September 17, 2014

Latest posts from Home Education Foundation

How Each Political Party Views Home Education: Updated with more comments from the Parties

As the General Election approaches and we start considering who we should vote for, it should be an easy task to decide, but with each passing Election I have been finding it harder and harder to make that choice.  In earlier Elections, Craig and I always voted for the National Party, however, we have not voted for them for several Elections now.  Many things have changed.  There has been a huge cultural shift away from our Judeo/Christian base.  Who should we vote for?  That is not an easy question to answer.

We can look at how the MPs have voted in the past.  This does give us some indication of their Party’s objectives and their personal morality.  Bob McCoskrie from Family First has put together an informative brochure which is helpful in this regard.  (valueyourvote.org.nz/2014-general-election/)

We also need to look at who the minor Parties would like to see as Prime Minister for the next three years, and who they see that they can work with.  This report by the New Zealand Herald gives some information on this.http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11318606. It is concerning that Winston Peters is not letting us know his thoughts on this.

Another issue to think about is if the Party we give our Party Vote to does not pass the 5% threshold then their votes are split up proportionally with the successful Parties.  But if we don’t give the Party our vote, they will never reach the 5% threshold.

Also of consideration for us as home educators, is how each Party views home education.  We enjoy a relative freedom here in New Zealand compared to many of our overseas counterparts which we would like to preserve and continue to encourage.  However, we should not vote on one issue. We should look at what the Party stands for and look at most of their policies rather than voting on a single issue like home education.  Below I have listed, from what information I could find and responses I have received, how each Party views home education.

Sadly, as the Western Nations of our world move away from their Judeo/Christian roots, we see its outworking in all areas of our society.  More than ever, we are the ‘salt’ needed to savour, and the ‘light’ needed to shine.  As Christians, we need to be scrutinising each Party’s policy through the lens of the Word of God, looking at which Party is more closely aligned with the principles laid out in Scripture.  Whilst we cannot expect a secular organisation to hold to Biblical principles, we can choose to vote for one who will best represent Biblical values and what the Bible has to say.

Lots to think and pray about.  May God grant you wisdom as you vote.

How each Political Party views home education:

ACT:

Family First Brochure—Parental choice for education and ECE arrangements: Support

Website:

Remove all compulsive regulations around enrolment schemes, allowing schools to choose whether, when, and what sort of enrolment scheme they choose

Recognise the role for quality properly tested home education (This is of concern.  What testing?)

Conservative:

Family First Brochure—Parental choice for education and ECE arrangements: Support

Website: nothing on website (They should have something about home education)

Colin and Helen Craig are home educating parents

From Christine Rankin: Our website does not have all of our policy’s up there but we are supporters of home schooling. We believe people should have choice in education and that the funding should follow the child.

Green:

Family First Brochure—Parental choice for education and ECE arrangements: Oppose (This does not seem to line up with the below policy from the website)

Website: 6. Diversity And Equity Of Access (Would they impose ‘diversity teaching required’ i.e. homosexual etc)

The Green Party will:
7. Support home schooling families and identify ways to improve resources for home-based learners. Ensure the Ministry of Education and ERO understand home schooling education philosophies and practices. (Good to hear.)

Internet Mana:

Family First Brochure—Parental choice for education and ECE arrangements: Support

Website: Nothing on website (They should have something about home education)

Labour:

Family First Brochure—Parental choice for education and ECE arrangements: No Response (Not a good sign from a major Party)

Website: Nothing on website (They should have something about home education)

From Emma King, Office of Chris Hipkins: I am writing to acknowledge that Chris Hipkins has received your email. I don’t think we have anything specific on home schooling in the policy documents but if you’re interested in particular aspects of it, please tell me what they are and I’ll get Chris to respond to you.

Maori:

Family First Brochure—Parental choice for education and ECE arrangements: No Response (This does not seem to line up with the below policy from the website)

Website: Education should be driven by whanau aspirations so that learning is meaningful, relevant and creates a foundation for self-determination, entrepreneurial skills and opportunities for a positive future.

Help whanau to create their own teaching and learning models

(This is promising but in what context?  State schooling, private schooling, home schooling?  How much freedom for individual families or possibly like-minded community groups?)

Nothing about home schooling

National:

Family First Brochure—Parental choice for education and ECE arrangements: No Response (Not a good sign from a major Party)

Website: Nothing on website (They should have something about home education)

From Cameron Cotter, Campaign Communications ManagerNational recognises the importance of choice in our education system, and has no current plans to change the law as it relates to home schooling specifically.

NZ  First:

Family First Brochure—Parental choice for education and ECE arrangements:  Support

Website: Nothing on website (They should have something about home education)

From Tracey Martin, Deputy Leader,

At this time the New Zealand First Manifesto is silent in the area of Home Schooling.  The reason for this is that no member of the Home Schooling community approached us over the last three years to inform us of any difficulties or areas of concern/improvement.  New Zealand First does  not create policy without first having a relationship with those to be directly affected by that policy.

Having Home Schooled one of our sons for a period of time I have a working understanding of the current environment under which the parents and students you represent are working.

Should your organisation wish to have a discussion with New Zealand First after the election we would welcome that invitation.

United Future:

Family First Brochure—Parental choice for education and ECE arrangements:  Support

Website: Nothing on website (They should have something about home education)

From Fraser Seifert: Unitedfuture does not have any specific policy on home schooling but we support the right of parents to choose home schooling if they wish.

I have written to all the Parties with nothing on their websites about home educating. I have only heard back from two parties so far: NZ First and Labour

Update: Conservatives, United Future and National have now answered my email – see their comments above.

Still need to hear from: Internet Mana and  Maori

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

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/

Feedback Form (Problem Scoping Survey) on MoE website

From the MoE website:

http://www.minedu.govt.nz/Parents/AllAges/EducationInNZ/Homeschooling.aspx

We are currently seeking feedback from parents/caregivers who are home educating their children to understand what is working well and what could be improved. The feedback letter and form was emailed to those home educators that we have current email addresses for on 5 September 2014. The form can also be downloaded by clicking on the below link. Feedback closes on 26 September 2014. The Ministry will then collate the feedback and provide homeschoolers with a copy of this information and the next steps by 30 November 2014.

