Every truth has four corners: as a teacher I give you one corner, and it is for you to find the other three. Confucius

29 May 2017

The Australian National Curriculum

Hi Everyone,

Okay, today I will give a summary of my take on the Australian Curriculum in 2017. Apparently there is a revised version 8 (rather than 7) but as far as I can see it hasn't changed in any way to affect homeschooling, especially the F-10 age group. I have linked the underlined text above for you to check out the overview yourself, and I have given a brief account of my experience with the new(ish) curriculum below.

Fundamentally the learning areas have changed a little in name with the switch from the South Australian Curriculum Framework, but the basic premises are the same.

English is still English and remains fundamentally unchanged in its drive for literacy and expression through the written word, usually addressing phonics in the early years and graduating to understanding text/meaning at a deeper level later on. One change I did notice is that the curriculum now makes mention of facilitating the acquisition of English for Indigenous or new Australians under the heading English as an Additional Language or Dialect.

Mathematics is still Mathematics and pretty much remains unchanged from the South Australian Curriculum, but outcomes/expectations have been slightly altered for continuity across all states of Australia.

Art is now The Arts, as always encompassing Dance, Drama, Media Arts, Music and Visual Arts.

Languages Other than English (LOTE) is now simply Languages and encompasses a choice of 16 different languages including Auslan and Classical Languages in conjunction to a set of approved international languages.

Design and Technology is now Technologies and use the terminology Design and Technologies and Digital Technologies as it's subheadings which is pretty self explanatory, I think.

Society and Environment (SOSE) is now Humanities and Social Sciences (HASS) and encompasses Geography, History, self concept etc in the lower grades and moves into Civics and Citizenship and Economics and Business in the higher year levels.

Health and Physical Education remains unchanged in that it deals with health, self care and body awareness and positive social awareness.

As a longtime homeschooling parent, I have generally remained consistent in my expectations of our children and our style of learning. I do read basic documents related to curriculum as changes are made and I find this keeps me on track and reminds me what's going on in education and the world in general. I believe that an open attitude is a healthy attitude as a learning facilitator and parent.

I ignore recommendations relating to assessment and testing as I don't see this as a necessary aspect of a positive education, and generally as homeschoolers we have the option to delve as deeply or loosely into a curriculum area as we feel comfortable. I do not personally feel disempowered by loosely adhering to a prescribed education framework and have never encountered negativity from reviewers sent to monitor our homeschooling setup. I know the review process is troublesome for some families, whether in practice or philosophically, but I honestly haven't found this to be the case for us or anyone we know to this point, touch wood :)

I make minor title adjustments such as those pointed out above but basically curriculum areas remain pretty stable over time as does my approach. I tend to program retrospectively, fitting what we've done into a learning area, not vice verse and this allows a certain freedom of style a heavy pre-planned curriculum doesn't. We do tend to work quite traditionally in English and Maths as the children enjoy this but supplement book work with lots of hands on activities which all fits nicely into any curriculum, I find.

Apologies for publishing this article out of sync I will return to writing curriculum areas in my next post.

Talk Soon, Cynthia x