Application for Exemption

 This has just been copied from word and plonked into Blogspot...its not pretty at all. I've not read over it lately and things have changed a bit too.

We've become more firm with our school times as I was becoming to burnt out with 'learning all the time' I needed time to just let my brain go. Its hard not to get excited though and if I can see things happening I can't stop myself from putting things out for them to use, experiment with or build on from what ever they are doing.
Our usual days start very early 6:00 or 6:30. While I used to try and start with them...I start more slowly now days at 8:30 I plan for a break in the middle of the day until 2pm then we keep going till I have to stop at about 4pm. Its not always on the go the whole time as there is lots of outdoors time but its time that I am available for them to asked questions and help out

Application for Certificate of Exemption

Vision..... 4
Broad learning areas  - Tree of Learning 6
Regularity 7
Broad Curriculum Area – Science 7
Broad Curriculum Area – Language and Languages 8
Broad Curriculum Area – The Arts 10
Broad Curriculum Area – Language and Languages continues 11
Broad Curriculum Area – Play and Self Development 12
Broad Curriculum Area – Technology 13
Home Environment 14
Waipu Environment 15
Extended Environment 16
Our Values 17
Knowledge Discovery 19
Science 19
History 19
Geography 20
Health/Medicine 20
Example Lesson Plan 22
Special Education Needs 23
Social Contact - Assessment and Evaluation 23
Curriculum Coverage for first year (age 5) 24
Curriculum Coverage for second year (age 6) 25
Appendix A 27
Reading resources used to develop Vision 27
Appendix B 28
Resources and Reference Material 28

This document is as much as an application for a Certificate of Exemption as a document for our family to be aware of, think about and re-view as we live our life and as things constantly change

1. Our children will become lifelong self-educators.  They will gain the understanding that learning can be at any time, and that they can start the process themselves. Their learning will be stimulated by their surroundings, social and environmental. This structure of learning is enjoyable, rich, creative, joyful, stimulating, socially rewarding and educational. To understand that learning is not linear and is always happening. We value independence (especially self- confidence, and ability to self-educate, ability to set and work to one's own goals) as well as interdependence (not being afraid to rely on others, ability to work in a team, awareness of the dependence we have on our community).

2. Our children will have confidence in their innate creativity. They will understand that creativity is a part of a complete person. We believe creativity is not so much taught, as allowed the freedom to blossom on its own, when the right circumstances are present. We would like our children to have the self-confidence to explore their world with natural curiosity, and to question everything they see. Our children will learn through play and experimentation with the world around them.

3. We would like our children to have a well developed sense of 'emotional intelligence'. We would like to teach them, through our own actions, empathy and compassion for other people, as well emotional self-awareness. We are parents who have a strong desire to bond with our children culturally and intellectually as well as emotionally. We would like develop a genuine friendship with our children. We practice attachment parenting, and we see emotional intelligence as a vital part of a complete person.

4. Interdependence. We will encourage our children to become integrated members of their society, community, family and country. We would like our children to appreciate the interconnectedness of all things. They will develop an appreciation of their capabilities and of the intellectual and emotional contributions they are capable of making back to the community that raises them.

As parents we will:
Allow our children the best learning experience possible. We will endeavour to use methods that respect our children’s personal developmental timetables, honour the interconnectedness of all knowledge, and use the power of learning by experience. We aim to keep learning flexible, adjustable and in context with our children’s lives. It will change to match their needs. This works with our philosophy that learning is not linear, and will take us in many unforeseen directions. Our learning programme will be constructed around our children’s interests, the family’s interests and the family’s possible travel requirements. As Attachment Parents we believe in “travelling as a unit”, staying together as a family. We would like to keep the option of working in other towns or countries for Dave who is self-employed. We feel the experience of travel for our children would be a wonderful part of their home education.

We have bought and borrowed scores of books over the years to help us understand and develop our approach to home education. We have spent many hours on the Internet studying this area.

See Appendix A - in our quest to understand how children learn.
Page insert of Collation of learning method

Broad learning areas  - Tree of Learning
Here we have a diagram of how we feel people learn

We see learning is like the frame work of a tree - we need to start with a strong foundation and work on that. If any part of the foundation weakens we must first go back and fix this before we can move on. This information extends on the Attachment Theory by English psychiatrist John Bowlby and American psychologist Mary Ainsworth.

Every day is a learning day - [Child]'s mind is active from the moment she wakes up, and we try to keep up with that, and continuously feed her growing mind. Living mindfully, being aware of our surroundings, taking our learning cues from anything and everything from this is an all day, every day opportunity. Learning is continuous.
Our days are structured around ordinary routines, and the necessity of meals, but some days are very different. In our first year we have been concentrating on reading and writing but science seems to be a heavy interest.
Our day can begin with breakfast and a documentary followed by chores. A few favourite documentaries at the moment are: Planet Earth, Walking with Dinosaurs, and the Eyewitness children's documentary series. Walking with Dinosaurs was a great favourite a few months ago. We picked the topic of dinosaurs up straight away and carried it for as long as there was interest. I see this topic fitting into the Broad Curriculum Area of Science and history.
Activity plan - After watching Walking with Dinosaurs the questions were many but one which we locked onto was... “Mum what is a meteor? “This lead into looking at planets.
I found on the web some Space science songs by Tom Glazer. “What is a shooting star?” which has been played regularly in the car along with all the other science songs many times.
We made a huge poster. We spent a while getting the right colours for each planet and rough sizing. Visiting web sites and viewing many space models.

We borrowed “The Magic School bus” – Gets lost in space. This series has become another love and has lead into many more areas of learning. We now have many books in this series too Heaps of questions came up from spelling the names of the planets to why do some have rings.

