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How to Measure Effectiveness of HS for DD - need to assuage DH's fears :(

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

DH and I are planning on homeschooling our daughter, 4. I'll be the primary "teacher," as I stay home with her. He has some concerns about homeschooling - mainly how will we know we're being effective and that DD is learning everything she "should?" 

 

Admittedly I would unschool if it were up to me. However, I have to compromise here. What can we do to make sure she's on the right track? He wants to encourage as much freedom and creativity in learning as we can while still teaching her the things she'll need to succeed in college and in her career. Basically, he doesn't want our homeschooling to close any doors for her.

 

In our state we have to do standardized testing every 3 years beginning in third grade. Though I have real issues with standardized tests, he welcomes the feedback. However, he doesn't want to wait that long and wants to be able to measure progress yearly.

 

Help? 

post #2 of 11

I would just get a standard list of learning expectations by grade level. I'm told WorldBook has one, or your state's guidelines are probably available on-line somewhere. For K and 1st anyway, I would just go through that and check off the ones she's mastered. You may discover that the vast majority get covered in the course of life and guided by her curiosity. 

 

Miranda

post #3 of 11

We made a one-page list of things that we would like our daughter to know and be able to do when she reaches age 18.  That gives us a sort of framework that we can work within.

 

I would suggest keeping a journal or log of the things that she is doing and learning.  The little things they do really add up over time. 

post #4 of 11
We use a holistic program that in no way resembles standardized education. If your Dh will read a book you recommend (mine actually will not, so I highlight everything I read on how standardized Ed does not equal learning and share it wi him), I'd suggest looking into Einstein Never Used Flash Cards: How children really learn and why they should play more and memorize less.

It's a great book written by two PhDs who cover extensive research showing that standardized Ed does not equal learning and actually kills children's enjoyment of learning and reading, and squashes creativity.

I would the. Research the method that most appeals to how you envision educating your child. For us, it is Waldorf Ed. I researched the method, the how's and whys, the growth and popularity of the Waldorf schools among the top CEOs' children in San Francisco and other areas, and the research/videos/articles on how the method encourages real, deep learning, and supports creativity and independent thinking, all without standardized testing and textbooks.

While we are not Waldorf purists by any means, I always come back to the method when questioned by anyone about why we do what we do and how we do it, and I always stress how vastly different this method is from standardized Ed, because to us, that's a good thing.
post #5 of 11

I found these books at the library,

 

What your (First Grader) Needs to Know

 

Insert appropriate grade level in quotes they go from kinder up to at least sixth grade. I find them to be super helpful, comprehensive, detailed.  Contain everything taught within each grade in standard public school curriculum.  

 

As your child's teacher, you will know very well what skills and subjects your child is competent in, even without formal testing.  

post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperMama View Post

I found these books at the library,

 

What your (First Grader) Needs to Know

 

Insert appropriate grade level in quotes they go from kinder up to at least sixth grade. I find them to be super helpful, comprehensive, detailed.  Contain everything taught within each grade in standard public school curriculum.  

Actually, those books contain everything the author thinks should be taught in each grade.  Most public schools don't cover all of it.

 

One simple approach to measuring progress would be to use DIBELS assessments for reading (available free from https://dibels.uoregon.edu/) and get a math workbook for your daughter's grade level and ensure that by the end of the year she can do all the math that workbook covers.  To get an idea how she's doing in writing compared to kids in school, you can Google "first grade writing samples" and see how her writing compares with what you find.

 

For assessing progress in science, social studies, or any other subject I think what makes the most sense is just to decide for yourselves what you want her to learn and how you'll know if she has learned it.  If you're not sure, you can get ideas from looking at state learning expectations or What Your X Grader Needs to Know (but keep in mind that both of those sources will probably list a lot of things that aren't actually covered in your local school.)

post #7 of 11

I wrote about how we do it here: http://mamaofletters.com/2012/06/12/recording-a-homeschool-students-progress-the-homeschool-portfolio-part-1/

 

I also have some other post around this which will flesh out in detail what we've been doing.

