Learning plans for home educators

My previously home educated son Tim is now training and working – ironically – as a primary school teacher. In an idle moment, he wondered what he would present to the LEA if he were home educating his children at some point in the future, if they demanded some kind of learning plan for the year. He thought he would try putting some of the ideals of automonous learning into a school-type document … and this is the result:

Home Education Learning Plan: Year 2015/2016

Key Elements:Learning through enjoyment
Learning through use of question and research
Learning through use of resources
Learning through use of external activities
Learning through use of ICT + Internet
Learning through financial management
Learning through travel
Learning through enjoymentLearner shall spend as much time as agreed and deemed appropriate by adequate consultation between learner + primary learning facilitator. Learner is free to decide when and where this should take place; primary learning facilitator to merely make sure it is not in conflict with other planned activities.

Example activities include:
Playing with lego: This activity is designed to stimulate basic construction talents, including weight distribution, evenness of construction and hand-eye coordination, as well as stimulate the imagination and creativity of the child. May include mathematics in the form of distribution of tiles and geometry.
Playing with age-appropriate computer games: This activity can encourage hand-eye co-ordination, literacy, and valuable ICT skills.

Learning through use of question and researchLearner should be encouraged to ask questions of the parent/learning facilitator at all times. Primary learning facilitator shall not promptly answer the question in an irrelevant fashion, but shall facilitate the learner doing research to find an answer. This may include ICT resources (the Internet and/or Encyclopedias online) use of Encyclopedias (eg Children’s Britannica) library resources and home resources.
Primary learning facilitator should always be on hand to answer questions and be willing to immediately change topic and/or activity with a question in order to hold the child’s attention.
This may cover History, Geography, Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Cooking, Gardening, Religious Education etc
Learning through use of literary resourcesAll sorts of books should be available for children’s learning, both fiction and non-fiction. This will involve reading aloud to the child routinely to stimulate their love of reading, and encouraging them to diversify their reading with regular trips to library and/or friends’ houses to exchange books.
Under no circumstances should minimum or maximum amounts of reading time be allocated.
This activity is designed to stimulate the child to choose to read, write and increase their vocabulary, although these should never be forced. Books read aloud should usually be at the child’s spoken vocabulary level or higher, and designed to stimulate new ideas, rather than simply at the level at which they are currently able to read.
Reading fiction and non-fiction should, if freedom for question + research given, stimulate the child into learning through further research.
Depending on topics of interest, this activity may cover History, Geography, Sciences, and/or Religious Education as well as Literature and English Language.
Learning through use of external activitiesRandom activities can help to stimulate learning. This includes visits to museums (which can often be free of charge) visits to friends’ houses (where various kinds of learning through play may occur) and activities arranged outside of the home with other learning facilitators including music, dance, art and similar lessons.
Going for walks, or to play in the local park can encourage questions about the water cycle, the life of plants and animals, and other topics of scientific interest. If so inspired, the child may want to collect wild flowers, pine cones or similar for art/craft projects.
Depending on interests, these activities may cover Art, Music, PE, Science (biology), Technology, etc.
Learning through use of ICT + InternetChildren should be encouraged to spend whatever time they feel suitable using ICT resources + the internet. This should be gently monitored (for example, the children should be warned that if they find any content on the internet that they feel is inappropriate, they should contact the learning facilitator immediately)
Children should be encouraged to discover resources on their own for developing learning. Appropriate resources for artistic learners will include Photoshop (or free equivalent, The Gimp) Blender (3D Modelling program for gameplay creation + 3d landscape creation) for learners of a more scientific or programming inclination there are various programming resources available for children including PythonTurtle http://pythonturtle.org/ (A logo equivalent that actually teaches a bona fide programming language)
Learning through financial managementLearners may be given a certain amount of money a week as pocket money (depending on finances of learning facilitators), or for specific occasions such as visiting a fair or car boot sale, with which to learn the basics of financial management and mathematics. This may include setting a budget for certain elements (eg chocolate) and savings towards achievable goals.
This teaches vital life skills (budgeting) as well as basic mathematical elements such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
Learning through travelLearner can be encouraged while travelling from A to B to navigate using maps and/or plans. Learner should be encouraged to become aware of distance and time spent travelling, while navigating. If used to  ‘Satellite Navigation’, asking the child to act as such, giving directions within your car, might be a way into it. If time permits, even if route is known to whoever is facilitating this learning, take the child’s route as opposed to your own choice. Even if wrong.
This will cover part of geography (learning about local area and map reading)
Learning through shared watching of news mediaEncourage the learner(s) to watch news media with you, and if desired to  research into the news online. Look together at places of particular interest on the news and do research (eg globe, world-map, encyclopedia) to find out more information, as learner asks. If situation of dire need (eg Haiti Earthquake) encourage child to research into finding ways to help.
This covers geography (learning about global environment) as well as citizenship education.