We've looked up at the moon and stars often. [Child] has watched the phases of the moon and picked up the influence the moon has on the tides...possibly from Nana as [Child] wants to collect sea food. We’ve started a few times tracking the moon on a calendar...not enough instant gratification for a five year old but it is being worked on at the moment. We got out a few books from the library but I feel that most of this information went over [Child]’s head... We have recently down loaded a app for the iPad to view the solar system which [Child] can touch and move about. It is called Sky Walk. I have used this to extend a few conversations had with [Child] and her friends

Follow up: Letting this subject go, knowing that we will re-visit again in the future. This subject has been leading into seasons and sun questions.
After chores it is Reading and Writing. Megan reads to [Child]. We’ve been reading Enid Blyton books for about a year, steadily working through every ‘Famous Five’ and ‘Secret Seven’ the local library has on its shelves. Now we’re onto the ‘F[Child]way tree’ and ‘The wishing chair’. But we also get in a few other stories as well.
We have been working with the Jolly Phonics system and have bought the home package with story book (love it), work books ([Child] is not a great fan of these) also the DVD (it is ok) and songs (LOVE them to bits) and early readers ([Child] loves to read these books to her little brother). We have a few nursery rhyme books, and [Child] also enjoys reading Myths and Legends.
[Child] has made up her own games of ‘find the letter’ (a card with a letter printed on it). She scatters them over the play room we all hunt for them counting out how many there are and then make words out of the letters we find.

We have a computer program called 'StartWrite' which is based on a 'trace over the letters' concept. We use this to print out [Child]’s own stories, so that [Child] can trace over the letters and words. This is to help form letter shapes in a way that [Child] finds enjoyable. We use this occasionally but most often now [Child] will make up games where she has to write and would prefer to use her own writing.
Examples are:
Playing and building with some large boxes. [Child] built her own ‘Ice cafe’ which needed signage and a menu
In another role playing activity, [Child] was a doctor. The doctor’s rooms had signage and a printed story to work on.
We supply notebooks on field trips to be filled with field trip notes. [Child] worked on this during a recent trip to Auckland Zoo.

Activity Plan - “Mum is a Dragon a Dinosaur?”  and “What would a sword be like to hold?” and “why didn’t he use a gun?” and “What is the lamb in this story?”...working on the lamb as it is a religious reference and a little confusing for her at this young age.
We have heaps of boxes which we made into a castle and swords. Our activities covered cooking Dragon Stew to colouring castles and dragons. Currently working on model castle. We’ve looked at what castles are made of and why they are made. [Child] talked about the castles in other books – Dragons of Pi and the Famous Five
We looked at different types of dinosaur and talked about how people of the past could think that dragons and dinosaurs are the same thing [Child] spent a while looking at some dragon pictures and her dinosaur books and watched a documentary on how they rebuilt a dinosaur.
Follow up: We got out more library books with dragons but this was soon dropped as “Dragons are not real!” Will extend this later.

We visit the Whangarei library at least once per week. [Child] loves the library. We get out the limit of books we are allowed every week. As we drive up to the library I introduce the idea of choosing books on a topic.
[Child] has been interested in bees – as they are a part of her garden – and she would like to have honey.
She has been interested in; Rain Forests, the Solar System, the sun, pirates, island living, North American Indians, food from other countries, Polar bears, theTitanic – the list goes on. We even had to look through the adult section for more books on these topics.
We have started on early reading books. [Child] does a lot of ‘look and guess’, but she is starting to read the words to correct herself as well.

Music is after reading and writing. We have the ‘Singing Phonics’ books along with the Jolly Phonics and a wide selection of Nursery Rhymes, Raffi ‘Baby Balloga’ ‘Everything Grows’ ‘One Light’, Dance Upon a Time (lovely NZ production), Jack Johnson’s Curious George soundtrack, and many more.

We have a good little selection of basic music instruments and for Christmas 2011 we brought [Child] a 1/8th size violin since she expressed a desire to learn the violin after seeing buskers playing at the local farmers markets.  We hope to extend this interest in the violin. [Child] has a homeschooling friend who also has a violin, and while she is young she is playing with and experimenting with the instrument.

We often sing the Jolly Phonics letters or Singing Phonics which is working well at the moment. Sometimes its dance and movement to music like ‘Crazy Frog’ or singing nursery rhymes. [Child] has learnt a few nursery songs which she will sing back to us at any time of the day and Jolly Phonics will often be brought up if she sees a letter in a sign she will sing the song. We have started to extend this into listening to songs and singing along with them.

One ‘experiment’ we tried was to turn the music up really loud and hold up a balloon to feel the vibration of the music.

[Child] attends ballet classes once a week on a Monday afternoon. She loves this class and is enjoying it even more this year as the numbers have reduced and she is getting more time one on one with her teacher.
At home we often get to see what she is up to at ballet as she will put on a show ‘selling’ us tickets and giving us a programme (of her own design).
[Child] has been a part of the 2011 Ballet Christmas show in which her group did three dances. She has also been a part of the local Waipu Christmas float, which she was very nervous about as all of Waipu town would see her. In the end she did well and even performed a few ballet moves on the moving float.

[Child] is just learning the ideas of creating something on her own, be it dance or music.  Currently she will copy others until she has it ‘perfect’. Recently she has started to develop her own ideas on top of that. This has only just started to happen in the last few weeks. c


We often move into morning tea after music but sometimes music will jostle with cooking/baking both of these I extend some Maths ideas. While cooking (both children currently cook one night a week) we use recipe books which I encourage them to try and read.
We have a set of scales, which for a month [Child] ran a little study on how much each egg weighed and which chicken laid them and how much a double yoker weighed more than a normal egg. We had to graph the eggs and the chicken that had not lain got a red x. This will be extended in the future as [Child] begins to understand a few more Maths ideas.
As a playtime activity we often buy birdseed and give the children the measuring cups spoons and other kitchen measuring things to play with...out on the lawn.
We have a few geometric puzzles which [Child] has been fixated on for about a month. From this we printed out graph paper from from this we have had many colourful patterns and even the attempt of a house design.

