We have had our challenges in Canberra since moving here in January but one thing has not presented us with any difficulty - our home education. In fact we've had some lovely experiences due to our connections with some lovely networks of home educating families. We have become members of both HENCAST (Home Education Network of Canberra and the Southern Tablelands) and CHEC (Christian Home Education Canberra). I am so thrilled with our choice to home educate which is continually reinforced by numerous experiences - socially, educationally, statistically.
This week we had our home visit from the Non Govt Education Department here in the ACT which followed the provisional registration I gained upon our arrival in this state. All went really well and it should result in two full years of registration which is wonderful. I was really encouraged to hear comments about how the report I wrote was very comprehensive, with much attention paid to detail and all criteria addressed thoroughly. I was also delighted to see the joy in Ess' persona as she shared the work she has completed over the last six months.
I was very pleasantly surprised to hear about what the Government is looking for in these visits. They are not hunting for families who have a relaxed, natural and flexible approach to learning. They are more concerned about families who are very pedantic and perhaps lean towards controlling their children, always telling them what to do, not allowing free play and thus not developing and instilling a sense of independence in their learning. This was definitely a breath of fresh air for me as it was totally opposite to what I, and many others I believe, expect of the Government. Somehow we expect to be told we are not doing enough work. This was certainly contrary to my experience. I heard the comment "you have been doing a lot!".
This year, due to our circumstances, my approach to learning has been very natural. In the suitcases we flew over here with, we had our Singapore Maths books to work through. Yet all other components of learning simply came from the groups we were involved with, literature borrowed from the library and excursions we participated in. I simply didn't pack workbooks and teacher's guides etc. when we anticipated moving straight into a new home. And of course we didn't have internet access so all learning resources and inspirational ideas I gain from blog reading etc. didn't happen.
I am very much looking forward to being more settled, to snuggling up and reading literature relating to our Five in a Row studies, to having paints out for the children to enjoy, to being able to enjoy watching related YouTube videos, to being able to research new places with Google Maps etc. etc.
In the meantime Canberra has welcomed us with excursions, activities, parks and playgrounds, friendships and bright sunny days albeit very cool, very very cool.
I'll be able to share some things more specifically with you nowadays.