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Teaching Tips ▼

~~ Teaching Tips ~~


How's It Going?

We realize one of the great things about homeschooling is that you don't have to stress your kids out with lots of tests and assessments, but all of us ask ourselves at one time or another, "How are we doing?"

Tell us what you do to ensure that your homeschooling is meeting your and your students' expectations, and get a chance to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card. Our winner will be randomly drawn from posts that are entered during Best Deals in Homeschool Curriculum Month.

We will do the drawing at the beginning of each month for posts in the prior month, and announce the winner in the Co-op newsletter. Your posts will remain on this page to provide ideas and inspiration to other homeschoolers! (Need help?)


Mrs. Frogland

Our year started out really good, and then we hit a stress point as we started a kitchen remodel. I almost considered re-enrolling them in public school, but after taking some breaths and talking to people, I was able to get back on track and realize that what we are doing is exactly right for us. My kids are junior highers, and I still like to make as many games as possible with their assignments. Lots of read alouds,field trips, and oral work also helps, when possible. They absolutely LOVED participating in the demo of the kitchen, and YES, it is learning, P.E. AND most importantly, life skills. They won't learn this stuff in public school. The key is being able to fit in what they need, in a way that they take it in best. Sometimes, that's hard for me to remember, but when I sit back and realize that this is our gig, and not anybody elses, and that we can slow down or step "off track" if need be, because our pace is a perfect pace for us, everything settles down and becomes "easier" for us to manage, and that's all that matters. Just remember...These school years (as hectic as they can be) are short lived. It's our job as parents to love on and enjoy our kids, and this really is one of the best ways to do it. Those that are able and willing to homeschool are lucky and blessed.

6 months ago · Like · Comment

mommak

this is a struggle year. hoping to figure out some new material to kick things into gear!

6 months ago · Like · Comment

Faythie

Our little one is in first grade, but is only four. So I try to keep her assessment quizzes verbal, fun, and "no big deal": "Let's play a word game .... can you tell me how to spell Queen?" or, "Hey kiddo, what part of your body pumps your blood?" But the real shine comes when you tell people you're homeschooling, and they look at your four-year-old and give you a "yeah, right" glance, and then she starts reading their coffee mug messages at the dinner table or telling them about her intestines, and suddenly they smile .... then we know we're doing a good job. :)

6 months ago · Like · Comment

swmo_mom

I must say this has been our hardest year, not counting schooling. We are still dealing with chronic illness, which included a hospital stay, but amazingly enough, we are doing a good job of getting in the hours! I was so surprised when I totaled her hours just before Christmas, and we were already halfway through! I had been so discouraged last year when we couldn't reach the total, but I think we will do it this year. And, I hear others tell me how smart she is!

6 months ago · Like · Comment

Kel

Despite much trepidation due to a difficult last year, this year has been one of the best. Learning to school with my children at the centre rather than the curriculum is something I continue to learn each year - and it's been 14. Making mid-year decisions to switch to online for one child, having the courage to put a $300 curriculum back on the shelf - possibly forever for another, and moving at a snail's pace despite having pre-planned in Homeschool Planet a different outcome, have made the difference. Thankfully Homeschool Planet is ridiculously easy to re-schedule! Raise them up in the way THEY should go - not in the way the picture in the hs catalogue says they should ; )

6 months ago · Like · Comment

C.k.

This year has been going great! We are taking it slow as I just had baby #6 in August and we both spent weeks in the hospital. In that time I realized how precious life is and that our kids are only kids once. I want my kids to enjoy their childhood, to read lots of books, go on field trips, and learn about our amazing world in a fun way. We are using unit studies from Five in a Row, Hands of a Child and Amanda Bennett this year. The kids and I are loving it!

6 months ago · Like · Comment

MMarino777

We had some professional testing done on the kids and results came back with learning disabilities. The test results confirmed my observations and experience with homeschooling the kids. We now have to figure out how to incorporate educational therapy to help with the disabilities. It's going ok so far, but I know that my plate is extra full now with the additional tasks of researching all this and implementing a different learning method to help my kids.

6 months ago · Like · Comment

CClan

We are slowly getting back into the groove after taking a few weeks off for the holidays. I am really excited about Julie Bogart's new book, The Brave Learner, releasing next month. I think it's going to really help with the extra boost of motivation I need this spring and the rest of our homeschooling life, because a lot of the Brave Writer curriculum and philosophy has already helped me so much. As my children are getting older, more of their courses are done online with my supervision, so I always like the ideas to keep us "enchanted" with learning and ways to instill the love of learning in them in subjects they may not be passionate about as they become more challenging.

6 months ago · Like · Comment

stullpj

Both of my children are in Middle School this year, so I feel like things are getting more serious as we inch ever closer to high school. At the beginning of the year I started feeling like things were spiraling out of control. At the end of a week when I would go to correct work text pages, quizzes, and tests, my daughter (especially) was missing work assignments despite the daily calendar that I prepare for each of them with assignments clearly marked. Worse still, she was not comprehending what she was reading and would fail to properly understand and answer problems. I had to change my strategy. I wanted my school to run itself. I wanted my kids to work towards independence, but I had given them too much. I realized I still needed to be more hands-on even though they are older. So, while one child is doing individual work that I know they can handle without me, I do the subjects with the other child that I know they will need my help on (concentrating on reading and math especially). At the end of the day, I check all assignments and work. If I see that an assignment was skipped or the child did not comprehend the work (and therefore got a majority of the answers wrong), it was flagged for me to work on with them the next day, one-on-one. By doing this, I have seen my daughter's comprehension and study skills improve. At the end of the day, no matter how old my children are, my children still need me to take a "hands-on," proactive approach in their education. This might seem so obvious, but I needed the reminder. Just a thought... a neighbor who has her child in the local public school tells me that the school wants "hands-off" by the parents. This is the exact opposite approach of home schooling. Yes, I want my kids to be independent, but they still need the wisdom and direction of the parent; just like the Bible says.

7 months ago · Like · Comment

nomads

My oldest is dyslexic, along with a couple other learning disorders. My child 2 years younger is a great reader and natural learner. I was teaching them the same grade level but couldn t because my younger child surpassed the older. I was struggling to give the long amount of time needed to my oldest and was barely giving time to my kid that learns easily. So, I recruited help from my husband. (We are fortunate he has that flexibility). He does reading with 1 kid while I do reading with another. We still need to spend more time with my oldest but the other kid isn t getting neglected now. And we use Homeschool Planet and so I can easily adjust what we are doing and the pace and see when we are expected to end.

7 months ago · Like · Comment

Debbie67

Our year has gone pretty well so far. My gifted son decided that this would be lazy year, but he discovered that mom knows what he does and doesn t do and he can t lie about it. I check the parent page of every web site/app/program he uses to see his progress. Boy, was he surprised when I called him on his claim that he had been doing his work and also that he wasn t using other people s ideas as his own! Other than this, I am now looking for a new math program (common core aligned), because the one we are presently using is closing in June. Any ideas are greatly appreciated!

1 year ago · Like · Comment

Janebabes

Our year is going well in that it s actually going. We re doing more this year than ever before simply because I m acually writing out weekly and daily plans. It s amazing how much can get done when you actually write out a plan to do it.

2 years ago · Like · Comment

HappyFamily

It's about this time of year that the "true colors" of my homeschool are showing vividly. All the wild expectations I set, all the subjects I thought we'd breeze through...have met with REALITY, and time has sifted all those paper plans. About this time I reread my favorite homeschooling book, Teaching From Rest by Sarah Mackenzie. It helps me keep my perspective fresh, helps me boost my patience, and brings bursts of fresh joy. I try to remember that my number one expectation is: cultivating strong RELATIONSHIPS. If we fail at that, all else is a loss!

2 years ago · Like · Comment

dinaviapersonal

Our year is "going". We've hit a grove, but we've lost the fun. We are hoping to get an infusion in some way/some how! We've just hit middle school, and we just don't know what we are doing anymore. Thank goodness for Homeschool Buyers Co-Op. We've been reading posts, articles, and reviews! It is super helpful, and definitely helping us feel like this is something we can tackle!

2 years ago · Like · Comment

Quick7

First year homeschooling has been an adventure! I spent the summer coming up with individualized lessons plans for the whole year. Thanks to Homeschool Planet I was sooooo organized! Two months in, scrapped half of it based on her needs and wants. Thanks to Homeschool Planet it was easy to make changes. We are going in person and online fieldtrips for history. TV/online shows and experiments for science. Went old school with School House Rock for Language along with journalling and entering writing contests. For math, learning the times table is a must and finding places we use math in "real life" to help with decimals and fractions. The biggest help for me is having educational testing to understand where her strengths were and where there were gaps to be filled. Not sure if we will homeschool next year... and I have 4 other children in public school. But I will keep using the resources from Homeschool Buyers Co-op (including Homeschool Planet) for enrichment and other activities for my kids over the summer and beyond! A wonderful adventure for the entire family.

2 years ago · Like · Comment
Quick7: BTW, I don't to traditional weekly tests, but I do standardized tests- beggining of the year, mid year and will end of year. (Stanford-10 online that I proctor). As well as a full battery of psychoeducational testing (WISC-V, and KTEA with a psychologist). We left public school due to lack of quality gifted program. So, it was important to me to know where she was and to get guidance how to best help her. Additionally, testing is a part of life. I didn't "teach to the test" as the do in school, but the 6 days/2-3 hours a day) of testing total for the year has been the most valuable thing for me to be able to help my daughter.
2 years ago · Like

Rebekah M

I'm in my 16th year of homeschooling and down to one homeschooled child, an 11-year-old boy. He does well with most subjects but he really detests math, and isn't as proficient in his facts yet - which makes math harder for him, so he hates it ... and on and on. Last fall, someone recommended Reflex Math, an online review game for math facts. It looked pretty good, and easily adaptable for homeschooling, so we did the free trial. He loves it! He asks to do it every single day, and he told me, "I think this is helping with my math facts." That's unbelievable, to hear him say something positive about math! So I bought the year subscription through HSBC and he gets fun practice on his math facts every day. I can track his progress, but I don't really have to because he does it for me, and calls me in to see the progress he's made. After homeschooling for so many years, I didn't expect to find something new that would make such a difference in our day with the least-liked subject!

2 years ago · Like · Comment

Katie

My daughter is in pre K. We ve been having fun checking out books from the library from the read aloud revival year of picture books list. Each month we get a new set and are enjoying the seasonal themes from the list.

We re also using Explode the code to teach reading and handwriting. It s working very well. She loves to read. We got her a new lamp for her bed, so she can stay up and read at night. She thinks that s so special.

At Christmas we learned about the nutcracker, Christmas Caroled together, and listened to Christmas stations on pandora while we cooked and crafted.


This semester we want to do more art projects together. I just purchased home art studio through the xo op. We re somlooking forward to trying out the projects. It needed to be something easy and pre planned,or it wouldn t happen. This looks like it will fit the bill.

2 years ago · Like · Comment

MeMoeMa

Schooling can have difficulties in my home due to my extensive medical conditions and my husband being with out a job. However, the use of self paced online programs, work books, the library and my own personal books on theology help the process tremendously. I also reuse curriculum for the younger kids that the older ones used in the past. Overall, I think they are excelling.

2 years ago · Like · Comment

DQ1116

Our school year is progressing very well. Since I am with my kids all day long, I don't need to test them to see how well they are learning. We occasionally use Iowa Test of Basic Skills to test, but not until fourth grade.

2 years ago · Like · Comment

d

I have been home schooling for 18 years. I have six kids, 3 graduates, 1 more to graduate this year. I have to say, though we have some struggles,for sure, I have discovered a way that works for these younger three that makes my heart sing. It makes me look forward to working with them and now I think I see a difference in their attitudes as well. Most of all the improvements they need to happen, are and that is the best of all.! I just thank God for these discoveries.

2 years ago · Like · Comment

Cricket

Our year has great so far! We started off with a bang and are now able to slow down for a bit. Kids took our standardized tests in December & exceeded expectations. This pumped them up to keep going strong. I love checking & testing out new studies or methods for them to see what they like & don't like. Programming seems to be a favorite for both!

3 years ago · Like · Comment

Carrie S.

Currently, our homeschooling year really isn't meeting our expectations, and most of that is due to the fact that I have been more lax the past few months in following a schedule. When we stay on schedule, we do great, joy is more prevalent, and we all feel more successful. We have a family-run, at-home small business, so I am needed more in the months of Oct - Jan. This, coupled with some health issues of the family, makes keeping on schedule quite challenging. I'm working now on getting us back on track and I think that will help us all feel more positive about moving forward.

3 years ago · Like · Comment

BTHM

we started at the 2nd quarter homeschooling, and had a plan- HAH!. But my daughter found a rhythm that included Easy Peasy, A Beka workbooks, additional reading comprehension work and lots of hands on history and science experiments. But the holiday unit might have been a tad too much 'unschooling'. while she greatly enjoyed a slower pace, it's been hard getting her back in her rhythm again! We're changing up the spelling and grammar and adding in some new activities to get her back involved.

3 years ago · Like · Comment

hokena1

I have been homeschooling my now 12 year old twins for 3 years. We have tried different methods and processes and almost gave up. I finally had to realize that even though I have twins, they have to very different learning abilities and I can't always teach the same thing at the same time. I also had to drop the dream of having my kids want to learn everything about everything like I do. After those changes, it has become so much easier and a better experience for everyone. Because my son struggles with reading (daughter reads everything in the library) I bought resources that can read the text online when needed to help so he can be more independent. I also do note-booking so they can each work up to their own level. I don't do formal assessments but usually will have discussions to make sure they understand important concepts and they have a project in which they can show what they have learned without having to write an essay. This is not to say that I don't work with my son on improving reading and writing, we work on it everyday in a relax environment but not having to write essays has made him more confident.

3 years ago · Like · Comment

cathy265

We have online CTC math which teaches my daughter and does the grading, along with computer language arts and some regular textbooks to round out her day.

3 years ago · Like · Comment

Biberstadt

Honestly Homeschooling has not been going very well at all. I have two resistant teens the younger a boy even more so. He hates anything that requires writing and is woefully behind in reading ability. (speech and language difficulties when he was younger) Without the resources from the Co-op I might well have given up in frustration and this after 30 years of mostly homeschooling! I am hopeful though he is right now working his way through Jurassic Park voluntarily! I use Plato K-5 with him and if he buckles down he'll finish the writing. It is only his reading and writing that holds him back so yes I am very hopeful he is about to clear that hurdle!!!!

3 years ago · Like · Comment

JFocused247

We keep a portfolio for each child. A three-ring binder holds their best work samples from each subject for each month of school. We love to look at these from year to year and see the progress everyone has made. The writing samples and drawings from over the years are priceless and bring us lots of laughs.

3 years ago · Like · Comment

DevchenkaL

For us beginning of the year was a stretch now i see where we need to improve, catch up and be on track, assessment tests are always good not jut for parents to know they doing a good job but also for kids to apply their learning.

3 years ago · Like · Comment

piratemacfan

Checklist of topics using OmniOutliner on iPhone and MacBook. Grades are based on how far mastery progress gets by semester deadline.

At the new year, I retool the checklists and reset progress goals so that they are reasonable and motivational.

3 years ago · Like · Comment

MamaRoc

The end of the calendar year means standardized tests. We have found them to be helpful in familiarizing our kids with a testing situation (since that doesn't happen much during the typical school day) and also gives us the information we need to refocus the plans for our second-half of the school year. Taking a week to complete the tests, supplemented with one or two of the great trial opportunities (like FieldTrip Zoom) through HBC, renews our interest and enthusiasm for the second half of our year.

3 years ago · Like · Comment

NYC Homeschool

I love to plan. Before we officially begin a school year, I outline goals for each of my kids in each of their subjects. Where should my son be in math by the end of the year? Do we plan to finish this history textbook? How many poems should we memorize? What read-alouds do I want them to hear this year? I keep all my notes in OneNote on my computer - and at least once a quarter I evaluate where we are. Sometimes I adjust the goals mid-semester to be more practical or relevant. This keeps us all on track, and helps me to keep the big picture in view.

3 years ago · Like · Comment

MomNamedJill

Our son is very active Sitting still isn't something he does for very long. He uses a swivel chair, a large bounce ball seat or just stands when he is at the computer. On winter days when he can't get outside, we take "Energy Breaks". Stretching, jumping jacks and X-Box (energetic, physical video game challenges) burn off steam and help him focus on the next task at hand. We also do as much hands-on learning as time allows: experiments, art activities, living history museum trips.

