This is an actual Homeschool Application that was approved in Queensland Australia for a child entering Year 1. So many people worry about their Homeschool Application, sharing a few examples may help build confidence and give potential homeschoolers a few general ideas.
I think this application is far more in-depth than you would actually need based on other Homeschool Applications that I have seen.
This application was not accompanied by any sort of schedule, weekly or termly.
Homeschool Application For Queensland
Child 1 is now 6 years old and would start YEAR 1 in January 2013. He has never attended school, he has been home educated alongside his brother Child 2 . So far his learning has been fairly casual and interest led. He has come along incredibly well, his maths is great and he’s starting to read, he absorbs a lot of what his brother is learning and shares all of his experiences, field trips and adventures.
My basic plan for the coming year is to improve his reading, I hope to see him reading books for pleasure by the end of this year.
The homeschool resources we use include the following.
We use games in our learning, such as UNO , Top Trumps, Chess, Hangman, Monopoly, Boppit, Children’s Trivial Pursuit, and a great science trivia game Think Big Science. They also use computer games that are educational such as Miamiopia.com , Clever Dragons .com, Zoo Tycoon and Rollercoaster Tycoon.
We currently have a 12 month subscription to Reading Eggs, along with Study Ladder and we use Brain Pop often. I read to the boys as much as possible from all genres and get them out and about on field trips visiting places of interest.
We attend the Cairns Homeschool Group every week and recently attended the Atherton Homeschool Camp.
We travel as much as possible, in the last 12 months Child 1 has spent extended amounts of time in the UK, USA and Thailand. In July we will be in travelling around Australia for the second time this year visiting Brisbane, Sydney and Canberra making the most of every learning opportunity along the way. We do a lot of learning in the car, too.
The following is a Homeschool Application and proposed learning plan for Child 1, mostly we will be continuing with what we have been doing for the last few months. The resources we have been using, and will continue to use, are in bold type.
He is not a willing reader yet, so most of our learning will be talking about things, playing, watching films, creating things, exploring, listening to music, looking at artworks, and being read to.
Child 1 has always written for pleasure, his handwriting is good, his writing will undoubtedly develop further this year.
I just thought I’d mention that Child 1 has a list of things he wants to learn about, food, animals, dinosaurs, electronic things, and cars. In that order. I will try to facilitate that as much as possible!
I have the new Australian Curriculum alongside the Essential Learnings for the end of year 3 and the Knowledge and Understanding documents as a general guide as to where we are going. I also have online contact with various homeschooling individuals and groups, a great source of support, ideas and inspiration.
All written work and art is dated, kept and filed, I also keep a brief diary of what we do each day, mostly to jog my memory.
Child 1 used Reading Eggs since last year for pleasure. He knows his alphabet and the letter sounds and can read simple decodable books. He has also used Readingeggspress and has read a few of the books and answered the comprehension questions, with help.
We have now moved to Study Ladder, this seems to take over where Reading Eggs left off. In the last few weeks Child 1 has completed all the reading and interactive exercises in the yellow level (Prep). We are starting at the beginning and moving through the levels rapidly to recap and reinforce what he knows so far. He will be well into the Red Level ( Yr 1) by January.
He loves to write notes to his friends and copy words from various sources, he just enjoys it and has done this since before he could read at all, asking me how to spell all the words. He can now write and spell some simple decodable words without assistance.
His handwriting is actually very good, he is a very meticulous child. He has written basic letters, text messages, and emails to his family, we will continue with this.
I have been using various flashcards for basic words and sight words, I have the sight words lists and I’m crossing them off as he masters them. Likewise I have the lists of frequently used words which I can use to check his knowledge. We are past the flashcard stage now.
For reading practice we are using Dr Seuss and other simple books that we have at home along with the beginners readers and comprehension quizzes in readingeggspress and studyladder . He is currently mastering Green Eggs and Ham. I have joined myschoolhouse.com and he will be using some of the simplest reading/ comprehension lessons from there.
