If you are just jumping into the new year using traditional materials, you probably already have an idea how you will evaluate your student’s progress. You can see at a glance those assessments at the end of the teacher’s guide or stapled in between the pages of the workbook. For for the DIY homeschool mom using alternative methods of education, how do you know what your student knows?
There are a variety of ways to evaluate how much your student remembers, and more importantly, your student’s progress:
You’ve probably heard the adage that you have to set goals to reach them. Or as Yogi Berra puts it,
If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.
So at the beginning of the year we can set goals by assessing where our children are and what they need to get to the next level. By setting goals in advance, evaluating is as simple as determining if the goal has been reached.
For example, if the goal was for my daughter to learn her multiplication tables, I can easily assess whether or not she has mastered that goal. Similarly, if the goal for my son was that he be able to read simple beginner books by the end of the year, I already know if he is reading those books.
2. Personal Observation
Tutors typically know off-hand where their students are. We already know in advance how well a child will do on a test before he takes it. Often times, it is better to skip the test and work on developing skills in weak areas rather than using the test to point out what we already know.
3. Just Ask
Depending on the age of your child, he may already know what his strengths are. And he is probably very familiar with those areas in which he feels he is struggling. By asking our older students for input, we have an opportunity not only to evaluate, but to address their concerns.
Those covering material in atypical ways may find a checklist all they need to keep on track. Checklists give us an idea of what our children need to know and, in the case of skills, in what order. We can simply check off the metric when those items have been covered (content) or mastered (skills).
There are checklists available or you can create your own. For example:
Read and narrated the five books required from the history reading list.
How much does a student know about his subject? Ask him to tell you what he knows. Narrations provide opportunities for not only evaluating progress, but also for discussing topics, correcting facts, and filling in gaps.
Students can come up with very unique ways of presenting material. Add a bit of creativity to evaluations. Let them design their own way of letting you know what they know. Encourage illustrations, constructions, inventions, plays, skits, speeches, performances, written papers, outlines, animations, and videos.
A personal favorite around here, portfolios take advantage of notebooking to store the best examples of a child’s work in one place — evaluation at a glance.
Evaluating for Excellence by Teresa Moon
First set goals, then you will have something to measure progress by. Great advice and tons of forms to help you stay on track. One of our favorite evaluating helps! Read our full review.
What Your Child Needs to Know When by Robin Sampson
Evaluation checklists for each subject. If you are pulling together your own studies, this book is a great way to stay on track. Read our entire review.
10 Evaluation Interview Questions
Want to know what they know? Just ask!
10 Ways to Use Notebooking: #10 Scrapbook
Ideas for creating a portfolio.