[Child] is very interested in numbers and will often have games in the car which she asks us what is 2 x 2 x 2? This has been a question for a while and she will often work out this idea on many things around the house or town. As an example she was looking at the wheels on a logging truck and understood that there were sets of two so she started counting in twos.
We have a poster in the ‘playroom’ of numbers 1-100. She has been attempting to count to 100 which is where her reading and her reciting back have started to come into conflict and self correction. She can count to 20 with the only mistake being 15 is missed out, but as she is reading a little more and using the poster she is realising that she has made a mistake. (Working really hard to get to 100)

[Child] has an interest in money and at age 4 she started to save money to buy her own chickens. She was up at dawn picking lavender flowers tying them with ribbon. Then asked us to take her to the local market so she could sell these at 50c each. She sold enough over a few weekends to earn enough money to buy three chickens and enough chick starter food for them to eat until they were old enough to eat scraps. Now she is selling eggs and lavenders with her eye on the idea of selling art works, shell creations and plants with the aim to buy her own iPad.
[Child] would like her own iPad as she would like to see more "321 contact" and “that one about the Dinosaurs” and she would like to play games. Her three main games are Kelly Green Gardening Queen, Fairy Soliar and the new one of Farm Frenzy 3. These games involve earning money to grow your farm.
I have been looking for the equivalent of Jolly Phonics in math and have not yet found it but we try to keep maths fun and just a part of life. Will consider other maths aids as the interest develops.

Activity Plan - We got out the DVD of “Fireman Sam”. [Child] had a nightmare about the house burning.
We sung the ‘Fire Wise’ song “Get out Stay out”. We watched a New Zealand show of firemen working in Auckland. We talked about how fire starts and started one outside in the BBQ.
Next morning both children dressed up as fire and police officers. They rescued their toys. There was lots of talk and reassurance between everyone. We’ve set off the fire alarm and we were at the fire station when the siren went off.

Follow up: Currently waiting for the educational package from the Fire department

After morning tea we then flow into Play. Most of [Child]’s play at the moment is imaginative play / role playing. For a long time she did not seem to understand imaginative play and spent most of her time in p[Child]llel play during Playcentre sessions and so on. In the last year imaginative play has developed.
We have games for learning mixed with plenty of free time. We like the ideas from the Finnish curriculum which intersperse learning with outdoor recreation and free time.
We have play dates with other homeschoolers as well as school friends and family friends.
As our children get older we will start encouraging some alone time so they can work on projects like Lego or model building or art work and writing works.

"Play is the only way the highest intelligence of humankind can unfold."
 -Joseph Chilton Pearce
After play we have lunch which moves into room time or self directed time of about 1 hour.
[Child] has her own MP3 player which has audio stories and songs. She also has a laptop computer in her room which has many games and web sites that she likes. We have a good selection of children’s DVDs. She has a wide selection of art materials as well as a large bookshelf full of books.
We encourage [Child] to use the computer whenever she feels like it. She understands that she can use some parts of the web but will always ask us for advice as we have talked about the issues for example You Tube. [Child] loves asking questions and looking them up on the iPad.

Sometimes both children will work on their own computers at the kitchen bench or use the larger family computer which is also an Xbox. We have brought Xbox 360 games which involve team work and LOTS of movement. We have been trying to introduce ‘games time’ for their self directed hour but [Child] is still a bit too young to work out most of the math problems or spelling required to play alone yet.

We have the Jolly Phonics interactive game which [Child] enjoys but we also use a few other websites like
We have a few other programs but none which they are really interested in yet.

[Child] has been interested in the “Electronic Brainbox” toy at playcentre and it will probably be a birthday gift.

There are lots of opportunities to work with technology in this family. We have lots of computers and other gadgets. Also other options like working with cars or boats (marine mechanics). Engineers are found through the family and friends all keen to lend a hand. Our neighbour who runs his car on old cooking oil has even offered to let them tinker in his workshop when they are older.
If play has not been extended into an activity or an outing then I will bring out a planned activity. This might involve going to the beach, the waterfalls, caves, the park or the shops. I often look for an activity in which there is already a small spark of interest already.

Home Environment
We see our family being a part of the environment around us constantly. We consider the whole world is available to our children in their education it is not sep[Child]ted from the rest of the world, but very much a part of it working in as a part of our family.
 We are always on the lookout for interesting things and happenings in our environment, our community and beyond.
Waipu Environment
Waipu is our home town but we visit the surrounding areas too. Every trip outside our gate is used to “extend and enrich” our learning environment.
If our children show an interest in some area we make an effort to get closer. As an example they were interested in the local mechanics at the Marsden Point wharf, so we stood and watched a while and asked questions (the people there were only too glad to ‘show off’ in front of two little children). We were offered an impromptu guide and sit on the large log haulers.  As our children grow older we will try to increase these kinds of visits and see if they can begin working alongside people and or helping out in some way.
All the people in Waipu are very close knit. We have had a great amount of support in our choice to home educate our children. The local people seem happy to offer advice or a visit, to share their knowledge.
Playcentre has extended an offer for [Child] to continue beyond her 6th birthday, if she wishes, as an older child role model. While [Child] enjoys helping set up the classes and working with the younger children we have discussed the idea of leaving in April when [Child] turns 6.
There are many opportunities in our small town. As an example we live surrounded by farm land. We are able to follow the cows which were in the paddock beside our house, all the way to the milking shed. We arranged to visit the milking shed at milking time. [Child] would like to offer to help out again. We followed the milk down the road a little further to the dairy factory. A Playcentre friend offered for us to see the milk conveyer belt (could not enter the factory). [Child] still got to see the milk put into bottles from the open door. [Child] was very excited.
My grandmother (known to all as 'Nana') lives in retirement village in Waipu. She visits every day 'after school’ at 4pm. We visit her often too. The children ride their bikes there and [Child] loves to pick the flowers or quiz the residents on how to grow them.
Both Dave’s parents and my parents live in Mangawhai. Both sets of grandparents are very close to their grandchildren and have a great interest in extending their learning.  They often visit bringing interesting things – like hedgehogs and birds’ nests - or help out when we go on field trips. With my Mother who is a historian and greatly involved in the community, it is often museum visits. David’s parents have a hobby farm, with sheep and ducks, and are very much into the outdoor life.