4 years ago · Like · Comment

Erin D

At the beginning of the year I consult our area's school board guidelines to get a rough idea of where we need to focus our efforts for the year. I don't sweat it too much, but it's good to spot any possible big gaps that I might have overlooked and address them before they get too big.

4 years ago · Like · Comment

Texas Momma

We have had a year of many breaks as we've dealt with moving and selling our old house. My oldest is only in 3rd grade, and I know he's working beyond the average 3rd grader (I'm a former public school teacher) so I am not stressing over it & letting them enjoy the real life learning as it comes our way. We may not finish everything I had planned for the year, but I know they're learning and that's all I'm worried about right now. I just think how much more difficult this year would have been if they were in public school & it makes me grateful for all the family time we've been able to have, even is this stressful, busy season of our lives.

4 years ago · Like · Comment

Prudence

Our homeschool year has been quite the journey :). It started in the US when I was with my husband, and we homeschooled from kindergarten up until third grade. Then I returned to Canada with my 4 children when my marriage ended in quite the upheaval. After returning to Canada we kind of took a year off, and did schoolwork here and there as we became more emotionally stable again, then I put my children into public school for 2 years. Now we decided to try homeschooling again as a single parent family and what has helped me stay on task the most this year was to develop routines, instead of schedules and to remind myself that I'm homeschooling to be different, and not because I'm trying to compete with the public school system. To make sure we're on task, I will occasionally check out what other kids are learning, and adjust accordingly if I feel we need to.

4 years ago · Like · Comment

Writermom

This is our 8th year of homeschooling and the first year homeschooling a high school student, which makes me very nervous. I have studied our state's graduation requirements and am trying to keep close track of what she is achieving so I can legitimately give her class credits on a transcript. The only testing we do is the math tests that come with the curriculum and the CAT at the end of each year. Our state requires an annual national test for homeschooled students. For other things, we discuss. After a book is read, a history unit is complete, etc, we discuss them. I also require several essays a month, but those vary from something we studied to a holiday to how do you think school is going and what are your goals. I think it is empowering for kids to be listened to. Since my daughter dances a lot and was asked to help teach younger kids, we are using that as a learning experience, too, and it often makes for lively conversation- why do little kids lick the mirror? why do some kids act like they don't care? And YES, there are ups and downs every week, sometimes several times in one day, but I think it is worth it! I am told by Girl Scout executives who met my daughter at a National Convention she was chosen to go to, by dance teachers and by others, that my kids have been raised well. That is more important than any test, I think!

4 years ago · Like · Comment

tia b.

This has been a good year. We are relatively new to homeschooling, having tried public school, private school, and online public school. Homeschooling is the best by far. My daughter has ADHD and everything is a struggle, especially school. She started high school this year so I have been concerned with choosing the right curriculum. Some I have just had to toss out and accept that I wasted my money. Two, however, have been great: CTC math and Wordsmith. Math and writing were her two least favorite subjects but these courses have helped change that. I would highly recommend both. Another thing we are enjoying is matching up literature with her geography course. When she's studying a certain region, we try to pick a classic to go with it. For instance, for Latin America, she read The Pearl by Steinbeck. We also use google a lot for photos and images if she's having trouble remembering a place or region. Homeschooling isn't easy but it's a blessing!

4 years ago · Like · Comment

E&G's Momma

Having homeschooled from the beginning with our children, we often are asked "how is it going?" Our honest answer is that it is going great! All of us as homeschoolers know that days go up and down; honestly months go up and down! We work hard to make sure that our children understand that life happens even when you are "doing" school. We try to focus on the end result that we are seeking even when the day to day mire can be discouraging.
Our recent "life happens" event occurred just before Christmas. Our son and my husband were checking a leaking break line on our pick-up when the jack failed and the brake drum fell on my husband's leg, breaking it and pinning him. Our son, using his Boy Scout skills, worked to quickly find the jack and re-set it to lift the truck off his Dad while I called 911. He then moved quickly to handle his Dad going into shock by directing his sister and I exactly what to do! Did I mention he is only 11?
Needless to say, this event put a great change into our school year. With Dad on the mend but confined to home with a walker and mostly sitting, the children have been able to have Dad as a teacher, too. It has been a wonderful experience for all of us! God's hand is evident in everything!
Through this event, the lessons have changed and moved, the methods have been new and some experimental, but in the end, it is going very well.

4 years ago · Like · Comment
Writermom: Glad Dad is okay!
4 years ago · Like

RoseMamaBlues

We are doing well. We usually take our equivalant to summer vacation in october/november/december since that is the busiest time of the year in our home. Though we are always learning! Winter has set in and this time of year is for working on workbooks and making sure the kids are where they need to be in basics like math and reading. The goal is to get these things done and be ready to get back out and get our hands dirty exploring the world when spring comes!

4 years ago · Like · Comment

Conerberal

We're "behind," as usual. However, we homeschool year-round and have the summer to "catch-up." I always have big dreams (delusions?) about scheduling and progress when I work on the lesson plans in the spring. I don't think we've ever finished all subjects on time. Ive learned to live with it. The benefit to having such high standards is that even if (when!) we miss the mark, we're still doing fine.

4 years ago · Like · Comment

Alaskagal

We just started homeschooling this fall. We originally started because we are moving overseas and thought it would be easier on the girls if they didn't have to switch schools many times along the way. We love homeschooling and wish we did it sooner. The girls are able to focus on their core lessons and receive one on one attention. Electives are so much fun and equally as rewarding. Our moving experience has been hectic, but incredibly educational. If the girls were in public school they wouldn't have learned half as much. I'd like to get a bit farther in math but otherwise we are right on track. Thanks to everyone for being so helpful and supportive. There is an amazing community tied to homeschoolbuyerscoop.

5 years ago · Like · Comment

christinajoy1981

We've had a great year! Our challenge continues to be (and will be for some time, with new baby in July) keeping the littles occupied while working with my 1st and 2nd graders. The big kids do well with daily task sheets and they get points for each completed item that can use to "purchase" computer time or a movie on Saturday. I just work with the pre-K 4-yo as I can with his writing, some math and reading while trying to keep the almost 2-yo safe and busy in the same room as us. Having the big kids knowing what to expect daily and seeing their tasks get checked off seems to help a lot. We wrap up our school year in March and take a week off to start up again in April (and we go through summer). There are a couple programs we used this year that we didn't love so I'm evaluating what to try next! I try to stick with what we've purchased just so it gets used and we don't have to change it up too much mid-year, and then we just try again with something different later.

5 years ago · Like · Comment

dawgwife

It hasn 't failed yet, that come January, I begin evaluating our year so far. I'm happy to say that in the last 4 years, I've transitioned from "I want to quit!" to "this program doesn't work for us," to "I think this subject/component of homeschool needs to be changed". The kids have moved from saying "We don't go to REAL school," to one of them sharing, "I do __ grade math even though I'm only in 3rd grade." Big attitude changes are happening. So as I get to Jan. the 1st evaluation is "How are the attitudes?" Bad attitudes about any subject area indicate change is needed somewhere & I want to figure out the root issue. This includes me as well! I ask, "Am I looking forward to another year?" If not, what is it stemming from & how can I adjust/change? I also get feedback from the kids about their likes & dislikes this year COMPARED TO last year. Second is looking at strengths & weaknesses in subjects. In addition to daily monitoring, we do yearly or bi-yearly assessment tests ONLY to evaluate where we can improve. To be honest, since beginning homeschool with my oldest, Dad has asked 2x, "Are you helping him on the tests?" Incredible to me, since his 2nd grade teacher warned he could potentially be held back in school! 3rd, I consider their character and areas they need to improve. My husband has been a good sounding block for this, since he's not with them 24/7. Sometimes I hit the point of ignoring certain things in order to get through with all my teacher/wife/mom/etc... responsibilities. I've also asked co-op & Sunday school teachers, my mom or trusted friends for their observations of my children. After all, if my children became the smartest people in town, but had no character or respect for others, I would say that I failed them. I can't make them have faith (my greatest prayer) or obey, but I can teach them by word & action what actions and behavior are expected and right and pray they put it into practice.

5 years ago · Like · Comment

Teacher Mom

I write out our goals each year at the beginning of the year, and I revisit those mid-year. One of the most liberating things I did was give myself permission to switch curriculum at any point in the year if it is not working. If a particular curriculum is causing tears and frustration and not meeting our learning goals, we find something that will work. The goal of our family is to master their subjects before moving on. If it takes longer to understand division, we stick with it until it's mastered.

5 years ago · Like · Comment

Carrie in NC

I am realizing more and more just how much I relied on my oldest! She was gone for three months last spring, and has just left until September to follow where God leads. [This is the kind of success that I want for all my children!] At 19yo, it won't be too much longer until she is "gone." Not only is she one of my dearest friends, but she is the source of the organization for our homeschool and home. I am very up and down, flighty, disorganized, etc. I am hoping that my 13yo son will begin to internalize some of these traits and step up to take personal responsibility for his work. I am now the homeschooling mom of four boys, ages six to 13! Academics are solid, but I long for smooth and peaceful days.

5 years ago · Like · Comment

mrob

My 4th grade son LOVES the Youth Digital courses! He is currently taking his 3rd course. Because of homeschooling, he is able to pursue and develop his computer skills at a young age, and the Youth Digital courses are a great way to learn!

5 years ago · Like · Comment

whitetami

We have a list of what is expected for the day. Stickers for the days that are completed with a great disposition. Each week we have a character quality sticker as well. As the days go...the weekend is free and the afternoons as they are diligent. We have a list of creative things they can choose from...including legos, businesses, shows, books to read, audio books, recipes to make and so the list goes. Work hard and then freedom to create/play.

5 years ago · Like · Comment

whitetami

We have a list of what is expected for the day. Stickers for the days that are completed with a great disposition. Each week we have a character quality sticker as well. As the days go...the weekend is free and the afternoons as they are diligent. We have a list of creative things they can choose from...including legos, businesses, shows, books to read, audio books, recipes to make and so the list goes. Work hard and then freedom to create/play.

5 years ago · Like · Comment

bartman

We are rounding out our third year homeschooling. We have 3 sons and one of the greatest joys is looking at photos. In the "before" photos, we didn't see the joy and life that is evident in the "after" photos. Family & friends comment on the change. Prior to homeschooling, our sons were in a good private school but something was missing - us. Even knowing this, I still had not fully let go and trusted completely in God to direct our path. I had my plan and needed every box checked so they could have the most impressive resumes and scores. Well, this is our year of truly trusting in The Lord with all our hearts. I scrapped my plans (with our oldest entering his high school years - yikes) and pray while resisting the urge to tell God what to do (what can I say? I am type A) and getting off my knees thanking Him for agreeing with me. We are not building resumes but building warriors, priests, and servants for Christ and so far our journey has been exciting, unbelievable, terrifying, and rewarding. Sometimes it's been all of those at the same time. So here's to leaning not on my own understanding and trusting in the plans that God has for us (plans to prosper us and not harm us, plans to give us hope and a future."

5 years ago · Like · Comment

WOODSHEDCHS

I have been homeschooling for 16 years. My oldest is a junior in college. Every child is different, every year is different, every subject, etc; however, the one thing that has helped me (and more importantly my children/students) WITHOUT FAIL and hurt when it isn't put into play is this:
Mommy Meeting - regardless of the day, the subjects, etc. each child gets her own slotted meeting time with mom. This is her time only. The amount of time depends on the age of student. We answer questions from school, cuddle on the coach, talk about stuff, go over schedule, whatever we are lead to do. These are precious times that I wouldn't trade for the world and they are very beneficial to help keep things running smoothly and distractions to a minimum.

5 years ago · Like · Comment

ausandkirs

I have been homeschooling for 13 years now. Every year is different. Every child is different. Every year I pray for about a month before I order curriculum. Some times I have been very surprised at what I feel like God tells me to focus on or do for the year. I always know that He knows much better than I do about what we will face that year and who He has created my children to be and become. I have always been extremely thankful that He is faithful to guide, lead, encourage, and help us every year!

5 years ago · Like · Comment
Kim in CA: I have been homeschooling my children for 9 years and my youngest is starting his first year in high school, and I've been really worried about what math curriculum and elective courses to order for the upcoming school year. This is the first year I am homeschooling a high schooler and I just don't want to get him behind ! I was gently reminded to pray about it after I read your post !
4 years ago · Like

Nancy in NH

Over the 10 years of our homeschooling journey, I have come to realize that the happiness and enthusiasm of my children should guide our choices. And evaluating is easy--my children are content and achieving their goals and feeling a sense of purpose with an eye to the future. It is no longer about getting math or chemistry done, but allowing my children time to pursue their major creative interests. Two of my three (10th & 12th graders) have creative pursuits in mind (piano performance and art) and they spend considerable time devoted to this. My youngest is all about writing and languages, with time (as an 8th grader) to figure it out. We have collaborated on building the necessary academics around their goals, instead of the other way around. They know what they love and want to do, so I don't stress about the stuff they might 'miss' as a result of these choices. We work towards mastery, so test scores aren't a cause of stress. Taking tests are practiced in high school (so they will know what to expect in college), but not the benchmark for us. Mastery learning has been successful for my children. I've come to embrace that kids can share what they know in other ways--in discussion, creative projects (video, audio, presentations, team projects, etc), playing games even.

It wasn't always this way, though. I began this journey with a 'plan'. I stressed when things didn't get done, when we got 'side-tracked'. I wish now that I had seen then that getting side-tracked was really the pursuit of an interest one of my children. Slowly, I learned to trust that interruptions, distractions and interests were important, and eventually, I relaxed and learned to follow their leads.

As I prepare to graduate my oldest in May, it is easy to answer the question of "How are we doing?" when I see his dreams taking shape, when I see him setting goals and finding ways to reach them, when I see how much he is enjoying his senior year--one designed by him. He's happy and smiling all the time, despite the incredible amount of time he devotes to school work and music. It is easy to answer when I see my other son finding his 'thing'. As a child who has faced a tough childhood with numerous health and learning challenges, there is nothing more rewarding than to see him smiling and laughing when he's elbow-deep in clay and being granted scholarships due to his passion for what he does. It is easy to answer when my youngest, who loves languages so much (and walks around with French words/sayings all over her clothes!), creates a study group and goes on to tutor a student who can no longer afford the class she had been taking. Her enthusiasm is contagious. For me, that says it all.

5 years ago · Like · Comment

mrsmccarty

We are still new to home schooling but little by little we are learning this new world together. Our budget is very tiny, but thankfully there are so many resources online for families just like ours. Our daughter loves reading more than anything so sometimes my only challenge is helping her focus on other subjects!

5 years ago · Like · Comment

MommaD

My teen homeschooler is a very challenging student. He has ADHD, dyslexia, dysgraphia, narcissisitc personality disorder. along with teenage-itis. We started homeschooling at 3rd grade when it became evident that public school was not able to offer him the one- on-one attention needed. Having homeschooled other children and working in a private school as a teacher, I had some knowledge of curricula and began trials with different ones. My boy's dyslexia is severe in spelling and reading. While he is a good orator and has a great vocabulary knowledge, being able to decode a word so that he understands it, is one of his greatest challenges. Early in our homeschooling process we were introduced to Wilson Reading which focuses on full phonetic training. I had to learn how to teach him (and still learning), but it has been a big help in his decoding progression.

Our basic curriculum is SOS and I've added in the Wilson Reading replacing the spelling portion of SOS. I also manage a beauty/tanning salon and have to work around my business schedule. SOS was helpful in that we can set the lessons to be read to him through the computer. This helped minimize the problem of words that he could not decode. Our school days begin with me teaching the Wilson Reading and then focusing on other subjects that have new material and teaching that before I start my work day. My work schedule is variable and allows me time throughout the day to assist him where needed. He has learned that if he comes to a snag in lessons, to put that area on hold and move on to something else until I can help him.

For several years I used the Weaver Program assessment booklet in ensure my student was at age/grade level. I don't really like 'grade levels' but since in the education world most people base achievement on grade-levels, we stay within that realm. This year my student is at 8th grade level and I've had to move to other assessment tools to determine his progress. Homeschool Buyers Co-op has had several free and inexpensive testing tools that I have utilized plus I frequently search our states educational system to make sure we are studying at about the same level as his peers. Our state requires an achievement test each year for homeschooling. It is not a tool required for grade placement but to ensure that students are learning. I use the yearly achievement test as a measurement of where we are and where we need to be. Our basic learning philosophy is 'Mastery'. We don't move to another lesson until the previous one is mastered. In many schools educational progress is based on grade averages. I've found that at times 'Mastery' can slow us down in progression but in the long run is better because the foundation is solid.