The feedback form is intended as a guide; feedback can be provided in any form via home.schooling@minedu.govt.nz.

For any queries please email home.schooling@minedu.govt.nz or phone 04 463 8946.

Feedback Letter 
Feedback Form

Click on this link to go to the MoE website:  http://www.minedu.govt.nz/Parents/AllAges/EducationInNZ/Homeschooling.aspx

Home Education Foundation comments on the form:

Problem Scoping Survey and the need for us to fill it out

I have heard from a lot of people (especially from those who have been home educating for a long time) that they are not going to be filling in the MoE scoping survey. I would like to encourage you think seriously about filling out the Problem Scoping Survey.

MoE scoping Home Educators

The National Office of the MoE is sending out an email or snail mail letter to all home educators today. They have asked us to put it up on our websites and pass around to other home educators.
Jim Greening’s letter to us all: scoping_letter

and the Problem scoping survey: Problem_scoping-1

I have also heard from a lot of people that they have not received their email or snail mail letter. If you have not received this then please let me know your email address and I will get the National Office to send it to you. (I will not use your email address for any other purpose.) The National Office wants all home educators to receive this scoping survey.

There are many reasons why a lot of home educators are not wanting to fill out this survey – and in the old days I would have been one of them. But I believe that we can look optimistically towards the future and I say this based on my experiences with the National Office of the MoE since July 2014.

Here is the background for those who have not read these links yet.

In April I wrote two letters  to the MoE and Jim Greening answered them both (dated 30 June). Please read my two letters and Jim’s reply. http://hef.org.nz/2014/moeero-issues/.  The good news from these letters is that we have been able to address these issues with the MoE in two meetings of 15 and 28 July. Other home educating groups have been meeting with the MoE and discussed similar issues with them. Some of the issues have been resolved and others are still ongoing. I will explain shortly.

July 1 the MoE had some major changes. Those involved with home education in the MoE: Hon Hekia Parata (Minister of Education); Peter Hughes (Secretary of Education); Jim Greening (Group Manager, Schools and Student Support); Sonya Logan (Manager, Student Engagement) and Lucy Ambrose (Senior Advisor, Learner Engagement). Red Tape Cluster Buster team Megan Reid (Senior Project Manager) and Mireille Consalvey (Project Coordinator) for the Change Team, which is a part of Sector Enablement and Support.

July 15 I had a Scoping meeting with the Jim Greening, Sonya Logan and Lucy Ambrose: http://hef.org.nz/2014/moe-meetings-1st-meeting-15-july-2014-getting-to-know-you/. This meeting was for the new staff in the MoE National Office to find out what home education was all about from home educators. There was a second aim to find out who they would like to have on a team for ongoing discussions – more on this soon. At this meeting we talked at length about a family who had failed their ERO review and were declined a second ERO review. We talked about the issues and policies surrounding all of this which resulted in the failed ERO review and why there was no second ERO review. Jim, Sonya and Lucy agreed that there needs to be changes. The good news from all of this is that this family now have new exemptions (third letter in link) signed by Jim himself. Another issue that was dealt with was the need to keep records 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/

July 28 Red Tape Cluster Buster Meetinghttp://hef.org.nz/2014/moe-meetings-2nd-meeting-28-july-2014-red-tape-cluster-buster-meeting/. Please read this link to see that these new people dealing with home educators have our best interests at heart. I talked with Megan about those with the Natural Learning philosophy having trouble getting their applications being approved when they were written throughly from that approach. Read what she said to us under “Use of the Exemption Application”.  We talked a lot about truancy while applying for an exemption form and Megan outlined her understanding of Justified and Unjustified Absence. I had never heard of those terms before – read about this in the meeting notes and here: Truancy and the Home Schooler/Home Educator. The Red Tape Cluster Buster team are still meeting with people – if your home educating group would like to meet with them then please contact them or me.

More recently I have written to the MoE National Office about the Lower Hutt MoE local office concerning the difficulties home educators have in getting exemptions. Some of these exemption applications have now been approved which we are thankful for and trust that another one will be soon. We trust that it will be easier to get exemptions from the Lower Hutt local MoE office in the future. There is a new manager for home education, Andrea, in the Lower Hutt local office of the MoE.

Some Concerns people have with filling out the Problem Scoping Survey. I will try to answer some of these concerns from my perspective:

“I have received an email from the MoE and I find it a bit strange. It doesn’t say how the information will be used.”

It is my understanding that the meetings Jim, Sonya and Lucy have been having, have been to come up with a group of home educators they feel they can work with as they make changes to the forms and processes the MoE use with home educators. These will be ongoing meetings where we can discuss the forms and processes as well as any concerns that we have. We do not know who will be involved in these meetings yet.

“I think its still hard to have a conversation with them when we are speaking different languages.”

This has certainly been the problem in the past. But the purposes for the meetings: the Scoping Meetings, the Red Tape Cluster Buster meetings and the Problem Solving Survey are all ways that the MoE are using to understand home education now. We have our opportunity to speak our language to them in this Scoping Survey – I think we should take this opportunity. I trust that there will be home educators from all perspectives on the team that meets regularly with the National Office of the MoE. At the moment we are talking with the National Office of the MoE, it will take time for this to filter down to the local offices.

From Jim Greening’s letter: “The MoE is seeking to determine any areas where improvements can be made to home schooling within NZ to ensure the success of those young people involved in homeschooling.”…implies that young people involved in home educating are not currently ‘successful’.”