We visit the library often and collect a pile of books, stories, factual books, magazines, comics and graphic novels which he likes to look at, I think he will make the jump to starting to read some of them for himself this year, he already identifies easily decodable written words when he comes across them and has started searching for words in text of books that interest him, particularly Tin Tin and Asterix illustrated books.
Child 1 also has his own email address for communication with his granny (a teacher, enjoying being involved in their education). I hope to have him emailing by himself, to an extent, and trying the basic word processing skills that this requires by the end of the year.
I have a few English text books lined up for him when he is older. We have the Collins Practice in the Basic Skills English age 7-11 series and the Collins Easy Learning Handwriting Practice age 5-9 books. He has also started the School Zone Beginning Reading age 6-8 book. He completed the first book last year and the kindergarten and phonics books and CD roms.
If I see any other good resources I will get them. I have enjoyed using the Oxford English Skills, Grammar and Punctuation books with his older brother, I hope to start him on book one if I can find a copy (sold out everywhere at the moment).
I hope to read aloud a huge range of children’s fiction with him this year, some of this will be shared with his brother, I will include Dr Seuss, AA Milne, Lewis Carol and Aesop’s fables, along with the story books, poems and fairy tales they have both enjoyed at home almost since birth.
I like to read the Usborne First Readers and Beginner Readers aloud to integrate interesting factual subjects into his learning. We are currently using the Usborne book of Greek Myths as bedtime reading.
We also listen to audio books in the car, I try to find children’s classics such as Mark Twain, alongside factual audio books such as Horrible Histories.
Goals for this year.
To listen to and understand a variety of texts read aloud including fiction, poems, fairy stories and factual texts. I am introducing famous authors such as Dickens and Shakespeare through films and children’s addaptations.
To extend listening and speaking skills through discussion and asking questions about illustrations and the story, including questions requiring interpretation.
To understand common sayings and phrases and use them.
To use narrative language for description.
To follow multistep directions, give directions and explanations.
To improve reading comprehension as reading fluency develops.
To recite simple pieces of writing and memorise songs, performing them with clear speech.
To talk about experiences or subjects of personal interest clearly with other people and to use formal language when appropriate.
To be more in command of, and verbally express, his emotions and empathise with other people.
To consolidate recognition of upper and lower case letters and recite the alphabet easily moving on to finding entries in alphabetised lists.
To understand capitalisation and simple punctuation.
I will aim for him to be reading the First 200 Words list.
To understand basic literary language and text features, author, illustrator, title, contents etc.
To distinguish fantasy from reality ( where appropriate, not including Father Christmas or the Tooth Fairy!)
To identify and discuss the moral or lesson in a fable.
To read with increasing fluency and clarity of speech.
To become aware of vowels and consonants and produce vowel sounds with an open mouth, consonants with a partially blocked mouth.
To encourage him in his writing endeavours and help him to use capitalisation and punctuation.
Child 1 has already completed School Zone Maths Basics books 1, most of 2 and has almost completed Maths Basics 3 age 7-9. We use maths worksheets from various sources including myschoolhouse.com, essentialkids.com.au, homeschoolmath.net and mathsisfun.com. We also use Study Ladder for maths.I may start him on the Signpost Maths books as he would be using in school once his reading is good enough to understand the questions. I’d have to look at them to see what year to start him on as he would seem to be well ahead. We used IXL maths last year but for now we have cancelled the subscription as we weren’t very keen on that style of maths for my older son. If it suits Child 1 we can always give it another try. I have recently been looking at Carol Vorderman’s online maths course and like its simple, clear explanations very much. I may purchase this resource if I feel we need further assistance.
This year I plan to use work sheets to consolidate what he’s learnt already and progress slowly if he seems ready. We like to create maths related activities, such as weighing, measuring and dividing bars of chocolate. He also weighs and measures very well when he is cooking and likes to read packet weights. I find that computer games with a score bring on their number sense incredibly quickly, for this reason I’m expecting him to read and write numbers up to 4 to 6 digits this year. He is already perfectly proficient up to 3 digits. The goals listed would be the minimum I would expect for this year, I think he will be able to do more.
Goals for this year.
To count backwards and forwards proficiently from any point up to 100. To read and write numbers to 1000. And to order numbers to 100 using < and > .
