Those of you who live in New York are shaking your heads right now, aren’t you? Yes, it’s quarterly report time! This is when those of us living in the great state of New York are required to send in our first round of paperwork (after the letter of intent to homeschool and our IHIP = Individualized Home Instruction Plan, of course). For each child we send in a quarterly report that outlines what they’ve been learning for the past three months.
Parents send me emails in the weeks leading up to the quarterly deadline, panicked. How to write the reports? How to categorize everything? Must we use the forms sent out by the state?
I do my best to answer questions and calm nerves.
I realized today as I mailed in my own kids’ quarterlies (a day or two late…oops), that what I should really tell those parents is to have fun with it. For myself, I keep a draft message in my email to which I add throughout the quarter, noting things the kids have done, books they’ve read, classes they’ve taken, discussions we’ve had about interesting subjects, etc. The day that I sit down to write the actual report I am always amazed at how much has been accomplished, and it’s fun to look at my notes and remember how it all came to pass.
What makes it all the more fantastic is that they have learned all this stuff entirely of their own accord and because of their own interests. I’ve had very little to do with it, beyond being cheerleader, suggestion giver, helper (when asked), facilitator, guide, etc. Ok, so maybe that’s a lot, but the actual mechanics of it all is credited entirely to them.
How lucky are we as unschooling parents that this happens? That our kids make their own choices about learning and wind up with a most eclectic, useful and thorough education?
So, quarterly reports? I see them as an opportunity to reflect and share, all the while staying in the good graces of the DOE. It’s a small price to pay for the freedom of self-directed learning. And with the right approach, enjoyable to boot.