Something those who have been home educating for a long time can do is mention the “success” of those who have finished being home educated. This is an interesting survey by Jenny Barkley (2013) where she received answers to her survey from 162 people who had finished being home educated  http://hef.org.nz/2013/beyond-homeschooling-nz-2013

 The whole focus on ‘success’ raises quite a few flags – what on earth do they mean by ‘success’?
Success means different things to different people and it is widely applied in the home education movement. It is not all about academics for many of the different philosophies.
Update: Just received this from Lucy:
The term “successes” to us means what’s working well for people or what they would like to see change in regarding to home education.

“The actual form is not user friendly or clear.  I am not even sure where to start with it.”

I agree. I am tempted to come up with our own form. There is a skill in answering media questions. Craig was good at it and tried to help others who were about to be questioned about home education. First you work out what you would like to tell the media or would like your audience to hear. Then you make sure that you get those points made early in the interview. So if an interviewer asks you a question you ignore the question for a start and say “first you would like to make three points” and go for it. By the time you have finished your three points the interviewer has gone past his first question and has lots more from the points you have made. I think we can apply this to the Scoping Survey. Think about what you would like the MoE to know about the problems that are there at the moment and in the past (especially if they have been personal for you) and get that into the Survey somehow. Then think about the best scenario you can think of for the law and policy of home education in New Zealand and get that into the survey. Don’t just look at the Survey and answer the questions – that is an extremely hard way to go about it.

Update: Just received this from Lucy:

The feedback sheet is intended as a guide; people can submit their feedback in any form they like either by emailing us or writing to us. We are interested to hear in what is working well, and what home educators would like to see improved or changed with regards to home education.

“I have still not received the survey. Is it possible to just download the survey somewhere and send it in?”

If you would like to receive the survey by email then please send mebarbara@hef.org.nz your email address and I will pass it onto the right person in the MoE. I will not use that email address in any other way. If you don’t want to receive the survey by email and have not received a letter yet – please let me know. I have not heard of anyone receiving the snail mail letter yet. Update 16/09/14: I have been told that the MoE is no longer sending this out as a letter unless it is specifically asked for –  I am checking on this information.

Here are some ideas to write about. If you have any others then please leave them in the comments.Several home educators have been discussing the Red Tape Cluster Buster meetings. Please check out these links: Preparation for the MoE discussions

Discussions home educators had online at Clutter buster group or (for ease of reading as not everyone can get onto the google docs) here…http://hef.org.nz/coming-events-archives-2012/red-tape-cluster-buster/

It would be wonderful if a number of people mention issues to help make the home education environment better in New Zealand. Here are some other suggestions

1. Justified Absence – it would be wonderful if a lot of home educators include this in their Scoping Surveys asking for “Justified Absence” during the exemption application process to be a part of theMoE policy

2. This statement could be mentioned in several scoping surveys: “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.” For those of you who this has been an issue (or those who could see issues about this in the future) it would be wonderful if you could outline the issues in the scoping survey. Jim knows that this statement needs to be changed and they are listening to us on this. So it is important that we give them some case studies of how this has been detramental to many families during the application process.

3. “regular” and “well” Jim wants to define these two words we don’t want to see these words defined any more than they already are in the exemption form package. Those words are in the law anything else is policy.

4. Beneficaries being told by some WINZ offices that they cannot home school and be on the benefit.
5. Exemption form on line, along with that, the ability to track onlinethe progress of the exemption form.
6. Use of the Exemption Application when it comes to different philosophies. At the moment the exemption form application seems to be set up for one philosophy which lines up with how children are taught in school. Home education is quite different and the National Office seems to be understanding this. We need to write about this more in the Problem Scoping Survey so that it is clearer in the application form.
7. Special needs: The National Office, especially the Red Tape Cluster Buster team, wants to hear from those with Special needs children. What are all the things that you have found helpful for your special needs children? What stuggles have you had to find out what is available for your special needs home educated children? I have heard of some families who have had struggles for many years in these areas and have finally found the help they needed. Please share this information in the Problem Solving Survey so that others don’t have to go through your stuggles. Megan is kean to get this information onto the Exemption Application forms.
8. ECE: writing information about whether our children had been in an ECE during the last 6 months (when our children are turning 6 or being pulled out of school) is not a requirement of the current legislation and does not demonstrate to the MoE that we have the ability to “teach our child as regularly and as well as a registered school”. Just because they are asking this of all children entering school (Jim’s letter to me) does not mean that they need to ask this of children being home educated.
9. The need to see home education friendly staff in the MoE especially in the local offices where the exemption applications are approved. We do not want to see anyone in the local MoE offices who “do not like home schooling and do not think anyone should be able to do it”
We need to keep the MoE to the law rather than to their policy. They can change their policy but it is much harder to change the law.
I had just finished this post when I got this email from Lucy. This confirms what I have written above:

Thank you for your feedback regarding the work we are doing.

In answer to the key points in your combined emails, I would like to confirm:

a)      The term “successes” to us means what’s working well for people or what they would like to see change in regarding to home education.
b)      The feedback sheet is intended as a guide; people can submit their feedback in any form they like either by emailing us or writing to us. We are interested to hear in what is working well, and what home educators would like to see improved or changed with regards to home education.

These messages, along with the feedback form will be going up on our website today or tomorrow– apologies for not getting it up sooner, we have had some technical difficulties.
Please do not hesitate to convey to your members that we want to know what is working and what is not with suggested improvements.  Please also confirm that feedback does not have to be on the feedback form as we are keen to receive feedback in any way that people feel comfortable submitting.

Links:
-Home Education Foundation letter which covers exemption form, beneficiaries, International home educators and Keystone.

MoE/ERO issues

Changes in the MoE

MoE discussions introduction to the Red Tape Cluster Buster meetings

Preparation for the MoE discussions with Red Tape Cluster Buster meetings andrelevant for the Problem Scoping Survey
- Discussions home educators had online at Clutter buster group or (for ease of reading as not everyone can get onto the google docs) here…http://hef.org.nz/coming-events-archives-2012/red-tape-cluster-buster/ (Also a lot of very good information to aid you in filling out the Problem Scoping Survey)

Record of Progress and Achievement (an exemple of the new National MoE office staff understanding home educators)

Truancy and the Home Schooler/Home Educator (another success with the National Office in that Megan showed us alternatives)

Scoping Meeting 15 July 2014 – Getting to know you

2nd Meeting 28 July 2014 – Red Tape Cluster Buster Meeting

MoE scoping Home Educators – email

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While this is going around as many home educators as possible I would like to draw your attention to this post about the elections this coming Saturday: How each Political Party views home education

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

Please share/forward this link with other home educators.

