount of time) and Unjustified absence (20 days only). So I “searched” the MoE website for these terms and came up with this:

The Law: Release from school and Exemption from attendance 

The Policy: Absence from school definitions – we can use these to our advantage when pulling children out of school, or once our child turns six and we still don’t have an exemption.

Justified absence – occurs when the reason for a student’s absence fits within the school’s policy as a justifiable reason for the student’s absence. (Any amount of time.)

Unjustified absence – are full-day absences which are either unexplained, or the reason for the absence is not within the school’s policy as a justifiable reason for the student to miss school. (20 consecutive days)

Intermittent unjustified absence – occurs when a student is absent for part of a morning (or afternoon)without justification.

Overall absence (or non-attendance) – the sum of justified absence, unjustified absence and intermittent unjustified absences.

Truancy – the sum of unjustified absence and intermittent unjustified absence.

Non-enrolment – after 20 consecutive days of continuous unjustified absence, a school removes a student from their roll (ENROL) and a referral is made to the Attendance Service .

“Please refer to Attendance Matters [PDF: 1.13mb] pages 10-11 for more detailed information on the absence codes and definitions.

Below are the things that could apply to home educators from pages 10-11 mentioned in the above PDF.

Justified absence

Student absent due to short-term illness/medical reasons – Student is at home, with an illness or medical reason. Depending on school policy a medical certificate may be requested for prolonged illness, eg three days, or as policy requires.

Justified explanation within the school policy -

• Unplanned absences such as a bus breakdown, accident, road closure, extreme weather conditions etc.
• Planned non-attendance such as national/local representation in a sporting or cultural event in New Zealand or overseas. (See also Code O)
• Approved absence (including overseas) can also include bereavement, visiting an ill relative, exceptional family circumstances or a Section 27.

Unsupervised study – student is off-site – Code X will count as a justified absence and be used in ½ day absence summaries. Note that supervised study is recorded as a regular timetabled class

Justified overseas – check next column for justification examples– A student accompanying or visiting a family member who is on an overseas posting (the student can be held on the roll for up to 15 consecutive weeks). Eg military ordiplomatic.

Student is stood down or suspended – Student is stood down or suspended according the conditions of Section 14 of the Education Act 1989.

Unjustified absence, Unjustified absences , Intermittent unjustified
absence

Unknown reason  - This is the initial entry for a student not in class and the reason is unknown. It will be edited as relevant information becomes available about the reason for the
non-attendance. The system can be configured by the school to automatically change (or not change) the “?” code to a “T” after a configurable number of school days (eg seven).

Student is absent with an explained, but unjustified reason – The explanation for the absence is accepted by the school as the reason for the absence, but the reason does not fit within the school’s policy as a justifiable reason to take the student off school (even though the parents may consider the absence was justified and may have provided a written explanation). Eg “Molly had to stay home to look after her younger brother” or “We went for a two-week family holiday in the South Island.” This includes overseas absence not approved by the principal. (A parent’s note does not provide justification.)

No information provided – truant (or throw-away explanation) – This code is for an absence where no verifiable explanation is received, or the explanations are like the following:
• I don’t like my maths teacher so I took the period off.
• I had an assignment to be handed in next period so I took this period off to finish it.
• I was hot so went down to the river.
• We had a test and I wasn’t ready for it.
• I was at the shops.

My Conclusions

From reading the PDF above it is clear that principals are being encouraged to work hard on Unjustified absence, Unjustified absences , Intermittent unjustified absence. There is a challange out there for them to have the lowest percentage of unjustifed absence in their school. Some schools have a zero tolerance approach to truancy.

So I believe that it is in our best interests to have a Justified absence while applying for our exemptions. I think that this will keep the principals happier – we won’t make their total Unjustified absences worse. (An example of a justfied absence would a Doctor’s certificate)

I have asked the Red Tape Cluster Buster team to make “justified absence” a part of the process of applying for an exemption  application if our children are aged between 6-16.

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Policy – Advice: Non-attendance of students under the age of six

While a parent may enrol their child who is five years old in school, the parent is not legally required to ensure they attend until they turn six.

Attendance

• A school board still has a role to, by any means it thinks appropriate, take all reasonable steps to ensure the attendance of students enrolled at its school.
• If intermittent attendance by an enrolled five-year-old is a concern, the school can seek help from the attendance service, community agencies, CYF or the Police.
• The greatest concern for principals is not knowing if a child is at home or whether something untoward has happened on the way to school. Schools can contact Attendance Services to support them to confirm the safety
of a child if they have been absent from school. Also a visit from CYF or a community constable to a parent may be enough.

