For all of us here in NYC, it’s 4th Quarter paperwork time. And since it’s the end of the year, it’s also Annual Assessment time, followed closely by Letter of Intent & IHIP (Individualized Home Instruction Plan) time.
Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it?
Maybe, but there is something I have learned about filing paperwork as an unschooler. It’s the best thing you can do for yourself.
You see, if anyone questions why your kids are out enjoying themselves in the middle of the day and why they seem to have so much free time on their hands; if anyone makes noises like they might ‘contact the authorities’ because your kids aren’t sitting in a classroom all day, then trust me, you want that paperwork on file.
Unschooling paperwork is of course different than paperwork from someone who follows a curriculum. And that’s ok. The DOE Homeschooling Office in the city and its’ Director are perfectly willing to work with unschoolers. They know the drill. So as long as we are detailed about what we are doing, even if what we are doing looks nothing like an academic curriculum, it’s fine.
I keep track of our learning with short notes about what the kids are up to or the places we’ve gone. Maya’s penchant for video-editing and now Photoshop is Visual Arts. Ben’s constant questions about space or evolution? Science. I divide the information I give them into subjects, sort of, but some people don’t.
It really isn’t that difficult. Have you ever kept track of all the things your kids learn on a day to day basis? Try it for a month or two. You’ll be amazed. If anything, I leave stuff out of the reports in order to keep them at a manageable length. The 4th Quarter always takes the longest because of the added end of year assessment. Total amount of time spent putting together paperwork this evening? 30 minutes, and I’m done until November.
So do the paperwork. Do it happily. Be honest. Make copies of that Letter of Compliance when it arrives and stick one in your kids’ bag or backpack. It’s insurance against the haters.
It’s worth it.