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

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/

Problem Scoping Survey and the need for us to fill it out

UPDATE 17/09/14

From the MoE website:

http://www.minedu.govt.nz/Parents/AllAges/EducationInNZ/Homeschooling.aspx

We are currently seeking feedback from parents/caregivers who are home educating their children to understand what is working well and what could be improved. The feedback letter and form was emailed to those home educators that we have current email addresses for on 5 September 2014. The form can also be downloaded by clicking on the below link. Feedback closes on 26 September 2014. The Ministry will then collate the feedback and provide homeschoolers with a copy of this information and the next steps by 30 November 2014.

The feedback form is intended as a guide; feedback can be provided in any form via home.schooling@minedu.govt.nz.

For any queries please email home.schooling@minedu.govt.nz or phone 04 463 8946.

Feedback Letter 
Feedback Form

I have heard from a lot of people (especially from those who have been home educating for a long time) that they are not going to be filling in the MoE scoping survey. I would like to encourage you think seriously about filling out the Problem Scoping Survey.
MoE scoping Home Educators

The National Office of the MoE is sending out an email or snail mail letter to all home educators today. They have asked us to put it up on our websites and pass around to other home educators.
Jim Greening’s letter to us all: scoping_letter

and the Problem scoping survey: Problem_scoping-1

I have also heard from a lot of people that they have not received their email or snail mail letter. If you have not received this then please let me know your email address and I will get the National Office to send it to you. (I will not use your email address for any other purpose.) The National Office wants all home educators to receive this scoping survey.

There are many reasons why a lot of home educators are not wanting to fill out this survey – and in the old days I would have been one of them. But I believe that we can look optimistically towards the future and I say this based on my experiences with the National Office of the MoE since July 2014.

Here is the background for those who have not read these links yet.

In April I wrote two letters  to the MoE and Jim Greening answered them both (dated 30 June). Please read my two letters and Jim’s reply. http://hef.org.nz/2014/moeero-issues/.  The good news from these letters is that we have been able to address these issues with the MoE in two meetings of 15 and 28 July. Other home educating groups have been meeting with the MoE and discussed similar issues with them. Some of the issues have been resolved and others are still ongoing. I will explain shortly.

July 1 the MoE had some major changes. Those involved with home education in the MoE: Hon Hekia Parata (Minister of Education); Peter Hughes (Secretary of Education); Jim Greening (Group Manager, Schools and Student Support); Sonya Logan (Manager, Student Engagement) and Lucy Ambrose (Senior Advisor, Learner Engagement). Red Tape Cluster Buster team Megan Reid (Senior Project Manager) and Mireille Consalvey (Project Coordinator) for the Change Team, which is a part of Sector Enablement and Support.

July 15 I had a Scoping meeting with the Jim Greening, Sonya Logan and Lucy Ambrose: http://hef.org.nz/2014/moe-meetings-1st-meeting-15-july-2014-getting-to-know-you/. This meeting was for the new staff in the MoE National Office to find out what home education was all about from home educators. There was a second aim to find out who they would like to have on a team for ongoing discussions – more on this soon. At this meeting we talked at length about a family who had failed their ERO review and were declined a second ERO review. We talked about the issues and policies surrounding all of this which resulted in the failed ERO review and why there was no second ERO review. Jim, Sonya and Lucy agreed that there needs to be changes. The good news from all of this is that this family now have new exemptions (third letter in link) signed by Jim himself. Another issue that was dealt with was the need to keep records 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/

July 28 Red Tape Cluster Buster Meetinghttp://hef.org.nz/2014/moe-meetings-2nd-meeting-28-july-2014-red-tape-cluster-buster-meeting/. Please read this link to see that these new people dealing with home educators have our best interests at heart. I talked with Megan about those with the Natural Learning philosophy having trouble getting their applications being approved when they were written throughly from that approach. Read what she said to us under “Use of the Exemption Application”.  We talked a lot about truancy while applying for an exemption form and Megan outlined her understanding of Justified and Unjustified Absence. I had never heard of those terms before – read about this in the meeting notes and here: Truancy and the Home Schooler/Home Educator. The Red Tape Cluster Buster team are still meeting with people – if your home educating group would like to meet with them then please contact them or me.

More recently I have written to the MoE National Office about the Lower Hutt MoE local office concerning the difficulties home educators have in getting exemptions. Some of these exemption applications have now been approved which we are thankful for and trust that another one will be soon. We trust that it will be easier to get exemptions from the Lower Hutt local MoE office in the future. There is a new manager for home education, Andrea, in the Lower Hutt local office of the MoE.

Some Concerns people have with filling out the Problem Scoping Survey. I will try to answer some of these concerns from my perspective:

“I have received an email from the MoE and I find it a bit strange. It doesn’t say how the information will be used.”

It is my understanding that the meetings Jim, Sonya and Lucy have been having, have been to come up with a group of home educators they feel they can work with as they make changes to the forms and processes the MoE use with home educators. These will be ongoing meetings where we can discuss the forms and processes as well as any concerns that we have. We do not know who will be involved in these meetings yet.

“I think its still hard to have a conversation with them when we are speaking different languages.”

This has certainly been the problem in the past. But the purposes for the meetings: the Scoping Meetings, the Red Tape Cluster Buster meetings and the Problem Solving Survey are all ways that the MoE are using to understand home education now. We have our opportunity to speak our language to them in this Scoping Survey – I think we should take this opportunity. I trust that there will be home educators from all perspectives on the team that meets regularly with the National Office of the MoE. At the moment we are talking with the National Office of the MoE, it will take time for this to filter down to the local offices.

