Summer School for Mom: Evaluating

How do you know what your child knows? There are a variety of ways to find out! Here are seven tips for evaluating:

1. Set Goals

Remember back when we set goals? We made a list of those things that were important to us, determined where our children were in their skills, and made plans for moving forward. If we have already set goals for each child, then evaluating is simply a matter of assessing whether or not we have reached our goals. That’s it!

Further Investigation

Summer School for Mom: Setting Goals
The beginning of evaluation.

2. Observe

Most tutors can tell you where their students are at a moment’s notice. They can tell you what progress a child has made, and what he still needs to work on.

We don’t usually need a test to tell us what we already know — and will probably gain ground by avoiding a test that would only dishearten a child in exchange for focusing on those weak areas and practicing to a good finish!

3. Just Ask

Sometimes the best and simplest ways are the least obvious. Most students can tell you where they feel they do well, and where they feel they are struggling. All we have to do is simply ask them.

Further Reading

10 Evaluation Interview Questions
Want to know what they know? Just ask!

4. Solicit a Narration

How do we as adults judge how much someone knows about a subject? Usually, it is by how much he can tell us about it. So it is with narration.

Rather than testing our children on what they do not know, we can have them tell us what they do know. The discussion that will follow will give us a chance to fill in the blanks and correct misinformation.

If we want to take it even further, we can also provide the child with a few more sources of information from which to glean a better understanding, repeating the process to help make it stick.

Further Investigation

Language Arts the Natural Way: Narrating
Narrating tips to get you started.

30 Narration Ideas
Different forms narration can take!

5. Check a List

Counts to 20? Check. Reads three-letter words containing the basic vowel sounds? Check. Read and narrated the five books required from the history reading list? Check.

Sound easy? Check.

Further Investigation

What Your Child Needs to Know When by Robin Sampson
Checklists…and then some! Read our entire review.

6. Put Together a Portfolio

We love portfolios! Call them scrapbooks, or notebooks, or whatever works for you.

The idea is to choose those documents, samples, examples, project pictures, and other work that reflects what a child is doing and how he is progressing.

At the end of the year, you will be able to compare the child’s later work to earlier work and see progress. This is very motivating for the child…and Mom!

Further Investigation

10 Ways to Use Notebooking: #10 Scrapbook
Ideas for what to include in a portfolio.

7. Look for Real Learning

Sometimes when we are in the middle of scopes and sequences, workbooks, test forms, and a harried schedule, we forget to look around us and take note of the real learning that is taking place.

I have found it a good idea to keep a simple form in front of me with empty boxes that can be filled in for areas of study, so that when I see progress, I note it. This makes a helpful addition to a portfolio, but it also reminds me that, yes, they are learning!

Further Investigation

7 Ways to Identify Real Learning
Things to look for that show our children are becoming learners!

Additional Resources
Evaluating for Excellence

Evaluating for Excellence by Teresa Moon
Invaluable guide for determining where a child is, developing a plan forward, and using that information to evaluate progress. Very helpful for understanding the value of setting goals before attempting to evaluate progress. Read our entire review.

Enjoy the entire series:
Summer School for Mom
Summer School for Mom Series

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