Feed back due in by 8 December 2014 – see link above
Three more days left for getting our feedback into the MoE on the “Next Steps” of the Scoping Survey. You can put in feedback whether you filled out a survey or not. If you missed filling out the Scoping Survey and wanted to have a say then now is your opportunity.
There are some things that I am not happy with in the “next steps”. These are things that home educators have asked for so we need to respect the fact that some home educators want the things mentioned. A couple of the things: access to testing, and getting an exemption at 5 etc. While we have the current National MoE staff it wont be a problem. But in years to come with new National MoE staff and staff wanting more control we could see testing, exemptions at age 5 etc becoming compulsory – the old foot in the door thing. We, as home educators, have asked for it – it becomes part of the policy then in years to come, with new staff, becomes compulsory. We need to watch this closely – the tyranny of the small steps.
(Some people asked to be able to get their exemption during the 5th year to take the pressure off getting the exemption by the time the child turns 6 – if the MoE brings in “Justified Absense” while getting our exemptions then this will not be an issue any more. Others wanted the exemption for their 5 year olds so that they could get the Supervisory Allowance during the child’s 5th year.)
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. 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 Absense” 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.
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 be having 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.
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. Then we can address any issues we are not happy with that the MoE have mentioned but it will be difficult to do this at the MoE events.
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
Is part time home education and part time school something that interests you? In a Facebook page there has been discussion about this so I mentioned that this is something that has not been talked about in the “next steps” that the MoE is going through with home educators. It would seem that no-one mentioned it during the Red Tape Cluster Buster meetings nor in the Scoping Survey. So now is the opportunity to talk about it with the MoE. Feel free to write about this whether you answered the Scoping Survey or not. It has been missed by most of us but thankfully it can be picked up on now with the MoE. So please write about your situations and explain why it would be good to have “one day school”, flexischooling, 50/50 home education and school or whatever would be best for your situation depending on your situation. This is of concern for those who have parents who are divided about home education. So a compromise could be a good answer with some time at school and some time at home. This is particularly so when there has been a separation and the children spend part of the week with each parent.
I have three issues related to asking for more money.
1. What concerns me is the tyranny of the small steps. They give us more money in the first instance, then slowly over time make more and more demands (using a Government approved curriculum, immunisations etc) on us to be able to keep getting the money. Once we get more money we become dependant on it, so then think we can’t home educate without it.
2. “Who owns the children” – well no-one does, we, the parents, have been given the role of protecting them and nurturing them certainly not the Government. But the Government acts like they own them – more and more. So if we ask for more money then that is only confirming in the Government’s minds that they own our children.
3. At the moment we are saving the Government heaps of money by home educating our children. While we are saving the MoE money they might be more tolerant of us wanting to keep our children out of their schools. If they end up increasing the Supervisory Allowance then it could become more difficult for us to home educate
Remember the letter said “Your feedback, along with that from other key stakeholders (such as our regional staff), will directly inform our thinking on possible improvements to home schooling”. So this giving them the weaknesses of our children I hope did not come from home educators. It must have come from “other key stakeholders”. Now this is just their summary. I am not too worried about it although I will write in about the things that concern me. It is how they will use this which is more interesting. What will they include and what will they leave out? Perhaps we will begin to see that in February. If they miss out key things we have mentioned and put in things we don’t want then we will have to have a strategy on how to deal with it all – a massive writing campaign etc.
Please get your feedback into the MoE by Monday 8 December 2014.
– 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)
Please share/forward this link with other home educators.
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/