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Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Preparing for a Local Authority Visit

Most Local Authorities like to visit Home educators once a year. If you have never had a visit, it can be a bit daunting, not knowing what to expect. I am writing this post in the hope that it will help, especially having had experience over the last fifteen years of home educating.
Really it is not something you can just do on the spur of the moment. You need to prepare the year's work in a manner that is accessible. The first thing they will want to see is what you have been doing for the last year. They can get overwhelmed if you bring out all of the work your children have been doing, so it is a good idea to get some samples of their work during the year. You can file it in a folder, and then it forms a rather nice keepsake later on.
So what sort of work do you need to file? I would say anything that you have been doing and consider as part of your home educating.
Maths work, stories, science work, paintings, worksheets. It may be a good idea to keep a variety, and file for different subjects if you have a lot of work involved.
What if a lot of your work isn't written though?
This is where photographs can come in. You can take pictures of art creations they have done. Maybe it is just a den in the woods they have built. Maybe they have baked a cake. It can be photographed and logged.
Sometimes I have offered them a written report of my children's work over the year. The workbooks they have completed, and the topics we have covered. They always find these helpful. I don't always havetime for them, but they are useful to me, too, as I can see that yes, we have actually got somewhere in the last year of home education! Sometimes it is so easy to think that we have accomplished little, when we have accomplished far more than we thought, and yes, you can see the children's progress. If they were in school, the teacher would have to log regular reports, and to record their learning targets, etc.

So, make sure you have all this to hand when they call, and relax! They just usually speak to each child in turn, and ask them what they have been doing, interests, and how they like home education. It is so much easier if you have their work set out in neat piles. They like to see order, progression, and age suitable work, and materials. Don't forget to include the stuff you do at home ed groups, and field trips, too.

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