To identify and continue number patterns and count by 2s, 5s and 10s
To identify and write ordinal numbers.
To know doubles to 10.
To identify odd and even numbers.
To understand, demonstrate and write half and quarter
To identify money, count money and add sums of money using $ and c signs.
To add multiple digit numbers with regrouping, including methods such as making 10.
To subtract multiple digit numbers with and without regrouping and memorise basic subtraction facts.
To measure length, weight and volume and use appropriate units.
To tell time to the the quarter hour.
To recognise plane and 3D figures.
Identify dozen and half dozen.
To interpret simple graphs and charts.
Child 1 has started to multiply already.
( I feel that Child 1 can actually do most of the above already, he has really come on strongly with maths recently, we will go as far as he wants to go this year, he will probably be memorising times tables alongside his brother)
Child 1 took professional drama lessons at The Clink Theatre briefly last year. We may continue with this in January, but, to be honest, the classes weren’t that good.
Child 1 is very creative; his favourite activity is “making things” (technology). He often comes up with his own ideas and designs for things to make out of objects that inspire him. We also buy a few craft kits, we’ve done some sewing this year and we often go down to Bunnings for the free craft lessons.
He often feels inspired to draw and paint and enjoys colouring, I have been teaching him how to shade and blend with his coloured pencils. He asked for his own sketch pad and sometimes likes to go outside to sketch plants in the garden. We have a very well stocked art and craft cupboard as drawing and painting are hobbies of mine. Both boys are always free to create art or projects whenever they like.
He loves books with ideas for art and things to make, so we have a few at home and find some at the library. We use the DK My Art Book for artistic inspiration in the style of various masterpieces; he likes Van Gogh a lot and has done a few paintings in his style. I have also been looking at everydayart.com and teachartathome.com for teaching ideas. We have learnt a little about Salvador Dali and surrealism this year, I’ve just ordered the Dali Colouring Book and a children’s book on Dali to get us started along with the DK book Art for Children.
He has not shown much of an interest in making his own music yet, but we have a keyboard, recorders and children’s guitar at home if he does. Of course he is still young enough to make drum kits out of pots and pans, and still does. His brother is learning guitar with me using Usborne Guitar for Beginners so Child 1 can join in with the singing and if he likes, can learn too. There are some good units on music and instruments on Brainpop.com; we are big fans of this site!
He is about to start learning recorder properly with help from Study Ladder.
We have My First Classical Music Book from Naxos at home, which come with a CD introducing famous composers and instruments and giving guidance on what to listen for. We will continue to use this book and familiarise Child 1 with some classical pieces. We also watch films and videos of musical performances such as the BBC Wales symphony orchestra Dr Who proms.
I like to expose the boys to as many types of performance, music and art as possible. Our trip to the UK last year enabled us to go to the London Palladium and Cardiff New Theatre for musical theatre and for the boys to see a small orchestra in action. We checked out the ancient art at the British Museum and saw The Lion King at Disney World Florida. They enjoyed traditional Balinese music and dance in Bali the year before. A few weeks ago they experienced Thai arts on a trip to Thailand. Whenever we travel I try to point out architectural features from various periods of history and different cultures He often likes to photograph these sorts of things. Anything that comes up locally I will take them to, we have a few small art galleries around us but nothing much, I will take them to Cairns art museum again, particularly for the indigenous gallery. We will be in Canberra in July and will take the opportunity to visit the museums there.
We took them to the Laura festival of Aboriginal dance 2 years ago; we hope to go to the next one too. I also play a wide variety of musical genres at home for them to listen to and like to find films on You Tube for them to watch including The Children’s guide to the Orchestra and Peter and The Wolf.
We have also been watching Rogers and Hammerstein musicals and singing their songs
Child 1 loves to take photos; I don’t know whether to include this as art or technology, it’s both! He has taken some great photos and for his birthday he is getting a Lego Stop Start Animation camera so that we can have a go at making our own Lego based films. I have a children’s photography course downloaded and ready to use when he is older, he can continue to just practice and play around with his cameras and we will talk about composition, lighting etc. in a very simple way .He can also use the computer to manipulate his photos, something we will continue to expand on. He has his own file of photos that he is very proud of. I would like him to make a simple slideshow of his photos to send to his Grandma at some point this year.
