My feedback for the Scoping Survey due back 8 December 2014
It was interesting to read your summary of the feedback you received in October. Thank you for doing such a thorough job in putting this together.
Some things left out of the “Next Steps”
1. The length of time it takes to get an exemption. In the past we often heard back in 4-6 days. Now on the exemption form it says it could take 4-6 weeks for an exemption to be processed. Suggestion for the future: Encourage the local MoE offices to process our exemption applications much more quickly than is happening in some regions. (If the MoE brings in “Justified Absence” while getting our exemptions then this will not be an issue any more.)
2. Staff training – The “Next Steps” talked a lot about the MoE relationships with home educators and that they don’t understand the different philosophies etc, but it didn’t address the need for the MoE staff to be thoroughly trained in the different philosophies of home education. I trust this was assumed. But home educators would like to see that the MoE staff are friendly and have a thorough understanding of the different philosophies whether they are temporary or long term staff. (We have just had an issue with a temporary staff member in Hamilton. The issue has been resolved without coming to the National Office. But in the meantime those who had applied for an exemption and been asked unreasonable questions like the proof of purchase of a certain curriculum were upset by the pedantic questions being asked of them.)
1. “The application form should ask for children’s strengths and weaknesses and what work will be done to address the weaknesses”
It is hard to believe that home educators asked for this. I don’t think that we should have to write about our children’s weakness – all children have weakness in some form or another. One of the reasons a lot of people pull their children out of school is because their child/ren’s weaknesses are not being addressed. I would think that we, as parents, would be far more interested in helping our children with their weaknesses. And what are our children’s weaknesses? Because of the personalities of our children we see this as different for each child. Some children naturally begin to read at 4 or 5 while others don’t find reading easy until 10 or 11. Many of us do not want to force our (usually) sons to read at 6 when they will pick up reading easily at 10 or 11. (If we are reading aloud to our children regularly our non-readers are not missing out because we are covering the books that they would be reading.)
2. The MoE holding group seminars or free workshops for home educators. I think it is much better that we, home educators, put on the seminars and workshops rather than the MoE doing this for home educators. We can ask the MoE to the seminars and workshops that we put on for home educators. This has happened well in the past.
3. ID cards – we need to communicate better about these. Home educators can get ID cards from some home education support groups and from NCHENZ.
Some new thoughts/ideas
Part time home education and part time school. This has been missed by most of us during the Red Tape Cluster Buster meetings and in our Scoping Surveys. I would like to mention this now with the MoE. For many this is an option that their circumstances would work well for – “one day school”, flexischooling, 50/50 home education or any percentage that works for a family.
This is of concern for:
1. Those parents who are divided about home education. If a mother would really like to home educate but the husband is not happy with it perhaps they could come to a compromise if there was something available.
2. But an even more urgent situation is where there has been a relationship split. Often in these cases one of the spouses (usually the father) make it difficult for the other spouse to home educate (sometimes they ask for an ERO review). Sometimes children will spend half a week with their father, who wants them in school, and half a week with their mother, who wants to home educate. So a compromise could be a good answer with some time at school and some time at home. I know there are issues with double dipping and insurance. But there must be a way around these issues.
Supervisory Allowance Home educators are divided over this issue. Some would like the Supervisory Allowance to increase, others are content for it to stay the same and others don’t think we should be getting it at all. This is one area where it would seem that it will be impossible to get home educators to agree.
We look forward to hearing from you in February 2015 to hear what improvements you are able to make to the forms and processes you use with home educators.
Home Education Foundation
– 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…https://hef.org.nz/coming-
– Record of Progress and Achievement (an example 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)
Updated 1 October 2014: Three years on (Craig Smith’s Health) page 7 click here
Needing help for your home schooling journey:
Here are a couple of links to get you started home schooling:
Information on getting started: https://hef.org.nz/
Information on getting an exemption: https://hef.org.nz/
This link is motivational: http://hef.org.
Exemption Form online: https://hef.org.nz/