When the program has been approved, the Monitoring Officer will contact the family and arrange an appropriate time to visit and view the program. Monitoring is primarily concerned with viewing the implementation of the program which has been submitted with the application. The Monitoring Officer compiles a report which, together with your Home Education Summary and Plan (HESP), is presented at the next Council meeting for discussion and recommendation to the Minister for Education. Any changes to the program will be noted and communicated to the Council. Often families find that after starting to home educate, changes are made to suit their needs.
The visit usually takes approximately one hour, depending on how many children are included in the program, and on how many questions you have. Monitoring Officers try very hard to make these visits as relaxed and pleasant as possible while maintaining a professional attitude. Most people are nervous at the first (and sometimes, subsequent) visit but THEAC’s position is to support as much as possible a family’s desire to home educate.
If there are any concerns about the program, THEAC will communicate these in writing and make suggestions to address the concerns. A further visit will be made to review the changes.
Home educators should be reassured that Council and Monitoring Officers do not have a particular bias towards the differing styles of home education but are able to offer information on various curricula, learning methods, contact information for networks and other home educators, community services, career pathway planning and work experience.
The initial visit is made between one and two months of the program being approved. If Council is satisfied with the program at that visit, the next visit will be one year later at the same time. If, again, Council is satisfied with the program, the next and subsequent visits will be two yearly, again at the same time of year. Visits can be adjusted to fit with a family’s requirements for travel, or times of sickness, bereavement, etc.
Visits are usually held in the family home, but can be conducted at another venue if preferred (e.g. library, coffee shop). The home educated children should be present for at least some of the time, and often enjoy showing their work and contributing to the discussion. Parents/guardians may have other support persons present if desired.
Monitoring Officers recommend to Council on the viewed program, however, Council has the responsibility of making the final recommendation to the Minister for Education. Families receive a letter from the Minister to verify approval of their program, along with a THEAC registration card showing the children’s names included in the program.