Friday, February 24, 2012

Evaluating Progress

This week at Growing Your Homeschool, we asked our bloggers,

"While testing is one way to determine skill level or mastery in a subject area, it is not the only way. What are some other methods or creative ways you have chosen to use to evaluate your child's progress?"

MARLA-"I observe Abigail to determine her skill levels and levels of mastery. I give her independent work and watch her complete it. If she feels confident and is able to do it on her own, I know that she has mastered the skill. If not, I know that we need to keep working on it. I also observe her in play and free time as I have noticed that she rehearses a lot of the skills that we are learning during her play time."

DORIE- "We do use some testing methods, but we also implement some other ways of checking our children's progress. Observations and listening to them reiterate a lesson or material they have learned are two ways. Another way is to have them 'teach' someone else the same material."

TRACY- "Observing my kids in "out of school" moments really gives me a terrific idea of what they are learning—conversations in the car and at the dinner table, playtime activities, etc. I have also loved using narration this year, having the kids tell me what they learned as I write down their answers. For records, however, I do depend a lot on worksheets (graded or non-graded) to give me an accurate assessment."

DELENA-"I ask my 5 year-old to "teach" what he learned to his younger brother--he loves it, and he really does a good job of covering the subject. I will also have him tell Dad about what he learned at school when Dad gets home from work. Our fav...orite way is to just ask questions around the dinner table in kind of a game show-type way. We're Catholic, so our questions might consist of, "What does the fourth commandment say?" or "Which saint was roasted over a gridiron because he loved God?" or "Why did Jesus turn over the tables in the temple?" We use silly voices and sound effects if he gets the answer right or wrong--which generally causes a good case of the giggles."

JESSICA- "Like Tracy, observing my children talk to others about what they have learned is a wonderful way to see what is sticking with them, especially in history and social studies. I encourage them to discuss what they are learning during dinners... with Dad, grandparents and friends, and they enjoy "showing off." As far as 'paper work' sort of learning, I've found the best way of measuring how they are doing is whether or not they want to work independently and how many of those tasks worked correctly without help indicate their grasp. If they have questions, want to talk it out or even want me to sit with them, I feel they probably need more time and practice. If they disappear and come back with correct work, I know they have mastery and it's time to move on."

MAUREEN-"I always feel a bit confused on this topic, as a home educator. For me, my children's learning is such an intimate affair that to me it's like asking- how do I know how much I know about something... I just do. It's natural. We are TOGETHER and talking all day long. I consider it one of the main benefits of our chosen homeschooling style that I always know right where my son and daughter are in different areas."

How do you evaluate your child's progress?

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