Non enrolment

• A parent is free to withdraw their five-year-old at any time and not re-enrol them at another school until they turn six.
• After 20 consecutive days of unjustified absence schools may remove a five-year-old from the school’s roll.

I wanted to know exactly what the law was and how it was applied – the policy, and then how we can use the policy to keep within the law.

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From the Smiths:

http://hef.org.nz/2011/craig-smith-26-january-1951-to-30-september-2011/

Updated 22 April 2014:  Two years on (Craig Smith’s Health) page 7 click here

*****

Needing help for your home schooling journey:

http://hef.org.nz/2011/needing-help-for-your-home-schooling-journey-2/

And

Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling:

Information on getting startedhttp://hef.org.nz/getting-started-2/

and

Information on getting an exemptionhttp://hef.org.nz/exemptions/

This link is motivational: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-what-is-it-all-about/

Exemption Form online: http://hef.org.nz/2012/home-schooling-exemption-form-now-online/

Coming Events: http://hef.org.nz/2013/some-coming-events-for-home-education-during-2013-2/

Beneficiaries: http://hef.org.nz/2013/where-to-for-beneficiary-families-now-that-the-social-security-benefit-categories-and-work-focus-amendment-bill-has-passed-its-third-reading/

Submission in support of Home Educators in NSW

Here is  my submission in support of Home Educators in NSW

Information at this link: Australian Home Educators Urgently Need our Help!

Please note:

Submissions due by 5 August (Australian time) – still time to get yours in

Survey open for a bit longer

Click on this link to read Submission on Home Education Foundation letterhead NSW 020814

2 August 2014

The Director

Select Committee on Home Schooling

Parliament House

Macquarie St

Sydney NSW 2000

Dear Sirs,

Submission to the Select Committee Inquiry into Homeschooling

Home Education Foundation of New Zealand

Like many other home educators around the world, the Home Education Foundation of New Zealand was surprised and disturbed by reports of the New South Wales Board of Studies’ 2013 Home Schooling Information Pack, which promised to regulate home education more severely in New South Wales than in any other Australian jurisdiction.

The Home Education Foundation welcomes this inquiry into home education and hopes that the Committee will take this opportunity to hear the concerns of New South Wales and other home educators. Home educators often feel that they are fighting an uphill battle to help legislators and bureaucrats understand, much less support, their beliefs and practices. We would respectfully ask you to keep a sympathetic and open mind as you receive submissions from parents and families for whom home education is not simply a 9 to 3 learning venue, but a treasured way of life.

We have read the Committee’s Terms of Reference for the inquiry and would like to take this opportunity to present you with our advice, which is based on over 30 years’ experience home educating and working with home educators in New Zealand, Australia, the United States and around the world.

(a) The background of home schooling including comparison of practices with other jurisdictions in Australia and New Zealand

Under current regulations in New Zealand, parents may home educate a child on approval of an exemption application by the Ministry of Education. The relevant legislation provides that approval may be granted if the Minister is satisfied that the child will be taught “at least as regularly and well” as he or she would be in a registered school. Visits to home educators’ homes are not compulsory at any point, nor is approval of home educators’ syllabuses, although the exemption process includes an outline of the intended teaching method. Exemption, once granted, does not need to be renewed. Around 600 annual reviews conducted at a venue of the parents’ choice by the Education Review Office per year were at one time carried out, but this ceased in July 2009 because, according to the Ministry of Education, “This programme is considered to be low risk to the education priorities of the Government.” Fewer than 35 reviews are now done annually.

New Zealand home educators, who presumably display a similar variety of beliefs, motivations, socioeconomic status, and educational background to those of New South Wales, were greatly encouraged by this recognition from the Ministry of Education that they were doing their job well.

For reasons addressed later in this submission, the Home Education Foundation otherwise finds the current situation in New Zealand unsatisfactorily highly-regulated from a parent’s point of view. The current New South Wales home education regulations are more onerous than the New Zealand structure, but we would discourage the Committee from taking the New Zealand structure as an example.

(b)(i) Outcomes of home schooling including in relation to transition to further study and work

We are not in a position to comment on these things specifically in relation to New South Wales homeschoolers. However it is thoroughly well-documented by now that on average, home educated students do well in transitioning to further study and work.

For example, in a 2007 article titled “Homeschooled Students Excel in College”, Christopher Klicka, reporting for the Home School Legal Defence Association, said, “Research has shown that homeschoolers on average do better than the national average on standardized achievement tests for the elementary and secondary grade levels. Statistics demonstrate that homeschoolers tend to score above the national average on both their SAT and ACT scores.” The Homeschool Progress Report 2009: Academic Achievement and Demographics report compiled by Dr Brian Ray of the National Home Education Research Institute surveyed over 50,000 home educated students in the US and found that home educated students score, on average, 37 percentile points above public school students on standardized achievement tests.

