A few tips

Trying to be practical, for once in a way: Here are a few things I learned from our ERO review which might be helpful for others in the wars.

1) I made a list, an almost exhaustive list, of all the things the child does, from picking up the gumboots to playing with playdough. The reviewers commented that this was very helpful and saved a lot of time, and we did in fact finish about half an hour early. I was glad I had included everything I could think of, as I could not possibly have predicted the things they would and wouldn’t pick out as important. I also supplied them with copies of my list of the books I read aloud to the children last year – the only educational record, I suppose, that I keep.

2) Speaking of records, one of the things that most affronted and dissatisfied the MOE when we were trying to get this exemption was that we didn’t keep records. I stated that we have a pile of used exercise books and they categorically told me that this was not a record of progress and achievement. So I made a point of asking the ERO and they categorically told me it was. I said “My plan is a box of textbooks in the corner of the dining room and my records are a pile of used exercise books on a shelf in the study,” and they said that was absolutely fine. Useful to know.

3) If you’re facing an ERO review, my experience is that it is pleasant but very controlled. Opinion is not welcome, nor is deviation from the stated agenda.

4) If you’re a Christian, though, you’ll want to try  to make the most of every opportunity for the Gospel. Here is how I’ve come at it, with both the MOE and the ERO:

“How do I know that I’m going to achieve these goals? Well, you know what? I’m not. I don’t even achieve my own goals, never mind God’s goals. God’s goal for us is that we should keep all of his commandments all of the time. And we don’t achieve that. That’s why Jesus came to die on the cross so that we could be forgiven – because we’re people who don’t meet our goals.”

5) Finally, if you can get some prayer support, don’t go in there without it. It made all the difference in the world. You know who you are – thank you.

nathanael 001


2 thoughts on “A few tips

  1. Good job, Tani and thanks for those tips.
    I have had three ERO reviews, including one ‘black-marked’ one and one failed one. The former, because I admitted that sometimes (when I was pregnant and anaemic), all we did was read and discuss books together, and the latter, because I had paid to get two of my children assessed by a SPELD tutor due to learning delays, and her report suggested that I may not have followed her advice. Also I confessed that I did not know how to help one particular child with her literacy because she hated books, however I was learning a lot from educational resources I was reading.
    Thankfully, the final one we passed with ease:
    due to the advice and support of Craig and Barbara Smith of H.E.F,
    due to hours of work getting together display boards of a recent educational trip we had taken as a family
    and due to lots of ‘edu-speak’ terminology peppered throughout the displays and our korero (ie adding the suffix ‘ology’ to pretty much everything we had done ;^) ).
    There is no doubt that planning is the key.
    I liked your answer to the curriculum and record keeping issue, although a lot of the learning my children did during the un-schooling years we did not even have the stack of exercise books. The late reader/writers pretty much did all their ‘testing’ verbally, but remarkably much of it has stuck. Strike up a conversation with an of them on any subject and one cannot deny there is a wealth of general knowledge there and plenty of ‘life-skills’ (including literacy and rationality).

    • Indeed, reading is the key to life. But not the key to basking in the approval of the educrats, because a vast array of general knowledge drawn from wide and copious reading is not something they can test, monitor or control. Nor is the habit of rational thought and analysis anything that they would want to encourage. I’ll say it again, it’s not about education, it’s about control.
      Thanks for contributing all this, Esther. xxoo

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