On Friday we got our annual "are you still home educating" letter from our LA local authority). We have never really managed to be "hidden", "under the radar" or "unknown" - when we took L out of nursery they informed the LA, and when we asked for an assessment of J not too long after we moved here that seems to have alerted our new LA too.
The letter was, however, asking for far too much from us. I know the LA feel the need to make sure we're home educating "properly", but the government guidance is quite clear that they have no duty to monitor us, and no powers to insist on visiting or seeing the children. The letter informed us that an "Education Entitlement Officer" would be visiting on Tuesday, would like to meet the children, and would like to see our "Planned programme of education" covering the next 12 months. Enclosed was also a very silly form for us to fill in if we chose . . .
The form has some rather specific subject areas, and asks for planned learning outcomes and how we intend to measure them. Bearing in mind it lists three subjects (with space for four more) and asks for twelve months worth of plans, that part fits on one side of A4 paper . . . if we *did* plan that far ahead how on Earth would we fit that all in there?
As it happens, we really *don't* work that way. At the moment L is working out which IGCSE's he wants to take this year then we will buy the course books and work through them. If we need to supplement the information we will look for sources at the time.
I have plans for the next few weeks with the other three - we found some cool workbooks that they all like the look of, and I have an handwriting book to work through with each of them. That's as far as our plans go . . . once we get into the work books we'll see if they are pitched at the right level, look at whether any of the kids have got stuck at one point or another and find resources to help. We'll also look at what they enjoyed or excelled at and go for more of that, and if they express an interest in a particular topic we'll go find resources and do that. There wasn't a space on the form for random vague plans . . .
We needed to respond though, so after a quick think I wrote a covering letter telling them the form was "inappropriate and intrusive" and giving them a list of points as to why we were cancelling the visit and not rescheduling. Then I updated our educational philosophy, and wrote about half a side of A4 about each child - it was a round up of major achievements that had happened in the past year, a list of the types of socialising they each do, and a very vague idea of where we intend to go from here. There were no concrete plans, no examples of work or lists of workbooks completed, no lists of groups attended or outings experienced.
Yesterday (Monday) I got an email from the letter writers superior talking about reviewing the form - our report seems to have been accepted, although they haven't explicitly said that yet - so all that's left is to work out if I have the energy and time to try and fix the LA's policies and procedures with them . . .