In a 2003 study titled Homeschooling Grows Up, the same researcher, Dr Ray, surveyed over 7300 home educated adults and found that:

  • Over 74% of home-educated adults ages 18-24 have taken college-level courses, compared to 46% of the general United States population.
  • Homeschool graduates are active and involved in their communities. Seventy-one percent participate in an ongoing community service activity (e.g., coaching a sports team, volunteering at a school, or working with a church or neighborhood association), compared to 37% of U.S. adults of similar ages. Eighty-eight percent of the homeschool graduates surveyed were members of an organization (e.g., such as a community group, church or synagogue, union, homeschool group, or professional organization), compared to 50% of U.S. adults.
  • Only 4.2% of the homeschool graduates surveyed consider politics and government too complicated to understand, compared to 35% of U.S. adults.
  • Taking all things into consideration, 59% of the subjects reported that they were “very happy” with life, with another 39% declaring that they were “pretty happy”. Life is exciting for most (73%). When compared to the general population of the United States, homeschool graduates are more content.
  • 95% of the homeschool graduates surveyed were glad that they were homeschooled. In the opinion of the homeschool graduates, homeschooling had not hindered them in their careers or education. Eighty-two percent would homeschool their own children.

In the Australian context, Glenda Jackson’s Summary of Australian Research on Home Education (2011) arrives at a number of conclusions based on the available research: Home-educated students in Australia do as well academically or better than their schooled peers; are able to acquire social skills and recover from bad social experiences at school; come from a variety of backgrounds and income levels, none of which has an impact on the quality of their education; and are generally happy about being educated at home.  In Victoria, which until 2006 had a very relaxed level of government regulation, Jeff Richardson of Monash University stated that home-educated students perform “extremely well, above average” in universities, no matter what form their education might have taken: “On any measure you like, socially or academically, they will do better.”

(b)(iii) Demographics and motivation of parents to home school their children

In our experience, parents across the world choose to home educate for many different reasons. Some choose to home educate during a period of travel. Some choose to home educate because of bullying or other bad influences in schools or a perceived inability of schools to provide personal, one-on-one care to a child with special needs. Some are dissatisfied with standard one-size-fits-all curricula and prefer their children to learn at the pace that comes most naturally, whether faster or slower than the standard. Some home educate for religious reasons, believing that they are called as parents to deliver an education that reinforces their beliefs. Others simply prefer to spend as much time with their child as possible during their precious youth.

For most parents, the reason may be a combination of some or all—or none–of the above. It should be emphasised that the decision to home educate is complex and intensely individual to the family in question. It is by nature a decision made in response to a family’s unique circumstances. The one unifying factor is that home education is a decision made because a one-size-fits-all approach is incapable of providing adequately for the children’s needs. Home education is the nonstandard educational option. Regulating and standardising it strips it of the very benefits that make it the preferred option of thousands of Australian families, and effectively renders those families incapable of choosing the best educational and lifestyle path for their children.

(c)(i) Current registration processes and ways of reducing the number of unregistered home schoolers

In our experience, home educators fail to register with governmental authorities if they perceive the government’s regulations to be inappropriate. The Committee may be aware of the situation in Queensland until recently. The Queensland home education regulations were so stringent that the majority (estimated as high as 80%) of Queensland home educators were unregistered. In response, the Queensland government relaxed its regulations to encourage home educators to register.

(c)(vi) Appropriateness of the current regulatory regime and ways in which it could be improved

It should be noted that for some home educators, any registration process will be viewed as inappropriate. We are of this perspective and would respectfully invite you to keep an open mind on this possibility.

Many home educators consider that the family, not the civil government, is personally and primarily responsible for the education of their children. We assert that this is a basic parental duty given by divine decree in Scriptures such as Ephesians 6:4. We would further draw the Committee’s attention to a number of treaties at international law that assert a parent’s right to choose what kind of education his or her child shall receive, as for example the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) Article 26 (3) – “Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children” or the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1976) Article 10 (1) and 13 (3)3 – “The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to have respect for the liberty of parents and, when applicable, legal guardians to choose for  their children schools, other than those established by the public authorities, which conform to such minimum educational standards as may be laid down or approved by the State and to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions.”

We would argue that parents have this right to determine their child’s education, including content and mode of delivery, because parents have the primary responsibility for their child’s education. It may be appropriate, in cases where the authority of the family breaks down or is abused, for the civil government to step in and intervene. However, it is the Home Education Foundation’s view that requiring home educators to register, be approved, and be required to follow a state syllabus goes far beyond what is appropriate and injures the rights of the family as an institution.