From Jim Greening’s letter: “The MoE is seeking to determine any areas where improvements can be made to home schooling within NZ to ensure the success of those young people involved in homeschooling.”…implies that young people involved in home educating are not currently ‘successful’.”

Something those who have been home educating for a long time can do is mention the “success” of those who have finished being home educated. This is an interesting survey by Jenny Barkley (2013) where she received answers to her survey from 162 people who had finished being home educated  http://hef.org.nz/2013/beyond-homeschooling-nz-2013

 The whole focus on ‘success’ raises quite a few flags – what on earth do they mean by ‘success’?
Success means different things to different people and it is widely applied in the home education movement. It is not all about academics for many of the different philosophies.
Update: Just received this from Lucy:
The term “successes” to us means what’s working well for people or what they would like to see change in regarding to home education.

“The actual form is not user friendly or clear.  I am not even sure where to start with it.”

I agree. I am tempted to come up with our own form. There is a skill in answering media questions. Craig was good at it and tried to help others who were about to be questioned about home education. First you work out what you would like to tell the media or would like your audience to hear. Then you make sure that you get those points made early in the interview. So if an interviewer asks you a question you ignore the question for a start and say “first you would like to make three points” and go for it. By the time you have finished your three points the interviewer has gone past his first question and has lots more from the points you have made. I think we can apply this to the Scoping Survey. Think about what you would like the MoE to know about the problems that are there at the moment and in the past (especially if they have been personal for you) and get that into the Survey somehow. Then think about the best scenario you can think of for the law and policy of home education in New Zealand and get that into the survey. Don’t just look at the Survey and answer the questions – that is an extremely hard way to go about it.

Update: Just received this from Lucy:

The feedback sheet is intended as a guide; people can submit their feedback in any form they like either by emailing us or writing to us. We are interested to hear in what is working well, and what home educators would like to see improved or changed with regards to home education.

“I have still not received the survey. Is it possible to just download the survey somewhere and send it in?”

If you would like to receive the survey by email then please send me barbara@hef.org.nz your email address and I will pass it onto the right person in the MoE. I will not use that email address in any other way. If you don’t want to receive the survey by email and have not received a letter yet – please let me know. I have not heard of anyone receiving the snail mail letter yet. Update 16/09/14: I have been told that the MoE is no longer sending this out as a letter unless it is specifically asked for –  I am checking on this information.

Here are some ideas to write about. If you have any others then please leave them in the comments.Several home educators have been discussing the Red Tape Cluster Buster meetings. Please check out these links: Preparation for the MoE discussions

Discussions home educators had online at Clutter buster group or (for ease of reading as not everyone can get onto the google docs) here…http://hef.org.nz/coming-events-archives-2012/red-tape-cluster-buster/

It would be wonderful if a number of people mention issues to help make the home education environment better in New Zealand. Here are some other suggestions

1. Justified Absence – it would be wonderful if a lot of home educators include this in their Scoping Surveys asking for “Justified Absence” during the exemption application process to be a part of the MoE policy

2. This statement could be mentioned in several scoping surveys: “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.” For those of you who this has been an issue (or those who could see issues about this in the future) it would be wonderful if you could outline the issues in the scoping survey. Jim knows that this statement needs to be changed and they are listening to us on this. So it is important that we give them some case studies of how this has been detramental to many families during the application process.

3. “regular” and “well” Jim wants to define these two words we don’t want to see these words defined any more than they already are in the exemption form package. Those words are in the law anything else is policy.

4. Beneficaries being told by some WINZ offices that they cannot home school and be on the benefit.
5. Exemption form on line, along with that, the ability to track online the progress of the exemption form.
6. Use of the Exemption Application when it comes to different philosophies. At the moment the exemption form application seems to be set up for one philosophy which lines up with how children are taught in school. Home education is quite different and the National Office seems to be understanding this. We need to write about this more in the Problem Scoping Survey so that it is clearer in the application form.
7. Special needs: The National Office, especially the Red Tape Cluster Buster team, wants to hear from those with Special needs children. What are all the things that you have found helpful for your special needs children? What stuggles have you had to find out what is available for your special needs home educated children? I have heard of some families who have had struggles for many years in these areas and have finally found the help they needed. Please share this information in the Problem Solving Survey so that others don’t have to go through your stuggles. Megan is kean to get this information onto the Exemption Application forms.
8. ECE: writing information about whether our children had been in an ECE during the last 6 months (when our children are turning 6 or being pulled out of school) is not a requirement of the current legislation and does not demonstrate to the MoE that we have the ability to “teach our child as regularly and as well as a registered school”. Just because they are asking this of all children entering school (Jim’s letter to me) does not mean that they need to ask this of children being home educated.
9. The need to see home education friendly staff in the MoE especially in the local offices where the exemption applications are approved. We do not want to see anyone in the local MoE offices who “do not like home schooling and do not think anyone should be able to do it”
We need to keep the MoE to the law rather than to their policy. They can change their policy but it is much harder to change the law
 
I had just finished this post when I got this email from Lucy. This confirms what I have written above:
 

Thank you for your feedback regarding the work we are doing.

In answer to the key points in your combined emails, I would like to confirm:

a)      The term “successes” to us means what’s working well for people or what they would like to see change in regarding to home education.
b)      The feedback sheet is intended as a guide; people can submit their feedback in any form they like either by emailing us or writing to us. We are interested to hear in what is working well, and what home educators would like to see improved or changed with regards to home education.

These messages, along with the feedback form will be going up on our website today or tomorrow– apologies for not getting it up sooner, we have had some technical difficulties.
Please do not hesitate to convey to your members that we want to know what is working and what is not with suggested improvements.  Please also confirm that feedback does not have to be on the feedback form as we are keen to receive feedback in any way that people feel comfortable submitting.

Links:
-Home Education Foundation letter which covers exemption form, beneficiaries, International home educators and Keystone.