Extended Environment
In the future as our children become used to travelling longer distances we plan to visit many areas throughout New Zealand, and the world. We have a great interest in the outdoors and travelling. We are hoping to introduce our children next summer to bivvying out in the bush. Our children were very keen to study birds on our last trip to the riverside camping spot called Forest Pools.
Both David and I have a strong connection to the environment from an ecological view point. We are keen to regenerate bush on our property, and keep our carbon footprint low. We are keen to learn how to live off our land and become more self-sufficient. We have a large garden at the moment and over time we hope to expand and enhance this garden, learning about gardening alongside our children.
As attachment parents we travel as a unit as much as we can to keep up the bond with our children, and so that they benefit as much as possible for the experiences of travel. This can mean we travel with Dave. As an example we went to Wellington with Dave on business. While we were there we visited Te Papa - [Child] was in heaven as she loves museums.
We also see the possibility of overseas travel in the future as our extended family live in many different countries. This has been a part of a project we have done with [Child], using our large maps of New Zealand and the world we have started gathering postcards and letters from friends and family and plotting them on the map.
It is very important to us that our children be able to get along with people from all walks of life, regardless of their differences. To this end, we believe we are providing for them very well socially, and will continue to do so - adjusting our schedules and acquaintances to reflect their ever-changing needs.

Our Values
These are things we are working on throughout our day that become a part of our other learning.

Secure Family Attachment: Believing that our experiences govern the expression of our genetic potential. Neuroscience, medical health and psychology worked into a practical framework for understanding the needs of children and promoting emotional, physiological and relational health.
We would like to pass on tools to our children to become connected and resilient. To look at their needs and the needs of others.
We want to ‘break the cycle’ of detachment which leads to unhealthiness in many areas of life and we want build emotional intelligence - one of the outcomes of a secure family attachment.
Other learning areas apart of this value:
* Body Health - Healthy eating, Food choices, Awareness of drug, alcohol and smoking issues
- Physical skills, Knowledge of how the body works, movement and exercise, sexual awareness
* Mind health - Emotional awareness, dealing with and expressing appropriately
- Empathy and compassion
- Well being of self
- Mindfulness-Awareness, Understanding that there are always choices, Healthy Virtues, Nonviolent communication

Activity plan - Healthy food choices. [Child] was looking at all the supermarket flyers saying which was yummy and which was not. We then went through together talking about food processes.
We made a poster (a follow on from the Plunket poster) of healthy food choices. We talked about how much food was processed and what was good for you and what was not.
We talked about food allergies (we aim for gluten free in our house) and food choices like vegetarian or vegan.
Follow on: Once [Child] can read I would like to look at this in more depth. Reading food packets and understanding what an additive is.

Connection with the Earth: A goal for our family is to understand our place in this world and the connection with the earth.  We believe most environmental issues, when stripped to their essence, are actually psychological and emotional problems, and problems with attachment. Humans need to be attached to their environment, and it is detachment from our natural world that has led to many environmental problems. By learning to love our natural world, we will be raising children that become attuned to nature and their love of nature will ensure they are responsible for the world’s environment. We would like to introduce sustainable practices and feel that it will be very important for our children in the future. We feel that with a connection with the earth that our children will be able to take care of themselves and their families.
Other Learning areas:
* Connection with the local environment both Physical and Social
* Care of our environment and understand our impacts - Farming/Sustainability/Permiculutre
- Energy production
* Learning about New Zealand culture
* Interactions with friends and family and local peoples - Understanding competition and interdependence
- Encouraged to contribute from a young age
- Learning the ability to be self directed in work
* Understanding natural and manmade disasters

Creativity: We value creativity in our family and we feel all learning stems from it. Without creativity we would have no language, no maths, no art, no problem solving, and so on. Creativity is the beginning of everything. We encourage creative thinking. An example: new ideas in health, building, environment, food, gardening as part of long term Knowledge Discovery. This area of life is one of the most important skills a person can learn and it cannot be done with lesson plans or structured situations.
Learning examples:
* Encourage Experience and Awareness
- Providing rich real life experiences involving the entire person’s senses thus allowing the creative thought to unfold.
- Developing awareness through empathy
- Growing understanding and love
- Growing curiosity
- Using rich words
- Playful experience
* Focus
- Helping children decipher their experiences by reliving through discussion, drawing, exploring, material choices, writing and experimentation. (I’m sure there is more)

Creativity takes time, and time is one thing we can allow our children to have in abundance in their home education environment. Often we may have an activity which the children complete. They may like to keep working on this activity and it might develop into something else completely, but was sparked from the first activity. As parents helping our children learn, we can encourage our children to keep going, to keep following on this exploration.
Sometimes once the activities are finished we do not rush into something else, but just have some "down time". This allows the children to process what they have just worked on.

Creativity blends well into Art, Design, Creative Writing, Music, Dance but also into many other areas of learning such as Maths, Technology, and Science.

Confidence: We believe self confidence is crucial to our children's ability to explore their world with curiosity and enthusiasm. We feel it is built while playing and learning in an environment without shame and fear, receiving the right level of encouragement when it is needed, and being allowed the freedom to take risks and explore.
Self confidence is the beginning of the development of independence.
Spiritual awareness: is something which our family would like to develop and encourage. This not only works in with emotional health and connection with the earth but philosophy as well. We believe that spiritual awareness is different from religion and we would like our children to have the freedom to discover spirituality out of the religious context.
But it is also equally important to understand religion. I have been brought up as a Baha’i and while we do not practice we are still involved with our extended family and friends who are Baha’is.

Non-violent communication: (ideas set out by Marshall B. Rosenberg) which is a communication process that helps people to exchange the information necessary to resolve conflicts and differences peacefully. This process can be used in everyday life in every area of life.