Just as it would be inappropriate for the legislative or administrative branches of government to take on the duties and responsibilities of the judiciary, so it is inappropriate for the civil government to trespass upon the justly exercised authority of the family, the church, or any other basic institution of society. We believe that it is basic to the authority and dignity of the family as a foundational institution of society, to choose in what manner, and by whom, their children shall be raised and educated. It is unnecessary and inappropriate for the civil government to oversee, register, and approve this process in the absence of prior evidence that the family is delinquent.

Until 2006, the Victorian regulatory framework simply required home educating parents to prove, if challenged, that their children were receiving “regular and efficient instruction”. Such an approach recognised the state’s role in holding parents responsible for the instruction of their children, without removing that responsibility from parents altogether. We highly commend this regulatory approach to the Committee.

(d) Support issues for home schooling families and barriers to accessing support

In our experience, most home educators glean valuable support from local home education support groups, from other home educating families, and from veteran home educators who can give the benefit of their experience.

Beginning home educators may find it difficult at first to connect with these local home educators, but may be reluctant to contact government bodies for assistance. Home educators do not want to give the impression that they are struggling, to a body which may solve the problem by recommending that the children are sent to school, rather than by connecting them with other home educators who can assist them to excel. Home educators may view the government as looking for an excuse to revoke their registration to home educate, especially if it implements an onerous regulatory system.

(e) Representation of home schoolers within Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards (BoSTES)

We warmly commend this suggestion. As with any industry, state, or commonwealth, no governing body should fail to include representatives of those being governed.

In closing, we would urge the Committee to remember that home educators are simply ordinary Australian parents who love, sacrifice for, and care for their children. Home education is not an easy choice to make. It usually requires a family to get by on one income and to face misunderstandings from the general community. A government can only make this lifestyle more difficult, more intimidating, and more stressful by viewing these families with suspicion.

Also, since it may be relevant, the Home Education Foundation would like to acknowledge to the work of an Australian home education graduate in writing this submission.

We hope that this submission has been of use to the Committee. We thank you for your time and work spent grappling with these questions and hope that home educators in New South Wales can look forward to a regulatory structure which is friendlier to their lifestyle.

Yours sincerely,

The Home Education Foundation of New Zealand

Per:

Barbara Smith

National Director

Enclosures:

1. Christopher J Klicka, “Homeschooled Students Excel in College”, 2007 article, http://www.hslda.org/docs/nche/000000/CollegeExcel07.pdf

2. Dr Brian Ray, “Homeschooling Grows Up,” summary of 2003 research, http://www.hslda.org/research/ray2003/HomeschoolingGrowsUp.pdf

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Archives New Zealand and National Library open the files on the First World War

Today marks 100 years since England declared war on Germany

“More than 141,000 First World War service files are now available online, adding to the wealth of information detailing New Zealanders experience of the war made available by Archives New Zealand and the National Library.

“In possibly the largest and most complicated digitisation project in New Zealand’s history, Archives New Zealand staff identified over 141,000 First World War files, scanned the often crumbling, fragile pages and then digitised them and published them online.

“All 141,000 files can now be accessed at: http://www.archives.govt.nz/world-war-one

“As the keeper of the public record, Archives New Zealand is proud to make this fascinating, sometimes poignant, record available to everyone,” said Chief Archivist, Marilyn Little.

“Archives New Zealand and National Library of New Zealand First World War centenary resources can be found at:

Read more here…

(Irfanview is possibly the best programme to view the files.)

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Parents need to question use of technology in schools – doctor

31 July 2014

computer childOneNews 1st August 2014
Trying to advance a child’s development through the use of technology before they are ready could cause more harm than good, a doctor is warning.

Dr Michael Nagel told TV ONE’s Breakfast one of the most concerning things he is seeing is that schools are becoming more reliant on technology, and as a result “we see younger and younger children using things that perhaps they’re not ready for”.

He said researchers, particularly in the United States, suggest that there’s no real need for children who are in kindergarten and primary school to use technology.

Dr Nagel says it tends to isolate children and can impact on a child’s ability to read and write, saying that there is more to be gained from reading a paperback book than reading off a screen.

When asked if he thought it was relevant for parents to want their children to be tech-savvy, he said: “I think that’s a product of an older generational belief that you have to get into computers straight away, because not that long ago you had to know the language of a PC. Now it’s so intuitive you don’t have to do that.”

He said parents should be questioning schools if they are asked to buy a tablet or laptop for their children to work on while they are at school, “because often it’s just a marketing ploy”.

His comments come after a new school in Hobsonville in Auckland went as far as ditching textbooks and pens and pencils for cutting edge technology.

Read more at this link: http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/parents-need-question-use-technology-in-schools-doctor-6043348

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