- MoE/ERO issues

- Changes in the MoE

- MoE discussions introduction to the Red Tape Cluster Buster meetings

- Preparation for the MoE discussions with Red Tape Cluster Buster meetings and relevant for the Problem Scoping Survey
- Discussions home educators had online at Clutter buster group or (for ease of reading as not everyone can get onto the google docs) here… http://hef.org.nz/coming-events-archives-2012/red-tape-cluster-buster/ (Also a lot of very good information to aid you in filling out the Problem Scoping Survey)

- Record of Progress and Achievement (an exemple of the new National MoE office staff understanding home educators)

- Truancy and the Home Schooler/Home Educator (another success with the National Office in that Megan showed us alternatives)

- Scoping Meeting 15 July 2014 – Getting to know you

- 2nd Meeting 28 July 2014 – Red Tape Cluster Buster Meeting

- MoE scoping Home Educators – email

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While this is going around as many home educators as possible I would like to draw your attention to this post about the elections this coming Saturday: How each Political Party views home education

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Please share/forward this link with other home educators.

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

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/

How each Political Party views home education

As the General Election approaches and we start considering who we should vote for, it should be an easy task to decide, but with each passing Election I have been finding it harder and harder to make that choice.  In earlier Elections, Craig and I always voted for the National Party, however, we have not voted for them for several Elections now.  Many things have changed.  There has been a huge cultural shift away from our Judeo/Christian base.  Who should we vote for?  That is not an easy question to answer.

We can look at how the MPs have voted in the past.  This does give us some indication of their Party’s objectives and their personal morality.  Bob McCoskrie from Family First has put together an informative brochure which is helpful in this regard.  (valueyourvote.org.nz/2014-general-election/)

We also need to look at who the minor Parties would like to see as Prime Minister for the next three years, and who they see that they can work with.  This report by the New Zealand Herald gives some information on this. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11318606. It is concerning that Winston Peters is not letting us know his thoughts on this.

Another issue to think about is if the Party we give our Party Vote to does not pass the 5% threshold then their votes are split up proportionally with the successful Parties.  But if we don’t give the Party our vote, they will never reach the 5% threshold.

Also of consideration for us as home educators, is how each Party views home education.  We enjoy a relative freedom here in New Zealand compared to many of our overseas counterparts which we would like to preserve and continue to encourage.  However, we should not vote on one issue. We should look at what the Party stands for and look at most of their policies rather than voting on a single issue like home education.  Below I have listed, from what information I could find and responses I have received, how each Party views home education.

Sadly, as the Western Nations of our world move away from their Judeo/Christian roots, we see its outworking in all areas of our society.  More than ever, we are the ‘salt’ needed to savour, and the ‘light’ needed to shine.  As Christians, we need to be scrutinising each Party’s policy through the lens of the Word of God, looking at which Party is more closely aligned with the principles laid out in Scripture.  Whilst we cannot expect a secular organisation to hold to Biblical principles, we can choose to vote for one who will best represent Biblical values and what the Bible has to say.

Lots to think and pray about.  May God grant you wisdom as you vote.

How each Political Party views home education:

ACT:

Family First Brochure—Parental choice for education and ECE arrangements: Support

Website:

Remove all compulsive regulations around enrolment schemes, allowing schools to choose whether, when, and what sort of enrolment scheme they choose

Recognise the role for quality properly tested home education (This is of concern.  What testing?)

Conservative:

Family First Brochure—Parental choice for education and ECE arrangements: Support

Website: nothing on website (They should have something about home education)

Colin and Helen Craig are home educating parents

From Christine Rankin: Our website does not have all of our policy’s up there but we are supporters of home schooling. We believe people should have choice in education and that the funding should follow the child.

Green:

Family First Brochure—Parental choice for education and ECE arrangements: Oppose (This does not seem to line up with the below policy from the website)

Website: 6. Diversity And Equity Of Access (Would they impose ‘diversity teaching required’ i.e. homosexual etc)

The Green Party will:
7. Support home schooling families and identify ways to improve resources for home-based learners. Ensure the Ministry of Education and ERO understand home schooling education philosophies and practices. (Good to hear.)

Internet Mana:

Family First Brochure—Parental choice for education and ECE arrangements: Support

Website: Nothing on website (They should have something about home education)

Labour:

Family First Brochure—Parental choice for education and ECE arrangements: No Response (Not a good sign from a major Party)

Website: Nothing on website (They should have something about home education)

From Emma King, Office of Chris Hipkins: I am writing to acknowledge that Chris Hipkins has received your email. I don’t think we have anything specific on home schooling in the policy documents but if you’re interested in particular aspects of it, please tell me what they are and I’ll get Chris to respond to you.

Maori:

Family First Brochure—Parental choice for education and ECE arrangements: No Response (This does not seem to line up with the below policy from the website)

Website: Education should be driven by whanau aspirations so that learning is meaningful, relevant and creates a foundation for self-determination, entrepreneurial skills and opportunities for a positive future.

Help whanau to create their own teaching and learning models

(This is promising but in what context?  State schooling, private schooling, home schooling?  How much freedom for individual families or possibly like-minded community groups?)

Nothing about home schooling

National:

Family First Brochure—Parental choice for education and ECE arrangements: No Response (Not a good sign from a major Party)

Website: Nothing on website (They should have something about home education)

From Cameron Cotter, Campaign Communications Manager National recognises the importance of choice in our education system, and has no current plans to change the law as it relates to home schooling specifically.

NZ  First:

Family First Brochure—Parental choice for education and ECE arrangements:  Support

Website: Nothing on website (They should have something about home education)

From Tracey Martin, Deputy Leader,

At this time the New Zealand First Manifesto is silent in the area of Home Schooling.  The reason for this is that no member of the Home Schooling community approached us over the last three years to inform us of any difficulties or areas of concern/improvement.  New Zealand First does  not create policy without first having a relationship with those to be directly affected by that policy.

Having Home Schooled one of our sons for a period of time I have a working understanding of the current environment under which the parents and students you represent are working.