My student has difficulty with time, (as I understand it, an ADHD characteristic). Therefore timed tests can be a problem for him. We still take timed tests but also use others that are not timed just to balance out with his capabilities.(...another beauty of homeschooling that would most likely not be allowed in other school setting.) Due to his academic handicap, I focus the brunt of his education on 'Reading' Writing, and Arithmetic'. Science, History and Bible subjects are difficult for him because of the word understanding needed. These subjects are taken at a much slower pace with much more teacher help. While he often is unable to take a test in these subjects and pass them, he does get the understanding of the subject by much discussion and repetition. We also attends a co-op weekly for half a day and weekly PE through Upward. This allows for others to assess his capabilities which then allows me better understanding of what we need to do.

I am very thankful to be able to homeschool him. He has learning/academic disabilities but is very smart and capable of learning when taught at a level he can understand. My overall goal is to raise a bright, functioning adult and I believe we are achieving that goal.

5 years ago · Like · Comment

meganmtt

For the new year we are shaking up our curriculum and scheduling - getting rid of what wasn't working, adding things to replace or supplement, and moving away from the printed planners I designed at the beginning of the year and utilizing a daily "workbox" for each child to complete.

5 years ago · Like · Comment

melzenz

My two kids both have special-needs, including autism. Interestingly, both have learning disabilities AND are gifted. While I do stay aware of what's required for their "grade levels," based on their ages, I really don't follow it. Their curriculum spans a wide variety of grade levels in order to meet their needs and abilities. While I may be using a 5th grade math program with my 15 year old daughter, she's also doing college masters-level English and is near-fluency in numerous foreign languages.

At the beginning of each calendar year--which isn't really the midpoint of our school year since we work all year round, I do reassess my goals and plans for the rest of the year. Our goals always include milestones for academics as well as social skills, emotional growth, and independent living skills. Based on our progress from the start of the school year until this point, I make any necessary adjustments in our schedules, therapies, curriculum, etc. Do we need to simplify the schedule a bit to improve concentration and reduce frustration/anxiety? Talk with the therapist about increasing OT to help reduce sensory overload, which will make everything else easier? Should I move science to a less-rushed time of day so we can really immerse ourselves and discuss what we're studying without needing to watch the clock? Should I drop a subject for my son/daughter right now since he/she is working so hard to progress in some other domain? As parents, particularly as homeschool parents who spend so much time with our children, we know our kids better than anyone else. If we take the time to observe them and listen to them and then reflect on our observations, we will be able to find the most appropriate path at any given time (knowing, of course, it may change frequently and drastically).

In a public school setting, my kids would likely be in special-ed classes that "dumbed down" the material and whose teachers/administrators didn't expect nor demand much from them. They may even have certain subjects, such as history, omitted entirely. On the contrary, in our homeschool I do have high standards for them. My kids and I talk regularly about their own goals and aspirations, and I draw connections for them to what they're studying and/or need to study to get there. It isn't always smooth, but we do our best!

5 years ago · Like · Comment

MelShep

After a long Christmas break in which I spent time enjoying the kids, activities, having fun, I decided the best thing I could do is lower my expectations. We began using YouTube instead of text book type lessons. We laughed, we saw interesting things, we enjoyed! My kids shy away from documentaries, but with the YouTube videos they are actually watching the documentaries and gaining the learning and they don't even realize it! When mom learns that not every page has to be read or every problem completed, expectations seem to be met in even greater possibilities! It only took me 26 years to figure this out.

5 years ago · Like · Comment

SarahC

Time for our mid year reboot. I've been evaluating what's been working and what has not, tweaking as needed. Also, a time to remind the kiddos of house rules and goals.

5 years ago · Like · Comment

HD

With Dyslexia, reading and spelling often test below grade level, unsatisfactory, partially proficient. I've had to look at tests from year to year to see how much growth was made. Reading might still be below grade level but the growth for the year was 3x the growth expected for a student. So looking at growth as well as stepping back to see a larger picture has helped us see that homeschooling has been worth while.

5 years ago · Like · Comment

Kimberly in Canada

We make sure that our kids have plenty of time to pursue their own interests. Last year, my son wanted to work backstage in many community play productions, so we worked that into a Theatre Arts: Stagecraft high school credit. This year, he is interested in photography & filmmaking, so we're making sure he has time to develop that interest as a credit.

5 years ago · Like · Comment

Nicole615

I feel like I'm constantly evaluating our school day in my head, but I really depend on my individual "planners" for each of my three children. There are days where there's chaos everywhere I turn and I can hardly account what we ate for breakfast! However, the daily planners offer some clarity and a logged account of the day. I'm pretty consistent with writing, logging, and tracking what I do with each child. I tend to write down the subject, assignment, scores, if they completed it or not, and if we need to repeat. All of these factors vary with each child and subject. This allows me to look at what we did the day, week, even year before. It enables me to look up something as specific as a page number (that I jotted down earlier) or it may ensure that my oldest can look it up an assignment himself in his planner if needed. At the end of the year, I have a pretty accurate account of what we covered. I'm able to count up how many hours we spent on each subject. It allows me to assess and then reassess how the child did as well. This is particulary helpful when planning the upcoming year or when I write up the year summary. As crazy as what life can get, I depend on the planners as an organizational tool while offering me peace of mind.
The great thing about homeschooling is that I can adjust and change as needed (using my own-found approaches) to reach objectives while schooling my children!

5 years ago · Like · Comment

3GirlsAndaBoy

My daughter (was diagnosed with ADHD, but is just a kinesthetic learner) is required to test certain years. So, when I begin lesson planning, I run a quick Google search to find her grade level standards for each subject. Once I find everything she has to know for each subject, I research each topic to make my own curriculum for her. For example, they had to know four different abolitionist this year. I found a really good site that had great information on each one. The first day she read the biography and took notes on anything she found important. Then, we took the information the next day and made a timeline of events. We did this for each person. Once we finished all four, we wrote a skit that included information on all four of them.

For Science we do experiments and drawings and talk about things when they come up. In Spelling I create word searches and vocabulary crossword puzzles. Then she writes a story using all of her words so I can check her spelling and vocabulary. For Math she does an online program as well as book work. We read together and alone and I quiz her by having her take an AR quiz, writing a summary, giving an oral summary. Art is weekly art lessons at a pottery store and the crafts and projects we mix in.

In Geography we have been doing something fun. We have a giant floor puzzle of the United States complete with oceans and capitals. She draws a piece out and whatever state is on it we study. We learn about where it is located and its capital, weather, flower, song, etc. and which states (or oceans) surround it. Once we have learned enough about that state she draws another one and we start all over. We put it together as we go.

In short, I do my homework to help her with hers. I do make a schedule, but it is just a guide. I just highlight what we've completed so I know if we completed that days lessons or not. If we can play catchup we do. If not, no biggie. We have fun and learn in everything we do.

5 years ago · Like · Comment

childsVOICE

I don't focus too much on formal testing on every subject. My daughter is ADHD. Oral quizzes and tests seem to work best for her. For Spelling, we do a paper quiz before the lesson. During the week, we focus mostly on the missed words. This year, we started a Vocab / Spelling notebook. We attempt one lesson a week with a written test at the end. After the quiz / test, I read the spelling and she grades her own paper. She crosses out any incorrect word and rewrites it correctly. This way she's hearing the word, seeing the word and writing the word. Also, if she still misses a word on the test, I have her write it on an index card that's been cut in half. That goes into a plastic sandwich bag (that has been stapled on one side and open) to her cork board above her desk. This bag is labeled "Practice". She continues to practice those words in her spare time as we move forward. Once she masters the word, the word card gets placed inside another plastic sandwich bag, also stapled open on her cork board, labeled "Knows". This way she can physically see her improvement and accomplishments. Of course, we repeat or continue a lesson if she misses too many but that hasn't really been a problem, thus far. We, also, use this method for Multiplication facts. I created my own half sheets of multiplication facts and time her. Each sheet has each fact only once and in random order so she doesn't use a pattern in order to write the answer. She does one half sheet BEFORE we start studying the particular multiplication fact during the week(s), then as it appears she's able to start remembering some of the facts, I retest her. I show her how she finished the sheet more quickly and more accurately. I point out her improvement. Then, we continue practicing through various resources including games, worksheets, cards, verbal quizzing, etc. We use Saxon Math, Spectrum Math, plus other worksheets found in Comprehensive Curriculum workbooks, in addition to the Internet. Saxon Math has Assessment pages but really, I use every day's worksheet as a quiz. I have my daughter first complete the page, independently, circling the number of any problem she doesn't know how to do. Then, we go over those problems more in depth. For days when the bulk of the worksheet covers a new topic, I make sure to hold that worksheet back until I teach the lesson. Then, we work on the front page together. Saxon Math is designed to have the child use the back of the page as homework at a later time, but most of the time we save it for the following day. The flip side of the worksheet is designed to duplicate the types of questions on the front. So, if I know she's mastered some of the questions, I can simply write "Do" beside the questions I want her to complete. This way she can skip the others. When I grade a page, I write in red ink "np" for "needs practice" on specific problems, or if she needs practice on the entire page, "np" is written at the top of the page in place of "A, B, C...". Also, for practice pages, if she seems to understand the bulk of the questions, I will draw a smiley face or a check mark. This system is more for me to be able to view her progress quickly when flipping through her previous work. When I see a "np", I know I need to continue that lesson on another day. I made my own Lesson Plan / Classwork log using a table in Word. At the top, I added a title and a line for the date. I listed the subjects we cover down the second column. I added the main books/ resources we use under the appropriate subjects. For example, in the second column "Math" will be on the first line, then "Saxon Math Gr._" is on the next line down. A few lines are left blank under that, then "Spectrum Gr._" is listed with a few blank lines to follow. A small column is to the left which is used to document the grade (or a "np" or a smiley face). A description column is to the right. This is where I pencil in a description of the work she has completed for the day. I write as much down as I can remember. I try my best to complete this as we cover a topic, do a lesson, worksheet, reading assignment, etc. I write down the overall topic such as "Dividing 3 digits by 2 digits" then the page number of the worksheet, textbook, etc. that was completed. I keep a separate log on the computer for any websites we visited during the day. I keep it in MS Word as a table and log the website URL and a brief description or title of the lesson covered. The table has columns for the date, the subject studied (Ex. "Math / long division" or "Science / Weather"), and a description. As we view a YouTube video, search a particular webpage, or do a lesson on IXL, BrainPopJr, or SpellingCity, etc., I add the information to the log. I just keep it open until we are finished working on the computer then close it out. It's best to print off the new pages, periodically, to be sure not to loose the documentation. BrainPopJr has there own Easy Quiz and Hard Quiz we print off after my daughter completes the on-line lesson.
It is mandatory in VA to complete a year-end assessment. We use Seton.

5 years ago · Like · Comment

Lynne

I have been home schooling for a very long time it seems, 27 years now. I have changed corriculum a few times in order to see what works best for our children, learning. At first I was afraid to get away from the 'normal' stuff, but realized that change isn't all bad. You have to see what each child needs and go accordingly. I am still home schooling, now 11 children later, and will continue to check out new things and new ways for learning. I am not perfect, neither are other home schooling moms, but we try to do our best for the most part.

5 years ago · Like · Comment

erica

We follow Simon Sinek's golden circle. First we ask why are we homeschooling. We ask it until we get to the essential reason for homeschooling. (our purpose is joyful pursuit of knowledge that helps create awake, moral citizens.) Then each semester we look at our purpose and we say how are we going to make that happen (first semester was by finding two friends and pursuing only those areas my son wanted) once we have those then we go to the 'what" - what are the specific things, courses, materials, classes, free times, projects that will make it happen. We revisit our purpose each semester and then create a new how and what.

5 years ago · Like · Comment
mamajo: I'll have to try this method, because we just started "homeschooling" and it looks more like "NONschooling" and we hate it. Maybe because we have no support or direction. Thanks, I'll look this up.
5 years ago · Like
mamajo: Oh yes, and side note, I'm a single mom working 3 jobs, with no option for private or public schooling here (our schools are high crime and violence) and my 11th grader needs a set schedule and when I make one, it isn't completed. help.
Writermom likes this. · 5 years ago · Like
Writermom: It is easy to feel like you are "unschooling". I have been there, too, as a mom who works 2 jobs whose husband works away. Our schedule is often not completed if it is too full either, but I try to make sure my high school daughter reads a lot of various materials and books, then I talk to her about them so I know she has. Even if you have not read a book, there are free discussion questions online for almost any book. This also helps the student know you care and makes them feel more attuned to you and you to him or her. With enough reading and some videos from the library, kids will get almost everything they need except maybe math. That takes practice and doing it. If he plans to attend college, you should also make sure you are keeping records of courses for transcripts. I hope it works out for you!
4 years ago · Like

KelLee

I am married to a public school teacher and originally used a combination of private and public schooling. My oldest child graduated from a public school. I watched this highly intellectual child struggle with tests. She had all the answers but once you set a time limit, her mind went blank. She struggled with the SAT yet she got almost all A's in her classes. Once she made it to college, she again struggled at midterms and finals. Then a professor came to her rescue and changed the format of her midterms and finals and all the struggles went away. She constantly proved herself in her work. I have adapted that type of 'testing' with my other children. Periodically we 'play' test taking because I realize not all things in their future will bend to match what I do. It has helped them to adapt to all types of assessments without having the emotional fear that plagued my oldest child. That is how I do it and so far so good! :)

5 years ago · Like · Comment

Skaren

I love home education because you have the ability to see and know how your child is doing just from working along side of them! You know if they are struggling in an area, need extra attention and assistance with it, you know when they are needing to move on to something more challenging! You can "see" into your child! Are the "lights turning on"? Are we seeing increased understanding consistently? So far I haven't felt a need for standardized assessment because I have the confidence from watching my child that we are doing well and beyond. Our state does requite CAT testing every other year which is a fine way to confirm that we are on track. Most of all, trusting in the Lord that He who began a good work will be faithful to complete it. This releases us from the outward pressure of performance and conformity to the "norm", whether the bar be high or low...we seek above all to please the Lord Jesus and to receive an "AUG (Approved unto God) Degree", knowing that He does want us to pursue excellence in all areas!

5 years ago · Like · Comment

Lacy v V

I have not done much assessment before now. I assume that if my kids can understand and learn from the books in or beyond their age/grade level, they are doing well. Also, my husband takes my son, 12, and daughters with him when he does construction projects, so they learn measurement, area, volume and other math while learning life skills. My daughters, 10 and 7 can bake bread and follow recipes, including making 'double batches.' All my kids write letters to grandma, and I correct their spelling and grammar. We listen to audio books and read aloud together, and we discuss unfamiliar vocabulary words. I do not usually consider if they are 'at grade level' or not. The important thing is that they are learning excellence in those areas that they will need in life.

5 years ago · Like · Comment

CarynBC

We don't do much assessment and that helps keep everyone's stress low. But I noticed that my stress gets a little high if I don't satisfy myself that we haven't gone all the way off the rails . . . (or what is the right metaphor?). Not only that as my kids get older (they are 7 and 10), they are more interested in what school kids are up to. What do I do?

I skim books and online resources to see if it gives me any ideas and I give myself a minimum for me to understand and cover. My method could be roughly called the "Invite and inspire" version of child led learning. So I find a way to cover what I think needs covering as we all study and play together throughout the year. I invite them to do things with me and I inspire them by doing those things anyway. I confess I cannot keep up with my 7YO let alone my 10YO but they see me reading, revising, drawing pictures, problem - solving, etc. And it makes a difference.

Not only that, we are members of one of homeschool charters and they provide assessments at the beginning and middle of the year as well as a writing assignment. While these do provide a chance to learn how to handle standardized tests (with their attendant nuttiness and sometimes quite low quality), they don't provide meaningful feedback in a timely fashion if at all. But they are part of the picture and I am glad to do them. Without this nudge, it would be hard to find time to work on such silly but important stuff. I am pretty sure we are headed out of the charter school-homeschool as my kids hit middleschool. The requirements and intrusiveness increases. But for now, doing the tests twice a year seems about perfect for learning how to go with the strange and rigid group flow of group learning.