Goals for this year.
To make his own art for his own pleasure, whenever he feels inspired to do so, using a variety of mediums, and to include different types of art, collage, sculpture, sketching etc
To continue with his own photography for pleasure and to look at and edit some of his photos, as he sees fit, digitally.
To observe a wide variety of artworks, in books and galleries, and to recognise types of pictures, landscape, portrait etc. in lifelike and abstract works and to verbalise his impressions of the work.
To introduce him to the works of individual artists, this year focusing on Salvador Dali and further his exposure to Van Gogh.
To explore the elements of art.
To recognise colours as warm or cool and understand primary colours and colour mixing.
To participate in making music and become familiar with beat, rhythm, melody, pitch,etc.
To move responsively to music.
To listen to a wide range of music
To become familiar with some instruments and the idea of families of instruments.
I want to teach Child 1 science alongside his brother so we will be catching him up a bit this year. He has picked up a lot but I would like to check that he understands where we are as many aspects of science need to be taught in progression .Tools that I use for Science include Brainpop.com, myschoolhouse.com, Scope, Deadly 60 and Backyard Science TV shows. Worksheets from enchantedlearning.com, bogglesworld.com, biologycorner.com and others. Videos from David Attenborough and the Eyewitness series
A lot of our science comes from my own knowledge as I was a professional laboratory scientist and have a Bsc in zoology and comparative physiology. These days I always check my knowledge is as it should be, using the internet. We do a lot of work on taxonomy, classification of living things and evolution. Child 1 loves animals and soaks up anything you care to teach him on this subject. Field trips to various zoos around the world including ZSL London and Whipsnade, Sea World Florida and Disney’s Animal Kingdom have been a great learning experience for him. Likewise, two fabulous days at London’s Natural History Museum, he loves dinosaurs. I tend to bring back books and guides from our places visited to use later, in Child 1’s case, as read alouds. We are now very much enjoying the Museum of Life TV series, it has introduced so many new subjects and both boys identify with it well having actually been there.
He also spent a day at the Kennedy Space Centre and had a fantastic day having fun learning about space exploration and space science. I will continue his space exploration this year and try to make sure he understands the solar system and recap on what we experienced at Cape Canaveral, the moon landing, gravity, G force etc using various websites, videos, space songs (kidsknowitnetwork.com) I have an easy to read Cat in the Hat Learning Library book on The Solar System that I use as a read aloud and will use as a reader to reinforce his space knowledge once his reading progresses to this level. We were very fortunate to be able to observe a full solar eclipse and the transition of Venus this year.
He is very interested in rocks and has started his own little rock collection. We took the boys to the Crystal Caves in Mareeba because of this. He has also enjoyed visiting cave systems in the UK and looking at rock formations. There are some cave systems in our local area that we hope to visit this year. So I think we’ll be doing a bit of geology in the future. For now he can just collect, organise and learn the names of, his rocks. He loves to organise things! He has an uncle and a great uncle with PhDs in geology, he can spend some time with them while we are in Canberra, I’m sure they will further encourage his interest.
Likewise he collects shells and likes to organise them but rocks have been his favourite lately.
We also like to get outdoors and look at the nature all around us, we are looking at the classification of invertebrates at the moment so a trip to the beach to hunt crustaceans and molluscs is great fun. We also visit our local rainforest and information centres regularly and get out in the garden to talk about frogs, caterpillars, butterflies etc. He already understands life cycles, producers and consumers etc. and has witnessed firsthand the whole lifecycle of butterflies and frogs in our garden, even egg laying.
Child 1 will also be joining his brother in the science he is undertaking this year. I will try to keep it age appropriate for both of them. Child 2 will be consolidating and deepening his knowledge, Child 1 will be starting out.
We have already investigates magnets, electronic circuits and some practical chemistry using the sets we have at home.
I use cooking and kitchen experiments to demonstrate a lot of scientific ideas, such as physical and chemical changes and the states of matter.
