I recently shared how I write my learning project for Quebec and it was a very popular post! You can find it here if you missed it. Since then I have had some requests to share how I write my mid-term and completion reports. It isn't even close to time to write them, but it is good to know what to expect. I will make sure to send this post to my subscribers as a refresher when we near those seasons, so subscribe if you want periodic notices of the most pertinent information from our site.
Each time I fill one of these reports out I feel so stressed. It seems like such a big and important task with huge ramifications. Once I get started though, I knock it out so quickly and easily that I wonder what all the fuss had been about. I have been using the ministry template, so I will walk through the sections based on that format, which is the same for mid-term and completion. Also, I don't fill in anything that says it is optional.
Completed Activities and Projects
This section is incredibly easy if you have taken my advice and put together your portfolio and list of topics covered. Check out the post here to learn how I put my portfolio together for the ministry. As with all the sections of the form, you don't need a lot of text. The list of activities does not need to be all inclusive. This is a great place to highlight activities that cover competencies for your child's grade and those that are especially big or impressive. Here are a couple of examples from last year. The kiddo was in grade 6.
An introduction to Shakespeare including his life, times, and language used in his plays, the live performance of Measure for Measure, journal writing and spelling practice, how to read a play, an introduction to hamlet, reading the play Hamlet together, writing a book report, reading and writing in cursive, and independent reading
Kiddo worked in Shiller Math book 4, studied probability using Magic the Gathering cards, and learned how to double recipes
Approximate Time Allocated
I have a hard time with this one. This year the kiddo is tracking his time for his high school transcript in the US because we will be back there by the time he is graduating, so it will be easy to plug in a total of hours for the first half of the year. Generally, that has not been the case. I just give a rough estimate of how much time I spend on each subject each day or week. Make sure to keep in mind all the time you spend on subject related random conversations over the course of a day or week. Really, just estimate the time the best you can and don't worry about it too much.
I put the same thing into each slot. The exception being if the kiddo did a test or had someone else observe him, then I add that as well. Otherwise it is this in every slot:
Observations of student, conversations with student, sample work for portfolio
Student's Learning Progress
This is the one that is hard. It is very subjective. You need to balance your praise and challenges so you aren't gushing about your incredible child that could never do anything less than perfect but also don't sound like you child is failing at life because you destroyed them with your decision to homeschool. If there is ever a time when you feel judged and like you have to defend your choice to homeschool, this might be it. Don't write your report defensively though. Try to step outside of the situation and write from an unbiased perspective. It will give your written voice a sound of professionalism and confidence.
Also, be sure to note changes. Your DEM does not want to hear that your child has stayed the same over time. They want to hear that your child has grown in some way. Here are some examples from my mid- term and completion reports from last year:
Kiddo has been very self motivated in his science studies this year. He is especially enjoying his study of space. The board game project was something he came up with on his own. He did considerable research on it and took great care to make sure the game emulated actual scientific knowledge of the stars. He has had a lot of fun play testing it at Centre Communidee and is currently in the process of refining the rules.
Kiddo has impressed us with his diligent researching of stars and the immune system. He has been eloquent in explaining what he has learned in both verbal and written forms of communication. He has developed a love of science and is looking forward to studying science further next year.
Kiddo has a tendency to complicate his math problems. We are working with him to see that they are often quite simple. He is beginning to see that math is not as difficult as he perceives. He is understanding his lessons more as we continue through the year.
Kiddo has gotten better at keeping his math problems simple. He has become faster at doing math problems. He prefers doing mental math instead of using calculators.
Your DEM wants to see a progression through the year. It is good to share the difficulties your child has with subjects. The kiddo has a rough time with math. So I shared that in the most eloquent way I could. I also made sure to share what we are doing to help him overcome that difficulty.
My DEM asked me about math at our mid-year check in. She wanted to know how we go about moving from one lesson to the next. Do we grade the lesson and move on? No, I use mastery grading. That means we do not move on from a topic until it is mastered. That may mean we get in less total lessons. I would rather he understand the lessons than get in more of them with little to no understanding. A bit of a rabbit trail, but it is good to have some language to use with your DEM.
Well, that is it. It isn't that bad, really. Most of the pages will be left empty as they are optional. I do send in a mid-term portfolio. My DEM has asked to see it every year. I know I don't need to send it in, it isn't required. My DEM has been very impressed with our portfolios so far and I kind of enjoy the opportunity to show off a bit mid year.
Obviously, there is a good chance that the ministry will make frequent changes to the homeschool regulations. This method has worked for me for the past two years, but should changes occur, it may not be how things work in the future.