Resources: See appendix B for a full list of resources used
Knowledge Discovery
This list is by no means complete and these areas of discovery are in use today, and they may not be in the future which our children are growing into. These areas of learning are an extension of the Broad Curriculum Areas described previously and you can also see in our Tree of Knowledge diagram.
We will be helping our children to self educate to learn on demand and “just-in-time”. Our aim is to have more emphasis on making connections, thinking through issues and solving problems rather than material memorisation.
Examples of Learning extensions (most have been done):
Watching seeds grow. Putting seeds in a glass jar so the roots can be seen. [Child] understands she will not get any peas from her indoor plants unless a bee pollinates it.  [Child] critiques movies like the “Bee Movie” and we discuss bees in the real world.
Working with many different cooking materials – the favourite at the moment is vinegar and baking soda.
Watching the sun's path through the day and plotting the shadow. This connects with the seasons, and an understanding of the solar system.
Watching many different documentaries on the Water Cycle, which leads into watching the rain the sun and the cloud formations. Experiments with evaporation. We ran an erosion experiment with sand, water and wind - aka hair drier.  Asking how soil is made which lead to “Why is the sea salty?”, and then an experiment of salt water and whether a nail would rust faster in fresh or salty water.
Herb concoctions. [Child] is very interested in the quality of plants. What are their names? Which one is poisonous? She often makes basil pesto in the hope it might be a medicine. [Child] has her own garden which she spends a lot of time in, and takes great pride in.
Earthquakes - of course this last year have been the subject of many questions. We’ve taken [Child] to both Te Papa and the Auckland museum where there are earthquake simulations.
Dinosaurs! This lasted for months and still seems to spark many questions, so has clearly attracted [Child]'s attention.
Understanding where we (society) is, by understanding where we have come from. Both David and I feel it is very important to learn from the past, and we believe History is an integrated part of every learning area, essential to fully understanding anything. History most of all gives learning more context.
History might cover areas like:
Cultural heritage like myths, story’s, legends like King Arthur
Prehistory - the idea that anything before written record is called prehistory, but still very important to our world today.
Study of climate change and looking into the past for clues to what is happening today.
Wars and conflicts.
The rise and fall of past civilisations
Ancient wonders of the world
The Renaissance
Controversy in history - conflicting opinions and versions of events
Religious history
Examples of learning extensions for history
Looking in our local area
The butter factory -  we visited an old butter factory that had been turned into a children's playground
Our own Waipu museum to see how Waipu was colonised.
How different plants and animals came to be here
How our planet has been shaped (large interest due to earthquakes and dinosaur activities)
There are many different areas of geography which touch so many learning areas, but they can be sorted and given names to fit into two main areas. Geography can be linked into so many other areas of learning.

Human geography
Cultural geography *Also a part of Social Science
Development geography
Economic geography *Also a part of Social Science
Health geography *Also a part of Health
Historical & Time geography *See History
Political geography *Also a part of Social Science
Population geography *Also a part of Social Science
Religion geography *Also a part of Social Science
Social geography *Also a part of Social Science
Transportation geography

Physical geography
Coastal geography
Environmental geography
Hydrology & Hydrography
Landscape ecology
Pedology - soils
Palaeogeography – passed landforms

This subject is huge and extremely important. With the world’s population becoming more and more over weight and becoming depressed and stressed we need proactively provide an environment that allows our children's health to be at 100%. We need to develop healthy habits in our children, and an understanding of the role of health in their lives.

Body care
Physical safety
Mental health - Attitudes and values
Food and nutrition
Sexuality education
Physical activity
Outdoor education

Examples of learning extensions
Lots of outdoor play and exploring especially at a young age
Looking at how food affects us. Where different types of food come from. How food can be processed.
How to treat injuries - wasp bites, cuts, bruises
What medicines we give and when
BMX bike riding for exercise
Being prepared for an emergency
We had a water quality issue with our own water tanks, which we resolved getting a sample analysed by the council, then treating the water, and installing drinking water filters.

Health in humans it is the general condition of a person in mind, body and spirit, usually meaning to be free from illness, injury or pain. We need to understand the broad areas which can be linked in their influence whether people are healthy or unhealthy

Income and social status
Social support networks
Education and literacy
Employment/working conditions
Social environments
Physical environments
Personal health practices and coping skills
Healthy child development
Biology and genetics
Health care services

Examples of learning extensions
Being aware of allergies. I have chosen to be gluten free for health reasons. Allergies to food, plants and insects.
Discussing various diets around the world. Being part of a Baha’i family we are often introduced to many different foods from around the world. As we (and extended family) travel we bring back and experience different foods.
Reading books on health and disease. As an example we have in our family Von Willerbrands bleeding disorder and I have acquired a few children’s books to explain what this is all about. This makes for an interesting case study.
Being able to look up information to help with ailments and have a general understanding when talking to a health professional.

Example Lesson Plan
The “Activity plan” example is something that we could follow as we are new to the ideas of home education we see this type of planning phased out in the future. This might be used to help focus our thoughts when we are helping the children in a project or to document any information to put into the portfolio which will help plot future interests.

Activity Plan                Date __/__/__
Aim: To expand [Child]’s knowledge about a Moth.

Resources: Online search and books from home, books from the library about Moths/Butterfly/Caterpillar, look for a DVD or documentary about Moths and or Butterfly in general; Visit Whangarei Quarry Garden park at the right time of year to view Monarch Butterfly; Night study with touch light, Art Supplies. Specialists in this area...and many more (see resource appendix B)

[Child] noticed a Moth in the kitchen, and began to ask many questions about them.
“Why do they bang on the window?”
“Why are they brown?”
“What is a it not a butterfly?”
We captured the moth and put it in the science cup to look at it
Talking about the Moth life cycle
Drawing the life cycle
Reading “The hungry caterpillar”
Watching and caring for our own Moth through a life cycle
How many Moths are there in the house? Study the numbers...over a week, month or year (if the interest holds out that long). Graph them. Talking about the Moths habitat and life
Nocturnal...follow with other insects that are the same. This may lead into looking at other Animals and insects that are nocturnal.
Question why do they live like this (nocturnal)
What does it eat? How...and where are they likely to be found?
Does anything eat the Moth?
We could go on a Moth hunt (and already have) taking our Andrew Crow books with us to look up what we find.