 

I have consulted a list of what kids are supposed to learn in each grade, but I don't stress over that.  I just keep it in my mind in case an opportunity presents itself, and I can know that kids in this general age may be learning about this, so let's go with it, etc.  My son's interests have pretty much covered everything and more on those lists so far.  I have introduced him to topics such as "the solar system" and "the weather" which kids typically learn about in Kindergarten.  He enjoyed my brief and simple introductions to those topics and went much further with them than I had anticipated....but we do it over time and I don't force things.  (Community classes have also been a big help.)

 

I made myself a chart which has been very helpful to me, and you can download a simple version of it on that post.  I just check off what subjects we have covered each day.  

 

Except for some short reading and math lessons, I pretty much follow my child's interests.  "I silently feed his interests," as someone aptly told me recently.  By using the chart, I can see how we're covering so much over the weeks.

 

Good luck to you!

post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daffodil View Post

Actually, those books contain everything the author thinks should be taught in each grade.  Most public schools don't cover all of it.

 

 

Thanks, Daffodil.  I have mainly consulted the Kinder through 2nd grade books and they seem very accurate to what my son, who attended public school in those grades (in CA) was taught.  I don't intend to cover every word of it either, just using it as one resource for general guidelines.  

post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Daffodil View Post

Actually, those books contain everything the author thinks should be taught in each grade.  Most public schools don't cover all of it.

 

Especially in regards to history, our public school didn't cover a quarter of it!

 

Our public school has their "frameworks", ie goals for each grade listed online.  I would use that as your ruler because that would be the alternative.  

 

I don't check off a list for my husband at all.  He isn't worried anymore, but when he was concerned, I made of point of telling him about our day.  If the kids wrote something neat (spontaneous or not) I would show it to him.  If the kids were excited about something they learned (usually science) they told their dad about it.  And then, I enlisted him. . .kinda.  I just mentioned that the kids were really interested in this experiment and we needed his help.  That experiment was a catalyst and now he will frequently explore rocketry, electronics, fire, etc with the kids.  He thinks of it as fun.  We both know that it really is more than that.

 

Amy

post #10 of 11

Obviously you and your dh will have to decide on what your standard is. You can then set goals for the year and put it in writing and check on progress against that.

 

You can easily save work from the beginning of the year and compare to the end of the year to measure progress- a portfolio, journal or scrapbook type approach.  You can do testing on your own if you feel testing is the best measure. You can do a combination approach.

 

I think you'll get a pretty good feel without testing every year of how your dc is progressing because you are there the whole time.

 

If you need a guideline of what kinds of things to cover each year you could try something like the Core Knowledge series of books or The Well Trained Mind or just look at the World Book's typical course of study.

http://worldbook.com/typical-course-of-study

post #11 of 11

Some computer learning programs track kids progress and usually translate it into "subject x age.". Now these might be UK specific sites so apologies if so but over the years my kids have variously used MathsWhizz and ReadingEggs, both of which track progress by age and give a breakdown of competence by skill. Other sites like Matheletics don't continually assess kids but you have to assign kids a grade and its pretty easy to see if they can actually do the stuff for their grade.

 

Now I'm not a big fan of continual assessment, I think it quickly leads to the wrong mindset. So much of math in particular is about planting seeds that don't fruit for a year or more, and IMO most things kids can be taught quickly in half an hour seem to be forgotten in the same time span. Its the thorough, usually experiential, learning which they retain long term. However, my kids really do like doing MathWhizz and it does provide a lot of reassurance for dp. 

 

As an aside, I do think in the beginning dads often want some concrete proof that homeschooling is working.  I understand why my partner wants the reassurance and I'm prepared to provide it provided my kids are ok with it and its non-intrusive to their learning-so continuous assessment on a program my kids use for an hour a week is fine for me. However I've found over time its become far less of an issue for him. Dp's big thing is math, closely followed by science, and one of the reasons he was up for homeschooling was concern about how math and science were taught in schools, generally (he felt)by non-specialists with no love for the beauty of the subject (he's a mathematician/computer geek). As the kids have got older he has seen for himself that a simple conversation with them is enough to see that they are well on track, and just being around them at weekends and seeing how much of this stuff they just get up to out of their own curiosity has really helped. I think a lot of fathers become reassured over time, because, in general, homeschooling does work and kids are normally curious, engaged and relentlessly loquacious.

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