5 years ago · Like · Comment

SusanU

How are we doing? With the materials I have on hand, I measure our progress against these. When I see my child struggling with a lesson, I modify it accordingly and then move on. I want my children to have a thorough understanding of basic concepts so that later application of these concepts will come easily and quickly. When my children, for instance, can answer quickly and without hesitation addition problems asked in conversation or written in numeric form, I feel we are doing well. I feel the same with the other subjects. When the children repeat back to me information we have learned and draw accurate assessments from the information, I know we have succeeded and are doing well.

5 years ago · Like · Comment

ABrase

When in doubt about overshooting or undershooting, I always go back to our family's primary goals in homeschooling. "Do they have good character? Are we working as a team? Are they eager to learn and excited about good things? Do they know where to look and how to find answers to things they don't know? Are they improving on skills that were weak, even if it's not at the same rate as others?" These questions will almost always put my mind at ease. It very much helps to remember that God's in control and that He loves these kids even more than I do.

5 years ago · Like · Comment

anipalaia

"How are we doing?" This is something I walked through this week. After homeschooling for 6 years you would think that at some point I would feel comfortable in the "How we are doing?" question. However, with the constant bombardment from media, social networks, family, friends, and fellow homeschoolers of this question sometimes I get thrown into a whirlwind of doubt and questioning. When this happened earlier this week, the first thing I did was pray. Every year when it's time to reassess curriculum that is the first thing I do. Then the Lord leads me down the path of truth and wisdom. This year I ended up in a 5th grade classroom at one of the local schools. Being able to spend a half an hour in this classroom and peak at the students work I was convicted that my fifth grader was well above her peers in her schoolwork. I also have a 2nd grader. If there is one thing I've learned about my youngest in all my homeschooling years is that he doesn't fit into the box that is my oldest child. So again, the question of "How are we doing"? must be addressed for him. And again I prayed. And this time I ended up researching many different curricula. I looked at conventional, classical, online, workbooks, internet based...you name it I researched it. And I found that the plan I had all along for him was exactly what he needed. I was lead more than once to the same curriculum and when I checked others I could see that he was far ahead of the game and would actually be taken a step back if we switched things up. Of course there are assessments, and tests you can give your kids to see how they compare to other children who have taken the same tests and assessments. I however, don't go that route. As someone who suffers from test anxiety, I have always held in my heart that tests don't show the entire scope of the test taker's knowledge. I prefer real life examples. Day to day progress. And most of all trusting in the Lord.

5 years ago · Like · Comment

mom2boysNJ

We are doing kindergarten with my oldest. The curriculum i chose has built-in assessments which I loosely use to monitor progress. But really, as long as he is enjoying what he is learning and making progress in reading, I feel he is succeeding.

5 years ago · Like · Comment

mom2boysNJ

We are doing kindergarten with my oldest. The curriculum i chose has built-in assessments which I loosely use to monitor progress. But really, as long as he is enjoying what he is learning and making progress in reading, I feel he is succeeding.

5 years ago · Like · Comment

grantfamilyschool

On a daily basis: I made up some fake money and established a payment rate for certain things, ranging from being on time to things accomplished in a day. They have a money pouch with a savings register in it that I picked up from my bank. They log any deposits through the week. Every Friday, they have a chance to purchase from a store I set up. The store is simple and has small to large items which are priced. The more they apply themselves in the week, the more they can buy. At the same time, they learn about saving, managing money, and some simple economics. It really keeps them on track. We also have a simple To Do list each day so they know what's expected.

On a weekly basis: We use the tests that come with our curriculum. They love trying for good grades.

On a yearly basis: We take the CAT test every year just to make sure they are testing at national grade levels in every subject.

And over all, we just try to incorporate learning in every day life. We know they are really grasping things that way and love to see them get excited in their learning when they play!

5 years ago · Like · Comment

kami

Frankly, the only expectations that I have in our homeschooling is that we give our best effort toward whatever is before us; keep a loose schedule (like 'begin school at 8 am') so that we may be ready for, and flexible to, the lead of the Holy Spirit for the day; and treat one another with kindness and respect.

Before we begin a new study or assignment I try to be very clear about what I am expecting in a final product or demonstration of understanding - always keeping in mind the capabilities of each child so that they are set-up for success. We talk about the approximate time that they will need to spend on the subject each day, look at examples, discuss study resources, and make sure all questions/concerns are considered (as much as they can be) before they start.

When all is said and done, each child is asked to evaluate if they gave their best effort toward what was given them to learn or do. If they can answer 'yes' (and my own observations agree) then we're satisfied. If they haven't given their best, we talk about what hindered them from doing so (attitudes, laziness, distractions, poor planning) and discuss what changes need to be made. I know we're doing okay as I watch them grow in diligence, perseverance, confidence, and personal responsibility.

6 years ago · Like · Comment

tvr319

We start the year with establishing goals in all learning areas together. Just recently we created a week-by-week calendar toward achieving our goals by the end of our academic year. Some subjects are graded by quiz, some are assessed through the curriculum we purchased and some by a discussion about whether the learning objective was met.

6 years ago · Like · Comment

Nearlyfinished

Thankfully, we have a simple way of tracking our progress. Obviously, there are many aspects of evaluating success in home education. Other than a mid-year and end of year review, our bottom line of determining success in home schooling is monitoring the grasp of educational material and observing how our children incorporate their knowledge and abilities in pursuing their interest and serving the Lord.

6 years ago · Like · Comment

SycamoreAcademy

For me and my daughter, "testing" and "assessments" are actually things we don't mind using to evaluate our academic progress. She likes having a clear cut line to identify how she fares with the subject matter and I like using them as an opportunity to teach preparation and other life skills.There are other things we do too, at different intervals, to assess our academic progress. Occasionally, we reference the objectives that we have predetermined. I have her "rank" the objectives by her confidence level. The rankings are either, "Confident", "Not confident", or "Neither". This lets both of us know (or reminds us) where we need to focus or periodically review. Sometimes we find that what we thought she was solid on, is actually something she had memorized, rather than learned. We then revisit the subject matter and incorporate it into the daily plans. From the emotional aspect, we keep our expectations simple. We expect each other to have a good attitude throughout the school day. When one of us feels that the other is not meeting that expectation, we have an open and honest discussion about it. To date, there has been no academic or attitude issue we haven't been able to successfully resolve.

6 years ago · Like · Comment

trek

Since my child was in traditional school up until this past autumn, she is used to the feedback of tests to evaluate mastery. Instead of writing up full examinations for every unit, I use online quizzes available on the publishers' web sites for "tests" and discuss the topics with her at length to evaluate how much she has learned and retained. The minivan has become a classroom as well: she can work on math problems in her workbook as we drive or she can read to me and I can "quiz" her on what we have covered recently. I also take advantage of "between times". As we are doing household chores, I might ask, "agricolae sumus"? and it is awesome that "we are farmers!" comes singing from her lips!
Because of the recent transition from traditional schoolroom to homeschooling, we are making a conscious effort to maintain a continuous dialog with the child about what she might miss from the "old days" or how she feels about learning here with me. So far, she misses nothing and is very enthusiastic about working together and our style of block-schedule learning. If she is hungry at 11:45, that's lunchtime and she eats: no waiting for the bell to ring at 12:30. We don't have bells and I do not worry about finishing a subject by a particular time on the clock. We work on a topic until it is done and we move on from there.
One really big thing that makes our child happy is that she has had a voice in what we are studying. She understands that certain subjects are non-negotiable (math, science, ss, ila) but she hated learning Spanish. We are now studying American Sign Language and Latin. She *loves* Latin and is getting pretty proficient with her conjugations and declensions.
Best of all, my child had come back to me: the stressed-out, weepy tween who got off the bus every afternoon no longer comes to visit - or at least not very often ;o)

6 years ago · Like · Comment

hiddenhillshomeschool

My ultimate assessment tip is to remember why we are homeschooling. Are the children learning to the best of their abilities? Are they happy? Do they feel supported and are they supportive of others? Are they curious? Are they polite and sociable? Are they good readers? Are they being taught the skills they need to be independent thinkers and self-teachers? Are the standards clear and the bar raised high? Then it's A+ for parent and child.

6 years ago · Like · Comment

briarfam

I try to know each of my kids, they are each so different. I then look at where they are at the end of the year and set goals for the next year. I then try to break them up into six week spans and reevaluate then. We are not required to do testing in out state but when my children are out of elementary age, I will consider it, if for nothing more than their experience with it. I also ask them what they think could make our day better and help them have more fun or remember more. Sometimes they come up with some awesome ideas! This helps take some stress out of our day and encourages them to want to learn more. In the end I just want to have them as capable adults who have a true love of God. He guides us daily and it is only through Him that they will be successful.

6 years ago · Like · Comment

LifeIsGood

We assess by using narratives! Our older children write narratives of what they read, and our younger children tell narratives about what they read. This helps with communication skills, writing skills, identifying important details, spelling, grammar and composition. We start doing some typical testing in high school so they are familiar with the process prior to taking outside classes.

6 years ago · Like · Comment

lballerina

I choose a curriculum that meets the needs of each child. Keep samples of the work they do in 3 ring binders. Take tests in subjects that have them. We try to school on days the public school in our area is in session plus a few others. My older boys take standardized test with public school.

6 years ago · Like · Comment

SallyBays

At the beginning of the year I like to set educational and emotional goals for each kiddo, I then plan our scope based on these goals. Throughout the year I keep these goals in mind, but also alter them as needed. I keep a notebook throughout the year with samples that show each kiddo's progress. We do assessment testing at the end of the year to comply with state regulations.

6 years ago · Like · Comment

Kiirs

I choose good curriculum for my kids, and try to keep them going at a good pace throughout the year. This helps us to finish most things around May or June, leaving the summer to be more relaxed, with less hours of school. I also think about each day in the evening and ask myself, what worked? What can I do better tomorrow? I measure my success more in my children's faces and the excitement and understanding they have for their growing knowledge, rather than the amount of work we get through in a day or week or month.

6 years ago · Like · Comment

Kristen JS

I have a random assortment of materials, and I don't do regular testing. For every subject, I check Common Core (which our state uses) to make sure we don't miss anything. I also do a lot of informal unit studies during holidays, vacations, and any other chance I see. I use a dollar store monthly planner to document day-to-day lessons, keep track of vacation days, and record/check on goals. We go year round with many short breaks, always looking out for teaching moments.
MATH is through IXL - he just keeps going until its something he has trouble with, then we teach/practice that at the table using manipulatives, games, etc until he can pass the section without help.
SCIENCE is through Magic School Bus, Young Scientist Club, and some University kids programs online for free, then I add other experiments, stories and documentaries to relate it to everyday life and different careers.
SPELLING is off the k12.com Master Spelling lists and words in his vacation journals.
READING is mixing his favorite books (Boxcar Children, Chronicles of Narnia, Clone Wars), McGuffy Readers, and books listed on our schools reading list.
HISTORY/GEOGRAPHY is done through a mix of used A Beka and other books, and keep up a few lessons a week until the books are done, expanding on each lesson by learning a few facts about each people/location we're learning about.

6 years ago · Like · Comment

Denver_Mom

When I see my son getting absorbed in something he is learning, see him focused and interested. I know I am on the right course. That is the greatest indicator for me. Especially when I see him continue the interest after our school hours and into play. When we have studied money / coins and then I see him pretend play with the new found knowledge. It's the joy and focus that I am looking for in our homeschooling!

6 years ago · Like · Comment

ProfMomof10

First thing before my feet hit the floor in the morning, I check with my Maker to see that I am on track with Him. This flows through to the rest of the day and all of my kids. I also capitalize on their teachable moments, when they ask questions we find answers. The goal of our 'school' is to produce adults who think for themselves, love learning new things and contribute to society positively.

6 years ago · Like · Comment

SandyK

I have a 17yr old boy, a 10yr old girl, and a 7yr old girl. Having the ages spread out like this I can get a little frazzled. I have started making a check list for each subject and then each section in the subjects. It gives the kids a visual picture of how much or how little they still have to do to get things done. One of my children is behind in math, so this really motivates to get caught up. They are more willing to do a few lessons at a time, if needed, when they see where it will get them. For my high school student, I have a template for transcripts (http://www.letshomeschoolhighschool.com/) so I am filling it out as we go to keep track of what he needs for college. We are also looking at colleges now to see their requirements. We have not done standardized testing at this point. A couple of my children seem to freeze up with testing...we do the quizes and tests in their work, and we always go back to each assignment to master it before moving on.

6 years ago · Like · Comment

Momof1

Part of homeschooling is instinct. You know your kid(s) better than anyone and you know if your child is on track or if they are struggling. I think we sometimes just need to try and remember, our child is not going to learn everything. There will be some gaps..but, the same is true no matter where they are schooled. I will periodically download a state test, for peace of mind. I also make sure we are learning about real life issues. Get outside...play...refresh our brains. Stay positive and don't compare what one kid can do versus another. It will all work out. :)

6 years ago · Like · Comment

smyrnalynne

I actually like to use the tests that come with the curriculum. It usually gives a good variety of types of questions, such as multiple choice, short answer, essay. I also do a lot of oral review to see what they can recall. In addition, we do take standardized tests near the end of the school year. I do not "teach to the test," but I don't think it is wise to neglect giving your child experience with these types of tests. How are they going to just automatically know how to handle these for ACT or SAT if they have not been gaining experience in this area all along?

6 years ago · Like · Comment

PaulaP

I've always tested my kids in the core subjects, both for assessment of how well they've absorbed the material and to make sure they have solid test taking skills for college. I use the tests that come with the curriculum purchased or make up my own if need be. Once they reach high school, we start doing practice tests for the ACT/SAT so they can see where their strengths and weaknesses are in the core areas. I also have them take the PSAT at the local high school, first in 10th grade for practice and then in 11th grade to qualify for National Merit Scholar program (many homeschoolers don't know about this...many colleges award scholarships to kids who do well on this). My kids have also taken several AP and CLEP tests, which assess a student's knowledge in a particular subject area and earn them college credit based on their scores.

6 years ago · Like · Comment

mommywood314

My kids are 7, 4, and 1 and my focus has really been on my oldest up to now. I track our homeschool success by his attitude toward learning. He is far above his peers in math and language arts so I don't really worry about him achieving what he needs to academically, but if he isn't enjoying our time together, then I know something is wrong and I need to make a change. For me, attitude is the biggest indicator of success.

6 years ago · Like · Comment

M5

With my high school aged students, I have been doing very short weekly assessments so that we can check for understanding as we go. I then do a larger exam at the end of a few chapters or at the end of a quarter so they are not surprised and/or stressed when they go away to college. I think it is a nice balance. Hopefully when they get to college, they will continue to assess themselves periodically even if the professor does not.

6 years ago · Like · Comment

superfastreader

We have to report to the state and that really works for me. I've stated my goals and every few months I see whether we're meeting our goals or not. I got to set my own goals and I have freedome to revise if things aren't working for us.

6 years ago · Like · Comment

Mcaxtell

This is our first year homeschooling. As a former teacher who has taught in high stakes schools, I believe there are pros and cons to testing. I have chosen to use free, online, textbook chapter tests. I am considering creating a mid-term test so that my son stays "in practice." I have taught many homeschool students that come back to traditional school for their high school classes and testing has been one of the big stresses for them. Mainly the tests they experienced before me where not as focused in higher order thinking questions or applying what they learned to a completely different scenario. Learning from that, I am trying to keep my son used to essay questions that ask him to apply knowledge...not just recite memorized facts.

6 years ago · Like · Comment

mommy and me learning

I too have young children (1st and pre-k) so therefore I prefer to take a non traditional or more relaxed route with assessments. When I taught in daycares, I felt the tests were too uniform and didn't meet the needs of the individual. With this said, I research the developmental milestones for each of my children and use this as a guide for assessment. When assessing, I use several strategies. 1) I observe from a distance at the interaction my children have with one another and others around them (this is great at assessing social and emotional development). 2) I ask questions about particular material we have covered thus far (what did you like learning most/least and why, tell me more about it, etc-this is key for comprehension and recall). 3) I extend on their conversations (this is key for language arts-sentence structure, knowledge of words and their meanings, etc). The main thing to remember is that every child learns and develops differently and that it's our responsibility as parents and teachers to build off from their weaknesses and strengths.

6 years ago · Like · Comment

Danielle.grano

We use Mobymax/143mc the 143mc is for home school. It is free and keeps track of what level they are on and repeats questions in different ways until they get it. We will also be taking the Iowa test at the end of the year for the state.

