Now that I’ve been blogging for three months I feel like it’s a good time to take a breath and ask my readers ‘how am I doing?’ This is probably something you’ll want to do a few times a year in your homeschool. The biggest question, of course, is how do you define ‘success’? If you are only measuring by state mandated testing see what else you could be measuring. Standardized tests don’t evaluate your child’s sense of empathy, for instance. Just as blog stats like clicks and subscribers won’t tell me what I really want to know about how much impact I’ve had over the last quarter. So I guess the smart thing to do now is a poll like this one:
I also want to tell a story about my own process. Assessing my own homeschool was really difficult for me ‘back in the day’. My math girl was going back into public school for the basic fact she had surpassed me in math! But in English I had nothing to evaluate. She wrote not one word of prose, nothing like a book report, no informative or persuasive essays….nothing! She wrote the weekly grocery list and I coaxed some short notes about planned skits she performed with friends for the monthly character-building girls club but nothing as formal as a script. So did all of our composition orally. Conversations in the car were what I had to use to evaluate how we were doing. So her first report card in high school was nerve wracking for me. It felt like MY report card so I was beyond relieved seeing her good grades. And I was ecstatic when she was recommended for AP English and History! In fact, her English teacher didn’t believe that my child had ever been diagnosed with dyslexia.
So as thankful as I was to be in a state where I could teach the way my kids learn without state testing requirements I also bore the burden of judging my own success each step of the way. If you are in a state with testing just remember those tests aren’t determining anybody’s intelligence or worth. Those tests can’t quantify what you see in their development as caring people. Good Citizenship isn’t something you know, it’s something you do. Composition doesn’t have to be written to be communicated, And when the time came to write it all down she figured it out. Just like you are figuring out how your children learn and trusting them to absorb the information they need. Use those state tests as a small part of your overall evaluation when the time comes Even more importantly go back through your mission statement and philosophy of education to make adjustments to your big-picture strategy.
Your quest to assess your children begins with assessing yourself.