It’s quarterly report time! In New York, the state law requires all homeschoolers to submit letters of their intent to homeschool each year. This must be done in July, along with the IHIP. IHIP stands for Individualized Home Instruction Plan. My IHIP consists of a letter stating that since we unschool, I cannot tell them in advance exactly what we will be learning. But I promise detailed quarterly reports. To the great credit of the Central Office of Homeschooling, they accept this without question. Today I wrote my first quarterly reports of the year, and the first ever for Ben. These reports lend themselves more easily to those who follow a curriculum or a more traditional homeschooling path. For unschoolers, it can be…oh…let’s call it ‘interesting’ to try and distill our lives into something resembling an academic report.
My own method consists of making notes of things we do on a daily basis and then taking the ‘big ticket items’ to include. If I wrote down everything we do from which the kids learn, my quarterly reports would be 20 pages long. I like to keep it to two. So this Fall, the big thing was our trip to the UK. Great for history, geography, geology (since we visited mines), science and botany. Maya started reading a historical fiction series set in the court of Queen Elizabeth I because we were traveling to London. Ben’s leap into reading gave me lots to talk about. I always list the books they are reading on their own. Math is murky, because it is all about what we do in life. So that’s what I tell them. And I mentioned that Ben can count by 2’s, 5’s, 10’s and do basic math, including some basic multiplication. Phys Ed is easy: swimming, martial arts, tennis.
I always dread writing the reports, but then am impressed by the amount of material I have to put in them. And I never include it all. The Dept of Ed in NYC does an admirable job with all the information they are sent. I’m sure everyone has a different method, and I’d be amazed if they all got read. I think it is more likely that they are glanced at and filed. One time I was told I needed to state the attendance in hours, and that it needed to total 900 hours for the year. This is fairly ridiculous for unschoolers (and homeschoolers) since the kids are learning all the time. But rather than argue, I simply make a note on each report that my kids have completed 225 hours for the quarter. Then the people who receive my report can check that item off their list, and everyone goes on their merry way.
4 typed pages (2 for each child) every 2 1/2-3 months. Not a high price to pay for freedom.