Tuesday, July 31, 2007

UK Homeschooling

I'm travelling in the UK at the moment, staying with friends near Bristol. Actually, we're pretty deep in the country.

When people ask what I do and I explain about homeschooling in the US, they all say that it's illegal here although it's a shame since the schools have apparently badly declined in the past decade.

So I thought I'd peak around online to see what is actually allowed....

First, from , I learned from familyonwards.org: If home schooling is something you are considering you should contact the Home Education Advisory Service (www.heas.org.uk). The Department for Education and Skills sets out conditions parents have to fulfill in order to educate their child at home; these can be seen on their website www.dfes.gov.uk.

The gov site only mentions homeschooling in a number of posts on the forum. But the HEAS site, the Home Educational Advisory Site, talks about a Quiet Revolution.

They provide alot of support. More later on the UK>...BTW- I know a fair amount about the differences in the school systems having attended 2nd-4th grade in the UK myself and then, having my elder daughter start her education in the UK system. What I know is that it's way different. color vs colour. Letter names vs letter sounds.

But Time4Learning has alot of subscribers for online homeschool learning from the UK, most are expats....

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Developing Interactive Curriculum

We're developing some curriculum and while the developers are very proud of their preliminary drafts, they have been a little shell-shocked by the highly critical feedback that our parent-educators are providing. After I sent along a few emails, I wrote the following to help my educational developers get a feel for the context....

I'm glad you're reading and struggling with the feedback. Obviously, homeschool parents are not like professional educators.

They are outspoken, not-intimidated by credentials, don't give false praise, and are not politically-aware (nor -correct). They feel like educational veterans having spent day and night for years wrestling with the limitations of existing curriculum. They are passionate, they want the materials to be better for their children now. They are willing to experiment. And Time4Learning has raised expectations about the level of interactivity.

As a resource for getting feedback on educational materials and curriculum, I think they have tremendous potential. I'm hoping over the next year to get a real system in place for getting feedback and suggestions. I think this will be easier for finished materials where we are just looking for bugs or suggestions or ratings (great, OK, weak). I think it will be harder for materials that are early in development where they are being looked at somewhat out of context. But, if I am really going to launch into curriculum development, I will need to have an efficient feedback loop.

I think their feedback is great guidance to getting us "on-track" although in some cases, expectations are out-of-whack.

I hope you are using this feedback with the teacher although perhaps filtering it before passing it on....

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