Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Getting evidence of learning when you follow a natural approach

I am now officially responsible for the education of my son, who is just beginning Year 1. Although we have been learning from home for a while, this is the first year of his compulsory education. We are very fortunate in that we are free to use the approach that works best for us. As long as we can demonstrate to moderator that he is learning we are good. We just have to collect and present the evidence, which is not always easy to do. He's learning all the time, when he plays when we go to the supermarket, whilst we are at the beach, when he's playing Minecraft, lego, friends... How can I possibly record all that?

This is something I have been trying to master for a while. I miss so much. He creates a picture and I think "I'll keep that for evidence", but then before you know it he has recreated it into something else, or lost it, or spilled his drink on it. He says something which demonstrates a great understanding of a concept and I think i should write down what he said, but then I forget. He's incredibly good at maths but had no idea what my mum was talking about when she asked him about his sums. He does it all in his head. Sometimes he no idea how he knows an answer, he just does. He's a reluctant writer - he knows he's not perfect so he won't try. Getting him to write one word leads to a meltdown that I'm just not prepared to put him through very often. He had a bad experience at Kindy with writing. The teacher used to make them write their name over and oner on a whiteboard and then rub it our and do it again. I can see why she's want them to practice, but he hated the fact that she didn't even value what he had done and just made him do it again. I want him to write when he wants to, he loves writing in Birthday cards and he's happy to sound things out an spell them on the ipad... but of course I do want him to learn to write, and to collect evidence of where he's at with that.

People have recommended all sorts of ways to keep a track of his evidence of learning. You can get a natural learning diary, which i have bought but not used, a blank diary, a note book, there a numerous apps out there where you can tag the different topics and outcomes. They sound great, I've even downloaded a few, some of them caused our ipad phone and laptop to crash, others I just couldn't fathom, those that I did work out I still needed to make time to commit to. We also thought about having a blog just homeschooling - in fact we started one at Train School - but we never add to it. It's just another thing to do that isn't adding value to our lives or advancing his learning.  He's moved on from trains too - I'm sure if I said i wanted to add to it now he's say it's Minecraft School 😂

I think we have finally got a way to make it work though. We recently set up a secret Facebook Group that we can add to as things happen. He has "gone live" in the facebook group when he has stuff to share immediately. He also loves making videos for YouTube at Arthur's Playtime

Here's our evidence for music 😂



And then Science - though he didn't actually remember much of the science once he got in front of the camera, but his personality shines through and I think he has a talent for presenting



A writing sample... he actually managed to spell all of this himself too as Ella is very similar to Emma, which he has mastered, thanks mostly to The Wiggles.



So hopefully this system is going to work for us for now. I'd love to hear what other people do though. How do you keep evidence of learning if you are following a child led natural learning approach?