6 years ago · Like · Comment

AmandaC

My son is in first grade. I just make sure he is happy. For us homeschooling doesn't just happen between 9 and 3...it is our whole lifestyle. If he is asking questions, retelling information he knows, and doing things with his new knowledge, I'm guessing he's doing pretty well. It'll probably get more assessment based soon but for now, I just want him to love learning.

6 years ago · Like · Comment

clcbrown

This is our first year homeschooling, so thus far, we've taken the math tests in the Saxon curriculum and getting ready for Memory Masters with Classical Conversations. Of course, I'm keeping records and work for portfolios, too!

6 years ago · Like · Comment

KatieT

I don't usually do formal assessments for my son. I use the tests that come with the various materials I use and orally quiz him on previous material. Next year when he starts high school we will have to get more formal so he will know how to study for exams if he decides to attend college.

6 years ago · Like · Comment

Samwith4kids

We used Sonlight for years which had a great checklist at the back of the book. It included things other than academics to see how your children were tracking. Things that they should be doing by a certain age. For example, tying shoes, making their bed etc. There were academic goals as well. I would look at the year of school ahead and plan what I wanted each child to accomplish both in terms of improved academics and character traits. Then we would start the year and I would try to focus on those things. Life often interferes with our best plans but that is what Christmas break is for and New Years is a great time to hit the reset button and assess what work has been done and what still needs to be done. Now my children are older but the same theory works.

6 years ago · Like · Comment

educ8ingmom

At the end of each semester I do "midterm" testing on the different subjects that we have done ... I don't have my kids study for the exam I want to see what they have retained. It helps me know where we are and where we need to go from there. At the end of the year my oldest takes a final assessment test.. I have found many good ones online for free. I pick different states and download them. Once my younger ones get to 3rd grade they will do the same thing

6 years ago · Like · Comment

sweetpea

I find extra assessments like reading comprehension worksheets as well as standardized testing every three years per our state's requirements. My two have report cards every quarter that are generated by the free Homeschool Tracker.

6 years ago · Like · Comment

shj

I use the free reading test at ReadingKey.com to test my children's reading level. Scholastic.com also lists the grade level for most books so I can tell what grade level they enjoy reading. Saxon and Singapore Math have free tests to evaluate a child's grade level in math. I general, I can tell that my children are doing well academically because they are voracious readers, and their writing and spelling improves daily as they write in their school journals (about anything they wish). They use math in their daily lives and have no trouble learning math.

6 years ago · Like · Comment

reese17

My children don't really have any expectations for homeschooling. They expect they will be assigned work, and they expect there will be consequences for not giving it their best effort, including going over something until they have mastered it. My expectations for myself however, are very different. I did quite a bit of research to find curriculum that suits each of my children's personalities and styles of learning. I feel it is my job now to ensure we meet the expectation of getting the best education possible in the least stressful manner. We tried public school for several years and it left us all stressed out, and made learning painful and sometimes not even possible. By empowering my children to take charge of their own learning, I have given them the opportunity to pace themselves accordingly, and to delve further into subjects that interest them before moving on. I feel that as long as they are progressing, and are mostly enjoying learning, then we have met the most important expectation of our homeschool experience.

6 years ago · Like · Comment

bbmsmom

This year we have added more activities and lessons than ever before. In order to help us stay on track and sane, we do a few simple things.

First, the family calendar. If it's not on the calendar, it doesn't exist. We are part of a group, similar to a co-op, which helps us be accountable and gives the children a chance to put their hard work into action each week. As for day to day....white boards. We each have our own white board with a list. The lists are not too detailed...simply Math lesson 50, Read Bible for 15 minutes, Vocabulary Review, etc.. Even I have my list. We do our together work together and alone work alone...lovingly encouraging each other along the way. At the end of the day, it feels great to have our list done...we can see what we have accomplished.

All that said, we do have times when we need to sit down, review what we planned and adjust it to stay sane. Just because it's in the curriculum a certain way, does not mean that's the way it has to be done...it's about learning, not lists!

6 years ago · Like · Comment

JCHuffman

I'm a planning addict. I always know where we are and where we're heading academically. In addition, our state requires standardized testing once a year, so we complete the CAT a week or so after we complete our school year.

6 years ago · Like · Comment

Carolyn

I am a huge believer in the Excel spreadsheet! :-) I use them like crazy for everything from yearly calendars to get an overview for the year to daily plans, which I create once a week print out and then mark up as we go. I have tried other things and Excel is simply the way that works best for me...and my 16 year old daughter is starting to use it too for her own planning. Hmmm, I wonder where she got that from! ;-)

6 years ago · Like · Comment

Ms Oliver-Jackson

We are relatively new to homeschooling, but my son was not being challenged enough by our local small town district in Arkansas, and they had no resources or options available for advanced students. The philosophy of "No Child Left Behind" seems to have lent itself to the notion that no child gets ahead either.

Because we were new to homeschooling I spent almost a whole semester prior to withdrawing him from public school researching our options, reading blogs and reviews, and generally doing my homework concerning the advantages to be gained. Part of that research involved giving my son assessment tests. We had been subject to Benchmark exams in pubic school, and they are required of homeschoolers in my state as well, but what these tests show is how your child is doing in relation to the rest of the school and the rest of the state for the grade level they are pigeon-holed into according to age. What they do not say is what skills for each grade level the child has actually mastered or where the next level should be taking them.

We took the "Let's Go Learn" reading and math assessments. He was in 5th grade in public school, but the assessment showed that he was reading at above 12th grade level. While he still is only at 7th grade for spelling and vocabulary, he certainly was not being challenged by reading Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, so we have adopted a high school level literature and writing curriculum for language arts. For the Math assessment, I knew that he was above grade level, so we took the Pre-Algebra assessment, which shows that he has mastered all of the Pre-Algebra core curriculum skills accept graphing and geometry, so now we are using IXL to gain mastery of those two skills before beginning Algebra. Having evaluated his needs for those two subjects, I decided that our other main focuses need to be foreign language (we are studying Spanish together) and then to adopt 9th grade level civics and Earth science books. We are also adding a fine arts and music appreciation study. If all goes according to plan and he stays on track, we should be completing the core credits for high school by the time he is 15 (he is 11 now) and if he takes a GED exam and his ACT, our local community college has a policy of allowing early admission to college level classes!

More important than his academic efforts is what we gain from not attending public school in terms of 1) bullying, 2) disruption of academics by unruly children, 3) controlling both the quantity and quality of the science education he receives (our public school spent a mere 30 minutes per day on science), and 4) an end to the depression and frustration that my son was experiencing by being forced to sit through 8 hours of school per day for material he had already mastered. I was honestly worried that he was going to need medication for depression prior to homeschool. We also participate in social activities with a local homeschool cooperative, and he participates in sports through the local Boys and Girls Club, which means that he is not missing out on anything by being home for school.

I am so thankful that I found the co-op, not only are the reviews and advice I find on here helpful, but the savings on the materials we are using are a life saver for a single mom and full time student without a lot of money to spare.

6 years ago · Like · Comment

adventuremaven

Our kids have not always been homeschooled, though, God willing, it will be the way they'll finish their education at home. Previously, our two kids were enrolled at a private Christian school with high academic standards. Since homeschooling, I have researched the curricula maps of various top academic institutions (inc international) that share our classical approach and have kept us on par with those standards, and each year re-evaluate where necessary. In addition, I do my best to keep abreast of new materials that would help us achieve our educational goals for the kids. I have broken the goals down into long term as well as specific goals for each academic year. Assessment is ongoing as well as cumulative (based on each semester).

6 years ago · Like · Comment

sbhyde

We don't often test. Rather, for most subjects my 5th and 8th grade boys do as much or as little as is necessary to master a (math) or to exhaust their interest (electronics, astronomy, history) before moving on. That being said, as my older son has begun to take high school level math (this year high school math with yourteacher.com) and second year Mandarin (Rosetta Stone), we enjoy having the reports for our portfolio. Should he move into the public schools later on, we have scored assignments from which to draw a grade. Of course, he generally has 100% scores in both subjects, because he repeats units until they are mastered, rather than leaving a topic before he is ready. Even so, he is well ahead of the public school timeline.

6 years ago · Like · Comment

sleeplessmomof4

At Princess Academy I am the teacher, and my husband is the principal. I have ADD, and he helps to keep me on track, otherwise every day would be a field trip ;-)Homeschooling is a family affair, not just the responsibility of the mother.

6 years ago · Like · Comment

lesajm

I use the Charlotte Mason based curriculum called Ambleside Online. With the help of others who have already graduated their students with this rich curriculum, I am certain that this whole books based approach is just what my daughter needs.

6 years ago · Like · Comment

Tammy

I follow the basics of what our local school is doing and then we go with our interests more in depth. We study history and science without stripping out our Christian heritage and LOVE it!

6 years ago · Like · Comment

ChristineH

I use Thinkwave free online software to keep grades and Homeschool Skedtrak free online software to keep a transcript. I also use the Weekly Homeschool Planner editable pdf software by Jolanthe Erb to assign my son's work. Since I can save it with his name I have a record of what was assigned on my computer and he has the "hard copy" in his planner.

6 years ago · Like · Comment

TheBeautyofHS

I have relied on Homeschool Buyers Co-op to bring me the best and have used many of there items over the years and am so thankful for the resources they bring to our school. Record Keeping rocks with the Free Homeschool Skedtrek site. For the daily needs I made a log-in reference sheet so they can go to websites without help. Now in my 4th year I've streamlined and use less book materials as we use the computer for Readlive, Spellingcity, Teaching Textbooks, Story of the World CD's, Brainpop, Discovery Education, Clever Dragons, Type to Learn, Mark Kessler Art, and Game Design. Life just gets easier when you stay clutter free:)

6 years ago · Like · Comment

savmom

We are very relaxed in our approach (almost but not quite unschoolers). However, we do utilize traditional curricula, mainly for Math & Language Arts. I know our homeschooling goals are being met when my kids are retaining the information (narration). The most important goal for me is knowing my kids are developing a love for learning and that they spend time exploring their interests.

6 years ago · Like · Comment

Paulla Smith

Like most moms (or dads), I try my best to keep on top of their daily work and then review anything I feel they are just not getting. After reading, oral quizzes are popular with me too. However, once a year I do have my girls take the Stanford Achievement test at a nearby private Christian school. The results are mailed to me and it gives me a good sense for how they are doing. It has been encouraging for both myself and my daughters. We usually display their results on our bulletin board so they can feel a sense of accomplishment.

6 years ago · Like · Comment

MelissaB

I review their daily work and mistakes are corrected. I also test them annually with a standardized test per our state's homeschool requirements.

6 years ago · Like · Comment

Cher

I review items when I'm grading papers. Anything needs reviewing, we go back and do it again. Also, when picking curriculum, I review the public school goals and make our goals one step ahead. That way, if they struggle a little or get a little behind, they are still ok. I go year round, but I take a 1 week break 3 or 4 times a year and do assessments during that time before going on to the next segment of work.

6 years ago · Like · Comment

Red67

We have several children in our extended famliy the same ages as my children who are in publics schools. Once in a while I check in to see if my childnren are at their level. And not surprisingly they are usually ahead. I sometimes think if I spent all those hours that schools have for teaching on homeschooling my children they'd be in college by middle school age :)

6 years ago · Like · Comment
Red67: I wanted to add since my 7 yr old rarely has "tests" he loves them whenever we do have them instead of fearing them.
6 years ago · Like
Red67: I wanted to add since my 7 yr old rarely has "tests" he loves them whenever we do have them instead of fearing them.
6 years ago · Like

mamabear

We use Homeschool Skedtrack. I just began using this this year. I'm not sure what I did without it! It's FREE and amazing! I just print out our stuff every so often and that is our record book; attendance, activities, field trips, grades, etc. The kids also love being able to see what's expected of them.

6 years ago · Like · Comment

nisacatbo

Every day starts with "Tell me something you remember from yesterday." We review and build from there - making 'teaching to mastery' our goal. We don't move on until they get it.

6 years ago · Like · Comment

Jjlopez

We have five children and have found that about every six months we have to "inventory" and regroup. I pray about what each child needs and list out things, experiences and learning that each child needs on a sheet of paper. Then I go through our schedule and tweak it to make sure those things get included. Giving myself permission to need this every six months instead of every year has made a big difference in my not being frustrated when things start to get off track. I just look at my calendar and think, yep, it's been about six months time to regroup.

6 years ago · Like · Comment

ze5

I am trying to get schedule, lessons, and grades organized on the ipad that I got for Christmas, using the Homeschool Helper App. I am not good at constantly updating pieces of paper, so I'm hoping this will help.

6 years ago · Like · Comment

Girl4God

My daughter is in sixth grade. We do A Beka and then supplement with fun games and group buys such as Spanish from Monarch and Meet the Masters. We are trying to give her a well-rounded education that not only meets the needs that are set by the state, but she also enjoys. Each month we look at the previous month to see what worked and what didn t.

6 years ago · Like · Comment

srlee

My son is in kindergarten and I have really found the book Home Learning Year by Year to be invaluable In making sure we're staying on track for what he needs to be learning. I am meeting my expectations by using a variety of types of curriculum, including an online course purchased through this co-op. We also found that we needed to have a daily check list with a reward for accomplishing all the school tasks for the day. My son has even been keeping me on track with exercise because it's on his list. It has really kept us motivated. One thing we're still working on is getting in more field trips and outings. Having a variety is what really keeps things interesting.

6 years ago · Like · Comment

bumblesmama

My daughter is only in K, but I keep things simple and allow her to explore, discover and enjoy the journey. I plan to continue this track and nurture that kind of learning environment. I keep track of her skill set using a current core curriculum guideline as a check list for myself to keep track of baseline grade appropriate expectations. Later, I plan on using something like Seton testing as assessment for both of us and as a practice of standardized test-taking. I won't ever "teach-to-a-test", but let's face it, at some point, if she wants to attend university, she will have to take a standardized test. Even if she has a mastery of the content, I don't want her overwhelmed by the nature of that kind of testing simply because she hadn't practiced that testing style before.

6 years ago · Like · Comment

Debbieb

We've used Home School Tracker for 10 years; love it and can't imagine using anything else to keep us on track!!

6 years ago · Like · Comment

Danielle

We keep on track differently with different subjects: with math we use a traditional curriculum which has really given my children a lot of confidence in their abilities: Christian Light Press Sunrise Math. This is broken down into 10 books per school year with 17 lessons each. Each book also contains 2 quizzes to make sure that kids are understanding new material and a final test. Our charter school offers "milestone" tests in both Math and Language Arts. Other than that we don't test the other subjects. My kids do take the end of year standardized tests for our state though so we spend a couple of months working a little each day on the "actual" material that they would have covered in public school. I don't worry too much though - They are usually ahead.

7 years ago · Like · Comment

lzimmer

We do a variety of assessments. We do formal assessment by taking the ITBS or SAT test every other year. We do most of the tests and quizzes that accompany our curriculum, but those don't occur too terribly often. We also do a number of "dailies" for review, like Daily grams and a daily geography questions etc. Finally, we do informal assessments, by having conversation. The kids Dad does not live with us and so when he visits twice a week he asks lots of questions. If they can explain a concept so that he fully understands it, then I figure they understand it. Test passed 100%. :)

7 years ago · Like · Comment

Ledesma4

We use standardized tests through our charter at the end of the year, but we also frequently use chapter summaries, quizzes, & comprehensive tests.

7 years ago · Like · Comment

jtchristian

We use Trailguides to Learning's unit study curriculum which comes with optional assessments. Since this is our first year homeschooling both of ours (ages 12 and 8), I felt using the assessments would be a good way to see if they are understanding and retaining the material.

7 years ago · Like · Comment

ElisabethR

I'm a former classroom teacher and like to stick to classroom style assessments. I use curriculums that have tests & give those. I write an evaluation at the end of each quarter (yep, I have marking periods). My state requires periodic standardized testing so we'll be doing that in the next year or so. Just because I feel that homeschool is the best option for my children doesn't mean I'm going to throw away the things that work from school.

7 years ago · Like · Comment

Sharon R.

Overall, we use the portfolio evaluation at the end of the year to have a certified teacher confirm that both of our children are making progress. I have resisited the temptation to give them each the standard school assessments, as each is where they are according to their own specific gifts and challenges, not those that are necessarily the norm of the entire population of similar age in the country. We do follow the rules established by our state as far as content, but the levels are up to us.
Our main focus is on Reading, Writing, Math, and Bible. The progress in the 3 R's is pretty easy to measure. Biblical progress is not as black and white, since much of it goes on within the hearts of our children. We are confident, though, that our children will grow up to be the men that God wants them to be if we train them up in His ways to love the Lord and work for Him in all they do. We, as parents, can view the success of their walk by the fruit they produce along the way each day.