We also have a great book of experiments at home, Weird Science. We were members of the CSIRO Double Helix club but we are about to cancel our membership, we haven’t found it very useful. We will continue to experiment.
Our involvement with Tangaroa Blue marine conservation organisation beach cleanups is also a great lesson and demonstration in conservation, ecology and how to look after our planet. Child 1 plays an active role in these, collecting, sorting, weighing and classifying the marine debris, and will continue to do so.
We are very much looking forward to visiting Questacon in Canberra!
He is learning to cook and regularly makes us pancakes for breakfast, with a little help. He is completely adept at weighing and measuring ingredients in grams, ounces, cups, pints, whatever. He comes up with his own recipes with varying success and is generally very keen. Peanut pancakes were a winner. We will continue on this journey and I will continue to allow him to watch TV cookery programmes, he loves Jamie Oliver and is becoming quite the little food critic after watching Master Chef. It’s great fun, I’m looking forward to the day he can read cook books, he’ll love them. He also visits his Dad’s commercial kitchen to see how the real chefs do it. Talking about food, nutrition, additives, processing, packaging, sustainability etc. is something that happens at home every day. I try to expose them to food from as many cultures as possible, both at home and through restaurants and TV programmes.
Additional resources we have at home to use in the coming year include a magnet science set, the National Geographic Chemistry set and an electronics circuit set. TV programmes such as the recent history of Australia was brilliant and very visual, illustrating many aspects of science. We will no doubt watch this repeatedly
Goals for this year.
The five senses
Life cycles, birth, growth, reproduction, death. In the frog, plant and butterfly.
The water cycle
Insects, how they help and harm, insect structure, social insects and colonies.
Animals are made of cells, cells make up tissues which make up organs which are part of organ systems.
The digestive system
How the ear and eye detect light and sound, what makes up the nervous system and what it does.
Skeletons, endo and exo and the human skeletal system and its roles.
The life and work of Jane Goodall.
To talk more about Darwin.
Food chains, producers, consumers, decomposers. Food webs.
Ecosystems and how they can be affected by manmade change and climate change.
Habitats and the interdependence of organisms and the environment.
Conservation and recycling in protecting the environment. How we can help.
Threats to the environment, pollution in many forms.
The universe, galaxies and our solar system.
Orbits and rotation and how they affect day/night and seasons.
Gravity, the moon and tides.
Asteroids, meteors and comets.
Eclipse, observing our solar eclipse safely and understanding what is happening.
Stars and constellations.
Identify magnetic and non magnetic materials through experimentation and observe an invisible force affecting a remote object, likewise gravity.
To observe the seasons and weather, measure temperatures and note changes in barometric pressure.
I treat geography, history and social studies in a kind of unit study approach. We tend to immerse ourselves in a country, its history, geography, customs, religion, food, music, art etc. Child 1 has picked up a lot on his travels and from what his brother has been learning. Again, we will be playing catch up to his brother a bit here. Child 2 has done a lot of work on Egypt and Rome, ancient and modern. This year covered Greece and tied that in with the Olympics. I plan to get Child 1 up to his brother’s level with identifying continents and oceans this year and to teach him about points of the compass and simple maps. We have found the geography games on CleverDragons.com to be very good for this with his brother but Child 1’s reading isn’t strong enough yet.
Tools I use here include Horrible Histories TV shows, Horrible Histories and Horrible Geography books, Brainpop.com, various books, CDs, films, maps and our talking globe.
Child 1 has also been picking up a few words in various languages, he charmed his way around Thailand with his few words of Thai and can say a few words in Chinese and French and uses them on tourists here. His Thailand trip was great for him as he was the centre of attention for all the Thai girls, being the small cute one, he didn’t stand in his brother’s shadow as he normally does, it gave him a great confidence boost. We started to learn some Spanish using the BBC Languages free Spanish course.
We often talk about religion and customs in various countries, as it is one of my interests.
Goals for this year
To work with maps and globes, understand compass directions and identify continents and oceans.
To understand the concept of capital cities and identify a few.
