The West Australian Curriculum and Assessment Outline
Western Australia's curriculum prior to the introduction of the new Australian Curriculum was known as the Curriculum Framework.
The current Western Australian Curriculum encompasses the Australian Curriculum, setting out the knowledge, understandings, skills, values and attitudes that students are expected to acquire. The curriculum has a twenty-first century focus which includes three cross-curriculum priorities and seven general capabilities.
The Western Australian Curriculum comprises:
- The Early Years Learning Framework http://k10outline.scsa.wa.edu.au/home/early-years/early-years-learning-framework
- Kindergarten Curriculum Guidelines http://k10outline.scsa.wa.edu.au/home/early-years/kindergarten-curriculum-guidelines
- Pre-primary to Year 10 Curriculum (or Alternative Curriculum - Steiner or Montessori) http://k10outline.scsa.wa.edu.au/home/p-10-curriculum/curriculum-browser/western-australian-curriculum/_nocache
Year 11 and 12
At this time, the WA Curriculum and Assessment Outline (Australian Curriculum for Maths, English, History and Science and Curriculum Framework for all other subjects) only caters for kindergarten to year 10. Year 11 and 12 students will still use the Curriculum Framework in it's entirety.
Other important things to understand about WA
Given the phased development of the WA Curriculum, schools will be teaching some learning areas from the WA Curriculum supplemented by learning areas described in the former WA Curriculum Framework. As the WA Curriculum is developed, it will gradually replace the Curriculum Framework in Western Australia.
In essence, since only History, Geography, English, Maths and Science of the Australian Curriculum have as yet been published, schools and home educators in WA will use the WA Curriculum for those subjects and will continue to use the Curriculum Framework as guidance for other subjects areas such as Arts, Physical & Health Education, Languages Other than English, Society and Environment and Technology and Enterprise.
This link provides the Curriculum Framework: http://www.scsa.wa.edu.au/internet/Years_K10/Curriculum_Framework
Advice for Home Educating Parents
The best place to start in understanding the West Australian Curriculum and Assessment Outline is to visit the West Australian Curriculum website and start to read through the information. The online information is designed such that you can select the information most relevant to you.
It may be helpful to print out the relevant documents and start to go through them and make notes or start thinking about how you might follow the curriculum in a way that will work for your family and child.
There are a number of organisations working to provide resources for home educating parents to implement the curriculum in a way that aligns with their learning style. HEWA will provide information on resources that will support parents as it becomes available. You can also become an active participant on forums (in WA and nationally) to gain ideas, and start building a support network of people who may be able to help you in implementing the curriculum.
This website provides an outline of West Australian Curriculum and Assessment Outline : http://k10outline.scsa.wa.edu.au/home/p-10-curriculum/curriculum-browser/western-australian-curriculum/_nocache
For more information including examples on implementing and reporting on the "WA Curriculum and Assessment Outline" and the "Curriculum Framework" you may wish to purchase A Guide to Moderator Meetings, Reporting and the Austalian Curriculum using this link.
What about the Natural Learners?
The Curriculum Framework made it relatively easy for people taking a natural learning approach to home education to comply with the Curriculum. The Curriculum Framework is essentially a series of outcomes in different stages for each subject area. Teachers or parents could use any content they wished to support children in achieving those outcomes. That meant that home educating families have been free to choose to teach whatever content they find relevant to their child, provided they can show that they are learning in each of the core subject areas and working toward the Curriculum Framework outcomes.
The new WA Curriculum and Assessment Outline however, is much more specific in that it dictates certain content that is to be taught. A common cry from those with a natural learning approach is "but what if that con-tent is not relevant to my child? I am home educating so that I can choose content that IS relevant. It should be my choice."
This is a deeper philosophical and political issue that is not likely to be resolved in the near future. Thus, it is recommended that parents choosing to pursue a natural learning approach engage their creativity in meeting the WA Curriculum requirements.
The WA Curriculum DOES NOT mean that natural learning is impossible. It is just a matter of taking a flexible approach and thinking creatively. Keep in mind these points:
- There is no set time frame that home educating students must achieve the outcomes of the WA Curriculum. Thus, if content for a year in history focuses on Ancient Egypt, for example, there is no reason that parents can't find several learning experiences to do with Ancient Egypt that would convey the required knowledge and do that within a matter of weeks - and then choose their own content for the rest of the year. You are not locked into following only the prescribed content of the curriculum.
- Home educating students do not need to work at the year level that matches their age. Thus, if your child is working at year 3 level in Maths but year 5 level in English, that is fine as long as they are continuing to make progress over the course of a year. Some children will be working below the year level relevant to their age in all areas and some will be working above. Others will be working at different year levels for each subject in the Curriculum. This is acceptable.
- The WA Curriculum does not prescribe HOW you teach the content. You can choose to deliver content in any way you wish - and that includes natural learning experiences. Some pieces of content may be delivered through an excursion, or a discussion or every day activities. You are not locked into doing formal work.
With creativity, it is entirely possible to meet curriculum requirements and enjoy natural learning.