7 years ago · Like · Comment

JOwens

We play a game called "Pop Question". Anytime during the school day I can "pop" a question toward a student, asking about something we learned that day. If the student answers correctly, he/she receives a point. Incorrect answers are not penalized. My goal is to ask each student 1 question per day.

When my kids have a total of 20 points, they receive an award, then start over at 0. They usually get an award every month or so. One way we've "upped the ante" is implementing bonus points. These are given if they answer a question from yesterday's or even last week's lessons. Sometimes I may pop a question over the weekend or a break for 5 points.

This is in no way a comprehensive assessment, but it motivates them to remember what they've learned and they have lots of fun doing it. I cannot end a school day without one of my kids reminding me to pop a question!

7 years ago · Like · Comment

MoniDavalos

If the kids are happy, mommy and daddy are happy, and the ES has no complaints about how we school then I consider that an A+ in my book!

7 years ago · Like · Comment

MomOf4LilOnes

We let them have a great deal of say in how they learn. They love having it that way and they are doing way above their "age level" doing it this way.

7 years ago · Like · Comment

Kiirs

I measure success in two ways: 1) are they learning a lot, and learning things their peers are learning, more or less; and 2) are they enjoying their learning process?

I look at the state standards for each grade occasionally, but it works better for my family if I just plan out a month or so at a time, based on what my kids are currently learning and interested in. I'd so much rather have them enjoy learning, and learn to love learning and seek it out on their own, than force dry stuff into their minds that they don't care about.

7 years ago · Like · Comment

sonnflour

At the beginning of the year I plan out where I want to be in 12 months and then just kind of work towards that. Some months we fall behind but other months we have time to pull ahead and usually I end up where my goal was by the end of the year. It helps me feel like I have a plan but also lets us go with the flow of each month, knowing it's okay to have slower or faster months depending on life events. :)

7 years ago · Like · Comment

TN Lizzie

I want Mastery - we work until they "get it" and then go on, even if we move slowly at times! There may be small gaps in their array of education (Did I really forget to teach ___ yet?), but the tools they've learned to use make closing those gaps easy when they're noticed!

My oldest took the ACT in 9th grade as her first standardized test. A Senior this year, she's been awarded the Chancellor's Scholarship and will try for the University Scholars Program. I'm not too worried about how she's doing! :o)

I may have my 8th grader take a standardized test at the end of this year, to make clear that she *does not* know everything just yet and *does*still need a teacher. ;o)

We should have this phrase stencilled on the wall: "Do it right or do it over." I could save my breath and just point!

((((((HUGS)))))) to all the parents who are doing their best to work themselves out of a job. We are raising a mighty generation of life-long learners, and our students will not forget the BIG lessons we are teaching. Stay strong and keep moving forward, one step at a time!

7 years ago · Like · Comment

wolfcrazy

We take our time. If they miss something, we go back and do it (mutiliple times if needed) until they learn it.

7 years ago · Like · Comment

RoadTripper

My approach is pretty low-tech: I use a piece of graph paper, and put x's in a box (per day) for each subject that is covered.

7 years ago · Like · Comment

jesshsbc

Homeschooling Rocks!

7 years ago · Like · Comment

bitsy

We are eclectic homeschoolers. I periodically page through "What Your X Grader Needs to Know" to make sure we haven't overlooked any important subject areas. Also, I occasionally throw random tests on subjects we have studied at the kids to make sure they actually do know what I believe they should know. For highschoolers, I find it helpful to have them take an AP or SAT practice test every once in a while to see if they're on track.

7 years ago · Like · Comment

NDMOM

We are pretty relaxed at this point as my children are young. We follow the curriculum guide and I use the tests provided. I really try to focus on their recations on if they are getting it rather than moving on just because we are scheduled to do so. If we need to skip something they already have a great understand of or if we need to stay on something for a few days I love being able to make that decision and watch as the light bulb comes on when they "get" it.
I keep a daily calendar of what we are doing and reveiw mid year.

7 years ago · Like · Comment

jenellthomas

By law in GA we have to take an assessment test every three years, in third, sixth, ninth, and twelfth grades. We will start assessing every year this year. In years past, we have taken the Stanford. This year we will start our off years assessing with the CAT through Christian Liberty Press

7 years ago · Like · Comment

Carrie in NC

When I was in teacher-training (over 20 years ago, and long before children of my own), I learned one of the most valuable lessons ever: EVERYONE has gaps in their knowledge base! So, with that in mind, I have endeavored to allow my children to explore their interests within a broad guideline/boundary. I keep their school calendars on the wall, and every day that we have lessons they place a checkmark.

Examples:

Our history studies are very eclectic, with a great curriculum as our base. Some children prefer the audio recordings, some read novels of the time period, another prefers primary documents in their entirety; they draw, look at maps, check out internet sites (always with Mom or Big Sis present), recreate battles with blocks/Legos/green army men, wear costumes and act the parts, etc. We may breeze through a time period after covering the basics or we may take a year or more to thoroughly investigate (like we did with all the happenings around the world in the 18th century). We live in a field-trip-rich area of the country, so we've been able to enjoy many sites of historical interest.

Math is a standard, and it's easy to get some done every day. Since they enjoy it, they fly through the material very quickly and are well ahead in their studies.

My DD loves science, and has begun to coordinate the teaching of her younger siblings. It's so sweet to hear even the littlest one tell about the day's lesson! They know more than I ever learned in school!

As for knowing how they are doing: I think all engaged parents have a sense of how their children are progressing, according to the FAMILY's goals. Sometimes, these goals are in line with the greater secular society's, but oftentimes are not. In NC, we are required to have a nationally standardized test administered once each year. Every time we do this, the results only confirm what I already know about their academic progress and their strengths and weaknesses.

Bottom line: I can't possibly teach them everything, so I don't deceive myself with trying to. Are they learning what I desire for them? Do they love learning, especially things that are beyond our "school" requirements? Are they happy and loving and helpful?

These are my measurements.

7 years ago · Like · Comment

LifeIsGood

We keep things pretty simple here. Oral narration for the younger kids and written narration for the older ones.

7 years ago · Like · Comment

coffeencaramel

We start each year by setting goals - physical, spiritual, educational, personal - for each grading term, and add weekly feedback sessions to ensure we're working towards and meeting those goals. I also ask my teens for their feedback on final curriculum options, so in the end they're picking what they want to use or read within the choices I've given them.

My son's 9th grade daily schedule is kept in Outlook using categorized appointments. This gives him an ultimate flexibility to rearrange his day (and me to rearrange lessons if something pops up), jump straight from his schedule to a linked assignment, flag due dates, and use task lists to keep everything on track. Colored folders keep up with loose-leaf pages that need to be completed, graded, logged, or filed. When he's done with school, he checks in with me or dad to verify everything is done and then he's free to do his own thing. We chat 2-3 times a week to make sure everything is going okay and he's not struggling quietly with something. He schools on a loose 9-4 schedule, with some work being done later in the evening or on weekends when we have field trips or homeschool group events during the day.

My 11th grade daughter works, so she sets her own weekly goals for how much she wants to complete for the week based on her hours at work. We review the goals so I can make sure it's an appropriate level of work, and she completes her schooling around her work schedule. We go out for coffee or a meal each weekend to review her school progress, talk about what she's learned over the week and about what's going on in her life.

We do use formal written tests for end of chapter tests in science, history, math (and grammar for my son) as well as some written papers for english. I feel though that the discussion time we spend with them is a much better reflection of their mastery and retention and I look forward to my time with them.

7 years ago · Like · Comment

satiglenn

We have a 6 weeks on/1 week off schedule. I write out goals at the beginning of the year, and every 7th week, I look back at them to see if we're working toward them, or if we've already "gotten" them, in which case we set some new ones.

7 years ago · Like · Comment

Lonette

I use the Online Homeschool Tracker for my lesson planning and assigning of tasks. My kids login to their tracker accounts to view their assignments and check them off as they complete them. Then, I check their work and confirm that it has been properly completed. Also, there are some subjects that we work through together or that I discuss the content with the kids after they have read a section to be sure they understand. Other work (particularly for my high school student) is graded regularly. Friends of mine who also homeschool have been a great resource as we discuss curriculum choices, our kids' achievements and weaknesses, etc. This year my ninth grader took the EXPLORE and PSAT standardized tests. His scores on these helped to reinforce what I had a good idea of regarding his strengths and weaknesses. At the beginning and end of each school year as well as a points during the year, I discuss with my kids what they like or don't like about their schoolwork, how they think it could be improved, what they see as their strengths/weaknesses/needs, etc. I often take their input into consideration when choosing curriculum, scheduling, etc.

7 years ago · Like · Comment

learn4life

Now that my kids are older (8th and 11th grades), I sit down with each one separately every two weeks and together we make lesson plans for the next two weeks. This process really helps motivate them, help them take ownership for the learning goals, and also gives very specific guidelines on where they need to be each day. Through the day, they check their work off the lesson plan, and at the end of each day's work, they check in with me to let me know what they've done (we have a rule--no media until your school is done for the day!) Testing and other assessments are built into those lesson plans. Right now, it works for us!

7 years ago · Like · Comment

emenmommy

We are pretty relaxed about the "school" part of our day. I make a schedule of weekly and monthly goals and periodically gage our progress against them. End of the year testing lets me know that they are on track according to whoever writes the tests :), however, if they are learning new things, we are happy!

7 years ago · Like · Comment

MBryner

I watch other kids their age that are public schooled and see how they write, type, speak, spell, and then I can easily judge where my kids are at. One thing I like to do is take Facebook posts from kids their age and see if they can correct the post. It makes me feel good when they can fix all of the spelling and grammatical errors. To see what levels they are at, I will be giving DORA and DOMA assessments.

7 years ago · Like · Comment

cnjwilli

This is my first year homeschooling my 11 year old. Next year I will homeschool all 3 kids. I know I will be doing some sort of assessment at the end of the year for her. My husband is very traditional and is all about grades and knowing where she stands in her education. So any suggestions on what is best out there, I will take! I will be reading many of your post to get some ideas, also. All I know is that I am enjoying this and I believe my daughter is too, even though her friends around here go to public middle school. We've been standing strong :)

7 years ago · Like · Comment

Ishmael28

One of the ways I check on how we're doing is to talk to my son. I ask him what he likes, doesn't like, what has he learned, etc. We just set our 2013 goals - he gets to set his own and I try my best to cover them and incorporate them into my plans - even his goal of learning calculus at 7 :-). I pulled him from public school because he wasn't learning anything. He's highly gifted and was getting so bored in school. He came home every day and always said he had not learned anything - and unfortunately it was true. Now, the best indicator that we are on track is the fact that he can always tell my husband so many things he learned today. To see the fire and curiosity back is how I know we're doing something right.

7 years ago · Like · Comment

PraisetheLord

Prayer and feedback from the children are very important. We discuss our curriculum options to determine the most cost effective, challenging, and character building options for our children. We set realistic academic and personal goals for the children (with their input) each semester. We determine success by seeing fruit in the character, confidence, and independence of each child.

7 years ago · Like · Comment

sebernard

So we are new to the home schooling idea! My daughter is having health problems and the school says oh well not my problem! At that point, I decided enough was enough! I was going to start homeschooling! So I know why needs to be taught but I am having issues figuring out what programs to use etc. I will say we love hands on! So one thing we are doing is hitting up a roller coaster! Why you ask? Well physics, of course! This is a great way to teach it! Also it is a great way to teach math(how far you walked subtracted from total distance), physics (gravity, energy), photography( great pictures), english(what I did during summer paper!), History ( the invention of the roller coaster lol). Every day can be a hands on learning day! Cooking is something else we love to do! Great for math! Hiking- science all the way!!! We learn about birds, bird calls etc. So I guess for us, we use every day to teach a lesson. It doesn't have to be a boring old every day lesson lol! Make it fun!!!

7 years ago · Like · Comment

plsmitha

To ensure that homeschooling is meeting my and my son's expectations, I start off the homeschooling year by asking him what he would like to learn. I incorporate this into whatever he has to learn to meet state standards for that school year. For example, if he says he wants to learn about art (he's an artist), I will him ask what aspects of the art world he wants to learn about; he might say the "Renaissance."

I will then give writing assignments about the Renaissance and tie that into our world history lessons. We will then take a field trip to the art museum and the history museum, focusing on learning more about his interests. This keep him excited about learning and wanting to do the research and work required--because it is something he wants to learn. Learning can and should be enjoyable.

7 years ago · Like · Comment

evanstm

We're new to homeschooling so for us, right now, we're just testing the waters to find what we like and and don't like. Our main goal right now is to cover the basics and have fun doing it!

7 years ago · Like · Comment

Dibbus

We periodically check where we are in our lesson plans and look to see if there are topics we can just skim over or do a quick review if it's something they know already. No sense wasting time repeating. With the amount of work in the lesson plans, we have to pare it down some in order to get it done. I also "peek" at the tests to make sure we focus on that material more.

7 years ago · Like · Comment

I simply don't sweat it. We work hard most every weekday, and I can tell from his performance on daily work whether he's progressing and understanding everything we cover.
We're in Florida and are required to have a formal evaluation by a certified teacher each year, so this serves as our yearly "test" to make sure he's on track.

7 years ago · Like · Comment

fay

Well when I taught in a small classroom of LD students all of them were on a different level in math. So I put an index card in the right hand corner of each desk. It had a list of all the skills for the entire year. Teach, test, reteach, test, mastery were that catagories for each skill.

7 years ago · Like · Comment

jtseaermi

I have a goal for the girls as to where I want them to be in regard to their math skills. Their LA curriculum has assessments built into the curriculum, if they aren't grasping a particular concept/skill, we go back and cover it again until they have a firm understanding of what they are learning. Science and History each have chapter quizzes and tests that are taken at the end of the unit/chapter.

While I'd like them to be "on track" with their public schooled peers, I'm not taking 100% stock in it. They ARE learning and getting exposure to more than if they were in a "traditional" school setting.

7 years ago · Like · Comment

happymom67

My husband and I prefer to allow our daughter to reflect her knowledge by communicating her understanding rather than by formally testing her. We do use a software package for her math since it is hard to communicate your understanding of say, Algebra I. The software tracks her daily progress and bi-weekly test scores.

7 years ago · Like · Comment

Katkop

We take the Let's Go Learn reading assessment every January, plus the California Achievement Test every Spring. That helps me know that my daughter is progressing. I'm not so concerned about state standards or grade levels. I just want to know she's improving in the basics (reading, math, etc). Otherwise, we talk about the curriculum we use frequently and discuss whether she and I feel she is learning, challenged, bored, etc. I also constantly research other options to make sure there's nothing better out there! ;)

7 years ago · Like · Comment

NDMOM

This year we are just taking in in faith and trying to build a good foundation. Next year I will look more towards the state scope and sequence.

7 years ago · Like · Comment

Erin

I downloaded the states scope and sequence and every couple of weeks go over it and see where she is at. We're fairly relaxed at this point and are focusing more on making sure she really grasps fundamental steps before working on the more advanced ones.

7 years ago · Like · Comment
sebernard: Erin what is that? Is it every state?
7 years ago · Like

keeflek

I often have oral reviews of what we learned that week. I will have the kids tell me or dad what they learned about ____. If gives me a good idea if I need to review and if they understand. Also, for math and grammar, the curriculum has testes at the end of each chapter. Every two years, we are required to do a standardized test. You will know how your child is doing just by being with them on a daily basis. Just looking at how well they do the work and if they are struggling. Trust in yourself and your child.

7 years ago · Like · Comment

Prior to having my child I taught grades 1-3 in the public school system and currently still pull struggling students in the school a few days/hours a week. I feel very competent in planning, as I am very familiar with our state's scope and sequence, as well as specific activities and goals. I also have a good amount if material (literature, curriculum, manipulatives, leaning games, etc.) to draw from. As my child is Pre-K aged now, I am pretty relaxed with his school day. In prior years, we worked on a lot of learning through play. My child is on an advanced Kinder "curriculum" now. Next year we'll have a even more structured day, still taking days off to travel and have field trips.