To recognise a map of Australia, identify his local area and where the rest of his family live and identify some key features. To follow our travels on the map and comprehend the distances involved.
To know that aboriginals were the original peoples of Australia and learn something of how they lived and their connection to the land and to understand the arrival of white people in this country .
To spend some time with our local Aboriginal people, the Kuku Yalangi, on their guided walks in the rainforest and on the beach.
To understand the significance of various public and religious holidays in Australia and the world, to include Australia Day, Anzac Day, St David’s day, Easter ( pagan and Christian), Chinese New Year, Diwali etc.
To have a basic knowledge of and respect for world religions, including which countries various religions are prevalent in.
To identify the Australian and British flags.
To recognise a map of the UK and to identify some key features, where we came from, where grandma lives etc. and to understand the separate countries that make up the UK.
To learn more about a few specific countries, starting with Greece, ancient and modern to tie in with the Olympics.
Egypt and China ancient and modern.
To consolidate what we learnt about Thailand and Indonesia.
To introduce physical geography and land features
Social Development, Health and Sports
I try to get the boys out and about and mixing with other children and adults as much as possible. He has a few friends that we have playdates with and neighbours that the boys play with all the time. We have always gone to playgroup and library club but these visits are getting fewer and fewer now that his brother is becoming too old for them. He has now made a good fried through homeschool group.
I try to get them involved in after school activities, they have both completed 2 terms of gymnastics and 3 terms of tennis. We are going to learn to ski in Canberra in July and spend extended time with their 7 cousins and other family there, which will be great for them, as we have no family here.
We used brainpop.com units about all sorts of health related issues, mental and physical. We also watched some of the Being Me and My Big Adventure TV series. We talk about healthy eating, healthy habits and being safe in the sun constantly. We will continue to do the same and will probably try some new after school activities, depending on what Child 1 would like to do. They are very aware of training and practice improving personal performance as they watch their father train constantly for Iron Man events. Obviously he talks to them about the process.
We hope to do more horse riding and roller skating this year.
Child 1 can swim and his father is helping him to improve his technique. Child 1 wants to do a chidren’s triathalon, just like his Dad, this may be possible.
We are taking the boys skiing for the first time this year.
Of course they have each other to play with and learn to get along with.
Goals for this year
How to look after our bodies to keep them fit and healthy including selecting a healthy diet with good choices from the food groups, keeping clean, hydrated, sun safe and well rested.
Dealing with emotions, communicating those emotions, being considerate of others and respecting others’ feelings
Safe strategies to use in various situation, road, railway line, water and how to be cyclone ready.
What to do in the event of fire or other emergency.
Further develop hand to eye coordination through tennis.
To learn to ski.
Technology and ICT
I find it very hard to quantify technology. As previously mentioned Child 1 is extremely keen on making things and often comes up with his own ideas using found and recycled materials. I have provided craft and sewing kits this year and they have taken part in craft and construction lessons at Bunnings. They often design and make cubby houses, inside and out, in the garden or at the beach. They select appropriate materials and tools . They have recently very much enjoyed homemade bows and arrows and like to select and adjust sticks of the right kind to make the best arrows, they also made their own quivers. I think this sort of technology is just part of being a boy. I have in mind various projects involving Lego, maybe when we are talking about 2D and 3D objects, to make our own cubes etc.
Goals for this year
To continue to make things from whatever materials inspire him.
To watch informative films and TV programmes about how and why things are made, including historical methods.
To start using our home technology in a more independent manner, to include the computer and internet and his cameras. We are particularly hoping to make our own Lego or play dough animations for fun this year, including making a story board as we have bought a camera and software for this purpose.
To build and design using Lego.
Child 1 adores the computer game “ Minecraft”. This has a strong creative technology component.
To use technology in cooking.
Constructing electrical circuits with various components and integrated circuits, following circuit diagrams to create alarms etc.
We hope this Homeschool Application for Queensland is helpful to you, please remember it is an example only, not to be taken as ” the right” way to do it. You can find an example of another of my Homeschool Applications on Beverley Paine’s Homeschool Australia site. Read that homeschooling plan here.