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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Application Response Redux

This email was received the day after sending my obnoxiously lengthy reply to her initial correspondence (in the previous post)...

Hi L, thank you for your detailed and comprehensive response - it is
exactly what I was after! I knew it: Quantity. While I am now far more confident and clear
about your ability and intentions for Elle's education, there are still
two issues I need to clear up before putting the application through for
approval and I appreciate your time in attending to them. ::Groan::

By its very nature, home education is not confined to 'formal studies'.
The whole range of the child's life constitutes the 'education'. While
the 'miscellaneous topics' you refer to may not figure as explicit
teaching, they need to be recorded in at least some detail. Foot in Mouth Moment: These miscellaneous topics, Health and Safety, Current Events, Environmental Studies, Multiculturalism, etc. were facetiously included as a poke at the system. I stated that these "are incorporated into our everyday lives and therefore unnecessary as separate, formal studies." I should have known better; these bureaucrats have no sense of humor. Good thing I didn't include Sex Ed and Driver's Ed. This is because we cannot see what you are doing in your everyday lives and we need to know these areas are being catered for in whatever capacity you
deem appropriate. Why? What if I hadn't mentioned them at all? I was able to extrapolate various gems from your
narrative regarding science experiments around the house and in the
activity book, art in the classical music, tennis for sport etc.
Perhaps you could detail a unit of work you have already done (with
Elle or the older girls) that demonstrates how these subjects are
covered and explored? Perhaps what you goals are in these areas? Have
you heard about the technology units that are provided by the QSA? The
subject Technology is new to the school system in Queensland. And apparently to the government as well when its largely subsidized phone service offers broadband as speedy as dial-up.This key learning area emphasises 'thinking skills' and 'problem solving' and is
valued for its practical approach (this could integrate well in your
Classical philosophy). It makes important links between student learning
and the many ways in which people, as part of their daily lives design
and develop ways to access and use technology. The subject focuses on
the creating of ideas and design challenges and the testing of their
effects. To help you begin to use Technology as a subject the QSA
website has excellent topics and units ready to go. You can have a look
at them all here
http://www.qsa.qld.edu.au/yrs1to10/kla/technology/modules.html and I
would encourage you to incorporate some of these into your program.
This subject like all subjects has a component of computer use but only
as a tool to explore and support the learning. I would also encourage
you to look at the Scouting movement. Their Scouts handbook is a wealth
of cross curricular activity that makes a fantastic educational program. And will you then require me to rewrite my plan?

You have indicated that you are intending to use Saxon Maths eventually. While this program does have some merit, as you use it you will need to
ensure that you are teaching the Australian standards and conventions
and in particular the metric system. This material has the potential to
be highly confusing for a young child living in Australia. But not for a young child living in both Australia and America, especially not when the metric is the easier of the two. Oh, and decem? Centum? Mille? Sound familiar? If you are
intent on purchasing resources in the future, I would like to suggest
that you also explore the use of some Australian based resources to
support the development of Elle's program. I can provide information
about some of the options available to you. Sticking with Saxon and immersion, thank you. Additionally, I could find no reference to the Silver Burdett Ginn resource you mentioned. When I
looked at their website, it only seemed to contain fundamentalist faith
and evangelical products. Perhaps I have missed something? Hmmm. Either way,
it too is an American resource, so the same comments as for Saxon would
apply. The Queensland Maths Book you mentioned is Grade 3. I
understood Elle to be in Grade 2. Was that a typo perhaps? Laughing from outside the box, "Just customising the curriculum as instructed, ma'am." And could
you give me some more information on the book itself? I don't have any
resources with that exact title.

L, you have really built a solid and educationally sound program for
the vast majority and I appreciate your efforts enormously. I look
forward to clearing up these last few things and letting you get back to
focussing on Elle's education. ::Sigh:: Me too.

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