Should your organisation wish to have a discussion with New Zealand First after the election we would welcome that invitation.

United Future:

Family First Brochure—Parental choice for education and ECE arrangements:  Support

Website: Nothing on website (They should have something about home education)

From Fraser Seifert: Unitedfuture does not have any specific policy on home schooling but we support the right of parents to choose home schooling if they wish.

I have written to all the Parties with nothing on their websites about home educating. I have only heard back from two parties so far: NZ First and Labour

Update: Conservatives, United Future and National have now answered my email – see their comments above.

Still need to hear from: Internet Mana and  Maori

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

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/

 

 

MoE scoping Home Educators – email

UPDATE: If you have not received this in your email today and you would like to receive it as an email then please let me know. This is a message I just got from the MoE National Office: “If you have someone who has not received it to their email now, please let me know their email address and I will send it.”

I will not use your email for any other purpose

*********

MoE scoping Home Educators

The National Office of the MoE is sending out an email or snail mail letter to all home educators today. They have asked us to put it up on our websites and pass around to other home educators.

Jim Greening’s letter to us all: scoping_letter

and the Problem scoping survey: Problem_scoping-1

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

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/

Virus Hits Kids in 10 States, Wider Outbreak Feared

There are many advantages when it comes to home educating our children. In the States there is a nasty respiratory illness outbreak at the moment.  I think we will be seeing more of these in the future.

View video here…

Image source: KCNC-TVa

And another news article here:

Virus Hits Kids in 10 States, Wider Outbreak Feared

A couple of quotes:

“A respiratory virus has stricken more than 1,000 children across 10 states, causing many to wind up in the hospital and prompting concerns of a wider outbreak. About 15 percent of more than 300 children treated for respiratory illness in Missouri have ended up in an intensive care unit, according to a health alert from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

“Public health officials fear the beginning of the new school year could allow the virus to gain momentum.

“They also should avoid contact with people who are sick, and stay home if they themselves fall ill.”

Read more here…

From a friend – thanks Rob

I have wondered whether increasing epidemics will not advantage home educated children and self-employed families who are already positioned for some measure of independence.

And this is a must read link with ideas on how to improve immune systems to be able to fight this nasty respiratory illness:  http://www.naturalnews.com/046810_pandemic_outbreak_EV-D68_vaccines.html

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

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/

 

John Gatto on giving your child away

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

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/

International History Bee and Bowl

The International History Bee and Bowl (IHBB) is an organization that runs history quiz tournaments for primary and secondary school students throughout the world in over 20 Countries. Home educators are welcome to compete (at the same cost as State Schools) in their tournaments. They can compete in teams from their home education support group or on their own.

This month, IHBB will be holding tournaments in New Zealand for the first time. Their Christchurch and Hamilton tournaments will take place on 13 September, while our Auckland and Wellington tournaments will be held on 14 September. The top 50% of teams and individual students will then get the chance to represent New Zealand at the inaugural International History Olympiad, which will take place in the USA in July 2015

Email received from Nolween Madden:
My name is Nolwenn Madden, and I am the Executive Director of The International History Bee and Bowl. IHBB is an organization that runs history quiz tournaments for primary and secondary school students throughout the world in over 20 countries; see www.ihbbglobal.com for our international homepage. Homeschoolers are welcome to compete in our tournaments. They can compete in teams from their homeschool association or on their own.
Our questions draw on both historical knowledge and critical thinking skills, and students use a buzzer system to answer them, so it’s almost a bit like being on a TV quiz show. The Bee is for individual students, while the Bowl is for teams of up to six students.
This month, IHBB will be holding tournaments in New Zealand for the first time. Our Christchurch and Hamilton tournaments will take place on 13 September, while our Auckland and Wellington tournaments will be held on 14 September. The top 50% of teams and individual students will then get the chance to represent New Zealand at the inaugural International History Olympiad, which will take place in the USA in July 2015 (see historyolympiad.com for more).
You can find more information, including sample quiz questions, game rules, a study guide and more about the International History Bee and Bowl on our New Zealand homepage at www.ihbbnewzealand.com. I can also put you in touch with some of the attending homeschoolers from our past tournaments in other countries if you would be interested to hear their thoughts. If you are ready to register officially, please just visit: http://ihbbnewzealand.com/register/regionals-registration/
Please let me know if your kids are interested or if you have any questions. Thanks for your time, and I hope that you will be interested in this new opportunity for your homeschoolers.
Sincerely yours,
Nolwenn Madden

International History Bee and Bowl

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

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/

 

Please sign this petition is support of Monica who is in jail for “failing to cause her kids to attend school”.

As many of you know Monica O’Connor was arrested by the Gardai and taken to Mountjoy Prison for “failing to cause her kids to attend school”. For background read an earlier article here…  and from her home educated daughter here...

Now there is a change.org petition that we can sign in support of Monica here…

Petitioning Jan O’ Sullivan

This petition will be delivered to:

Minister For Education;
Jan O’ Sullivan
Child and Family Agency
Pat McSitric
J O’Sullivan(Irish Education Minister),Child and Family Agency: Protect Constitutional right to home educate without having to apply

On 6th June 2013, Monica O’Connor and Eddie O’Neill were fined 2000 Euro for failing to cause their children to attend school. They are home schooling and as they are foster parents and home schooled a foster child, they were assessed in respect of that child. It was agreed that they met the undefined ‘certain minimum education’. Despite this they were issued with a School Attendance Notice regarding some of their own children. They had informed the Education Board (at the time) that they were home schooling.Under Article 42 of Bunreacht na hÉireann (the Irish Constitution) the State acknowledges that the primary and natural educator of the child is the Family and guarantees to respect the inalienable right and duty of parents to provide, according to their means, for the religious and moral, intellectual, physical and social education of their children.
What this means is that we have the given right to home educate. However, the Child and family Agency under the Education (Welfare Act) 2000 deems that parents have to ‘apply’ for their children to be placed on the national register of home educators. We argue that this is unconstitutional and families should not have to ‘apply’ for a ‘right’. Registration should not be an application. The Constitution must be upheld and protected. Home education does not need permission.

