Alright, I admit it. My children are not perfect, or gifted, or superior in intelligence. Yet, objective evaluation and assessment is one dilemma that faces many homeschoolers. How do you know where your child is at compared to other kids? When I say that my child reads at a 2nd grade level–how do I know? When I say my child is especially talented in science and math for his age–how do I know? Most home schooling parents welcome an objective and outside view of their children’s work and progress.
So how do you tell where your child is at academically? Here is a list of ways that home schooling parents have been successfully evaluating their children for years:
1) Use a virtual school. From testing to lesson plans, everything is done for you.
2) Use the curriculum assessment. Saxon Publishing, a widely used math program, has an online assessment tool that your child can take to help you choose the correct level for their program. (Saxon also publishes phonics and a few other programs, but they are most widely known for their math programs.) Several curriculum publishers do this and do it for free.
3) Have your child take a standardized test. A standardized test can be a helpful tool. One word of caution though: results will certainly tell you if you’re behind but they may not give any indication of significant improvement if your child scores very well from year to year. Several states require standardized testing at some point during school.
4) Organize a peer review panel. A peer review panel can be organized through a home schooling group and consists of a panel of other homeschooling moms reviewing your child’s work. While this may not be the most scientific of ways to go about determining a grade level for something, you are sure to find out if your little jr. is not as gifted as you thought he was!
5) Consider opening the project up to the public. Many homeschoolers hold recitals, art exhibits and/or, opportunities for public elocution of a practiced piece that their children can share. This helps kids get practice at public speaking and presentation.
Regardless of how you choose to evaluate your child, having one or more outside opinions at some point will help give you a good idea of where your child is with particular skill sets.
These companies will sell standardized to families for the parents (or someone else chosen by the parents to administer at home). Check with your state laws to see if you need to test and which standardized tests are approved.