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How to Know if Homeschooling is Working

homeschooling is working

Have you ever wondered, processing through the day-to-day of homeschooling, whether or not your efforts are really succeeding? One of the best ways to know if homeschooling is working is by conducting regular assessments and evaluations.

Determining if Homeschooling is Working with Mid-Year Evaluations

You know that you should evaluate progress regularly throughout the year as you make sure that your students are learning the material in front of them. And, you know that the end of each year is a great time to step back and take in the big picture of where your students were at the beginning of the school year as compared to where they are now.

But, did you know that mid-year evaluations are helpful as well? Mid-year assessments allow you to take a look at all of your weekly evaluations, process where there have been struggles and successes, and see if you need to make adjustments for the second half of the year.

One of the best ways to know if homeschooling is working is by taking opportunities throughout the year to gauge where you are, what progress has been made, and what does and does not need to change.

What can I learn about how homeschooling is working from mid-year assessments?

Mid-year evaluation might reveal surprising successes or important concerns that wouldn’t be obvious in a close-up, weekly assessment. This is incredibly important for helping you make sure that homeschooling is working so that ultimately the school year can end up on a successful note!

Think about this scenario. On a week-to-week basis, you see your son struggling in math. Each new concept takes a lot of work as you hash through the information and try to push forward as best you can. With this weekly picture, you see the struggle. What if he’s not really getting it? Is this a sign that homeschooling is NOT working?

Halfway through the year, you decide to give him a quick evaluation to compare what he knew going into the year with what he knows now. When you see the results and share them with your son, you both clearly see the clear progress he’s made over the course of a semester, assuring you both that your hard work has paid off.

You can go into the new semester with renewed confidence that homeschooling is working. This in turn gives you both a new energy to tackle the hard work each day.

Recognizing progress—as well as gaps and needs—in the middle of the year instead of waiting until the end of the year can greatly impact the success of each homeschool year simply by giving you confidence in the fact that homeschooling is working despite the struggles.

How do I make decisions based on this information?

Once you complete your evaluation and have determine whether or not homeschooling is working, it’s time to take action on the information you’ve gleaned.

First, determine whether or not your existing curriculum is able to fill in any gaps or needs that came to light during the assessment. This does not mean you should ditch your curriculum, but you might want to consider supplements or make other adjustments.

Perhaps you need a few additional math worksheets to help solidify concepts. Maybe a regularly scheduled library trip will help with gaps in history. Do you need more hands-on activities to reinforce science? Could some flash cards or charts help with those pesky grammar confusions?

Second, consider your speed. Are you moving too slowly or too quickly through a curriculum? Are you pacing yourself well to get done when you need to get done without causing your student to have to rush to keep up? Or are you moving too slowly to really ensure that learning is progressing at a good pace for building concepts on top of one another?

Finally, consider your weekly evaluation method. Do the grades you record or notes you make reflect progress well? Did they help you as you assessed the first semester, or were they off base?

Determine whether or not you need to make different weekly assessment habits to help you get a clearer picture of whether or not homeschooling is working and what progress your student is making.

How Well Planned Start can help give you confidence that homeschooling is working!

Well Planned Start is designed to guide you through the assessment process in partnership with your student. First, you’ll find targeted questions that help you consider daily habits, practices, and learning processes. Next, your student will work through the student assessment while you observe their work.

Finally, once you have calculated the results, you’ll find tips and suggestions for working through gaps as well as for ensuring that your student is reaching age-appropriate mental, emotional, and physical milestones so you can rest assured that homeschooling is working.

Well Planned Start isn’t simply a test. It’s a guide that you can use at the beginning, middle, and end of each year to help you choose curriculum, watch for gaps, and measure progress well.

In addition to working as managing editor for HEDUA, Ann is a missionary kid, second generation homeschooler, pastor's wife, and mom of three. She loves encouraging and equipping others, especially women in the homeschooling and ministry communities.

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