7 years ago · Like · Comment

korin

I try to look at the big picture. As I plan on homeschooling through high school, I say to myself...."OK, I need to cover these minimums by this year." How I am trying to do this is a bit funny. I have downloaded several scope & sequence/ course catalogs from several "prestigious" high schools, I have them all in a notebook and have looked at their requirements, elective lists and what they seem to do. I will then use these as a template to form my own version of what each of the credits should cover. I think that this will be a nice way to plan in the future, and to make sure that I am somewhat on the right track, or in the ballpark. It still leaves me the room to do what my kids and I want to do, but shows me what a typical "good school" would be doing. As far as elementary and middle school, I don't sweat that at all. I did alternate between standardized tests and normal portfolio review, but my kids always maxed out the tests. I put very little stock in them and their ability to gauge anything, because of this experience. There are days when I feel that my kids are "behind" in certain skills than their brick and mortar counterparts, but again... I just need to breathe and look at the big picture. They are far ahead in other areas that are either immeasurable, are only important to us, or at least not damaged by the negatives of a B&M. It is a hard road to walk, trying not to compare to the norm.... but we are outside the norm. We have all chosen to go outside of the norm, so we are not as comparable (as assessable) as you'd think. I think we all need to look at each of our kids individually, and get over the "how do they compare" mindset. Now, if I could only get my husband on board with this opinion, my life would be perfect! :)

7 years ago · Like · Comment

5Treasures

We do a structured program that lays out the work each day and has one test. each week per subject. I enjoy it because even my husband can take over, like when I had the twins! It helps keep us on track. I mark daily to see what the kids are getting or not but I don't emphasize marks. We emphasize learning and enjoyment. We also recently did a survey that my husband made up. Each child, that could read and write, answered questions on what they enjoyed, disliked, wanted to be done differently, etc. He went over it with each child before meeting with myself and the child. They seemed really pleased to be able to contribute to what we are doing and have input for the future. We'll see how that pans out:)

7 years ago · Like · Comment

rae

We take assessments every week to make sure they are learning what is needed. If I see that we have a problem somewhere along the way then we go back to the subject and spend another week or two on it to get it down.

7 years ago · Like · Comment

mom with a vision

We use a public Homeschool Charter School that gives us funds to purchase what we want. I only purchase math and Language Arts programs and just do hands on for science and social studies. Math and L.A. have accesments in the program. I have a certified teacher that comes to my house every month and assess her on whats she has learned verbally, looks at projects, and takes samples. For next year I am purchasing k12.com materials for math and L.A. and again no textbooks for science and social studies; Im using Meet the Masters for art. Its nice to have the option to homeschool so freely yet get funding through a public school option and a supportive certified teacher to help me along the way!

7 years ago · Like · Comment
fay: Hi how is that going. I looked into that program but ended up doing classical conversations. Do they offer anything over the summer? Fay
7 years ago · Like
mom with a vision: I like it, the Charter school doesn't offer anything that I know about during the summer time. Just a 2 semester school. Its nice being able to have the support of a teacher and a lot of money to buy curriculum that I want and extra curricular activities such as music, gymnastics, skiing, karate, tutors, etc.
7 years ago · Like

gracie

I use world book's scope and sequence, talk to my children, and I listen to what my children have to say (I'm often surprised!), having them teach me how it's done! (what ever they are working on).

7 years ago · Like · Comment

I have an 8th grader. I have him complete chapter tests on a regular basis (after each chapter) to gauge comprehension and understanding of the material. I also use and develop my own Lesson plans. It keeps me organized and helps me see if we are staying on track with the curricula. I always write it in pencil in case I need to adjust the time schedule. I have plans to have my son complete a practice pre-SAT test once he enters HS to get him prepared for the real one.

7 years ago · Like · Comment

ChristineH

We use and eclectic mixture of different curricula and syllabi. I change this for each child to meet the needs of the child. I usually standardize test every other year just to get an idea of strengths and weaknesses. Because each child is different, so, to , each assessment is different.

7 years ago · Like · Comment

Nesie5

We pray a lot about the right curriculum, follow the quiz/testing sequence for each subject, and do the IOWA every other year. Each off year we go to see a teaching specialist for assessments and curriculum guidance. Sometimes I look at a local Christian school's scope and sequence (and from books on this topic), but usually get the best understanding from standardized test results.

7 years ago · Like · Comment

DMWC

If the kids are happy, engaged and taking ownership of their learning and I'm happy, interested, and feel like we're accomplishing something it's all good. If one of those cogs isn't there, it's time to re-evaluate.

7 years ago · Like · Comment

nancymomoftwo

Some of our curriculum includes quizes and tests. I use them occasionally, but do not overwhelm my boys with ongoing tests. Instead, we focus on each boys' strength and style of learning as to how we approach each subject and concentrate on whatever they might need help with the most. We also try to do hands-on experiments and activities, watch videos on tv or the internet and go to various field trips which reinforce what we've learned in a very tangible way. There's so much freedom in homeschooling and in knowing that our kids are becoming God-fearing, self-sufficient members of society!

7 years ago · Like · Comment

April78

The cirriculum we started using this year for 1st grade had tests and speed drills that were a weekly part of our schedule. After the first few I knew right away that I would need another way to know that my son was learning what he needed. When the timer would start for speed drills he would cry through the whole drill afraid he wouldn't get done and testing would stress him out equally as bad. He is a very nervous and high strung child and I didn't want to add to that. I mean why homeschool if we can't form it to our style of learning right? I didn't want to skip over the tests completely so I cut them into sections and put them in a small binder book. A few times a week I will assign them as "homework" and I fixed him up a small little area designated "homework" area in his room. I make sure he understands what to do and then I get busy with something so I am not around to help! I review it each week (without him knowing) and see where he is struggling and add in a few more minutes a day just for these areas. As he grows I'm sure we will find more ways than this but for now it works great!

7 years ago · Like · Comment

CHELLE31

We don't use testing in our home, although I am not opposed to it. We just never needed it. I can usually tell if my 3 sons have trouble by how they answer the questions in the curriculum we are using. We do not move on to something new until they understand it.

8 years ago · Like · Comment
COGS: My husband and I do not like "testing". It often implies learning, testing, and then dumping the information. Our approach has been mastery on assignments. If you miss something, why? Was it because you miss read the question, rushed through it, or do not understand. I think it is great that you do not move on until there is understanding. I love home education because you know where your children stand.
7 years ago · Like

COGS

We provide the children with an education year round. We take 1 month off every three months and try to travel during that time. I do not use a total package curriculum but use different programs for each subject to meet the goals we have as a family. To stay organized we use an excel spreadsheet that list each subject for each day of the week. Our children know exactly what is expected at the beginning of the week. They can work ahead if they chose. We use a 10 drawer mobile organizer for each child. Each drawer contains all the worksheets, resources, and materials needed for each subject. This helps to keep our family organized and makes it easier to locate items they need.

8 years ago · Like · Comment
Dibbus: I wish I had room to be that organized!
7 years ago · Like

MagicandMayhem

We're pretty relaxed homeschoolers but we're in MN where we have to do annual standardized tests. We order the CAT through Family Learning Organization and get a detailed report on how they're doing in each of 9 subjects. It gives us an idea of where the kids are at and what we could focus more on.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

lynn898

With my child I don't really quiz her too often. At the end of a skill or a lesson level I will ask her to review and make sure she understood the unit or skill. But mainly I know how she is retaining by communicating with her. We talk about everything. I know she will do fine and we are ready to move on because she effortlessly answers questions. If I find that she is confused, we simply go back over what we need to.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

barbdv

In order to keep my sons schooling at a level that we feel he is learning at we will now and then do a review day. If my son can go back and explain the process to me then I am sure that he understands it and has knowledge of the concept. This is important to me since I want him to understand what he's learned and not just be doing things because the book said so.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

KChomeschool2

I keep my states public school scope and sequence in mind. My son uses the complete curriculum from FlashKids purchased at Barns and Nobles that covers every subject the public school and some private schools covers. My daughter uses AOP (Alpha Omega) and is more taught in a private school way. Science and Social Studies are more relaxed. We visit places, participate in camps and read books from our local library about these subjects.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

jsc627

My state only requires testing every 3 years. However, with one child who is advanced for his age and another child with a diagnosed specific learning disability, I administer the ITBS test every year. I also administered the CogAT in conjunction with the ITBS so I know what each child's learning ability is and to ensure that the achievement test scores are consistent with the learning abilities. If there is a hole in what they are learning, I want to know right away rather than finding out after 3 years. I chose to use the ITBS because parents are allowed to administer it to their own children. The Stanford SAT test now allows that, as far as I know, but since I started with the ITBS 5 years ago, I plan to continue using it. I am glad we administered a standardized test even when the state did not require it because it was the scores on the ITBS that confirmed our suspicion of our child's LD and enabled us to obtain free help through our local school.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

jjwest25

My kids are K and 1st grade levels, so we don't assess too much. But I like to see that they are retaining the information we do learn and apply it to different situations. I like the free Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) available via https://dibels.uoregon.edu/ for assessing reading and phonemic awareness skills. For Math, I pull 15-20 problems from their math lessons and ask them to do their best without help from me (except for directions).

8 years ago · Like · Comment
M5: I did not know DIBELS was available and free - thank you for the resource!
8 years ago · Like
kimdup66: Yes, thanks so much
7 years ago · Like

msaraann

We're unschoolers, but we do an annual in-person assessment that my daughters love. I write in a journal at least once a month so I can look back on what the girls have been interested in and what they've done. I browse the curriculum standards every so often just to see what the official expectations are. We've generally far surpassed them.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

mayfam4

We don't have to do tests or assessments for my state, but I may just for my own knowledge. What we do often is let the children share with out of town relatives all that they're learning. If they can't really explain a topic, I know we need to revisit it. My 8 yo has also begun a journal to write about the books he's reading. This gives me a better window into what he is comprehending when he reads.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

shome00

I have exam days at the end of each 13 weeks to review what DD has learned and to see what she is retaining. If changes are needed, I make them in the next term. I also purchased an assessment practice book to see the typical type of questions asked to make sure I'm keeping on track with her grade equivalent. So far she is pretty much on track.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

smons

My oldest is only 6.5 years old, so all I do, for now, is talk to her. I can get a pretty good assessment about how she feels about things and how well she is understanding the curriculum.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

nelhomeschool

We haven't had to worry about tests or assessments, but the best way for me to check is to have family and friends ask my kids what they are learning. If they are able to talk about what we've been doing in school, I know they are interested and excited about learning. We also use E.D. Hirsch book "What Your __________ Needs to Know" as a basic guideline to our curriculum. We make our own curriculum and just add and drop the things we want to from these books and then ADD a lot of fun, personal, and projects for each subject. Good luck to all!

8 years ago · Like · Comment

Sionnon

We made a list of goals, and every 3-4 months we check back with our goals. We look and see if we are on track to meet them, and then we re evaluate those goals to see if we need (or want) to adjust them.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

wpgrahamster

When I began homeschooling my children, I was rather stressed about "where we were". In time from my interactions with other families and children, I have been comfortable that they are learning what they need to know. My husband and I wrote out our goals for homeschooling, why we were doing it, and then yearly goals for each child. We found our goals were more about their relationship with God and others, so we had a strong focus on character development and faith. Our curriculum was very eclectic and I learned that we needed different texts and styles for each child, though there was some overlap. My focus in math was not where they were compared to others, but in building a strong foundation in basics so they would be able to do well in all levels of math. Our math curriculum had practice sheets, chapter tests, unit tests and a comprehensive final, so I was able to tell if they knew the material before they moved on to the next section. I was never attached to the book and we often had more than one text or resource. The children took tests, had discussions, wrote papers and did presentations in the course of learning the material to help demonstrate what they had learned. We did have our children take some standardized tests periodically, but primarily for the experience of learning how to take the tests. We used various tests, including Brigance skills assessment when they were younger. I found this a fun test to administer and work with my children and if I came to an area that they did not know, I was able to cover it with them and make note of what we needed to cover. It was a good way to introduce them to the testing process so it was not intimidating to them. We use state guidelines and college requirements to design their basic high school years, but then allow them to infuse their courses and curriculum with their areas of interest. They will all take the SAT and ACT for college admissions. They also take dual credit courses and courses with other teachers to help them learn from others and in other settings, and to practice skills in note taking, studying, and testing that they will face in their future education.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

mamaMimi

I like to work from a variety of resources, but to make sure that I am covering the essentials I use Let's Go Learn. By starting with an assessment I immediately identify weak areas in reading and math. The online teaching and exercises provide a nice balance with my other materials. It covers a span of grade levels, so I can also identify the student's strengths. For my 2 youngest (preschool age) I love Explode the Code. The online version was reasonably priced and gives me a very clear graph of my child's progress. Also, we only need to do it for about 10-15 minutes a day and they love it! Started this past summer and both are reading at about a year above their current age.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

twin

I look at the state standards from time to time. I just go the state's website and they lists standards for each grade in each subject. We don't plan our school year around those standards, but check to see if we are on track. I often find my child is learning about the same thing as is required. Sometimes a little more or less, but we are generally on track.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

momof2boys

I like to use the assessment tests available from various publishers . . using several & not just the curriculum I'm currently using. I also like to periodically check state & national requirements. Also, chatting with parents with children the same age as mine (who's children are in public & private schools & homeschooled) helps give a great look at what'a happening in the classroom in various settings.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

StAnD4

We use Lifepacs which are easy to assess. By watching how they do on questions and tests for each unit, and how they perform on the unit tests, I can get a pretty good idea of how much information they understand, whether they are being lazy or dishonest, or if they need help expressing what they know.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

M5

My homeschooled kids are in high school... so I regularly have conversations with them about their goals and expectations of their educations. Certainly there are times when they don't care, or bring out usual teenage objections like "why do we have to know this", but I find that I can usually get them in the mood to talk about their futures in a serious manner at least once a week. They tell me what they would like to see changed, and I let them know which ideas are negotiable and which are not. If something cannot change, we are presented with a great opportunity to discuss "the big world out there" and what it is going to expect of them. That is how we keep on track!

8 years ago · Like · Comment

Slhj3

I have found that using Lets Go Learn assessments each year help me make better decisions in curriculum purchases as well as give me a clearer picture of "gaps" in my children's learning. It does notget matter thewhat educational style or methodology, there will always be gaps. Using assessment tools keep us on track so that we can contine to lay a solid foundation of learning as we progress each year. Thanks to the Co-ops discounted rate I am able to afford assessments for my 5 children.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

cawestacademy

It is FREE, it is EASY. It gives you an idea of where your kids are...all you need is paper and printer (and ink).
It also allows you to try out different curriculum.
Many vendors have placement tests you can download for free. Test at your leisure and see your kids strengths and weaknesses.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

whitehart

We are required to do standardized testing yearly, with a large selection of options. The Woodcock-Johnson III test always provided useful information that helped in planning for the next steps. I particularly appreciate that it is not limited to a single grade level when administered, because my children's academic learning doesn't match grade levels across all subject areas.
As far as meeting my children's expectations, we often discuss what they think about how things are going. My main questions are "Do you feel you are learning a lot in this?" and "Is this challenging you?" They have quite a bit of input into the kind of curriculum materials we use, which increases as they grow older and show responsibility in their choices.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

Mommy Actress

We have just started officially this year as my daughter turned 7 in Nov. At the moment we are sort of "unschooling" I guess. But periodically I find "tests" online or make up my own to see how she is doing. Most of the time she is well beyond the grade level they project, so I'm not really worried! As another poster said, I'll probably get more into standardized testing in a couple of years.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

MicheleinAZ

I live in a state where very little is required legally to homeschool. I have always given assessments for their reading and complete a work portfolio for each child every year. I have used the "What your 1st Grader Needs to Know" series by E.D. Hirsch as a sort of checklist. I have never given a standardized test, but intend to starting at the end of 4th grade.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

VeganStamper

I find that engaging the boys in conversation tells me where they are more than any test could. We follow The Well-Trained Mind mostly. I love the lists they provide and I agree with them with very few exceptions.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

Mama Fred

I've been homeschooling for 11 years and have learned through trial and error; as well as, what works for each child. I always, even if not required, had my child take standardized testing at the end of the year. This was for my benefit to assess if certain skills were being developed, material was being retained, and to familiarize my children with pooled testing. After all, they will have to be in this environment for SATs, college, civil service exams, etc. Also, I have kept a very large 3 ring binder for each child, featuring a checklist of what we cover for the year. I have "2 minute" oral snipits where I ask questions and they have to orally answer to my satisfaction. You will very quickly find out if they have indeed retained the info or "blew through". It also promotes proper speaking techniques : )

8 years ago · Like · Comment
Mama Fred: i forgot to add...for the little kids, i would let them orally tell a story about the subject and if they hit the high points...perfect! Plus, it provided a daily dose of "creative writing"......think outside of the box!
8 years ago · Like

mamabusybee

I have a book that tells me what my child needs to learn in each grade. When I buy their curriculum I compare it to that book and if it seems weak in any area, I supplement that. :)

8 years ago · Like · Comment

tgirlsrock

This is our first year of homeschooling. We pulled our daughter out of public school beginning in the sixth grade. My husband is terrified that she is going to fall behind for homeschool. This is something that I would love to hear about from other homeschool parents...how do you make sure your child is learning and being pushed to do their best? Thanks!

