As a homeschooling parent, you might have often worried about efficiently measuring your child’s academic progress. In schools, children are subjected to rigorous testing through which their academic performance is evaluated. As a homeschooling parent, you might not be appreciative of the stress and anxiety this type of testing exposes students to. Yet, you are bound to have felt the need for some effective ways through which your child’s learning progress could be mapped out. Let us go through some benchmarks that you can use to assess your child’s academic proficiency.
- Checklists and End of Unit Tests
For very young children, keeping track of progress involves observing the child and seeing how their motor skills are developing and how they interact with their environment. For slightly older children, you should maintain a checklist of skills such as reading comprehension, math, and life skills.
When children grow older, they should be tested through oral and written means; for example, they might be asked to write a story or explain a topic. End of unit tests should be used to assess children’s knowledge of particular concepts.
- Projects and Assignments
Students’ academic prowess is not demonstrated through testing only. Their arts and crafts projects, science experiments and the assignments they make also showcase their analytical, creative, or research skills.
- Progress Reports
The real indicator of a child’s success is consistent progress. Parents should document the academic development of their child in a progress report (or a portfolio). Log in everything from the books they have read and the websites they have consulted to the activities they have participated in, such as sports or community service. Document the projects they have undertaken and include some work samples. You may even maintain a record of daily study hours.
The progress report, if properly maintained, will provide an accurate account of your child’s educational journey.
- Standardized Testing
Most states require that homeschooled kids undergo standardized testing annually or after certain years. The state of Georgia requires children to take standardized tests every three years, starting from the 3rd grade. Now, some parents think that testing is not good for kids, as it does not measure the whole range of a kid’s abilities. While that is true, standardized testing can serve as a good indicator of what study areas need improvement. It allows parents to mold their teaching methodology to improve children’s overall abilities.
The scores serve as an outside metric of measuring children’s progress and do not have to be shared with kids, especially if they are young.
- Homeschool Evaluation
If you want a formal evaluation of your child, then you may opt for conducting a homeschool evaluation. The evaluator is generally a certified teacher who is responsible for assessing the child’s educational proficiency and writing a report or letter of evaluation. The assessment is usually done in the form of an interview, where the evaluator tries to gauge the child’s academic standing through a series of questions.
Evaluation is specifically helpful for anxiety-prone kids or special needs children, who might not do as well on a standardized test. The evaluation report may be presented as proof of children’s academic advancement if allowed by your state.
- Talking to Other Homeschooling Parents
No two kids are the same, and homeschooling allows kids to develop at their own pace and learn in their own way. Still, it can be helpful to be in touch with other homeschooling parents. Talking with other parents can give you an idea of other kids’ development, the strategies they are using and help you decide if you need to modify your teaching style.
You might pick and choose a mix of assessment techniques that work best for you and your child. Consistently following a specific model of assessment can provide you with reliable results that will, in turn, help you improve your teaching style and focus on problem areas.