Moth costumes with wings talking about the construction of a Moth wing noting the difference between colours, texture and construction compared to butterfly or birds.
Talking about the type of Moth
Is it native? Endangered or common
Other types of Moth
What does this Moth do over other types?
If we discover that there is a Moth which is endangered we could talk about how we could help it to survive.
We could talk about Moth in other parts of the world and if there are any special ones which we could take note of.

Comments and Follow up:
Make moth/butterfly biscuits, mobiles, paintings and sculptures
Write stories about moths, songs, poems short movies
We could design a game about moths
This is just one idea a study could lead off into many areas we just need to provide and guide.
Special Education Needs
Currently we as [Child]’s parents do not feel that there are any special educational needs. As with many children [Child]’s age her ability to sit still is limited and we structure our activities around this.
While helping our children to learn at home we will be closely aware of their needs. As there are only two children in the Bartlett family both of their needs should be able to be fulfilled. If for some reason we feel as their parents that they are not able to understand some part of their learning we will give them more help, try a different method, different material or books, and work on the information longer (or have a break).
If our children need help which we cannot provide for them then we will ask others; friends, family or pay for a tutor to get us past the difficulty. If we - as parents who are helping our children - need to go on a course, study, research and read to understand what the difficulty might be, then we are very willing.
As parents we are aware of many different types of learning difficulties; Dyslexia, Auditory Processing Disorder, Dyscalculia, ADHD, Autism, Stress, Anxiety and Depression and many more. We have read John Holts book “How Children Fail” and are very aware of learning styles. We also have Grandparents – one who is a trained Teacher and the other a Psychologist who are also very aware of different challenges we may have.
Social Contact - Assessment and Evaluation
Social contact
Social contact is a part of our daily lives and we intend to keep up the social outings as interest follows.
[Child] is involved in ballet lessons once a week.
Swimming lessons or just having fun time in the pool. We are a part of the Homeschool swimming lessons once a week.
We are members of Whangarei Home Education Support Group. We have also started looking into other support groups in the Warkworth / Rodney area.
Play dates
Music groups - we were part of a community music group for children, but is not operating this year. We are looking at getting [Child] into a Suzuki violin class.
Homeschool drama class runs weekly - we attend from time to time
BMX track with other Homeschoolers
Camping outings with other Homeschoolers and family and friends
As we are a part of these social interactions we can hear, see and assess our children on a daily basis, as we watch them discover new things, and observe their skills improving often while they are talking to other family members or their friends. We can also judge their level of understanding by the questions they ask us. We are keeping just about all their work in the younger years, but understand as the children grow older it will be hard to keep track of interests with the amount of books they read and will have to rely mostly on verbal interactions and final products to see the learning.
Part of our vision is building confidence. We will be keeping assessment or comparing our children to others to our selves thus their confidence in self education will grow at their own pace. Evaluation will be done over a long time as often in the home education environment an interest can run days, weeks and months with many different subjects intertwine. This also allows our children the time to self correct as they explore their interests.
As our children grow older and past our ability to evaluate their work we will ask others to become involved.
While trying to keep a track of our children’s learning, gathering material for their portfolios/scrapbooks, taking photos and writing on our blogs:  or  we soon realised that we cannot run to the school terms and holidays as we had no where to put information outside these times....we just go the whole time.
Curriculum Coverage for first year (age 5)
I have put things into a Cloud as I feel so much connects it is hard to describe it all. Some are questions that [Child] has asked. Some are broad areas which we have looked into, often extending from a question [Child] has asked. Some are worksheets or projects we’ve studied - if [Child] does not come up with an interest we will search for the current day in history on Wikipedia.
Cob  Built pot cob oven and cooked BBQ • Astrix Thatched roofs • Mt St Helens Volcano •
Baking soda and Sandpit volcano • Volcanoes • Chickens • Wharf  Oil tankers  Wood chips •
Music and Dance • Weather  Clouds Water cycle • Science songs • Rotorua • Puppies • Jury Summons • Emergency Vehicles • Qunioa (first word ever wrote) • Design goat house •Trains •
Dinosaurs – walking with dinosaurs, books, drawings, play figures, playdough •
Beach visit – sand writing, collecting •Cooking •Weaving •Lego •
Computer games -Kelly Green and Seed Game • 2+2  3+3  4+4 •Famous Five •
Grandparents in US – postcards, plotting trip on map • Collecting leaves •
Building Fairy land (birthday project) • Pizza board game • Snails • Painting • Letter hunts •
Hoola hoop • Sandpit • Secret Garden – music, movie and story, designing her own garden •
Towers – douplo, building block and boxes •MOTAT • Zoo •
Knitting – making Jolly phonics ch[Child]cter snake • Cat – sat – mat – hat - rat •
Audio books – Magicians nephew • Swimming lessons • Visiting Poppas grave •
Bears Honey? • Swiss Family Robinson  Bear Grylls? • Lions  how do they live • Bottling fruit •
Art group – at our house 12 HomeSchool children
Christchurch earthquake • Civil Defence • Playing Doctor • Puzzles • Garden •
Kawau Island – bugs, birds, boats, houses, people • Butterfly • Craftwork • Playdough • Medical Herbalist Potions • Sheep  grandparents • Cousins - England • Nuts • Horses • Roll Playing •
Titanic – what floats, cold water, google earth •Baha’i children’s classes •Numbers • The F[Child]way tree •
Counting and reading signs
Finger paint  homemade colour mixing • Short story writing • Erosion discovery • Happy Feet the penguin • March of the penguins • Whangarei Quarry gardens • Kerikeri    Stone store and other attractions • Pollination • Cooking with Granny • Talk about emotions •
Haemophilia – Von willerbrands, how do you get it? Mummy can you still play...could I still play? • Electrical Brainbox • Singing – Jolly phonics, rhymes •
Experiments   dyeing a feathersound and balloons  constant interest •
Bees • Wind – how does it move • Tides – where does the water go •
Moon – why does it have so many shapes •
Electricity – how did they make it to start with • Sounding out words •
Wellington – friends, gardens, tram, Te Papa, Flying fox • Skate Northland H.S. activity • Shapes • Drawing a story •Bug hunt •Waiwerea • Ballet • playcentre • Spiders •Library •
Cow – Milk – milking shed – milk tanker - dairy factory – truck - 4 square •
Boxes – castles, homemade chipmunks playground, houses, cafes, doctors beds, tunnels, farms, slides, cars, beds, books and mobiles •
Waipu caves – camping there, taking H.S friends, going in them, exploring • Making gifts •
Japan earthquake reading the newspaper  Earless rabbit Tsunami •
 Ice  how is it formed? How long does it take? Shape • Writing •Elephants •Bubbles •Balloons •Seasons •Photo of earth • Bird box •Building •Word discovery – looking up a word in a dictionary • Singing Phonics•
Flowers – picking, drawing, pressing and planting •
Chickens – raising, feeding, collecting eggs, books on chicken health, testing age of eggs •
Letter writing to friends (pictures) • Sewing – made a sock-t-puss • shoe lace tying •
Peg counting and pattern making • Plotting earthquakes and Volcanoes • Kiribati – design a new home •
How does the library make money? • How does the soil and the trees stay on the earth and not go out to space? •Gravity • Festival of light • Salt water and rust • Beginning letter sound of word • Oil refinery • House design •
Time - Clock • Baby animals names • Lambs • Owls •Book making • Magnets •
Imaginary play with friends and brother • bull’s-eye games with balls •
Drawing on the patio – bugs, hopscotch, plan view of local park, earth and planets, letters•
Geometric dome – trying to draw, building with toothpicks • Graphs • M[Child]e H.S. visit • Orca whales •Maps •Markets • St George and the dragon •Guy Fawkes • Self portrait • Menu planning •
Speaking Spanish (new family member) • Healthy food choices •
Farming practices - discussions • Growing tomatoes and making sauce •
Andrew Crowes nature books – dragged everywhere • how was the sun made
Curriculum Coverage for second year (age 6)