8 years ago · Like · Comment
kimdup66: Read these wonderful comments on this page. I, like many other homeschool parents, am not a fan of standardized testing due to its inability to test knowledge acquired nor its application. I do quiz my children via written and oral methods, as well as computer analysis, however, I ALWAYS remind them that a single test can never give an overall picture of actually learning. I REMIND them to always do their best but rarely share the results unless I feel that they can somehow benefit from the information assessed. Tests should be used to gauge problem areas and curriculum adjustments, not as a final decision of achievement.
7 years ago · Like

golfqueen

Sometimes I worry if I am on track with my homeschooling, especially high school. But then I think, am I worried about the world's standards or God's expectations. Ultimately, we are accountable to God and He doesn't look at our homeschooling the same way our society does. So I just keep teaching the basic subjects, try to follow my children's interests and skill levels, but have no problem veering off in a different direction if I feel it is beneficial to my children spiritual-wise. A book that has been extremely helpful in keeping my perspective has been Skeet Savage's book "Homeschooling for Eternity" and also the publications at Wisdom's Gate ministries.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

hambyla

Hook or by crook some days! For the most part, we use a variety of curriculum. Some bookwork, some computer based, some video instruction, etc.. This way we keep everything different and interesting. We don't like to test, because a test is simply a measure of what children DON'T know. We like to use the "mastery" method. When we have mastered a topic, we move on. This way we don't linger unnecessarily, or rush through more difficult material.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

ska2004

We ensure that our homeschooling is meeting our kids needs by making sure they have the curriculum that is compatible with their learning ability. When my kids talk about what they have learned to us or their grandparents, aunts, and uncles, I know that they truly are absorbing what they learn and enjoying it. I want my kids to learn to gauge themselves only by themselves and not compare themselves with others. Everyone is different.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

indiamom

I know how my child is doing when I correct her work. If she is having problems in an area, we recover it until she is comfortable. That's what so awesome about homeschooling. We also use a workbook in the summer called summer bridge that bridges two years together giving her a review of the previous year and a glimpse of what's to come. It shows me what she remembers and makes it easier when we start the new year already practicing skills for the upcoming grade. Normally the summer bridge workbook will have for example 3rd grade-4th. The first half would be a review of last year and the second would be skills we will be working on for the upcoming year. We also talk together at the end of each year and the beginning and decided what we liked and disliked. We set goals together and changed what we didn't like about our previous year. I think by giving her a say in her education it will better meet her expectations too. My daughter has expressed many times her love for homeschool and I believe we are learning and growing together.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

Marisa

on a wing and a prayer :)

8 years ago · Like · Comment

macorkum

We do memory work through Classical Conversations. When my kids can recite all the work...i know it can't be that bad!

8 years ago · Like · Comment

TAT191

We use homeschool tracker to stay on track.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

kelly

I ask my kids how do they feel we're doing, if they could change something what would it be, etc. I then compare their answers to my own and take it from there.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

kimmierose

I am brand new to home schooling. I have only been at this for a few months, I just downloade and printed off some widely recognized homeschool programs placement tests, and I used tests that are a grade level above my daughters grade ande she did wellon both tests. So what ever I am doing at home, she is learning. I had so many self doubt issues the 1st month about if what I was doing was right, was I teaching enough material, was I teaching the right material. With the help from othe Home School moms, I leaned to relax and everything fell into place. Now ask me in 2-3 more moths and we'll see if I am feeling as confident as I am now.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

oldkyschool

I have used Let's Go Learn's reading tests for several years now. I love the fact that they test phonics, spelling, word recognition, vocabulary, and reading comprehension and I get grade equivalents for every sub category. Additionally, the tests are self adjusting which means I'm not limited to just one level of test. I use the Lexile score to help me select books that will challenge them but not frustrate them.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

DSeattle

I use the "What Your ____ Grader Needs to Know" from the Core Knowledge Series. I have the books from 1st - 6th grades. While it is a lot of work and I don't follow it 100 percent, the books remind of topics that I may have missed and ensures that our studies are well rounded. The books also help me to see what has been overlooked from previous grades. I also am authorized (through Bob Jones U) to give the Stanford Achievement Test to my kids and we do that in the middle of the year. I get the test prep books and we spend a few weeks "teaching to the test" in the event that we've missed something. Cool topic! Thanks!

8 years ago · Like · Comment

Bugs

I know we are on track when my son starts applying the thing he is learning in his daily life. For example, while eating dinner, he'll say something like "I had 9 carrots, I ate two, so I have 7 carrots left", or i'll listen to the boys playing together and hear them arguing about which biome is the "coolest".

8 years ago · Like · Comment

McClan7

My children are ages 4, 6, 7, & 9. We use a variety of programs to teach them. Readingeggs, Readingeggspress, Facts First, Math Whizz, the Happy Scientist and ABCMouse. All except THS has testing and grade tracking. Readingeggs and Math whizz has placement tracking. I also use Homeschoolskedtrack.com to schedule lessons, track grades, hours, attendance, and produce report cards. We have a rather structured school day. My husband is currently organizing a hands on science curriculum and we are looking for a good History program.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

TeaCheer

One of the main things is to not be isolated! Over the years we've been involved with soccer, theatre, homeschool groups, churches, 4-H, YMCA and others. This gives us a chance to influence others as well as receive feedback from people and situations. Testing with Iowa tests has given us a snapshot. One of my children has now taken the test twice over the years, and I saw the math results improve over a couple years. I had added some extra timed math basics to math lessons. Some other resources I use are websites, an out of state, but close relative who is an experienced and admired teacher, and re-reading the philosopy held by the curriculum publishers that I use. I have written sketchy long term plans that I refer to to see if I am being reasonable. I try to work on a particular aspect of my teaching or organization each year. One year it was giving more timely feedback to my children while they were learning a concept. Another year it was developing a workable way to track time for high school credit hours. We also celebrate milestones like finishing an algebra module with a certificate, inexpensive prize, or mini ceremony.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

j2juliano

We follow a Charlotte Mason/Classical education approach. In doing so our evaluations come through either written or oral narrations of the material studied in subjects such as history, science and literature. In subjects such as math, our curriculum tests every 10 lessons for proficiency. Grammar is evaluated through our written assignments. For my high school student, most of her curriculum comes with testing materials, but in subjects such as history, we rely on written essays to evaluate the material studied. I also have my children take an achievement test every other year until high school to make sure that we are on track according to "standards". Once in high school, we have them take the PSAT, ACT and SAT. Other ways of evaluating what we are learning, is simply through discussion with others outside of the family. We are very blessed to have an array of people who are just as interested in our children's education as we are.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

lrussell

I need to know if I am being effective with the teaching of my child so I choose to use SAT's each year to give ME a report card on how I am doing, and prove that the curriculum that I choose is really working for my child or not. It is amazing at the amount of information they can commit to memory. I get a pat on the back when you see them using the knowledge they have gained to make decisions and join in discussions with others of varying ages, this really makes my day. Something else I noticed is the more knowledgeable they become the more caring and understanding they seem to become with younger students as they learn. All I can say is Wow. I love home schooling.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

K

This is a very interesting topic. I look forward to seeing what others have to say. This is only our second year homeschooling our six year old/ For us this has not been an issue. Yet!

8 years ago · Like · Comment

artist_mom3

I've never been real big on testing, especially in the younger grades. We always did the minimum state requirements for the standardized tests and minimum subject testing in our homeschool, but when my kids hit high school I knew they would need to test well for the SAT and college. So the more routine testing began in everyday subjects. They have also taken community college courses in high school which really helped them prepare for their college experience later. However, I think what has really made a difference in knowing where my children stand academically is a year-end project that our homeschool group does every year. Various age categories "compete' with each other and are judged on a written report and display board. Some of the judges are former/retired teachers (who are homeschool friendly) and give valuable feedback to each student. We have been involved in this for most of our homeschool experience and it has been a great way to access my children throughout there education.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

Mama__B

My kids are younger (4 & 7) and we're pretty lose with structure, not using any set curriculum. I know we're on track when my 7 year old is challenged (but not discouraged). It's time to step it up a notch when he gets bored. So far he's completed most of our grade 2 material, and is into grade 3 math as well. By following his lead, and making sure he grasps the basics, we stay on track.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

momof7c

I really like the idea of project-based assessments. I find that my children learn much more that way, and retain it much longer. Just ask my 7th grade son about the China unit that he did in 4th grade, where his "assessments" included making (and learning to use) an abacus, making his own compass, making and flying kites, and making paper. Just ask my 10th grade daughter about her Shakespeare studies - the plays she attended, the Shakespearean Festival she visited, and the website she designed to show all that she learned. I find that whenever our studies seem to be sluggish or boring, all we need to do is increase the field trips and projects! Today we are working on a Renaissance costume and Morse Code (did you know that Samuel Morse really wanted to be an artist, but developed the Morse Code after feeling that his art was not "good enough"?)

8 years ago · Like · Comment

Alexia

We just view the tests as data that is useful to us -- I choose the one that is most comprehensive and provides the most useful data for us and I test halfway through the year so we can adjust our plan for the second half as needed. We make it fun for the kids and it's interesting to us! :-) That, along with our annual goals and corresponding lesson plans make for a great combo!

8 years ago · Like · Comment

NatYoung17

Our Math curricullum has a test every 20 lessons (my dd is in 2nd grade), but other than that I don't test her. I can tell what she retained by talking about the things we covered and don't think testing is necessary at this age. Luckily our state doesn't require testing or anything else. I do have a binder and write down what we did every day, just for my own records.

8 years ago · Like · Comment
LaCourre: Which math curriculum do you use?
8 years ago · Like
NatYoung17: Calvert Math
8 years ago · Like

ThreeSMama

I like to take one day of school work every two weeks and do EVERYTHING together, side-by-side, orally... Spending the entire school day this way gives me great insight to how things are going!

8 years ago · Like · Comment

pwerica

We use Abeka DVD curriculum for our 2nd grader. He has weekly spelling and math tests. I like them because it helps us see where he is at. They also do weekly writing and phonics test, but my son gets confused easily with all the special sounds in phonics so we skip those tests because they frusterate him. I figure that since he is a good reader and reading chapter books, he understands phonics just fine, just not in the way they like to test. And due to his ADHD, we started him later on the cursive than the curriculum suggests, so we do not think he needs tested on it yet.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

HeyJade

We are using My Father's World First Grade as our curriculum, so I assume we're on the right track since we're simply following along in the guide. I have also joined the MFW 1st grade group on facebook, where many of us discuss how we're doing, any questions we have and give advice and support to one another. It makes me feel good knowing there are others doing the same things we are and having troubles/successes right along side of us. Love the support! I know we're not doing the same things 1st graders are doing in public school, and I don't worry about that at all - my son is getting a better, well-rounded education this way!

8 years ago · Like · Comment

Homeschool Mom 9318

We don't test most subjects in the younger grades, and in high school we only use the textbook tests for math & sciences. When my children were younger we used end of year testing with ITBS (Iowa Test of Basic Skills) or Stanford Testing. But because homeschoolers tend to outpace traditionally schooled students, those tests become irrevelent once the student begins to get close to a perfect score. As they got to 6th or 7th grade, we switched to the ACT (the college entrance exam test.) They can take it as young as 6th grade, also taking the ACT early and often won't be seen by colle admissions unlike the SAT college entrance exam. As their teacher I receive useful information from ACT test results regarding areas of weakness. Anither note: Reading good literature is a great way to ensure good test scores. When my daughter was in 3rd grade, I spent the year in physical therapy, not teaching. She just read good books. But her test scores jumped 3 to 5 grade levels that year.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

Homeschool Mom 9318

We don't test most subjects in the younger grades, and in high school we only use the textbook tests for math & sciences. When my children were younger we used end of year testing with ITBS (Iowa Test of Basic Skills) or Stanford Testing. But because homeschoolers tend to outpace traditionally schooled students, those tests become irrevelent once the student begins to get close to a perfect score. As they got to 6th or 7th grade, we switched to the ACT (the college entrance exam test.) They can take it as young as 6th grade, also taking the ACT early and often won't be seen by colle admissions unlike the SAT college entrance exam. As their teacher I receive useful information from ACT test results regarding areas of weakness. Anither note: Reading good literature is a great way to ensure good test scores. When my daughter was in 3rd grade, I spent the year in physical therapy, not teaching. She just read good books. But her test scores jumped 3 to 5 grade levels that year.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

Lynne

I keep a record book with all assignments for our kids, just for good measure. I also give each child spiral 3x5 cards with assignments as well so it's easier to take along if we are on the go. Just the little extra for record keeping if needed.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

hootandflutter

Our state requires quarterly reports that specifically address the goals we set at the beginning of the year. I always dread writing them, but enjoy reading them when they're done.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

linda

I do use Home Learning Year by Year as a basis for my edu cational goals. I then include goals based on the curric I choose, we learn one poem a year, and have chore related, physical and character goals. I do assess the progress throughout the year. But if we don't accomplish it all, it may just get tossed because we did something else just as good or pushed to the next year. It keeps me focused but I am not a slave to it. I only test in math, spelling, and our memory work throughout the year. Pennies are earned as an incentive and can be spent in the school store. End of the year testing has been the CAT. I have a 4th grader.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

linda

I do use Home Learning Year by Year as a basis for my edu cational goals. I then include goals based on the curric I choose, we learn one poem a year, and have chore related, physical and character goals. I do assess the progress throughout the year. But if we don't accomplish it all, it may just get tossed because we did something else just as good or pushed to the next year. It keeps me focused but I am not a slave to it. I only test in math, spelling, and our memory work throughout the year. Pennies are earned as an incentive and can be spent in the school store. End of the year testing has been the CAT. I have a 4th grader.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

tammyw

We enjoy mixing it up a lot - it's what makes homeschooling so enjoyable for us. We are constantly trying new games, dvds, iPad applications, books, and fun field trips. We don't do testing - we are able to see it everyday how our children are growing and learning. The biggest indicator that we are doing fine is how our children approach life and learning - our daughter reads everything and has a wonderful knowledge of so many things. Our young son is drawn towards all things math and science. Seeing them pursue these things in their own way is incredibly rewarding.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

Shawneinfl

We do annual testing with Classical Conversations testing service. They use the Stanford-10 test which is untimed and therefore works great with my ds. I don't begin using the standardized testing until grade 3. With my younger kids we use portfolio review.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

We're Unschoolers, so for assessment I spend a lot of my time talking to my kids. They love to tell me all they're learning about, creating, or enjoying. We play games, read books, do projects, and make art together. Because my husband and I are so hands on, I rarely wonder what my kids can and can't do. It's pretty obvious. :)

8 years ago · Like · Comment

monsterjam2

We do a self-evaluation each Friday, and have frequent discussions about what we are learning. For our self-evaluations we answer the following five questions: What overall grade would I give myself for this week? How did I feel about the week in general? What subject did I do the best in this week, and which one was the worst? What can I do differently next week?

Self-evaluations allow my children to think about their own performance, and often elicits a change in their behavior of their own accord. Discussions on difficult subjects often provides clarity, not only to them, but to me as well, and we are finding that that subject isn't so difficult the following week!

8 years ago · Like · Comment

Kathleen

I have used Spectrum Test Prep books and the PASS tests from Hewitt Homeschooling to make sure my children are doing well.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

Anna P.

Many of the textbooks that I use for my children have companion websites where they can take quizes. My state also offers the option for homeschools to take the standardized testing. This way I can see how they are doing in comparision to children across the state and the nation.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

melgriffin03

We use soaring with spelling and growing with grammar which include tests so my 1st grader does do some testing but that is it. For the most part, we answer the how are we doing question with whether or not he knows and is comfortable with the material.

8 years ago · Like · Comment

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