Wednesday, June 30, 2010

We've Completed Another Year

Yay! We have (finally) completed another school year! This means we have satisfied our 180 days required by our county. We still have a few lessons to be finished and we will continue learning over the summer, but at a much more relaxed pace. Yay!!!! :0)

Over the past couple of weeks as we have completed certain subjects, it has been such a great feeling of accomplishment. I love to finish things. I tend to have the disorder of starting a project or curriculum and losing interest and not finishing it. (this has plagued me since I was a child) This leaves me with a terrible feeling. So, I have been working on that and I'm glad to say we have finished a whole bunch this year! What a great feeling!
We have already ordered most of our curriculum for next year and it is on the way. Depending on how things go after the new baby is born, we will probably start our next school year in late August. See how I nailed that down with such certainty? ha ha That's a great thing about home educating, we can set the dates and curriculum around our preferences. I love that! :0)
Have a great summer break!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Evaluating Progress

I read this article recently and really enjoyed it. What a great way to evaluate what your child knows. What ways do you check progress? Do you give tests?

by: Kara Murphy

Years ago, in Choosing and Using Curriculum by Joyce Herzog (a book no longer in print), I learned one method of evaluating the progress your child is making. As I no longer own a copy of the book, you will have to accept my paraphrasing and improvising and know that like most of the ideas I share, this idea originated with another, in this case, Joyce Herzog.

Far from memorizing and forgetting for a test, this evaluation will show long-term internalization of academic skills. This evaluation works best if used consistently over a long time. Periodically, perhaps twice a year or once a quarter, have your child sit at a table. While you will be asking him to do things, refrain from helping him find the answers. If he asks, tell him, "I want you to do the best you can do. Just do the best you can on your own." While he is working, make notes on the way he completes the assignments given. You may want to time each section.


  • On a sheet of paper, have your child write his full name. If he asks, you may explain that that means his "whole" name.
  • Next, have him write the date. Don't tell him the date. He may get up to look at a calendar, but don't instruct him to do so. This is part of the evaluation. Does he know where to find the information he needs?
  • Tell your child to draw a person, any gender, any style.
  • Instruct him to write the alphabet in his best handwriting. If he asks if he should write upper- or lower-case, instruct him to write both.
  • Below the alphabet, have him write the five hardest words he can spell correctly.
  • Then have him write one to three sentences (according to his ability) about anything he would like to tell you. This could be a story, if he likes.
  • Finally have him write the four hardest arithmetic problems that he can solve and then have him solve them. If he is able, have him write one for each operation: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
  • Take a picture of your child to put with his evaluation. Do not correct anything on the page.


The first time he completes this evaluation, the purpose will be to give you direction in teaching and to provide a "baseline" for learning. Did he have difficulty writing the date? Did he find the information, but he didn't use the right format? Have him write the date on his copywork papers. One of my sons consistently confused certain capital and lower-case letters. So he wrote his name: LukE. His alphabet writing not only revealed handwriting issues, but it also showed the fact that he did not understand the difference between upper- and lower-case letters at all. (Sorry to pick on you, Luke, but evaluating your progress was quite a challenge in the early years.) Do your child's sentences show a lack of proper structure? Now you know what to emphasize in copywork. Perhaps, your child chose too-easy words and problems to be sure to get them all correct. Risk-taking might be something to encourage in this child.

The strength of this simple evaluation is revealed over time. By having your child repeat this evaluation periodically, his growth will be obvious. Far from memorizing and forgetting for a test, this evaluation will show long-term internalization of academic skills. It also makes a nice one-page summary of growth over time.

P.S.. Evaluation is important for individualization, but testing is not. Can you see the difference here?


I'm going to try this when we finish up this year! What a great thing to have on file for years to come. This would definitely be a keepsake worth hanging on to. It's so much more personal than the results from his/her standardized test. I love it!

Jennifer :0)