How I Wrote a High School Learning Project
Well, here we are! My learning project for 7th grade has been accepted by my DEM. Third time's the charm, right? Despite the fact that I wrote the original learning project with the same method as last year and the fact that none of the regulations have changed, my learning project was declined...twice!
I have a couple of takeaways from the experience. One, that the ministry considers high school to be more important and exceedingly complex. Both of which I disagree with, but that won't help me one bit. Secondly, the DEM wants to see that we actually comprehend the learning competencies. It was helpful to basically regurgitate the language used for those competencies and make sure each one is recorded in the plan. Just knowing that the activities will address them is not enough you have to demonstrate your comprehension. Lastly, the ministry is really pushing the actual curriculum from the schools. It isn't a surprise but it is also not a concession I am willing to make. I only made a couple of very small actual changes in our plans, adding Kahn Academy for math and takelessons.com for french classes.
I was able to keep some of what I had done before. You can see my original post about writing learning projects here. Things like time allotted, teaching philosophy, and methods of assessment were fine. The subjects were the problem, that and I guess I was using an outdated form. Last year this was fine for English language arts:
I will be using Konos curriculum for Kiddo's English studies. Kiddo will be reading assigned biographies, plays, and poetry this year, as well as fiction works of his choosing. He will be learning about the construction of a script and how to read it. He will be attending a play and watching film renditions of Shakespeare's plays. He will be writing some informative work this year. He will also be working on journaling with writing prompts.
This year that was not enough. Our study of creative communications was not well rounded enough and my DEM could not plainly see what competencies would be covered. So with my third attempt at filling this beast out, I made sure to give examples of the flow of learning in our home, use the competencies language, and show how the subjects are interconnected. This is what I came up with:
Our main focus for language arts studies this year will be creative communications. This subject will focus around literature and creative writing. Our studies will begin with a work of literature, either read to him or by him, and then expanded upon with further activities such as film analysis, author studies, time period studies, study of specific topics that were prominent in the book. Kiddo will present his findings from the various activities, including both the literature based activities and the historical/scientific follow up activities done, through either written, verbal, or other creative form of presentation. Kiddo will also be maintaining a personal journal as well as writing and presenting an ongoing role playing story with his RPG gaming group.
Kiddo listened to the book The City of Ember. He then presented a current events comparison of the city of Ember's isolation to the Covid-19 lock down in current times. As electricity is a key component of the book, Kiddo went on to research Nikola Tesla. He read a biography about Tesla and relayed what he learned about him. Kiddo also read about how AC and DC currents work and watched documentaries relating to both the historical and scientific topics from the book. Finally, He did a film analysis comparing and contrasting the book against the film adaptation. While not every book study will be identical to this, it is the general flow of our studies.
I felt the example would show that while we are reading literature that doesn't mean we aren't also reading non-fiction books. The whole thing, while more detailed, is still very open ended and does not push us into a corner. It gives my DEM a better feel for what we actually do and covered every competency for the subject. The other subject's descriptions are much shorter. They refer back to the language arts section to reaffirm the link between them, like so:
Kiddo will be studying Chemistry through the use of a bilingual chemistry set. He will be covering a variety of scientific topics in relation to his language arts program as the two subjects are very interconnected. He will learn to make detailed observations of natural objects, plants, and animals and learn to draw them with accuracy to further scientific study of the subjects, through the Newcastle Course (Natural History 101 on edx.org highly recommended). Kiddo will be recording and presenting his research throughout his studies.
Another thing I changed was the list of resources. I also commented about the covid-19 lockdown and its effects on our access to resources. The list is also very open ended but thorough in the variety of resources we plan to use. This is what the resources look like for language arts:
We will be working with a variety of literature, biographies, and non-fiction works. Due to the Covid-19 restrictions we will be heavily utilizing SCRIBD for books and articles. We will also be using the Internet for research and documentaries. Kiddo will be utilizing various video streaming services to present information to those outside his immediate family.
Third time was a charm and this learning project got the thumbs up from my DEM. It was very frustrating and stressful to have had to make changes to what had been accepted last year. Perceived or not, it does feel like the ministry is cracking down in a year that is already so challenging. While I think that the ministry should be focusing on the mental health of Quebec students, in schools and homeschooled, they seem to prefer focusing on academic achievement at all cost. We live here and so we have to deal with it.
Heads up, my DEM just e-mailed me and said the status/mid-term reports will be expected to have similar changes. Knowing that, maybe I can get it approved in one shot this time. Bon chance everyone on getting those acceptance notes!