Is less more?

After posting my rants these past few days about writing my In-Home Instruction Plan (IHIP) for the NYC Department of Education, I received a couple of e-mails from bloggy-reading parents. And they said,

Don't Kill Yourself.

And they also said,

There is a format that we use. Try it.

And they said so in the best way, with the best intentions. Because, let's face it, the paper pushers who sit at the desks at the Dept of Ed are not keen to read pedagogical writing, are they? They are there to check off boxes and move on with their work. Frank McCourt implies this several times in his latest book, Teacher Man.

But underlying the bloggy-reading parents' advice to me (if I interpreted it correctly), was a request to do less because the Dept of Ed shouldn't be in our business, anyway.

My situation is this: I am already beginning to compile, based on my research with U.S. universities, a curriculum that we can begin to reference when A is ready to apply for admission to college. I also take great pride in our choice of books and in my brand of pedagogy. I want the Board of Ed to see what we're doing.

I want them to know that A never belonged in the "dummy reading class" in which his public school teacher placed him. That he is a proficient reader, that yes, he understands the English language, and that he was never reduced to lesser abilities because I checked off "only one parent allowed to pick him up" on the emergency card (don't ask, but I was actually called in to meet with the principal about it for two hours).

That their initial evaluations of his abilities were far, far off the mark.

That we are doing things right. That we are doing things in earnest. That we are studying, debating, drawing, thinking, contemplating, drafting, solving, advocating, fighting, lamenting over, and loving what we learn.

And that they are giving out hall passes.

On the other hand, I want little to do with the Dept of Ed, and feel that several pages of IHIP might fall under their scrutiny for commentary or criticism or worse - the truancy officer.

So is less more? Should homeschoolers stick together and give the Board of Ed a bone, but no meat on it, lest they forget their place?

And yes, I finished our IHIP.


Becky said...

I can understand this, because we're planning on the kids going to university as well, and we're proud of their accomplishments. We also don't want the province in our business, and I don't mind letting them know that if we even did half of what WTM suggests for each grade, we'd be exceeding their Alberta Curriculum by 200 percent. Of course, the kicker is that they could not care less about what the kids accomplish if it doesn't involve or include their own curriculum. And avoiding that ridiculous fluff is a majore reason we hs. So we're at odds to start, and end, with.

So what I do is this: I have the kids' binders (and when they are A's age I will have a precis written up as well), but in addition I have a separate bare-minimum-just-what-is- required for the gov't piece of paper. Because the gov't and admissions officers are two different kettle of fish, at least in this neck of the woods : )

NYCitymomx3 said...

The teacher who put A in the dummy reading group is probably still putting other kids there. And she'll never ever see your IHIP and how amazing A is. You have held on to how this teacher perceived you and your son and I'll bet she doesn't even remember you. Everything you want the DOE to "see" won't be seen. This is a business. Kids in, kids out.

My very first IHIP and quarterly were very long. I wanted the DOE to see that my 8 y/o was doing advanced fractions and reading Shakespeare. I was overly detailed and proud. I wanted them to see the amazingness of this thing called homeschooling.

But I soon realized they don't read it, they don't care, giving them too many pages to file put them in a bad mood, and they always seem to "lose" parts of it. They get correspondence 7 times a year from the 210 homeschooling families in our region. I'm sure they prefer and appreciate the brief and simple. So now every piece of my correspondence is about 1/2 a page long and the DOE loves us. Why create problems when it's easier not to?

I do what Becky does: I send in the bare-minimum and keep a separate, long, detailed record of everything dd learns and does. I have something to "show" if the need arises. Keep us posted on how it goes. This reminds me that I need to get my end of the year paperwork in soon!

la Maitresse said...

"You have held on to how this teacher perceived you and your son and I'll bet she doesn't even remember you."

You know, you are so totally right! It was our first impression of the public school system here. It's been hard to shake off.

And I mentioned on this blog how a friend of mine, who eventually graduated from M.I.T., was told by her teacher when she was younger that she needed to attend classes for the educationally challenged.

Sigh. I hate the system.

liz said...

repeat to yourself:


la Maitresse said...

...is this the Liz who has *yet* to take the homeschooling plunge? [wink, wink]