Reading • Writing • Exploring • Questioning • Developing on what we already have • Developing a sense of time • Developing a sense of place as in maps • Growing food • making purchases • Understanding more on numbers and symbols • Looking more around our own town • Looking at the moon • Seasons • pond and sea observation • Odd and even numbers • Counting in 2,5,10 • Working more with money  regular market stall • Lots of art and craft • knitting more • Play more music  possible music lessons or creating time with other Homeschooled friends to play music together •

The Roots of Our Philosphy (Dave’s bit)

We have a strong sense that human beings can only reach their full potential when they see themselves as completely free, sovereign entities.

When our children explore the world, we want to ensure they see as much of it as they want, that is, we don’t wish to put any artificial constraints on what is available to our children. Nor do we wish to interpret the world for them – we want to avoid giving them conclusions, preferring to let them draw their own. We wish to avoid presenting our own personal biases when we describe the world to our children.

We have a libertarian outlook on life in the sense that we believe each of us should be free to live our own life as we see fit, without compulsion. When we are free to make our own choices in life, and set our own course, whether we get it right first time is irrelevant because we quickly learn from experience and adjust our course accordingly. The main thing is that our children have a good ‘moral compass’, and good judgement, so that they can steer themselves in the right direction throughout their life.

We wish for our children to love their family, their friends, their community, their planet. If that is the case, and our children follow their hearts, the course they plot will be the right one.

Our approach to home education could best be described as ‘unschooling’ is the sense Jolt Holt described ( We take a child-led approach to learning where we see adults as facilitators whose role it is to augment our children’s natural learning processes.

Underlying our educational philosophy is the goal of creating highly self motivated children who enjoy learning with a passion. We believe that what makes a successful person – that is someone who can not only enjoy life peacefully, but also contribute back to society – is motivation, and the ability to self-educate. We believe that with these qualities, and a steady moral compass, a fulfilling, successful life is sure to follow.

We believe motivation needs to come from within, rather than being pushed from outside. There is surely no motivating force as strong as our built-in human instinct to follow our dreams. We are all created with this instinct; we as educators need to be extremely careful not to crush it.

Appendix A
Reading resources used to develop Vision

1. Playcentre course work
2. Penny Brownlee
Magic Place
3. Dr William Sears
The Attachment Parenting Book (2001)
The Successful Child: What Parents Can Do to Help Kids Turn Out Well (2002)
We own most of the books to do with raising children - The Baby Book, The Birth Book, Parenting the Fussy Baby, The Breastfeeding Book, The Discipline Book
The Family Nutrition Book (looking forward to buying this one, but use a lot of their on line information until we do)
4.  John Holt
How Children Fail (1964; revised 1982)
How Children Learn (1967; revised 1983)
What Do I Do Monday? (1970)
Instead of Education (1976)
Teach Your Own (1981; revised 2003 by Pat Farenga)
Learning All the Time (1989)
(Will buying more of his books over time)
5. John Taylor Gatto
Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling (1992).
The Underground History of American Education (2001).
Weapons of Mass Instruction: A Schoolteacher's Journey through the Dark World of Compulsory Schooling (2008).
'Against School' (2001)
6. Jan Hunt
The Natural Child: Parenting From the Heart
The Unschooling Unmanual (co-edited) many authors.
Also read a lot of articles on her website
7. Sir Ken Robinson
Out of Our Minds: Learning to Be Creative. (2001)
The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything(2009)
Also have watched online talks (will keep looking for more)
8. Linda Dobson
The Ultimate Book of Homeschooling Ideas: 500+ Fun and Creative Learning Activities for Kids
9. Mary Griffith
The Homeschooling Handbook: From Preschool to High School, a Parent’s Guide,
The Unschooling Handbook: How to Use the Whole World As Your Child's Classroom
Visit her blog and websites
10.  Daniel Siegal
Parenting from the Inside Out
(Will buy more of his books over time)
11. Jean Liedloff
Continuum concept
12. Ivan Illich
Deschooling Society(1971)

