So, on the 15th of July the local MoE office wrote us a letter.
We now have our exemption to homeschool Miss Oh Waily.
I will not tell you that it went smoothly, as it didn’t. We were requested to provide more information, and frankly I think a little better training in public relations around the manner in which concepts are communicated would not go amiss.
While I thought that our original exemption was pretty thorough, and we received very positive feedback from exemption-writing veterans, we still had a gap or so to fill apparently. So fill it we did.
However, I must say that the letter writer should perhaps re-take English and work on the tone of her communication. Seriously, the phrase “There appears to be little academic learning occurring…” is not the most polite way in which to approach the issue of being unable to assess a regularity statement that does not involve a timetable.
Frankly both Mr Oh and I were more than a little miffed about that. And even more so when we received back the email clarification of what was meant by “academic learning”. Slightly gobsmacked actually. Especially in light of the statements made throughout the application regarding the eclectic approach we are taking. (i.e. we do “formal teaching” of some areas as well as integrated learning of ALL areas.)
Here is the definition as received:
“By this we mean structured lessons where there is formal teaching, particularly in the core curriculum areas of English, Mathematics, Science and Social Sciences.”
To heck with the Arts then! (And don’t get me started on the Sciences!)
As I said to some friends following the receipt of this:
Poor old Mozart then, eh? Don’t waste your time learning to tinkle on that harpischord boy! It won’t get you a job in the real world!
Personally my kids aren’t overly musical (in a practical “playing it” way) but they love to listen, dance and sing. And we do that regularly. It’s called having fun and your Mum subjecting you to more than nursery music. You get to hear new languages and sometimes use them, you get to integrate different cultures or historical eras (you know, those pesky social sciences we’re not teaching) into your knowledge bank. Yeah, I knew my love of jazz, blues and pretty much all sorts of music would come in useful some time.
I have to be honest and say that I find that definition narrow-minded and outdated. I can’t imagine my life without those whose talents are to be found in the Fine Arts. What of musicians, artists, actors and their ilk. Heaven forfend that children be exposed to the full idea of a liberal education from an early age. What was I thinking?
Oh yes, that I must not teach my kids to read or do maths. Come on. Really? We choose to follow the national curriculum of one of the top 5 countries in the world (for mathematics results) and you think we might be disinterested in teaching academic subjects? Between us the Oh Waily parents have three degrees and two post-graduate diplomas. We really couldn’t give a flying toss about academia then. Or continual learning. Or following your interests.
The mind boggles.
Really. It does.
Still, with a bit of a nudge and a bit of standing our ground on the regularity statement (i.e. repeating ourselves with a smidgen more clarity – since clearly the reader didn’t quite pick up on the information first time around) we got there in the end. Essentially without compromise, just a touch more clarity & with a tone of being offended. Which we were.
So there we are. Official homeschoolers from Miss Oh’s next birthday. Yay!