So please sign the petition here…

https://www.change.org/p/j-o-sullivan-irish-education-minister-child-and-family-agency-protect-constitutional-right-to-home-educate-without-having-to-apply?utm_campaign=mailto_link&utm_medium=email&utm_source=share_petition

For background read an earlier article here… 

and from her home educated daughter 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/

 

 

Homeschool Essay Contest: The Most Inventive Wins!

HSLDA's PHOTO CONTEST

Kick off your school year with HSLDA’s 13th annual essay contest! Offering cash prizes upwards of $200, this contest is open to all homeschooled students ages 719 and runs through November 1, 2014. Our themes for this year’s contest focus on inventions.

View Contest Info & Guidelines

Our world has been shaped by the inventions of the past, with inventors improving and building on the ideas of previous generations. Every item we use—from the toothbrush to the smartphone—was invented by someone using his or her God-given creativity and intellect to do something!

Category 1 (ages 7–10): God has given humanity great creativity, and so many amazing things have already been invented. But there is still so much room for ingenuity! If you were to invent something that has not yet been invented, what would it be, what would it do, and why would you choose to invent it?

Category 2 (ages 11–14): Let’s say you are stranded on a desert island, alone, where there is no electricity, no cell tower signal, nor any other sign of civilization. You have a stockpile of food and help is on its way—in a couple months—but in the meantime you must survive. What three existing inventions would you want to find washed up on the shore of the island with you and why?

Category 3 (ages 15–19): Though created with good intentions, to do something good, some inventions have had unintended negative consequences. They’ve solved one problem but created other problems—sometimes worse than the first. Choose one such invention and discuss its positive and negative impacts. Be sure to address whether or not the benefits from the invention outweigh its negative impact.

Each student is invited to enter up to two essays relating to the theme for his or her age category.

To get a sense of what to look for or avoid when writing an essay, you can view the judges’ comments from previous contests or read the winning essays from previous years!

Guidelines and entry forms can be found on our website, as well as information about our other annual contests: art, poetry, and photo.

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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/

 

 


“The point of the essay is to change things.” ~ Edward Tufte

MoE scoping Home Educators

The National Office of the MoE is sending out an email or snail mail letter to all home educators today. They have asked us to put it up on our websites and pass around to other home educators.

Jim Greening’s letter to us all: scoping_letter

and the Problem scoping survey: Problem_scoping-1

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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/

Monica arrested today and sent to prison for “failing to cause her kids to attend school”

Monica O’Connor  was arrested this morning by the Gardai and taken to Mountjoy Prison for “failing to cause her kids to attend school”. For background read an earlier story here…

Today Monica’s daughter Emmet has written about this. We don’t often hear from children in this situation.  With Emmet’s permission this is what she as written:

As most of you will be aware by now, my Mam was arrested this morning by the Gardai, and brought to Mountjoy Prison for ‘Failing to cause her kids to attend school’. If any of you have met any of my siblings, or my parents in fact, I’m sure you would agree that there is no education issue present there. I boast to have had the best experience, regarding my education, that I could possibly have had. That is not to say my education was, or is, better than anyone else’s, but for me it was perfect!
To me, I think we were scapegoats for the NEWB, (or what is now the Child and Family Agency,) to frighten any potential Home-Edders into automatically assessing with the board rather than going through the same lengthy, draining, court proceedings that we were subject to.

The crux of the problem is this: Home Educators in this country are currently treated as though their kids are truants, hence the assessment process.

What we would like to see is a change in governmental policy, whereby some from of liaising body is set up between the CFA and Home Educators. This would comprise people who are experienced with regard to Home Ed. and some Home Educators themselves. There would be no registration involved. All Home Educators would notify this body that they were home educating. Then this board could provide support, and possibly: funding for field trips, museum cards, or even scholarships to Home Educating kids, and treat them as a separate educational entity.

In this way, if there were some issue with child welfare or educational requirements, the agency would be in be better informed than the governing bodies currently are, and then be able to take it to the CFA, who might then see the need intervene.
Because the system we have in place not only wastes its, already, limited resources persecuting people like my mother (who they have actually assessed, and approved, for the education of a foster-child we had living with us,) but they also don’t get to see any genuine truancy or welfare/education issues that are present in this country.

The assessors don’s have to meet the kids; they don’t have to come into the home.
They can meet either parent in a Library, a Hotel Reception, a Cafe, etc.

This means that the kids who are in danger, and who do require the actions of the government, and possibly the intervention of the Gardai, could be sitting at home hungry while their mother/father signs the papers.

I think most will agree: this does not make sense!

In our case I am fully confident that the persecuting body did not suspect their to be any welfare or educational issue in our family. And yet they subjected us, (and themselves,) to over a year of court proceedings, which has done nothing but drain our resources, time, and energy, not to mention create worry, uncertainty, and fear, (in our family at any rate,) and that’s not to mention the whole ‘sentencing my Ma to jail’ thing.

I wrote this in the hope that those of you who were not aware of this case, might hear of it and spread the word, and those who already were aware, might gain some insight and understanding, as it is not a very black and white.

I feel I must say that I don’t believe for a second that the governmental bodies at work in this situation, those who worked in the NEWB, or CFA, are inherently bad, or nasty people. They are people: they get up everyday, have their ups and downs, most probably do their best to help out who they can when they can, but they are operating within a system that is inherently flawed in it’s design and management and is wasting it’s resources, not to mention those of the lawyers, judges, and Gardai, persecuting the wrong people.

I’d also just like to make a big shout to Mum and my Dad, for being so brave and standing up for what they believe in.

And also to all who have given/offered support be it a text message a call, a prayer, I can’t adequately express how thankful we all are for the amazing kindness people have shown us over the past few months. From our closest friends, to people half the world away who we have never met it really means so much.

Peace and Love!

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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/