13. Grace Llewellyn and Amy Silver
Guerrilla Learning: How to Give Your Kids a Real Education With or Without School
14. Pam Leo
Connection Parenting
Also read her website
15. Clark Aldrich
Unschooling Rules
Also read his blog every so often
16.  Alison McKee
Homeschooling Our Children Unschooling Ourselves
Also read her website
17. Alfie Kohn
UNCONDITIONAL PARENTING: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason
(Will buy more of his books over time)
18 Marshall B. Rosenberg
Nonviolent Communication a Language of life
(Will buy more of his books over time)
19. Jon Kabat-Zinn
Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting
As well as other books working with mind and health  – “Wherever You Go, There You Are” and “Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness” “Arriving at Your Own Door: 108 Lessons in Mindfulness”
20. Victoria Botkin
Listened to her c.d.
21. Tanya R. Batt
Own her book “Dance upon a time”
22. Sandra Dodd
Read most of her web site
Own her book “The Big Book of Unschooling”
23. Laura Grace Weldon
Read most of her web site
Own her book ”Free Range Learning”
24. Alice Miller
The Body Never Lies
For Your Own Good

Appendix B
Resources and Reference Material
Megan - Mother
o Previously self-employed Landscape Design/Technology with a strong interest in art.
o Has training in Civil Defence Urban Search Rescue as a Rescue Instructor, Certificate in Adult teaching.
o Travelled in the last 15 years to Australia, Malaysia, Thailand and Tonga.
o Great interest in outdoors – tramping, camping, Mt biking, caving, skiing, gardening
o Has full drivers licence and heavy vehicle licence.
David - Father
o Has a degree in Electrical & Electronic Engineering
o Operating own computer software consulting business.
o Has worked in USA and Canada, and travelled in Europe, Australia and Tonga.
o Great interest in outdoors – tramping, camping, Mt biking, caving, water sports, Skiing, gardening
Grandmother – Lecturer at AUT, Historian
Grandfather – Psychologist
Grandmother - Business owner
Grandfather – Banker, Politician and Justice of Peace
Other family interests and specialties, qualifications and or jobs
Next-door neighbours are from Holland and have offered to teach our children Dutch they also bread dogs.
Next-door neighbour is a carpenter and is always keen to help out
Next-door neighbour is a tinker inventor and has often helped out in projects
Next-door neighbours own horses and have already been teaching the children about horse care.

Living on 1 hectare of land
Local homeschooling support groups.
Museums, art galleries, swimming pools, zoo, beaches, parks, Chipmunks,
Community events – Waipu has a strong community and often runs many events from delivery of snow to a local cafe to local fireworks shows with BBQs.
Movie Theatre
School fairs and galas
Homeschool group trips/events
Whangarei Library
Waipu Library
Local farmers markets (which [Child] has already had stalls at selling to earn money to buy her chickens)

Ability to obtain Information
Computers with broadband internet access. One computer for each child if they feel they need one.
Large collection of books, including fiction, non-fiction, children’s books, magazines, atlases, dictionaries, thesaurus.
o Many books on; gardening, native plants, native animals, computer programming, politics, history ww2, alternative building, child development, child health, meditation
o Extensive Grandparent library; teaching, history, psychology, health and yoga.
Maps of New Zealand, Maps of the World
Children’s DVD’s – a growing selection
Documentaries – a growing selection
Local Newspapers

Tools and supplies
Calculating and measuring tools (a lot of tools left over from Megan’s Landscape Design business)
Art & Craft Supplies, including: various colours and sizes/thicknesses of paper and card, acrylic paint, felts, pencils (coloured and lead), chalk, glue, ice block sticks, permanent markers, whiteboard markers, play dough, scissors, guillotine, cello tape, string, nails, wood, stamps, punches, stencils, easel, art and craft and drawing books
Musical Instruments: Ukulele, Recorder, Castanets, Mini drums, large (and small), Tambourines, Whistles, Guitar, Future purchase of electric piano, Violin, Malodica(Future purchase of other instruments in the future as interests arise)
Music- large selection of CD’s (Both our own music taste and the grandparents;-) large selection!) hope to have internet radio soon too.
o iPods
o Home sound system
o Audio books

Playing Cards, and a selection of card games, and learning cards
Board Games:
o Cranium
o Monopoly
o Scrabble
o Tantrix
o Rummikub
o Yahtzee
o Hairy Maclary Race Game
o Holiday
o Pizza fractions
o (and adding to this each year)
Puzzles ranging from 30-1000 pieces (and adding to this each year)

Large collection of plastic animals – farm, wild animals and dinosaur
Large box of wooden blocks
Large Train set
Little People house
Cash register
Wooden cars and trucks
Xbox Kinnect

o Climbing frame with slide
o Tricycles plus other ride on toys
o Two wheel bikes
o Tennis racquets and balls
o Soccer balls
o Cricket sets
o Rebounder
Math toys:
o Cuisenaire rods (looking for some better ones)
o Dominoes
o Geometric boards
o Number charts
o Duplo and Lego
o Rat-a-tat card game
Language toys and computer games:
o Magnetic letters and numbers (adding to as cat chases them around the floor)
o Printed flash cards
o Jolly Phonics home kit with Dvd, CD, work books, posters and reading books
o “Startwrite” program for forming letters and writing, printable and personal.
Kitchen Equipment
Gardening Tools
Home Maintenance tools and equipment
Digital cameras
iPod touch